The coaches had to take Taylor Lewan's helmet from him during the game to keep him off the field. He should be good to go Saturday though.
Everybody's rotating at guard. Except Ben Braden. I heard second-hand that Joey Burzynski and Kyle Bosch took a lot of 1st team reps yesterday, but who knows what it will be today.
I don't think we've seen the last of "tackle over."
“We had a good practice yesterday. I thought we had a lot of energy. This is a pretty resilient group. I think they’ve proven that throughout the year. I think the leadership’s been good. Especially the senior class and the captains have taken their roles very seriously and have done a great job of how we approach each day. We have a big test on Saturday against Indiana from an offensive perspective. They’re top three in a lot of categories in our league. Have a lot of skill players. I think their offensive line got a little beat up through the course of the year, but they’re very athletic. Run very well in that system. They’re going to try to create some space with different things formationally. Defensively they have some new faces in there. I think the secondary and the linebackers they’re very active. It’s a good football team and Kevin [Wilson’s] done a nice job.”
Potential changes on the offensive line?
“We’ll see. Guys are working hard.”
In the last couple weeks, you’ve known by this point in the week what the switch would be.
“But I don’t know by now this week.”
How many guys do you have rotating at the guard position?
“Oh you’ve got Bryant, you’ve got [Erik] Magnuson, [Kyle] Bosch, [Joey] Burzynski, [Kyle] Kalis.”
Magnuson at guard?
“Yeah, a little bit.
Have you done that with him before?
“He hasn’t done that a lot, but he’s a really athletic guy. He did some good things the other night that warrant trying to get the best five on the field. He’s got a quickness to him. Quick feet. That’s why we recruited him to left tackle. It’s not his athleticism has kept him away from it, but it’s strength gains unlike some of the guys like Kyle Bosch, who’s been in the weight room a lot. Kyle wasn’t necessarily a three-sport athlete. Mags played I think lacrosse also, so the lifting and all that kind of stuff.”
So Taylor Lewan is fine and ready to go?
Did he get any concussion tests?
“He saw our doctors. There were a couple different issues that were boo boos.”
You had to keep his helmet away from him after half time.
“Yeah. Well you do that with a lot of guys so you don’t let them get back in.”
He ran on the field at one point.
“Yeah he did. I didn’t see it.”
But you didn’t want him out there.
“He didn’t play after that, did he?”
“So what would your assumption be?
“See, you can answer these questions for me!”
A lot of teams use two scout offenses to try to simulate Indiana’s tempo. Have you done that at all?
“We pretty much all year practice high tempo. I run the scout cards for the defense, so I have the offensive line with me. We do it at a pace so we can get reps of what the plan might be against certain plays so that we cdan see it as coaches and evaluate it if it’s good and all that. So we do that constantly. We’ve got two sets of skill people on both sides, so they’re ready to go. The offensive linemen, they do a tremendous job of finishing and wherever the ball is spotted, I’m running over there. I know it’s hard to believe. We go pretty quick.”
Has you added to that this week?
“It’s pretty much the way we practice.”
How big of a focus is that tempo, though? Especially with your rotations. Penn State got you a couple –
“They got us once. Really. They got us once, and that probably was trying to figure out their personnel with our personnel and to make them match as much as anything else.”
The passion of the fanbase is good and bad. For a younger team, is it harder to block out the noise?
“We talk about the important things that are said are what’s in this room. No one else really matters besides the guys in the room. We’re talking to the team, I think they’re pretty good. I can’t tell you each individual, how they’ll let things affect you. I think obviously the older guys, who have been here have heard the good and the bad, which comes with playing football at Michigan because of the high expectations. I think they’re pretty resilient about moving forward and they’re a pretty tight-knit group overall.”
What’s Jake Butt done to earn playing time?
“We think he can block the line of scrimmage at times pretty well. He’s a guy who’s got good skills when you look at hand-eye coordination and those things. I think the one the other night got knocked out of his hands was knocked out by the corner. This time of year when you’re a freshman, you’re starting to get used to how practices are. The intensity, the preparation, the mental effort it takes to get ready every day, and I think he’s more accustomed to it now.”
It’s been a couple weeks since you’ve moved Funchess to receiver. How has he done?
“He’s done a really good job. I can’t tell you anything where he’s been a play killer, which is a term that Al uses a lot. I think he’s handled it well.”
Is he going to eventually be strictly a wide receiver?
“I don’t think so. As he continues to develop, and I think Al and the guys on offense are smart enough to use him as it fits us now. As he gets stronger and heavier, he’ll maybe be able to do a little more of both, which makes him even more dangerous to some degree.”
Are there any tight end-receiver hybrids in the NFL you point him towards?
“I haven’t, no. Al, he may have. I think that Devin, because of his high school career, he’s used to that space out there. I think he’s pretty familiar with it.”
Chris Wormley had a big TFL and a sack. What have you seen from him? You said he was coming on.
“Well, I think he is. There’s a progression that guys go through from high school to college, but even from college redshirting, or in Chris’s situation, not being able to practice since fall, he missed a lot of that transition you go through. Every time he gets on the field it’s an opportunity for him to grow. It’s a new experience. Maybe it’s taking on a block or a double team, maybe it’s getting knocked on your tail. It’s a new experience in a game situation where he’ll continue to improve.”
He seemed to come free on both of those plays.
“We had two sacks on the same defensive call. They executed it, Penn State didn’t react to it and could have.”
You mentioned that he was a large human being.
“He’s a large human being. Yes he is.”
Is he versatile enough to move in the middle?
“He can move in and play tackle a little bit and that’s kind if what we’re doing a lot with some of our sub defense and matching personnel groups and all that. He’s a very physical and large human that is really learning to understand how much ability he has and how good he can be.”
Are you happy with how the pass rush has progressed?
“Would you want to have 10, 15 sacks a game? Yeah. I’d love to. But people are going to try and keep us out [of the backfield] in some of those exotic blitzes by keeping two tight ends or playing with 12 personnel. That’s something we’ll face maybe not this week, but max protections and those things we’ll see.”
Will it be harder with the speed of Indiana’s offense?
“You know, we’re going to find out. I’m not going to say it’s harder because I think you can do it. I’ve experienced it being done. It can get you rattled a little bit and sometimes that makes it harder.”
What’s the most similar tempo team you can remember playing?
“Oh Central Michigan when we were at Ball State with Butch [Jones]. And Brian [Kelly] was more of a tempo guy back then, too.”
Since you’ve been here?
“Northwestern last year. They’re going to be a tempo team. Ohio can be. Just depends on what mode they’re in. Nebraska a little bit last year.”
As far as backup running backs, would you like to see other guys get a shot?
“There’s no doubt we’d rather have more than one running back so we can share the load, whether it’s Derrick [Green], who played a few spots, De’Veon [Smith], [Thomas] Rawls. [Justice] Hayes got in, and he’s good out of the backfield that way. Yeah. There’s no doubt.”