Warren Keeping Up the Fight (Part 1)

Michigan sophomore corner Donovan Warren took time out for a long chat with the media earlier this week to discussing the team's disappointing record and how it can rebound. In part one of the interview, Warren sheds light on team morale, remaining goals, the development of Boubacar Cissoko and more.


Question:  The defensive players must talk among themselves… what are you saying to each other in terms of getting some things turned around towards the latter part of the season to stop the big plays?

Donovan Warren:  "We got four games left.  We are talking to each other, just keeping our heads high.  The morale of the team is not gone at all.  We're just keeping our heads high, just focusing on getting better each day that is all we can do right now, pretty much it."

Question:  How is this defense from last year in terms or what you're doing?

Donovan Warren:  "As far as last year, I really can't speak on how it's different last year.  I just know last year we were making a lot more plays, but with all the excuses set aside, we not getting it done this year.  It's one of the things that has to happen as far as making plays, but it's not happening."

Question:  Can you pinpoint why that is?

Donovan Warren:  "No I really can't pinpoint to a specific (reason) why it's not getting done.  It's just not happening.  You can't put the blame on the coaches or anything like that.  As far us a players, it's just not happening.  I can take the blame for that."

Question:  How are you physically now?  You had a few issues earlier on in the season?

Donovan Warren:  "Yeah as far as physically, I feel a lot better than all season.  Like I said no excuses or anything like that, but during the season something bothers you physically.  But as far as right now, I feel like I am the best as I have been all season."

Question:  What do you guys feel like you still have to play for still?

Donovan Warren:  "I feel like we have to play, as far as me being an underclassman, I feel like I'm playing for the seniors.  I don't want to let them down this year going out with a losing season and kind of continue the tradition at Michigan as far as getting to a bowl game and things like that... finishing over .500.  So I am just going each and every day working hard and trying to work hard for those seniors."

Question:  Coach Rodriguez talked about maybe playing three cornerbacks at the same time in the next couple of weeks.  Do you think that would help the secondary problems?

Donovan Warren:  "As far as the secondary problems, I feel like whatever we have to do to make plays that is all that matters; I'm trying to win.  I'm not used to losing or anything.  I haven't lost six games in my whole high school career.  So as far as this losing, I'm not getting accustomed to that at all and I'm not going to get accustomed to that.  So whatever we have to do to make players, three cornerbacks, five cornerbacks on the field, it doesn't matter; I'm just down for the win, whatever we have to do to win."

Question:  Are the coaches asking you to do anything different other than the different guys rotating in and out of the secondary, with scheme changes?

Donovan Warren:  "Not really at all.  The scheme doesn't change at all.  You go out there and do your job.  As far as the rotation goes, it's pretty much the same all the way around.  That's pretty much it."

Question:  After watching the film, talk about the two special team plays (versus Michigan State); catching the field goal and trying to pick up the blocked field goal.

Donovan Warren:  "Yeah, as far as the blocked field goal, I should have left the blocked field goal go.  I shouldn't have touched it at all.  I was just seeing the ball on the ground and just being instinctive. I just tried to pick it up and do something with it, but I should have just let it go because if I would have dropped it or anything, it was a live ball; it's a fumble.  As far as the caught field goal that I tried to run back that was just a field goal safe, just try to make something happen and get up the field as quick as possible."

Question:  Did you talk to your teammates before the one you caught about you bringing it back out?

Donovan Warren:  "Yeah.  That's something that we practice every day all week long, just get the ball up the field as quick as possible and make something try and happen."

Question:  What do you see when you watch film on Boubacar Cissoko and how he is coming along?

Donovan Warren:  "Boubacar is coming along real well.  He has a lot of heart and that's what I really like about him.  Especially just being the cornerback, I feel like it's one of the hardest positions on the field.  We take a lot of criticism and things like that, but we just have to come back and have a lot of heart and be able to bounce back off certain things – things not going well and stuff like that.  So Boubacar is coming along real well as far as his technique and things like that.  He is getting better each and every day.  Like I said, it's just having the swagger mentality.  You are going to get beat sometimes.  That is just how it is at the cornerback position, but Boubacar is doing real well."

Question:  Can you talk more about Boubacar.  It looks like he is doing great in man coverage, at times it's a missed assignment or something in a zone.  Is that common for a freshman?

Donovan Warren:  "Yeah zone coverage is a lot tougher than man coverage.  Man coverage is stick to one man and you just play him like that, but zone coverage there is a lot of different scheme as far as offense crisscrossing and stuff like that, so you have to be able mismatch and play your assignment.  It's very common for a freshman.  I got lost in zone coverage a lot last year and sometimes this year.  It's just part of the learning experience."

Question:  You're only a sophomore, but are you able to mentor him at all, or is that kind of a weird situation because you're not that old yourself?

Donovan Warren:  "Naw, Boubacar, he asks me a lot of questions.  I'm able to mentor him and see some stuff that helps me also.  Just teaching him and him asking me questions, I can see stuff from a different perspective.  Yeah, I am able to mentor him."

Question:  Is it hard not to look forward a little bit to next year at this point and redeeming yourself for this year?

Donovan Warren:  "It's not hard at all.  I'm just trying to finish this season off with four wins.  Next year is next year, but I'm just trying to finish this season off."

Question:  People are already asking why you think it will be better next year; why would you expect to be better next year?

Donovan Warren:  "Next year I expect us to be better.  This year we got a lot of young guys as far as experience, but I feel like next year, those guys will have experience under their belt.  One year under their belt will help us a lot, better for next year."

Question:  Do you guys talk about sweeping these next four game still in meetings and things like that and going to a bowl game?

Donovan Warren:  "Definitely.  Like I said, the morale of the team is not down at all and we still trying to focus on winning these next four games for the seniors.  That is just one of the main things that I am focused on.  Just get these four wins for the seniors and finishing off the year strong."

Question: When recruits come in to visit, I imagine you talk to some of these kids.  Are they asking you questions about this season and Coach Rodriguez and what do you tell them?

Donovan Warren:  "Not too many questions as far as recruits asking me about the season and stuff like that.  They know how Michigan is and the tradition that we have.  They know we'll be back on top.  As far as them being down and stuff like that on Michigan, I wouldn't say that there is too much of that questioning going on."

Question:  When asked about next year and you said the guys are young; the defense isn't as young… is there a reason to believe that defense will be better too when you lose a lot of guys?

Donovan Warren:  "Yeah, I feel like we're playing a lot of guys that are young still, but they're wanting to get a lot of experience.  Just knowing that the kind of fight us guys have on the defensive side of the ball, I feel like we will be better and just getting this experience and being down this year, feeling how things are going this year, I feel like it's going to make us tougher and stronger next year."


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