Monday Presser 9-15-14: Doug Nussmeier

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 16th, 2014 at 9:07 AM

nuss 9-15

Offensive line from the start of fall camp to now: where’s it come and in what ways have you seen it grow?

“I think the biggest growth’s been in the communication. I see our guys on a day-to-day basis getting more comfortable and getting better at communicating. We’ve talked about it still as a point of emphasis. I think it always will be. I think you see that in really good football teams. If you watch the line play, if you just watch the trenches and you watch an offensive line play for a really good offensive team you’ll see both the verbal communication that goes on and then all the stuff that happens after the snap with the nonverbal stuff and how they pass games [Ed: I think that’s what he said] and all that type of stuff. But pleased with where we’re at as far as our focus and where we need to go. Once again, consistency.”

As far as focus goes offensively moving the ball, are you frustrated? Sometimes it looks like you’re moving the ball well. There’s other times you’re not moving it at all. There’s other times where not moving it well at all is an understatement. Is there a level of frustration for you right now? Is this offense coming together as planned or is it behind schedule?

“I don’t—I guess that’s kind of a difficult question to ask. I don’t really understand.”

Are you frustrated? Is this offense where it should be in your eyes?

“No, I’m not frustrated at all. Shoot, you look out there at the field at times- I look out there during the game and when you don’t have Funch out there and you have Amara Darboh catching his first touchdown, Da’Mario Jones comes in and catches his first pass [which was a] big third-down conversion, you look at a true freshman left tackle, Devin in his third game in a new system, at times we’re playing Khalid [Hill] at tight end. You just look at the youth out there [and] there is going to be a growth process. Our kids have worked extremely hard and take great pride in doing things right. Now, has it been perfect? No. And do we have a long way to go? Yes. But the attention is there, the focus is there, the want-to is there and we’ve just got to continue to improve.”

Last week you mentioned infancy stages. For another baby analogy, would you say it’s crawling now?

“Well, we took another step. We took a step in the right direction. Still we know as a group the consistency’s got to be better but at times you see us do some things very, very well.”

[After the THE JUMP: Nussmeier summarizes the offensive strategy against Miami and gives his thoughts on tempo]

MGoQuestion: Against Miami the offense was far more under center than against Notre Dame, when I think you were in shotgun about 85% of the time. What was the thought behind that?

“Well, like I said before we’re going to try and devise a plan each and every week to give our guys the best chance for success, and when you look at Notre Dame when you fall behind in a game like that obviously sometimes it changes your backfield sets and some things you wanted to do. And there’s also different plays that maybe one week we feel better running out of maybe the pistol or shotgun than we do under center for various blitzes or things that we’re going to check or those type of things. So backfield sets, shotgun, under center will vary by gameplan.”

With Funchess being out, in terms of besides the obvious with him being able to score touchdowns and things like that it seems like one of his biggest attributes is as a bailout. If nothing’s really happening you can throw it up to him and let him hopefully make a play on the ball. When you don’t have a guy like that does it kind of set up the offense for…

“Well…”

Maybe that’s how mistakes can happen?

“I hope we’re not letting you coach the quarterback this week because we don’t teach just throw it up to Funch when things aren’t going well.” /laughs

I wouldn’t do that either. And I wouldn’t take the job.

“That was a good one there. I think the biggest thing [is] you can get played a little differently when you have a receiver of his caliber of play. It forces people to respect you on the perimeter. You get one-on-one matchups [and] it makes it awful difficult for people to play you that way whereas when you don’t have a guy like Devin it puts more pressure on the other guys, for sure, and you may see a little bit different box as far as the running game. You may get the extra hat down in there that maybe they don’t want to be so involved because they’re trying to get a double team on a receiver of his caliber.”

You always want to control the ball on offense but does that ramp up when you’re playing a team that loves to play uptempo and have a ton of possessions?

“We always say each and every week [that] we want to control the tempo on offense, whatever that may be. If we need to speed up and we want to play fast we want to be able to do that. If we need to slow down and take more time we need to do that. Now, I think you get in trouble when you start to look at your opponent and say, ‘If we don’t eat this much time on this drive…’ You’ve got to play aggressively and we’re going to aggressively take what the defense gives us each and every week.”

Is Jake Butt further ahead than you might have expected him at this point and what he’s able to do in the offense?

“I don’t know that I had an expectation for Jake. You just never know when a guy’s coming off an ACL. Knowing the quality of young man you’re talking about, the quality of character, just a phenomenal kid. His work ethic, his desire. I mean, from day one he said, ‘I’m going to have the quickest ACL recovery in history.’ When you know the kid nothing would surprise you. Obviously each and every day we’re trying to give him a little bit more. He’s a phenomenal football player and really looking forward to when he gets back to really being at full strength.”

How does he change when he is at full strength what you can call and what you can do inside your offense?

“Well, I think when you look at his ability to create matchups for you in the passing game and do some things like that. As you saw in the game we did a couple different things with him. He’s a guy that gives us another weapon on offense.”

Doug, after the turnovers there in the second quarter it seemed like you guys really made an effort to just keep the ball on the ground and pound it with Derrick a little bit. Was that one of those things that they were giving you or were you going to be careful because the offense was turning it over a little bit there?

“Well, I don’t know that anybody would say that after three games you’re minus-seven in the turnover margin [that] you’d feel good about where you’re at there. Obviously it’s been a point of emphasis [and] will continue to be a point of emphasis. We’re not going to play winning football if we continue on this pace so our guys understand that. We’ve got to get that corrected.

“As far as the gameplan goes, felt like we started fast. If you look at the flow of the game we get down there and put the ball on the ground in the red area. Second-and-three on the nine but we get three points to start. Defense does a great job, gets a turnover, [and] we go back and turn it into a touchdown and then we got into a little bit of shooting ourselves in the foot like we’ve talked about. As we came out [in the] third quarter [we] did not start as well as we’d like to in the second half. First two series were punts. Tried to dictate the run a little bit, and then I felt like our guys- you know, if you look at it, shoot, we averaged eight yards per carry I believe it was in the fourth quarter. Our guys really- when you look at how you want to play a game and you have the ability, if you’re going to run the football you’ve got to be consistent and you’ve got to stay with it. You can’t just- because you have a couple loss-yardage runs or because the run is not getting big chunks like you’d like or creating explosives you’ve got to stay with it, and I felt like we were able to do that.”

Coach, when you talk about explosives against good teams how much of that is on the running backs to break a tackle, make a safety miss, maybe stiff arm and are you getting enough of those?

“Well, you always try and get the back into the second level and we always talk about [with] the backs, when we get you into the second level of the defense you’ve got to make somebody miss. I think our wideouts have done an outstanding job in perimeter blocking but there’s always going to be one extra hat so we put it on the back: you get to the second level, you’ve got to make them miss.”

Doug, I’ve got two…

“Okay. You’re only allowed one.” /laughs

Is it fair to say Derrick’s your primary back right now? I mean, he’s double the carries I think DeVeon had.

“Well, I think Derrick did an outstanding job. DeVeon’s done a really good job too, and I think it’s just happened that way a little bit. Derrick is our starting tailback, he’s been the starting tailback. You know, I pointed out to our offensive team [that] Derrick had a phenomenal week of practice. Had his best week of practice last week and arguably had his best game of the year. The point to be made: how you practice is how you play. And just by chance, DeVeon’s done an outstanding job too and he’s going to get his touches.”

My other question is involving Devin Gardner and Shane Morris. A lot of people…you know the saying, “the backup quarterback’s always the most popular” and I didn’t follow your career carefully when you were played [but] are you familiar with that and what do you tell Devin? I imagine he’s not immune to hearing this stuff.

“Sure. You said it best. You know, the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town and Shane has done a tremendous job. I said leading up to the Notre Dame game [that he] had an exceptional week of practice. Had another great week last week. Continues to really get better and better and I believe Devin is too. You know, you look at Devin’s numbers and sometimes numbers can be misleading but you look at the numbers and you say the guy’s almost at a 69% completion percentage, he’s got five touchdowns, four interceptions. Yeah, a couple of errors that he’d like to have back and I’ve said it before, I’ve got to do some things better for him too. The one in the game the ball gets tipped, it gets tipped at the line of scrimmage so the trajectory takes off on him and it looks like it’s a bad throw but it got tipped. I think it’s unfair to say that this guy or that guy is the problem.”

Just because of Utah’s offensive numbers the conversation will be how they dictate tempo of play but [for] your offense how can you, maybe by sustaining drives and keeping them off the field a little bit, how can you dictate tempo?

“I’ve said it before. I don’t believe there’s ever been a direct correlation- I think when you look at pace of play and you look at snaps per game and yards per game I don’t know that you can draw a direct correlation between championship teams and the amount of snaps and the amount of yards they get. I don’t think there’s a correlation there and I don’t think every down’s created equally. We’ll continue to focus on the things we think are important: winning third downs, winning in the red zone, those type of things. And how are you doing with the snaps you’re getting?

Speaking of the backup quarterback, he had a couple balls dropped on Saturday but how’d he look to you in the game and has he consistently shown that ability to know when to tuck it away and run like he did on the one?

“I thought Shane did a really good job. Went in the game and we asked him to run the offense. You know, we didn’t back away from the way we were calling the game and he did a really good job and he continues to get more and more comfortable with the more snaps he gets.”

Utah has 11 sacks in two games. Your offensive line is still young. What do they have to do to be ready for this challenge and what have you told them to make sure they’re mentally and physically prepared?

“Well, Utah’s a very aggressive style of defense. Having been in that league and knowing Kalani [Fifita Sitake] and coach Whittingham, they do a great job and they’re going to be very aggressive in the way they approach the game so it’s going to be important that our guys really focus. We’re going to have to spend a lot of time this week in the film room making sure we’re understanding our protection schemes and how we’re going to block each and every look because they’re going to give us a bunch of different looks.”

Comments

sgwill

September 16th, 2014 at 9:33 AM ^

Here, let me write some questions for the FREEP guys, save them some work:

  • How are you staying up beat while the program is crumbling around you?
  • [Random 2nd string name drop]: thoughts?
  • How well are your guys adjusting to boos?
  • We're frustrated. Are you? Discuss?!?

I mostly skim these things now. I read the questions, and end up skipping most of the answers unless the question is particularly good; the coaches have the non-sense answers to the non-sense questions down pat. I can't imagine the coaches particularly look forward to these things.

pearlw

September 16th, 2014 at 10:37 AM ^

I rewatched it...it sounded like they called on someone named "Adam" who then asked that second queston. It was definitely not Mark Snyder from the free press as his voice is very distinctive. I know "Adam" is the writer here at mgoblog but I assume there must be another Adam in the press that asked that question. No one came to mind though.

Blue in Yarmouth

September 16th, 2014 at 9:36 AM ^

People here give Brady Hoke a lot of flack about his tenuous grasp of the english language but some of these guys asking the questions are miles worse. This one for instance:

"With Funchess being out, in terms of besides the obvious with him being able to score touchdowns and things like that it seems like one of his biggest attributes is as a bailout. If nothing’s really happening you can throw it up to him and let him hopefully make a play on the ball. When you don’t have a guy like that does it kind of set up the offense for…" 

and the one from Brady's presser about Utah moving from the mountain west to the pac 12. Honestly, these are miles worse than anything I have ever heard Brady say. What's worse...these clowns have time to think about what questions they are going to ask and how to phrase them whereas Brady has to answer off the cuff. 

 

wesq

September 16th, 2014 at 9:38 AM ^

His answer to the Funchess question almost seemed like a retort to the criticism Brain and others gave him after the ND about not going downfield to Devin till late in the game, 'were not going to just throw it up to Funchess if it's not there'.

Ivan Karamazov

September 16th, 2014 at 9:43 AM ^

I want to know who asked the "throw it up to Funchess as a bailout" question.  Nussmeier's quip about not having that person coach quaterbacks this week was priceless, and a good example of how you defelect a leading question without being confrontational.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 16th, 2014 at 10:00 AM ^

Kind of disagree.  That could totally be viewed as confrontational depending on how the reporter chooses to actually report the quote.  It can easily be viewed as a frustrated OC telling the press 'you couldn't do it better so shut the hell up'.  But here is transcribed with a '/laughs'.  Leave out the '/laughs', put a picture of Nuss scowling, and a big headline that says Nussmeier: "We're not letting you coach the quarterbacks", and you have the reader already in a mood to interperate that quote as stand-offish.  Just like Hoke's not 'feeling' like talking about injuries quote was delivered with equal levity when actually watching the press conference.  But if a reporter wants to make that quote make Hoke look like an ass, it's quite easy to do, and which they did.

turd ferguson

September 16th, 2014 at 10:09 AM ^

I think this is exactly right.  Some people here get way too riled up about the particular language used in pressers.  Those are off-the-cuff responses to reporters' questions - with context that doesn't show up in an excerpted quote (both spoken context and unspoken context) - with no opportunity for the coaches to correct their spoken missteps.  And it's not like these guys are press secretaries.  They're football coaches.  

pearlw

September 16th, 2014 at 7:23 PM ^

I see your point...

The point of you posting the transcript is to give us info about what was said at press conferences and allow us to react to what the coaches said.

You are hinting that the reason for posting the transcript is NOT so that you can put fellow members of the press on the spot and subject them to criticism from people on this board because we didnt like their question.

readyourguard

September 16th, 2014 at 10:28 AM ^

Why do some of these journalists get a free pass? They aren't asking questions their readers want to read. They're completely self serving. It's total garbage.

Thank God we have coaches who are classier than some of those turds.

reshp1

September 16th, 2014 at 10:34 AM ^

Looks like all the coaches are going to get a pass for the delay of game before the half. I would have really liked to get their perspective on it and what they thought was up with the play clock and if someone on the sidelines is supposed to be watching and didn't, etc.

ST3

September 16th, 2014 at 10:39 AM ^

I noticed the transcript was missing the follow-on to the question right before the jump. It went like this:

Doug, do you think your offense is still saying "Ga-ga, goo-goo," or have they progressed to actual words, like, "ma-ma, da-da."

"Your strange baby metaphors startle and confuse me. I'm just a simple, unfrozen caveman co-ordinator."

Yeah, the question about Funchess was awful, but that baby analogy stuff was crazy.

Blue NY Gold

September 16th, 2014 at 5:09 PM ^

I had the same thought.

The problem with many of the questions are that they are leading questions, just to get a "headline".

No one in their right mind would do that... Like using a misleading title to get clicks on a website....Ahhhhhhhh wait!!

Any way you look at it, NEWS today is a shadow of what it used to be! Sucks but true!!

Reader71

September 16th, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

With this caliber of press, is there any wonder that the coaches aren't really interested in playing this game? Babies? The "just throw it up" offense?

Even the most rank amateur Pop Warner coach knows more than these guys, but they serve as the liaison between experts and laymen.

Zarniwoop

September 16th, 2014 at 11:32 AM ^

I agree with whoever said it first above.

When I read the reporter response, "I wouldn't take the job" I immediately thought to myself, "Drew Sharp".

He's just a jerk and always will be.

I guess the Jay Marioti rule is real.  You just have to employ one complete douchebag in order to cater to the douchebag segment of society.