They didn’t have players take the podium today, so I took a little bit of audio from the different scrums around the Towsley Museum and transcribed it. If you’re wondering why other sites might have certain quotes not seen here or vice versa, keep in mind that I have one recorder and one me to gather audio.
Will you guys be required to wear knee braces this week?
“I don’t know. That’s a great question. I’m not sure. That’s probably a better question for coach Harbaugh.”
He doesn’t like our questions.
“He’s dead inside.”
In Rome Chase [Winovich] said you guys had already been practicing so much for Air Force you know their offense better than they do. Do you feel confident at this stage?
“I wouldn’t say all that, but—”
That was Chase.
“Yeah, I know. I’ve talked about a Chase ban from media. Yeah, I think we have prepared a lot in spring and we used some of those practices to get ready for what we’re going to face this week so it’s not a complete shock to us, and I think we’ll have our scout team ready to give us the look that we need that they’ve been practicing and have done before, so I think that’s all kind of what helps you understand the offense better.”
[More Hurst plus Khalid Hill and Patrick Kugler after THE JUMP]
How would you explain Air Force’s offense to someone who’s not familiar with it?
“I play with it sometimes in NCAA Football so I have a little familiarity with it. There’s a lot of things that go into it and a lot of people you have to account for in the option game. It’s just really tough for any defense to have to sort of witch your entire what you’re doing on defense just to play this one week and then go back to a normal team. It’s just really tough for the adjustments that we have to make and just making sure that everyone’s really into it this week and understanding what we need to do.”
What’s your favorite triple option play in NCAA?
“I don’t know. It’s probably the triple option read, just the fullback and the quarterback run and the pitch option.”
Have you played against the option?
“No, I’ve never played against a Wing T offense except in high school.”
You’re all social media guys. I imagine you see some of the criticism that’s directed at Wilton. How do you respond to it and how do you think he responds to it?
“Wilton has like—if you see Wilton around campus, like I said, Wilton never lets anything [bother him]. We’ve all kind of just got that, because coach Harbaugh got it to us. I forgot what he said the other day to you guys.”
“Yeah, burnt wood inside, you know what I’m saying? All the criticism that we get, we just take it and we roll with it. We just put it as like a thing that builds us up for the game and we remember it. We just want to attack every day with enthusiasm to prove everybody wrong. People are going to talk no matter what. You’ve got to understand that. You’ve just got to have a hard mind and just keep working every day and you can prove them wrong.”
So you never have to tell Wilton—
“Nah, Wilton polices himself. You never really have to say anything. Like you said, when you guys see us on the field and we were getting all the flags and stuff he was just like, ‘What’s the next play? What’s the next call?’”
You guys obviously have a lot of confidence in him but is it kind of maddening to see social media attack him en masse?
“It infuriates us as a group because that’s our QB but at the same time what we’re gonna do is go out and play. And then when we’ll be ballin’ people will say, Oh, Wilton was doing this and that. Don’t jump on the bandwagon then, you know what I’m saying? If you want to be a criticizer now, stay a criticizer. Don’t jump on the bandwagon
Does it feel like this offense is getting close to the point where it just breaks out?
“Like I said, I mean, you see the plays. They popped open. It was crazy. We got most of the [?] and just no big plays, so you just kind of shoot yourself in the foot all the time. We had Ty [Isaac] with the big run up the sideline. We had a little play were we got down to the red zone—fumbled. It’s all stuff that’s like shooting us in the foot. We’re making the plays, we’re just one step from being where we need to be.”
You were one step away from having one of those big plays yourself, just one step away. What was your reaction in that moment and what do you do to correct that?
“Kind of was a play we practiced in practice or whatever. They kind of gave us a different look. As I was running to the Will the backer overplayed me and I cut inside—which I’m not supposed to do—but I did it just because I know just being a player I knew I could get back around him. I get on top of him and Wilt threw up a ball for me to make a play and the DB, he kind of shocked me that he was able to get up that high because I didn’t think he was going to be able to get up. I was gonna fall back and catch it but he made a hell of a play and I applaud him for that. That’s kind of what happens in the game. You’re not going to get every play. You just got to keep working and we’re going to keep working and next time that play will be complete.”
Khalid said you have to eliminate some of the mistakes you’re making before you get into bigger games—
But he feels like you’re just that close to breaking out.
“Yeah, what we’ve got to do is just start scoring in the red zone. We’ve gotten there the last couple games, we just haven’t put it in the end zone. It’s little mistakes, little errors that everyone’s making, myself included. If we eliminate those, we’ve got something special.”
Did you ever consider not coming back for this fifth season?
“Yeah. It was definitely talked about but I wanted to establish a legacy here at the University of Michigan and help lead this team this year.”
Did you happen to look at the rankings and notice that you guys are ranked ahead of Ohio State?
“I did. I mean, it’s a good feeling but nothing matters until we play them. Hopefully we’re undefeated and they’re 10-1 so it’s a great game. Yeah, worry about that then.”
Did you guys hear when things were a little bit rough this past Saturday the crowd booed a little bit? Clearly some frustration. Did you guys hear that or feel that?
“Yeah, I mean, we were frustrated too. We knew we should have put more points on the board. Never like to see your fans turn on you but they didn’t and they stuck with us and we know we can play better than that.”
How does Wilton respond to something like that?
“He’s very poised. Nothing phases him. He’s very even-keeled and he’s our leader, so he does that.”
Have you learned a lot from Mason [Cole]? Do you guys talk about it?
“Oh yeah. He played center last year and I’ll bounce ideas off him or talk about technique with him. We bounce ideas off each other all the time. Off the field, we watch extra film all the time so we definitely bounce ideas off each other and try to get better.”
Harbaugh talked about you driving the ship on that offensive line, making the calls and such. Was that difficult early or did you take it on right away?
“No. I’m very good with calls. I’m very good at knowing the offense, and that’s what you need to do as a center. Cincinnati brought some stuff we weren’t prepared for that they haven’t shown, a little bit of hot front, but we handled it well and adjusted well so it went really well.”