Taylor, this week you were very tough on the offensive line, what's your assessment now? You only got seven yards from the running back position today.
LEWAN: I mean, I think that explains it. Seven yards from the running back is awful. What Denard did was good, and there's always room for improvement, especially on the offensive line. We have to do a better job of re-establishing the line of scrimmage, and it's going to be tough for this team to be successful if we can't do that.
What accounts for that discrepancy between Denard and the lack of success from the running back spot?
LEWAN: Everybody has their day here and there. Denard had a day today and that's great, and we were able to make holes for him, and that's good. There were a couple of tough situations. I know there was a shark look on a 35, where we ran one of our ISO plays to the left, and we had nobody to account for that other guy. And there were a couple times where the running back kind of got put into a bad situation. The running back will have more opportunities, and I think if we keep progressing as a team and as an offensive line, we should be successful.
Taylor, kind of following up, two games in, what concerns do you have, that you haven't been able to do?
LEWAN: We have to do a better of job of re-establishing the line of scrimmage. I've said that several times and I'm going to keep saying it. That's what Michigan football is. That's what we have to do. It's disappointing, like I've said, when you have seven yards for a running back. You've got those guys, those Michigan men, those offensive linemen that are watching from wherever they're at, watching each game and watching us; and I think we need to do a better job of that, and that's the biggest thing.
Jordan, can you talk about the choice of Jake Ryan for #47?
KOVACS: Yeah, obviously, he's a great ball player. He had a pretty big game today, so I told him I want to wear it next week. Maybe that's his secret—but he's a great ball player, made some big plays for us today and he does it every week. Great choice.
Jordan, can you talk about, obviously, coming off the Alabama game, just the cram session you had to get prepared for these guys and did it take a full quarter and even longer than that to get a feel for what they were trying to do to you guys?
KOVACS: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. It's a very tough turnaround coming off that loss and then you know you have to cram for this offense that you've never seen before, haven't seen it since high school; and we put in a completely new defense. Everyone's playing new positions really. It's a tough situation. We knew they were going to score some points. I think we can measure our discipline in this game. We weren't always the most disciplined, but at the end of the day, we're probably not going to run into that defense again and that's okay with me, ‘cause that's a tough offense, with very disciplined guys. And we're happy with the win.
Jordan, your thoughts on the freshmen linebackers being in there at the end at such a key moment and the way they've played this fall and in camp.
KOVACS: Yeah, I think that shows the amount of trust that Coach Mattison has with guys like Biggs and Joe Bolden, those guys have really earned their stripes and they deserve that time in crunch time.
Jordan, it's probably fair to say the defense hasn't performed the first few games as well as you probably would have liked. How concerned are you about where it's at right now, and are you confident that everything's going to be working soon?
KOVACS: We know we didn't play well enough the first game. We didn't play Michigan football at all. I think today is a little different measuring stick. Obviously, we gave up some points. We didn't get ourselves off the field when we needed to, but at the end of the day, we're not going to see an offense like this again. We would have liked to have competed a little better; and like I said, the third and fourth downs, I think that's our biggest concern. We've got to get ourselves off the field at those opportunities, and we did it just enough today, but we have to do it much more often in the future.
How do you get better at that? Is it a mental thing…?
KOVACS: I think you have to turn it up a notch when it's third and fourth down. Somebody's got to step up and make a play, you've got to execute, you've got to really hone in and understand the circumstance. I think the most important thing is, you have to understand the distance. You have to know where the sticks are, and where they're trying to get to.
How much can you ascribe the problems you guys had defensively to their offense, an offense you won't see again and haven't seen in a while. And how much can you ascribe to your problems to assignments, and missed tackles, and that kind of thing?
KOVACS: I think we had some missed tackles. You know, don't get me wrong, I think we could have played much better defensively. I think we could have been more fundamentally sound. But it was a game where we really had to feel the offense out. They had a very good offense, a very disciplined offense, like I said. And we made our adjustments, and at the end of the day, we made enough plays – toward the end of the game we changed our defense up completely, and scrapped one defense, put in a new defense, and tried giving them different looks—because we weren't doing that at the beginning of the game, and obviously, they took advantage of it.
In the second half, the defense in front of you had a bunch of freshman linebackers – a bunch of inexperienced guys on the line. How much does that change what you're able to do from your spot, because you have a bunch of guys that don't have the experience you do?
KOVACS: It doesn't change it at all. I mean, those guys are in there for a reason. The coaches think that they can contribute, and can play as well as the guys that are in front of them, so I think that the good players don't let it affect them. I understand my job, and the rest of the guys on the team understand their responsibilities, and I think that if we're the cohesive unit we want to be, we'll be alright.
You touched on it with the number of freshman linebackers, but for both you guys, the number of freshman, and the number of new guys that aren't freshmen that are playing in this lineup on both sides of the ball… talk about the potential for growth on this team as those guys get adjusted over the next few weeks.
KOVACS: I expect us to make huge strides, and think that's one of the things Coach Hoke emphasize—is to get better each game. Do I think we played our best ball today? No, not at all. But did we play better than week one? Probably, you know? And a lot of that goes to some of those younger guys who are playing, and even the older guys like myself. I'm going to make sure I make strides each week, and I think that if we all do that, that we're going to be alright.
Postgame Full Transcript: Lewan and Kovacs
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