Monday Presser 10-2-17: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 3rd, 2017 at 8:01 AM



Khalid Hill

When did the team find out that John’s going to be starting this week?

“I mean, kind of just the way he performed last game and just waiting for Wilt to get back healthy. John performed at a level where that gives you confidence when your quarterback comes and performs, especially a second-string guy, the way he did. It gives you confidence. John’s going to hopefully do the same thing this week. I know he’s preparing to have the best game of his life.”

Does anything change with him under center, not going into specifics?

“No, not really. I think they both bring great stuff to the table. They’re similar quarterbacks. I think you can expect the same or expect better. I think he’s going to do just fine.”

As one of the team’s leaders, what do you tell the younger kids that have only played in this game once or never before?

“Just don’t get caught up in the bull. It’s a rivalry game so there’s a lot of trash talking gonna happen. A lot of stuff after the play’s gonna happen—I’m sure it will—but we’ve got to be mature and understand that, okay, somebody’s sitting on you, let it happen. Let them get the penalty, not you, so that’s one thing we kind of emphasize as leaders is if something happens and you don’t like it, coach Harbaugh always says you grab ‘em and just grab ‘em. Keep it there.”

[After THE JUMP: Lavert Hill, Mike McCray, and Mo Hurst]



Lavert Hill

You’ll likely be going up against Felton Davis. He had a big game against Iowa. What kind of challenge does he present?

“He’s a pretty good athlete. He knows how to track the ball in the air, so we’ve just got to get our hands on him and just disturb him at the line and just play ball.”

His first touchdown was on a rollout by Lewerke. As a corner, what challenge does that pose when a quarterback can keep the play alive that long?

“Just stay your eyes on the man at all times. Just don’t look back at the quarterback until the ball’s in the air and you know you can get it. Just have your eyes on your man.”



Mike McCray

A few of you guys said that last year you got the redemption but you still have that bitter taste from how it ended here in Ann Arbor last time. What are your thoughts on that?

“Yeah, we talked about that yesterday. You still think about it sometimes. It’s one of those things that’s in the back of your mind. They came in here and beat us and we want to change that this year.”

Where were you on that play?

“I was on the sideline. It was just one of those plays that you’ll never forget.”

Have you ever had a more heartbreaking last-second loss than that?

“No. That was probably the only one in my life ever, really. That was probably one of the most memorable losses ever.”

You guys haven’t allowed a point in the fourth quarter all season. What is it about this defense that you’re able to lock down late in games?

“We talk about that as a defense, coming out especially after halftime and getting that third-quarter shutout and coming into the fourth quarter just finish, finish the game how we started it. That’s really all it is.”

What’s your confidence in O’Korn?

“We’re really confident in O’Korn. He had a great camp, had a great spring, and hopefully he can do what he did against Purdue. We’re very confident.”



Maurice Hurst

How much does the game two years ago stick with you?

“It sticks a lot, especially just being there and just experiencing a lot of that postgame sadness and seeing all the players out on the field and celebrating a long time after we were done, so it hurts and sticks.”

What’s the biggest difference in this type of game compare to other games in the Big Ten?

“Both the teams just come out and try to play as hard as possible. When you’re battling an in-state team everything really matters about this win because the recruits care about it and the people in the state care about it a lot and you hear about it for the entire year. It’s something that brings out the best in people because a lot of these guys know each other and a lot of them are from the same areas or from a similar background.”

Has Chase’s performance surprised you at all or did you see this coming from him?

“No, I actually saw this coming from him. I really thought Chase was going to have a phenomenal year. You can kind of see it in spring ball start to develop . He started to gain a lot more confidence playing on the outside. You saw a lot of flashes from it last year.When he got his opportunity he made the most of it and normally that’s always the person that breaks out once they’re a starter.

“The same thing with Dev Bush. He had a really great year on special teams last year and he’s having a really great year this year.”

A lot of the guys have acknowledged that Chase may be wired a little differently. Do you see that?

“Ah, nah, he’s normal.”

What’s normal?


“That’s the question. I don’t know.”

MGoQuestion: What have you seen on film from Michigan State’s offensive line?

“They’re tough guys and they play through the whistle. I know I’ve been playing the center for about four years now and he’s a great player and he’s up for I think a number of awards. I think their offensive line is put together pretty well. They like to run the ball and they’re pretty good in pass protection as well so it presents a challenge for us and it’s a really big game for a good offensive line and good defensive line to play.”

Was there a moment early in your career where you knew this rivalry had a little bit more of an edge to it?

“I think it was like my first or second play. I was kind of used to just knocking people back in high school and my first play I got double teamed and caught one under the chin and I kind of knew this was sort of a different game and that you really had to bring it every single play. I mean, all the stuff after; they’re playing through the whistle so you’re getting pushed five, ten yards downfield if you’re running to the ball. Or any sort of extra play: if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen in this game.”



October 3rd, 2017 at 11:43 AM ^

About confidence in O'korn, "John performed at a level where that gives you confidence when your quarterback comes and performs, especially a second-string guy, the way he did. It gives you confidence"


When asked if things change with O'korn taking the snaps, " I think you can expect the same or expect better. "


I don't feel like anything I said was really a stretch, I don't understand your response.


October 3rd, 2017 at 12:15 PM ^

"I think you can expect the same or expect better" 

That stood out to me, it seems odd for a player to say they expect the backup to perform better. Maybe a sign of some internal frustration with how the offense has performed so far? I mean, if Harbaugh said "we expect O'Korn to perform better than Speight" would that not raise eyebrows?


October 3rd, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

It really seems like you and PapabearBlue are reaching in parsing what Khalid said. Every player that has been asked have all said that same things: they have confidence in O'Korn to do the job. Why can't it be that Khalid is talking O'Korn up rather than talking Speight down?

This is exactly why Harbaugh gives terse and short answers as people can draw whatever meaning they want out of the simplest of statements.


October 3rd, 2017 at 1:07 PM ^

It sounded like he was doing both though, that's what I was pointing out. To me, there's a difference in "we're confident John can lead the offense" and "you can expect the offense to be better". Just an odd way of phrasing it, that's all.


October 3rd, 2017 at 3:19 PM ^

"Draw whatever meaning they want". The dude literally said "i expect the same or better"... out of Okorn taking snaps rather than speight. I'm not misreading or misinterpreting, it's literally what he said. Now maybe he misspoke, and that's fine. But you're pushing something that isn't happening here.

Everyone Murders

October 3rd, 2017 at 9:40 AM ^

Ever since Perles there's been this stupid "cheap shot" angle that MSU plays, and I'm glad that Harbaugh and the upperclassmen have the team ready for that.  Perles's teams were so very roided up and played to injure, which was the kernel of my disdain for MSU.  Cheap Shot U (although Purdue looks set to give them a run for their money on that title).

Throw in their "chip on the shoulder" culture and all that comes with it, and I'm hoping that Michigan destroys them.  Not just beats them, but minces and purees them.  I hope Michigan defeats them and leaves them without a scrap of "dignity" to put in their banner headline.  I hope that David Molk watches the game and says - "damn, now that looks like fun".

Put another way, I'm hoping Michigan wins soundly.  With character.  And with cruelty.


October 3rd, 2017 at 10:19 AM ^

Michigan should play hard every single play. They should play all the way to the whistle. They should look for a shutout, and look to score points, especially in the first half.

Where I disagree is when the game is well in hand (up 4 touchdowns? 5?) There comes a point where you pull your starters. Where you give the second string reps. Where you don't go for two points. Where you punt on 4th down, when you probably could make a first down. Where you stop passing far down the field for a TD.

There are reasons for this. One reason is that we have no depth in many areas. This means that you pull starters off the field when they are no longer needed. Give the backups experience, and protect the starters from injury. I want O'Korn to stay healthy as long as possible. I love our DL, but I want to see Hurst, Gary, Winovich, Bush, K. Hudson, and McCray make it through the season. As bad as our OL is, I shudder to think what happens if they go down. And I want the guys behind the starting OL to start to get reps in a game situation.

A second reason is future years. When you pile on points beyond a certain point, you are just humiliating your opponent. And you are creating conditions for payback, including cheap shots. Harbaugh knows this. That's part of the reason why you have so many clock eating runs in the 4th quarter. Keep the ball, try to get a first down, but there's no need to pass, or to get out of bounds. Just keep the clock running and end the game.

Think of basketball. When the game is in hand, and there's a half minute left, if you have the ball, you dribble, and the other team doesn't try to foul, and generally, you don't try to shoot. (The only excuse is perhaps a scrub getting the only points of their career.) But you get my point. Same thing here. Win the game. Win soundly. Dominate. But don't go out of your way to humiliate and slaughter and hurt.

Everyone Murders

October 3rd, 2017 at 10:34 AM ^

Where did I say we should go out of our way to "slaughter or hurt"?  You're battling a straw man, Reverend. You think my suggested solution to playing Cheap Shot U is to become Cheap Shot U? *

I agree that when the game is in hand, you can pull your starters.  No point in subjecting key starters to risk of injury.  But I'd like to see the second string have great results too.

Note that early in his coaching career Harbaugh was on the other side of a point run-up.  His reaction was that it is his job to keep the other team from scoring points.  If you back off too much, then people get hurt.  (It's a bit counterintuitive, but trust me on this one.)

Anyway, I'm fine with putting a Rutgers-like score on Dantonio's Spartans.  I'd relish it.  Win with character.  Win with cruelty.

*Surely you can recognize "minces and purees" as hyperbole? No? My whole point is that I've got a special disdain for MSU because they have had a history of playing to hurt. Michigan should be better than that.


October 4th, 2017 at 8:35 AM ^

crews are calling closer games, especially targeting. I doubt Sparty goes as far as Purdue last week. But it will be a bunch of shit bunches and crap after the whistle. Same way they play basketball. Try to get the opponent to lose discipline. Yes they teach that as a "chip on our shoulder" - come knock it off. Can't fall for that crap, got to stay focused on football fundamentals when you play Sparty.