Denard, a stellar career, including here at Michigan Stadium today. Can you give us your sense of what it means to be a senior leader and what it meant to be a Michigan quarterback here?
It means a lot. It’s hard to put into words what this means, just being a leader on this team and one of the guys who was picked at the barbecue for being that leader. It’s kind of hard to swallow right now because it’s coming to an end.
What have these past three weeks been like? When did you know that you’d actually be able to play today and when did you start working at running back, wide receiver, kind of everywhere?
Been getting treatment a lot. They’ve been sending me a lot of stuff. I’ve just been getting treatment and day by day I’ve been getting better and better. Once I got the chance to get the go ahead, so I went in and started practicing and started playing a lot and stuff.
Denard, how desperately did you want to play in this last game here in Michigan stadium? Did you have to campaign and say ‘find a role for me or something to get into the game’?
Oh no. I think everybody knew. If they knew me, they know I do whatever it takes for the team. I’m the kind of person that, if I go, I’m going to go, I won’t hold back because I’ll do whatever for this team and that’s my family.
Can I have one follow up? How does your elbow feel right now and if you had to, could you throw the ball?
It feels pretty good. I threw the ball in warm ups, so, you’ll see next week.
Denard, was it your idea or was it the coaches’ idea to have you play the role that you did today?
Coach. Coach Borges, he dialed up some good stuff and I was all for it.
Denard, earlier in the season, it’s been you to Devin, a couple times today it was Devin to you, was that something you guys talked about in practice this week as just kind of a funny thing?
It was kind of funny, but we never talked about it. It was just, you know, let’s go with it. Let’s do it.
When you left the tunnel for the last time, you were one of the last guys to walk off the field, what were you thinking about as you walked through that tunnel onto the field for the last time?
Just all the memories that I had with the teams and just being with these guys and everything we went through, the ups and downs in the stadium, the memories that kept going through my head.
Like you said, you have a lot of memories. Do you have a memory that, this week, stood out to you, that you kind of go back to over and over again?
Not really, I mean I think, just thinking about it being my last time playing in the Big House, it just blows my mind because time went by so fast, and it just surprised me that it went by so fast, because I guess we were having fun and when you’re having fun, time moves.
Denard, you mentioned you started practicing when you got the go ahead, when did you get back to practice?
This week. I got the go ahead this week.
You didn’t practice the last few weeks?
I did a little bit, yeah. It was day to day what I could do and couldn’t do.
My other question is, are you having any discomfort at all? I noticed 2nd quarter, you patted an Iowa player on the helmet and kind of dropped your arm again a little bit.
No. I was good. I was good. He made a good hit on me, so I gave him a slap on the hat.
Denard, in your absence, Devin has stepped in and switched over to quarterback. How would you evaluate the job he’s done?
He’s doing great. He’s been playing well and we all have faith in him and we all knew he could do it and I’m behind him 100%. I support him and we support him. I mean, he’s doing a great job and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future.
Denard, obviously you’ve always been a running quarterback, how comfortable were you out there today in the role you played and what was the challenge in that role for you?
Of course, going against the other defense, but I think the offensive line did well. I did run the ball and when I did get a screen pass or something like that, I feel like they did a great job blocking and I had to try to make a play.
Given what you and Devin did today, do you think it gives Ohio State a little something more to think about for next week?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, and that’s going to be a great game and it’s going to be a physical one, but right now we’re focused on this win.
Denard, you were over there for awhile when Fitz was down, you guys were huddling around him. What was that scene like and can you give us any idea?
That’s our brother. It’s always sad, it’s always bad when you see you see one of your brothers on the ground and you can’t help him right then and there. It was kind of a bad feeling, but he’s a strong guy and I know he will bounce back and our prayers go out to him.
Denard, was there a point after the injury where you didn’t know whether you would come back, if you would ever play at all, and how is it you were able to embrace this role that you have now?
I mean, when I had the time off and they said I couldn’t play those two weeks, I was just like ‘man.’ It was a bad feeling because I never missed one game and that was like my first year playing football and I missed three games my whole life and it was different being on the sideline and cheering them on. It was tough, but when I got the chance to get back on the field, it was no question. It was just like, go out there and have fun and be with your team.
In all those games that you just mentioned in your history, have you ever played a game where you were a quarterback and never threw the ball and how weird was it to be out there and were you tempted a few times to let one go just because you’re a quarterback?
I wasn’t intimated. Coach made some good calls and I was ready to just do what I had to do to try to help the team out.
But you never had a game where you didn’t throw the ball where you were actually quarterback?
No I haven’t.
Denard, before you ran off the field, I saw you and Devin embrace. He kind of gave you a hug, what was said in that meeting before you guys left?
I just told him keep doing it and keep leading, keep playing your game and we’re behind you, that’s all.
Denard, highly recruited individual. Your first day as a student-athlete on this campus, you had thoughts of what you wanted to accomplish in your career here at Michigan. Despite knowing full well that you’re a team player, how would you categorize yourself now, based upon, maybe perhaps your thoughts early on as a student-athlete on this campus?
I can’t imagine with I would have done. I don’t think that I would have this much success that I have. I think God blessed me to give me this opportunity to play, start for three years, to keep going at it and have an opportunity to graduate next semester. I feel like it’s a blessing to be here and it means a lot.
Got two for you, how surreal was it to be in the huddle and not calling plays?
It was different, but I mean, practice made me know, ok, alright, you’re not the one calling plays right now, so I was in the back of the huddle trying to listen to what’s going on, so it was kind of different.
Secondly this is your last game obviously in front of Michigan fans, or 100,000 of them, any thoughts…what are your thoughts on them?
To be honest, it’s an honor to be playing in front of so many people and they cheer for you and they can’t wait to see you play, to see you come out of the tunnel, you know in the winged helmet, running out on the field. I want to say thank you to everybody that ever came out and supported us. I know, me personally, I love them. I love the fans and we appreciate them.