William Campbell: "I mean, I knew there was going to be a lot of pressure on me this year because Mike left. Working hard every day in camp; trying to live up to the expectations."
Question: Ok, talk about some of those things that you've worked on to get to those expectations you have for yourself.
Will Campbell: "First of all, dropping my weight and just getting in the best shape I've ever been in, and just staying that way; and listening to whatever my coaches tell me to do."
Question: You talked about Mike Martin. Talk about some of the things that you saw from him last season in terms of leadership.
Will Campbell: "Mike was more of a lead by example type of guy, so everything he showed on the field, that's what led us. I mean, everybody tried to live up to the expectations – his expectations for the position."
Question: I'm going to ask you about a freshman, Ondre Pipkins. Talk about him a little bit. What you see in him, and how he's going to help the team this season.
Will Campbell: "I mean, we're happy about all the freshmen coming in, so I mean, we're just looking at all of them, trying to lead them all, trying to put them on a path in the right direction, and just play good for Michigan."
Question: As far as defensive line, what are your expectations for you guys this year?
Will Campbell: "Just like on the wall in the defensive meeting room, we want to stop the run. That's a big part of it. And we want to not have to blitz so much with the four-man rush, so we're just working on it every day, trying to get that done."
Question: What's it going to take to play at the level the defensive line played at last year? I know you lost a couple of those good guys. What will it take for you to get back to that level?
Will Campbell: "Just going out here every day in camp and working hard, trying to meet those expectations."
Question: How much confidence do you have that you guys will get there?
Will Campbell: "That's what we're working every day for. The confidence will show on Saturdays."
Question: Last year you guys didn't have as much expectations as a team, and you had a great season. This year, the expectations are there. Is it any different for you guys trying to deal with that?
Will Campbell: "The expectations have been the same way since the dawn of football here at Michigan. It's win the Big Ten championship. We didn't meet our expectations last year, and our expectation this year is to win the championship. That's the expectation for the team."
Question: For you personally, do you go into this year with a little bit of a chip on your shoulder? You came out as such a high recruit, and now here in your senior year. Are you playing for a little something more?
Will Campbell: "No, personally I just go out there every day to play for Michigan, and to play for my teammates every day. I mean, it's my senior year, and I want to leave with a Big Ten championship."
Question: Can you talk a little bit about the Alabama game? How excited are you guys to get going? And are you looking forward to that challenge?
Will Campbell: "I mean, we have a great opportunity with national champions – playing them the first game. I mean, we look at every game the same way, so the next game is Alabama, and that's how we're going to look at it, and we're going to prepare ourselves to play."
Question: Have you noticed more of an intensity seeing that the first game is such an important game?
Will Campbell: "It will probably be the same amount of intensity as if we played anybody for the first game. It's just another game for Michigan."
Question: Coach Montgomery talking to you guys and teaching you – what have you learned from him in terms of that defensive line position? In terms of your pad level? Things that like that. Helping you get a little bit better?
Will Campbell: "Yeah, like is said before, we have three D-line coaches here: Coach Montgomery, Coach Mattison, and Coach Hoke. Coach Montgomery is a tremendous – he's a great teacher. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to learn from him, because he knows so much about the game, because he's been there. He's one of the younger coaches, so he can relate to what we're going through right now, and everything he tells me, I just try to listen and put it in the game every day. And the pad level, if he tells me to stay low, I'm going to try to do it."
Question: I know they're the national champions. Are you guys looking at ‘hey, we're getting a chance to put ourselves out there a little bit more, and show what we can do' to a national audience?
Will Campbell: "Just like you said, they are the national champions, and we're coming into the game like we're coming into any other game. It's the first game for Michigan; we'll play it like a Michigan defense; and we'll come out here like a Michigan team. We have a lot of fans who are behind us, and we're trying to play for them."
For further commentary from Will Campbell on his physical and mental maturation, how his teammates have responded to it, Alabama's vaunted offensive line, and more, press play below. To watch the video of the full interview with Big Will, click play below.