Rodriguez Postgame: "We're Beating Ourselves"

Rich Rodriguez reacts to his team's 35-10 loss at the hands of Penn State. Michigan's headman said everyone from coaches on down must step their games up.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Obviously disappointed in our performance, but not discouraged.  I love these guys.  I think their trying as hard as they can and I told them that it starts with us as coaches.  Try to get them in some better situations at times and again, as I've said many times to you all that we can't beat ourselves with turnovers and mistakes and things like that.  You play a good football team like Penn State; it's going to snowball on you.  Our guys will bounce back.  I have not obviously seen the film yet, but I'm sure that a lot of things that when I do watch the film will be things that are correctable.  As coaches it starts with us trying to get these mistakes corrected and move from there."

Question:  The turnovers, do you think most of them are attributable what they did or was it…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Again, I'll have to see if the interception too was confusion.  I think the fumbles were maybe fundamental thing.  Maybe the ball wasn't held high and tight.  I didn't have a real good view of that.  We've been pretty good at taking care of the football.  You can't lose it a bunch of times and expect to win, particularly when you're not sharp execution wise and on offense or defense."

Question:  Is this where you guys are right now, maybe not with the Big Ten elite, with Iowa and Penn State, but better than last year, still young?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know if one game can really define you either way good or bad.  We're a young team, but we've played enough games to get some experience.  I think at times, us as coaches maybe we have to be patient and understand, geez some of these guys are playing for the first time and it is a little wet and a little windy, and the conditions are a little different.  We have to be able to handle that and it's a new experience for our guys.  I don't think our season is defined certainly in one game.  I know our guys will be disappointed and they'll bounce back this week.  I think every game, every game is going to be a challenge for us and we knew that coming into the season."

Question:  How much did it hurt to lose David Molk and sliding (David) Moosman back?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Moosman is a good play too but it seemed like we had a little rhythm and not that the rhythm was lost, but I think the guys that touch the ball on every snap are the quarterback and center and I think a little bit of the rhythm may have been disrupted there.  David (Molk) tried to come back, but I think it was too sore.  It was a nice drive to start off the game and it was nice to see David in there and it looked like he was playing pretty well and we struggled after that, in particular with some pass protection."

Question:  The bad snap in the end zone that led to a safety, what was that?

Coach Rodriguez:  "That was a miscommunication.  Our quarterback didn't say go and Moose thought he did so he snapped it through there.  It was disappointing; we had that issue in another game on the road, but it happened again."

Question:  You talked about pass protection; their defensive line did seem to overwhelm you guys at times?

Coach Rodriguez:  "There are times….again, I have to watch, some of it was a twist game, which we expected in obvious pass situations for them to twist up front.  I've said all week that (Jared) Odrick I think is one of the best in the country and will be playing for a long time on Sundays, but we had some slides and gap protection and we still had some problems up front, but until I watch the film I won't know exactly where the breakdown was."

Question:  At the end of the first half, on third down with 13 seconds you guys spiked it.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah that goes back to me.  Tate was a little bit slow getting off the ground and I wasn't sure that he was aware that the clock was running and we didn't have a time out.  He probably was.  We may have been able to run another play, but I wanted to get at least three points.  I called that.  That goes back on me.  In retrospect, maybe run a little sprint out or something and try to take a shot in the end zone.  I was a little concern with protection and the ball being wet and him getting sacked or something and not get at least three points, I wanted at least three points."

Question:  You guys had 12 on the field on the first field in the first half?

Coach Rodriguez:  "On offense?"

Question:  On defense, the field goal?

Coach Rodriguez:  "A field, yeah.  Yeah we took a time out.  Again that's a mistake that shouldn't happen.  You'd like to have that time out back.  We may have used that time out from keeping them to run the clock down, so I don't know if we would have still had it at the end.  That was disappointing, because we burned an unnecessary time out."

Question:  Coach can you explain what you saw on the (Donovan) Warren to (Junior) Hemingway return and also do you know how Junior is?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think Donovan was just blocking his guy and wasn't aware where Junior was at.  Obviously his guy was running to make the tackle and it was an incidental collision."

Question:  Any update on Junior; he didn't come back did he?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No and I don't know the extent of it.  It may be a bruise.  We won't know until tomorrow probably."

Question:  Tate Forcier looks different lately is there something physically with him or is he getting a little overwhelmed mentally?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  I just think again, maybe we should not expect too much too soon.  I think we have to remember that he is a true freshman even though he enrolled early and all these experiences are new experiences.   He's a competitor and he'll battle back.  There are a lot of things as coaches that we've got to do and Coach Smith will do a good job of getting that corrected.  I think sometimes you have a little bit of success and people think okay you're freshman year is over, it's not over yet.  So we get some new experiences.  Again, Tate and Denard (Robinson) both are pretty competitive and they'll both work hard and we've got to do a good job of getting them right."

Question:  Dropped passes?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, it was the first time this year that I think we've had…we've had a few drops but it seemed like today a lot of them were on third down or crucial situations.  We had done a really good job all year of making the catches on the catchable balls.  It was a little wet, but I don't know if it was just a concentration thing and sometimes you try too hard or whatever, but those in particular early that maybe even on the second drive, we still had some momentum and that drop kind of hurt us there."

Question:  Did it take something out of the team when you guys went right down and scored the quick touchdown at the beginning to the game and then they came right back and scored?

Coach Rodriguez:  "They answered.  Again, the guys are pretty resilient.  I don't think they panicked and they didn't panic at that time.  Even at halftime, we weren't playing well at all but we were still there.  Again, to beat a good team you've got to play well and hope they make a few mistakes and we got a few breaks.  We got a punt block and then what happens, we turn the ball over.  We had our opportunities, but we just didn't execute."

Question:  Is it tougher to bounce back mentally from one like this than those that you were a play away?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No not really.  I think they are all the same.  Again, it goes back to the personality of the team being resilient and believing in each other.  I think they will.  We don't have a lot of seniors, but we've got good leadership out of our senior class and these guys will work.  It's been disappointing that we've not played well, particularly in the Big Ten games.  It's not for a lack of trying.  I think our guys know we can be a pretty good football team, but when we do some things today, it is just the opposite.  I feel frustrated and I'm sure our fans feel frustrated.  I think they were terrific to sit in the miserable weather today and watch us perform less than we're capable of.  Our guys will come back and we'll work hard this week and hopefully perform better this weekend coming up."

Question:  What did you tell your guys after the game now with three straight Big Ten losses?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well we don't talk about three straight.  All we talk about is this one.  This one should hurt for a day and then after Monday we watch the film and move on to the next one.  Nobody will point fingers and nobody will go sideways or anything in the program.  We'll all just keep plugging forward.  We just got a lot of work to do starting with the coaching staff and we'll move on from them."

Question:  Are you concerned about Denard's confidence, as he has had a number of turnovers in a limited time?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  The young guys will probably bounce back a little bit, but again, it goes back to the individual and how important it is to them and I know how dearly important it is to Tate and Denard and just correct some things fundamentally."

Question:  You guys have tried a lot of different things defensively this year; you played (Troy) Woolfolk and Boubarcar (Cissoko) back and forth, is that a product of being more comfortable with people searching…?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think it was more some things that they were doing defensive package wise.  I don't know all the particulars.  Coach Robinson would know more about that.  We were trying to get guys in position where they would be more comfortable in certain defensive calls.  Again, they did a nice job of controlling, hit a few big pass plays.  Our pressure packages didn't seem like they were getting home and when we didn't pressure…with our four man rush that wasn't helping either."

Question:  Is Boubacar back for good now?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, as long as he doesn't screw up again (laughter)."

Question:  You mentioned against Notre Dame how much bigger there offensive line was against your defensive line, was that true again today?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know…no they weren't as big just judging from the field, they weren't as big O-line wise as I thought Notre Dame was.  Again, we're undersized and we know that we've got to overcome that with some movement and some different things defensively.  We got a lot of work that we've got to do.  We know that."

Question:  On Dave Molk's injury…

Coach Rodriguez:  "It may be a sprain, but to what regard, I've not seen him since the game was over."

Question:  How is JT Floyd's health; is he okay?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah."

Question:  Are you happy with the way that Brandon Minor ran?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Minor, yeah he runs hard.  Again, he still wasn't 100%.  Again, it is a chronic thing and if he hits it a certain way then it bothers him, but he tries to fight through it."

Question:  Something about the turnovers and putting the defense in a bad position.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Any turnover puts the defense…any sudden change situation whether you're going in or coming out put them right back on the field.  We had been pretty good for the most part, but golly today, it really hurt us."


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