Question: What can fans expect to see Saturday?
Coach Rodriguez: "Unfortunately for the fans, everybody usually waters down the spring scrimmage. You're not going…there's not a whole lot to hide, but obviously any new things that you're going to do, new packages or something that you don't want your first few opponents to see, you're not going to do in the spring. Plus you don't want your kids thinking a whole lot. They are not really preparing for a true game. So it'll be more of a scrimmage situation. We don't have enough guys, I don't think to have a true game, to have a Maize and a Blue team, but I think they'll be able to see some guys compete a little bit and watch some of our young guys that are out there for the first time have a little fun. It'll but mostly live. Not all live, but most of it will be live and hopefully there will be a few plays that they'll be enjoying."
Question: You said ones versus twos?
Coach Rodriguez: "No, I don't know. Generally, there will be some ones against ones, ones against twos. There will be some guys, veterans that we know more about will probably only play a few series and get out. So that's why it's hard to pick two teams, because guys like Brandon Graham probably won't play a whole lot. He'll play a few series and be out of there. It is watered down a little bit and again, we'll be a little bit more generic in our schemes, which is not all bad, because you want the young guys just to run around and have a little fun. I think they'll be entertained. There are a lot of neat events that are planned. I think the weather right now looks like it is going to be pretty good."
Question: So mixing and matching ones versus twos, how do you set the lineups for each team?
Coach Rodriguez: "I kind of just draw out of a hat. We'll pretty much, we've gone ones against twos. There will be certain situations, again, I have not decided yet. I have some ideas, but if we want to manufacture a two minute drill, we'll probably go ones against ones. When we do maybe coming out from the two yard line, do some kind of drill there, we'll probably go ones against ones, so it'll be different things that we match up. Again, we will probably play David Mooseman both at guard and center with the first group. We might play Steve Schilling at guard and tackle. It's yet to be seen. At quarterback rotation, Tate (Forcier) will take generally all the reps with the first group, but he may take extra reps with the second group. We won't be live on him at sometimes, but he's been begging to be a live jersey, I don't know if I'll let him do that at night because we are so thin at quarterback right now. It should be fun. They'll see guys in and out of both lineups."
Question: What were some highlights from last Saturday scrimmage?
Coach Rodriguez: "Well offensively we probably executed a little bit better. Carlos Brown had a nice day, had some nice run. Mark Moundros had a nice day. I didn't think our defense tackled particularly well. So that is going to be a point of emphasis in today's practice – it will be. It was a better day offensively execution wise. Tate made some mistakes, but he's come along as far or farther than we could have expected in the spring period."
Question: How is Terrence Robinson doing?
Coach Rodriguez: "Doing pretty well. I don't know if he is still 100% confident that his knee is okay. The trainers and everything says that it is okay, but he got to probably go over that hurdle a little bit, but he has had a pretty good spring. I think he still has a ways to go. He can help us. We need somebody to challenge Tay Odoms in the slot and Roy Roundtree and Terrence and maybe some of the freshmen, I think can do that."
Question: What do you like about Troy Woolfolk at safety?
Coach Rodriguez: "Well, we've moved him around. He's going to play both, but the biggest thing that Troy brings is some speed and athleticism back there, not the only thing a safety does is save touchdowns, but that's one thing in zone defense that he's got to be able to do, kind of cover up from mistakes or chase somebody down. Troy is one of the fastest guys on the team. So hopefully he can do that, if that happens and hopefully that doesn't happen too much."
Question: Who has impressed you at right tackle out of the guys?
Coach Rodriguez: "It's been a battle. Pat Omameh has been there, Perry Dorrestein has played on both sides. Schilling (has played guard and tackle) but the guy who has a pretty good spring so far is Mark Huyge. He's a guy that's played guard, he's played on the left side and right side. He's practicing like he wants to take that job. It's going to be wide open. The competition will continue in August."
Question: Thursday is your last practice that is not the chaos of Saturday…
Coach Rodriguez: "No it really isn't. We have 15, so we are going to have another practice next Tuesday."
Question: Oh you are?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, we snuck that in on you (laughter)."
Question: So that is the one where you will kind of give them instructions as to what you ant them to work on in the summer?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, we'll go through with the strength staff obviously. They're at every practice anyway, but we'll go through some drills that the strength staff will work with them throughout the summer. I don't want to say a lot of scout team work, but we'll do some work for our first couple of opponents in that practice. We'll do a bunch of special teams. It'll be a full practice. We'll be in full pads and it probably more important to us than the Saturday scrimmage, even though the Saturday scrimmage to me, I'm hoping that we'll have a nice crowd, particularly for our young players. I want them to feel a little bit nervous in front of a crowd and see how they perform without the coach's kind of directing them what to do."
Question: When you say that Tate is further ahead then you may have thought; what does that mean exactly in terms of…?
Coach Rodriguez: "Mentally. The speed of the game is always an adjustment for new guys and I think Tate has adapted pretty well to that. The learning curve; he's kind of a gym rat, a guy that loves to come in and watch film on his own. Coach Smith has done a good job with him and all quarterbacks need to be that way. I think all of ours are and I think the ones that we got coming in, in the fall will be that way as well, because there is so much to learn. For us, the more the quarterback learns, the more we can proceed with our offense, because we can put a lot on him mentally if we choose too."
Question: Where is (Nick) Sheridan now? Is he progressing?
Coach Rodriguez: "You talking about Nick?"
Coach Rodriguez: "You could tell that he was in the system for a year at the beginning of the spring."
Question: I meant with the injury.
Coach Rodriguez: "He'll be okay. Again four to six weeks, so by the time begin their summer workouts, he should be 100%."
Question: Is there any chance of adding any scholarship players before the fall?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. We signed 22, so we really have three spots that we can sign with this year's class coming up. We'll wait and see in the next couple of weeks or month and see if anything happens."
Question: That's the period of time when that usually happens?
Coach Rodriguez: "It could happen as late as August. Generally for us, normally that'll happen, if it does happen by the end of May."
Question: How has (Ryan) Van Bergen done?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah he's done well. Ryan is one of the best conditioned big guys that we have. He's having a good spring. He can play multiple positions. He plays a lot of special teams. We need more Ryan Van Bergens. We are not as deep as we need to be or will be, but he's having a good spring."
Question: Brandon Minor and Donovan (Warren) are in green today; where there injuries?
Coach Rodriguez: "Are they? They'll be able to go. They'll take some reps today and I think it is more precautionary than anything else."
Question: How frequently do you talk to Denard Robinson during spring practice?
Coach Rodriguez: "We probably talk to him whether it is by the position coach, Smith or the recruiting coach, Coach Magee, probably a couple times a week. Coach Smith has been talking to him quite a bit as far as trying to teach him some of the offense. It's hard to do over the phone, but we'll get there. He's a sharp guy, I think during the summer, he'll learn pretty quickly just being around Nick and the other quarterbacks."
Question: He has run a couple of really fast times in track.
Coach Rodriguez: "He's a fast guy."
Question: Do you see that translating?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah generally. Some guys are track guys and some guys are football guys, but you want the guys that can translate that speed. He's fast on the field and that's why we signed him. The thing for us as a staff is that we don't want to slow him down football wise. Sometimes mentally you give a guy too much and it slows him down…the mind will slow down his feet sort of speak. We'll see when he gets here. We got plenty of time to get him ready."
Question: Is there one position group during the spring that maybe has surprised you a little bit with their progress?
Coach Rodriguez: "No not really. I thought the offensive line would make steps and I think they have in some regards. I think the defensive line. There are some new guys there. Mike Martin has been a little bit banged up. There has not really been one group that's surprised. We wish we had more guys healthy, but I'm sure every coach in America would say that. I think we've gotten…so far, we've made the progress that we need to make in the spring and then if our guys can carry it over through summer we'll be okay."
Question: Mike Williams has done well this spring?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. Mike is a physical guy. He's going to help us in a lot of ways. We just try to keep him under control. He wants to make every hit a big highlight hit and sometimes you just got to be under control and get the tackle, particularly making the deep safety position. We are working on that and today is the day the day that we're trying to put an emphasis on that."
Question: Were you a Carolina fan Monday night?
Coach Rodriguez: "I thought Carolina was a very talented team. Michigan State had a great year too. Just to get to the Final Four; I'm not being politically correct, but to get there you've got to have a great, great, not only just a great team but a great chemistry. I didn't go to the game. I thought if I went there I might get tortured or something. I'm a big college basketball fan. I'm looking forward to the day that the ‘Big Blue' are in the Final Four. I think it'll be sooner rather than later. Not to put the pressure on John (Beilein)."
Question: This is two weeks too late, but you mentioned John (Beilein) and you said that he would…
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah John and I have been good friends for a long time and I've seen him at work. He was a neighbor and I just think the world of him. I think his program is right on track to where he wants it to be."
Question: He said that he would have helped (Tom) Izzo, if Izzo had called him and wanted some idea on scouting on Connecticut; if Tressel or Dantonio would call you for a bowl game and ask you about a team?
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't think they ever would (laughing). There are some coaches…I don't know….in football it is a little different dynamic I think because in basketball…in football we exchange all the games. In basketball, it's hard to get…I guess Michigan State has a nice set up, but we probably have the same way, but it's hard to get. They don't exchange film like they do in football. So there is not as much help that you really provide that you're not going to be able to do with your own staff."
Question: That was politically correct.
Coach Rodriguez: "Circled around that."
Coach Rod Presser Transcript
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