Koger: The Tight Ends. Denard. Expectations

Tight end Kevin Koger looks at the Michigan tight ends. He talks about Denard Robinson. And he talks about "We're Michigan" expectations.



Question: How exciting is it for you in this offense?

Obviously, the tight end is going to have a bigger role this year than it has in the last few years at Michigan?

Kevin Koger: "I'm just excited to see what happens. We got a new coaching staff. We went through spring ball and I'm just excited to see what happens. You never know what will happen when the season comes. I'm just excited to play for the next coaching staff really."

Question: What is the biggest difference in your role on the offense this year?

Kevin Koger: "Probably just route running. It is just different terminology, different ways to run stuff and different coaching styles. Probably just the terminology I would say."

Question: Do you have any specific goals that you have in mind for catches and yards?

Kevin Koger: "No. I really do not get into that stuff. I just want to get better every day and have fun with my teammates. That's the main thing, have fun with my teammates in the last year of my college career."

Question: What did you talk to the coaches about what they want you to accomplish this year?

There are some receivers but tight end is going to be a big deal this year. Kevin Koger: "We just have to be able to everything. We have to be able to catch the football down the field. We also got to be able to block the interior lineman. We have to do everything and Coach Borges mentioned before just because we're tight ends, we're not going to get the ball just because we are on the field, we actually have to produce and gain confidence in the coaching staff to be able to do those things."

Question: Do you feel a lot of pressure on yourself this year?

Kevin Koger: "Pressure is what you make of it. People can have expectations for you, but as long as you are comfortable with yourself and your abilities, you can do whatever you want to do."

Question: With the tight end this year, how much more route running are you going to be doing as opposed to just blocking?

Kevin Koger: "I wouldn't say it was more route running. I would probably just say it was a different way of doing things. It is hard to compare the old coaching staff to the new one and I'm not here to get into comparisons or whatever. It is just different. It is comparing apples to oranges really."

Question: Do you think this offense will provide you with the opportunity to get the numbers?

Kevin Koger: "I feel like if you are a good player they come find you. Like I said earlier, I'm just worried about my team right now. I just want to focus on my team."

Question: You right now are the leader of the tight end, but Brady Hoke said that the tight ends are going to play a crucial role in the offense. Who is the next guy after you or the guy who is pushing you right now to be the #1 tight end?

Who are the two guys that are going to line up on opening day?

Kevin Koger: "I wouldn't say I was the leader of the tight ends. We have Steve Watson who is a fifth year senior, so he has been through more than I have being here an extra year. It is a tossup. I was blessed enough to come here and talk to you guys but it doesn't mean that I'm going to be the starting tight end. Brandon Moore, he is a great tight end, Steve Watson, Ricardo Miller, Mike Kwiatkowski, it is a toss up. Whoever is playing the best will play."

Question: Is the blocking scheme going to much different for you guys up front?

Kevin Koger: "It is hard to compare the old with the new. Everything is different, it is like comparing apples to oranges. You can't really draw comparison and I really don't like to get into too much of that. I just want to focus on the team, Coach Hoke and my teammates."

Question: How are excited are you for going into your senior year in a pro style offense before you go into the NFL draft?

Kevin Koger: "I don't think about the draft too much. I just concentrate having fun with my teammates during my last year, but I'm just excited to play for this new coaching staff. I had a ton of fun during the spring time, playing football and playing for the coaches, so I can't wait to see what happens during this year."

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Question: What kind of leader is Denard?

He seemed kind of quiet when we talked to him, but what is he like in the locker room?

Kevin Koger: "He's a quiet guy probably around you all because he is kind of shy. He has definitely taken a more vocal role and is more comfortable around the team and he has a lot of playing experience. He has definitely been more vocal. He is taking control of the huddle a lot more. We respect him as a leader. Whatever he tells us to do, I'm going to do. Just because I'm a senior and he is a junior, I'm going to listen to him because he is the quarterback."

Question: Was he quieter last year?

Kevin Koger: "You could probably say that. He was shy, he had to open up and he has definitely opened up this year. He definitely has taken a more vocal role as opposed to last year."

Question: It seems like you guys rallied around him even before the season, is there something about him, obviously he is a talent, but is there an air of confidence around him?

Kevin Koger: "He is our teammate so we are going to support him whatever he does, whether it is football or if he wants to take up dancing lessons or if he wants to sing, whatever he wants to do, we're going to support him either, so I feel like we just support all our teammates like we support him."

Question: How have you noticed him being more open?

Kevin Koger: "Just taking controlling of the huddle, coming into the huddle demanding silence. Just being more demanding on the field, expecting a lot out of us. He has definitely been more demanding and we love it. We need that out of him."

Question: What do you think about him being under center a little more, a little more pro style; how do you think he will do in that?

Kevin Koger: "I think he'll do well. In high school he was under center. So it is nothing foreign to him. I think he'll adjust really well and he has in the past couple of weeks and past couple of months."

Question: He is obviously very uniquely talented and we all saw that last year, did you see that in practice before any of us?

Kevin Koger: "Yeah. I used to tell my friends all the time, you want to watch out for this Robinson kid because he can really play. When he finally breaks out, his first collegiate play…well his second play, the first one was offside (laughter). The second one he broke up a play and takes the ball up the sideline for 50 yards or whatever it was and I was getting texts, ah this kid is really good. I've been trying to tell you all. I see him every day and I know what he can do and it is not a surprise to me."

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Question: You guys have gone through a great amount of adversity the past few years. How did it affect you guys as a team?

Kevin Koger: "You just got to stick together. You got to make it about the team and you can't worry about what anybody else is saying. You got to stick together and play for each other and play for the coaching staff."

Question: How tough was it maybe the way the last seasons have gone where you win at the beginning and you feel like you are building up momentum but not to be able to sustain that?

Kevin Koger: "We just got to finish. Coach Hoke has definitely made a point about finishing. We just have to finish at the end of the season. It starts with the details. Finishing through the line and just little stuff like that, attention to details and it will all transform into the end of the season."

Question: Coach Hoke said yesterday he does not feel like you guys are rebuilding, how do you look at it? Do you look at Michigan as a program that is still rebuilding?

Kevin Koger: "I completely agree with Coach Hoke. Rebuilding shouldn't be in our minds. We don't feel like we're rebuilding. We're not saying hopefully we can get better this year. Like Coach Hoke said, we hope to compete for a Big Ten Championship and that is the goal. We want to get to that first Big Ten Championship game in Big Ten history and that's our goal."


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