Your team lost a number of close games in the fourth quarter. What can you do in practice to make the Spartans tougher?
MD: Focus on making a play at the line of scrimmage. You have to work on the little things, whether it's a third down in the red zone or a play from five yards out.
Why switch to a 3-4 defense?
MD: This is an effort to get our best players on the field. Our linebackers are a team strength, and we can capitalize on that. We feel like we can be faster on defense, too.
SI: YOU ATTENDED THE FINAL FOUR IN APRIL. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
MD: IT WAS A TREMENDOUS EXPERIENCE. THE ATMOSPHERE WAS SO GREAT IN INDIANAPOLIS, AND A FEW OF OUR KIDS GOT A CHANCE TO GO. YOU HOPE [THAT SUCCESS] IS SOMETHING THAT CAN CARRY OVER FOR US.
What do you expect from quarterback Kirk Cousins this year?
MD: To take control of the team and be a leader. I think with a year under his belt, he'll just be so much better with his decision making. This spring he was elected to be a captain, and he's embracing the role.
What effect did the brawl on campus in November have on this team?
MD: That was a tough time, no doubt. But we've moved past it. I think that builds strength. It teaches people lessons.