Monday Presser (Week 9): Complete Transcript

(TRANSCRIPT) Rich Rodriguez met with the media Monday to review his team's 48-42 loss Purdue and look ahead to Minnesota. He gave his thoughts on the play of defense, the morale of his team, injuries, and more.

Question:  Steve Threet... was he looked at after the game by doctors and what's his status?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah he took, I guess, a helmet to helmet shot to the head and this was in the fourth quarter.  He continued to play.  I just saw him a few minutes ago.  He's better.  We don't practice today, but I think he'll be able to practice and do everything tomorrow.  Obviously there won't be any contact, but he's not going to get hit anyway in practice.  We anticipate no problems."

Question:  He sat out yesterday's practice then?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah and we didn't do much yesterday, just a lot of special teams and some walkthrough stuff.  He went through that part."

Question:  Was that a difference than your Sunday the last month or so; did you do less yesterday?

Coach Rodriguez:  "A little bit.  We did a little more walking and teaching, more correction things then a true practice, running around.  I thought there were a lot of corrections on all units that we kind of wanted to kind of take our time and walk and talk and teach and this.  We did that last night and had our normal meetings and stuff too."

Question:  The last three games, what do you want to accomplice; what's important as you get to the end of the season?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Trying to get a win.  It's not fun after the game to not have that good feeling.  Obviously to get a win, I want our guys to feel good after the ballgame and be able to sing ‘The Victors'.  I also want to continue to make progress fundamentally, which is hard to do this late in the season, but we got to continue to do that because even our upper classman, I think it cost's us at times; we're so poor fundamentally, tackling and things like that.  I think we had 21 missed tackles in our last game.  So we got to continue to do that and our guys; you know people say what do you have to play – we'll were playing for the (Little) Brown Jug in this game, which is kind of neat, but they're playing for themselves, for their teammates and most importantly they're playing for Michigan.  I would expect and we talked about it last night that everybody would give great effort and if they're not willing to do so then don't show up for Tuesday for practice.  I think they'll all be there, I hope, but if they don't, they don't."

Question:  Maybe it's not as clear in the game, but on film is it clear, is there some spots where you see some of that that maybe that effort is not?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No I just think, I think we're playing with pretty good effort, but we're expecting as coaches, the type of passion on each and every play.  They may think they're doing it all the time, but our opinion of it is that maybe it could be a little better at times and that is something that again, you can say its in the eye of the beholder, but I'm expecting and wanting to see all 11 players playing with extreme passion on every snap and sometimes that is a process of teaching just like it's teaching tackling and catching and all those things."

Question:  When the 3-3-5 stack is being run and executed like you want it to; what do you like about it against a spread team?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't want to make a perception that we've changed our defense.  We're going against some unique offenses, so we tried to put a package in to help us a little bit in the back end.  We've had some problems coverage wise, so we tried to do some things there, but it wouldn't make sense for me to talk strategy for the next game.  Each game we coaches come together on Sunday and we look at what we have in our package and part of our defensive package; our base is a four man front but part of our defensive package has an odd front.  So in the last game, we featured more of the odd front, not just the 3-3-5, but we did some 3-4 stuff too in the last game. The next few games, who knows?  It wouldn't make any sense to tell you now what we're going to do the next three ball games."

Question:  Where did that come about; was that kind of your initiation that you wanted to do?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We all talked about it as a staff.  I mean, I'm the head coach so ultimately everything falls on me."

Question: How are Mike Williams and Sam McGuffie?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Mike is better.  It's unfortunate because Mike would have played a great bit and Troy Woolfolk would have played a great deal in the last game; he got hurt in the first quarter.  Both of those guys are okay and Sam is ready to go."

Question:  With the defense, maybe the scheme might change or might not, but what about the player position changes?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Other than Carson Butler, the move to end – I think he'll stay there.  Donovan Warren will play both, safety and corner.  That is really the only position; I think, maybe correct me if there is any other.  That was really the only major position changes that we had."

Question:  Just to clarify; Mike Williams, Sam and Troy should all play this Saturday?

Coach Rodriguez:  "That's correct."

Question: What was Troy's injury?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Troy sprained an ankle and he tried to come back later in the game on some special teams, but he was going to be involved quite a bit in the game and he wasn't able to go."

Question:  How did you feel Butler did Saturday?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He did okay.  He played the most.  I think he played 23-24 snaps.  He's still learning the position, but he showed some things there and he has the body type and athletic ability to help us at end, which we need some more pass rushers.  We're hoping that is a position that he can stay at and continue to grow in."

Question:  With running the defensive scheme Saturday and with Butler kind of new at that position, did you think that was a little bit hard for him to come in or did it not really affect him because he hadn't really played before?

Coach Rodriguez:  "The thing our ends were doing where the same in really both schemes.  It wasn't a whole lot different for him.  The biggest thing is when your playing the defensive end, its not just rushing the passer, it's taking on the zone blocks, trap blocks and power blocks and recognizing double teams and how to split the double teams.  It was a combination of things and he has never played the position until what – three weeks ago.  So he's a work in progress, but we've been encouraged by what we've seen in those three weeks."

Question:  Before the season, you said when you moved John Ferrara, you said he had an aptitude for it and he really could understand it and that is why you could move him; how has that developed now that he started this last game?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah he played pretty well.  Again, he's a freshman at the position.  So he's still technically; he can take some work on that and get better fundamentally, but he's a tough guy and he battles in there and he gave us a little bit of lift there on some of the run game; I thought he did okay.  He wasn't great, but he'll keep getting better."

Question:  Beside from the ball that Martavious Odoms dropped was that maybe the best special team's effort of the year?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well that and we gave up the fake punt, which was a good call on their part.  But we at least, our kickoff return got a couple of returns, which had been struggling all year.  We got a couple returns of decent field position and as you all know that have followed us, if we have a shorter field to go with, we're okay, but if we have long field we really struggle trying to go 80, 90 yards, as most teams would.  At least in this game, we had a few drives because of our field position that we were able to start with shorter drives."

Question:  I guess from an outside perspective Will Johnson and Terrance Taylor seem to be two of your best players defensively, but with this 3-3-5; it doesn't seem that they get to play as much…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Why are we making all a big deal about that?  We put in a scheme to try to win a ballgame.  Okay.  We watch every day what we think is best for us to try and win that ballgame.  The odd part, playing an odd front was what we thought would help us win that ball game.  It wasn't just a 3-3-5.  It was a 3-4.  It was a mixture of things.  If you think that a 300-pounder can play 80 snaps against a spread offense and be effective, it aint going to happen.  So those guys all rolled in there and did okay.  We'll evaluate each week what we got to do to win the ball game."

Question:  What role do you envision Justin Feagin having over the last three games?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well, he's on some special teams.  He's going to continue to play in the slot receiver position.  We obviously got him in the game so he's not going to be redshirted, but I think he's excited, because his role will continue to increase now that we've played him.  We're going to keep looking for roles for him in our offense, particularly in the slot receiver position.  He'll probably play more than; I think he just played two special teams, he may play three or four of them this week."

Question:  Now that the bowl game isn't a possibility, do you change anything over the next three weeks to try and make up for those 15 practices that you won't have?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  We're just going to continue to work and try to win.  Everybody wants to talk about the past; it's in the past.  What are you going to do about it?  Their aint no do-overs.  We can't do the last game over, can't do the game over three weeks ago or eight weeks ago, whatever.  The future for us right now is Minnesota and that is what we're focusing on."

Question:  What do you tell the team this week about the Little Brown Jug?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think the upperclassman may understand it a little bit.  We'll talk about the pride in having the trophy and trying to hold the trophy.  It's a nice a rivalry.  We got a whole lot of things that we're working on.  I want to make sure that all 115-116 guys playing as hard as they can for Michigan every day.  Not just on Saturday but every day."

Question:  You said that earlier in the season you've been through this before, so you kind of know how to build a program and everything; are their things you learned in your first year at West Virginia that you're translating to now?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah they're some."

Question:  Some examples?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well, like I said some of the problems – I think the first key to identify is the problems; the obvious problems are not winning the games.  That's what everybody wants to talk about, winning games.  If we're winning games, you can win games and still have problems and their masked because you won, but when you lose it's highlighted a little bit more.  The first key is identifying the problems that you have that are keeping you from winning ballgames and the second is, how do you solve those problems?  We've identified them and it was easy for us to identify them because I've been through this before.  Solving them is not as easy.  Some of that, there's a list of things, but I don't need to go through it right now, but at least we know what they are and we know how to fix it.  How long that's going to take and what that is going to entail was for a later time."

Question:  Because your offensive staff has had so much continuity together, does that make the offense easier to do deal with something like this because they've…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "That's a good question.  I don't think so.  Our defensive staff has enough experience that we can fix and everybody is involved in special teams, and again as a head coach, I don't want to be a micromanager of everything, but I've at least got to have an idea of what we're doing with everything.  Again, it's not, not to belabor the point on scheme; schemes don't cause you to miss 21 tackles.  Schemes don't cause you to not get off a block 25 different times and stuff like that.  It's not like the players aren't trying hard, but there are a lot of fundamentals that we got to work as well as schemes.  In a sense when everybody is a freshman, there is nothing that you want to assume and we're not assuming anything and we haven't since spring practice."

Question:  Given all that, what you just said about the scheme don't cause you to miss 21 tackles and some of the technique and everything; do you feel that the defensive coordinator Scott Shafer has done a good job this year?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Again, you'll are never ever going to ask me a question and want me to point a finger at anybody on our football program or our football staff.  To me it's unfair to ask that.  If you had any coach in America and say, well point the finger; the O-line gave up five sacks, do you point at the O-line coach; the punt team got a punt blocked so who coaches the punt team.  I mean, it's a football team.  To try to single out a player or a coach to me that's not right.  Now if we didn't tackle well, well it wasn't one guy, we just missed a few tackles.  Our guys are pretty good tackles, but at times we miss tackles.  We got to try to coach them better so that they don't miss tackles, but I'm never going to point – that's not a fair question."

Question:  I guess that being said, what do the coaches need to emphasis and do better over the last three games?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Let me make this very clear; I'm as pleased as I can be with our coaches and their effort.  Their coaching as hard as they can; they're working as hard as they can.  They're good people, good coaches; they know what they're doing.  Because we've struggled at times in different units, doesn't mean they're a bad coach.  I'm sure a lot of people are saying that I'm a bad coach.  Everybody can have their opinion, but I've been here 10 months and I feel as good as I have as far as I know we can build this program to be one of the best in the country.  It's not showing that right now, but we can do that.  It may take us longer than what I thought.  One of you all asked a question.  Do you have more to do than your thought?  Yes, I do.  It's pretty obvious when you're sitting here with our record.  You got more to do to get this program where we want to get it.  Do I feel as confident that we can get it there with the staff that we have?  Yes I do, but they are a lot of things that we have to work on.  As coaches, we'll sit down; there is not a guy on our staff that feels good right now and we won't.  We won't feel good.  They're sometimes that we won't feel good after a win, if we don't think we're playing well, but we'll get it right.  We'll get it right.  Everybody wants to push the panic button, 10 months, geez."

Question:  Did you speak specifically to the seniors after Saturday's game knowing that these last three games…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I mentioned them.  I didn't speak specifically to them, but I did kind of mention them separately for the seniors; to feel bad because that they weren't going to a bowl game, but they're still laying the foundation for this program and hope that they would play as hard as they can."

Question:  How much is the next three week period kind of a test of mental toughness from top to bottom in the program and we'll you find yourself watching people a little more closely to determine how they react?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No question.  I think the whole season; I think it's always a watch of their mental toughness.  I know I've called into question a little bit our mental and physical toughness and I think that just my nature.  I think it's what we try to build and one of the foundations that were building our foundation off of and at times I wish that it would be at a higher level and that is something that we will closely.  You're right John and in the next three weeks and I told the team this yesterday that we're watching it very, very closely.  Particularly, not just the underclassmen but the seniors as well, how they want to represent our program and our university and the next three weeks we'll be watching, very, very closely.  We talk about it every day as a staff.  I gave the guys yesterday an opportunity.  I said does anybody have any…kind of the guidelines that I wanted for the next three weeks and what were looking for starting on Tuesday, a full passionate commitment to this football program and if you showed up Tuesday, I assume that you were ready to give that; if you didn't that's fine, go on your way and do that too.  They all seem like they want to be there, we'll find out tomorrow."

Question:  You said you gave them an opportunity to speak up?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well, I asked if anybody has any questions that they want to talk about, anybody want to bring anything up like that."

Question:  Did anyone…?
Coach Rodriguez:  "You all want to make everything so much drama.  This is unbelievable, every time there is something said everybody wants to make a big deal out of something, which makes so much drama; that's why I don't tell you'll too much.  You think I tell you a lot, I think I've been pretty transparent, but sometimes I don't, because I don't know what you guys are going to take and make a big deal out of a wee little thing.  It seems like for nine, 10 months that's happened.  Oh, he said this.  I mean let's psychoanalyze this and psychoanalyze that, whatever.  I just want guys that play hard, play with passion, play for the University of Michigan, play for their teammates and hopefully win a few games on the way, enjoy the experience about being a student-athlete here.  Okay, if everybody is not willing to do that, then they don't have to come there.  They shouldn't come to practice, you shouldn't come to work.  Because we're not going to a bowl game, does that mean you're going to pack it in?  You think I got a bunch of quitters; I don't think I have any quitters.  Think the coaches are going to pack it in?  Not going to show up for work.  Golly, amazing."

Question:  On to Minnesota a little bit I guess…

Coach Rodriguez:  "Hey, we got a question.  I've been here for 20 minutes and I got a question about Minnesota.  Right there is our depth chart.  That's why I thought we were having these press conferences for."

Question:  What are you seeing from them; they had a good offense last year?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, they've had a great year.  The key to them I think; again I wasn't here last year, but I think they've gotten better defensively, because they've gotten some junior college guys and some athleticism and their playing pretty fast.  Offensively, their quarterback has been a big key for them.  (Eric) Decker is a tremendous receiver, but I think (Adam) Weber has been the key because he is a run-pass threat.  From watching him on the film the last couple of days, I've been very impressed with him.  It all starts with that position particularly in the spread and it's kind of carried him sort of speak and what their trying to do.  They had a tough one last week too, they lost in the last few seconds, but I'm sure they'll be fired up and ready for us to come into town."

Question:  Have you talked to your kids at all about the election and voting and all that stuff?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No, other than, remind them last night that Tuesday is Election Day and go vote.  I don't know how many of them are registered but I know a couple of them, because some of them lift on Tuesday too and they're going to change when they lift because they need some time to vote and I said by all means, you got to go vote that being an American.  You get an opportunity to vote, go vote.  I don't know how many have registered.  I wish we could've reminded them way back when, because they're all of age, if they are of age, most of them would have been to vote.  I think it would have been a pretty neat deal."

Question:  Did you have to vote absentee?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm registered here in the State of Michigan.  That's one of the first things I did when we moved.  I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for (laughter), that's personal."

Question:  At the polls tomorrow, they're supposed to be ridiculous waits, are you going to be able to practice if you…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Who me?"
Question:  Yeah.

Coach Rodriguez:  "If I have to wait, I'll be at practice, the vote will be missed.  I don't know.  The wife and I actually talked it what we can do to get that done quickly because I start at six in the morning, so I don't know when they open or nothing like that.  The polls open at eight?"

Question:  Seven.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Seven, why don't they start them at five.  How late are they open till?  I'm asking you, I'm ignorant here."

Question:  Eight.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Seven to eight."

Question:  You might be able to do absentee today.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Absentee today.  Now that may be an option."

Question:   Rich how are you with indoor football or does that not matter?

Coach Rodriguez:  "It is a little different John.  I think more…the noise is louder.  It's a little bit different type of noise, it kind of confines and then seeing the ball and adjusting to the ball, whether its punts or long passes is a little different.  I had played two whole years in it when I coached at Tulane and then had played in the Georgia Dome for the Sugar Bowl one year and played in Syracuse dome a few times.  It is just a little bit different.  So we'll probably practice; the weather is supposed to be great this week; I think we'll probably practice, portions of our practice, at least on Thursday inside, even though you don't get the same feeling of it, but talking to the guys that have been to Minnesota before, they'll tell you it's a little different too.  I think once you get adjusted in pregame, it shouldn't be a big deal."

Question:  This morning, Toledo coach Tom Anstutz has been announced that he is resigning at the end of the year; do you know him at all, do you have any reaction to that?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Only a little bit.  This comes as a surprise to me.  Is there issues there? Does he feel good about it?"

Question:  A couple of years ago they had the point shaving thing, but really they haven't had a winning season.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I just didn't know if it was his health or anything.  I just knew him a little bit; I met him before and he is a great guy and I know he has done a great job with their program.  No that is a surprise I didn't hear that."

Question:  What did you see as the most important steps that you took from year one to year two at West Virginia?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Oh gosh.  I hope we're already working on year two and I think that's already natural, but I think the biggest steps you take and being right in the middle of it, and that's not starting now because we're out of a bowl contention and all that, this started from the first day that we started spring practice and then obviously from the games.  I make notes of things, what do we got to do to improve our program.  The obvious is schemes and players in the right position and all that but really it's the whole program.  I've said this from day one, I wish the progress that I feel that we're making weekly shows up on Saturday and it's not right now.  At times it does, but it's not to the effect that all the fans and you all would see.  I have seen progress from Sunday through Friday for whatever that's worth.  So those steps are okay, but identifying what are problems are whether its personal, whether its adjustment in scheme, whether its things that we can do in the offseason to have our players develop better fundamentally and all that.  I have identified a lot of those things, we know what we got to do, but it just takes some time.  I mean recruiting and development and all that; our coaches have two main jobs as assistant coaches is to recruit quality student-athletes and develop them.  The recruiting part takes a lot of time and developing them is a pretty big umbrella.  I think we've identified how we want to do that and there is not a lot of major changes that we got to make to what we're doing, how we're building a program, it's just going to take a little more time than I thought."

Question:  Do you feel like you had to make a lot of major changes after the 2001 season?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Not really.  What do you consider major? I mean we made some fundamentally.  We made a few adjustments in schemes, but our recruiting got better, our offseason development program got better and here it's already better.  From compared to back then.  That's why I feel like I have a lot of things already in place here, where there it was a constant process from year one, year two, year three, year four to get things in place until when we left, it was established.  Here I think we got things established quicker, it's not showing up in games with the results, but I think it will.  It will."

Question:  From a scoring perspective, obviously you guys made a major leap that was your best scoring game of the year offensively; was there that much of an improvement in terms of execution?

Coach Rodriguez:  "There was a little bit.  We got better field position; we scored one time on the return and then we got better field position.  I think that was the big key.  We got better field position on our returns and so we were playing on a shorter field at times.  Then we made a few big plays, a big pass play and then Brandon (Minor) had a big run.  That explosiveness is part of hopefully the scheme of the offense, but still it is a matter of execution."

Question:  How good is Decker compared to the other receivers that you've played against or studied on film and how much of stopping Minnesota is taking him away?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well that's a big part of it.  Again, you got to start with his quarterback and not let him get comfortable.  They move Decker around.  He is a big strong guy.  He is a 215-220 pound guy that can run.  They'll put him in the slot, outside and so it's hard to really say okay, he's going to be right here and you put this guy on him or double him right here, because they know that and they're going to move him around.  He's as good as anybody we've played against.  I think, they list him at 6'2", 215, but to me he is an NFL guy because he does everything.  He has got great ball skills.  He really catches the ball well.  Like I said, he is a big physical guy too."

Question:  The other thing is that Minnesota really stresses…I mean all coaches stress take away, but Tim made a big point about it and I think they're leading the country.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, they've done a really good job of that.  Obviously it starts with the defense raking the ball out, they've gotten some interceptions for touchdowns and they're breaking on the ball well.  They're playing fast; that's what every coach wants, you want your guys playing faster.  We keep telling, I know you're tired of me talking about it, but we keep telling our guys that we need to play fast, need to play faster and we keep reminding them of that and we're going to keep working towards that.  But they are, they're playing fast and they do a great job of breaking on the ball and they're very, very athletic defensively.  You can see that by some of the plays they've been making."

Question:  In your experience is their any added difficulty going into the second straight road game?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Not really.  I guess, if you had a long bus ride or you got back really late at night from a Saturday night game and getting your games back under you, may be an issue, but our road trips are short and we got back at a reasonable time Saturday night, so I don't think it's an issue at all."

Question:  I know we've talked a little bit about this after the games the past Saturday, the question keeps continuing to come up, is those for us with gray hairs that have maybe been following this team and this school for a lot of decades; the question is how could their be such a seismic shift here in fortunes, when the personnel did not appear to be that much of a precipitous drop?  I realize that it is a complex question and there is a lot of different analysis to it, but to get to the point here that the word I use a lot in trying to explain this year is bewildered, can you offer any light here without selling any players down the river or anything that you would be concerned about doing in that regard?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I mentioned early, if people are expecting us to point fingers at each other in this program, its not going to happen.  You mention that there was no change in players; you know we lost an awful lot of experience offensively now.  You understand that right?"

Question:  Absolutely.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think there is 10 new starters on offense, maybe 11; no 10, because Steve started last year, Schilling, okay.  So there is a good bit there.  Defensively we got a few guys back defensively, which is good, but I think we did lose our four top tacklers from last year, okay.  Still you got to try to do…hopefully the guys will grow up quickly and learn.  If you combine inexperience with transition, learning a new scheme and you don't have a little luck along the way you can lose a few ball games.  But there are a lot of reasons why; I don't want to go through it all now.  Like I said earlier, we've identified the problems.  Some of the problems we're already fixing but they aint showing up on Saturday, some will take a little bit more time to fix."

Question:  Do you feel like your team has gotten closer to playing a complete game over the last two weeks?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well at times.  For a complete game, I guess from a coach, you would say all three phases, offense, defense and special teams, really executed well for 60 minutes and that hasn't happened yet.  They're probably a lot of coaches that would tell you, hey we haven't had that either.  But that is the ultimate goal and that is eventually is going to happen.  We're going to have all three phases that execute extremely well and play with great passion and everybody will be happy at the end of the game."

Question:  Now that you've had a chance to see on film and break it down; can you take us through the hook and latter and what happened?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Do I have to. Naw they executed really well. We were in a man coverage and our technique was off a little bit on the first catch, so we gave up that inside and then the guy that was trailing them, the guy that came across gave up the inside and couldn't catch them.  It was perfectly timed, well thrown, well executed.  They made the play, good job by them.  Good call and well executed by them.  I hadn't seen it before.  I've seen it done, but hadn't seen them do it.  We actually practiced it, our own offense against our defense, didn't execute it as well."

Question:  Can you even consider that as for as poorly as the defense played that it still took two trick plays to beat you Saturday is that any kind of....?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well I really don't look at it that way.  I look at it as more we had opportunities to win the game.  We played poorly at times.  I thought our defense in the first half played pretty well. I think we had given up 21 points, but seven of them were on the turnover inside the 10 yard line and all that.  We just needed a spark, something defensively.  We got the one turnover the first drive of the game and then we didn't get another turnover.  For us, we only had the one turnover on special teams, so we took care of the ball, so where we're at, we needed a few more turnovers and we just didn't get them.  We had a couple of chances.  I thought a big play; we had a fourth and two and had a chance to get them stopped and we just didn't wrap up and he kind of fell forward.  They played hard, there was good calls defensively and all that, they made the play and we didn't."

Question:  Have you had a running back in Brandon Minor's style before in you offense?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  I have had some bigger physical guys; I don't think he still playing, names KJ Harris.  He was about Brandon's size, actually a little bigger about 235 pounds, a power guy that has good speed.  Brandon is a big physical runner and he runs with great passion and again, when he's healthy.  He got knocked out a little bit in the last game, when his wrist got his sprained, but he taped it up and got right back in there.  It'll be good having Sam back.   Now with Sam, Mike Shaw and Brandon, we have three guys that we can roll in there pretty good."

Question:  Do you adjust what you want to do depending on that style of running back or is it the same type of thing?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No, really it's the same thing.  Now there are certain plays that Brandon runs better and certain plays that Sam runs better than others and all that.  So we have that kind of in our mindset, so if they play us a certain way, we got to run our offense.   Brandon can run it all, but there are a few different runs that he runs I think better than others."

Question:  Did you like what you sound from Brandon on the couple of direct snaps that he took?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  You like to do more.  The situation is when he's in their, he's going to run.  Brandon can throw a little bit, but I haven't got that confidence yet to let him let it loose just yet.  But he can throw a little bit."

Question:  Just to be clear, are you going to start Ferrara again this week, are you planning on it or is he still battling with Tim McAvoy?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He's still battling.  I think right now they're still kind of 50/50 with that, but he played well enough…he didn't play poorly; he played okay.  It wasn't great, but that position is an ongoing battle, I believe."   


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