Players Discuss the Victory

Following a great victory over the University of Florida in the Outback Bowl, David Baas, Braylon Edwards, Victor Hobson, Marlin Jackson, Bennie Joppru, John Navarre, and Tony Pape spoke with the press. Read what they had to say, and see pictures from the game.

Left Guard David Baas



On whether being selected All-Big Ten this season caught him of guard:

"Maybe a little bit. I knew I had a good year, I just kept getting better as the season went on. I was just out there trying to help my team win and do the best that I can. The honor of this award is very great to me. I respect it a lot. I'll just have to build from there and just try to get better."

On his decision to play at Michigan:

"A lot of it had to do with the fact that I had family up there which helps having someone close by for support. The tradition and the academic standpoint of the school is just outstanding. And the coaches did a good job standing by me even though I had an injury at the beginning of my career. I think that really helped, knowing they had the confidence in me, they were willing to stick by my side throughout the whole thing. I've enjoyed every part of it."

On playing against a former high school teammate New Year's Day:

"Todd Johnson and I saw each other during the welcome dinner. We talked for a little while. It was good to catch up on old times. It's going to be a fun game for the both of us because it's kind of going to be bragging rights for one of us, whatever the outcome may be."



Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards



On maturing as a receiver this season:

"I have learned how to play under pressure and have developed to let the game flow to me. I feel comfortable with our offense and have been able to be successful playing within it."

On comparing himself to any other receivers:

"Supposedly I am like the new style of receivers because I am 6-3 with good speed and can jump. I like Terrell Owens and all of the bigger receivers. But I don't model my game after anybody, but I do look up to receivers like Terrell Owens."



Linebacker Victor Hobson



On playing in the Outback Bowl":

This is a nice bowl. It's a great area to play in. We're playing a good team with a lot of tradition, so it's going to be a real good game. It gives us a lot to look forward to, and it gives Florida a lot to look forward to as well."

On two tradition-laden teams squaring off for the first time:

"Both teams will be very well prepared for the game, I'm sure we'll know a lot about each other as a group. It's going to be a real good game between two teams with a lot of tradition, two teams that are definitely going to play to win. It's going to make the game that much more interesting."

On Florida's offense":

They're a real good offense. They like to set the tempo, they'll speed the game up, slow the game down, spread you out with five wide receivers, four wide receivers. At the same time, they can run the ball with a really good running back. They're a team we're going to have to prepare for in all phases of the game. We're going to have to be able to execute the defenses that our coaches have set up for us to limit the things they do."

On Florida quarterback Rex Grossman:

"He's a real good quarterback. He's a playmaker with a real good arm. I think he's a guy that can get out of trouble and create plays when he needs to. He's a guy that can read defenses very well, and we're going to have to mix up the looks a little bit so he's not able to do that very easily."



Cornerback Marlin Jackson



On his assessment of Florida wide receiver Taylor Jacobs:

"He is a great receiver that has great speed that makes him a threat anytime he is the ballgame. He is very quick and has the skills of some of the top receivers that I have played against this year, like Michigan State's Charles Rogers or Washington's Reggie Williams."

On being matched up against Florida's receivers:

"It is going to be a great matchup in their offensive passing game against our defensive passing game. Overall it should be a great battle between their offense and our defense."



Tight End Bennie Joppru



On the fans and tradition at the University of Michigan:

"Every day we're reminded of it. It never leaves you. I met some guy at the mall the other day who went to Michigan when Tom Harmon was there. He talked for half an hour, telling story after story. It's a great tradition. It's kind of a sobering experience. You take it for granted what you have sometimes and something like that stops you. It's an honor to play for a fan like that."

On Michigan quarterback John Navarre:

"John is a tough guy, a great quarterback. He takes hit after hit but he keeps getting up. I've seen him take some hits where I don't think I would have gotten up, and he pops right back up, gets the signal in, and goes back to the huddle. I really respect John."

On how Navarre can escape the heat from fans and media:

"Graduate from Michigan. It's the way it is. I played with Tom Brady my first two years and he took it just as hard as John does. Now that he's gone, everyone is like, 'Tom Brady was so great.' It's like they never appreciate the quarterbacks there until they're gone."



Quarterback John Navarre



On being at the Outback Bowl:

"It is very nice to be here. We are having a great time here in Tampa. They are doing a great job in handling the team and arranging the different functions for us. We are very excited to be down here and it is great to be in a new setting to get ready for this game."

On the importance of winning 10 games:

"It's an echelon for us. We want to get those 10 wins, it starts the next season off right. Ten wins is a great season for us at Michigan. We're focused on that. Obviously we want to win all the games, and that's everyone's goal, but things don't work out the way you always want them to."

On Florida's defense:

"We are going to have to be ready to play because their defense is going to come after us. They have very good discipline and they run their schemes very well. They are a very tough defense and are very aggressive. Their secondary goes out there and makes plays. They are fast, exciting guys and we just have to go out there and execute our game plan in order for us to be successful."

On the job team captain Bennie Joppru has done this season:

"What he did in the off-season, over the summer and in training camp really shows what a captain at Michigan is. I just told him not to change because he has earned that spot through his work ethic and attitude and he did a good job of that throughout the season."

On the number of NFL quarterbacks from Michigan changing the expectations of a U-M quarterback:

"No, I don't think so. The fact that there are quarterbacks from Michigan in the NFL that are very successful is a sign of the way things are done here. The expectations have been here since day one and are always Michigan first and then the NFL. The expectations here have always been the same. You have to have toughness and many other things that you have to learn here first before you can even start to think about the NFL. So the expectations are there for you to be successful at Michigan and the fact that these guys are in the NFL is proof that if you do excel here you have a chance to play at the next level."



Offensive Tackle Tony Pape



On finishing up the season with in a strong way with a win over Florida:

"It would really mean a lot to me because Florida is a great program. I was recruited by them (Florida) so it is kind of a personal rivalry for me. It is a big game for all us because Florida is a quality opponent and you want to be able to be able to say that in the only meeting between the two programs, you came out with the victory."

On getting to meet any of the Florida players yet:

"No, I haven't met any of them yet. We haven't even spoken to each other yet."

On the offensive line being able to run the ball better in latter part of the season:

"After the Iowa game we made a commitment amongst ourselves to never let that happen again. We sat down and talked about what we had to do for that not to happen again. So I think after the Iowa game we made a choice not to let another team beat us like they did. I think that was the major emphasis of the offensive line that really helped us focus on controlling the line of scrimmage to help us to be able to run the ball more effectively."


(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


(AP Photo/Steve Nesius)


(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


(AP Photo/Scott Martin)

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