Question: I noticed the tackling dummies with the block O that you guys have around the practice field; I was just wondering are you guys going to use those any more than usual?
Brandon Graham: "They're going to be in front of our face the whole time. They've been in front of our face most of the year. I'm just excited for this week."
Question: What is the mental attitude of the defense right now?
Brandon Graham: "We're trying to have our best game of the year. That's the goal right now. We just keep setting new goals even though our old goals didn't work, just keep going. That's the goal this week. We have had a game where have actually faced somebody that we played our best and got beat. I feel like if we play our best, we got a chance with everybody. We just got to keep it up. We got spurts at some moments of the game of being great. Then I don't know, we go right back to the same old stuff. I think that last game we showed a lot of effort, it was just they game planned us."
Question: Has it you that if you guys lose Saturday that it is done for you?
Brandon Graham: "Yeah that hurt. That's why I'm trying to take it here now. I just realized that yesterday, sitting on my off day. I've only got one more if we don't win this one and my college career is over. It's kind of sad. Growing up you've been dreaming for this moment in your life and now it's gone. This is my last game. Trying not to cry right now."
Question: What were you doing when you realized that, were you just kind of sitting there?
Brandon Graham: "Just sitting back watching the game, watching Pittsburgh (versus Cincinnati). Seeing (Lamar) Woodley out there, I was like man, me and him tight. Before you know it's going to be gone, so you'd better enjoy yourself. Now I'm about to tell that to somebody else (laughter). It's a wake up call for me. I feel like I'm ready for whatever, but I'm going to make sure that I enjoy this last game."
Question: Knowing that you haven't beaten Ohio State and this is your last crack at it and how much additional motivation does that put on you?
Brandon Graham: "It puts a lot of motivation. It's a lot for the whole team. You can't get jacked up for this one, I don't know what you doing or what you thinking about because this game in itself…just saying it should give you some kinds of chills and I just can't wait until Saturday."
Question: How incomplete would your career feel if you don't beat Ohio State at least once?
Brandon Graham: "Like I say stuff happens for a reason. I guess it just probably wasn't meant for me to beat them if we don't but we will. We will beat them sooner or later – hopefully it is this Saturday."
Question: What will you tell your kids about this rivalry regardless of what happens this weekend? How would you describe it to them, explain it to them?
Brandon Graham: "I don't know. I don't want to talk about no kids right now (laughter). If I did, I would tell them that it is the greatest game in the country and a lot of people wish they had the opportunity to say that they played in that game. I can always say that I was a part of that and I know how much it means to everybody else. I would just let them one day, if it's a boy or girl, if she end up going here and playing whatever sports you play, it is always something you can play hard, no matter what sport you play, football, basketball, it don't matter."
Question: Would you ever allow them to go to Ohio State?
Brandon Graham: "Naw, naw, I couldn't do that – not Justin Boren – I couldn't do that (laughter)."
Question: You talk a lot on the field are you going to have any words for Justin?
Brandon Graham: "I got a lot of words for him. Whosever in my way, I'll let them know every play, don't come my way. Don't come my way, some people talk back and some people don't, but the main thing for me is to see where people's conditioning. I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, so I'll be able to go back and forth. Some people can't do it, I'm just trying to get in their head. If they ain't trying to talk to me, I'm going to keep going until the game is over with. Sometimes I eat my own words, it don't matter. I'm just going to keep coming."
Question: How many people have talked back to you; you said sometimes people talk back?
Brandon Graham: "Oh yeah, last game (John) Clay was talking back to me. He was saying don't worry, I'm coming your way every time but run the opposite way. I have something to say, but yeah I'm going to catch you wherever you at so you'd better just make sure you got legs to be able to run."
Question: Is it weird for you that you get so much respect on a defense that beyond you, face it, has probably struggled a lot? Do you ever notice that on the field?
Brandon Graham: "I notice it, just from everybody telling me, but I try not to let…I don't even think about it, I just try to get to the ball. I just got a love for the game and I want everybody else around me to have the same thing, which I know they do. It is just some people grow faster than others. Some people have got the experience. Me and Donovan (Warren) talk about it every day. We just got to go hard every day. In the minute it is about to be his last by next year. I'm going to be talking him all the way through it, trying to make sure the defense is right. Just that love for Michigan that I have and want to see him succeed so much. It hurts so much that we had the season we had. I grew up as a person and I got humbled this year. You can't take nothing for granted. I'm not saying we did, but at the same time, I feel like I could work that much a little harder, something, I'm just trying to find the answer. Hopefully, we get this last one."
Question: Brandon after you heard what Justin said when he left; how did that stick with you?
Brandon Graham: "It was just somebody who shouldn't have been here in the first place, but that is over and done with. Justin, we will see him Saturday and I hope he can contain or D-line."
Question: How much motivation does the defense take knowing that you are going to be facing directly with him on Saturday?
Brandon Graham: "We not worried. We're just going to come. I got to trust and believe that we got a good front four that is going to get the job done. He's going to have to prove to me that he's still got it. He was good here, but I don't think that he's that good there because he's O-State and he really is from here."
Question: When he left and you heard what he said, were you angry, disappointed and did you guys talk about it as a team?
Brandon Graham: "Naw because Justin kind of disses himself a little bit once the new coaches came in. So you kind of new that something that was going to happen, it happens. He just didn't feel like he needed to be here no more. A lot of people leave because it is just their situation. I don't know, I just like spicing it up because he left and went to O-State. Like you could have gone anywhere else but you went to Ohio State."
Question: That is what I was going to ask you, a lot of guys transfer but to see somebody transfer to Ohio State…?
Brandon Graham: "That was just like a slap in the face but at the same time you not worried about it. That's just another player lost. We just got to get the next one ready."
Question: To say what he said about the family values thing; how much did that sting?
Brandon Graham: "That was just an excuse on why he wanted to leave. He took that on himself. He didn't give them a chance when they got here. He didn't really know. He was just so used to the Coach Carr era, he didn't want to get used to nothing else. That's why I say it was just his situation."
Question: Say the tables were turned and the players from Ohio State were to transfer here, would you accept him; would you guys follow him around?
Brandon Graham: "I can't fault him for it if his heart is going to lead him here, it is still hey you quit on O-State, you could have quit on us. That's the only thing I don't like about transferring, what was the reason. Some people just leave because they just think they better than what they is. Not trying to put that much work in to it, but the coaches tell them if you work a little harder and get in film and do extra, you can get out there. A lot of people get lazy and feel like it is supposed to come to them instead of work for it. It depends on the situation on what happened."
Question: When you were a freshman, this game was to determine national championship participant, to go from there to here.
Brandon Graham: "It hurts. I think about it all the time. The first two years that I got here, it always came down to that Ohio State game to win that Big Ten title. The first one we lost was 37-42, I forgot the score. The second one that hurt because it was just bad. It was 14-3, ah we was right there. All we got to do is win this one and I get a ring. Now my boy, Aaron Gant, he plays on Ohio State, he has three rings coming to him now. It just hurt because he always calls me and just talk stuff, him and Torrian Washington. They went to Orchard Lake St. Mary's, we grew up together and they always talking, saying we going to get a ring before you and he got one before me. It kind of hurt – it still hurt."
Question: You've had a really good year but the team hasn't; how do you reconcile the two or is it a bad year for you because it has been a bad year for the team?
Brandon Graham: "I'm a team player. We all had a bad year because our goals weren't fulfilled. My personal goals were okay, but it's not about me. It's about the team. I just laid it out there for my teammates, a lot of plays came my way and I was just happy to be able to say I changed the game some to try and help my team. Stuff happens for a reason like I said."
Question: Mark Ortmann said you two talked yesterday I think and said that perhaps….?
Brandon Graham: "Yeah he just texted me just before I got here saying we need to go have this full team meeting just players, just explain to them if they don't know already how serious this is and what it can do for this program heading into next year."
Question: Is it just about this game or kind of….?
Brandon Graham: "We trying to get an extra game just for our seniors because we don't want to leave, but what a better than to beat O-State and get into a bowl game off them. That'll feel so much better and everything else will erase itself because you always thinking about – we might have a bad year but we beat O-State. That's what it boils down too. That's why it is the last game of the season because we've been waiting a long time for this one."
Question: So it would erase…?
Brandon Graham: "Yes it would."
Question: You said what it could do for the program; what can it do?
Brandon Graham: "It can just motivate everybody. When you lose like this, you want to see what other people are thinking and how they're feeling towards next year. This type of game right here will push everybody up and know that a lot of games just slipped away from us and they be so hungry for next year. Either way we'll be hungry, but I just think it would do a lot – that's just my opinion."
Full Transcript: Brandon Grahams Heart Speaks
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Michigan Sets Visit Standard for SolomonFort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker Anthony Solomon’s trip to Michigan last week is now the standard by which all other visits will be measured.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 8:09 PM
'18 RB Thomas U-M Offer 'a blessing and gift'Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar 2018 running back Tavion Thomas says his Michigan offer is a "blessing and a gift."
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 3:31 PM
2019 RB Mellusi “ecstatic” over U-M offerNaples (Fla.) sophomore running back Cesare Mellusi is one of the top upcoming tailbacks in the Sunshine State and recently picked up big offer from the Wolverines. He talks about…
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 1:03 PM
U-M Loses OT Thriller at Minnesota, 83-78What we learned: Michigan Loses OT Thriller at Minnesota, 83-78
The Michigan InsiderSunday at 5:50 PM