It was pretty good. We had a lot of practices. For the most part, I tried to relax my body and watch what other teams were doing from around the country and try to put myself in positions that other players were in and see myself making plays.
From an intensity standpoint, how tough was last week's practices in terms of pushing you more than what a normal game week would be?
We went pretty hard. We went out and really went after it like we were preparing for a game last Saturday.
Do you the coaches were preparing you to keep that momentum that you generated from the first three weeks so that you wouldn't go neutral and keep that momentum going forward?
Yeah. Possibly just keep pushing forward and this will get us ready to play Michigan.
The spread offense was one of the quirks that got you guys last year. What have you really learned about the spread in a year to help gain experience? I know you guys worked a lot of spread during the spring.
Uh huh. Well, one thing we really focused on was being assignment sound. Everybody has a man or an area they need to be in gap wise. We just worked on being sure of our assignments and executing to the fullest.
Every spread has a little bit of a quirk to it. What is Michigan's quirk to the spread that they run?
I would say that what makes them different from a lot of teams is that off the zone read stuff, they have the ability to throw the ball. Take the zone read and be able to throw the ball off it. Obviously they take shots down the field so I would probably say they are a run-first offense. At the same time, they look to make plays down the field within the screen game and take vertical shots.
Their offense is a lot different than the last time you saw Michigan. It is kind of surprising that one team can look one way one year and look totally different the next year?
Yeah, I think that's just college football and that's now it helps. They have a new coach there and stuff so you have to just be ready to adjust.
How has your play been this year? I know you got the pick against Marshall but you were upset that you didn't get another one. Do you have higher expectations for yourself this year than last year at this point?
Oh yeah. That just comes with the year of experience. I have been out there and have been battle tested. I demand a lot out of myself and I obviously I know that I have to do a lot as far as making plays and directing the defense for us to win.
Over the spring, do you improve your leadership skills as well as your playmaking skills? Watching you during the spring, it almost seemed like you were another coach out there on the field with the younger guys.
That's something the being a free safety, I have to quarterback the defense. Along with that, we have a lot of young corners and style players in the secondary. I am definitely a leader out there.
A lot of people say that Michigan is one of the toughest places to play just because of the sheer environment. That seems it would not affect this team because of getting that big win at Fresno and the high-impact, high-intensity environment that they had. Would agree that you guys aren't afraid to go anywhere and play now?
I agree to the fact that Michigan is definitely a hard place to play and Fresno is a hard place to play. I don't think it is really about the exact setting or atmosphere of where you are going. I think it is the mentality of you of wanting to go in the road and pretty much get it to somebody, be ready to go in their house and take care of business. I think that's what it has to be on the road. Not only are you tested mentally but it's not your environment and everybody is against you. You just have to have that mentality of taking care of business.
How do you prepare for a road game? When does your game mentality start clicking in for a big road game?
This past Tuesday. It's pretty much the same as preparing for a team. Tuesday we start preparing for that team and hashing out the game plan, Wednesday we start polishing things and Thursday we polish it even more. On Friday, we almost treat it like a mock game and walk through of what we are going to do on the field. I don't really prepare differently for a road game. You prepare for the team ultimately but you know you are going on the road so you have to prepare mentally. We know we are going on the road together, we are going to have some ups and downs but we are going on a business trip to win.
What is the biggest thing the coaching staff has pointed out about the Michigan offense that you guys are trying to focus in on?
They like to run the ball on the perimeter and do stretch plays so we have to leverage the football and make plays. The new running back (McGuffie) and No.9 the receiver (Odoms) and Mathews, the receiver who was there last year. They have got receivers that can make plays and a running back who is tough. We're going to have to account for all those guys.
A lot of people say Michigan is down or in a transition period. Do you buy into that at all?
No. They're a great team. I don't look at their defense but their offense looks like a great team. It will be a great test for us.
Winning your first conference game, especially on the road in a tough environment, what can that do for a team going forward? How important is this game going forward?
It's big. We try to go 1-0 every week but to start the Big Ten season, start on one of our goals to win the conference, is big. We want to win every game and right now, this is the game that is in front of us. We have to start the Big Ten season off right.