"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
The secondary and the front seven really seemed to work in concert defending the pass. Can you just talk about the job they both did?
“Yeah, heck of a job. Great to be a part of a shutout. Defensive staff, DJ Durkin and the guys did a great job; players, everybody. When you only give up 105 yards, that’s…I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of one of those. That’s outstanding in so many areas.
“Picked up two third-down conversions early in the game and the rest of the game it was like 2-of-12, maybe. Thought we did an excellent job on third down. In all aspects, a great defensive ballgame.”
Could you talk about Jake’s [Rudock] day, and particularly his choice to throw the ball away or run if he didn’t see what he liked?
“Yeah. Hey, Mark! Yeah, good to see you.”
[Ed. (Adam): Mark didn’t ask the question. I’ve never seen Mark before.]
“Yeah, really good. I just glanced at the sheet after the game and he was 14- or 15-of-25, something in that area, and there must have been four or five throwaways. I thought he was having fun. I thought he was, you know, playing the game, letting it rip, and got two big scores scrambling, running the football. Great block by Jehu Chesson on the second touchdown. I can’t wait to watch that one on tape. Lead some good, consistent drives even in the second half. Thought the offense did a heck of a job controlling possession of the football; had an 11-play drive and a 12-play drive and scored on the first five possessions. Came out strong.
“Saw some really creative plays. Tim Drevno and Jedd Fisch, you know, really diagrammed some good plays this week and the fellas did a nice job executing them, so a lot of good things. Good team victory.”
Going back to the defense, obviously your guys were consistent from start to finish. What about the 11 punts you had on 12 possessions and seven three-and-outs?
“Yeah, the three and outs, I’m glad you brought that up. We scored the first five times we had the ball offensively, and four of those- four times the defense had three-and-out possessions and then to start the second half it was one right after the other, three and outs. It was very good. Good football team both sides of the ball, so it was good. And we go back to work now. Start conference play this week and we’ll attack it the same way. Big game this week.”
I know you don’t like to talk about yourself much but I’m interested, is the feeling of winning- today would be a day I’d guess that captures why you wanted to come back and coach this team. Is the feeling of winning in an atmosphere like this right now and what you’re going through different than the NFL, and do you watch NFL games anymore? Do you miss anything about it?
“Lot of questions there.”
[After THE JUMP: We had hamburgers it was crazy]
Evaluate your group after three games.
“Evaluate my group after three games? Getting better, growing, competing, so right there is my three words I would use. Always room for growth, room to get better. Still just trying to solidify the little mistakes, clean the little things up. Just getting better.”
Is it the week of practice that determines who’s getting the carries or the flow of the game or what is it?
“It’s a little bit of both. Week of practice, flow of the game- you never want to go in with concrete [ideas]. Just the week of practice is the overall deciding factor and then the flow of the game. The flow of the game, as the game is going, you kind of make adjustments. You’ve got to be able to make adjustments. Gotta make adjustments.”
Is that what happened on Saturday? I mean, De’Veon was having some trouble and so you said-
“No, De’Veon wasn’t having trouble. It was just the type of defense that they were playing, what they were doing, called for a little different runner.”
“Yeah, style-wise. De’Veon wasn’t having much trouble at all. He was getting the tough yards. You know, he was banging it in there, running tough, running hard, yards after contact- that man gets a lot of yards after contact. He’s doing a great job in that regard. Just needed someone that could slip and slide a little bit and that was it. Just a different style.”
When you talk about cleaning the little things up, what are some of those little things?
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
/smiles (I think)
[After THE JUMP: Things went well]
Just kind of talk about how your guys are coming along a little bit through three games.
“Yeah, the guys are working hard. You know, we just keep pressing them every week in practice, keep telling them to challenge themselves every day and hopefully it translates on the weekends. They’re working hard.”
Jourdan was saying on Monday that he thinks the secondary could be the best in the country. Is that sort of an attitude that you promote?
“Well, that’s what we want them to think and, you know, certainly the work and what they produce has to match that. But we absolutely want that attitude from those guys. It helps. Certainly their position requires that kind of attitude. They’ve got to have a short memory at that position and put things to the side and go play the next play. So, it’s all about attitude, it’s all about challenging yourself every day and just trying to get better and better and win every play.”
Talk a little about the challenge they’re going to get this weekend.
“A big, big challenge. I mean, those guys [are] 6’6”, 6’5”, 6’3”. Really big receivers, good athletes, decent speed; I mean, they’ve got it all, and they roll in those guys. They’ve got four or five really good receivers that they’re rolling in every down, so they’re going to be fresh. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us.
“Just physically, when you line Jourdan Lewis up against a 6’6” guy, as scrappy as Jourdan is, that’s a tough matchup. But that’s how we’re going to play it. They’ve got to fight.”
When a guy makes a couple big plays like Channing did last week, what does that do for his confidence and how he’s able to play?
“You know, hopefully. When you do things right you get confidence, and he’s been doing things right. Throughout camp, Channing has probably had the best camp out of all the guys. He’s just worked hard. He had one bad day, had one bad scrimmage in the summer there. Other than that he’s been playing really hard and really well. I think he realizes, and I’m hoping that all of them realize, that you don’t arrive. You always have to get better, because somebody’s chasing you.”
[After THE JUMP: Covering big receivers, the importance of eyes, and seam responsibility in Cover 3]
Four or five of your nine tackles came on Saturday. Was that a game that things just kind of clicked for you? Was it where you were just able to take advantage of an opportunity? How do you view it?
James Ross: “I just view it like basically all the guys out there, we do our best to do what we can on the field at any given time. I just made those plays, but a lot of guys, we’re just running to the ball. Anybody can make a play at any given moment, you know; JD [Jourdan Lewis] or corners, safeties, we all run to the ball at the same time so there’s going to be a lot of assisted tackles.”
How many plays does it take to get the hat? [ED. (Adam)- It says ‘Ball Hawk’; Lewis was wearing a ‘Ball Hawk’ track jacket]
JR: “How many plays? This was in practice, in camp. Got a couple of forced fumbles.”
Jourdan, what was this week like for you, obviously dealing with a concussion and whether you were going to play? Also, four pass breakups was obviously a career best. What did you do and see in that game that helped you out?
Jourdan Lewis: “Just using my technique. Trying to get back as fast as possible from that concussion. Just excited to be out there, obviously.”
Jourdan, obviously a bigger challenge from the BYU receivers, a little bit bigger. What do you see from them on film, and when you’re attacking a larger group of receivers like that when you’re not as big how much do you have to rely on your technique and what do you have to do?
JL: “We haven’t seen much film on BYU yet. We’re actually going to watch film today, so I actually haven’t seen them.
“Commenting on the larger receiver thing, it really doesn’t matter to me. Small receiver, large receiver, it’s all the same. Just using my technique.”
[More, including Ben Braden, after THE JUMP]
News bullets and other items:
- Harbaugh made it abundantly clear that there’s no QB controversy. He said Rudock’s the best QB on the team, and “not by a small margin.”
- Kyle Kalis graded out as the best offensive lineman on Saturday.
- Harbaugh was very impressed with Channing Stribling, saying no one in the secondary has shown more improvement.
- Chesson was the offensive and special teams player of the game, and Lewis was the defensive player of the game.
- Kerridge could possibly play Saturday. He’s “working through something.”
“Whaddaya got? I’m ready to go! I’m excited about my team!”
Can you talk about what you’ve seen out of BYU? What impresses you most about their offense?
“Well, good receivers. Big receivers. Good quarterback. Big, physical team on both sides of the ball. Very athletic. They play extremely hard.
“I think this will be a great test for our team. Very excited about the competition this week and what’s in store. It’ll be a great gauge for where our team is at right now.”
Now that you’ve had a chance to look at the film, what did Ty Isaac do that got the running game going versus maybe somebody else, and how- I kind of asked you about this a little big Saturday- but how big is it that you can have different guys that you can throw in there if one guy is not playing well and one guy is playing well?
“Well, I wouldn’t look at it as throwing guys in there. I mean…we’ve got football players that are hungry, that want to be in there, that are improving and making contributions to the team, and there’s something about not just throwing a guy in but strategically putting a player in to be successful. That’s the way I would phrase it.
“Ty did a nice job. We talked about it. I think he’s an improving player and still has some work to do. You know, he’s going to miss one and then made the big one. That was great to see.
“The offensive line is improving. Offensive line is getting better. Probably the guy who made the biggest jump is Kyle Kalis. Graded out for the ballgame 90% [or] a little above 90% along with Graham Glasgow, who’s been consistently very good and been our best offensive lineman. Kalis is ascending fast, so it’s great to see that. The other one is Ben Braden is playing better. Still has work to do, but he’s improving as well. Thought Mason Cole and Magnuson both improved. They’re playing more physical and they’re finishing. They’re really making an effort to finish right now. So, all five of those guys. What’s helping our running game right now is them and the contribution by the backs, but also the receivers.
“The receivers are making a real effort right now to block downfield. They’re blocking in the box, they are coming to get safeties, and they are blocking sometimes 30-40 yards downfield. Jehu Chesson was our player of the game offensively and on special teams, and a big reason was he contributed to the passing game, contributed to the running game, contributed putting points on the board, and his blocking was making a real effort at it. Along with all our receivers…Amara [Darboh].
“There’s a lot of things contributing to us improving in the running game.”
[After THE JUMP: Dennis Quaid comes up and if that doesn’t get you to read the whole thing I guess we just don’t have a similar sense of humor]
Ty, can you talk about how well blocked that touchdown was that you had, and how good it feels to contribute after transferring and waiting to have moments like this?
Ty Isaac: “I mean, it went like it did in practice for the most part. Everybody got their assignments, did their jobs, and it opened up.
“As far as contributing, obviously it feels good. I’ve been here for a year without playing, doing a lot of practice squad stuff. I know that stuff helps the team, but it feels a lot better when you can put it on the scoreboard and help your team win.”
With De’Veon struggling to get going, with the run game struggling to get going, how critical is it for you guys to be able to bring someone else in and kind of change things up for the offense?
TI: “I think that’s the nice part about just us having such a deep running back room. If one guy’s not going somebody else in the room is going to be able to go. So, maybe it’s not De’Veon, it’s not me; you have Drake [Johnson], Derrick [Green], Ross Taylor-Douglas. I mean, there’s a lot of guys in there that do a good job.”
Can you talk about the performance- offense, defense, whatever it is- regarding first half versus second half? You guys came out well, put some points on the board, and it seemed overall a little more of a struggle in the second half. Was there something missing in your regard?
TI: “Missing? I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure they were in their locker room making adjustments so we didn’t do the same thing we did to them in the first half but I feel overall the defense played well. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect game, but we’ll go back, look at it, clean it up, [and] next game try to do a lot better both halves.”
[After THE JUMP: “I think the identity we’re establishing is that we’re going to hit you in the mouth, regardless of who you are.”]