On what playing in the Rose Bowl means:
"Even when I signed to come to Michigan I thought about the Rose Bowl because that is what you expect as a Michigan player. To finally be able to go out there, the expectations are building. There definitely would have been a big empty part in my career if I never would have had this chance to play in the Rose Bowl."
On playing USC:
"I think it is really neat. We don't get to control it so we are going to play who we play. For me personally, I always watched the Rose Bowl growing up and it was the Big Ten vs. the Pac-10. It always seemed like a really great tradition. It is as it should be."
More on USC:
"We haven't had a chance to study them because we haven't got the film, but man, their quarterback's numbers are unbelievable. The offensive points that they put up, for me as a defense player it looks like it is going to be the biggest challenge of the season and that is how it should be."
On going against USC:
"All year this team has been talking about how we want respect, but it seems like we can't ever get respect. Whenever we do something big it's always that we're not the team of old, or Ohio State wasn't as good as they've been. We haven't been able to earn everyone's respect outright. So when we found out we were playing USC it was like what we've been asking for. This is our chance because everyone knows USC is one of the top three teams in the nation. So if we can play a good game and be the victors in the end, we'll get all the respect we ever wanted."
On John Navarre:
"One thing about Navarre that we knew coming into this year was that he was a much more mature quarterback and was capable of handling the pressure that comes with starting at the University of Michigan. We talked last year and the year before that John was trying to gain his confidence. We knew once he gained his confidence there'd be no stopping him. It seemed like it was this summer when John gained that confidence and we knew going into this year he was going to do everything in his capability to lead us to a Big Ten championship and possibly something more. John is a leader now. He can care less about what people say because he realizes the bigger picture. You can't worry about what people say because if you spend too much time worrying about that, it takes away time that you have to get better, time you have to do other things. John just brushed everything off and became the man that we needed him to be. As a result, we're champs. A large part of it is because of John Navarre and his leadership efforts this year."
"They have a lot of speed. It is a great team; they are the No. 1 team in the nation. They have been playing great throughout the year. They have a lot of weapons in the backfield and out at the wide receiver spot."
More on USC:
"There is no question this will be our biggest test. They have great players over there on offense. Their entire backfield, quarterback, running backs and receivers are great players. I think this will be our biggest challenge this year."
On USC's Mike Williams:
"I really haven't watched him too much this year, but what I have seen is that he is very is a big guy and is fast with great hands. He is the whole package, so I just have to come out focused and play my game."
On the Rose Bowl:
"I think it's a marker that signifies a certain accomplishment here at Michigan. The Rose Bowl is the Big Ten Championship. I don't think the BCS took anything away from it, I think it's still what it is today and it's the tradition of the Granddaddy of Them All, and the people who have been out there can't stop talking about it."
"I think they are a very dangerous ballclub. They have great team speed. That will be a very fast defense that we will have to face. The key will be preparation just like it has been all season."
On USC's defense:
"It is a challenge that we are going to have to step up to. They have great athletes on their defensive line. Their whole defense has great athletes all around. We are going to have to come up with a game plan, watch them and try and figure out their weaknesses and go out there and exploit them."
On the liklihood of success going up against USC's run defense after the performance against Ohio State:
"I don't know. USC has had success stopping everybody, so for me to go out there and say they are not going to be able to stop our run game would be stupid. They are a great team, so we are going to go out there, practice real hard, try and improve each day and get ready."
To view the entire transcript of player comments from Monday's presser, please click here.