Erik, three QB rotation. There wasn’t any talk of bringing in the fourth on Saturday?
“I think we’re saving that for Big Ten [season].”
You’ve been around a lot, you’ve played a lot of games, you know the guys. What have you noticed relationship-wise with the offensive line and with Wilton?
“The core of this group of offensive linemen were here last year, so it’s just another year of us playing together so you bond over that. Wilton’s been a part of the team for three years, so we’ve all been with him and everything like that so it’s not like we’re just becoming friends now. We’ve been friends and had a relationship for a long time.”
How much has your sense of responsibility escalated?
“Any time you’re a veteran or an older guy on the team you have a bigger responsibility to play big all the time and lead the younger guys. I mean, I think even if you’re Ben Bredeson or you’re me or whatever it is, you still have the same responsibility to play well.”
Mo, your thoughts on how the defense has played through three games, and how hard was it sitting out?
“I think the defense has been doing very well. We’ve put together a lot in a little bit amount of time with Coach Brown. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement. There were some mistakes that we made throughout the game that I think are definitely correctable and things that we can avoid going on in the future.”
Talk about the line’s development as a protection group. Is it tough when the quarterback gets hit like Wilton did on Saturday?
“Yeah, you never want to see your quarterback get hit. Our goal going into every week is give up no sacks, so anytime that happens, especially during the game, it’s frustrating, but you’ve kind of got to throw it behind you and move on.”
[After THE JUMP: GOIN’ PIGGIN’]
How much time do you guys spend in the film room on something like that?
“A lot of time. I mean, we’ll spend tons of time going over team’s blitzes and everything like that, and then if we don’t pick it up correctly we’ll spend a lot of time figuring out what happened, what was the call, and who didn’t pick up on the blitz.”
Mo, wanted to talk to you about the third down efficiency you guys have had. Talk about all that goes into that.
“I think it mainly just starts in practice. We’re working really hard in a lot of our blitzing stuff, especially on third down and in those type of situations. We’re really getting after it. There’s definitely an emphasis on making sure we get off the field on third down, especially where the teams we’ve been playing have been up-tempo. It’s really key to get off the field on third down to get some rest.”
Mo, with the defensive line play as a whole, are you doing what you’d hoped to so far this year?
“Yeah, I think we are. We’ve been without Mone and Taco. I think once they get back we’re going to be as good as we possibly can be. Right now we’re piecing stuff together and we’re playing really hard, and I think we did some really good things versus Colorado and UCF and Hawaii. But yeah, I think we’re just trying to get better every week and I think next week will definitely be one of our best yet.”
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time: how come offensive lineman are much more likely to grow Grizzly Adams beards than defensive linemen, starting with Elliot Mealer and other guys. Is there any reason for that?
Hurst: “They’re ugly and we’re not.”
I thought you would say that.
Is there a difference in preparing for conference play at all as opposed to nonconference, and if not, why?
Hurst: “I don’t think so, personally. I think every game’s just as important as another one. If you prepare any different then you’re not doing everything that you could do to be as good as you can be for that game that you played in. So I think if you’re treating UCF different than Penn State, then you didn’t do everything you could do versus UCF to beat that team. I just think that you shouldn’t look at it as, Oh, Penn State, I should ramp it up for this game and not think that for a game that may, in the media’s eyes, be less important.”
Mo, the past couple weeks there have been some big plays and Sefo [Liufau] on Saturday did a good job. With that said, having the talent for you guys on defense to make up for that, how much do you guys talk about that? Is that in your minds knowing that you can give up some big plays a couple weeks in a row but that you still have enough to stop them?
“I think it’s just…I don’t know, we’re not really worried about saying, ‘Oh, we can stop them.’ I think it’s more so just okay, we know we’re capable of doing this and when we’re not playing up to our potential we’re really on each other. We were on the sideline after a touchdown really on each other trying to figure out what’s wrong, what we could do better, [and] really getting on each other’s heads like don’t lose sight of what you’re doing, just keep going after it.
“I think that’s something that’s really big for us as a team. Being such a veteran group, especially on defense, we’ve all been there before. We’ve all lost games, close games as well, have had touchdowns scored on us, and we have to know how to react when that stuff happens. I think it’s just more so being a veteran group and knowing how to react after something bad happens or if we have a sudden change and have to get back on the field.”
On Piggin’- a bonus Erik Magnuson transcript from the scrums after the podium session:
[via Brandon Justice]
Does everybody get that shirt? Everybody gets that shirt, right?
“Yeah. It means different things to everybody, though.”
What does it mean to you?
“It’s my piggin’ shirt. Wear it when we go piggin’.”
What does it mean to you?
“Uh…setting me up to be a headline for another team, so I can’t really say. Just understand the defensive line’s a bunch of pigs. We gotta get ‘em.”
And it’s called piggin’?
“Piggin’! You know, like pigs. P-I-G-G-I-N-apostrophe.”
What does that mean? It means you’re picking off the pigs?
“It means that we gotta get the pigs. Like a pig pen. That’s piggin’. We live in the pig pen. We roll around in the mud.”
You feel like you’ve been successfully piggin’ the first three games?
“We’re getting better at piggin’. You can always improve on your piggin’, but it depends on the attitude going in. That’s why you gotta wear the piggin’ shirt.”
Have you ever actually gone piggin’?
“Ever week we go piggin’.”
No, with real pigs, not with defensive linemen.
“Trust me, they’re real pigs.”
A lot of offensive linemen are known as the pigs or the hogs, but you look at it the other way? You’ve talked to us a lot about animals. What is the offensive line?
“The offensive line? No more animal comparisons. That is done.”
Who started it?
“Piggin’? Oh, that’s me and Kyle Kalis.”
[Magnuson feigns surprise] “It’s an offensive line thing started by Kyle Kalis and I. Just like the tradition of Michigan, piggin’ will live on.”
You guys have some piggin’ t-shirts.
“We have ‘em.” [looks down at blue-collar shirt]
Jake Butt on Magnuson, piggin’, and the Magnuson/Kalis Show
He says you guys are going piggin’.
“Yeah, we’re going piggin’.”
He said he and Kyle invented that.
“Yeah. I’m excited to see—I think I might be a guest on the show if I’m lucky enough.”
A guest on the show?
“Yeah, something like that.”
They have a fake show?
“I think it’s in the works. I don’t know exactly the details. I think I found it out literally on my way over here.”
Is it going to be a podcast?
“We’ll see. I don’t know. I don’t know the exact details, but we’ll figure it out. Those guys are always thinking up something like that.”