Post-UMass Presser Notes

Submitted by Tim on September 18th, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Rich Rodriguez

Not pleased with the way they played, but happy with the win. All three phases of the game had letdowns. "As quiet a winning locker room as you'll ever see."

"I can promise our guys will look at the film, coaches will look at the film, I'll watch everything on all three phases." "Defensively we thought they would pressure us a little bit" so Denard couldn't run. Has to talk to D coaches to see if UMass did surprising stuff. "They're pretty good up front."

Nobody was injured outside of Banks, and his injury isn't serious.

Take what they give us. Stonum made plays, Shaw stepped up. Not worried about starters being tired because they only played 56 snaps.

3-4, 4-3 shift "We saw the same thing last week." Switch just about every other snap. "That's kinda part for the course. Our guys have seen that." UMass adjusted at the second half. UMass played a lot of cover-0, gave up lots of 1-on-1 opportunities. Maybe Michigan should have taken even more deep shots. Wanted to run to give the D a break.

"[Denard] was pretty sharp with his eyes and his decisions." Ball-handling was the problem. Denard not as sharp as he was first couple weeks. "Amost like a first-game feel." Execution wasn't clean. Denard made some great throws, a few good runs. "We didn't run him as much. We didn't want to." Shaw stepped up.

Offense is QB-centered, he has to run sometimes. More designed RB runs today to give him some relief. Shaw - "runs hard, got great speed, used his vision well today." Team's biggest homerun threat.

Lewan - "we should have played Ricky Barnum too some." They'll decide if a few more guys should have gotten onto the field. "If we'd have payed better, we could have played more guys. Didn't happen, so we've gotta play we've we've got to to win the game."

"We have some warts, that's still out there. Let's not pretend that we're the 1985 Chicago Bears." Have to play with passion, intensity, and intelligence in all 3 phases, but especially on D. Didn't get better today, but the guys know without being told that they need to work hard this week.

Some of D struggles lack of execution - missed tackles, losing contain, "there's a lot of things that we've gotta clean up, and everybody knows that." Going against a different scheme this week, made some mistakes. Has to watch film to compare where the breakdowns were. Losing contain to our left was bad, because they knew it would happen coming in. Lost contain 5-6 times at least.

Kovacs strip - scored quickly, then got the turnover for 2 quick scores. Momentum with the ball in third quarter. Didn't happen to shut them down and put the game out of reach. "They played well." Went into the UMass locker room to tell them that.

Special teams - The return game was OK, a couple times Darryl almost broke one. Missed only field goal, kick coverage needs to improve. Kickers make them in practice. Will just dropped the snap on the block.

Thought Seth Broekhuizen kicked better for kickoffs. Placekicking - "We had a student body tryout. Any student out there... we'll have another tryout for you.

Darryl Stonum

"You never know" how many points you'll need to win. UMass is a good team. "They gave us a run for our money." The D carried the offense last week, so in the team concept, it's time to pay it back a bit. "They'll make some corrections, and so will we."

Came out slow, but for the most part did a good job executing. Offense knew they were shooting themselves in the foot early, just started executing better.

"On that play, I'm usually a backside outlet" on the long TD reception. Omameh and Grady did a good job blocking to open the hole.

Last time he scored 2 TDs back-to-back like in the second quarter was in high school. Personal breakthrough game? "With all the talent we have at receiver, you never know who's gonna be the hot hand for the week." Just his job to show the coaches he's capable of making plays. He and Roy joking about who would be the guy this week.

On his long (non-TD) reception "Denard fakes the sprintout, and we knew that the whole defense is gona key to his running." Just had to run past the cornerback.

Denard throwing: "His accuracy and his... total quartebrack, just being a pocket passer." His accuracy has improved. Puts the ball where the receivers can run away from the defender after the catch.

Michael Shaw

"[Denard] told me on the sideline, mid second quarter, that he was gonna start giving up the ball a lot more." Denard's been getting yards because Ds are keying Shaw instead of Denard. Today was different. Other guys need to step up so the offense can click without Denard having to do it all. "We have playmakers, but now we're coming into our own as an offense."

There's no way to tell from film who the end is keying on. Had an idea they'd try to contain Denard (like ND, which didn't work out for them).

He was trying to hit the hole fast early in the game, but the DL was 2-gapping the OL, so he tried to hesitate on his long TD run to make sure he had the right read.

Offensive pressure opposite that D? "We added pressure to ourselves." Held each other up each of the past two weeks. Denard kept the team poised when they were down 17-7.

Special team struggles? "I don't really expect our kicking game to miss kicks. We all have faith in all of our teammates." Offense's job is to score TDs and not have to rely on those guys as much. "Those 40-yard kicks can turn into 2-yard extra points."

Jordan Kovacs

UMass held onto the ball well. Defense didn't do their job to get them off the field. "You've gotta give them a lot of credit they're a very good team. Maybe they caught us off guard." "They've got some big offensive linemen, I know it's nothing like we'll see in the Big Ten."

"We're happy that we didn't lose, but we're not satisfied with the way that we played defensively." Defensive play overall: "Clearly it's disappointing." Better to have that happen in a game that they still win, instead of have them cause a loss.

On his strip and recovery: "At that point in the game, they had a lot of momentum." Knew his team needed a big play, noticed the guy was carrying the ball low.

Losing contain - "Tough to see defensively. I'll admit that it happened to me a couple times." Need to get back to fundamentals and responsibilities. Would have been a different story if everyone executed well.

Mike Martin

"We never underestimate a team. We're not good enough to just walk in and get a victory." The team just has to play hard. "I think a focus that we needed" was lacking. Had a good week of practice. Need to get back to fundamentals this week in practice. "Michigan came out with a victory, and that's all we can ask for."

UMass offensive line - "They had a good line. They were smart and they did a good job with positioning their bodies a certain way." Called some plays to keep UMass unbalanced, disguise some things. They did a god job reacting.

Fighting through doubles. "It feels good as a nose guard because you don't get a lot of chances to be free." If you hit a rock over and over and it breaks after 100th hit, it's not the 100th hit that breaks the rock, it was the 99 before that.

Fewer sacks - "We've just gotta keep playing hard." Last year, it took BG 4 games to get a sack, there's still a lot of football to play.

Cam Gordon int/fumble "That's tough. I think it's just one of those freak things." The way it happened, they didn't complain and just went to go play the next play.

The team has done a good job not getting worried, pointing finger. "That's what we did in the past and we've done a better job this year in that aspect." Just do your job to win.

Coach went over a few things on the drawing board, and the halftime message was to go out and play as hard as they can for the final 30 minutes.

Make sure guys buckle down and get ready for Bowling Green.

Denard Robinson

UMass is a good team on both sides of the ball. "We watched film and knew they was pretty good." The team just came out sluggish. Can't come out sluggish and expect to win. That was the lesson they learned today. Have to re-focus to make sure this doesn't happen next week.

"We just had to focus and everybody had to play as one, play as a team, play smart" when they were down 10. Team started slow, and everyone needed to whole team to play.

"They really didn't contain me, I guess. That's why Shaw had a great game." UMass made that decision, not Denard. "It was great to have [Shaw] running the ball like that." All the running backs are threats, they just needed a D to give them a chance to break out.

"I'm all in for Michigan. Whatever it takes to win. We winning for Michigam, we're not just winning for me." Doesn't care about his stats if they win. "If we get a W, that's good." Nobody's perfect. He knew he wasn't going to go a whole season without throwing a pick. "We're gonna face adversity the whole season."

He thought he would play the whole game, until the coaches tell him otherwise.

On the long Stonum touchdown, "It was designed, he read the blocks perfectly, he made one guy miss, and got going." It was a big shift in momentum before the half. The offense just had to make the plays happen. Everybody knew they had to step it up.

"We've moved from that Notre Dame game, that was last week. And will move on from UMass after we watch film tomorrow to Bowling Green."



September 19th, 2010 at 3:17 AM ^

Now we shouldn't be afraid to go over the top to Stonum, like we should have been doing since he's arrived on campus. He is a serious deep threat and will spread the defense even more for Denard if we keep going to him and showing he's a viable threat.


September 19th, 2010 at 7:13 PM ^

It's not so much that we have been afraid as that 1) we haven't had a QB with the ability to do so (remember Tate's shoulder injury) and 2) that he was nearsighted and literally couldn't see the ball before he got contacts this past offseason.


September 18th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

Reminded me a lot of our win over Ball State, just couldn't put them away. A win is a win though, I have faith Gerg will take the boys aside and use this game for a lot of teachable moments.


September 18th, 2010 at 8:11 PM ^

Yeah, I was just sitting here listening to all the press stuff and had the exact same thought.  I will never forget the demeanor of the team after that Ball State game, especially Woodley, like they knew they almost let one get away; the disappointment was palpable.  I have faith that this team knows that too and that the coaching staff will use this, as you say, to teach, motivate, and continue to build team chemistry.

might and main

September 18th, 2010 at 7:07 PM ^

The UMass QB's statements earlier in the week about playing in the Big House made it clear this was going to be a special game for them, probably a career highlight.  RichRod seems to be really coming into his role as the M Head Coach, in my eyes at least.  One sign was his statement last week that our players would never drop the ball before getting into the endzone, because "our guys hand the ball to the ref."  Going into the UMass locker room is another sign ... he understood what this game meant to them.  I'm proud to have him as our coach.


September 18th, 2010 at 7:54 PM ^

I'd like to see them off him a contract extension by the 2nd game of the big ten schedule if they continue to keep winning. He's obviously doing his part right (offense) and it's not entirely his fault the D is so bad. It would take a lot of the pressure off and I think really boost morale going into the meat of the big ten.


September 18th, 2010 at 11:18 PM ^

So because they have one of the most dynamic offenses in college football. (RRS specialty) With a shitty defense, much of which the fault of his predecessor. You'd rather they get rid of him and did someone new and ruin the program for 3 more years? Add in the APR sanctions we're for sure to have and it will be another decade before they're back to winning football. Plus Denard will 100% bolt for the NFL at his earliest opportunity if that all plays out.
<br>Granted I never really liked RR but it's starting to show this year thy he's doing a hell of a job with the tools he was given. If M had a defense like in 06 they would have had a decent bowl game last season and would be a top ten team this season.


September 18th, 2010 at 5:05 PM ^

Clearly the UM defense is not good enough for anyone to expect that games will be blowouts in Michigan's favor.  Yeesh - this was UGLY.

Who had "The Horror" flashbacks after the blocked punt in the 4th?  Let's see those hands...

Breathing giant sighs of relief over here.  Learn from this one and move on to Bowling Green.


September 19th, 2010 at 12:10 PM ^

You didn't have the flashbacks until the 4th??  How about the 2nd quarter when we were getting our asses handed to us and looked like we would go into the locker room down 17-7?  Great job by the team to pick up momentum at the end of the half, but I was sufficiently terrified at that point.


September 18th, 2010 at 5:10 PM ^

I'm glad Denard got to show he can throw down the field, teams are going to have alot of game planning to do to try and contain every aspect of his game now. There have been a ton of upsets so far this year in a college football. A win is a win no matter how you get it. If Gordon doesn't fumble and Hagerup punts the ball cleanly we win by 20.


September 19th, 2010 at 12:50 AM ^

All Denard can do is place the ball where it is supposed to be placed.   That being the case irrespective of who the DB is or isnt.    And today, Denard did just that.   Those deep balls could not have been thrown more perfectly.  


September 18th, 2010 at 5:12 PM ^

I really liked Rich Rod's comments. He of course should not be pleased with the way the team played today, although he seems to recognize that one game does not indicate a team's season. The Michigan team in 2007 was bad enough one game to lose to App state, and good enough to beat Florida in the Capital one bowl. Sometimes you just have bad games.


September 18th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

our D was going to show their true colors, and today seems to be the day.  I think they have done some things in the past 3 games that has made me excited and have done some things that make me want to stab my eyes out.  Today wasn't the greatest but as Medic said above a win is a win.

Let's hope we make the corrections necessary before Big Ten play and keep riding the dilithium train.


Maize n Blue Balls

September 18th, 2010 at 5:21 PM ^

Thanks, Tim.

I think we all needed something to break up the sky-is-falling shit storm this afternoon.

We won.  We'll be better next week.  Bowling Green will get crushed.  Big Ten will be less of a nightmare than we think right now.


September 18th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

This game was clearly part of an emotional let down after a big road win against our rivals.  We had some poise to keep our heads, come back strong and take an 18 point lead (twice).  The biggest disapointment was the inability to close out UMass.  Still lots of youth in the secondary.  Hopefully this game will build some character and make them better going forward.  

For those that wanted to see the second stringers play, I guess you can always hope for next week against Bowling Green.


September 18th, 2010 at 7:38 PM ^

was large numbers of our defensive players not understanding the principle of contain. This is beyond fundamental. Many different players offended, not just one. Banks, RVB, Sagesse spent the day running themselves out of plays. Blindly and recklessly. Mouton and Ezeh regressed terribly. Kovacs made big mistakes. The DBs didn't play horribly, it's just that Bend-But-Don't-Break only works if you don't defeat yourself.
<br>And we completely forgot to cover a TE on a TD play. I watched him the whole time. I thought, "oh, motion towards trips... There's really only the TE left on this side, I wonder how they'll handle tha- AHhhhGargrhh!!!!"
<br>This and lack of contain make me question GERG, and I was just getting ready to jump in his truck.
<br>There are a lot if gd disappointments today. We weren't close to putting this team away.

U Fer M

September 18th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

Good to see Shaw run well, and some V. Smith, along with those deep passes that were on the money. UMASS isn't as bad as some thing, and M's D isn't good enough to take anything for granted. I hope this serves as a wake up call and lessons learned for the rest of the season.


September 18th, 2010 at 6:41 PM ^

If I were making a list of things you don't want to see in your coach's post game presser:

"We had a student body tryout. Any student out there... we'll have another tryout for you."

would need to be up there with

"Well, we don't know what happened, his arm just sort of fell off."


"We're not totally sure what the 'process' of the catch means, but that was a touchdown."


September 18th, 2010 at 6:46 PM ^

I honestly can't believe how bad our kicking game is. They can't even do kick offs well. The ball rarely gets down to the 10 yard line and when it does it's a line drive. What's the average starting position for our opposition? It has to be around the 35 yard line. 

It's not even worth getting into how pathetic the field goals have been. 


September 18th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

I am actually wondering if it's hard to find a kicker to recruit because so many high school coaches don't like to use their field goal kicker because their kicker can't kick, so you have tons of people who need kickers and it's hard to find the real deal.

Or they undervalue the importance of a solid, not even outstanding, just solid/reliable kicker.


September 19th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

How amazing was that throw? Denard had an unblocked defender rushing right in front of him. Denard moves slightly to the right and makes that perfect pass off his back foot. 

I love that we finally saw some deep passes in this game. Opposing defenses should be frightened. 


September 18th, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

and will hit the playoffs this year. Again. People don't get it.  The game has changed and FCS schools have very good players.

I'm a "glass half empty guy" myself, but even I can acknowledge another great game by Denard Robinson, a 100+ yard day for Shaw, and 100+ yards for Stonum.

The defense struggled in this game and probably shouldn't have.  OK. But they're young.




September 19th, 2010 at 10:20 AM ^

Yep, key point. Anybody who is comparing this team to baby seal U isn't looking at the rankings or the stats. This was a great football team and has taken 7 of the last 8 FBS teams they played to the brink. They are better according to the Sagarin rankings than most MAC schools.

Defense needs to get better, but to compare this team to Delaware State would be like saying that Syracuse is the same as Alabama. I mean, they're both FBS schools, right?