Full Transcript: Coach Rod

Coach Rod on what went well, what went poorly ... and on going into the UMass lockerroom.

Coach Rodriguez: "Well, I certainly was not pleased with the way we played. Happy with a win, any coach will tell you that, but defensively did not play well, especially team was awful, offense did some good things, but we weren't as crisp and sharp as we needed at times. This is probably as quiet a winning locker room as you'll ever see because our guys know. They are very conscientious. The thing that was strange is that we had great focus during the week. I think as good as focus as we had last week, but for whatever reason did not play well certainly defensively. It was not very good at all that's obvious. Then the special teams are killing us. We've got a lot of work to do."

Question: What can you do on special teams like in your return game? Have you tried every personnel and different blocking maybe?

Coach Rodriguez: "The return game, I'll have to watch them. There were a couple of times that I thought Daryl (Stonum) was pretty close to hitting one. Our kickoffs aren't good and our covering kicks I'll have to see where the breakdown is there. We missed the one field goal that we tried and the disappointing part is that they do a great job in practice and make them but it is different when you get on the field. The punt, Will (Hagerup) just dropped the snap. He is a young guy. We feel confident that he'll be okay, but he only had to punt twice and the second time obviously was a huge mistake, but we'll learn from that and move on, we have to. We got a lot of work to do. One thing I can promise you that our guys will look at the film, coaches will look at the film and we'll break down every bit of it. I'll watch every piece on every phase, offense, defense and special teams and we'll try to fix what we can fix."

Question: You switched kickers on kickoff.

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. I thought Seth Broekhuizen. He got it down to the five a couple of times with better hang time. Brendan (Gibbons) has not been kicking well off the tee."

Question: Placekicking is that something that you'll introduce another person into the equation too or do you stick with those two guys?

Coach Rodriguez: "We had student body tryout. We had a few of them show up. Anybody, any student out there that is enrolled the University of Michigan and in good academic standing and a good guy and can kick field goals and kick the ball in the end zone, we'll have another tryout for you if you're listening (laughter)."

Question: Were you surprised only a week after the defense made such an impact at Notre Dame that there would be this much of a falloff?

Coach Rodriguez: "There was a different scheme that we were going against and there were mistakes we made. I'll have to watch the film to see where the breakdowns were defensively as compared to where the breakdowns were last week. We missed some tackles that was obvious. The thing that upset me the most was losing contain and always losing contain to our left and there right because they had a right-handed quarterback. We knew that going in and I screamed it about 100 times. We told them that they were going to break contain on their boots to his right because he is right-handed quarterback and we still lost contain five or six times at least in the second half. Those are the things that I've got to get with, with the coaches and we've got to do our job as coaches to make sure that we are in a position to make players and then if we can't move them, then we got to look at somebody else and see if he can make them."

Question: Was there anything they did that surprised you offensively?

Coach Rodriguez: "No actually, defensively, we thought they would pressure us a little bit, force us to throw some early, take Denard's (Robinson) running out of the game and see if one of those other guys could get loose or hit some passes. Defensively, I'll have to talk to the defense coaches and see if all those bootlegs and quarterback rolls were something surprise. I know they did a little more inside run out of the shotgun than probably they had seen. They are pretty good up front and we knew that going in. Until I watch the film from my perspective I couldn't tell you were all the breakdowns were, but we had several, I know that."

Question: What can you do defensively? Is it personnel or was they lined up and blocked you guys?

Coach Rodriguez: "They did a little bit. Again, let me get with the staff first and see where the breakdowns were. I can call the Big Ten officials and see if they'll let us play with 12. I don't think that is going to happen. Sometimes we had the ability to make a play and we didn't out there. Again, from my vantage point, I have to wait and talk to the coaches and watch the film first."

Question: How would you assess Denard's play?

Coach Rodriguez: "I thought he was okay, but he wasn't as sharp as he was the first couple of weeks. He bobbled a couple of snaps for the first time. It was almost…strange, it was almost more like a first game feel. We had some things that you would expect in a first game, not a third game, so that was the disappointing part. Our execution wasn't clean like it had been, but at the same time, Denard made some great throws. He made a few good runs. We didn't run him as much, we didn't want to. Mike Shaw had a couple of really big runs that helped. I thought up front we were pretty solid. I think we would have had a better impact up front had we had more plays offensively. Had a chance to maybe get them a little tired, but we only had 56 snaps in the whole game offensively. So we never really had a chance to establish any pace or tempo."

Question: In an ideal world, I guess you weren't maybe playing Denard the whole game, was that ever come into discussion?

Coach Rodriguez: "If we would have played better we could have played more guys. It didn't happen so we got to play who we got to win the game."

Question: How important is it for Denard and the offense to have those guys with Mike and Daryl stepping up making big plays for the offense?

Coach Rodriguez: "They've had the ability always, just offensively we got to take what they give us. I thought Daryl had a couple of big plays obviously in the pass game, the big screen before half and Mike Shaw is a talented guy and in the first couple of games, they were concentrating and plugging the holes and giving Denard a little bit of room to run. I would have liked to play more guys. When you play 56 snaps, I'm not worried about my starters being tired because they only played 56 snaps."

Question: What was it on UMASS defense that you were able to exploit especially on those big plays?

Coach Rodriguez: "They play a lot of what we call cover 0. They brought the backers in, they brought the safeties down low and there is a lot of one on one opportunities. I'll have to watch the film and we'll probably look at it and said, geez, we should have maybe thrown it more, take some more deep shots with our wide receivers, because we got some talent out there, some skill. Part of our thinking too, at least mine was, we need to run some plays and get some runs and give our defense a break because defensively we were not on at all. So part of our philosophy is even they are bringing them all down and forcing us to throw and we got to try and control the game a little bit from an offensive standpoint."

Question: Did they start focusing more on Denard?

Coach Rodriguez: "It changed a little bit in the second half some of the things they were doing defensively, which is normal. It changed last week in the second half some. He was pretty sharp with his eyes and his decisions. There are probably a few that he would like to have back. Decision wise, he was okay. It was just his ball-handling wasn't as sharp as it needs to be."

Question: You said you have to look at the film as coaches and stuff, but after a game like today are you a little bit shaken as to how good this defense is or isn't?

Coach Rodriguez: "I've said over the year, we had…even after the last two games, we have some warts that are still out there. Let us not pretend that we're the 1985 Chicago Bears….is that the right year? (Laughter) I'm dating myself there. Let us not pretend we're that. We have to play with great passion, great intensity and great intelligence in all three phases but especially defensively. You've got a lot of guys that are playing for the first time and all that, but three games in we should get a little bit better and the disappointing part is that we didn't get better today. But the encouraging part is, I don't have to tell those guys that, they know too. Our defensive guys, they'll get back to work this week and the defensive staff will come together with a plan and move forward to the next one."

Question: We saw (Greg) Banks leave. Anyone else injured?

Coach Rodriguez: "I don't think so. I don't think Banks was anything seriously. I don't think we lost anybody so that was the good thing about today's game."

Question: Your thoughts on (Jordan) Kovacs stripping the ball out when you needed a play.

Coach Rodriguez: "Well at the end of the half, I was taking a timeout just to give us a minute or so to try and get a score. We scored quickly which is good and then we got the turnover there and we get two quick scores. I thought that was huge and then we got the ball to begin the second half and scored and had some momentum. At that point, you're thinking boy, we get a stop three and out, get another score and put this thing away and it didn't happen. That was the encouraging part, you got somebody on the ropes a little bit…you go to give them credit. UMASS, their coaches, I went in the locker room and told them that they came to play and they came to coach and they did a terrific job. You got to give them a little bit of credit to. So it was not all our doing but it was our doing too. They got some guys that looked pretty good and played pretty good. I'm not going to sit here. I'll have a smile on my face. I'll go home and hug the wife and kids and watch somebody else have misery tonight (laughter). Tomorrow, we'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning just cranking this up and see what we got to fix."

Question: Just to clarify, you went into the UMASS locker room?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. I don't do that very often. I have great respect for that team to come in here and play as hard as they did and execute the way they did. They had a game plan, they followed it and they did a terrific job. Let us not make too big of a deal out of that. Those guys played their tails off and I think they'll win a lot of games."

Question: Decision to put Taylor Lewan into the lineup?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah and we should have played Ricky Barnum too some. Again, we should have played more guys. After watching the film, we'll see a few more that want to get on the field."

Question: Talk about the play of Mike Shaw.

Coach Rodriguez: "Mike's a talented guy. He had a great camp. He runs hard. He has got good speed. I thought he used his vision well today. He has got the ability. He's probably the biggest homerun hitter we got from the tailback position, he's pretty fast."

Question: Does that kind of play shoveling off to other players give you a little relief that Denard doesn't have to put everything on his shoulders?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. Our offense is quarterback centered anyways. I've said this a bunch of times. It all resolves around him and some of the decisions he makes in the run game, he has to run it. If he doesn't then it goes against what the offense has. He has a special ability to break some things. We didn't want to run him much today. He didn't, I guess he ran 17 times. That was more than we had anticipated, but there were more runs designed to the running back to try and give him some relief. We got to do what we got to do to win. He's a tough guy."

Question: There defense was switching back and forth between 3-4, 4-3 early on, was that giving Denard any fits of anything?

Coach Rodriguez: "No we saw the same thing last week from odd to even fronts. Nobody in football nowadays on this level stays at one front. Those days are gone by, so they have switched from odd to even just about every other snap and that is just kind of par for the course, our guys have seen that."

Question: Why do you think the defense looked that bad today?

Coach Rodriguez: "Again, until I watch the film, I couldn't tell you all the particulars. Some of it was lack of execution. Some of it I see it is as missed tackles. I can look and see where the fundamentals broke down. Losing contain a couple of times, we had guys there and they lost contain. I don't know if that was fundamental or scheme what have you. There were a lot of things that we got to clean up and everybody knows that. We won and we'll move on."

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