Rich Rodriguez Presser Notes 8-25-10 Comment Count

Tim August 25th, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Notes from Coach Rod's Wednesday presser.

The QB battle is close. The coaches haven't been able to taper down who gets snaps. As long as they get better every day, you can be pleased with the progress. Everybody is too worried about who the starting QB is. The second team gets almost as many reps as the first team.

Any of the three are capable of starting right now, but he wants them to play at a high level. "If they're able to do that and execute the offense, then all three will play." Will keep QB choice quiet for competitive reasons. QBs will know Friday night (before game). Nobody else will know until kickoff at 3:36 Saturday.

No particular RB (or two) has stepped to the forefront. The position gets banged up in camp, which limits development. "We have some talent there, we'll be OK." The top 2-3 guys will play. Certain guys run certain plays better, so they'll get in the game for that play.

Fitzgerald Toussaint practiced yesterday, but not today. He's had a neck stinger, now his knee is sore. He'll be banged up a couple days, but might practice friday. Michael Shaw is still taking "the class," working hard at it. He's been spending half of his time practicing, and half of his time studying.

The offensive line is "not set as far as starters, but I think set as far as, you know who the 8-9-10 guys that are gonna be in the rotation will be." RR feels better about up front than the past couple years. He would like to play at least 8 offensive linemen (5 starters, backup C, G, T), depending on how they're performing and the tempo of the game. He would love to have two whole groups at line.

Improvement on defense has to come from several places. One guy can't replace Brandon Graham by himself. "The thing I probably feel the best about our defense is that we have a bigger pool of guys I think are going to be playing. That's going to allow us to have a little more depth, do a few more things defensively." If a couple guys (Mike Martin, Jonas Mouton, and JT Floyd in particular) have a big year, it'll offset some of the losses.

Will Campbell wasn't in great shape when camp started. He's been playing himself into shape. Mike Martin and Adam Patterson are at NG, "if he wants to play he's gotta compete." Rodriguez wants senior Sagesse, Banks, and Patterson, to have their best years. They're having good camps. "Of course you've got Mike Martin up front too who's had an outstanding camp. I think he can have a great year at noseguard for us."

Moundros may be the starter at middle linebacker. Right now he's taking a lot of reps. Mark has at least seen the field, which gives him experience (even if it's at a different position). He has intangibles. He needs to learn technique and system, but he was able to do that mostly in the spring. He's made very few mental errors for being new to the position.

There are some potential answers in the secondary. "Coming from freshman class. "It's kind of scary when you think about true freshmen playing in the secondary, but there's some talent there." They're progressing well now that summer class is over and they can focus on football. 4-5 true freshman DBs will play this year.

Cam Gordon - "He didn't play as well as he had played in any other practice in the scrimmage," but he's had a good camp and the staff feels good about him.

JT Floyd will start at corner on one side. Other corner might be Jame Rogers, "this is the best football he's played," or young guys. Have to keep it simple for the youngsters.

Nothing's new at kicker; it's inconsistent day-to-day. Most days have been encouraging - yesterday was not one of those days. They've been practicing on the new turf in the stadium. It's unlikely that different kickers will be used depending on distance of the kick.

Yesterday was a scrimmage. The last three quarters of practice, only players, officials, and Rodriguez were on the field. Did every special team and offense v. defense. "Glad we did it, but we've gotta do it again." They'll do it again friday, less intense, and maybe a little tomorrow. "With so many young guys, especially on defense playing, we've gotta try to get them used to what it's going to be like in a game where there aren't coaches standing behind them or on the side of them telling them what to do." It's a different atmosphere then practice, with signaling plays, etc.

Troy Woolfolk had surgery yesterday. "Everything went well with the surgery. Certainly it looks like he's lost for the season." No reason why he can't be 100% next year, and Rodriguez thinks he wants to come back for a 5th year. "It's his decision, of course, but Troy loves football."

Have a good grasp on what the team can do. "Certainly offensively, we have a pretty good idea of where our strengths are. And I think defensively too, even with the young guys, it probably takes them a little bit longer to determine a young guy because they have not done it in a game." Some guys plays better in a game, some play too nervous.

Started installing for UConn at the beginning of camp. "Starting really yesterday, and certainly today, and a lot tomorrow and Friday, will be a lot of UConn installation in all three phases."



August 25th, 2010 at 5:13 PM ^

JT Floyd will start at corner on one side. Other corner might be Jame Rogers, "this is the best football he's played," or young guys. Have to keep it simple for the youngsters.

Between this quote and Taylor Lewan's, my confidence in our secondary is slowly starting to rebuild.

I leave for Michigan in less than a week: nothing like welcome week to help pass by those last couple of days.


August 25th, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^

I personally would feel a lot better about our secondary if Cullen Christian is able to beat out Rogers for a starting corner position. I would imagine that if Rogers were any good, people would have been talking about him as a possible contributer before the Woolfolk injury. On the other hand, Christian was a highly rated corner coming out of highschool, and historically, we have had some success with true freshman at that position. Plus, he represents our future at corner, and it would be encouraging to see him have some success this year.     


August 25th, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

There's something to be said for bringing him along slowly, putting him in initially for a few plays or series so that he can get his feet wet and get coached up before making him a starter. IIRC, this was the approach with most of the true freshmen that have started at CB, until they became starters at mid-season.

I checked, only Woodson started from the get-go as a freshman. Ty Law got 6 starts, Marlin Jackson got 6 starts, Warren got 10.


August 25th, 2010 at 6:19 PM ^

Leon Hall started either one or two games in 2003, (the Bentley confusingly has him starting one game at corner and one at defensive tackle in a nickle, unclear whether it's a typo or if they just inserted him on the page for player he replaced).

And yeah, I would imagine all those teams did have far better options, but I still think there's something to be gained by rotating Christian in and out a series at a time, while coaching him intensely after he's in about what he saw, playing him increasing amounts during the first four games, before inserting him as a starter when the conference schedule begins. This assumes that Rogers is going to be more assignment sure (though less athletically dynamic) and won't be avert your eyes bad (which is, admittedly, a definite possibility).


August 26th, 2010 at 9:19 AM ^

Lived on my hall Freshman year. Good guy. Played IM basketball with him. Man he was quick. Felt a little bad for him when Woodson replaced him, but then, we all know how that story ends.


August 25th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

It's a fair point that other star corners didn't start right away. But the most analagous situation, with depleted secondary depth is Warren an while he only started 10 games he clearly should have started all 12 as Johnny sears was an epic disaster in the first two. I figure rogers can't be as bad as sears and the coaches know way about how these
Guys performances than we do but I really hope they don't make the same mistake English/Carr made going with experience over talent if the experience isn't good enough. Good lord willing Rogers is good enough to make the whole thing moot.


August 25th, 2010 at 5:16 PM ^

I have a feeling UCONN is overrated and Notre Dame is underrated.  I see a convincing win against UCONN.  Playing well on the road is always tough for young teams, ND will be a litmus test for the season as a whole.  If they travel well against what will be a strong ND team, I see a good season for these guys.  A bad loss to ND and this could be a long season.


August 25th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

My gut tells me the same about UConn.  I hope we start on offense, even if we win the toss - with the emotion of what I hope will be Brock Mealer's triumphant run through the tunnel, I want the team to build a convincing lead in the first quarter.  That has the potential to be one hell of an emotional tidal wave, if we can ride it right.

SC Wolverine

August 26th, 2010 at 12:52 AM ^

I agree with you about UConn and Notre Dame, but UConn is the bigger game.  If we lose to UConn, we head into ND with the risk of going 0-2.  Think of the pressure that would put on us.  But if we beat UConn, as I think we will do, then we have breathing room regardless of what happens in South Bend


August 25th, 2010 at 5:40 PM ^

Smelling salts?  I don't think people actually realize how screwed we are in the defensive backfield. 

Actually, with 4-5 true freshmen DBs seeing the field, you may want to stay unconscious.  Me too.  Why yes, I'll have another beer!


August 25th, 2010 at 6:48 PM ^

To be honest seeing this many freshman play in the backfield isn't making me at all nervous about this years season.  I see this as an opportunity to get our freshman in game situations very early on in their careers.  Our offense will be able to score enough points to get us the W at the end of the day.

In a couple years these players will grow and get bigger and will have lots of game experience. Hopefully bringing our defense back to the traditional dominate defense we have all grown to know.


August 25th, 2010 at 6:57 PM ^

the secondary a few years ago and they did pretty well on defense that year (except when we rolled them in the bowl game). ....and a good front seven and freshmen with sick star rankings just to be fair. Oh dammit, yeah we are in for a roller coaster.

Yinka Double Dare

August 25th, 2010 at 7:10 PM ^

The only teams that Florida team held to less than 20 points were a Western Kentucky team in its very first game as a 1-A school, and Florida State.  That's not a defense I want to hear about when thinking about this year...  That team won because they scored a ton of points.  They had 5 games where they failed to score 40+.  They lost four of those games.


August 26th, 2010 at 10:03 AM ^

... considering how bad the secondary was last year - maybe this "fresh meat" brings new edge to a already weak secondary... or maybe not :)  Here's hoping for the best though - i'm so pumped for the season to start!!

If there are any other M Alums in Aspen - is there a bar people go to watch games?


August 26th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^

... considering how bad the secondary was last year - maybe this "fresh meat" brings new edge to a already weak secondary... or maybe not :)  Here's hoping for the best though - i'm so pumped for the season to start!!

If there are any other M Alums in Aspen - is there a bar people go to watch games?


August 25th, 2010 at 5:19 PM ^

Even today, coming off what sounds to be a hit-or-miss practice, RichRod sounds much more confident in this team than he has the last two years.  It sounds as if he's judging them and critiquing them on details, almost nit-picking, which is very encouraging to me. 


August 25th, 2010 at 5:22 PM ^

To say that i'm excited is an absolute understatement.  You can tell through the coaches how excited they are as well (and that hasn't always been the case).  We're gonna turn some heads this season!!! GO BLUE


August 25th, 2010 at 5:24 PM ^

Moundros may be the starter at middle linebacker. Right now he's taking a lot of reps. Mark has at least seen the field, which gives him experience (even if it's at a different position). He has intangibles. He needs to learn technique and system, but he was able to do that mostly in the spring. He's made very few mental errors for being new to the position.

This, more than anything, scares me. To have a guy that "needs to learn technique and system" as our starting middle linebacker in a 3-3-5 is frightening beyond belief. I'm sure Moundros is a great ballplayer and has done the work, but the fact that he can beat out a multi-year starter and the younger, hyped recruits at a position he just started learning this spring is either (A) proof that he is, in fact, batman or (B) a stinging assessment of the LB group as a whole (D-Roh excepted).


August 25th, 2010 at 5:45 PM ^

That's the Mathlete's logic with respect to the quarterbacks: we know Tate is at least X, so for Denard to start he must be at least X+1. In that circumstance, I buy it, because to my mind there's not much chance Tate has taken a step backward.

However, it's totally conceivable that Ezeh has. Hell, he went from being meh in 2008 to being awful last year (despite the media members that think tackles = level of relative goodness).

Even if Moundros starting does mean that he is 2009 Ezeh+1, that's not suffcient. We needed Ezeh to become 2009 Ezeh+many. Moundros starting means Ezeh didn't get there.

I am begining to believe we will not be running the 3-3-5, but instead the 3-argh-FUCK.


August 25th, 2010 at 9:12 PM ^

In the words of Jim Rome, you came strong (that's what she said). But seriously, anyone that is not frightened to death of our defense is just willfully ignoring probability. Events may be prove the dire predictions wrong (please please please) but the proper attitude right now is prayer, followed by heavy drinking, one way or the other.


August 25th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

How that scares you more than this:

 4-5 true freshman DBs will play this year.

I'd take Oprah at MLB in exchange for some experience in the secondary.  I also think it's important to remember that we know exactly what we're getting out of Ezeh, so if the coaches like their chances better with Moundros this may be a good thing.


August 26th, 2010 at 4:02 AM ^

the momentous moment.


James Rogers
Cullen Christian
Terrence Talbott
J.T. Floyd                      
Courtney Avery  
SS 32
Jordan Kovacs
Marvin Robinson

Cameron Gordon
Vladimir Emilien

J. Lichty

August 25th, 2010 at 6:06 PM ^

can have a limited role in summer workouts - there was discussion of this when the M self-report came out.  I do not remember how much involvement the s and c staff can have. 


However there is one key aspect that thesummer  workouts must be completely voluntary.  In past, RR would say, sure the workouts are voluntary, but so is playing time. 

This summer he has made a point of saying.  "I have no idea what anyone has been doing over the summer."

Zone Left

August 25th, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

My general understanding is the the S&C staffs can spend a lot of time with the players during the offseason.  The NCAA wants to make sure players are getting solid advice on conditioning instead of having team leadership, who probably won't have the best knowledge, running the sessions. 

The sessions are still voluntary, like you pointed out.

ATX Wolverine

August 25th, 2010 at 6:13 PM ^

I thought I read somewhere that the Cass Tech guys worked out on their own this summer and didn't do a great job getting into shape.  Not sure if that was just conjecture or a known fact.  Hopefully Barwis can get them back into shape quickly here and that they've all learned their lesson going forward.