Postgame Presser Notes: Wisconsin

Submitted by Tim on November 20th, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Rich Rodriguez


"Craig Roh, Mike Martin, Darryl Stonum, the list goes on. It's just one of those crazy years." He's never had this many key guys out with injury, but the backups need to step up in big spots. This team is too inexperienced to handle that.

Roh - "some kind of concussive type of symptoms." Probably the same for Vincent Smith, though RR hasn't had a chance to talk to the trainers yet.

"Didn't play well, didn't tackle well, didn't catch the ball well." You can't win games doing that against a good team.

The first half was disappointing, because they didn't make the most of their limited possessions. Potential touchdown overthrown, etc. Weren't able to get rhythm with limited possessions in the first half. In the second half, they needed one of those onside kicks in order to keep momentum.

"If everybody stays healthy, they will get a little bit better, I think" during the season, but expecting leaps and bounds of improvement from guys won't come until bowl or spring practices.

"As frustrating as it is for all the fans - which I understand their frustration - it's just as frustrating for us coaches, too" because they can't help guys age overnight.

Wisconsin's efficient offense is a combination of factors, Tolzien is good at executing the offense, makes the plays that are there. "They had some guys wide open on some middle dig routes, and I gotta see what happened with that. That was probably the most disappointing part."

Knew they needed to develop a rhythm early in the second half. Needed one big stop or one successful onside to capture momentum.

"I didn't want to screw up and make a major mistake" at the end of the first half, so he didn't want to stop clock. He wouldn't do it differently if he had the chance. "If we had not gotten the ball first in the second half, I probably would have used the clock a little bit and went on from there."

Bad tackling - "The hard part is, to work on it during the season, how do you do live tackling?" Don't want guys to get hurt - can't afford more injuries. Another reason is "sometimes you miss tackles because you're just not strong enough yet."

"They're older bigger, experienced physical teams" that have run over Michigan. He'd be more disappointed if Michigan had comparable age and experience. Not trying to make an excuse, it's reality. The young guys will be better next year because of their playing time this year. "We've gotta get those guys to that level as quickly as we can." Numbers are better now on D, but the guys are young.

They weren't thinking about the QB rushing record for Denard. He was close to breaking loose a couple times in the first half. "He just wants to win, so this day's disappointing. But we've got the big one next week."

Tate's playing time at the end was because they want to keep him in the loop, wanted to give him a few game reps on plays they think he can execute well.

Field goals: "That's been ongoing. Seth had clearly kicked better all week in practice." Never seen him miss one from the middle of the field in the past month. Gibbons's extra points weren't great, anyway.

"It's a challenge anyway, your'e playing a great team at their place. But it's Ohio State-Michigan, it's not going to be hard to get the guys fired up to prepare for it."

Denard Robinson

No injury at the end of the game, just a coaches' decision.

On the offense's poor production in the first half - "Guess we came out kind of flat. We came out real flat." Not sure why that happened.

"Got too anxious" on the overthrow to Stonum. He was excited to make a big play.

When they went on a run in the third quarter, they just played like they'd been practicing all along. "Basically we just got it together."

Everybody who plays Michigan is going to fight. Wisconsin was one of those teams. "Everybody came in here to fight us, and they fought us, too. We fought back."

On his good day running: "I felt good today, my offensive line was blocking good, and God was with me." The record - "It don't mean nothing to me right now. I mean, we're ready to play Ohio State, you know."

JJ Watt "He's a great defensive end, and hats off to him."

The team has a chance to redeem themselves in the last game and the bowl game.

Roy Roundtree

Hats off to Wisconsin for slowing Michigan down first half. Low possessions because they were controlling the clock with the run.

After half there were some changes. "We just gotta go out there and play Michigan football."

Drops were due to a lack of focus. "As wide receivers you gotta catch them balls." Receivers' job is to catch the ball, so they have to.

James Rogers

"We were in position, we fought with 'em. But we've just gotta make those tackles."

His injury was a shoulder stinger, just needed a couple plays off.

On his interception - "Of course we're thinking about scoring" to start a comeback - there wasn't enough time to finish it.

They knew Wisconsin was going to come out and run "we fought back with them, just gotta come out and make some tackles, that's all."



November 21st, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

Maybe we looked the worst in game 11 because this is by far the best team we have played this year.

That may be, but this game really didn't unfold that differently than the MSU, Iowa, and PSU games.  In all four games, we fell behind by 20+ points in the second half. 


November 20th, 2010 at 6:32 PM ^

They put up 24 points passing 1 time in the second half. You are right it could have been way worse.   

This was a lost day in pretty much all phases.  Definitely didn't feel like we built on any of the successes from prior games.  Hopefully a review will show I am wrong.


November 20th, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

It's pretty hard for a team to improve week to week considering the need to study opponents, rehab injuries, keep up with class work, and practice for opposing offenses/defenses. I finally realized that most improvement should come during the off-season. It's 3 times as long, you can actually hit since you don't need everyone in game condition, and there are fewer outside obligations.

For the true freshmen who didn't arrive on campus til June, at the start of next season they will have spent 3x as much time at Michigan as they have already. That's a huge difference, and the winter's focused strength and conditioning training should also help a lot. 170 lb corner backs trying to tackle 235 lb running backs doesn't usually end well for the defense.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

It's pretty hard for a team to improve week to week considering the need to study opponents, rehab injuries, keep up with class work, and practice for opposing offenses/defenses.

I'm sorry but that's bull.  Show me another team in the nation that doesn't have freshman on the field.  Show me another team in the nation that doesn't have injuries by this time in the yaer.  Such a team doesn't exist.  Those are nothing but excuses.


November 20th, 2010 at 11:09 PM ^

Cam Gordon-RS Freshman and position switcher

Ray Vinopal-True Freshman

Carvin Johnson-True Freshman

Courtney Avery-True Freshman

Terrance Talbott-True Freshman

Cullen Christian-True Freshman

Marvin Robinson-True Freshman


Its not that no other team plays a freshman here or there. Its that we have 7 freshman, either RS or true, seeing significant playing time all in the defensive backfield. You tell me what other team has that to overcome. 

As for the injuries:

Mike Martin-Junior, Best Defensive player

Troy Woolfolk-Best corner

JT Floyd-2nd best corner

Jared Van Slyke-Safety back-up 

Again its not that other teams do not have injuries, but it is unlikely that other teams have this many injuries to such crucial defensive players. 

These are not excuses, these are facts. 


November 21st, 2010 at 12:15 AM ^

Yes, I realize Michigan is young.  We've been hearing that for 3 years now.  Yes, there probably isn't a younger secondary in football right now. 

I'm tired of the excuses... and I can still be a fan at the same time.  Regarding the injuries,  every team in football is hurting come November.  The good teams overcome that.


November 21st, 2010 at 12:45 AM ^

We're obviously younger on defense than the vast majority of teams and our predictions reflected that. But predicting 7-5 doesn't bind one to being happy with it. The biggest reason we're so young is all the attrition and non qualifiers we've had and that falls on Rodriguez as much as anybody. 


November 21st, 2010 at 3:13 AM ^

That's totally ridiculous. Most of those guys either left under Rodriguez or didn't develop under Rodriguez. When it comes to retaining and developing talent the buck stops at the head coach.

Maybe in Carr's last couple classes the defensive recruits weren't as good as in years past, but so bad that with good coaching they wouldn't be able to contribute as upperclassmen on this horrible defense? No way. If you believe in Brian's old '07 class post mortem and that those recruits really were that talentless ask yourself this: why were so many of those guys offered and pursued by other top tier programs?


November 21st, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

Fair enough.  I've been a proponent of the Carr left the cupboard bare thought too (despite getting negged for it). 

But that was three years ago and RR is recruting fake 5'10" and 165# guys.  How much sense does that make? 

RR is hell bent on playing a 3-3-5 scheme; which puts a lot of responsibility on the youngest and most inexperienced portion of the defense.  How much sense does that make??? 

This team is a mess defensively and we're looking at the 3rd defensive coordinator in 4 years, whose fault is that? 

Is any of that Carr's fault too?  Or are we not allowed to look at RR and reasonably say WTF?

I feel sorry for those kids.  There's no continuity on the defensive side of the ball and they're going to have to learn how to do their job again from scratch come this spring -- well, unless RR hires another sock puppet DC again.


November 21st, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

I think the 7-5 mark is misleading.  I think the coaches and press agreed too when Michigan wasn't ranked (much to chagrin of some posted here) with a 7-3 record. 

The victories seem to be a little hollow when they come against 1-AA, the Big East (horrible conference this year), and B10 bottom feeders.

The loses are just as troublesome when one considers if it wasn't for all the penalties and turnovers, Michigan could have made it closer against Moo U., Iowa, and Penn State.  We're celebrating being bowl eligible while giving up 65 points.  We make walk-on QBs look like Tim Tebow at Florida.  This is Michigan.  Chris Speilman said as much.  These things should be anomalies... not part of a three year culture.

I'm NOT trying to pile on or be a RR hater... but there are some thoughts in this thread that either the announcers yesterday were wrong or moral victories are okay -- perhaps.  But (and you want to talk about facts, here goes) we're 3 years into RR's program and we're still starting a shitload of freshman.  We're three years into RR's program and he has 6 conference wins.  We're three years into RR's program and we're still seeing missed assignments, poor technique, and a buttload of turnovers.  We're three years into RR's program and we're still hearing EXCUSES.  Hell, even RR himself says this team isn't very good in press conferences. 

Soooo... when do people stop getting their panties in a bunch when someone mentions something about the program???  When do people take their maize and blue, errr rose-colored glasses off and take a cogent and honest look at the state of the football team???  


November 21st, 2010 at 5:13 AM ^

and our D sucked then too.

After 3 years, our O has finally shown improvement because RichRod knows what he is doing there.

He doesn't know what he is doing on D.  He needs to get someone who does and then get the hell out of the way.   

The new DC needs to bring in his own system and his own coaches.  I don't care what used to work in the Big East.

blue in ak

November 20th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

Of course the team is looking better.  Number SEVEN Wisconsin.  And we had a shot.  And the Defense got turnovers that led to scores.  Based on M's earlier games, we should have been demoralized and destroyed.  I was as happy with the loss as I could have been.  My only worry about the game is the injuries.

Did you see the Defense last week?  No offensive touchdowns allowed? 


November 20th, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

Its difficult but keep in mind,  but this Wisconsin team could legitimately be the best team in the conference and without a "No Sparty!" game against ironically Sparty, contending for a BCS spot.  Wisconsin was better, Ranked #7 and showed why today.

SC Wolverine

November 20th, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

DB should encourage RR to stop complaining in public about the frosh playing. We all know it and most of us have set this year's expectations accordingly. But it sounds bad and has him looking like he is shifting blame and making excuses. I think RR is safe for next year, so he should speak in the press the way our wonderful qb does.


November 20th, 2010 at 6:41 PM ^

List of things worth caring about, in order:

1) The defense


3) Kicking

4) Sometimes punting

5) GERG and the defense

6) The offense stalling for drives at a time for no obvious reason

7) Injuries


546) What RichRod says about the unquestioned fact that we have young players on our team and how it affects our ability to beat good teams.

His relatively innocuous comments in pressers have no effect on our winning or losing games, our recruiting, our talent, our injuries, his job security or lack thereof, or anything else that is even vaguely worth caring about.  Others have made the suggestion you're making, and seriously, WHO CARES.

I realize you're being positive here, which is nice, and your point is wholly reasonable.  It's just got to be off of our collective radar on a day like this, or any other really.


November 20th, 2010 at 7:15 PM ^

What others had predicted with the hiring of RR has become true. He recruits as though he is playing in the Big East and not the Big Ten or SEC. Unquestionably many of not most of the injuries are as a result of under sized players playing against much larger and as fast players.

As much as I like RR, I have come to realize that the Big Ten is to big and tough for the players he recruits. Michigan really has no chance against the likes of Wisconsin, OS, MS and Iowa. Next year we get Nebraska. 

What we now know for sure is the program has degenerated to a third tier level and can beat the likes of UMass, Ball State and their ilk. As with these team, when they step up in class they are soundly beaten just as Michigan has been beaten.

The program needs a new direction which only come with a coaching change. If RR stays another year (which most big ten coaches are hoping for), the program probably will win half their games and only against the non conference patsies but with considerable effort.

How far we have fallen.

SC Wolverine

November 20th, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

DB should encourage RR to stop complaining in public about the frosh playing. We all know it and most of us have set this year's expectations accordingly. But it sounds bad and has him looking like he is shifting blame and making excuses. I think RR is safe for next year, so he should speak in the press the way our wonderful qb does.


November 20th, 2010 at 6:53 PM ^

I'd look to shoot his face off.  Obviously the dude is an OSU homer, and it was horrible to listen to that douche bag ramble on.  To me, that was the worst part of the game.  Listening to him go on and on about what he would do to change us and "make us better".  Like that guy has a boner of a clue.  I'd rather have *gasp* Matt Millen, or *double gasp, swallows pride* Pam Ward's team doing the game than listen to that loser.


November 20th, 2010 at 6:59 PM ^

I think you are upset at listening to Spielman because a lot of what he was talking about was spot on.  Right now this team doesn't have "Big Ten Talent" on the D.  Hopefully with a bit more time these freshman will become better.  

On a further note, he was the best color guy on a Michigan game yet this year.


November 20th, 2010 at 8:00 PM ^

I was at the game so I don't know what Spielman said exactly, but if he made a comment stating that UM doesn't have B10 level talent on the defense, I think that's a pretty freaking obvious statement and any UM fan getting upset about it hasn't been watching the games.

Maybe in another year or two the defense will stop with the missed assignments, and after a year or two in the S&C program they'll be able to handle themselves physically with the rest of the B10 teams, but the bottom line is that right now this defense can't hold its own against top teams much less mediocre teams.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:52 PM ^

I hope you're right.

But quite frankly, I fail to see what another year is gonna do.

This is three years (coming up on four when you consider next year) into the program.  Three years and we're *still* talking about things like missed assignments.  Seriously.

We've seen 2 DCs and are about to see a third next year.  RR insists on shoving a scheme (even though RR parrots scheme doesn't matter to the press) down the DC's throat.  A scheme which plays to this team's weaknesses and which the last 2 DCs haven't had experience with. 

So what's gonna be so magical about next year?  RR's next sock puppet of a DC is gonna make that much of a difference?  Don't forget, we're still gonna be young.  Players will still get hurt.  Unfortuantely, I just see those last two statements as being nothing more than 2010's excuses recycled for the 2011 season.

I think RR is a great coach.  I think he truly cares about the players and wants to be a good represenative of Michigan.  But he's not a big time HC.  He'd make a great OC in maybe the Pac 10 or SEC.

blue in ak

November 20th, 2010 at 7:00 PM ^

On the ESPN 3 live stream, one of the announcers attributed M's slow offense performance early in the game to the fact that Michigan State was coming off a bye week.  Takes them a while to get it back together, etc.



November 20th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

Spielman is one of the best analysts ESPN has. First. I like that he was a defensive player. Second, as many of us remember from his time with the Lions, he's an emotional guy who likes effort and big hits. I know he played for OSU but I think he wants Michigan to return to its natural place in the scheme of college football and fight the Buckeyes for Big Ten titles.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:30 PM ^

Spielman told it like it is.  This ISN"T Michigan football.  We were always known for a STRONG, tough defense and tough running.  He made one reference that it looked like Michigan was playing tag football in it's approach to tackling.


Sad, very sad.


November 21st, 2010 at 4:58 AM ^

when the man talks about Defense, you have to listen.

Michigan is not recruiting as well on D as it used to and needs to.  Why not?

He made some good points about the schizophrenic nature of our D, and how our D lacking a coherent identity is hurting recruiting.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:10 PM ^

dreadful, but is he pro-OSU?  He seems to me to be more of a micro-bandwagon jumper:  Whoever is doing something well at that particular moment in a game is "underrated," magnificent, possibly the best ever, etc.  He's an engine of phony situational enthusiasm.

Maybe you're right, and I haven't noticed because I try to tune him out.


November 21st, 2010 at 12:15 PM ^

Agreed... you'd think Musburger wanted to have Pete Carroll's love child a couple of years ago. 

But now that USC is on probation and isn't on TV much this season, Musburger has to find someone else to blow now.

Don't forget, earlier this year Musburger said at U. of Montana that "steroids could be good for professional sports."  I wouldn't get too worked up over what that clown says. 

Just ignore him; treat Musburger like the Freep -- they're irrelevant unless they're stirring the pot.

UM Indy

November 20th, 2010 at 7:41 PM ^

I found myself agreeing with almost every single thing Spielman said today. Separate your frustration from the facts. Makes no difference that he went to OSU. He understands Michigan, the rivalry, the conference. Christ, he almost came to Michigan until his father told him he'd be disowned. Take critical and accurate analysis like a man.


November 20th, 2010 at 8:41 PM ^

I not saying I disagreed with him, even though there were a few points I think he was off on.  He has been singing the song everyone else has about U of M.  Give us something new, something fresh that hasn't been said before and stop kicking the dead horse.  I agree we need more main name recruits on defense, but seriously a span of 5 minutes of nothing but Michigan hating.  We get it, we suck, move on.


November 21st, 2010 at 12:30 AM ^

Might disagree with Spielman; but the guy is a straight up dude. Stumps for his teams, puts his body on the line for his teams, went to the line for his wife; now a widower with a couple kids. I had season tix to the Leo's in the 90's and despite his OSU affiliations, Spielman has my loyalty. 

Magnum P.I.

November 20th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

"They had some guys wide open on some middle dig routes, and I gotta see what happened with that. That was probably the most disappointing part."

Gotta disagree, coach. I think the fact that they ran the ball 32 out of 33 second-half plays, and we couldn't force a single punt was the most disappointing part. 


November 20th, 2010 at 7:42 PM ^

"What we do isn't pretty," Bielema said. "A lot of places, there's a certain emphasis on being pretty and being individualized on players."
That seemed to be a shot at Michigan, especially after Bielema was asked about Denard Robinson's 360-yard, four-TD performance.
"For them, that's great," Bielema said. "We would never recruit to that."