Postgame Presser Notes: Penn State Comment Count

Tim October 31st, 2010 at 4:51 AM

[Ed-M: Big kudos to Tim, who got this up at 5 in the morning. Note: images are not from last night. Also note: the last interview was mine].

Rich Rodriguez

On that thing that was on the field when the offense or special teams wasn't:

Can't say too much about what the breakdowns were until after seeing the film. It didn't seem like the team did a good job getting off blocks and making tackles. Some cutback lanes were open for Penn State. "I'll have to check our backside pursuit."

"We didn't execute well offensively either, in the first half. I thought there were enough plays out there offensively, if we could have got a few stops here and there, got a little momentum, that's what you've gotta do when you play in this kind of environment."

Rodriguez was disappointed with the team's trouble executing the no-huddle. "Our guys know that, and they'll try to be a fix for this week."

"The frustrating part is it's not just one person, it's usually a different thing. The inconsistency I think is a little bit frustrating for everybody, including our guys on defense." The guys didn't quit in the second half, but you have to make the plays when they're available.

"We've gotta put them in a position to make the plays. Gosh it seems like forever since we've gotten a turnover." The defense or special teams just needs one or two of those to spark them.

It's most frustrating to get the opponent in 3rd-and-long, and then still allow the conversion. "We've gotta play better, certainly. I didn't think we were real good on third down on offense today either."


On Mike Martin: "It was a different ankle. That's a blow, because there's no question that Mike makes a difference when he's in there."

Perry Dorrestein didn't play because of a knee sprain. "Denard got banged up but he felt good after." Jibreel Black and JT Floyd both went back into the game after minor injuries, and should be fine.

Denard had an OK game, but he'd definitely like to have a few of his throws back. His shoulder isn't quite 100%. "He's a great competitor, and I thought he competed all the way to the last snap." He landed on his hip funny when he briefly had to come out of the game.

Special Teams:

Hagerup practiced kickoffs this week, because Seth had been struggling with them. He did a pretty good job.

Should he have used the onside kick earlier? "No, because there's plenty of time, we had a couple timeouts left. Again, you let them start about midfield..."

"Gallon did a good job returning kickoffs, except the one mistake when he was losing his balance. The blocking wasn't great.

It's Not an Excuse, but, uh, Freshmen:

"We've got a few upperclassmen that are really trying as hard as they can defensively. Sometimes our youth gets picked on somewhat." They're trying to help the young guys grow up, but there's only so much they can do.

Rodriguez doesn't want it to sound like an excuse when he refers to the youth on defense, but the facts are what they are. "You look out there and there's a true freshman, and another true freshman, and a redshirt freshman... Ray Vinopal got his first start as a true freshman, I thought he did OK, but there's probably some mistakes made too."

"We know where we're at right now, and we've gotta do what we can defensively so we can play at a higher level."

Terrence Talbott got some play at corner because the coaches were trying to see if they could find something to work.

Roy Roundtree

"All throughout the game I think Denard played well."

The defense was blitzing a lot to force Michigan's offense into doing some things they didn't want to.

Perry Dorrestein

"We've got a couple of big-time losses and sometimes people start to think it looks kinda glum, kinda gloomy. We've just gotta persevere through it, win some football games, get bowl-eligible."

"We had some good protections. There's just a couple instances where a guy let in some penetration. It was really loud out there, so some of the snap miscues, but I think all-in-all we had a pretty solid day."

Injury? "Just a little swollen, couldn't play to 100%." Will you be back next week? Yes, yes."

Kevin Koger

The offense had a couple good plays, but they just stalled in execution a few times.

Jonas Mouton

"We'll just get back to Ann Arbor, watch the film, correct our mistakes, and go from there."

Soul Dong




October 31st, 2010 at 5:11 AM ^

okay yeah, so it's still 5am, and i'm about ready to crash, but i'm wondering at what point are we going to stop blaming youth on the defensive side and start manning up.

young, young, young, young......touchdown.

young, young, young, young.....touchdown.

young, young, young, young.....BREAK OFF A BIG PLAY OR A LEG OR A TOUCHDOWN OR KILL SOMEONE!!!!!


October 31st, 2010 at 8:50 AM ^

Look at USC's defense.  Monte Kiffin is the DC.  They have four and five star players all over the place.  Still, it is mired near the bottom of the rankings right next to ours.  Why?  Because youth and lack of depth trumps all.


October 31st, 2010 at 7:48 AM ^

Correct it? Really? Cause it looks like every week you come out and make the same mistakes over and over and over......  This defense makes me cringe every time they step on the field. At this point managing one more win unless a small miracle happens looks like all that's in this teams future. Illinois has really come on and Wisconsin and OSU have been playing at a high level all year so here's to the Purdue game.


October 31st, 2010 at 7:50 AM ^

"we're going to back to ann arbor, watch the film, not correct our mistakes, go from there and get pushed around, not tackle, cover backs and TE's and give up 35+ to Illinois for the 3rd year in around, and hope Denard can score 50+"


October 31st, 2010 at 12:13 PM ^

For a senior Mouton is one of the worst senior LB i have ever seen, other than Ezeh.. 


I watched 2 or 3 times he stepped into the whole to smash royster and he tries to one arm tackle him instead of hitting him dead on.. It makes no fucking sense..


The other thing that made me sick is JT floyd is still turning the wrong way when a ball is thrown at him..  He turns left when the WR is on his right..  I never played football and even im not that fuckin stupid


October 31st, 2010 at 7:51 AM ^

was my thought going into the season. Beginning of season, I marked PSU on the road as a loss.

Still my thought is 7-5 now, athough I did drink some Denard kool-aid and was hoping for 9 wins.

If we can't gut it out against an evenly matched Illinios at home and then whip on a crappy Purdue for 7-5 then I will also be moving to the exits under the RR big top.

However, we can go 7-5, win a bowl for 8-5 and look for marked improvement next year. 

I see a Dallas Bowl against Texas or Texas A&M in our future.


October 31st, 2010 at 9:13 AM ^

with Illinois????


Don't kid yourself.  Illinois pounded, I mean pounded that very same Penn State team.  Illinois has physically manhandled Michigan for 7 of the last 8 quarters we've played them.  Unless Illinois comes in and makes a bunch of turnovers, which no one seems to do anymore, Michigan has little chance to just lineup man for man and beating that team.


October 31st, 2010 at 9:53 AM ^

at a recent matchup with the same team. We lost 17 to MSU the following week MSU beat Illinois by 20.

The PSU Illinois game was 20-13 at the half. Then Illinois did a long drive and then a trick play to score and go up 27-13. Then Illinois had two more field goals.

I really didn't think that game was a pounding.



October 31st, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

That game was a pounding. Penn State got that one 80-yard breakaway in the first half and apart from that they couldn't do anything whereas Illinois pretty much rolled PSU's defense (which in fairness was really banged up for that game).

Illinois is good. Their running game and defense are on par with the top 4 teams in the league, but their sketchy passing game keeps them from being a contender. I think we can stay with them if Martin is close to 100%, but if not they will push us around and we will need some luck to keep it close.   


October 31st, 2010 at 9:34 PM ^

and a five-year-old as offensive coordinator. They gave up almost 400 yards in a home loss to Toledo. Denard will shred that defense ... all the O-line has to do is move Kerrigan away from the play.

I know things look bad for the defense right now, but there are teams in the conference significantly worse than Penn State, and fortunately, one of them is on the schedule. (Unfortunately, Minnesota is not ... )

Let's get through this season, get to a bowl game, win it, and then start for reals next year. The offense can do the job pretty well with a couple of true sophomores running it. With more experience, more donkey-punching, and better defense and special teams taking pressure off of it, it should kick ass next season, and all this will be a bad memory that we'll file away next to thoughts like "Remember when people thought Matt Millen knew football?"


October 31st, 2010 at 8:12 AM ^

"Mike Martin's injury: "It was a different ankle."

I can't decide if that is good or bad.  Two hurt ankles now?  Jeebus.   We simply have to have him ready to go.


October 31st, 2010 at 8:13 AM ^

youth on defense is the problem.  Bullshit!  We should have enough talent to do better.  I'm not looking for stops all the time.....but damn...we suck on defense.  I mean suck.  We do everyhting poorly...everything.  Throw in no kicking game, bad special teams....uh.... we are not a good team.  Screw the youth excuse.  put together a scheme that works....period!


October 31st, 2010 at 8:48 AM ^

It all starts with recruiting the right guys academically and physically to play B10 football.  This has not been RR focus so its on him.  I know he doesn't focus on D but isn't he the headcoach.  There, its on him.  He is responsible for the youth on D.  I  know there have been some special case with the kids on D.  However, it still on him.  Start loading up on D with the understanding all the players won't pan out.  How is the D recruiting going this year?  If there arn't any immediate impact players how much better can it get.  Frustrated but Go Blue !!!


October 31st, 2010 at 10:13 AM ^

Seems like you would have read the disaster that was the 2007 recruting class.  If there were any upperclassman (juniors and seniors) they would have been all Carr recruits this year, and there are none, and defense didn't go through nearly the amount of attrition that the offense did. 

Your points are valid with RR, I think around half of the blame falls on him, but the other half falls on Carr.  I'm not sure which is the bigger half.

It should be an extrememe case where a coach doean't get 5 years to prove himself.  This is bad, but not extreme given the lack of talent due to LC waning at the end.

There is an old saying in CFB that you will lose 1 game for every underclassman you have starting.  We are surpasiing expectations in that regard.


October 31st, 2010 at 8:52 AM ^

Guess when you're going to stop hearing it:  when it is no longer the problem.  Our freshmen won't be sophomores next week.  Our sophomores won't be juniors next week, either.  We knew all of this coming into the season.  The press keeps asking the question.  What do you want him to do, lie?


October 31st, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

But maybe it isn't the problem - at least not all of it.  GERG's defenses at Syracuse were consistently horrible.  Are you going to tell me that it was just a matter of youth?  Last year we had more experience than this year, and we were still horrible.  How many chances does this guy get to prove he's not a terrible DC?


October 31st, 2010 at 8:57 AM ^

The D is young and inexperienced plain and simple. We can't expect the D to be our foundation and we all knew it heading into the season. I do think we have a serious issue at DC! Even with the most inexperienced secondary you still should be able to coach tackling and fundamentals.

Fuzzy Dunlop

October 31st, 2010 at 9:05 AM ^

Words can't express how sick I am of the whole "we knew the D wouldn't be very good, so what are you complaining about" argument.  Two points:

1-  In the offseason, 90 % of those now claiming "we knew the D was going to suck" were claiming the defense was going to be vastly improved over last year because of additional experience and an extra year under GERG.


2.  No one is complaining that our D isn't "good."  We're upset that our defense is, literally, the worst in BCS football.  Youth does not excuse THAT.




October 31st, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

...expected a third consecutive year of "the worst defense in Michigan history" or "the worst defense in college football". Rational fans expected an offense that could score when it mattered instead of in hurry-up-lets-stage-a-comeback-mode. Rational fans expected a bad defense and a more consistent offense, and a 7-5 campaign, beating the teams we should beat and losing to the teams we shouldn't. We have haven't gotten any of these things yet.

That said, there are still games against Illinois (who is better than us) and Purdue (who has a better record than us) before we go up against real teams like Wisconsin and Ohio State. There's still a chance that we might make those strides, but the margin of error is nil, now. I, personally, no longer have any confidence in this coaching staff, which is a shame. I've been genuinely excited for the them and the team to date. Now I'm just hoping we survive another coaching changeover without become Notre Dame.


October 31st, 2010 at 2:01 PM ^

Really? Because I sure as shit didn't expect a walk on QB making his first ever start (NICK FUCKING SHERRIDAN PEOPLE) would torch our secondary.  Our secondary that has plenty of game experience under their belt at this point, and were deemed worthy of getting a scholarship.  I did not expect a mere 2 sacks against a completely GUTTED offensive line for Penn State.  I did not expect Royster to humiliate us with said offensive line blocking for him.


There comes a point in time where you stop making the dumb fucking excuse for youth and inexperience to shrug away your anger.  This, was that time.  It's time for a change, Rod.  Either the whole defensive staff goes, or the entire coaching staff goes.  Yes, that includes you buddy.


October 31st, 2010 at 3:10 PM ^

This is exactly it.  MSU, Iowa and even Indiana were experienced offenses, so you could rationalize our failures.  PSU was not experienced, and not even very talented.  We somehow looked even worse against them than against the others.  It's mind-blowing.


October 31st, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

to say young and inexperience about the whole defense is accurate imo.  Mouton and Ezeh are seniors who have tons of starts under their belt.  Just about the entire dline other than Graham returned from last year.  JT Floyd saw a lot of time last year.


October 31st, 2010 at 9:17 AM ^

at the post game pressers, but it is the same things that rise up to bite us in the arse. We all feel bad, frustrated, but no one feels as bad as coach, you could see it in his face as the minutes fell off the clock.

It's 9am where I'm at, and while I feel bad about the loss, I do feel that there was a small amount of progress. The guys didn't give up, they fought hard. The defense was thrown around, but it was a complete chicken with it's head cut off thrown around. Some new guys got experience. Happy Valley is a tough place to play

Let's get it together and move on...24 hour rule fellas...


October 31st, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

Martin was out. Penn State's offense is bad, but they can execute basic plays when the defense puts no pressure on them.

Maybe we should have mixed it up more on defense. It's hard to run more than a basic scheme with inexperienced players.  Unfortunately, the players we had available are so ineffective at this stage in their careers that a basic scheme isn't likely to stop anyone.

You can't always get what you want.


October 31st, 2010 at 9:28 AM ^

A win against Illinois would definitely be a quality win.  This team is capable and would likely lead to us being 7-3 going into Wisky.

Everybody is frustrated because last night was a great opportunity. People who know more than me had Penn State down as a team treading water with problems in spots on defense we could exploit. We didn't when it actually mattered. Third week in a row that was the case.

One piece of evaluation at the end of the year might be to figure out where our purported best players stand up against the purported average Big Ten power program starter.   Last night has gotta make a person of reasonable intelligence  wonder if the end game I keep claiming will be so great, really will be.

Talking specifically about the offense, not the defense.  

That was a defense also playing inexperienced guys that gave up around 4 bills of yards to Minnesota.  It is fair to expect with two weeks to prepare that we'd do way better and put up points early and often. Not just in desperation when the other team is burning out the clock.



October 31st, 2010 at 9:37 AM ^

Some one suggested a bowl match up with Texas. Not too long ago they were in the National Championship game and this year they have 4 losses. We now have 3. Who's to say they will even get to a bowl game. They own the state of Texas when it comes to recruiting and look at their struggles. My point is it happens.

This blog was predicting doom and gloom for our D when Warren announced he would not be returning (is that on RR?). Then Woolfolk is lost pre-season. Even worse doom and gloom. Yes, 5-0 all gave us hope but we knew what was possible.

Let's stop calling for RR's head. At least give him the rest of the season to see what we can do and IF we can improve. Hey, many on this board were all excited by Vinopal at FS. If nothing else it shows RR is trying different things to see what can help.

They haven't given up and neither should we.

duffman is thr…

October 31st, 2010 at 8:16 PM ^

This board has changed a lot since yesterday to the point it feels like comments like these did not exist anymore.  Part of me is glad that people can express their opinion now whether it is pro/anti RR without being ridiculed, but logic and rationale win out for me.  I was pissed off watching that game last night too, but I still know that this is year 3, not 4 or 5, and I will be patient enough to at least get through the rest of the year.  So, thank you for taking the time to post this today PW.


October 31st, 2010 at 9:59 PM ^

It's not like there is some reservoir of hidden talent somewhere that RR can use to magically cure the defense this season. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio State will be challenging games. That's how it is now. That's probably how it was at the beginning of the season, too ... we saw things that seemed hopeful, but in the context of conference play, even back then the defense wasn't going to be good enough.

For now, all he can really do is get some younger guys some experience. If they make some big plays, they might help the offense steal one of the three tough games, and Purdue's offense is so weak that the occasional mistake that's been a 50- or 60-yard play against other teams will be more like a 15- or 20-yard play against the Boilers.

Things are getting better quickly on the offensive side of the ball. Next year, it'll be even better. The defense can't be any worse, and with healthy players, it should be significantly better (of course if RR makes/is forced to make coaching changes, that might affect a few players). The placekicking also can't get any worse, and Hagerup seems to have found one of Zoltan's old uniforms.

It isn't where we want things to be, but it's better than two years ago, The team is better than last year, and the record may well be better as well. It could be a lot worse: as PW points out, Texas was 13-1 last season, and they've already lost the second-most games in one season under Mack Brown, with Oklahoma State and Texas A&M still to play. They just lost to Baylor at home for the first time since 1628, I think.

Next year, if we're repeating our concerns about the defense, if Michigan looks to be .500 in conference play or worse, then yes, maybe it's time to start thinking about RR's future. We knew coming in he wasn't going to do things the way Carr did, so there was going to be a period of transition. It's been longer than we wanted, but it could be worse ...


October 31st, 2010 at 9:54 AM ^

I don't get why people are still pointing to 7-5 as a likely record. Does anyone really think we have a chance next week? Schelhausse or whoever is gonna break juice's Michigan stadium record and their D is going to use Penn states strategy and make our offense look like it's 2009 all over again. We might get that sixth win on the road in West Lafayette, but to expect us to beat any of the quality teams left on this schedule is really a reach at this point...

I guess I hope we get lucky, seems like all the bounces go against Michigan these days. But I'm not expecting anything good to come of this situation from here on out. I've wasted way too much time thinking this team was ready to take the next step.