I don't always golf. But when I do, I think of brunette girls.
What’s your overall reaction to your team’s reaction to winning No. 900 against Michigan State?
“Well to be honest with you I don’t know if they realized the 900th win. Maybe the two seniors had an idea -- the two captains -- where we’re at, because that wasn’t the point of focus for the week. It was playing a great rivalry game, a game in our division, that’s important to win. Playing hard and playing to represent the 133 years of Michigan football.”
Reaction to Drew Dileo’s game?
“He’s not the biggest guy. He’s not the fastest guy. But the one thing Drew is, he’s a football player. What he does for our football team in a lot of different areas from an off returner in kickoffs to holding on PATs and field goals, I think you all would agree that there were two field goals that were pretty important today. The one at the end, that’s a skill set. He’s just a tough, undersized, not fast enough, but he’s a football player. That’s what he is.”
Where do you think your defense is at right now compared with where you want it to be?
“We really had a bad series in there defensively. You give your opponent credit, but we didn’t do some things well at the start of the second half. They went down and scored the touchdown. You know, I think we’ll look at the film. I think we’ll look at some things we did well, and I hope we repeat those, but we’re not near the defense we need to be to win a championship in this conference.”
Denard was bottled up for most of the game but was able to make some big plays when it counted. What does it say about his leadership ability?
“I think he’s been an outstanding leader. The confidence that he has and his teammates have is part of it. I don’t know if anyone on our sideline thought the game was over. The defense was playing well at that point. Get the ball back and see what happens.”
Can you talk about the fake punt but then holding MSU to a field goal afterwards?
“Yeah that was a very good play for Michigan State. That was a smart play. They saw that we weren’t leveraging the outside, and that’s something that I need to do a better job with as part of the punt return team coaching staff. Because that got them some hope, got them in the game, but the one thing we told the defense: ‘Keep them to a field goal. If we keep them to a field goal here, then good things can happen for us.’ Obviously that’s what happened.”
Did you feel like you did a better job of matching their physicality this year?
“I think so. Yeah. I thought our kids, you know, we wanted to play, finish everything we were doing. Blocks, plays, catches, runs, whatever your job is to do, we wanted to finish. I thought we practiced that way. I thought we did that.”
You’ve talked to us before about Matt Wile having a big leg. What went into the decision to put him out there for the long field goal?
“You answered it. Bigger leg. Stronger leg. That’s one reason why Matt kicks off for us. We had some wind with us. That wind kind of changed really right before the start of the game, so we felt that he would have the leg to do it. He did by kind of a lot.”
What does Michigan State do defensively that’s so effective in terms of bottling up Denard?
“I think they’ve done that to a lot of players, quarterbacks. I don’t know a final statistic, but they have good players. They play extremely aggressive. The things that they like to do, sometimes can be higher risk and higher reward. It’s a belief system they have. They tackle well. They do the things that you need to do in order to play good defense.”
What do you feel like you need to do in order to become a Big Ten championship-level defense? Also, what is Raymon Taylor’s status?
“Raymon got a little boo boo. He’ll be probably okay, most likely. Turnovers. We need to do a better job of creating. We need to do a better job [putting] pressure on the quarterback with four guys. I don’t think that’s a strong suit of ours. That can help our secondary out. I think at times we’re playing too far off the guys in coverage. So that’s a start.”
Gibbons seems a bit of a free spirit.
“What do you mean by that?”
Well, you know, last year at the Sugar Bowl about the brunettes and stuff, not that I don’t agree with him, but …
How do you approach kickers? Do you stay away from them? Do you say something before a big kick? Are you superstitious? Where’s your mind at? Do you go up to him and say, “Hey, we got this one?” Do you --
“I’m with those guys a little bit during practice. I’m not a kicking coach, but it’s kind of like golf, which I’m probably a pretty good golfer ... if I would do it. Those guys, they know what they need to do and how they need to do it. I think them going up to the stadium during the week is helpful because the wind in there’s a little different, especially with the new stuff up there. I think it’s a little different. You know, both those kids, we have a lot of confidence in. And anything else, when you show confidence, kids are going to respond. Not that you don’t rip them once in a while, but I decided when they called the time out, I was just going to watch Gibby do his thing. I don’t know. There’s no magic to it.”
As well as Michigan State’s defense played, you maybe missed a couple opportunities for big plays (dropped pass, missed a block, etc.). Were you disappointed by the execution?
“Oh. I think you could go through every game and there’s going to be execution. We didn’t block down once on a run play that may have been pretty open. We don’t block down. Why? I don’t know. 113,999 or whatever it was? A good defense that you're playing against. You want to see them all execute, but no one has ever played a perfect game. No one will ever play a perfect game. They’re 18-22, 23 years old. We’re going to try and prepare them and remind them and do all those things and grow them right, and then … go play hard.”
Dileo said on the radio that he thought the kick was going wide right. What was your view?
“I watch the people sitting behind the goal post. Because they’ll tell you. I’ll be honest with you. You can’t see it from [the sideline].”
Kovacs said this was the monkey off the back for you guys. Does it feel like that’s what this was for the program, preventing them from beating you five years in a row?
It’s not more meaningful than a “Yeah”?
“It’s an in-state rival. But we have bigger expectations.”
Did you feel like the icing-the-kicker timeout helped you or hurt you?
“I think we were well prepared. Denard did a tremendous job spiking the ball. The field goal team was there. Dan Ferrigno was there, our special teams coach, had all those guys right there ready to go. I think it’s a strategy that can work. Can’t work. You know? Flip a coin.”
What made you go back to Gibbons rather than Wile?
“Because it was his range. We had talked about distance, and it was his range, and he’s more consistent than Matt has been in practice at that range.”
[player transcripts will be up later today]
Chris of Dangerous Logic must be hopped up on goofballs to shoot this out so quickly, but we all benefit:
Drew Dileo is The Threat. It is done.
SORRY TO NEGLECT YOU DREW DILEO YOU ARE ALSO THE MFING THREAT. HERE ARE SOME MUPPETS.
And you can't have one without the other...
"We're laying in the weeds. We've beat Michigan the last four years. So where's the threat?" — Mark Dantonio
BRENDAN GIBBONS IS THE MOTHERFUCKING THREAT.
Celebrate. Pants optional. Brunettes mandatory.
Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative on—RECORD SCRATCH
By Ken “Sky” Walker
It’s Michigan – Michigan State this week. Time to dust off some of my favorites….
A MSU fan asks a U of M fan, “Doesn’t it suck not having a mascot?
The Michigan man replies “It’s better than having one that wears a dress.”
What do you have when you find 100 Spartan football fans covered up to the neck in sand?
Not enough sand
A Spartan wide receiver, linebacker, and defensive back are together in a car. Who’s driving?
The state trooper
What do you call a former MSU student-athlete who gets into U of M’s School of Medicine?
What did the MSU Spartan fan do when his team won the BCS championship?
Turn off his PlayStation 3
A teacher in East Lansing asks her middle school class how many of them are Spartan fans? The children, wanting to be like their teacher, all raise their hands except for one. The teacher asks him why he decided to be different.
“Because I’m not a Spartan fan” the boy replies. The teacher asks “Then what are you?” “I’m a proud Wolverine fan,” boasts the boy. Perturbed, the teacher asks the boy why he is a Wolverine fan. “Because my mom and dad are Wolverine fans, so I’m one too.” The teacher is now quite irritated. “That’s not a good reason.” “What if your mom and dad were morons, what would you be then?”
The boy pauses, then smiles. “Well….then I’d be a Spartan fan!”
We Wolverine fans have long had “Oh how I hate Ohio State!” as our mantra. In my mind, the Spartans have become public enemy No. 1. Coach Mark Dantonio and his band of thugs have been running roughshod across the conference, unchecked. It’s time to lay down the law and restore the proper order to the Big Ten. Go Blue!
Michigan 27, MSU 13
By Nick RoUMel
What is remarkable about the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry is that two of MSU’s upset victories were the result of documented cheating. Cornerback Eddie Brown has all but admitted that in 1990, he purposely tripped Desmond Howard in the end zone, on a two point conversion attempt that would have won the game. In 2001, “Spartan Bob’s” stopped the clock too early to give MSU one more attempt at a game winning touchdown – a gambit so blatantly dirty that it resulted in an NCAA rule change.
Spartan fans to this day remain unapologetic. As for 1990, they say “even if they’d called interference, there’s no guarantee Michigan would have won.” And in 2001, they simply shrug and say that if Michigan were so good, we should have stopped them again, in the 61st minute.
To be a Spartan fan is to be unrepentant and relentless. If they won, they deserved it. If they won cheating? So what, these things happen. If they lost, they got robbed. Mike Hart’s famous “Little Brother” comment was right on. The Spartans are the quintessential obnoxious little brother, who will neither shut up nor go away, but will hang around their big brother and his friends just for the opportunity to badmouth big brother to his friends.
Stupidly, I once went through a brief period when I thought I should be classy towards opponents. After all, I reasoned, in my Pollyanna-ish delirium, we are all Big Ten brethren. Why, Michigan State is right up the road, and many very nice people – my wife included – graduated from there. I rooted for Michigan State when they played other teams not named Michigan. I was diplomatic. I was complimentary.
But I felt …. dirty. I felt ashamed and hypocritical, re-examined my priorities, and soon went back to guilt-free hating. In that brief period of facile brotherly love, I learned a painful lesson. When you turn the other cheek to your enemies, they slap it just as hard as the first one.
I like Punt’s attitude – never miss an opportunity to make fun of Sparty. But he missed a couple, such as:
“Did you hear MSU’s library burned down? It was a total loss. Both books were destroyed, and one hadn’t even been colored in yet.”
And: “Wolverine fan goes into a bar. He sees a big guy wearing an MSU letter jacket and says ‘I want to tell you a Spartan joke.’ The MSU guy says, ‘Hold on. I’m 6’ tall, 180’ lbs; my one buddy here is even bigger, and our other friend is 6’6”, 300 lbs., and used to play offensive line for the Spartans. Are you sure you want to tell it?’
“The Michigan fan pauses and says, no … The Spartans relax, thinking they’ve intimidated the Wolverine. But the M-Fan explains, ‘Because I don’t want to have to explain it three times.’”
Here’s the biggest joke of all. Michigan State thinks they can win. The Spartans will come into the Big House thinking they can take a 5th consecutive rivalry game. They will grab, cheat, and steal - anything they can do to make up for their deficiencies in talent. But it won’t happen today. Sorry Sparty, your streak ends here. Here’s one game where Punt and I see the same result: a Michigan victory. The only problem is Punt didn’t go far enough. This one isn’t even going to be close:
MICHIGAN 38, MICHIGAN STATE 0