We're extremely excited about this match up. It presents a lot of great challenges to us. The defense we're facing basically has just one game which had nobody move the ball at all, so watching film, they've been very impressive. Obviously they start with their front seven being very big, physical, stopping the run, trying to make you throw the ball. And then their back end, led with their corner, giving up hardly any big plays at all so it's going to be a great match up, we're really excited about it. Guys have practiced extremely hard all week. We had some rain, which was good to have to change up practice a little bit, some abnormal conditions, but I know that these guys are ready to play and are excited about the match-up.
On Michigan CB Leon Hall:
(Hall's) made a ton of plays on the ball. His interception numbers aren't like (California's) Daymeion Hughes' but he continues to make plays and what you see happening on film is people don't try to go after him very much. Obviously because he's been there a long time and people know about him. People throw away from him and then when people do try to throw a lot of times they can't get the ball off because the pressure from the front seven is so strong and so physical and they just flat out overmatch a number of teams. Guys have had some ideas where they're trying to get after the secondary and they can't. Sometimes it just looks like total mismatches.
On if they‘ve faced any comparable defense this year:
There really isn't. It's a classic Big-10 great team. The guys are bigger--the defensive tackle is 330 (pounds), the outside linebacker is 247 (pounds). You don't see that type of size in our Conference. Our Conference is more of a speed Conference, not as big and physical. We don't play a lot of great front sevens, that's just been the Pac-10 for a long time and you see that in the draft too. There's not a lot of D-linemen that come from the Pac-10, so it's different, it's a challenge we've had before very similar when we played them before and very similar when we played Oklahoma and Texas. We watched a defense that was just way better than any defense we played throughout the year.
On Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English‘s effect:
There's some scheme things that obviously help them but that's not the main thing. It's the energy that they play with and you see it on film. They fly to the football, they play excited. They're playing with emotion, (English) has them on the sidelines going and that to me is the obvious change. The guys are playing for him and there's a lot to that. It's not all about X's and O's, it's getting guys to play for you.
On if John David Booty‘s success can be attributed to a system:
No, it's him. We've been fortunate to have really good guys here and he's the next one of them to where he makes great decisions. He doesn't throw the balls up, he throws the ball to the right guys. He goes through his progressions and he continues to get better at that. But all the way from the opener where he played great against Arkansas, and that doesn't usually happen, so he has had a quarter here or there where he has not played great. But for the most part--obviously the UCLA game we didn't play very well--but he still hasn't have what a bad quarterback game is, where a guy throws four picks and it's a disaster. He has not had that and usually a guy has one of those in his first year.
On John David Booty‘s on-field demeanor:
Very professional. You'll see when you're around him. For instance we were sitting around waiting to be picked up this morning and I said, ‘Hey did you go out to the hot tub?' and he said, ‘No, I didn't bring my swimsuit,' and I said, ‘Oh, did you forget it?' and he said, ‘No, business trip.' That's how he is and he was raised very well and he takes it very serious.
On if he saw anything useful from Michigan‘s game vs. Ohio State:
Yeah there's some stuff in there but obviously teams are different so you can't just do the same things, and there's no doubt Troy Smith made a lot of plays that weren't exactly the way they were supposed to go. We've had that too with Reggie Bush. So there's some things you can take from the game but our quarterback doesn't quite run like Troy.
On if the UCLA game was the first where Booty was under serious pressure:
Yeah, it really was, and that's due to the run game. If you don't run the football, that's how most quarterbacks usually get hit. He's been very fortunate he hasn't got hit like that because we've had a good running game most of the year and we've been able to get quick passes off where guys have stayed out of his face. In one sense there were some good things about that. Going through that and getting back up and still taking us down there at the end.
On the running game:
You've got to be consistent. You can't have negative runs. You don't need 50-yard runs like we used to have with Reggie (Bush). You've got to have consistency, and in the UCLA game we had too many negative runs, too many runs for minus-one, minus-two. And this run game has been built over the years on not having that. We've been very consistent. We're looking for four-yard runs to keep us in manageable down and distance for our quarterback.
On USC‘s three running backs to see time this year:
Chauncey Washington was really slowed early by injuries and then he had a good run of about three games where he looked like a real guy and we were real excited about it and then he hurt his ACL and played probably when he shouldn't have been playing. The last two games of the year we kept hoping he was going to come out but it just wasn't there. He's healthier now and has had time to heal up so he should be better. CJ's probably the most all-around guy. He can do a lot of things for us in the passing game and we want to incorporate him more and more the way we did with Reggie (Bush). Reggie didn't do all the things he did in his freshman year either. Emmanuel Moody's per carry average was actually the best and one of the best in the Conference prior to getting hurt. He's really a flashy guy, more of a negative-run guy but then a big play guy. The other two are more consistent where Emmanuel may lose two yards but then get 20 on the next carry. So they're all three a little different. Chauncey without injuries probably would have been the best at the time. He's more consistent, and has been around the system longer."
WR Steve Smith:
On Dwayne Jarrett:
I think we complement each other well. He's gotten a lot of accolades this year, and I've been recognized a little bit, and I think we both help each other on the field. When they try to double one of us, the other one is going to make some big time plays and we're both capable of doing big things.
On UCLA Loss:
We‘re ready to play. We've been working hard, and that loss is gone now, it's over. The game is in the new year and we want to start the year off right.
On having something to prove:
Sure, I think we do. The last game the offensive line struggled, we didn't have much time to throw the ball and get people open. It was tough. We work as a whole unit. If we get open and the offensive line doesn‘t block, then things just don‘t work. We want to show the whole world that we're good as a whole unit.
C Ryan Kalil:
On getting Chauncey Washington:
It's very important, especially this year. One of our setbacks to our run game this year has not been the talent level, because we've had very talented running backs in this year. Obviously losing Reggie (Bush), you know everyone saw what he's capable of doing, but I think the biggest thing we lose from guys like Reggie is experience. These guys' ability to understand the running game, understand the plays, and how to read the holes is the biggest thing that has killed us in the run game. It's hard, we push these young guys to learn so much in so little time and they do the best they can. Like I said, talent wise they all have it from DJ to Booty, to Stafon (Johnson), to Al Bradford, they all have a very special talent about them. But the experience that guys like Chauncey Washington have just really helps everything out.
On loss to UCLA:
It was just an off day. There really is no one answer. I mean, you can look at film and point fingers here and there, but the bottom line was not everyone was on the same page, and that hurts. We just couldn't get on it. Sometimes we start fast, a little bit too fast and get out of rhythm that way, sometimes we start to slow. That's just something we've always learned how to do, is move on and it hasn't happened too often, because we haven't lost too many games since I've been here. It's all you can do. It sucks, obviously, we didn't want it to happen that way, and we didn't want to end it that way, but it happens. Little things kill us. Penalties, turnovers, you can't have those things and expect to win football games, no matter who you're playing.
On having another game:
That's the best thing about it. It's not like a Texas game where you've got to wait a whole off season to get back on and prove yourself worthy. We get another chance and again, it's a great opponent too and we love that it's here.
I think speed is on our side. One of things they have is a lot of big guys, a lot of tough guys, and guys that we're to have to isolate and move around. Guys like Woodley, who is a big guy, strong guy and he hustles. He cares a lot about his team and has a lot of heart about the game and that kind of thing, those kind of qualities and aspects rub off on to the players and you can tell that there is an excitement about their defense and football team that they really care about and that's something we're going to have to match and do a great job of in order to win this football game. They have size on their side, and I think the biggest thing for us is going to be having to get at ‘em, get at ‘em, have a lot of tempo. As far as the opponents and they way they play, they are no where near the tempo that we have. That's what is going to be the key , the fact of the matter is will we get that tempo up, that's what is going to be the biggest key to that game, and I think we will. As long as we remain focused, we'll do a great job.
WR Dwayne Jarrett:
On getting past the loss to UCLA:
I mean, it's almost like its something you have to do. You have to be forced to move on and look past that and I think if you sit and dwell on it, history is going to repeat itself. That is what we've done, We had that week off to get over it, and then we went back to work. We're over that loss and we've been focusing on Michigan ever since and we're ready to play.
On the game's X-factor:
You lose your last game and you're going on to a bowl game, so I think the team that recovers the fastest, and focus on the little things, that counts the most. The team that takes that and maximizes it, I think is the team that will eventually win the bowl game.
On the Michigan Defense:
They're pretty talented all around. Their front four, they definitely have some great guys there. Their linebackers are definitely solid, they have some real studdish guys, real big and thick, and they make plays on the ball. Their corners are pretty good,. I don't really see a weakness in their team, but you definitely have to use what you can to develop your game plan, and I think that's what we're going to do. We're just going to worry about us, execute our plays, and you know we're got playmakers on offense, so we're just going to try and make our plays.
QB John David Booty
On following Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart:
I had to follow two national players of the year in high school and then two Heisman winners here so I'm kind of used to having to step into those roles or follow guys. SC's the place I wanted to go and I knew what I'd be going against and what I'd be facing and I welcomed that.
On Michigan‘s front seven:
They're very good. I think they're coached well. They're very big and strong and fast and he did take quite a beating in that game but that's football at times. Sometimes it's not at all but then others it seems like you're under flight the whole time. But I feel like we have a good game plan going in and hopefully we can keep me off my butt a little bit because we've definitely got to seal guys to make big plays. If we can block and run the ball well, which I believe we can.
On returning to the Rose Bowl:
It will be my third one to be a part of and first as a starter so I kind of know what the build up is all about leading up to the Rose Bowl, so I'm excited to get out and play in my first one.
On if they have anything to prove:
I don't think we have to prove it to other people, I think we have to prove it to ourselves. It's all about us and we want to get this taste out of our mouths and get back on the winning track. We're really not trying to prove anything to anybody else.
On if he figured out why the offense struggled vs. UCLA:
I really can't. I've thought about it for quite some time and I kind of had to finally let it go and not worry about it anymore. I've got to focus on what we've got going now. I really can't answer that, I don't know why that happened, but that's why you play the game. You hate to lose that one but you've got to move on.
On if there‘s been anything this year he didn‘t expect:
I didn't want to lose those two that I did. That's the only thing I wasn't expecting. I felt we had the guys to go undefeated, which I do believe we did. I think those two losses we were to blame in a way, but we can't look back at the past because we've got a big game and we've got to get ready.
On Michigan‘s front four possibly being the best Michigan‘s had:
They look that way. Watching on tape they're really fast and big and the big guys can bull rush up the middle and then speed rush on the outside. Usually teams have one or the other and you can move outside or step up but it looks like with them you can't really do either one so it's going to be important for us to be physical.
On what grade he would give himself this season:
At times it's been a better grade than others. But I'd probably give myself a ‘B', knowing what I want from myself. I think there's a lot of room for improvement this offseason. It hasn't even been a year since my back surgery so this offseason will be big or me as far as my body is concerned as well. I don't think I'm the player yet that I want to be or that I know that I can be so I've got to get working hard after this game.
On the importance of using the game as a boost for next season:
I think it's very important because if we do win, I think going into next season we'll have a good shot at being preseason number one, with all the guys we have coming back. But not only that, just for the young guys to get a bowl victory under their belt and get that much more experience with success.
LT Sam Baker
On what makes Michigan's defensive line so tough:
They're just big old guys that play hard, that's the biggest thing. I don't expect any big surprises. In terms of game plans, I think they'll probably just play their defense and we'll play our offense.
On the offense‘s keys to the game:
The biggest key will just be execution. Execution on every play. Each man has to be accountable.