Question: Let's talk about the ground game and rebuilding it after last week. I know you have talked about it a little bit this week, but what have you guys focused on the last couple of days?
Coach Rodriguez: "Really it is just the execution of the whole offense, not just the running game. Last week was a little bit different, we didn't have the ball much in the first half and didn't play well when we did have it and the things that we saw we can correct. We think we can correct it. They're going to have something to do with that too. They're pretty strong up front. Hopefully we can establish some kind of continuity or rhythm on offense."
Question: Especially a team that hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in 33 straight quarters.
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah that is a phenomenal stat. I don't know what kind of record that is. You look at the quality teams they've played and to be able to do that against everybody is pretty amazing. For offensively, we just got to execute better. We know we are going to have a challenge up front. They are so active up front with their defensive line, using their hands, getting off blocks that we have to really strain a little extra harder this week."
Question: Looking at that stat, does that make you want to establish the run more?
Coach Rodriguez: "Just try to score. I don't care how we score. If we can score it any way possible that is a good thing whether you throw it or run it. That's the most difficult thing against them. I think the most point they gave up last year was 27. This year, they are off to a tremendous start defensively. So if you can score any way possible, I'm all for that."
Question: How is Brandon Minor getting along physically?
Coach Rodriguez: "This has been his best week probably since training camp. The past few weeks he has been limited during the weeks. Tuesday practices are the most physical practice and yesterday he went through the whole practice on Tuesday. Again, talking to him, it is probably the best he's felt in a few weeks."
Question: During those games, he's been getting fewer carries, is that because you're trying to limit him?
Coach Rodriguez: "It's because he's been limited. He's been limited in practice and he's been fortunate to be able to play, because he knows enough of the offense to play. We've talked about, listen, he's got to get more reps during the week to be prepared more for Saturday. Yesterday was a good day, not only for him, but I was really pleased with the way we practiced yesterday. We challenged the guys to be more physical. We got after it a little bit and it was a good practice."
Question: How do you replicate a guy Broderick Binns in practice, because he's got such a odd body type; he got such long arms?
Coach Rodriguez: "The biggest thing is they jump the ball very well. They anticipate the snap count, as I mentioned earlier, they do a great job of using their hands to get off blocks. They do a lot of line movements. I think they've always done that, some inside twists and some things with their defensive front, but more than anything we just got to get a hat on a hat and really do a good job fundamentally up front. This will be the biggest challenge they've faced so far this year."
Question: You said David Molk might do some things this week; has he done anything?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. I think he worked with the trainer a little bit, but he's still a ways off. I don't know if he'll be able to practice next week or not."
Question: Is it the continuity with the line in terms of what you're going to do?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah a little bit. Again, we're trying to get the most production we can out of it. I think this will be the third game now that Dave Moosman has been at center, so I think he'll get a little bit more comfortable in there. We miss Molk, but we know what the situation is and those guys have taken his place. Perry Dorrestein has been pretty solid at right tackle, Mark Huyge has been solid. I think Steve Schilling has really settled into his role at left guard as well."
Question: Do you see playing a night game at Michigan Stadium one day down the road?
Coach Rodriguez: "Ah could be. We really haven't discussed it much. I know the folks at ESPN would like to have one and I can understand why, and I think they'd bring lights in. That's something for further down the road. I think there is more issues, again I'm new here, relatively new, so I think it is more issues than just playing. I think it is the lightening for the parking and all that is an issue to do that. It certainly is a different atmosphere. The player may like it. As coaches, it makes for a long day and long next day. For players on occasion, I think they like the night games."
Question: How do you spend like the morning of the afternoon before a game?
Coach Rodriguez: "Well we have meetings and we'll have a little bit of a walkthrough with the team. I don't know what the players do, but a lot of times the coaches will sit around and watch some games or something like that, but it's a long day. I played a bunch of them too."
Question: How late do you sleep in?
Coach Rodriguez: "Well, I don't sleep much. It don't make a difference whether we play at eight in the morning or eight at night, I think the night before is going to be about the same. I think the biggest difference is that you're not as rushed the day before and you don't do much on Friday anyway. I think the anxiety builds. I certainly think it builds for the players and the coaches."
Question: When you host night games, which I know you did that at West Virginia…
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah we did quite a few."
Question: …did you like that better than going into a road atmosphere?
Coach Rodriguez: "No. I liked it better because you're more comfortable at home and in your surroundings. It made it more difficult with recruits. Maybe recruits came in on official visit, you could spend a little time with them, but still your mind is still on the game, but it made for a long day. On the flip side, the night games are great exposure for your teams on TV. A lot of programs, it has helped elevate them. In our league, every team gets great exposure, so we don't have to do it, but I still think the attention you get nationally helps with recruiting somewhat."
Question: Do you have any stories from when you were at West Virginia, like the trial and tribulations of a night game?
Coach Rodriguez: "We were very fortunate. We had a lot of great players, so we had a lot of success in night games. I don't know exactly what the record is, but I know not only the Saturday night, but the Thursday nigh games, our night game record in the last five or six years was really good and our players took a little extra pride in that because it was kind of a special atmosphere for them. All players want when there is an intense atmosphere and they know everybody is into it. And one thing not to be overlooked, I think the crowds sometimes get into it, for whatever they did the six or seven hours or nine hours before the game, they seem to be more prepared for the game at night than they do sometimes at those noon kick offs, if you know what I mean. I'm sure their student section and some of their fans will be extra juiced up, if that's the right word for the night game."
Question: Is there one that stood out for you throughout your years?
Coach Rodriguez: "The one that I always remember, you remember as a player, back in 1984 when I was at West Virginia, we beat Penn State for the first time in I don't know how many years, 20 some years. I was a senior and I finally got a chance to start and we won and the crowd stormed the field and they had a big bon fire in the middle of the street – that wasn't good (laughter). They were burning couches, and chairs, and tables and lawn furniture and everything and that just happened to be just a block from where my house was at was renting. So I saw the smoke and that was pretty memorable at the time."
Question: Iowa used to paint the locker pink, I don't know if they still do.
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, again the guys where there a few years ago said that and I think they still have the pink toilet and everything like that. I've not even mentioned it. I don't think it's like that legal pad is pink, it's a little different. I don't think it is a big deal. I hear it is a pretty nice locker room."
Question: Bo Schembechler used to put newspaper over the pink; will you do something like that?
Coach Rodriguez: "I heard they did that one time and the game didn't turn out well, so they didn't do it another time, talking to Johnny Falk. Because we talked about it, but I don't think it is anything that matters."
Question: Do you do anything differently to prepare your team for an environment that they haven't been in yet?
Coach Rodriguez: "For the first road game last week, you do a little bit more crowd noise. We do it every week anyways, just about every day. We'll do a little bit more, consciousness effort to make some crowd noise for communication, particularly on offense."
Question: How well do you know Coach Campbell?
Coach Rodriguez: "I know Soup pretty well. I know his nickname. We talked when I first got the job here and he's been by quite a few times over the summer and have seen him. He's a great guy. He's an outstanding coach. We haven't talked obviously since the season started but during the summer, I saw him a few times. He popped over and said hi to everybody."
Question: Can you talk about Mike Martin and what you've seen out of him?
Coach Rodriguez: : "Yeah, Mike, really proud of him. Mike is a very active player. He's been very consistent, which is one thing that we challenged him with up front. Because we don't have quite the depth that we'd like to have. He's playing a lot more plays. All those guys up front are probably playing more plays than we'd like to, but they've held up pretty well. That's been the big with Mike is that he's held up very, very well with the number of plays that he's played at that position."
Question: Are you limiting Tate (Forcier) at all in practice this week?
Coach Rodriguez: "Tate, yeah. He was limited yesterday a little bit. Monday, didn't do very much at all. He did everything in the run game, not the pass game. Today, he should be able to do everything."
Question: Greg Robinson has had some experience with Syracuse against Iowa, is there any carryover in preparation?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah and he talked a little bit about it. Again, this is a few years ago that he played them. The first time I think it was overtime and the second time it wasn't as much at Iowa, they got after him pretty good. So he'll know a few things. He's looking at the film, because they may be looking at that film and saying, hey it is going to be same scheme defensively."
Question: The other corner position is it still JT Floyd and Boubacar Cissoko?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah."
Question: Anything definite on that?
Coach Rodriguez: "No and that thing is ongoing. Eventually you'd like to get things settled, but I don't know if that will be settled for several weeks."
Question: How about safety (Jordan) Kovacs and (Mike) Williams, any decision there?
Coach Rodriguez: "No. Kovacs has played well enough that we feel really confident in him. I think Mike Williams is healthier now. So he'll continue to play. We're trying to get and I know I've said this a bunch of time, but we're trying to get more guys in the game and get depth, but they've got to show us whether it is in practice or their limited opportunities that they can do it and that's the issue we're in with all the guys."
Question: That's the younger guys you're referring to, right?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah some of the younger guys, some of the freshmen have played limited time and I know they all want to get in there, but to be fair to them, we don't want to put them in unless they are ready."
Question: Did you watch the game (Detroit Tigers)?
Coach Rodriguez: "No. I was listening to it. When I was leaving the office, it was the bottom of the 12th and I didn't want to get a speeding ticket, because I wanted to hurry up and get that. I'm a big Tigers' fan. I met with Jim Leyland last year, a great guy. Of course, we got a Tigers' coach's son on the team in Jared Van Slyke, so I missed the thing. They'll be back. They'll be back next year."
Question: So you were here to midnight?
Coach Rodriguez: "No actually it was a little earlier, 9:45-10 o'clock. I'd better crank it up."
Coach Rod: Full Transcript
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