Hemingway on Jump Balls, #21 Jersey

Junior Hemingway talked at length on the jump balls Denard was throwing Saturday, and on the Will to Win ... and he talks about the honor of the #21 jersey patch.

Question: The mode of where Denard Robinson throws it up and it's almost like you are winning jump ball situations, is that a design sort of thing or does it just work out that way sometimes?

Junior Hemingway: "Most of the time I would say it works out like that. Before the game, the receiver coach told us that we have to win all the jump balls for the balls going over the top. Denard put it up in the air and I made a play on it."

Question: What was it like wearing that Desmond Howard patch for the first time, did you get a chance to talk to him about it?

Junior Hemingway: "It was an honor to wear it. I talked to him before the game in the locker room. He just told me, he said, make sure you keep your emotions down for the game, stay composed and just let everything come to you. He said you'll be alright."

Question: You didn't have that jersey on, did you have to do like a wardrobe change after, because you did not wear that jersey in pregame workups because the patch wasn't on or did they just sew it on?

Junior Hemingway: "When we came back from warm ups, Big Jonny (Jon Falk) called me in and had me change the jersey."

Question: Is that when it becomes real for you is when you see it come on, like you see it there and you see that you realize you have an obligation to live up to that, kind of like tat Desmond Howard name?

Junior Hemingway: "I just go out there and play my game. It's a great honor to wear the number. You just got to go out there and play my game. I can't think about having to live up to what Desmond because I'm a different player – I just got to go out there and play my game."

Question: When did you first learn about the patch?

Junior Hemingway: "The day of."

Question: When you got the jersey from John Falk or did you know before that?

Junior Hemingway: "Right when I got the jersey from him."

Question: How did he explain what it was?

Junior Hemingway: "He didn't really explain it (laughter). He just said he came and he was like when you come back up for warm up, make sure you come in so I can change your jersey. I'm thinking like change my jersey for what. I don't know what the reason. He wouldn't tell me, so I came back up and they showed it to me and I was like, ‘oooooookay cool' and just and changed my jersey."

Question: Talk about what the night after the game once you were out of uniform and showered up, what that was like and what time did you go to the bed? What was the rest of the evening like and just how important it is to move and focus on Eastern Michigan?

Junior Hemingway: "After the game everybody was like, can't believe it. Like, did that really just happen? We just thought about it and we just had a lot of will to win. We showed a lot of heart tonight. Just all night that's what we thought about. The next day, we started thinking about Eastern. Right after that we watched film on the mistakes that we made and just started thinking about Eastern."

Question: What is it going to mean in years to come when you look back at that night and think about the crowd and the first night game and then having the kind of game you did that night?

Junior Hemingway: "It was a part of history. Being the first night game in Michigan, the most crowd attendance in NCAA record. It is going to be something I'll be able to tell my kids, my grandkids, things like that. It is a great feeling. That was a good game, it was a great game."

Question: Coming to Michigan, did you choose to wear 21, did you want to Desmond's number?

Junior Hemingway: "My coach then, he just asked, he was like what number do you want? I was like, I don't know what numbers do you have. He just started naming numbers and I was like that's it (laughter)? He was like, uh, well, we got 21. I was like and turned to my parents and was like, they said they got 21. I was like should I get it and they were like get it, get it. I was like, alright and I told my coach I wanted 21. That's what it was."

Question: What coach was that?

Junior Hemingway: "Erik Campbell."

Question: Eastern Michigan is right down the road, do you have friends over there and how often do Michigan players and Eastern players interact if at all?

Junior Hemingway: "We don't really interact that much. They right down the road, but we don't interact that much with them like that."

Question: In jump ball situations do you feel like you have a pretty good advantage, is that a situation that you like to be in or would you rather have a ball hit you stride so you can keep running?

Junior Hemingway: "Really it doesn't matter. Depending on the play because on certain plays even though I'm in stride, Lace may throw it up where I have to go up and get it. It really doesn't matter to me, none of the receivers. That's how we work. We practice like that the same way. The ball is in the air we go get it. If it is in stride, we catch it and go and all that."

Question: How do you feel like you guys as a group can become more consistent because it seems like it goes from either the spectacular or you drop a ball or the ball gets thrown behind you. How does that consistency come for you guys?

Junior Hemingway: "We know we got to catch everything. That's one thing that coach harp on in practice. That's one thing that we pride ourselves in, make every coach, regardless of where it is. If there is an opportunity we got to catch it. Saturday night, we dropped a couple of balls that we should have made (the catch), but you got to move on to the next play, move on to the play, you can't worry about the last one. If you worry about the last one, it will affect the next play. You just got to have a short memory."

Question: To follow up about the number you selected, what number did you wear in high school and was that not available when you came here?

Junior Hemingway: "I wore #5 in high school but they didn't have it when I came here. I was kind of upset with, but it was okay, I didn't worry about it."

Question: Being down as much as you were, how did you guys keep the faith going and when did you feel that the game sort of turned in your favor?

Junior Hemingway: "We just kept fighting. We never broke apart as a team. The defense got some stops in there and we came out on the field. We had a lot of inconsistency in the offense. We stayed together, stayed composed, Denard stayed composed, the offensive line stayed composed, the receivers stayed composed, the running backs. There was no doubt in our mind that we could go out there and score because we never thought during that game that we were going to lose. We just continued to fight."

Question: Was there a point where you felt the momentum shift though, was there any point where you said, alright, we're starting to roll now?

Junior Hemingway: "I would probably say when we scored maybe two drives in a row I think it was. We was like, we were kind of off and on through the game, but then we scored and scored again. We were like, okay, we just got to continue to fight, continue to fight, continue to fight and that's just what we did."

Question: A couple of weeks ago you talked about finally being healthy this year. As a fifth year senior, how comfortable do you feel in this offense and how comfortable do you feel with Denard?

Junior Hemingway: "I feel real comfortable in Denard. The rest of the receivers are the same way….basically the whole offense, we all have faith in him. A lot of people said Denard about the whole spread thing being under center and stuff. Denard has adjusted real good and we have all the faith in the world in Denard."

Question: When you know it is going to be a jump ball, what types of things do you have to do to prepare it to seal off a defender to get your body in the right position to make the catch?

Junior Hemingway: "You have to beat the DB to the highest point first. If you wait until it comes down too low then he will have a chance to hop on it before you do and it is basically you trying to get your body in front of him…I'm kind of big so I can put a little more body on them and stuff. It is kind of like getting a rebound in basketball. You have to position yourself to boxing out and just go up and get it."

Question: Did you play basketball?

Junior Hemingway: "Yeah."

Question: Were you a good rebounder?

Junior Hemingway: "Yeah I was a pretty good rebounder, I would have to say that. I played the post a lot. I played everything, I just could jump real high. I was a pretty good rebounder I guess."

Question: Getting back to Denard, is there some feeling around this team that no matter what happens Denard might be able to bail you guys out if you're struggling, at least on offense? Is there still any sort of feeling of that?

Junior Hemingway: "Denard is Denard. He can hurt you throwing and he can hurt you running. That's not what we hope because Denard can't win it by himself. It is a team thing. We all got to be one, but when it comes down to it, Denard is going to make his plays because that's (too much noise)."

Question: Going into that last drive, did you feel like he could get yards because he could always move on the ground and what was the thought going into that last drive?

Junior Hemingway: "Get the ball down the field as fast as possible. That's basically what the thought was. We was like we got 30 seconds, we can score. That's basically what our mindset was."

Question: When you have a win like that is it a lot of momentum going forward or is it hard to come back down to reality and get focused for the next game?

Junior Hemingway: "Having a win like that shows the character of the team and I think that helps us go into next week preparing for Eastern. Because we know even know it is Eastern, we still have to come in with the same mindset that we had coming in with Notre Dame and from that win, showed a lot in the team and I think that is going to help for the preparation of going into Eastern."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories