“I don’t know what a no-fly zone is. I’m not sure what that is. Yeah, I don’t know what that really means.”–Donovan Peoples-Jones
There it is. The most disrespectful thing uttered by a representative of the Michigan football team during media availability Monday.
Does DPJ, a player who was recruited by Michigan State when its secondary was actually decent, know what the “No-fly zone” is?
Is it telling that the sophomore wide receiver ignoring Michigan State’s back-seven moniker was the most feisty of quotes from a busy media availability Monday?
The atmosphere was mostly business-like. Michigan players seemed confident and could admit it’s a big game that they take seriously on an individual level, but they couldn’t be goaded into giving bulletin board material.
“This is a big deal for me personally and for our team,” sophomore linebacker Josh Ross said. “We have so much history going against this team. I wouldn’t say I’m more excited or anxious, I just know how I feel going into this game.”
Like Peoples-Jones, fifth-year senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marshall was recruited by Michigan State and said that there’s already been some playful trash talk among his friends. Of course, he wasn’t quite willing to share with the media what exactly was said.
“A lot of my friends went to Michigan State, so it’s a lot of tension there, but other than that it’s a big game for us,” Marshall said. “I remember when I was recruited, that’s the year they (Michigan State) won the Rose Bowl. Friends were texting me, ‘Smell the roses,’ things like that, so there’s a lot of tension. It’s a rivalry game. Every rivalry is going to be personal, no matter who you play. Ohio State, Michigan State, it’s always going to be personal. It’s on our mind because we lost last year. In our locker room we’ve got the trophies up, and it’s (the Paul Bunyan trophy) not there anymore. You don’t want to see that.”
Media was able to squeeze some very important information out of redshirt sophomore running back Tru Wilson: He has a snake, and he named it “Mako” because mako sharks are the fastest sharks, and he can’t have a shark.
He had this to say about Michigan State, though:
“We’ve got a lot of guys on our team from this state that have lived the rivalry. Growing up, just going to school seeing the green and white and maize and blue walking through the hallways, and now getting a chance to play in it, it’s great. Hopefully I can make my own memories this game.”
The Wolverines are certainly hoping to make some positive memories against the Spartans this year. Michigan’s 2017 sputtered after a disappointing loss to Michigan State at home. Amazon’s documentary showed defensive end Rashan Gary getting emotional on the sideline post-game.
“The energy will be up,” Peoples-Jones said. “It’s a big rivalry game, one that we definitely need. I remember losing to them last year. The vibe that brought to our team just wasn’t good. It’s always bad to lose a rivalry. You never want to lose to Michigan State. That’s all the motivation we need.”
Redshirt sophomore tight end Nick Eubanks is from Florida, but was at least willing to use the h-word.
“Just being around the team, especially fans too, we hate those guys just as much,” Eubanks said about learning the rivalry. “Just picked it up.”
Perhaps the most illustrative quote of the day came from coach Jim Harbaugh when he was asked what it would mean to get another win in this rivalry game.
“It’s a great opportunity.”
“That’s it?” asked the reporter.
This game might mean more to Michigan than they’re letting on, but you’ll have to wait until Saturday at noon to find out.