Wednesday Presser 10-4-17: Greg Frey

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 4th, 2017 at 6:00 PM



As far as preparation, you’ve been through Michigan State weeks before. Pretty similar?

“Yeah, you know, obviously it’s a rival game. They’re a great team, great program. You’re really focused on improving you as you go through the season so the best version of who we are shows up on Saturday. Guys have been focused and working hard.”

You look at Zach Gentry and how has he developed into a great tight end, what’s it like coaching him?

“Like anything else, you want to see players develop and attack his problems and then not only attack it but bottle up and continue to do the things he’s doing well. Zach’s been really focused, been working really hard, came off a very good summer, has started a way that we felt good and so we’re going to see how it goes the rest of the way and if he continues that journey.”

MGoQuestion: What stands out to you on film about Michigan State’s defensive line?

“Oh, very good. Active. There’s a mold to what they develop and what they do and these guys certainly fit. They’re strong inside, fast on the outside. It’s a tough, great scheme. Ranked very highly and so that stands out the most.”

Where did your tackles improve during the improvement week? What did you guys work on?

“Really the biggest thing as we went with the front, the offensive line and the tight ends, is continuing to identify potential issues. These are great coaches that we face week in and week out in the best football conference in America and so they dissect you. Whether it be a stance or leaning here or slow hands or whatever it may be and so what we try to do is identify some of those things and correct them, and if they don’t need to be corrected just continue doing them.

“But really just focusing on each individual and the role they play and how they do it and seeing if we can tweak something here, get a little more efficient there, maybe take a false step out, something like that and that’s what we’re looking for as we move through improvement week, watching film, getting ready for the game.”

[After THE JUMP: Growing Pains (non-sitcom edition)]

How do you feel Nolan’s [Ulizio] progressing and acclimating to his starting position?

“He’s working hard and Nolan cares a lot, so any time you’ve got a young man who cares and is willing to work, it’s fun to watch that. And so there’s been obviously some really great moments and then there’s been some we had to correct and continue to learn from, and so Nolan’s really attacking that process.”

With the sack numbers and TFLs in general, where do things from a consistency standpoint need to happen to eradicate some of those issues?

“Well, the biggest thing as you go through it as an offense a lot of times it gets broken down into statistics and I understand that but the reality is we’re an 11-person offense. There’s 11 guys on the field, so in order to avoid a sack, in order to have a big run or score a touchdown or whatever we have to be working together. If you get off schedule a little bit things happen, and that’s really what we’re trying to keep everybody working, jelling, on schedule, understanding their role to the play whatever play’s called. And so that’s really, as we go forward, the emphasis.”

Is that part of a growing pain thing with young guys across the board or all 11?

“I don’t think it’s a young guy thing, I think it’s a football thing. Like I said, we face some outstanding defensive coaches day in here and day out obviously as we go into conference play and open with Florida and all that; those guys are very good at what they do. I think it’s just a common battle amongst offenses in football: being on the same page, finding out what you do well, finding out what the talent of the player is, getting him involved. Then of course as you go through other little adversity hits and you have to figure out ways to continue growing from there.”

How long does that take?

“What’s that?”

The growing pains.

“What do you mean?”

You just mentioned that--

“Oh, I think it’s a week-in, week-out, play-in, play-out. You can’t do anything about the past; that’s there, it happened. What you can do is learn from it, and if you continue to learn, continue to grow, hopefully the growing pains become less and less but what the beautiful part about sports and athletics and why people love it is every play, every person you play against is different.

“Every pass rush is different, every ball thrown is different, every read is different. Could be just something as simple as a guy stumbles and it changes the timing of everything, so that’s really—you’re trying to breed confidence in what we do, you’re trying to eliminate the little things that can screw up the timing, and when you talk improvement week I think that’s what we attacked very well.”

How do you keep guys from being discouraged, especially early in the season when maybe they don’t have the wealth or prior experience to fall back on?

“It’s like anything else in life. If you’re focused on the past, you’ll get discouraged. If you’re focused on what you need to do to do your job at a high level or the highest level you’re capable of then the discouragement becomes more educational and that’s what you want it to be, you want it to be education. Hey, I made a mistake, let’s continue to grow.”

Have they been able to approach it that way?

“I think so, yeah.”

You’ve been in the Big Ten a long time. What’s been your impression of Michigan State as it’s grown under Dantonio over the years?

“Well, and I go actually back to the Big East when I was at West Virginia and South Florida they were at Cincinnati, but they’re wonderful coaches. They’re very good at what they do and they have a system they believe in that has worked as proven, and so it’s like I said, they’re a very good staff, very good football team. They’ve been that way for a while.”

They’ve done a good job stopping the run. What have you seen from them?

“Well, that.” [laughs] “We’re seeing it too.”


Everyone Murders

October 5th, 2017 at 7:47 AM ^

Then don't be so holier-than-thou.  (Ask Morrissey if you don't believe me.)

Not everybody's the perfect person in the world. I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.

Watching From Afar

October 5th, 2017 at 9:19 AM ^

How many walk-ons have turned into high caliber OTs though?

Centers, DTs, safeties, WRs, sure. We've seen the Glasgows, Kovacs, and some WRs go from walk-on to really good, but I can't think of an offensive tackle that fits the bill. They need to be huge and athletic. Not something most walk-ons gunning for that position are until really late in their college careers.


October 4th, 2017 at 8:02 PM ^

Riding the pine, but we really should get the most we can out of Ulizio. I agree with the coaches and believe we need to develop another RT just in case the rest of the RT's come down with the flu or some other virus that can attack during the cold season.......S/


October 4th, 2017 at 8:02 PM ^

These are great coaches that we face week in and week out in the best football conference in America and so they dissect you.

Doesn't seem like something Don Brown is worried about.  He lets them worry about him.



October 4th, 2017 at 8:25 PM ^

Was hoping the MgoQuestion would have asked about the double A gap blitz. Probably wouldn't have gotten an informative answer regardless.

We always complain about terrible presser questions, but I'm starting to think that they know the only questions that will get straight answers are the lob balls and 'heap tons of praise on this player' type leads.


October 4th, 2017 at 9:15 PM ^

The level of coaching in the B1G keeps getting better, and in addition to technique and execution, a lot of OL success comes down to RPS, coaching staff vs. coaching staff.  Based on that, I'm worried that our staff will be too focused on max protect now that we're playing our 2nd string QB, which could make for a low scoring, ugly game vs. sparty because that's what they're hoping we will do. We're gonna need to open up the passing offense against them to open up running lanes, IMO.

Thread Jack

October 4th, 2017 at 9:25 PM ^

"For several years, it seemed like MSU's DLs wreaked havoc on the Wolverine OL with twists and slants.  Last year, the OL picked most of those up -- is this year's OL prepared to defend against those?" 

I know, I know -- what coach is going to say, "No."  But I'm worried about those.  If we don't pick up those double A gap twists, MSU will live in our backfield.  And then I'd like to hear the explanation.  If we do pick them up, then I will be very happy. 


October 4th, 2017 at 9:45 PM ^

sorry but you are not owed an explanation. i find i enjoy the games alot more if i leave the important stuff, like preparing and coaching the team, up to the coaches. i am a spectator, that is all the investement i have or should have in the game.


October 5th, 2017 at 6:27 AM ^

Not to mention he gets paid (albeit indirectly) through ticket sales and TV revenue.  Not that crowds make better coaches, and it's certainly way too early to pass any judgement, but his performance is absolutely our business.  Dave Brandon and his rag-tag bunch didn't resign to spend more time with their families; they got run out of town because we gave a shit.

For that matter, if you like being ignorant then what are you doing at the home of UFR?

Anyway, you're making a call way outside your jurisdiction.  You don't get to tell people what they're entitled to, especially in a situation you openly say the less you know the happier you are.  Do you work in upper management at a bank or something?


October 4th, 2017 at 10:00 PM ^

Coach Frey has a solid record of success as offensive line coach. To my knowledge, he's never won the Press Conference of the Year trophy. 

I'm optimistic that we'll see OL progress as the season develops.

Go Blue!


October 5th, 2017 at 6:19 AM ^

If that means saying less, fine.  Harbaugh's lips are pretty tight, too.

I'm not doubting the players' effort but when an opposing DC slants the D-line against inside zone that's not "outstanding" defensive coaching; that's the most basic countermeasure there is.  I couldn't coach a cat to chase string but I could ask a D-line to slant.  "Oh, just run diagonally instead of straight upfield and they won't be able to stop it."  OK I'm exaggerating but you don't earn your keep in the FBS by congratulating your opponent for calling a gorram slant.  You had to have repped against that in practice and it still worked.

I ain't asking you to throw the players under the bus and you're not, but slapping the opposing DCs on the back for wrecking our offense with the most basic of concepts is a really weak sauce.  If there's some larger problem you don't want to discuss for lack of trust in the media's ability to handle it responsibly, I get it, but it does irk me when I get bullshit shoveled into my ear.

Blue in PA

October 5th, 2017 at 8:11 AM ^

When Iron Mike was with the Saints and someone asked him if he was going to make some player changes for the next game he said, "If I had better players, don't  you think I'd already be playing them?". 




October 5th, 2017 at 9:23 AM ^

Intra-State Rivelry Football.  Our o-line isn't perfect, true. We have a lot of weapons that can mask a few warts and scars.

Would it be MGoSuicide to inquire what we feel the current record for 2017 will be?  I have added one to the regular season win column, but I still see a loss on our horizion (not this week). I am comforted, however, when I look at my HTTV depth chart on the Oline. Pretty much all sophmores and freshman. We are building something great.  

Side note: look at the end of the UM OSU game last year.  Urban is bent over and taking a huge sigh of relief.  He knows he dodged a 2016 bullet.  And he may Matrix style dodge a 2017 bullett.  But he knows a ten year route is coming his was, if he sticks around Columbus that is. The question is only when will the route start? 


Go Blue - 

Avon Barksdale

October 5th, 2017 at 6:12 PM ^

Has it occurred to anyone else how much of a mismatch fall camp must have been between our DLine and OLine? Gary, Hurst, Mone, Winovich, and Bush/McCray probably destroyed Cole-Bredesen-Kugler/Ruiz-Onwenu-Ulizio/Runyan every single day.