Big Ten Media Days: Rich Rodriguez

Submitted by Tim on 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

Comments

mrlmichael

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

It seems like to me RR is singing a more positive tune than usual. He seems calm and confident which makes me feel more confident as well. The DB's are the thing im mostly worried about, hopefully we make strides in that area in August.

goody

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

"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."

Is that a direct quote from Rodriquez?   Just thought it to be weird that Rodriquez would call out Tate, unless the question was directed to how Tate would react if he lost the QB competition.

Don

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

Reminds me of the times Lloyd would make a pointed comment about a player, such as when he said that Braylon needed to get onto the same page.

This can only mean that there have been some issues with TF's conduct away from the field, and RR is basically telling him to get his shit together. Considering the competition from DR and even DG, you would like to think that Tate would heed the message. It doesn't necessarily mean serious problems, but there would be no reason for RR to mention it if everything was smooth. I recall a certain former QB who got into trouble at Skeeps and had to pay Lloyd's price, but eventually led us to a national championship.

bronxblue

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:54 PM ^

It does seem like RR has been hammering on this maturity issue for some time with Tate.  I remember it came up toward the end of last year, then it flared up during spring practices, and now it is back in the news.  Part of me thinks this is just some motivational ploy, but at some point you have to start wondering if Tate is just not "getting" what it means to be a football player and a student at UM.  I hope I'm wrong because the kid seems like a good guy, but RR has been beating on this drum long enough that it is hard to ignore anymore.

victors2000

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

Troy is an upper classman with experience as a DB and we've heard raves about Cam; if JT can lock up the other side of the field, that will go a long way in alleviating one of the big issues we had last year with our defense.

Rasmus

August 2nd, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

One possibility is that he failed something last Spring and is retaking it this Summer. I wouldn't worry too much about that. Football is waiting to see if he passes the class, which is likely -- this isn't his first year in school. 

More worrisome would be a minimum-GPA requirement. It's hard to speculate without knowing the University's or Football's rules on that, but it could mean he needs a decent grade, like an A or a B, to stay eligible.

Don

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

perhaps even more important than being DC, is coaching the LBs. If we get improved play out of that position, his defense is going to be much better overall.

blueinwinston

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

Man I hope Shaw gets eligible.  I think he could be something special and it would be great to have all options available at RB, especially when V. Smith may be tentative on the repaired knee.  

MGoViso

August 2nd, 2010 at 1:57 PM ^

but I don't recall a clear answer last time--what's the reasoning on not providing verbatim responses, or even a full transcript so we understand the context of RR's replies? Should we raise funds for an MGoDigitalRecorder?

Bodogblog

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:07 PM ^

Surprised that he still mentions the possibility of moving Denard around.  Spring should have removed all doubt.  Tate obviously still in it

JT Floyd was just a RS freshman last year.  He'll improve as a sophmore

Shaw... goddamnit...

Eyebrowse

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

Great notes from the presser.  I'm really hoping Cam can pull it together in game as well as he has on the practice field.  I've got a good feeling about that guy.

jblaze

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:14 PM ^

he miss practice time? I thought Practice started on the 9th or 10th (per one of the threads). That is ~1 week, but RR said he'll know Shaw's status in 2 weeks. So even if he's good to go, he misses a week correct? More importantly, is a player able to participate in Summer workouts if he is in a situation similar to Shaw's?

wolfman81

August 3rd, 2010 at 11:21 AM ^

Here is an appropriate link.  [Maybe not so appropriate.  It is for 2009-2010...and we want 2010-2011...this one should work.]

In summary, you can practice when:

  • You are currently enrolled full time.  OR  You are a senior who is in his final semester and you are only carrying the credits you need to graduate.
  • You are in a vacation period prior to your enrollment (so you can practice before class starts)

HOWEVER, there may be some institutional rules that prohibit practice based on other criteria.  The key phrase you are looking for is "good academic standing".

michgoblue

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:22 PM ^

This is the second or third time that RR has mentioned "maturity" in relation to Tate.  Yes, it was in response to a general question, but I do wonders if there is some issue (even a minor issue) of maturity with Tate.  I hope not, and if there is an issue, hope that he hets it taken care of before the season.

Also, I was surprised by the Shaw thing, but if there is 1 position where we have a deap pool of talent, it is RB.  If V. Smith really is 100% by next week, along with Toussaint and Cox, we are fine at that position.

Rasmus

August 2nd, 2010 at 5:05 PM ^

I don't think he means the basic immaturity of being a 19 or 20 year-old male, because that isn't really notable. Rich deals with that in all of his players -- it's part of his job, just like any other University professor.

My instinct when I hear that from Rodriguez is that it must be something about Tate's leadership of the team. I think if it were something more personal, Rich wouldn't be mentioning it to the press. This something they've talked about, and Rich is underlining its importance with his public comments. Tate knows what he means.

DGlenn26

August 2nd, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I'm glad you included the fact that RR prefers the OSU game as the last of the season.  Rittenberg glossed over this fact saying he wasn't "overly concerned."  But I think the timing of the game is important and moving it around could hurt some of its significance, so I'm happy to hear RichRod feels similarly.

MGoShoe

August 2nd, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

...by MaizenBrew Dave.  After giving his version of the blow by blow, he provides this gem:

...on a personal level, despite what you may wish to gleanfrom comments taken out of context, he is a really nice guy. I really wish more people could see him in this type of environment, just so they could see just how hard it is to be a nice guy with people shouting questions at you out of the blue and three dozen microphones positioned inches away from his face, forcing him to back into a wall if for nothing else than for it to serve as a virtual backstop for the questions being hurled at him.

He's a good football coach and a good human being. The fact that he can smile after the last two years, as pained as the look in his eyesmay be when he talks about the pratfalls he's incurred, speaks to his character. He knows as well as anyone that he's blessed to do what he does for a living. And he still comes out there witha bottle of water in one hand, seemingly as his only means of defense from the gauntlet of microphones, and answers questions witha forthrightness that we really have no business to expect from anyone. Rodirguez is good people. Please, lets keep this in mind as the season goes on, regardless of how it turns out.

wiscwood

August 2nd, 2010 at 11:35 PM ^

Michigan is going to improve, and will struggle with the better teams. The Wolverines could win as few as seven games and as many as 10 games. They will probably win somewhere inbetween that.

Michigan will kick MSU's stinky green buttock. They will beat ND, but it will be close. Iowa and PSU will be tough games. OSU could be Michigan's to win if they play a flawless game.

I think this is a year for happy surprises at Michigan. UM has more depth and experience that will translate into more wins.