PHIL PARKER: I think Micah has filled a spot that -- when we lost Amari from last year. I think Prater and those guys have done a pretty good job. Could they be better? Yes, and I think they work pretty hard at it every day, and I think Prater gives you a little bit of energy. He's an energy bug out there, and he's got a chance to keep on going every day. He can run all day. We put him on some special teams and obviously he's trying to squeak over there on the offensive side, too.
Q. You obviously have Denard Robinson coming up. No one has had an answer for him. I don't know how much you guys have looked into it yet, maybe not at all, but talk about your initial impressions. What do you want to do against a quarterback that can do so much?
PHIL PARKER: I think obviously it looks like he's been working on throwing the ball. He does throw accurate balls. They do move the pocket for him. I think he's a guy that's very dangerous and is hard to get a hold of. If you're looking at the tape, the thing you want to do is be sound in your fundamentals and make sure you leverage the ball with this guy. There's going to be one of him and there's going to be 11 of us trying to get the guy. But you've got to have proper leverage, got to have good footwork and be ready to take the challenge on.
They do a good job of trying to move him a little bit in the pocket and roll out pass, so it's going to be a challenge for us. We saw a little bit of him last year at the end of the game, and they like to run the ball with him obviously a lot, just run plays, but he can throw the ball a lot better than he did last year.
Q. Have you had to defend anybody like him the last couple years?
PHIL PARKER: Randle El from Indiana but that's been a while. We're trying to figure out who was our scout team quarterback at that time. That's what we're trying to look for right now. That's something we're going to have to figure out who we're going to get back there to simulate what he does with the ball, and I don't think we -- he can just go drop a guy out of the team to do that. He's a pretty good, special player.
Q. Would you have seen anybody like him from Randle El you're saying?
PHIL PARKER: I think he's been probably the quarterback at that position that can run the ball a little bit and throw the ball. I remember us putting the defense in and putting Bob Sanders in and putting him on there, tracking Randall El, and I think Bob came up with about 25 tackles that game. But we don't have Bob Sanders, so we'll do with what we have.
Q. How has it been without Norm Parker? Has that changed your --
PHIL PARKER: Besides missing Norm and his comedy that he brings back to the staff room and missing Norm, I've been around Norm for over 27 years, so not having him in there -- actually knowing him for 27, been with him here for 12, and he has that wisdom, and obviously he still shares that wisdom with us when we have some questions that get thrown by him. But it's been working pretty well.
Darrell Wilson has been here a long time and Rick Kaczenski has done a good job up front, and we added LeVar Woods to help us out with the linebackers a little bit and help out and pitch in. But it's been good. It's been community service as far as guys working together. We're all on the same page, and we've been doing it together. So I mean, it's kind of worked out pretty good. It's the same thing if Norm was here. If Norm was up in the press box, Darrell would be making the calls, and obviously everybody has an opportunity to suggest things that they want called.
Q. You've got to be rooting for Michigan State Saturday.
PHIL PARKER: Oh, no question. I think that Michigan State looks like they're having a great year. They're running the ball well and playing pretty good defense, so it's going to be a good challenge. It'll be a good game to sit down and watch. Obviously I don't think I can get there and watch it, but I'll watch it on the TV.
Q. You've played in that game. How would you describe that rivalry?
PHIL PARKER: It's a very intense rivalry. Obviously there's a lot of hatred there, people would think, but I really got along with a lot of those players back in the '80s that played with them. They used to come up to Michigan State a lot of times and hang out. But the intensity is very similar to maybe the Iowa State game and Iowa game here. It's a great rivalry and a state rival. It's been great to be part of that, too.
Q. How has James Morris grown into his role?
PHIL PARKER: Yeah, he's grown up quite a little bit last Saturday, I think, when you're sitting there counting on a true freshman to come in there, and I think he's very mature as a freshman, he's here all summer taking mental notes and trying to figure out exactly what our defense is all about, and I think he's done a great job, and he showed it on Saturday. The hard work that he's done in the off-season and during the summer and preparation doing two-a-days that it's finally paying off, and he had to step up to the plate, which we thought he did a pretty good job stepping up to the plate.
Q. Do you think he'll start against Michigan then?
PHIL PARKER: I think it's -- we've still got a week and a half to go. I think we're giving a lot of kids a lot of rest, but he definitely has a chance to be in the game.
Q. If Michigan State is able to contain Robinson on Saturday, how much will that impact what you guys want to do as a defense considering that they run a different scheme from what you do?
PHIL PARKER: Well, I don't think it's really going to change what we do, just hopefully Michigan State can hold them under control a little bit. I'm sure they're both playing physical defense there, so it's going to be a great challenge for us to sit there and see what they do. But I don't think it's going to change what we do. We know we have our game plan and what we want to do, and it's not going to change. We're not going to change our defense just because of what Michigan State does.
Q. Would you say that Adrian Clayborn has had an All-American type season?
PHIL PARKER: I think he's having a very good season. I think our whole front four guys are playing a lot, and what happens is you start trying to compensate for one guy and then another guy shows up. But with Clayborn doing what he's doing, I think he's having a pretty good year. I don't know exactly what the other guys are in the country, but for us he's a pretty good player.
Q. Before the other night he hadn't had a sack yet. Was he playing better than that? Your defensive stats are off the chart, but Adrian didn't have a sack yet. Does that always tell the story of how well a guy is playing?
PHIL PARKER: No. I mean, it's a misnomer as far as what guys are doing. You go back and look at other guys, Sash at this time last year, how many interceptions did he have at this time. I think he's still playing pretty good football. Like statistics, sometimes they're going to be double teaming Adrian or they're going to scheme it. They might be turning to his side a little bit more, take it back, chip off him a little bit. So it's not all about how many sacks. If they're taking two guys to block him or if he's putting a little bit more pressure on there then he's taken away and obviously Mike Daniels has kind of stepped up to the plate and Klug, so the other guys are going to benefit from that a little bit, too. When you have a dominating player like him, you've got to respect him, and sometimes you don't get the stats, but you can see how hard they're playing. They're still playing hard.
Q. Has the talent of that front four kind of trickled down to the backups?
PHIL PARKER: I think it's a leadership thing and what they expect, and we've got some good players just pushing. It's all those guys back there, this is their year, their senior year, and they're pushing the other guys, and it's expected, what they're doing out there. If you're a defensive lineman that plays for Rick Kaczenski, you'd better go out there and give your best shot, and I think it's shown that Mike Daniels has done a great job, and Lebron Daniels has come out and done a good job, too.
Q. With all the offense, a lot of talk about Denard Robinson and what he's doing statistically. Seems like the Big Ten has got the maturation of guys like Ben Chappell throughout the conference. Is this the most prolific or wide open as you've seen the conference in the last five years?
PHIL PARKER: Yeah, I haven't seen Indiana yet on film as an offensive team, but it seems like everybody has a quarterback that can be a multiple guy. Ohio State they have a guy that's done a pretty good job. So the quarterback is obviously a very important part of a football team's success, I think. It doesn't matter what level, whether you're at the NFL, high school or college level, you need a quarterback. And whether he runs it or whether he throws it or whether he's a play action guy, roll-out boot guy, you need a guy there to be a leader that everybody believes in. I think there's a couple teams out there that -- I haven't seen them all, but they've done a good job.