Indiana Postgame: Rich Rodriguez

Michigan's headman reacts to his squad's 42-35 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers. Rodriguez discusses Denard Robinson's showing, the performance of his defense, and much much more.

Rich Rodriguez:  "The stats are interesting, huh? 35 first downs to 15... 98 plays to 45.  I don't like seeing that, but the most important one is the win.  We'll take that.  Any Big Ten road win is a good win and we certainly know that we got to play a lot better, but the guys kept their poise and made a play when we had to at the end."

Question:  What don't you like most about those stats?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Obviously, the first downs we had given up and the number of plays that they ran compared to the number of plays we ran are the biggest things.  They controlled the game with their offense, which is something that worried us coming in.  Now, we had a couple of really quick scoring drives offensively, so that leads to that stat being a little bit skewed.  We had a lot of looking out there defensively at times and there was I think three, four... maybe even five true freshman.  So they are growing up in a hurry and learning a lot of lessons and we know that we got to get better going forward.  Coach Lynch and his staff do a great job.  They've got some outstanding skill players, made some big plays and like I said, we made one at the end to win it."

Question:  What did you tell Denard (Robinson) going into the last drive?

Rich Rodriguez:  "We had a couple of time outs and decent enough field position that we could run.  Denard is so explosive that he can turn a short run into a big play in a hurry.  The last pass that we had hit, we actually wish we would have called it earlier in the game a couple of times.  We thought we would hit it.  Junior (Hemingway) made a nice play on the ball.  Going back, Denard looked like he had pretty good numbers again, but that will be one of these things were you'll watch the field and like golly, we had two or three other touchdowns we left on the field.  He's pretty calm.  All our guys were out there on the last drive."

Question:  What was different in those few opportunities that you had to go up by two touchdowns in the second half?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Didn't execute and they did a good job defensively.  I think just about every time we were short a yard getting a first down.  We simply did not execute.  That was the thing that was disappointing for us is that there were two or three opportunities as you mentioned to go up by two scores and I still wouldn't have felt comfortable then, but a lot more comfortable than I was at seven."

Question:  Would you have been okay going for the field goal at the end had you?  You guys were running the ball somewhat conservative there.  Where you going to be okay?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Yeah, we're real conservative.  The runs with Denard...we don't consider any run with Denard being conservative because he is so fast.  Actually after Junior caught the ball, we were running the ball with Denard, if you noticed it was kind of toward the center of the field and we had a timeout left.  So if he did not score, we felt it was going to be like an extra point for our field goal kicker and we'd have been okay.  Denard again being Denard saw a little crease and scored."

Question:  They converted a lot of third and fourth downs.

Rich Rodriguez:  "Yeah way too many."

Question:  How much does that concern you and how much was that their offense versus your defense?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Their execution... they've got a fifth year senior quarterback and some veteran wide outs that did a nice job, made some great catches and some of it was probably, after watching the film, a few mistakes.  I knew a few times it was a true freshman kind of getting worked on a little bit, but again I'll have to watch the film.  From my vantage point, other than a few times that they went after the rookies, I would have to watch the film and see what happened."

Question:  The fumble at the goal line, talk about that.

Rich Rodriguez:  "Oh yeah.  We had really been doing a good job all year of taking care of the ball.  That was probably, we probably dwelled on that too much, getting mad, because it is just something that will kill you in the course of a ball game.  I don't know what happened with the exchange, but that is something that we should never do."

Question:  Knowing that was the only snap that he took under center, do you do that the same way?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Oh yeah.  We've taken a bunch of snaps under center before.  We are a shotgun based offense, but being under center, during practice and such, we work on that.  That is something that is elementary that you should be able to handle."

Question:  Did you sense that Denard was being tentative at all on the knee when he came back into the game?

Rich Rodriguez:  "No and it was a bruise.  What happened was that every time he would land on it, it would aggravate it a little bit.  Again, he is a tough guy, again, I'll have to look at the film and see if made any misreads on his runs, but he was still going pretty fast.  He looked like he was pretty fast on that last touchdown.  It was just a thing where he's going to have to rest it again.  We'll rest it up for a few days and he will be ready to go next week."

Question:  Vincent Smith played almost the whole game, how would you assess that?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Yeah, I thought he did okay.  I was hoping he wouldn't get caught, and he did, but he shook off the tackle.  Again, we've got to address that situation.  Mike Shaw hopefully will be back; and we were just in such a tight ballgame, it is harder to put the younger guys in there. But we've got to force ourselves to play some of those younger backs because we have some talent there and I think they can give us a boost."

Question:  Good to have Junior Hemingway back and hit on a couple of plays?

Rich Rodriguez:  "Yeah Junior has got great ball skills.  He might have the best ball skills on the team and he's a big guy.  He gets teased a lot by looking like a tight end, but he pulled away a little bit on that one long pass.  Again, he has a great feel for the game.  I thought our wideouts did a great job of catching the ball today."

Question: Will Hagerup punted pretty well.

Rich Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  I thought he was more nervous. It wasn't going against his brother, but I'm sure there was going to be comparisons there.  He had as big as a smile as anybody in the locker room because he did a nice job today."

Question:  Can you assess the Indiana's defenses performance today?

Rich Rodriguez:  "I thought they played hard.  They brought some pressure, which we thought they would, and they brought the safeties down low.  Again, I think we missed a few opportunities to go deep and execute some deep passes, but yeah I thought for the most part they did a pretty good job tackling Denard.  He made some nice runs, but they did a nice job of getting him on the ground too."

Question:  It felt like for the most part the Ben Chappell had a lot of time to throw today.  Did you blitz often or did you mostly drop into coverage and how would you go about that?

Rich Rodriguez:  "There were times we had three man rush, but sometimes when we blitzed...we blitzed as well, we mixed it up a little bit.  I'll have to watch the film with the defensive coaches.  You kind of pick your poison sometimes, because if you blitzing and leaving those rookies out there one on one, it makes you a little nervous, but sometimes they are out there a long time if you only rush three as well.  I noticed we moved Mike Martin around a little bit.  We put him at defensive end and I think he got one or two sacks.  He got some pressures too, but they did a good job blocking us."

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