Question: How are the other guys doing on the team spirit wise?
Greg Banks: “We haven't had a team meeting yet, but from what I have seen in lifting today, our spirits are still high. People came in with a good focus today, at least my group did and from what I seen, the group prior to that did as well.”
Question: How much of a difference does it having Mike Martin in there as opposed to not having him the last two weeks?
Greg Banks: “Kind of like what I said after the game to one of the reporters, I said, the expectation not on the player but the position. Adam Patterson and Renaldo Sagesse, his plays, who backs up all the position on the defensive line, they do a great job. It does hurt our defense in a way because he’s a guy that we’re used to having in but at the same time, we have great leadership in the back ups that we have.”
Question: Have the defense players met or spoken with each other after Saturday and what’s the general feeling about pulling this together and moving forward?
Greg Banks: “We spoke to each other after the game. We’re all on the same bus, or what not. At least I know all 11 starters are. We told the young guys, you’re not a freshman no more. You are into your sixth or seventh game, you’re not a freshman no more. For the upperclassman like myself, we said we all have to set up. We got quit talking about it and we got to be about it.”
Question: What did you Rich say to you guys in between the third and fourth quarter on the field?
Greg Banks: “He was just trying to keep us fired up. He said hey, this is what you came to Michigan for, those prime time games at eight o’clock at night and what not. He said if you’re in the position to make the play you have to make it. It is not about individual statistics or performances or what not, it is just everybody playing together as a unit because if one person messes up, then everybody else seems to fall apart as well.”
Question: The challenges of stopping the Illinois quarterback (Nathan Scheelhaase)?
Greg Banks: “We just now today getting in there and seeing film and what not. He’s real good. He can pass. He’s a dual threat quarterback with his legs. He seems to be running the offense pretty well and it looks like he reads defenses pretty good as well. It is going to be challenge, just like every week is a challenge. I haven’t really played against the guy, but from what I’ve seen he’s really stepped up this year and I see that from his last game when he threw for I don’t know how many yards, but he did it both with his arms and his legs.”
Question: Are there any areas where the defense has improved?
Greg Banks: “What we need to do is improve our tackling and our third down efficiency. We all take the responsibility for that. Me as a defensive lineman, I take a heavy burden on the third down because we need to get more pressure on the quarterback. We’re going to go on and practice this week and we’re going to hit it hard. That’s all we can do. Just better ourselves one thing at a time.”
Question: Getting back to their quarterback, does going against a guy like Denard (Robinson) in practice every now and then or in the spring help you prepare?
Greg Banks: “Speed wise, yeah. Even passing, everyone has seen that Denard has got exceptionally better with his passing. He is a great quarterback to go against any day in practice, spring ball or whatever, camp. Then again, there are certain tings that Denard does that other quarterbacks don’t do. Everybody is unique in their own way in their mannerisms and things like that.”
Question: You guys really haven’t had to prepare for a dual threat quarterback this year have you?
Greg Banks: “I wouldn’t say that. I have got to prepare for them every week because Denard, practice. The guy runs around like crazy. (Ricky) Stanzi, he’s more of a pocket quarterback but when he gets the opportunity to run he will run, just like Kirk Cousins. It is really like if you give the quarterback the opportunity to run, they will run. No quarterback is stupid to stay in the pocket and just stand there and take a hit. Even Indiana’s quarterback (Ben Chappell) when he had the opportunity to run, he was scrambling around a little bit just to make plays with his legs somehow.”
Question: Can you put into words how desperate this team is to win this game, be bowl eligible, maybe stop some of the comparisons to last year?
Greg Banks: “I can say it is very important to me because I haven’t been to a bowl game in the past two years. When I came in, I was used to that. The onus is on us. The coaches, they can only do so much, the rest of it falls into the players hands. This game is important just like any other game would be. That is really important like any other game would be. That’s really all you can comment on that.”
Question: Greg Robinson has gotten a lot of heat from outside the program, what would you say in terms of defense in terms of what he has done or how limited he is once the game starts?
Greg Banks: “He’s a great coach. His defensive schemes work. It is just the players, we need to take more pride in what he’s teaching. Most of the stuff is because we’re missing tackles in the wide open field. We’re not capitalizing on third and long situations. We’re not helping him out….where he is putting us in position, we’re just not executing. I can’t speak for the offense, I can only speak for the defense, but we’ve got to get better in our execution of his play calls. He’s been in the game for numerous years so he knows what he is doing. He has had players that make the system work, we just have to perfect it.”
Question: You’ve given up at least 34 points in every Big Ten game this year, how important is it for you guys to put a complete together this year?
Greg Banks: “It is imperative that we do that. We can say honestly that nobody has gotten our best shot yet this year. Not to take anything away from any other team. Seriously when we look at film, we’re not giving 100% either in execution, effort or just knowing our assignments. It’s a mentality. It is like you go in studying, the game plan, you have got to have confidence and when you have confidence that’s when you execute your plays better. My guess is somewhere along the line we’re not executing our plays, which means we’re lacking in confidence. Like I said, we’re going to step that up. That’s all we can do.”