Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 11-15-10

Submitted by Tim on November 15th, 2010 at 3:44 PM

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


Actual News

Shaw - "We'll see what he can do, and test in the next couple days, and see if he can go Saturday. Hopefully he'll be able to play..."

Martin and Mouton "We're hopeful that both can play." They'll be evaluated tomorrow and Wednesday.

"Perry would have been the starter, but Perry is still not 100%." He'll be the starter if healthy. "I'm hoping this week he'll be all the way back."

He has sent in some plays to the conference office each week, but this week he's going to follow up with them a bit more. "After this game there were more questions, I guess."

Personnel & Purdue

You try to project positions for guys when you recruit them, but some continue to grow when they get weight training, and they go through a progression. A couple more guys might move in bowl or spring practices - corner to safety, safety to OLB, etc. Probably would have moved more guys earlier if the team had stayed healthy.

Craig Roh will stay at DE. He's around 250, he'll continue growing and get up to 265. "I think putting his hand down makes him a lot more comfortable and that makes us better... Craig was a defensive end in high school, but he was athletic enough that we thought he could play some linebacker - and we still do."

Cam Gordon will stay at box safety. "He's a physical guy, he's a bigger guy." Not as much room to cover closer to the line of scrimmage. "We know that he's going to keep getting better, but the thing I like about him is he's a guy that loves playing football."

Denard can scramble to extend the play, but whether you choose to run or throw, it needs to be a good decision. He just had some bad moments in the last game. "I don't think he's hit a lull, he just had some bad moments in the last game... He was having a tough day, but in the last drive, he was the difference." QBs pooch punting: "Prior to this game, they were really pretty good at it."

Vincent Smith - "He's probably been the most consistent back we've had" not just running, but blocking and catching, too. "It has been almost a year since he tore his knee" and is looking faster. Each week he's getting speed, strength, and confidence back.

Michael Cox - "He's been a little bit banged up, but really it's been the other guys" that have kept him off the field. Toussaint can provide "a little spark" as he continues to get healthy.

Patterson and Sagesse played well. Talbott, Ash, and Wilkins are doing a nice job in practice. They'll be helped by the extra 15 practices with a bowl game.

Ezeh - "He was solid, he was OK. I thought Obi made some good plays close to the line of scrimmage." Fitzgerald was decent as well, as was Moundros filling in for Jonas Mouton. Even though Purdue has been struggling all year on offense, the backups should be commended for how they stepped in.

Vinopal - made a couple mistakes, but mostly kept things in front of him. "He's gonna keep getting better."

Carvin Johnson - "Really excited about him. Again, he's another true freshman that right now can play both safety positions."

Avery is a competitive guy, wants to get better. "I don't know if anybody in the country is playing as many freshmen or first-time starters as we are on defense." They'll get through growing pains, exciting for the future.

Kicking situation will be competitive in practice. "Seth has been kicking better in practice, but he didn't kick well on Saturday, so we'll see what happens this week in practice."

Hagerup has been better on kickoffs, part of the problem with coverage on kickoffs is they don't want their young guys starting on D and special teams, because they'd get worn out. "Our depth on special teams has been affected as much with the injuries as anything else."

Didn't play well, weren't ready to play for the conditions. "They had something to do with that, but we just didn't handle the conditions well, take care of the ball well, we were just kinda off-rhythm the whole day."

Both teams need to practice with wet conditions. The conditions were a factor in both teams' turnovers. "It was one of those games that I was glad we got 'em, because if we didn't, we would have been in trouble." Defense scored for the first time this season, made some key third-down stops.

On failed 4th down (Hopkins). "That was a product of execution. That should never happen."

Declined the penalty and let Wiggs kick the 43-yard FG because he was kicking with the wind and had enough leg to hit it either way, and Michigan would have still had the lead, FG or no.

Kerrigan "Some of it was he's a really good player, and some of it is we didn't play very well at times against him." He's an All-Conference-type player.



Last home game in the Big House is a big deal for the seniors. "We don't have a big senior class, but the guys that we have have been through a lot." Some things will be planned throughout the week.

Wisconsin "They're certainly a top-5 football team, there's no question about that." They made scoring every possession look easy. Wisconsin deflated Indiana and Chappell got hurt, which led to Wisconsin getting rolling and everything went downhill. "I don't know if any coach intentionally goes out and does it, it just happens." Throwing at the end is the coach's preference, but with the backups in, you can't ask them not to try.

Wisconsin is a bit different by being the only true power run team in the league. "You have a wide variety of both offense and defensive schemes anyway." It's pretty balanced, so you have to be able to defend all variety. Their offense all starts with the running game. "They'll come downhill at you, and they're very big up front." Nearly everything they do - bootlegs, play-action - comes from the run game. People make a big deal about playing a power run game after facing several spread teams. It's tougher to go the other way. "It's a little bit of an adjustment, and our guys will prepare for that this week."

Wisconsin's going to run the same plays whomever the starting RB is. "Clay's obviously the biggest one." Get to them quickly, don't let them get a head of steam. "Especially if you're undersized a little bit, like we are in spots, it's going to be tough."

On JJ Watt (above, right): "I think he's an All-American, in my opinion." Watt plays inside more than Kerrigan.

Beating Wisconsin or OSU would be a great signature win, but more importantly for the guys on the team who want to have success. They've stayed focused, and are ignoring outside negativity.

Will talk about the home finale throughout the week. A couple special things in practice for the seniors. "Probably have one or two of them come up and talk about their experience."

When they get introduced on Saturday "the greatest achievement you can achieve as a college student-athlete is going through your senior year." Speaks to the sacrifice you've made for the team and University. "The guys who are no longer around didn't make that same sacrifice, and these guys have. And they should be honored for making it."


Motivation and focus has been good all year. "I would think it'll be easy to motivate for these last two weeks, considering what's at stake for us."

RR thought the program would be further ahead by this point. "You find out what you have, and do what you can with what you've got, and move forward." The goal is to be the best program in America, and they're moving toward that.

Spending more time with the D. "Just a little bit more on Sundays, and maybe watch a little bit more in practice." Been doing the same amount of 1v1 repetition. "What we've done more this year is getting, say, our second offense, and having them run the opposing offense a bit more in practice." They have fewer guys available for scout team.

Talk about the offense not being a fit for the Big Ten is just talk. "I'm hoping that there's enough positive momentum and positive talk that all the negative stuff that's been out there gets pushed aside a bit." Progress is being made. "It's almost been par for the course" to hear negative talk, but they can't let it affect them. As long as you believe in the system and your people, you can keep pressing forward.



November 15th, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

Is there any hope that not playing last week is enough of a help to get Martin back to a 80-90%?   This is the game we need him more than any other.    With him playing effectively in the middle we at least have some hope and don't need to sell out completely to the stop the run.   Unfortunately this feels like the B. Minor ankle where we have hope and then after a few plays it gets aggravated and down he goes.  

Jeffy Fresh

November 15th, 2010 at 7:02 PM ^

I bet Martin was good to go last week, and was held out so he can produce these next 2 weeks.  That Purdue offense was just putrid and I think RR decided we could do without him.  I am pretty confident OSU is vulnerable.  PSU should have won that game if it weren't for the pick 6 fest.  Wisconsin is a little more worrisome I think.  Hopefully those fattys can't keep up with our dreds.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:02 PM ^

Coach, you are at 500 in the big 10 for the first time, have your first two game win streak in the Big10, bowl elgible for the first time, have the top offense in the Big10 and one of the tops in the nation, your defense didn't allow a touchdown for the first time in your UM coaching career and are two victories ahead of last year with two games to play and you've done this without your top 4 players on defense and the youngest team in CFB.................................How do you deal with all the negativity??????????


November 15th, 2010 at 4:12 PM ^

What continues to make me worry isn't how this team is doing but how the MSM reacts to everything. Between DetNews and MLive, I counted 4 stories about the Michigan win against Purdue and all four of them were negative. There wasn't this much garbage in the local press after the App State game and that was the most embarrassing loss in college football history; and Rodriguez continues to have a target on him because the team failed to cover the spready by 1 point in lousy weather!

And the chasm between what I see with my own eyes and what I read in the local MSM continues to widen...


November 15th, 2010 at 4:47 PM ^

I sympathize and share your irritation, but fortunately David Brandon doesn't give a rat's bleeding ass about what Rosensnyder or Drew Sharp or Bigelow or Rothstein or Lynn Henning say about Michigan, much less MGoBloggers or MLive posters.


November 15th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Brandon shouldn't care. But constant negativity from the MSM will affect recruiting, which in turn, will affect wins and losses. I'm simply saying we're at the point where even wins are covered negatively. So where does it end for the MSM? 8-4 record? 9-3? Big Ten championship? National Title?


November 15th, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

Now that we're going to a bowl game in a warm climate, I think we're past the nadir of media coverage, believe it or not. Sure, if we lose the next two the media attention will be negative, but the big difference this season is that we now have a bowl game to focus on. This is turn will be an advantage in recruiting, as compared with the past two seasons. There's still plenty of work to do and nothing is guaranteed long-term for RR, but if you put any credence at all in what David Brandon has been saying, Rodriguez will be here next year, at the minimum.


November 16th, 2010 at 1:24 AM ^

Rich Rod comes up with a gameplan and we beat a team we probably shouldn't.  Rich Rod, as much as people want to criticize, is great with Xs and Os.  Has been for years and years.  And he has beaten some pretty good teams in bowl games, too.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:41 PM ^

"Rodriguez continues to have a target on him because the team failed to cover the spready by 1 point in lousy weather!"

because we played poorly against a bad Big 10 team. 


Again, I'd love a win vs. Wisconsin or OSU. LOVE IT. But our record doesn't indicate that our team will do anything against a good team. We are poorly disciplined and have an atrocious defense. What was the statistic, 14 turnovers in 4 games? Even if you win any advocate of the program has to be very worried about that!


November 16th, 2010 at 1:19 AM ^

You're looking at the record and using it as a sole indicator as to what can happen.  Before last weekend, did Indiana's record suggest they could beat Iowa (or, rather, lose on a dropped pass in the endzone in the closing seconds as opposed to losing by 30)?  Before Saturday, did anything about Cal's record suggest they could hold Oregon to 15 points?  Or did anything about Oregon's record suggest they could win a game without their offense?

You kinda speak like somebody who hasn't seen any games with your eyes, but rather you form opinions based on box scores.  I assume this isn't really the case, but you're inviting the criticism.


November 15th, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

Coach, you are at 500 in the big 10 for the first time, have your first two game win streak in the Big10, bowl elgible for the first time, have the top offense in the Big10 and one of the tops in the nation, your defense didn't allow a touchdown for the first time in your UM coaching career and are two victories ahead of last year with two games to play and you've done this without your top 4 players on defense and the youngest team in CFB.................................How do you deal with all the negativity??????????

So good. Forgive me if I memorize and adopt this as my own?


November 15th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

Glad to hear that Roh and Cam will stay where they are right now. I really like Cam at box safety with his ability to come off the edge and get to the QB. He was doing that quite a bit Saturday and I think that if he bulks up some more and learns to tackle a little bit better, he could be really good.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:16 PM ^

Bulk up = hook up with Barwis and let him do his magic. Although, do this by Saturday is tough to accomplish, even with man - beast Barwis.

Tackle = I sure as hell hope so. With Clay and the other Wiscy RBs running at him I am a little scared, but I am also scared with our whole defense playing against Clay and company.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

Everyone on the defense should be taking notes from Demens, Kovacs and Vinopal about how to tackle properly.  Those 3 guys have been lights out in wrapping up throughout most of their playing time this season.  If Michigan wants to win in these next 3 weeks, they'll need to win shootouts, obviously.  Start scheming to put up points on 2 tough defenses.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:27 PM ^

JJ Watt- now THAT is what a D-lineman is supposed to look like.

Was anybody else surprised when they showed a picture of Ryan Kerrigan and he was clean-shaven with some beautiful, stylish locks?  That ain't right.  Where's the buzz cut?  Where's the bad goatee? Where's the jagged, scarred face?


November 15th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

I would have liked someone to ask RR why he didn't call timeout at the end of the first half to make Purdue have to punt.  Seemed like a no brainer at the time.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:29 PM ^

When they get introduced on Saturday "the greatest achievement you can achieve as a college student-athlete is going through your senior year." Speaks to the sacrifice you've made fo rhte team and University. "The guys who are no longer around didn't make that same sacrifice, and these guys have. And they should be honored for making it."

Amen, brother.


November 15th, 2010 at 5:58 PM ^

Based on those stats, he's actually currently 1-3.  1-1 currently at Michigan.  And last time we beat them they were also in the top 10 and we were way worse than we are this year.  Of course, so were it turned their ranking was largely a pre-season one, but hopefully you get my point.

After this weekend, he will either be 1-4 or 2-3.  I'm hoping for the latter.


November 15th, 2010 at 4:56 PM ^

People that talk bad about UM and RR are just idiots.  When we lose, it doesn't make them right.  They're still just idiots.

Can't wait until all these RR haters bite their tongues in the not so distant future


November 15th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

We were sitting in the UM section at Purdue Saturday.  After Hopkins fumbled, the guy next to us (allegedly a UM alum) stands up says he's had enough and as he walks past me says "fire the coach."  Unfortunately, there are still too many alums that think like him and I don't think that faction will change its tune no matter how many games RR wins.

Feat of Clay

November 16th, 2010 at 9:19 AM ^

Did you point and laugh at this guy?  I mean, come on, some kid's fumble in cold wet sloppy conditions is the straw that breaks that alum's back?  It's THE deciding factor on firing the coach?   What an effin' moron. 

Good riddance to him, and I hope he got a flat tire on the way home.


November 15th, 2010 at 9:28 PM ^

We have seven wins on the backs of lousy opponents. We have 3 losses to good teams. The offense was held to 17 points, at home, by State. Worrying about this doesn't make one an idiot.
I want to beat UW and OSU. I'd be thrilled. But a look at what we've done isn't encouraging.

Uconn, 5-4
Umass, 6-4
Bowling Green, 2-8
Indiana, 4-6
Purdue, 4-6
Notre Dame, 5-5
Illinois, 5-5

I want Michigan to win. I want them to win against good opponents with solid play. I want them not to pad their record with a weak pre-season and bad Big 10 teams. I am very very worried for the next five years. RR is a nice guy. Denard seems to be a great kid. But we went from a Big 10 leader to a mediocre team that beats bad teams and is happy to go to a bowl. I don't see it improving much in the future. Sure, we might do well by padding our record again in the future, but I bet when we face a real opponent, we fail.

I hope I am proven wrong. But I don't see it.


November 15th, 2010 at 10:19 PM ^

I'm sort of in your camp.  While 7-3 seems like a pretty good record, it's just not that impressive upon further review.  The team came out on top in multiple close games (ND, UMass, Indiana and Illinois).  To their credit, they prevailed in each game.  However, if any of those games had turned out the other way, we'd be looking at significantly different results this year. 

On the flip side, they lost by double digits to each of the decent teams that they have played (two of them at home).  We'll see if they can do something in the next two weeks to bolster the 2010 resume.

All of that being said, I'm already eager for 2011.  That's when we'll get a true reflection of the future of the program.  It can go either way.


November 15th, 2010 at 10:36 PM ^

"we went from a Big 10 leader to a mediocre team" 2007 we were 8-4. In 2005, we were 6-5.

"I don't see it improving much in the future."

well, I guess you somehow missed the improvement from 3 wins to 5 wins to 7+ wins.

If you want to wear a paper bag on your head, fine, but remember that you're supposed to cut holes in it for your eyes.

El Jeffe

November 15th, 2010 at 10:49 PM ^

We were 7-4 in 2005, plus a bowl loss (pitch it to Breaston!!!!) to finish 7-5. We were 8-4 in 2007, plus a bowl win (lol Urban) to finish 9-4.

Oh, and I totally agree. People who don't see us improving in the future don't understand things like the march of chronological time, which, independent of coaching or practice, makes 18- and 19-year old men into 20 to 22 year old men. In other words, people who are dumb.


November 16th, 2010 at 7:16 AM ^

The difference is that the 2005 team handed Penn State its only loss of the year (thanks Mario).  The 2005 team finished 5-3 in the Big Ten

The 2007 team beat Florida and Heisman Trophy winning Tim Tebow.  They were also undefeated in the Big Ten until the second to last week in the season and finished 6-2.  Another way to look at it is that the 2007 team had as many Big Ten wins as the 2008, 2009 and 2010 teams combined (to date).  "People who are dumb" (your words, not mine) might not pick up on that not so subtle difference. 

El Jeffe

November 16th, 2010 at 7:56 PM ^

I was merely correcting his facts. And my point about dumb people (and thanks for reminding me that they were the words I used one post up, btw) had nothing whatever to do with a comparison between 2007 and 2008-2010. It had to do with the notion that we somehow won't get better, esp. on defense, when we are starting like 900 people who were in high school six months ago. I have confidence that the transition of freshmen to sophomores, if nothing else, will pay dividends.


November 15th, 2010 at 11:55 PM ^

No, I think you just missed my point. My point was that seasons such as the current one are not unheard of in recent memory. My point would have been the same whether those two seasons had been consecutive or if there had been three undefeated seasons in between. 


November 16th, 2010 at 6:32 PM ^

But perhaps I wasn't clear. I meant I don't see much room for improvement in the coming years. We will be older, and have some more skill positions, but I don't see us being significantly better. The defense is still going to be bad. I hope I am wrong. 

As to our progress from 3 wins to 7, yes. It exists. But...

Look at who we have won them against.  i guess that is my point, Winning 7 games against very very weak opponents is progress, of a sort, but its pretty empty progress. 


Kilgore Trout

November 15th, 2010 at 11:15 PM ^

I think you're right in that this season has basically been chalk so far.  UM has beaten the 6 teams they were pretty clearly better than and split two of the games that seemed like toss ups going in (PSU and Illinois).  They were also marginally blown out at home twice by the two top tier Big Ten teams they've played.  

That being said, there's no question in my mind that this season represents progress.  Beating the teams that they were theoretically better than wasn't something they could pull off the last two years.  

If chalk continues and UM ends up 7-5, I will be uncomfortably ok with this regime continuing on into a season that seems to be set up for success.

What I would love to see though is something in these next two games that bolsters my confidence going forward.  That doesn't necessarily have to be a win (though one would be awesome), but they need to be realistically competitive in these games and not be down three scores in the second half.  That would make me a lot more comfortable going into this off season.  


November 16th, 2010 at 1:04 AM ^

If this was a senior-laden team losing 10 starters, then I would wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that we've become a middle of the road Big Ten team.

But let's take a look at this...

Iowa - Loses 12 starters (6/6) with Sash as a possible early entry

Ohio State - 11 starters (4/7)  with Pryor, Posey, and Brewster as possible EEs

Wisconsin - 9 starters (5/4) with Watt as possible EE *we don't play them though*

Michigan State - 10 starters (6/4)

Michigan by comparison loses 5 starters Schilling, Dorrestein, Mouton, Rogers, and either Obi or Banks depending on the alignment.

And I should only count 4 starters since it'll be Woolfolk replacing Rogers which is a huge, huge upgrade.

Penn State, Wisconsin, Indiana slide off with Minnesota, Northwestern (sans Persa), and Nebraska sliding on.

Anything less than 9 wins will be a huge disappointment. That's as Michigan as it gets.