Check back later for full presser comments:
On how he feels with two losses at this point in the season:
It’s frustrating and confusing. The effort is there and we’re playing well, but we’re still falling short.
On 4th down penalty at the end of the game:
Some of the guys didn’t know the play. I told Chris what he was supposed to do and I was trying to communicate the protections, but I looked out and some of the receivers didn’t know the play. I took the penalty because I thought it was more important that everyone knew what they were supposed to be doing
On the loss:
It was a tough loss, especially when you get up on a team and have done pretty well against them. I thought that we were able to stop the run early. It was really a tough game in that respect because you felt like you had control of the game and then lost it.
On if it’s frustrating to be put in bad field position situations because of special teams and turnovers:
You have to be fired up as a defense when you get a sudden change opportunity and they have the ball with less than 50 yards to go. But it is tough because every time, your back is against the wall. Usually if a team gets a first down, it’s ok and you can regroup. But if you give up first down this time they’re in scoring position or they get a touchdown. So it is tough as a defense, but we practice that situation all of the time and championship teams have to thrive on situations like that.
On having two losses at this point in this season:
We’ve got too much talent to be 4-2. I think we’re angry about it and I think there are a lot of seniors and character guys that want to do something about it.
On if he’s satisfied with the defense being ranked third in the nation in total defense:
It’s good to be ranked third in the nation but we need to make more plays. We aren’t causing enough turnovers. We’re never satisfied, especially when we have two losses.
On having two losses at this point in this season:
We’re very disappointed in our record right now. Going into the season we never thought we would be 4-2 at this point in the season. But now all we can do is move on. We can’t afford any more losses. We have a lot to play for and we can still have a good season.
After reviewing the film, I think defensively we played extremely well given the field position that our defense was put in because of kicking game returns, the blocked punt, and the interception. I thought our defense fought hard twice on very poor field position situations. They held Iowa to field goals. I thought Marlin Jackson had an outstanding game. Markus Curry played extremely well. Our linebackers…Carl Diggs, Scott McClintok, and Lawrence Reid all played very well.
Offensively I thought we played as well in the first half as you can expect to play against an outstanding defense. We struggled, obviously, in the second half. We didn’t run the football very effectively. I thought Navarre had an excellent game. He made some big plays. He had four passes dropped in there that could have made a substantial difference. Braylon Edwards had his best game of the season and Jason Avant came up with some big plays. The decision to change our punt formation was one that I made because of some injuries. We had four people missing from our normal punt coverage team. The college rules, unlike the NFL, allow people who are in the offensive line to release immediately to cover punts. We were very concerned about the Iowa return game and we felt that by putting more speed on our punt team that we would be able to get better coverage and better field position for our defense. Garrett Rivas had an outstanding game. Twice out of punt formation he had punts that were not returned. He was an outstanding punter in high school and a good soccer player. It worked very well twice, but on the third one we had a missed assignment. That missed assignment is the result of making a change and not having the proper amount of time to give all of our guys enough repetitions. That certainly was a result of my decision to change our punt formation team.
Minnesota is an outstanding football team and a team that has great momentum. Of course we’re playing for the little brown jug, the oldest trophy in college football. Khaliq is leading the Big Ten in pass efficiency. Minnesota’s third down conversion rate of 59.8 is maybe the highest in college football history. Certainly if we don’t do better than that, we’re going to have a very very hard time winning. We have to do some things offensively. We have to run the football better and we certainly have some things in the kicking game that we have to address.
On Michigan’s kickoff coverage:
Part of it was very good execution and part of it was we had a couple of guys out of position.
On whether he will continue using the punt formation:
I’m not going to comment on that right now.
On if they got away from the run in the 2nd half:
I think that in the second half we did get away from the run. I think that more than anything else, we had some penalties that forced us into long yardage situations. We had a sack that stopped a drive. And then we got into the fourth quarter…so yeah we did get away from it. I think we did run the ball very effectively. I don’t think that anybody in the country is going to run for a lot of yards against Iowa. It’s an outstanding defense personnel wise and they dictate that you’re not going to run the football inside and when you try to bounce it outside they’re very quick. They just do a great job. You can keep people from running the football if you put nine people up there, and sometimes eight...so sometimes the defense will dictate. I think what you have to do is go in with a plan, but you always have to adjust. You certainly have to have the will to run the football.
On the punt formation:
We had all skill athletes up in the front. One of the biggest plays in the game, which was very disappointing, was we didn’t punt until there were two minutes to go in the half and on that play Adam had a great punt. On that play there were two blocks in the back that were not called. Really Iowa should have had the ball back on their own 30. On some of the coverage we didn’t do a good job in, but in that particular case they just missed the call. Zach Kaufman got blocked in the back and got blocked into one of our other guys, and at the end of the play Ernest Shazor got blocked in the back.
On people criticizing John Navarre’s play:
You know what, I don’t give a damn! John Navarre played extremely well and anybody who thinks he didn’t doesn’t know anything about the game.
On not winning in crunch time:
That’s disappointing, but I’ll say this…. the most disappointing play of the entire game came when Terry Malone made a great call to Chris Perry on 2nd and 2. Perry breaks it down the sideline to give it to us at about the 18 yard line and the guy on our sideline called holding on Steve Breaston. That is absolutely a bad call. We should have had an opportunity to win the game or put it into overtime, but because of a bad call we didn’t get that. That’s just inexcusable.
On if moving Jackson to corner when LeSueur went down was under consideration:
Well Jackson made some unbelievable plays. That’s always a possibility and we’re prepared to do that. But Leon Hall went in and played extremely well. If this had been 3 or 4 weeks ago we probably would have done that. But Leon Hall has done a wonderful job. As a true freshman this kid has wonderful poise and he’s very smart and athletic and has done a great job here.
On how the week will break down:
We will have a very very short practice this evening to install our game plan. The players will have Saturday off instead of Monday. We’ll try to get a good start there. Then Tuesday we’ll have a normal day. Wednesday will be somewhat modified and be what really in our normal game preparation is Thursday…which is a lighter practice. So we’ll make some adjustments there. We’ll practice here on Thursday, have dinner in Ann Arbor, and then fly into Minneapolis Thursday evening.
On if he expects LeSueur to play versus Minnesota:
I have no idea. Hope springs eternal. That’s the deal.
On if TV was correct in saying his shoulder was injured:
What would TV know? I’m not confirming and I’m not denying. I’m hoping.
On his last Friday night game:
We played Minnesota once on a Friday night back in the eighties. They had a great back in the eighties that ran 98 yards. Was that a Friday night game? I was standing on the sideline and I almost stepped out there and tackled him myself. 98 yards he went for a touchdown. My wisdom got the better of me because he was a big back! He would have killed me, but I would have gotten him down!
On the bad calls he spoke about earlier and if he has talked to the Big Ten Conference head of officials Dave Parry:
I’m not asking for an official Big Ten investigation. I wouldn’t do that and if I did, I would not do it publicly.
On how John Navarre is dealing with all of the criticism from fans and media:
Well the quarterback is always going to take the blame. I think you have to ask John. You have to have thick skin first of all. Some people have thicker skin than others. What is remarkable about John is that he deals with it in his own way…much better than most people can. I always tell the players that adversity can destroy you, or it can make you stronger. I think that John is much stronger and I think he understands that he has unbelievable respect within the Michigan family…and I’m talking about the TEAM. That’s what you play for. You play the game for the respect of the people you are playing with and against. All of the others don’t matter.
More on the punt formation and block:
We got separation between the three players that we call the shield. If you allow that, you have a problem. Like I said, that’s not a mistake of the players, it’s mine.
On if the formation was something suggested by Special Teams coach Jim Boccher or if it was his idea:
It’s something that we’ve been looking at for quite some time. We’ve worked with Garrett on it since training camp. If you look at the Southeast conference, there are many teams that I’ve seen on film that use it. They use it very very effectively. We studied it because of the possibility that someone in this conference would use it against us and also with the idea that it could be of some help to us…particularly when you’re playing against teams that have great return people.
On if the theme this week will be to run the ball:
I’m not going to talk about the game plan! We might come out with five
wides. Print that for Glen Mason (chuckling).