Brown Sees D Starting to Play Faster

Michigan Sr. linebacker Steve Brown talks defensive improvement, facing Penn State, and more.

Question:  What are your thoughts on the new secondary lineup with Troy Woolfolk up at cornerback; how do you think that has gone the last couple of games?

Stevie Brown:  "That's gone pretty well.  Troy is a very physical guy and he can also run, so he can get up to the line of scrimmage, he can press a receiver and then he can also run with a receiver too.  I think it benefits well for us."

Question:  Is it tough to make the transition from playing offense like Delaware State to an offense like Penn State?

Stevie Brown:  "No I don't think the transition will be very hard at all.  Penn State is a very good team and everybody on defense wants to play against them anyways.  We all going to be in there studying just as hard as we did last week and this week.  We're going to go out there and try to stop them."

Question:  What do you remember about the game last year?  That was the first time they'd beaten you in almost 10 years; what do you remember about that and especially about your parts what you can use for this week's game?

Stevie Brown:  "The game – we were playing with them pretty much for the whole first three quarters and then we just had a breakdown in that fourth quarter.  So we're going to try and go out here and play four straight quarters of football and give ourselves an opportunity to be successful.  Daryl Clark, he had a good game and (Evan) Royster had a very good game as well.  That's going to be our main focus.  As long as we can stop those two, we should have a chance."

Question:  How important is this game for the rest of the season?  The difference between two and two in the Big Ten and one and three is big?

Stevie Brown:  "We approach every game like it is a big game, but like you're saying, we're trying to be successful and I feel like if we can win out all these last games, we have a chance to be where we want to be, so with this being a Big Ten game, it is a big opportunity for us and we want to show that we can play with the good teams.  This would be a good game to show that."

Question:  You hear the defenses coaches talk about wanting players to play fast.  It comes from recognizing and reacting; do you feel as though you've made that transition that you're trusting what you're seeing and reacting as opposed to thinking?

Stevie Brown:  "Yeah.  We're taught to do our job.  So if you know your job and your minimal assignment then you're able to react a lot quicker.  Coach Robinson always says that if you see too much, you see nothing.  Which means, if you're seeing too much of the field, you're going to be slow to react because you're not doing your job.  So as long as everybody can narrow it down and see what they need to see, they can react faster and everybody has been doing that for the most part.  So as long as we keep doing that, keep improving at that, we're going to keep playing faster."

Question:  It seems like as a defense, you've had some struggles on third down, especially third and long; what kinds of things do you do in practice to try right that?

Stevie Brown:  "Just might be a play here, play here, a little miscommunication, but there is nothing really that you can do to say that this is going to correct this.  You just got to go out there and do your job like I've been saying and you just got to get better at doing your job, so that is what we're doing."

Question:  As a former secondary guy, can you talk about the challenge that Troy Woolfolk made two weeks ago in making that move and how you think Jordan Korvacs and Michael Williams and that group is kind of playing right now.

Stevie Brown:  "Troy is a funny guy to be around, just to talk to.  Troy loves playing football.  He just had to go back and refine a few steps and a few details because he did play corner his few two years he was here and then made the move to safety.  So he just had to go back and relearn some new things and relearn some new techniques, but he just talked to Donovan (Warren) all the time, but Troy is always going to be a competitor – that's what he does.  So other than learning the new steps and details like that, everything else was fine for Troy.  He wasn't going to go out there and just let anybody beat him and just be like, well I just moved positions.  He's always going to compete.  That's why he is going to be successful.  With Jordan and Mike out there – Jordan is a very smart player.  I like having Jordan on the field.  He plays very smart and he plays with a lot of confidence and it shows up.  Mike Williams is out there trying to improve himself all the time.  He wants to get better.  All those three position changes I think it is going to do well for us.  It has been working well for us and as long as they keep going and get better connected and better together, things will be good for us."

Question:  Do you guys use this as a measuring stick game to see where you're at?

Stevie Brown:  "No, not really.  We just look at it as a game that we need to win and we want to win.  We look at it, if we beat Penn State then we can say that we are part of an elite group in the Big Ten; we just know it is another team on our schedule, another team in the Big Ten and if we want to get where we want to get in the Big Ten, we got to beat all the team."

Question:  Rich said a couple of players said immediately after the game on the way up the tunnel, you guys were talking about Penn State; can you just talk about that focus and what was being said.

Stevie Brown:  "Like I said, it's just another game in the Big Ten and strange have always happened.  We feel like if maybe we can win out, there is a good chance that we could go to the Rose Bowl.  As long as we can keep winning all these games that's what our main focus is to do and hopefully we can get to the Rose Bowl game."

Question:  Still, with two losses?

Stevie Brown:  "We're not even worried about that.  We're just worried about us and I have a feeling.  I don't know if anybody else has a feeling, but I have this feeling, just thinking that if we can win out, we think we might have a chance that we might be able to make it to the Rose Bowl."

Question:  You know the Rose Bowl National Championship game this year right?

Stevie Brown:  "They got two Rose Bowl games this year (laughing)."

Question:  You taught me something.  Is this I assume the dream of the football player that comes here, going to the Rose Bowl?

Stevie Brown:  "Yeah.  You want to go to the Rose Bowl.  I got to experience that as a freshman and I would like to experience it again in my senior year; that's what I'd like to do."

Question:  What do you remember about that freshman experience?

Stevie Brown:  "It was a great game to be apart of.  It was so much fun.  Just the weeks leading up to it, the things that we were doing, the area that we were in, just how intense and how hype the game was supposed to be and how it was.  The Rose Bowl Stadium might not be as big as The Big House, but it is very loud and it is just a great place to be, great setting to be in.  It was my first bowl trip obviously and even though we did lose that game, it was a great game to be a part of and I want to go back and be part of it again."

Question:  Going there as a freshman, did you think looking back that you took it for granted; hey we always go here and then you went through last year?

Stevie Brown:  "Yeah because they did go to a lot of Rose Bowls before that.  It wasn't necessarily that I took it for granted, it was just more so, you figure, okay, this is what the goal is to be, we made it here.  That's how we going to do it every single year; we just going to make it to the Rose Bowl, but we haven't been back since.  I really want to get back."

Question:  You recognize that you need a little bit of help too for that to happen?

Stevie Brown:  "We can only do what we can control."

Question:  Rich has been saying all season that he wanted to see more guys and build depth; was there anyone that you saw on Saturday, any of the reserves on Saturday that kind of stood out to you?

Stevie Brown:  "I really don't know because I was watching Floyd (Simmons) the whole time, my back up.  He kept coming to me after the series and he would ask me if I had any tips for him or anything like that.  So I watched him pretty much the whole time.  My favorite part of the game was watching Ohene Opong-Owusu rundown on the kickoff.  When the defense was on the field, I was watching Floyd."

Question:  Everybody loves Ohene, why?

Stevie Brown:  "See Ohene is someone who…everybody gives Ohene a hard time, probably everybody on the team gives Ohene a hard time, but it doesn't change Ohene.  Ohene still has great confidence and he loves the game so much, even though he doesn't get all the opportunities in the world, whenever he does get an opportunity, he always makes the best of it.  Whenever we had him in the scrimmage I believe in the spring time, he got an interception and he ran it back like 40 yards, the whole defense chased him down.  We were going the M-Drill, he came up and made a big hit, I think the whole defense tackled him.  Even though Ohene wasn't blessed with all the athletic ability in the world, he has the greatest heart and he loves playing football, so whenever he gets to do something, everybody is just happy for him and just love to watch him do it."

Question:  When you say give him a hard time; what do you mean by that?

Stevie Brown:  "Oh they just mess with him because his body shape and the way he walks – just everything (laughs).  Everybody just loves messing with Ohene but it never fazes Ohene.  You can talk about Ohene all day long, but he'll still walk around with a smile and his head up."

Question:  How much athletic ability was Kovacs born with and how much of it is heart?

Stevie Brown:  "Kovacs has more than Ohene (laughter), but Jordan – Jordan's a very smart player and he's very efficient with what he does.  I'm not going to say he was blessed with a whole bunch either, but he has enough and since he's very smart and he plays with a lot of confidence, he does a very good job when he's out there on the field, so it works out for us very well." 

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