How much do you go against Mason Cole in practice?
“Every day. Every day. Not a day I don’t see Mason.”
How much does that help you prepare for Saturday?
“Oh man, I feel like going into Big Ten play now, I’m not going to see a tackle like Mason. We’ve been going after it since spring ball; he’s been sharpening me and I’ve been sharpening him, so it’s just iron sharpening iron. I love going against him.”
What makes him so good?
“I don’t know, it’s weird. You’ve just got to see it for yourself. Sometimes on pass rush he’s patient. He’s not the aggressive type of offensive lineman that likes to put hands on you so sometimes you’ve got to wait and see what he’ll do but you can’t wait too long, so basically you’ve got to take the fight to him and his hands, he’s able to get your hands off of you and things like that. He’s just a great guy to go against. I can’t explain it, you’ve just got to watch his game.”
How often do you win those fights?
“I don’t know, you’ve got to ask him. He’ll get me, I get him a couple times, but it’s a great battle.”
[After THE JUMP: Gary on Devin Bush and what’s next for him, Mason Cole on communication, and McDoom on Quinn Nordin]
How many linebackers have you seen that are faster than Devin Bush?
“None. None, to be honest. He flies sideline to sideline the best I’ve seen. Like I said, I tell him after every play he makes, after every game, ‘I’m glad I play with you.’”
He seems to be, like you, a younger guy with a lot of confidence, a lot of edge.
“Yeah, I feel like coming into this year me and him, Josh Metellus, a couple other guys knew we needed to step up and become leaders for the defense and just have that confidence to show the young guys, when you come in, this is what you need to do. It’s still a work in progress and we’re still working on it.”
How would you judge your first three weeks?
“First few weeks been growing every week, been getting better and better, but at the end of the day I feel like there’s a lot more that I’ve still got to show. It’s gonna be great once you start seeing it.”
You guys have been going with more three down-linemen looks this season. Do you like playing in that style? Is it any different for you?
“Not at all. I believe in coach Brown, I believe in the defense and like I said, two weeks back-to-back he’s put in great defensive schemes. It’s just fun playing for him. He puts you in situations where you can make the play, puts you in situations where you pressure. It’s just things like that that make playing in a coach Brown defense fun. Don’t matter what front you’re in.”
Do you guys have a nickname for your defensive group or a rally cry?
“No, not at all right now. We’re just waiting for somebody to give us a name.”
You said we’re going to be seeing more out of you. What is it we’re going to be seeing?
“Oh yeah. I feel like last year three games [in] to this year three games [in], it’s completely different from the player I am. There’s always going to be something I can get better at. Y’all gonna see. I’m not gonna talk too much but y’all gonna see when I start popping off.”
What was the closest you came to not being able to play, working through something or otherwise?
“Probably last year before the Michigan State game when I was sick. That was probably the closest I came.”
“Pretty sick. I didn’t really practice all week until late in the week but got through it.”
“A little bit, yeah.”
What are your thoughts about how this offensive line is coming together? There were a lot of question marks coming in.
“Right. Really impressed every week. There’s obviously been struggles, as there is at any position, but guys are willing to work every week and willing and wanting to get better and I think we have.”
Wilton said after the last game that they were changing coverages, which doesn’t affect you, but they would come up with blitzes at the last second. How does that affect O-line play?
“Yeah, that’s what you have halftime for is to make those adjustments. You gameplan every week for specific looks and a team always comes up with something. An offense comes up with new plays just like a defense comes up with new pressures and new coverages and just little nuances and that’s why you have to make adjustments. That’s why you have halftime, that’s why you get together on the sideline so you can make those adjustments.”
As this O-line gets more experience is it easier to adjust to those things or does it not matter?
“No, I think the biggest part about making those adjustments is just everyone communicating. After a drive, coming to the sideline and we see something we haven’t necessarily seen on film, just all the guys communicating together. If you can get guys that communicate on the sideline and help make those adjustments, it can make things a lot easier.”
How much of that conversation are you driving or is it them coming to you with questions?
“It’s not really me, it’s more the coaches asking what we saw, what happened on this play, what went on, and us communicating to the coaches so they can know what’s happening, what we’re seeing, and what they’re seeing, too.”
What’s your favorite position?
“My favorite position? Any of them.”
Has it been hard to go back and forth?
“Not really. Like I said, our coaching staff does a great job of making sure we know technique and assignment for every position on the offensive line, at least, so being able to know those assignments and know the technique makes it pretty easy going back and forth.”
The fans started chanting “Doooooom” last year. Is it starting to get normal for you or is it still—?
“Yeah, it’s—I love it. Every time I hear it I get a big smile. It’s nice.”
Is there one moment for you with Quinn where you were like, this guy isn’t the same as other kickers I’ve come across?
“Quinn’s a really good friend, so just hanging out with him I feel like Quinn is not just a normal kicker. In my mind, he’s just like a normal receiver. He has that drive about him, that demeanor, and I love him as a kicker.”