Roundtree on Denard-Ball; Roh on the Rivalry

Full Transcript: WR Roy Roundtree talks about the chemistry he has with his 'brother' Denard, and on playing "Denard Ball." Plus on advising rookie Blake Countess. DE Craig Roh talks about the MSU Rivalry and what it'll take to win.

Craig Roh

Question: on Coach Mattison …

Craig Roh: "You trust him because of his experience and because he really cares about us and winning and Michigan. I know that he's going to put his best effort no matter what."

Question: The last two years this game has been the big bump in the road for you guys that's the game that leaves you unranked and kind of turns the season around. Is that even on the radar going into this that maybe this could be a different year for you guys?

Craig Roh: "We're just concentrating on ourselves right now, just improving and intensity and getting as much film as we possible can. We're not thinking about the big picture or whatever. We're just thinking about what can I do today to make Michigan better."

Question: Growing up in Arizona, how much did you know about the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry?

Craig Roh: "I didn't know a ton, but I felt it my freshman year. I felt just the intensity that you have to bring to the game. Now being in it, I've played two games against Michigan State, I understand it better now and I understand the tradition behind it."

Question: Did you have to play in the game to kind of feel it?

Craig Roh: "Yeah you have to play in the game to feel it."

Question: Is it an especially hard hitting game usually?

Craig Roh: "You have guys that are really gunning for each other. It is a hard hitting, a real hard hitting game."

Question: Do you get the sense that it means any more to the instate guys having to grow up around the rivalry?

Craig Roh: "I think it means a lot to really everyone. The instate guys just as much because they have friends on the other team so they have to put up with talking about whatever. We're all in this a ton."

Question: Do you think the mentality has changed? Before it used to be Michigan was going in and Michigan State was trying their hardest to beat you guys, but the past two years they've won now, is the mentality flipped that you guys really want to win and pound these guys?

Craig Roh: "That's the mentality we bring to every game. We want to pound every team we play. It's just like we keep working and got to keep improving and that's Michigan football."


Roy Roundtree

Question: regarding Denard in the first half last week…

Roy Roundtree: "… just adjusting, just needing to calm down. He was trying to rush in the first half. We didn't want him to get frustrated with the picks that he threw and we told him that we had his back and in the second half he just came out and showed what Denard (Robinson) can do."

Question: A year and a half, you guys kind of know that that is the way to deal with him?

Roy Roundtree: "We're all on the sideline and like, man what's going on. We're talking to him and in the first half he was just going in the huddle and rushing the plays. But after he calmed down, it was like okay let us go, and we turned it around."

Question: Catching that pass in the second quarter was there a sense of relief that you finally caught a pass?

Roy Roundtree: "It really is something that I just practice on in practice. Coaches say focus on the ball and once it was in the air I just had to adjust to it and make a big play and I feel like that was a momentum builder because we needed that out of halftime."

Question: Looking at Michigan State on Saturday, the last two years, you guys were ranked going into the game and then you lost to them. Do you think about that going into the game or is it not even on the radar?

Roy Roundtree: "Since I've been here, I haven't beat Michigan State one time and the seniors got us really focused on what we need to do to get better day-by-day for State. I feel like tomorrow we will just get better and come Saturday, we will be ready to play."

Question: Do they really have to remind you or for you to remember points in that game last year was just frustration?

Roy Roundtree: "No they don't need to remind us, we already know what it was just something that were going to practice and have fun and just know what the coaches put out there for us to do in practice and just prepare for them."

Question: When Denard gets excited at the beginning of the game, can you tell a difference in the way he throws the ball, in the way the passing game is flowing?

Roy Roundtree: "Once he gets in rhythm that's a good thing for our wide receivers. Once he gets in rhythm all the time and being on time and just having him comfortable back there. We don't need him to rush anything because we're there for him. We're his teammates and we've got his back."

Question: When you see him like that do you make a point to go talk to him and calm him down or anything like that?

Roy Roundtree: "Yeah. After the interception that he threw, we just told him to calm down. We will run better routes if that's what we need to do and just adjust it … and once he got cooled down and got in rhythm it was basically over because we already knew that it was going to click."

Question: What's that like when he gets in rhythm?

Roy Roundtree: "That's a momentum builder for the whole offense seeing our quarterback get a rhythm. It just pumps us even more. Just take it to the fourth quarter. The coaches always say take it to the fourth quarter and that's what we did Saturday on the road, just overcoming all that stuff because we were losing, although we never looked at it like that. We just knew we had to go out there and execute plays."

Question: Have you gone against Blake Countess in practice?

Roy Roundtree: "All the time. I told Blake last week just stay out there and play your game. Don't worry about anything just do your assignment. And that's what you (a veteran) have to do—just being a leader on the offense and just helping the younger freshman out. I just feel like that is my job. He has really, really been doing good so far."

Question: He doesn't play like a freshman, right?

Roy Roundtree: "Naw not at all. He's got to play big. That's what you come here for, play on the big stage and that's what he has been doing so far."

Question: With Denard getting so excitable at times, is that something that you can see ahead of time coming a little bit, can you notice it in the huddle or on the sideline?

Roy Roundtree: "You can't really tell, but being an offensive player, I've been playing with Denard since he got here and I just know him pretty well, better than most of my teammates—it's just me and him having that chemistry, just going out there and telling him to calm down. Just play Denard ball and don't worry about nothing else and he just made a huge turnaround."

Question: What is Denard ball?

Roy Roundtree: "Just go out there and play how you play. Don't worry about all your mistakes, because the next play is your best play—and that's what you put in his head."

Question: Do you have the kind of relationship with him that maybe you can say things to him that maybe other people can't?

Roy Roundtree: "Oh yeah. That's how our chemistry is, all summer workouts. He tells me, okay, how do you want me to put the ball and I'll tell him how I'm going to run my routes—and it is just chemistry that me and him have. Just having that brother chemistry that always helps."

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