I thought that was a very hard-fought football game. I thought my guys played extremely hard. We kind of dug a hole for ourselves, falling behind 14 points right away in the first quarter. It would have been very easy to roll over. I thought my kids really competed, showed resiliency, and we had our chances. We had our chances in the game. We had the ball in our hands in the end zone I believe three different times and didn't come up with a play. In a game like this, you're going to come in here and try to upset a good football team, you've got to make some of those plays and we didn't make enough of them. But I thought we played much better today than we have the last couple of weeks.
What do say to your team when you get down like that so quickly?
Alvarez: Just play the next play. Just keep playing. It's a long game, a lot of things can happen. Just keep playing. Don't get discouraged. The game hadn't even started yet and we spotted them 14.
Do you feel like Jim Leonhard's punt returns were your best weapon today?
Alvarez: He really gave us good field position and really swung the momentum to us with that first one for a touchdown. Jimmy had a really good day and he gave us really good field position.
Is there anything you can do as coaches to get your offense to better take advantage of turnovers? In the last two weeks, you have 17 points off eight turnovers.
Alvarez: I don't know. That's why we practice.
Can you talk a little bit about the play of your defense after that initial surge in the first quarter?
Alvarez: I thought the coaches did a nice job with adjustments. They were in a tackle-over formation and they did some nice things with adjusting and getting the kids settled down, and what they had to do, where they had to fit into the defensive scheme. I thought Michigan showed patience. On that long drive in the second half, they used what we call bunch formation, using three receivers to pick and do that type thing and you know, get five yards at a crack. That was a long drive, they did a nice job with it. But I thought our defense particularly after those 14 points on, played quite well.
With Penn State, Ohio State and now Michigan, you've played the good teams well. Are you just not getting what you want?
Alvarez: Well we played well. You have to make some plays. In the past when we've beaten teams like this we've made plays. Like I said, Brandon (Williams) had one in his hands in the first half. The jump ball at the end, we took it out…one of our receivers takes it out of the other receiver's hand, then (Jonathan Orr) with about two minutes left has his hands on the ball in the end zone. You know, you've got to make one of those plays. Then we're going to kick a field goal right in front of the post, like an extra point, and miss that. It's hard to give up points when you're playing a team like that and come out of there with a win. But our guys played well. We're not satisfied with losing, but it's discouraging. You'd like for them to get a reward when they play a good football team like they did.
Were your kids playing tight, playing at the Big House and the mystique of Michigan and all those things?
Alvarez: We just didn't make plays. I don't think they were playing tight.
Is there a common thread with all of these losses?
Alvarez: It's a young group of kids. A very young group of receivers, maybe not quite strong enough hands to come down with the ball. You know maybe we get spoiled, or I get spoiled, you have a guy like Lee Evans who's hands are so strong, everything he latched (onto) never left his hands, and these kids are, some of them 18-19 years old, and they're young. I'm not using that as an excuse. You asked me one possible answer, and that may be one of them.
Is Mike Allen's confidence shaken from today?
Alvarez: I don't know if it's shaken, but he didn't kick very well.
Can you talk about the way you ran the ball today?
Alvarez: Not consistently enough. I thought Anthony had a good day. I thought he really ran hard. He broke tackles, got a lot of extra yardage, got a lot of yardage after contact. He came out of some things. He was real close to going the distance a couple of times. But we just couldn't do it consistently enough, and against a good defense like Michigan's, it's hard to do that.
Were you hurt today regarding bowl chances?
Alvarez: Well we're down to one game. I feel better today, the way we played today, but we're down to one game. We have to win one game to go to a bowl. So we're playing a bowl for a bowl. It's a playoff, one-game series.
Do you wish you were more aggressive today?
Alvarez: No, you've got to have a feel for where you are. You're saying we weren't aggressive today? I thought we were pretty aggressive. I thought we had a shot, we moved the ball down there, we threw the ball a little bit. Actually we had throws called when he flushed, I think, and ended up having to throw into the end zone.
When Michigan took that time out right before halftime, did that change what you were going to do there?
Alvarez: We wanted to see if we could get a first down. I did not want to have to punt the ball backed up. I thought we were getting it off a little bit slow, they were close on some things, I did not want to have to punt before the half. So once we got the first down, then we felt like we could do some things.
Can you talk about Kyle McCorison playing ahead of Broderick Williams?
Alvarez: Coach's decision.
Was he showing something to you in practice?
What about Dontez Sanders?
Alvarez: We used Dontez man-to-man on the tight end and in one of our nickel packages.
Do you like having his big body in there?
Alvarez: I thought Dontez did a really nice job. You know, I don't want to get things too complicated with Dontez. I just told him what number to cover and he did a good job.
There was a lot of rotation going on with the offensive line today.
Alvarez: (Jonathan) Clinkscale is still having problems with that ankle, so we just used two with the other guys, just alternated them.
That last pass to Orr in the end zone. Did you have that set up?
Alvarez: The ball was in his hands. The ball was in Jonathan's hands. Jonathan said he caught the ball. The official said he was out of bounds. I didn't see the replay. I asked him, I asked for an interpretation of what happened. Did he drop or catch the ball? The official said (he caught it) but he was out of bounds. I want to see that replay. He was behind the defender.
Michigan Postgame: Barry Alvarez Verbatim
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