I’m going to call you Fun Devin. How’s that sound?
That's gold, Jerry! Gold!
Funchess is listed as a tight end, but you played him as a wide receiver. Was that the plan?
“Well we obviously planned it that way. Getting him out on the perimeter a little bit, a mismatch in a lot of ways because he runs awfully well. He’s a big target. And then we get into the 11 personnel and he’ll be a tight end. Just trying to really take advantage of his skill sets.”
No turnovers coming out of a bye week has to be a big plus.
“It’s huge. No turnovers. Had two penalties. So I think that speaks to how these guys have really worked. The bye week, I thought, came at a good time for us in a lot of ways. It was good to see us respond.”
It’s one thing to have a plan, but another to execute it. You obviously want to get the running game going. Can you talk about how that played out?
“Well we wanted to run the ball. We wanted to send that message. I thought we did a pretty good job of it. We didn’t have as much yardage probably as we’d like to have from that aspect, but I really believe the threat was there consistently throughout the game that we were going to run the football. I think tackles for loss, I think there were three until the last when we were milking the clock at the end. I thought it worked out well.”
Mitch Leidner was really hurting you with his legs, especially on third down. Is that concerning given the mobile quarterbacks on the schedule?
“I don’t know if it’s that concerning. When you look at it, there’s some issues when you don’t tackle well, when you’re reaching instead of running through. I was watching it, and we didn’t run through enough. You know, sometimes guys do that just because they don’t want to make a mistake. I’d rather them be aggressive and run through and make a mistake.”
They held the ball longer than you would have liked. How did you like the defensive performance?
“I think the second half was real good. I think the first drive, they converted on third down three times on him running the ball. He’d go back and maybe want to pass it, maybe not, but he’d get out of the pocket and we’d miss a tackle. I thought there were a couple of interior runs, the four, five-yarders they bled you with, we have to make sure we’re doing a better job there.”
How did you turn the tables on their third down conversions?
“I think we got bodies to the ball when he did want to scramble or did want to run it. I don’t think there was anything magical when you look at game plan wise, changing things a whole lot. I think we pretty much stayed how we wanted to play. I think tackling, to be honest with you. That was the biggest part. And then we had a couple guys play a couple deep balls pretty well.”
It looked like right from the get go your team was ready today. How did their performance today match up with how they practiced the last couple weeks?
“I thought we had great practices. I think everybody on the staff, we all feel the same way, the way they went after it, the way they wanted to learn and their attitudes and all that kind of stuff. Their demeanor, body language, whatever you want to call it. I thought it was really good.”
You had a lot of completions, but some of the passes were inaccurate …
“I think he was on target enough, but there’s some that you’d like to see him lead the guy a little more. I think the second to last drive, the long third down to Funchess on a skinny post, I thought he drilled that one in there. You could really see him drive the ball. Timing was good and he put it exactly where it needed to be. Yeah we’d love for him to do it all the time, but that’s why you have a 6-6 wide receiver who can go up and get the ball, too.”
You’re 5-0. Can you evaluate where your team is? Is it still a work in progress?
“I think it is, because of the youth we have. They’re learning all the time. We’re fortunate they had a kickoff return where we got out of our lanes. I think our guys learned a lesson there, and there were some young guys there, but there’s a lot of young players playing a lot of snaps. I think we’re improving. I think we’re a long way from where we need to be.”
Have you reached out to Jerry Kill yet?
“Oh yeah. I will. I have not yet. I know my wife texted Rebecca, his wife, but I haven’t talked to my wife. I haven’t reached out to her, either. I know they were going to have a conversation.”
When did you find out about his seizure?
“I found out right when we left the hotel.”
Any update on Ondre Pipkins and Kyle Kalis?
“I think both of them we’ll know more tomorrow. That’s about all I know tomorrow. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Paul [Schmidt].”
You’ll get a better sense of this when you watch film, but what stood out to you about Chris Bryant?
“Well I think you’re right. We’ll have a better sense looking at the tape. I imagine that he swung and missed some, and I imagine that he road graded some guys. Somewhere in between.”
Can you talk about putting Schofield next to Lewan on some plays?
“Well we’ve done that since fall camp. Just another way to get another heavy body over there. They’re pretty good blockers. We’ll probably do more of it.”
Can you talk about the third down stops that forced them to kick field goals?
“I think guys made some plays when they had to. You don’t like that they were 8 for 15 or something like that on third down. That’s not a good number. The first three third downs in the first drive we have to do a better job. You can’t let the quarterback run out and you can’t miss tackles. I don’t know if I’m answering your question, but no, we’re not real happy.”
That first drive had six straight runs. How did the offensive line respond to the challenge?
“With my experience, offensive linemen love to run the football. They would rather run it than throw it. I think they were very happy that we were running the football.”
On the running game, you got Derrick Green ten carries and Fitz 17. Is that the balance you wanted to achieve?
“Number one, if we would have had more plays -- I think we only ran like 52? Something like that? 52 plays and they ran 62. When you have two teams that want to run the ball, the games go pretty quick. I think we’d like to have the ball time-of-possession-wise a little more so we could have had more runs.”
What did you think of Derrick’s performance?
“What I saw, I thought he ran hard and I thought he made a couple good vision cuts and accelerated through pretty good. I liked seeing him run over the guy on the goal line.”
It seemed like you came out in the second half a completely different team on offense. Were there any adjustments?
“I don’t think there were any changes. We’ll always have some things, if we haven’t gotten to them on the list that we want to get to, at half time, how are they lining up at Taylor and Schofield on the same side. You don’t know until you see it. I think our guys just carried some momentum from the end of the half scoring, coming out at halftime, getting the football.”
For the last four years, Jon Falk has been keeper of the jug. Any last words about him and knowing that he’s got the jug one last time?
“We gave it to him when we got in the locker room.”
A happy man, I assume.
“Yeah. I just hope he doesn’t take it home. But yeah. Very emotional. Very happy. Jon, his loyalty to Michigan and Michigan football is special.”
Devin Gardner, what does a turnover-free game mean to you? And how did you think the offense did?
Gardner: “I thought we operated really well. Like you said, we didn’t turn the ball over. When you don’t turn the ball over, that’s always a good day. It’s even better day when in the first drive I didn’t even move my arm forward in the throwing motion. Went down and scored without throwing. We responded. I feel like that’s the best I can describe.”
I’m going to call you Fun Devin. How’s that sound?
You woke up this morning, ate your Wheaties, and ended up with 150 yards in receiving yards. Was it the game plan to get you active on offense? Or were you just open so much?
Funchess: “No Wheaties this morning. I ate a little ham, bacon. But no, I think the coaches just told me what to do, and I did it. Wasn’t in the game plan, they just told me to go out there and run, block, and all that. Just trying to get the job done.”
You were lined up in a bunch of positions today. How does that open things up for you?
Funchess: “I think it just helps the offense more. With me as such a big target on the outside, inside, it doesn’t matter. I’m just a big target, and it lightens up on the running backs.”
Gardner, was it odd to hand off so much at the beginning of the game? You didn’t throw a pass until the second quarter.
Gardner: “We’re going to do what’s working, and that’s what was working at the time. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If I’m ever called to throw the ball, that’s what I’m going to do.”
What does it mean for your team to come away with such a resounding win after lackluster performances against Akron and UConn?
Gardner: “Those games are behind us. We were thinking about Minnesota and Minnesota was it. It’s the first Big Ten game. We opened up the Big Ten season. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It’s the Jug game. It’s our homecoming game. There’s a lot going on. This game will be behind us tomorrow after we watch the film. We just look forward for the opportunity to hit Happy Valley.”
Funchess, when you’re split out wide against corners who are 5-11, and you’re 6-5. What’s going through your mind?
Funchess: “Nothing really. I don’t like getting guarded, really. No hands. I just try to get open. Let Devin [Gardner] get the ball to me.”
Gardner, your thoughts?
Gardner: “I mean, another guy on the other side is 5-8 and I feel like he’s a mismatch for anybody. It’s pretty easy for me. Whoever wins gets the ball.”
Funchess has had more yards today than the last four games. Do you think today was a sign of more to come?
Gardner: “I mean, whatever the offense needs. If it calls for me to throw to Funchess 17 times in the game or to Gallon 17 times or for me to throw 17 times total. Whatever we need that day, we’re going to do it.”
There has been some criticism that you’ve been trying to do too much the past couple weeks. How easy was it to get into a flow today?
Gardner: “It was cool for me. If they call for me to throw passes, that’s what I’m going to do, but today I was able to manage the game and be pretty efficient on third downs. The things we’ve been good at in the past we’ve kind of slipped on in the last two weeks.”
Gardner, did you notice a difference in the offensive line with the change, especially at center?
Gardner: “I mean, not really. [Glasgow] is a little bigger. That’s it.”
Did you feel like you had better protection today?
Gardner: “I felt like overall we came to fight. As an offensive line, they kind of had a chip on their shoulders that they weren’t going to let me hit like I was before. I feel like no matter who was in there, it was going to be like that.”
How much does having Funchess at receiver help Jeremy Gallon?
Gardner: “I mean, it’s going to help a lot. Jeremy Gallon, Drew Dileo, it’s going to help our running game. Like Funchess said, it’s going to help our team overall as a balanced and effective offense.”
Has the offensive line talked to you much about the chip on their shoulder?
Gardner: “They told me they weren’t going to let me get hit, so I like to hear that.”
Was the game plan reflective of your bye week, kind of breaking things down, establishing the run game, and getting back to the basics?
Gardner: “Yup. That’s what we focused on all week. The off week – well not off week, since we practiced and lifted – but we didn’t have to play a game, so we went back to the basics like you said. All the fundamentals and getting me personally, getting my feet under me and keeping my eyes tied to my feet and all that. The offensive line, their techniques. And the defense. I feel like as a team we responded really well with going back to the techniques and basics that you sometimes let waver.”
Funchess, was it difficult to stay patient and wait for your number to get called?
Funchess: “No, not really. I just waited until my number was called. Once it got called, I just tried to make the big play and tried to help the team ultimately get to the Big Ten championship.”
In the first half, Minnesota controlled the clock. How did it feel to get the offense rolling in the third quarter and bring that momentum back?
Gardner: “It felt like it felt prior to the previous two weeks. I mean, we were a pretty good offense and we were rolling pretty good. Like I said, we wavered the last two weeks, but we got back to the basics and I feel like our offense is ready to roll again.”
I’m going to call you Fun Devin. How’s that sound?
That's gold, Jerry! Gold!
if they had "Round-tine" for breakfast
The jar is round, the glass is round....
You know, jiving with the kiddies.
Do kids even know about wheaties commercials anymore?
Who said that? I mean I get happy talk and a bit of flattery, but did Hugh Freeze join the press corps?
People wonder why print media is dying a fast death.
It made my skin crawl
Gotta love Brady saying he hopes Jon Falk does not take the Little Brown Jug home.
I wish the names were attached to these questions so that they could be shamed properly.
I'm going to call you 97 JV. How's that sound?
It sounds like the stats for this game were rather badly distorted between two long Minnesota drives where they picked up a half a dozen third downs and most of their ToP, and Michigan killing clock with screamingly obvious runs later on. Sounds like the defense came up with the stops they needed, and the offense marched down the field when they needed to.
2ypc runs when the offense is setting up 30-yard play-actions or burning clock in the 4th quarter with a big lead is fine with me. 2ypc runs when the offense is setting up more 2ypc runs or burning clock in the 4th quarter with a slim lead, not so much.
Looks like I'll have to wait for the UFR to see how everyone graded out. Le sigh. . .
Because you mentioned UFR, I was wondering if anyone else saw the article on MLive titled "Upon Furhter Review"...about some play in the MSU game. Coincidence or shenanigans?
Probably a little bit of both.
It's always you. The questions were awful as well, but we would be remiss to pass up an opportunity to blame you for something.
Ummm ... No. He just left his regular position and I thought we would go with it. New plan - everyone plays whatever position they want.
Yeah. I really can't get past that first question. "Devin lined up at WR. Was that the plan?" How could it not be the plan? Is this the 1974/78 Dutch national soccer team? No? Then people have positions, and they are planned. End of story.
Gardner is to "I mean" as Hoke is to "Well..."
Who is happier with Dileo returning punts? Raise your hands.
Northfleet might have a bigger WOW factor, but in Dileo I trust. He may not house one, but he's efficient...gets whatever is there.
Especially in the game that they made the switch. Dileo is less likely to break a big one, but more likely to make the right decision. Against teams that don' t have booming punters/will be more fair catches, I like Dileo back there.
Good job by DG not getting suckered into throwing Jack Miller under the bus.
I definitely picked up on that line of questioning too. Good job DG.
Re: Funchess at WR: “Well we obviously planned it that way. Getting him out on the perimeter a little bit, a mismatch in a lot of ways because he runs awfully well. He’s a big target. And then we get into the 11 personnel and he’ll be a tight end. Just trying to really take advantage of his skill sets.”
Nice to hear this and actually see evidence of it on the field. Enjoyed watching the staff really work with the talent they have and highlighting the strengths of their individual players.
Now, if they can just figure out a way to utilize Norfleet less obviously, target Dileo more often, and retroactively have Denard throw less and run more in the MSU Trash Tornado and the ND Interception Nightmare loss that would be great. Asking too much?