Question: How do you take it when you hear people saying that the defense may be having some struggles in the Big Ten?
Obi Ezeh: "I don't really take much out of that. I know we have our own issues on the defensive sides of the ball but at times the offense has there own issues too. It is kind of give and take with the team. One day one group is going to on and another day another group is going to be on. You want to both be gelling at the same time but that is not how the cookie crumbles sometimes."
Question: Defensively what are the keys in any Michigan State game?
Obi Ezeh: "Versus Michigan State, generally stop the run. That is usually the keys to victories in most games. Stop the run and win on third down, get after the quarterback and punish the skilled players."
Question: Tell me your memories growing up obviously as an instate guy, your earliest memories of Michigan-Michigan State. Did you fall on one side or where you kind of impartial?
Obi Ezeh: "I was always on the Michigan side. I was always into Michigan running backs. I remember when Chris Perry got like 50 carries against Michigan State because I played running back in high school, so those were kind of the things that I looked for in college football. Had I known I would be playing linebacker, I might have watched more of the defensive guys."
Question: As a linebacker, do you enjoy the fact that they like to run the football and kind of pound it down your throat, do you relish that a little bit?
Obi Ezeh: "I do. I feel more needed. We have a dime package or whatever where I'm not even on the field. So if they're running the ball I'm happy because I feel like I get to get used more."
Question: What does this mean for you year in and year out; do you have from a lot of people back home, any chatter like that?
Obi Ezeh: "I do. It is year round. I hear from all of my ex-classmates who have gone to Michigan State or a lot of the families back home are either Michigan or Michigan State so I got a lot of grief from those guys when I'm back home and right up until the game I'll have friends coming down to visit. All my Michigan State friends, who have pretty much have graduated right now. They will still call me and try to give me a hard time."
Question: How tough has it been for the guys from the state over the last couple of years having to hear that?
Obi Ezeh: "It is not easy. It is not fun to hear that from those guys. Obviously, they won and they earned bragging rights for the year and the following year. That's part of our motivation is to go out and get those bragging rights back to kind of be the best team in the state."
Question: When you're not playing them, do you root them because they are a state team other than this week?
Obi Ezeh: "I don't. At the same time, I would like them to have as much success as possible before they play us and after they play us. It is kind of a love/hate relationship. I'm kind of torn."
Question: One of the reasons, I'm sure the reason you came to Michigan was to play in big games. The last couple of years there really hasn't been that kind of hype for a game like this. Now both teams 5-0, national television, ABC. Can you just talk about playing in a big game at Michigan your senior year?
Obi Ezeh: "For you guys, I guess there hasn't been a lot of hype, but those rivalry games are always big for us; Michigan, State, Ohio State, Notre Dame. It doesn't matter if we haven't won a game going into those games, they are always going to be big games. There is a lot of history behind those games and you feel compelled to kind of leave a good legacy against those teams. It doesn't really matter what the records are with Michigan State, Notre Dame and especially Ohio State. It doesn't matter the record. It is always going to be a big game for us. It just kinds of depends on how you guys feel about it I guess."
Question: You talked about the issues with the defense. What are those issues and how correctable are they?
Obi Ezeh: "There all correctable. Every team is going to have issues and every unit is going to have issues. We've got five new starters so we're kind of learning on the run, as we go here. It is a process. It is good that we can say that we're undefeated and we still haven't played our best football yet."
Question: With the defensive issues, how much of it is maybe schematic versus actual personal?
Obi Ezeh: "I do not really know. I think it might be a little bit of both sometimes, but I'm not the right person to answer that question I guess. I just do what I'm supposed to do and it works in practice, so it should work in games. A lot of it might just be people thinking that they are trying to do too much or wanting to make every play and just general stuff like that but all of it is correctable."
Question: Do you feel that your defense has been improving week by week this year?
Obi Ezeh: "I feel like we have. As a unit and individually, I think people are really taking strides in the right direction."
Question: They haven't played a true road game yet. How much of a factor do you think the crowd and stadium can be this Saturday?
Obi Ezeh: "I hope they come with it. I hope the college is really rocking on Saturday. Kind of just create a really great atmosphere. I really like those games when the crowd is into it and the student section going crazy like they do. I hope that our crowd shows up. They usually do for these games. I don't think we'll have anything to worry about."
Question: One thing that stood out is a sense of joy here obviously with a five and oh start. You see it in your coach, you see it even in your expression here today. Can you talk about where that line can be drawn between the exhilaration of starting flawlessly and knowing what you have ahead of you on Saturday?
Obi Ezeh: "I don't know necessarily…I'm happy to be here talking to you guys. We started five and oh last year. So I do not think you can necessarily say it is that. It is good to win games obviously, but at the same time, you know where to draw the line. As soon as I leave here and go down to the building, I'll put my business face back on and it is back to work."
Question: You guys are win one away from a bowl at this point. Is that something that is on your mind with this?
Obi Ezeh: "It is in the back of your mind I guess. You think about it about but it is not our priority. If we take care of all of the things that we want to take care of with our goals and what not that will take care of itself."
Full Transcript: Ezeh keeps even keel
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