Rodriguez Looks Ahead to Notre Dame

Rich Rodriguez breaks down his club's 31-7 victory over Western Michigan and discusses Saturdays big match-up with Notre Dame. Michigan's headman updates the injury situation, the quarterback rotation, discusses Notre Dame's offensive and defensive strengths, and more.


Question:  They weren't talked about a whole lot on Saturday, but the efforts of your special teams.
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah I thought it was pretty solid.  A lot of young guys playing for the first time.  I didn't do the exact count, but I think we had 28 players playing for the first time in the Big House and there was some at the end of the game, but there was a lot of first time players at the beginning of the game, meaningful time on special teams.  I thought Zoltan (Mesko) punted very well.  I was very pleased with the way Jason (Olesnavage) kicked.  I thought Bryan Wright kicked off very well.  There was some things.  We made some mistakes, some typical first thing mistakes all across the board but nothing that we feel needed to be corrected.  Normally after the first game, you replace four or five guys on different special team units, and we may change two or three spots.  Other than that, I thought it was solid."

Question:  Offensively what changed in the second half after looking at the film?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Well in the third quarter, we really only had the two series and one we scored on and we had the holding penalty.  Then in the fourth quarter, we didn't execute as well, but we changed a little bit to really add more of our ‘kill the clock' offense and didn't show as much.  We were still trying to score but the execution wasn't quite as sharp.   We are going to need to see if we can kill the clock, kill some time off the clock in some tight games, so we went to kind of that mode in offense."

Question:  Not give Notre Dame more of your real offense to look at?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I think they saw quite a bit in the first half anyway but there was no need to show or special or anything like that at the end of the game."

Question:  Just in general, what did you learn about your team that maybe you didn't know going into the game?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I thought going into it they would play hard and they would execute better, particularly offensively being in the second year.  What I didn't know was how the freshman quarterback would play and how we would do with the new scheme defensively.  There were times on defense that we were scrambling to get lined up and there was missed assignment here and there but overall I thought for the first time out of the gait defensively in a new scheme they handled it pretty well."

Question:  Personnel wise, did anybody surprise you?
Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  I was really pleased with the composure of the guys playing for the first time.  That was the one aspect of it and sometimes you're talking about the quarterbacks and that's obvious but also like Craig Roh who is a true freshman that started for the first time and was really pleased.  I'm sure all those guys were nervous, but Craig played, very, very well.  I thought the freshman quarterbacks in particular handled themselves pretty well."

Question:  Will you feel as strongly to play Nick Sheridan if Tate (Forcier) and Denard (Robinson) play the way they did Saturday?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Sure.  It's more of a week by week feel thing, just like Saturday.  I was pleased that we were able to get all three of those in at meaningful times.  Nick made the one mistake with the interception, but he also made some really solid plays before that and the touchdown was a great play by Nick.  Nick was there, but I'm not going to have to have a set rotation per se.  We will continue to do what we did the next several weeks what we did this past week."

Question:  Will you start Tate again?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah Tate will start unless he has a really bad week of practice.  If he has a really bad week of practice, then we'll make a change."

Question:  You had some guys nicked up in the game, any further report on that?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  Speaking of injuries, I don't know if we talked about it, but I think to make it easily for you all and it will certainly make it easy on us.  What we'll do is…I tried to get it adopted league wide like they do in the ACC but for whatever reason it didn't pass.  What we want to do is give you a report on Thursday just like the NFL does of who's doubtful, who's probable and who's out.  That way we don't have to answer questions all week.  I'll tell you today where we are at and then Thursday you'll get the report from the trainer so that we can verify it.  I brought my list.  We came out of the game relatively healthy.  Junior Hemingway tweaked his ankle a little bit, so he'll be limited this week, somewhat today and maybe tomorrow and then we'll see how he goes on Wednesday.  Mark Moundros got dinged in the game, but he should be cleared for Saturday.  We'll probably hold him out of contact all week.  Boubacar Cissoko, who had a little bit of a nerve problem, re-aggravated it a little bit in the game, but he should be fine.  We'll probably hold him out of contact a little bit this week.  Brandon Minor who did not play as you all know, actually looked better than he had in a couple of weeks in pregame; we still had him out.  Hopefully this week he'll be stronger and we hope that he'll be able to play Saturday.  I think that's all for right now."

Question:  Will Carlos Brown still start?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yes Carlos will start unless again he has a tough week of practice."

Question:  How did Carlos do?
Coach Rodriguez:  "He played pretty well.  He really did.  He made some nice runs.  There was a few misreads, as you would expect for the first time in the game.  We thought he ran well, caught the ball well and he really protected well.  He's worked really hard as our backs have on protection and on blocking and I thought you could seethe difference in Carlos and our backs and blocking was pretty solid."

Question:  How much do you go back to what Greg (Robinson) did last year against Notre Dame?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm sure Greg and the defensive staff will look at it, but I'm sure Notre Dame is as well.  Look at what Greg did with them last year because it was a nice win for him and I'm sure they will prepare for that scheme.  Again, they're a year older.  Most of their offensive players are back.  (Jimmy) Clausen has got another year under his belt and he's performing at a very high level in his last several ball games.  We have to have a nice plan for him.  Defensively, we played really well at times Saturday, second half not as well, but we'll have to play really well to win this one."

Question:  How pleased were you with the offensive line performance on Saturday?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It was solid.  It wasn't great.  I thought it was solid across the board.  The effort was really good.  We had a few more mistakes that we got to get fixed up.  This is a big week for the O-line and for the tight ends and the backs and all the blitzes that we will see.  They like to bring it on just about every snap.  I've played against coach Tenuta's defense last year.  You can see his impact on it.  I played against it a couple of years ago when he was the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech.  I played him in the bowl game.  We know that they are going to bring a lot of pressure, a lot of blitzes from all different angles and for our O-line this is a big week in preparation and our quarterbacks."

Question:  Can you remember a true freshman quarterback playing at as high level as Tate did in his first ever game?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I've not had a true freshman start, so it was a new experience for us.  He is kind of unique from the standpoint that he was probably more nervous than he left on, but he didn't act like it.  It didn't seem like it on the sidelines or the pregame.  He had a big smile on his face.  I think he was more excited than nervous.  Sure there has to be some nerves in there and the pleasing part is that when he did make a mistake, and he did, as all the guys do at times make a mistake or two; he knew right away what it was.  So when you know that is happening, his mind is into the game and he's thinking the right things.  He'll keep getting better, as will Denard and the rest of those young guys.  That's the most pleasing part.  We're still a very young team and we're going to make mistakes and this is going to be a bigger challenge because of the talent that Notre Dame has.  I have to remind ourselves sometimes to be patient as coaches.  They're going to make a few miscues here and there and we are just going to keep plugging ahead and learn from it."

Question:  What was the best thing that Denard did?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Well, he ran really fast (laughter).  He's only been in the offense three and a half weeks.  So compare him with Tate is sometimes not fair because Tate again had the 15 practices in the spring and that makes a huge difference.  Denard has only had the camp, only three and a half weeks of camp.  I think Denard's learning curve is going to get there, but again, he kept his composure out there.  He didn't panic.  He made a couple of plays and there are a couple of plays that he would like to have back.  I think it was good to get him out there.  Again, Denard is not just a running threat and Tate is just not the thrower.  Those guys have to run the whole offense and we work on it.  I think with Denard, he's very, very conscience guy, but he wants to learn and it is important to him.  He'll keep getting reps as will Tate and Nick and we'll see what happens."

Question:  There was the one play where Denard was the slot receiver; do you plan having them on the field at the same time more?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It could be.  There was probably more that we could do with that.  We're trying to get the ball to guys in space, fast guys who can run and he's one of them obviously.  It was good maybe for him to kind of get his feet wet without having to take the snaps and say the cadence and all that.  I thought it was invaluable hope important it was for him to get in at a meaningful time and for the offensive lineman to hear him run his cadence, for him to make decisions, not just in the run game, but the pass game."

Question:  It seems like Notre Dame's defense on Saturday struggled a little bit with gashing and when your guy tried to run up the middle; when you see something like that do you have to…?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I think the bottom line is that they shut them out and Nevada was one of the top…I don't know what their states finished up last year, but I think they were in the top 10 nationally in total offense and maybe in scoring.  To get a shut out in the first game against them, I know they talked about it and had time to prepare, but also Nevada had time to prepare for Notre Dame's defense.  I thought it was a great performance.  I thought they tackled well in space, which is a bit thing to do when you play a spread team. They got pressure on their quarterback who is a very experienced guy.  I thought it was a great performance; they got the shut out and I'm sure that they are going to play with great confidence against us."

Question:  Do you feel like this game, now that both teams have answered some sort of questions is taking more of a national tone again?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, I would hope.  I would always think that Michigan-Notre Dame is always going to have a national tone.  It's one of the greatest rivalries that there and it's a game that has great passion from a fan following, from a national following and certainly from a TV perspective that will be there as well.  Everybody knows that we got tremendous fan support and it was unbelievable on Saturday, and I can imagine our fans can't wait for this Saturday as well to have another great turnout and to be in the game like we were this past weekend."

Question:  When Junior was out last year, did you know what kind of player that you were missing?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah we did.  Junior was really banged up all year.  I've said several times that his athleticism makes a difference for us out there.  He's a big play, as he showed this past weekend, a big play wide out and hopefully he can get back quickly because when he's not out there we miss him."

Question:  Anything further on Adrian Witty?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It doesn't appear that Adrian will be able to make it for this fall.  Hopefully we'll continue to recruit him and follow his progress of whether he goes to prep school or retakes the test for next year."

Question:  You were so close to the game, did it sound louder in there with the stadium almost complete?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I didn't notice it much, again, because I had the two headsets on. But some of the kids said that, and some of the other coaches and people remarked that it seemed louder. One, again, we've got tremendous fans, so that helps. But also, I think even the structure, the way the glass and the new suites are maybe keeping some of the noise in there. But it was pretty intense. Some people that watched the game on TV have told me that it sounded loud in there. It'll keep getting louder if we play well and give them some reason to shout."

Question:  You alluded to Notre Dame's personnel a little bit; what sort of challenge is there passing game for your secondary and is your secondary up for it?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we hope so because we're going to get challenged by a quarterback that is playing as well as you can possible play.  He's very strong armed, accurate, smart guy.  He can take advantage of some situations.  He throws a deep ball extremely well and he's got some guys that can catch it in (Golden) Tate and (Michael) Floyd.  He has got two in the best of the country at wide out.  Their tight end is an NFL guy, an outstanding player.  I really like their tailback.  I remember Armando Allen coming out of high school.  I thought he was one of the top guys in the country coming out.  I knew his high school coach very well.  They've got a lot of talent and their playing and executing at a nice thing, every since the bowl game.  You can see that the bowl game gave them confidence.  They carried it over last week against Nevada and I'm sure that they are going to have a lot of confidence coming in here."

Question:  What did your secondary to well against Western (Michigan)?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we tackled well.  I thought we made some nice breaks on the ball.  They hit some passes on us as they will probably all year against everybody else, but when we did, we tackled for the most part.  We gave up the one big play, which was disappointing, but we're going to have to do that again.  If we get in one on one situations or challenging situations our corners and our safeties are going to have to really play well because they are playing against some of the best wide outs they will see all year."

Question:   With those wide outs they have in particular in Floyd and Tate; what jumps out?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Just their athleticism.  One, they can run and Floyd is a big guy that can run.  They go get the ball.  They got tremendous ball skills.  So there are a lot of times when there is jump balls and there will be guys right on them and they'll go up and make a play.  That happened against Nevada.  It happened last year.  It happened against us.  We've got to do a great job of playing the ball in the air and then we got to get our safeties involved to help a little bit.  The other thing, the obvious thing, you've got to get pressure on the quarterback.  Clausen is too good as most talented quarterbacks would be, just give him time to sit in there, look around and scan the field and find the matchup that he wants to throw it.  We've got to try and get some pressure on the quarterback."

Question:  Justin Turner, the true freshman, he didn't see the field on Saturday. Are you looking to play Turner?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, again, he's a true freshman; he's only been here a few weeks. So I think he's going to continue to grow. His progress will keep getting better, and we're going to need him. He's in our thoughts and he's getting a lot of reps. As he progresses, either he or Teric Jones or you mentioned J.T. Floyd, he played quite a bit. We're going to need more corners to emerge.  Justin is one of those guys talented enough to do it. Again, he's only been practicing for a couple weeks, so we'll see what happens."

Question: What the breakdown on the one touchdown that you allowed; what was that?
Coach Rodriguez:  "They made a nice play and we made a mistake.  That's all.  I'm not going to single out guys for that.  That's not fair to them."

Question:  When Boubacar went out, what was your assessment of JT Floyd's performance?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I thought he played really well.  I think he was really nervous.  I don't think he felt his legs for the first quarter and a half when he was out there, again because he was playing for the first time.  Normally when you get more confidence, you can play more aggressively and you don't think as much.  I think as the game went on, he got more and more confidence.  I think as the season goes along, he'll get more and more confidence.  In practice, Boubacar missed a little bit of time, Donovan (Warren) missed a little bit of time and he was the third guy; the first guy in, the first corner.  He was really aggressive in practice and really did a nice job.  I think the encouraging part was that he played okay for the first time out there, but he'll keep getting better as his confidence grows, which it should because he can play."

Question:  Are you more comfortable with the depth in the defensive backfield?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Getting there, but not yet. Again, we have not been -- that was a pretty good challenge Saturday, it's a bigger challenge this Saturday."

Question:  What did you think of the defensive line, particular Brandon Graham; he didn't have a sack?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Brandon had a lot of pressures.  I think he probably got frustrated because he was close a lot of times.  There was three or four times when he was right there.  He may not make a sack, but he made a play with the pressure.  Mike Martin had some pressure.  Ryan Van Bergen had some.  I already mentioned Craig Roh; did a nice job and had some pressure.  I thought it was pretty solid.  Overall on the D-line, it was a good effort, but this is again another big challenge and if Brandon can get some more pressure this weekend in particular with some attention that he'll get.  Because Notre Dame will max protect a lot.  They'll keep a tight end or a back in to protect and then release them out late.  So they're not going to give him a lot of one on one opportunities; they'll have some, but they'll max protect and then release him out late and try to give Clausen time to throw it."

Question:  What was your assessment of the return men on Saturday and were they selected mostly because of…?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Ball security was first and foremost in our mind and both the kick returner and punt returner, Greg is the best we got at catching the ball.  He had the one nice return.  We were close on that.  There were a couple of times, one more block we probably could have had a big return, particularly on punts.  The kick return, we had a couple of opportunities, but I thought Daryl Stonum really hit it up in there pretty good.  That is such an emphasis for us, as you all know, taking care of the ball and ball security first that was our first thought.  Tay Odoms is going to get some chances in the punt too because he catches the ball well and he may be our best back there as far as making something happen."

Question:  After watching the tape, you had a couple more defensive linemen that you trust, more than say a couple of weeks ago.
Coach Rodriguez:  "The guy who I think mentioned earlier who had a really good spring and had an outstanding camp was Greg Banks.  We mentioned him before, I don't want to say he's transformed himself, but he's done such a great job of taking his game to another level, from what the work he did in the weight room, from what he did during fall camp.  Greg Banks, we got a lot of confidence playing Greg inside right now.  He was an end that we moved inside.  Ryan Van Bergen is a solid football player.  We think he's in great shape and he played really well.  Mike Martin is another guy that we mentioned.  Craig Roh to have a true freshman start a defensive end/quick position is quite remarkable as a true freshman to do that because there is a lot on his plate.  He's a smart tough guy.  He and Brandon Herron who played really for the first time at that position did some pretty solid work."

Question:  When it comes to Craig was there a moment in camp when you saw him…?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, probably for me was probably the one on one pass rush drills that they did against the varsity or upper class offensive lineman; he was a handful for those guys to block.  We said, ‘geez, he's got that skill can he learn some of the other stuff'.  Again, Craig is very conscience and learned it.  He's still a freshman, so we know that he is going to make mistakes.  He is whatever he is 235-240 pounds and in a year or so he'll be about 250 and faster and like I said, he's a hard worker that wants to be great.  He doesn't want to be good, he wants to be great and I'm excited to see what he is going to do."

Question:  Did Tay Odoms get banged up at all because he was out of the game pretty early?
Coach Rodriguez:  "No, we was rotating.  Coach Magee and I talked about it.  We had a planned rotation in mind with him and Kelvin Grady and they both…Tay had 30 plays and Kelvin had 26 and that was about the right rotation for an equal amount of reps.  I think it helps.  Tay Odoms played too many plays last year so with the emergence of Kelvin and Roy Roundtree out there and also Terrance Robinson, we're able to keep those guys fresher."

Question:  How do you feel that Stevie Brown played?
Coach Rodriguez:  "He played really well.  Him and Obi Ezeh were the two defensive players of the game for us.  I think Stevie has really taken to that new position.  He had a big fumble that he caused.  He did a nice job of helping get lined up and played really well, very solid."

Question:  Who were the offensive players of the game?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It was Junior Hemingway.  He made a couple of the obvious big plays, but he was solid all the way around.  Then Zoltan was the special team player of the game.  He's continued to show that he's one of the best in the country."

Question:  What was the reaction to (Kevin) Koger's catch when you guys saw it on film yesterday?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It's funny because I've been on the guys all camp about catching the ball with two hands, go up with two hands and I probably yelled it 50 times to go up with two hands and so Kevin makes that catch and everybody is slapping him on the back.  The first thing I see him after the game and we haven't even gone up the tunnel yet; he said coach I went up with two hands (laughter), he said that the other one couldn't reach it.  You can see it on film.  He went up with two hands but it was so far wide that he could only catch it with one.  I said, okay Kevin we forgive you for that.  It was a great play.  It's fun because we'll have a big kick out that.  Every time somebody gets a one handed catch now, they'll refer back to my comment."

Question:  With Tate, how unusual is it to have that upbringing?  He was basically groomed to be a quarterback.  Both his brothers were college quarterbacks, his father was a college quarterback; how unusual is that and how much do you think that has prepared him for this?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I do think it has made a little bit of a difference, because as you've said, he's been around so many games and played since he was little and his dad has taken him around, taught him football.  He's not your typical freshman coming in that has not been around a little bit.  Because of his older brothers and because of the exposure that he got to camps and teaching and all that, he's a little bit more seasoned and mature from a quarterback standpoint.  Again, he is just one year removed from high school.  There are still moments when you can see it is a true freshman, but the exciting part is what he and Denard are going to be.  When you say oh boy, these are mistakes that they will never make next year or the year after that.  There is so much more that you can do offensively as those guys grow.  Right now and any coach will tell you that, you got this amount of offense that you can use and as they understand and grow you can use this much more, but you don't want to trick yourselves.  You don't want Michigan to beat Michigan.  We are hoping to slowly add some things and it really depends on the development of all the guys particularly those young quarterbacks."

Question:  What about the timing the series that Nick went in the middle of a drive.
Coach Rodriguez:  "Tate, something happened with the ankle brace or the shoe came off.  Maybe he shouldn't tie them like Denard; he came out and while he was doing that we wanted to keep a rhythm going, and I wanted to get Nick in the game anyways, we got in there and we thought it worked out alright, but we had that touchdown called back because of the hold.  We got to get that cleaned up.  We had some typical, the holding penalties and we gave up the one big play on defense.  We can break on the ball better.  We had some misreaeds.  So some typical first game stuff, but it was good to get Nick in there.  He made the mistake with the pick.  Nick's a smart guy, I don't think he'll make that mistake again."

Question:  What percentage of the offense do you think guys are capable or running right now?
Coach Rodriguez:  "There is so much too it.  Tate probably 70% of it, again how much offense you can add and we can add a lot; it seems like a lot, but it is really not a lot to those young freshman, 18 or 19 years old that may see more than what we think.  As coaches, we sit there and watch film all day, so it may not seem like a big deal, but we got to remember they got a lot on their mind, particularly starting tomorrow, classes start.  We got to be careful this week.  We got a lot to prepare for, but they also are going to class live as true freshman.  We've got to make sure that we're not overloading them."

Question:  Regarding Koger and the things that we mentioned, the pressure that Notre Dame brings; how is he as a blocker?
Coach Rodriguez:  "He's outstanding, both he and Martell Webb have really done a great job in camp.  Our defense has brought some variety of blitzes out of different fronts and they've been able to handle things pretty well.  Again, it is the second year in the system for both of them, so we would expect that.  Kevin's a big physical guy and so is Martell.   It was good to splint time with those two as well.  Those are two guys that we think very highly of and they both played pretty solidly on Saturday."

Question:  I think your two quarterbacks combined for 21 carries is that about what you want from them?
Coach Rodriguez:  "That's probably more than I'm accustomed to.  We probably gave more, in particular to Denard in the first game, just so that they would get that experience.  I don't know if normally you'd go in the game, some of those carries were pass plays that everybody was covered and that's okay.  We tell the quarterbacks…everybody wants sometime the quarterback to say everybody is covered you go to your third read, fourth read, go on your third and fourth read, by the time you get to your third read, I'd rather you took off and your fourth read is run him.  You want to keep your quarterback's eyes downfield.  I think that's important, but I think he is pointing his eyes down field so he knows whether to run it or throw it.  If you can keep positive yards and get out of negative plays in the passing game, if everybody is covered then that's a good thing.  Some of them runs were passes that turned into runs and some of them were designed runs that we wanted to get those guys used to running."

Question:  You got Vincent Smith in there late was that just to kind of indoctrinate him?
Coach Rodriguez:  "He probably should have gotten in earlier.  He had performed well enough at camp; we were confident enough to put him in earlier in the game and I think he was ready for that.  He's not just an end of the game just put him in, he's in the mix."

Question:  It has been pretty noticeable that you have a lot of second or third and manageables?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, that's the key. The negative yardage plays, when you get behind the chains, so to speak, the 2nd and 15s or the 3rd and 12s, there's not a whole lot of offense, no matter who your quarterback is or your receivers are that can overcome that. If we can stay on schedule, and the whole key for us is getting 1st downs and positive plays on 1st downs. If we can do that, then you've got a whole lot more offense that you can call or that you think you can call to have success.  There's no question for us, that's not just the key in that game but the key in this game and the key in every game is having the positive yards and not having those 3rd or 2nd and very longs."

Question:  When you've got a lead do you like sometimes having two tight ends and a fullback…?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah we've done it in the past.  I know somebody mentioned it earlier, you got under center, you went in the I.  Just look back over the years, we've always done that.  At the end of the game, the fourth quarter, we get it to six or seven minutes to go, what do you do to win the game, how do you close it out, how are you going to win the game.  I didn't notice it.  I think the last drive might have been six or seven minutes, six minutes or so.  We've always worked very hard on that and take great pride and having that ability in your offense to close the game out if you have that lead in the fourth quarter."

Question:  How many snaps do you think you had last year of two tights and a fullback last year?
Coach Rodriguez:  "We didn't have any leads in the fourth quarter (laughter).  We got to get a lead first.  That's the whole key is to get the lead so you can have a chance to use it."

Question:  What did you show your team tape from last year?
Coach Rodriguez:  "The only time we used last year is really as a reference point for upcoming opponent.  We'll watch some Notre Dame film, particularly offensively to see if they'll play us the same way.  They are doing a few different things this year defensively than last year, but we'll always use last year's tape as a reference point.  As far as it being a different team every year, we don't use that as to compare this is their team or this is our team; you've got to look at this year's film."

Question:  How much can you take because you had so many turnovers in that game last year, how many can you take out of how your guys can really match up?
Coach Rodriguez:  "It was frustrating to watch it.  We've watched it a couple of times.  I think we had six, is that correct, six turnovers, some of them we caused and some of them were uncaused turnovers.  Those were the things, the unforced areas the ball just falling out of our hand and that was before it was even raining.  That was really frustrating.  That point, you are still very frustrated, but still they won't, they made the plays and we didn't.  We certainly didn't give ourselves much of a chance, particularly early in the game and we were so far behind so early.  I thought our guys competed and came back but it was frustrating as we've ever been just simply because were weren't helping yourself in any regard."

Question:  Has Notre Dame's offensive line improved?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I think so from what've I see.  They blocked us well last year.  They got some big plays and we didn't get a lot of pressure on them.  Again, I've only watched a couple of their offense games.  We watch more of their defense.  They were very good against Nevada, very good."

Question:   Do you know Charlie Weis at all?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah I've known Charlie for a few years.  I didn't know him until a few years ago. Then a few years back we visited and talked a little football; I don't know that was a couple of years ago."

Question:  How much of your defense did you guys actually show Notre Dame?
Coach Rodriguez:  "I think Greg would be a better judge of that then I would, but he wasn't holding anything back.  We were doing everything we could to win the Western game. They saw our defense."

Question:  How about the pressure that you did get on third down; it seemed like a lot of third downs, you may not have gotten a sack, but they had to get rid of it because they were getting hit.
Coach Rodriguez:  "We got some pressure from blitz, but we also had some 3 month pressure, which as a coach you really like to see.  There were two times when Brandon Graham, we was in a three man rush, he got pressure on the quarterback.  He had one on one situation with a tackle and if you can get pressure with a three man you're going to have a good day."

Question:  Do you know Corwin Brown much?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah I know Corwin just a little bit.  I just met him a couple of years ago.  I know he's a Michigan guy and was a great player here.  We've talked a few times and seen each other at different functions.  I believe he was back for the reunion."

Question:  You had Kevin Grady going in for Moundros and he played fairly well.  Is that a role he'll continue to play?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah Kevin is a back up fullback; I say backup, but he's right there in the rotation with Mark, they kind of split time.  He also can play some of the running back, which he did on Saturday, and he plays on some special teams.  So Kevin has had a good camp.   He's a coachable guy that wants to do anything we ask of Kevin Grady to do, he's been willing to do it.  We thought he played pretty well.  Again, everybody can correct a few things here and there, but Kevin is kind of a nice weapon for us to do.  He's got great ball skills and he and Mark are continuing to play that fullback position.  As will John McColgan, who is another young guy, a walk on that has really come on and gives us a third guy that we feel pretty good that we can put in at fullback."

Question:  Have you handed out all scholarships to all of the wlak-ons you're goiang to offer them to?
Coach Rodriguez:  "Almost.  I still have one or two possible offers.  There are upwards of seven or eight open available scholarships that we've been able to award young men with and that's quite pleasing, as they've earned it for sure."


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