Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 11-8-10

Submitted by Tim on November 8th, 2010 at 3:00 PM

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


Actual News

Denard was suffering symptoms similar to a concussion, so they held him out Saturday. Trainers came to Rich and said Denard should be held out. He was tested yesterday and should be fine. Will be full-go this week. Might have been the helmet-to-helmet, not positive. Denard's arm "felt a whole lot better" against Illinois, the knee isn't 100%, but it's good. "I'm hoping he'll be feeling as good as he's felt in weeks this weekend."

Teric Jones has a torn ACL and is out for the rest of the season.

Mike Martin is better, Mouton is limited with a chest muscle issue. He might be held out of full-contact tomorrow. Not sure if Mouton will be available this weekend. "I'll know more tomorrow." He was able to play through it for part of the game, so it may not be that serious.

Will know today if Fitz Toussaint will be available this weekend.

Perry Dorrestein could have played against Illinois if they needed him. He's a lot better now than he was the past couple weeks.

JT Floyd had his surgery. Troy Woolfolk is out of his walking boot, working out upper body only. Mike Jones is good after his surgery. Tae Odoms "is fine after his surgery." Not sure if any of those guys will be able to go in spring practice, but they're doing well.

"I think Craig [Roh] - that move putting him at end is probably gonna stick." That's his better position, and he's more physically suited for it than he was last year with more bulk. "Playing him at end, especially at open-side end is better for him." JB Fitzgerald played pretty well in the same spot. "Obi's got some experience, Kevin Leach played a bit too." Mark Moundros should be in line for more playing time.

Illinois and Team

They rotate through the backs by feel. Vincent Smith is the most well-rounded, Michael Shaw has good burst, and Stephen Hopkins is the big guy. If a fourth guy steps up, they'd like to roll 4 backs in and out.

Roy Roundtree is a good athlete with great ball skills, and he's getting bigger. He has a good feel for getting open. "Roy's got kind of a natural feel for that." They saw that when he was in high school. #1 jersey - "I'm not touching no number things... Nobody's asking for it - it might be because they don't want to deal with all the drama either, I don't know." Roy likes #12, even if it's not a top seller in the stores.

Mark Huyge has done well in place of Perry. "We wouldn't hesitate at all to put Michael Schofield in there either. Michael Schofield can play too. He's just a redshirt freshman, but he's ready to play." Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury are also good young players on the OL.

Been good most of the year with not turning the ball over outside of a couple games, but they're disappointed in their inability to gain turnovers. "We're not quite creating turnovers, and we talked about that a lot with the defensive staff." Are they not in position to make plays, or not causing confusion for the opponent? There's no simple answer, but they're addressing it. Through the turnovers, the team managed to bounce back.

"The things that our guys kept doing was they kept competing." Didn't matter if they were down, up, after a turnover, etc. Young guys kept their poise, even though many of them should be redshirting in a perfect world. "There's a lot of growing lessons happening." There was no one particular thing that led to turnover problems. There was a great play by Illinois, poor ball security for Gallon, Tate coming off the bench cold, a couple missed reads. "It wasn't all just one thing."

In light of some of the inexperience the defense puts on the field (which really doesn't happen anywhere else), they competed well. Forced a few 3 and outs, 5 or 6 stops. The offense put the D in a couple bad spots with turnovers, and they responded well.

"Illinois is one of the most athletic teams in the league, and we frankly have to get more athletic." That comes through development - size too. Have to address it in recruiting as well. "Recruiting is going well, and our strength staff I think is the best in the country."

Not sure why the wheel routes were open - not same RB, not same coverage. "To be open is one thing, to be that wide open is another thing." A couple guys just made mistakes in coverage. "I would expect we'll probably see a play similar to that in every game going forward (laughs), so we'll be working on it quite a bit."

"I thought we tackled OK. we didn't tackle great." Didn't get off blocks well, especially on the perimeter on options. Part of that is Illinois's ability.

Not worried about offensive swagger "but our defense needed some." A defensive play won the game at the end, which will hopefully give them confidence going forward.

On the final 2-point conversion, Illinois was running a rub route, Michigan was bringing 7 rushers. "They got us rubbed off pretty good, but the pressure got to him first."

If you had veteran corners, you can blitz more. Michigan doesn't have that, so they have to be careful and pick their moments. "Nobody wants to sit there and die a slow death." Working a lot on mixing up defensive looks so opponent won't know coverage pre-snap.

"I'm the hardest one on our defensive coaches, because I think there's a certain standard we should be playing at." Playing this many freshmen and young guys is probably unprecedented. "It was a perfect storm of injuries and misfortune that got us here."

Quinton Washington played goal line and short yardage D. "I think that move may stay." Not sure how long it will take until he's ready to play in base defense. "Hopefully he'll get a little closer this week with that."

Kenny Demens - "He was really pretty consistent in the game Saturday. This was one of his better games." He was in the right spot and made some big tackles. He's not really experienced, but this is his first extended playing time.

Ray Vinopal is a young guy, so will make some mistakes. He was well-coached in high school, and is a smart football player. "We make all of our own judgments on our guys. These recruiting sites really do a pretty good job for the most part rating them, but we don't ever make our judgments based on what a recruiting site rates them."

Courtney Avery - "They got the one touchdown on him, and he wasn't that far out of position." He was nervous, but didn't show it. "I think he'll be able to grow from that, and I'm really excited about him." Getting quality experience will add depth when Troy and JT return too.

Worry about opponents' athleticism for kickoff coverage. "We had been pretty solid all year covering kicks, but we let a couple get out of there Saturday."

When there's not dropoff between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd teams, you'll be a good football team because you can handle injuries. "We're there at some positions this year, but most positions we're not." QB, RB, and OL to a degree. "Nowhere on defense are we there."

Winning an exciting game is maybe even more important than getting the 6th win from an emotion level in the post-game celebration. "The guys have been through a lot, they have been. That's why I've been so proud of the focus that they've kept." Even when they've faced adversity, they know that have to move past it. "If it helps them have a little enthusiasm and a little pep in their step, that's good" to get confidence, etc. after a win. Even if some people didn't play well, they'll be more confident after a win and that's positive going forward.


Hasn't had a conversation with Danny Hope about what happened last year. Have only briefly spoken during the conference meetings.

Motivation won't be an issue, especially with Purdue getting wins in the past two meetings. Purdue has had some QB injuries, fast skill guys, two good defensive ends. "I want our guys to feel good for a couple days" but that doesn't mean they'll overlook Purdue.

They match up in certain spots with Purdue, particularly at QB and WR, but Purdue is athletic up front on the OL. "Defensively, we have some athleticism, but not enough. Not enough speed yet."

Not yet sure which quarterbacks Purdue will have back this week - if Rob Henry will be available.


On getting to a bowl - "No question it was a sense of relief, not only for the staff and the players, but particularly for the seniors." They earned the chance to extend their college career for one more game, and they'll get another month as members of the team.

Important if you have a lot of young players to get those 15 bowl practices. "We have a lot of young players that they're going to have to develop and they'll have to get ready to help us, especially on defense." Early enrollees can't participate in bowl practices. RR thinks that's a good policy.

Not necessarily more injuries (across the country) now, just more public. Guys are getting bigger and faster, so maybe there are more injuries. FieldTurf has probably saved 25% of knee injuries vs. Astroturf.

Injury report - want it to be fair to the kids by being accurate from the source. Families know first, but don't want to have incorrect reports published.

Won all three times he's been in a triple OT game. Couldn't imagine how tough it would be to lose one. "We have a hard time sleeping anyway as coaches. I can imagine how many plays you'd replay in your head over at night... there's so many plays that can make a difference in the game, and if you win them, you think about them and move on." If they won a 10-7 overtime game, it would be a shock (to only score that much), but they'll take any win they can.

Wins help the players stay confident for the future, prevent spiraling. "Even though it might not have been a really good game for them individually, it was a good game for Michigan." The guys get to enjoy that moment.

Assistant coaches tell Coach Rod about negative recruiting stories they hear on the road. "I think we have enough positives here that we can accentuate the positive."

Has never had a non-kicker/punter have to attempt an extra point. Thought Suh's kick was going to be good, and he just barely missed it.



November 8th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

...relief in this presser is palpable.  Nice momentum for the remainder of the season.  If the team builds on the Illinois win with a good performance and a W vs. Purdue, the Wisconsin game could be very interesting indeed.  Glad I have tickets for that one.


November 8th, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

I can't help but wonder what might get a player more notoriety, wearing the Number 1 jersey or turning it down. It does not come from the team either, but from an outside source. Unintended consequences can be a bitch.


November 8th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

Yes, I know, but Desmond was an amazing WR, and when mentioning other amazing Michigan receivers, it is proper to lump him in.  My first statement was regarding the Jersey, In my second statement, I should have thrown in a few other non-#1 wearers to further clarify the that Roundtree will be among the greatest Michigan WR's to ever play.  That was a blanket statement not ment to deal with only #1 Jersey wearers. 


November 8th, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

Roy Roundtree was the leading receiver on this team, LAST YEAR! He is the leading receiver on the team this year. He has the record for most yards in a game. He is only a sophomore. He is liked by the whole team and works his ass off. I say, if he wants the #1, give it to him. If not, wait until someone who wants it and deserves it, but I think the deserve part is obvious for Roundtree by now.


November 8th, 2010 at 3:17 PM ^

I'm a pretty vocal RR supporter on the board, but if I have one quibble with my guy, is the injury situation and guys expected to play.

Every week it looks like someone will be back and then they never play.   I don't want to hear about Touissant until he gets on the field, is this 3 or 4 weeks in a row he was supposed to be abck..   I think we've heard Moundros is going to play every week and he never plays.   Teric Jones was supposed to see carries at Penn St.  etc.  It's become amusing to me to see who is the featured guy this week that will never play.  I think Schofield is my honorary this guy deserves to play" player of the week.


November 8th, 2010 at 3:37 PM ^

The only Big Ten game we didnt have a costly turnover(s) was PSU. The goal line fumble at IU was a momentum killer, and the other 3 have been disasterous. I am starting to think it is the norm, and not exception.

Overcoming 5 turnovers to win a game is rare. Luckily the defense made some strides on Saturday.


November 8th, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

While Illinois scored a ton on Michigan, I thought that at times I saw some defensive plays that would say some of the young guys are starting to "get it".  It seemed to me that the 4 man front was effective.  Looking forward to Purdue.  My son and I will be in West LaFayette at the game.


November 8th, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

My reaction to RR's injury report is the same to Fred Jackson's latest hyperbole about a running back who will never be more than a seldom-used backup: I smile, say "uh-huh, sure" and move on to other things.


November 8th, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

"I think Craig [Roh] - that move putting him at end is probably gonna stick." That's his better position, and he's more physically suited for it than he was last year with more bulk. "Playing him at end, especially at open-side end is better for him."


November 8th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

"They got us rubbed off pretty good, but the pressure got to him first."

Sadly, that one line can pretty much sum up my college career.


November 8th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

"I think he'll be able to grow from that, and I'm really excited about him."

I really like this quote. Avery looked pretty good out there for a true freshman making his first career start and a former high school QB. Hopefully he continues to improve.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 9th, 2010 at 9:22 AM ^

Those were two fantastic tackles. Avery must have felt great after that missed tackle in the similar situation against Iowa. He made ammends in a big way on that play.

On Vinopal, he made a great play on the tackle and looked pretty good most of the game. I look back to what little playing time he has had and in that short time he has made two plays that seem to point to him becoming our best safety in ages. On his interception he made a great play breaking on the ball and picking it off. It wasn't any easy play but he made it look like it was (lets look past the fumble though).

Then coming up and filling that hole (I know, TWSS) to make a stop on third and one has given me a sense of optimism for this kids future.

Also, the coaches said after the penn st. loss that they were going to be doing a lot of practice on 3rd down defense. A few posters commented on WTF is different, how do you practice 3rd down defence? I didn't have the answers then (I had a hypothesis but didn't know for sure) and I don't know now, but whatever they did seemed to work pretty damn good for that game.

I am still so pumped about that win....Lets Go Blue!!!!!!!!


November 8th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

"Didn't get off blocks well, especially on the perimeter on options. Part of that is Illinois's ability."

It was evident from the angle I had in the student section that Illinois's receivers were just holding basically every time they were blocking. The field judge had the same view I did but never called it. Presumably MGoBrian will see this in the UFR, and the coaches will while watching tape. Incidentally, I never noticed any of our players complain to the refs about it--don't know why they didn't.


November 8th, 2010 at 9:56 PM ^

Honestly, watching it on tv, I remember commenting on how well their recievers were blocking downfield.  I think a good block with inside hands downfield can look a lot like a hold, however if they called these same "holds" on the line there would be flags thrown left and right.  For the most part, I don't remeber seeing a blatant hold, just good fundamental downfield blocking.


November 8th, 2010 at 5:52 PM ^

I believe that we had a player suspended after Weis complained about something that happened in ND last year.  It was basically a non-call in the game or at least not being hit with a suspension, but then our guy was retroactively suspended.

Rich then came back and said that if we are going to be doing this sort of thing for one play, that more plays should be looked at.  The result was some Purdue player being suspended for a game for something he did that was originally not called or whatever.

Forgive the lack of specific detail above, but hopefully you get the point.

Anyway, after last year's game Hope goes to shake Rich's hand and says "Hey Rich, here's the guy you kept out of a game with all your whining earlier this season...asshole," (this is a paraphrase) and puts him in a really uncomfortable position.  There a fair bit of talk about this confrontation, and most believe it has left a rather bitter taste in Rodriguez's mouth for Purdue.  There was also some "snake oil selling" that Hope accused Rich of when Roundtree de-committed from Purdue to come to Michigan.

So yeah...there's some bitterness there.