Desmond Morgan: I’m privileged, not only to represent a former Michigan player, that obviously left his legacy on the program, was a standout person and player, but on top of that, a president of the United States. It’s a great honor, and I’m going to wear it proud.
Denard, what did you hurt and were you scared that it was going to be more serious than it obviously was?
Denard Robinson: No, it was just a boo boo, I mean everybody gets hurt. It was all good. I came back in and it didn’t bother me at all.
DENARD: It didn’t bother me at all, so it was just, funny bone, nothing serious.
Denard, can you talk about the defense? Obviously, when you do go out, you need to count on your defense, and for this game, one hundred whatever it was yard, the performance that they had, and you know you can count on them this season, obviously.
DENARD: I think every great team has to have a great defense. It starts with the defense, to be honest with you, because if they can stop people, we can score three points and win a game, if they shut them out. So, they played well and it was a team effort today.
Desmond, how much do you think things changed for you when Scheelhaase was knocked out of the game in the second quarter? It seemed like after that, you really let up much at all.
DESMOND: I mean, obviously, he’s a great athlete and a great quarterback. He posed a threat running the ball and throwing the ball and we knew we had to contain him to win the ball game. When he went down, we knew they would put the next best guy in there and we just had to keep going with the same game plan and keep going on.
Desmond, can you talk about the line play right now and how that’s making it easier for you guys?
DESMOND: Definitely, whenever we’re having success on defense, it starts up front, those three, four guys up there. When they’re playing physical, holding those offensive linemen up, it allows us to kind of flow and make plays. We feed off each other, so our success has started up there for sure.
Denard, after your injury, coming back in, and I think you hand off for, I think, three different plays, and then you take off for a couple yards, then you get a 33-yarder, lose your shoe and all that, did you need something like that to kind of get yourself kick started and get back into rhythm after your injury?
DENARD: I mean, I just go with whatever we get. I just go out there and play football. Whatever I see, I play with it. Obviously, the offensive line blocked well today, so I had a lot of holes.
Denard, this is the second game in a row you guys have gone with a run-heavy, pass-lighter offense, how comfortable are you with that?
DENARD: I’m comfortable with it, because this is Michigan and this is how Michigan always plays. And the running backs have been running well and the offensive line, they come out every day and practice hard. They put forth the effort today, so I’m happy with them, because that’s where it starts at.
Denard, on the 71-yard touchdown pass, there were about five or six guys that had a lot of blocks, did you get to see that on replay or anything?
DENARD: Oh yeah, I saw the last block by Mike Schofield. He’s the right tackle, he came back from way back where – somewhere far back, and he made a key block to let him go loose, so that was exciting to watch him go down the field and make the block.
Denard, you obviously had Junior last year, but what’s it like to be able to hang it up at the back of the end zone for a 6’5 guy like Funchess?
DENARD: Funchess always goes up and gets the ball and you enjoy throwing to that guy. He’s a great athlete, and I enjoy it.
Desmond, this is another week where you guys, as a defense, seemed to show a lot of improvement. After a performance like today’s, how close are you to where you want to be as a unit?
DESMOND: You know, I think, again we made strides, we’re not satisfied with where we’re at, or going to be content at the way we played yet and there’s obviously things we have to improve and mistakes that we’ve got to build off and get better at, but it’s another step in the right direction and we have to keep moving forward.
Denard, I know you don’t like talking about career accomplishments and things like that, but does it feel like 10,000 total yards accumulated in your career? Does that even register with you, what that means?
DENARD: To be honest with you, I didn’t even know about that. I don’t look at the stats or none of that stuff. I just go out there and play football. The only stat part I care about is turnovers, and that’s the biggest stat I look at. I just go out, have fun with the team and worry about winning.
Desmond Morgan, talk about the collective pride that you take, the entire defense takes, in shutting out a team.
DESMOND: That’s a great accomplishment, you know, when you can hold a team to zero points, especially a team that converted as well as they have on third down like Illinois and they’ve been explosive and put points on the board. It’s a great accomplishment, like I said earlier, there’s things we have to correct and get better at, but holding a team to a shut out is something to kind of hang your hats on a little bit.
Desmond, Illinois was the game last year that Coach Mattison said, where it really came together for you guys, is there something about this opponent that, I mean, you guys saw on tape, or something they do that you said, okay, we’ll feel pretty good against these guys?
DESMOND: To be honest, I don’t think I would say it like that. Even going into this game, I think we knew their type of offense was similar to last week’s, so I don’t think it was a type of offense or anything that we match up well against, it’s just having that experience of the games we’ve played and kind of having that under our belt and knowing that we’re going to keep moving forward and keep making strides like we have. And so I think, just playing together and starting to get used to each other and starting to gel as a defense has really helped, and we kind of played them at a similar point in the schedule last year, so I think, kind of similar things happened.
As you said, gelling more as a defense, it seems like the reads are being made faster, how much more confident and aggressive has this defense played compared to a couple weeks ago?
DESMOND: I’d say the confidence has definitely risen. I think before, we weren’t really sure about where each other were going to be, exactly, things like that, but I think we’re comfortable right now and starting to really come together, knowing where the guy in front of you is going to be on every play, how you’re going to be able to play off him playing off the offensive linemen, things like that. I think everyone is starting mesh together and just know each other’s responsibilities on top of their own and I think that’s helping.
This is for both of you, if you would, what’s the confidence level of this team right now? Are you going into games expecting to win?
DENARD: Every game you come in expecting to win. If you walk on the field and you think you’re going to lose, I mean, you’re going to lose. Your mindset has always got to be to win.
DESMOND: Yeah, I mean, just basically the same thing. We’re just feeding off each other. We have confidence in our offense and they’re putting confidence in us defensively, so, you know, we’ve got confidence in one another, and I think that’s really gelling this team together right now, and so we’re just moving forward with that.