Q&A with Pat Massey

At Big Ten Media Day last week, senior defensive end Pat Massey discussed the addition of Coach Stripling, the criticism the defense has taken during the offseason, and more.

On the addition of Coach Stripling:

"He's been great. Coming in at the beginning of spring ball he emphasized fundamentals and just getting back to good technique. I think if you look at our defensive line from the beginning of the spring to the end of the spring, you see a lot of improvement and guys who got better."

On if the players ribbed Stripling about coming over from Michigan State:

"We definitely gave him a hard time at first. I think he kind of expected that. He is a great coach. He is a player's coach. He is in there interacting with us all of the time and joking around. We definitely have fun, but at the same time, he's all business. He wants to win. That's the biggest thing with him. He's going to make us better."

On if the Big Ten Championship could easily come down to the Michigan Ohio State game:

"Definitely not very easily. If you look at the Big Ten…if you look at our non-conference games starting with Northern Illinois, we've got a long road ahead of us. Our Big Ten schedule is going to be tough. We've got some big road games. We're just going to have to take it one game at a time and hopefully get to that point. Hopefully in that last game we will be playing for the Big Ten championship."

On if he just gave cursory looks to Ohio State and Notre Dame because family members had attended those schools:

"I didn't just look at them because family members had been there. I think there was more to it than that. Both of those schools have great tradition, and I was definitely interested. As far as Michigan goes, they made it real easy for me to make a decision. I just liked everything about it. I liked the players there…the environment that they've got up there…it's a great school. It's great to be part of the tradition."

On who his brother that attended Ohio State roots for:

"He is one of those politically guys. If you ask him he'll say he is rooting for Michigan and all of that. He's supportive, but he is an Ohio State guy. But he definitely wants to see Michael and I be successful."

On if his brother reminds him that Ohio State has won three of the past four against Michigan:

"I don't think he has to. I take that pretty personally. That's a big deal to me. There's not too much he has to say to make me mad."

On what happened on defense at the end of last season:

"That's the thing…I think people are breaking it down too much. People are trying to look at the schemes…whether it's a 3-4 or a 4-3. You guys didn't blitz enough…you didn't do this…you didn't do that. The bottom line is Coach Herrmann put us in a position to succeed, and as players we just didn't execute. I think that was just do mostly to fundamentals. Guys missing tackles and takings bad pursuit angles. I don't think it should matter what defense we're playing. Coach Herrmann is always going to put us in a position to succeed and it's up to us to go out there and execute. I don't think we as players did that."

On if the questions about the defense have worn on them:

"We're the first to admit that we didn't perform. This is one of the consequences from it. We're not going to be complaining about people giving us a hard time or asking us what we've got to do to get better because it's our fault. That's something that comes to the territory. We're looking forward to the opportunity to get out there and show the fact that we're a better defense now."

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