[Ed: Thanks to The Daily's Mike Persak for sending audio, as I am home for Thanksgiving]
- Shea Patterson and Dwayne Haskins know each other
- Chase Winovich's injury (no, we didn't get an update)
- Disappointment over past losses to Ohio State
- Karan Higdon's sort of guarantee
[After THE JUMP: Three days. I messed up the count yesterday. I am dumb.]
Do you sense a little bit more intensity in the building this week?
“Yeah. Obviously everybody knows how big of a game it is and how much of a rivalry this is to us and them. But there’s just a lot more at stake. There’s a Big Ten title and a national playoff spot. So, not too sure how often both of us have that opportunity. So there’s a lot more at stake than just a rivalry.”
How often do you think about everything you’ve been through in the last year, with the transfer and the appeal and the wait, and what do you think about if you do?
“I try not to think about it too much, cause it’s in the past. But I think how far we’ve come as a team, and just how close — me as an individual, just not being able to play. Just was so fortunate to get this opportunity t play for the team.”
Have you ever been to the Horseshoe?
“I have not. Going there for the first time.”
Anybody told you what it’s like?
“I heard it’s really loud, and Ohio State has a heck of a fanbase. So, I think it’s gonnna be a great environment.”
What memories of the rivalry do you have from growing up?
“I remember Charles Woodson’s — obviously I was a little young, but just looking back and watching highlights of him. How he performed in these games was the biggest thing I remember. And obviously the JT was short thing always poops up. Like I said, just worried about this one.”
Has there been much made about Karan Higdon’s comments guaranteeing a win or have you guys put that behind you?
“I think — he said it yesterday, right? He’s our captain. I don’t there’s any lack of confidence from any player in our locker room. So I feel like everybody feels that way. Like I said, he’s our captain, so we support him.”
Do you get excited about the opportunity to play against a guy like (Dwayne) Haskins or does that not matter to you?
“I’m sure he’s just as excited as I am to play against him as he is to play against me. We’ve been doing this since 7th and 8th grade. We’ve always been huge competitors. We’re both really excited for the game.”
How good is he?
“He’s good. He’s got a lot of experience playing the game. … He’s been playing just like me ever since we were in 4th and 5th grade. Football-savvy. I enjoy watching him play.”
How do you know him?
“Played in a USA Camp together. I think we were in 7th or 8th grade, something like that. … We were the top quarterbacks in our class, so would always be at the same camps. We were at Elite 11, yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
Do you consider yourselves friends?
“I would. We’re not gonna be friends on Saturday. But, just like anything else. It’s football, off the field. Before the game, probably not. Later, down the road, yeah. But nobody not wearing the maize and blue is my friend on Saturday.”
How’s your roommate (Chase Winovich)?
“He’s fine. You’d have to kill him to take him out. We’re not really sure of his progress yet, but he’s a tough guy.”
How different — so this is different than most weeks?
“Yeah, I’d bbe lying to you if I said it wasn’t. Both teams, 10-1, we know what’s on the line, so everybody’s making sure we do a great job of preparing for it. And, like tooday, going out and having a good practice, going bback and watching what you need to get ready. Because this is a game that you don’t want to mess up.”
What is it about your guys’ team that you think gives you the advantage heading into Saturday?
“Just our brotherhood and, I feel like, how our swagger is and what we want, as a team goal. Everybody’s been pushing and working as hard as possible and holding everybody accountable to make sure everybody’s doing what they need to do for this game. So, that’s why I feel like we’re prepared and ready for it.”
When you watch their offense, what jumps out to you?
“The quarterback play and the play of their running backs. The running backs got a nice, dynamic duo. We gotta do a great job stopping the run. Him being a nice passer, the quarterback, we gotta make sure we apply pressure.”
Have Karan’s comments about guaranteeing a win been talked about in the locker room?
“Nah, not at all. Just another day at Schembechler Hall, getting ready for practice. Just trying to be the best.”
What was the feeling after last year’s game here?
“That was a tough one. We came out hot, to a good start, and then we just started making small mistakes and small mistakes ends up putting points on the board or gaining big yardage plays. That’s something I think about from last year. This year, we’re a different team, and I feel like we’re closer as a team. So, we know what we need to do and we know what we gotta take care of.”
How confident are you that Chase will play on Saturday?
“I was just talking to Chase earlier. He’s pumped up, he’s ready, he’s getting healthy. I really can’t tell you, but hopefully he does play, but it’s important he gotta take care of his body.”
How confident do you feel about Kwity (Paye), the guys who might step in if he’s not available?
“Kwity, Aidan (Hutchinson), I have full faith in them. Like I’ve said, when I had to sit out and I was out with the injury, they did a great job stepping up. The team needed them, they did what they needed to do. So, I have full faith that, if Chase does not play — hopefully, it’s in our prayers that he do play — but I’ll be ready, they’ll be ready for the game, too.”
Has Chase been able to practice this week?
“Has he? It’s the first day. You gotta ask him, I don’t know. You gotta ask coach Harbaugh. I don’t know.”
What’s the mood like in practice? Different level?
“Yeah. It’s a rivalry week. It’s Ohio State week. So everybody’s gonna pick it up. Been intense these past few weeks, but there’s definitely a sense of urgency.”
How much of a personal challenge do you take going 1-on-1 against guys so much?
“That’s just something I pride myself on. Coaches have a lot of confidence in us. It’s something I’ve been doing since I started playing the position. So over time, I embraced it. I just wear it like a chip on my shoulder and go out there ready to compete.”
How hard was it at the start, when you were first asked to do that consistently at this level?
“It’s not so much it’s hard, it’s just getting your feet under you, getting the experience. And then, you’re able to learn from the experiences. Just helps you build your confidence.You’re out there by yourself, so you gotta have tough skin. Next-play mentality. Just be able to roll with the punches.”
In terms of teams you’ve played this year, where do you think that group stacks up — their offense?
“They’re up there. … They got a lot of experience. Lot of older guys. They got some young guys that are capable. So, lot of experience. For the most part, everybody’s healthy. They got a good quarterback, so it’s a pretty good group. Definitely one of the best we’re gonna see.”
How hard is it to keep your head on a swivel when you got a mobile guy that can break the pocket a little bit? Do you not worry about that at all as a corner?
“That’s not my job. Once he’s past the line of scrimmage, then it’s time to play football — you gotta go tackle and get him down. But other than that, I gotta stay locked in. I can’t think about that.”
What did coach (Don) Brown say to you after the Indiana game? Not your best game as a defense, probably
“We just come in and fix everything like we do every week. The biggest thing is getting a win. Get that, gives you a platform to come in a different mood when you’re correcting things. The biggest thing is getting a win. Everything else, we’ll come in and correct and adjust as is.”