Ken Demens talks LBs, Mark Huyge the OLs

After practice Thursday several players talked to the media ... here's Kenny Demens talking about the LB unit, and Mark Huyge about the O-line.

Kenny Demens

Kenny Demens: "Coach Mattison, Coach Hoke and my coach even, Coach Smith, they all do a good job of preaching how tough we need to be. We have to be tougher, if we think we're tough we need to go that extra mile to become better. In the long run, it is going to help so of course we have some time to improve."

Question: What do you need to do better this week to reach that level?

Kenny Demens: "We have to grind. We have to come downhill. We have got to get our scheme together. We got to communicate. It is the smallest thing we have to do. We have to focus on details. DBs, linebacker, D-lineman, we have to get in grit and we're all coachable. We just have to play good ball."

Question: Coach says that he is pretty hard on the defense does that practice fun or difficult?

Kenny Demens: "It makes it challenges. In the long run it is going to be good. We need that challenge. We have to play under that pressure. When it is tough and we can handle that and we're doing good under pressure in the long run it is going to help."

Question: Have there been good days?

Kenny Demens: "Yes."

Question: He said there has been three guys on defense that have great camps so far, Troy Woolfolk, Jordan Kovacs and Mike Martin. Do you agree with the fact that he sites those three guys and what does that mean to you when Kenny Demens is not part of that list yet?

Kenny Demens: "It doesn't mean too much. I sat out spring ball. I have some space for improvement. I have to improve myself. Those guys are great players. Everybody is coming to work every day. Everybody is challenging. It is a healthy competition. It does not bother me at all that I'm not in there. I have to prove myself just like everybody else does."

Question: What is the biggest difference that this coaching staff emphasis on defense in practices as compared to previous year. It is there some big emphasis?

Kenny Demens: "I wouldn't say too big of emphasis. As far as schemes, we have an amazing D-coordinator. He is coming in with the bright ideas. We're buying into it. We love it, they love and we just have to hone in and get the job done."

Question: Is it hard to pick it up since it is so drastically different?

Kenny Demens: "It is not hard at all. The way they coach it to us, they break down to where we get it. It is not just football, it is kind of like going to class or in meetings. We're understanding the coverage, what the D-lineman does, what gaps are open and what we gaps we have to fill. It is all just one big piece of the puzzle."

Question: How is the competition going at your linebacker position and the other two linebacker positions?

Kenny Demens: "Like I said before, it is all healthy. Everybody is doing good. What has amazed me the most is that we have some young guys who are stepping up. We have a lot of young guys who are just hungry and nobody is not ready. We're all engaged, we're asking questions and everybody has healthy competition."

Question: It sounds like when you say young guys, who are those young guys you immediately went to when you say that?

Kenny Demens: "We have freshman. We have Jake Ryan stepping up, Desmond Morgan. We have Jordan Paskorz who is competing. We're all just competing and in the end the best guy is going to play."

Question: You talked about the different schemes, but what is the biggest difference for you as the middle linebacker, any differences or responsibilities?

Kenny Demens: "I would probably say just taking charge, taking charge. Taking charge and coming downhill. Those are the two biggest things that I can think of right off the back. Just getting the D-line set up, getting myself lined up, making sure of the coverage calls are called. Just coming downhill and being a snot nosed player, just a tough player."

Question: Does Mattison mention the Ravens very often?

Kenny Demens: "Not too much. It may be a clip here and there, but he'll show us how to play a certain coverage or a certain scheme just so we get the idea, but not too much at all."

Question: The defense is so different, do they even look at film from last year of what you guys did? Do they compare I to last year at all?

Kenny Demens: "No not at all, no comparison."

Question: What is the defenses identity going to be this year?

Kenny Demens: "I want it to be how it used to be. I want the linebackers to come back and we're just going to be a tough defense this year."

Question: You talked about missing the spring and proving yourself. Is that pressure?

Kenny Demens: "Not really. What it does is make us have something to have every day in fall camp. Say okay, how am I going to get there today. I have to prove myself today.'

Question: Did it throw you a little bit behind some of the other guys coming into the fall?

Kenny Demens: "Not too much. I would say probably being limited physically I was able to be in the playbook a lot more and ask questions and meet with coaches a lot one on one, have some of the other guys help me out. It didn't really set me back too much."


Mark Huyge

Mark Huyge: "We're getting better day to day. I think today we had a pretty good day just moving the ball consistency and that's our goal."

Question: Blocking schemes, your techniques, it doesn't really change from one running back to another?

Mark Huyge: "No absolutely not. We just block the plays that are called and do our best."

Question: You more comfortable inside outside?

Mark Huyge: "I'll play whatever they want me to play. As far as being comfortable, I've played them both in games. It doesn't really bother me."

Question: How important is time of possession in this offensive scheme and controlling the clock?

Mark Huyge: "It will be very important and that will be a resolve of this offense just pounding away at guys and hitting it and hitting the holes hard and gaining yards, staying on the field as an offense."

Question: Can you see a difference in Denard Robinson from the spring to now in terms of his efficiency?

Mark Huyge: "I think he is getting more comfortable with the offense, more comfortable sitting back in the pocket and throwing the ball and he is doing a great job."

Question: As an offensive lineman what does mean to have a second year starting quarterback because Michigan hasn't had one since Chad Henne in 2007?

Mark Huyge: "It helps a lot for consistency because you got the same guy back there and you know how he plays and you know what he is capable of. It is very important as an offensive line especially with Denard back there, you just stay on his block because he can make anything happen fast."

Question: Has he done that this fall in practice, still making some of those electric plays?

Mark Huyge: "Yeah. I've seen a few. I know blocking for seven or eight seconds, there he goes."

Question: What kind of leader is David Molk, he seems sort of edgy when it comes to press conferences?

Mark Huyge: "He is a great guy and he is a great leader too. He works really hard especially in the weight room and that's where everyone strives to get to the level that he is at. He is a vocal leader and he gets it done on the field too."

Question: Vocal leader in that he yells at you guys?

Mark Huyge: "Just vocally, he'll say what he needs to say when he thinks he needs to say it and that's the main thing and it is always good to have at least one guy that'll do that."

Question: What is Denard like in the huddle?

Mark Huyge: "Like any other guy he tries to keep a good control of everything going on and when he gets in there, the offensive line, everyone has to quiet. We listen to what he says and once in a while he'll crack a smile or joke. He's a good leader."

Question: Is it weird to a huddle again?

Mark Huyge: "I've gotten used to it over spring ball. At this point, I think we're pretty much all used to it."

Question: What is the biggest difference up front along the offensive line going from that scheme to this one?

Mark Huyge: "It is a little bit more physical for the fact that we're running more downhill plays. Last year, one of our primary plays was the outside zone and this year we're coming right at guys. Last year we were very physical too, but this year just the play calling is a little bit different."

Question: As a guy who plays on the outside is that easier for you or harder for you, does it matter?

Mark Huyge: "It doesn't really matter because last year we ran the same plays, we just ran different plays more often. We didn't run the power as much and that one's of primary plays this year."

Question: Zone blocking versus what you're guys are doing now, the spacing is a little bit different, the first step is a little bit different, but those kinds of things get so ingrained into you as a player, how difficult is it to get used to have to do those little tiny things in a different way?

Mark Huyge: "It is actually not that much different because like I said we ran the power last year, so we knew the footwork already basically. Coach Funk tweaked us a little bit here and there, but for the most part it is about the same, we just do it more often."

Question: Have you matched up against Nathan Brink?

Mark Huyge: "Yeah. Brink has improve tremendously from when he came in here. I like him great as a person too. He is a friend of mine and a very hard worker."

Question: What is the toughest part about facing him?

Mark Huyge: "He comes off the ball real hard. He uses his hands very well too."

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