Might have to start a well count for Nussmeier too
Obviously your first game is this week. Just your overall thoughts- the offensive line is always a topic and you guys have a lot of good competition at running back. Just your overall thoughts on what you’re expecting Saturday.
“Well, I think we’ve progressed. We talked about coming out of the spring and as we started fall camp it needed to be practice #16 for us and it was and we’ve gotten better each and every practice. Now, you’re not going to see it all of the time. We’re not where we need to be as a whole unit. We get it right in spurts. The biggest thing right now is to find consistency in performance across the board but like you said, the one thing we have been able to do is create competition across the board and we are getting better.”
Is there a spot where you see a lot of competition at? Or you said you guys have it in spurts, where are you guys lacking and where are you guys doing well?
“Well, I think across positions you can see it at every position and we find that we can do things very, very well when we do them well and we go in stretches where we play together and we play well together and then we’ll have either a unit or an individual break down and that’s the part about playing football and playing at a very, very high level. You’ve got to have consistency and everybody doing the right thing on every play.”
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people are a little apprehensive of the offensive line and I wonder if your feeling from when you first got here until now, if that has changed and how much it’s changed because I assume you were somewhat apprehensive as well.
“Well, I’ve said it many times but there seems to be a focus on a unit on every team, a strength here or a weakness there. A lot of that’s perception, too. You talk about a quarterback position, for example. If a quarterback’s not being protected a lot of times it doesn’t look like he’s playing very well when at the end of the day it doesn’t really fall on the quarterback. When you look at an offensive line group there’s a lot of things that play into it. A lot of it has to do with the backs and the running game, making sure they hit the right hole, it has to do with the quarterback getting us into the right play so that we can get good angles for blocking schemes, it has to do with receivers winning at the line of scrimmage in press coverage so that the quarterback can get the ball out in time so that we’re not holding the ball so there’s a lot of factors that play into each and every group and that’s why it is a team game. Every unit we have takes pride in how they play and we all demand that each unit does their job and I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
We saw that Derrick Green is at the top of the running back depth chart. What did he do in the last week or two to put himself there and separate himself?
“I think it’s been the overall body of work through camp and everything we try to do. We tell the players there’s going to be evidence-based decisions by what you put on film and what you do on a day-to-day basis and Derrick continually progressed and he continues to progress. Like I said before, as an offense and even at that position we’re nowhere near where we need to be or where we want to be but as far as when you look at the process of getting better each and every day and how you approach the day and he’s just continued to get better each and every day. We’ve talked a lot about his weight as he came into camp and that’s been one of the biggest things. He looks like a different back.”
What are your thoughts about the wide receivers? It seems like that’s a position group of strength, a lot of depth there. Is there any particular guy that stood out to you or just your thoughts on the receivers?
“Well, obviously [Devin] Funch[ess], his production speaks for itself. Very, very talented player. Like we talked about, you want to create depth and competition at every position and we feel like we have a good talent base there. A lot of different guys that can do different things and the goal will be ultimately to keep guys fresh and put guys in the right position where they can make plays.”
[After THE JUMP: more on the running backs, Devin Gardner’s growth, and all aboard the Mason Cole hype train]
With Derrick [Green], the idea that he was in the competition, do you feel that he’s emerged from camp feeling like the #1 back as opposed to just being named it if that makes sense?
“I think when you talk about being the starter there’s a mindset and an approach that has to occur when you talk about being a starter and Derrick obviously- as any young player there’s a bigger learning curve and the maturation process that goes on for young players on a day-to-day basis and the way you watch them evolve, that’s one of the great things about coaching is watching that and watching players come in and learn and grow and achieve.I think Derrick is starting to learn what it takes to be a really, really good player. He still has a long way to go and that group itself, there’s great competition so it forces those guys each and every day. We’re going to play multiple guys but Derrick at this point in time has established himself as the guy who deserves to start this game.”
How do you foresee the distribution of carries in the early games among those three?
“Well, we’ll play a couple guys and a lot of it will be on the flow of the game, the feel of the game and like I said before each guy does different things better than others so there may be specific plays that we use specific players on but Derrick’s going to start the game.”
You have a freshman starting at left tackle. At what point did you think he was capable of handling something like this?
“Well, he’s a special kid. When you look at what we’ve asked of him from day one and really with no expectation. We put him on left tackle in spring and watched as he grew day-to-day, and you always wonder, ‘Is it going to be too much?’ I think mental makeup is the biggest thing that separates Mason. Right now, he’s so mature beyond his years. He’s steady as a rock and what he’s achieved really I don’t think is a surprise to anybody within our building.”
My second question is about Shane [Morris]. If there’s an opportunity, do you have a thought process going into these non-conference games about getting Shane in there and getting some game experience?
“Shane’s had a really good camp. A really good camp. Really improved. He’s at a point in this stage of his career where he’s got the big picture of things and now it’s refining and really, like we talked about with a lot of young players, when you do it and you do it right and you have success it’s now taking your level of performance and finding consistency in your performance to do it all the time. Very excited about where he’s at and we’ll just have to see how things go.”
How have you seen Devin Gardner change and grow since you started working with him in January or February or whenever it was? How have you seen that process go?
“Well, I think Devin’s done a really good job from a leadership standpoint with our team and anytime you have a young team it’s important that the veteran players embrace the younger players and Devin’s been around a lot of football. His approach with our younger guys has been tremendous. When you talk about playing the position he’s really grown from the mental side of things within our system and the things that we’re asking him to do and his daily approach about trying to do things right within the system. Like we said before, his natural athletic ability is- it speaks for itself but his ability to work within the system, really excited about that.”
In terms of just seeing what you have with Devin [Gardner], as an offensive coordinator does that excite you to have that kind of player at your disposal? Do you think a lot and spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re going to do, what you can do?
“Well, we spend a lot of time thinking about a lot of things. Like I said before, we’re nowhere near where we want to be. We’ve got to get better each and every day and our guys, the one thing I can say about camp [is] they’ve worked extremely hard and we have gotten better each and every day and like I said, it doesn’t show and that’s the thing with a young team you’ve got to continue to preach. It may not show on every play but it’s about how you approach it and how you go about success and failure and how you continue to improve on a day-to-day basis. Just like everybody on our offense, I still feel like we’ve got a lot of growth and it’s going to be important through the season that we grow each and every week.”
There’s a perception publicly that the defense will have to carry the offense for a while. Do you get that sense that the offense needs to be supported a little bit?
“We’re going to go play the game to the best of our ability and I don’t ever want to say that we want another unit on the football team to carry us. That would be something we wouldn’t have a lot of pride in our room if we said that. We expect to play and play well.”
Might have to start a well count for Nussmeier too
he's really buying into Hoke's system. Team player.
In all seriousness, i think we are all going to be pleasantly surprised by the O-line play. I'm glad we have a game to warm up before ND.
Throughly useless and did not seem to answer a single question directly. He certainly picked up something from Saban
He certainly picked something up from Saban and 98% of other coaches in history.
The questions are absolutely awful though. They're just open ended questions about player X or position group Y for the coach to just say a couple of things so that the beat writers can get some filler for their pieces this week. If they'd asked more pointed questions, they may have gotten more specific answers. I for one am disappointed no one asked anything about App St and our approach and concerns, it is game week after all.
The vast majority of today's American "journalists" are useless hacks, and it's especially the case with those who cover sports.
And I don't mean to pick on Joshua, he's hardly unique in this respect. But man, that article is literally just the quotes from this presser dressed up with some verbage to set up the context for each quote.
Most sports fans just want to hear fluff and various talking heads, mgoblog is a rare exception. Quite frankly these journalists are just giving the public what they want. It sucks but it doesn't make them useless nor hacks. My $.02.
If any journalist thinks his or her job consists of "giving the public what they want," that's the very definition of a hack.
And if they give the public what the journalist thinks they need rather than what the public wants, they're the definition of "unemployed."
The list of successful "Eat your broccoli, it's good for you" journalists is very, very short. Izzy Stone made it work with his newsletter in the 1950s and 60s, and there's some bloggers who can pull it off for niche audiences, but not a lot manage to get paid by somebody else to do it.
I doubt that i would challenge the reporters as useless hacks. In some cases, they are simply getting material for a specific story or general quotes, for example, if Nussmeier said that playing well is about something other than having competition for each position, unit or that pride dictates how they feel about a unit's particular strength.
Not to be a contrarian, but they aksed him all the stuff you'd want them to ask, why is Green starting over Smith, because he's just better, how do you know that, because of the evidence of his overall practice performance and film work. OK, can you tell us any more about that, yes, he's competed better than his competition. OK, then.
Or, I guess you are aware there are concerns about the Oline and the offense, how are they progressing? We are getting better every day, it's a growth thing, and we have lots of competition with an array of positions, and we aren't where we want to be, hopefully, we get better every game.
Yeah, but how will you do this: We do it through repetition and practice and everyone doing their job and getting better because of competition.
Seriously, these press conferences are short, the press can't watch practice, so they don't have context for anything to ask greater specifics about other than general buzz. It's game week and they writing little features and previews. You aren't going to get indepth analysis from a coordinator whose job is to say nothing and not fuck up the team message. You either understand that or see what happens when you phone in questions to these guys yourselves on some pregame show and the qanda gets even fluffier.
As a former journalist and current PR guy, I don't think that's terribly fair toward journalists in general. There's some really excellent work being done out there, even while economic pressures kill the resources they need to get the job done right.
(Note that I mean print when I say "journalists." "Broadcast journalist" is an oxymoron.)
As for sportswriters, that's a tough gig. They're dealing with a Groundhog Day situation where there's very little that's ever truly new under the sun, and when they try to commit actual journalism by breaking news their subject wants private they run the risk of losing the access that differentiates them from uncredentialed bloggers (no offense, Brian). They're also dealing with an environment where players and coaches have so many millions of dollars at stake that they've become terrified of saying anything actually meaningful that could reverberate around social media, comment sections and fan forums and hurt their future earnings potential.
Drew Magary is credentialed, but he'd get a bunch of sportswriting gigs even if he wasn't a GQ contributor.
I agree that journalism is a tough gig. You really have to pick your target audience...if you're in the msm, you have to lob softball and/or clickbait questions.
The access thing reminds me of Peter King, who has unfettered access to half the NFL, but never, ever writes anything of value. He's truly a hack.
These problems all seem to stem from the fact that the public wants public sports figures to have zero actual opinions or personality for the sake of avoiding all controversy. However, I can't help but feel that the fear of suffering actual financial consequences for being candid with journalists is overblown.
he didn't confirm what you already know to be true?
is it me or does it sound like Nuss is really trying to temper expectations.
I didn't think Nuss's answers were overly negative. Every single coach is going to focus on a message like "we're working to get better at ______." Nobody is going to say "yeah, I think we're all set" or "we're going to be great."
is it me or does it sound like Nuss is really trying to temper expectations.
I think he's playing his cards close to his vest, as is to be expected. I'm optimistic about this team. I think 10 wins is very achievable for this group. I'll be disappointed with anything less.
A new season with new, high-tempo energy and a simplified strategy will make a huge offensive difference.
it is you.
Coachspeak or Defcon 1?
We’re not where we need to be as a whole unit. We get it right in spurts.
we go in stretches where we play together and we play well together and then we’ll have either a unit or an individual break down
as an offense and even at that position we’re nowhere near where we need to be or where we want to be
I think Derrick is starting to learn what it takes to be a really, really good player. He still has a long way to go
This is as coach-y as coachspeak gets, and has been said in some capacity in a majority of pressers I've read. We could be undefeated and heading into the national champ game (it could happen!) and the coaches would say things like "we're not where we need to be" and "if we don't continue to improve we won't succeed" etc.
I was thinking something like this as well. I bet if someone was to look at his Alabama pressers (if he was allowed to speak at Alabama, that is) I would expect him to be describing a middle of the road MAC team or something of the like.
I just watched his 2013 pre-season press conference at Bama and then watched this one (since the transcript doesn't give you the full picture). While there is a lot of overlop, he was happier and more optimistic in 2013. His responses were primarily about how much certain players had progressed and how much depth there was at each position. He never said anything approaching "we are not where we need to be" or "we're successful in spurts." Maybe this press conference caught him on a bad day, but he really did appear frustrated with some of the inconsistency from his offense.
I may be guilty of parsing words here but he did say, "nowhere near" we need to be. Meaning not close. Dunno. May not find out this week but we should in South Bend.
Every coach ever has said this coming out of fall camp.
Actually, both Meyer and Dantonio have said that they really like where their teams are coming out of camp.
Yes, but they also probably immediately followed up with "but we're not where we want to be yet."
I don't know about Meyer but during MSU's post fall camp presser last Thursday Dantonio said "We can always get better. We're not there yet...".
like any smart new coach should. if he came out and said everyone is performing above expectations only to lay an egg against ND, the world would call him out for being incompetent. by hedging, he buys himself time no matter the early outcomes.
Making the varsity team (or in this case, first on the depth chart) is where the work begins, not where it ends. This is just a coachspeak way of communicating this.
coaches go into meetings with the press with a lot of hidden motivations I don't think Nuss says "ok I really got to temper expectations here". I think it is obvious (and has been under Hoke) that there is not going to be any real information provided in these pressers.
I just think we over analyze these things way too much at times. This is a necessary evil for them and they try to get through as quickly and painlessly as possible.
stares deep into my soul
But, I still don't understand people who can't wait for it to get here...it's almost here.. Then they bitch about what a coach says or doesn't say.
Whatever. Take what you get as far as sound bites or information. It's better than hearing Joe Schmoes who sit behind a computer and guess what is going on.
Hate that Joe Schmoe guy.
From the few interviews/quotes I've heard and seen, Nussmeier is very good at giving you something but not really giving you anything. He may already the best on the staff at this. I think his natural speaking tendency may be conservative and not be overly praising. I'm sure he knows that the offense is behind the defense and all I'm hoping to see is the ability to improve throughout the season.
But what does Nuss think of Bubble Screens? When will we get an MGoQuestion about it? Do you think Mattison or Hoke has tipped Nuss off that it might be coming?
You know, I really loved Borges' press conferences and the interaction with Heiko. But at the end of the day, I'm very happy with Nuss and with coach speak. I actually think that the OL would have been a disaster last year no matter who was the OC and the line coach. But I think they will improve to at least mediocre this year. The big thing with Nussmeier is his understanding of the QB position, and working with DG to help him succeed.
Speaking of Nuss and QB's, I think this will also pay dividends with Morris. By Morris having another year largely on the sidelines, nailing down the playbook, learning more about being a QB from Nuss, he will be much more ready to take the wheel in 2015. I think Michigan will have a minimum of 9 wins this year, and personally, I'm predicting 11 wins in the regular season, with a loss to MSU. I hope that Nuss sticks around at least two years, because I think 2015 is going to be really special. By next year, the OL will be solid, there will be depth and experience and skill at every single position, and we'll see Michigan as a solid competitor for the Big 10 and beyond.
Now hopefully it continues to progress through the season instead of peaking after week 2
They're so used to having their words scrutinized, dissected, over-analyzed, and twisted around that 99% of them fall back on a defensive strategy using generic phrases. I can't blame them one bit. All you can do is try and glean a few tidbits of information from it and be happy with that. We'll see soon enough on Saturday where things stand.
I'd like to know how the RBs are doing in pass protection, how the TEs are blocking....I think that this team is still 1-2 years away from having a powerful run game and the key to this season will be how healthy and upright they can keep Gardner.
The run game this season will probably be more of a token one or one to keep denfenses honest. They're going to need that RB to give Devin just that extra millisecond to get rid of the ball by picking up those blitzers. The guys on the podcast stated these things as well. They are going to have good, quality receiving options everywhere. How aggressive will defenses be able to get? They are going to need to show that they can burn people for blitzing. Having a short passing game should help too. Getting Norfleet and Canteen in space on short passes should help greatly as well. Devin had to wait a long time in the pocket with the Borges deep passing attack.
I'm just looking at the passing game/protection more a factor for success this season than the run game/blocking.
Nuss is conservative but honest about how far the offense has to go. He talks about having to progress every day and every game in the season. He cautions that we (the fans) might not always see the progress thats been made because of failures of consistency.
Mattison is like a kid who just finished a three year project to build the ulitmate go kart and can't wait to show it off. Just "watch and see".
The team has to be good enough overall to win. A strong defense and quality special team play makes the offenses job a lot easier. The offensive coach tells us the offense has a long way to go, hopefully the other phases can buy him and his guys the time they did to get there.
Going to be an interesting season
I feel like a journalist who just asked a dumb question and Nuss is glaring at me like the turd I am.
Something tells me Nussmeir really does not enjoy speaking to the media.
Coach Hoke needs a strong offensive coordinator. The players need someone with real hands on football experience, who interacts with them personally. Our team needed an infusion of energy and leadership.
Coach Nussmeier brings all this and more.
Michigan should bring Borges back just to do a weekly press conference.
I wish the people who get upset about coach speak would be able to think for more than a few seconds. Understanding that if they were asked about their job they would speak exactly the same away. How's the project coming along, have we closed that new account yet, is the deal done etc. We would all say it's coming along well but it's not done yet and we have a long way too go. It's not coach speak it's how human s speak. Coaches are the just the only ones who have to deal with these bullshit questions in a public format.
Man, when will someone read these journalists the riot act. The pressers are milquetoast, and the postgame questions nothing but begging the question, e.g., "How important was it for you to ...", "How good did you feel when you ...", "How much of a game changer was it when ...". Largely a waste of time, but when that time is weeks or days before opening kickoff, well, ... ya takes what ya gets.
A few things apropos of absolutely nothing:
It's great to be on board, and Go Blue.