Rodriguez & Players say Pride led to Win

After reatining the Little Brown Jug with a 29-6 victory over Minnesota, Rich Rodriguez, Obi Ezeh, and Morgan Trent discussed playing for pride, why the defensive game plan was so successful, the play of the Nick Sheridan led offense, and more.

Rich Rodriguez

On the victory…

"It's nice to have a smile on your face.  It's nice to see the kids enjoy that after the game.  They put so much work into it.  You really get to enjoy it if you win and I'm glad we got one."

On deserving to win…

"That's the thing that we've been preaching all year.  When we deserve to win, we win and I think we did in all three phases today.  The offense did some nice things.  The defense did some nice things and our special teams was solid.  So it was a good effort."

On the defensive plan used to slow Minnesota down…

"No we went to the nickel package from the get go, which is something a little different.  We put an extra DB in for the spread and we did our odd stuff on the second and third and long.  The biggest thing is we tackled well; we broke on the ball better, made a few pass break ups and we didn't let them establish anything in the run game.  I knew we were capable of doing it and we just had to do a little bit better assignment wise and get off blocks.  I thought we did a great job of getting blocks especially on some of those bubble screens."

On Nick Sheridan's performance…

"Yeah he did.  He battled; he got hit a few times, but Nick is a tough guy and he understands our offense better each week.  He didn't force things and he really took care of the football; I was proud of him."

On the success of Michigan's rushing attack…

"Yeah and we had to be able to run the football.  The way they were playing us and putting a lot of people in the box, being able to run against that many guys, was pretty impressive I thought our backs ran pretty hard.  Mark Moundros did a great job of lead blocking as well.  In our offense we need to have at least three tailbacks ready, sometimes four and those guys all got reps today and they did pretty well.  (Brandon Minor) has a slight separated shoulder.  I don't know what the long term effect of that, but those two freshmen battled in there and Mark Moundros came in there too and played in some of that one back stuff and did a nice job."

On finally having a positive outcome after weeks without one… 

"I want our guys to enjoy it, especially our seniors and they got a chance in the last two ball games to feel good about their careers, about his season, at least better and I hope they'll do that.  And we got the Jug; we'll keep it for a year."

 

Obi Ezeh

On holding Minnesota to eight first downs and the overall play of the defense…

 "Yeah I thought that was great.  Our defense came out with a lot of intensity.  We were able to just slow down their attack and it seemed like Minnesota was starting to quit towards the end of the game."

On if anything happened this week to improve the tackling…

"I don't know.  I felt like guys were triggering a lot faster.  We studied Minnesota real well, so we knew they had some tendencies and guys were just having fun playing football."

On the aggressiveness of the corners...

"We knew that they were going to start checking to quick passes when we started putting pressure on them.  So I thought our DBs played very well today; the defense as a whole played great."

On Rodriguez's message about plying for pride and playing for the seniors…

"Right, this hasn't exactly been the season that they had dreamed of, but we still got things to play for, pride being one of them.  Everybody is going to come out and give their all, not just for themselves but for the seniors and everybody else on the team."

On the fumble toward the end of the game that he first recovered before it was awarded to Minnesota…

"I don't know man.  It's their house, so they got to get some calls, but I felt like I got robbed there.  I felt like I got robbed.  I felt maybe my teammates should have had my back a little bit, but they kind of let me down for the wolves to kind of get me.  I think it was more like a joint possession deal and they just kind of – the refs didn't really know who to give it to, so we're at Minnesota."

On the coach that will be after him for not outmuscling Minnesota for the football…

"Probably (Coach) Barwis.  I'm going to have to hide from him once I get back in Ann Arbor.  If you don't see me for a couple of days, you know I'm hiding out from Barwis."

On the Little Brown Jug…

"Yeah, it's got a nice place at Schemblecher Hall and that's where it is going to stay for three years."

 

Morgan Trent

On retaining the Little Brown Jug....

"That important for us.  We lost it once before, which hurt a little bit.  So to keep it, our senior year, it's very important."

On how Michigan was able to come out and win versus Minnesota when it looked like they had nothing to play for…

"We just kept working.  I'm extremely proud of this team and the seniors on this team.  We've continued to work hard.  Regardless of our record, we came out here and gave it our all.  I'm very proud of them."

On the aggressiveness of the corners and stopping Minnesota's WR screen game…

"Coach Shafer had a great defense and gave me the ability to run up there and make a play.  We got a great look all week from our scout team and it paid out."

On his hit that knocked Eric Decker out of the game…

"He's a great player.  He really is.  So that obviously hurt their team a lot."

On getting the interception after one slipped through his hands…

"Yeah that hurt.  It really did, because I should have made that play.  So obviously it a hurt a little bit, so for me to get a little redemption helped."

On what the win means…

"It means a lot.  I hope it gives us a little momentum going into these few games.  Like I said, I'm extremely proud of this team.  A lot of (people) said that we should be done, we got nothing to play for, but we kept going, kept working and we made something happen."


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