Sept. 3, 2011
U-M coach quotes courtesy of the Michigan Sports Network postgame show
Player quotes from the Michigan locker room
Michigan Director of Athletics Dave Brandon
On the decision to call the game ... "If this has ever happened before, I don't know when. We did have a pretty good look at the forecast today, and we spent a lot of time yesterday with contingency plans. I thought my operations staff did a terrific job of keeping their eye on the weather. We had every weatherman in southeastern Michigan helping us out. It was an unpredictable day because these cells kept popping up and dying down really fast, and we were hoping we could get it in. We got through the first delay and we actually thought we had another hour-and-a-half window before the next big front was moving through. But this time of year with the humidity and heat that we had, we just had buildups come out of nowhere. In a conference situation, as I understand it, the Big Ten has some very specific rules and protocols to follow. In a non-conference game, it's a little bit more open-ended in terms of how this was to be managed. But generally speaking, in the conference rules, the officials and the head coaches and the home athletic director meet with the director of operations -- in our case that would be Rob Rademacher -- and we would make a call. The choices that we had were to wait it out, to suspend the game and to leave the score were it was, and then there were some other options, but none of them were acceptable. So we really decided after a bit of discussion. I want to compliment Coach (Bill) Cubit and (WMU director of athletics) Kathy Beauregard. They were terrific about this. We really thought about the safety of the fans, and we thought about the safety of the players. To make them sit what could have been an hour and 45 minutes, based on some of the projections that we had with the weather, and then try to go out and get warmed up again and play more football would not have been in the interest of either team. If this was a close game that was into the fourth quarter and the game was in doubt, we either would have waited it out because that's what the coaches would have wanted to do or we would have decided that this would have gone in the books as a non-game. But the agreement that was reached between Western and Michigan was that the game was in hand and that the game would stand as the final score."
On Brady Hoke's first game ... "It's a win. It's a win, and I'm proud of the team. I think if I remember it correctly, we scored defensive touchdowns. I think if I remember it correctly, we won the turnover battle by a significant margin, because I don't think we turned it over. We had one penalty. I like that. I thought we were pretty diversified on offense. We didn't let any one player get beat up. We had a lot of things happening out there. We were getting the ball around to a lot of people. Coach Hoke will come up here and tell you all the things that we have to work on, and there are a lot of them, but I love winning the opening game, and Brady Hoke is 1-0."
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On today's weather-shortened game ... "It's really different. It's one of those things with the weather; it's really a shame, but you can't fight Mother Nature. I think it was the right decision in talking to (Western Michigan head coach) Bill Cubit and the safety for your kids. You go in for an hour, you come back out for 15 minutes and go back in. I just think that it's tough on your kids and probably the right decision."
On Western Michigan scoring on its opening drive ... "Well, you always want to stop them. The first series, the first possession, you always want to do a great job of making stops, and those third downs really hurt us. They did a nice job there, and you know our offense responded. I think our guys started getting it together a little bit more defensively, and I thought when we started the third quarter, our guys were pretty focused."
On the momentum swing after Michigan's interception for a touchdown ... "I think Greg (Mattison) did a nice job, and the defensive staff, they started believing they could get to him, believe in the man-coverage aspect of it and that we could cover those guys. I think he dialed up some good things, and anytime you can rattle a quarterback -- Alex Carder doesn't get rattled that often when you look at the tape -- I think that was a big momentum change for us."
On things U-M needs to improve before next week ... "Number one, I'll start on the kicking game. Our kickoff coverage was not even close to where we need to have it. I thought kicking the ball itself, we got one PAT blocked, and we need to be stouter in the middle. I think (Brendan) Gibbons did a nice job, and I think Matt Wile did a nice job on the punts and the kickoffs. But I think defensively, we've got some things we need to shore up. We need to shore up where we are on the support when they want to run the ball outside and some things inside. We've got to be able to get pressure if we've got a three- or four-man rush too."
On the offense and junior quarterback Denard Robinson ... "I thought Denard was [in control and comfortable]. The big thing there is that we didn't have any turnovers, so the ball-security issue -- which is always a big issue -- was huge. I thought Denard ran the offense well. I thought there might have been one throw in there where he should have gone to the other side, but other than that, I thought they ran it well when they had the opportunity. I think they were really starting to wear them down a bit in the third quarter."
U-M Senior Linebacker Brandon Herron
On his interception ... "Jake Ryan tipped the ball, and I was looking up. My legs carried me, and I grabbed it. I remember Aubrey (Pleasant), our grad assistant, he tells us anytime you get an interception, run back to your sideline. So after I caught the ball, I looked straight ahead -- obviously no ball security whatsoever -- but I was trying to get into the end zone."
On his evaluation of the defensive effort ... "This is our first time playing defense under Coach (Greg) Mattison -- a real game. It was a little shaky at first. We were struggling with the communication a little bit, but a lot of the coaches talk about having that poise. We just needed to sit down and have the poise. We have to communicate if we want to be a great defense."
U-M Senior/Junior Safety Jordan Kovacs
On differences in the Wolverine defensive scheme ... "It's a completely different scheme. I think we have some more blitz packages. It gives me the opportunity to come down in the box and try to make a play. It's a little different, but at the same time it's playing football and that's what it's all about."
On the feeling of the blitz call ... "When you get the blitz call, you think 'I've got to come hard, I've got to make a play.' I have to give a lot of credit to the defense. That was a defensive effort. I think the front did a great job of disguising it, and we had great coverage. I just came clean and made a play."
On the Wolverines working toward Coach Hoke's defensive vision ... "We're getting there. It was shaky at first, no doubt. I think that this film will be pretty good for us to look at so that we can improve before our next game."
U-M Junior Quarterback Denard Robinson
On the shortened game ... "We were ready to keep playing. We got to play against somebody else, so we were ready to play. It felt different [ending early]. Everyone wanted to go back out and finish the game. It is what it is."
On his game at quarterback ... "I still have some learning to do. I have to do better. I think I did alright."
On Michigan's defensive touchdowns ... "It felt good, but it was kind of boring on the sideline to me. I enjoyed it. When we saw (Brandon) Herron take the ball to the house, we were rooting on the sideline but we were like, 'I want to get back on the field.' But we enjoyed it."
Western Michigan Head Coach Bill Cubit
On the game ... "I thought the kids played really well. The game turned when we went down there, missed some protection, the ball got squared up in the air, and the guy ran it back. Even at that point it was a 14-point swing, and we had just missed a field goal earlier. Coming out at halftime, I thought the drive right before the half -- we went down there and got three points so it made it a 10-point game and we were still okay. Then all of a sudden the rain came, and we had bad field position. I give a lot of credit to Michigan. They made a lot of plays when they had to. They made two really big plays on the defensive side. One of the protections on the sack fumble was really not the lines -- Alex (Carder) just didn't see it."
On how wide receiver Jordan White played ... "It's what I expect. I think he's really good. I felt really good coming in to the game. I thought our wideouts would win. I thought our quarterback would win. I was concerned about our offensive line. I thought we ran the ball better than I expected. Our kids -- we had one more guy to box at times, and we did some nice things. I'm always looking at the positive end, and I look at it and go 'You know what, we have a chance to be pretty good,' especially with that quarterback there. In the first half we gave them seven, then we threw away 10 on our side there."
On the decision to call the game ... "Well, like everyone here, Michigan and Western Michigan, we have to be concerned for our players. From what I got, the radar showed that there were a lot of cells out there. We would be sitting here for an hour or two hours, and the way kids go play out there after sitting around for an hour, two hours ... I don't know if that's a smart thing. But both of our teams need to look out for the welfare of our athletes because that's the number one thing."
WMU Junior Quarterback Alex Carder
On if losing the opener stings ... "Yes, absolutely. I think we came out and showed what we're really capable of. I guess having the lead is part of the game. It started off really well. I just think there were a couple plays, like six or seven, that really hurt us. A sacked fumble is inexcusable. It was a protection change that I missed. I should have seen it, and I should not have let that happen. I take full responsibility for that one. It was just big plays, and that is big motivation for the other team and you have to avoid them."
On Michigan adjustments in the second half ... "They had the defensive coordinator that just came from the (Baltimore) Ravens. He knows a lot of NFL stuff. I think they made some right adjustments. Some of the right blitzes and not all of those we picked up. We saw some new blitzes, and like I said earlier, when the safety blitzes from the boundary, I should be ready and it ended up costing us. Either way I should have seen it, and it was a mistake and they definitely switched it up on us."
WMU Sixth-Year Senior Wide Receiver Jordan White
On being encouraged for the rest of the season ... "At first when you look at the game, we're not so encouraged because of the outcome. But at the end of the day we look back at things like our first drive. We ran the ball down there real effectively -- passing the ball, running the ball, Alex (Carder) making checks, putting us in the right position. We got the ball down there real efficiently and put seven points on the board. They came back and scored and it was 7-7. We're going in for another score to make it 14-7 -- I think around the four- or five-yard line -- and there was the tipped ball, which unfortunately got picked and got ran back for a touchdown. So just a fine line like that can really change a game, especially when you're playing a team like Michigan."
On his reaction to calling the game ... "We wanted to continue playing. They had us wait, and I was talking in the locker room and I said, 'Are we still going to play even if it is 7:30 or 8?' and someone looked at their watch and it was 7:30-8 already. I was ready to play and keep going. We had already come back in the locker room once for a break, so what's another break?"