UM/Miami Postgame: Rich Rodriguez

Rich Rodriguez reacts to his team's team's 16-6 victory over the Miami (OH) Redhawks. Michigan's headman discussed the quarterback play, his disappointment in the stagnant offense, injuries, and more.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Okay as I told the team in the locker room afterwards, I would rather win ugly than lose pretty. It certainly wasn't pretty, but the guys played hard and we didn't execute well.  Certainly didn't execute as well offensively…had some chances to get some touchdowns or some big plays and we are just missing here or there.  Just looking quickly at the stats, we had two penalties for 15 yards and no turnovers, so we are not really beating ourselves and that is where we are at right now.  Was happy to get the win, enjoy it for a few hours and then tomorrow morning, we're getting ready for Notre Dame."

Question:  Talk about breaking a few plays in the running game this week as opposed to last.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, we ran the ball a little bit better.  We had some other opportunities.  We are going to be sick watching the film and seeing some chances there, but we make a few more steps this week than we did last week I thought.  We have to continue to progress.  I got to keep reminding ourselves that we have got to be patient, because we got a lot of young guys that are first time starters and we had another offensive lineman go down and we will put Bryant Nowicki, who was a walk that we just put on scholarship; he went in there.  They competed hard and they stayed focused.  I thought that long drive at the end to get another touchdown was a big confidence boost for the offense."

Question:  How much better do you think you got today?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think we got better at times.  At other times, we still were frustrated because we had some plays that I thought was there, but we are still feeling it out a little bit and seeing what are guys can do.  Obviously right now, we are getting a few answers, but we had a few guys out.  Greg Mathews is out.  Carlos Brown is still nicked up.  Michael Shaw was running well, and he pulled a groin.  We were playing a lot of different people and it is hard to get some chemistry going, but we will keep working at it."

Question:  You had a couple of big pass plays that obviously misfired; how distressed are you because of that? How must of a departure is that from what you have seen in practice?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah that is disappointing because we have been hitting those in practice so I know we are capable of doing – I will have to watch the film and see if it is a technique issue or what the problem is.  I know several times we were a little frustrated that we got close to completing them and our guys are capable of doing it.  We just got to hit those plays."

Question: On his evaluation of the quarterbacks. 

Coach Rodriguez:  "It seems kind of silly that you guys are watching the same thing that we are.  I will know a better feel after watch the film and see exactly what caused us to miss a few plays here or there, whether it was technique or eyes being in the wrong place or what have you.  We are still…like a Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; it was all three of those at times and we got to eliminate the ugly and the bad and concentrate on the good and be good and then okay and we will be alright."

Question: On if he was waiting for one of the QB's to emerge. 

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah pretty much.  I was hoping the one would just play so well that we wouldn't have to, but right now we are at the point we were are having some growing pains.  But those guys are very conscience.  I like their demeanor on the sideline.  They are not looking over and worrying about making a mistake, but at the same time we got to execute better.  It is not just then, but there was other opportunities too with guys on offense.  Hopefully we will get better this week."

Question:  On why the offense stalled after the first two drives.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we executed better in the first two drives and we didn't in the rest of the game other than that 90 yard drive."

Question:  Did you change anything?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  We played the same way the whole game.  That is the most frustrating part about it.  At halftime, we were very frustrating as coaches, because we knew that was there.  We knew what they were doing.  We wasn't getting tricked and our players knew as well.  We just got to play better."

Question:  Switching sides of the ball, what is the assessment of your defensive front?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I thought they did pretty well.  Again, it is hard to watch those guys.  We get some pressure on the quarterback.  We did a lot of blitzing stuff on our third and long or second and long package and that got some pressure.  I thought we did okay.  I don't know if we until we watch the film, how dominating we were.  Those guys are pretty good workers and they played a lot of snaps."

Question: On whether he placed an emphasis on getting off to a fast start this week. 

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we try to emphasize that every week.  To get out and play with a fast tempo, again, we are still having problems in first downs.  We cannot establish a tempo in the game unless we get first downs.  That is the biggest problem we have in our offense is that we are not establishing tempo because we are not getting first downs.  That is frustrating, but we will keep working on it."

Question:  On if he is growing frustrated with having to play two quarterbacks.

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  Everybody is grinding on the quarterback thing.  It is just one position.  It is obvious to everybody else that we are still searching at times to get rhythm on offense.  It starts with the quarterback but it is not only the quarterback.  I want to make that clear.  It is not just him that sometimes – that is the focal point in the offense I think, particularly ours.  No there is no question, I would like to get into a better whoever is out there.  We got to keep pressing on those guys to get working.  Again, they are first year guys.  These guys haven't played before, so they are still rookie guys."

Question:  Is that what you have seen from Sam McGuffie in practice?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, yeah.  He has practiced very, very well.  That is why he is the starter and taking his first reps because he hasn't missed a rep since camp started and Mike Shaw is the same way, that is why I was disappointed to see him get hurt because he was coming along.  Hopefully we will see how bad it is."

Question:  Did Brandon Minor get (injured at some point prior to the game)?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, he missed a lot of camp and he still got a little bit of issue with his wrist and he didn't play as much.  But you saw some fresh legs at the end and I was proud to see what he did there, but he is going to have to continue working and get his way back in there."

Question: On if he will allow himself to enjoy the victory. 

Coach Rodriguez:  "I will enjoy it until tomorrow morning.  Notre Dame is on TV now.  I will watch a little bit of that game as soon as I get back.  I will watch our game either tonight or tomorrow morning and then tomorrow afternoon be back on Notre Dame."

Question:  On if Sam McGuffie is a perfect fit for his system.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think Sam would fit in any system, but I think it is a perfect fit for what we do.  He is not the biggest guy, but he has got good feet, quickness.  He is a good spread tailback in that regard."

Question:  With the line having another injury, do you feel snake bit?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, we have a little bit…you don't see much of the coaches or the players thinking,the sky is falling, but you step back and look and see, we already got two lineman out and Greg Mathews is out; there goes Shaw and Carlos Brown is dinged up, (Mark) Ortmann, what is going on.  You got to keep going and this why we always rep two groups a good bit in practice just in case these opportunities come up.  There are times when we are looking for somebody to make a play, just make a play, somebody who will make a play.  We saw a little bit of that at times today, but we need more of that."

Question:  You have any idea about the extent of Mark Ortmann's injury?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think…no I don't know.  Something happened to his elbow, but I haven't talked to our trainers as far as how long that would be."

Question:  Did Boubacar Cissoko show you something today?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah he did.  He has been practicing.  He has shown a little burst.  It was disappointing to have that one penalty, that killed us.  It was a 40 yard penalty not a 15 yarder because of the field position.  We stressed that more than anything not getting any penalties on returns.  Boubacar showed some things, and he has got some explosiveness, so we will keep looking at him there."

Question:  On how Donovan Warren did returning punts?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I will have to watch and see if maybe he was trying to make too much happen at one time instead of maybe hitting it.  But he is awful good at fielding the ball and he is getting close to I think breaking one too.  But we got to get better.  These guys we have punted against the last couple of weeks have just been bombing them.  It is unbelievable how they have been kicking the ball.  We will continue to work on it.  This is where we are at.  We got to create a play on special teams.  Our defense as well as they have played, we dropped a couple of interceptions.  Those are plays that we got to have.  If the interception is right in their hand, we got to pick them off and set the offense up for better field position."

Question: On how frustrated he is at this point.

Coach Rodriguez:  "You Probably you can tell by my answers.  It is very frustrating, exasperating, whatever else adjective you want to put on it.  We are not going to quit grinding away and doing what we can do.  I have been through some similar situations with…right now it is what it is, whatever kind of quote that is.  We will continue to work away."

Question:  On the team going over to sing "The Victors" with the student section.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  Is that alright with everybody…I am not upsetting the apple cart (laughter) with that thing, to sing The Victors.  Some of the players asked me about it before and I thought that that would be a neat thing and they enjoyed it.  I hope we get to do it some more times."

Question:  On his feelings about the game.

Coach Rodriguez:  "It feels good to win.  Like I said, I might not be completely happy, but I am a whole lot happier than if we lost."

Question:  You missed a field goal and an extra point today, how concerning is that for you?

Coach Rodriguez:  "It is concerning with the execution.  We are going to miss a few field goals here and there.  I don't know what happened on the kick.  KC Lopata just missed it.  It looked like there was a problem with the exchange, the snap on the extra point.  We will get that fixed."

Question: On John Thompson & Jonas Mouton 

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah they made a few plays, run around a little bit.  Again, just watching them out there, their effort was good.  I think we probably made a few mistakes here and there but those guys they love playing that is one thing about them."

Question:  You subbed the whole defensive line at one point in the first half, is that something that is normal?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Oh, I think you should normally have most people fresh particularly if you are going against a team that is throwing a lot and doing a lot of pass rushing and we got a little bit of depth there.  Those guys rush a lot better when they are fresh than if they are tired."

Question:  How do think the conditioning is going?  In the fourth quarter (Michigan's players appeared fresh).

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, we have been pretty good in the last couple fourth quarters.  Our guys seemed like they were still in good shape.  At least in two games, the two fourth quarters our guys looked like they could keep playing, which tells me that our conditioning is okay.  I think we will continue to get in better condition as the season goes along."

Question:  Can you talk about Brandon Harrison's play early in the fourth quarter?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Brandon plays with a lot of intensity.  He is one of those guys that every play in practice and games, he is always showing up.  He is a student of the game and he has got a lot of energy, so there is no question with Brandon, he is one of our most valuable players on defense I think."

Question:  Coach you on the road against Notre Dame next week, are you looking forward (taking on a leadership role in helping get the team prepared)?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think they have already started.  They have mentioned in the locker room about the importance of getting refocused tomorrow on Notre Dame.  They understand what a big game it is, each and every year on our schedule and our excited about it.  I am sure they will talk to the freshmen and the first time travel guys about playing on the road when people are not in favor or you.  We have been at home with a friendly crowd.  Now are go on the road to a different type of crowd and they will talk to them how to handle it."

Question:  Is there routine for away games, a little bit stiffer or…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  The only difference is that we travel on Friday.  Everything else that we do is the same.  We will add a little more crowd noise during practice.  Maybe so our quarterbacks can get used to that, but we do that normally anyways."

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