Route-running wise, have you seen, do you anticipate, I know that’s been kind of a topic of discussion with the offense, drops, that sort of thing. Can you evaluate that?
“Every game you can evaluate a lot of things, whether it’s drops or wrong routes or route-running in general. We’re going to evaluate that today when we go over the film with coaches and get some feedback.”
To us maybe it seems like an easy fix [re: route-running]. Is that an easy fix?
“Route-running? Yeah, there can be fixes to it, whether its’ the timing with the quarterback or knowing zone versus man, which affects the route. Just little things that can be picked up on.”
Mood of the team coming out of that one more angry? More determined? How would you gauge it?
“Yeah, we were definitely disappointed we lost but if we all stayed disappointed it wouldn’t be good for this week, so we all agreed that we’re going to move on and take our frustrations out on Rutgers.”
What have you noticed out of Donovan through seven weeks of the season as far as getting acclimated, learning, and picking up on things?
“Donovan, he’s definitely maturing a lot. He’s doing really well in practice. He’s picking up on things that I wasn’t even picking up freshman year. He’s understanding the game like a veteran, and that’s going to come a long way throughout his career.”
Can you detail maybe sitting down and having a conversation or what are the Xs and Os like when you’re talking in practice?
“It’s just little things, whether it’s different routes, how to run this route, how to see this coverage, how to see this safety rolling. He’s seeing the whole field really well. Everyone knows that he was having trouble on punt return muffing balls and all that and he hasn’t muffed a ball since, so it just shows how mature and how comfortable he really is.”
[After THE JUMP: Isaac, Bushell-Beatty, and Poggi]
Do the older guys watch out for the younger guys in that respect at all just to make sure that didn’t shake them up too much?
“The team protects the team, so it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. We’re all in this together, so it doesn’t matter if I’m a fifth-year or we’ve got a true freshman playing, we’re all invested the same in this season.”
With two and a half games under your belt, how do you feel like you’ve progressed?
“Going forward, I feel like I’ve made some big steps. There’s still a lot of things that I need to work on but most of those things are things that come with experience and of course putting more time into the book and just learning from my mistakes and putting forth my best foot to be the best player I can be.”
What are some of those areas that you think you can improve?
“Just in terms of playing more confident is probably one of the biggest things that I’ve improved on, and it’s something that I’ve still got to do a lot of work with. When it comes to run and pass, I think I’ve done a lot better in terms of playing with my hands and just I think it both aspects trying to be more physical.”
Where do you think the lack of dynamic plays comes from from this offense—the deep balls, the big runs?
“I’d say if anything those probably come from just a lack of confidence. I think we need to play with—we need to play as if we’ve been here before. If we all just continue to try and do our jobs and play a high level, I think it all figures itself out.”
You mentioned confidence with the offense. Is it a thing where it’s fluctuating from week to week or is it where it’s just steadily growing?
“I think it has been progressing weekly. It’s been going forward in practice. We just need to put more emphasis on trusting ourselves individually and just continue to play as if we know we’re capable of it.”
Who’s been the leader on the offensive line?
“I think Mason Cole. Mason Cole and Pat Kugler have done a great job of continuing to push us all in the right direction and help us all understand that. I think Mason having the most experience on the O-line helps a lot and we can learn a lot from him considering he’s played in a lot of games [and] he hasn’t missed a snap. Going forward, I think he’ll continue to do a great job of trying to teach us those things.”
How much different do things look in practice with this offense? Are you guys frustrated when you go to Saturdays and you say, ‘Gosh, this was working in practice all week’?
“No, I don’t think we get frustrated. We know we have to stick to the plan and focus on the plan that we’ve developed during practice and during game week preparing for the team and going forward we just need to continue to try and execute that plan.”
What do you think went wrong for you guys on Saturday?
“Like I said, football, it’s not like thing. It doesn’t always go the way you plan it to. Sometimes mistakes are made but it’s out of your hands. Sometimes it can be the slightest thing that can make things go south. It could have been anything. There are a lot of things that we could take from the game and point out and say we need to fix but I don’t think there’s any specific event or any thing that made that happen or triggered that.”
Sorry to go back to this confidence thing, but how does something like that improve given that it’s not like a technique thing?
“For me personally, I think confidence is just something that’s not going to show up overnight or show up—it may not show up in one game. I think it’s something that shows up during the course of a season or it may take a little bit more time to develop but I know that once that happens, we’ll be in great shape.”
Do you change the goals? With two losses in the Big Ten it sort of changes how you can get to a Big Ten championship.
“I think right now our focus, our goal, is to beat Rutgers, so our goal today is to get in, watch film as best we can, practice as best we can today. Take it one day at a time. Just get ready to play Rutgers. That’s our goal.”
You’ve been part of the process of absorbing a tough loss and moving on. Do you put anything extra into the young guys this week?
“I mean, yeah, for sure. I remember last year was really tough when we lost against Ohio State. Just being around those guys, it was definitely a tough loss. I think being there, I think the best way to put something into the young guys is lead by example. Show them we’re still practicing hard. Now practice harder to correct what happened. Just really doing it by example.”
John O’Korn mentioned after the game that Harbaugh, in his postgame comments, mentioned fake love and bandwagons. Is there a circle-the-wagons kind of mentality right now with this team?
“I think that it’s—just with any team and fanbase there’s going to be negative talk about it. It’s just the way it is. Everyone wants perfection and when that doesn’t happen people start falling off the ship. We know that no one on our team can fall off the ship. That’s what’s so important about being on a team is that when it comes down to it, the most important thing is the players on the team and the coaches. We’ve just got to keep battling and get ready for Rutgers.”