What is more impressive? The offensive performance or the defense stepping up to make plays at the end?
“Well we knew we needed a couple stops at the end defensively. We were fortunate enough. But offensively, obviously we were pretty much in sync. I thought Devin [Gardner] did a nice job, found the guys who were open. Ran the ball better, which you look at the film and we’ll see why we ran it better. But that was a big part of it. We needed to complement each other. The stops at the end helped complement the offense. But the offense kept moving. Kept bailing us out a little bit defensively.”
Would Kyle Bosch have played if Joey Burzynski hadn’t been hurt?
“With Kyle, being here since January has helped his development. Joey getting nicked up a little bit probably got him in the game a little sooner than he would have. But he was a guy that Darryl [Funk] and Al [Borges] thought was coming along.”
What does 7 rushing touchdowns say about your interior line?
“I think it says something about all of those guys. [Mike] Schofield and [Taylor] Lewan, they’re not bad. I think Jake Butt is coming into his own a little bit as a blocker. AJ [Williams] I know was a little better. The two fullbacks on the field, you talk about two guys getting onto linebackers, they were pretty good. It was fun watching them.”
I know you’d rather not play a game with 110 points scored, but when you do, is it good to have a guy like Jeremy Gallon?
“Well I think so. Statistically I think it shows that. You know, he’s such a great competitor. Runs good routes. Finds the open spaces. Sure-handed. I know he had one that got away from him. Jeremy to me, he’s a tough guy who really is a little slippery at times. Yards after the catch are usually decent with him. He’s a total wide receiver. If he wasn’t catching it, he’s going to be working his tail off blocking.”
You had more spread concepts today. How did that open things up for Fitz Toussaint?
“Well it depends on how people are going to match you and how they’re going to match you up. If they’re going to be a little bit more with a dime or a nickel group, depending on who’s in there, some of that maybe took advantage of some angles that we had leverage-wise.”
You’ve taken some heat this season in the run game with the turnovers and the offensive line –
“Who’s giving us heat? You?”
Well … “people” –
Do you feel like you shut some people up a little bit? Do you care?
“No, I don’t care. We won the football game. That’s the only thing I care about.”
You said earlier this week that you were confident in Al and the offense. Did today demonstrate that?
“I’ve had a lot of faith in our coaches. Yeah, if that’s going to satisfy people, that’s fine.”
With the defense, were you disappointed in some of the things you saw? What disappointed you the most?
“Yeah. Well I think it’ll be interesting to look at on tape. We had some opportunities on some of those balls that got thrown over our head, and we have to take advantage of it. The first one, I know Ray [Taylor] was trying to get the call from Thomas [Gordon] and looked at Thomas, and the ball was snapped and the guy was down the sideline. We’ve had some opportunities in there to battle for the ball, and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”
What would you say is the identity of this team through seven games?
“Um … that’s a great question. And so good that I don’t know if I can answer that.”
What were your thoughts on the sideline when you saw Jeremy Gallon make so many plays?
“Well, there were some double-moves in there that really worked well off the boot game. With the double move, he hit two of those where you double-move the corner. Like most corners, to some degree, they get a little gun shy. Then maybe they stay deep with that cushion, and it opens up something else. Believe me, I’ve seen our guys do the same thing. It was just the timing I think and Devin having the ability to step up in the pocket on some of those things, are really what helped when he had that kind of time.”
Early in the third quarter, Fitz fumbled. How proud were you to see him bounce back from that?
“Well there’s no question, because I don’t think anybody – Jake Ryan and Fitz, no one has worked harder to get themselves back on the football field when you look at what they’ve done. The one thing about Fitz is that he’s a guy who – he’s got a great toughness to him. There’s probably nobody more disappointed than he was with the fumble. But at the same time, if anybody’s going to get back in the fight, it’s going to be him.”
Devin mentioned that there was some miscommunication on the field on the second to last drive on the play where he scored the touchdown from six yards out.
“You know, you check protections. Sometimes Devin does it, sometimes the center does it. One guy checked a protection one way, the other guy checked it the other way.”
What did you see him do?
“I saw Devin being very athletic.”
You’re 6-1 right now, then you have a bye week. Then you have the meat part of your schedule. What do you hope to accomplish? And does this bye week fall at a good time? Are you going to make significant changes? Will this Michigan team be different when they take the field in East Lansing in two weeks? How many more questions can I ask? Am I being serious right now?
“I could say this: I’d like to see the same offense show up. Maybe a different defense. We have work to do, no question about it. We have some things in all areas. From the defensive standpoint we have to clean some things up. Hopefully take the time, I know we’re beat up a little bit, but that’s part of the game. Get some guys healthier. Then work like heck to go out there and win.”
So you’re glad to have a bye? I mean, you just had one.
“We had a three-game schedule there is what we looked at. Then we have the meat of the schedule, like you said, the next five weeks.”
At what point did you think Jeremy Gallon was going to have a special game?
“I think the first couple possessions, the offense was making progress and doing some things. I don’t know if there was anything special that I saw.”
Why Burzynski and Magnuson? Also, do you think Kyle Bosch will keep his job at left guard? Also, as a defensive-minded coach, how frustrated were you?
“Yeah, a lot of frustration. Sickening. Sick feeling. That kind of thing. Yeah. We have to play it better. You don’t win championships without playing defense. We didn’t play very good defense today.”
And offensive line?
“They earned the right because of how they were evaluated, how they competed with what they did in practice.”
Anything wrong with Bryant and Kalis?
“Yeah. Kyle got in the game with some six-pack stuff. They’re looking to compete.”
MGoQuestion: After the hit on Devin that drew the personal foul and gave you 15 yards on the next kickoff, did you consider doing anything other than kicking it out of the endzone for a touchback?
“Thought about squibbing it. Thought about blooping it. Matt [Wile], on the short bloops, doesn’t get the ball high enough like I’d like for him to.”
Drew Dileo and Joey Burzynski were both dinged up. How are they doing?
“We’ll see about both of them.”
What’s your feeling during a game like this where it’s a shootout?
“I think they always feel like a game no matter what. If it’s a 9-6 game, you’re still coaching both sides like you normally would and encouraging and doing all that, trying to help make adjustments on some things. You just had a sense that our offense would always respond. I think that’s probably what was disappointing about both the fumbles because they were self-inflicted wounds there where you were worried about how many possessions. Watching their offense and what they’ve done so far, you knew they were very capable.”
Big call on fourth and two near the goal line. How glad were you that Fitz was able to punch it in?
“You know what, there wasn’t any doubt about going for it. I knew that we would need points during the course of the afternoon.”