Last year, Indiana took the Michigan football team down to the wire in Bloomington. The contest was decided by a second overtime goal-line stand, and the Wolverines escaped shaken, but unscathed, 48-41.
This year, the two teams will meet in Ann Arbor for No. 3 Michigan’s senior day. Indiana linebacker Marcus Oliver, who has recorded 74 tackles this year for the Hoosiers (3-4 Big Ten, 5-5 overall), will be looking to improve his leadership skills this year after being upset with his role against Michigan last season.
In July, The Michigan Daily chatted with the team captain at Big Ten Media Days about last season’s crazy finish, his role as a team leader and the food at Media Days.
The Michigan Daily: The game against Michigan last season was pretty intense. What do you remember from that game, and what are you going to take with you going forward into this season?
Marcus Oliver: There were a lot of times — I remember watching film — a lot of times where instead of linebackers bringing their feet and driving through them, it allowed them to be third-and-one or pick up the first down on third down. There were a lot of times when we gave up extra yards when we shouldn’t have.
That was probably my worst leadership year I had. I was frustrated, and I learned a lot and was able to be a better leader from then on during the season, so there were a lot of things we were able to take from that game.
TMD: So this year, playing in the Big House, what are you going to do from a leadership perspective that’s different from last season?
MO: Make sure everyone keeps their confidence and plays each play. Not every play is going to go the way you want it to go. Not every quarter or half is going to go the way you want it to go. (Our game against Rutgers last season) was the perfect testament to just playing every play and keep playing and keep battling. Anything can happen in a game.
Question: How much more comfortable are you this year than last year? Coming in and getting back and playing again, how much more confident and comfortable are you?
MO: I’m extremely confident. This offseason, I was able to work on things that I had to work on. I feel better than ever, and I’m just ready to go. I’m ready for camp to start.
Q: How good was last year’s bowl just to kind of break through?
MO: I think the best thing about last year’s bowl was just getting a taste of it. Anytime someone gets a taste of something they want more and more and more, and that’s when you see guys start to work harder and start playing better and start preparing better. I think that’s the best thing we got from it, and the bowl was awesome, it was great to be there. It was a cool experience.
TMD: Being named a team captain, especially as a younger guy, what did that mean to you?
MO: It’s a huge privilege and honor. It doesn’t really happen around here, or any team. It just says what the team thinks about me because the team is the one that votes. To be able to picked with all of those great guys still there and leaving, it’s a huge honor.
TMD: How have you been enjoying your media day?
MO: It’s been neat. I’ll tell you what, I can’t eat nothing else. I’ve been eating since I got here. The food is really good and you meet some really great people. This place is huge, so I think I got all of my walking in for the rest of the month.