Michigan Media Day: The Coaches

Michigan Media Day: The Coaches

Submitted by Tim on August 24th, 2009 at 1:04 PM


Rich Rodriguez (video available from MGoBlue here).

On preparation:

  • The coaching staff has a pretty good idea where they are at this point in the preparation for the season. They aren't ready to play a game yet (who in the country really is), but the staff is confident that they'll be able to get ready for WMU in the next two weeks.
  • More players have bought in to the system than had at this time last year. It's not that the players weren't trying to buy in last year, they just now know what is expected of them, and the coaches know more about what each player is capable of.
  • The 2nd-year jump may be partially attributable to the fact that a lot of young players have gotten time in the first year of his coaching tenure. Last year's team was very inexperienced offensively, which led to some of the struggles. He feels good about the progress this year's team has made, but he also felt the same way last year.
  • Last year must be used as a learning experience. They know what players they have, and how to get the program from where it is to where they want it to be. It's not happening as fast as he wants, but the path from point A to point B is now visible. Within the next two recruiting classes, the roster should be built up to where they want it to be. For now, early playing time is a big draw for recruits.

On Saturday's scrimmage (MGoBlue notes):

  • There were both explosive offensive plays and also some defensive stops. Part of the inconsistency has to do with a lack of depth.
  • All 3 QBs took reps with the first team, though Sheridan was the first guy out there (not necessarily the best, mind you). The guys have different skill sets, but all will learn the whole offense.
  • The QB situation should be settled by the first game, but probably not long before it. Note: The "all 3 QBs will take snaps" AP article floating around is really disingenuous. The only time Rodriguez mentioned such a thing was a joke that all 3 would play at the same time. While it wouldn't surprise me if all three guys took some snaps against Western, this current talk is really much ado about nothing.
  • It's hard to tell where your team is when you're playing only your offense against your defense. Rodriguez reiterated his desire to have a preseason scrimmage.


  • Rodriguez likes to be able to play 20-22 guys on defense, but he's not sure if they have enough depth this year to be able to do that.
  • The LBs at the top of the depth chart are good, there is just very little depth. Ezeh, Mouton, Demens, and Stevie Brown are pretty good, but the remaining depth is almost all freshmen.
  • Jason Olesnavage and Brendan Gibbons are leading the pack at kicker. Bryan Wright and a freshman walk-on (apologies, as I didn't catch the name. I believe it was Kris Pauloski) are behind the first two.
  • He's not worried about establishing one running back. The best guys will play, and the offense needs at least 3 guys.
  • Odoms and Mathews are looking to be the primary punt returners, with Cissoko the main man on kickoff returns. Some freshmen are involved in the battles, and simply catching the ball would be an improvement from last year.
  • Warren, Cissoko, Floyd, Teric Jones, and JT Turner are the main corners, with walkon Tony Anderson behind them. There isn't great depth there. Still no word on whether Witty will get in (note: this isn't a good sign, most likely).
  • Koger and Webb are both much better than they were last year. They should see some increased passes coming their way.
  • The Offensive line has stayed healthy, which is a huge improvement over last year. There's a bit of a battle at right tackle, and David Moosman can back up Molk at center. All three freshman OLs (Lewan, Schofield, Washington) will eventually be outstanding players for Michigan.


Greg Robinson has a good plan and lots of experience. He understands what certain players are and are not capable of. The team will play against a variety of different offenses, so being able to defend both power teams and spread teams is important. And what a better transition to...

Greg Robinsongerg_mediaday.JPG

  • The decision to come to Michigan was an easy one - "It's Michigan." He and his wife have felt comfortable from the beginning.
  • The 4-3 Under is similar to the USC system, but there are some different tactics used than Pete Carroll's squad does. Robinson's scheme has more of a 2-deep flavor, while USC typically has a single-safety or 3-deep scheme. While Carroll is developing more Cover-2 elements, it all depends on what the opponent will try to do.
  • Stevie Brown will be able to match physical play just fine, despite being a former safety. He's also an advantage when the field is spread.
  • Brandon Graham has a future playing in the NFL, and Mike Martin is a physically gifted player. When his fundamentals develop, he'll only get better. Depth on the DL, however, needs to develop - a process that started in the offseason.

Tony Dews

  • JR Hemingway will probably be one of the best big-play guys this year, so not having him last year was a big blow.
  • Je'Ron Stokes will start out as an outside receiver - not a slot.
  • The wideout group practices their blocking technique as much as they do any other aspect of playing the position. They block as often as they catch or run routes.

Greg Frey

  • Coach Frey doesn't like setting concrete expectations. They pigeonhole you into a ceiling, and give an excuse to stop pushing yourself once you hit the expectation.
  • Players are more comfortable in the system this year than they were last year. There is more competition, which allows everyone to push themselves.
  • Steve Schilling is a good player and person. He moved to guard to help the team, because they needed him more at that position.
  • Players are more comfortable in the system this year than they were last year. There is more competition, which allows everyone to push themselves.
  • Mark Huyge had a good camp last year, but got hurt and missed 5-6 weeks of the season. That helps explain his seemingly-sudden emergence as a factor at tackle.
  • All the redshirt freshmen are athletic, and hard workers. The mental game might be the hardest part, as they have to learn that making mistakes is OK as long as you understand and correct the issue.

Information from the players will be coming up later this week.