Postgame Presser Notes: Michigan State Comment Count

Tim October 9th, 2010 at 8:03 PM

Rich RodriguezIMG_20100904_191744.jpg

Tae Odoms may have a broken foot. "I don't know what's up with Mike" Martin. James Rogers cramped severely. [I saw Rogers leaving the stadium, and he seemed to be walking fine, for what it's worth].

"I don't look at margin of defeat. I'm just disapointed we didn't play better. Our guys played hard, but we didn't play well." Too many mistakes to win against a good team. A little off in both the pass and run game on offense. Dropped passes, missed protections. "I don't want to say it wasn't our best effort, but it certainly wasn't our best technique-wise and the things we needed to do."

Need to make big plays to counter the opponents' big plays "None of those things occurred today." Can't diagnose what went wrong on the big plays until watching film. "We didn't tackle well." Maybe accountable to going after the ball a bit too much.

Ineffectiveness in the red zone made a difference. Denard needs to "live for another play" or take off and run instead of making bad passes which can turn into turnovers.

Denard not as sharp as he has been. He's still young, but he's competitive and going through the film they'll see what happened. "This is just his sixth game. I'm told everybody all along that he's a first-year starter." Denard wasbhesitant at times, but there weren't a lot of creases. "We had some more things planned."

Guys were close to making some plays, but didn't close the gap on defense.

On MSU containing Denard: "They just played well, got off blocks. And we didn't play as well I don't think."

Low kick led to the blocked field goal - there wasn't penetration up front that caused it.

Punting with 6 minutes left was the wrong decision. RR was trying to get the players' attention and change the call. He wouldn't punt it again in the same situation.

Iowa has had an open week to get ready, and Michigan has a big game against them next week.

Denard Robinson

Mood in the locker room was what you'd expect from losing the game.

MSU had a couple blitzes, stunts. That wasn't the main issue on offense though, Michigan just made a couple bad reads. "We made bad mistakes, and we've gotta capitalize on a few things." Made bad reads, bad plays, some mistakes.

MSU didn't try to take Denard specifically out of the offense: "Not really. We've got weapons everywhere. I'm not the only weapon on offense." Denard hesitated a lot, which prevented him making the long runs. "Just bad reads, bad reads."

Rivalry games are always exciting, maybe Denard played a little too excited. Got too excited on the bad throw to Hemingway.

MSU is fast - "they're a Big Ten team." MSU more physical? "It's just like the rest of those games." Dirty play at all? "It's Michigan State vs. Michigan. That's all I've got to say."

Greg Jones wasn't the reason Denard made mistakes today. "I didn't pay attention to one player. I paid attention to everybody."

Team wasn't worried when they went down 2 scores. With a high-powered offense, they should be able to come back from that. Knew they could come back, just needed to keep playing hard and keep focused.

No one person is to blame for the poor performance, time to move on. "Refocus and get back in there. It's mid-season now. Time to crank it back up."

Roy Roundtree

"Yeaaah, I just lost focus" on the first drop. Got into the endzone and realized he didn't have the ball (jokingly).

"I felt like it was a lot of mistakes in the redzone." Have to score when you get down there, and not doing so hurt the team.

Denard "he was keeping poised all through the game." Not getting frustrated by throwing interceptions, and was pumping the team up.

MSU always plays physical, just like everyone else in the Big Ten will against Michigan. MSU isn't necessarily the best defense M has played, there were a lot of mistakes on the Michigan side that helped them.

"This is a tough loss, you know. We just have to go in there Monday and learn from our mistakes and prepare for Iowa."

Ryan Van Bergen

MSU better than other teams played? "They have some better players at some positions than teams we've seen." They took care of the ball, moved it with the run, and smart passes. "They executed better than we did."

A couple miscommunications on gap responsibility led to the long runs. "We weren't in the right one twice. Same play." Will figure that out. "I thought we were prepared for it. Unfortunately they just gashed us on a couple plays."

"I think they got called for an illegal chop on Mike. I think he'll be fine." He wants to get it evaluated before risking further injury.

"If I'm going to be a leader on the defense, I have to set an example. Obviously we didn't win today, I didn't play well enough." Everybody has to push, we haven't seen Michigan play as well as they can yet.

Cousins' bootleg wasn't that effective - the defense against that was improved. "It was kind of easy getting back there to him."



October 9th, 2010 at 11:25 PM ^

Yes, we did convert our first field goal. HOWEVA, was I the only person shouting at the screen when they chose to go for that 2nd field goal?? Did every Michigan fan not know that we were about to miss it? Why do we continue to put that garbage up when we have such a high-powered offense?


October 10th, 2010 at 8:56 PM ^

was pretty craptastic in the red zone yesterday. And it wasn't just Denard's making the wrong read or throwing behind the receiver or whatever. There was also a ridiculous number of drops, including 3(?) in a row in front of the student section before Grady came in to catch a first down strike on 4th and long. And I think that when you have a suddenly struggling offense, the conventional wisdom that says take the points doesn't look that bad, even with a long struggling kicking game. 


October 9th, 2010 at 8:44 PM ^

Dear Brian,

Please never publish one of my comments on the front page again.  The last time I was on the front page we lost to App State.  Then you pushed my comment to the front page yesterday. 

I take full repsonsiblity for the loss today.  I will continue to comment, because that apparently doesn't make us lose; but every time my words are on the front page, kittens come out.  I have not lost faith in our team.  We will still have a good season, but we just lost to a very good michigan state team. 

Go Blue!



October 9th, 2010 at 9:10 PM ^

we just lost to a very good michigan state team.

True, we did lose, and I give Sparty credit for executing well.  However, we beat ourselves just as much as they beat us.  We execute properly we have just as good a shot at this game as they do.  This game was by no means as bad as the score made it out to be.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:52 PM ^

Can't we just give Sparty credit here?  Nothing pisses me off more than fans trying to pretend that the loss was due to their teams shortcomings.  Umm, ya.  It's a football game.  Usually, the team that executes better wins.  We got beat.  And we have been getting away with poor football all year – we are really lucky that we are 5-1.  On to the next one.  Go Blue.


October 9th, 2010 at 11:33 PM ^

I gave Sparty credit, they deserve it for how well they played.  But there's a difference between getting dominated and thus losing, and throwing 3 ints and missing a field goal that, due to our own mistakes, cost us 24pts.  And since you're talking about luck, it seemed all the luck went MSU's way today (see tipped pass right to WR at the beginning of 2nd half, or the fumble recovery after the bad snap).  It happens, it went against us today for whatever reason.  I'm not making excuses, merely pointing out that the game wasn't Sparty domination as the score seemed to show, but in reality was just as much UM's failure to execute as anything.  Am I "pretending" on those points or were you watching a different game than I was? 


October 10th, 2010 at 1:10 AM ^

Huh, I went back a re-read what I wrote, and apparently I must've missed the part where I said the score was only due to luck.  What I read was that I said the luck seemed to go against UM in this game.  What I also read was that I gave Sparty credit for executing and playing a good game.  And then I also read  that while the score board may display a one sided game, it wasn't nearly to the degree to which someone who merely sees the score might be lead to believe since UM's lack of execution lead to 24 pts being left on the field and many of the things that are chalked up to luck, to whatever degree they affected the game, seemed to against UM.  But, like I said, you can go ahead and keep asserting things that I never in fact said; it is the internet afterall.


October 10th, 2010 at 7:06 AM ^

"We beat ourselves as much as they beat us."  Let's look at Denard's INTs.  We can sit here and say bad read, underthrown, bad route running, etc.  Or maybe State's D was just running a good defensive scheme that allowed them to cover well (a la RPS +1)?  I hate Sparty, but I just can't look at this game and say to myself that we beat ourselves as much as they beat us.  They were just the better football team, plain and simple.  


October 10th, 2010 at 8:50 AM ^

Yep. It was painful to conclude that while sitting there in the stands with my very happy Sparty brother, but this was no flukey, undeserved victory for MSU.

Just look at the running back situation—Bell, Baker, and Caper are far, far better than anybody we've got, including that mysterious man of mystery, the supposedly most-talented-on-the-team Michael Cox.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

Ok then, perhaps the ratio of them playing good and us screwing up on our own isn't 50/50, but we made a lot of mistakes that were not the result of Sparty playing good and thus causing us to make a mistake, the offense just had one of those games.  I think most young teams will have those, especially with a true soph QB.  It's just very frustrating to see and know that this team is capable of playing so much better and left so many points on the field that, despite how well MSU was playing, could've at least given us a shot at the game.


October 10th, 2010 at 1:24 AM ^

We've been getting away with poor football all year?  That's quite contrary to your post from 4 days ago?

I am elated with how we have looked so far

This is the problem I've had with my fellow fans the last 2 and a half years.  This, much like many other so called "fans", epitomizes a "monday morning quarterback". 


October 10th, 2010 at 11:00 AM ^

I should probably have said that I am elated with what we have done so far.  I was sure that our defense would be demonstrably worse this year, despite prevailing opinion that the 3-3-5 and the consistency of another year "in the system" would offset our losses talent-wise.  I did not think we should have been favored to win any games so far this year save BGSU and UMass.  Winning the home opener and on the road vs. ND and Indiana were thrilling to me.  I am very pleased with the result thus far, considering how awful we are on the defensive side of the ball.  I stand by that, and I expect the rest of the season to bear that out; valiant offensive effort marred by defensive incompetence.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:50 PM ^

To add to the punting woes, I was reminded of last year:

Last year remember Zoltan's fake punt run for no gain on Michigan's own 30?  Killer.  Rich said Zoltan always has the option to run but it was a bad read.  Either way Rod allowed it to happen just like the punt for the loss today.

Also let's not forget the MSU punt today where UM ran into the kicker for MSU first down.  Late in the game, but still hurt any miracle we had of winning at that point.


October 10th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

Tony Anderson - #17, Jr backup CB.

I watched it again on tape.  Matt Millen thought Tony could have stopped himself, especially when he just put up his hands into the kicker like he was blocking someone - not sure he understood you can look but don't touch - block the ball, not the person.  Well, not the biggest problem of the game by far...but still something to address.


October 9th, 2010 at 8:49 PM ^

Well on the bright side, we couldnt have played much worse.  They need to shake this off and learn from it.  Cant let it tank the rest of the season.  Denard had a bad day and still had 311 yards and 2 td's.  Gotta start tackling better though. Way too many 3rd down and long conversions. Keep your heads up guys. Go Blue!!!!


October 9th, 2010 at 9:02 PM ^

...treating this like a rivalry vs just another game.  Been the only complaint I've had about RR up until the punt today.  Feels too much like business and not enough emotion or whatever you want to call it about rivalry games.  I would hope that when he is not in front of the mic/camera he is treating games like today differently than he has shown the media.  Maybe if someone sends RR a picture of D's smug grin up in the box from the last 3 mins, he will treat this game differently next year.  

Pibby Scott

October 9th, 2010 at 9:10 PM ^

after the fact we can point to all sorts of subjective things and say this or that is the cause of what happened out on the field.   


we played like a young team. we are in fact a young team. maybe that's the preparation? maybe they were too emotional about it being a rivalry?  i don't think there's anything to be gained from this kind of speculation.


all i know is we left 21 points on the field. we lost by 17.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:14 PM ^

...that is why we lost or that the punt decision is why we lost.  I, like you, think this team is very young and not very deep, especially on D.  I know there were a number of mistakes that led to the L today.  But it is only 1 L and I think we have a very bright future in the remainder of this season and beyond.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:29 PM ^

I think RR treats this game as an important game in the B10, but I'm fine with it not being "the event" during the season.  Off the top of my head, UM has heated rivalries with ND, OSU, MSU, Wiscy, and (sometimes) PSU and Illinois, plus Purdue pisses everyone off.  A good coach gets his team up for every game, but you waste too much energy getting worked up about certain "big" games and lead to the inevitable letdown the following week.  I know that the team wanted to win today, and they understood the significance.  But 6-1 with a win over Iowa is still 6-1, and at this point UM just needs to keep winning.  The world has a way to right itself in the long run, and the fact that UM has dominated the MSU rivlary for years is something that will continue despite this speed bump.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:08 PM ^

...I think publicly speaking about the rivalries is more for the fans like me than it is for the team.  I just wonder how much less heat he would have taken from the alumni and boosters had he came in like Dantonio and/or Tressel making statements about beating OSU etc?  

I'm also not saying that UM wont keep winning.  There are a number of very winnable games ahead and with a deeper, more experienced D and O next year, MSU is gonna get all they want and more.  


October 9th, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

People still trash Lloyd for being one game under .500 with OSU, even though he had a winning record against everyone else. Rich is going to have to start winning to 2014 to have a winning record vs. MSU. If anything, it's been shown that guys who downplay or don't understand the rivalries like Cooper, John L. And do forth don't really succeed in them. And guys who emphasize them, like Tressel and Dantonio seem to so all right. (We just got Dantonio a lifetime contract). If he's not A completely different person behind closed doors than he is in public, he's in trouble. Because those who embrace it in public don't seem to be hurt by it. Bo once said all it would take for him to get fired is lose to OSU 3 years in a row. Lloyd proved him wrong, but, that was OSU...


October 9th, 2010 at 9:56 PM ^

...I'd still like to see him publicly show how much he wants to beat the biggies.  We all know Michigan has heated rivalries with more than just ND, MSU and OSU but those are the biggies every year.  I have the utmost respect for our coach and cant wait to see what he does in the future given the time to put a respectable defense together.  I think he'll have the guys ready for Iowa and then we have some time to heal the bumps and bruises.  


October 9th, 2010 at 10:20 PM ^

...but what exactly would Rich Rod have to say in a press conference/public forum that would convince you (and many others) that he understands how important a rivalry game is?  I hear/read this comment a lot, but I have never once doubted that he "understands" the importance of a rivalry game.  His comments before, during and after a rivalry game have never indicated to me that RRod just isn't getting it.   Personally, I would be concerned if he made it out like it was the most important game of the year because he would lack a focus on the bigger picture.  So please provide some examples that RRod could use for future reference to show he understands that rivalry games are important.

Our inexperience was exploited today by a better, more experienced team.  It hurts as I wanted us to win this game so badly for the coach and team.  Perhaps this brings us back to reality that we are still growing, and our best is yet to come.  Despite the loss, I am still All In and will support this team!

And I really like the determination on Denard's face throughout the interview.  Glad he didn't go all Tebow on us, but this was a good learning experience for him.



October 9th, 2010 at 11:10 PM ^

...and I said below that it is more for the fans than the team but if you've played ball (and I'm assuming you and most on here have) you know that emotion plays a huge roll in the game.  But I stick to the fact that growing up I watched and listened to Bo talk about these games and whether it was for the team or for the fans, I appreciated it and bought into my coaches attitude.   I had a number of my coaches from Little League to the NFL use rivalries to motivate a little extra from the guys.  As you said, "our inexperience was exploited" and I agree with you completely.  Don't go getting all stoked there BigTex, I'm not attacking RR or the team, I'm all in, just sharing a thought that may or may not have had anything to do with the game but crossed my mind with all the talk of the week about the rivalry.  I'm not worried about this team.  I was mad as hell during the game but at the mistakes not coaches or players.  Its part of the game and it was bound to happen.  

Go Blue!

Pibby Scott

October 9th, 2010 at 9:07 PM ^

i really feel sad. i don't know. i felt like we were there, i felt like....gosh i don't know. i'm confused and i'm just writing to write right now because i don't know. this stunk. especially because of the fact the game didn't feel out of hand, we scored, and were down 14 and we got a stop and i was like yes, yes, this is it.........but sadly.......ugh........i don't even know. i'm sorry this is a rambling idiotic mess of a comment. but i'm gonna publish it. because i don't know why.


i want the points. i'm going for it!


DONT PUNT! dont give up.GO BLUE


October 9th, 2010 at 11:04 PM ^

This is perhaps my favorite comment in any chat thread in years.  This 100% sums up how I feel.  I am also here to read and write about the game, but I have little that can construed as "constructive" to say. 

I am sad.  I am disappointed.  I am not even remotely a RR detractor, but I do feel that we were completely outcoached and that he should have (1) changed up the playcalling, (2) put in Hopkins for more carries, and (3) pulled an obviously struggling Denard and put in Tate.   I am also completely morose over our defense, and its potential even into next year.  Just once, I want to see RR come out with something bold in a big game.  I want RR to stay, but he needs to do better.  I am also rambling. 


October 9th, 2010 at 9:18 PM ^

Very disappointed, heck ya! But this was the worse case scenario that I feared (but didn't expect). Denard makes mistakes, our D plays like a sieve (again), and Sparty plays flawless football.

The next two games will determine, perhaps, RichRod's future here. We stumbled after the 4-0 start last year with a loss to MSU. Then 5-0, and a loss, now ?????

If we are 5-3 going into the Illinois game, then the Jim Harbaugh watch will be underway.

MSU clearly had DBs in the right place on our slants and passing routes. I hate to say it, but MSU has a better coach, at least right now. Don't think Iowa won't be ready for this too. We really need a big game from one of the RBs to break the cycle. Even if we have to try out Cox, whatever it takes to get a 100 yd game from a RB against a B10 team!

I was at the Iowa loss on the road last year and wasn't worried about the season, after the loss which put us at 4-2. Now, I'm really worried that we will snowball into the flusher if we don't play our A game next week.

That said, I'm flushing this one down the toilet and hoping next Saturday is a better day.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

They just weren't WIDE open. There were shoestring tackles all over the field today, just like there have been with other teams. MSU did a great job of covering the routes, but they were still a step behind.

That's doable, that's no problem. They don't have to be wide open and they were still worth 10-15 yards on a good, safe throw.

What is a problem is an overly excited sophomore quarterback throwing behind two wide receivers because he's trying to force the ball into double and triple coverage on second down, or lofting a goose downfield into double coverage.

Denard regressed today. He missed zone reads. His throws were reminiscent of last year.  He's not a pocket passing quarterback yet, and when forced to do so will not look good.

So did the linebackers. Both long runs were the fault of gap assignments from either Mouton or Ezeh, I haven't looked at the plays again so I can't say which. That's the risk of a 4-2, the linebackers have to be GOOD.

Finally, the O line got pretty well powned on run plays; I'm not sure if this was because they were cheating on the run or whether they really did outplay us, but it was of great, great concern to me. Dilithium or not, this team will win or lose by what happens in the trenches.

I'm not going to lay Christensen on the coals for missing his assignment on the deep bomb; he has clearly not been ready since BGSU and when Rogers came out MSU took advantage of it. His struggles are reminiscent of the overall problems we have with depth in the secondary.


October 9th, 2010 at 11:56 PM ^

Good observations and thanks for being honest with what's real.  I think some Michigan fans bleed so much blue it blurs their vision.  I love my Wolverines, but I know when I see a quarterback who cannot throw with accuracy.  This is not the first game Denard has botched throws on open receivers.  They were largely overlooked because we ended up with the W.  Now, that they are the main reason for the L people still want to pretend its not a real concern.  Denard's passing just plain sucked.  Heck, even the Odoms completion, which was all Odoms, was greatly under thrown.  It should have been an easy touchdown.  I think in effort to ease the mind, people are giving the MSU defense far too much credit.  Denard threw behind people, over people, under people, etc.  It looked very much like last year.  Yeah, there was that one drive late where his receiver dropped three passes, but outside of that the passing was very poor.   I hope it was just a really bad day for him, but I'm afraid teams are going to force him to beat them with his arm and its only going to further produce these type of games.


October 10th, 2010 at 10:30 PM ^

he has been carrying the offense all year with one big play after another.  You can't expect him to continue at that level all year.  If he were playing at the same level as most of the other players on the team, we would be about 3-3 right now instead of 5-1.

Until our defense improves and can come up with more stops, the offense is going to have to play at a high level in order for us to win.


October 9th, 2010 at 10:01 PM ^

That punt call still doesn't make any sense even if he was trying to change the play, but I still don't think that would have changed the outcome.  RR will fall on his sword here and take the blame, but I'd rather focus on the rest of he season.  This team can still win 8-9 games if it focuses and takes care of business.  Give Sparty credit and move on, and I actually think this points to a very good game next week by the offense - Iowa better be ready.

EDIT:  Also -


October 9th, 2010 at 9:32 PM ^

This sucks with much suckage. Pressure just went WAY up for the iowa game. Win and everyone relaxes and MSU becomes just a speedbump on the road to recovery. Lose and........well let's just say it won't be pretty around here.


October 10th, 2010 at 1:18 AM ^

That speaks more to peoples insecurity as fans than to the reality of the game in which Iowa should be favored as the better team.  I don't know, I hope we bounce back big like Nebraska did against KU after being shut down against an FCS team the previous week.  I think this team has much more maturity than last year and won't fall apart nearly as easily even if we lose.  7-5 or 8-4 is a success for us this season with where our team as a whole is at, with next year shaping up to be great - awesome, and we need to remember those preseason perspectives with such a young team and not suprised when they don't dominate every game.  Sorry, tangent.


October 9th, 2010 at 9:54 PM ^

The play where I really thought the defense lost steam for the rest of the game was the long sideline to sideline run by Keshawn Martin for a 1st down.  I think it was 3rd and 10 or 3rd and 15...someone help me out, but 2-4 defenders kind of brushed Keshawn without much effect.  But hold them there, and it was a definite punt since MSU was in their own side of the field.

After that, I don't remember the defense stopping much.