Rodriguez Shares Fans Impatience

Rich Rodriguez reacts to his team's 35-21 loss to Michigan State. Michigan's headman discussed injuries, his defense's tendency to give up big plays, team morale, how his team will try to bounce back, and more. The complete transcript.

Question:  When it was 21-21 is there something that tipped the momentum south in the game, a moment or play?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know what happened.  21-21, they scored next that gave them the momentum.  Guys playing hard, pretty hard, I thought they played hard, we just didn't play well enough to win.  They deserved to win and we didn't.  Gave up a few big plays, missed a few plays that were there.  Didn't execute when we had to, and that's it.  We lost."

Question:  Any update on Sam McGuffie's injury?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He took a shot to the head and he was obviously out of the game.  Mike Williams one of our safeties that we planned on playing, the same thing happened to him early in the game.  I don't know how long."

Question:  Everyone understands that this year was going to be a transition year for this offense, the quarterback frankly wasn't ideal. Why has the defense not played as well?

Coach Rodriguez:  "You know that's a fair question.  I mean I'm disappointed in how we've played some.  I felt that at times that the defense feels under pressure because we have struggled offensively, but the number of big plays is really disturbing, it really is.  It's Obvious from a coach's standpoint that we gave up too many big plays today and that is the difference.  Third and 15 or third and 20 or whatever it was, I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part on the run game and we let him one time we gave up a big run, but other than that I felt we were okay, but it was really disappointing… but it wasn't just the defense.  I was disappointed in the offense and special teams at times as okay and other times it wasn't.  The field position, I said this a bunch of times, we're not good enough to play on a long field.  That's all we've been doing, is having to go 80 or 90 yards.  We need to get some first downs and change that field position and that's not happening.  We get on a shorter field and I think we'd be a little bit better but not good enough right now."

Question:  Rich do you feel that there are answers to big plays this season?

Coach Rodriguez:  "It better be.  We'll evaluate it, watch the film and see what we can do scheme wise, personnel wise.  It's not like we haven't seen it.  It's a concern.  It's been hurting us quite a bit and we just got to get better at it if we want to win any games."

Question:  You were rotating the cornerbacks, Boubacar (Cissoko) saw a lot more time today; was that intended?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah that was intended."

Question:  What was the rationale behind that?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We're trying to get production."

Question:  Coach does it hurt a little bit more considering it was Michigan State and the rivalry?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Sure.  I mean if it doesn't, what's the rivalry?  It should sting.  The rivalry has always been a little bit more.  I'm sure the players…I would think would say the same thing."

Question:  The play that you guys practiced where if you feel someone jumped off side, the line stays put?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, it worked earlier, but that time, I thought they jumped, but they must have got back.  I don't know.  I will have to watch the tape."

Question:  You seemed pretty upset with Steve Threet at that point?

Coach Rodriguez:  "You know, we tell them to assume that the penalty is not going to be called.  He may not have had a choice.  Until I watch the film, he may have had pressure and had to get rid of it.  We always assume that the penalty (flag) is not being thrown and it wasn't thrown."

Question:  What's your interpretation of the touchdown Brandon had when he went over the pylon; what do you think happened and what was the call?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Obviously he must have scored.  He came off and said he hit the pylon.  I'm glad they did.  They reversed that is why they have replay."

Question:  Obviously your message to the players is to keep their heads up, but what message do you have for the fans right now?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Same thing.  Our fans were terrific.  They were into the game.  They tried to help us out.  You can ask them, well its his first year, be patient and any first year coach will tell you that, but I'm sure they want wins and be able to sing ‘The Victors', so do I.  Nobody wants to win more than us, the players and the coaches.  It's going to come.  It's frustrating that the progress that we see daily doesn't happen; it's not showing up on Saturday.  It really is.  We see some things and the fans only see Saturday and obviously that's not happening the way we want it to.  It's a process we're going through, we'll be alright."

Question:  Is it hard to keep morale up when you don't win?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah it's a lot easier coach anything off a win.  I would rather coach anything off a win.  It's a challenge, as coaches it's a challenge.  Our backs against the wall, we've got to win out to have a chance at a bowl game, just to have a chance at one.  So we got some motivation there that's for sure.  Our guys, I would think that they would come out and play as hard as they can next week.  We got three of the next four on the road, it's going to be a challenge, get back to work tomorrow."

Question:  That play that we were talking about the whole jumping offsides or not, is that maybe a turning point?  I think we were tied at that point.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Was the score tied after that play?   It was still tied after that play right?  It was still tied after that play.  Now it gave up the possession, would we like to have it back?  Sure, we would like to have it back, but I would like to have a lot of plays back in all three phases."

Question: What do you think of this rivalry game now that you have actually played in it?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Again, I understand the question, but I don't think you have to coach in it to understand it.  I think if you're hired and you're working toward that game, you understand it.  I hear about it every day.  I'm sure I will hear about it for the next 365 days, but I don't feel any differently now than I did before the game other than the fact that I'm not happy because we didn't win.  We're never going to be happy when we lose any game, but in particular to one of your rivals.  Again, not happy with the way it happened, but we're in the middle of a process and we're going to keep driving away.  We'll get this thing going."

Question:  Coach is there anything that Michigan State did that surprised you guys?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Nope."

Question:  Nothing?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No."

Question:  With regards to the way Steve played against Michigan State,  how much do you think that was inexperience?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We've played what, seven or eight games now.  I don't know, may have just been trying to force things a little bit trying to make a play.  You know Steve is a competitive guy.  I'm sure that he would like to have a few throws back.  There were a few throws and maybe even a few runs or reads that he would like to have back, but I'm sure all the plays would say the same thing."

Question:  How do you feel about the chances of winning out?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We'll we got to play better if we want that opportunity and we certainly got to play better, but we are capable.  I know that you all that cover us are tired of me saying that, but we are capable at times.  Again every game our guys get some experience and grow a little bit.  We are limited in some areas but as coaches we got to identify where those areas are and try to overcome it.  It's not easy to do, but that is our job."

Question:  Are you growing impatient?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm inpatient anyways, so those fans that are out there saying that they're growing inpatient; Not as impatient as I am.  I also understand what were going through and I have a pretty good idea what we have to do to make it right as far winning a lot of games.  I have a pretty good idea of what we need to do.  We're working on that daily."

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