Notre Dame Postgame Press Conference: Jim Harbaugh

Notre Dame Postgame Press Conference: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Ethan Sears September 2nd, 2018 at 1:39 PM

 

[Barron]

(Thanks to David Nasternak for providing audio from South Bend)

Jim, what do you think of the team’s performance and is there a level of disappointment with how it all went today?

“Yeah, we would’ve liked to come out victorious. Congratulations to Notre Dame,thought they played a very good ballgame.”

Jim, not many explosive plays offensively, what wasn’t happening there?

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Quick Hoke Presser Tidbits: O-Line Taking Shape?

Quick Hoke Presser Tidbits: O-Line Taking Shape? Comment Count

Ace August 14th, 2014 at 6:03 PM


3/5 of the starting line for the opener? [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Brady Hoke held a presser this evening, and while Adam should have the full transcript up later, Brian asked me to do a quick rundown since this was a particularly newsworthy one. Let's start with—you guessed it—the offensive line, which seems to be taking form.

That's from left to right, and confirms what Hoke said on the radio earlier today about Braden solidifying his spot at right tackle, with Mason Cole still holding strong at LT.

While Glasgow looks to be the starter at right guard, he's suspended for the opener; Kyle Bosch and David Dawson are competing to start against Appalachian State. As for concern that Kyle Kalis hasn't been mentioned much at all this fall, there's apparently good reason for his absence:

If Hoke is to be believed, Miller is in position to do more than just start the first game—according to the man in charge, Miller is outplaying Glasgow at center. That'd be great news, as it would allow Glasgow to work at guard—where he seems to be a better option than Bosch/Dawson—and let Miller provide an apparent upgrade at center over Michigan's most consistent interior lineman from last year (that is, admittedly, not a distinction worth throwing a parade over).

UPDATE: Per Angelique Chengelis, Hoke actually said that Kalis would be a starter—though one or both of them didn't specify where—if his back was healthy.

That could mean Kalis would take over at left guard, Magnuson would slide over to left tackle, and Cole would move to the bench, or it could mean that Kalis would play right guard over Glasgow.

Michigan held a scrimmage on Wednesday, and in addition to Kalis, three other players were held out: Devin Funchess, Drake Harris, and Delano Hill. Harris is dealing with a hamstring injury, while Hill is reportedly two to three weeks away from returning from his broken jaw. No reason was given for Funchess' absence that I could find, so let's hope upon hope that it was simply "you're Devin Funchess, and we have no need to risk you."

Multiple spots are still up for grabs. Hoke praised the scrimmage performances of Derrick Green and Drake Johnson, while saying De'Veon Smith had a slow start. On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan is the only linebacker who's locked down a starting spot.

Jabrill Peppers "has a handle" on playing nickel, so he's now getting some work in at cornerback. Given Michigan's depth there, that sounds very positive in regards to Peppers' development.

Adam will have the full transcript up at some point, but that should hold you over for now.

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Presser React: Kovacs, Lewan, Beckmann, Moeller

Presser React: Kovacs, Lewan, Beckmann, Moeller Comment Count

Tim January 12th, 2011 at 4:46 PM

Quotes from a few people of note at Brady Hoke's introductory presser.

Jordan KovacsIMG_2229.JPG

"Obviously, we had a tough year defensively this year. I think it's important that he comes in and establishes a strong defense."

"I just wanted him to be passionate about the game and passionate about this University. I've obviously loved this University my whole life, and I can tell this guy has as well." Hoke is passionate and intense, and that's important.

"He realizes the importance of the front seven, and I think that's where he's going to establish... that's where our team is going to be made, and we're excited about that."

The team had a brief meeting and lunch at the stadium with Coach Hoke. "The first thing he talked about was championships." Michigan has 42, and they want to make it 43 soon.

The coaches will make their pitch to Denard, as will the players. "He's a great quarterback, and he'll fit any system." Kovacs doesn't know what Denard plans to do.

Obviously, we've got a heavy heart for our past coach, for Coach Rod. He's a great guy and a great coach, but at the same time we've gotta pick it up, we've gotta move forward, and focus on next season."

Kovacs researched Hoke a little bit when he heard that he'd be a candidate. Looked into his coaching history, but never met him until today. "I like what I've seen."

Taylor Lewan

Everybody has only nice things to say about Coach Hoke. "Nobody has bad things to say about this guy." Everybody needs to support him, whether he was their choice or not.

On Ohio State: "Everybody's seen Harry Potter, right? That one guy... Voldemort or whatever? It's kinda like that." Everybody knows what a big deal the rivalry is.

Hoke brings a fresh start: "The sky's the limit. We have the opportunity to do so much." Though the players haven't had a chance to meet him one-on-one, they're excited.

"This is not a usual University. They expect so much out of you and what you do." There's a lot of pressure here, and Coach Hoke is already handling it well.

On getting all the players to stick with the team: "I think that's the biggest thing possible." The seniors have impressed upon everyone else the importance of sticking together as a team. They've gone through a change before. Last time, "not everybody bought into the whole thing," but now the team is closer because of it.

Coach Hoke has a personality that grabs everyone's attention when he walks into a room.

Frank Beckmann

Hasn't had a chance to talk to the players yet: "From what I hear, they're all excited about it, and I look forward to chatting with them too."

Gary Moeller

"That is a good, good fundamental football coach... He's a worker. There's no question about that." Moeller remembers when he was around the Michigan summer camp.

Photo Gallery

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Monday Player Presser Notes 11-8-10

Monday Player Presser Notes 11-8-10 Comment Count

Tim November 8th, 2010 at 4:39 PM

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Darryl Stonum

Happy to get to a bowl game, but the job isn't done. Every win from here on out is to improve bowl standing. "I think that's added motivation for us... We love our teammates, and our seniors mean a lot to us." Glad to send the seniors out with a bowl game.

Doesn't care where the bowl game is "as long as it's warm."

Hopefully the team can get wins in all three remaining games.

Denard is harder to understand in the huddle than Tate. You have to go by the signals, because otherwise you won't hear the right play.

"After those turnovers, we picked each other up, we didn't hang our heads." Molk was saying that they had a full 60 minutes to play - maybe not counting on the extra time. Have to keep spirits up after mistakes, because you can't go back and change that.

"When Roy first got here, he was an outside receiver with us." That summer, he put in the work to get bigger in offseason workouts. "He's still working hard, he was in the weight room today working extremely hard."

Roy Roundtree

"I didn't know [about setting a record] until after the game when Dave [Ablauf, UM Associate Athletic Director] pulled me aside and said I had broke the single-game record." It amazed him that he had done so much. "In high school I had one, it was a playoff game that went into overtime and we won that. I think I had 15 catches for 2-something... It ain't nothing like playing here and breaking the record."

When he talked to his cousin yesterday, it sunk in that he had outdone a bunch of Michigan's historic wideouts.

Both quarterbacks are leaders of the offense, it doesn't matter which one is in. "I don't know man, we exploisove everywhere, we got threats everywhere at every position. If we play like we can play, I don't think nobody can stop us." Denard was still involved in the game despite injury. "He just told us that we gotta keep going." Even though he wasn't in, he wanted to give encouragement.

"I try to play everybody like it's my last." No special feelings for Purdue. "I think every time we play throughtout our season gonna talk smack to throw you off." The fast tempo offense doesn't give them a lot of chances to say anything. Committed to Purdue as a junior. Told RR "I don't think I'm going to West Virginia." Once he came to Ann Arbor, it opened Roy's eyes. "I think I made the right choice."

Came in weighing 152 pounds, now 178. In his first year on scout team "I'm like 'Man, they just killin' me.'" In the offseason, he hit the weights, made it his "best friend." Wants to get up to 185-190 "I'll get there man." Really embraced the offseason to get faster. "I'm willing to get faster."

"I just try to block out everything" once he's at study table or practice, he manages to get focused.

"Man, Junior is a great football player, man." Receivers just want to be the best once they hit the field.

On the #1 jersey: "I mean hey, I still gotta work for it... When it's time, it's time. Oh yeah, I want it."

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Patrick Omameh

Sense of relief after the last play. "It was exciting, and my heart topped a couple times, but we pulled it off." Good feeling to win in overtime. "It's a lot more emotions involved, and there's more at stake because you're invested so much already." Crossed his mind what it would have been like to be on the losing end. "Of course it's not something that would be pleasant."

Good emotional boost to win. Need to carry that forward into the coming weeks. It's good to clinch a bowl game, but they need to continue winning to earn spots in a better bowl. Everybody showed lots of emotion after the game because of the circumstances, not necessarily because it clinched a bowl.

Offense wants to continue clicking, and minimize the times when they aren't quite on the same page.

"Running on the field, I wasn't even sure Denard was out yet." Didn't notice until the huddle, when Tate gave the play. Easier to understand because Denard talks really fast.

Will Campbell "Big guy, he's a strong guy." He's making progress, learning the ropes on the offensive side of the ball. "He could be somebody that could help us down the road."

"We were aware that the investigations had wrapped up, and we didn't fully understand everything that was going on, but we were confident in our coaches... When things turned out in our favor, we were jut glad to hear it."

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Ryan Van Bergen

Everybody excited for the sixth win "A lot of pressure off a lot of guys' shoulders." They're confident after a win, and are motivated going into next week. Ryan feels pressure lifted from his shoulders to be a team leader that got the team back to a bowl game.

On the final 2-point conversion, Michigan was running the same defense against the same offensive play that Illinois used to convert for 2 in the first quarter. They executed better and were able to get the win.

Defense played 100 plays, and they were exhausted "I literally had no more gas left in the tank." Were glad to end the game.

Defense can't be excited about giving up 65 points, but they played well off turnovers and from bad field position. "There's some things we definitely could have cleaned up, but I would say as a leader of the defense, we made some tremoundous strides last week."

Only two Big Ten wins is not acceptable to them, they need to keep going. More excited to play Purdue than he has been to play in a long time. Defense finally has a bit of swagger and attitude.

Purdue has good size on OL, but so has the rest of the Big Ten so far. "just excited about an opportunity, moreso to prove ourselves."

Defensive line improved with Roh on it. More pressure off the edges forced at least three holding calls. Didn't register many sacks, but were able to pressure Scheelhasse. "I really like when Mike [Martin]'s in the game." It opens up 1-on-1s because teams have to worry about handling him inside.

"It's early to speculate about the future" but the young guys that are getting experience now will be great in the future. "Next year, or two years from now, these freshmen, all of them are going to be veterans."

Forcing more TOs. "Disguising our coverages a little bit... getting around the football a little bit more." Now that they're making solid tackles, they need to get at the ball.

3rd downs: "We were highly motivated on third down. We talked about it all week. Something we were embarrassed about against Penn State." 3rd downs were the reason they didn't beat the Nittany Lions.

Ndamukong Suh's missed extra point: "I know I would have made that. There's no way I would have missed an extra point." Kicked in high school - long of 46. "If I got called upon, I would make an extra point for this team, for sure."

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Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 9-6-10

Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 9-6-10 Comment Count

Tim September 6th, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Important News

  • Roy Roundtree and Carvin Johnson are doubtful for Notre Dame
  • Second-team FS/holder Jared Van Slyke (a walkon) is out for the year.
  • Junior Hemingway is expected back.
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint may or may not play against ND.

UConn Game

After the game, Rodriguez got to spend time with Brock's family, and before, he saw the end of Brock's walk.

Managing from execution standpoint first thing you want. Can run the ball and get first downs, not as necessary to throw downfield for big plays. Can block downfield better. Consistency in blocking need to improve the most. Guys were in the right place, but didn't sustain blocks, or didn't get downfield. Didn't get downfield as well as we're capable. On D - just lost contain a couple times. Special teams were very average. KOR and KO units were below average.

Worked so hard on the passing game because they knew UConn was going to bring safeties down to help against the run. "Watching the film, we played hard, we played well at at times, and we took care of the football offensively." Can still execute a lot better on O. Not having big plays on offense gave the defense rest with long drives, but Rodriguez would prefer to execute well enough to get the big plays.

On Denard: "He graded out relatively high. He made a few mistakes, which you would expect in his first game as a starter." Made a couple negative-yardage plays. You rarely see a first-time starter command the game like he did.

Shaw and Smith: "They ran better than they blocked." Usually they're better blockers. Wish they could get back the negative-yardage plays. The other backs need to prove themselves better in practice to play.

Pretty much satisfied with the offensive line play. Liked the effort. No "high grades" on the OL - partially because it's tougher to grade out well with Coach Frey. "A couple guys didn't play nearly as well as we thought they would," both at the point of attack and on the second level, but they were solid as a group.

The defense had a few plays they'd like to have back. "We got what we thought we'd get." ND will be a bigger challenge than UConn. Tackled pretty well, only a few missed assignments.

Muffed punts - "This year is this year, last year is last year." It was Gallon's first game action, and it came on a windy day with a tough punt. "He'll be fine. I have no concerns whatsoever." Not worried about kickers' performances in the wind. Drew Dileo mishandled the missed extra point.

Personnel

Roy Roundtree is listed as doubtful with internal bruising, they'll re-check him later in the week. Carvin Johnson is "very doubtful" with a sprained knee. Junior Hemingway should be able to go, but they won't know until later this week.

Still concerned with youth of team. Guys will get beat up. The outside people have been saying whatever "You go in our building, it's been a little bit different the whole time."

Denard - "He's a pretty humble guy anyway. I'll talk to him about staying humble. I think that's in his nature anyway." Just one bad day away from being a goat. Positive press is like poison - it's OK as long as you don't swallow it. He needs to trust timing and progression before he takes off. He has been getting better at that, and did very well Saturday.

Denard was sharp - "My concern coming in was the wind more than anything else." Biggest thing was where his eyes were going to be. If their eyes are in the right place, they'll make the right decision. "He's smart enough to figure out that hey, you're just one bad play away from everybody saying 'you can't do this' or 'you can't do that'." Guys know it's a big stage.

"You could sense earlier on that [Denard] is a guy who, not only does he have the physical abilities, but he has the type of mental makeup you'd like to have at the position." It all comes with learning. Denard and Tate will still have some mistakes, have growing to do, but they have bright futures. "I'm always concerned with our players' concerns. That's what coaches do." It's a team game, not an individual game. TV may try to sensationalize something.

Is Rodriguez concerned about Tate? "Why? Is there a reason to? Oh." Coach wasn't making a big issue out of it - TV was. It's no surprise that he's disappointed to not play. "I want all my players to be happy all the time. Inevitably, 110 of them probably won't be. If we win, you expect most of them to be happy or fake it. I don't blame guys for being unhappy if they don't play. That's human nature." RR will talk to the QBs, "There shouldn't be any problems... If he crosses the line as far as being a team player, we'll worry about that."

Devin - "We think that Devin has proven that he's ready to play." He's at the point where he'll help win games this year.

Probably could have repped more OL in the game. Players have to give the staff confidence that they'll be able to execute.

Obi - "Yeah, I thought he played pretty well. I really did." Jonas Mouton and Mark Moundros played well, too.

Young DBs have been getting a lot of reps, they have to "grow up in a hurry." They'll have great futures, just need to get them ready. Pleased with play of Floyd and Rogers. "JT's continued his performance. We think he's been pretty good all camp." Team is thin in secondary, esp. losing Carvin Johnson. Put the next guy in and see what happens. Thomas Gordon played well, Floyd Simmons will get some play "We have a lot of confidence in Floyd."

Competition at PK is still ongoing.

Notre Dame

Brian Kelly's scheme - "There's a lot of similarities. Studying them and studying us, every spread has a little different emphasis at certain times." RR's spread is a bit more run nowadays. Cincy pass, now at ND looks like he'll mix it up a bit. They'll study last year's ND film for personnel, but coaching staff is new so have to see what those guys did at previous stops. Both teams will run a bit of stuff that they didn't last week. Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph are big weapons, but they have talented RBs and QB as well. Have to tackle well in space against ND. "If we can't get 'em on the ground, and we can't cover 'em..."

ND 3-4 look, sometimes 4-man front. "Everybody's multiple defensively. nobody runs one front and run coverage anymore." They brought some pressure, but mostly worked to contain Purdue's players last week.

RR has only played Kelly one time. Played at Cincy in 2007. Dews worked with Kelly for a year at Central, so there's some familiarity there. He's had great success. They have a lot of talent. They recruit nationally, even if they haven't been pleased with the record the past few years.

ND - "I'm sure their players and our players understand it's a rivalry." This is the first rivalry game each season. A section of West Mich is always asking about ND. New coach, lots of excitement.

At ND Stadium "They are very passionate about football. Every seat will be taken. Theyr'e into the game. It's a very intimate setting." Always seems to be raining when RR goes there "The grass is high - because of the rain, I guess." Younger players - "We've got to get them to grow up in a hurry." Have to learn to keep your poise, and have a sense of maturity on the road. 25 or 26 guys on the travel squad for their first road trip.

Noise is biggest challenge "We'll crank it up this week, and try to get our skill guys offensively to get used to the crowd noise." Very crisp against UConn, doesn't expect any against ND.

Keys to winning: 1) take care of the football. Lost the game with that last time at ND. 2) Understand you'll face adversity - they'll make plays. 3) Don't give up big plays, because they have big play talent. 4) Make big plays offensively ourselves.

It helps to have Division-1 experience when you start coaching at a bigtime institution. "It's invaluable coaching at the small-school level." You have to worry about all the details of running the program. Have to learn very quickly from a recruiting and teaching standpoint. "Sometimes you have to get creative." Try new things, which will be innovative at the higher levels. Rodriguez and Kelly are both familiar with that.

Comments

Monday Presser Notes 8-30-10: Rich Rodriguez

Monday Presser Notes 8-30-10: Rich Rodriguez Comment Count

Tim August 31st, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Notes from Rich Rodriguez's weekly press conference.

The Team

The team is relatively healthy, other than waiting on Fitzgerald Tousaint's status with a sprained knee, which they'll know in the next day or two. Outside of Troy, they've been fortunate through camp.

RR will talk to the QBs at the end of the week, and let them know the plans. Everybody gets reps in practice, so there shouldn't be a huge adjustment. "I don't think for our offense, they're worried about who's behind them. Everybody's gotta do their job." Could see scenarios where all three play during the season. "Everybody says, 'is Devin gonna be redshirted?' Probably not. Devin's probably going to play."

Starting QB - "I don't know if the coaches know yet, but I have an idea." Will know a guy or two who is ready to play, but he reserves the right to change his mind. As far as informing the players, "I don't need no Dr. Phil moment with the guys. 'Let me explain the situation and how do you really feel about it?'" QB rotation will be determined by "Basically a feel thing. How the game is going, how we want to attack the defense or how they're playing." Rodriguez won't have an itchy trigger finger if guys make one mistake. Seeing things from the sidelines will help them learn. When Denard played last year, he knew what the team was doing, not the why, or how it would be defended. Would have been nice to redshirt him, but needed him to play.

Shaw and Smith - "They've been the most consistent." Well-rounded with running, protection, and receiving. They understand offense the best. Michael Shaw's eligibility will be known in next couple days. Rodriguez is not sure all six tailbacks on the depth chart will play, but all of them have taken 1st and 2nd team reps. Teric Jones has moved back to offense. He showed enough in practice with other guys in class or injured that he'll settle there. "I think he likes, and probably can perform better offensively."

This fall is the most consistent Darryl Stonum's been in three years. Pleased with him this camp. He, Hemingway, and Odoms, are the most experienced. Stonum had to prove himself, but other guys did, too. "He's had to reach a certain maturity level. He's been very focused on it... He came into camp in great shape." He'll be a big factor.

The coaches are as comfortable with the secondary as you can be with freshmen. Rogers and JT Floyd provide a bit of experience. "The young guys will have opportunity, and have progressed well in practice." They'll improve during the season with experience. Rogers has been more consistent in practice. Some of the things that aren't "or" on the depth chart probably should be. More guys capable of contributing, you'll see more guys play this year.

Harder for the big guys to play a lot of plays. Martin is in good shape, but to play that much is a lot to ask. Ryan Van Bergen won't get that much either. Adam Patterson and Will Campbell will have an opportunity. RVB has a combo role - very athletic, and has a knack for pass-rushing. Jibreel Black is "readier than he was back then" at media day. The coaches have to play the best guys they have, and "right now Jibreel is good enough to play."

With a lack of experience in the secondary, they'll adjust scheme accordingly. "How do we limit the pressure on some of the young guys?" James Rogers and JT Floyd have played. The safeties are inexperienced. "That's the hope" to make up for inexperience with speed. They want to get a lot of guys to the ball.

Carvin Johnson as starter - "We probably could have put an "or" on there." There are still 3-4 practices before the UConn game. He's only played that position the last couple weeks. He gives the team athleticism at that spot.

True freshmen to play this fall will include all on the depth chart, and there could be others who "have a chance to sneak up in there." A lot of other guys are on special teams as well. In a couple years, Michigan won't be as reliant on freshmen, depending on recruiting and development.

It's not just the younger players who have nerves. "We're nervous too, as coaches." The only way to deal with that is play. Have young guys who need to play. "If they're not nervous, there's something wrong with them, or they're probably lying to you." They'll adjust. Eventually, you just are able to block everything out and play. Some young players will have to mature quickly.

Rodriguez doesn't worry about puffing up individual players. "It's all about The Team, The Team, The Team. That's why." Our guys aren't getting much national press anyway. Being one of 80 guys on a watchlist isn't that big a deal. He'll worry about touting guys at the end of the year. Is that just sandbagging? "I would never do that." Guys understand what team is about, and are working toward that. Their priorities are about the team, not individual glory.

"I'd rather have the element of experience than the element of surprise" as far as the depth chart. Might know eventually what we'll have, but there will be nerves through the first couple games. "Big Jonny [Falk] will probably have to bring a couple extra pairs of pants, in case they make a little mess, you know. If you see somebody running up the tunnel in the first quarter with big Jonny running behind him, carrying one of his books. Wardrobe malfunction or something."

"I hope it's not the case that we have to have shootouts. I think our defense would take exception to that."

UConn

"I think it means a lot, especially for our players and our staff" to start the season right. It helps with momentum for the following week. As for expectations, Rodriguez wants to play well, they haven't talked about win numbers. "Every team in America is excited about the first game."

Rodriguez doesn't worry about outside expectations. "Our expectations every year are to compete for the Big Ten championship." This year, keep showing progress, so the team can get to the point where they'll win close games and not beat themselves.

UConn is Big, physical team. Lots of experience. "Older group of guys that have kind of been-there, done-that." They won't make mistakes, so Michigan has to go out there to win it, not capitalize on the opponents' mistakes. Rodriguez's past experience against UConn helps a bit, but there are different guys, they've grown up, we're a younger team, etc. "We know a little bit about some of the things they do."

The key against UConn will be tackling well. The team does some live tackling in August, but they don't do as much as you'd like because you don't want to get hurt. UConn has great skill guys, so Michigan must tackle well.

The differences between Big Ten and Big East aren't as pronounced as some say. Schemes are similar - despite the reputation. There are some downhill teams, some spread teams. The Big East is underrated in terms of talent, they're just not as known. "I don't see it as a huge amount of difference." The Big Ten has more long-standing football traditions, which leads to a better reputation.

UConn's program has grown "quite a bit probably recently, because of the facilities." The University, state, and supporters have shown a level of commitment to go as high as they can in 1-A football. Coaching staff stability has helped the program achieve success.

"We have a rule anyway, once you score, you hand the ball to the official and celebrate with your teammates."

Two years ago, the team had no quarterbacks and very few guys overall with any experience. Even with young QBs, the sophomores are experienced. On defense, there are fewer guys who have played (particularly on the back end). It's OK to look at the last couple years to learn, but don't reflect too much.

"If we're recruiting you, it's because we believe you can play. how quickly you play" depends on you. won't put a guy in there unless he's ready physically and mentally.

The team might be more prepared for the no-huddle of UConn since they practice against it all the time. "They'll probably come right at us." Running downhill with play-action, and they'll take a couple early deep shots. "They'll run the ball right at us, they've got big linemen, and they'll see if we can hold up up front and tackle well." No huddle not a big deal.

Rich has played UConn 4 times "I think we won 'em all didn't we? So [the memories] are all good." The last one is memorable, because WVU was on a roll. The Huskies always played physical games.

On Thursdays, they practice in the stadium. Before the first game, the band comes out to perform. "As you all know, they're terrific." The players never get to see the band, so they'll get a chance to watch some performance, and sing The Victors together.

The team will see Brock Mealer walk out, but "once it's kicked off, we're worried about football."

Comments

Monday Presser Notes 8-30-10: The Players

Monday Presser Notes 8-30-10: The Players Comment Count

Tim August 30th, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Roy Roundtree

"It's game week. Just more focused." Practice today, ready to see how fun practice will be. Excited to hit somebody new this weekend. Camp is tough and repetitive, but it makes the team better, and game week is time to focus on UConn. It's no different opening the season against a "tough opponent" than a MAC school. "Warmup game? I don't think no team on our schedule is a warmup game, man."

Michigan might surprise some people this year because they're putting in the work on the practice field. The schedule is 0-0 right now. "When we come to the game Saturday, and go out there and play our hardest, I'm pretty sure we can come out victors."

"This is Michigan, we have pressure every year." There's no use in worrying about past years, it's time just go out and "win for Michigan. That's our motive this year." Roundtree's confidence level is high, because Coach Magee has prepared the slots to know the game, and they don't have to think out there.

Work hard, stay focused to put himself in a position to succeed. "I know I have to go out there with a hard edge, I know I have to catch every ball that's thrown my way, I know I have to run decent routes, and get open where the quarterback can see me"

Rodriguez rotates the QBs a lot, so the receivers need to get used to all three. All three had fun and competed during camp. "I'll probably have to wait until Saturday to see" who throws the best ball. "I wish I did know [who the starter is]. If I did, I would have told everybody here." Won't find out until Saturday. "All three of them is pretty different," though there are explosive moments with all three. For UConn, it will be tough, and they'll gameplan around whichever guy starts.

Roundtree is comfortable playing slot or out wide, wherever he's needed more. He and Odoms can both play either, though Roundtree likes slot, because he played it in high school. Outside is a more physical position, and Martavious "likes that physical contact a lot."

First impression of Rodriguez: "Spoke to me like a real guy." Even before Roy was on the team, coach Rod was motivating him. "He never lied to me like other coaches did. He just always spoke the truth to me." Rodriguez used the upgraded Big House as a recruiting pitch. The players will get goosebumps to finally experience it. "I can't believe the stadium is looking like this."

Stephen Schilling

"It's exciting. There's a lot of excitement around the building" getting into game week. The team is excited to finally go against someone else. There's plenty of motivation for a successful season. "My senior year, definitely want to have success, going out the right way." Schilling saw success as a freshman, and would like to bring back that feeling.

Three years into this offense, there's a much better comfort level for everyone, and they know more what's going on. The first year, they were getting used to it. Older guys can help teach the younger guys, which helps eeryone get into the swing of things. "We've had guys stepping up" as leaders on offense. Upperclassmen, QBs, seniors, etc. It's a good group of guys that have played the last couple years.

First impressions of RR - "I try not to make first impressions, really." Knew he was more fiery than coach Carr. Rodriguez has had success in the past, so he commands respect. That doesn't change even with the lack of success the past two year. Schililng has gained more respect for him past couple years as they've gone through adversity together.

The defense won't be quite the same without Brandon Graham. "It's different. Guys have stepped in. Brandon was a hell of a player, obviously." Other guys are working hard to step up. It's their time to shine. Greg Banks has experience, Ryan Van Bergen has experience, they understand what they're doing, and "the pressure it takes to play here, and play every Saturday at a high level."

Tate has responded well to the challenges of this fall. "Obviously he went through some adversity there with Troy's comments and the wings and all that stuff you guys know about." He's worked hard to prove himself, and show that he wants to be the team's quarterback. "I'm definitely gaining a lot of respect back for Tate," as are a lot of others.

Offense - "hopefully we can do everything well." The offensive line is proud of the team's ability to rush the ball.

Patrick Omameh has "grown up a lot, physically and mentally" the last three years. He got the chance to play some last year. He and Schilling can help each other out as the guards. "I think he's going to have a great career here. He's a young guy, and he's gonna need to contribute a lot this fall."

Mark Huyge has had some experience, and has played at both tackles (and even some guard). "That level of communication and trust is there between me and Mark and we know where each other's going to be, and what we expect out of each other."

Huyge and Dorrestein were motivated by the competition with the younger guys. Didn't want to lose their starting jobs. "Helped them get better, made them work extra hard in the off-season."

Taylor Lewan - "He's young, and he plays so hard." He has a bright future as he learns more and gets more comfortable there. He'll be able to contribute whether he's starting or not.

Mark Moundros listed first on the depth chart is not surprising given his work ethic and attitude. "He's a guy who'll do anything for Michigan." He has a defensive attitude, even at fullback. He's smart, and he's working really hard to learn.

Will Hagerup "kicks it a mile... I don't know anything about punting technique, but he can kick it far."

Mike Martin

The defense will improve because they're more well-rounded. There are lot of different guys that can step up. Won't rely only on one guy or a couple guys. Lots of playmakers. Depth on the defensive line will help.

UConn "They're a good team... I know they've prepared for us, and we've done the same." Both teams will play hard and "we'l see who gets the 'W' at the end."

Martin has confidence in stopping the run against UConn. Getting to the ball, gap responsibility, more experience and depth on D-line and linebacking corps. GERG stresses minimum assignment - "getting in your gap and then playing football from there."

"As a defensive line we take a lot of pride in getting to the quarterback." Martin thinks they'll do a good job doing it this year. Not worried about the secondary: "They're gonna hold their own back there. They're going to do a good job with coverage, and we're gonna do our job with getting the rush."

"I'm definitely ready" for a big workload. BG played almost 700 plays last year, Martin only played slightly fewer, and he's used to a heavy workload. Patterson and Campbell will be good at backup. Ideal number of plays? Nose tackles don't usually play 70 plays a game. Martin is proud of his conditioning (thanks to Barwis) that will allow him to play so much.

Carvin Johnson is "a smart football player. He's always around the ball. He's a young guy, but he's a hard worker." He has "been getting interceptions, laying the wood on tackles." He doesn't say much, and wants to prove himself on the field. He's been impressive this camp. Like everyone on the defense, he has room to improve.

"I think they know that" the freshmen will play a big role on defense in the first game. Might need to calm them down a bit, because secondary players can't be quite as riled up as defensive linemen. "Just getting them relaxed, and getting them ready to play, and I think they'll do a good job."

The loudest crowd Martin has experienced at the Big House was Notre Dame last year, followed by Wisconsin the previous year.

Hasn't had the experience of going to a bowl game yet, team is hungry to do that. This game has a lot of excitement with the rededication, Brock, etc. The team is excited.

Leadership - "I'm not much of a talker, hoo-rah guy. I just go out there and play hard." Some of the seniors on defense - Mouton, Banks - pull guys together, and Martin has their backs.

Darryl Stonum

It's a big week. Things change a lot in game week. "We all feel good as a whole." It's the third year, and they have a good grasp of the system. "We feel well-prepared, and ready to go."

"All three quarterbacks are great." Devin did a great job coming in and learning the offense. Other than how fast the balls come and where they come, it's all good. "I've developed timing and confidence in all three of them." Devin throws the fastest ball. No hand injuries from that yet.

The difference this camp is "I feel like I'm the oldest. And I have to step up and take that leadership role." The experienced guys have to step up and take leadership roles. "I had a great leader in Greg." Martavious, Stonum, and others have to be that for the young guys. "I just try to lead by example." In weight room, workouts, camp.

Contacts - "They're great. Did an eye test this summer, they wanted me to try out these new contacts." They help a lot, as he can see much clearer, and has an easier time focusing on the ball.

Stadium rededication - "I'm pretty sure it's probably gonna be a lot louder." The field is still 100x53.3, and "we just line up and play."

Stonum hasn't taken any big hits from Carvin Johnson. "Maybe not from Carvin, but Marvin... Luckily they haven't gotten any shots on me yet." "Carvin is like a ballhawk... Wherever the ball is, you're gonna find Carvin most of the time." He never gives up on a play, and gives his all on the fields.

Freshmen have all done a great job, especially defensive backs. With Troy going down, lots of guys trying to step in and prove they can fill his shoes. There's great competition in practice, which is improving the whole team.

Outside receivers not getting passes the last couple years could be attributed to getting used to the system. In Stonum's third year, he's worked hard in the offseason with the QBs. Used camp to prove the outside guys can be go-to and make big plays. We'll see a lot of that this year.

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Thursday Presser Notes 8-12-10

Thursday Presser Notes 8-12-10 Comment Count

Tim August 12th, 2010 at 8:43 PM

The media had an opportunity to talk to Rich Rodriguez and the team's newly-elected captains Steve Schilling and Mark Moundros today. Notes follow.

Rich Rodriguez

Friday morning will be the first day in full pads. They'll finally be able to tackle and go live. It will only be about two hours and fifteen minutes, because Rodriguez has to leave for Seattle in the afternoon. On Saturday, there will be no practice, but payers will go to their position coaches' houses for a meal. 2-a-days start Sunday. They'll have a couple scrimmages in Big House, beanie bowl. Go through whole game routine. For the veterans, it shouldn't be a big deal.

We're in pretty good shape, not game shape. The weather hasn't been that hot yet. Need warm temperatures to get guys in game shape. Guys who weren't in shape have responded as you'd expect. If you fight through, practice will help get you in great shape, but guys who started in great shape recover more quickly. It will take 3-4 weeks for everyone to get into shape. "If you aren't in shape, you won't play."

They're a very attentive group, eager to learn, grasped concepts. Put more in than anticipated. Right on track installation-wise.

All the position competitions haven't been separated yet. Will remain that way until we see them in pads.

No injuries. Some guys have missed time for the end of summer school. Most finishing today, tomorrow, monday next week. Mike Shaw is practicing. Still involved in his class. "Ongoing with him."

They'll shift some guys in the secondary, Teric Jones will be a S/CB. JT Turner's departure did not create new concerns. When asked about a potential return from Turner, Rodriguez stated: "He doesn't play for Michigan."

We're all anxious to get NCAA stuff behind us. School, Administration, players, want the committee to reach a conclusion. As soon as the hearing is over, those involved will fly back and get ready for practice on Sunday.

Kickers: need to see them in pressure situations to evaluate them.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams are all getting plenty of reps. In a week or so, they'll reduce it to two main groups with the reps divided about 60-40.

QBs making a conscious effort to take care of the ball. Need to work on decision-making as well. Has Denard picked up where he left off? "I think so. He looks physically bigger. Mentally he's understanding a lot of the concepts." Eager to do well. Limiting QB contact, but they get banged around a bit. Tate and Devin have to assume leadership by position. Hard for frosh/soph to take control. Has to happen naturally. They'll get that as their play improves. Re: Tate. "We've challenged all our guys." Tate gets more attention, because he plays a high-profile position. Tate is responding to the challenges, not sulking or laying back.

Woolfolk probably feels more natural at corner. Could play at safety if need, has the physicality. Brings that to the corner position. JTF had a good camp so far.

Punt return will be taken care of by Martavious Odoms, Jeremy Gallon, Terrance Robinson, and Drew Dileo. All have really good ball skills. Kickoffs will be returned by all of those guys, plus Darryl Stonum.

Darty Stonum loks fantastic. Junior getting himself into better shape. Stonum good camp. Junior good last couple days.

Quinton Washington is completely healthy. He's been set back last fall and in spring with injury. Rodriguez is pleased at the conditioning of the offensive and defensive lines as they came into camp. Christian Pace is struggling health-wise (knee). They were already going to redshirt him, and he may need knee procedure, too.

A tentative depth chart will be released Monday of game week. A few "ORs."

At running back, nobody has separated from the pack yet. It should be one of the most interesting races, because there will be at least two, and probably three guys that will play quite a bit. That's a position that needs to be evaluated with full contact.

Schiling and Moundros: Team voted for those guys as permanent captains. They will do all they can to keep that honor. At least one additional game captain will be selected for every game.

Captain Stephen Schilling

We've had 4-5 senior meetings. Idea came up for captains, from nobody in particular. They discussed it a few times, then asked Rodriguez to come to a meeting. They brought up some of the ideas to him, including permanent captains.

Sometimes it makes it easier having two voices at the top, but all the seniors will be leaders. Schilling and Moundros look to the rest of the senior class to be leaders.

As for the distraction of the NCAA hearing, schedule was rearranged so that Rodriguez didn't have to miss practice. Most guys have put that on the backburner; they're not worried about that, they just want to play football and get ready for UConn. They see the headlines on ESPN, but it doesn't really cross their minds other than that.

"Definitely good to have David [Molk] back, it's been a while." He's shaking off some rust, but everybody's getting ready to work together. There's really high potential for this offensive line. They have depth and experience.

Progression among players is a lot quicker now that most guys know the system. Meetings with Coach Frey go quicker, and they can make corrections faster on the field.

Schilling has worked with all three QBs. They're all working hard and playing well - but it's only been a couple days. Offense has made big plays, "looks good to me." Tate's been working hard. Not saying much, just trying to prove he can be the QB. We see him working hard, and that's a good thing. Troy's comments could have affected him, but he's here working hard. Get better every day for the team.

We've had guys cramping, but you see that every year. Guys have been pushing through heat, and are doing better than expected.

The RBs all worked really hard this summer, because they knew they all had a chance to be "the guy." So many different guys are cycling through with the first unit. Competition will bring the best out of all of them. Cox and Hopkins bigger backs, can hit it up inside. Smith gets outside, Toussaint does both. Shaw has speed to burn. Smith "looks good to me." Knee not affecting him.

Captain Mark Moundros

Whole senior class thought it was necessary to have two captains. Great honor to be one of them. Texted his mom and dad first when he found out.

Very encouraged by hunger of team. "We're ready to prove ourselves this year."

Playing mostly LB - like the spring. Always had a defensive mindset. How many snaps can he play on both side of the ball? "As many to help us win." Doesn't regret waiting so long to try linebacker. He's happy where he is right now.

Signs of defensive progress? We have some good schemes, we're working together. That's key for defensive side of the ball. Different schemes will allow for different groups of people to play on front line (when asked if Martin and Campbell will play together).

Secondary doing great. Learning every day. Mistakes have been limited in first week. That'll continue to first game. They bring great energy from the secondary.

OL - the front five - great line. "We have some depth too." Can't pick out just one guy, they all have capabilities and potential. chilling great leader. Dorrestein and Huyge on the edges. The guys who rotate in - different positions - fun to watch that side of the football.

Always had the mindset of competing, play to best of ability. Wherever that puts him, so be it. Worrying about working hard to help the guys around him get better. His fellow MLBs Ezeh and Demens are great - competition will make them better.

When he came to Michigan as a walk-on, he never thought about being the captain one day. He never looked that far in advance, and just took everything one day at a time.

Even though he and Steve are captains, every senior got at least one vote for captain. That guy will have to lead by example to at least the one guy whose vote he got. Honored and humbled to be captain, but they'll lead as a senior class.

Every RB brings a different dimension. Cox power, Smith quick with cuts. Shaw with speed, Fitz is a factor, Hopkins (bigger back - hard earned yards).

Willingness to trust each other will help the team succeed.

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Rich Rodriguez Presser 8-9-10

Rich Rodriguez Presser 8-9-10 Comment Count

Tim August 9th, 2010 at 9:39 PM

rrpresser.jpg

Rich Rodriguez met with the media tonight following the first day of fall camp. If you want the full audio, you can check out MVictors, but I've pulled out the important points below. The above photo comes courtesy of Bruce Madej. Your humbe blogger is just out of the frame to the left.

Personnel

  • Vincent Smith, David Molk, and Mike Martin were all in practice today. The only guy who was out for the spring that's still out is Will Heininger. Smith did not seem to be favoring his knee.
  • A couple guys missed some team meetings today with summer school obligations. Those were mostly freshmen, but a couple upperclassmen as well. Michael Shaw was among those guys. There are a couple days next week before summer school is completely over.
  • No word on who took the first snap at QB today, but "all three guys are competing." Denard and Tate have a bit of experience, but Devin is in great shape and wants to compete. In camp, they'll limit QB contact in order to avoid injury. If a quarterback separates himself from the pack, he'll be the starter. Tate is competitive, and will work for the job. Tate, Denard, and Devin all had good moments today.
  • There's enough experience and talent at running back to win some games. Vincent Smith, Michael Cox, and Fitzgerald Toussaint were singled out. Stephen Hopkins should be able to fit the "big back" role that they're losing with the graduation of Brandon Minor. Kelvin Grady is playing both slot and running back. He's a full-time football player now.
  • The offensive line is bigger and stronger up front. The idea that RR offenses only want little guys is inaccurate - as long as a player can move, bigger is better. Experience will help the OL be better - and it will allow them to install more of the offense much more quickly. There was only one bad snap from the centers today.
  • The offensive and defensive lines look good (RR said Will Campbell looked "OK" before saying he didn't want to answer any more questions on individuals). There were no pads today, so it's too early to say how they'll be, but they look physical up front. The young offensive line is growing up, and this should be a deeper team up front.
  • Young guys (even true freshmen) will have a chance to contribute at safety and corner. It will probably be tougher for D-linemen to contribute this season - but we'll know more once they're in pads.
  • Within two weeks of practice, they should have a good idea of which freshmen will be able to contribute in the fall. The first full scrimmage in two weeks is a key to that: "The pads answer a few questions." This is a fast freshman class - including the guys up front. On top of that, they didn't make any big mistakes today - they're a bright group.
  • "Will Hagerup will be what we thought." He's got a powerful leg and is a good athlete. He should be the starting punter.

Team and Schemes

  • The team on the whole looks to be in pretty good shape. Some players are in very good shape, some are only in OK shape, and some are not physically ready for Division-1 football. "Goal and expectation" is to get everybody in very good shape. The expectations for freshmen aren't as high from a conditioning standpoint, but they were helped by making it in for summer school. Nobody that could be considered an "impact player" would ever show up to camp out of shape. The coaches ran a conditioning test at the end of practice, and there's just a handful of guys that are not ready.
  • The team will practice in pads on Friday, and Sunday will be the first 2-a-day.
  • This team has the ability to be faster than last year's team. The speed will be aided by players not having to think too much. The coaches might have tried to work on schemes a little too much today, causing the players to not play quite as fast.
  • It's too early to compare the overall talent level of this team to the 2008 or 2009 teams. What this team does have is more guys who can contribute, particularly on defense.
  • Practice is probably the best time to be a coach. It's good to be on the field teaching guys. The team is full of guys eager to learn.
  • The continuity at defensive coordinator means everyone is already used to the scheme and personality. Guys being in the program for a few years also helps: They don't have to explain the process of practice to guys, and can worry about teaching football.
  • They've been fortunate to be able to grant scholarships to some walkons each year Rodriguez has been here. They have a couple extra scholarships this year, but they don't like to announce which walkons receive scholarships because it makes the other guys feel unimportant. Earning the scholarship "is not the end of your goals, it's just the start."
  • You know a program is improving when you are able to play poorly and win. Michigan obviously isn't there yet.

Leadership

  • When asked specifically about Woolfolk's comments on Tate: "I'm glad our seniors are taking some ownership and leadership in this team. They want everyone to work as hard as they have." When asked again, RR said it's good to see the seniors take ownership of this team (which sounds to me like a sign he doesn't think Woolfolk really did anything wrong). Everyone in the program ants to succeed, and they deserve a chance to enjoy their final season.
  • Rodriguez can sense the senior leadership on this team. They've had player meetings, and come over to his house as a group, etc. They will be vocal leaders (moreso than last year), and they know they have something to prove.
  • There will be two permanent captains for this team, and they've been announced: OL Stephen Schilling and LB Mark Moundros. On top of that, there will be two game captains for each contest "if they're worthy, which I think we'll have."

Other Stuff

  • When asked specifically about the West Virginia notice of allegations: "I'm talking about Michigan football."
  • It's the head coach's job to handle outside distractions. As for the players, "they handle what's going on in Schembechler Hall." Players worry about getting their Michigan degree and winning football games. Michigan, the football program, and RR's family form a great support system that's helping Rodriguez handle the pressure of outside distractions.
  • In regards to a certain report about a 2012 game against Alabama - "I believe those conversations are ongoing." When asked about what it might mean, Rodriguez remarked, "Ya'll tell me, do you think that would be fun?"
  • Rodriguez would prefer that the players don't use Twitter and other social media, but if they like it, they can. It's the job of the football coaches and athletic staff to educate them, and remind them that they're not only representing themselves, but also the university.
  • The phrase "winning cures all" is accurate, because it puts the attention onto the game, instead of other stuff. "Let's just limit the drama. Let's just keep the main thing the main thing."
  • Rodriguez is strictly coaching this week. He'll worry about the NCAA hearing on the flight out there, and then it's back to coaching on Sunday.
  • Rodriguez saw Brock Mealer walking today. When the team has their "beanie scrimmage" in the Big House, Brock will practice running through the tunnel.
  • There's no real added sense of urgency to this season. Rodriguez has had a sense of urgency ever since he's been coaching - even as an assistant.
  • When asked specifically about Ron English's comments from earlier this week, Rodriguez responded that they don't pigeonhole recruitable prospects on the basis of their economic status or family upbringing. Anyone you recruit must be committed on and off the field.

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Big Ten Media Days: Rich Rodriguez

Big Ten Media Days: Rich Rodriguez Comment Count

Tim August 2nd, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Notes from Rich Rodriguez at Big Ten Media Days, including a few items after he left the podium (and weren't on TV):

  • He 's excited to be coaching football again (implied: instead of worrying about off-field stuff). The off-field adversity has helped the group band together. There's no way it can add any more pressure than what the coaches always feel internally.
  • Nobody's happy how the past two years have gone. Fans are supportive, but asking when Michigan is going to win more. Players have taken their lumps in the past couple years, but now they're experienced, and they've taken their lumps.
  • RR doesn't know much about what's been going on in the summer, but he had all 16 seniors over at his house recently, and they were saying good things about a few players here and there. They were more focused on their own goals for the season, and ready to get on the field. Nobody likes what's been happening on or off the field the past two seasons. The goal is always to win the Big Ten, and the Wolverines will be able to do that once they've earned it.
  • Rodirguez leaves for Michigan's hearing in front of the NCAA August 13th. Michigan has adjusted their fall practice schedule so that RR won't miss any practices.
  • The league can concern itself with divisions and alignment, Rodriguez doesn't know anything about it and is more concerned with planning how to get first downs against UConn. The more important thing is to play Ohio State every year, and he prefers that it would be on the last game of the regular season. The chance for a rematch the following week isn't as big a deal, because Michigan-Ohio State is always going to sell out, even if they played "three times a week."
  • Tate and Denard have an open competition, as it was in the spring, and they're also being challenged by Devin Gardner. The staff is looking for two guys they can win with, and hopefully a third. It might take a couple games before a starter emerges from the pack - if someone becomes a sure #1 at all. Tate, like all the players, needs to be mature on and off the field, and all the quarterbacks need to do a better job taking care of the football. They were just freshmen last year, so they should be improved as sophomores. Tate is strictly a quarterback, but Denard could potentially move to other positions. He's only been at QB so far.
  • At running back, Vincent Smith should be 100% by the start of fall camp. Michael Cox and Fitzgerald Toussaint are also going to play important roles at the running back position. Michael Shaw still has two more weeks of summer school left, so Rodriguez won't speculate on his eligibility for fall. [Ed: if that's his answer to a question about Shaw's eligibility, he's on a knife edge.]
  • There's a common misconception out there that wide receivers don't play a big role in this offense. Darryl Stonum and Junior Hemingway are tasked with changing that, along with a few younger guys. Stonum will not face any additional discipline for violating his probation.
  • The offensive line should be improved this year.
  • At linebacker, Greg Robinson is the new coach. That's been his position for the majority of his career, so Rodriguez is excited to have him there. Mark Moundros moved to that position in the spring, and should be able to contribute - even if it's just with his leadership. Jonas Mouton, Craig Roh, Obi Ezeh, and Kevin Leach were also mentioned, along with Kenny Demens. Rodriguez expects 5-6 guys to compete at linebacker this fall.
  • There are a couple productive guys from last year's secondary returning, but they did lose some pieces. Jordan Kovacs, Troy Woolfolk, and Mike Williams all have some experience, and JT Floyd had a great spring. Cameron Gordon hasn't played in a game yet, so they're hesitant to anoint him before he plays. He was one of the best players on the whole team this spring, however. True freshmen might have an opportunity to contribute at safety.

Other newsbits and general observations can be found on my Twitter account (@varsityblue), as well as a few notes from other coaches. I'll update this post with embedded video of Rodriguez's main presser once it's available from Big Ten Network.

UPDATE. Transcript of Rodriguez's time on the podium is available here, and the video is here

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