Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 11-22-10

Submitted by Tim on November 22nd, 2010 at 3:50 PM

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


Injuries and Actual News

Multiple guys had headaches, their status is unknown until he talks to the doctors. Not sure about Stonum - he'll try to run around a bit the next couple days [but is in a boot].Gallon's shoulder will have to progress.

"Mike [Martin] should be OK. He'll be a little limited probably, he and Jonas [Mouton] both." Martin is the most dominant defensive player when he's healthy. "When we've got a healthy Mike Martin in there, it's different for us... He's one of those guys that can stand up to anybody." He gets treatment every morning, but he still won't be 100% this game - maybe by the bowl game.

Special teams have been pretty good outside of the inability to make a field goal. Drew Dileo and Fitz Toussaint will do more returning with the injuries to other guys. Fitz was on returns for the first time all year against Wisconsin because they were running out of capable bodies. "I think he's still getting back into the groove. There's so much time, it's like starting all over again. I think you'll more likely see him more often this weekend."

Kickers - "Seth had a great week of practice then he missed the one... Brendan kicked the extra points, but they were low, so we're lucky they weren't blocked." Nothing looks wrong with Seth's form, so it may be mental.

"Hopefully Vincent's OK." He's been the #1 RB, but Stephen Hopkins, Fitz Toussaint, and Mike Shaw should be good to practice all this week.

"It's looking that way" for a medical redshirt for Devin Gardner. Muscular issue in his lower back, probably won't require surgery.

Wisconsin accusations: "Playing dirty? That's funny." Must have been looking for something controversial.

Rodriguez has played during Thanksgiving week in the past. "The routine really pretty much stays the same." Most teams are still playing this week.

Personnel and Team

Denard - "For a first-year starter, he's had a pretty remarkable year." Hasn't looked as young as his age a lot of the time. Very committed to improving his game, understanding everything better. Not worried about postseason awards "I don't think we have to trumpet anything." On top of the numbers, Denard's taken a bigger leadership role, he loves his teammates. "He's got the type of personality that you wanna be around."

Scrutiny in the media might have changed with bowl eligibility, but the attitude inside the program is no different. "We've kinda had to take a tunnel-vision type of approach as a staff, and as a team, and as a program." The focus can't change because of outside perception. Sometimes stuff is falsely reported - and being a coach is like being a politician in that way.

"I didn't get this job at Michigan by getting a lottery ticket that said 'congratulations, you're the coach at Michigan.'" There's more to building a program than what's written in the media. Some circumstances may come up altering timeframe, for better or worse. "Close in some areas, but still a ways away in others." Rodriguez is still positive that they'll get to where they want to be - he sees the progress. "It's sooner rather than later, but it's not overnight."

The program has come a long way offensively since last these teams played, not as much progress on D. "A lot of the other thing that I've seen that's maybe not shown on the field as much, I think has come a long way."

The perception that teams with spread offenses have poor defenses is incorrect. Northwestern won a Big Ten title with the spread, Florida and Oklahoma won national titles running a spread. West Virginia had top-10 defenses when Rich was there. "It was probably doubts because people just wanna doubt. There's a faction of them that love being negative." Way too much is made about running schemes. The execution, players, etc. are more important.

Have to continue doing some things well, and improve the areas in which they haven't done well. "It's a game that's easy emotionally to get your guys focused for." Need to worry about execution. "Defensively, we've gotta make some stops, it's as simple as that." You can make some steps during the season, but the D won't improve exponentially in, say 4 weeks.

The defense isn't just one thing, there have been different issues each year. "There's no question that it needs to get fixed." Getting healthy, recruiting, development, putting them in position to succeed. "We've gotta look at everything, just like we would on offense." Team will naturally improve next year with experience, it's just a matter of maximizing that improvement.

"I've seen us play outstanding football in all three phases at times." Been more consistent on offense, and if the defense grows up and a few things bounce their way, it's a winnable game. Last year, they played well defensively but the offense turned it over too many times. "The situation was right us to maybe sneak one out there." but they missed opportunities to make plays.

Jordan Kovacs has been one of the D's most solid players. Kevin Koger has been splitting time with Webb at TE. Those two will be some of the team's greatest leaders next year.

The offense has stayed healthier, the defense has been ravaged by injuries. The freshmen who are playing would normally be redshirted.

Ohio State

"First off, it means a lot because it's Michigan-Ohio State." Means a lot to the seniors. "This would be something for them to remember quite fondly." Ohio State may have at stake from a conference championship standpoint, but the game is important on its own merits either way. "We do a few special things different for Ohio State week."

Great for fans, seniors, coaches, families. "I don't think about the end result right now, winning or losing. Right now, I want my players, and my coaches, and myself, we're thinking about the process." Want to focus on what they need to do to achieve the end result, not the result itself.

"I don't think about point spreads. When I came to Michigan I thought about winning championships."

Slow starts in past few games haven't been the same cause, sometimes a turnover, bogged down in the redzone, etc. "I'll study all of that after the season and see if there's something that will help our guys get out of the gate faster."

Pryor - improved understanding of the offense, runs when he has to. "He's a great athlete, I think there's no question he's the leader of that offensive unit, and he's made a lot of big plays for them."

The Ohio State OL is good, tailback position is talented, Dane Sanzenbacher is one of the best WRs in the country. Best corner pair in the league, LBs as good as anybody - and they gave Michigan lots of trouble last year, especially Brian Rolle.

OL - "We didn't play as well up front last week on the edges as we have been." JJ Watt's talent had something to do with the struggles, and the guys know they'll have another challenge this week with Cameron Heyward and John Simon.

Ohio Stadium is a challenge, but the quality of the team is daunting itself. "As far as intensity level and all that, it will be unparalleled." History, intensity, make this the greatest rivalry in sports. "It's hard to match the intensity of this one." Playing at OSU will be loud, as Penn State was. Communication issues come with offensive guys, so the youth on defense hopefully won't be too affected by the road atmosphere. Last time at OSU, saw some stuff, old ladies giving the bird, but that wasn't anything new. "Playing with Pitt, we saw whole families of them."

"We're not practicing and going down there with the intention of 'let's just show up and see what happens.' We're going down there to battle our tails off and try to get the win."

"We don't talk about the past and what's happened last year, 3 years ago, 5 years ago, but you want to be able to have it on your resume that you beat Ohio State if you played at Michigan." Greatest rivalry in college sports "for us, we've gotta perform better and get some wins to make us feel better, make our fans feel better."

Even if you fall behind, the team should have enough confidence that they can make a comeback. "It certainly will help the atmosphere so to speak if we can at least get off to a better start offensively."

Might the coaches take more chances on offense or special teams to cover for the weak defense? "If I did think that, would it make any sense to tell you? Probably not. We'll probably punt on third down."


Fuzzy Dunlop

November 22nd, 2010 at 4:32 PM ^

So you're saying you like Rodriguez only when he's acting like Lloyd????  You are not a true fan!  Rodriguez is our coach, and you should accept him for who he is, not pine for yesteryear!  Did you love Lloyd so much when he was emptying the cupboard and setting Rodriguez up for failure???  I seem to remember Lloyd going 7-5 one year!  And he couldn't stop spread offenses!!




November 22nd, 2010 at 4:20 PM ^

Kind of getting sick of the 'scheme is overated' mantra RR is selling with regards to the defense. I think it's true of sound defensive schemes like 3-4/4-3, or even a true attacking 3-3-5 w/ linebackers playing at proper depth.

However, I don't think that applies to the bastardized 'thing' that we've thrown out there most of the year, particularly against PSU and Wisky. Obviously, youth and physical development are hindering things but the defensive gameplan is doing a poor job of getting guys in position to make plays.

Spoof Football

November 22nd, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

If scheme is so over rated, then get rid of the spread. Har Har.

Scheme is decidedly NOT over rated. It gives you an identity, something to coach to. Recruit to. Get used to. and of course, PRACTICE (of course, not too much practice).

It is rediculous to keep uttering that BS.

Howeva, it is time to put aside the gripes and the agnst I feel over this misguided hire.

Bring on he Buckeyes, and here's to hoping Rodriguez can wipe out the misery we've felt for these six or seven long, dark winters now.


November 22nd, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

it means when he says "scheme is over-rated".  It means one scheme isn't inately better than another.  Yes, your scheme gives you an identity, but what scheme that is, as long as it is what you know and are strongest at, doesn't matter. 


People tend to think that just scrapping the 3-3-5 for a 4-3 would immediately make this defense better.  It won't.  If you put these same players in a different scheme with the same level of understanding across the board, the results will be nearly identical.  That's what it means when he says "scheme is over-rated".


Sac Fly

November 22nd, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

... to be a test, obviously. This defense is very well coached, I couldn't watch the last game so I didn't see who was playing on our offensive line, but this D line is going to play different than any other line we have played this year. Expect to see alot of stunting and linemen dropping into coverage.


November 22nd, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

" There's more to building a program than what's written in the media."

I'm so tired of hearing RR say that he is building a program.  This isn't Indiana or MSU.  You were given the best "program" in the history of NCAA football.  Yes, changes needed to be made and RR needed to update the program to his scheme and philosophy, but he wasn't hired to build a program.  The program was already built and it was his job to be the caretaker. 


November 22nd, 2010 at 6:15 PM ^

By end of 2007 season, I meant a team that had lost Henne, Hart, Long and many others. If Carr hadn't recruited a single person in the 2006 and 2007 classes, that season would have turned out the same, but the upcoming drop off would have been much easier to see coming.


November 22nd, 2010 at 8:30 PM ^

I know, right? I can't believe how Rodriguez just completely went in the tank with Henne, Hart, Long, Manningham, and Arrington, all returning for his first year. That year UM should have been contending for a national title.

Wait, what? He had to replace all those guys? With almost no experienced players?

Oh, then I guess your point is pointless.


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:53 PM ^

Can't prove it for you...but Michigan wasn't a program to be built from ground zero...Did have the most wins of any DI program, etc., etc.

Best program in DI football on 1/2/08 - no.

Best program from the start of college football to now - I would say yes.

Sorry for being one of those Michigan people who appreciate the entire history of a program and not just single season snapshots. 

El Jeffe

November 23rd, 2010 at 12:24 AM ^

I agree that UM wasn't a program that had to be built from ground zero. However I disagree that it wasn't a program that RR is building from ground zero. Quite apart from the scheduled and unscheduled departures of Arrington, Boren, Henne, Long, Mallet, and Manningham, the fact is that RR's way of playing football, at least on offense, and style of team management is about as different from Lloyd as you can get.

Whether you wanted this kind of 180 degree change is both a different matter and a matter of opinion. On that I have no comment. However, I think you're totally out to lunch if you don't think the changes that RR has wrought have been wrenching and, dare I say it, akin to when Bo took over for Bump.

Communist Football

November 23rd, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

He's not talking about building a program from scratch.  He's talking about building a program from where it was (Big Ten contender, consistent loser on the BCS/OSU stage) to year-in, year-out MNC contender.

It's amazing to me how quickly people forget how dissatisfied we all were during the Lloyd think the defensive coordinator is bad now?


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

I'm by no means anti-RR, but I look forward to the day when RR stops referring to his time at WVU at virtually every press conference.  This particularly makes me cringe when comparing going into the Horsehoe (which he has done before as Head Coach at Michigan) with going to Pitt as Head Coach at WVU.  


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:20 PM ^

You can't expect him to ignore his past.  The guy coached at other schools before he came here.

He was just referring to being insulted specifically, not going into the Shoe altogether.



November 23rd, 2010 at 10:36 AM ^

of Ohio State fans being rude, generally supporting the impression that pretty much everyone has about OSU fans being the worst in the conference.

IME, he can make references to his NAIA experience this week, as long it ends up with a negative reference to OSU.


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:17 PM ^


"If I did think that, would it make any sense to tell you? Probably not. We'll probably punt on third down."

RR is a funny guy.  The dude makes jokes in press conferences.  He's a Michigan man.  He's not a prick.
Mike Valenti, get the F*** over yourself