Patrick, you guys mixed in some younger running backs quickly. Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes. What kind of a boost did those guys give you, and was it nice to kind of spread the wealth in the running game a little bit?
OMAMEH: Yeah, we got some younger guys in there. Young guys, eager guys that want go in there and prove themselves, and got an opportunity to do so today, and it’s something that energizes everybody in there, and it’s something that we are really excited about.
Jake, where do you feel this defense is now compared to how you guys want it?
RYAN: I think we’re at a good point right now. I think we’re definitely communicating as a defense, and I think we’re definitely getting to the ball as hard as we can, and a shut out is always a great deal from a defensive perspective.
Patrick, Denard gets injured, and Russell Bellomy has to come in in probably the biggest spot he’s had to play in a game yet. How confident were you guys in him, and how do you think he handled himself?
OMAMEH: One thing the coaches always emphasize is that the expectation is for the position, not necessarily the player who happens to be at that position, so you never want to see one of your teammates go down, but if somebody does, you have confidence that the next guy’s going to step up and fill that void.
Taylor was pretty critical of the O-line play earlier this season, but right now, where do you guys feel like you’re at?
OMAMEH: We feel that we are progressing. We progress week to week, which is our goal, and we never want to feel satisfied with any kind of progress we’ve made at any position that we’re at, but we can look at the mistakes we made today and continue to improve, which is what we intend to do throughout the season.
Jake, Kenny Demens and Desmond Morgan just talked about the same type of cohesiveness that you just mentioned. How important is that cohesiveness to a defense, and how does that allow you to make the aggressive plays you made today?
RYAN: It’s a huge part of the defense. Communication is the key to this defense, and without that, it’s nothing. We have to communicate, and play our technique as well as we can.
Jake, when Denard went down and then Russell came in, you don’t know if he’s going to come back in the game, obviously he missed a series. Was there any talk on the sideline with the defense that ‘hey, this game could be on our shoulders the rest of the way, and we have to put the clamps down’?
RYAN: No, I don’t think so. I mean, we have faith in Russell and he stepped in there and did fine.
Jake, six or seven weeks ago, Alabama put 41 on you guys. What exactly has happened between then and now.
RYAN: I think it’s just preparing. We’ve been doing a great job of preparing throughout the week, and just knowing our technique and knowing tendencies of the other team is always critical.
Patrick, you said, obviously, the whole expectation at the position thing, but Russ is a much different quarterback than Denard. How much does that change things when he goes in, as far as maybe what you guys are looking to block, and what you’re expecting to have to block?
PATRICK: It might potentially have an impact on the plays that are called, but as far as the offensive line goes, the play is called in the huddle and we just do our assignment.
Patrick, the losing streak to Michigan State. What has that felt like, and how much have you looked forward to Saturday’s game?
OMAMEH: I mean, you never like to lose to anybody, much less a rival, and it’s something that we’re going to begin to focus on after we get past showing up our mistakes from this game.
Jake, what are your thoughts on having two of the legends jerseys in the linebacking corps? And just thoughts on Desmond getting 48.
RYAN: Desmond definitely deserved it. He’s a great player. We were talking, and having 47 and 48 as linebackers is kind of cool, and being lined up with each other is always great, but yeah, Desmond definitely deserved it, and he’ll definitely represent the jersey.
Jake, 26 points allowed in the last three games. Do you feel like you guys, defensively, are playing at a Big Ten championship level right now?
RYAN: I feel like we are. There’s always definitely room to improve. Tomorrow we have to look at the film, see what we have to do better, and what we can definitely improve on, but I think we’re moving toward it, and I think we’re getting our job done.
Jake, can you walk us through the play where you missed the quarterback, went down, stayed with it, and forced the fumble?
RYAN: I was actually coming around, and I slipped. I was coming in there too fast, and couldn’t plant my foot and cut, but I looked back and he was still in the pocket, so I got up and got after the quarterback.
Patrick, in warm ups, it looked like Lewan wasn’t warming up. Was there concern from you guys that he might not be able to go, and what that does line-shift wise?
OMAMEH: I mean, like I mentioned earlier, expectations for the position, and whoever goes down, we expect whoever goes in for them to basically continue what we’ve been doing, and we all have that confidence in anybody we put into the game.