QUESTION: So Joe, just take me back to last year at this time. Where has Joe Bolden improved compared to last year at this time?
JOE BOLDEN: “Last year at this time I came in like most people know. I was just getting more acclimated with my freshman class that actually came in last year and just getting to know those guys better and really spending time with the team during fall camp getting to know everybody better. I think now this year, this time the chemistry is a lot better. I’m able to communicate a lot better and I think the whole defense as a whole communicates a lot better with each other because we’ve spent more time together. And I think that’s a big factor in the progress from last year to this year.”
QUESTION: And I see you chopped your hair off. What was that all about?
JOE BOLDEN: “You know, my sister was thinking about donating hers and it was just time for mine to go and I had added to seasons. I’d finished my senior season and I thought it’d be neat for me and my sister to donate it together and we donated it to Pantene. And we ended up getting a letter back a couple weeks later that said they got it and everything. It’s being used for a better cause than what I had it for. So, as long as it’s a positive, I’m okay with it.”
QUESTION: What about your size? Are you bigger than you were last year at this time?
JOE BOLDEN: “I came in at 230 [pounds] last year…last winter. Then, I got back down to…at one point last year I was at 210 [pounds] but I was sick. But now I’m back up to about 225 - 227 [pounds]. So, I think I’ve lost fat and gained muscle. And that’s all credit to the strength program here at Michigan and my teammates really just pushing me and allowing me to reach my potential and be the best I can be.”
QUESTION: What about the linebacker corps overall? You guys have got a lot of youth there with Desmond Morgan as the oldest guy, but coach Smith said he feels like you guys are a faster [and] a little more athletic. Do you guys see it that way?
JOE BOLDEN: “Yes. Yes. I think not having a senior in our group has made all of us really step up and prove ourselves to the defense and to everybody that we are ready to take control of the defense from the linebacker position. And, I think we’ve molded more as a group and really become one because of the circumstances we’re under. And I really think that that’s helped our camaraderie and ability to understand each other in the meeting room and on the field.”
QUESTION: What specifically with your game have you tried to work on?
JOE BOLDEN: “As a defense, we’ve been focusing on getting off blocks and being able to beat blockers one-on-one and that’s been a real point of emphasis during camp this fall. And that’s probably what we’ve been working on the most.”
QUESTION: (Early on) Coach Hoke said he didn’t necessarily like the speed you guys are playing at just yet. Do you sense that you guys still have more to improve on?
JOE BOLDEN: “I believe we always have more to improve on. No matter where you’re at, if satisfied, it’s not good enough. If you’re not still wanting to improve and stuff, then there’s something wrong with your game.”
QUESTION: I know it’s about team goals, but individually, what does Joe Bolden expect for himself in his sophomore season?
JOE BOLDEN: “Right now, like you said…I just focused on the team. I mean, I don’t care what I have to do. I want our team to win a Big Ten championship and a National Championship. And that’s what we’re focused on right now and we’re focused on August 31st and Central Michigan.”