Question: What is your impression of Ronnie Hillman when you see him on film?
Troy Woolfolk: "He's a great running back. He's quick, elusive, I can just see him bouncing the ball, so we've got to do a good job containing him, to prevent those big plays."
Question: Does going against Denard Robinson every help?
Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah that's always good because Denard is such a fast running back and if you blink your eye, he will get outside. I think going against Denard every day allows us to help our defense contain him and put a cap on his long runs."
Question: Obviously Eastern Michigan was a different rushing attack but does it help facing a team that was so committed to the run?
Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah I think it really does because Coach English is really a great coach and he's going to get them to have a very physical team and I think that help us prepare us to stop the run as well as he has got some pretty good backs that like to bounce it to the edge. I think we did a good job of containing them and keeping them in between the hashes, so that should help us and carry us over into San Diego State."
Question: Greg Mattison said he saw last week that Craig Roh had his light bulb moment and things started to click?
Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah. Craig Roh is a really good athlete and like I said once he starts to click you can tell, everyone can tell from the stands. He was making plays and it was just exciting to see as a DB because I don't have make big plays. Like I said, it is better for the team."
Question: The numbers made it look like last week was a success especially after the first quarter because you guys only allowed three points. Do you feel like it was a successful game in that sense?
Troy Woolfolk: "I feel like we still having problems as defense with starting slow. When they first got out there they had a long drive and fortunately for us, we made them fumble towards the red zone, but I feel like I would like to see us start off fast and not allow them to get those points, then I'll feel like we will be a great team defense."
Question: What is your reason for the slow starts?
Troy Woolfolk: "I'm not sure what it is. I think it is some of it is due to just feeling your opponent, feeling them out and understand what they do. For example, receivers to see how fast they like to run their routes or how hard they come off the ball. I understand feeling them out, but I don't think they should be able to drive down the field like the did."
Question: Does any of that have to do with not being fired up enough or is it just more feeling them out?
Troy Woolfolk: "I think it is more of just feeling them out. This is Michigan so we going to go out there and give everything we have every play regardless of who the opponent is because upset is in the mind of the beholder. So if you go out there and don't give it your all, then you can have an upset. It is not a matter of who we play, but a matter of how we play."
Question: Coach Hoke talked to us today that he had something to do with scheduling this game when he was at San Diego State and now that he is here, he kind of wishes they weren't on the schedule. Did he act any different in the team meeting last night?
Ryan Van Bergen: "No not really. Coach Hoke made it a point to say that they are a good team, which I've seen the film and they are a really good team. They've got some really good players and they're going to be the toughest challenge we've faced so far. We've got to have a great week of preparation. We've got to make sure that we take them seriously because they're an awesome challenge for us and it is going to be exciting."
Question: If you were facing a coach that left your program to go to another program and that next year you were taking them on, how motivating would that be for you?
Ryan Van Bergen: "It would be very motivating. I think those players are going to definitely be highly motivated. There are plenty of reasons to be motivated outside of that. I can imagine that they're going to come in with the demeanor of, we're going to play hard and we're going to beat them in their house and that's what I would expect from them and that is what I would expect from myself if I was placed in that situation. We have to be prepared to get their best game and we have to give them our best game because like I said, they're a good team and if we don't play our best game they're going to run away with it."
Question: How hard is it to get a gauge on a team that maybe you don't see on TV a lot or is half a country away like San Diego State is?
Ryan Van Bergen: "Honestly, I think it comes down to game film, which it kind of excludes the commentators and stuff, but at the same time I think that is a good thing. I think commentators hype people up unnecessarily sometimes. They pick their guys that are going to get the media attention or whatever and when you watch game film, there is no commentating so you kind of get a feel for them as they are. What kind of talent level they have, physicality, toughness, stuff like that that you can pick up on game film. I think it is a good thing that we haven't seen them on TV. We'll see them on tape and we'll get what we need out of that and then we'll prepare to play them."
Question: Your head coach said if he could pick one area to see substantially improved going into the Big Ten season in this game, it would be the play of his front seven defensively. How do you take that?
Ryan Van Bergen: "That's something that I would expect Coach Hoke to say. The standard for defensive line at Michigan is going to be the highest in the country at some point. I think it is right now as far as in his mind, but we're definitely not playing up to that up front, myself included and Coach Hoke is going to maintain that standard. He is a defensive line guy. Coach Mattison is a front seven guy and Michigan traditionally has had a dominate defensive line and dominate linebacking corps, so we have to set ourselves to the standard that they have and we have to play better bottom line. We haven't played in any game have not played consistency throughout four quarters the way they want us to. We've had glimpses but until we put it together they are not going to be happy and we don't want them to lower their standard, we want to be held to that high standard."
Question: Is that somewhat shown by the numbers or are there other evaluations in terms of not getting enough sacks and stuff like that?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I guess it is somewhat shown by the numbers, but at the same time a lot of the stuff that Coach Hoke and them expect is not shown in the stat column. Some of the things we're judged on is if we're knocking our offensive lineman back off the ball, in our blitzes are we drawing two blocks. A lot of times you guys are going to see in our pressure situations, there are times when the defensive line isn't necessary supposed to be the ones that come free. We're supposed to get Jordan Kovacs to come free or Thomas Gordon to come free because they're speed guys. As far as sacks for loss, we should show up there. We're coming along, but we're not where we need to be and I think that's a big point of emphasis. It's coming up on crunch time, if you're not where you need to be and the season is here then it is time to start arriving as a defensive unit."
Question: Coach Hoke mentioned that he is very pleased with the defensive turnovers, I think you ten of them so far and half of those have been inside the red zone, what can you attribute that too?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I would say emphasis in practice. We're constantly going after the football in practice against our own guys, regardless if it is tackle or not. The main emphasis is to strip the ball no matter what. We jump on incomplete passes every time like if it is a fumble, we get it. When you focus on it, it is something that starts to come naturally and you don't think about it. The other thing is red zone. Coach Mattison emphasizes the red zone as being one of the most important things. Everybody thinks that the offensive gets better in the red zone and that's not our perspective. The field gets shorter and there are the same amount of guys out there. We think that we have better odds in the red zone when it comes down to it. We can hold them to field goals. We can make goal line stands and that's something that we pride ourselves in and we're excited about we play well in the red zone."
Question: You said last week when I asked about starting 3-0 and you have been in this position the last couple of years and you said you would know more after the last game, so do you know more and did you hear from Dave Brandon about the chest bump comments that you made?
Ryan Van Bergen: "Yes to both questions. I think we know more about our team as of last game. We were bad in the first quarter, there is no way to hide it. They schemed us a little bit but when we came down to making our adjustments, the defense played pretty well and that's a good offense team. We're facing a much better one this week, but that was good for us to get out there and have a successful second, third and fourth quarters. As far as Dave Brandon goes, he actually talked to me on the sideline and said he will be prepared and ready at any given time. I'm thinking the next time we get a big win, I'm going straight for him."
Question: Does this 3-0 start feel different than 3-0 last year and the year before?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I think so. I think 3-0 in the last couple of years has felt like a bigger accomplishment. We felt much better about ourselves, kind of had more confidence but undeserved confidence, we didn't play very well. Right now, we're at a stage where we recognize where we haven't played well and are 3-0. We have not put together a full game offensively and defensively and yet we've found a way to win our three games. That is something that I don't think we had was that awareness of the fact that we haven't played well yet and we still have that urgency. We need to get better to improve and I think that is something that the coaches instill and I think senior leadership has kind or righted the ship as far as, we need to keep improving, 3-0 has not really satisfied us at all."
Question: What does being ranked means to you?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I think it's a curse honestly. I would rather not be ranked until the end of season when it comes down to bowl games. When you're ranked all that does it put something on the chalkboard or whatever for the other team. Being ranked for us, all it does it raise our expectations of how we're supposed to play and then all it does for the other teams that play against us is say, hey we get to play against a ranked team and take them down, they don't have anything to lose. That's going to be the attitude of them, that's the attitude we would have. Honestly, being ranked doesn't hold anything high in my standards. I would rather not be ranked until the end of the season. Let us figure out who is the best when it comes down to bowl games."
Question: You spoke a little bit about the slow start. They (Eastern Michigan) had 122 yards rushing, Notre Dame and Western Michigan both scored on their first drives; what can you guys do to have a better first quarter and can you talk a little bit about the adjustments that you have been able to make in this situation?
Ryan Van Bergen: "We just got be able to adjust on the field. We can't wait until we come over to the sidelines and Coach Mattison gets out the white board and starts drawing things out. We have to be smarter and it is hard because it is a new defense. We have veterans on the team that have played a lot of football, but when there is a new defense, there is so much that we put on film because we have a semi condense package because we want to make sure everybody knows everything and all the different formations and stuff that we can be presented with. So it is easy for a team to come out on their first drive and say we can take advantage of this and we could take advantage of that and it's true they can. We need to be able to adjust on the field after they get their first 1st down or whatever, rather than wait until we come to the sideline and Coach Mattison has to draw it up on the board and say hey guys, we've seen this before, this was week two of camp. Let us adjust this way, do this. We can shut teams down once we get them down, but we need to be able to do that on the field rather than be coached to do it on a white board after a score."
Question: Just following up on the curse thing, was that in part because of the way things went down the past two years?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I do not think so. I'm just saying that from my perspective. I feel like teams are more motivated to play a ranked team. If you're playing against somebody who is unranked and hasn't been highly touted, you might not be as motivated as if you were coming in and playing against a top 25 team. That's a big stat if you can get a win against a top 25 team, people notice that and if you want to get recognition as a team that's what you do, you go out and beat a top 25 team especially at their house. Every team that plays us, if we continue to play the way we have and we get a win, we're just going to keep climbing that chart and we're going to get more and more guys who are circling that game on their schedule."
Question: You guys have all talked about making defensive adjustments is that something that you weren't doing last year or maybe not as much, not trying to disparage the previous defensive coordinator, but is that just part of Greg Mattison and who he is, constantly changing and teaching even during a game?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I think so. We've had it in the past, maybe not to the degree that we have it right now. I think Coach Mattison is not too proud to abandon something that is not working in order to establish something that might work. He'll make an adjustment and it'll be a drastic adjustment, we'll think so at the time and it'll come out working just fine. That's something that we have total faith in our coaches and our techniques that we've been giving. It has been working well for us. We just got to be able to do it sooner like I asid."
Question: Coach Mattison talked a lot about rotating to keep you guys fresh and when you're 100% to get back in the game, does that happen, have you guys been able to get the necessary breaks that you've needed to go back in and play as hard as you can?
Ryan Van Bergen: "Yeah. I think we need more so. We just need a couple more guys to come along and really grasp the schemes. They have the talent to do it, but it is more a matter of confidence. Can they establish if something new gets thrown at them or a trick play or something like that. Me, Mike (Martin) and Craig (Roh) all have been in there a pretty substantial amount of plays. We're slowly working more guys in there. You've seen more Will Campbell, you saw a little bit of Quinton Washington last game. Nick Brink has played well. I think as a defensive line we're developing depth. I think you're going to see more and more of those guys as we keep going through the season."
Question: If you had your preference would you be inside or on the end and what doe that kind of depend on these days?
Ryan Van Bergen: "We actually have a little coin that we flip and we figure (laughter) out if I am going to play inside. It's all good for me. I've always been a team guy. It is all about the team. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do. As far as preferences go, I guess it depends on where the ball is going. If they're running inside I want to play tackle, but if they're trying to pass I'll go to end. It is good that I'm able to do that I think. It is good for me because I'm learning so much about different positions and what things may help me at tackle that I didn't know or what things at end that'll help me at tackle. Right now, they're just placing me where the strength is as far as their run game and stuff. If they're running a lot of power, you'll see me at tackle or if they are doubling teaming the end. They like me against double teams. So wherever the double team is going is where I'll probably be."
Question: Why do you think Craig had a slow start and what did Saturday's game do for his confidence?
Ryan Van Bergen: "I've heard that he has had a slow start and I think it's because statistically maybe he wasn't up on the board, but I didn't see it that way. If anybody watches Craig Roh's film, Craig Roh plays with a ridiculous motor and he's always going to the ball hard. I think sometimes if you really had to make a criticism of him is that he sometimes he might be going so fast and so hard that he doesn't see something that is right in front of him. If I had to make one criticism, I mean the kid plays with unbelievable heart and I think Coach Mattison has had all kinds of confidence in the kid and he's really developed as a player. His stats and stuff are not indicating how well he is playing. He's playing really. He grades out well. He hasn't been productive, but he has been doing his job, which is making everybody else on the defense way better."
Question: Is it a matter of pride that the coaches like to put you against double teams?
Ryan Van Bergen: "Yeah absolutely. It is probably not the most glorious spot – no one is going to say wow he took on some good double teams (laughter). That's not something that is going to happen, but take it as a point of pride especially in my linebackers, if you ask Kenny Demens and Brandin Hawthorne, they really trust in me and that's something that means a lot to me. They talk about, oh I like having you in front of me because they know I'll take on the two blocks and they'll be free to run and make or two. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I'm going to take on two guys and I'm not going backwards. I guess that is a little cocky, but that's how I feel. Coaches have me coached well in my technique. They've got us all coached well in our technique. You're not going to see Mike Martin going backwards either. That's something that we take a tremendous amount of pride in that if anything we're going forward or not moving. I think that is something that is going to make us better come Big Ten time when teams start running some more power schemes."
Question: Is this a weird week for you seeing them in their different elements because you had seen them as San Diego State coaches and now you've seen them as Michigan coaches?
Matt Wile: "I never really thought about it. No I just know them as my coaches."
Question: What was the mood in San Diego like after they left, you were still there? Were people upset, people frustrated?
Matt Wile: "I don't think really anybody was upset. I'm sure they were but none of the people that I knew were upset."
Question: Do you know a lot of those guys on the San Diego State team?
Matt Wile: "Not really. I know the few guys that took me for my visit, but besides that I really don't know any of the players."
Question: Hoke has said for longer field goals he might go for you where is that cut off line, what yardage point do you think?
Matt Wile: "Somewhere around 50 yards."
Question: What is your longest field goal?
Matt Wile: "In practice or a game?"
Question: Either, what is your longest one lately?
Matt Wile: "My most recent long one was 59. I just in practice I think last Thursday, I hit one off the crossbar from 55."
Question: How does Brendan Gibbons win the kicking competition and how do you overtake him? Do you have to wait until he messes up?
Matt Wile: "The best man is going to play and right now Gibbons has been kicking well and I want him to keep kicking well and I'll keep competing with him so that he has to do better and I have to do better."
Question: It had been over a year since Brendan had his last field goal when he kicked one last week, what was he like when he got back to the sidelines?
Matt Wile: "He said it was nice to get that first one out of the way."
Question: How much consideration did you give San Diego State?
Matt Wile: "I had not made up my mind when I came on my visit to Michigan. They were never out of the running. It was between them and two or three other schools, but when I got here it just felt right and I ended up coming."
Full Transcript: Woolfolk, VanBergen, Wile
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