"And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
"Thanks for coming. This is one of the weeks in football where if you are passionate about the University of Michigan or passionate about Ohio, which is exciting. We are excited. We had a chance to get together as a team. It's such a great rivalry that we’re very fortunate to be able to play in and to be able to coach in. This is a week that gets everybody involved: media, fans, all those people. Everybody has an opinion, which is good. It's good for the game because the game is talked about. It's going to be a lot of fun on Saturday to play the football game."
Injury updates on linebackers and Devin Gardner?
"They're all going to be fine. All three of them."
Expect them to play Saturday?
What do you think needs to turn around on the offense?
"Consistency. We get a nine-yard gain and then take a step back. Or we have good protection and don't finish the throw, or don’t execute the throw, or don’t catch the football, which is all part of it. That’s all part of execution. The rhythm you need to have from an offensive perspective has to be more consistent. The kids are working, believe me. They're working. They want to find that rhythm as an offense and run the football and be able to play-action pass and do the things that have been very good to us at times."
Is this the kind of game where you’re likely to take more chances?
"You talking about down and distances? I think you go into every game, and you try to look at the pluses and minuses. You try and do a good job with a good plan in all three phases of the game. There’s always different outside factors that may dictate things: injuries, wind, weather, all those kinds of things. You always go in, but you have to have a contingency plan, whatever that might be."
How is your team mentally at this point?
"Good. We practiced this morning, and they were very good."
Can you talk about the decision to play Kyle Kalis to right guard?
"Well, he had earned it. It's really no bigger decision than that. He had earned it. He had done a good job in the week. They evaluated him. Thought it would be good for the other Kyle, for Bosch, to take a step back and watch a little bit and keep learning. And I think that's what Kalis did."
Why him at right guard and Magnuson at left guard?
"Well, Mags came in here as a left tackle, and he's been on the left side more. More comfortable for Kalis on the right side? Yes. Magnuson is pretty adaptable and can do both, but he has been a left tackle, so it worked out well."
Impressions of Ohio State?
"Well, they have a very good football team. They have four out of five offensive linemen that are seniors. They have a lot of veterans who have played a lot of snaps. Their running back is leading the Big Ten. He's a good running back. He's a guy who can break tackles. You've got to make sure you get hats to the ball. Their quarterback has played well; he's throwing the ball a little better. They have good wide receivers and are explosive offensively. Back end defensively is a good back end. They are aggressive in what they do. I think that Shazier is one of the better linebackers in this league. Finds ways to get to the football. Good instincts. They are a good football team."
On film, do they look like the best team you’ve faced?
How has Chris Wormley rehabbed this season?
"Chris has done a real good job. I think that missing last fall and being limited at times in the spring obviously hurt a guy in terms of the experiences of one play after another play. I think Chris has taken some real positive steps. He's played better in every football game, and he's playing faster. I think that when a guy starts to play faster like that you get the idea that he feels more confident in how he is playing."
Ohio State is the heavy favorite. What do you say to people who think Michigan has no shot in this game?
"Number one, I would say that we are going to play the game on Saturday, and that's why we're playing it. This game has always been different in some ways. Are they a good football team? Yeah. They’re a very good football team. Do we have to play better than we've played? I don't think there's any doubt about that, and we've got to be more consistent, and we’ve got to finish things better. It's what makes it so much fun."
Where do you see areas where your team has improved?
"I think that defensively we've improved as the year’s gone on. I think we have some of the young guys, the Chris Wormleys of the world. I think the three guys in the interior of the line are making an improvement. I would say those two areas."
Ohio State leads the Big Ten in points. Can you win a shootout against this team?
"I think the answer to that is however we have to try and get it done to win."
Will a win over Ohio State erase your struggles this season?
"No, that never happens. But this game is for our seniors. We’re going to honors those kids on Saturday. It is always important to win these types of game for those fourth- and fifth-year guys that have given a lot to this university and this program. For them, it’s always good if you win that game, because that's what guys talk about."
How quickly did Magnuson adapt to switching over, and how did you think the new interior line looked?
"It was probably a little better overall. For Magnuson, playing left tackle, that stance wasn't that big a deal. He has been early in the process and has played almost every position but center at some point. I think it was flawless to be honest with you."
How would you assess Devin Gardner’s performance through 11 games so far?
"He has had some really good moments and some moments that he'd rather redo if he could. I think we all have that. I do as a head coach. There’s always moments that you think about and think well maybe you should have done this. But the one thing about Devin is that he’s been pretty resilient. He’s a guy that comes to work every day and prepares to get ready to play and play his best."
You’ve talked about the lack of consistency. How do you coach consistency? That’s kind of difficult, isn’t it?
"I don't know if it's difficult; when you look at the little things that you have to do to have discipline to be consistent. And those are things that you are coaching every day, whether it be your footwork, whether it be a stance, ball security, or whatever it might be. Those are the things that you demand every day so that they become great habits and consistent."
You always say the goal is to win the Big Ten. Where are you right now with this program in three years? Does this game change when your goals have to shift?
"Well the number one goal has always been to play for our seniors and to do everything we can as coaches and as underclassmen, that we represent them. At the same time, the seniors have to do a great job representing that senior class. Is the goal always to win the Big Ten championship? No question about it. And we won't make excuses nor back down from it. Have we played and coached as well as we've needed to? Obviously not. And those are things that we've got to keep going and keep working every day because that's all you can do."
What are the keys on both sides of the ball to win on Saturday, and how confident are you that you can win?
"I am very confident that we can win, or we wouldn't play. I'd call down there to Columbus and say that we won't do it. Number one, we have to stay away from negative plays offensively. You've got to manage the manageables when you look at down and distance. Negative plays, taking care of the football, trying to steal a possession by a turnover. Defensively, the running game is going to be a big part of it. It always has. So we've got to do a great job in the rushing game and try to create longer distances for them."
What’s your earliest memory of this game?
"Oh gee. Every year I get older, so it gets a little harder. Watching the game on TV, you know. Black and white. I mean … Coach Hayes. I really respected Coach Hayes."