|ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL QUOTES – Michigan Arrival
Louis Armstrong International Airport, December 28, 2011
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
(Opening Statement) “We are very excited and feel very welcome coming to New Orleans and having the opportunity to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. This is something we have been looking forward to and our players have done a good job preparing to this point. We are going to play a tremendous opponent and we think it is going to be a heck of a football game.”
(On playing in a BCS bowl game) “This is where Michigan should be. It is an expectation for Michigan to be in BCS bowl games.”
(On getting team prepared for the Allstate Sugar Bowl) “You can look at it a lot of different ways. I think the one thing that is important for us is that we don’t do too much. We don’t want to wear our team out too much. We’ve got a great city that we are in and there are probably some distractions to that. I think our guys, our seniors and our captains have done a tremendous job making sure we are sharp.”
(On the possibility of the team getting distracted) “There are always rules. We have high expectations on how we are going to act and how we are going to represent Michigan.”
(On Virginia Tech as an opponent) “I think they are dangerous offensively as they have a 1,600 yard rusher and a dual-threat quarterback. Defensively, Bud Foster has put together a defense that plays with a certain demeanor and intensity. For special teams, that’s probably the first thing you think of when you think of Virginia Tech. They take a lot of pride in how they perform on special teams.”
(On coaching a player like Denard Robinson) “It has been special coaching all the guys. They are all great kids who have done a great job. Denard is someone who gets a lot of the attention and he deserves to have that attention. The most gratifying part is having seen him grow within the system and be able to do the things we want him to do in the offense.”
Michigan TE Kevin Koger
(On the team’s mindset this week) “Coach [Brady] Hoke reiterated that we’re going out to win the game. I know it’s a fun city to play in, there are a lot of distractions, but our main focus is to win the game.”
(On bouncing back from last season’s bowl loss) “I think we have a renewed focus. We know what happened last year and we’re aware of what went wrong and the areas we need to improve. I think that’s what different from last year and this year.”
(On playing Virginia Tech) “We can’t control where anyone is projected or where anybody plays. We can just control our own destiny. All we can worry about is what we do at practice this afternoon and what we do on Jan. 3. We can’t really worry about where Michigan State plays, where everybody projects Virginia Tech to be or if they should be in the game or not. Virginia Tech is a great team. They still won 11 games this year so they’re still a great team.”
(On playing in New Orleans) “All I keep hearing about is Bourbon Street so I can’t wait to get down there and eat some great food. [Coach Hoke] is going to give us a little bit of time to have fun but he keeps reiterating about how we came down to win a game so that’s our main focus.”
(On what the seniors have accomplished by playing in the Sugar Bowl) “My first year being 3-9 and two years in a row not going to a bowl game, and then our last game in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, it means a lot to show how hard the seniors have worked.”
Michigan DT Mike Martin
(On the focus of the team heading into the game) "It's something we’ve addressed a few times before we came down here. These guys know it’s a business trip. We will enjoy ourselves because that is a part of this situation. But when it comes to practicing and meeting times we are going to be 100 percent focused at the task at hand. We know how big of a game this is for the program and how much of an honor it is to play in this game."
(On what the Sugar Bowl means to the program) "It's huge for this senior class, this program. This is going to be our last time [seniors] to make our mark for Michigan on a national level."
(On the possibility of the seniors being Iron Men for this game) "Coach told us to get some extra running in over the break. We were getting together over the break and running to keep in shape. We feel good physically and just going to have to practice hard and get ready for the game."