[Ed. A- These are all conducted as huddles, so transcripts aren’t complete. Ellipses indicate a break in a line of questioning.]
How has [O’Korn] bounced back in the last 36 hours, whether it’s in the meeting room or meals?
“He’s bounced back his whole college career. He was a great player down in Houston and some things happened and he was forced to move on from there and he’s been waiting for his shot the past few years, so he’s been really battling his whole college career. I like that because that gives him some edge and I’m looking forward to getting this week in with him and seeing what he can do.”
What was his demeanor like after the game and yesterday preparing for Indiana?
“Well, we haven’t really prepared for Indiana yet. That’s what today’s for. Yesterday was more of an off day just to relax but he’s the same guy he is. We’re going to get back after it. We’re going to come back stronger.”
What do you think the biggest problems are on offense?
“I wouldn’t single out just any certain problems. I think football is, if not the most team game there is—11 people have to be doing 11 things correctly at a time so it’s on all of us. We all have to be operating smoothly for it to work.”
What’s been going through your mind since Saturday?
“I wanted that one badly. I wanted to get the trophy, to beat Michigan State, but it is what it is. We took one on the chin but we’ve got to get over that, 24 hour rule, and get ready for Indiana.”
[After THE JUMP: Patrick Kugler and Josh Metellus]
Can you talk about Higdon making the most of his opportunities? Seems like he has, to use one of your words, edge.
“Yeah, I was actually talking to him in class today about it. He was running really hard. He’s got a story. He’s come from a lot and he’s just running for his family, he’s running for his team. There’s a lot on his back and he’s doing well. You can see that in the game and in how hard he runs.”
When you watch the film from Saturday what are some of the thing that stand out as you try to diagnose the issues with the offense right now?
“Yeah, just sloppy. We played a sloppy game. I mean, everyone can see that. We’ve just got to focus on tweaking all the little things and making sure we’re ready for Indiana.”
Is there an added premium on this game given that it is a loss and a loss to a rival? A road game, is there an added premium?
“Yeah, definitely. I don’t like Michigan State at all. We lost to them. We shouldn’t have lost to them and we did, but it’s on to the next game. We’ve still got all our goals in front of us.”
Coach mentioned Karan Higdon had a pretty good game, hit the hole well. What are you seeing out of him when you watch the film?
“I love the way Karan runs. He’s good in pass protection, which is huge for a running back, and you know what you’re going to get from him every time. Yeah, love Karan in the backfield.”
Is there anything Michigan State did Saturday that you weren’t expecting, that wasn’t on film? Any new blitzes or anything?
“Nope, nope. Everything we expected. Just got to paly better.”
Do you think the weather played a factor in the game?
“Nope. Football’s football regardless of the weather.”
What’s your guys’ confidence level in [O’Korn]?
“100%. He’s our quarterback and I know he’s going to play better next game.”
Do the older guys have to take the younger guys aside at this point and say, hey, it’s one [loss], don’t let it turn into more?
“No. Coach Harbaugh made a great point at the beginning of the year: once you get on the field, everyone’s an older guy so kind of taking that and obviously as a fifth-year try to rally the troops a little bit but everyone’s got to just sack up and it’s time to go.”
How do you get over that loss and move on?
“It was a tough loss. Not something you expect, not something you want to happen, but the way we take it is as we take any other game and just come back and just focus on the next one because the next one’s more important than the last. We’re just going to come this week, focus, and just focus on Indiana.”
What’s the mentality of the young guys right now?
“We just want to stay together as a team. Don’t put the blame on nobody, don’t make anybody feel bad. You just try to make sure the whole team stays together and stress the little things and make sure we focus on what’s more important.”
It could be a game where maybe it derails things but it also could be a game where it makes you guys stronger. What are your thoughts on that?
“Yeah, I think it’s going to bring us more together as a team. We haven’t really faced adversity as a team. Everything’s been going pretty smooth for us, and I feel like this is a test of what we have planned for the season and I feel like it’s going to bring us all together and bring us to our full potential.”
Saw some photos of you after the game and it looked like you were emotional.
“Yeah, I was emotional. Just don’t like losing. It just really hurt to see all my brothers with their heads held down and everybody in the crowd, they looked at us like they were disappointed and that just hurt. I just felt like having somebody else having a better game than me or a one-up on me, that just hurt a little bit.”
Did you feel completely ready to step in this year even though you weren’t a starter last year?
“Yeah, I’m always ready when my name is called. I got a little saying that I repeat to myself: if you stay ready, you don’t got to get ready. I just try to pride myself on that.”
Why do you feel that way [wrt believing in the offense]?
“I practice with them every day. I know what they’re capable of. It just takes time. I’m not really worried about the offense putting up points because I know they can.”