Question: The team just the last couple of days; what have you seen that has changed the most since the spring and I guess either in a positive or otherwise?
Greg Robinson: "The team and what has changed the most. I suspect that you would say that they have been through a summer of working out and conditioning. They are going through practice right now where there is no school really involved. You really have for the most part their undivided attention."
Question: What are your biggest question marks for this defense right now and what do you hope to see for the next couple of weeks?
Greg Robinson: "I think the biggest question mark is just to what level can we get our development by September 4th. How far can we take this group by September 4th. I think it is a real challenge for us and I think we really have to see it that way. We've got to be looking to have an A game mentally by that time."
Question: Last year Craig Roh was the freshman that came out of camp as the starter; do you see any of that…I know it is early yet, any freshman that have jumped out at you as they could end up if not starting at least pushing for quality playing time early?
Greg Robinson: "We'll it is early, we have not even put pads on yet. I think it would be quick to make a statement. I don't know that really yet. I think there are some young people that you feel good about but to what point. No I do not think anybody has been able to assert themselves in a way yet in just two practices."
Question: Can you talk about Craig Roh and his development and why he suits the hybrid role in this defense?
Greg Robinson: "He's a good athlete. He was a basketball player. He can run. He is an excellent pass rusher and he is a smart player. He's got movement that you can take advantage of. He's got pass rush ability that you can take advantage and he is a smart player, so you can give him a world and I think you can expect him to be able to do a number of things. When you use that term hybrid position, it is…you are a little bit of a couple of things. With that being said, I think he showed last year that he accepted that role very well."
Question: Rich was saying at media day that you guys have added some things but yet made things simpler. How does that really work?
Greg Robinson: "You add and delete. You do a little bit of both. I think the best thing that we've done for everybody and I say that from the defensive coaching staff and with Rich and I think it has been good for our players…because our coaches are comfortable, we've used a good amount of terminology that was utilized when the coaches were at West Virginia. With three different coaches that have that experience, when I talk it with them and we all talk together, they see it as opposed to having to adapt and kind of get the feel of things. So I language #1 is good and I think to simplify, that might be part of it. As far as what we do, I think we're always going to have a multiple look to us and it is what we were a year ago and I think this year it will be same philosophy and I think we'll be able to implement this, and delete some of this, but keep a lot of this the same. That's kind of where the world is with that right now."
Question: So you pretty much had to maybe learn in terms of terminology?
Greg Robinson: "Yeah...that's the whole deal. I had to take on terminology, but you know what, I'm more experienced as far as years are concerned so being able to adapt to terminology, I've done quite a bit of it over years that you know what I can do that. I figure it is better for me to do that so that everybody else…I can feel it. I can see what it has done and we're able to get to the point quicker and I think the message is delivered in a way that everybody feels very comfortable."
Question: Is that something that you decided or was that something…?
Greg Robinson: "No, Rich and I both talked about it and I think it is really Rich. He suggested it and offered the thought of it and I thought that's a no brainer, I can do that. After being a here a year and being settled in, it really was not a difficult thing. I remember one time I went from being a defensive coach at UCLA to becoming the offensive coordinator and I had to learn a full offense and all the terminology in a matter of about six weeks. I've found myself under the gun in a scenario like that and there has been other instances where it has been similar. I don't have a problem at all doing it and it has worked out well."
Question: Are you saying that you changed the terminology to the West Virginia?
Greg Robinson: "To some of it. I can't tell you all of it, but there is a good amount of it that is…the basic talk and I'm not telling you…what we do and some of the things that different than what West Virginia does. We can still use some of the terminology and make some of it work."
Question: Coming off of his spring injury, how has Mike Martin looked so far and do you see the defensive line as the strength of this defense?
Greg Robinson: "I think that Mike looks very healthy. I really think that…obviously, he was injured at this time last year and played through it. You can tell that he is feeling comfortable. Now we are not in pads yet, but I think he is comfortable. That's a good thing. Time will tell (if defensive line is the strength). I think when you think of Craig or think of Ryan (Van Bergen) and you think of Mike, you're thinking of experienced guys in there. Greg Banks has played a good amount. I think they are going to be productive. I hope other areas are going to push to be a strength. I don't know that there is going to be one group that is going to be the strength of the defense, but I know this. You start up front, they pump the blood into the defense, they get it started. I like who we are working with."
Question: The end of last year didn't go the way that Obi (Ezeh) has hoped. Have you seen a change in him?
Greg Robinson: "He's working very hard. The thing that I continue to say, Obi's intentions are very, very good. He has competition and in fairness that's what you're looking for. He's in a competiveness battle. I think Kenny Demens has displayed things that have been good and I think for a guy that is just coming over in the spring, Mark Moundros displayed things, you know what, this guy has got some life to him as well. With that being said, he is in a competitive battle, but I feel that he is up for the challenge."
Question: Can you talk about the selection of Moundros as captain and does that change the relationship and communication with you and defense? Is he going to have a role in that captaincy communicating directly with you a little more?
Greg Robinson: "The captain of the defense, there might be some things that he'll deal with me, but really that is more of a whole team concept and it is really dealing more with the head coach. I would say because I think the whole senior class is going to be a part of this thing in the leadership part of it. Mark is a good pick. There is no question why I can see him selected by his teammates. The guy has tremendous work ethic. He is a tough guy. He's a smart guy and he loves football. I think that he exudes a giving mentality too. I think it is felt by not just the defensive side of the ball, but I think from all of his teammates."
Question: Conditioning wise, is there anybody that has kind of caught your eye that you say has had a really excellent summer and has come back in great shape?
Greg Robinson: "I think there is a lot of people in that regard. To say that there is one…what would stand out is what isn't that way and there is not much of that."
Question: How has Will Campbell looked?
Greg Robinson: "He's very handsome (laughter)."
Question: Talk about depth in the secondary a little bit. Obviously, you are probably going to have to rely on some freshman and what your expectations there? How quickly do these guys have to learn?
Greg Robinson: "We've got a group of guys that are not a real experienced group. Troy (Woolfolk) is the experienced guy in the group, but I think JT Floyd is showing a lot of progress and I think you guys know how we feel after the spring ball and I can tell he's had a great summer. He's a bright guy. I do not have concerns about him. I think Cam (Gordon) is a young guy that I think he is very mature for his age. I think he has worked very hard to adapt to this position, but again, he has not had a chance to play in a ball game yet, so we have to deal with that. I like where he is going. Now I think you now look at all of sudden the next part of the group and there are young people. I think there are times, especially on the corner position, you're more removed. You're seeing the game from a side. I think sometimes it can be a little quicker turnaround for a younger player to get involved and to perform. With that being said, it is really just a matter of time, as we've only had a couple of days here but really see where these guys are. We've got a couple of guys that have had some experience in practice at the safety position. I think Vlad Emilien and (Jared) Van Slyke, they know that are doing. They've had a lot of reps over time. Again, they are pretty much in the same boat with Cam. They don't have a lot of game experience. That's what it is, but I like the work ethic of our group. I think that back end is very intent. I've just seen two days of practice, but I can tell that they are into it."
Question: You said the biggest issue maybe was between you and the staff or was that trickling down to how they would explain things to players?
Greg Robinson: "If you really think about it, if a coach is having to adjust on the move, I think that it gets to be tough. You don't know where the message is loss. It can be, I just think that when I feel like…there are strength in numbers. If we got a couple of guys that really feel comfortable with what they've got going, we're going to be okay and I think that they do feel that way."
Question: How long did it take you last year when you arrived to feel comfortable with the terminology?
Greg Robinson: "Last season I didn't have to learn anything, they did that's the point."
Question: Were you able to pinpoint exactly where the message was loss…?
Greg Robinson: "No. I wouldn't say we spent a lot of time worrying about all that stuff. It was more just consider this and I think it was easy for me to say, yeah I think that is a real good thought."
Question: Have you seen it…it is only two days of practice, but have you seen it maybe be smoother ?
Greg Robinson: "It was smooth all spring. We did this last December. We talked about this last December and it has been that way since. It was all spring ball. Now it is pretty much second nature for everybody."
Question: Understanding that you are going to have multiple looks; why is the 3-3-5 the right base defense for this team?
Greg Robinson: "The 3-3-5 was the base of the defense last year. It is how you look at Craig Roh and in last year's case was Stevie Brown. We had Craig Roh, who was a hybrid, kind of a linebacker, kind of a defensive lineman. We are going to have that similar scenario. I think it is utilizing his skills. I think we moved Stevie Brown closer to the ball so that you added athleticism to that mid range or mid level part of your defense. I just think really in my own personal experiences, I've been doing that for year, in 3-3-5. Going back, I mentioned the New York Jets, Jeff Lageman. Alfred Williams, Butkus Award winner linebacker, but also a defensive end at Denver and so on. That is kind of where all that is and then the nickel concept. That's a pro football thing but in this day and age with all the spread offense, you need to have more athletic mid range group of people then maybe was played with ten years ago."
Question: What's going on with Jordan Kovacs and is it his job? It almost seemed like last year it was never quite his job because he was the underdog, the walk on.
Greg Robinson: "It was his job the last half of the season."
Question: Is it his job right now?
Greg Robinson: "He's the guy taking the first reps right now but in everybody's case. You're trying to create a competitive environment, but Jordan is one of those people that gets the most out of himself, is able to do a number of things. He is also one of those type of people that can make other players around him better. Those guys are few and far between and when you come across those kinds of players, you find yourself somewhat attached to them, not only are they able to do their job, but they are able to communicate in ways that keep others really in the flow of things and Jordan has that capability. That's an advantage for him, but if somebody comes along that is just more gifted and is a better than that's the case. We're two days into camp and it is hard to say that we have that person has emerged that is truly pushing him at this time."
Question: Early impressions of Marvin Robinson... and corner -- will you move anybody else there?
Greg Robinson: "Well, we've got our two freshman, they're both at corner. Courtney Avery and Cullen Christian and we have Tony Anderson. Boy, I'm trying to think who else is over there. I've just see him (Marvin) a couple of days and again like a lot of those freshman, they are just working there way into the flow of things. I know this, he walks around the building looking pretty good. I will tell you this there is a real intent. Sometimes there are some freshman that come in and kind right now they are just happy to be here and there are others that are very driven to see if they can break it right now, break in. Some see themselves a little different. I can say and I can't tell you that I've got everybody assessed, but I can feel that Marvin Robinson is one…he's intent to try and jump in there and get going."
Question: Where you at all surprised when Mark wanted to make the position shift before the spring and also how quickly he has taken to it, if that is your assessment?
Greg Robinson: "I've always felt. I've been a good recruiter. This began way back about September of last year but that is being humor(ous), speaking with humor there for those who didn't get that. Really, you know what Mark Moundros to me, I always, I looked at him and I thought…I saw in the winter program a year ago when I first got here and not certain who all of our linebackers were. I thought this guy might be a linebacker but at the same time I find out he was the fullback. You can see he has linebacker skills."
Question: Talk about Jonas Mouton's attitude going into this fall and where you see him?
Greg Robinson: "I'm a real fan of Jonas. I know he has got the physical abilities. After spending time with him, I can see that he can take on information and process it well and I really think that there is an intent to really up his game. I'm excited to see what kind of senior year he can have. I think he is heading in the right direction to be a real fine football player."
Question: Do you like coaching the linebackers?
Greg Robinson: "Oh yeah. I really like coaching these linebackers specifically. I like that room. I like their attitude. I think it is good for me to be there. It puts me in a position that I got the D-line right in front of me, I got those edge guys. I've always felt that this was the glue. I always used to talk about the D-line is the heartbeat. They pump the blood into the defense, then that intermittent group is really the glue that holds the D-line and secondary together, pulls everybody together and then the back end is the last line of defense. I think it is good for me to be right there in the huddle of it because I think I can work with the other guys, it is a little easier."
Question: You mentioned Kenny Demens, how close are he and Mike Jones pushing for a starting job?
Greg Robinson: "I'll tell you. They both had very good springs. Mike was hurt for a period of time and then once he got back in…I already had an idea of what he could do, because I had worked with him the year before. We had him out at SAM. So I spent a year coaching him and when we finally got him in there, he took too it right away at the WILL position and Kenny had had a good spring. These guys are in the hunt. They're guys that I don't have a problem…I don't think that we'll have a problem if they were in a football game playing."
Question: Can you assess the hybrid linebacker/safety position; who are the key players right now? Are any of the freshman are you working them in at that position?
Greg Robinson: "Craig Roh."
Question: I'm sorry I meant Stevie Brown.
Greg Robinson: "We've got Kevin Leach there. We have Floyd Simmons there. We have Thomas Gordon there. Now we've brought in Josh Furman at that position and really that is kind of where it is at. I do not know that it is a done deal yet. I think it is competitive, but we are just a couple of days into it. We haven't been in pads. Again, that comes into play. Because all those guys, they are giving up something to get something. We give up a little bit of size or whatever to get something else, but there still has got to be physical play involved and that's what Stevie brought. When I talk about Stevie Brown, I would not be surprised if he were to be able to make the team with the Raiders if the situation is right for him. He is a physical football player but at the same time could run around. Those guys still have, especially the younger guys, got to show their wares in that area. I think we'll know more here in a few days in regards to that part of it."
Question: Coach Rodriguez said the other night, specifically the speed of the team; how is that with you with the defensive specifically versus last year?
Greg Robinson: "I'm trying to assess what last year was. Last year was…it's something that we're always looking for, trying to improve. I don't know really right yet. I like our movement. Are we aware, I don't know that, but I think we have good movement, good athletes. Where it stands to last year, I think it'll come down to how we utilize people. My whole thing is maximize your strength and hide your weaknesses. I really don't know right yet. I think we move fine. We've recruited some young people that can run, but are they ready to play, time will tell."
Full Transcript: Def. Coord. Greg Robinson
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
WATCH: Godin recalls last trip to MSUWatch as Michigan defensive lineman Matt Godin discusses the last trip he made to East Lansing and the impact it has made on him to this day.
The Michigan Insider3:00 PM
Lewis, Michigan looking to 'handle business'Michigan senior cornerback Jourdan Lewis says Michigan State's record doesn't matter heading into Saturday.
The Michigan Insider2:18 PM
WATCH: Kelly-Powell Updates RecruitmentDetroit (Mich.) Cass Tech's Jaylen Kelly-Powell updates his recruitment, the latest with Michigan, his decision timeline and more.
The Michigan Insider8:37 AM
Wheatley Jr. “Excited” For Big Test At MSUMichigan tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr. discusses his first career catch and touchdown vs. Illinois, thoughts on the rivalry against the Spartans, and more.
The Michigan Insider8:19 AM