Taylor, saw you on the field after the game, kind of puffy-eyed, giving out a lot of hugs. What does this win mean to you? What’s it like to beat these guys?
LEWAN: You, know, it’s special. It’s a rivalry game, and we have three big rivalry games a year, but at the same time, this wasn’t our season. We have bigger goals, and our goal is the Big Ten championship, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.
Craig, you guys, again, defensively, really seemed to play well. Do you feel that, at this point, you’re a defense that can win the Big Ten?
ROH: Well, I think through the way that we prepare – it’s all the work that goes in before that makes us feel that we can play with anyone in the country, and it’s just that way. We prepare like an NFL team, and that’s the way we’re going to keep preparing every week until the season’s over.
Roy, when Brendan trots out to kick that field goal, was there any doubt in your mind that he would make it?
ROUNDTREE: You know, it goes back to Thursday, you know? We go through different scenarios, and we were down by two, and we executed, and it played over into today, and just coming off what happened, we just – you know, scoring that drive, but you know, Brenda was over there focused, and he said he had it, so it came down to him, and he got the job done.
For Taylor, the talk last year was that they physically manhandled you guys. Do you feel like you held your own today, physically?
LEWAN: Me, or as a whole?
As a whole.
LEWAN: As a whole offensive line? I think we got the job done, you know? It wasn’t always beautiful, but at the end of the day, I think this offensive line came together at the end, and we did what we had to do to win the game.
Follow up, did you go over to the sideline to get the Paul Bunyan trophy, and it wasn’t there, or what happened?
LEWAN: You know, I ran over there, and that’s my first time beating Michigan State, so I didn’t know how that works, so I ran over there to get the Paul Bunyan trophy, because I mean, last time I remember, that’s how they did it, and so I didn’t see it, and then Coach Hoke told us to go inside, so I did that.
Did you and Dantonio talk after the game, or…? It looked like you had…
LEWAN: I went up to him, and said ‘good luck and good game’. There’s nothing else to say.
Taylor, you’re good friends with Brenda, I think. Can you talk about what this means for him to get the kick in a game like this?
LEWAN: You know, I said, at Virginia Tech, at the Sugar Bowl, I mean, Brendan, obviously, his freshman year, wasn’t what we wanted, or what he wanted, and it’s a complete zero to hero turnaround, and I think everyone who watches Michigan football, and is a fan of Michigan football, can really appreciate Brendan Gibbons for what he’s done for this university. And all the ups and downs he’s had, I think he’s overcome so many things, and I’m so proud of him as a friend, as a teammate. I can’t say anything bad about Brendan.
When did you guys finally see Paul Bunyan?
LEWAN: I didn’t see him until I went in the locker room, so I don’t know when y’all saw him. When did y’all see him?
ROUNDTREE: Yeah, the locker room.
So there was never an exchange on the sideline?
LEWAN: No, I feel like they were upset about it.
Craig, you just said that you feel you guys prepare like an NFL team. How do you know that, and what gives you that feeling? And also, Roy, it looked like you were pretty emotional. What was going through your head after the game?
ROH: I’ll go first. Well, Coach Mattison coached in the NFL, and he said that we prepare like an NFL team, so I’m guessing that’s pretty – I don’t think he’s lying to us, because he never – he’s pretty brutally honest, mostly all the time, and just the way that we – you just feel it, how committed the guys are across the board, and it’s something really special about this defense, and the guys on this defense.
ROUNDTREE: I got really emotional because, you know, you saw what our team could do. You know, they finished. We emphasized that all week, to finish for your teammates, and I feel like we did that as a whole, and you know, we came out with the W and got Paul back.
Roy, Taylor just got asked this. You were a little emotional after the game to, and you said it was because you saw what Michigan can do, and you talk about this just being another step on the road to the Big Ten Championship, but beating Michigan State had to feel better than normal, right?
ROUNDTREE: Yeah, I mean, it was a big rival game, and we haven’t beat them in four years, and just seeing what our team can do. And you know, I give credit to the coaches, because they make sure that we stayed focused throughout the whole game, even though we had some downfalls. We didn’t score, but we came out with the W, and we’re all excited about that, but you know, we can’t have that determine our season. We’re going to enjoy it tonight and get ready for Nebraska tomorrow.
As a senior, how satisfying is it to go out with a win?
ROUNDTREE: It feels great.
It’s pretty difficult to win without scoring touchdowns. How much confidence do you guys have in what the defense is doing at this point?
ROH: I have all the confidence in the world in our defense. I mean, football’s a team sport, last time I checked, so there are times when we’ve done well, and helped the defense out, but there have been plenty of times the defense has helped us out, and you know, I think what we did today was a W, and I promise in a couple years when we look back on it, it’ll still be a W, and that’s how I’m looking at it righit now. Obviously, there are things we have to fix in the offense. There are things we need to do better. We need to block better, we need to catch better. It’s a full team sport. I think, you know, I’m grateful to the defense, but like I said, a W’s a W, and that’s how I’m taking it today.
Roy, do you have anything to add?
ROUNDTREE: Just watching those guys, and going against them every day in practice, and seeing how competitive they are, and just – I really sit down when they’re on the field, because I actually like to watch them. Seeing all those guys working together, and you know, to see them motivate each other to get the offense back the ball, because all of us say ‘just get us the ball back so we can score’, and give credit to these guys, because they worked hard for it today.
I have two questions. Roy, can you talk about Drew Dileo and the contributions he makes on a daily basis, but especially in this afternoon’s game?
ROUNDTREE: Drew’s my roommate, man, and you know, smart guy, physical, small, but he makes big plays. And you know, Marquise Walker came in and spoke to us on Thursday, and he told us that, you know, you have to make the big plays, and stay focused, and I feel like Drew did a great job, and he really put on for Michigan today.
And for all three of you, just your view of the winning kick, did you know it was in right away, and what was your immediate reaction?
LEWAN: I mean, I was on field goal, and the first thing I heard was Craig’s voice, just telling me ‘nothing gets by you, Taylor’, because I was on the block side, obviously, because we were on the field, and I block, that’s what I do, so I’m going to block for this field goal, and then I saw the kick, and I had confidence in Brendan the whole time. I told you how I felt about Brendan, and I’m not going to change that statement, so I was confident the whole entire time.
ROUNDTREE: Gibby was confident in himself, you know, they tried to ice him, but I told everybody on the sideline ‘don’t rush the field’, and I was the main one on the field, so you know how that went, but it felt great, just seeing him out there, and just seeing the excitement.
ROH: For me, once I knew it was going through, I was really, really happy, but then I saw everyone run on the field, and I looked up, and there were still five seconds left, so I was trying to get everyone back on the sideline so we didn’t get flagged, but we did get a flag, so we ended up winning the game, so that works.
Craig, Kovacs told us that when you went out for that last defensive stand, that he kind of had the Notre Dame game on his mind, sort of redeeming yourselves for that, when you couldn’t get that stop. Was that on your mind as well, and what does it say about the defense this time around that you guys were able to get it done.
ROH: More of what was on my mind is just the fact that everybody on the defense just needed to do their job, and that’s all we really needed to do, because we’ve been coached so great with our technique, so when we do what we’re coached to do, it works, and it was really exciting to get that last defensive stand to get the offense back on the field, so that they could put some points up, and that’s exactly what happened.
Craig, that fake punt they had was potentially huge. You guys talk about quick change defenses a lot and everything, to go out on the field and force a field goal that was ultimately the deciding points.
ROH: I think with any good defense, they’re going to thrive on quick change situations, and our defense thrives in those types of situations. We almost want those quick change situations, because we can show how good we are, and it’s always exciting for us.