Has the O-Line depth chart changed any this week?"Well, I think the backups are playing themselves into contention. When I was asked that question last week, I was a little disappointed with a couple of our backups. When I see things going wrong, one of the answers is when you can use additional personnel to go ahead and put in some substitutions. But that wasn't the position we were in last week. I think I have more confidence this week if things aren't going well, I could play additional guys."
Do you look at this game as which team is going to flinch first or do both teams have too much pride to throw in the towel?"I think both things are true. I think the first one and the second one are both true. I think there is too much pride on both teams to just throw in the towel, but the normal psyche of teams in this mode right now that are 0 and 2 is to be a bit fragile. That's the normal psyche so, obviously, the better start you get, the better things will go. I don't think anyone from either team is ready to cash in the season here. I think both teams want to go and right the ships. So I think you'll have a hard-fought game the whole game."
Do you sense your team is a bit fragile?"No, what I sense is a greater sense of urgency. What I want to sense is a greater sense of urgency. And that's what I feel right now. If I had seen the former, not the latter, then I'd be a lot more concerned. I'm always concerned when you're 0 and 2 and you haven't done anything, especially on the offensive side of the ball. I'm seeing a greater sense of urgency and coinciding with the first question, even with guys that aren't starting; I'm seeing a greater sense of urgency."
Corwin (Brown) is a good motivator. Have you tapped into his background to get the team ready for this game?"He has been doing that individually so far, but I will use that resource at the end of the week rather than at the beginning of the week because we don't want the whole game being about Corwin being a Michigan alum. He can enlighten us on the whole perspective and we're going to create that opportunity for the whole team to hear that. Right now, it has been more the small groups than the large groups."
You mentioned a greater sense of urgency now. Was it not there for the first two games?"No, I think what happens when you get into a period - and the word is not really turmoil - but a period where things haven't gone very well, there's only two ways that players react, okay, with a greater sense of urgency or a lesser sense of urgency. It never stays stagnant. That doesn't mean there wasn't a sense of urgency in the first two games. There is a coaching phrase that says you either get better or you get worse. Well, one of two things have to happen, you have to say, ‘Hey, we have to do the little things better; back up guys; got to get more ready to play.' It's more the whole team accepting accountability. When I think that happens, the feeling you usually walk away with is a greater sense of urgency. Fair question."
A couple of people mentioned yesterday the phrase ‘we're all in this together.' Is that a coincidence or is that a theme for the team?"No, that's our team. I shouldn't have to say that. That's the mode that we live under. Be accountable and just do your job and do it as best as you possibly can. We never accept any finger-pointing."
Do you have a sense that you can turn the crowd against them with a fast start?"That could happen; that could happen; I hope it happens. That could happen; just like it could happen here. When you're the home team and things haven't been going too well, the fans want to see the home team do well. When not doing well, they usually voice their displeasure and if that were to happen, I would be most happy about that."
I noticed you had changed practice fields. Is that because of a superstition or something like that?"No, we rotate the three fields. One field is always off and two fields are on. Next week, I don't know whether the special teams' field will be off or the offensive. But one of those fields will be off next week. To get through this season here, to save the grass, I always keep off of one field each week. You are never on a field for more than two weeks in a row."
Saturday night you mentioned something about not playing complementary football. What do you say, or do you say anything, to the defense to try and keep their spirits up and to hang in there until the offense catches up?"I say one in a positive vein and one in a negative vein. The positive vein is to tell them that the offense feels accountable for the lack of production, starting with the coaching staff and we are going to right that ship. That's the one that doesn't point any fingers or place any blame at them. Now, after I say that, I said but there is no rule that says you can't go three and out as well. And that's really the bottom line. We can sit there and talk about being worn out, but they could be out there for the same number of plays if they just get off the field on third down. So that's the con - the pro and the con - that would be the con."
The secondary has stepped up this year. Is that due to schemes or attitude?"I think the players are pretty good, first of all, and I think they are playing with some confidence. There are scheme changes; we are playing a whole bunch of combination coverages. I think the one thing that Coach Lewis (Bill) and Coach Brown have done is instill confidence in that group. They are a pretty good group. Secondary play, a lot of times, comes down to confidence as well as to what coverages you are calling."
James (Aldridge) only had one carry in the game and he had a fumble. Is that why you didn't play him more?"Actually, in the game I don't worry about substituting the backs myself; I just call the plays. I know the one play he did carry, we flipped the ball to him and he dropped it. I would assume that would be a good reason for him not to get another quick touch. I really don't worry about who's in the game when I'm calling the plays; I just go ahead and call them."
You have better numbers on the defense. How is that playing out?"We have been able to play multiple personnel groups that we haven't been able to play with such confidence before. Nickel. Dime. There have been times out there when we have had defenses with five corners on the field along with Zibby (Tom Zbikowski). Now we have been able to put more DB's on the field against multiple wide-receiver sets where we don't get mismatched."
It seems like you have different types of pass rushers this season. Is that true?"That's right, we have the big guys and little guys; the nickel rushers versus the dime rushers. Because when we go to the dime rushers, we bring in those young guys with good edge speed and let them go ahead and get after the quarterback."
Is Michael Haywood responsible for substituting the running backs?"Michael substitutes the running backs; I don't worry about substituting the running backs. Yes, he substitutes the running backs."
You said Armando is in the mix ……"No, you said, ‘Is Armando 1C?' if I remember correctly. So, yes, he's 1C. So the other two guys are A and B."