"The Rose Bowl…it doesn't get any better than that. It's good to see all of you. We are ready to practice here in a little bit. We've gotten four practices in. We'll practice this afternoon. Today is an off day. There are no classes. We'll practice Friday evening. We'll come back Saturday morning with a light practice. Then we'll be done. We'll go home, then reconvene on the 22nd in Los Angeles. We'll practice once on the 23rd, once on the 24th, and then have Christmas dinner. We'll be off on Christmas day, and then we'll practice again on the 26th to get ready for the game."
"First of all when I look at them, they are very talented and well coached. They're 10-1 and only lost to Oklahoma. I think they are a big, strong, physical offensive football team. I think Benson is a great tailback. He is a guy that has got great vision, outstanding power, and excellent quickness. He is a guy that can hit the home run, and he has done that a number of times."
"Of course, at quarterback they have a guy that is a great athlete. A guy that makes a lot of throws after things break down. He has made a lot of big plays when things go wrong in the pocket. They have a number of plays designed for him to run the football. So we're dealing with a spread offense and we have to find a way to stop an outstanding running attack and a passing game that can hurt you because you are spread out. They make you defend the run. If you don't stop the run, you're going to have a problem beating Texas."
"Defensively they have great quickness and are very physical up front. They are a team that runs to the football with of course the best linebacker…when you add a guy that has won both the Butkus and the Nagurski awards, you're talking about one of the best football players, defensively, in a while. He (Derrick Johnson) is their leader. He makes plays sideline to sideline. He makes a lot of big plays. Their special teams are very good. I don't see any weaknesses there. We're just faced with the best football team we've played this fall and we've got to play our best game."
On defending running QB's and the spread offense:
"Obviously in that offense, the problem it creates is an extra guy as a running back. I don't know that anybody has the answer to it. I think what you have to do is you start out defensively preventing big plays. That's where you have to start. You have to do a good job against the running game. If you can get them into third and long then you've got an excellent chance to get them off of the field. Unless you get them to third and long, you've got a problem. Of course, in our last game we had some drives where we didn't get them off the field."
"Nobody has the real answer because you are spread out and technically, they've always got the answer. They've got the football and the quarterback can look out and throw if there are too many up there. If you don't, then they're going to run it. That offense is designed to always have the chalk last."
On utilizing a spy as part of a defensive gameplan:
"Anytime you do that you slow his pass rush down, you slow his pursuit down, and he has got to think as opposed to react. It becomes, in many ways, an option type defensive scheme where you assign different guys on different blocks. They now are playing assignment football. That's a challenge. I think defensively across this country, in high school and college, this offense creates problems because you always have some other standard offenses during the season. When you get to those offenses, they're a little bit different. Certainly they create more problems. Offensively, if you can keep your quarterback healthy, it is a good scheme."
On the challenge of simulating a running QB in that offense:
"Anytime you are preparing for an offense that is different from your own, you have problems. We don't have a guy that has the athletic ability of (Vincent Young) and who knows that offense. Down through the years when we played Randel-El and some of those guys, we would take a wide receiver that was a great athlete and we could do that. It is very difficult because we don't run that offense. Everything about it, not just from the quarterback standpoint…the tailback standpoint…it's all different. Hopefully because we do have extra time to prepare as a result of the bowl preparation, we can get better simulation than if we only had a week to prepare."
"Well (laughing), I think certainly the career he has had gives him a right to answer that question as he sees it. Contrary to the consensus around here, I don't tell players what to say. That's the beautiful thing about a Michigan education and being an American. You have the right to freedom of speech…just like we have freedom of the press…the greatest two rights we have (smiling)."
"Braylon certainly has had a great career and I'm extremely proud of what he has done this season, the leadership he has given our team, and the example he has set on the field. He is certainly one of the great football players we have had at Michigan. I don't think there is any question about that."
On the problems with the defense down the stretch this year:
"I think when you really look at it, we played in the Michigan State game and the Ohio State game against the two best quarterbacks that we faced this year. Two great athletes. So I think you have to start there. In that offense, you've got some problems. When you look at it, in the last game we did not play well. You have to be able to tackle. You have to be able to get off blocks. You have to play together. You can't give up big plays. We did all of those things. Some of it, we would have like to have been in better defenses. Anytime you're not doing things like you want to do them, everybody accepts responsibility. I think the key to getting better is understanding that rather than finding fault, it's taking responsibility individually. I think down through the years our players and coaches have done that. Don't look at the other guy. Don't make excuses. We had a couple of excuses after the Ohio State game, and I don't like that. There are no excuses! You either play well, play hard, and play aggressively, or you don't. We didn't do that. We all have to take responsibility for that."
On the injury to Jeremy Van Alstyne:
"Jeremy Van Alstyne will miss this game. He injured his foot in the Ohio State game. He had surgery and he will be back in the fall, but we'll miss him we'll miss his toughness, I think he was getting better everyday and certainly, from where he was when we started practice, he came a long way but he won't play."
On the future of Clayton Richard:
"I will have conversations when we get back from the Rose Bowl with Clayton."
On Matt Gutierrez:
"Matt…he's rehabbing, working hard, and making good progress, but he won't be participating in spring practice."
On if the team has to participate in all of the Rose Bowl festivities and what goes into the decision of what hotel to stay in:
"The agreement is contractual, and there are certain obligations that we have and there are some you have a choice in."
"You want to stay in a nice hotel first and foremost. You only have a certain amount of hotels that can handle the number of people we have in that party. We need meeting rooms, dining rooms, and rooms where we can have treatment and taping. The first thing is to have a place where everyone can be comfortable and rest well and all those things."
On Adam Stenavich:
"Adam Stenavich has not practiced the last few practices because I suspended him pending finding out exactly what happened there. I'm hoping in the next day or two that I have all the information, and at that point I'll make a decision on whether he accompanies the team to Los Angeles."
On Larry Harrison and if he'll travel to Pasadena:
"We're all very concerned about Larry. This is not about football. Football is the least important thing in his life right now, and we're talking about his life. We're talking about him getting everything he needs to get in order to deal with whatever issues there are. That's our concern and our prayers are with him. We care about him and we hope the things he has to do, he can do to continue on and be a successful person. But no he will not."
On Jake Long:
"We really began offensively to be a powerful football team when Jake moved into the starting lineup and David moved to center. Jake has got a great future if he continues to have a great work ethic and an attitude that he wants to be the best. He is talented physically, he's a smart guy, he's tough, he's got all the things you look for, and now as a redshirt freshman…the experience of starting of those games in the season. The truth is he played at a very high level considering his lack of experience."
On who will replace Stenavich:
"Mike Kolodziej has moved into that position and Kolodziej will start the Rose Bowl game."
On the ability to let young players practice more in the Bowl practices:
"One of the great things about it from a program standpoint is the fact you do have 15 or 16 additional practices, so you have an opportunity to make some decisions. Our decision is always that we're going to spend time in each practice coaching our guys that will be back that did not play this year. So all those kids that were redshirted will have some opportunities and repetitions in practice."
On the Texas tight ends:
"I think they are an outstanding group. The thing that you get when you utilize two tight ends off the play action pass… you have be designed to stop the run and when they fake the ball to Benson and your linebackers are going that way and now the quarterback bootlegs him the ball and then bootlegs back to the opposite side. The flow of the play is a run. You get your flow, you get defensively going to the run... and now as the quarterback comes back to the other side you have another issue. First of all, did you stay home and contain him, because if you didn't he will run for a lot of yards. So the backside of the defense must stay home. When they stay home, they're taken out of the pursuit of the defense, which is something you can do against more conventional defenses. Your linebackers now have react quickly back and cover the tight end. That's part of the preparation. We have to be able to defend both the run and the play action pass that comes off the run."