Martin & UM D Still Looking to Make Strides

Michigan freshman DT Mike Martin took time out for a long chat with the media earlier this week to discuss the team's disappointing record and how it can rebound. Martin sheds light on the senior leadership, Rodriguez's message to the team this week, his personal development, and more.

Question:  Coach Rod said that based on your physical ability early on, he felt that you would be ready to contribute.  Do you think that you would be able to kind of measure up physically when you first got here compared to some of the other guys on the team?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah.  Coach Barwis, he let me know that he was going to get me ready for the season and that's what he's done.  All the guys, we've excelled so much.  We've gotten stronger during the season and I got great faith that I would be ready physically."

Question:  How much stronger have you gotten during the course of the year?  Obviously you were pretty strong to begin with.

Mike Martin:  "I don't really look at numbers much, because it's the mental part of lifting weights.  You don't look at how much you're lifting… you just know it's a lot because Coach Barwis is putting it on there.  I can tell, my body has changed pretty drastically and throwing up a lot of weight.  I don't really know numbers that much."

Question:  Did you feel like you were in pretty good shape when you got here?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah.  I worked with my wrestling coach in high school before I got here to try to be as well conditioned as I could be, and he worked me pretty well and that helped me a lot coming in here."

Question:  How much did the routines between what you were doing before and now with Coach Barwis?

Mike Martin:  "A lot.  Over the summer, we did a lot of running and got me really lean. Lost a lot of fat and it shows during the season, we're not tired in the fourth quarter."

Question:  Is your ability as a wrestler helped you at all when you're on the football field?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah I think it does a lot.  The balance aspect of it, just knowing if a guy is on his heels or on his toes on the line, being able to feel if he is on his base or not.  In wrestling that is a big aspect of it, because you got to be able to feel different motions of a guy, so yeah it helped a lot."

Question:  With four defensive linemen returning did you think that you would have much of a chance to play?

Mike Martin:  "I came in just thinking wherever they need me, I'm going to contribute, because I knew there was a lot of experience on the line and it was probably the most experienced group on the team and thankfully they needed me and I stepped up."

Question:  Coach has talked about how progress in practice hasn't necessarily been seen on the field on Saturday.  How frustrating is it to work as hard as you have worked and haven't had the results that you've wanted?

Mike Martin:  "I think that's just a trial of going through a season.  This is my first season a college player and it's a lot different, but practices…I guess that is just the disappointment, you just got to keep working hard and you can't let the run you down as a team and Coach Rod just keeps us up, keeps us together and also the upperclassman, the seniors do also."

Question:  What are the biggest challenges when you're on the field that you are finding when adapting from the high school level of football to what you're doing here in college?

Mike Martin:  "The speed, the quickness of the game was a big factor early on, but I've gotten used to it, as eight games have gone through.  Just the physicality, playing in the Big Ten on the line, it's a lot different than high school, but I'm getting used to it.  During practice, practice squad first team, getting me prepared though."

Question:  Size of offensive lineman an issue, are you finding that you're not a relatively a big guy compared to some of the D-lineman?

Mike Martin:  "Leverage when it comes to that.  Size really doesn't matter, just leverage getting under guys."

Question:  Can you talk about the leadership that you've gotten from Terrance Taylor?

Mike Martin:  "Oh great leadership.  He's a guy that can flip the switch.  Off the field he's funny and making jokes and when we get on the field and it's time to get serious, he's right there leading the team, leading the defense, making plays and every now and then when we need a little laugh when times are kind of stressful, he can give that to us and kind of lighten us up a little bit.  I look up to Terrance a lot.  I try to learn as much as I can from him because he's playing at a high level and just try to pick his brain."

Question:  How different is to be in the program at Michigan than you envisioned it to be?

Mike Martin:  "Just meeting all the people.  Watching as a fan you saw the head coach and the players, didn't really know everyone that was behind the scenes like everyone that helps you out; the training staff, the strength and conditioning staff, academic staff and just really learn to love even more so the program."

Question:  How much have you heard from Michigan State friends this week?

Mike Martin:  "A lot.  I know a lot of guys on the team, the freshman class that went in and just guys that went to my school that are playing there that are a little older and guys who go to school there and hearing a lot.  I got thick skin.  They won it.  They deserved to win.  They played well.  We will just try to work hard and change that for next week."

Question:  With all the experience of the D-line, at what point do you realize that you did have a chance to contribute this season?

Mike Martin:  "During two-a-days, I really made a lot of gains, really fast, because the older guys would put me under their wing.  The first couple of practices, I was like man, this is a lot different than high school.  Once you get used to playing at the speed and everything, I just got used to it and I can play with these guys."

Question:  Did coaches say something to you at any point or where you expecting to redshirt?

Mike Martin:  "Coaches, they really didn't say that you were going to redshirt or you're going to play.  You just kind of knew by how many reps you were getting during two a days and I just a feeling that I wasn't going to redshirt and I was going to be able to contribute."

Question:  You talk about how your body changed; how has it changed?  Have you lost weight or have you just redistributed your weight?

Mike Martin:  "I've gained weight definitely.  I came in a little light at 265 because of wrestling, but now I'm at 280 and people can't see that.  I've gain good weight from muscle, not fat, so it's a good weight."

Question:  What's been the biggest surprise for you this year in the season, something that you felt was going to be a certain way and it wasn't?

Mike Martin:  "Probably, I just thought I was going to get more of a hard time as a freshman.  I thought they would tease me a little more.  They real cool, the guys, a couple of times but like I said, but no big deal."

Question: What was the best time that they got teasing you?  Was it pranks or something like that?

Mike Martin:  "You don't let you eat; when we eat pregame meals, they don't let you use salt, pepper, steak sauce for your steak; can't use anything.  Can only drink water, no juice, no Gatorade."

Question:  Who's that the upperclassman or is that the coaches?

Mike Martin:  "The upperclassman.  It's kind of traditional I guess.  They've been doing that for a long time.  Deal with it."

Question:  Being a local guy, is harder for you this year seeing Michigan down so much?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah.  I was telling someone that I have never seen this record for Michigan, but since I'm part of it, I can change that and just got to work harder to change that for next year and just got to keep on going."

Question:  Have you guys revised your goals at all this season being two and six now or what do you hope to get out what's left?

Mike Martin:  "We keep emphasizing that our backs are to the wall and that we can't; coach did a thing at practice yesterday where he had everyone stand up against the wall with their backs to it and he said try to throw a punch and you couldn't really do it that powerfully.  Then he said get away from the wall a little bit and step into your punch and it was a lot more powerful obviously and that is what he was trying to get to us that we have to fight to get our backs off the wall."

Question:  Was that Coach Rodriguez?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah Coach Rod."

Question:  Was that the whole team?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah it was the whole team."

Question:  Where were you guys standing; where in the building?

Mike Martin:  "In the indoor facility at the end of practice (Sunday)."

Question: Is that something that kind of sticks with you?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah.  It really got me thinking; I think he did a good job with that."

Question:  Did he put you guys through anything like that before?

Mike Martin:  "Nothing really like that.  We have this thing called pound the rock, where it's just a thought that you keep pounding a rock it'll be the 99th blow, it wasn't that blow, it was the ones all before it.  So it's just the thought that you can't give up and have to keep on fighting."

Question:  Which of the upperclassman has really taken you specifically under his wings, spent the most time with you?

Mike Martin:  "Probably Terrance (Taylor) and Will Johnson."

Question: What do they do?  Do they do things with you to try to keep your spirits up?

Mike Martin:  "They keep telling me to keep working hard and don't let this happen for you next year or any year.  Your senior year, it's the worse and I watch film with them and they teach me things.  So it is real helpful."

Question:  On your own you do that stuff?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah, yeah.  When we don't have to be in the meeting rooms as told by the coaches, we just going in there on our free time and that has helped me out."

Question:  Do you think that has made a big difference as to why you've played so much?

Mike Martin:  "Yeah, because watching film is a big part of playing to learn tendencies and stuff, the O-line and offense.  I wouldn't be able to see that as easily without them."


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