Funchess prompts good typos.
...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
“It was very good to win this past weekend. Homecoming, the Brown Jug, multiple things that were good. There was improvement, which you want every week. Fundamentally and with technique. We have to continue that with all positions. Two penalties and no turnovers, probably as much as anything besides winning, was very good for us as a football team and something for us to make sure that we pay attention to. I think we do, but the significance of that was huge to be plus two in turnover margin.”
Losing Ondre Pipkins, how does that affect what you guys do?
“Well, Richard Ash … We have some multiple guys. Willie Henry can play the three. Ryan Glasgow. Your heart just goes out to Ondre. Any guy that gets hurts, obviously. It’s something that is a little bit of adversity for him obviously and for our team. Just like anything else, we’ll work together and get through it.”
Is that past the redshirt deadline?
“That’s all something that we’ll have to appeal and do all that stuff with. It’s way too soon to say it is or isn’t.”
Upon further review, what did you see from Chris Bryant?
“I thought [Chris] did some real good things. There’s some things he needs to do better. When you do pass protection sets, that part of it. Graham [Glasgow], his first start at center. Did a nice job with snaps, which was most important. He’s a big body. I think we were pleased with how he went about his business.”
When did you make the decision to split Devin Funchess out to receiver? Where do you see his role going forward?
“Whatever best serves the team will be his role. He’s a big of a mismatch problem. He’s 6-6, maybe 6-7. I don’t know how tall he is. He’s got a lot of length to him. He’s got good speed. He played out in space like that all through high school. He never was really an on the line tight end. I think he still has that ability. Especially when you look at how his development, from a physical standpoint, over his career here. He’s going to be a little bit bigger, he’s going to be a little bit stronger.”
Can you talk about Joey Burzynski?
“Joe has done a really nice job since he’s been here. He’s always been very competitive. Picks up things well. Smart. Fundamentally he’s always been a guy who’s been pretty good on a daily basis. He’s truly a real team guy when it comes to being part of the football team. He’s a guy that we’ll obviously keep in the mix somehow depending on what goes on down the line.”
A lot of people thought Penn State would drop off in a hurry after the sanctions. Can you talk about how they’ve held together and talk about Bill O’Brien?
“Well Bill and his staff has really done a good job keeping that team together when the sanctions came. I think Penn State is always going to have good football players. Obviously the quarterback is a guy who kept a lot of his class together when they committed. That tells you about his leadership. They’re Penn State. They’re a physical football team. Got a little crazy last weekend down in Indiana. A lot of points, a lot of yards by both teams. But I think they’re a very good football team.”
Back to Funchess, would you be able to do this with him if Jake Butt hadn’t emerged?
“Yeah I think that helps a little bit. And Jordan Paskorz. We’ve been without Jordan for the past four weeks. He broke his hand in practice and has been doing things with a big club on. Finally got that off. He played some valuable snaps in there as an on-the-line tight end.”
How important is third down defense?
“Getting off the field is important. We’ve got to do a better job. We thought they hurt us with running the ball as much as anything in the first half with all the scrambling. We’ve got to do a better job when you look at lanes and those kinds of fundamentals that you need to have. I think this defense is coming around. Is it exactly where we need to be? No. But I think there’s guys who played better urgency, especially in the red zone. We’re just a work in progress because of some of the youth that’s out there.”
Seven carries for Gardner. How many of those were by design?
“By design, totally.”
Why by design?
“Because we want to run the ball with the tailback and that opens up all the big plays. When they have nine guys in the box because of the threat to run. Fitz was 4.6 per attempt, which we’d take that through the whole year. We want to run the football.”
Do you anticipate doing that going forward?
“I think you’ll see us do what we need to do to win, but we want to give the tailbacks the carries and take the pressure off the quarterback.”
Did you see better holes for Fitz Toussaint than previously?
“Well I think when you look at the scheme defensively they used and the tackle over stuff, I back stuff -- really because of the wide nine or whatever you want to call it they were playing the whole time, you put Taylor [Lewan] out on him and then you have Schofield and one of the guards on a double on the three-technique up to a backer, it opens up a little more.”
With the tailbacks, you mentioned that you wanted some of the younger guys to earn more playing time. What did Derrick Green to earn it?
“I think he feels more comfortable within the offense itself. I think he’s fitter than he was earlier, and that’s the big part of it, is him feeling real comfortable with what we’re doing.”
10 carries a game. Is that realistic moving forward?
“I think it’ll change game to game. We want to play him early.”
What were you most pleased about after the bye week?
“No turnovers. I think fundamentally Devin, from his standpoint, the mechanics, how he threw the ball, how he drove the ball. Penalties. Discipline with those things.”
You mentioned Derrick was fitter.
“He’s more fit now.”
Has he lost weight?
“He’s trimmed down a little bit. He’s still 235.”
Is that where you want him to be?
You mentioned Funchess being a mismatch. Is he more when he’s split out wide?
“I think he’s more when he’s split out on a safety or a corner.”
How much does it take pressure off Jeremy Gallon?
“I think it is something that helps Jeremy in the long run.”
Is Jake Ryan ready to play?
“I think he’s getting closer. We’ll have a good practice with him tomorrow. Believe me, he’s wanting to play. Seems to feel okay, but we still need to make sure that he can do the things that he’s capable of doing.”
Do you have a plan for his return?
“We probably would.”
Is it on the table that he’s coming back?
“We’ll just see.”
Has he been cleared by the doctors to play?
“Yeah. But still playing football when you haven’t played in a long time. We’re trying to get him in.”
When was he cleared by the doctors?
“I don’t know.”
Could he have potentially played against Minnesota?
So Jake could potentially play against Penn State?
Do you think the new offensive line gives you the size and chemistry that you need?
“Yeah I think that the five of them together, it wasn’t perfect by any means in some situations, but I think those five guys did a nice job of complementing each other. We have to clean some things up when you look at some sets on protection and those kinds of things. I think it’s a good working group.”
Did Minnesota make it hard to call plays on third down ?
“There’s some of that. You get the third-and-three, four plus. Those are good defenses to call depending on what’s going on. I think the use of Leidner for them, which in the back of our mind we all knew that would be the way they’d go after the Iowa game, if you put him in the mix, he makes it a little harder to defend.”
Realistically, when can you expect Jake to be back in game shape conditioning wise?
“ … He plays pretty fast [now].”
Will he wear a brace on his knee?
When he’s back and up to speed, how does that impact Brennen Beyer?
“It adds good depth. It adds, when you have your sub package stuff, nickel and dime stuff, it gives you an opportunity to do some things differently.”
Would you consider moving Beyer back to the defensive line?
“It depends on what front we’re in.”
What does having him back do for your defense?
“I don’t know. He’s a pretty good player.”
What has Matt Wile done to get back on track?
“Matt’s a very conscientious guy. Worked very hard and diligently during practice. And most of the time with those guys, they self-diagnose pretty well whatever it might be. I just think he’s worked hard.”
What was his reaction to the punt downed at the one yard line?
“I think he was happy.”
Blake has four interceptions already. What has he been doing to put himself in position to make those plays?
“Doing his job. Doing what he’s supposed to do on defense.”
Does him being in the nickel give him the opportunity for more interceptions?
“Depends on what style of offense they’re playing. If they’re a big team that wants to throw to the X? No, because he’s on the other side. If it’s a team that’s got a slot that they want to do a lot of stuff with? Yeah. Then it gives you a little more opportunity.”
Thoughts on Christian Hackenberg?
“I tell you, he’s very talented. Very talented. He can spin it. Shows a lot of maturity.”
Michigan and Penn State have met only 16 times since 1990. With realignment, do you see this becoming more of a rivalry?
“I think we kind of look at it as a rivalry.”
“This goes back to when I was here a long time ago. I’m trying to think …”
First one was ‘93.
“That was at Penn State, right? ‘97 we were there. I don’t know. I think it’s two traditional football schools in this country playing each other.”
Are you excited for it?
“Oh sure. What a great place to play. They’ve got a great place to play. It’s going to be all white, and it’ll be loud. It’ll be awesome.”
How will you prepare for the atmosphere?
“We’ll do a little more to prepare for the crowd noise. You’ve got to really send a message about how significant paying attention and being into the game is. You’re on the sideline making adjustments. You’re out on the field … believe me, some guys do get distracted. That’s not a good thing.”
Was it noticeable at UConn? Were there issues there?
“Not necessarily. But because of the way the stadium is, they got excited. But I don’t know. There are certain places where the decibel level is way up.”
Did you play better in the second half because you adjusted to it?
“I don’t know if I can say that. I don’t know if that would be accurate for me to say.”
Has crowd noise contributed to your struggles on the road?
“I think the first year up at Michigan State. I don’t think we communicated well. It may have not been the crowd noise. It may have been us.”
Funchess prompts good typos.
reminded me of this old school McDonald's commercial
I wish I could +1000 you.
It seemed like Hoke had some extra snark in his voice today.
I just gave you a potential +1
"They’ve got a great place to play. It’s going to be all white"
Oh, Hoke. . . I think I know what you mean but that won't stop people from having fun at your expense.
I love his exchange about Jake Ryan. Even if he was 100% playing this weekend, why would Hoke tip his hand?
It's not like defenses are full of surprises based on personnel, or changes what Mattison would do, or how the offense would prepare. If Beyer was doing an awful job then the Return of JMFR would be something for the OC to worry about, but Beyer's actually made a few plays himself so it's not like they can write off the SLB anyway.
At this point Jake has to be considered 100% healthy, but rusty, so healthy's not good enough. The real question is whether he's 100% back, and Hoke and Mattison are taking their time with that decision. "Everyone is always being evaluated," they always say, so it's not like Beyer's just been keeping the seat warm for JMFR -- the coaches would never do that to a player anyway. Despite him getting injured is not a matter of fault, Jake's back to competing for the position, and to see the field he has to be playing at a higher level than Beyer. That's not a given, since Beyer's gotten better since last year and JMFR's trying to catch up.
I believe an opposing coach or QB said last year that Jake Ryan is the type of player that you have to locate before every snap. Beyer has made some plays, but the only reason you are locating him is so that you know which inside seam you're going to throw at this point.
Not preparing for Jake Ryan would be a very stupid move for PSU. He is far and away the best player in Michigan's front seven. And I would say he could hold that title even at 75-80%.
“We probably would.”
"Uhhh, we're just going to go out there and wing it."
I swear I saw Ryan on the field in the last series. I launched out of my seat like a rocket. Maybe I was seeing things. My son goes to Jake's High School (St. Ignatius), and he can't wait for him to get out there.
"I think he was happy." Ask a stupid question . . .
that Minnesota's QB was a pocket passer in HS? I guess he thought he would be a TE but he wound up being pretty much the biggest bestest surprise for Minnesota this year. Stunned they never mentioned that on Saturday.
in that sequence. He said he's already playing fast.
Look this team is looking to earn its wings. It needs to find consistency on both sides of the ball and it got a good start on Saturday no matter how you interpreted the win from an aesthetic viewpoint.
Having Beyer and Ryan available would up the motor of that defense remarkably. And once you have a disruptive force, suddenly it makes everyone else dangerous. That's the value of one guy as a difference maker. Clearly, that is the ingredient that this fundamentally competent but not dynamic defense has been missing. Put a dynamic guy on the edge, at corner and on the line and this team soars.
So, what did we learn Saturday by Funchess' use? We learned this: quit trying to make this kid be a square peg in a round hole, and use his size to your advantage, duh? This ain't about waiting for this guy to grow into what you want him to be. When the kid grows into his body and matures and understands the rigors of tight end play, then you make him that. Until then, take advantage of his Hulk status. We have Megatron, use him. Can you imagine light corners trying to tackle this guy downfield, please. You don't have to be that accurate with him in order to get him the ball.
And I wouldn't want to tackle this guy after he catches the ball. Look, if you don't have a speed option in Darboh and if Chesson is a work in progress, and if Gallon and Dileo are your best pass catchers, you got to do stuff to make them more available. This makes sense.
Not an unusual thing when the field is wet.
I seriously need to know how important third down defense is.
Not as important as 2nd down defense.
Where are all the intelligent [MGo]Questions?
Heiko doesn't tend to ask Hoke questions. He generally asks questions in the coordinator press conferences about specifics, usually with the intent on helping Brian have an explanation for something he is seeing while doing the UFR.
Always a high goober factor in that crew....
Glad to see Jordan Paskorz get some playing time. He stuck with the program even when he was buried on the depth chart.
Here is to hoping he can step up our TE blocking a little. Maybe fill the void left behind by Kwiatkowski.
What does having Jake back do for your defense? It makes it terrible, thanks for the intelligent question.
What was his reaction to the punt downed at the one?
Uh.. He was utterly disappointed it didn't go in the endzone
I know it's probably based on stuff we can't see in practice, but I still wish we could see more carries for DeVeon as well.
Agreed. I still haven't jumped off his bandwagon. I know it was against meager competition, but he really battled for the few yards he had in the CMU game. I don't think he was that slow.
I agree. I'm not totally sure that Derrick Green is the monster bowling ball that has wolves for legs, at least not yet anyway. It must be a practice thing as to DS not getting a handful of carries. I say throw DS in there a few times and see what happens. He looked more than competent in the CMU game, with maybe even more strength than any back we have now. Green may be bigger but DS looked strong!
but I read somewhere (ITF) that one of the backs wasn't seeing the field because "fumble waiting to happen." IDK who they were talking about, but it's POSSIBLE that it is Smith, and could be the reason we haven't seen him lately.
Smith has gone from hipster pick for breakout contributor to first-born son in the minds of some of you folk.
I think they've been saving Jake for this PSU game, they can use him in disguise formations unseen yet this year.
I loved using Funchess as WR, that's his strength right now and our advantage, I want to see way more of that the rest of the season.
I'd like to see our DB's turn their heads back towards the QB more like Blake did on the pick 6.
And of course no TO's by DG is what we want, tough team to beat if we don't turn the ball over.
Get well soon PeeWee, we'll miss ya buddy.
But just an FYI, the Countess pick 6 came as a result of playing zone (probably the flat). This allows for the player to read the QB's eyes instead of the WR's route. As opposed to man coverage, esp bump and run, where you have to jam the WR, turnaround and chase, and then get your head around to find the ball.
I agree that the DB's need to do a better job of this. But it has been part of Mattison's defense since he came to Michigan. I think he teaches the CB to play the WR's eyes and try and break up the pass instead of turning their heads around at the wrong time to get beat over the top entirely. That can be the difference between a 30 yard gain and a 70 yard TD.
buncha questions, no?
The best answer to that question is "Yes."
Every time I start getting angry about the stupidity of political journalists, I think of sports "journalists" and realize it could even be worse. 99.5% of them are more useless than sideline reporters.
Reading the questions is next to comical.
"Long time listener, first time caller". With that out of the way....love the site and have lurked for ahile before finally signing up (Ill buy the first round). Pumped about getting Jake back BUT....for someone who has had both ACL's repaired, it would amaze me him coming back and being effective so early. As much as I would love to see him back to himself, I realize he is probably a ways away from being effective. Maybe I'm not giving him or the staff enough credit or taking into account his age and rehab but IMO it seems pretty quick. Love the site guys and glad to finally being able to pull the trigger! (can I say that?) GO BLUE