I really hope we only get stuck on fourth downs on MSU's side of the field and that they are under 5 yards. I dread kicking a FG, even though I feel like we are much improved in that aspect.
Mike Lantry, 1972
Opening remarks: “We had a pretty good day yesterday. You liked the energy and how they competed practice-wise. Lot of things we have to clean up from a fundamental, assignment, and technique -- those kinds of things. From playing a little tighter and little more competitive on their receivers. Their three-step game is an integral part of what they want to do offensively, so that’s part of where we need to be … good tacklers, guys breaking on the ball, and being disciplined with our eyes. That’s going to be an issue during the football game.”
Jerel Worthy said he had scouted Michigan’s tendencies for the past three years to a science. Do you have a group to look at your own tendencies to make sure that doesn’t happen? “Yeah I think Al and Greg both do a good job of looking every week, after a football game, at what we called and when we called it. I think we’re creatures of habit to some degree in how we look at different personnel groups on both sides, how you formationally run a route or combination of routes. Good football teams do that. Mark has got a really good staff. They’re good coaches, so I’m sure they’ve dissected this thing every which way you can.”
You don’t do a whole lot simulating crowd noise in practice. “Correct.” Is that not a big concern because of the system you use? “Correct. We talk about it every week. Wanna make sure we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. The way Al’s system is set up and the communication part of it, he feels pretty comfortable with what we have.”
(more after the jump.)
MSU’s rushing game this year hasn’t been as successful as it has been in past years. Have you seen any differences in what they’ve done? “No, no not really. They’re going to be physical up front, they’re going to run the power, they’re going to run the outside stretch play, they’re going to run the inside zone, they’re going to combination block at the point of attack. They have big tight ends, so the C-gap run game is pretty good for them. They do a nice job of zoning off on the combination stretch play. The three backs are all really capable of hurting you.”
What’s Barnum’s status? “He practiced yesterday and he’ll practice today.”
Brandon Herron didn’t travel last Saturday. Where’s he at right now? “He’s on our football team, and he’ll practice again today like he did yesterday.” Why didn’t he travel last week. “He, uh, got hurt.”
MSU running the power play sounds a lot like what you do. How prepared are you for defending it? “Everyone has a little bit of their different intricacies to it. How you’re going to handle the five-[technique], how you’re going to course to the back (Ed: I think that’s what he said?), even from the quarterback’s action and all that kind of stuff. It’s good that we see those blocks, but there’s different guys blocking you.”
Does this game bring the best out of your defense given how physical it’s going to be? “Well, we’re going to find out. It’s always been a physical game. It’s a game where both teams take a lot of pride in how well their fronts play on both sides and the physicalness that they come off the ball with. The way that they want to possess the ball. All those things are part of it.”
You’re playing them a little later in the year than you have in the past. Does that extra couple weeks of cushion make a difference in preparation? “I have no clue, to be honest with you. I think the last time that I was on a team that played them, it seemed like it was this time of year, so I don’t know if it makes any difference.”
Is it better to play rivals at the beginning of the year or the end of the year? “I don’t think it really matters much.”
Has this week of practice been different? “I think it always has been. We have three rivalry games that we’re fortunate to have, but I think this one and the one at the end of the year are ones that you usually don’t have to do a whole lot of motivating.”
How much has the secondary improved since the beginning of the season? “I think we’ve improved some. I don’t think we’re near playing as well as we need to. From a supporting the run, supporting the bubble screen, getting off blocks, to where our eyes and our discpline on alignments and discipline on assignments and keys. I think Curt’s done a good job with them, but we are a long way from being a good secondary.”
What have you seen from J.T. Floyd? “I see a little more consistency, but at the same time, he’s got to show that more … consistently?”
Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon are pretty different at the SAM linebacker position. Do you play them differently? “Not really. They are different to some degree, but Cam being banged up a little bit hasn’t helped his development like you’d like to see. He’s put on some weight, gotten a little stronger, all those things that you need for the physicalness for the position. I don’t know if it’s fair for me to judge one or the other right now. I think they obviously are different, but at the same time, both have the skill set to play the position.”
Is Cam healthy enough to play at this point? Would you consider holding him out for the season? “I think he practiced pretty well yesterday. I think the more he does, the better he’ll get.” What’s your mentality about holding out a guy who could be a contributor but is hurt? “Well, get him healthy first for his own safety. The worst thing we can do is put a guy out there who’s not ready because that’ not being accountable to this program and this team, and it’s not being accountable to him when you look at where he is healthwise.”
How does Spartan Stadium rank in terms of hostile environments? “I think it’s a great atmosphere. I think they’re very passionate about their team, so personally I think it’s a great environment. I can’t rank any of them, but I think it’s a neat place to play.”
Will you rotate more on the defensive line because of how physical this game is going to be? “I don’t think so. I think we’ll kind of stay with what we’ve been doing. It was a little trickier last week because of some of the tempo things, but I thought Jerry Montgomery did a nice job getting guys in and out. I think we’ll probably stay how we are.”
How big was second half for Jake Ryan to be put back in and make some plays? “Well it always helps your confidence, and probably as much as anything, [it’s] the experience of playing plays [against someone] other than your look team. You’ve got different colored jerseys that are playing plays, and probably the speed of the game being higher, so it’s good for him to get those looks, those keys from that look … I know what I’m saying. You don’t.”
Can you talk about the decision to change the jerseys at halftime? “They were pulling a little bit, and we’ll always have another set that will be a little tighter. If you’re a defensive lineman particularly, you want to have a tight fit on you so people don’t get greedy with their hands.” Was there a concern about holding? “We hold. They hold. They all hold. It’s football. We just have to fight -- the way you get holding penalties is you fight and compete off blocks.” Are you going to keep wearing that second set of jerseys? “I don’t know. That’s a good question for big Jonny.”
How has Mike Martin been playing? “I think the last three weeks he’s played very well. I think he’s played more physical at the point of attack. I think he’s reacting to blocks better. More consistent. We still have to finish plays more, clean up hits and those kinds of things.”
What went wrong on the field goal? “We got pushed back a little bit over the guard. When people put two or three guys in there, it takes a man to play that position. We practiced the heck out of it, and I get scared we’re going to get somebody hurt when you do, but the only way you’re going to do it right is to practice it. We just got too much penetration.”
Is that the limit of Gibbons’ range? “Nah, he’s probably little stronger than that. He’s hit some balls in practice outside and inside. I think 55 or something like that, with a little bit of distance to it.”
Has he supplanted Matt Wile as the long FG kicker? “I don’t know. I know we have a lot of faith in Brendan right now.”
How do you defend against quick passes that teams have been completing against you? “You show it to them. You show it them. You talk about their technique and their hips and if they’re keeping their feet under their hips. Not opening up. There’s a lot of technique, and you can’t defend all of those. I mean, that’s just part of you playing cover-3. That’s the weakness of the defense. Cover-2 takes it away. Quarters -- you have to be a pretty good man player. Cover-6, you’re good on one side, you’re not as good the other side. It’s just the technique and fundamentals you have to have, and there’s always a confidence to it.”
Are you happy with progression of corners in man-to-man coverage? “Every day’s different.”
Greg Mattison said he wanted to coach better for these players. Is that something you think about as a staff? “Yeah, we talk about it as a staff. We’re here at Michigan for those kids and no other reason. To help those kids from the academic to the community and social and all that, to how we play football and how we represent Michigan. Yeah, that’s important.”
Can you defend against MSU’s trick plays? “Your eye discipline is going to help you defend those plays. There’s always some that are very unique that you may run into now and then, but if you’re disciplined with what your job is and your eyes, then you’ll do a pretty good job.”
I really hope we only get stuck on fourth downs on MSU's side of the field and that they are under 5 yards. I dread kicking a FG, even though I feel like we are much improved in that aspect.
I hope at the very least we're working on varying snap counts and silent snap rhythms. If it's one thing I've noticed watching MSU, they cheat like crazy when you're working with a silent count or not mixing it up. Worthy in particular seems to gain a lot of his advantage by guessing the count and being into the guard almost before he's even had a chance to move. We slow them down on the snap, and I think we'll have a lot more success moving the ball.
I hope we mess with their heads somehow and stop them from getting a good jump on the snap. That game two years ago was brutal when they were in the backfield the instant after the snap.
but that was the coaches fault. Every snap had the same timing, one clap and then the snap, always the same difference from each other. It was obvious even a Michigan State defensive lineman could figure it out.
Good thing we have new coaches. Of couse, we also had a true freshman in his first road game. This time we have a junior with experience.
It wasn't just that game. OSU had the same problems (and at home!). Though I think that came from never changing the snap count. It didn't seem like OSU's tailbacks were even in the huddle half the time, indicating that the count probably wasn't being changed.
All shotgun heavy teams are subject to this problem on the road. Centers typically look for a signal, look up, pause for a beat and then snap. The key is making sure that the pause isn't too consistent.
They jumped our snap count all three years. Last year wasn't much better than 2009.
That's one of the problems with the shotgun. There isn't an audio key to snap the ball. It's visual. Usually the QB clapping his hands or raising his foot. Now, you can try to mix those up but it's not as easy as mixing up the snap count when the QB is under center.
The other key here is the olineman have to be looking at the ball so they know when it's snapped, unless the center gives a vocal clue as to when he snaps the ball. Under center the olineman might have a split second advantage in movement since they know what the snap count is. Under Shotgun neither the oline (except the center) nor the dline know exactly when the ball will be snapped.
This quote just made me so happy:
“Well, get him healthy first for his own safety. The worst thing we can do is put a guy out there who’s not ready because that’ not being accountable to this program and this team, and it’s not being accountable to him when you look at where he is healthwise.”
I am so glad that we have a coach that cares about the health and safety of our players. I always get frustrated when a coach puts a player that is still obviously injured back in a game, especially if it is a concussion.
“Yeah, we talk about it as a staff. We’re here at Michigan for those kids and no other reason. To help those kids from the academic to the community and social and all that, to how we play football and how we represent Michigan. Yeah, that’s important.”
Hmm, concussion...put back in...the game. I can only go deep into my own thoughts to imagine who you might be talking about.
"I know what I’m saying. You don’t.”
Jeez. "You’re playing them a little later in the year than you have in the past. Does that extra couple weeks of cushion make a difference in preparation?"
If that person asking the question would do some research, this year's games are about in the middle of when they usually play.
Is it better to play rivals at the beginning of the year or the end of the year?
Huh? A strange question.
I agree...some of that stuff it's like "dude, STFU."
I have to say, I enjoy Mattison's pressers much more than I enjoy Hoke's. Hoke definitely seems like a down-to-earth guy but Mattison seems much more open and forthcoming to me. Hoke seems like he may have taken a page of out the "Lloyd Carr Avoided Answering Press Questions" book, though not as drastic (or funny). Am I off-base in saying that?
I think that Hoke says all of the right things, though. He doesn't give anyone any bulletin board material - or anything else, for that matter.
No, but that's not the point.
Hoke certainly is in the Lloyd Carr line. That's not a bad thing...ask Rich Rodriguez if it's smart to have all access and open up to the media? He was too nice and got burned.
What does Hoke owe the media or fans or anyone in being interesting? Why should he give details or give the opponents a compeitive advantage?
Mattison doesn't say much, but he does have a "grandpa story time" feel to him and I too enjoy his pessers...the thing is, he doesn't really get into specifics, but he still teaches you something.
Borges is similar in that regard.
I don't mind it...Coach Hoke doesn't owe me shit. Be dry and boring and win. Over open and loose.
I don't remember the press conferences being so numerous, or in this format before. Each coach has taken over a specific role though, and clearly the interesting ones (to people who want to learn X's and O's) is listening to the coordinators. What really demonstrates the change is if you first read the Presser on MGoBlog first (because that's who has it first) then watch the videos, and then track in the Detroit News you can really see a difference in the coverage and distribution of the information. For me,
1 - MGoBlog - provides a good and effective transcript, filtering out the worst of the repeat and true speach pattern stuff without beginning to edit content. Also you can read the questions asked, the video press conference you rarely hear what the media asks.
2 - Videos - these are good, not for content, but for the facial expresssions. I've begun to play a game, where after reading MGoBlog I try to imagine the expression the coach had when he was speaking, especially his expression as he listens to the question, then I watch to see how close I was. It's always way funnier than the first read, but the fun makes me not care that I can never hear Angelique when she asks a question.
3 - DetNews - it's really intersting what the internet has done to journalists trained in and forced to parse out their trove of information in drips and drabs. I mean sometimes there's an article on Friday that's basically reformating content from Sunday or Monday, and then putting in some emotional story spin angle. Which is nice and all, but it really doesn't tell me anything about the team or coaches. It does tell me something about the writers, but other than Angelique I don't really care what they think.
As to what the coaches are asked, it's basically Hoke who has to deal with all the crappy questions that try to stir up controversy for the game in the papers. My hypothesis is that the, even though the traditional papers can easily publish their content on the internet, they just haven't learned how to cultivate a conversation with their subscribers. Now they are trying, and I haven't really been interested in attending the Q&A with the reporters, because I think it basically is a format that is not in tune with how people really use the internet, which is in an asynchronous, and not really synchronous, conversational way. And you can't really get anything out of the idiotic comments that do get posted, because they are rarely a comment on the topic, there really just idiotic grafitti digitally sprayed onto a web page. So the traditional writers are stuck with conjuring up some story about how fans like to cheer for their team and hope the other team loses, and somehow make it fresh and new each week. This is why Hoke gets to answer questions like, "does playing a game later help because it's later and you've played more games and had more practices than the games played earlier?"
And that's why I miss some of the MGoBlog sarcasm that we started off with in the beginning of this year's transcipts, where questions were paraphrased like, "I need some fluff about the experience of coming out of the tunnel" But at least we still have questions from Angelique where Al answers, "yes, you've basically answered your own question" when he's asked an incredible leading question. And her desperate response is, "but I can't quote myself". It's almost like these coaches are being trained to answer questions in court, although in court you have opposing counsel who can swat away the weak ass questions that get asked in these daily press conferences.
If you do all of that...I have a game for you...count how many times Borges get's sidetracked, cuts himself off, or does this little thing where he says "alright" and then goes into teaching mode. Something like "now don't get me wrong, we're gon' run that power, alright. But if we're having success passing the ball, then we're gon' fling that thing around now. We're not afraid to let Denard get back there and use his arm, trust me, that kid can sling it a lil' bit." I made that up off the top of my head and I can picture Borges saying it word for word.
I appreciate Hoke's support for Gibbons and I completely understand that as coach he can't possibly get up there and say anything negative regarding a player..But it's pretty clear that Gibbons isn't going to cut it and Wile deserves his shot.
Have you been watching them practice?
you know very little about that which you speak. The guy has hit 4 of 6 FG's and one of the misses was a block where the line gave up too much penetration, so that was nothing to do with Gibbons.
He missed his first attempt which may have just been jitters being his first of the season and was four of four after that until the block. Give the kid a break.
Much like the majority of the fanbase, I am more than willing to give him a break,I cheer for him when he comes off the field regardless of if it is down the middle or somewhere on the sidelines..
Still no one adressed my other post (see below, hit the wrong reply button), why would Hoke be using two kickers if he loves Gibbons so much and sees him netting 50+ yarders in practice? Neg away if you please, but this policy just so bizzare to me.
|That's my primary concern, the low flight path. That’s a legitmate concern going forward and has been discussed on here a few times. I just find it discomforting that Hoke claims to love having Gibbons as his kicker, but only inside 40 yards, IIRC. I mean, I can't see many ways how such a policy can be a confidence booster for a kicker who has struggled throughout his time at UM. So why not let Wile kick them all?|
Anyone else sick of Jerel Worthy? I really hope he ends up on his back a few times Saturday. Also, does Cam Gordon have a redshirt he could use for this year? It is almost getting to that point.
but would still be eligible for a medical redshirt (but would have to be approved by the NCAA).