Question: Can you talk about the challenges of a night game and Penn State?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. For those of you who have not been there, it is a great atmosphere, the crowd is into it. The band plays the music. They pipe in music. The night game, they've had all day to tailgate, so their in pretty good spirits when the game's played. I've been up there a few times and it has always been an electric atmosphere and they got good players."
Question: You alternated two quarterbacks within the same game a year ago, is there any chance that we'll even see that at some point with the way Tate (Forcier) has been playing in reserve?
Coach Rodriguez: "Denard (Robinson) is our starter and there is no controversy or anything like that. He's our best quarterback right now. Tate's played pretty well at times and he's gotten a lot of reps because Denard has been banged up somewhat, but there is always something that happens in the game or whatever, we wouldn't hesitate at all to put Tate in there and move the ball around a little bit."
Question: Have you seen Denard force things at times maybe in games like Iowa and Michigan State were he may have made mistakes or got a little anxious?
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know if he forced things as maybe he pressed the issue too much. I probably talked to you all about that last week. Sometimes you want to make a play and you feel pressure to make a big play instead of just letting the game kind of come to you sort of speak and he was really good with that earlier in the yea. And the last couple of games, there were some moments he could have taken care of the ball better and all that but great players, sometimes you get away with those too. What he has to do is obviously with us moving the football, understand, hey we don't have to get it all in one shot. You really got to trust your eyes with everything. They make mistakes. He's just a second year player and he's going to make more mistakes going forward. He has just got to minimize the major mistakes if you know what I mean."
Question: The issue with Devin's (Gardner) back injury, is that something that could lead to a medical redshirt?
Coach Rodriguez: "I do not know. It kind of comes and goes with him. It was bothering him a couple of weeks ago. He's working pretty hard. I think he sees to that we have two guys that have a year ahead of him in the system and they've been playing pretty good football and he's going to continue to get better. He's got a great future, Devin does. As much as we can do…more than anything else, with guys in his position just learning what we're doing. There is so much to learn, in any offense, especially in ours with what we put on our quarterback's plate, so hopefully the last week and every week that we go on, he's picking up a little bit more."
Question: What games were you watching over the weekend?
Coach Rodriguez: "Usually the ones that get my most attention are the upcoming opponents. Somebody that was on our schedule that play, which there was a bunch of them that played and it seemed like they all played at the same time. I was using that remote quite a bit going back and forth. Usually if there is somebody that is a close colleague of mine that has a game on, I'll watch them a little bit, or somebody that has an offense or defense that I want to watch to kind of pick up an idea. It's really hard. Watching a game on TV, you can pick up a few things but it is not liking watching when we get the film. Where it is a different view and you rewind it and there is a tight copy and a wide copy of the game. You don't really get that…when they show a replay once in a while you can pick something up, but it is not nearly as effective as far as schemes or anything as it was when you got the film."
Question: Did you see Cam Newton and do you say maybe we can try some of what they run there?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, they (Auburn) run a unique offense. What they do their spread and ours, some of it is similar and some of it is different. That's a big guy running downhill and having pretty good success. I remember watching him when he was a younger guy at Florida, having him visit the Florida staff…that's when (Tim) Tebow was there and watching him as a young guy. Said this guy is pretty talented. They've done a great job with him. From that time I saw him at Florida to where he is at now, he's done a tremendous job and I think he is in a good system for him. I think that it is a lot of quarterback in particular, are they in the right system that features their abilities and talents and I think he is one that is."
Question: How likely is Mike Martin and Mike Shaw to play on Saturday?
Coach Rodriguez: "Mike and David Molk, they did a little bit last week but they should be good, talking to the trainers for today and Mike Shaw should be good as well."
Question: How is it special to playing against Joe Paterno?
Coach Rodriguez: "Joe and I aren't going against each other, I might be able to take him (laughter), if it is just me and him. There is no question, we have such respect, I do because of what he's done in the profession, who he is and what he has been all about. Not only for him but his staff. I think he has got a tremendous staff. Those guys do a great job and have always done a great job. Joe Paterno has brought and continues to bring Penn State football into the limelight and what he's done over the years has been remarkable and so has his staff. I have great respect for him but when we kick it off, it is our guys against their guys and we'll try as hard as we can to win the game."
Question: On the excitement level of the team coming off the bye week…
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know. Over the years, usually in my experience they are usually more excited about playing because it is just from one week off but it has been two weeks since then play and plus we're waiting around all day. I would think our guys would be excited to get back out there and play a game. It seems like it takes a long time. I would hope our guys are fresh and would be excited to play."
Question: If you could take two items, ball security and red zone efficiency back to where it was prior to the last two games, would you take your chances in both games?
Coach Rodriguez: "Sure. If we just take care of the ball in the last couple of games, even with some of our other issues I think we're right there at the end. There has been maybe the negative talk, which I understand because you don't win the game, but there has also been some positive things that we can build on. Our guys are the first ones to tell you after a loss, we take it pretty hard for 24 hours but after that we move on. You got to. You got to move on and say this is what we did poorly and this is what we got fix, but also did a couple of other things okay and we can build on that."
Question: What kid of problems does Penn State poise to Michigan?
Coach Rodriguez: "First thing, you're going to play them in a great atmosphere. They're going to be jacked up. It is going to be a Saturday night deal and anybody that has ever played there on a night game on a Saturday night will tell you the same thing. They've got really good players. They've had some inexperience and some injuries early in the season, but they've got really good players and they're going to play extremely hard. They're going to execute probably the best they have all year against us. So we had better be ready for that. What we have to do is make sure that we play well and we execute and we don't turn the ball over and we take care of it in the red zone and do the things that we did early in the season."
Question: How important is this game?
Coach Rodriguez: "They're all important. Ask any of our fans, ask our players, every game we play is critical. The first game of the year, UCONN, to now to every game we play the rest of the year, they're all important. I think every coach in America would say…they are not going to say this game is not as important. They all count as one. These league games are even more important. You ask our players and we put even more, I guess everybody puts more importance on a league game, which is okay. We're going to try as hard as we can every time we play and every time they keep score."
Question: With the struggles on defense and with Tate and Denard being so you, do you think they are putting more pressure on themselves to make big plays?
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know if they do it because of what's going on the other side of the ball. I think they do naturally because we've had some success offensively, it is like if they are not scoring or having production on every series, it is a disappointment and I think that is natural. I think it is natural if you've had some success and you kind of expect it to come every time. You want that to happen but those other guys have players too and you cannot press the issue. You've got to let the game come too you. Our offense, like any offense is predicated on what the defense is doing against and you got kind of the old, take what they give you. That's what you've really got to do in our scheme and they've done a really good job, but the times we haven't and pressed the issue, we've gotten in trouble. Sometimes, there was one interception that Denard had that really wasn't a bad decision, it was just a fraction left and a fraction behind the guy or if he had thrown it just a fraction earlier or a fraction in front of him, it would have been a touchdown, but instead it was an interception. The margin for error at this level is very, very small. We've got to make sure that our guys understand that."
Question: Do you have to work Denard on the mental aspect of dealing with playing injured?
Coach Rodriguez: "Not really. I think every guy approaches it a little bit differently. He's a very tough minded individual, a tough guy. If our guys are injured, they need to let us know and they will most of the time and the trainers will let us know. Some guys can tolerate more pain than others. I think Denard can tolerate a lot of pain. His issue in the last game wasn't his knee, it was more the shoulder and it just needed some rest. He needed some rest so we got that last weekend."
Full Transcript: Coach Rod
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