Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey

Wednesday Presser 11-8-17: Greg Frey

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 9th, 2017 at 6:58 AM

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[Chris Cook]

“How’s everybody doing?”

Good. How are you?

“Getting cold.”

What have you seen from some of the younger guys at tackle, Stueber, some of those guys?

“They’re doing really well. That transition of coming from high school to college is going really good. You’re seeing them move around do things more natural now than six weeks ago, seven weeks ago, so really excited about the young group. There’s a good group and it’s going to be fun to watch them continue to grow and compete and prepare and the whole nine yards.”

Is that typically a pretty big transition coming from high school to college as an offensive lineman?

“Oh yeah, absolutely.”

What’s been the difference for Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]? He started out no. 2, now he’s in there moving people.

“Juwann’s—he’s really maturing in just his outlook and how he goes and it’s been really fun to watch and interesting to see, like you said, overcome some adversity early on and continue to battle and continue to press. Certainly not where we want him to be or where he feels he can be but I think he’s on that road and it’s been really fun to watch.”

He’s been moving people. Is the pass pro part still where you’re really—

“Yeah, it’s always because every defense presents different challenges, and so as a group and watching these guys, they’re attacking those challenges. Still making some mistakes. There’s still some things we’ve got to get where maybe a guy gets anxious or something happens where we’ve got to calm him down a little bit but he’s solidly moving forward to become what we think he can become.”

[After THE JUMP: how Frey approaches TEs, updates on Hudson, Newsome the player/coach, and a Maryland scouting report of sorts]

Monday Presser 11-6-17: Players

Monday Presser 11-6-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 7th, 2017 at 8:07 AM

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[Barron]

Cesar Ruiz

Where have you seen the offensive line grow in the last two to three weeks after the Penn State game?

“After the Penn State game I just noticed everybody going a lot harder. I mean, we always went hard in practice but I noticed guys going a lot harder and everybody’s starting to get used to everything now, the young guys are starting to get used to everything; me too. And just a lot more full-speed things. A lot less thinking. More everybody just knows where they’re going now and it’s just a lot of full speed.”

What are the biggest things that you’ve learned as an offensive lineman at this level since the start of the season?

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned how to play four different positions. I’ve learned also be ready, you never know when your name’s going to be called too, so make sure you know what you’re doing at all times.”

What’s the one position you haven’t taken reps at?

“Left tackle is the only position I haven’t taken reps at.”

Where have you played the most?

“I’ve been focusing on left guard up until this week, until the last week when I jumped in at right guard.”

[After THE JUMP: more Ruiz, Spanellis, Hurst, Long, and apologies to Poggi]

Monday Presser 11-6-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-6-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 6th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

Cesar [Ruiz] had a couple lapses in pass pro but can you talk about how he run blocked and how he acquitted himself after you saw him on film?

“Yeah, really just the one in pass pro where he didn’t track the 3-technique. Thought the 3-technique was looping wide and got his eyes back inside. Yeah, the rest of the game he acquitted himself very well. Everybody on the offensive line, it was a memorable game for offensive linemen in this game.

“The other thing I was really impressed with with the offensive line and our whole offense was the amount of hustle. There was an early run with Karan [Higdon] and Cesar got up off the ground and was sprinting in pursuit. Mason Cole was sprinting in pursuit. It was a memorable game in terms of the effort and the hustle and the pursuit by the offense.

“The receivers, the way they blocked, Donovan had one of those decleaters in the game. Eddie McDoom had his most physical game in terms of blocking. Nate Schoenle was very effective as well. There was no loafs in the receiver group, you could say. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to catch passes, but their gray undershirts were still sweaty. They were really working hard to get the team to victory and it showed up in a lot of areas.

“It showed up defensively. The hustle, it showed up on special teams and yeah, really good play that way. Cesar was right in there. Just looked athletic, you know, getting up and chasing our backs down the field and trying to get in on the action and get the block, so very impressive.”

After you got a chance to watch the film and go back and re-evaluate, how do you think Brandon [Peters] handled his first start and everything involved. Obviously wasn’t asked to throw a lot but with everything involved, how do you think he handled that?

“Very well. He was very effective in the first drive and yeah, there was two throws he should have hit that came up short and that was my feeling after the game that we’ve got to keep him more loose during the game. Had a screen pass that could have gone really big. It was the one time we had three offensive linemen that not one of them picked up a block. I think it was a screen to Chris Evans that should have really gone, should have really busted out.

“But yeah, good. Could have hit a couple more, but nothing close to an interception. Nothing close to turning the ball over even though he took some big shots it the pocket. Thought he held onto the ball well and did the things to keep us from losing the ball game. Did the things to help us win the ball game. Know he can execute all throws, so feel good going forward.”

[After THE JUMP: Peters’ progress, Speight update, Ben Mason’s nickname, and the time to bounce]

Minnesota Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Minnesota Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 5th, 2017 at 12:34 PM

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[Fuller]

Obviously another huge rushing effort. Can you talk about not only what your backs accomplished but the guys in front of them?

“Yeah, I mean, it was stalwart performances. Looked up at one point and the statistics looked like we were Air Force. I thought we were Air Force the way we were running the ball. Thought we were Western Kentucky back in the early ‘90s under Jack Harbaugh. But it was a great job. I’ve never seen that many plus-50 yard runs in one game, any team I’ve ever coached or been on. That was quite the performance.

“Karan [Higdon] and Chris [Evans] had spectacular runs. The counter play was really good to us today. The blocking was really efficient; great precision there by the line. Tight ends, very good. Really didn’t see any missed blocks in the running game. Probably always—never as good as you think it is, there’ll probably be a few, but I thought it was really good. Really good. The guys up front, I mean, that was a game for the ages if you’re an offensive lineman. Fullbacks, same. Receivers got in on the action. They were blocking as well. It was quite the performance rushing the football.”

In the past two games the running game has done very well, but are you concerned that the passing game hasn’t gotten more opportunities to shine and improve going into these last three games of the season, especially with two big games looming against Wisconsin and Ohio State?

“Well, we were running the ball so well. I think 10 yards a rush, per attempt. I mean, that’s pretty good. I’m sure if we had done it any other way you would have ‘But why didn’t you run the ball more?’ Probably would have gotten that question, right? Yeah. Just kept feeding the running game. It was working.”

Can you talk about what went into the decision to start Cesar [Ruiz] when Mike [Onwenu] was hurt and how he played?

“Yeah, we had a three-man competition during the week of practice at that position and Cesar won it, and I thought he played really well. Gave up one hit on the quarterback, a sack, but good to see him get that action. It’s been time for him to play now for a few weeks and thought he stepped up and did very well, and he earned it. He earned it in practice. Coach Drevno was—we were grading the tape after each practice to see who to play at that position and he won out and acquitted himself well.”

[After THE JUMP: Hudson’s punt block phase-out; bizarre refereeing elicits a sad trombone sound effect; and Jack A. Harbaugh, run game repairman]

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Don Brown

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 2nd, 2017 at 12:28 PM

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[Barron]

What do you see from Minnesota that you’re preparing for?

“Well, they’re gonna run the rock. Their mantra, you can tell, is they’re big, strong. I think the best offensive line we’ve played to this point in terms of run blocking, and they’ve got multiple running backs that can carry the load so we’ve got to do a great job in controlling the run game and then obviously doing a good job on third down from our standpoint.”

With Aubrey Solomon getting the start, what did he do to earn that start?

“Wow. Just a big boy growing up. He’s learned the system, he’s minimizing errors, and he’s kind of solidifying himself as a solid guy we can depend on on a three-down basis. And it’s not rocket science. I mean, on third down, we’ll do whatever we want to do anyway to get off the field, so with some of those things he’s involved and some of ‘em he’s not involved, but he’s a tremendous run defender and a very solid pass defender.”

On that second touchdown drive against Rutgers they hit a couple plays where your guys were right there on them. Is that going to happen and are there times where you as a coordinator just tip your cap?

“Well, I tip my cap on the pass. The kid made a one-handed catch. I thought Tyree was in great shape. You want to be able to lean into him and go through his hands and all that but at the end of that day it was like that [mimes a one-handed catch away from the body].

“So, you know, the bottom line is… let me paint a picture for you. You’re in zone coverage, okay? And we played a bunch, by the way, last Saturday, but we play combination coverages so guys are—we don’t want guys running free. We don’t want, oh we’re in zone, this guy dropped him. We’re not doing that, okay? So I’d rather spend my time teaching great technique, great fundamentals, let B. Smith and Mike Zordich do their deal and also be able to mix in, when we decide, other concepts that will cover people. Not people running through air and then relying on those zone pieces. I mean, that’s just not what we do.

[I had to split this answer with THE JUMP because posting novellas to the front page during the season is discouraged]

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Pep Hamilton

Wednesday Presser 11-1-17: Pep Hamilton

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 2nd, 2017 at 8:02 AM

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[Upchurch]

“Let’s knock this out.”

What’s it like practicing against a Don Brown defense every day?

“It makes us better. It makes us better without a doubt. It really is a true test of our rules, you know, with the energy that they bring and how intense his defense is. It raises the level of our intensity as an offense.”

Where have you seen Brandon Peters get better from the start of the season?

“Well, Brandon’s still a work in progress. He’s only played in a portion of one game. Just like a lot of our young players, time on task, having more time on task has allowed them to improve. I don’t want to say that there’s not still a lot of work to be done, because there is. But he’s gotten more reps as of late and we expect continued improvement.”

What did he do to convince you guys to put him in the game? What’s he doing in practice?

“He had a better understanding as the season went on of the offense. More recently, once Wilton went down he had more of an opportunity to get reps with the first offense.”

Was there a play or two that stood out Saturday as impressive to you for a guy getting his first live action?

“Absolutely. Finding the checkdown. The play where we had a four vertical concept called in the red zone, he didn’t force it downfield, he didn’t force it to one of our tight ends that were running down the seams, he stepped up in the pocket, showed tremendous poise, and checked the ball down to Henry Poggi and that was a big play for us.”

[After THE JUMP: finding offensive rhythm with the guys you’ve got, more on Peters, and Mo Hurst: destroyer of games, wrecker of handoffs]

Monday Presser 10-30-17: Players

Monday Presser 10-30-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 31st, 2017 at 8:12 AM

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[Fuller]

Mike McCray

Penn State and Rutgers were able to get you on those big plays. What is it that’s missing when you’re defending that direct snap?

“We just fit our gaps wrong. Nothing too big. Our mistake, really. I feel like it was just on us. We’ll get it right.”

What’s it like when you lose the Jug? I think players and coaches and fans assume you’re just always going to have it. Was it weird or awkward or more disappointing?

“It was kind of weird. That whole year [2014] was just awkward and weird but when you lose a rivalry game and especially a trophy game, everybody—as a kid you always wanted a trophy. I feel like it’s the same thing when you come to college. You win that game to keep the trophy. That game was just one of those awkward things that sits in your mind for a while.”

What impresses you the most about Mike Onwenu at right guard?

“He’s so big. To be that big and be able to move that well at that size is a good asset for him. [/swats a fly away] Like I said, he’s really big, and for him to be able to move like that helps our offensive line create space. Strong, big, powerful guy.”

How do you deal with getting past a blocker like that when he’s coming at you, pulling across the line?

“It’s kind of hard to get around him. You’ve just got to be stout, really. Don’t let him push you back, but it’s kind of hard. 350 pound lineman who can move, it’s pretty hard to beat.”

[After THE JUMP: Kugler and Higdon]

Monday Presser 10-30-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-30-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 30th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Campredon]

Nick Eubanks: do you have an update on his status?

“Yeah, he’s healing.”
Expect him back this year?

“Don’t know for sure.”

Grant Newsome as well and Tarik [Black], can you talk about how they’re progressing in their rehab?

“Um, well, both Nick and Tarik, bones healing. It takes some time to do that. Grant seems to be progressing weekly. Thanks for asking.”

You sort of said and kind of said but is Brandon [Peters] your starter this week? I know last Saturday you said you’d like to see how he handles a week of practice as the starter. Are you going into this week with him being the starting quarterback?

“We’re going in the way we have: preparing both quarterbacks. Not naming a starter today. We’ll see how the week progresses. Our system is a meritocracy where the best players play. It was time for Brandon to play. Went in, acquitted himself very well, and he will play again. He will play again this week.”

What do you like best about Karan Higdon’s running style?

“Well, it’s low. He drops his pads. At the line of scrimmage, his vision keeps getting better as well as his balance. Been a hard runner. Did a great job picking up the 4th-and-1, 4th-and-half-yard early in the ball game. By the narrowest margin, but found a way to get it done. So yeah, he’s popping—he’s making big runs. Pass protecting well. Yeah, I think that balance, the low center of gravity, the way he can drop his pads, physical nature of the way he plays.”

With Brandon’s performance on Saturday, what can he do to build off that and improve and how good can Brandon Peters be?

“Well, he can do a lot to build on it. Getting your first action and the things that you did well and how that felt when it happened, and then things that could have done better. Now he’s been in game action, so I think that helps a lot.”

[After THE JUMP: it’s like somebody went down to the presser cellar and brought up a nice 2016 for the table]

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Rutgers Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 29th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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[Campredon]

Can you assess Brandon Peters’ game and did he do enough to earn another start?

“He really acquitted himself well. Moved the football team. Played very, very well. Yeah, he did a lot and from the first time he went in there, just feeling the deep zone and feeling the linebackers drop and taking that extra half second to take a breath and hit the checkdown just was good ball. He was good.”

Brandon himself said his biggest advancement since fall camp was communication. How much has he addressed the things you talked about before the season?

“He’s made big strides. Really good in that area. It’s been—and was good out there today.”

What did you see on the touchdown pass to Chris Evans and—

“I thought Chris made a heck of a catch on it. Thought Brandon saw it well. Good protection, and Brandon put it… you know, a little short, but Chris adjusted well to the ball and made a nice catch.”

And then the next time out he had a two-minute drill. What impressed you most about Brandon’s game today?

“Today? Well, the things I talked about earlier. I mean, just that he was playing the position. He was playing good ball. Two-minute drill, I think that’s definitely… that’s a real bright spot to go in there—what was it, his second drive, I think, and get organized and get our team organized in the two-minute drill on the field. That’s something a quarterback doesn’t usually have happen to him on his second drive of playing football but I think it went really well for him, and that was great to see.”

[After THE JUMP: questions about special teahaha just kidding it’s more stuff about Peters]

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Players

Monday Presser 10-23-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 24th, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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[Upchurch]

Grant Perry

Route-running wise, have you seen, do you anticipate, I know that’s been kind of a topic of discussion with the offense, drops, that sort of thing. Can you evaluate that?

“Every game you can evaluate a lot of things, whether it’s drops or wrong routes or route-running in general. We’re going to evaluate that today when we go over the film with coaches and get some feedback.”

To us maybe it seems like an easy fix [re: route-running]. Is that an easy fix?

“Route-running? Yeah, there can be fixes to it, whether its’ the timing with the quarterback or knowing zone versus man, which affects the route. Just little things that can be picked up on.”

Mood of the team coming out of that one more angry? More determined? How would you gauge it?

“Yeah, we were definitely disappointed we lost but if we all stayed disappointed it wouldn’t be good for this week, so we all agreed that we’re going to move on and take our frustrations out on Rutgers.”

What have you noticed out of Donovan through seven weeks of the season as far as getting acclimated, learning, and picking up on things?

“Donovan, he’s definitely maturing a lot. He’s doing really well in practice. He’s picking up on things that I wasn’t even picking up freshman year. He’s understanding the game like a veteran, and that’s going to come a long way throughout his career.”

Can you detail maybe sitting down and having a conversation or what are the Xs and Os like when you’re talking in practice?

“It’s just little things, whether it’s different routes, how to run this route, how to see this coverage, how to see this safety rolling. He’s seeing the whole field really well. Everyone knows that he was having trouble on punt return muffing balls and all that and he hasn’t muffed a ball since, so it just shows how mature and how comfortable he really is.”

[After THE JUMP: Isaac, Bushell-Beatty, and Poggi]