Akron Postgame Presser: Players Comment Count

Heiko September 15th, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Taylor Lewan and Devin Gardner

As leaders of this team, what was your message to your teammates after this game?

Lewan: "It was embarrassing. Gotta give it to Akron. They played a hard-fought game. We didn't prepare. This is on the seniors, this is on the leadership of this team, and extremely poor, poor leadership. Especially on my side. Being the one offensive captain on this team, I put that offensive performance on myself. Devin [Gardner] didn't have enough time to throw. Our running backs didn't have enough holes, and that's my fault. That's my fault."

Gardner: "I mean, he pretty much said it all. I talked to Tom Brady and he talked about being the best quarterback for the team, every time out in practice and in the game. I was not the best quarterback for the team today. Like [Lewan] said, it's embarrassing, and we're going to respond. We won the football game, and we're going to respond, I can guarantee you that."

Taylor, was there anything specific that they were bringing at the offensive line that --

Lewan: "No."

Do you think this was due to a letdown from last week or maybe even some disrespect for Akron?

Lewan: "I don't know about disprect. I think Akron came out and fought hard. Like we said before, we didn't prepare as a team. That is truly embarrassing for Michigan that we came out like that. It's not fair to the fans, it's not fair to the people who are associated with this program. It's not fair to the freshmen on this team who aren't playing. This is the seniors' fault. This is the captains' fault. We will not come out like this again."

Given that assessment, what changes this week?

Lewan: "Preparation. If any guy on this team thinks they can do anything but prepare every single week -- this is your job. You came here to be a student-athlete. You go to school, you get your degree, you win Big Ten championships. If we prepare like we did this week, we won't win another game."

Taylor, were you aware the team wasn't playing well this week?

Lewan: "We can always prepare better."

Devin, can you talk about the pressure you faced?

Gardner: "It's something I deal with well usually. I wasn't myself today. I can't really say much else. You know, pressure doesn't bother me, but they got to me today, and I made a lot of bad decisions. I probably played my worst game ever. It won't happen again."

A lot of people might chalk this up as a wake-up call. Would you agree with that?

Lewan: "100 percent."

Gardner: "You guys can call it what you want, but we're going to respond. That's what we talked about all summer. Responding to adversity. This is the probably the most adverse situation we could be in. We almost lost to Akron. No disrespect to Akron, but we almost lost after coming out and having a great win last week in front of the whole world, and we come out and almost blow it. It's majority me. I would have been sick if we didn't have a chance to pursue our goals of a national championship and Big Ten championship because of the way I played today."

Taylor, are there any lingering effects of the injury?

Lewan: "Don't worry about me. I'm going to play in the game."

Devin, you had to respond late to score. Talk about that last drive and then having to sweat out the last few moments?

Gardner: "I mean we shouldn't have to have our backs against the wall like that against anybody. Not just Akron, but anybody. We did what we had to do. We won the football game and we responded with the last drive to put us ahead, and then the defense responded and got us a stop on the goal line. We can't change the past. The game is over and we won and we're going to move forward. Like Taylor said, we're not coming out like that again."

Devin, why weren't you able to shake off your mistakes today?

Gardner: "I shook it off and drove down to score."

You had a lot of turnovers --

Gardner: "I made mistakes like any quarterback would."

What were you guys were thinking when Brennen Beyer had the hit on the quarterback on the last play?

Lewan: "Uh, this is embarrassing for the University of Michigan football team? I'm pretty sure I've said that three times. So. Yeah. We won the game. We're 3 and 0. That's great. It was embarrassing. It was embarrassing. It wasn't Devin's fault. It was the leadership of this team. Devin's a leader on this team, but it was not on him."

What about Beyer's play?

Lewan: "I didn't even see it."

Did you go to the student section afterwards?

Lewan: "No. I'm not -- we're 3 and 0. I'm not here to celebrate that kind of game, that kind of preparation. I know in that locker room it's quiet right now. I'm fired up. I'm fired up and we have a lot of work to do if we want to accomplish our goals. The seniors in this class, Devin, Jake Ryan, we've all worked too hard. Too hard to have games like this. Way too hard. Y'all don't even know. Y'all just write shit down. We're just ready to play. We'll be ready."

When preparing for a team like Akron, is there ever a discussion about Appalachian State or Toledo?

Gardner: "I mean, you guys may see us sometimes in some games as not the favorite. We always see ourselves as the favorite. So every game [has the potential to be] an upset."

Taylor, what's your assessment of the problems in the running game?

Lewan: "We're not making holes for the running back. Fitz [Toussaint] is a great, unbelievable running back, but you can't do anything if you don't have a hole. A couple times there's a hole here and there. Obviously Fitz got out, a couple penalties took him back, but we'll get it fixed."

Are they assignment issues or physical issues?

Lewan: "Uh, I don't know. We'll have to look at the film."


Brennen Beyer and Thomas Gordon

I didn't take a photo, so here is a baby seal.

Brennen, what goes through your mind when you hit the quarterback but you don't know the result of the play until you turn around?

Beyer: "Yeah. Well, I could tell that the ball was in the air so I just turned around to see what happened. I fell over and I was just looking at my teammates and their reactions told me that we had won the game, so that was awesome."

Thomas, you gave up 300+ yards of passing for the second straight week. What do you need to do to shore up some of those issues in the secondary?

Gordon: "We just have to compete. We have to get better pressure with the defensive lineman. That was an emphasis this week. And as DBs we have to be playmakers. We just have to make plays on the ball. They executed. With all respect to Akron, they came out ready to play."

Taylor Lewan said "embarrassing" a lot. Your thoughts?

Beyer: "I don't think you can really expect anything coming into a game. You have to treat every opponent the same. I think we need to prepare better in practice and come out and know what our job is and execute a lot better than we did this week."

Taylor also said there was a lack of leadership. Did you notice any of that during practice?

Gordon: "Tuesday and Wednesday we had back to back 90 degree days, so some of the guys were kind of lacking [in effort]. He's absolutely right. It's leadership. We preach it all week, but obviously there were different certain circumstances today. We didn't execute."

What are your concerns about letting opponents convert third downs so frequently? What do you need to do to improve?

Beyer: "Like Thomas said, it starts with pass rush. The guys up front, we have to get to that quarterback a lot faster. We've been working on it and we have to work on it a lot more next week. Also in the backfield, just know your assignment and execute."

Was there an emotional letdown this game?

Gordon: "Well that can be an excuse, but we still expect to come out and execute and compete. We did not do that. But you know, obviously you see the stands at the beginning of the game, but it shouldn't affect you. This is a young team, and we can't let things like that affect the team."

Red zone defense has been pretty good. What's your feeling about letting them get down there though?

Beyer: "Red zone's a big thing. It's a big mindset and we really pride ourselves in having the best red zone defense you can. But we can't let the ball get in there all the time. It's going to happen every once in a while, but we really need to work on keeping them out of the red zone and holding them to no points."

Brennen, can you talk about the last play and what you saw?

Beyer: "I was blitzing right up the middle and to my surprise, it just opened wide up. Jibreel [Black] did a good job opening that gap wide up, so I just tried to get to the quarterback as fast as I could, and I thought he was going to throw it, so I tried to get a hand on the ball."

Did you?

Beyer: "I don't really know. I don't really know what happened after I hit him."

Is this a kind of win that can galvanize a team?

Gordon: "I mean, you can let it, but we're not that type of team. [MGo: I don't think Gordon knows what that word means.] We're not going to let that happen. We're going to go in and make these corrections. We're happy that this happened right now. We need this as a team, and we feel like it's going to make us better. We're going to make the corrections. We're going to put this game behind us, and we have UConn on the road next week."

What's your assessment of how the younger corners played this game?

Gordon: "They deserved to be out there. In practice, they practiced hard. The coaches trusted them enough to put them on the field. They're out there. They deserve to be out there. JD [Jourdan Lewis], he had one big play against him, but overall they're doing a good job."


Zone Left

September 15th, 2013 at 7:43 PM ^

Lewan probably shouldn't be in contact drills this week. He might kill the scout team defensive end, and then he'd go to jail and Taco Charlton* would be dead.

*if Taco Charlton played on scout team, not sure who does...


September 16th, 2013 at 12:33 AM ^

I never compare student athletes between my school. (UM) and or rivals. There are always exceptions but overall most football players aren't known for their general intelligence. No offense, of course. It was just clear that he didn't know what the word "galvanizing" meant. Yet, I'm sure he is of average/basic intelligence. Most "jocks" just tend to be on the average to dull side on the intelligence scale.

the unsilent m…

September 15th, 2013 at 8:17 PM ^

Hate them though I may... Rarely, if ever, do I see an empty student section at OSU, regardless of who they're playing. They are passionate about their football teams and they show it. How ironic that the our students were whining about this year's ticket/seating changes... and then they don't even show up!!


September 15th, 2013 at 10:16 PM ^

Alright, I've had this argument a few times.

  • The GA policy makes the stands look far more empty because everyone moves to the front so you see the top sections lacking
  • The student section did end up filling quite nicely
  • GA policy makes it so students have to stand in line for hours prior to kickoff, who wants to do that for Akron?
  • Speaking of Akron, schedule quality opponents.  I had two tickets to yesterday's game and I could not get rid of them for free.

Instead of just bemoaning the students, how about people offer solutions?  What do you think would get students to the games, especially noon games against the (supposedly) worst FBS teams?  To the athletic department's credit, they've tried through incentives like the HAIL program, offering donuts to students who come early, etc.

Contrast this to last week's game against Notre Dame, in which students lined up 22 hours prior to kickoff.  I don't see the dedication of those students willing to wait nearly an entire day in line getting any sort of accolades.


September 15th, 2013 at 10:26 PM ^

1) The section was less than half full at kickoff. That's not "looking far more empty", that's just being empty.

2) Above the tunnels were still mostly empty, which is a good maybe 1/4 - 1/5 of the section not showing up.

3) You don't have to wait in line for hours to see the game. You can show up right before game time to watch the team play. Too bad if you don't get in the first ten rows.

4) I can't really argue if you don't want to go or if you couldn't, but there's only around six home games a year that you can go to, so go to them if you can and support the team no matter who they are playing.


September 15th, 2013 at 10:56 PM ^

Is not the student section anymore, it's "dynamic seating," i.e. the public. It should have been pretty easy to tell, since when it eventually filled up in the second half, the people sitting there weren't wearing maize. For all their faults, at least the students understand what a "maize out" is.


September 15th, 2013 at 11:03 PM ^

I did not offer excuses.  I offered explainations for why students don't show up until late. 

Again, people just like to complain and complain without offering any insight into what, if anything, the school should do differently.

And as I said, where are the accolades for students showing up 22 hours before kickoff for the Michigan/Notre Dame game last week?  None on MGoBlog.

As far as my extra tickets go, I had 4 but the two people who usually come with couldn't make it due to a wedding this weekend.  I was there, as I have been at every home game, since I was a student starting in 2008.

the unsilent m…

September 15th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

...the student section was just as embarrassingly empty under last year's policies. I can also remember not so long ago (primarily pre-RR) when people complained that our early season scheduling was too tough, as early season losses took us out of the national picture. The bottom line is the students shouldn't have to be coaxed to show up and support their football team- they aren't elsewhere. Whatever excuses you may have for not supporting your team at home (obviously you're not alone), it appears as if they're looking for you...

You Only Live Twice

September 15th, 2013 at 11:32 PM ^

this is weird?  it's someone's job to fill up the stadium, and by having a huge, glaring chunk of stadium empty for half the game, that someone failed at their job.  never mind getting into what time students wake up or how much studying they have, etc., there is something about the system that was put in place, that is not working.  the architects of that system should stop pointing fingers and figure out what the answer is.  students should be able to buy tickets, sell tickets, show up, not show up and the stadium should pretty much look the same through all the home games.  students should also not have to stand in line for hours for any game, that is insane, i give them credit for showing up at all.  fix the system and stop blaming the people buying the tickets.


September 16th, 2013 at 1:44 AM ^

I live Tuscaloosa, AL and in 2011, I took my son to the Nov. 19th night game against Georgia Southern.  It was a particularly cold night for this fan base and it was a cupcake game.  The stands were nearly full, even the upper deck, for kick off.  It was until the 3rd qtr and a significant Alabama lead when the student section started showing signs of emptying.  So I have to disagree with trusting you regarding student sections looking depressing.  I also attended a number of games last year with my wife, an Auburn fan, where when the game started, the stands were nearly full.  Even towards the end of a very depressing season for that teams fan base.  

This is Michigan

September 15th, 2013 at 11:51 PM ^

Offer tiered student ticket packages similar to the general public ticket packages. Give students the option to buy 3-4 games instead of full season.

Dynamic GA student section size. Shrink down the student section for less quality games and sell the rest to general public.


September 16th, 2013 at 12:45 AM ^

our student view/support of this team is pathetic and it was before this game. Could it be Akron and the thought that we'd be up 40 by the time they hit their seat in the 2nd quarter? Sure. But that notion alone is a disgrace. Almost makes me want to see a much smaller student section and then all fan general admission for a flat fee. Last few years have been atrocious outside of 4 games a year. Cut it or schedule better opponents and give us even less advantage compared to the osu and sec teams that still have their students/fans go nuts on time for scrub teams. I'm ashamed of our student section to the point that if they cut it in half next year I would welcome the experiment. Not saying that out of anger to the game I consider a win worse or equal to the App loss. I really do. App had NFL kids on both sides of they ball and ran an exotic spread when it was still fairly exotic. Akron, staff and transfers and all are BAD. BAD BAD BAD. No excuse for that showing by the team and fans.


September 15th, 2013 at 8:34 PM ^

98% of the undergrads at OSU are from Ohio.  Their degree sucks and the only point of pride they have is their football team.  

Let students bring beer into the stadium and schedule teams with real university names like the old days, and you might see similar passion to all of your likely selective 1980s memories.



September 15th, 2013 at 10:28 PM ^

Trust me, I hate Ohio State football as much as anyone, and while they aren't rated as highly as UM academically, they are a quality school. In the latest US News rankings they were 52nd in the country and 18th public school. Knocking that education and saying things like OSU students only live for football is incredibly elitist and pompous and what gives Michigan fans a bad name.


September 16th, 2013 at 1:02 AM ^

but, as I said earlier, they at least show up on time for even the scrub teams that you need at least one of for a de-facto bye week. I also truly do think adding alcohol would help. I do. Not that it wouldn't have been nuts anyway but so many snuck in bottles for UTL2 and the guy next to me who did had our group going crazy, sec style. Allow booze and that would help, imo. Other than that, what can be done if students don't want to see Akron? Again, schedule harder opponents just to get them to come and risk a wise record? I ask that as you need to pad the schedule a bit in the BCS era. Playoffs won't change it as much as many think. You need at least 2 ooc "gimme games" that are glorified byes/practices. Who wants osu playing scrubs while filling the student section and us scheduling legit opponents in hopes the students show up? In a way I do but we all know (2006) that you can't lose in the B1G and go to the title game. Something has to get these students off their ass and I say later kickoffs, booze or both. That our cut the student section in half and make all tickets flat fee and general admin. **droid app, sorry**


September 16th, 2013 at 8:47 AM ^

It might make sense to say that because 98% or whatever of the undergrads there are from Ohio (and thus born and bred OSU fans), they get better turnouts from students. But I don't think it's fair to compare academic prestige to attendance.


September 15th, 2013 at 8:36 PM ^

Looks slow and unathletic IMO. I almost wonder if Frank Clark has put on too much weight. He looks slow and plodding. I mean he came in at 220 or whatever and now he's pushing 280? I don't know but I think some guys can carry the extra weight and some can't. We just have no speed or athleticism from the rush end at all. You do have to give Akron some credit. They have coaches who've been around the block and a good plan of attack on both sides of the ball and they have some players but the final score should not have been that close.

The O line is a bit of a concern. Akron's d line average weight is 265? And our guys were getting pushed back. And I get that when a team sets out to stuff the run its difficult on any offense I don't care who you are but my goodness you get to a point against lesser opponents and you just need to line up and get nasty. Inflict your power and will on them. I don't know if that's a reflection on Funk or what.

I also think that as good as Borges is a play caller I think he's had some brain farts in some situations. Last week on Gardners horrid interception, the play should not have even been called. RUN A DRAW! Same with Akron. With a QB that still isn't all that proven I think you're always playing with fire calling pass plays inside your own 15. Run a draw or a cut back see what it gets you, if not a first down you punt and live to see another day. At the end of the day the O line is the most troubling. Like someone else said with the interior three being penciled in week to week maybe it's time to give Glasgow a shot at C and throw CBryant in there to get some sort of push.


September 15th, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

I like how all the players make it a point of emphasis to show respect for Akron, even though they are angry about the situation.  Win with class, almost lose with class.,


September 15th, 2013 at 9:05 PM ^

These young guys who accept responsibility for a lack luster performance.  They are really good teammates and representatives of U of M.

But let's see how they step up next Saturday against another weak opponent.


September 15th, 2013 at 10:23 PM ^

It doesn't matter what the players say.  They're still kids.  I actually have never liked seeing college kids trot out for these press conferences.  Senior captains like Lewan, maybe.  Otherwise, forget it.  Reporters can write their stories based on what they see in the game.  There is little meaningful these kids can add.  


September 16th, 2013 at 8:17 AM ^

You do realize college teams change significantly each year? Did you know kovacs is gone? Denard is gone. Junior Hemingway is gone. This is no longer 2009 or 2010. It's not even 2012. College students are on campus a maximum of 5 years other than multiple medical redshirts.

What the 2009 team did after a bad performance has no bearing on what this team does after a performance, good or bad.


September 16th, 2013 at 6:27 AM ^

 They obviously didn't try to hard to win. Honestly yes they do owe me something, they owe every fan something, every student and every alum. They owe us their best effort and they owe it to themselves as well.


September 16th, 2013 at 7:31 AM ^

They owe their play to themselves and their team. No one else.

Hearing the boos coming from the stands pissed me off Saturday. Just what these kids want to hear when they know they are not playing their best. I think a majority of our fan base needs to listen to Bo's speech again. "We are not going to criticize each other, we are going to encourage one another."


September 16th, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

 I wasn't at the game , I was watching  on TV but I would have booed if they could have heard me. Stop calling them kids they are grown ass adults. Some of the team has even admited they didn't put out their best effort getting prepared for Akron. If you don't put out your best effort each week, how can you expect the fans or students to support you with their best effort?

 If it wasn't for the fans there wouldn't be a team and there wouldn't be a big house. So yea they do owe the fans.



September 16th, 2013 at 5:13 PM ^

 It's not about to boo or not to boo. We played poorly against a team we technically should have blown out. Players are disappointed and fans are disappointed, how we all chose to handle that disappointment is up us. We as fans get ridiculed as much if not more than the players after a bad performance. I'm sure most of the players who lost to Toledo and AP state have pretty much forgotten about it but it still stings with the fans. Everytime they show the Clowney hit on Smith there is a forum on the boards about it. Vincent has moved on I'm sure. It's all part of being a fan, you ride with them during the good times and bad but, the team let us down Saturday and they let themselves down. Thanks God that last pass went incomplete or else this would be infinitly worse


September 16th, 2013 at 6:57 PM ^

Your sense of self-worth is so tied up in the team that you're too soft to take some ribbing from people you know. Fans are NOT ridiculed more. When you can find a blog with dozens of posts making fun of the fans, let me know. You're obviously too soft to handle 1/1000th the pressure they deal with.

And I was at the game, and while the random jackass may have booed, the only concentrated booing was at the Akron cheerleaders when they (more than once) carried their flags across the end zone.


September 15th, 2013 at 10:16 PM ^

I can't say how much Q and Pipkins are playing, bit we are in nickel A LOT, so the nose tackle is out a lot, so they probably aren't playing very much. Both ND and Akron (maybe CMU too bet I don't remember) played a lot of 3-5 wide receiver sets, so the nickel package has been very prevalent so far.