RR and Brandon Presser Transcript: Night Game

AD David Brandon and Head Coach Rich Rodriguez talk about the 2011 Big House night game with Notre Dame.

Dave Brandon: "University of Michigan played there first football game under the lights in 1944. First game we played, 33 games since then and they've all been on the road. So we've always been in our visiting uniforms and we think it is time to change that. What we're announcing today and what we're really excited about is the fact in 2011, on September 10th, we're going to tee it up against Notre Dame in prime time in Michigan Stadium – first night football game in the history of Michigan Stadium. National television, I think incredible atmosphere. Our players and our coaches have told us that some of these night games they've played in, the atmosphere has been unlike anything that they've ever seen and this one is going to be better than any of those. So we're really excited about it and we wanted to get it announced. I'll turn it over to coach to get his thoughts."

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah like Dave said, we're very excited about it. Talking to some of the players the last couple of years in causal conversations, a lot of them tell us how excited they are in a night game – the atmosphere. You got to remember that a lot of these guys played their high school games at night, so they're used to playing at night. They also know the exposure that it does for the program, for themselves and so as coaches we're very excited about it. I know our players are going to be excited about it when they hear the news. I think it is going to be a great atmosphere. As Dave mentioned, our guys have been involved in night games the last several years, as coaches we've been involved in many of them throughout our careers. It's Saturday night, prime time college football is probably as popular as anything that is out there on television. It should be a great thing for our program. It should be a great thing for the University of Michigan."

Question: For years we've heard about the logistical issues that go into this. Can you talk about those a little and what has been done in that area?

Dave Brandon: "I've been working on this for a couple of weeks because there are logistical issues, but my job was to get alignment with not only with the Big Ten and the networks and our friends at Notre Dame but internally. I've had a lot of meetings and discussions and there are some new moving parts about playing a game in Michigan Stadium at night, but we obviously are familiar with the concept of playing under the nights. Those 3:30 starts late in the season, we know what that's about. We've kind of exercised our muscles in terms of tooling up for that and getting ready for it. We certainly know based on our experience that other schools have figured this out. We've been in those venues and seen how they've handled it. We're going to learn from that. For us this is obviously experiment. This is the first time that we've done it. Hopefully we will just get better and better at it. If all goes well, we'd love to at least have one game a year scheduled at night at Michigan Stadium. It would be a terrific tradition to start and logistically we'll figure it out and we'll execute it at the same high level that we try to at every game, to provide a great experience for our fans."

Question: Can you take us back to how we got to this day in terms of when you started talking to Notre Dame about it or internally?

Dave Brandon: "It is something that I thought was time to happen for Michigan football and really talking to the coach and talking to some of the players and just seeing how excited they were about playing at night in these electric atmosphere, national television, I could see that it was something that would really be exciting for the program. I heard from al to of fans. Interestingly enough got an email from a guy from Georgia this morning railing at me because we never play night games. He's going to think that we did this for him I guess (laughter). The reality is that there are a lot of fans out there that see other schools doing this and they've been apart of that electric atmosphere and they want us to be there and so that was an objective I had. It just so happens that I was down in Indianapolis last week for the Big Ten meetings, as well as the Big Ten basketball tournament and I had a chance to have meetings with some of the conference and had a meeting with the athletic director at Notre Dame. We put it all together, I came back here and got great cooperation from President Coleman and members of her executive officer staff who are going to help make this a big success. We did this pretty quickly and I'm proud of that. This is really something that started two to three weeks ago and we're here today talking about it."

Question: Why did you personally want to have a night game?

Dave Brandon: "I think it is a part of what creates a big exciting atmosphere in college football. I think to play those games, if you listen to the coaches and the players, just as a fan, I know being out there under the lights in primetime in front of a national audience is something special and we want to be a part of things that are special at the University of Michigan. I'm pleased and proud that we're doing this."

Question: Rich I know you talked about that last year a couple of times (too far from mic).

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah the players especially, we talk to the players and we have one on one meetings, you want to find out what excites them. Obviously, you have a love for the game and a love for the University, but exciting for them as student-athletes to be able to perform in front of a lot of people. I think if you did studies on not only playing in front to a lot of people, which we do fortunately in person, but a lot of people that watch them on television. Not only that, from a coaching standpoint it is obviously a great benefit in recruiting when the nation gets to watch you play and I think it is also great for the University. In a sense, you have a three to three and a half hour commercial that shows off the great University, our stadium and our passionate fans. I think it is a win-win in all areas."

Question: Dave what do you think Bo (Schembechler) would think about this?

Dave Brandon: "He'd say, that Brandon guy believes that change is good and I'm going to support him."

Question: I think one of the issues in the past might have been security and lights and things like that; how concerning is that for you?

Dave Brandon: "Well everything is a concern. I met with our operation staff and they were terrific. Again, it is not like we're unfamiliar with going off the field when it's dark out. So we know how to string lights and how to work traffic in those conditions and this will be a little bit of a different wrinkle but the operations team is prepared to get this done and everybody is appreciative of the fact that we obviously have a lead time here. We've got plenty of time to plan and educate and test and prepare. We're going to be find."

Question: Did you have to touch base with the city in any way for this?

Dave Brandon: "No."

Question: What was the hold up before (too far from mic)

Dave Brandon: "Why did not we have them before? I do not know. ‘I don't talk the past, I create the future'."

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