Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Fiesta Bowl Football Player Press Conference

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PHOENIX – Michigan football has officially arrived in Arizona and is set to embark on a week of practices and media availability with opponent TCU at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.

Upon arriving at Sky Harbor Airport, Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines were greeted by a gathering of fans on the tarmac and immediately moved into a tent where he, running back Donovan Edwards, safety Rod Moore and linebacker Michael Barrett answered questions from the media.

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At the end, Edwards beckoned a child fan to ask a question (which you can read at the end of the transcript).

Here’s everything the group had to say as the College Football Playoff semifinals loomed.

opening statements

COACH HARBAUGH: Thank you. She was here. It was a good flight. We had a good workout today. I jumped on the flight, and it’s great to be here. We are honored to be here. This is the best of the best playing the best, and our team is ready for it.

MIKE BARRETT: Like Coach said, it’s great to be back. It’s great to be here. It’s a blessing to always play in December, January. So it’s a great feeling, especially the change in weather. It’s good to be here.

ROD MOORE: Blessed to be here. Thank you all. And Stay Blue.

How much has Donovan Edwards meant to this team since Blake Corum’s injury?

COACH HARBAUGH: About 401 yards. How many TDs, Donovan?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: In the last two games? I think three. Three touchdowns last two games.

COACH HARBAUGH: Very big.

Jim, in July you talked about four goals this year. Three of them are already over, and this is one of the final games to get to the fourth. Can you just talk about this season, this moment and where you are right now?

COACH HARBAUGH: Right where we want to be. And like I said, the best of the best playing the best. It’s where we want to be. Great to have it.

Jim, now that you’ve had a little time to take a look at the TCU movie, what do you see in them? And Sonny Dykes talked about them having team speed. What did you see from that aspect?

COACH HARBAUGH: They are a great team. There’s no doubt about it. Very good in all positions. Yes, I agree, speed, but this is a strong team in all three phases as well.

Jim, could you talk to Max Duggan, what did you see on his tape and what does he mean to TCU crime?

COACH HARBAUGH: He’s one of the best players in the country, leading one of the best teams in the country. Tremendous competitor. He’s so productive. All-out attack and leadership and all that. You can tell, he’s on a mission. And so is our guy, JJ McCarthy.

Jim, you obviously made the College Football Playoff last year. Now that you’re back, what did you take away from last year? What did you learn last year? And what’s different about this one?

COACH HARBAUGH: I think this team — from day one, it’s really just “do my best today.” And that’s how they approached each day, going back to winter conditioning, spring ball, training camp and throughout the season. So no change. That’s our goal: to do my best today.

Could you talk about your relationship with JJ and how he has grown and matured this year on offense?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: I mean, he’s always been ready to — he’s always been able to be at the quarterback position. Now that he’s here, now that he’s got him, he just continues to do what got him here to continue to thrive.

Hey, Donovan, how healthy is your hand? And how much do you enjoy playing on the big stage, even going back to your West Bloomfield days?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: Like I said, after the Big Ten Championship game and Coach Harbaugh, he said first, I thrive on the big games. I come alive in the big games. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to play in the big games.

I’m blessed by God to be able to play in the big games and do my thing on the big stages and be able to give Him the glory before and after the game.

I would love to hear from players. What’s so special about this Michigan team?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: Everyone works hard. We are all humble. Everyone wants everyone to improve. There is no selfishness in this team. Everyone is disciplined. Everyone is well trained – everyone is programmed to be a Michigan man. We are very well coached by our head coach and all of our position coaches. And it’s easy when you have guys that can be coached and great guys to play and play with. We played for each other.

MIKE BARRETT: I would just say our ability to improve each other every day and become better than we were yesterday. We constantly go out to practices, meetings, practices, whatever we have, and we just strive to improve each other so we can be the best team in the country.

Jim, how many true freshmen enrolled early? And what were your impressions of them during training in the time you’ve been able to spend with the team so far?

COACH HARBAUGH: Very good. It didn’t take long for them to catch up. In the early days, hearts pounding. But in the second, third practice, they really did well.

DONOVAN EDWARDS: My boy in the “Harbaugh is my hero” shirt, do you have a question?

Harbaugh, you are my hero.

DONOVAN EDWARDS: Sorry, we couldn’t hear you. You have to be confident, my boy. Be confident.

Coach Harbaugh, you are my hero.

(End of press conference.)

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