View from the Sidelines: Anatomy of a bowl game press conference

View from the Sidelines: Anatomy of a bowl game press conference Comment Count

Ethan Sears December 28th, 2018 at 3:46 PM

ATLANTA — The thing about bowl games is that you tend to forget there’s a football game at the end of the week. And once you remember, you tend to struggle trying to pin meaning to it.


There are only so many questions and so many storylines after a month without football with a fairly meaningless game as the light at the end of the tunnel. That leads to scenes like Friday morning — Jim Harbaugh and Dan Mullen standing in front of a lavish backdrop with Peach Bowl logos plastered all over the room, some helmets in front of them, a moderator to their left.


The press conference was, for lack of a better term, a sham.


[After THE JUMP: column]


View from the Sidelines: In returning, Shea Patterson finds his place

View from the Sidelines: In returning, Shea Patterson finds his place Comment Count

Ethan Sears December 27th, 2018 at 2:54 PM

 ATLANTA — It’s a little past 8 a.m. and Shea Patterson is animated.


The topic is a Family Feud-style game Michigan played against Florida last night — one of those promotional things through the Peach Bowl — and Patterson is as excited as he’s been in an interview all year.


“Man, it just — it came outta nowhere,” he says. “It came, literally outta nowhere. ... I got panicked. We had four guys left and they had one. And I thought all three — two of them were facing one way and I thought Quinn Rothman was facing that way, too. So I turn him around real quick.


“Next thing I know, the dude’s like, ‘Alright kids, round three.’ I’m facing the other way. I’m like, ‘Ok, I’m just gonna take one for the team right here. I’m gonna lose.’ And all three of them go down. And I’m like, ‘Man. I guess I’ll be in this position.’ ”


He’s sitting at a table in a hotel ballroom, fielding questions and a looking a little less miserable than he should after waking up at 7:42 and coming straight here. Patterson has cultivated a reputation this season as someone who stays quiet around media — both literally and figuratively. Right now though, this doesn’t seem to be a veneer of amiability. He looks, in a word, comfortable, and given the topic of the day, that fits.


[After THE JUMP: some words]


View from the Sidelines: It's time to believe in Michigan's offensive line

View from the Sidelines: It's time to believe in Michigan's offensive line Comment Count

Ethan Sears October 14th, 2018 at 3:28 AM

By the time Lavert Hill took a one-handed interception into the end zone, ending Wisconsin in every way that didn’t involve a clock hitting zero, every question you had about Michigan coming into a game of this magnitude had already been answered.



View from the Sidelines: Now what?

View from the Sidelines: Now what? Comment Count

Ethan Sears October 6th, 2018 at 9:43 PM

The obvious question came with an obvious answer.


Do you guys feel like you’re adequately prepared for Wisconsin next week?


“Absolutely,” said Cesar Ruiz. After Michigan's 42-21 dismissal of Maryland, it was hard to expect another answer.


The obvious follow-up — why? — continued the pattern. Michigan has been preparing well, practicing well and, all things considered, playing well. Yet, after six weeks, we know little more about this team than we did in August.


Well, let’s walk that back a little bit. We know Shea Patterson is as good as advertised, that the defense hasn’t lost a step, that the offensive line maybe isn’t all that bad. But all six games have gone, more or less, the way they were supposed to go. A one-score loss at Notre Dame in Patterson’s first game where a couple 50/50 plays went the Irish’s way; blowout wins against Western Michigan, SMU and Nebraska; a comeback victory at Northwestern; a game that defined routine against Maryland.


That’s half of the regular season, and other than a bad first half in Evanston, there’s been little outside the realm of the expected. Starting right now though, with a gauntlet of Wisconsin, at Michigan State and Penn State, we’re going to figure out what this team is.


[After THE JUMP: Unpacking this]


View from the Sidelines: How Michigan found a way, and saved its season

View from the Sidelines: How Michigan found a way, and saved its season Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 30th, 2018 at 12:29 PM


EVANSTON — Following Jim Harbaugh, Warde Manuel squeezed into a back room within the bowels of Ryan Field with a security escort, the door nearly hitting a plastic chair, the room itself with barely enough room to fit another person.


Unlike Michigan’s head coach, Manuel didn’t have an obligation — he was here of his own volition, walking into a cramped press conference instead of taking an early seat on the bus and avoiding the hassle.


“We gonna find a way,” he said to nobody in particular, evangelizing.


The Wolverines haven’t always lived up to that. Four weeks ago, it was Notre Dame they found a way. Countless times, it has been Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa that has found a way, with a special emphasis on doing so of late. On Saturday, it was Michigan that found a way, eking out its biggest comeback since 2011 and beating Northwestern 20-17.


[After THE JUMP: Keep reading and find out]


View from the sidelines: This is what Michigan is capable of, and it has Shea Patterson to thank

View from the sidelines: This is what Michigan is capable of, and it has Shea Patterson to thank Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 9th, 2018 at 10:42 AM



There’s always the caveat, and that has to come first.


Western Michigan was the victim of an onslaught Saturday afternoon. The Broncos are a middling team in a middling conference with a defense that, after two weeks, we can safely call outright bad, and an offense that never really stood a chance.


It was Chase Winovich who provided that caveat after the game, nearly teetering over the edge of PR-friendly quotes.


“This is my personal opinion, I thought they were pretty predictable in the stuff they did,” Winovich said. “Their offense, I think, going into the game — I’d have to go back and watch — but I felt like they came in and basically said, ‘Whatever happens, we’re just gonna try to not give up that many sacks.’ Lot of max protection, lot of chipping on both sides. That’s a way to play football. Just, obviously, you see the results. I think they had like 200-something yards of offense. I just think, they were, well, I’m gonna stop myself.”


Western Michigan is the kind of team that Michigan is supposed to beat down at home in September. But 49-3 is 49-3. And if you’re nitpicking, good luck finding something to nitpick.


Shea Patterson wasn’t the biggest part of this game, but he was far and away the most important — at least as far as looking ahead is concerned.


[After THE JUMP: Why this is the case]


Thursday Presser 12-7-17: Players

Thursday Presser 12-7-17: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp December 8th, 2017 at 10:00 AM



Maurice Hurst

So, not a Bosa fan?

“No, I am.”

What were your thoughts on that?

“Uh, I don’t know. It was kind of tough for me. Felt like I probably should have gotten the award, me or Chase [Winovich], but it happens. Can’t dwell on it now. It’s just the way things go sometimes.”

Were you expecting it?

“Uh…you know, kind of but…whatever.”

Do you ever think about not playing in the bowl game?

“A little bit. Still not really sure. Right now it’s just business as usual, practicing and all that type of stuff.”

So you haven’t made a decision?

“No, I haven’t.”

What’s going to go into that decision for you?

“Just, you know, speaking with my family, talking to Jake [Butt], talking to Chris [Wormley], some of the other guys that may have had a similar decision. Talking to coach Harbaugh—just trying to use all my resources to make sure that I make the best decision for myself and my family.”

[After THE JUMP: Hurst on his timeline and insurance, Karan Higdon: South Carolina fan,  Kugler on next year’s O-line, and McCray on SEC speed and the 2018 defense]


Ohio State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Ohio State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 26th, 2017 at 11:14 AM



Do you regret not going for it or—excuse me, let me rephrase this. Do you regret not punting on 4th and 4 in the fourth quarter instead of going for it and possibly pinning the Buckeyes deep in their own territory?

“We had a good play called. Wish we could have executed it better but wanted to be aggressive, wanted to attack there. Now, we don’t pick it up, easy to say wish we would have punted it, but… I felt good with the call. Felt good with the decision.”

John [was] real emotional just a minute ago talking about how much this game meant for the senior class and not being able to get it done. Can you assess his performance and the emotions that go into this game as well?

“Yeah, emotional game played by emotional guys. I have the same regret. Wish the seniors could have gone out with the win.”

You had it rolling at 14-0. What, in your mind, changed after that?

“Think both teams played well. They made plays, we made plays. They made—that was their part of the ballgame where they cracked a few runs and the quarterback got out and made a play. We had a few mistakes offensively, we had a few mistakes defensively and… think we had a few more than they did.”

[After THE JUMP: what happened on the interception; DPJ: do-stuff-right guy; how close Peters was to going]


Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 23rd, 2017 at 9:01 AM



“Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”

[Everyone in unison like the end of a Peanuts special] Happy Thanksgiving.

Talk about the Ohio State Offense and the challenge of preparing for them.

“Yeah, they’ve got good players. Two really good running backs, quarterback’s a veteran guy who knows how to play this game, some explosive guys at the receiver position, I think they’re improved in the offensive line, tight ends solid, so yeah, we’ve got a good offensive outfit to get ready for.”

Chase Winovich said that the highest praise he feels he’s ever gotten here is you calling him an ‘animal, bro.’ What do you think the highest praise is that you give out to a guy?

“Well, that’s pretty close right there. I think he’s really played well. You know, we try to make our living here on sacks, TFLs, living that approach, and you look at the numbers at the end of the day and he’s right up there in the TFL piece for sure, so I think he’s playing at a very, very solid level.”

Do you have different levels? Do you have like a guy, a man—

“Oh yeah.”

What are they?

“You know, you’re a Guy, and that’s your first start. Then, you know, if you’re really playing well, then you give ‘em Dude status, and then you give ‘em the competing animal status, so there’s your three levels of it. Being a dude’s not easy to do, now. I mean, that’s pretty high esteem.”

How do you approach the challenge of not only trying to slow JT Barrett but also the fact that they have the two really talented running backs?

“Yeah, they’re good. You know, the bottom line is you’ve got to pick your poison and you’ve got to stand for something. Some guys try to sit there and spread out and cover everything and that’s one approach. Some people try to read and react and that’s another approach. Obviously we try to do it all and make it tough on them. So, that’s our goal.

“But you got to stand for something. I can’t tell you what that is, but you’ve got to stand for something. You just can’t let ‘em pick you apart and move you down the field. That’s not going to happen anyway, so our approach is always try to be on the aggressive side of things, but at the same time, you’ve got to be intelligent.”

[After THE JUMP: the best practice of the season, not cheating the game, and playing with an X on your chest]


Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Pep Hamilton

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Pep Hamilton Comment Count

Adam Schnepp November 22nd, 2017 at 5:11 PM



How we doin’?

“Working at it. [/looks at SID] Give me the updates. What do I need to know? What’s my man’s name? No. 1 from our defense, he spilled some—Ambry. See, I didn’t even remember his name, so you know he’s not in the gameplan.”

Is this a double fake kind of thing?

“Alright, here we go.”

Is Brandon cleared for any kind of activity yet?

“He’s progressively getting better. He’s still in the protocol and we’ll know—it’s on an hour-to-hour and day-to-day basis where he stands, but, you know, he seems to be a lot better than what he was after Saturday.”

Is there a cutoff time where if he’s not cleared by a certain point then he won’t play Saturday?

“That’s coach Harbaugh’s decision.”

Any update on Wilton?

“Wilton, he’s been back out on the practice field and he’s looked good. Once again, that’s the head coach’s decision.”

Is it still a red jersey [non-contact] thing for Wilton?


If it is John that has to play on Saturday, how do you feel that he’s—do you feel that he’ll be ready for that challenge?

“Yeah, I think he’ll be ready. It’s not like this is his first time playing. We’ve still got a lot of practice in front of us and it’s important that we go out and we have a few good days of practice and we’ll see where we stand.”

[After THE JUMP: the tea leaves, they are read]