On offseason workouts:
“This summer I was a mad man in terms of working out. I’ve never worked this hard in my life. I led by example and stopped TRYING to bring guys along, and just did it. I think in my three years of being here, I’ve never seen a team work like we did this summer. That’s scary because we worked hard last summer and it paid off in the long run. I think this summer we had guys going after it and selling out because we came so close. We got a taste of the BCS and the big life and I know these guys want to get back. They want to go to something bigger. They wouldn’t mind settling it in Florida. These guys have been working hard and that’s what we’re going to try to do this year…put everything on the line every down every snap every minute until it’s January 5th. We’ll see how it plays out.”
On the transition the receivers need to make to the new QB:
“Jason and Steve came in with Matt, so whenever they were taking reps, they were taking reps with him. They have their timing down with him…two years worth of timing. So that’s going to play to their advantage. As for me, I’ve been here a long time, so I’m adjustable. You can put any guy in there and I’m going to help him out. That’s what we have to do this year. I was here when Marquise Walker and Ron Bellamy had John Navarre in. It was his first time starting and he needed a guy that could be his safety net, and that was Marquise. I’ve seen how that works. I’ve been here for three years and I’m willing to be Matt’s safety net…. or Clayton’s safety net.”
On the different styles of the receivers making it tough on defenders:
“A lot of schools you go to have a particular pattern or a certain type of a receiver. A lot their receivers tend to be the same, so you can kind of cover those guys the same. But with us, it’s a whole different ball game. Steve Breaston is blazing fast and super quick, so he’s going to make a move to try to get by you. Jason Avant is technically sound. Everything he does is right on time and right on cue…from his movements to how he runs his routes. With him, you’re dealing with a technician. With me, I’m just a big, physical, fast, brute. I change it up. I’m going to try to punish you one play, try to run by you on the next, and try to use my Jason Avant skills after that. I’m just going to try and confuse you. I’ve been here three years and I know that if you confuse a DB, that’s how you get the upper hand. Never come out the same on every play. You have to kind of change up your style. Even if you’re not getting the ball, make it look like you are because that throws them off. None of us are alike and that’s what’s going to hurt DB’s.”
Is there a nickname for the receiving corps?
“We’re called ‘The Crew.’ We’ve been The Crew since Amani Toomer and Mercury Hayes. That’s when Coach Erik Campbell started it, and it just continued.”
On playing without the ball:
“I try to take people’s helmets off. I had the pleasure, when I transferred from Detroit King to Harper Woods Bishop Gallagher in high school, of playing for Coach George Sahadi. He was a wonderful coach and I love him to death. He taught me what it was to play football. He taught me the physical aspect of football and he threw me on defense. That was something I had never done, so I was just flying around not knowing what to do. I didn’t know how to tackle or anything. He stuck me at safety and said you just run around and hit people as hard as you can. I was already a pretty fast guy, so I just ran at people full speed. I never went backwards. I kind of carried that over to college. I love hitting. If there’s a play where I know I can come down on a safety, I go full speed and try to take his block off. If I’m blocking a guy, I still have that defensive mentality. I try to destroy a guy and put him on the ground. As I've gotten older, I’ve gotten stronger by coming through the Michigan program. The weight and strength I have now is going to pay dividends throughout the season. I just love playing without the ball.”
How did you get sideways with Coach Carr?
“Sideways isn’t a great way to put it, but I understand what you mean. There were some things I didn’t do last year as a guy wearing #1, a leader, and an example. I’ve got to do things by the book, but I was late for a meeting. You can’t do that wearing #1 and being a veteran. It’s not even wearing #1 as much as it is being a veteran in the system. You can’t be late. You’ve got young guys that came here because they like the way you play. They like the way Michigan is and they look up to you for what they’re supposed to do. You showing up to a meeting a couple of minutes late sets a bad example. That’s why Coach Carr was very disappointed and I can understand that. It hurt him because he’s trying to lead a program. He needs guys in the field that can relate to the players and kind of bridge the gap so he doesn’t always have to be the one talking. By me being late for that meeting, it sort of set a precedent for that particular time period, and it wasn’t one that we wanted.”
On whether it was a slow process getting things to where they are now with Coach Carr:
“It was one of those things that was over after it happened, but it still happened. Coach Carr is one of those guys that if you do something, you don’t just get off like that. It’s not like you just apologize and it’s over with. He’s one of those guys that’s going to make you work and put you through some tasks to make sure you want to be at Michigan and see if you really love Michigan like you say you do. It was a rough task. He and I have a great relationship now. We’ve gotten it back positive and it’s going to stay that way. “
Do you ever miss the hair?
“I do. I was use to running my fingers through it when I shampooed it. Now after one swipe all of the water is gone. At the same, time, I don’t. It’s gone and this look is more me. It’s more who I really am. It’s more, like I said earlier, part of the legacy I want to leave. When they remember me, I want them to remember a smooth face with a nice line-up and a low cut.”
“It was fun. That was one of the things I really couldn’t understand. It as a lot of fun for me, and the media had a lot of fun with it. But then, throughout the course of the season, they tried to spin it the other way and say the hair was a distraction. I don’t want to put any names out there, but that’s what it became about. Don’t act surprised (laughing). The media can get you if they want to. It just got ugly or a minute. That’s another one of the main reasons I cut my hair.”
On if receivers from year’s past come back:
“It’s funny because the second Tai Streets came to the Lions, he was up in Ann Arbor. I’ve seen Tai Streets numerous times this summer. Dave Terrell, who had stayed away from Michigan while trying to sort some things out, came back a couple times this summer. He worked out, talked to us, kicked it with us, and told us what it was all about…what to do and what not to do. I’ve talked to Amani Toomer on the phone a couple of times. I’ve seen Desmond when he has come back. I’ve gotten to talk to a number of Michigan receivers this year alone. There was a big huge alumni event this summer where all of the former players came back. It was a lot of fun. Guys that played back in the thirties came back. It lets you know what Michigan football and what the tradition is all about.”
On if his college career has gone by fast:
“It’s gone crazy fast. I can remember just yesterday being on my visit with Ron Bellamy as my host. Now Ron Bellamy has been on a NFL roster for the past two years. It’s been crazy. I’ve seen a lot of things happen; a lot of changes, a lot of guys step up and become superstars, and a lot of guys fall by the wayside. When I look back, it has gone fast, but it was all fun. That’s another reason I chose to stay. College was a great/fun experience for me. Some guys don’t like college and are ready to leave, but I’m different kind of guy. I love college and I’m ready to stay for another year.”