Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 10-4-10

Submitted by Tim on October 4th, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.

IMG_7907.JPG

Personnel

Injuries

  • Shaw "should be OK to do everything."
  • Toussaint day-to-day with shoulder.
  • Banks: "Little calf issue." Defense played a lot of plays, so he'll need rest. Should be fine.
  • Brandon Herron is OK.

Downfield throws for Denard? "He's missing three out of every ten. That's not bad." The couple deep misses Saturday were maybe rushed a bit, but he's been doing well.

"No matter who your quarterback is, you worry about him staying healthy" regardless of what type of offense you run. "I have the same concern every week as far as hoping the guys stay healthy. But you've gotta play the game." "He'll be a little limited [in Monday practice]. Just because he's been running so much. You want him 100% on Saturday."

Denard comeback - "There's no panic." Going to a no-huddle for the 2-minute drill isn't a change from regular offensive pace. Denard made a nice throw to Junior, Hemingway made a nice play on it. Offense is executing with a lot of confidence. They practice the 2-minute drill a couple times a week.

Denard has learned a lot since last year. He's just running the offense (he couldn't do all that last year). He has the capability to bust 10-yard runs for 50 or 60.

Offensive line - "As a group, whoever the five is out there, there's another level we can get to."

Dorrestein - "Perry has been really solid. He's a veteran guy, he knows the offense."

Taylor Lewan penalty: "From what I see... his left foot got tangled up as he was stepping over a pile... I didn't see it on film, maybe they saw something I didn't see." The scrum afterward was no big deal, the officials broke it up.

Field goals: "We were close to it in the last game. We were gonna center the ball for a game-winning field goal" [Ed: ...but you try keeping Denard from an end-zone he can see]. RR would rather score TDs, and fortunately the offense has been good at doing so. "There's gonna come a point in time where we've gotta make field goals" to win the game. They have guys who will be able to do it.

Hagerup has played a bit better. "He had a couple good punts, and he seemed composed, so hopefully the little nervousness is out of the way."

Woolfolk - "I saw him last week, he's still got a big old cast." He's doing upper-body work. Hard for him and Mike Jones to not be able to play because they're competitive guys. Woolfolk should be 100% next year after rehab.

Stonum KO returns. "It's been a little bit frustrating." Haven't come close to breaking one. The blocking isn't quite there at times, but Darryl has the ability to do that. "Boy would it be a good time to do that."

"We have not had an opportunity to return a lot of punts."

Team

"I don't think you have to blitz all the time to have an aggressive mentality defensively." You get on your heels a bit when you've been giving up a lot of first downs. "We didn't make some key stops. Some of it was mental, and some of it was physical." The D is a little limited because they don't want to confuse younger guys.

Offensively, can make more in-game adjustments because of experience. On Defense, more limited in that regard. Can make some adjustments, but not as many. The D has improved in some respects. "There's some moments on defense where we've gotten a little better, but there's also some things we've not gotten better yet, and it's going to take some time." In a tough situation with a lack of experienced depth. Need to force more 3-and-outs and turnovers.

"You always want to play a little bit better. We've battled; it's not like the guys aren't trying." Injuries and other issues are mitigating factors. "We're 5-0, and as much troubles as we've had, I don't want to belabor the fact." When they've gotten sacks from Martin or others, the opposing offense has been able to convert on long-yardage, which is frustrating.

Michigan D stats? "You can learn some stuff from statistics. I don't have to look at them to know where our problems are." Some of the problems can't be solved overnight.

Worried about defense wearing down? "Our defense was playing too much and our offense wasn't on the field at all." Doesn't alter the offensive approach, but wants the defense to play as fast as they can. "We've just got to try to play better, and get a few stops."

Were there defensive changes with Martin at DE and Floyd at S? "It was more of a defensive package thing we're trying to do." Put guys in different positions to have some success. Martin and Floyd are experienced players, put them where they can make plays.

"Our numbers defensively were way down." That's trending toward the positive, but they need to help the young guys out with their schemes.

The team learns from winning close games. "You can develop a habit of expecting to experience that same thing again." Blowing the lead in the ND game, the guys never panicked to come back. Same thing with the win on Saturday.

Special teams have been average, need to improve there as well.

Better TO margin this season is offensive experience, guys maturing, and knowing how to take care of the ball. It's been a big point of emphasis for the team.

Tackled pretty well, defended IU's wildcat pretty well. "We don't want to give up 35 points to anybody, but they have some talented players, and they did a nice job pitching and catching."

MSU

"They're all big, but this one's bigger. I mean, the rivalry games are always bigger." The more you win, the more is at stake. Both teams undefeated. "A rivalry has enough significance." Not thinking about revenge, what matters is what's happening right now.

Doesn't worry about point spreads "Usually the home team gets a few points anyway."

In-state rivalry is a bigger deal "We recruit against each other, and a lot of our players know their players." "I know they talk about it quite a bit, but so do we." "I don't blame the fans for thinking that, because they're not coaching. They've got more time to think about it."

"It's just as important to me and I think all my players as it is to them. They've just won the last two games." Anything to the contrary is just talk. No countdown clock to a given game, just to the next game. "Trust me, we talk about it quite a bit. It's very very very important to us." For the rivalry, "Anything that we do, I would keep internally.. there's always things you do for rivalry games that make it a little bit unique."

Different parts of the fanbase emphasize different rivalries. In-state might be more intense, but you're not going to try harder just because it's a rivalry; you're always trying your hardest. "It's one of the biggest games we play every year."

"I'm sure Mark [Dantonio], his health is the most important thing." He'll do everything that the doctors allow him to do. RR would do the same "Most of the time, you're going to listen to the doctor." As much as you like to compete, have to worry about yourself. "Having a health issue at any time, whether you're a coach or not, is a tough thing to go through." Tough in-season too, because you want to be out there and compete every day. Nobody talks about the health of assistants "You've gotta remind your staff to do that" - watch their health.

MSU's defense is "the most experienced for sure. Presents some challenges. They've got a very good defense." Michigan has to execute well.

"I think Cousins is an outstanding player." Cousins was a great QB last year, and "he's even playing better this year." Can run, throw, is a great leader. "Defensively, we've got some things we've got to fix."

MSU runs the same schemes with all their backs; they're interchangeable parts. "You've still gotta have guys get off blocks and make tackles... If you do that, you'll have a better defense."

MSU's offense has "Great balance, no question. They have the ability to come downhill at you and pound away. And they're very good at play-action."

Might try to keep the ball away from KeShawn Martin. MSU will try to be confusing on kickoffs. "He wants to take every ball back."

"I don't have any expectations" of a shootout. The intensity will be there. "If we can squeeze more people in there, this would probably be the week that it would happen."

MSU Defense - "They got good players, they've got a good team." They'll tackle well and take away parts of the offense. "We're gonna have to execute. That's a key, no matter what." MSU has good team speed, MICH can't do too much dancing around. "I think you've gotta stay within your scheme." MSU can't just use Greg Jones to shadow Denard, because it's not within their usual scheme. "If you don't block him or attempt to block him, he's gonna make a lot of tackles."

M and MSU undefeated adds national interest. "The more you win, the more is at stake."

This game and recruiting - "It may make an impact on one or two guys." Most recruits don't look at one game, or even the season, they look at the whole package.

Comments

NorthFLWolverine

October 4th, 2010 at 4:58 PM ^

"Rich, do you think we can recruit some more defensive players now that your offense is one bad-ass machine? Oh, and thanks for not firing my ass like BYU did their defensive coordinator." Then RR said..."you better tighten this 'D' up or I'll send your gray-haired ass back to Syracuse!" Then the GERG muttered to himself..."Damn that Lloyd Carr for leavin' the cupboard bare like that!" 

UMAmaizinBlue

October 4th, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

Is Cousins mobility. I still have nightmares and flashbacks from last year when he would gash us for 30+ yards...and that was on 3rd and improbable. With the 3 man rush, we seem to be doing an ok job of containing, but we haven't played a QB with Cousins tendency to run. He made some decent-to-great passes when running around outside the pocket against Wisconsin, and this scares me.

 

Speaking of (former) MSU QBs, Nichols has appeared to be a solid target for Cousins when his primaries are covered, and he's done an impressive job of converting to the WR position. He's a big guy (built kinda like Hemingway...almost identical) and could give our defense fits on short yardage throws. I can already smell heartburn...

 

Anyway, the best thing about this presser was the apparent thumbs-up for Shaw to play on Saturday. his blocking and improved running will be a very welcome boost to the offense.

blueheron

October 4th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

I like your point about Cousins.

Nichol?  It looks like he is, at best, the #4 option up there:

http://espn.go.com/college-football/team/stats/_/id/127/michigan-state-…

I can think of at least three other more likely sources of heartburn, and that's just with receiving.

Is there a lingering Phil Steele effect here?  Some readers may remember that Phil (through his pre-season all-conference teams) considered Keith better than _all_ of our receivers.

M-Wolverine

October 4th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

With this quote?

"I don't blame the fans for thinking that, because they're not coaching. They've got more time to think about it."

The question, or some prior comment?

WeaponX

October 4th, 2010 at 4:06 PM ^

I believe he is referring to the nature of rivalries and whether or not there is added significance to an in-state rivalry.  I think he is saying we have more time to think about how important it is to win and what it means if we win or lose, while he's mostly working on the game plan, trying to find someone who can play defense or kick a field goal, etc...

bokee88

October 4th, 2010 at 4:40 PM ^

While in my hotel room in Indiana I about threw my remote through the tv while watching college football expert Robert Smith breakdown Michigan. First h referred to Mike Martin as Mike Morgan. Second he said the same old tired thing about michigan's "Achilles heel" being Denard's health. I don't know about you guys but I'll take denard's backup over most backups. Take OSU for example, which roger, uh I mean, Robert should be familiar with. TP's backup was really impressive in his short stint on Saturday. Thanks for the in depth analysis roger.
<br>
<br>(on another note we could believe what douche bags the Indiana fans were. They were a bad or worse than our experiences at MSU and Illinois. Never been to OSU but Indiana was really bad. I know every campus has a-holes but the percentage was way up in Bloomington.)

bokee88

October 5th, 2010 at 12:17 AM ^

I never thought about how their surroundings are the cause of their poor outlook on life.

It was amazing, and our group is a bunch of people that are clearly too old to be students.  We had many, many kids walk up and throw every curse word you could imagine at us and we didn't do anything to provoke it except wear the maize and blue.  When they cheered for Denard's injury we made a couple of people feel like shit.  That was fun.

zlionsfan

October 5th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

a long time ago, we moved to Bloomington from Ann Arbor, and as a kid I went to a lot of IU games. Back then, it wasn't that bad, or at least I didn't know that it was.

Maybe I'm a bit more sensitive to it as a Purdue grad living in supposedly neutral country (in theory Indianapolis is 50/50; in practice it's basically another IU city with pockets of Purdue support), but it seems that over the years IU fans have become less tolerable. Not like OSU or ND fans, but worse than I would expect.

I'm not sure the behavior in Ross-Ade is that much better, though. (And that's odd, because there are a lot of comments about how people in the non-student sections are asked to sit down rather than cheer and things like that.) Maybe it's just a small percentage of jerks that ruin it for everyone else. I don't know.

Maybe people from down here really do behave differently. I would think it's obvious that you don't cheer an injury, no matter who it is. If I were at the UM-OSU game and Terrelle Pryor got hurt, I wouldn't cheer that he was down, and I would applaud as they helped him off the field. I might wish that it would be a temporary issue that would magically clear up right after the game ...

Ave Victoribus

October 5th, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^

Taylor Lewan penalty: "From what I see... his left foot got tangled up as he was stepping over a pile... I didn't see it on film, maybe they saw something I didn't see." The scrum afterward was no big deal, the officials broke it up.

You could see Lewan losing his cool several plays earlier than the play he got flagged.  He seemed to be jawing all the way back to the huddle with a defender.  This seemed to be an inevidable happening, and I hope he learns self-control before costing the offense a drive.