The Players Speak to the Press

At the weekly press conference, Grant Bowman, Charles Drake, Adam Finley, Victor Hobson, Bennie Joppru, John Navarre, and Tony Pape addressed the loss to Iowa, and their preparation for Michigan State.

Defensive Lineman Grant Bowman

On players having to step up because of injuries

"The Big Ten is a rough conference. I have always seen that as the year goes on you are going to lose people. It is inevitable that some guys are going to go down and some guys are going to have to step up. There has been a lot this year, especially recently, and it has been tough. I think we have a deep team and some guys are gong to step up. You find out a lot about the young guys. It is a tough thing to be a young guy when you are not sure if you are going to play or not. All of a sudden somebody gets hurt in front of you and you are thrust into a primary role. It is a difficult thing but people find out a lot about the guys that are asked to step in."

On opponents scoring on the first drive

"It is really important because a lot of time the first drive sets the tone for the game. At the same time it is really difficult to stop an opponent on the first drive because you do not get a feel for them. Each team blocks a little differently, each team lines up a little differently and as the game goes on you pick up on different things that the offensive line does in their stances and their splits that help you recognize the play faster and help you know where the ball is going. That first drive you are trying to figure them out. Plus the pace of the game is a little different. You have not really settled down and figured out what their game plan is going to be. If you can get a stop in their first drive and settle down in the game, it is a big advantage."

On the rivalry with Michigan State

"I was very surprised. The thing about rivalry games is that records do not matter because teams are going to fight as hard as they can. It seems like rivalry games are a season in themselves. Whatever the point spreads are or what people are saying going in, I think you can throw that out. It is going to be a tough game no matter what."

On if the younger guys understand the rivalry

"The longer you are here, the more you can feel it. As a freshman, when I came in from Ohio, you do not really think of Michigan-Michigan State as a huge game. One of the things that I have learned as I went on, I have a brother who lives in Michigan and it is something he talks about all the time about how the state is divided and how everybody is either a Michigan fan or a Michigan State fan. You really realize when you go around Michigan for a while and talk to people how important the game is in Michigan because so many people went to either school or had friends or family who went there. Everybody is connected to one of the universities in some way. It is a huge game for the state. After you have played in a couple of them and see how hard-hitting it is, you start to understand how big a rivalry it is."

On if he has heard more about the Ohio State loss of the Michigan State loss

"I live right on the outskirts of Columbus, so every time I go home I hear it from my friends and parents that I run into. Even people that do not know I play football for Michigan, if I wear a Michigan T-shirt I hear about it. My mom has a Michigan license plate and she got pulled over by a policeman to ask why she had a Michigan plate in Columbus. That is how it is for me. The Ohio State game is in my face a lot more. When you are up here you can definitely tell when somebody is a Michigan State fan and they are more willing to say something about it."

On if the game is more physical

"In a rivalry sort of game, there is a different feeling to it. You are not just out there playing football, you are trying to prove something. That goes for all rivalry games. Everybody is trying to get a little extra hit in. Everybody is trying to come off the ball a little harder. Everybody is trying to get an extra hit in the back. There is maybe a little more of a push to get to the quarterback. It is little things and you can really feel it the next day when you wake up and how sore you are, when you watch that film and see how physical both teams were to each other."

On trash talking

"There is always going to be a little bit of it. I am not sure there is more of it. It seems that in rivalry games the playing is going to do the talking. You are only going to be talking if you are giving the other guy a beating. Talking is going to take over if you are beating someone, but playing is the main thing."

On if playing Michigan State helps take the focus off the Iowa loss

"Regardless on if you are coming off a win or a loss, when you are in a rivalry week, that is something special. You know you are playing for a little something extra and something that is more important to the program than other games are. It definitely steps it up and it is a little easier to move on."

On how the team collapsed after the Michigan State loss last year

"It was a difficult loss last year and it was tough to come back from. This is a different team and a different group of guys I think as a unit, and our senior leadership is a lot more stable this year. I do not think that something like that will be allowed to happen. I think a lot of the guys that you see that are fourth- and fifth-year seniors are guys with character that will continue to play hard no matter what happens, no matter what the win-loss record is or what the score is. We are guys that have a lot take a lot of pride as individuals in who we are and what we represent. No matter what happens, I think you are going to see a team that really plays hard."

On if losing twice in a row serves as motivation

"When you are playing a game a lot of time you hear about people talk about history. You hear about the home team has won this many times and the team that has won the rushing battle has won this many times. When you are really preparing for a game and getting into a game, those issues really do not take place because the level that you are trying to compete at you are going to compete at that top level no matter what the issues are. I do not think that somebody saying that if you lose twice you are going to be the first team to since whenever to lose twice in a row, that is not going to add something extra because you are already giving it all you have."

On Michigan State's final drive last year

"A two-minute situation at the end of a game, especially a rivalry game, is as pressure a situation that you can be in. Things are happening so fast and you are just trying to slow them down and slow the pace of the game down. You see the clock running and then you are tying to run to the ball. As tired as you are, you are trying to get the play called without a huddle. You are trying to line up again and keep going and attacking the other team. It is really a difficult situation. It was a tough way to lose but you cannot really think about last year. I do not think that we are. We have another week here and we have a great opportunity to play in a rivalry game. Every opportunity to play in a big game like this is a special opportunity and you have to treat it as such. We have to prepare that way. I do not really think you think about what happened before."

On if the coaches use what the other team says to motivate the team

"It is a little bit. At the same time the game motivates you in itself. It is not something where you have to make a video up or show something to get you motivated. It is not something where you have to dig down deep to play hard. It is Michigan State week, and that is motivation in itself."

On if memories of past games are burned into his memory

"You are never going to forget a loss. I can tell you with great detail every loss I have had since I have been here, but I probably could not tell you the big wins because that is what you remember as a competitor. At the same time, all the talk, all the hoopla, all the build-up to the game, as soon as you get to the game and you get that first hit, you are playing football. All of that stuff goes out the window."

Safety Charles Drake

On seeing Cato June get injured

"It was really tough because Julius Curry got hurt the previous week and then I saw Cato go down. Just being a senior and those guys being seniors as well just made it hard to see. Cato wants to win badly and he felt really bad when I talked to him. On the other hand, he's doing all right so that was the good thing out of everything. He came down to the building on Sunday and he sat in on the team meeting with us. He was kind of down because he's a competitor and he was sad that he didn't get to finish the game and we lost and that it hurt us for the Big Ten. I was just trying to stay positive and that he should be happy because he's walking and everything is fine. He just got knocked out a little and that's it."

On being able to put the Iowa loss behind him due to the Michigan State game

"It's not easy to put any loss behind me but you have to, especially against a team like Michigan State and the type of weapons they have on offense. We had to get our focus in order right after the game and I think we'll be ready."

On the talent of MSU receiver Charles Rogers

"I think Charles Rogers is probably the best receiver in the country and he'll be the best receiver I play against in my college career. I think the guys in our room know that and the guys on the team know that and everybody is going to be preparing for a guy like Charles Rogers."

On the level of intensity needed to prevent a losing skid

"It's really important for me because last year I saw the way the seniors went out and just being a young guy you don't want to see the guys leaving on a bad note like that. I'm really confident that we'll get it together and try not to go back to Florida."

On the way the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry has affected him

"One thing I have learned is that no matter what the records are on either team it's always going to be a tough game. Guys are going to be in there fighting and there are a lot of guys on either team that take this game personally. I take this game personally and I'm not even from Michigan. It's just one of those games that I'll always remember and I'm glad that I came to Michigan for."

On Michigan State

"I don't really have anything bad to say about Michigan State. They have a lot of talented guys on their team and I know it's going to be a fight and I hope we end up on the winning end."

On how a comment from an opposing player can provide motivation

"You always have to just line up and play but sometimes when a guy is popping his mouth off it kind of motivates players and it makes them maybe dig down a little deeper than they would because the other guy's out there talking and shooting his mouth off. Like Coach (Lloyd Carr) says, you never want to give the other team any fuel. It doesn't make too much of a difference but it can make a difference sometimes."

On facing a quarterback with little to no experience vs. facing a veteran

"I think that a veteran guy has played against Michigan and played in our stadium and kind of knows about the pressures that are there and he can make better decisions as opposed to a guy who has only had one start and might mess up some plays and some throws. One thing about that is that he has an opportunity to make his mark and you have to watch out for guys like that too. They might take some more chances and try to put points on the board early and do some things a normal veteran wouldn't do. It can go either way for us."

Punter/Placekicker Adam Finley

On being a punter/placekicker

"I has always kind of been a punter and placekicker. The last couple of years, I have been more of a punter than placekicker. It is not too different though."

On his 40-yard field goal against Iowa

"You usually get an initial feeling from the contact if you hit it well or did not hit it well. There is never an absolute feeling from it until you see it go through, but you can usually tell right when you hit it if it has a good chance."

On if it is tough to kick in front of 100,000 people

"It is a little bit. Obviously it is going to be different. It is a game situation. It is always going to be a different mindset and you just try to block it out as much as possible. You just try to get the mindset that it is just like a practice."

On if he was struggling during warmups

"Not too bad. It takes you a little bit to warm up and get ready to go. I was hitting my kicks in warmups. I was not crushing the ball, but I was hitting the kicks. It is a feeling of getting comfortable more than anything in warmups. I do not really cue myself too much off of that. Obviously if you are missing kicks in warmups you have to get something changed, but I do not get my mindset too much off of warmups."

On his ankle injury

"I got it twisted up pretty well during the roughing against Penn State. I kind of jammed it up a little bit so I have been trying to come back from that. It has affected me somewhat. I think it is a process of learning to deal with it until it comes back to full strength."

On if he hopes to win the kicking job outright

"I hope so. I think it just depends on how you do in games. Troy (Nienberg) and Philip (Brabbs) have done real well in practice and have shown well in practice. I think it is going to be a competition from here on out. I hope to do well in games and help the team down the stretch to get to where it needs."

On if he ever said he wanted to be placekicker

"I do not think so. That is a coaching call. I do not get too vocal with that. I just try to show what I can do and work on stuff in practice. I figured that my opportunity was going to come if it was going to come. That was my mindset. You cannot force any issues."

On kicking and punting

"I like kicking and punting. I did them in high school and I enjoy doing them both. If I am the guy to kick, them I am the guy to kick. If someone does well next year, then they are going to kick. In the past two years I have put my primary focus in punting and I tried to get as good as I could at punting. Now that kicking has come back into the picture, the focus changes a little bit but my primary focus is still punting. At the same time I do not mind doing both at all."

On if kicking in clutch situations is an extension of practice

"For the most part. I think if you put any more stress on it than that, you are only hurting yourself. It is all about finding your stroke and getting your confidence. If you put any more stress than that on it or if you try to build it up too high, it is going to hurt you more than help you."

On if he is in a groove punting

"I think there is always a lot of room for improvement. I am doing all right in my mind but there is stuff that I could have done this on that punt or I could have done that on this punt. Up until last game, I had really been trying to pin people deep more than I have in the last few games. I did a lot better last game that I had in the past in that aspect. I think there are always aspects of the punting game that you can help your team out and put them in a better position."

On if he is confident in placing his punts

"I think you always have to have as high a level of confidence as possible. As the season goes on the higher your confidence gets. The more games you have under your belt, the more confidence you have out on the field that you know what to do and how to do it."

On if his field goal served as a tryout

"I do not know if it was a tryout or not. I have been kicking since the Notre Dame week in practice to regain the kicking stroke. I think it was a warmups decision on who was going to be doing the kicking today. I think it was more that Philip (Brabbs) was going to do extra points and I was going to do field goals that day. That was the game-time decision."

On if his knee surgeries affect his kicking

"As far as knees, it takes more of a pull on me but it is not anything that is going to hurt me, I do not think. Kicking and punting work negatively towards each other in their swing strokes. In terms of my health and my knees, I am out of the surgeries far enough that it is not going to hurt me in any way."

On how important it is for him to contribute and help the team finish strong

"It is a huge part of my mindset. Special teams always play a big role, especially in big games. It seems like it is always coming down to special teams plays. As a unit, our coverage teams have been doing tremendously well this year trying to pin teams deep and getting field position for our offense and setting up our defense. I think special teams can really lift this team up for the last four games heading into the end of the season. We really want to finish strong and we are looking to win out."

On if kicking field goals will affect his punting

"I do not worry about it. It is an issue but I do not worry myself with the issue. I just have to go out and do what I have done my whole life. It is more or less going out and getting the job done. You cannot get yourself worried about other issues and what if this happens or what if that happens. That is going to just add to anything that is there. You have to go out and make your kick."

On if he was surprised at kicking the 40-yard field goal

"I do not see it as being surprised. I am not a coach so I do not know if it was a good or bad decision. I was not surprised in my mind. I was just ready to kick the field goal."

On the field goal against Iowa

"If you want to see it as a challenge, maybe it was. I am not sure if it was a challenge or not. They got us stopped on third down and wanted us to make a play. I personally did not see it as a challenge. I just went out and tried to get the job done."

Linebacker Victor Hobson

On last year's loss to MSU

"It was a tough loss. You never want to lose like that in a big rivalry game where the winner gets bragging rights. It's something that's in the back of my head but I've moved on."

On the defensive mistakes made against Iowa

"We missed tackles and made mental errors that all led to big plays. That's something we want to eliminate. The main thing we have to do is make tackles and get people to the ground. That's something we're going to concentrate on and focus on this week."

On the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State

"It's a big rivalry, you learn that when you come here as a freshman. I didn't know much about the history of the rivalry before I came, but I learned really fast."

On the objectives of the defense

"It's important for us to come out each week and stop whoever we're playing. That's what we go out there to do; we don't go out to let people score. We're going to stop whoever we're playing on every drive if possible."

On playing a big game after a tough loss

"It does make it a little easier to focus, coming off a big loss. We get to go out again and prove to our fans what we're capable of doing."

On the trash talking between the two schools

"A lot of people like to talk trash; we just like to keep it to ourselves. Come Saturday, if we want to talk a little, we can."

On the bad blood between the two schools

"That's all part of a rivalry. It's not going to get any better. You have two teams who don't like each other who are both looking to win. That's part of a rivalry."

On thinking ahead of schedule in the Big Ten

"The schedule is tough. Right now, we have to focus on Michigan State. We can't look ahead and think about how we should finish. We need take care of each game at a time. If we start looking ahead, we'll finish the same as we did last year."

On the clock controversy in last year's game against MSU

"The fans focus on it more because we as players know that we made a lot of mistakes that game. We shouldn't have let it get to that point."

On coming together as a team after a loss

"It's really not that difficult. We're a close team. As long as we stay together as a team and play like we know how to do and execute the game plans, we'll be all right."

On his role as captain after the Iowa loss

"You can't start finger pointing in general. As a captain, I'm really not that vocal of a person. We're a close-knit group and we'll stick together. We lost as a team and we'll win as a team."

On Michigan State's sub-par record this season

"I'm surprised because they're a talented team. The Big Ten Conference is tough this year, as it is every year. This is a rivalry game; the records go out the door for this game."

On Michigan State quarterback Damon Dowdell

"He's a good quarterback, he's very mobile. We just have to watch film and see as much of him as we can and we'll be prepared for him."

On his individual performance this season

"I think I'm playing up to my potential, but I always want to play better. I'm not content with how I'm playing. The coaches watch the game and noticed things that I doing wrong. I'm real critical of myself in practice and in games."

On hearing the MSU players talk after last season's game

"It's something that I'll always remember but I have to put it in the back of my mind. I can't go into the Michigan State game thinking about how we lost to Iowa. It's something we'll put behind us and we'll be prepared for Michigan State."

Tight End Bennie Joppru

On losing

"This is the second time we've come out with a loss this year. We know we have a big game coming up this week. I think we've put this one behind us faster than the Notre Dame loss."

On having a big game making it easier to deal with the loss

"I think just because it's so deep in the season and we know that if we lose one more we'll be in some serious trouble. We have a great season still and we all know that."

On defining a great season

"Every time you can come up to and realize your potential that's going to be one. I think we'll be able to do that."

On looking at film

"Every loss has that. It wasn't special from any loss in the past. We got outplayed. They made plays when they had the ball and we didn't."

On if Iowa's defense was the best they've played

"I can't really compare it too well. They're a physical team, just like any other team we've played."

On if he was surprised by Iowa

"Not really. They went with the same stuff that had all year. They played the same offense and the same defense and try to beat you with what they've got and they did that on Saturday."

On addressing the loss

"Dropped passes are obviously from lack of concentration, but sometimes during the game it's hard to concentrate on the ball, especially with a defender hanging all over you."

On Michigan State

"I think right away in the locker room we realized every time we play Michigan State you can throw the record book out the window, it doesn't matter who won the last 10 games. That's why it's such a great rivalry."

On the rushing attack

"We take what defenses give us. On Saturday they dared us to beat them with our passing attack and we just couldn't do it. I don't think we have a lack of a rushing attack. I think we have a good rushing game. When teams have allowed us to rush the ball by defending the pass, we've been able to move the ball quite well."

On waiting to play a rival again after a loss

"You can go on and think about [winning], but you can't get caught in it too much because than you'll start looking past opponents."

On last year's loss sticking with them

"I know a lot of guys, myself personally, think about it. But as far as it being in the front of my head thinking about it, not too much. It's always in the back of my head. They beat us last year and that's the bottom line."

On being on the sideline at the end of the MSU game

"We were just cheering hard and just hoping we'd get a stop. That was last year's game and we're just focused on playing this year's game."

On losing

"You don't want to lose to anyone, be it Ohio State or Michigan State. In the Big Ten, you don't want to anybody, obviously especially your rivals."

On losing at Michigan State last year

"We were disappointed. No one can make you lose a game; you lose a game on your own."

On Michigan State's team

"They're a very talented team. When you watch them on film you see that they have all the talent in the world, they always have. We know they'll play their best against us. They have a very athletic team and they'll give it their best."

On playing tight end

"I've always been able to catch the ball fine. It was just a matter of waiting my turn, I guess, or realizing I have to put the work in. I decided to put the work in."

On the play at the end of last year's MSU game

"I think it's extremely overplayed, just because you should never put yourself in the position to have anyone, anyone, take the game away from you. We all know that."

On the so-called "bad" rivalry

"I think it's a great rivalry. I think it's a good one for the sport and both schools. For the graduates and students, it's something to cheer for your schools and measure them against something. I think it's a great game."

On the game

"It's a hard-fought game every year and that's the way it should be."

On being better equipped to finish out this season

"I don't know if equipped is the right word. Last year, I don't want to say fell apart, but we lost some tough games last year. We maybe looked past some teams last year but that won't be the case this year. We going to take it one game at a time and get as many wins as we can."

On the MSU game

"For both teams it can make or break your season. Regardless of the problems they may be having up there, I don't think it has any bearing on the importance of this game for them or us."

Quarterback John Navarre

On why the offense didn't click against Iowa

"We didn't execute as well as we wanted to. I can't say there was, overall, one reason for it. There are a number of reasons for it and those are things that we have to address this week and that we addressed yesterday and we know what we need to work on to get better."

On if the running game is still a viable offensive option

"I think so. We can go to work and get anything done we want to, and running the ball is something that we're going to work on. We didn't have many attempts. I think maybe we could have done something there. If we have a will to run the ball we can get it done. The way the game played out we didn't run that much. All of us still have confidence in our running game, and I think we can do what we want to there."

On how losing late in the game to Michigan State changed the team's mentality

"It stuck with us because it's a big rivalry and everyone knows the importance of it. The bragging rights in the state are all that counts in this game and they definitely said some things after that last game and kind of called us out. We don't want to say that we were cheated out of a game but it was a tough game and we probably shouldn't have been in that situation in the end. It's a loss on the paper so we use it as motivation. We use every loss as motivation as we're going to use this Iowa loss to turn it around into positive energy. We're going to go into this week just like any other week, full bore. We know how special this week is and how important it is and we're going to play hard."

On being ready to finish the season strong compared to last year

"Everybody has said all year that there's something about this team. I think that this is a team that's not going to lie down and just finish the season mediocre. We're going to strap it up and we have a lot of pride and a lot of goals to attain. A lot of the goals we have are personal goals within our team, our coaches and ourselves. We want to accomplish those and there's no doubt in my mind that everyone on this team wants to finish strong. A lot of things can happen yet. We're focused on Michigan State right now and we have a lot of pride in that game. This week is going to be very important for us."

On the soul-searching done after the Iowa loss

"You try to look at the turning points. In a game like that you can't really say this is the one point where the game went south. You have to look at what you could have done. What could you have done to control the outcome? If you make a couple plays here then the game might be different. If we had called a better play here or we had guys open here and if you put all of that together that's the difference between winning and losing. That's what you want to focus on. If you win a game you still look at situations like that. We could have lost the game had we not made that play or made that call or stuff like that that you want to focus on week in and week out."

On whether the Michigan State rivalry or the Ohio State rivalry is bigger

"They're different types of rivalries. Michigan-Michigan State is an instate rivalry where it's about bragging rights. It's hard to explain why they're different. If you look at the Michigan-Ohio State that's the tradition, (Bo) Schembechler and (Woody) Hayes and all that stuff. That's a big, deep, rich tradition of that rivalry. With Michigan State it's the bragging rights of the state where there are two teams that, no matter what the records are, are going to go at it during the middle of the season and play hard. I can't really explain the difference but I say there is a difference. I don't want to say one is bigger than the other because they're both relatively big."

On which loss he hears about more from last season, Michigan State or Ohio State

"I don't hear much from the media, but what I will say is that the one more in my mind was obviously the last game, the one against Ohio State. When you say that you want to focus on the game at hand, this week I'm focused on Michigan State. Right now that last game is fresh in my mind and all of our minds. That's what we're focusing on. We're very excited for this game and very motivated. We're still looking at the things we did wrong last year and looking at what we can correct and how we can win this game. We're going to work just as hard as we've worked the rest of the weeks for any game in any rivalry because that's the way you have to be to be a champion."

On if having a big game allows the team to move on after Iowa

"Michigan State is a huge game for us and it is definitely added motivation to turn it around real quick. We have to come to our stadium again against a great ballclub and uphold a great rivalry and a great tradition."

On the intensity of the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry

"I've been a part of it for a couple of years now and the bragging rights and the nastiness of the rivalry have become evident. I don't know what it was like before that but I've been around rivalries in high school and they were like that. I don't want to say it's a bad rivalry but it's an instate rivalry that if you look at any other rivalry across the country it's going to be similar to that. There's going to be trash talking. People are always going to have their opinions about the game before and after no matter what the score is. We proved that was evident after last year. It's a normal, traditional rivalry."

On being able to pick up on the intensity of a rivalry

"You can tell by the level of their play. You learn that with any rivalry, Michigan State or Ohio State. Their record doesn't matter and neither does ours. You can watch this team on film and see how they play but when they come in to play you it's a different ballclub. That's a sign of how rich your tradition is and how strong the rivalry is between the teams. It's very noticeable."

On finishing out the season

"We have to win out. I would like to finish the season 11-2. That's not a bad record at all. I want to beat the teams we lost to last year and finish our season the right way and on a high note. A lot of things are still going to happen for us. We have a lot of goals out there. A lot of things can change these final three to four weeks of the season. The Big Ten is wacky and a lot of stuff is going to happen. There's no doubt in my mind that we're still going to be in it and we still have our goals to attain and we still have a very successful season ahead of us. That's what we have to keep in mind. A lot of teams fall into the trap of we lost our primary goal, so the heck with the rest of the season. That's not us, that's not who we are and that's why we have to battle as a team. We're doing a very good job with that and we're going to prove to ourselves that that's what we came to do."

Offensive Lineman Tony Pape

On the running game

"Running the ball is half of our offense. Like we said before, we want to be a balanced offense and on Saturday we turned into a one-dimensional offense. That is not the position we want to be in."

On if they want to run the ball against Michigan State

"Absolutely. That is the one thing we are going to re-focus on this week. We need to become a tougher team. We got out-toughed by Iowa and we are not going to let that happen again."

On if he prefers playing left tackle

"It is not up to me. I will play whatever position the team needs me to play at in order to win. I will be ready to play both."

On if the Michigan State game is a bad rivalry

"I do not know what that means. It is definitely a nasty rivalry. The two teams have a lot of animosity towards each other. There is not a hatred but a mutual respect that everybody comes to that game ready to play and everybody gives everything they have."

On if the team is now in the home stretch

"We have a few young guys on the line right now and I am going to have to step up as a leader and try to guide the younger players and try to show them what to do and what not to do for the rest of the season. We have four games left and it may not seem like a lot, but the last four games are going to be the toughest four games we have played all season."

On if the line is better prepared for the stretch

"We have more experienced guys on the line and we are not going to let what happened last year happen this year. This team's leadership is not going to let that happen."

On if it is tougher to lose a close game or a blowout

"It is tougher to lose a blowout because you are in more control of what happens there. We are in control of what we do and how we play. That is the only thing we can control. If we lose because of something out of our control, that is just the way it happens."

On if the Michigan State game will help the team get over the Iowa loss

"This Michigan State game is the best thing that could happen to us to get over the Iowa loss. It is exciting to get out and play again, especially playing Michigan State and having an intrastate rivalry."

On being out-toughed by Iowa

"As an offensive line we have to be honest with ourselves and take a look at what happened in that game. It would be pointless to lie to myself and say we just played bad when that is not what happened. We watched the film and that is what happened. We re-established some goals and re-thought what we are going to have to do."

On what the next step is

"You have to take it and make sure it is not going to happen against. During the beginning of the season, we considered ourselves as a tough offensive line. With what happened gives us a reality check and puts it back in perspective what we have to do to win."

On if this year's line is better than last year's

"I think we are. We are getting better as the season goes on. The Iowa game was tough on us, but I think we are going to learn from it and improve on what we did last week. We can only get better. From last year we are definitely improved and we are a smarter, better-techniqued offensive line."

On if the line was out-toughed against Michigan State last year

"Last year was a blood bath between us. They ran the ball extremely well against us last year. Our defense is really focused on stopping the run this year. What we want to do is possess the ball and keep that offense off the field because they have playmakers on the other side of the ball. We need to try to possess the ball and keep them off the field."

On how teams are out-toughing the line

"It is a matter of how the game goes on. In the first quarter, both teams are going to be fired up and it might be a stalemate for the first quarter. Then the second quarter you might be a little more conditioned than he so you might be getting an inch or two off the ball. Then when the third quarter or the fourth quarter come around is where you get your movement and your strength. You are better conditioned, you trained harder in the off-season and you are bettered prepared for the fourth quarter than he is. You just wear him down up until that fourth quarter and then that is when you really put it on him."

On running the ball only 20 times against Iowa

"We are going to do what we have to in order to win. If Coach (Andy) Moeller has to throw the ball 60 times to win, that is what we are going to do. What I think or what I feel does not matter in the play call. I just go out there and try to do what I am coached to do and whatever play he calls, I am going to block it as well as I can."

On adjustments in the game

"What happened last week is we became a one-dimensional offense. Once you start throwing the ball three out of the four downs, teams are going to know it and start to tee off on you. When you are on the offensive line you have to step back and look and read what they are going to have to do. When you are in that one-dimensional offense and you pass the ball all the time, they know you are going to be set up in pass protection so they know they can do what they need to do to get to the quarterback without having to play the run."

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