Shaw Says Ground Game Can be Even Better

Running back Michael Shaw talks about himself and Vincent Smith in the UConn, and he looks ahead to Notre Dame.

Question: What did you think about your first game performance against UCONN?

Michael Shaw: "It was a good game coming out with a packed crowd like that. There was a lot of nerves, but we got through it and had a good showing against UCONN."

Question: How about you in particular. How do you feel that you played and what areas do you think you think you might improve from week to week?

Mike Shaw: "I'm always hard on myself after a game, so when people tell me good game, I kind of don't believe it, but I feel like I have a lot of room for improvement. I can always get better with blocking techniques, hitting my creases a little bit harder and being more patient. The better the O-line gets, and they're pretty good. The better the O-line gets, the better I'll get. We'll see."

Question: What did you Vincent Smith do in fall camp that put you in front of everybody else at the running back position?

Mike Shaw: "I think the biggest thing that the coaches look for from a running back is stability and consistency. We didn't put the ball on the ground and I always focused on my reads and we just guys that they could depend on. When our numbers were called in the game, we did what they asked us to do and it helped us get a win."

Question: Were you surprised that it was only you and Vincent that got carries and there wasn't more of a rotation?

Mike Shaw: "There was no discussion about who was going to go in our anything like that. We just warmed up and got ready and when our numbers were called, we just went out there and did what we had to do."

Question: Did you talk to Roy (Roundtree) and how is he doing?

Mike Shaw: "He's doing pretty good. He's getting rest. He wanted me to watch the hit with him. He hadn't seen it. We watched it and he was pretty thrilled that he got hit like that. He's kind of a guy that likes that kind of action."

Question: Talk about your situation, you had to get some work done just to get onto the field. Was that a pretty big commitment on your part during fall camp when you had a lot going on?

Mike Shaw: "It was a pretty big commitment, but I am a student-athlete and to not be eligible or something, that is not something that the University of Michigan would stand for. I had to really put my nose in the dirt, grind and make sure I took care of my books before I did anything else and it worked out for the best. So I am happy with the results."

Question: Can you talk about your quarterback, Denard (Robinson); in your mind, can he withstand the punish that he is going to take all season long running the ball so much and going on the road next week?

Mike Shaw: "So far so good. He did a great job. He ran just like he was a running back and he kind of is when he pulls the ball down. So, we got up there and blocked for him and he kept going. As long as he is healthy and as long the O-line keeps blocking for him and we keep blocking for him, we're going to be pretty good."

Question: You guys have any competition with him. He had all the big plays on Saturday, did you kind of talk with at all or kind of joke with him?

Mike Shaw: "Anybody can get a big run in this offense, it is so spread out. I think that is one thing, UCONN wasn't ready to see a guy back there at quarterback with 4.3 speed. So maybe when teams start keying on Denard, maybe it will open up things a little bit more for everybody else, but as of September 4th, it was the Denard show. I had no problem being a supporting cast if that is what it takes to get a W."

Question: Having an extra running back basically back there, does that kind of open up the field for you guys, for you and Vince and any of the other running backs?

Mike Shaw: "I think so. When we have to make our reads and he is making the read to give the ball but he carries out his fake and the whole team is watching him to see if he has the ball or not and then we have the ball and nobody is watching us, it could lead to a big play so, whenever he's out there. If he has extra eyes on him that could potentially be dangerous for us."

Question: Talk about the difference in how well he runs the offense from say a year ago until now?

Mike Shaw: "It is hard to compare. The play calling and everything else is different. I think what the coaches asked him to do, he went out there and he did well, more than well. He did a great job. I think all three quarterbacks; whoever is out there will do a great job. It is tough, but we in a good situation."

Question: Did you guys as a team expect him to do as well as he did or were you surprised?

Mike Shaw: "You never expect anybody to go out there and have the game that he did with all the stats and everything like that. We know what we can do and we've seen him talent and we've seen flashes in practice. If his number was called, which he was and he was out there running around everybody, we knew that it was something that he is capable. Each of the three quarterbacks have their own skill sets that they bring to the table and one skill set that Denard brings is the time with the ball in his hands, we used it to the best of our abilities and we got a big win."

Question: Did you go down to Notre Dame two years ago? Did you travel with the team?

Mike Shaw: "Yeah."

Question: What do you remember about that game and what do you expect on Saturday?

Mike Shaw: "It is a big rivalry, so my freshman year, it was a rowdy crowd and I expect it to be a rowdy crowd this year. With us, we have a lot to prove and them with a new coach (Brian Kelly), they have a lot to prove. So I think it will be a good game and a lot of attention and the national spotlight, so it is something that we have to get ready for."

Question: How do you think the offensive line played opening up hole for you, Denard and Vince?

Mike Shaw: "I think more than Denard that was one of the biggest pluses is the O-line. They look great. They played great. Big strides from last year and two years ago. They can only get better and it is going to be more fun to play behind them and it is going to lead to a lot of big plays this year."

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