So as someone who’s had ties to both schools, why do you think this should be an annual game again, and do you still have a lake house by Brian Kelly?
“It is a — it’s a great game because it’s two really, really outstanding universities. You know, both schools have great academics, both schools do it the right way, and I think in the history of football, those are two of the very, very top schools and they should always play each other.
“And do I have a lake house? No, he’s got a really, really big one I think. No, mine isn’t like that, it’s not by him.”
Defensive line’s obviously been an elite unit the past 3-4 years, how much kinda internal discussion, in terms of how much control they have to take Saturday, do you feel like the D-line is gonna set the tone?
“I think anytime — anytime you expect to have a very, very good defense, you gotta have a very good defensive line. I mean, for the history of Michigan football, I mean, you think of the Glen Steele’s and go back. I mean, the Will Carr’s. You go on and on and on, back then, and now the last few years here with the Taco (Charlton’s) and the (Chris Wormley’s) and the (Ryan) Glasgow’s and all those guys. You have to have a very, very good defensive line in today’s football to have a good defense. And this group understands that, they’ve played a lot of football. And whenever you’ve played a lot of football, the bar gets higher and higher every year.
"They all have very, very high goals. And, this is the first game entertaining those goals. That’s all it is. That’s what happens. When you play the first game, when you work as hard as this group has worked in the summer, when you had the experience that they had last year, this is the next step. Well, now it is. It’s here. Let’s see what you have.”
How have you seen (Mike) Dwumfour kinda take to being in that sort of starter position? He hasn’t started yet, but that leadership role, I guess, as far as being the front guy there.
“Well, the thing that I think we have on our defensive line is like two years ago. I talked about that all the time. We may have eight starters. We may have eight starters, and we may have the ability with our defensive line this year, to be able to tag themselves out. In other words, some places you have to say to a person, that guy looks tired now, we better put this guy in. Well, when you have a group of young men that have earned the right to play, I like to be able to say to them, ‘You rotate yourselves. You look and watch that guy and if it’s gonna be four plays or three plays or how many we decide, you’re rotating on your own throughout the game.’
"And so I look at this defensive line as having the possibility of having seven starters possibly. And then you go from there. And that’s how important it is. And when you have that, then when you're out on that field, there is no time to take a play off. There is no time to not go at 100 percent. Because if you’re gonna be out there playing and your buddy wants to be playing, and he’s earned the right to play, then don’t you dare go out there and not go hard. Now, when you can’t go anymore, because you’re tired, come on out and your buddy will come in for you, and he’ll play the way he’s supposed to play. And that’s what we had two years ago and I think we’re working towards that again this year.”
So are we wrong to think that’s Dwumfour’s job or is — is Lawrence Marshall possibly in that?
“All the guys. You’ve got a whole group of guys in there now. You’ve got a whole group of people in that group. I look at, there’s five guys possibly that are starters for those first inside two positions. And the other thing we’ve done with the inside two positions, they’re equal. Like, when you talk about a three-technique and you talk about a nose, they’re really equal positions. One just plays on one side and one plays on the other. So, you can have the possibility of five guys that are being able to play those two positions.”
Who are those five guys?
“Well the five guys would be, as you mentioned before, you’ve got Bryan Mone, and you’ve got Lawrence Marshall, and you’ve got Dwumfour. You’ve got Aubrey Solomon and you’ve got Carlo Kemp. You’ve got five guys that I believe, starting in the spring last year and right now through this camp have really earned the right, when you say, ‘Ok, we trust you. We think when you go in there, you will play the type of defense that we expect you to play.’ ”
[Hit THE JUMP for details on depth, impressions of the O-line, a look at ND, and more.]