Rich Rod: "This One Hurts...but will Move On"

Rich Rodriguez reacts to Michigan's 26-20 overtime loss to Michigan State. The Wolverines' headman discussed his defense's inability to get off of the field on third down, why his offense was stagnant for much of the game, the furious comeback, and more.

Question:  Tough loss, but were you at least heartened by the comeback?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm proud of the guys, the way they kept battling in there for 60 minutes and a little more in overtime.  We just didn't execute and we got to do a better job as coaches and make a few more plays and not put ourselves in that situation; it's a loss."

Question:  Obviously Tate (Forcier) was falling apart near the end, but he was still made the plays and then overtime.

Coach Rodriguez:  "He was a little bit tired and you normally don't get tired when you scramble around and make some plays like he did; he made a few plays at the end.  Sometimes the youth helps it helps you and sometimes it hurts you, but I'm really proud of the way Tate battled.  He made a few big plays at the end there.  We never got into a rhythm the whole game, but at least we hung around long enough to have a chance."

Question:  Talk about the defense not being able to get off the field on the first half.

Coach Rodriguez:  "The disappointing is that we played pretty good defense for a while and it was the third downs that seemed to kill us.  It was third and long – a lot of third and longs; how many times did the quarterback scramble and got first downs.  That was pretty frustrating, you play two good snaps and then third snap they get a big first down.  They really controlled the game and never allowed us to get our offense in rhythm.  Again, they battled; we battled and we just didn't make plays when we had to."

Question:  Talk about the rushing attack; obviously you guys struggled today.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah we couldn't run the ball.  Some of it was because we couldn't get in a rhythm, didn't have the ball had a couple of three and outs. I'll have to watch the film and see where our blocking was."

Question:  Rich what behind the fake punt?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He was supposed to kick it.  It was a read and Zoltan (Melsko), he's made that decision very, very well other times and that time he thought he saw a crease.  Our defense did a good job and held them to three; that was the determining factor in the game."

Question:  You talked about the rhythm, did their defense just rise to the occasion today with not getting in a rhythm with your offense?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, I guess a little bit.  Some of it was them and some of it was us.  Have to watch the film and figure that out."

Question:  How hampered was Forcier at all shoulder wise?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know.  He was a little sore beforehand.  I think he got a little sore at times throughout the game, because again, it is hard to stay warmed up when you're not on the field.  He competed – I'm proud of him."

Question:  What went into your decision to put in Denard Robinson to start the fourth quarter?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We were running some plays with Denard.  He's part of our offense.  We were trying to get a little spark going there.  We couldn't get any spark going offensively, I was disappointed, but as coaches, we've got to figure out how to jump start our guys a little bit when you get a game like this that we're not on the field very much."

Question:  Because he makes plays, you have to live with the play that Forcier made at the end?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Now no, these are coachable moments.  Tate's a very conscience guy.  He'll learn from it.  He's a true freshman.  To have true freshman out there competing the way he did throughout the game is pretty remarkable, and he'll keep growing and getting better from this day."

Question:  What is your overall impression of Spartan Stadium?

Coach Rodriguez:  "It seemed like the crowd was into it.  The field was 120 yards long and whatever 53 an third wise.  The grass was in good shape. The ground's crew did a nice job."

Question:  Getting into a rhythm on offense, does weather like this; is that a factor too?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Sometimes.  You got to change balls out when it's wet.  It's the same for both teams.  I thought the weather held up pretty well.  We got a few spurts of rain, it seemed like in the fourth quarter there was a few times when it rained a little harder and we might have had a few snaps where the ball was wet, but I thought the rain held off pretty well."

Question:  Every loss is disappointing, but could you sense in your team because you lost to Michigan State last year had…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Last year is last year.  What are you going to do about that.  There is no do-overs from last year.  We're disappointed because we lost this year.  This year's team is different than last year's team and next year's team is going to be different.  I'm (not) a revisionist; I'm not going to look back in history.  I'm going to look back at this one.  This one hurts, it's going to hurt and it is going to hurt everybody in our program for 24 hours, as I told the team.  After that we got to move on and we got a big Saturday night game next weekend."

Question:  Roy Roundtree isn't on the field as much as some of the other slots.  What was the decision to have him in there at the end when he caught the touchdown?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we were getting some faster guys out there, some four receiver sets.  We knew that we were going to throw the ball and Roy is a pretty good route runner and made a big catch at the end."

Question:  Was time of possession frustrating in the first half?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well time of possession is something that is frustrating, but it is just not getting off the field defensively and not saying on the field offensively.  We always said that we've got to make the other team play some defense and in the first half they didn't have to play any defense…they did, but they didn't have to play for extended periods of time, because we weren't getting first downs and weren't stopping them."

Question:  The series, the turn in the first quarter when you guys failed to capitalize on that interception and they had that long, long drive, got a bunch of third downs, talk about that and how much that set the tone for things going forward.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know.  It certainly ate up the whole first quarter and didn't allow us to get in any rhythm offensively, but the game still went down to overtime.  I wouldn't say that determined the outcome of the game.  It certainly allowed them to get in a little rhythm offensively and didn't allow us to."

Question:  What kind of momentum did you feel when you had flurry to tie the game at the end; you guys must have felt pretty good.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Oh yeah, it felt great.  In overtime, we got a reprieve.  We got another chance and we just didn't execute in overtime and they did."

Question:  Did you ever consider going for two (at the end of regulation)?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No."


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