Jake Butt, De’Veon Smith, Delano Hill
Jake, just talk about what [the TE receiving yards record] means to you and how Wilton’s been playing here down the stretch.
“Yeah, Wilton had an unbelievable game again today. He just keeps coming through for us when we need him most extending plays, breaking tackles, and then finding guys downfield. He’s doing a hell of a job for us, and it’s great to see [from] Wilton because without him—you need a great quarterback to succeed the way we are and Wilton’s doing a great job for us.
“As far as the record goes, it’s hard to even take in. At such a historical program like this, to be up there as the number one guy—and I want to get the touchdowns and receptions now, too, but I just want to give credit to my teammates more than anything, honestly. It’s a collective effort. It’s not a one-man record, it’s a collective effort: the O-line, the receivers, the running backs, the coaches, the defense, special teams. It’s not a one-man job, so credit to those guys.”
Kind of going off that, ‘The team, the team, the team’ attitude is starting to really show itself more and more as Jim’s been here and as you guys continue through the season. Today’s another effort. De’Veon, when you look around at the guys in the locker room after the game, what’s that moment like? What is that signal that ‘Guys, we got this going and we’re really rolling right now.’ Do you feel that way?
“Definitely. We all believe in each other. We believe in our defense, and I know for a fact when I look in my huddle I believe in every single one of those guys and they believe in me. It’s just a great feeling, and after we get a win we go in there and high five each other, give each other hugs…there’s no feeling like the feeling we have right now, and I’m not going to take it for granted.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Jake and De’Veon, can you talk about for whatever reason Jehu was more involved and how he can help you guys down the stretch statistically?
JB: “The great thing about this offense and this team is everybody’s unselfish, and when we drop back and look to pass the ball or we look to run the ball it’s not a one-dimensional offense where we’re trying to let one person dominate the game and everyone understands that, so no one’s going to be complaining if balls don’t come their way or they don’t get opportunities because right now we’ve got a great thing going and we’re winning games.
“I guess today it was Jehu’s day. He was getting open, Wilton was finding him, and that’s great to see. It’s special because we have so many different weapons that defenses have to gameplan for and make it really tough on them.”
Delano, if you could talk about two things: number one, your two interceptions, and also what the defense is doing when teams get in the red zone and the goal-line stands that you guys have had the last couple of weeks.
“I’m gonna start with the red zone. We practice red zone coverage every day in practice. We take pride in it and pride in people not scoring on us. They’ve got to settle for the field goal, so we come in with that mindset coming into games.
“With the two picks today, I just have a great D-line. The quarterback just threw ‘em up to me. It was like little gifts.”
Maryland had more passing yards against you than anybody has this year. Is that just a function of they couldn’t run or is that something you need to work on?
“It wasn’t that they couldn’t run. We’ve still got to work on things. We’ve still got to improve every week, but they had a gameplan going with little screens and little toss plays and it worked pretty well. So, it wasn’t really any deep passes, it was like a little screen game.”
De’Veon and Jake, some teams come out of a rivalry game like a Michigan State game and there’s some sort of a letdown. You obviously didn’t have any sort of a letdown. Can you just speak to the importance of the performance you put forth today to keep that goal in mind, which is obviously staying undefeated through the season?
DS: “Every game is a rivalry game. Every team wants to beat us. We know the coaching staff at Maryland. Coach Durkin used to coach us, and we knew he was going to have those boys fired up and they’d come ready to play. We were going to approach it like any other game, but we were going to paly with a chip on our shoulder for sure because we know what type of mentality Coach Durkin brings, and we want to match it and actually go forth and really just put ‘em down in the dirt.”
JB: “Honestly, I know you guys are probably tired of hearing this but we’re going to approach every single week the exact same, as if it’s a championship game. It’s been working for us so far so we’re not going to change that aspect up. When you have the opportunity—these kind of opportunities don’t come around every single year where you’re undefeated, you’re playing really good football, so we’re not going to take that for granted. We’re not going to relax a little bit. We’re not going to start patting ourselves on the back. We’re going to continue to work and if anything we’re going to work even hard going forward because we know how much is on the line.”
De’Veon, every week a different running back seems to rise up. You’ve got four to pick from who are quality backs. What made this your week?
“Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe it was Coach Wheat’s call and Coach Harbaugh’s call. I don’t know. I guess I was lucky this week. I don’t know. I’m happy it happened.”
Jake, carrying on with what you just commented about on the team’s attitude, what is it like in practices during the week? Is it a continuous hunger to get better. As Coach was saying, to get better, to be better tomorrow than you were today and so forth? Tell us what it’s like in practices. Is there hunger?
“Absolutely. There’s 100% hunger, and honestly, that’s where everything starts is our preparation throughout the whole entire week. I want to give credit to our scout team. I can speak defensively, and I can see when we were together in some of these periods, I can see how hard our offense goes. They give us great looks. We got a bunch of young, hungry guys that are improving their game on the scout team and giving our offense and defense great looks.
“So, that’s where all the preparation starts and then on Saturday it just comes down to executing. With this coaching staff, I don’t think we’re going to go into a game ever unprepared. We’re gonna see just about everything that other teams will throw at us throughout the week, so it’s great to be here right now. It’s great to be playing under this coaching staff.”
These score differentials on a day like this, does this speak to simply an excellence that this team is all about now, or does it have a component of a certain amount of lack of compassion or a certain amount of recklessness to it? How do you classify that, because this was an annihilation today?
“It speaks to hard work, honestly. Hank Aaron spoke to us a few weeks ago and he said there’s really no secret to success, it just comes down to hard work. And since we walked off the field last year against Florida, we’ve had that mentality and we knew what this team could be and through winter conditioning, summer conditioning, fall camp, every single week this season so far, we’ve had that mentality, that lunch-pail mentality of just hard work because we don’t want to let this opportunity slip through our fingers. So, that’s really what it comes down to.”
Did any of you see Coach Harbaugh’s reaction to the Chris Evans touchdown that wasn’t and your reaction to it?
DS: “My reaction to it is I thought it was a touchdown. Then Coach Wheat, like Coach Wheat always does, comes over and explains to us exactly what happened. His foot didn’t touch the ground so it wasn’t a touchdown. I mean, I still think it was a touchdown in my eyes, but it happens. I was kind of mad for him. Chris is a good guy. He didn’t really—he didn’t care that much.”
JB: “And that was not a PI on Drake Harris before, so that was back-to-back plays right there. Hey, it doesn’t matter, though. This team’s going to find a way to get it done.”