- Michigan's response to the Ohio State loss
- The team's reaction to Rashan Gary going pro
- Expectations for next year
[After THE JUMP: Players on a Monday? This is anarchy]
Why do you think this team will be better next year?
“Just I’m excited for the guys that are coming back. Especially on offense, everyone’s pretty much coming back except Karan (Higdon). They showed so much greatness this year at times, and showed that they can click on all cylinders. With the defense, a lot of guys coming back as well. I’m excited for this team as well next year.”
How are those young safeties progressing?
“Good. Brad Hawkins, J’Marick Woods, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, they’re all doing really good. They’ll have a loot of opportunity to play these last 2-3 weeks while we get ready for the bowl game. So I’m excited for them as well. They’ve been playing really well.”
How about the young corners?
“Good. They’ve all been playing well, tooo, so I feel like all the young guys are playing extremely well. Now is the big time to step up for them.”
What do you think of Rashan Gary’s decision to skip the bowl game?
“I’m happy for him. That’s a decision that comes down to him and his family. We all respect it, we all understand it. I can’t wait to see him at the next level do what he does.”
Have you guys, as a team, spent a lot of time rehashing that Ohio State game and how you get past it?
“Nah, we gotta move on. We haven’t met as a team. We haven’t watched the film. We had that week off. We only had a couple lifts last week. So we gotta just move no from that. If we keep that with us, we won't do good in this next game.”
What was the mood like last week in the weight room?
“People were down. We’d rather be practicing, getting ready for Northwestern. But it happens, so we gotta move on from it. Last week, we were just waiting to see who our opponent would be. Now we’re here and can’t wait to play Florida.”
How important is it to get to 11 wins?
“Yeah, 11 is really good. I think coach (Jim) Harbaugh explained to us that so many teams have got 11 wins here. That’ll be special to be in that category.”
What did you guys identify as the main issue against Ohio State?
“We haven’t really watched as a team yet, so I wouldn’t know.”
What are things that surprised you in that game? Anything they did differently?
“No, it was just more us. Some things that they caught us in and we couldn’t react fast enough.”
Do you expect that you will watch that game?
“Yeah, we have to watch it. Cause whatever they did to us, everybody else is gonna try to do to us. We have to watch that, we gotta learn from that. Same with Penn State last year. Whatever they did worked. We knew we brought that. We knew we had to fix those problems going into every week after that.”
What do you make of Rashan’s decision to not make the bowl?
“I love him. It’s his decision. His decision. … It’s just one of those things, he asked me questions, for my input on certain things. I gave it to him how it is. I just love that he makes the decision for himself.”
Obviously you have a bowl game to go through , but have you thought about your next steps? The NFL or anything like that?
“Nah, right now I’m focused on this team and trying to keep everybody together. That’s a decision I gotta make with my family. I’m not really there yet.”
Do you plan to seek some input abuto what your prospects would be?
“Yeah, I plan to get back from the NFL thing — I don’t know what it’s exactly called — get my projection back.”
Provided that you are back next year, have you already started the process of looking like a leader to the younger guys?
“Yeah, I kinda see myself as a leader now. A lotta young guys look up to me. They ask me a lot of questions about certain things. Especially the freshmen. You try to get through freshman year, which is one of the hardest things to do, so I think next year if I do come back, it’s gonna be one of those things where I have to step up and lead everybody. Especially with this young defense that’s gonna be here next year, I gotta lead them in the right ways.”
When you say you're looking into everything, you’re getting your grade or your evaluation and everything?
“Yeah, I got a meeting with coach and we’re gonna talk about everything, but, yeah.”
You said you’ll probably be here?
“I’ll be here.”
You will be here, OK
“It’s not official, but it’s —”
Yeah, I got you
“Cause it’s not official. But yeah. Never mind. Next thing.”
The narrative is it doesn’t matter. How much does (the Ohio State loss) matter to you guys?
“No, it matters. We’re really sick of losing the last game of the year. Whether that be Ohio State or the bowl game. So we’re trying to change that right now. Trying to finish things off. I think this team — we’ve handled adversity better than any team I’ve been on since I’ve been here. I feel like one group that’ll bounce back and get a big win at the end of the year, I think will be this one.”
Jon (Runyan) also said the offense would be pretty good next year. Is that one of the reasons why you’re unofficially officially coming back?
“Yeah, no, I was — I love this place. I didn’t really think of leaving. I honestly didn’t even think about it — never even crossed my mind until after the game. Didn’t really think about it a whole lot. I’m just gonna go talk about it with coach, do due diligence. Look into everything. But, yeah.”
Is that where you get a sense of where you need to improve?
Do you agree with him that this offense next year could be pretty tough?
“Absolutely. We got a lot of weapons. Look at our receiving corps. They’re 19 years old. Next year, they’ll be a year older, bigger, stronger. Get another full year with coach (Ben Herbert). It’s dangerous. Especially with — Shea (Patterson’s) here. I haven’t talked to him about anything but I assume he would be. And another gear with him. It’s tough when you get that quarterback coming in — they’ve never worked with each other and they gotta throw everything together before the first game. They’ll get a full year working with each other, it’ll be really good.”
There’s the narrative out there with others saying that you guys won’t be able to compete with Ohio State on a national level, year-in and year-out anymore. How do you respond to that?
“That’s the first I've ever heard that. I don’t read the news, really. Stay out of ESPN and all that. I don’t think that’s realistic. But to each their own. If you want to write that, freedom of the press, do whatever you want. We’ll find out in a year.”
Harbaugh said a bunch of times yesterday, all this means is the work’s not done yet. Is that in line with how you approach this right now?
“Yeah. We didn't get it done against Ohio State, so obviously there’s more that we can do. There’s things we can fix. We just gotta find that right amount of work. Something that’ll get us a win over them, something that’ll get us a playoff berth. There must be something we’re missing, so we’re gonna look back at this — look back at what we could’ve done. What we could’ve done better. And fix it for next year.
Do you lobby Shea to stay?
“That’s a personal choice he’s gotta make. Obviously I want to play with him. But I haven’t talked to him about it, honestly.”