Transcript: Mark Moundros Talks, Part 2

New Michigan Captain Mark Moundros on leading, on the linebackers corps, on Coach Rodriguez, on Jon Bills, and more.

summer? Maybe one on one talking to him?

Mark Moundros: "I see Coach Rodriguez every day. I wouldn't say that we meet. I see Coach Rod and say hi to him in the hallway or what not and he asks how my day has been. It is just like, a bond, a family. All the players have it."

Question: You said that he had the players over his house?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah."

Question: What was that like with all the seniors there? Was there a noticeable bond that you felt? Hey, I'm a senior now at Michigan and here are all my senior teammates. This is real, we are the senior sort of thing?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah, definitely. Going to his house is a really humbling experience and you're now a senior and you need to be a leader, whether that is leading by speaking or lead by example."

Question: What kind of stuff did he tell you at that meeting that you got you more fired up.

Mark Moundros: "Just to be great leaders, do everything the right way. Obviously, eyes are on us now that we are seniors, take that in and let it humble you and lead by example."

Question: What kind of leader do yourself as, more of an example or vocal?

Mark Moundros: "I would say more of a leader by example."

Question: I know with the NCAA violations, he wasn't watching TV and he wasn't reading any press about it. Is that something that Coach Rodriguez talked to you guys about or was that kind of a player's thing that we're not going to listen to what is being said outside the program?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah. I think that was our mentality. Coach Rod said some stuff about that, but I think even before that I think the players knew. Sometimes you read things in the papers that aren't always correct. So we just try to focus on…we can't control what other people say or what other people write, but we can control what we do day in and day out and that's what we worry about that what we focus on."

Question: Is that a season long thing? When this season is coming up, are you guys going to not watching those people think about you guys on TV, not in the newspaper and that is not just centered around maybe the violations?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely, negative and positive things in the newspaper can affect you. They can humble you and they can also make you so cocky. I'm one not to read paper clippings and just focus on what I can control every day."

Question: Fullback or linebacker, which do you feel gives you the best shot to get on the field?

Mark Moundros: "I couldn't tell you. I'm just going to compete every day in practice and whatever spot I earn, I earn. I just want to win football games. If I don't play a snap on the field and we 12-0, then I'm the happiest guy in the world."

Question: Was the discussion about helping out at linebacker in part due to there is not a ton of use in fullback in this offense?

Mark Moundros: "A little bit. Obviously as a player you like to see the field, but like I said, if I just compete at linebacker and make those in front of me better than that's what I'm going to do."

Question: Have you sensed that the adversity has made this group tighter?

Mark Moundros: "I would say that we are a lot closer, definitely. When you have so many people against you, you rally the wagons and I think it has definitely made us a lot closer."

Question: Some of the criticism centered around the linebacking crew itself in terms of some of the struggles that Obi (Ezeh) and Jonas (Mouton) had this year. Did you see the group progress this spring and through working together in the summer?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely, overall the whole defense and the offense, we've all improved. Competition makes us better and I think we have a lot of guys who are competing with each other to earn spots on the team, to earn a starting job and become a backup. Because even when you're a back up, you're a play away from playing. I think Obi and Jonas, and Kenny and JB (Fitzgerald), and all those linebackers, Craig (Roh) have all competed and I've competed as well to help us become a better defense and a better team overall."

Question: What difference has having Greg Robinson for a second straight year made in terms of just kind of togetherness and understand of what everyone is doing?

Mark Moundros: "I think Coach Robinson is a great coach. He's a great coach to have around. He is a great leader and a lot of guys respect him. I think that definitely helps for him to be back."

Question: Are there any freshman heading into the fall that look like their a little bit more prepared to compete right away?

Mark Moundros: "Obviously, the guys that came early in the spring those are guys that are mentally prepared to play. But I think overall that the freshman class that came in this summer, all of them are hungry. All of them came in having the mindset that we want to win and they know the importance of winning at Michigan. I'm really excited. I'm not sure how it is all going to square out in camp, but I'm sure there will be some freshman that end up helping us this fall."

Question: You played with the youngster Jake Ryan, what have you noticed with him so far?

Mark Moundros: "A competitive guy, a big guy. He's a strong, strong kid, who is very competitive and willing to come in and work every day. That's all that you can ask from a freshman, come in and study the playbook, work every day to be the best that you can be and hopefully the best you can be gets you on the field in your first year."

Question: Does playing both positions make it more difficult with all the different things that you have to know in terms of the playbook?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah definitely. Fullback is completely different than linebacker in the sense just finding an iso block. Fullback guy needs to come a little more controlled on that iso block, because you're unsure if the linebacker is going to juke you or if he is going to come up straight at you. As a linebacker, you can define what is going to happen. The fullback, you know he is coming to block you and get to decide if you are going to juke or if you are going to take him square up."

Question: This defense the last couple of years has not gone the way you guys had hoped; what gives you a feeling that this year is going to be different and you will be able to get to a bowl game if not competing at the top of the conference?

Mark Moundros: "I think the past two years have definitely humbled us. I think that we've learned a lot from the past two years. Obviously, we're not going to focus on those, but we are going to learn from them and move forward. They have definitely humbled us and made us a lot more hungry coming into this season."

Question: As far as Jon Bills, when will he be able to start the rehab stage; is he able to do any rehab work or is that down the line?

Mark Moundros: "He'll be in the halo for four more weeks and then he'll start the rehab process then. He'll be in a neck brace for however long it takes for his neck to be strong. Obviously in a halo for 12 weeks, the muscles in your neck are going to be a bit weaker."

Question: Is that something he is going to do in Ann Arbor or is he going to go home?

Mark Moundros: "I think he is going to do it in Ann Arbor with our training staff."

Question: Oh, Barwis.

Mark Moundros: "Yep, yep hopefully. That's what we're expecting."

Question: How are his spirits (Jon)?

Mark Moundros: "His spirits are high. What a tough kid. I couldn't be more proud of my cousin. His spirits are really high. He has always been the type of person that everything happens for a reason and this is just another obstacle that he faces. He's a great kid."

Question: This is a tough time and I know Coach Rod said that he had to yell at him even in the hospital bed. Hey man, don't move. Is that something when it happens, stay still?

Mark Moundros: "The accident happened on a Friday and they weren't going to do surgery until Monday and Jonathan couldn't sit up in bed. They were afraid that his spine might move a little more if he were to sit up. Him having a concussion and all, he wasn't sure where he was or why he couldn't get up or that his neck was even bothering him. He could move every limb, why would his neck be broken. It was very difficult to keep him down, because as a football player, you're always, I need to get up. I need to get up right now. It is completely different when you're in the hospital and you are laying down. He kept saying ‘Mark, come over here and grab my arm and help me.' ‘No Jonathan, I can't do that.' ‘No come-on, just come over here and pick me up.' It was pretty crazy."

Question: Coach Rodriguez said by the time he got to the hospital room that 15 or 17 teammates had already made it through.

Mark Moundros: "Yes definitely. We are such a loving family, the Michigan program in general. It was very humbling to see all these guys come in. Almost every player from the team came by and saw Jon at least once. Coach Rodriguez came every day to see him. What a humbling experience to see all that."

Question: Has Barwis in particular that is going to work with John or is it going to be another member of strength staff?

Mark Moundros: "I'm really not sure. It has just kind of been talked about briefly. Four weeks will come and Jonathan will come in and talk to all those guys."

Question: He is not going to be able to classes at the same time is he?

Mark Moundros: "He's going to do classes."

Question: Really?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah. He can walk around and do everything, he'll just have a neck brace. That might be a little bit to his advantage, maybe the teachers will sympathize with him a little bit."

Question: Can you talk about Craig Roh's talent and what he brings to the game and maybe he is going to stand up a little bit this year?

Mark Moundros: "Craig's a great athlete. He can do it all. Like you said, stand up or play down. That all comes from his competitive nature. He's a guy that is willing to come in and compete every day and work hard in the weight room, the film room and just be the best that he can be to help our team."

Question: He seems like a smart guy. Is he on top of his coverages and everything?

Mark Moundros: "Definitely, definitely. He has helped me this spring to help me learn my coverages as well."

Question: Talk about his athletic ability. We talked about how he is versatile. How athletic is he?

Mark Moundros: "He is very athletic, very strong, very physical kid. That helps him a lot on the field."

Question: He played a true freshman, do you feel like there are expectations for him to make those plays…Brandon (Graham) was that huge playmaker last year obviously, is he going to be expected to maybe fill a little of those shoes going into next year?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah. Any time you play a year, you're going to get better. He's got a whole year of experience and then he had a whole summer to train and get stronger, which he did and get faster. A lot of good things I expect from Craig this fall."

Question: The senior meeting that happened this summer, is that going to happen during the year as well?

Mark Moundros: "I think that is going to happen during camp as well. That was something that happened this summer. He just brought us in and stressed the fact, the importance of being a senior, this is our last year and he remembers his senior year at West Virginia like it was yesterday and I'm sure that is going to be the same for us."

Question: Do you think his experience as a walk on that grew into a starter, do you think that sort of shapes his view of the walking on in the program?

Mark Moundros: "Sure definitely. I think every coach at Michigan has always respected the walk on. I know Coach Carr did. Definitely, Coach Rodriguez has always respected the walk on. I think Coach Rodriguez just knows the importance of every player on the team. It is the importance of the walk on to be that scout team player, to show looks that an offense or opposing defense will show that week. That's just as important as the starting player preparing, because the starting defense needs to see those good looks and if they see great looks during the week, then they are going to perform better during the game and I think that is the importance of realizing the importance of every key player of the team."

Question: You said he talked a lot about leadership and leading by example; obviously, you have some guys that were vocal leaders. Who are the vocal leaders on this team?

Mark Moundros: "I think Troy and Steve are vocal. Every senior has their bit of time where they are vocal, but most of us lead by example. When something needs to be said it'll be said and I'm not sure who is going to say it, because all the seniors I would say are vocal in their own sense."

Question: The quarterbacks sort of have to be leaders, how have you seen those guys; they were freshman last year. I imagine it was difficult for them. How have you seen those guys grow into greater leadership roles so far?

Mark Moundros: "I think they are also guys that lead by example. They are ones that are working hard in the weight room, working hard running and speed and agility so that they can gain the respect of the guys around them. What greater way to earn a guys respect than to work hard right next to them."

Question: Just Coach Rodriguez pulled you aside, do you pull those quarterbacks to the side as a senior and say look, it is important that you set an example for the offense or you set an example for the team, because you might be a sophomore, but you are the quarterback?

Mark Moundros: "Yeah definitely. I think a couple of seniors have stepped from the side and let them know how important. But at the same time, they know the importance. This is Michigan and they know the importance of quarterbacks here and the quarterbacks that have been her and how special it is to lead the offense."

The Michigan Insider Top Stories