Notre Dame Postgame Presser notes

Submitted by Tim on September 11th, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Apologies if there are any typos, I'm trying to turn this around ASAP and get back on the road.

Rich Rodriguez

Both teams competed extremely hard, and a lot of young guys for Michigan's team were in their first road action, in a tough environment.

"I've got my shoes untied in honor of Denard." He made a few mistakes, but he'll watch the film and correct them for the next game. He's tough and physical for his size.

RR said last week that he didn't want Denard to run 29 times... so he ran 28 instead. Getting tackled by 2nd and 3rd level defenders is less dangerous than the big guys up front. Part of the reason he's having so much success is the way opponents are defending against Michigan.

On the final drive: "We had plenty of time, with all three timeouts left. I told the guys "We just have to get some first downs." At the end, they were actually trying to bleed a little bit of time off the clock so Notre Dame couldn't respond.

Michigan's mood didn't change when Crist went out. It stemmed Notre Dame's offensive momentum a bit. They expected a little more read-option when Montana came in, but that was about it. They just needed to execute.

The penalties and mistakes were big, because they prevented Michigan from getting any momentum, and from getting their defense off the field.

"I'd rather learn from a win that a loss."

Denard's yardage total isn't an issue (as an unbalanced offense) "As long as we win." All 11 guys on the offense are allowed to gain yards, and until that changes, Michigan's QB is going to get some yardage.

Rodriguez thought all the running backs ran hard. He'll have to review film to see why they weren't getting good yardage. It's a bit easier for Denard because they give him a lead blocker sometimes.

Kovacs's interception: "It was huge." He's a tough guy, and he plays at a high level every week. He has to lead a lot of the freshmen around him.

Denard is hands-off in practice, but the defense knew what he could do, through camp and practice. It's just his second start though, and he'll have some bumps in the road. The coaches are able to run him a bit more because they have two backups who can step in.

Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen will continue battling for the kicker job in practice. Rodriguez was happy they didn't have to try a field goal at the end. Will Hagerup will be disappointed, but he's a true freshman, and RR isn't worried about him.

Denard Robinson

"My offensive line was ready to play."

On the last drive, the attitude was "It's time to put it in. It's time to put the game away."

"I don't know about myself... I know as a team, we played as a team."

The key on the game-winning drive was execution from everyone on the offense.

On Roy Roundtree's finals reception (to the one), "He winked at me before the play." The two were on the same page, and knew they could count on each other.

On carrying the load: "I've been training for it, I've been ready for it. I've been doing this training, so I guess I can." "I'm a team player and I don't worry about stats."

When Denard came out of the game, he had hit his head on the ground "I had to re-focus."

On the 87-yard TD run, all Denard was worried about was not getting dragged down from behind.

Denard might have been too amped up in the comeback attempt at Iowa last year: "This time, I calmed myself down a little bit more, and focused in."

Roy Roundtree

Wide receivers have to go get the ball, and attack it.

"Last year, he really wasn't mature or leading the team, but this year you know he's going to lead the team."

After Notre Dame scored, everyone in the stands thought Michigan was going down again. "Until it's 0:00 on that clock, we're going all-out."

Denard's passing has improved a lot since last year, now he's making the reads.

Roundtree knew on Wednesday that he would be able to play. He didn't know if he would be picked to start until today.

On the last drive, what did Denard say in the huddle? "He just said 'let's go,' and once he said that, I was like 'big players make big plays,' and that's what we did."

JT Floyd

"We've been fighting extremely hard, pushing each other all through the summer and fall camp," and it paid off today with a win.

"On Denard: "Nothing he does surprises me, man."

The defense always emphasizes turnovers, so getting a few today was a step in the right direction.

Mike Martin

On Denard going into the last drive: "I had confidence in him... No one was afraid that he wasn't going to make a play."

Martin didn't notice they switched quarterbacks until Roh told him after a couple plays. Montana is more of a runner than Crist.

"It's a rivalry, and it's going to be down to the wire every game."

Jonas Mouton

"We're going to fight, you know. We're going to fight to the end. What more could I say?"

"Notre Dame's a good football team." Michigan knew they weren't going to completely shut them down, so they had to make turnovers to help stop the Irish.

There are still areas that the linebackers can improve. "It's never as good as it seems and it's never as bad, so we'll watch the film and go from there." The biggest thing that needs to improve is tackling.

Craig Roh

"Even though we make some mistakes, we're gonna come out swinging every time." The defense will remember what they did wrong, but look toward the future. It's much better to be able to make the mistakes this year and still win.

"Mistakes are made up through hustle and effort." "This year, these guys are so hungry."

Mike Shaw

I think we have a lot of work. There were too many missed blocks and penalties, and it's not good when the offense stalls after a hot start.

"I think we all owe the O-line. He's not doing it all on his own. He's very gifted, but at the same time that O-line is coming in and they're telling us 'we want to run the ball.'"

Before the last drive, the players were thinking "impose our will."

Playing on the road: "We embraced it." They want to be thermostats instead of thermometers, setting the temperature for the game and not just reacting to what the crowd gives.

"I think we're gonna have to" take some of the workload off Denard. "It's great that he can do this, but sooner or later we're going to have to step up and make big plays." For now, it's Denard's show, until the running backs are able to show something.

Comments

EGD

September 11th, 2010 at 11:45 PM ^

What sticks out to me is the reference to the Iowa game last year.  It sucked losing that game, but maybe Denard being through that pressure situation at Kinnick Stadium was the difference today?

ejk

September 11th, 2010 at 11:48 PM ^

When I re-watched the final minutes of the game, I noticed that Forcier was one of the first guys to give Denard a big hug after he scored the game-winning touchdown.

Good on ya, Tate. I have a feeling this team going to need your experience by the end of the season.

The Team, the Team, the Team. Let's keep it up, boys.

soupsnake

September 12th, 2010 at 12:38 AM ^

I don't know about that. He didn't seem like a guy who was responding to a reprimand. He probably saw the replay of his actions last week and realized that he needs to be a team player. He was running all over the place on the sideline this week. I think he really wants to be a part of this team.

Dirtgrain

September 12th, 2010 at 8:28 AM ^

I did wonder about Forcier hugging Rodriguez just before the start of the game, when the camera was on them.  Is that commonplace?  Was he trying to boost his image from last week?  Maybe that's not such a bad thing, but it might have been a bit contrived.

It is impressive to see Robinson's learning curve--his ability to improve so much, and the coaching staff's ability to help him.  It makes me think that Rodriguez (or somebody on his staff) is a good teacher.  But the field goal kicking . . .  Let's hope they can teach that.

bdneely4

September 12th, 2010 at 10:30 AM ^

I know a lot of comments have already mentioned the way our older players are becoming great leaders and making a point to speak about the team, but it is great to see Shaw in his interview and listen to some of the things he said.  After a game where the RBs didn't shine, Shaw emphasizes even more that he and the other RBs need to step up more for Denard's sake.  He even praised the O-Line which they should have been praised, and made it a point to say that they (IMO he was speaking of the RBs) had too many missed blocks.

Shaw and V. Smith will shine once the TEAM puts it all together.

Awesome game today.  GO BLUE!

Snidely Doo Rash

September 12th, 2010 at 1:10 AM ^

is like butter.   Looking forward to being at the IU game--should be great mix of team's starters and the depth RR cultivates against umass and BG.

ND and UCONN are going to win many games this year and this will help us.  Home court BS at ND never ceases to amaze, but TOO much self-imposed punishment by the O in second half. 

 

Rasmus

September 12th, 2010 at 7:46 AM ^

It's fantastic to see leadership from the more-experienced players. It's exactly what Denard needs in coping with his success.

However, my vote goes to Jonas Mouton for the coach-speak award:

"It's never as good as it seems and it's never as bad, so we'll watch the film and go from there."

van

September 11th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

 

 

A little surprised by this:

 

Martin didn't notice they switched quarterbacks until Roh told him after a couple plays. Montana is more of a runner than Crist.

 

harmon40

September 12th, 2010 at 12:19 AM ^

for Texas fans when they had Vince Young, or Florida fans when they had Tim Tebow, VaTech fans when they had Michael Vick, etc? 

I've always felt great about our outstanding QB tradition and I still do - but I've never seen a Michigan QB that was this electric, this frightening, this "don't-go-to-the-fridge-or-the-john-or-answer-the-phone-cause-you-might-miss-something" exciting...

Demetrius Hart has got to be looking at this and thinking "Hmmm...the only thing they're missing is a freak-of-nature RB and they could be playing for a NC..."

cjm

September 12th, 2010 at 12:50 AM ^

It sure doesn't hurt when every time you turn the channel you see the Maize and Blue getting hyped and Denard running wild through the MSM.  All the analysts, commentators, and sport anchors are jumping on board and you gotta believe the prospects are digging it.

zlionsfan

September 12th, 2010 at 1:14 AM ^

I mean the weapons are similar, but the states of the programs, most definitely not. I mean, if he'd shown up 10 years ago, maybe, but I have to believe this is more important.

Obviously it's just two games, but hell, with a human QB, this team is 1-1 at best and people are fitting Rodriguez for a coffin. With a dilithium QB ... how many of us are going back to that preseason prediction and starting to flip the toss-ups Michigan's way?

Past Michigan QBs have been nothing like this. The quality at the position was a completely different sort, even back in the '70s (and presumably before that) when they might run a bit and pass a bit. Electricity, exactly ... the idea that any play might go the distance. It's awesome.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

September 12th, 2010 at 2:53 AM ^

None of them had dilithium power packs.

Of the QBs I looked at (Dennis Franklin, Rick Leach, John Wangler, and Steve Smith were the primary ones that came to mind), Leach, who back in the option days played 4 years (75-78) when 3 was usual, was the most prolific runner:  career 487 for 2176 net yds, 4.47 ave, 34 TDs, longest run 48.  On his biggest running days, there wasn't a lot of passing.  Biggest combined yardage day (just eyeballing it) looks like 1975, Purdue, 8 rushes for 68 net yds, 6 of 9 passing for 218 yds.

Franklin (72-74) had 351 career rushes for 1212 net yds, 3.45 ave, 16 TDs, long 49 yds.

Before my time of watching football with awareness, Don Moorhead (68-70) rushed 283 times for 1091 net yds, 3.86 ave, 11 TDs, long 15 yds.

Source: Michigan Football Statistic Archive Query Page

http://stats.ath.umich.edu/football/footstart.php

justthinking

September 12th, 2010 at 3:33 AM ^

this "don't-go-to-the-fridge-or-the-john-or-answer-the-phone-cause-you-might-miss-something" exciting...

Like me - being the great dad that I am - driving my daughter to town, right before halftime. I missed the "live" version of Denards 87 yard TD run. At least I heard it on the radio - which was a spectacular call - "they'll never catch him" ( and he had about 40 yard of field left to run when he said that).

SC Wolverine

September 12th, 2010 at 7:02 AM ^

After the beating that Denard took the last two weeks, I am hoping that he can have a lot less carries during the next couple of games.  It would be great if we got so far ahead that DG played the second half, for instance.  I know Denard is tough and all, but those hips are taking a beating.

NoVaWolverine

September 12th, 2010 at 1:06 AM ^

Let's revisit his traditional "three opportunities for me to look stupid" from the game preview:

Finally, three opportunities for me to look stupid Sunday:

  • Denard only, and he again cracks 100 yards and 5 YPC. Completion percentage comes down to 65%.
  • The tailbacks look much better than they did last week, with someone, probably Shaw, breaking a long one due to excessive Denard attention.
  • Michigan wins the turnover battle.
  • Michigan, 31-27.

Denard: 24 of 40 = 60%

Turnovers: UM 0, ND 3

Margin of victory: 4 points

Now if we can just get the tailbacks going...

 

SC Wolverine

September 12th, 2010 at 6:59 AM ^

Watching our running backs, I keep thinking how much I'd like to see Stephen Hopkins.  I watched the Carolina-Georgia game yesterday and saw freshman Marcus Lattimore just running over the Georgia players.  While I like Shaw-Smith, they need a lead blocker more who isn't there.  I wonder if Hopkins would beat down the defense and make them even softer for Denard.  Can you imagine DR if the defense wasn't able to focus completely on him?

TheOracle6

September 12th, 2010 at 1:37 AM ^

It's great to hear the humble tone in the players and coaches voices.  RR is keeping these guys grounded and it's awesome to see.  This team has a lot of great things in its future.  It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!

SC Wolverine

September 12th, 2010 at 6:56 AM ^

I agree.  I hear people who hate RR always say that he is a cheater, liar, lowlife, etc.  But everything I have seen at Michigan has emphasized family, hard work, humility, and dedication.  The way RR has handled himself under great adversity and the kind of players who are his guys says that he has very strong values, even if he has made personal mistakes (how he handled leaving UWV, etc.).  Watching this Michigan team really draws you to believe in RR and in these guys.  Boy is it great.

bklein09

September 12th, 2010 at 2:24 AM ^

Just keep pounding boys!

I know its early in the season, but I really like the attitude of this team. 

They WILL get to 6 wins, and after that who knows. 

But it will be enough to get RR to another season, and things will start rolling in 2011!

Rasmus

September 12th, 2010 at 7:04 AM ^

Via the NYT.

They are a team working together. This is what Woolfolk was talking about after the summer workouts:

“As you can see, I’ve been practicing and working with the receivers and they’ve been trying to get me better.”

This says a lot about Denard's mindset.

badjuju81

September 12th, 2010 at 7:56 AM ^

Now M fans will always have something good and our own to associate with 9/11!  Sure hope we can buy those Heroes hats.

I know how the Irish fans feel, after sitting in Michigan Stadium and watching QBs like McNabb and Dixon shred us.  Now it's our turn, bitches!  And it feels soooooo good...

Tired of this nay-saying in the media that we're putting too much in one basket with Denard.  Did anyone say that about Michael Vick, Vince Young, or Tim Tebow?  Where would any team be if they lost their starting QB?  Just ask ND.  How gloomy would all the truck drivers in Ohio be if "everybody kills, everybody steals" Pryor went down?  If we had a QB that went 24/40 for 244 in the air, and a RB that went 28 for 258 on the ground, it would be all about how you can't stop either - choose your poison.  We have that, just combined into one 500-foot-tall robot made of DILITHIUM!  Oh, and he can punt, too.

Getting sick of the shoelace thing.  My world will be complete when the media starts quoting the MGoBlog community's dilithium tag.  Was it Brian who started that?  If so, kudos...again.  FWIW, MGoBlog is growing like wildfire among M fans where I work.

Besides Beckman's "They'll never catch him!", I loved Brandy's "You - cannot - simulate - speed!"

http://www.mgoblue.com/allaccess/?media=194514

Roy Roundtree is an ubermench.  Incredible game coming off of his internal injuries.  Wizard hat and snake oil, indeed!

And we won DESPITE being jobbed by the zebras.

Mgobowl

September 12th, 2010 at 9:49 AM ^

The past two years have been rough, but I think we have grown because of it. It shrank the egos, made us a more complete team, more humble, and better all around people. We are a pheonix rising from the ashes.

CarlisleWolverine

September 12th, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

Needs to understand college QBs will make those throws.  His angle were, well, bad.  He'll get it.  Hopefully sooner than later.  But now is not time for critics....GO BLUE. enjoy another week!  Great win. 

DC_BLUE

September 12th, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

Great win but we have not really faced a team yet to take advantage of the weakness in our secondary because either they kept dropping balls (Uconn) or had eye problems (ND).  Real test will come when a few teams go 5 wide/empty backfield on us.  Linebacker play was huge in this game - massive improvement vs last year (GERG must be doing something right here).  But safety play (noticing disturbing trend here this year & last), tackling (huge # of misses this game), and covering tight ends (same as Iowa last year) - need big improvement.   Note to GERG: please don't go to a prevent defense ever again!