Former Player Sound-Off: Terrance Quinn

Former Michigan Wolverine Terrance Quinn dropped by the WTKA studios last week to share his take on the 2014 squad. The former Maize & Blue walk-on (1994-1997) gave his unique take on the significance of leadership and chemistry that developed during the offseason, the outlook for this season, and more.

Sam Webb:  I need you to take us inside.  You probably know that we talk to Marcus Ray a lot on this show, on a weekly basis and he’s kind of taken us inside that team dynamic leading up to ’97.  He said there were chemistry issues, there were fractures that were present that made a team that was always really talented, made it 8-4, 8-4, 8-4 made it that kind of deal.  In that summer between ’96 and ’97, you guys came together.  Take us back to that moment of how that all took place. 

Terrence Quinn:  “We were able to see, maybe the first class at least in years come through Michigan without getting a Rose Bowl berth or Big Ten Championship or anything like that.  We didn’t like the look on their face when they left and we were sick of that.  That summer, we read, I still have the newspaper clippings talking about mediocre Michigan, kind of like what we’re hearing nowadays unfortunately.   Mediocre Michigan, Michigan has lost their swagger, it is no longer the Big Two and the Little Eight.  Michigan is just another team in the Big Ten and we didn’t like that.  We didn’t like the feeling that that provided and all of that.  I remember that summer, as everybody knows, usually the team picks captains and sets goals at the end of camp.  That particular year, as we had approached camp, we had been through camp and we started to set our goals.  We were talking about all kind of goals and the guys got together and finally in the midst of a list of goals, why are we listing all these goals that doesn’t make sense.  I remember it was Charles who said, why don’t we just win.  Everybody stopped and paused for a second and as we talked about that, we decided that our single goal that year would be just win.  What that meant, the way we took that was not just win every game, but let’s win everything in life that would help us win every game.  Let’s win every play in practice, even outside of practice.  Let’s make decisions that will help us.  So guys who were willing to engage that might not have been good for them.  They cut those things off for the sake of winning.  If we won every practice, if we won every play, every quarter, every half, we would win every game and Coach Carr always told us that if that happened there would be enough for everybody.  That’s what we committed to.  I brought this ring in honor of that team, on the side of my Big Ten Championship ring, it says ‘Just Win’ and it just worked out somehow.”

Sam Webb:  To kind of marry the old with the new or the current, this team in the offseason, as much as they’ve been focused on changing the offense, getting acclimated to a new coordinator.  A lot of attention has been given to cultivating leadership, developing chemistry on the team, bringing in leadership coach and all those kind of intangible things that we don’t see as fans.  But it sounds like it is very important as players, how much significance should we lend to what the players are saying about the team being closer, the team being tighter, about there being leadership throughout the team, is that important, is that significant?

Terrence Quinn:  “It is crucial.  It is crucial.  Even on the outside looking in, having been inside, there is a huge need for that.  I’m glad that the players are talking about the importance of that now because you have to have that.  If you don’t have that…it is one thing to follow the leadership of the coaches, but you almost expect them to say and do and be about what they’re saying.  It’s another thing when you see guys going through it with you encouraging you, pushing you and demanding more from you themselves.  It’s huge, it’s tremendous and I had the benefit and privilege of being under tremendous player leadership while I was there.  Walter Smith, my freshman year, leading on up to Jon Jansen and Erik Mayes my senior year and they were all great and fantastic leaders for the team.  What it does in those moments when the coaches aren’t around and when they’re able to see the things that the coaches can’t see, it causes you to say to yourself, you know what, yeah I need to go harder.  These guys are going harder, their demanding more.  I don’t want to be the outcast here, so let’s all do this together.”

Sam Webb:  One of the things that Marcus said and I like verify with guys that were there.  He said he was the knockout king in practice.  He knocked out many running backs.  He said virtually every running back that he had the privilege of playing with, with one exception, I think he said Ed Davis was the only running back that he didn’t knock out (laughter).  He said that he knocked out everybody else, you were there, what did you see, did you see that?

Terrence Quinn:  “Let me start by saying, yes it’s good to always verify whatever Marcus Ray says (laughter).  I’m just messing with you Ray if you out there – well kind of.   Marcus Ray was that guy.  He was the guy that would come up and bring some big hits.  Now Tommy Hendricks was a guy that we didn’t like going against too much because he was just crazy.  Ray was that guy.  I’m going to say even more so than these knockouts that he’s claiming.  I always tell Ray even to this day, Marcus was always the smartest guy on the field.  I hope no one takes what I’m about to say the wrong way.  He wasn’t the best athletic on the field by any means…of course Charles was that person.  Ray was the smartest guy on the field.  He knew where the play was going to go.  He might not been as fast, but he would be there because he already knew before the ball was snapped.”

Sam Webb:  He said that already.  What you’re saying, he (said), I was the smartest guy out there. 

Terrence Quinn:  “It’s true.  It is very true and actually the way our defense was run, the free safety needed to be.  Sometimes the linebacker, Steve Morrison was that guy my freshman year, but Marcus Ray was that guy our senior year and that’s why he was on the field.  Now the knockouts, maybe sometimes.”

Sam Webb:  This is the other one that he said, he could beat Dre Weathers in a foot race.

Terrence Quinn:  “Never would happen (laughter).”

Sam Webb:  You talk about smack talk, you know Dre Can be a soft spoken guy, but he can talk too.  He said, man…this is when Marcus had a few extra pounds…he said Marcus you’re three bills! (Laughter). You’re three bills, I don’t have to work out to beat you.

Terrence Quinn:  “That was about right.  Even when he was two bills, it was the same thing.  Ray was  not…I can talk because I wasn’t that fast either.  Maybe we would tie, Ray and I.  He’s not going to like that comment at all (laughter).”

Sam Webb:  How do you see this year playing out for the Maize and Blue?

Terrence Quinn:  “All my friends look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, the non Michigan fans, some of the Michigan fans; I think this season we will see what we expected to see last year.  I think we at most would drop three and the rest would be victories.  I think we’re going to see a much improved Devin Gardner because I think he’s in a position now where he can learn week to week better how to improve in the areas that need improvement.  It’s going to be interesting to see what happens at running back between the three, at least as far as I can see that are vying for that real position.  That’ll be interesting.  I think Funchess is going to be a phenom again this year.  I think it is going to be wonderful what we see from him.  This Freddy Canteen guy, I can’t wait to see what happens there either.  I think (Appalachian State) game, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, I’m thinking 38-14.”

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