Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Wednesday Presser 10-18-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 18th, 2017 at 6:15 PM

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[Fuller]

How much improvement did you see from your guys up front in that Indiana game?

“I saw a lot of improvement. It was good. We still need to play better offensively and the guys up front, but when you rush for 271 yards there’s a lot of positivity. Guys are moving guys off the ball and protection was better, so it was a step forward as we prepare against Penn State this week.”

How much improvement have you seen out of Mike Onwenu?

“A lot, a lot of improvement. You can see that he’s moving his feet, he’s understanding it, he’s finishing. He could finish a little bit better, like all of them can, everybody on the offense. But you can see it. Light bulb’s going on, which is neat. He’s playing good football—really good football.”

How did Juwann Bushell-Beatty do in his first full contest?

“Juwann did a nice job. He competed well. There’s some thing we’ve got to clean up but he did a nice job for his first start here. He had a false start there at one point in time in the game but for the most part his protection was good. We’ve just got to clean up some of the run blocking things, but it was real positive.”

[After THE JUMP: Tim Drevno, an American Legion baseball field, a water pump, and a metaphor for the offense]

Monday Presser 10-16-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-16-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 16th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Can you just talk about Rashan’s play on Saturday and how far you’ve seen him come this year?

“Yes, it was really good. Both him and Mo Hurst got accolades for the game: linemen of the week, both of ‘em. Mo makes a field goal block and Mo really played good this week, played really good last week.
”Rashan: can’t say enough. I mean, he left it all out there on that field. Was with him walking off the field and the epitome of leaving all on the field. Played great. He really helped, was very impactful, in their quarterback only rushing for 14 yards, and we were really worried about that. As on offense, they got out on the one 31-yarder but rushed for in the 80s. Took away something that had been very, very effective for them. Been saying it for a couple weeks now, Rashan’s gotten doubled, he’s gotten chipped, he’s gotten cut. Probably the ultimate compliment you can pay to a football player is to have that much concern about one guy and have that part of your gameplan. He’s earning that kind of respect.

“And the defense, the defense again was playing really well. You start stacking up some of the things that they’ve done in terms of limiting opponents to total yards; there’s a stat there that we’re one of I think ten teams that have allowed 280-some yards or less in their first six ball games since 2000. Most punts against us of any team in college football this year. Some really great things—three and outs. Our team is playing very well on defense.

“Great to see the turnovers. Lavert Hill’s interception; thought his other interception was a legal play. Didn’t feel like he interfered on that one. Tyree [Kinnel] gets the one in the back of the end zone, that was great. Great effort by Chase Winovich getting the big hit, getting the hustle play, and putting pressure on the quarterback. There’s a lot to be said. Linebackers again played really well; Devin Bush Jr. and Mike McCray are both up in that seven, eight, nine tackle a game category this week, which you expect them to be. But a good rushing team in Indiana and limiting them to the 80-some yards is really good.
”Also, Mike is really, as you’d expect from the captain, getting guys in position. Critical play late in the game, they’re inside the five-yard line, they go for the running play, we had a blitz called and the safety was lined up on the wrong side. Mike was the one that got him and us lined up correctly and we were able to get that run. Been some really good things.”

[After THE JUMP: on the offensive line, Barkley, opportunity, do-stuff-right guys, and Penn State’s defense]

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Indiana Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 16th, 2017 at 9:16 AM

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[Fuller]

[Ed. A- I couldn’t make it to Indiana this past weekend but luckily Ace and David were willing and able. David pulled out the kind of move you’d expect from a wily veteran and got my recorder on the table right in front of the mic, which matters a ton to me and none to you. But hey, here’s a post for you to read with words that were said, then recorded with excellent clarity, and finally transcribed with… hands? Yes, hands and typing and such.]

Can you talk about Karan Higdon today, especially on those big plays?

“Yeah, he was phenomenal. I don’t know how many yards he got after contact but they were tough yards, and had some plays that looked like they were going to be a tackle for loss or a one-yard gain or no gain that he found a way to get four or five out of. More than a few. Lot of yards—I think more than 200 in the game—and cracked the big one for us and didn’t get trapped behind the line thought, I don’t know, if at all, maybe a couple times. But yeah, big boost from Karan Higdon today.”

Defense had been on the field a lot and when they faced goal-to-go from the two and had two negative plays and couldn’t come up much bigger. Talk about how those guys dug down deep were able to dig down deep.

“Yeah, I really thought our whole team did. Put our best people on it, our players and out coaches, and asked them to find a way and knew that we were going to have to dig down deep to do it. The goal-line stand was a great opportunity for us to keep them out of the end zone and win the ball game and responded with the tackle for loss and the incompletion, interception, and the quarterback option run up the middle so it was a great four plays for us.”

Was there a point in the game when you realized that Karan was going to be the guy to carry you through on offense or was that always the plan going in?

“Yeah, I mean, Karan started the game and we leaned on him heavy. I thought Chris [Evans] and Ty [Isaac] both added some good plays there. Nice to see Kareem Walker get a shot and produce; might be more carries for him in the future. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re very humble about this, and we’ll move on to a big road game next week, but this was a big game for our team. And mistakes were made but I think it’s something we can really grow from.”

[After THE JUMP: “We were grinding some meat out there today” is a way better phrase than “It was tough sledding”]

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Wednesday Presser 10-11-17: Chris Partridge

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 11th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

What do you say to Devin Bush when he gets caught retaliating after something that happened? Just you still can’t do that?

“Yeah, control your emotions. I mean, that’s unacceptable no matter what happens prior or what your frustrations are. You can’t do that. You can’t hurt the team like that, and he’s going to have to deal with that. He’s a phenomenal player and teams are going to try to do stuff to antagonize him. It’s a growing process in maturity. It’s unacceptable.”

Going up against Patrick Ramsey, the new quarterback at Indiana, what challenges do you see from Indiana’s offense?

“They’re very well coached. They do some good things to put you in binds. The quarterback can run, he can throw it. You’ve got big receivers on the outside. The running backs run hard. The line, they get after it. They obviously have a tempo to their offense where they’re going to hurry-hurry you. I mean, there’s a lot of challenges there.”

I guess Michigan State sent film in of Devin. Is that a concern? Do you talk to him about things like that?

“No, we just play football. Not going to get into them sending film. The officials are going to officiate the game. We’re going to play football and tackle like we tackle and it’s to keep our head out of it, that’s what we teach. But I’m not going to get into what they’re going to decide to do after the game.”

Your thoughts on how your group played in that game?

“You’re talking linebackers?”

Yeah.

“Um… I mean, we didn’t so… I don’t know. I mean, we were okay. Not our best performance, but, again, didn’t do things to win the game either. Think we’ve got to continue to get better week in and week out.”

[After THE JUMP: linebackers coming on recently, DPJ’s development, and hang time oh glorious hang time]

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-9-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 9th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

They said on the broadcast that Wilton had a couple broken vertebrae. Is he out for the year and can you comment on that?

“Multiple weeks. I don’t know that he’ll be out for the year.”

The vertebrae part is accurate though?

“Yeah, there’s some cracks in there. Yeah. And not a doctor, but think it’s similar to…yeah, I don’t want to say. Yes.”

After watching the film, would you have liked to have gotten the ball to Karan Higdon more? He was averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Should he have gotten the ball more, especially in the rain and the wind?

“Uh, yeah, he had—Karan played well.”

But no answer to my question?

“What do you—you want to question the play-calling? That usually is the case when something doesn’t work, so…”

But you don’t question that, how much he got the ball there or don’t want to with us?

“No. What I want to do is yeah, I want to look at the film, I want to learn from it. I’m not gonna get into questioning the play-calling.”

[SID calls on next person]

“It’s a very convenient thing, right? Play worked and hey, it was a great play because it worked. Play doesn’t work: would you wish you had done something else, had a different play call? Sure, that’s very easy to do. That’s a very—hindsight is 20/20.”

Just thought maybe there was something I was missing.

“That’s a standard question that when a play works, hey, great play call. You run a third-down draw against Florida and it works: hey, great call. You call a play that doesn’t work: would you wish you would have called a different play? That’s a very easy thing to do.”

[After THE JUMP: finding the offense’s identity, Indiana’s defensive standouts, and the final say on play-calling]

Michigan State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Michigan State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 8th, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

It’s a hard game to put in words. What are your impressions of what happened tonight?

“Too many turnovers. We got momentum going, then we turned it over. You can’t expect to win when you turn it over five times.”

Replacing Nolan [Ulizio] with Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]: what went into that and how long were you guys planning on leaving Nolan in there before switching him out at that right tackle spot?

“It wasn’t a plan. Coaches decided to make the switch.”

How far along was it?

“At what point? I can’t remember exactly what point it was in the game.”

There was a stretch there with the three interceptions and you guys throwing the ball around. Did you consider running the ball more and what went into the playcalling during that stretch?

“Yeah, I mean, you can criticize that. We were trying to run the ball. We were trying to piece drives together. We really were. That was—we needed to score points and we needed to piece drives together and that’s what we were trying to do.”

There was a lot that went wrong on offense tonight but what can you hang your hat on the most in this game? What made you most proud of the offense even through all the faults tonight?

“Just not enough good things. There were good things. Opening drive was good; sixteen plays. We get the ball back, we started to do it again then three plays then we had a fumble. That two-minute drive before the half, that was materializing and looked like we would get points and we stopped ourselves there.

“Then we had the interception. It was hard to tell from where I was standing whether John was throwing the crossing route. Think he was expecting the receiver, Kekoa, to keep coming on the move. It was one of those things, weren’t on the same page there. I think the one ball, to your points, didn’t have a good grip on it. Overthrew the receiver. But yeah, there was good things. Not enough good things. Stopped ourselves. In the course of piecing drives together we turned the ball over. That’s what I saw.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

Wednesday Presser 10-4-17: Brian Smith

Wednesday Presser 10-4-17: Brian Smith

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 5th, 2017 at 9:20 AM

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[Fuller]

Pretty pleased with the progress of your group?

“Yeah, I’m pretty pleased with the progress so far. I think the guys have played well. Gotten off to a good start. Look forward to continuing that this week.”

What kind of a challenge do the MSU receivers pose to your guys?

“Well, they face a good challenge. They’re good, solid receivers. They’re young. Felton’s [Davis] coming off a big game against Iowa and he’s a threat down the field. He’s a tall guy so they can throw him the ball and he can come down and get it so he poses a problem and they’ll spread it around a good bit, so we’ve got our hands full.”

Do you sense a different energy in the building this week or is it business as usual?

“Obviously we had the extra week of practice last week and were focusing on getting better that week. Call it improvement week. We’ve had two weeks waiting for this game to come so everybody’s ready to go.”

[Hit THE JUMP for a bit on improving communication in the backfield]

Wednesday Presser 10-4-17: Greg Frey

Wednesday Presser 10-4-17: Greg Frey

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 4th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

As far as preparation, you’ve been through Michigan State weeks before. Pretty similar?

“Yeah, you know, obviously it’s a rival game. They’re a great team, great program. You’re really focused on improving you as you go through the season so the best version of who we are shows up on Saturday. Guys have been focused and working hard.”

You look at Zach Gentry and how has he developed into a great tight end, what’s it like coaching him?

“Like anything else, you want to see players develop and attack his problems and then not only attack it but bottle up and continue to do the things he’s doing well. Zach’s been really focused, been working really hard, came off a very good summer, has started a way that we felt good and so we’re going to see how it goes the rest of the way and if he continues that journey.”

MGoQuestion: What stands out to you on film about Michigan State’s defensive line?

“Oh, very good. Active. There’s a mold to what they develop and what they do and these guys certainly fit. They’re strong inside, fast on the outside. It’s a tough, great scheme. Ranked very highly and so that stands out the most.”

Where did your tackles improve during the improvement week? What did you guys work on?

“Really the biggest thing as we went with the front, the offensive line and the tight ends, is continuing to identify potential issues. These are great coaches that we face week in and week out in the best football conference in America and so they dissect you. Whether it be a stance or leaning here or slow hands or whatever it may be and so what we try to do is identify some of those things and correct them, and if they don’t need to be corrected just continue doing them.

“But really just focusing on each individual and the role they play and how they do it and seeing if we can tweak something here, get a little more efficient there, maybe take a false step out, something like that and that’s what we’re looking for as we move through improvement week, watching film, getting ready for the game.”

[After THE JUMP: Growing Pains (non-sitcom edition)]

Monday Presser 10-2-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-2-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 2nd, 2017 at 5:51 PM

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[Fuller]

Talk about the season Mike McCray’s having and really the career after having to bounce back from an injury-riddled start and really be one of your key players. Just talk about what he means to this team and this program.

“Elected captain by his teammates. Playing good ball. Been a sure tackler and been the quarterback of the defense—I hear it sometimes referred to a linebacker that way, signal-caller, et cetera. Just been steady. Been a real good football player.”

Opponents are averaging 3.5 points per games in the second halves of games against your defense. Talk about your staff in terms of the adjustments that they’re making in terms of what’s being thrown at them.

“Yeah, our defensive staff, led by Don Brown, they’re at the highest level in all phases, not just making adjustments at halftime. Game planning, teaching, all areas of coaching.”

What is Wilton’s status this week?

“He won’t be able to compete this week or for multiple weeks.”

Can you divulge what the nature of the injury is?

“Um…I think you can talk to Wilton about that or the doctors but yeah, he’s going to be out. John O’Korn will be the starter.”

[Hit THE JUMP to see which of Jim Harbaugh’s lists he forgot to bring to the presser]

Monday Presser 9-25-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-25-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 25th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Fuller]

Do you have an update on Wilton [Speight] and his condition?

“If we were playing a game this week he wouldn’t be able to play and we’ll assess it as we go.

“Somebody asked me—Angelique?—what I thought of the play. After having seen it now, I thought it was egregious. If I had a stronger word to use I would use it. With all the emphasis on protecting defenseless players, it appeared that the player knew what he was doing, targeted the head and neck area when the player was on the ground, and accelerated into it. Surprised they had two officials standing back there that were both looking at it, plus a review in the press box, that that wasn’t a targeting, that wasn’t a personal foul.”

Is that something that you contact the Big Ten about? There were other hits in that game, too.

“Yeah, yeah. We will contact them.”

What do you get when you do contact them?

“You get a piece of paper back that says they agree or disagree and has a short explanation.”

So it doesn’t really solve anything.

“With all the emphasis that’s been placed on the safety of the game, et cetera, I think it needs to be addressed. Needs to be answered.

“And the other thing, in a very good spirited way, we are gonna look at everything we can do for the visiting team here at the University of Michigan as it relates to a standard of care for the visitors on multiple levels. It’s become apparent after going around to all the visiting schools over the last couple years that [there is] a conscious effort of gamesmanship that is unsportsmanlike. You have locker rooms that are too small; they’re not heated or cooled properly—in this case there’s no air conditioning; such a tight, cramped environment; you’ve got to open the doors to get some kind of ventilation going in a very small area; people are walking by, they’re watching you dress; a number of urinals or bathrooms for the players and staff, I think there was two; there’s not even a private door around it; and then mainly the health and safety of the players. Very small space for a training room to have nothing in it. This is no different than the facility I think I saw when I was there in 1986.

“And not putting this on Purdue, this is league-wide. It needs to be addressed by the league, by the commissioner, and we’re going to lead the way. We’re going to look at what we have, but there needs to be a way to x-ray a player at the stadium. There needs to be a minimum standard of care for the players. Again, we put a lot of emphasis into health and safety of the players, but it doesn’t even seem sanitary. You were all in there. We’ve already talked about the heat, and it seems to be a conscious effort to gamesmanship, to get an advantage over the opponent.

“And I wish I had taken a picture of the actual table that it given to the visitors to put the players on when they’re injured. I mean, it looks like it’s from the ‘20s. It was ripped, it was—it’s just not good. I think that’s a pattern in the Big Ten. I asked Don Brown, ‘Did you see the same thing in the ACC?’ ‘Not to this extent.’ Did not see it to this extent in the Pac 12 when we coached there, and you could keep going on. Injured players who can’t get an x-ray, taken to a student health center in a van, we needed a brace for a player and there wasn’t one at the facility we were taken to. There’s a lot of things that needs to be addressed.

“Talked to Warde [Maneul] about it and I would ask that the rest of the Big Ten coaches look into this as well and make this a priority. We’re talking about all of our players here, and we’ll start first with us and make sure that you have guests, you have visitors that are coming in, that their health and safety needs are being addressed.”

[After THE JUMP: “Gamesmanship should cease at… the point of health and safety for the players.”]