Dec. 24, 2013
Offensive coordinator Al Borges and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison met with media on Tuesday (Dec. 24) as the Wolverines continue preparations for Saturday's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Al Borges
Update on QB situation?
"Devin (Gardner) is still day-to-day, but if we playedyesterday, it would definitely be Shane (Morris)."
What is (Morris') comfort level?
"We've had a lot of time to get him ready and take the No. 1 reps, which he's never done before. He's come along nicely. He's studied hard. He's really worked at it. It's showed up because he's improved a lot from the first day we started bowl practices to today, which is natural because he has had the reps."
Not having practiced since November, how much could Devin Gardner play?
"Who knows? He knows the offense. That's what's good. If we could get him a few practices, I think he would become very functional because Devin's smart and he stays on top of things pretty good."
Do any young players stand out in practice?
"Not really. The biggest thing is that we don't have any disappointments. In recruiting, when you start playing them a bunch, you realize if they're any good or not. All our kids that I've seen so far, I think the coaching staff would agree, could play here. When, we're not sure. But I think they're all Michigan-worthy."
Are you scaling back the playbook for Shane Morris?
"Yes. As it becomes more apparent that he could be starting, we have to be very judicious about how we go about repping him in terms of what plays to run, the ones he knows the best and understands the best. So we're at that point now."
Do you become more conservative with a freshman?
"The biggest thing -- I don't care if a freshman's playing or a senior's playing, our goal is to be balanced. That's always been our goal, and we've lost that a little bit occasionally when we've turned the ball over more than we wanted. We went back and became more conservative, but lately we haven't been that way. So as long as we can keep the ball out of their hands, we're going to play the game the way we want to play the game, and that's with balance."
How are you approaching Devin's situation?
"He just assumes he's going to play, and that's the way we go about it. If for someone reason he doesn't, he doesn't. But we don't think any other way."
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
Was practice a bit chippier today?
I don't know if it's typical of bowl practices. I think it's typical of teams that really are vested and teams that want to do well. I've been proud of these guys. They got hereyesterday, a four-hour flight, and came out on the practice field and they practiced as hard as they could practice. They're doing the right things and doing what you're asking them to do ... I like this defense. I like these kids. They're growing up. We'll see what happens in the game, but if they keep practicing like they're practicing, I think good things are going to happen."
Have they grown up more in recent weeks?
"It's almost in the last three weeks, either the young guys have really figured it out or they're saying, 'OK, we're not young anymore.' There's no longer where you really have to yell at them, correct them. They go hard and they try to do the things that you're asking them to do."
What do you fear the most from Kansas State's two quarterbacks?
"Well, you don't fear. But they present a challenge in that 15 (Jake Waters) can throw it and he's mobile. 4 (Daniel Sams) can run it and he can throw it enough to keep you honest. You've got a combination of two pretty good things right there. They've got a good offensive line, and their offensive line has started 40-some games each. They've got a good running back. It's going to be a good offense. Their wide receiver, (Tyler) Lockett, if you don't do a good job on him, he's going to get a quick one. They've got a very good offense."
Have you played anyone in the past few years who has been similar to their two quarterbacks?
"We were lucky enough to play for two years here against the best there is. Our quarterback two years ago was pretty darn good, Denard (Robinson). So we're going to see the speed in there. We faced some really good quarterbacks in the Big Ten. I don't know that you go into a game in the Big Ten where the quarterback doesn't have the ability to make it hard on you. We played against some good ones."
With the dual quarterbacks, are they similar to Northwestern in that sense?
"Somewhat. I'm a real strong advocate of the Northwestern quarterback (Kain Colter). I think that kid is really good. And I think this kid's really good too, No. 4 (Daniel Sams). The Northwestern kid is so quick, he'll make you break your ankles ... This guy's a little bit faster, but with some quickness."