“Obviously we’re not – I’m not – happy with the amount of points given up. The big plays, that’s not our defense. We’ve got some things we’ve got to get corrected. A lot of that is on me. That’s – any time something like that happens, you have to look at yourself, you have to look at the game plan, you have to look at what you had in. I think there are some things we could have done different. But we’ll get it corrected.”
Brady said guys were in position but didn’t execute. How much of it was scheme, and how much of it was execution?
“That’s always the case, but your job as a coordinator is you get guys in the right positions and they make plays. Either we haven’t practiced them enough – obviously that offense, the thing I was proud of and we made a really big deal of not getting our defense all out of whack because of the speed of it, and the speed of it was unbelievable. You had to be there to feel that.
"Throughout the game, if you watched and you saw, our guys were lined up and our guys knew where to be. You see other people play that and they’re running all over trying to get set and it looks like a circus sometimes. One of the touchdowns, the first one, the corner didn’t get the call. That’s what we stressed all week that that’s why they run that offense. To get just one guy to not get the call or to be sure of the call and they take advantage of it. That was one of them. Another one of the big plays, we’re right in position again, and it’s an interception, it’s no question it’s an interception, it turns into a touchdown. That I blame myself for. We have to work harder running to the football. We should have had five more guys around the football. We’ll get that corrected. There’s going to be plays like that that are going to happen. That’s where a Michigan defense runs to the football and stops it for a gain and you have another chance to play.
"For the most part I thought our kids, they hung in there. I think what they did at the end of that game shows that they believed. I mean, you’ve all been around teams before that folded in that kind of situation, but they didn’t. Thank goodness for the offense, which you knew was going to be your advantage against their defense -- our offense did a tremendous job of bailing us out, and that’s what happened.”
Does Channing Stribling need to get stronger?
“You’ve seen the same things in the last two games that we’ve seen all through camp. He’s there. Those are the same ones I mentioned once before. He’s intercepted those. He knocks those down in practice. There are some guys that wouldn’t be there. The thing we have to do with him is make sure he keeps his confidence and keeps that attitude of ‘I’m going to go get that ball.’ That’ll happen. I know that’ll happen because of the kind of kid he is and the way we coach him. When I stopped the film and slowed the film down when I was grading it, it was scary how much that was exactly like the last one. It truly is right here [in his chest]. It’s not like it’s up here [above his head]. He’ll make those plays. He’ll make them.”
Seemed like you missed a lot of tackles too, and guys weren’t there to clean up.
“Yeah that’s what disappointed me. For the first time in three years, I didn’t see every play everybody running to the football like they should. With our ability to rotate at a lot of positions, you can’t say they’re tired. Other positions don’t have that ability, and they play 80 snaps of fast pace. That’s the other part of that offense. They try to get you to miscommunicate so they get a big play, and then they try to wear you down so that great defenses that run to the football every play, maybe one play a guy doesn’t. And then all of a sudden another play another guy doesn’t, and that’s what you can’t let happen. I think another thing that we’ve got to improve and that offense does that to you also, I don’t think we were very good on the run. When you let a team like that be two-dimensional, you’re asking for trouble. There were some plays where we didn’t get off blocks. Again, was it because of the pace? Was it because they were tired? Whatever it was, it’s not acceptable. We’ve got to stop the run when they do run it.”
Do you think rotating in three plays and coming out is a good level for Jake Ryan?
“I think now that you’re into the real thick of it right now, and Jake [Ryan] feels very good I think. He’s got two games under his belt, under fire. And there’s a number of other players that feel that way, too. Now it’s time to say six plays and out instead of three.”
Do you do anything different with Brennen Beyer?
“What you always have to do is get your best players on the field, and that’s our job the next two weeks. See where they fit and how we can get our best players on the field.”
Will you spend the extra week game planning for Michigan State?
“Oh every second. I was here last night just as if we were playing this week. Every second we have will be getting ready for that game. Every second. As if we’re playing it Saturday, and then we’ll have another week. There’s no question about it.”
Will you watch them Saturday?
“I definitely will. I’ll be glued to [the TV]. It’s a great opportunity. It’s a great rivalry. Especially coming off this kind of performance, we’ve got a lot to prove.”
MGoQuestion: Brady said he wanted to see more production from the safeties. With a team like Indiana that attacked you mostly on the perimeter, how do you do get your safeties more involved without becoming vulnerable down the middle?
“Well, the plays that Brady’s talking about is when a safety is down like he was a number of times, and it doesn’t have anything to do with giving up anything in the deep end. When that ball comes, make a play. What you don’t want is any of your players to be in a position and just stand there. Go make the play. By bringing a safety down in the box, you’re putting him in a position to make plays. When you are in that position you have to make them. That’s what he’s saying. ”
MGoFollowup: Thomas Gordon had two interceptions but no tackles. Should he have been in position to make more tackles?
“Thomas wasn’t down much. And it’s not throwing Jarrod [Wilson] under the bus. Jarrod Wilson was down quite a bit, and there were some times when any safety would have been down should make the play. When you’re a safety that comes down in the box, you’re like a linebacker now. I guess that’s something that’s on me. We have to work on that more so he sees that more. Sometimes as a coach, you put on the board and you know what should be successful. If it isn’t successful, like I said, I look at myself and maybe we didn’t practice enough. One thing I do believe in our players – they’re going to everything and try as hard as they can to win. When we don’t play up to the way we should, I look to me first. We’ll get it corrected.”
Was there a moment where you though Jake Ryan would be back by October? Did he do anything to surprise you?
“Jake? I thought he would be back in a week after that happened, knowing him. I never knew when Jake would be back. I just know, just watching him, from the day the operation happened and from watching him, you guys have never seen a guy work so hard and so diligently at trying to get back as fast as he could. I’m talking about doing everything that the trainers and doctors asked him to do. And he’s a special player. When a guy puts that much into it, the only thing you worry about is when guys have setbacks, and he didn’t have that. Our trainers did a great job, but that’s only as good as the guy is willing to do it. All those extra hours. If he ever truly logged those hours of extra treatment and extra rehab that he has done since the day that happened, I think it would floor you. That he could do that and would do that.”
As a defensive coach, how much do you respect Michigan State’s defense?
“A great deal. They play very physical, they play very very aggressive defense, they run to the football, there’s no question I respect their defense. What they’ve done as far as not giving up points, to me that’s the number one thing. And their number one thing is their offense plays that way too. They’ve done a great job. I respect them. They’re a very good defense.”
Are you confident you can make the defensive adjustments for Michigan State?
“I feel very confident in our guys because we’re going to work every second to do it. I know we’ll have Michigan defense back on that field the way it’s supposed to be when we play that game.”
Are you going to look ahead at all?
“I don’t do that. I know a lot of people say to do that, but to me, it’s always the next game. One game at a time. We’ll get ready for the next one. We’ll get ready for the next one. But to me it’s always been that way where you better win one game at a time. When you start look ahead, you’re going to find yourself falling behind.”
When was the last time your defense played the way they did against Indiana?
“I can’t remember when. Probably 1978 when I was at Northwestern and we were giving up 70 points a game, 60 points a game. 60-some of them were against Michigan one game, and I’ll remember that as long as I live. Your first thought after the game is, ‘Wow.’ But then when you watch the tape, you say, ‘This shouldn’t have been [a touchdown]. If you make a play, that’s over.’ The one where the quarterback scrambled into the end zone, we had the exact defense called where we should have hit him for a sack or no gain. Just little things like that, and that’s what happens with a defense. If you’re not a tremendously experienced defense, and you can’t just walk out there and say, ‘Here we are,’ then everybody has to play together. That’s what that scheme and that tempo got negatively to do. And we weren’t all together like you saw us against UConn, like you saw us in other games where the defense stepped up. That’s a great learning thing for our young defense. We talked about it, we worked on it, we tried to tell them that this is what they’re going to try to do, and it happened. It happened at times. Thank goodness – you have to be really proud of what they did at the end of the game. I have seen other defenses where I watched them and the momentum switches and they fall apart. That’s a lot of credit to our offense, too, to keep the pressure on them. That really helped us.”
How far is this defense from being one that is aggressive and imposes what offenses can and can’t do?
“Well, it’s not there yet. There’s so many young guys that are just trying to do what they’re supposed to do. I think when you really start feeling confident about ‘I can go out there, and if I do all this exactly right, now I can take it to the next step and be really really physical and take it to the other guy,’ And you don’t always want it to be step one, step two. You want them all to be together, but that’s what happens. There’s a number of guys out there that are still just trying to do the right thing. And then trying to get off blocks and then trying to be physical and all that. It’s not there yet.”
As a program, can you accomplish that transformation this season?
“We definitely have to accomplish it this season. No question. The good news is everybody’s still there, and everybody’s logging valuable time. That experience from Saturday, you can’t pay for that. That feeling and them seeing how it isn’t supposed to be. You can’t pay for that. If you’re going to be a great defense, they’re going to remember that for a long time.”