...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
Misdirection plays were a big part of offense. Will we see more? “Maybe. It just is kind of the offensive package. It’s kind of, when you have a quarterback that threatens people because of his ability to run, that’s part of it. That stuff is like the old counter play, which you don’t see a whole lot of people running anymore. It’s a lot of traction one way and then going back the other way.”
Talk about Denard’s passing. Is that more like what you see in practice? “Yeah. The sky’s never going to fall. We’re going to make it through. He throws the ball well, and we like how he throws the ball. [He] set his feet well and we ran good routes and completed some balls.”
Talk about the intensity of tackling and sacks. “I think Jerry Montgomery has done a tremendous job with our front, and the pride that a guy like Van Bergen or Martin have in how they play is a big part of it. I think this whole thing is a process what the kids are going through and how you do things. I think it’s just one of the things that we emphasize and they really did a nice job on some of those things. As far as tackling goes, if you fit the defense right, and wherever the support is or the cutback player -- all those different intangibles you have to have on defense -- I think you tackle better.”
Talk about Denard/Devin formation. What kinds of problems can that create for defense? “They’re both pretty talented. I think who’s back there in the backfield with them have some talents. It’s just something that Al has had for a while and something that we thought would be a good thing to do.”
Talk about Vincent Smith. “He does everything you want him to do, when you look at him as a football player and how he prepares and his toughness. All those things that -- Vince is a guy that you can count on. If he makes a mistake or doesn’t do something as well, it’s not because of lack of effort or lack of toughness. He’s done a good job for us.”
How pleased are you at the 58-0 effort to start your Big Ten career? “It has nothing to do with my career. It really has to do with these kids and that jug, and keeping that jug in Ann Arbor. And us going out to play better football every time we take the field whether it’s tomorrow when we practice or if it’s on game day. Believe me we have a lot of mistakes from a personnel standpoint. We take a daggone penalty, and that’s my fault. We didn’t have a guy out there on the punt team. You can’t do that and win championships, and that’s my fault.”
Why did you choose this game to unleash all this offensive creativity? “You work on it during fall camp, you put it to bed for a little bit, but you work on it so the kids have a knowledge of it so when you bring it back out, it’s just something we thought was a good time to bring out.”
What was your reaction when Borges brought the 2-QB package, and is this the most complete game you have played this season? “Well Al and I have talked about that package in March? April? And believe me, Al Borges is very, very creative. So that’s not just that package. I’m sure his creativity will show up again. We played probably our best game to this point, but the schedule is -- we’re going away. We’re going on the road. We haven’t been on the road. They don’t know how we like to travel. And I say we as a staff. They have an idea, but there’s a lot of unknowns out there, and there’s a lot that we have to get better.”
Did you practice any jug security so you wouldn’t drop it, and does a game where everybody gets to play give you a boost in practice the next week? “I’ll answer the second question first. No question the morale of your football team -- those other guys, and I’ll use an example: Richard Ash, I don’t know how many plays he got, maybe four or five. But he goes down there on that look team and does a tremendous job down there and has the ability to come out there and play some. I would think he would feel pretty good about that. So I think that’s always important. You get guys live reps in games.
“Jug security is always at a premium.”
(more after the jump)
How did the game plan defensively change for you after you learned Marqueis Gray wasn’t going to play? Also, how did your defensive front do against Shortell? “We really didn’t change it at all. We do a lot of things by personnel groups, what personnel groups they have in. So all the calls were based on those groups. So they would have had the same calls if Marqueis would have been in there. So there was no change at all.”
Is the confidence level of players high enough where they expect to win a Big Ten championship? “I hope so.”
Are you eager to get this Michigan team out on the road, and will it give you and your staff a better indication of where they’re at? “We like playing at home. Now if Dave can do a 10-game home schedule, it would be wonderful. It’s pretty convenient. I’m kind of interested in seeing how we react. I really am. To see what we’re made of -- see our mentality, our mental toughness, see if we’re business-like in how we go about the work that we have to do, and the preparation and all those things.”
The defensive line wasn’t where you wanted it to be. Talk about progression? “I think they were disruptive. That’s what I like and that’s what you have to do if you’re a guy who plays up front. As you look at the schedule and you look at teams you’re going to play, I think there’s some offensive lines in this league that are pretty stout. We’ve got to make sure that we’re making our gains and our progression on a daily basis with great urgency and intensity.”
Three things: Troy Woolfolk looked like he was limping. What did Denard have done to his arm? How did Schofield play? “I didn’t notice Troy limping, so that’s new to me. Denard had a boo-boo. Schofield I imagine did okay in there. I can’t tell you for sure because of not [having watched] the film yet.”
Helmet numbers? “That was my decision, and we will have those numbers on there throughout the rest of the season when we get into Big Ten play because we want to honor the guys who wore those numbers before, and the 42 championship teams. And the guys who have represented Michigan. It’s important to us.”
McColgan was out. “He got banged up a little bit.” Is it serious? “Week to week, day to day.”
Did you sense more physicality up front? Also, how did Fitz Toussaint run? “I think, up front, you try and gauge yourself. Molk’s played a lot of football, and I kind of, being a defensive line coach, I like watching other defensive lines and how they play and how we block them. I thought there was football being played at the point of attack. And … why are you laughing at that? It was pretty obvious football was being played. But you could hear it. You could feel it and sense it. When you look at your line and you look at, if the back has to start making his decision and his cuts further back from the line of scrimmage, then you’re not doing a good job. And you could see when Shaw and Fitz and those guys were coming, they got more downhill, pressed the line of scrimmage more, and that tells you those guys were working hard. Fitz, I thought he ran well. He’s a tough little burger who did a nice job.” [ed-M: I doublechecked the video: he definitely said 'burger.']
Re: Two-QB formation. How much does that help that other teams have to prepare for it? Also, what’s that called? “Uh, you know, two quarterbacks, whatever. It doesn’t matter what it’s called. It really is, yeah. People have to prepare.”
Talk about your secondary and how guys like Avery and Countess are playing. “Well, you know. Courtney and Blake, and there’s Raymon Taylor, [who] is going to be a good football player also. Our young guys have done a good job. It starts in my opinion with Jordan Kovacs and his leadership and his directing traffic out there. I think they have a lot of confidence in each other. I think there’s a chemistry. I think J.T. has done a nice job. When he focuses in, he’s pretty doggone good. I think there’s number one, there’s some competition, because there’s a lot of guys in that room that all want to play.”
Talk about Thomas Rawls? “It was good to get Thomas some carries. He’s a freshman that’s learning the game of football at the Division I level. I think he’s got some skill sets that are pretty good. I think you saw some of that today. So it was good to see him out there.”
Gibbons was 3/3. “Someone has said that he’s kicked really good during fall camp. Ahem. Someone did. We’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and hopefully that injects even more confidence into him.”
Denard was 11/11 before his first incompletion. He’s a pretty confident guy, but how important is it to re-establish that confidence that he can be a succesful passer? “Yeah, because all he hears is he’s not. Not from us, but other people. (Ed: Looking at you, buddy.) I think getting off to a good start helps us with the run game so much. People want to put nine guys, and they played a lot of quarters, and they were doing a lot of good stuff with their safeties depending on where the back was. And then they changed during halftime, which is good coaching. Bill Miller’s a good defensive football coach. It was good, and being able to throw the ball was a big part to our offense.
Can you be successful in the Big Ten relying on Denard to get most of your yards? “I don’t think so. You become too one-dimensional. People are creative. We’re going to play a lot of good coaches and some teams with very good personnel. When good coaches give good personnel the game plan and scheme, they can be a problem. The ability for our running backs to do a nice job running with the football and the ability to do a nice job in the passing game is a big part of it.”
As a defensive coach, you must love a shutout. “Right.”What did you like specifically, and what can you improve on? “Yeah. They broke two runs that got outside that shouldn’t have. Then they fumbled. We got fortunate at the end [when] They fumbled the ball -- and the daggone end doesn’t squeeze when the tackle blocked … Just simple. Basic. Football. Stuff. That we didn’t do. As many times as we’ve done drills and as many times -- that’s unacceptable, because that’s a discipline that you have to have.”
Greg Mattison said during the halftime radio show, “An average defense comes out and goes downhill during the second half.” Were you concerned about a letdown during the second half? “I think we communicate with them pretty well. I think Greg and his staff -- I think we challenge them. This was a first step to what the goal of this football program is and has been, and that’s a Big Ten championship. You can’t go out there in the second half and slop around and not tackle well and not have an urgency and not have an intensity. That doesn’t get you any better. You go backwards, and I’m not a believer in going backwards.”
Ah, so you're one of those AnnArbor.com slappies. So original. I guess next you'll be calling us the "MCC", hm?
Dusty guy who I used to see post on AA.com but not lately, unless you changed your screen name to "Dude" on there? Talk about a slappy for the WCIMFH
follow Michigan football till after Denard graduates.
If so,I don't think I need anyone's permission to follow M Football, but thanks , I appreciate your concern. No worries, I'll be moving along, it's still a little touchy up in here for some.
When all you intend to do is be an asshole.
You're all acting like a bunch of pricks. Shut up and enjoy the victory. There are moderating options if you want to shame someone. You guys worry way too much about enforcing your little norms beyond that.
Worst comment thread, ever.
It's definitely up there. The best part is the guy comes to post on MGoBlog about someone not being a good fit because they didn't "get it", while using a whole bunch of stupid nicknames that show without a doubt that he didn't "get" MGoBlog.
By his own standards he's better off canceling his account and going back to reading. I'd go ahead and also call him WMGBCIH, but it just seems redundant at this point.
presser to read
Don't call him dickrod - that's just stupid. Even calling him an asshole is better than that. Anyway the sentiment is correct. The more success this team has the more it proves that RR and his staff simply underachieved. Mattison > possibly every defensive coordinator we have had in the modern era. With some exceptions, these are the sam defensive players we had last year - a year older and healthier - but he is getting so much more out of those players. Borges is a tinkerer who happens to have the most potent offensive weapon in college football. Granted he was dealt a full house, but based on what I have seen I think he can take his offense to a very good place where every threat can be maximixed.
As for Hoke - he has an even temperment, he deflects criticism onto himself, and his explicitly stated priorities are:
This is a recipe for very good things. The only question was how soon? I believe we are seeing the answer and I believe we will exorcise many demons this year.
Mattison 2.0 > Mattison 1.0? I can buy that.
But I am patiently waiting for an opponent with the talent and coaching to challenge us. I thought that would have been SDSU, but no. NW and MSU away will show alot I believe.
edit: Jeebus, Wisconsin looks good.
Yeah, Martinez isn't helping things, though. Hard to see Wisconsin losing a game in conference. I guess MSU and Illinois might be the only possibilities.
I think that it was just a change in philosophy. That is all. I believe that Coach Mattison stated that there were no sleds here when he arrived. One of his first jobs was to bring back the sleds to Michigan. I sorta think that says it all.
Was that crypted enough for me not to understood, no?
I just can't agree with your assessment that Rich Rod "simply underachieved". Rich Rod was guilty of thinking his offense could outscore anyone and simply did not put enough emphasis on Defense or special teams. This was his fatal flaw here at Michigan.
This is a huge misjudgement on the part of any head coach
One of the reasons todays defense has done so much better is the coaching. We may be smaller and weaker than some teams but so far no one can say we have been out coached. Hoke hired some real top notch coordinators and it shows. They have shown an ability to make changes and devise a game plan better than any coaches we have had in a long time.
Hoke's personality and ability to relate to our young players adds the icing on the cake. Great coaching mixed with an ability to make players play above their ability and most importantly improve each week and in each game.
I admit I wasn't sure Hoke was the right guy at first, but boy have I been proved wrong so far. I also know full well we will lose at one point but I'm excited to see how Hoke will use the adversity and how his coordinators will adapt as the game goes on. Things certainly look brighter in Ann Arbor
I was kind of trying to be polite and low key by saying RR simply underachieved. You are absolutely right in your assessment. Brady Hoke is kind of the walking intangible. If he and his staff are getting these kids to believe in themselves and their team then that might be a very powerful thing. Many members here would want to piss on the whole "Brady Hoke gets it" line of thinking, but there is undeniable truth to it.
The current coaching staff seems to be basically everything the previous staff wasn't.
Actually, it appears most of the members do get the Hoke gets it thing. That's why there's been the kind of remarks we've seen about RR.
will Brian be adding 2QW (two quarterbacks, whatever) to under center and shotgun analysis?
How much fun the offensive UFR will be for those plays.
Scored as a runner, a receiver and as a passer. Has any other Michigan player ever done that? Perhaps a quarterback on a halfback pass?
He is just the 4th Big Ten player since 2000 with a Rush, Receiving, and Passing Touchdown in the same game, and the only one of the four to do so whose primary position wasn’t Quarterback.
Any info on who the others were?
Spiller accomplished the same feat, but not in the Big Ten. The postgame notes at MGoBlue.com had some details on Smith's feat:
• Junior running back Vincent Smith became the first running back in FBS to pass for a touchdown and have touchdowns rushing and receiving since C.J. Spiller did the trick on Nov. 14, 2009, against North Carolina State.
• Smith is the fifth Big Ten player to pass for a touchdown and have touchdowns rushing and receiving since 1996.
Name Date Game Vincent Smith Oct. 1, 2011 Michigan vs. Minnesota Mike Kafka Sept. 19, 2009 Northwestern vs. Syracuse Zack Mills Sept. 4, 2004 Penn State vs. Akron Kurt Kittner Dec. 30, 1999 Illinois vs. Virginia Antwan Randle El Sept. 26, 1998 Indiana vs. Cincinnati
• Junior Vincent Smith threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Drew Dileo in the second quarter, the first touchdown pass by a non-quarterback since wide receiver Adrian Arrington threw a game-winning pass to receiver Mario Manningham against Illinois in 2007.
No Michigan player in the post-World War II era has passed for a touchdown and scored a touchdown both rushing and receiving in the same game. It's quite possible someone did it before that. but it would take some digging to find that out.
Smith - The Triple Threat, "He KILLed it."
Walter Cross (vs. Illinois, 2001) was the last non-QB to have a rush and pass TD in the same game (they mentioned this after the pass to Dileo). Didn't hear if they found anything about all 3 though
John Navarre for sure. Maybe Drew Henson. Tom Harmon?
But I'm pretty sure Breaston did.
I don't think Henson did, because I don't think he caught one for a TD. All the times we ran the Transcontinental, and the funny thing was that statue-like Navarre was the only one to score on it.
in the eyes of the coaches is the fact he's a heck of a blocker on top of everything else.
It's definitely the first time a Michigan player has down that in a single game, but in his Michigan career, Steve Breaston scored as a runner, receiver, passer, kick returner, and punt returner... too bad they never let him kick or play defense!
They are coming together rather swell and no single player shoulders the load on either side of the ball for us now. It seems we have a real, all-aspect team. That's refreshing and the team swagger that is apparent is beginning to rub off on the fanbase. There is genuine, justified optimism and, damn, it feels good. That is all. I've made it a point to be there rooting at Ryan next week.
That was my decision, and we will have those numbers on there throughout the rest of the season when we get into Big Ten play because we want to honor the guys who wore those numbers before and the 42 championship teams. And the guys who have represented Michigan. It’s important to us.
Most of the community favored helmet numbers, but if that was really Hoke's decision, and for said reasons, then I support it even more wholeheartedly. I ask because it seems uniform decisions are dictated from some level higher than the coach (not trashing DB so don't even go there) but is this not the same with helmets? I'd imagine slight modifications like the block M on the back of the jersey is a marketing decision with Adidas but maybe Schutt has no care/say on the helmet design.
Regardless I like it and am glad to hear we'll be going with these throughout the year.
10 home game schedule would be tremendous. TREMENDOUS.
Rawls had some nice runs, but I didn't realize he had 73 yards on 10 carries until I saw the box score.
On the topic of helmet numbers, for the fans in the stadium, it really makes it easier to figure out which players are involved in any given play. Some players are quite well known and distinctive (e.g DR) but sometimes it is hard to figure out which lineman or linebacker made the tackle with their names and jersey numbers obscured by the pile of players.
We have to wait a bit and see how the season plays out but it is safe to say that this game was a revelation:
1. Defense is better - not great, but undeniably better. We'll have to see how it fares against stronger teams, but it is a good sign that against weaker teams, it is smothering.
2. Offense is more than it seemed - a huge revelation; it looks like Borgess is adapting his ideas to the excellent personnel he has, yet still keeping consistent. That counter run with the QB power action was a great play. The Minnesota defense seemed to be following the Jordan Rules from the Pistons era. (i.e. wherever Michael Jordan goes, you and friend follow) for DR. DR takes a step to the wide side, everyone takes a step to the wide side.
3.Yes, Hoke has gotten off to a terrifc start and there is a prolonged honeymoon period. I'm sure we will hear some harsher comments after the first loss, but so far, he and his staff have said the right things and a game like today gives confidence that this could be the real turn around.
Agreed, this offense is much more than it seemed to many. Hoke and company may talk about taking one game at a time but they are coaching up to a standard and trying to prepare for games down the road when the competition will presumably stiffen.
A lot of teams ahead of us in the top 25 polls lost today. Look for us to move up quite a bit. Not sure if I should be excited or scared.
Very creative offense. I was impressed, but, wonder why we had to break it out against Minny? Could've saved some of that to throw off some better competition in the B1G, I suppose.
I bet he hasn't used more than a handful of that tricks in the bag. Make every DC coordinator from here on out prepare for something, then when they think they see it coming he's all like: "Look! My wrinkles have WRINKLES!"
My guess is that:
1. They wanted to get Devin a little game-time experience in that formation and
2. They wanted to show just enough to bait future opponents for the REAL trick plays :-)
They may never run those plays again - but future opponents are going to spend time preparing for them anyway. They may also use the same formation to run significantly different plays. Their main value is in keeping the opponents guessing as to just what we'll do, giving them fewer reps on the main stuff.
pretty sure you never want to run a trick play or a variation of a trick play without attempthing something similar in a previous game. you never know how its going to work out and you dont want to give good teams any help by turning it over on a trick play. IMO the main purpose of these plays was to get the offense's feet wet with new formations and get other DCs thinking about WHATELSE we could run from these sets - not just the plays they ran (isn't there some quote about only 10% of an iceberg being above water - you get the idea; more too come...denard in the slot?). probably havent seen more of these because they had to install a new offense and trick plays are generally the last thing you put in. im excited to see whatelse AB has in his bag of tricks (if we start faking fields goals twice a game like another team i know im going to get upset tho).
Why do these stupid reporters ask the stupidest questions. I was watching the denard/vincent interview from today and you can just tell how denard and smith think the questions they are getting asked are so stupid and rhetorical. Seriously, they should ask questions of like, actual substance.
I have always said that, if I ever became a coach, my first statement would be, "Talk about is not a question. 'Could you talk about' is a question, but not a question that I will answer. You have 3 hours to think of something substantive, so inspire yourself to contribute something worthwhile."
they've already got their stories written in standard sports story boilerplate, so they need a few standard coach-quotes to fill it in. Their editors don't want creative, insightful stories so they don't ask creative, insightful questions. Column-inches have already been allocated and laid out, so the writer needs to stick to a fairly well-known layout.
Creative, insightful stories are longer-form editions - magazines, websites, focus sections, what have you. Those usually involve a sit-down with the coach and some better questions.
These articles are concerned with only the "who, what, where..." Insightful questions are for feature articles, which news papers don't have much space for.