"Avoidable" Mistakes Plagued UM vs Purdue

After his team's 38-36 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers, Rich Rodriguez discussed the numerous defensive breakdowns that continue to plague his team. Michigan's headman also assessed the improvement of Tate forcier and the offense, how far he is from getting things turned around, shed light on the postgame exchange between he and Purdue coach Danny Hope, and more.

Question:  You guys have been outscored 75-12 in the last 3 games in the second half, what's happening at halftime?

Coach Rodriguez:  "It looks like the other team is playing better than us."

Question:  The decision to go for it on fourth down… the one the Brown ended up trying to lateral you guys could've kicked a field goal.

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah we were down by eight and we weren't stopping anybody.  So we were trying to tie the game."

Question:  Were you aware of 16 consecutive home victories over Purdue?

Coach Rodriguez:  "No.  What's that got to do with today's game?  I don't worry about last week, I just worry about today."

Question:  What did you see from the sideline on the three right side secondary breakdowns on three big plays there?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I'm going to have to watch the film and talk to the defensive coaches and see what broke down.  The effort may be good, but the execution is not.  You just can't give up cheap touchdowns – guys running free.  I know there was two times when we were in man coverage and the guys that had man had their eyes somewhere else and they were too late.  Those are avoidable mistakes.  I wish I could tell you why they happened.  We are certainly not good enough to overcome those things.  I know two of them were man coverage and I think one of them we were zone coverage, the one they threw over our head.  I'll have to watch the film and ask him how that happened."

Question:  It looks at some point in the first half today, you guys play hard and don't think and then in the second half, it looks like you almost revert back to thinking about where your supposed to be instead of just playing.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know if it was that or one guy and make a mistake here or one miscue here.  Maybe we should have had a call that didn't match up exactly right or something like that.  I've said it all year…in the beginning of the year when we were playing better, we're not good enough to make some big mistakes and beat anybody on our schedule.  We're not there right now in our program.  It's a process that we're in.  It's painful, but we've got to move on."

Question:  The quick two touchdown swing with the onside kick?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah that was momentum, but even then we were still in the game.  The onside kick was really disappointing because we say it every time we go out there, ‘see the ball kicked' – I mean every time.  There are about 20 people see the ball kicked, no penalties, see the ball kicked, no penalties.  That's the first reminder and the last reminder and we do it for that reason.  A freshman sometimes play like freshman and bailed out."

Question:  On the two point conversion what was Tate looking for there?

Coach Rodriguez:  "We had a little double move with all the wide receivers.  I don't again until I watch the film, if he had the second guy underneath or not.  I don't know where his eyes were at or if we didn't execute it well."

Question:  On the lateral, did you think it was a forward lateral?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I couldn't tell."

Question:  Was there something you saw on film during the week that told you Roundtree was going to be the guy?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He was the guy at the position, Tay Odoms looks pretty good there.  Roy (Roundtree) had a good practice.  They were bringing some blitz early.  We were able to hit a few passes.  We felt comfortable with it.  We even felt comfortable in the second half.  We just couldn't execute it."

Question:  As the head coach of the football do you have to spend more time with the defense?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Well I have been.  You can't micromanage everything.  Those guys are trying as hard as they can.  They've got a lot of experience.  I don't know if they can work any harder than they are working.  They're putting their minds together and trying to come up with ways to have success defensively just like we were in all phases.  I don't know if me sticking in there is going to be any better."

Question:  How frustrating is it to be one game away from bowl eligibility?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know if you can look at one game away.  It's just frustrating.  We know that we can play better.  At moments, we're beating ourselves.  You got to give them credit.  Purdue did a nice job.  I was a little disappointed after the game.  Their coach seemed to bring the lineman over like I was the reason that his lineman got suspended for the one game.  So he brought him over there and said thanks for this or whatever.  I don't know where that came from.  I talked to him on the phone and told him; this was way back when.  I didn't have anything to do with that young man getting suspended for that one game. What are you going to do?  I usually go over shake their hand and say good luck the next game.  Come over and say something about that – whatever."

Question:  Did Danny Hope shake your hand?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Oh no he came over and shook my hand and then introduced Mr. (Zack) Reckman and then said thanks coach we appreciate what you did."

Question:  Did you say something back to him?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Naw, I just said good luck to you guys – good ball game.  What are you going to do?  You're either frustrated that you lose and you go shake the hand.  You got to give them credit.  They made the plays when they had to and we didn't." 

Question:  What happened with Jason Olesnavage on the missed extra point?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I don't know.  He's been pretty solid.  I think that's the first all year that he missed.  He just missed it I guess."

Question:  Was it wide left or right or a bad snap?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think he just missed it left.  He pulled it left."

Question:  On Monday, you asked Michigan fans to be patient that is going to take some time; there were a lot of angry people walking out of that stadium; what can you say to them?  Still the same message?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah, what do you want me to say?  I feel their frustration and we have as well.  It's a process we're going through.  I'm sure our fans, they've been outstanding and I'm sure their frustrated and we're frustrated, but we're not going to give up on it.  We're going to keep working.  Our kids will keep working.  We will get back to work.  We got a couple of big games left in front of us."

Question:  Talk about Brandon Minor's effort today?

Coach Rodriguez:  "He tweaked it a little bit towards the end, but he ran hard. When he's in there, he gives us a physical presence running downhill.  We hit a few runs in there.  We felt comfortable, we just need the ball a few more times and try to pad the lead and didn't get it."

Question:  Assess Tate's progress.

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think he was a little better decision making.  There was some that he would probably like to have back."

Question:  He limped off the field.  Is that anything to worry about?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah I think he twisted his knee a little bit.  I think he'll be fine."

Question:  Why did you bring in JB Fitzgerald? 

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think Coach Hopson was looking for a change in the game there and see if JB could give us a lift."

Question:  What did you tell the team to get ready for next week?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I said in the locker room, it was disappointing.  I thought the effort, we did play for 60 minutes, just didn't play well enough to win, but we've got a huge challenge out in front of us on the road against a very physical team, come right at us.  So we've got to have a great week and we'll see what happens."

Question:  Talk about Roy Roundtree and his performance today?

Coach Rodriguez:  "Yeah.  He had a good week of practice.  He's got great ball skills.  He's a redshirt freshman and I thought he played really well, made some big catches.  Looked like he was blocking pretty well.  He's going to keep getting better because he's a thin guy that is playing for the first time.  Once he gets some strength, as he matures and gets older he's going to be a very, very good player for us, I think."

Question:  What was that Coach Hope thought you did?

Coach Rodriguez:  "That thing when the young man got suspended way back when… I don't want to make more of it than it is.  I just said it was disappointing because I'm just coaching my team."

Question:  How close do you think you are to flipping this thing around?

Coach Rodriguez:  "I think we're in the process.  I think the frustrating part is that everybody wants it right now.  Nobody more so than the players and the coaches, but if you're around Schembechler Hall and around our practices and around our guys.  They know that even though we're closing the gap to where we need to be, we know we still got a ways to go.  I think some of it is obvious.  From your vantage point and from the fan's vantage point where some of our issues are and some of it is as coaches, all we can do is identify them and try to correct them as quickly as we can.  I don't have a magic wand, can't fix this right now.  I've said a bunch of times, some of our problems are going to take a little longer to fix than anybody wants, but we got to fix them.  Just give it time.  It's not going to happen right now, it's not going to happen right now, I wish it would."

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