Beilein's Roundtable: Cracking the Whip

After a disappointing effort against Wisconsin a few weeks back, John Beilein decided to be a little harder on his team in practice and it reaped positive dividend against Minnesota. Michigan's headman discussed the progress of Darius Morris, Blake McLimans, Jordan Dumars, Matt Vogrich, and more. He also previewed tomorrow night's match-up with Iowa.

Opening Statement Coach Beilein:  "I think this is our last charter flight of the season for road games.  We're winding down right now and the place we've won one time there, lost one time there, and this is important for us to go in there with the right mindset and try to get another road win.  Because they are so rare for any team in the Big Ten let alone one with a five and seven record."

Question:  You guys played so well in the last Iowa game; do you feel one way or another that that carries over?

Coach Beilein:  "I do not know.  Watching scores right now, there's not a lot of carry over…there is inconsistencies everywhere about how your team is going to perform.  You look at those Big East scores from yesterday and you just…that's why I think people love college basketball is because that type of stuff can happen.  We played so well here and in Iowa's defense that was really one of the few games where they had been out of early.  I think the Purdue game they did get out of early as well but who does not at Purdue?"

Question:  Was that a little bit of a breakthrough game for Darius (Morris) against Minnesota?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah I thought so.  I do not mean that negativity, but he learned a lot about college basketball especially winning on the road in that particular game.  He ran the team very well and that is a high turnover team.  They make you turn it over a lot and he hit a couple, but he played with a lot of experience in that game.  Hopefully that will carry over."

Question:  The fact that you played well at Minnesota on the road, does that give you some confidence maybe that you go into another place where traditionally…?

Coach Beilein:  "Hopefully it does.  We do the second half against Penn State that we played well.  If we can grab a third Big Ten road win that's a pretty good season away from home.  Yeah.  We want to go in there and play well.  Certainly Iowa, what they did to Northwestern, we certainly couldn't do that to Northwestern.  They got up on that one and stayed way up.  It's going to be a difficult game for us.  We practiced, counting film, counting weights, we went three to four hours on Friday, took Saturday off.  We went three to four hours depending on who the personnel was yesterday, so we've been using our time."

Question:  You said last week in the radio show you talked about doing a split practice, like two; was that just Friday…?

Coach Beilein:  "We had a lot of issues to cover after Wisconsin game, lots of issues.  So we really tried to split it up to make sure that the message was clear.  When you do that…when I say a four practice, it's 45 minutes of film, two hours and 15 minutes of practice and some extra shooting and then weights.  That's a four hour practice, not four hours of on your feet going up and down the court."

Question:  After that stretch, did you need to be a little bit harder on them?

Coach Beilein:  "I think there have been different times this year to be an effective coach, an effective team, you have to make practices like games and then really have them absorb the reality of where your actions can take you in games.  These are losing plays and these are winning plays – emphasis those winning plays."

Question:  Are there ways of making like a game in practice; making some loud noise in practice?

Coach Beilein:  "We traditionally, actually all our games the day before we can't hear.  Before practice we put loud music on both ways.  We can't hear in Crisler either because the students are great.  Yeah we're always trying to make it difficult so they are used to having that adversity."

Question: Outside of shooting the ball as well as you did against Minnesota, if you pick one or two things that could carry over that you did?

Coach Beilein:  "Our defense.  Anybody that has watched us, our defense has improved over the last month.  Our backcourt has been working really hard from becoming a very inexperienced backcourt, even though Stu (Douglass) and Laval (Lucas-Perry) are in there second years, just the rigors of what you have to do here.  Then our bench play has been difficult at the forward positions just to be able to guard people.  Are we too small, too big, are we fast enough that has been difficult with Anthony (Wright) and Matt Vogrich, they've been up and down defensively.  That was really the first time we've put some things together."

Question:  Can you give us a little update on the guys we haven't seen in Jordan Morgan, Blake McLimans, and Jordan Dumars?

Coach Beilein:  "20 hours a week we're working with them.  When they make the trips with us right now, it is all considered a three hour day, so we will reserve two hours at Iowa, an hour for the team and another hour for them.  We really work with them very hard to make sure that they are getting every bit of this redshirt experience.  I've seen great improvement in them.  Morgan unfortunately has been injured almost 3/4 of the season.  Blake has been healthy throughout.  Jordan Dumars has been injured most of the post season."

Question:  Jordan Dumars?

Coach Beilein:  "Yes.  He's got a shoulder problem.  The beat goes on.  We've had a lot of distraction with injuries."

Question:  This Iowa does not have a very good record and when they played you guys they did not play very good, but then they come out and almost beat Michigan State on the road and then Northwestern; what is it about them?

Coach Beilein:  "They are going to play a lot like Wisconsin, a bit of a 30 minute game.  You can watch any game.  The halftime score…if the one team is maybe a little bit better, the halftime score is going to be pretty close.  They have been able to shorten games.  They are only playing a seven or eight man rotation.  There is nobody that does not know their role on the team.  They can stay in every game.  In fact, I do not think the Northwestern game either time really.  They just completed dominated Northwestern in that game.  So they're good.  Their record does not show it but they are getting better and better every day."

Question:  When you say you are teaching those other guys that are redshirting; what are the most important things?  Is it showing them the offense?

Coach Beilein:  "No.  It is very little schematic.  It is basketball how you balance your individual defense, stuff that you do in the first days of practice.  Things that weren't able to slow down when Jordan wasn't even available in preseason and Blake wouldn't get things in October; we couldn't spend the whole practice on him, we had to move on to the people who ware going to play.  Blake gets so much extra time right now.  Matt Vogrich does.  All our guys that do not play major minutes or are redshirting, are practicing longer and harder than our starters our, because we realize that once the season is over, I will have more time in the next three of the next four days with Blake and Jordan than we get all spring.  So it is very important that we use every minute and we use every minute."

Question:  With Blake, you talked about advancing… and Vogrich; what are the things that we're not seeing that they've improved on?

Coach Beilein:  "With Blake just because he's never been a full time basketball player; he's been a baseball pitcher and volleyball player.  If he went and he played the whole year of AAU and he was coaching around by a high school coach, he would have those things in his package already.  The one thing he does have is the ability to shoot it at 6'10", which a lot of people do not have in their package and now he has got to learn the other things.  He is a hard, hard worker.  We're really enthused by him."

Question:  Vogrich is he showing you in practice…?

Coach Beilein:  "Yeah he shows us some things in practice.  He needed to settle down and learn how hard you got to play.  He lifts weights longer than the other guys lift weights.  We're not worried about his stroke in games because he's only going to play five or six minutes.  We're worried about him getting stronger."

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