Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.
Denard - "Running-wise, everything's fine. We limited his throwing... Talking to the training staff, he should be able to do everything this week." The bye week helped him get healthy: "Denard can tolerate a lot of pain, but his issue with the last game wasn't the knee, but more the shoulder. He needed some rest, and he got that last weekend."
Martin, Molk, Shaw should all be good. "Mike and David Molk are... they should be good. Mike Shaw should be good as well."
Toussaint - "He did a little bit more last week, but the trainers think he'll be able to go." Not sure whether he'll contribute a lot, because that depends on how the RBs practice this week.
Gardner - "He's doing well. His back has been a little sore, so he's been a little limited." RR couldn't answer whether he'll try to earn a medical redshirt this season, and be a redshirt freshman next year.
Position Moves and the Bye Week
Will Campbell moved to guard, took to OL pretty well. See if he sticks after the first couple days this week. "Personality? I guess that's kind of an interesting way to put it... When we recruited him, I thought 'this is a big guy who can move a bit'" and could play either side of the ball. Will brought it up a bit earlier this year, but coaches wanted to wait for the open date.
"We're still a little thin [at defensive tackle] at times. We're playing around with Quinton Washington helping there a little bit on the defensive side." There's not a lot of time to let guys get established at a new position in just one week.
These position moves aren't permanent yet, they'll see how it goes this week.
Ricky Barnum is #3 guard, which allowed Washington to try DT. He can play all the offensive line positions.
Other moves - nothing substantive. Safeties should be able to play both S positions, Corners both CB positions.
"I think we've identified the guys we think are ready to play. We've gotta get them more ready." Not trying to mix in more new young guys during the bye week. Don't want to slow down the maturing process of some of the young guys, either.
"If anybody on our team could be a great field goal kicker, we'd have already found them and they'd be doing it." Hagerup was a pretty good high school kicker, but he wasn't as good as the other guys in fall camp. Kickers need to work on consistency.
"I'd hope that they have fresh legs a little bit after a couple days off." Enthusiasm may have been lacking in practice a bit, and that will hopefully be back. Coming off a bye, guys are usually more excited to be on the field. "I would think that our guys would be excited to get back out there and play a game."
Did defensive fundamentals improve in the last week? "I hope so. That certainly was our intent, to get better fundamentally." Getting off blocks was a bigger emphasis than working on tackling, which can get guys hurt.
Watched a lot of CFB Saturday, did some PSU prep. Yesterday watched his son play Pop Warner.
PSU healthier now. "Offensively, they've got what's probably gonna be their all-time leading rusher. Rob Bolden is a very talented guy." They have a lot of youth that will improve over the season.
Preparing for 3 different quarterbacks isn't a huge deal. They'll run mostly the same offense no matter who's in there. "We may see all three, I don't know." PSU might run a bit more with Newsome in there.
PSU defense - "They've had a shell of what they wanted to play with because of injuries." They're getting healthy now. Their defensive staff does a great job, and they'll play well against MICH.
"We'll keep them pretty busy" the morning of the PSU game. They'll have a walkthrough, go for a walk with their position coaches, etc. "The hard part - and I'm sure the players feel the same way - is waiting around all day." Night game - "It's a great atmosphere, the crowd is into it, the band plays music, they pipe in music. The night game, they have all day to tailgate, so they're in pretty good spirits."
Nobody will be around as long as Bowden was and JoePa is, because it's a different era now. "I don't know if Joe's record will ever be touched." Paterno knows about his own health, and he's giving the same effort he always has. "What he's done over the years has been remarkable, and so has his staff."
Should the Wolverines play a 2-QB system? "Denard's our starter. There's no controversy or anything like that." He may have "pressed the issue" too much on a couple plays in the last few games, feeling the pressure to make a big play. "He's just a second-year player, and he's going to make more mistakes going forward. The issue is minimizing them." QBs pressure on them because of the defense? "I think they do it naturally because we've had some success offensively, so if we're not scoring on every possession, it's disappointing."
Played poorly in the two losses, but there were positives: moved the ball, but couldn't finish drives, played some pretty good defense, but not enough to get the stops. "You learn: why did we lose? and correct the mistakes." Try to build on the positives, learn from the negatives. "If we just take care of the ball better than the last couple games, even with some of our other issues, we're right there at the end of the game."
Every week is critical. "One thing we want to be sure is that we have consistency in our approach." Tweak practices with focus, etc., but want to maintain the same routine and intensity. "We're gonna play as hard as we can every time... We're playing and they're keeping score, so we're going to play as hard as we can."
What do you think about fans demanding a certain numbers of wins? "I'm not listening." Worries about things he can control.
RR on Cam Newton: "What they do in their spread and ours is somewhat similar and somewhat different." Remembers watching him as a young guy at Florida. He's done a great job improving since then.
Helmet to Helmet - Any time you lead with the crown of your helmet, high or low, should be a penalty. Runners and blockers shouldn't be able to use the crowns of their helmet either.