Transcript: Mark Moundros Talks

New Captain Mark Moundros talks at length at the Big Ten Kickoff: on moving to linebacker, on the seniors taking over the team, on the QB and RB situations, more.

Mark Moundros: "There are so many guys every day that wow you. Every day in practice it will be someone new to pick out -- specific players, a specific person."

Question: You're playing defense now, is that something that is a welcome change from the last couple of years?

Mark Moundros: "I think Michigan has always been deep the way we prepare. I don't know how the past couple of years have gone. Obviously, I have not played that side of the ball but being around the defensive this year, I'm really excited what we bring to the table."

Question: Who did you go to when you wanted to become linebacker too?

Mark Moundros: "I went to Coach Rod."

Question: What did you lay out to him and what was his reaction?

Mark Moundros: "I said Coach Rod, I think I can compete on defense and if you feel that is something that I could do then I would like to try to swing it -- but obviously I'm willing to do what's best with the team and if what's best for the team is for me to stay at fullback then that's what I'll do."

Question: He was immediately receptive to it?

Mark Moundros: "He said I'll talk to the coaches and I'll get back to you. I'm not going to guarantee that this is something that we do, but I'll think it over."

Question: How long did it take to get back to you?

Mark Moundros: "A couple of weeks probably. This is something that we would like to see you do compete at the defense maybe it will make us better. Competition only makes people better."

Question: After you went through in spring, do you feel like you're in the mix and can contribute there?

Mark Moundros: "I'm just going to compete hard every day. I think I'm in the mix but I try not to thank about where I am on the depth. It is all about getting better every day and getting to where I can perform the best that I can perform every day and if my best isn't good enough and somebody is better than me, then the best man will play. I'm really excited. Competition only makes us better."

Question: In your mind, are you a fullback or linebacker?

Mark Moundros: "I don't know. They're both great positions and I'm just a guy willing to help the team I guess."

Question: Do you take a lot of pride in being a program guy?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah I do. What a great program to be a part of. Oh man, the tradition, the pride of Michigan. It is something special."

Question: Do you think changes schematically sort of even the playing field for you with the guys you're competing against since they have some things to adjust to also?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah definitely, but at the same time there are some things that we're bringing from the old defense and moving forward with. I wouldn't say that I'm completely behind. Obi (Ezeh) and Kenny (Demens) have been great at answering questions or anything that I'm unsure of their there with compliance and all that stuff that is going on. I have not really been able to talk to the coaches much this summer but having Obi and having Kenny around. I will pull them aside after a workout and say hey what's going on here. I'm not really too sure about this defense help me out. They're more than willing to help me out in anything that I have questions about."

Question: Talking about pride, hearing Steve Schilling say that seniors on this team this year have really taken ownership of the squad. Have you noticed an escalation during your time at Michigan with the guys stepping up in leadership roles sort of permeating this year.

Mark Moundros: "The seniors have always been the leaders of Michigan. Just like Steve said, the pride, the tradition of Michigan is incredible. Just to let the freshman know of the history of Michigan in the past where we've been as a program. It really helps you to put everything in perspective and help us to work harder."

Question: Take me inside, Troy (Woolfolk) said that seniors are running these offseason workouts, these seven on sevens. So he said, who played the senior regulated; what's the criteria, how does Mark Moundros or the seniors decide, okay you're playing today and you're not. How do you decide that or you're first string or you're second string?

Mark Moundros: "I do not know what Troy told you as far as first string or second string."

Question: He didn't use any names, he just we decide who plays, who doesn't, who starts, who doesn't. Who decides that as seniors?

Mark Moundros: "The guys that started in the spring usually start for seven on sevens or passing. So as far as adjusting that, I do not think we do that. As the senior class, we have had to step up. Wednesday's lift have been senior run. The coaches are there but only for safety reasons. They are not allowed to coach us. They are not allowed to do anything because we're trying to get hours back and I think that has changed just with the senior leaders. We've put freshman, put upper classman through lifts and that has given us a different role that we're not used to from in the past."

Question: When you look at other guys on defense maybe you could take us inside the workup and tell us who the other guys are sort of stepping up right now?

Mark Moundros: "Every day we come into the weight room everyone competes and everyone works hard. They know the past two seasons aren't good enough and what we're doing in the past isn't going to cut it. If I see one guy outworking another in the weight room, I can't tell you that because everyone is hunger, everyone is ready to win."

Question: Offensively, you have a unique perspective on that. What difference do you see in that unit now that you see it from the other side? In the quarterback position for instance; is the Denard Robinson we saw in the spring is hat sort of indicative of what you're seeing right now in the summer?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely. I think Denard just keeps growing and getting better. They all do, Devin (Gardner) and Tate (Forcier) and for younger quarterbacks that's big. Learning how to read defenses, learning the play and the timing of your receivers. I think they've all become smarter and that is going to help us a lot come this fall."

Question: What about the tailbacks? You blocked for some senior guys that have been through a lot and now you got a lot of new guys outside of Vincent Smith really and what do you see from that group?

Mark Moundros: "I see a lot of guys that bring different elements to the table, which is going to help us. I wouldn't be surprised if we had quite a few running backs in the fall. I think the more running backs you and the more elements they bring the more challenges it poses on a defense."

Question: Can you compare the feeling of the team, an overall sense of anticipating going into this year into other years; certainly always excited I'm sure. How does this year compare. Do you guys feel like everything is falling into place this year that this is it?

Mark Moundros: "I think we are hungry and we've learned from the past few years and we're willing to move on and like I said, we're hungry and trusting in our coaches around us."

Question: Was there a particular moment that you decided that linebacker was the spot or that you should make that switch. Was there any one moment in particular or a growing feeling?

Mark Moundros: "Just a growing feeling, not something in particular. I just felt that if I could help on the defense then why not ask him. I said Coach Rod, do you think that I could compete on the defensive side of the ball than I would like to try this spring. He said that they would think about it and it is not something that they would decide right then. I was able to compete at linebacker this past spring."

Question: How do you think yourself and other players would define a successful 2010 campaign? Perhaps you do have a particular number in your head, you don't have to share those but what is success for you guys this season in light of what has happened over the course of your career?

Mark Moundros: "I think the goal at Michigan has always been a Big Ten Championship and it has always been that way. Anything short of that goal I do not know."

Question: How have the guys rallied around and help support you after the accident?

Mark Moundros: "Yes this is the Michigan family and my cousin is in the hospital for about a week to a week and a half after the accident and I can't even tell you all the guys, all the players, all the coaches that came in to see them. All the support that we have had throughout this accident has been incredible. That is why I love this program so much because it is the great love we have for each other and the great respect that we have as a family."

Question: As tragic circumstance as it is, did it sort of shine a light on that fact of wow, I'm really a part of a tight group here?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely. I think I always new it but I think my parents and Jonathan's parents and my cousins, everyone were pretty amazed at the players and all the coaches that came in every day. Coach Rod was there just about every day making one visit. Everybody knows how busy Coach Rod is and to find time in his day to come to the hospital. That's something special."

Question: How is everyone doing now health wise?

Mark Moundros: "My brother is doing fine. He is back. For two and a half weeks, he would stand up and get pretty dizzy. That was from his concussion but every since then he has been doing great and Jonathan is doing great. He's back to normal. He's moving around, but he's in a halo for four weeks. Four weeks from yesterday, so a little under four weeks. He is just eager to get out of the halo and start doing things."

Question: Why did you come to play football at the University of Michigan?

Mark Moundros: "The tradition, the pride of this University, the history. All the coaches previously, all the players previous and they have always done it the right way."

Question: What makes being a student-athlete a great experience the years that you have been at Michigan?

Mark Moundros: "To be able to compete especially at Michigan, in the classroom with the best of the best, the best doctors, the businessman and woman, it is something else. Then to go to the practice field and compete with the best on the field and complete with the best on the field is just something special."

Question: What makes Michigan set it apart from the other ten schools in the conference?

Mark Moundros: "It has always been one of the dominant schools in football as well the classroom. Just getting a bunch of students and athletes who are ready to compete every day with each other and knowing that competition makes you better and trying to achieve greatness through the leaders and the best."

Question: When you are not playing football, what exactly are you doing? Ann Arbor is a beautiful place there has got to be something to do.

Mark Moundros: "Whatever is happening in Ann Arbor. There was an art fair. I walked around with a couple of friends the other day just to be social. There was a restaurant we ate together the other day. It was like six dollars for lunch. I went and had lunch with a buddy. Different things always happen in Ann Arbor just hanging out."

Question: Once your collegiate career is done, whether you choose to play at a higher level or if you decide to do something else, what do you want to be remembered as at Michigan?

Mark Moundros: "A person who did everything the right way and a great leader."

Question: I know a lot of people are asking the coaches their opinion about the expansion; everyone is kind of leaving the players out of it. What are your thoughts on adding Nebraska as the 12th school?

Mark Moundros: "As a senior, I'm not too worried about it. I'm just looking forward to this upcoming year and my focus is on this season."

Question: How do you like Chicago?

Mark Moundros: "Pretty good."

Question: Have you guys got out at all?

Mark Moundros: "No not really. They had a player's room for us last night. We were just playing video games, Troy, Steve (Schilling) and myself."

Question: I suppose there are so many commitments that there is not time to get anywhere.

Mark Moundros: "Yeah not too much."

Question: The Michigan program at least in the standings, wins and losses; how frustrating has it been given the gold standard that the program has had for many years?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah. It is extremely frustrating. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, but we're going to learn from that past and look forward to the future. Looking at the past, not going to sit here and make excuses because that's not what Michigan does. We're not a team to make excuses. We're going to learn from the past and look forward to our first game against Connecticut and compete."

Question: What do you like about this group of players?

Mark Moundros: "As a senior, I just think we're close knit group of guys. We will take 20 guys to the movies one night, you know what I mean. Willing to work hard for each other and do anything for each other."

Question: The key to success for the season?

Mark Moundros: "Take it one game at a time. Not look too far in the future. The Big Ten conference is so strong top to bottom. You look too far ahead and you're going to get beat."

Question: Safe to say that you've seen it all at Michigan, good times and seen some not so good. You came in as a young man and maybe now you feel like a grown man.

Mark Moundros: "Yeah, definitely seen a lot. It has been a humbling experience to say the least."

Question: It is unusual for Michigan to be an under the radar team, is that kind of the way you feel?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah and I'm excited about that. I'm excited to be an underrated team. We're the underdogs going into a game."

Question: Has been the hardest part about switching to linebacker?

Mark Moundros: "Learning a different scheme, learning a different system. Obviously I need to prepare more, watch a lot more film and work on a lot more technique."

Question: When people say this is a make or break year, what is your impression?

Mark Moundros: "We trust Coach Rod 100%. We got his back no matter what happens, but I think this is going to be a great year. This is going to be a special year. I'm really excited about going into this season."

Question: Is it going to be more gratifying that returns to glory as opposed to a team that is just another link in the chain?

Mark Moundros: "They are both gratifying. I think just being a part of this program in general is so gratifying. Michigan all the tradition, all the pride, all the players and coaches before us. I think that in itself is a great, great experience."

Question: That first day of practice, was there nerves out there when you were running with the linebackers? Was there maybe a hit or something that settled you down?

Mark Moundros: "Excitement going into the first day of practice. Like I said, I always had that defensive mindset. From that start of the drills, just being in contact and collision, it was really exciting to be on that side of the ball."

Question: Does it kind of irk you when you hear fans or alumni outside the program say he is not a Michigan Man? Especially with how behind him you guys are; does that kind of bother you a little bit?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely, but we worry about the men that are in the football building, because they know best and that's the players and coaches and we can only control what we can control. We tell Coach Rod that we have his back every day and he knows that. It has made us close. If anything it has made us closer."

Question: Is that kind of a sense that you know the fans will never fully be satisfied, they are always kind of looking for more, do you kind of accept that?

Mark Moundros: "Being Michigan, it is a program that is highly respected and the fans except a lot from us, but I think we expect a lot from each other."

Question: Do you feel like you and Coach Rodriguez have gotten closer because you have shown your dedication of wanting to help the team by moving to linebacker?

Mark Moundros: "I think all the players are close to Coach Rod. Coach Rod has done a great job of bringing us in and making us a family. I think we all feel that way. Even from the car accident that I was recently in. Coach Rod was there every day at the hospital to visit my cousin. What a great program. What a great tradition to be a part of."

Question: Have you ever had a coach like that that really would be that dedicated that he is coming to visit your cousin in the hospital every day?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah. I think all the coaches at Michigan are that dedicated. It is a University where the coaches do it the right way and the players do it the right way."

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