Talk about Jake Rudock’s day throwing and decision making and making some plays with his feet.
“Well, he was just on fire. He had a great game, making all the appropriate throws, all the right reads. Accurate and appropriate all day long. Kind of windy, blustery day, too. Played great.
“Played great with his feet. I mean, I don’t know how he got in there for that second touchdown. That was- looked like play that would be sacked in the backfield, and even when he got on the perimeter- I had a great look at it and didn’t think there was any way but he…just a heck of an individual effort. The rest of the time- you know, he’s really getting a good chemistry with Jake Butt, with Jehu Chesson, with Amara Darboh.
“The screen game was extremely effective today. Thought Jedd Fisch, Tim Drevno- just really good, creative game planning today on their part. Lot of good things to talk about.
“I also want to congratulate Jourdan Lewis. Heard he broke a record today for most pass breakups in a season and he had some big plays as well. Did a nice job on the kickoff return when he got in there in that area. So, other good things to talk about.”
What was your thoughts on the intent to deceive play? What did you see from it? What was the explanation you got from the ref?
“I’m pretty offended by that, you know, that that was called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was really- everything…everything was…everything was to not deceive. There was- Jake Butt was in on the previous play. He did not go off with the substitutes that were leaving the field. They were practically off the field when he left the huddle. Was not even near our bench area; was down at the 15, 16, 17 yard line.
“We just train our quarterbacks to throw to people that aren’t covered, and- even if it’s a running play. I was watching an NFL game where they didn’t cover a receiver and the quarterback handed it off and got maligned by scribes and pundits and so-called experts for not throwing it to him, but it really is…I don’t know.
“May gameplan next week to if somebody substitutes and the receiver lines up wide, just don’t cover him. Why cover him? Put an extra person in the box to stop the run, and if they happen to throw it to the uncovered receiver it’s a 15-yard penalty. You could make that argument. It’s bewildering.”
How critical was the screen-pass game early in the contest? It seemed like you used that consistently to maybe soften the defense up a little bit.
“It was big. Big chunks of yardage. Got a screen in a long-yardage situation to pick up a first down; I’m thinking of three big ones right now. Changed field position and set up plays and were big-yardage plays. We really executed them well. That’s a credit to all the guys and the other coaches. Not me, because I’m not a good screen coach. Never have been. But Jedd Fisch and Tim Drevno are, and Tyrone Wheatley is, and very fortunate today that they got the guys coached up and it was an effective part of our game today.”
[After THE JUMP: I, for one, welcome our new chart overlord]
When your team got up you obviously didn’t let up at all, still throwing the ball and even down to the two-point conversion. Is that a mentality that you’re trying to impress upon, and what was the thinking on the two-point conversion?
“Yeah, I mean, the chart says to do that. That’s what the chart says, so we went with that. Playing the percentages. Taking it from…what’d it take it from? 25 to 27. That’s what it says to do. Then if they get three touchdowns and two point conversions on all three of those and kick a field goal then it’s a four-score game, where they could beat you with- so yeah, you play those- you play those scenarios out when you’re managing a game. There wasn’t any mentality. We just were executing our offense and running the plays that we came in with in terms of our gameplan.
“Maybe from where you were sitting it was like, seemed a little lopsided, but from where I was standing with the kickoff returns and the punt returns…you know, I play out those bad scenarios in my head. So, we’ve got some things to work on in our coverage units, and made a couple of adjustments in the game in terms of personnel that helped us.
“Also, our red zone defense was outstanding again today. It’s been something that’s really been good for us. Our defensive coaching staff is doing a tremendous job. I don’t know if anybody’s doing a better job of playing defense in the red zone. A couple times they had the ball in the scoring area inside the 20 and we only allowed field goals. The only touchdown came on the kickoff return, so that’s very impressive to me.”
Do you think you missed Ben Gedeon a little bit on kick returns, and can you talk about his status and Ryan Glasgow as well?
“Yeah. Ryan, we’ll hope for the best with him. Hope it’s a strain, not a tear. And I think Ben, very good chance Ben will be back this week.”
You mentioned Jake’s touchdown scramble there in the first quarter. I think he compared last week’s hit that took him out to a car accident or something like that. Was there anything you learned about his toughness you didn’t already know this week and his ability to continue to go out there and lay it out?
“Nah, I’ve really already learned that. Our team has already learned that. I mean, Jake’s a very tough guy. He’s tough as a two-dollar steak, and he continues to show that. But, I mean, that’s a courage play, too. I’ve been in that situation. When he makes that turn up the boundary you know they’re comin’. I mean, everybody’s comin’ for that spot at the one yard line and the pylon to keep you out of there. He knew that. I guarantee he knew that and he stuck his nose in there and he gave no quarter whatsoever on the entire play. Yeah, I mean, that’s…toughness is respected, I think, by everybody who plays this game or watches it, and he’s got it.”
The red zone defense that you mentioned, is that a schematic thing you guys are doing or is it kind of an attitude-type thing?
“Yeah, it’s both. It’s the scheme that you’re running. It’s the way that you play. We’re not- coach Durkin does a great job and convinces our guys they’re not in till they’re in; they have to get it in, so we give no quarter in that regard as well. And it’s who’s doing it; it’s the players. They’re the ones who are out there accomplishing the task. So, it’s all those things.”
In this type of a game where you guys did have a big lead, what are some of the things that you wanted to see from your players in this scenario in terms of some of the changes that you’ve instituted with discipline and the toughness that you talked about?
“Well, I mean, we were…everything. Keep playing. It’s not…it’s never gonna be- it’s never over till it’s over. You know, you gotta finish. You gotta play with great resolve in that area. That’s what they’re trained to do. All the way back to Bo Schembechler, that’s what you’re taught as a Michigan player. Play ‘em. Play ‘em as fast as you can as hard as you can as long as you can. That’s what our guys did today. Very proud of them for doing that. Maybe it felt like a big lead to you but from where we were sittin’ we were just battling until- just battling.”
What’s Lawrence Marshall’s status?
“Again, he’s working through something as well. We’re working through something with him.”
“It’s an internal matter.”
MGoQuestion: It looked like early on you might have switched from playing a lot of Cover 3 to some pattern matching. If that is the case, why make the change?
“Well, I mean, we’re always in that mode. We’re not just gonna line up in a statue Cover 3 defense. We’re gonna give variety to our scheme, much like a pitcher’s not just gonna throw fastballs pitch after pitch. You need a curve, you need a slider. And we play a lot of man, we play a lot match; we play different schemes.”
The rush defense: they had a couple big plays against you. Did you see anything live that you would want to fix immediately?
“I can’t say what it was. As far as what I saw, we got trapped. They ran a trap on us and split right through the middle. At times we weren’t getting off blocks as well as we need to. You don’t like to see big run plays, but…so, get the win. I thought we improved in a lot of areas, and that’s what you do going into a game: You want to improve as a football team and win. Still things to always get better at. There’s some areas.”
You took kickoff off Jabrill’s to-do list. Was there any reason for that?
“Um…yeah, there was a reason.”
Do you want to tell me what it was?
“Ah, I mean, he was actually working through a little something. We saved him for a couple other things, and Jourdan Lewis is pretty darn good, too. But I will say this: The touchdown that Jabrill scored on, when we threw the bubble to him, that was really diagnosed very well by the defense. I mean, they were across the line of scrimmage before he caught the ball, and I thought that play was trapped behind the line of scrimmage. The move he made and then the way he weaved himself through there…I knew he was good, but he’s really good. He’s really good. That play…I thought there was not another rung to go on the ladder. There is. He found another rung to go even higher. I told him that. I says, ‘Man, you’re really good.’”