Erik, three QB rotation. There wasn’t any talk of bringing in the fourth on Saturday?
“I think we’re saving that for Big Ten [season].”
You’ve been around a lot, you’ve played a lot of games, you know the guys. What have you noticed relationship-wise with the offensive line and with Wilton?
“The core of this group of offensive linemen were here last year, so it’s just another year of us playing together so you bond over that. Wilton’s been a part of the team for three years, so we’ve all been with him and everything like that so it’s not like we’re just becoming friends now. We’ve been friends and had a relationship for a long time.”
How much has your sense of responsibility escalated?
“Any time you’re a veteran or an older guy on the team you have a bigger responsibility to play big all the time and lead the younger guys. I mean, I think even if you’re Ben Bredeson or you’re me or whatever it is, you still have the same responsibility to play well.”
Mo, your thoughts on how the defense has played through three games, and how hard was it sitting out?
“I think the defense has been doing very well. We’ve put together a lot in a little bit amount of time with Coach Brown. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement. There were some mistakes that we made throughout the game that I think are definitely correctable and things that we can avoid going on in the future.”
Talk about the line’s development as a protection group. Is it tough when the quarterback gets hit like Wilton did on Saturday?
“Yeah, you never want to see your quarterback get hit. Our goal going into every week is give up no sacks, so anytime that happens, especially during the game, it’s frustrating, but you’ve kind of got to throw it behind you and move on.”
[After THE JUMP: GOIN’ PIGGIN’]
State’s got a new fools-hurdler. [NBC Sports]
Now that we're entering conference play, let's recalibrate. Which Big Ten teams are significantly better/worse than we thought they'd be?
Ace: I’ll start this by saying it’s college football, and it’s still early: if we were posed this question last week I would’ve said Iowa had surpassed my expectations. One week later...
…they are who we thought they were. I also had serious doubts about Wisconsin entering the season; they beat LSU, which is a feat no matter how much coaching malpractice Cam Cameron is allowed to commit, destroyed Akron, and then, uh, put up a 12th-percentile performance to eke out a victory over a bad Georgia State squad. Now they’re changing QBs. I still have my doubts. In fact, pending more contextualizing info on MSU’s win over Notre Dame, the Big Ten has mostly held to form, at least in relation my preseason expectations.
The exception, I hate to say, is Ohio State; I thought there would be a few more hiccups on both sides of the ball after the exodus of NFL talent. Instead, the Death Star appears fully operational. Other than the interior D-line, which looks a little shaky, every major question has been answered: the run game hasn’t missed a beat with Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel taking over for Zeke Elliott, Noah Brown looks like a legit #1 receiver, JT Barrett has been very good, and a secondary that looked like a potential sore spot in the preseason has been one of their most reliable sources of big plays.
[Hit THE JUMP for WMU, NDSU, and other better ideas than Rutgers]
This week we’re talking about Mo Hurst’s four-quarter sack, which you may remember as the play a running back chose to take on a blitzing Jabrill Peppers and a quarterback ended up SO MAD that he included a towel as his accoutrement du jour.
What did you notice first when you lined up on that play?
“I think just noticing the offensive line. We had a [redacted] call—or no, we had [redacted (figure it out yourself, PSU football interns that report to Franklin)] on that one. It’s designed to let someone open. I think the person that was supposed to be open was Pep, but the running back ended up picking him up, so I had the opportunity to get free and made the most of it. Almost missed it, but glad his towel was in there tight.”
On something like that, was Colorado tipping run/pass or were they pretty good about that during the game?
“I think there were definitely some tips we got and picked up throughout the game, especially with their running backs and their guards. Changes in stance were a big thing for us. Yeah, it was something that we definitely picked up and would communicate during the game.”
On this particular play it was obviously 3rd and 12, so are you pinning your ears back for an all-our pass rush, or, because they use the screen game so much, do you have to wait, watch the guard, and see if he’s going to release?
“I think we were just pinning our ears back, especially at that point in the game. It was pretty certain that they were going to pass on third and long, so yeah, definitely pin our ears back and try to get after them.”
It looked like you feigned outside before going inside with the swim move to get over [the guard]. Is that something from watching film that you know you’re going to do before the snap, or is it a sort of muscle memory kicking in when the ball’s snapped?
“That’s part of the defense that we were running. Pep’s blitzing B gap so I take on the guard. That’s what I tried to do and it came free.”
On that play, you’re lined up at 3-tech. On the same series, one play before you’re at nose. Are you able to study each guy’s tendencies that you’re going to line up across from or is that just too time consuming and you rely on technique at some point?
“Being a nose and a tackle, which is where I played throughout the game—I played both—you study the center and both guards a lot. Not really the tackles; I’m not going against them. Yeah, we definitely study the interior guys.”
What’s more difficult to get: a sack where you have to grab a guy and rip him down by the towel or a 5-star Uber review?
“Probably the Uber review. There’s a little less in your control. I mean, there would be times where I thought I gave a great ride and I didn’t quite get the results I wanted and I was pretty frustrated. There’s times you want to call them and just be like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Why didn’t you give me 5 stars? What did I do wrong?’ But some people are just not in a good mood that day. That can change how your ratings.”
Are you able to still do that during the season or is that on hold for now?
“That’s on hold for now. Maybe it’ll come back in the winter or in the summer, but definitely was a fun experience over the summer.”
You mentioned what the call was earlier. Is that something that Don Brown brought or is that something that’s been here and you’ve worked with Coach Mattison on [in the past]?
“There’s a lot of calls that we have. I think—we’ve had a lot of blitzes since we’ve been here. A lot of them—I mean, there’s only so many ways you can blitz a team, so a lot of them is stuff that we’ve already done before. Maybe a slight variation to things, but definitely something that we’ve worked on before, especially going through three defensive coordinators. I think we’ve probably seen every blitz that could possibly be called in a 3-4 and a 4-3, so that’s big for us.”
News bullets and other items:
There’s a chance Jourdan Lewis, Taco Charlton, and Bryan Mone play this week. As Harbaugh said, they might “graduate from the training room back onto the field.”
Peppers is unlike anyone Harbaugh’s ever coached. He’s played 11 positions at Michigan, and Harbaugh said there are more that he could play well.
Speight’s elbow was injured on the strip-sack early in the game, which was a result of a missed assignment. This raised Speight a rung in the team’s esteem because he walked it off and, as Harbaugh put it, “…this isn’t track, this is football and playing that quarterback position, that’s part of the game.”
Harbaugh’s wife’s doctor described the punt block that was returned for a TD as a slippery watermelon. The ultrasound went well, by the way.
Harbaugh loves his defense so much that sometimes he watches them play even when he feels like he should be preparing for the next drive
I wanted to talk to you first about Michael Jocz and what he’s bringing to special teams—I know he had a block in the last game—and also what he does in the classroom.
“He had his first catch last week. It was great to see. And he had a blocked punt this week that resulted in a touchdown—great to see. He’s consistently been our, second year in a row, smartest player on the team in terms of grade point average. He’s already graduated in mechanical engineering and he’s on track to do his master’s in one year instead of the normal two, so he’s cutting that in half. He’s really been figuring things out, as you’d expect from a mechanical engineer. Great teammate. Really happy for his on-field success now, as well.”
And then also Erik Magnuson, if you could assess his play through three games and also the spirit he brings to you team.
“Yeah, Mags is good in both of those regards. Has long brought a lot to our team. He’s probably been our most consistent, best pass protector so far. Likeable guy. Everybody likes Mags. He’s a good leader and a good guy. A genuine, down to earth, good person.”
Two turnovers through the nonconference, only 10 penalties—can you assess the job you feel like your team has done in those areas?
“Those two areas have been good. We’re getting…turnover margin has got to be on the plus side. Don’t know exactly what it is, but we’re on the plus there. I feel like we’re playing—we had a few penalties. More this past week than we have had, so I think we’re playing good, legit penalty-free for the most part football.
[Next person with the microphone thinks it’s their turn to ask, but alas, there’s more. Harbaugh’s taken this pause to reflect and wants to share his thoughts.]
“See, I don’t just give one word answers. That would have been a perfect time to just say, ‘We’ve been good in those two areas.’ I tried to elaborate. I hope to get some credit for that.”
[After THE JUMP: many multi-word answers]
Ed-Ace: Recruitnik extraordinaire, regular podcast guest, and noted darts enthusiast Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247, aka The Artist Formerly Known As Aquaman, is back with his weekly recruiting mailbag. If you aren't subscribed to 247 and want to read more from Steve and the gang, they're running a buy one month, get two months free promotion.
pkatz asks: Seems to be a lot of flux in our OL recruiting - where do we stand now on elite tackle recruits in 2017?
I feel like Michigan is not so much in a "flux" situation as they are in a "wait and see" mode on the offensive line in 2017. The only thing I would call a flux is the number they would take, which is something that could literally change by the hour.
They have the four verbal commitments currently, and depending on who they reel in it will likely be six or seven to finish out. The names they're pursuing have remained pretty much the same (no order): Aaron Banks, Isaiah Wilson, Henry Bainivalu (could be guard or tackle), Cesar Ruiz (interior), TJ Slaton (most likely interior), Alex Leatherwood, Walker Little, Chuck Filiaga, Austin Deculus, Jedrick Wills, Toryque Bateman and I'm sure a couple of others.
Michigan's best shots are the guys they currently lead for on the Crystal Ball: Ruiz, Wilson and Slaton. They are in the thick of it for Bainivalu, and have a puncher's chance at flipping Leatherwood and Deculus. Wills and Filiaga are future official visitors that qualify as longshots. Bateman is a wait-and-see type prospect who will probably officially visit after the season.
Basically it comes down to the fact that the remaining names they're in on are elite talents that can afford to wait out the process. Given the need for bodies up front and a potential opportunity to play early, they should finish out very strong across the board on the OL provided they keep winning games.
[Hit THE JUMP for Steve's takes on decommits, M-OSU recruiting battles, and several quick-hitters.]
Our sponsors make all of this possible. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's, and their newest outlet, an entire store on Main Street dedicated to Bo. We'll be doing our Homecoming Edition of the weekly Friday Moe's Show from there in case you need an excuse to look inside. It's downtown, at 333 South Main, if "The storefront where Sarah Harbaugh is trying to yank her struggling husband from the door jamb" isn't clue enough.
starts at 0:57
Colorado’s punt team is confused, porous. Peppers was gonna get one. Kenny Allen had a no good, very bad, Desmond Morgan vs. Minnesota day. Illegal pro-style punt formation. Pro style punting sucked because it always does. Brian talks about ND-MSU game theory.
starts at 14:56
As one-yard touchdowns go, Isaac’s one-yard one was pretty impressive. Newsome is super agile and coming along. Speight had some really bad throws, Navarreian speed. The five-TE/O’Korn dive was confusing. Brian reviews the fans in his section.
starts at 36:11
Horrendous until they were themselves. RPO slant killed them; safeties need to start wrecking those guys before Ohio State. Don Brown learning curve: how prepared are these guys? Dymonte Thomas had a no good, very bad, Desmond Morgan vs. Minnesota day. Sefo Liufau had the opposite of that until the DL figured out how to murder him. Spaces between comments, ribs get filled by Rashan Gary. Jabrill Peppers explodes, should always be in space.
Talking Big Ten w/ Jamie Mac
starts at 55:34
Which is the Big Ten team? Big win for Bill Connelly, who gets a week off from Iowa fans upset that his numbers don’t like them. Georgia State is another team you should never schedule but that doesn’t explain Wisconsin’s offense sputtering out against a new Sun Belt team. Illinois had 3 rushing yards vs a MAC team and this was totally expected. Chris Ash Era is all about storming back from three scores down to Howard and the lesser team from New Mexico. Ohio State concern, Michigan State respect. Brian threatens corporeal punishment.
“Start from Scratch”—Galactic
“The Arrow Killed the Beast”—Heartless Bastards
“Dance Slow Decades”—Angel Olsen
“Across 110th Street”