"We’re certainly happy with the conclusion of that Minnesota game. We brought the Little Brown Jug back to Ann Arbor. We’re not particularly pleased with the way we ran the football, or the way we stopped the run. As we prepare for Illinois coming in here this week, we’ve got some things to improve on and we’re going to work hard to do that."
On why the Gophers were able to run the ball:
"I think that there are several factors. First, I think you give Minnesota credit. Minnesota is an outstanding offensive team from the standpoint of running the football and developing different formations each week that force defenses to adjust. I thought they did a great job of changing the tempo of the game. They hurt us coming quickly out of the huddle up to the line of scrimmage and snapping the football on the first sound. That stresses a defense. Add the fact that Minnesota did an outstanding job to the fact that we didn’t get off of blocks very well, we missed too many tackles, and that we had some adjustments to make in terms of getting the right people in the right spots. Those are checks that are made depending on what the formation is. We didn’t’ get that done. Then from the backside, we had some pursuit problems. Two of those long runs should have been 15-20 yard gains at the most. You can’t give up big plays. We gave up too many big plays in that game. I will say this; our defense did a tremendous job on Khaliq if you take out the long run. The long run was a result of a call that we made based on a different personnel package than was in the game. So, we had a problem there and it hurt us. Sometimes those things happen. We have a lot of work to do. There’s no question about that."
On why Minnesota is/was more successful than Michigan running the football:
"I think that first and foremost, they’re a team built to run the football from a standpoint of their personnel. They’ve got four outstanding tailbacks. They’ve got a good number of tight ends that are mature veteran guys that can block on the perimeter. And they spend most of their time running the football and throwing the football off of play action. They’re not a team that drops back and throws the football much. When you drop back to throw the football, you have to spend an inordinate amount of time on protection. That is the most difficult part of the passing game…and certainly the most critical. You can have all of the great routes and all of the great receivers and you can have a great quarterback. But, you have to protect the quarterback. That takes a lot of time and everyone gets the same amount of time. It’s not like you can practice longer than someone else. We’ve tried to be a balanced football team. To my great disappointment right now, we are not a balanced football team. In this game, a lot of times teams can take away the running game or make it very difficult by bringing 8-9 guys up. In some of the games this year that’s what people have done. In the Minnesota game we just did not block as well as we’re capable and we missed a couple of cuts in there. We just didn’t execute like we need to execute."
On the receivers:
"What I look for when I’m setting the tape is if every single receiver is running routes hard. If they are, that’s what stresses a defensive back. That’s what stresses a linebacker. A lot of times the receiver on the backside of a play knows that he probably won’t get the football unless he gets to the third or fourth read. But you have guys that are running hard. I think that’s one of the reasons we were able to get one of the biggest plays of the game to Braylon on the long touchdown pass because he had come off hard all day. All of our receivers had. Most of the routes that they ran were out-cuts, dig-routes, or come-backs. Then all of a sudden, off of that same look, he was able to beat them deep. Those young kids, (Avant, Breaston, and Tabb) should get better every week. They made some mistakes in games that are going to happen when you’re a young player, and you have to live through some those mistakes. Yeah, they did a good job."
On what big plays stuck out to him the most:
"Well, I think that there were a number of big plays. I thought the third down play where we were 7 down in the next to last drive that John made a great throw to Breaston to get the first down. At that stage of the game we were going to have to punt the football. I thought that was as important as any play in the game. But when you’re down as far as we were down, without any one of those big plays we were going to have a hard time."
On Lamarr Woodley:
"Normally I don’t learn much in the post-game interviews. It’s my job to educate you (chuckling). However, in this game there were a lot of people asking me about Lamarr. Honestly, when I saw the film …I had never seen a freshman at that position make as many plays as he did. I mean, this kid had an absolutely sensational game for a freshman. Now, that’s one game against a very very good offensive line. Lamarr made a lot of big plays. As did Leon Hall. Leon had an exceptional game. Grant Bowman had an exceptional game."
On if that’s surprising since Lamarr played linebacker in High School:
"In high school he was a rush end. If you think about linebacker, that word a lot of times means drop on pass. Lamarr was basically a guy that lined up on the end of the line and rushed. But it is remarkable for an 18-year-old kid because normally at that position it takes a couple of years to build that type of strength and endurance. We’re getting ready to play the eighth game of the year and in most cases a freshman at this stage is worn down…. he’s fatigued. Lamarr came up with an exceptional game."
On Rondell Biggs being second string:
"He has practiced very well."
On if it’s impractical for some to think that Michigan should utilize the hurry up offense more throughout the game:
"Well, I think that’s certainly a legitimate question. I would answer it this way. When you go to the spread offense with 4 wide receivers, you have 5 lineman and a back that protect. I know that when I was a defensive coordinator, the one thing I loved about playing against that offense is I knew one thing; we could hit the quarterback! We could hit the quarterback and there was no way they could run the football if we would bring six or seven. So, the quarterback can take a real pounding and you can eliminate the running game. I like it because I think it’s a real change in the tempo of the game. Normally you don’t go to it until the end of the half or the end of the game, but we have talked about using it as a change of tempo. But when you do that, you put your quarterback and tailback in harms way. What you would like to do if they put six or seven guys on the line of scrimmage is check to a pass. Then after you check, they back out and play with 7 guys against the pass. You have to check in that offense and on the road that’s another issue. Those are all factors. But I think that’s a legitimate question."
On how he thinks Braylon Edwards is doing this season:
"I look at the last performance. He made two plays in there. Braylon had an absolutely sensational block on their corner for Chris Perry on the screen pass that went for a touchdown. Jason Avant went down and blocked the safety and got up and blocked the backside safety. Matt Lentz blocked a guy in the flat. The other play that Braylon made was a catch in front of our sideline on the hitch play and he ran over the corner and made a first down. It’s little plays down on that field that can really juice a team up. Those are the types of plays that have an impact on your team AND on the opposing team. I like the fact that Braylon is playing without the football and he is playing outstanding right now. The last two weeks he has played very very well."
On if he and Braylon are now on the same page:
"Absolutely! (chuckling). It’s great to be on the same page. But there will be someone else I’m not on the same page with. That’s how life is."
On if LeSueur could have played:
"A lot things can change in 24 hours and in his particular case, the trainer, Paul Schmidt, indicated to me that he might be ready to play if he made some progress the last day. That’s the only reason I took him. I would have hoped (that he could have gone in if they needed him)."
On Marlin Jackson not going back in the game:
"He seems to be fine. He’s like most guys on a football team anywhere in the country right now. If you’re going to play, you’re going to have to play with some bumps and bruises."
On if the decision has been made to redshirt Shawn Crable:
:"No. He’s moving forward. He’s practicing now. We’ll just have to see."
On how the staff handled special teams and if Special Teams Coach Jim Boccher will be back at some point:
"Well, I’ll answer the first part of that question. We’ve always involved a lot of our staff in the kicking game. Just as the defensive coordinator calls the signals, but has guys that help him. He has a linebackers coach, a defensive line coach, and a secondary coach. The offensive coordinator calls the plays, but he has other people who help him coach that particular unit. It’s not any different with special teams. That’s why when you blame one person you’re misplacing the blame many times because you don’t know where the fault is. Very often it may appear to be one position and it isn’t that position at all. Almost every coach on our staff is involved in some form of special teams."
On Jeremy Van Alstyne:
"By the way, I NEVER said that he was out for the season."
On reporters indicating that they have him saying that very thing on tape:
"Well, I want to hear it! (laughing) If I said that, I did not intend to. Jeremy is making rapid progress. He is running very well. Whether or not he plays this week I don’t know. But we fully expect him back next week."
On Prescott Burgess’ progress:
"Well, Prescott playing some of our special teams. I think he is going to be a wonderful football player. He has been a strong safety all of his life. But, I think he is going to thrive at that(the linebacker) position. It’s hard right now. Once you get into a season your time is so limited that it’s difficult to bring young players along in practice because you have a limited number of snaps and you’re trying to make sure that you get the guys that are going to play as many reps as you can. You’re also trying to get a guy like him reps, which we do. It would have been much easier had he not changed positions. But, he is dong a good job and he is going to be fine."
On Chris Perry fumbling on the final touchdown drive:
"Chris is such a confident guy. What a football game he played! This guy, honestly, is a GREAT football player! Look at what he is doing in the passing game as a receiver and as a pass protector. We had the timeout (before that play) and what I wanted him to understand that we aren’t trying to score a touchdown here. We just want to run off tackle and kick field goal and win the game! I will say this, for the safety at Minnesota (Ward). Chris had the ball secured. IT was nothing he did. Had we lost that football, we would have all been sick and Chris would have been the most disappointed. But, sometimes you have to give the other guy credit. Ward made as good of a play as you could have wanted. Fortunately for us, Tim Massaquoi was blocking his man and came off and was there."
On having confidence in Garrett Rivas:
"You know, I don’t think there is a guy on our team that questioned him. There is something about him. He has a poise and a confidence. Mike Debord use to say about a guy that was special the, ‘he’s got IT.’ Rivas has got IT! For a freshman to come in and do as well as he has done… he is something special."
On Alain Kashama not being listed on the depth chart:
"Alain is struggling somewhat, but I’m hopeful that he is going to finish this season like we all know he is capable of."
On some thinking that Braylon was placing individual goals over team goals early in the season:
"I don’t agree with that. I think that Braylon is a highly motivated guy. I think that going into a season like this, wearing the #1 and all that went with it may have distracted him a bit. But I never had any doubt that Braylon Edwards was going to have a great year. The question was asked if I regretted it (the public talk of not being on the same page) and I don’t regret it because I felt it was the only way that he was going to get the message. I had tried to give him the message privately and he wasn’t getting it. That said, somebody wrote that I criticized him. That wasn’t critical. I simply said that we weren’t on the same page. I don’t view that as criticism. At the same time, I never doubted him because I’ve known Braylon since he was a kid. I knew that deep down he would be able to handle it…and I think that he has done that."
On why Braylon didn’t get the message privately:
"Because he’s 20 years old!(Laughing). Do you remember how you were when you were 20?"
On if the way Jason Avant blocks is rare for a receiver:
"It’s not rare for Jason Avant. He is a complete football player. He is special!"
On Jeff Zuttah:
"Jeff is in school at Michigan. He looked at transferring. I think he
took several trips because I told him that I would release him if he wanted
to go play football somewhere else. He is still on scholarship"