Monday Presser Notes: 9-28

Submitted by Tim on September 28th, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Notes from today's morning press conference. To get live updates from these events, you can follow me on Twitter @varsityblue.

Rich Rodriguez

  • Tate Forcier's shoulder is bruised, but he will play this weekend. Denard Robinson might play a slightly larger role as his comfort with the offense improves. The quarterbacks need to be smart about taking unnecessary hits. They're running a little more than Rodriguez might like, and he'd prefer to see 5-6 rushes a game.
  • Moosman's snapping issues cost the team about 70 offensive yards, but Moosman is a smart, hard worker, so he'll work with Coach Frey to correct the issues. The quick snap to catch guys offsides resulted in fumbles a lot because Tate (and Denard) and Moosman don't have the comfort level with each other yet.
  • The first road game being a rivalry makes it a little tougher, especially for the young guys who have never played on the road yet.
  • Though the depth chart lists Cissoko ahead of Floyd and Turner, the competition at the second corner spot will be more open this week. Hopefully, someone will seize that opportunity and step up to win the starting role.
  • The media will not be able to watch practice this week. Part of that is just paranoia from the coaches, and the rest of it is to make sure the players can maintain their focus in preparation.
  • The Michigan/Michigan State game is a big rivalry, so fans get whipped up into a frenzy. Sometimes they get ahold of the opposing quarterback's phone number and bother him all week, etc. Rodriguez has a good relationship with Mark Dantonio: "I'm friendly with everybody. I'm a nice guy." The two have known each other from Dantonio's days at Cincinnati, and they've come across each other a few times a year since then.

Kevin Grady

  • Kevin's favorite Michigan/MSU moment was watching Chris Perry run the ball 51 times against the Spartans (for 219 yards in 2003).
  • Grady knows State fans at home, and even says "I have family members who are unfortunately state fans," including his grandmother. She doesn't talk a lot of trash, but both Kevin and Kelvin know where her loyalties lie.
  • The team has to run the ball well in order to beat MSU (the team that rushed for more yardage has won 37 of the last 41 games between the teams). This, like every game, is just another opportunity to prove themselves.
  • Kevin doesn't think Tate will falter on the road. If he's able to play in front of 100,000 at home, playing in Spartan Stadium shouldn't be a problem.

Carlos Brown

  • Carlos, echoing his coach, doesn't think that spread teams are necessarily any less physical than I-formation teams: "We can line up and do exactly what they do."
  • Coming from Georgia, the Michigan/Michigan State rivalry reminds him of the UGa/Georgia Tech battles. Whichever team wins is the state champion for a year.
  • Tate should play well against State. He's a great quarterback, and the supporting cast is going to do what they can to get the win.

Obi Ezeh

  • The in-state guys really value the rivalry with Michigan State. Its a chance to win a trophy game, and get back the in-state bragging rights. The Ohio State rivalry might be bigger in the grand scheme of things, but this one means something special, particularly for the guys from Michigan. The team wants to show that last year's loss was more of a fluke than anything.
  • Obi is from an area of Grand Rapids that is a little more Spartan-centric than where Kevin Grady comes from. He has 5 or 6 neighbors that fly Spartan flags, and he joked that he's going to sneak out in the night and take them down.
  • He definitely avoids wearing Green and White this week - but that wasn't the case when he went to Michigan's summer camp as a high schooler. He was wearing an MSU Engineering shirt, and Lloyd Carr gave him the evil eye. Without Carr saying a word, Obi knew it was probably better off if he didn't wear the shirt.

Donovan Warren

  • Coming from out of state, Donovan wasn't aware of Michigan's rivalry with the Spartans (all he really knew about Michigan was that he could watch them when he woke up at 9am on Saturdays). In his freshman year, seniors like Shawn Crable, Jamar Adams, and Brandent Englemon taught him about the rivalry.
  • State might come out desperate to avoid a 1-4 start to their season, but the Wolverines will be able to match their intensity: "It's not a 1-3 team, it's Michigan State."
  • MSU has 3 great receivers in White, Dell, and Cunningham, and they can all be big-play guys. The defense will need to communicate better to avoid giving up big plays.
  • If the defense plays well enough to win, it doesn't matter if the game is something of a shootout. It's the final result that counts.



September 28th, 2009 at 3:06 PM ^

grandmother has 2 grandsons that play for Michigan and yet she hasn't switched her allegiances yet.

Doesn't seem like the grandparent thing to do but who am I to judge.


September 28th, 2009 at 3:06 PM ^

Tate Forcier's shoulder is bruised, but he will play this weekend.

Hmm, I doubt this. I still think he's not going to play. Shoulder injuries can linger, IME.



September 28th, 2009 at 4:29 PM ^

I thought 'permascowl' was invented to describe the look on his face.

Just kidding, I saw him at church a couple of times and he smiled warmly and said hello. I was stunned for a minute the first time because we came in late and sat behind him. At some point in the service the pastor asked us to say hello to each other, he turns around, and I just about shit my pants before stammering out a "Good morning, Coach." It was early in the morning, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.


September 28th, 2009 at 8:27 PM ^

I used to work at Brewer's Towing up on Plymouth Rd, and one night we nabbed Coach Carr's vehicle from a downtown lot we patrolled. When he came to pick up his car, he was all charm and 'aw shucks', extremely polite. Can't say the same for 99.9% of the people who just had their car towed. It's pretty hilarious to see people freak out in that situation, but it's downright heartwarming to see how Coach Carr handled himself.

I'm just glad I didn't get the evil eye.


September 28th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

Even if Tate's arm fell off, why on earth would you tell the media? Force MSU to plan for an entire game of Tate's pass first style play and plan for an entire game of Robinson's run first, run often and run fast style of play.

If Denard does start I'll be a little worried, but I think he has the skills to run an offense similiar to what Richrod did with Pat White. Denard really gets scary next year after the QBs coach has a year to work on his throwing mechanics.


September 28th, 2009 at 4:09 PM ^

I like the idea that the team views this game as an annual state championship, it seems like a good way to stay motivated even when MSU is 1-3 and coming off a decisive loss to UW.

Of course, should Sparty win, I'm sure you won't hear the words "state champions" out of the mouths of their players and fans. CMU anyone???


September 28th, 2009 at 4:20 PM ^

I take no pleasure in pointing this out, but the last throw hurt him really bad. He walked to the sideline holding his arm like it was already in a sling, and I said, 'uh oh'. Someone on the sideline gave him an innocuous tap on his throwing shoulder to congratulate him and he twisted away from contact, in very obvious pain- and this was with the pads still on. It sounds like Coach Rodriguez is doing one of those "Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?" routines. He's hurt, badly (armchair diagnosis- grade 2 sprain or separation). If they play him, it would be tremendously irresponsible, especially in a rivalry game, where you know they'd be coming after him anyway.


September 28th, 2009 at 8:42 PM ^

Toke -

Putting a 6'1" 188-lb scrawny True Freshman on any Division 1 football field and handing him the ball at ANY point in a game is IRRESPONSIBLE.....except when his name is Tate Forcier. On paper, Michigan has been playing with fire on 100% of it's offensive possessions over the last four weeks, (even though Tate only gets credit for 98% of them), but you seems to be working out for us just fine. Actually, better than we could have ever imagined only five short weeks ago.

A wall of fire isn't going to keep this kid off the field on Saturday. We know it, you know it and everyone in the nation who has seen his spectacular play in the weekend highlight films over the last month knows it - this kid is the ultimate competitor. Every day since the third grade this young man has prepared himself mentally and physically to compete at this level, and to lead his team to victory - whatever it takes.

This is his dream, and Saturday afternoon destiny brings him to your stadium. He doesn't fear playing in front of 100,000+ people. He doesn't fear coming from behind with literally no time left on the clock to beat his opponent. HE DOES NOT FEAR PLAYING IN EXCRUTIATING PAIN IF IT MEANS HE WILL LEAD HIS TEAM TO ANOTHER VICTORY. Not only is this kid a competitor, he is a WINNER.

He doesn't fear your team, nor the loud noises your fans will shout down upon him when he takes the field. The louder the crowd yells against him, the more determined he will become in his desire to beat your team and to silence the 70,000 or so people cheering against him.

You know you fear him, your fans fear him, your team fears him and your coach fears him - and for good reason. Your team has shown an innate tendency to beat themselves at the same point of the game that Tate Forcier has shown the world that ice water courses through his veins. Just when you think you have beaten him, he snatches victory from your grasp and hands you defeat.

To be fair, your only real chance of beating him over the next four years will be this Saturday, when he is obviously playing hurt - so you had better Bring It.


September 28th, 2009 at 4:40 PM ^

If Tate really is playing, wouldn't it be a good idea to announce early that Tate won't play, and let MSU gameplan around Denard Robinson's limited knowledge of the passing playbook? (I'm assuming his knowledge is limited compared to Tate's).

If we can get them to spend more time defending the offensive sets we plan to deploy the least, that's an advantage to us.


September 28th, 2009 at 8:03 PM ^'s even better strategy than I thought.

Dantonio: "Now, a clever man would say his quarterback's arm is injured, because he would know that only a great fool would prepare for the backup quarterback. I'm not a great fool, so I can clearly not prep for the backup quarterback. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not prepare for the starting quarterback."

Rodriguez: "You've made your decision, then?"

Dantonio: "Not remotely!"

The Squid

September 28th, 2009 at 5:15 PM ^

The quick snap to catch guys offsides resulted in fumbles a lot because Tate (and Denard) and Moosman don't have the comfort level with each other yet.

More like because Moosman snapped it when they weren't looking.


September 28th, 2009 at 6:20 PM ^

I am curious about the "competition at the second corner spot being more open this week." The coach speak has always been that every job is open and that no one should be comfortable. Is this really new news, or a revelation from the coaching staff that they are aware of the problems and are working to fix it?


September 28th, 2009 at 8:15 PM ^

Yes, technically every job is open, but barring injury or an off-the-field event, some jobs are near-locks. Can you imagine Brandon Graham being displaced in practice? Zoltan Mesko?

So what Rodriguez was saying is that the second corner spot is really open, as opposed to those that are merely technically open—such as Donovan Warren's job.


September 28th, 2009 at 8:29 PM ^

Yeah sure, Tate's playing Saturday...Are you a Landshark?... Just a bruise... Wait a minute aren't you that landshark?... No media in practice this week, just coaches; paranoia... So you don't want me to see Tate missing from practice all week and D Rob getting all the reps? Oh O.K. come on in...


September 29th, 2009 at 8:57 AM ^

I'm trying to say is that I can't believe it is just a bruise and he will play with the actions seen by Tate on video after the injury, and the fact that practice is closed to "maintain their focus." Weren't they able to focus fine vs. ND and the practice was open. I, poorly, was trying to weave in the SNL skit where it is obvious the things that the landshark is telling the girl on the other side of the door are fabrications to have her agree with what he wants her to do.

physics guy

September 28th, 2009 at 9:10 PM ^

The more I see of Rich Rod the more I think this is really true. He does seem like a very down to earth nice fellow (except on the practice field where he uses those bad words). I think some people have sterotyped him with his southern accent as being insincere or a carpetbagger, but he seems to be pretty genuine to me. Of course I could be totally wrong and he's alienating friend and foe alike, but I seriously doubt it.


September 29th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

"Kevin, Kelvin, DeMarcus(?), whatever the hell your name is! You come to Thanksgiving dinner with that maize and blue cardigan on again I swear to all that is holy I will call Coach Dantonio and he will stoop to a players level and tough-talk you like he did to that little bastard from a few years ago."