Terrance Taylor: "They like to run the ball…"

A long interview with Terrance Taylor on where the defense is at this point, and the attitude of: The Big Ten is a new season. Also - playing against a running team like the Badgers.

Question: What is your evaluation of the defense to this point? You talked about you guys were going to be a great front and all these stuff; have you been there?

Terrance Taylor: "We have made mistakes … corrections that needed to be made after the first three games. Now things are much smoother. The defense really pretty much is in and we are able to make checks, ask questions to certain things. Everything is running much smoother. As a D-line, I think we are there -- and this game is really going to let us know."

Question: What does smoother mean? What did you change?

Terrance Taylor: "Just the plays that we run; if we see something in the backfield we can make checks without the coach having to stop the play to say that you should have did this, you should have did that. We are doing it by ourselves, and we are not making any mental mistakes. It is much smoother."

Question: The defensive line this year -- when have you been at your best and when have you been at your worst?

Terrance Taylor: "Through just the three games, we have played pretty well but not good enough to win. Just little mistakes can cause you a touchdown or a first down. Those kinds of things we are trying to fix. I think we got a pretty good handle on that, and going into the Wisconsin game personally it is kind of a fun game for me because they run the ball. I know the D-line always likes a challenge, and Wisconsin is going to give us one."

Question: Last year obviously they gashed you guys pretty good; what do you remember from that game and what is going to be different?

Terrance Taylor: "The Wisconsin game, it was a lot of running."

Question: For you or them?

Terrance Taylor: "For them. They ran the ball a lot, because I had like 8, 11 tackles. So that is just them. They like to run the ball, and if they see an open window where they can run the ball, they are going to keep running the ball. So we've just got to close that window early and just go out there and play Michigan football. The Big Ten season -- that is when you really get into the season, and where you really find your team and who you are. That is where you get your name at. I think the seniors and other fellows are ready to go."

Question: Do you think there is a big difference between ‘the outside' where people are talking, can they finish .500 and make a bowl … and ‘inside' where you guys are talking about can we win the Big Ten?

Terrance Taylor: "I really don't pay attention to what other people say. I really haven't since Appalachian State. I don't even watch the news any more. What people say is what they say. They are not there when we are running. They are not there when we are practicing. They are not there when we are running fifths or gashers, so what they say really don't matter. Because they weren't there when we suffering over the summer and stuff like that. So that stuff goes in one ear and out the other. For us, the season started off rocky, but we've still got a lot of games left; and for the seniors this our last go around, so we are going to enjoy every bit of it and play hard."

Question: Have you seen enough that you feel like this is a team that could finish higher up in the Big Ten?

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah, yeah. I wouldn't say no, but yeah I do. Over the summer when we worked out; it was probably the hardest time of everybody's life on the team, but people pushed through it and took the new coaching staff and ran with it. A lot of good things and going into the season, it is just little things in the first three games that could have had a different effect on the game. That is just part of having a new offense, and a new defense in -- just little mistakes and you can't make those mistakes, especially not here. Now that, like I said things are much smoother, it is going to be a little different. We will see against Wisconsin."

Question: Why does the mood change when the Big Ten season starts?

Terrance Taylor: "I don't know; it is hard to explain. When you play somebody that is not in your conference or somebody from a different conference, you really don't know them; but you know when you play a Wisconsin, they are going to run the ball, they are going to be physical. They are going to be nasty. They are not going to stop. It is just little things where you know, I don't know, it is hard to explain. You've just got to play in the games."

Question: If you had to grade your team in nonconference, what kind of grade would you give it and why?

Terrance Taylor: "I would say a C, C+. We can get better. Like I said the mistakes are what kill you and we know that and that is what you practice for. That is what we practiced for over the bye week, and that is what we practiced for yesterday; and we are going to continue to practice to not make those mistakes. Because if you just look at the film, if you watch the game, it was so many mistakes that you really can't come back from stuff like that, and we know that. The seniors know that, and we talked to the younger guys and let them know that that you just can't make those mistakes; because it is my last year, it is a lot of guys' last year and we want to make the best of it."

Question: What have you seen in the Big Ten so far? Does any team strike you as one to beat or the top couple that you see from what you have been able to watch?

Terrance Taylor: "I haven't really been watching anybody but Wisconsin. They're pretty good. We're pretty good. We will see on Saturday."

Question: Do you think that home field thing is a little lost? I mean you split your first two at home, is it not the same place maybe in terms of intimidation?

Terrance Taylor: "No. Being at home does give us an advantage. I mean we don't have the crowd distracting the quarterback. They can make the calls better; it has its advantages; but if you have turnovers and making mistakes constantly, no matter who you are or where you at you are going to lose, it doesn't matter. Being at home now for Wisconsin, I think is good for our first Big Ten game. For the offense and the quarterbacks, so they can make their checks and get everything out; so yeah."

Question: Do you look at the Wisconsin game maybe as a little bit of a coming out party for you guys in the front seven on defense?

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah. I mean it is very important for us as D-lineman, because it is the Big Ten and they run the ball. If we can't stop the run, you're not going to win here. It is fun for the D-lineman to be able to stop the run; to go against a running team without having to watch the spread where he is faking here and he is throwing it here and he is throwing it back there. I didn't come here for all that (laughter). I came here for double teams and triple teams and chops and big running backs and stuff like that. So it is going to be real fun."

Question: How much have you seen this year on you individually? Have you gotten a lot more double teams in the past?

Terrance Taylor: "Notre Dame, I got double teamed basically the whole game. They were in max protection and chops. So I was a little sore after that with all the chops and stuff, but yeah. When you have a good defensive line, you are going to see more max protections, going to see a lot of chopping and a lot of screens. So we kind of expect that from Wisconsin: a lot of misdirection, counters and zones and screens; so we will see."

Question: Why do you the sack number and tackle for loss numbers have gone down after three games?

Terrance Taylor: "Uhh, just because, like I said, we have been playing pretty well. The D-line has been playing pretty well, and if you know you are playing against a good defensive you are going to do certain things in your offense to take them out of the game. That is exactly what Notre Dame did, three step drops, max protection and chopping, stuff like that. I mean you kind of expect it, especially if you are a good player, you are not going to get a one on one every game. You are going to get double teamed, stuff like that. So that is what is going on."

Question: Because of the style that Wisconsin plays, you are talking about smash mouth; is this sort of a chance for you guys to show that the core of what Michigan football has been is still there, is still intact?

Terrance Taylor: "I think so. I think so. I think some people think because we went to the spread that it is a little softer around here. Nothing has changed; it is still smash mouth, it is still Michigan football. I am going to put my helmet in your face. That is why I was so excited about Wisconsin, because I feel that is going to be the game where we show everybody what we did over the summer wasn't playing and not a joke."

Question: You talk a lot about conditioning over the summer; have you felt it on the field? Can you notice it in games yet?

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah. If you want the games, in the fourth quarter, we are not tired. I can remember the first game and the second game, where it was the third quarter and the offensive line is tired; they are over there breathing hard, and we're not even tired. That is why I said, it is just mistakes that we make that take us out of the game; because we're have got great conditioning and we are in the best shape of our lives, but we can't make mistakes because it is going to take us out of the game. Yeah I feel it. I weighed in at 295 yesterday."

Question: When you were talking about the practice being smoother, was that for the defense or can you see that on offense too?

Terrance Taylor: "I don't get to see the offense; they are on the other side of the field. So I don't know what they were doing over there, but the defense was much smoother."

Question: Coach Rodriguez said you are not going to face a traditional scout team in practice this week; you're facing more of the regulars to simulate Wisconsin and their size and stuff like that.

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah. It is probably that it was a good look. It is just about us executing our plays and doing the things that we need to do. Being here for four years and playing; it is just, if you are supposed to be in the A gap, you need to be in the A gap, especially with Wisconsin, because once you're out of your gap, they are up the field, PJ (Hill) is up the field for a touchdown. It is just stuff like that' those are the kind of things that we need to get down, and sometimes you got some guys that have been in there before and doing it. They can make sure that you are in your gap, because if you are not they are going to run the ball there. So I think it is going to help."

Question: You said earlier that you don't listen to what other people say. Do you get any kind of sense that maybe the outsiders have forgotten about Michigan as a Big Ten contender?

Terrance Taylor: "Probably. I wouldn't put it past them but it doesn't matter. I really could care less. I am going to go to practice, going to work out, watch film and then go on Saturday and play my heart out, so it doesn't really matter what people say. I could care less."

Question: Is this game kind of a way to reintroduce yourself to the folks that forgot you?

Terrance Taylor: "Not really. This game is a way to prove to ourselves that all the stuff that we did wasn't for nothing and that we are Michigan. If in the process we open some eyes, hey that is good. I wouldn't think that Wisconsin wouldn't take us lightly or soft or anything like that. That would be very disrespectful, a mistake."

Question: Do you look at Saturday's game as a benchmark game; I mean to see where you guys measure? How do you not put too much into that?

Terrance Taylor: "I look at Saturday's game where we can really define and find out who we are as a team -- especially the Big Ten opener, Wisconsin. This is a big game. It is important. I am excited to play in the game. Everyone is excited, ready to go. We're practicing harder. We're going faster, and it is going to be a game where we really find out who we are. If we win, it is great, it is momentum going into the Big Ten season, because of all the things that have been going around here. If we lose, we lose, we'll suck it up, watch film and move on. A winning thing is just the momentum going into the season, because once you get on a losing streak, morale gets down, people get down on themselves and they don't go as hard. I think that this game is really going to define us as a team."

Question: How is the strength and conditioning throughout the season – still tough?

Terrance Taylor: "You aint lying. Sundays we go in there after the game, we lift, then we practice. Tuesday we lift and practice. I am not sore. I am getting stronger. I mean my squat; I squatted 700 yesterday. Will (Johnson) benched what 500 yesterday. Like we have records that we break; we've got old records and we keep breaking them. So we getting stronger. It is not easy going after the Notre Dame game because it was a hard game, being sore and going in on Sunday; it is not fun. You can't be moping around; you get it done."

Question: Is it different than the past?

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah by far. We didn't lift on Sunday after the games. If we did, it wasn't like a full blown lift, but Mike doesn't care."

Question: What are your Sundays like?

Terrance Taylor: "Come in, watch film, go over the game, eat, sleep."

Question: Sleep.

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah sleep, get a little sleep. Got treatment and then run, lift and then you shoot up to the meeting and you go to the individual meeting, full D meeting, run out to practice. Practice probably won't leave out until like 10 o'clock."

Question: At night?

Terrance Taylor: "Yeah at night."

Question: On a Sunday?

Terrance Taylor: "On a Sunday. Practice starts at 8 o'clock."

Question: What time did you used to get home on a Sunday?

Terrance Taylor: "Probably around like three."

Question: How long are you in the football building on a Sunday now?

Terrance Taylor: "Probably like 10 hours. After the first game, I was like man. But we get Monday's off…sort of. We get Monday's off, but yeah it is alright."

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