Kirk Cousins might not be speaking with some of his friends back home in Holland, Mich. after beating their Michigan Wolverines three-straight years. But Cousins sure has done enough to easily find some new ones.
Michigan State’s senior quarterback has thrown for more than 5,000 yards and nearly 40 touchdowns the past two seasons. He just added a Big Ten Title, albeit a shared one, to his resume and he’s helped “Little Brother” grow up in a big way.
At Big Ten Media Day in August, Cousins sat down with the Daily to talk about the upcoming season.
The Michigan Daily: Kirk Cousins, do you hate Michigan?
Kirk Cousins: I don’t hate anybody. I think hate’s a strong word. But the rivalry is personal. I grew up in Michigan. I grew up in Holland. And when you have friends that say they’ll root for you every day but one, they don’t understand: you’re either with me or against me.
It’s sort of like if I said, ‘I like you, but I don’t like your kids or your wife.’ You’re either with me or against me. And to say you’ll root for me every day but one, you might as well just not root for me at all.
We need to beat Michigan. We need to beat Michigan, I’ve said that every year. They will be ready. Michigan will be ready when they come play us in Spartan Stadium. They will come loaded. And we will need to play a tremendous game to beat them.
TMD: How well do you know Denard Robinson?
Cousins: I don’t know Denard at all. I’ve never spoken to him. I know him pretty well because he’s on TV a lot. So I guess I see his highlights a lot. I know his great plays. He’s a tremendous player, tremendous athlete.
He deserves all the hype, or all the attention he’s gotten because he’s just a tremendous player. And he’s going to have another great year.
TMD: What kid of leader are you, Kirk?
Cousins: I’ll put it this way: what kind of leader I try to be. The greatest leader of all time was Jesus Christ. So I go to the Bible and read the Gospels to get insight for leadership. What Jesus did above all other leaders was service. He served people. So a goal of mine as a leader is to be a servant. So now if you go and talk to the other players, they’ll tell you differently — that I’m not a servant. But I try to be. And when I do that, that’s my best way of leading.
TMD: Your leader and coach, Mark Dantonio, seems to have the backing of your whole team. How much does that help, having that support? Do you guys believe in him?
Cousins: We’re actually believers in Coach Dantonio. And I think the proof is in the pudding. Four years now, he’s won a Big Ten Championship and brought this program to new heights. He’s given us every reason to get behind him and believe in him.
TMD: Does it feel good to be a key part of Michigan State’s resurgence?
Cousins: Yeah, yeah it does. It’s very fulfilling to be a part of it. But my career’s not done. We’ll see when the last chapter is written come December or January. But there’s no doubt to have a Big Ten championship already on our resumes is a special thing. And no one can take that away from us going forward.
TMD: Is there any added pressure on you, with the type of supporting cast Michigan State returns? It’s your job to perform, right?
Cousins: I don’t think it puts more pressure on me. If anything, it makes my job easier to throw to three senior receivers and hand off to three experienced running backs who could all be top running backs in the Big Ten. My job is to just be a distributor, to make great decisions and get them the football.
No one’s going to put more pressure on me than I put on myself. And it’s been that way since I was a redshirt. I came in as a freshman and had a lot to learn. I had higher expectations of myself, than any coach or any media member or any fan. And as a result, I think I don’t let the pressure or the expectations get to me.