Blake O'Neill 'dusts self off' as eyes are set to Minnesota

Michigan punter Blake O'Neill spoke to the media for the first time since the Michigan State game and is focused on the Wolverines' clash with Minnesota in two weeks.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The dust has slowly started to settle in Ann Arbor after the gut-wrenching 27-23 Michigan State loss that has been replayed over network television ad nauseum since the game's conclusion.

For Michigan punter Blake O'Neill, nine times out of 10 he makes that kick. Call it a fluke, miracle or whatever you desire. A new week brings new opportunity and that is something O'Neill is focusing on.

"Like any other punt your sort of go out there and go 'this is what I'm trying to do' and try to execute it to the best of your ability," O'Neill said. "Obviously that didn't work and instinct kicked in and I tried to kick it over my head. Didn't work out but that's life, that's football. You learn from it and you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on."

O'Neill could've decided to not speak on the events that happened in the waning seconds of the game. He could've dwelled on the play for the rest of the season and let it eat away at him. Instead, he stood tall and answered any question that came his way. For O'Neill, football will always be football.

"Why not?" O'Neill said. "I think football is a very interesting game, it has its ups and downs, highs and lows. I think that's the beauty of it. I'm happy to speak if people are willing to listen."

It was also noted how much support that he received from fans, students and alumni across the country. The quantity of well wishes spoke volumes to O'Neill.

"A lot of people," O'Neill said. "I'm not sure if I can pick out one person in particular. The amount of people that have taken time out of their day to say 'thank you for playing for Michigan' and supporting me, I'm really appreciative of all that."

He also noted he had a lengthy conversation with former U-M kicker Jay Feely.

At the end of the day, O'Neill understands the great responsibility that's placed squarely on each player's shoulders when he or she decides to play collegiate athletics. Mistake or no mistake, Ann Arbor is right where O'Neill wants to be.

"I'm happy to play for Michigan football and when you choose to play at the collegiate level you take the good and the bad."

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