Four players spoke to the media on Monday and, as always, a variety of topics were covered. Here are a few quotes that stuck out with some background information on what makes each line interesting.
Brad Hawkins on Mike Sainristil...
"He's somebody that I've been covering since the spring. He's a great player. His routes are ridiculous. That's somebody that I think, personally myself, that has been one of the hardest people for me to cover even going through the season. He's somebody that has a lot of talent, heart and skills. He's definitely gotten a lot better this year."
Sainristil paced the Wolverines with three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame. His three grabs made up 50-percent of catches in really challenging elements but gave him a chance to show that he can be a weapon. We heard about him all spring and fall but it's taken some time for him to get it going during the season. Jim Harbaugh mentioned that Sainristil had some trouble catching the ball during practice but now seems to have regained his confidence. Look for his role to continue to increase down the home stretch.
Jalen Mayfield on Josh Gattis' play calling...
"We never really had any doubts about the play calling. If you look at the games we had a lot of RPO stuff and we were really just one read or one block away from explosive plays. To see everything unfold the way it did Saturday just was us focusing on all of the details we had missed earlier in the season. The confidence level has always been and it will continue to be high."
Michigan's offense is finally clicking. The Penn State loss is a pretty big bummer at this point given how good U-M looked in the second half and for the entire game against Notre Dame but it is what it is. Over the last two contests, Michigan has piled up 444 yards and six touchdowns on the ground against two very good defenses. Shea Patterson hasn't put up eye-popping numbers but he's been solid and seems to be as comfortable as he's been all season. All of that bodes well for U-M with four games left.
Mike Sainristil talking through his first career touchdown...
"When I first got the ball I thought I was going to get tackled right away because there was a safety coming down but he kind of whiffed. Then the next man that was behind me kind of went for a shoelace tackle and missed. I realized, 'Oh my gosh, I'm still up.' I just thought to myself to go score and I made my cut off the guy that was coming and I got into the end zone."
It's taken some time for Sainristil to get going at Michigan, which he's obviously not used to. As a two-way standout at Everett High School in Massachusetts, Sainristil caught 30 passes for 762 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. He also recorded six interceptions in the secondary, including three in one game. He finished his prep career with 28 receiving touchdowns so waiting until game No. 8 to score his first at Michigan is a change. He seemed very happy to get that initial score out of the way and now may be stepping into an increased role depending on Ronnie Bell's health.
Luiji Vilain on his challenging journey at Michigan...
"I went down my freshman year with a knee injury and I had to get surgery. I fought back, rehabbed and then started the process all over again and got hurt again. That was tough mentally. I just kept my head down and kept working. I stayed optimistic and now I'm here."
It's obviously been a rough go for Vilain, which he certainly didn't anticipate as a four-star prospect who was considered the No. 74 overall player in the country. He flashed great ability as a prep star and made Michigan fans even more excited when he balled out in the Under Armour All-American Game. For him to be in year three at U-M with just four tackles to his name is definitely a disappointment. It's really unfortunate since his lack of production is a result of injuries but it allowed him to redshirt and learn along the way. He still has two years of eligibility left after this season so you never know. If he can stay healthy, he has the ability to make some plays. If he gets his opportunity, he's the kind of kid who will do everything in his power to capitalize on it.
What stood out to you? Who else would you like to hear from? Comment below!!!