Sam Webb: Let’s dive right in and talk about some of the guys that will be in your stead. First, Alex Malzone, a kid that was committed already and decided to stay in the fold, give me your breakdown of him and what he brings to the table.
Jedd Fisch: “Yeah really excited about the two quarterbacks that are in this class. Obviously with Alex, he got here before I was here and was able to watch a lot of film on him and the #1 thing that you see with him is that he is a winner. I think his record is 33-1 as a starter in high school. I love his presence, I love the way he handles himself any time I’ve gotten to see him speak to him in the cafeteria or walking down the hallways. He’s been a really great addition to our program. Obviously, his film speaks for itself. He continues to find ways to complete the ball to a guy named Grant Perry, which is pretty cool.”
Sam Webb: I think that describes him extremely well. He’s quite the winner… and listening to Coach Harbaugh’s description of quarterbacks, he’s a guy who has shown in his career is that he could extend plays a little bit as well.
Jedd Fisch: “Yeah he makes some plays now and he is able to make some plays out of the pocket, which is so critical and especially the way pro football and college football are going. You need to be able to make plays out of the pocket and need to be able to extend plays and make some plays with his feet and he has shown to be able to do that.”
Sam Webb: Then you guys very quickly identified the needs of a second quarterback in the class, kind of fortify the ranks a bit. You come across a guy who is 6-6 and Coach Harbaugh said he runs a 4.5 in the forty. I talked to the kid and he said he can throw the ball 75 yards in the air. I don’t know what you said to the football gods, but they were smiling at you.
Jedd Fisch: “Yeah that’s a big one for us. It was a big get for us and both he and Alex, we’re really excited about both of them and wanted to make sure that we had four scholarship players or so and with Shane (Morris) and Wilton (Speight) and then those two guys. So we’re excited about that, excited about what Zach can bring to us. We identified him in the process early. It was a Sunday afternoon, we called him. He said that he just decommitted about 20 minutes before that from Texas and we were thrilled that we were able to get on a plane. We got on a plane the next morning and flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent the day with him on our first official home visit and then had him fly up here for an official the next week. We’re thrilled to have Zach in our class.”
Sam Webb: You mentioned four scholarship quarterbacks, is that kind of the threshold for you guys or as I was talking to Coach Harbaugh earlier, is it going to be a typical thing for you guys to pursue and land two quarterbacks in every class or is that just to meet a certain number?
Jedd Fisch: “I think for us right now, we’d probably like to play in that range of five scholarship quarterbacks. You’d like to get to that number, so however you can get there. We’ll figure it out from there, whether it is four, five or six. We’re both from the school of you can never have too many quarterbacks and competition is fantastic and see how can step up there game. We don’t have a lot of experience at the quarterback position, so it is going to be quite a battle to see these guys all compete for the starting job when they’ve only had two starts combined for the four of them.”
Sam Webb: Let’s switch over to the other position group, your receivers. You’ve got a couple of instate guys. Let’s start with Brian Cole. He is an early enrollee, a kid that I know very, very well. He played some tailback in high school and brings a lot of that skillset to the receiver position.
Jedd Fisch: “Yeah I love his athleticism from on film. I think he’s got a special skillset. He can make plays with the ball in his hands. He’s a physical runner. Obviously, there are times he does look like a running back with the ball. He certainly is faster than most and is pretty elusive and has some quickness about him. You also see the fact that he can run some guys over and can stick his foot in the ground and make a move late, as well as early. We’re excited about him, excited about where he’s at and really thrilled that he came in early so we’ll have him for spring ball.”
Sam Webb: Grant Perry is just a kid that I really appreciate. I remember last summer him saying, ‘I’m putting all my eggs in one basket and I hope it works out.’ He was talking about Michigan, and it’s great to see that it worked out for that kid. Coach, I hear a lot of descriptions are kind of similar to the ones that I hear on Alex. He’s not big enough, not fast enough, jump high enough, but all I see do is go out and make big play after big play.
Jedd Fisch: “I think that’s what it comes down to. I don’t think people realize production is most important. When it is all said and done, no one really cares about how fast you ran the forty, no one really cares about how you jump if you’re producing. The guy had 100 catches in high school in one year. He had unbelievable production. He was able to win a ton of football games. He’s a winner and he knows how to win. He knows how to bring winning into the locker room and that alone is invaluable. Then on top of it, you look at his consistency catching the football, consistency running his routes. Really excited that he decided to join us.”
Sam Webb: Can you give the fans an idea of how it breaks down when you have a pass game coordinator, an offensive coordinator, a run game coordinator, how does that work from a schematic standpoint and how does it work from a play call standpoint as well.
Jedd Fisch: “I think it kind of is similar to what it sounds like in terms of Coach Drevno will address the offense and put the running game in and I’ll address the offense when it comes to the passing game and put the passing game in. It’s kind of going to work very similar to anywhere I’ve ever been, where you have somebody that is putting in the running game and putting in the passing game. Sometimes you just flip who’s doing what, who has what title, but I think that I think you’ll see here…everywhere Coach Harbaugh has been, they’ve worked extremely well together and collectively. Whether it be with Pep Hamilton, who is now the coordinator with the Colts and Greg Roman. Whether it be with David Shaw and Greg Roman, whether it be with Coach Drevno and Johnnie Morton; however it might have been. There has always been guys who have worked together in that capacity. I’m really excited about working with Coach Drevno and putting this passing game in and obviously with Coach Harbaugh.”
Sam Webb: Tell us how it was working with Denard Robinson in Jacksonville?
Jedd Fisch: “Denard was great. I had two Michigan guys. I had Chad Henne and Denard, so fantastic deal there. Loved coaching Denard, really thought that he made huge strides this year. Put him at running back, committed to him being running back for us and had an incredible production. I think he led the NFL in week 10 or 11 as a runner over a five week span. Really excited about where he was at and took care of the football well. He had a couple of 100 yards games in a row. Unfortunately, he got injured week 11 or 12, but really saw tremendous strides and I think he is just going to get better and better.”