Sam Webb: I would like your take on the game. Obviously from a perspective as an analyst, but also as a guy that played in that game and been down there before, give me your breakdown, your analysis of the contest.
Jon Jansen: “First off, as an analyst, it is frustrating to see plays that Michigan had that were there that they could have made. They started off the game catching the punt and getting free 15 yards from the Spartans and then they lay the ball on the ground. It was a perfect opportunity. You could see they were setting up a strike to take at the end zone. That would have been a huge play and a great way to start off the game. Then there were just times during the game, you would watch Devion Smith, he would hit hole and it is there and closes and he is just a shoelace away from breaking a big play. Devin Funchess had the ball in his hands for some big plays three or four different times, once in the end zone and wasn’t able to come down with the ball. There were plays there to be had and it was very frustrating that they didn’t make those plays. As a guy that played in the game, as all the guys who watched the game, we just couldn’t be more frustrated with the fact that you build up such a history in the game and you build up such a lead and for what’s going on for the last seven or eight years to happen. It’s disheartening and beyond frustrating.”
Sam Webb: I think what you pointed out, there was a plan there that was pretty good. You said there were plays on the field, there absolutely where – 8 drops, three turnovers, all of which I would say were unforced for the most part. They were just turnovers that Michigan just made, they were in position to make plays defensively. That speaks to the plan itself being pretty good and yet Jon, they go out and so many guys don’t execute. What that says to me and you tell me if I’m wrong, it says to me that they weren’t ready. I’m drawing a line between readiness and preparedness. There is a focused part, a mental part of the game that they just didn’t execute those things.
Jon Jansen: “Yeah they didn’t. When you talk about, one of the questions that was asked during the game or after the game was, is there a discrepancy between talent. Is Michigan State that much better in terms of their talent and I’ve got to disagree. When you see guys make plays for Michigan, they can make plays. It’s the fact that they don’t go out there in a big game, in a rivalry game and they can’t win on the road against Michigan State or Ohio. Honestly, they can’t win at home against those two teams either. They’ve only had two wins in the last four years. When it comes down to being able to make the big play, when it counts, against App State, against any of these teams, Central Michigan last year, they can make the plays, but there is no pressure on them at that point. What I got to know is when is that pressure applied. When I was at Michigan Saturdays were the easy part. We lived for Saturday because Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. There was so much pressure on us to perform and to execute the game plan and to get it. On Saturday, it was a relief to be able to go out there and want to hit somebody else other than each other and then make plays and play in the Big House and play in front of fans. I just don’t see those guys making that transition from what they do during the week to Saturdays.”
Sam Webb: I need you to explain to me where the coaching piece of that part of being ready for the game. I’ve been saying, it’s one thing sure, players need to execute better. When their in position to make plays, they need to make plays, but as you just pointed out, in these big games, the pressure that mounts seems to be too much for them to bear. Ultimately, it always goes back to the top, when guys aren’t ready to deal with that kind of pressure, you always go back to coaching. How can a coach affect that? How can coach the readiness for that part of the game?
Jon Jansen: “Typically you come in on Monday and that’s going to be your film day and work out the kinks from the week before, make some corrections. Monday is off and Tuesday and Wednesdays are the days that you’re getting after it and you’re hitting. That’s where the pressure needs to be applied. There has to be so much pressure during practice that you have to execute, that you have to recover play to play because you’re moving on and the mistakes that are made are coached up right away but covered in a meeting. There has to be so much execution on Tuesday and Wednesday that when you get to Saturday you’re looking at your teammates going, this is the easy part. I’m going to go out in front of 110,000 people and millions more on TV and the pressure that I’m facing on Saturday is nothing compared to the pressure or what I feel like on Tuesday and Thursday if I miss a play in practice I let my teammates down. If I miss a play, I’m disappointing my coach, I’m doing this. That’s when the pressure has to be applied and that’s where you can affect change as a coach and say this is what I’m demanding and this is what has to be done, no matter what.”
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