Jake Butt, Wilton Speight, and Matt Godin
Matt, about Glasgow: he just keeps seeming to elevate his play and you’ve seemed to play well as well. How much do you guys feed off each other there?
“Oh, we feed off each other big time. I’m pretty sure Ryan’s grade percentage has gone up every week, too, so he just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, we feed off each other. We love just working on stopping the run and our technique.”
Matt, Ryan mentioned on Saturday looking to both sides and seeing a bunch of veteran guys who’d been around four or five years. Saturday was a game where the defensive line really did a good job setting the tone. Just talk about that. You’re one of the guys, been around for five years, as far as the depth goes and controlling a physical game like that.
“We definitely knew it was going to be physical watching them on film, but we love that. I mean, 22-personnel, 23-personnel, that’s what we work on all offseason with these guys, too. [/nods toward Speight and Butt] We were ready for it. It was good to have Mone back, too, so we have everyone back now and healthy and ready to go, so it was great.”
Through your five years here, is this the strongest the D-line has been?
“I think so, yes.”
Jake, obviously the team likes to play at home. What is fun about the challenge of going on the road to win a football game?
“It’s always fun to go into somebody’s house and right there you’re kind of backed up against the wall, a lot of adversity because you’re going against their home crowd. They’re hyped up, lots of energy, but nothing’s better than silencing fifty, sixty, seventy thousand people, hearing that stadium quiet after you’re making big plays or you have the opportunity to win a game like that.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Wilton, was there a theme to the red zone struggles on Saturday, or was it just kind of different things coming up at different times? Seems like you guys struggled on second down plays.
“Yeah, after watching the tape and stuff, they were always dialing up the right defenses. They’re very fundamentally sound and we learned from it, tweaked some things and looked at the playcalling of the red zone and there were a lot of plays that were there that we needed to capitalize. Obviously needed to get the ball in the end zone a couple more times than we did instead of putting all the weight on the defense and the field goal [unit], the kickers. So, we’ll learn from it and get better.”
Other than the missed field goals, were you pretty pleased with the other aspects of the offense?
“Yeah, absolutely. The receivers caught the ball well, the line blocked, and all the running backs again--for the third or fourth consecutive week—all four or five of them ran the ball well.”
Wilton, obviously watching Jake last year go through his progression with Coach Harbaugh and Coach Fisch and seeing how much better he got week after week, relative to Jake and the development he made, where do you think you are right now five games into your starting career?
“I don’t ever like to compare with any quarterback. I’d like to strive to be like certain quarterbacks. You know, we watch a lot of Tom Brady. I watch a lot of Ben Roethlisberger and try and get my game to where he is now in his career. Jake was a great leader and a great quarterback and obviously I try and do those things as well, but as far as statistics and how he was last year versus how I am now, I don’t really think about that.”
Where do you think you are five games in?
”I think we’re 5-0. That’s all that matters. Obviously I didn’t like that turnover on Saturday when I was trying to fit that ball in to Jake, but other than that I’ve been trying to take care of the ball the best I can and doing pretty well. I think completion percentage is up there, so—still a lot of room for improvement, though. But we’re happy to be 5-0.”
Wilton, Jim had mentioned with Grant’s injury the possibility of a little bit of shifting going on the offensive line. Just kind of curious, from your position is that something that worries or concerns you and the rhythm of the offensive line five games in and a possible change. Does that throw off anything?
“No. All throughout spring and throughout camp Drevno did a great job of making sure everyone got their reps. There’s going to be young guys that have to step up and it doesn’t worry me at all, though, because across the board those are all smart guys. They know what to do to get the job done and they’ll do that this week.”
Wilton, you talked on Saturday about trying to escape sacks and that sometimes there probably things you could have done differently. Does it look different on film? Are you able to see it better or move from--
“Yeah, there was that one sack I took in the red zone that Coach talked about that I should have thrown away, and that was definitely evident after watching the film. I was just trying to find Jake or Asiasi and just trying to make a play that wasn’t there, and that’s something I’ll learn from. Just…if you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel on a play, sometimes the best play is to just throw the ball out of bounds and that’s what I’ll do from here on out.”
Is that just being in games to get that feel?
“Yeah, yeah, and just not being so cocky on the play to say ‘Hey, I can extend every single play.’ It’s moreso let’s just get to the next down and make sure my team’s in good position to get done what needs to be done.”
Second week in a row you’ve seen a teammate go down with an injury. Did you get a chance to talk to [Newsome] and were you at all impressed that he decided to skip the cart and walk off the field?
WS: “Yeah, I went and visited him last night at the hospital and he’s in good spirits. He’s a strong dude, and he gets picked on a lot for being one of the younger guys in the starting line—I think Kalis and Erik [Magnuson] love kind of going at him, but even those two guys were giving him their respect because the fact that he walked off with that type of injury, that says a lot about who he is and we all respect him for that.”
If I could ask all of you, your recollections of the Rutgers game from a couple years ago.
JB: “Oh, from two years ago when we were on the road?”
JB: “Yeah, I mean, we lost the game, but it’s in the past. It’s not gonna change how we play. It didn’t change how we played ‘em last year. Won’t change how we play ‘em this year, you know. We’re just focused on this game this year.”
But you remember them storming the field and all that?
JB: “Uh…yeah. Vaguely, yeah.”
Wilton, you mentioned Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady and watching film of those guys. When you watch, what’s something you’ve been able to pick up from the way they play and try to put into your game?
“Yeah, I mean, Tom’s just Tom. Everyone knows that. But Ben, able to shake guys off his back when people are hanging on him but still keep his left shoulder up the field and eyes downfield trying to find targets. Coach Fisch made a cut-up for me to look at today and there was a lot of that, but also a lot of once he realized nothing was there him just throwing the ball away or diving forward for a couple yards or nearer to the line of scrimmage. So yeah, that’s kind of what I’ve taken away so far and what I’d like to duplicate.”
Matt, a couple of questions on guys on opposite ends of the age spectrum. Your take on what Chris Wormley has given this line, and also Rashan Gary stepping in and playing as a true freshman.
“You know, Chris, I’ve known him for years now and he’s always been a leader. He’s a captain now. He’s leading the D-line. He brings everything to the table. He’s a great pass rusher, plays physical against the run.
“And then Rashan, you know, coming in and being able to play at the level that he’s playing at right now has helped the D-line enormously. We’re very fortunate to have him.”
You guys sense the New Jersey guys a little bit excited going back for this one? They talked about it at all?
MG: “Yeah, they’re really excited. A lot of tickets being asked for from everyone, extra tickets.”
WS: “Yeah, guys like Rashan; Bobby Henderson lives over there, he’s got a lot of people coming. It’s a good home feel for those guys to get back.”
Is there something in common among those guys? Is there some kind of East Coast mentality?
MG: “Yeah, Bobby Henderson’s always talking about his East Coast mentality.”
What is it?
MG: “I always ask him, like, what do you mean?”
WS: “It’s a lunch-pail mentality.”
MG: “I have a Midwest mentality, so…”