Woolfolk Talks Accountability on D

Michigan Jr. CB Troy Woolfolk's candid commentary on the progress of the defense this year. The talented youngster made it clear that the time for making the same old mistakes on defense has long since passed.

Question:  Account for the second half changes in the last three games while giving up 75 points?

Troy Woolfolk: "I'm not really sure what happens.  Our defense is a good defense.  The only problem is when we go out there is just execution.  When everybody performs and does their job we stop offenses.  The only problem is when people make mistakes.  I think they had three touchdowns scored where they threw the ball to an open receiver or tight end.  We just got to get better on the execution to get better out there."

Question:  Is it a mental thing at this point?  Is it a physical thing? 

Troy Woolfolk: "I honestly don't know what it is because I'm kind of frustrated myself because we're too far into the season to still be making those mistakes.  So we just got to get that fixed."

Question:  How frustrating is it to see one thing during the week in practice and then something completely different on Saturday.

Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah it is kind of frustrating because you feel like you didn't prepare well for it, but I don't think that is the case.  I think they showed what they showed on films, so we were kind of ready for it.  It was just a matter of us executing the plays that we perform in practice.  We've done it in practice.  We can do it.  I've seen the linebackers do it in practice, the cornerbacks and safeties.  It is just a matter of focusing during the game."

Question:  We don't get to talk to Greg Robinson much unfortunately; what's his state of mind right now?  Is he pulling his hair out?  Is he yelling at you guys?

Troy Woolfolk: "Naw, he is a really calm coach.  He's been through it all.  He's been in the NFL; he's been in Texas.  I know he can keep his composure and just hopefully find a plan that fixes everything."

Question:  Are you at the point where you don't say any more, well it is a whole new system.  You're far enough into the season that everybody is comfortable with what they are doing?

Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah.  I don't think you can use the excuse any more that it is something new, because we've been doing it for the whole season so far.  It is a matter of us being able to finally get it down and executing it out to perfection.  Just little mistakes is causing us to lose games some times."

Question:  The results defensively are similar to a year ago, but you guys feel more or less comfortable under this system, this coach?

Troy Woolfolk: "I feel way more comfortable under this system.  Last year, I think we had great execution, but the defense wasn't working versus this year, the defense is working when we need to.  Every close game that we had, Indiana, Iowa, when the defense, when we all pull it together we can stop them to give the offense a chance to score.  It is just a matter of us being able to do it all the time.  It is just consistency problems versus effectiveness last year."

Question:  You said it is the small things, the little things; it seems like it has been that for the last few weeks, is that more of a player position thing; is there anything you can pinpoint, I understand you don't know necessarily, but there has got to be something that you're noticing.

Troy Woolfolk: "I would think it is more of putting the emphasis on the player, because it is mistakes that has been going on.  I don't feel as a defense we are learning from our mistakes.  My favorite quote from my other coaches was, ‘always make new mistakes', because nobody is going to be perfect, but I feel like we are making the same mistakes, which is not allowing us to become a better defense as a whole."

Question:  You talk about some the stops that you guys had when you came together against Iowa and what not; fourth and 10 this past week, Rich went for instead of kicking the field goal and giving the defense an opportunity; how do you feel about that as a player?

Troy Woolfolk: "Honestly, I'm going to back him because he's my coach regardless, but I think…I don't know…that's an iffy situation.  I don't really want to talk about that.  I think he made the decision you got to go.  You can always think about decisions after the fact and make judgment on them.  He made a decision in the time that he thought was the best one.  If he would have got it, everyone would have been praising him."

Question:  Who is the coach that you just quoted?

Troy Woolfolk: "Oh that was Coach Ron English who is at Eastern (Michigan) right now, my freshman year."

Question:  The past couple of weeks we've seen changes in the starting lineup, although JB Fitzgerald didn't start, but he came in on the second series; on defense are you guys seeing that and saying, "wow, we got to step our games up", are you guys nervous about your own security?

Troy Woolfolk: "I think that's good that it happens, because it humbles us.  It just lets you know that nobody, regardless if you are All-American or anything, you lose your spot.  If you're not performing, like I said, people are not making new mistakes and that caused them to lose their spot.  It just makes you stay in your game and not get comfortable in position that even if I make this mistake, I can still start at this position.  Just knowing that you could always lose your spot at any time."

Question:  Who are the players on this defense that are most likely to step up and hold other guys accountable when they're making the big missed assignments?

Troy Woolfolk: "I'd have to say it would be some of the more experienced (guys) that have been around longer probably Donovan Warren or Obi Ezeh.  We have a really young defense, so those are the only ones that stick out that I remember for being around a long time."

Question:  What was Brandon Graham like in the locker room after the game?  He was one that spoke out.

Troy Woolfolk: "I don't want to say disappointed, just it hurts that you know that you have the ability to defeat the team, but you're killing yourself.  Michigan beat Michigan that day and it just hurts knowing that it shouldn't have went that way."

Question:  What about Graham in particular, he seems to have taken a more vocal leadership role?

Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah even before the game, he was just trying to express to us.  We just got to go out there and play our game, don't be trying to go out there and think about who you playing.  If you just do your job then we can beat anybody.  He was just trying to look past this game…what happened, happened, you can't change it.  So we still got a chance to go to a bowl game and focus on either beating Wisconsin or Ohio State, most likely trying to do both."

Question:  It seems like you are quite frustrated right now; what has that been like.  How do you go through it each week; it seems like it is a constant up and down rollercoaster?

Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah it gets kind of frustrated, but I always try to find the good things in life.  Compared to last season, we doing way much better, so I'm just hoping that we can still improve and for us to go to a bowl game that would be a great accomplishment versus last season, so that is how I look at it and when I start to feel bad about us losing like three games in a row."

Question:  If you guys don't go to a bowl game at this point, does that make this whole thing kind of a disappointment?

Troy Woolfolk: "I still wouldn't call it a disappointment because we won two more games than we did last year.  It is still an improvement just not as high as I'd like it to be."

Question:  Tate (Forcier) was talking about, really stressing getting the seniors to a bowl game; how difficult would it be to see those guys go out two years in a row not getting one?

Troy Woolfolk: "That'd be really sad and the main thing that I would want for our seniors is #1 to beat Ohio State, which would result in going to a bowl game.  That's the main thing.  Wisconsin, we want to beat them too…we haven't beat Ohio State in five years and I think that would be a good accomplishment. As bad as the season is going, I think it would be redeemed after we beat Ohio State."

Question:  Donovan Warren seemed to get pretty animated on the sidelines, have you ever seen him like that?

Troy Woolfolk: "Yeah he's a very passionate player.  He usually doesn't go crazy like that unless something is going really good or really bad.  Either extreme can make him get kind of crazy."

Question:  How about proving that you guys can win a road game?  I mean obviously this is a big challenge and that would also get you a sixth win.

Troy Woolfolk: "I don't know what it is, people talking about the road game affecting us.  It is just a different location to me.  I'm not sure if it is like that to the other teams.  I think if we go out here and just play our game and don't allow Michigan to beat Michigan we can beat anybody."

Question:  What do you remember from Camp Randall Stadium when you there was a freshman?

Troy Woolfolk: "I just remember that I was really frustrated because we had a chance…even if we were to lose to Ohio State that season, we would have been tied for the Big Ten.  I think just the atmosphere is kind of similar to our, but I wouldn't say as good.  The fans crazy – I like it.  It was fun.  I can't wait to go back and actually play this time."

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