Rodriguez Reflects on "Team Win"

Rich Rodriguez shares his thoughts on Michigan's 27-16 road victory over Purdue. Michigan's headman discusses the play of Denard Robinson, why he rotated quarterbacks during the game, the play of his defense, injuries, and more.

Question:  On the victory…

Coach Rodriguez:  "We had a whole bunch of errors offensively, poor play, penalties, turnovers but if you look at the end result, which is a win on the road and how many guys defensively were actually playing for the first time with Jonas Mouton out and Mike Martin out, let alone our secondary guys, really proud.  It was a team win.  Guys hung in there and the offense at least came together at the end when we had to seal the game."

Question:  How disruptive was Ryan Kerrigan to what you guys were trying to do?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think the whole defense was obstructive.  They did a great job.  The weather conditions I think made it difficult for both teams to hold onto the ball.  Our guys looked like they were grasping their hands the whole time.  We hadn't had a game like this all year where it was wet, with wet balls and we had a lot to learn from it.  They got some good players.  Kerrigan is a great player and we had a hard time with him."

Question:  Can you talk about the decision to bench Denard (Robinson) and play Tate (Forcier)?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think you all a little harsh when you say benched.  If you run a running back in and out or a receiver or a lineman or linebacker, you just say oh, you're giving him a break.  If you take the quarterback in and out, you say you are benching him, we're just giving him a break.  Let him kind of see what's going on out there and put him back in there.  When you bench a guy that means you bench him and don't put him back in.   For us, if you rotate quarterbacks just as Purdue did today, you're just giving a guy a chance to catch his breath a little, see what's happening and go back in there.  Those guys, that's the way we do it in practice, so it's nothing new for them."

Question:  You went series to series, was that plan to go series to series or was it every series you chose?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No it was just by feel towards the end.  Denard, when we want to run the ball, and he still was running pretty sharp.  We'll watch the film and see if there are any reads with that, but the ball whether it was slick or he wasn't sharp as far as his execution is concerned, we know that we can play better.  They still competed.  Tate completed, Denard completed and our O-line competed, but you got to give them some credit."

Question:  First defensive touchdown for the defense all year.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yep first one all year and you talk about a lift.  Of course, we gave one back up and it was a huge lift and I think it gave our defense a lot of confidence.  I think they played the whole game with a lot of confidence because of that."

Question:  Given Seth Broekhuizen's struggles well Brendan (Gibbons) be given another opportunity in a game?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Probably.  Seth…again, it was a disappointing day from that standpoint because he has been kicking great in practice.  We've struggled all year, but he is clearly the best one in practice so you got to go with that, but we'll see what happens this week in practice."

Question:  Talking about Denard's decisions, just some things that he has not done all year, were you able to talk about it and get a feel for what he is seeing or anything?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah we'll sit and talk to him about it and Coach Smith will watch the film with him.  Again, we've probably gotten spoiled, because this is his first year as a starter and he has been so sharp and I don't know whether it was conditions or what have you but he was not his normal self I guess today.  He still competed and he'll get better from this."

Question:  Martin's ankle was worse than you thought?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah it has been bothering him.  It has been a chronic thing.  To be able to get through this game without him and Jonas both, I'm hoping they'll be back next week, we'll see."

Question:  How much was the defense's performance good defense or Purdue kind of made mistakes on offense?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm going to say it is all good defense.  Yeah they made a few mistakes, but when you play in these kinds of conditions, it cannot be understated, it is hard for both quarterbacks, skilled players, you saw a lot of dropped passes.  It is hard to catch a wet ball.  It is hard to throw a wet ball.  It's hard to execute when the weather is like that on both sides.  So that is not surprising, but I think our defense tackled well.  I think that is one thing you worry about when you're in the open field, the guy slipping, there wasn't a lot of miss tackles today and that's a good thing."

Question:  There was big thing made about (Roy) Roundtree and Purdue; how big of a get was you now, three years later. 

Coach Rodriguez:  "I find it comedy whenever anybody talks about recruiting and guys changing their mind.  I mean it happens all of the time.  It has happened to me.  It'll happen to me next year, the year after that, it'll happen to everybody.  When the recruits visit and if they are committed to your school and they visit other players then they are not truly committed, they're just interested.  I'm glad when Roy Roundtree is on the team.  I'm glad he is part of the program and Purdue has got some outstanding players as well.  I'm glad he is with us."

Question:  With Craig Roh on the line, he has done some good things.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah the move of him to D-end is a move we probably should have made earlier.  There is no question that he is more comfortable there.  He's at 250 pounds.  He'll be 265 in a year and he'll be an outstanding defensive end for us going forward."

Question:  Is rotating the quarterbacks like you did today, is that something that you are going to look at during the week…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Denard is the starter.  He'll be starting next game."

Question:  You always talk about coaching off a win, is the kind you put in the win column and get out of here?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  There is no bad win.  There are bad losses.  There are no good losses.  It's a win on the road, in tough conditions and we didn't play our best.  Our defense played better than they had been in a while and our guys hung in there and won the game."

Question:  Did they do something, Rob Henry, that you weren't expecting or did they kind of expecting that?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No I thought when he was in there…he threw a little bit, which I think he is getting better, his finger, but we figured that when he was in there, they were going to run some zone reads, some option things and some things with him on perimeter and they rotated those quarterbacks in there and did a nice job.  I think they had a plan to do it with (Justin) Siller as well, and he got hurt on the first play.  They had a nice plan, did a nice job, but again it is some of the same things that our guys see quite a bit going against our own offense, but they executed and got some plays.  Our third down defense was the best it has been all year."

Question:  Remember how successful Siller was two years ago against you guys, did you prepare for him at all and did you think that might be an option for them?

Coach Rodriguez:  "A little bit sure.  We weren't sure whether he was going to play or not, because he hadn't been for I think a month.  We prepared and I think they were probably going to do the same things that they were doing with Henry, as with Siller, so we kind of prepared for that."

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