SDSU destroyed Washington State tonight (42-24). I hope that we are finally hitting on all fours for that match up, as its the one game this year I'm attending in person.
Are you glad you scheduled San Diego State? "Uh ... no."
How did this game turn into running Denard 25 times? Was that part of the game plan? “Uh, no, we don’t want to get him beat up. We’re going to play in a pretty physical league, so we have to make sure we get it out of the way. I thought Vince and those guys did a nice job. Vince and Touss’, did a good job running the football. It takes a toll on your body. He’s not the biggest guy in the world.”
How much of defensive struggle in the first quarter was them outscheming you vs. them winning the battle up front? “I think that the jet sweep, which is part of their offense -- it hasn’t been a huge part depending on different things that you watch game-wise, but I thought that was really where they hurt us early in the football game. But after the guys settled down and got used to where they tried to leverage you, they played pretty well.”
Can Vincent Smith be the lead back? “He ran the ball pretty well today. Until you analyze it, look at it, and really evaluate it, I would hate to say that.”
Thomas Gordon made two big plays. Talk about him, please. “Thomas had a really good summer, and it starts there [with] what he did with his weight and how he reported to camp. I think his attitude and Michigan football being important to him, and his teammates being important, and just the way he’s come to practice everyday, I’m really proud of him for doing those things. It’s paying off for him and paying off for us.”
Did the team seem flat early? “No -- [Eastern Michigan’s coaches] are good coaches too. I think they had a good plan. I think a lot of the movement and some of those things, they’re a little bit unconventional as it is from that standpoint. I thought they did a good job.”
What can you do to get passing game going? “I think we just have to be better with our feet. Setting our feet on some of our throws. That’s usually where it starts with our quarterback. We need to do a better job there. It would have helped with some possessions early in the ballgame, if we make a couple first downs.”
This is the third game you started slow on defense. Is there a way to combat that? “If there was, I think we would have tried to do that. We just have to execute some things better. There’s not a real answer to it besides we have to keep working on it and keep playing hard with it. Guys have to do a great job in practice, which they have. That part of our team has really made some good strides. It’s coming along.”
Can you talk about in-game adjustments to shore up defense? “You always have the things that you want to run from a defensive perspective. And there’s also things that may be on the fringe. We were pretty vanilla and pretty base today. But there’s a couple movements Greg called that helped us. A couple adjustments coverage-wise that helped us. More on the run support than the actually coverage.”
When it was 28-3, did you think about giving Devin some snaps? “Not really. I’ve been around this game a long time, and I never feel real comfortable until it’s :00 on the clock. We wanted to down and put the ball in the endzone, and unfortunately we didn’t.”
Assess how the defensive front did today. “I felt them a little more this week. I felt Mike, I felt Craig, and Ryan. I felt those three guys than I have.”
Running game -- what started clicking for you, and how big was it to have Vincent Smith to complement Denard? “It’s huge. I’m not going to sit here and tell you it’s not. The offensive staff came in at halftime, and said, ‘This is what we liked, this is how we’re want to align it formationally, this is how we need to tweak the blocking of it,’ and it went pretty well. Vince did a nice job. He made one cut too many on one run, but he did a nice job with his vision, and I thought Fitz did also.”
When you get a tailback going, what does it do for confidence of running backs as a whole? “They’re all very competitive. I also think they all want to play. But I think they also are very supportive of each other.”
Jibreel made a difference out there. Talk about him. “I think Jibreel’s played pretty consistent the last two games. I just didn’t feel him as much as I felt those other guys.”
Another big play by Kovacs on fourth-and-one. What happened? “It was a man coverage situation, and he was locked on that guy, and he did a tremendous job of beating the guy to the edge, to be honest with you. It’s something that Curt Mallory had worked with those guys all week.”
You’re off to a 3-0 start. This happened the last few years, too. Tougher opponents ahead. Cold shower? “Tougher opponents – I think they’re all tough. Believe me. College football – they’re all tough. Every game is such a from-the-neck-up football game. We’re a different team. I mean, yeah, we’ve been there, but we have to improve so much tomorrow when we look at the film and see, maybe we got out-leveraged here on this and why. There’s some urgency things when you’re setting up front, and guys getting lined up and all those things. Not getting technical, but we’ve got to go to work. I am not the funnest guy in the world like I am today, but Sunday to Friday, we have work to do.”
Second week in a row Gallon’s done some good things. Talk about him. “Well I think Jeremy’s another one of those guys who really, you could sense some things in his demeanor. Change in the spring. He had a really good summer, and good fall camp. He’s earning respect because of how he’s coming to work, how he’s playing.”
Denard had some problems passing. What do you want to see from receivers to help him out? “That one interception, that was kind of a bang-bang deal. I think Junior – if he comes back a little bit more, he maybe could have bodied the guy more and been in a better position. We’re pleased with our quarterback and I’m glad he’s at Michigan.”
You talked about Denard setting his feet. How hard is it to get him to set his feet when he loves to run so much? “I think it always is [hard] when you have a guy who can make multiple plays because of his athelticism. There’s no doubt that it’s a little more difficult. It is, and he’s done a nice job, and we just have to keep working, and he’s got to keep working on it and focusing and concentrating on that improvement in his game.”
Are Herron and Cam Gordon close to coming back? “Cam is real close, and so is Herron. I would think they’d both be ready next week.”
We didn’t see a lot of power runs today. A lot of spread instead. Is this by design or just playing more to Denard’s strengths as the game goes along? “It’s kind of what we’ve been since we started in the spring, to be honest with you. The quarterback power is still the power play, the read zone a little bit, and a couple things how we’re blocking that a little bit different depending on front. When we got I-backs today -- and Phil Snow’s a tremendous defensive coordinator, the guy has a tremendous pedigree -- he was going to load the box. That’s when we had a couple opportunities with some throws, because it’s all man coverage. You connect on those and the game changes a little bit.”
Thoughts on next game? “A guy from San Diego would ask that, wouldn’t he? I tell you, we have our hands full. That’s a very good football team, and a wel- coached football team, and a talented team. We’re going to try and get by the next 12 hours and then focus on that one.”
Glad you scheduled them? “Uh … no.”
Craig Roh got some stats today. Talk about him, too, please. “I thought he played more physical today. I thought he played with a little bit of a different mentality. He was aggressive. And you can really tell how he prepared all week he was going to do a great job for us today.”
Michael Schofield made an appearance -- what happened with Ricky Barnum? “His shoe came off. He’s got big feet. To get a big shoe on a big foot, sometimes it takes time.”
The way you guys end the game isn’t how you always start the game. What’s the deal? “I think it’s a little bit of both. I think both units, offensively and defensively … their respective coaches do a tremendous job of gathering information during possessions during the first half and coming in there as a group and each other’s room, taking some things out, putting some things in, making some adjustments, and relaying them to the kids so they can understand it. We [as coaches] can understand it all we want, but it doesn’t do us any good. If they understand it, then you’re going to make progress.”
When Denard struggles in the passing game, do you actively give him more carries to get him into rhythm? “I don’t know if we do that. I think your comfort level that you always want your quarterback to have is important, because he and the center and the only two guys that will touch the ball every play. Al looked at where we were and what we needed to do, and because we have worked on both styles so much, it’s easy to revert back and forth.”
SDSU destroyed Washington State tonight (42-24). I hope that we are finally hitting on all fours for that match up, as its the one game this year I'm attending in person.
We are not washington state
WSU hasn't won more than two games in a season since 2007, solid team.
Yeah I looked them up after I posted that. I guess we'll see how good Hoke is from a few different perspectives. Its the reason I decided to attend this game - cool story line bro.
"felt" a lot of guys today. Consistently weird phrasing.
Kids use it all the time. It is something they say when they really like something, someone. It is a generational lost in translation thing I think you are having.
that is totally not how hoke is using it.
He has just been watching too much Tiger baseball and hearing Rod Allen say stuff like that all the time.
Agreed. Reading these can be very confusing. Makes him sound dumb (but I'm sure hearing it in context makes perfect sense)
just watch the video then. it's easier to follow when you get all the non-verbal stuff.
WSU is not that good of a football team. I think it will be a close game next week. Hopefully DROB is on!
I just want both the Offense and Defense to play well from the 1st QTR through the 4th QTR!
give Denard some easy throws early in the game to get him settled down.
I think that your analysis may be a bit premature. The one thing I continually see from these guys is growth. Especially on defense. If we can get Denard settled down, if he just can be a bit more accurate with his passing we could be deadly. Al did a good job (today that is) of putting him in positions to win. He under threw a couple of balls and over threw a couple more. He left at least another 21points on the board. And that is not including all the times he could have just moved the sticks if he weren't throwing to Tacopants. And I don't know if it is just me, but wasn't he making some of these passes last year. How many more years of eligibility does Tacopants have? I don't remember him over throwing so many guys. Maybe that is because he didn't throw the ball as much last year.
Seriously, we played crappy against a team called EMU. I will feel so ashamed if we somehow get ranked.
If we keep playing like this Saturday we will easily go 6-6.
Yes, revisit these posts if they still exist at the end of this season.
I think some of you need to remember what a hugely emotional game football is. You're not realistically going to bring your best every week of the season, especially when you've played a monster game right beforehand. Two years ago, we followed up the 38-34 thriller over ND with a game against EMU (a team that would go 0-12) in which we only led 24-17 at halftime. Last year, we followed up the ND game with a frightening performance against FCS UMass, in which we trailed 17-7 late in the first half and won by an uncomfortably close score (42-37). Compared to those two, yesterday went pretty smoothly.
based on koger's and denard's press conference answers, i think a lot of that wasn't denard's fault.
if he didn't say a word, but instead just stood and pointed for fifteen minutes . . . .
The Main Course:
The quarterback power is still the power play, the read zone a little bit, and a couple things how we’re blocking that [vary] depending on front. When we got I-backs today ... [EMU D.C. Phil Snow] was going to load the box. That’s when we had a couple opportunities with some throws, because it’s all man coverage. You connect on those and the game changes a little bit.”
"A couple opportunities with some throws" = one Lonely Dileo.
Manball is running QB power and zone read until the defense sells out against the run, then showing him a run formation and issuing a dagger pass. I am becoming a huge fan of this staff.
The QB power has been all that great and leads the entire D toward Denard. Until they realize this team is not effective running what the staff wants ( see first quarter) and utilizes all the talent back on O the season is a crap shoot. If we continually fall behind (every game so far) we won't be able to come back against the better teams on our schedule.
I'm still shocked that despite a week to prepare and a so called genius like Mattison as D coordinator that each opponent has taken the ball and marched straight down the field. While our O in "manball" mode hasn't done a thing which is a scary thing come Big 10 season.
As for the Dileo play, it was our most successful pass play last year and is from RR's playbook and not the current staffs. Denard started like he was going to run and hit the slot in the seam as the safeties dashed up to stop the QB. If we limit Denard's carries to much this play will be ineffective.
It's a little more complicated than "We're running new stuff in the first quarter that doesn't work and old stuff that works the rest of the game." We ran some QB isos in the first quarter that went nowhere, and the pass plays we're calling for Denard are generally ones he was able to throw last year. I actually thought we went away from a tailback-based ground game too often yesterday. On our opening possession, on the last set of downs Toussaint picked up five yards on first down, followed by a pair of QB runs that didn't gain anything, followed by an interception.
The pass play to Dileo was something we ran 1-2 times in a typical game last year. It wasn't the staple of the playbook people make it out to be. You can't call it all the time or it loses its effectiveness.
On defense, I think there is a feeling-out process going on, in which Mattison is looking at how well our base D can defend at the outset. If it struggles (which it has), he works in some new blitzes/coverages thereafter.
I think this quote tells you what you need to know about how Michigan used the I against ND.
When we got I-backs today -- and Phil Snow’s a tremendous defensive coordinator, the guy has a tremendous pedigree -- he was going to load the box. That’s when we had a couple opportunities with some throws, because it’s all man coverage. You connect on those and the game changes a little bit.
I would really like to see a little more tight end leaking out late. I was hoping to see a little more usage by now. At least they are getting some looks though.
I'm glad to see the return of the Denard play action, it's a real threat that very few teams are able to run and as we saw last year, it can cause a WR to be stupidly open. It can also open up more room for actual Denard runs as safeties have to take an extra second to make sure it is a real run.
Now, if Denard could just get more consistent on making the throws, I'll breath easier during the teams first halves.
Sorry, but I just don't get all the doom around here. We played a bad team (though not as bad as in the last couple of years). We were flat as a pancake and they were fired up. Our QB had a bad day passing, and left points and first downs on the field. And we won 31-3. The defense gave up three points. Three points! Yes, it had a goal line stand, but it stuffed them. Yes, EMU moved the ball more than I wanted, but three points is three points.
Borgess was clearly testing how much under center stuff he can do. Ends up, not that much. So this staff made some adjustments and bingo - game over by the 4th quarter. The Western game was also clearly over by the time the game was called with a minute or so in the third. BTW - that Notre Dame team we beat may not be so bad after all since they handled Sparty pretty well.
Look, this team may loose next week and it isn't going to challenge for a Big Ten title this year. If you thought that we were going to Indy back in June or July, you were kidding yourself. I had them 8-4 or 7-5, with a 3-1 record after the NC part of the schedule. (The others were MSU, Nebraska, OSU and Iowa or-a-game-we-should-have-won-but-didn't.) 3-1 in the NC is the worst they can do. Iowa doesn't look so tough and OSU has some issues. So this thing is about where we all seemed to think it would be.
I know I am talking about "feelings, man," but there is a positive vibe with recruits tweeting about how much they love Michigan, and kids from Ohio lining up to come North. So yeah, I'll have another glass of Koolaide and wait to admire the next gold statute that Hoke poops out.
I don't think going to Indy is out of the question. Nebraska will be tough, but I don't think we'll be much of an underdog against them, MSU, OSU, or Iowa, if an underdog at all. They all have serious flaws as teams, as do we.
Let's hope that the team proves you right on that.