Monday Presser Notes: 10-5-09 Comment Count

Tim October 5th, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Rich Rodriguez

  • There were no new injuries coming out of the Michigan State game that will keep guys out of practice this week. In existing injuries, David Molk is out of his walking boot, and started lifting light weights again yesterday. Mike Williams wasn't 100% going into the game, but taking him out for Kovacs was a substitution issue, not an injury issue.
  • Donovan Warren is a very intelligent player. Rodriguez said, "Some of our guys need to follow his lead as far as how he prepares for games." A bit of a calling-out, it seems. At the other corner position, JT Floyd and Boubacar Cissoko are still competing.
  • The offense struggled in part because they didn't have the ball a whole lot in the first half. 1 mistake here and there was enough to destroy a drive. Missing Molk drops the intensity of the line a little bit. The team wasn't sharp, and they needed to be in order to win. The receivers usually don't drop that many passes, and they need to improve their concentration. The Stonum touchdown helped them get some momentum going for the offense, which sparked the comeback.
  • Tate's leadership is improving from week to week. That's the sort of thing that comes in games, and can't be earned as much in practice. He was a little nicked up in the game, but he warmed up as the game went along. When asked if he's more poised than most freshmen, Rodriguez answered "No question." He'll be a little limited in practice today, but should be full-go for the rest of the week.
  • The defense has tackled well most of the year, but there have been times that they haven't been able to make the tackles. Rodriguez isn't sure if that's a matter of their conditioning wearing down, or breakdowns in technique. The defensive line is the most consistent unit on the defense from game-to-game. As far as linebackers, Rodriguez said every position is up for grabs, but praised the play of Mouton, Ezeh, and especially Brown. "We can all play better," he said, meaning that it wasn't just the linebackers that are the problem.
  • They've been doing the rugby punt for a number of years. Zoltan had the option to run or kick on that play, and for the first time, he made the wrong choice. "We need to make sure our guys understand the parameters."
  • Iowa has one of the best front sevens on defense - particularly the front four - that Michigan will see this year. It should be a big challenge for the offensive line. They have to step up their intensity in Molk's absence.

Mike Martin

  • In the team's workouts this morning, everybody came in motivated. They know they must have great practices this week and keep on improving. The team was hoping for a great season, and the loss hurt because of all the work they put in.
  • Mike is friends with David Molk, and he can tell that it's killing Molk to not be able to play. He was finally able to lift today, and was happy.
  • It helps Martin to play next to Brandon Graham. He's a great athlete with good experience. He motivates the defense on the field, and keeps them pumped up between plays. He never said anything about it, but he was clearly upset to not have a sack on the year until finally getting one against the Spartans.
  • Going against Iowa is tough because the Hawkeyes have a great defense. Since the Michigan offense might struggle, the defense will have to step up. Martin likes night games, because he's not much of a morning person.

Darryl Stonum

  • The long touchdown was a big play for the team, and for Stonum personally: "It was a big play for me. I let the team down with two fumbles earlier, so I needed to step up and make a big play for us."
  • There hasn't been an adjustment to the way Tate throws the ball this year compared to the guys that they had last year. The only difference is that he keeps his eyes focused downfield to make a play, even when he's scrambling. The receivers have a lot more confidence this year, which has led to big games for JR Hemingway (Western Michigan), Greg Mathews (Notre Dame), and now Stonum.
  • Stonum loves night games. That's all you play in Texas high school football.

Mark Ortmann

  • The offense can only ask the defense to do so much, because the offense has to capitalize when they have the opportunities. The defense has put them in position to win three times now, and they jut couldn't pull it off against Michigan State for the third win. Offensive rhythm is important for the team, and the run game drives that. Though he watched the film three times yesterday, Mark couldn't tell where the issues came from. State was just firing off the ball better.
  • The difference between last year's losses and this year's is confidence. This year's team has it, though it was a little shaken by the first loss of the year.
  • Molk is a leader on the line, so losing him is drastic. There are still plenty of capable guys, so losing one player is no excuse for a performance like Saturday's.
  • Ortmann has never played at Iowa, nor even been in their stadium. They are a good defense, and it should be a tough challenge. Regardless of how long the trip is, each game should be treated like a business trip by the players. Ortmann doesn't like night games, because it allows tension to build all day, especially from the younger players.

Jason Olesnavage

  • He's kicked well this year. The weather on Saturday made it tougher, but he was still able to kick pretty well. Too bad he didn't get a chance at a game-winner at the end.
  • On game-ending drives, it helps to focus on how many times he's been successful. It's easy to say that you just need to concentrate, but to do it is tougher. The guys on the team really help him deal with that. A lot of guys tapped him on the helmet going into OT, knowing that everyone else is confident in you helps.



October 5th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm concerned about Mike Williams. Did that comment suggest that Kovacs is just plain beating him out? Stonum has shown glimpses of his future so far this year. He is going to be a big play maker down the road.

Also, I think it's pretty obvious Molk is our best offensive lineman. Just throwing that out there.


October 5th, 2009 at 3:41 PM ^

I've wondered this for a while and would love to see him maybe as punt returner but this year it's not going to happen. With Tate's success and incoming super freshmen next season I think Denard's time at QB will be limited even more in the next few years. What they need to do right now is line him up alongside Tate in the tailback position in shotgun. That would scare hell out of any D coordinator out there. They would have virtually unlimited options as a result. Right now I see every series Denard run as QB as a wasted series by the offense. Very little does he ever get free enough to use his speed and the defense knows exactly what he's going to do with the ball. Until they line both QBs up in the backfield together I don't ever want to see Denard unless Tate is hurt or we're way ahead. He's just not ready.


October 5th, 2009 at 3:02 PM ^

That was CLEARLY the problem. It isn't a matter of just losing Molk. It's a matter of a bunch of shifting, which leads to chemistry issues. This problem was also apparent in the Indiana game as well. Which leads to a couple of questions:
1) If Molk is out, and Moosman is moved in....why on earth don't you just plug in another guard (like ferrera), instead of moving a tackle to guard, and bringing a lesser tackle (mr. perry) offf the bench?
2) If it is obvious to the layman there are problems on the line, why not go with some more standard formations (two tight ends, two back & one tight end, etc.) for support,which leads to another question...
3) Where were the standard formations that, surprisingly, we had seen a lot of in other games, but for some reason vanished in for this contest?


October 5th, 2009 at 4:03 PM ^

Overarching Issue: Your premise is not entirely correct. MSU was committing a substantial portion of their defense to run support against our Offense (usually 8). This, along with a number bad breaks (i.e. 4th and short situations, fumbles), more than poor oline play is what stifled UM's offense on Saturday. Their D cord called a great, great game until the last 5 mins and their players executed that game plan with unbelievable fundamental aptitude considering the fact that they have been so awful in this area up to this point in the season (i.e. they suddenly learned to tackle). Also, the drive that would never end along with MSU's general clock consuming offensive strategy deprived UM of any chance to get into anything resembling a playcalling rhythmn.

Specifically, without regard to my general issue with your comments:

1) Your best offensive lineman generally play Tackle. Thus, I would guess that Mr. Perry is significantly more accomplished and ready for big ten play than Ferrera. I do not know this having never seen them in practice, but that is generally the rule on any football team, especially one in which the T position is as important as it is in the spread.

2) What would going with more standard formations have accomplished? A more conservative gameplan? This is doubtful since we ran it quite a bit, especially at the beginning of the game and only later really opened the offense up. Also, zone blocking schemes generally serve to cover up, not expose, weaknesses in Oline play by allowing the QB or RB to read the defense and direct the play towards the defense's weakest point. When your opponent is committing 8-9 minimum to the run most plays (as MSU was), condensing the field would significantly decrease the offense's chances of successfully executing. For a good example at how the spread can tear up a defense that consistently commits to stopping the run, see UM vs. Ohio State 2006.

3. See #2. This would only serve to exacerbate the issues UM was facing. A better question is why we didn't attempt more slot screens which would have likely helped to neutralize MSU's overcommittment to the run. In my recollection, MSU wasn't pressing the inside guy much, ergo the space should have been there to make some plays.


October 5th, 2009 at 4:11 PM ^

3 comments from the presser really shocked me"

1. RR mentioned a "drop in intensity" with Molk out......what? You mean to tell me the other o-lineman aren't intense? This is the MSU game, if you aren't intense for that get the F#ck off the field!

2. RR on missed tackles could be the "conditioning wearing down" he did not. Doesn't RR know that Mike Barwis wouldn't allow that.

3. Ortman said MSU "fired off the ball better" that code for MSU wanted it more?

Blue boy johnson

October 5th, 2009 at 5:49 PM ^

Hopefully getting embarrased by MSU will push the OL, I think they may have been tenative, causing the intensity drop. Van Bergen has been a much better player since his error in the Indiana game IMHO, all part of the learning curve of a young team.


October 5th, 2009 at 7:38 PM ^

This' 09 Michigan team is an indicator for the future. I was not expecting a UM win against ND. They did. At the Michigan did fairly well against a highly motivated MSU team. Remember a 1-3 MSU team is going to be more motivated to prove themselves against a 4-0 UM team. I guarantee you that UM would have beaten an undefeated MSU team. State had to win that to salvage an already doomed season. They needed this more than UM. Yet Michigan could have won that game if they were more seasoned as a team. Therefore my earlier comment about this team is an indicator. The future of the Michigan Wolverines is quite bright. Big Ten Champs for sure next year in '10.