Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Big Ten Teleconference quotes from Sept. 18
On this week: Obviously this is a special week. It’s a great rivalry game for us. It’s a fun game to be a part of either as a coach or a player. We were pleased with the win last Saturday, but we have to play a lot better than we did and we have to make the improvements we need to make from week to week.
Why has Denard Robinson been so successful against Notre Dame: I don’t know. I don’t know if anyone knows that. Every year is different. Every game is different. The pieces that are on the field are different. It has just been lucky for us…lucky for
that he has played well late in ball games.
Are you concerned about the future of this rivalry with Notre Dame’s new agreement with the ACC: That’s probably a decision I will have nothing to do with. I think it’s a great rivalry from a national perspective. I don’t know…they have to take care of what they need to take care of by going into the ACC in the other sports and having the opportunity to play competitive games against people outside the conference. Believe me, we have enough going on here to worry about what we are doing.
What stood out the most about Denard’s performance last year against Notre Dame: No. 1, for three quarters we did nothing, on either side of the ball. So that’s what I remember the most. I think Denard, in the fourth quarter, played well. I think his receivers did a good job. I thought some of the adjustments Al Borges made were very good for us offensively. We just kept fighting away.
Is Denard a player that shines in the big games: I hope he shines in a lot of games. He is your quarterback and he handles the ball a lot. From my vantage point, we are just glad he’s our quarterback at
Are you concerned about the physicality of your team: I think we need to play more physical. I think we need to play faster on both sides of the ball. I think finishing plays is something we need to do a better job at. When you look at defense, getting 11 guys to the football and the physicalness we want to play up front with. From the offensive standpoint, the movement at the line of scrimmage, so we can be a little more vertical in our run game. All those things are part of it.
What is Notre Dame bringing to the table defensively that is different from last year: When you watch them, their front seven is playing very aggressive. They held
to 50 yards rushing. I think they
have done a tremendous job at the point of attack. They flow to the ball
really, really well. They have created turnovers and opportunities for their
offense. That’s a big part of the game of football, when you look at field
position and opportunities and possessions for your offense that your defense
can create. Michigan State
On last week: Tough loss this past weekend. It’s hard, but it’s very competitive out there and we want to get back on the right path, so we’re moving forward.
On losing at home during a big recruiting weekend and how that impacts landing the recruits: It helps every time you get a young man on campus. I think that is the main thing. A lot of our guys will come for the game experience. They will have the opportunity to maybe see a coach, possibly see me, but there will be another time they come where they will have an opportunity to sit down with the coach and talk and I think it is important that every time a young man comes to campus he sees a different aspect of what he is going to experience when he plays here. That’s what we’ve always tried to do here. If one guy can only come one weekend and he’s from a long ways away, we are going to try to give him the total exposure. It’s extremely competitive. On a day like the Notre Dame game, it’s extremely busy.
On Andrew Maxwell’s learning curve: I think a quarterback continues to grow. It’s a lot like golf. You can call the same play, but it’s always a different shot. You can be the same distance away from a hole, but its always a different shot you are taking. There are so many different things a quarterback is seeing, from different coverages to different pressures, blitzes, that no play that we run is too often the same because the different things that add up on it. I think he continues to develop. The thing I have been most impressed about Andrew is that he has a very strong arm, physically. He has a very good hand on our offensive, conceptually. He is extremely composed and resilient and he doesn’t panic under pressure. Those are the things that will bring him forward. The other things, if he can maintain those things, the other things will iron themselves out. It is an experience-based position. You just make great strides in every game you play. Especially when you are doing it for…. he is going into his fourth game this week as a starter. That’s not very many. When you look back and make a statement, for example, Kirk Cousins played 30 as a starter, or more. There is a learning curve, but I am very impressed and happy with what he has done.
On the potential for changes in the lineup: I think there are always guys that are in that area that they may start, they may not start based on their inexperiences and other things. Particularly at wide receiver and our remaining safety position and one of our defensive tackle positions. Those type of things, there is a little bit of play there because we have guys with similar abilities. It’s not like they’re playing bad football, it is just we have guys that are similar in their abilities at those particular positions that probably warrant opportunities.
What do you expect to see out of your receivers: I think for us to step forward we have to catch the ball cleanly. We have to make the tough catch. Credit Notre Dame with defending some balls and getting them out with the swat or something of that nature. But, you have to make the big play in the football game and you have to catch the deep ball. You have to have great run after catch. Those are the things you are trying to see who is able to create that and fill the void that Keshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichol left. Those guys were more experienced players and it was second nature to them to get the ball and go. For our guys right now, they are young and inexperienced, so they are getting the experience as we go. But, they are outstanding athletes and they have outstanding talent and they have the ability to catch the football from top to bottom. But they are young, and just like the quarterback, they have to get lined up properly and run the right route and play within the confines of your system.