Presser Notes: Michigan Week

By Chris Lauderback on November 18, 2008 at 7:00a
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An oldie but a goodie.

To start with, I love Beanie "Warrior" Wells more than Nutty Bars.

With that out of the way, let's move on to this week's presser. The thing was damn near comical as Tressel struggled to gloss the Wolverines in his opening statement resorting to comments about their passion and never say die attitude:

So I've been impressed with the way they continue to play and get after it and they've had the ball bounce some ways that you wish they wouldn't and they've found themselves in a situation that they haven't been in before, but you sure can't tell as you watch the film that there's any less passion. They look like the maize and blue from an effort standpoint that I've watched for many, many years, and I've been very impressed.
I, for one, totally agree with Jim. I thought the Michigan players played like their hair was on fire during the 4th quarter of each of those eight defeats. All joking aside, we all know anything can happen in The Game but if there was ever a mismatch favoring the Buckeyes it's this season.

Taking it a bit further, Tress glossed the Michigan defense and its coordinator, Scott Schaeffer, along with RichRod for his offensive genius:

When you look at their defensive front, it perhaps is the most talented defensive front that we've faced with Terrance Taylor and Jamison and Graham and Johnson, those guys have been here forever. We've played against them, some of them, three and four years. Those guys are outstanding football players. They've got some good young guys behind them, their linebackers are younger and very talented. Their secondary has been a group that's had a lot of starts and in the games that I've watched most recently this morning, they've been a lot of their nickel package, so all those guys that have been around, Brandon Harrison and Stevie Brown and Donovan Warren, who's young, but he's in his second full year of starting and Morgan Trent and all those guys, it's the Wolverines that we've watched. I think Scott Schaefer, their defensive coordinator, has done a great job of giving you problems, putting pressure on you, and I think everyone in the country that's been around coaching would agree that Rich Rodriguez has been one of the most creative and really one of the founders of the spread style attack.
Feel the hyperbole. Since Tress forgot to mention it, UM is 10th in the conference in total defense (27.7 ppg) while Dick's creative offense is last in the conference in yards per game (299).

The reporters offered up another softball asking Tress if was surprised at Michigan's record:

The thing about football is there are so many good football teams and you watch games and when you see a score, you say, man, I maybe wasn't expecting that score and then you see a game and you see a mishap or whatever it happens to be, but certainly did I expect the records to be what they are going into this game? No, absolutely not. But that doesn't change how you look at them. You still look at can they block, can they tackle, can they get rid of blockers, can they make plays. There's still a field full of names. Greg Matthews, every time you turn around he's jumping up and catching the ball we tried like crazy to recruit Greg Matthews. So, yes, I'm surprised at the record, but the record, I hate to say it, the record is irrelevant.
Boy...I have a feeling this is gonna be a shorter post than usual.

After warming up, Tress had a beauty answer to when talking about what OSU has riding on the game and if he'll be rooting for Sparty:

Well, Ohio State has the Ohio State-Michigan game riding on it and what happens outside of that won't be decided for a few weeks, couple weeks, I guess, the way it is. Am I rooting for Michigan State? I root for all the Big Ten teams.
Love it.

Senator Tressel then spoke about Rich's dynamic offense:

The thing I like about watching Rich with his offense or I remember facing Paul Johnson when he had his offense at Georgia Southern and now at Georgia Tech, is you know those guys know if you decide to stop them this way, they've got a package ready, so I know they're not concerned with well, which of Ohio State's things are they going to do because they know they have an answer to all of them.
Again, history has taught us anything can happen in The Game but if Michigan is able to actually sustain drives all day thanks to countering what the OSU defense is doing, not only will I be shocked, I'll guzzle a gallon of kerosene. Even the best Wolverine scenario has to be built on the windfall of crazy trick plays, turnovers and an uncharacteristic amount of big plays.

What I enjoyed was the follow up question asking Tressel why he isn't wedded to a system like RichRod:

Right. Well, there's probably two reasons. I've always felt that doing what your personnel can best do is the best answer and that that's going to be ongoing change. And two, I've always felt that I would like to have a little bit of a lot of things because the team that my defense faces most in the course of a calendar year is us and I want them in the spring to face some spread. I want them to face some power. I want them to face some option. I want them to face some dropback, et cetera, et cetera. And then in preseason, there's 44 practices -- or 29 in the preseason and in the spring, they've got 44 practices against us, I want them to be as prepared as they can for those 12 games coming up and they're going to have all kind of different looks that they face. So it's really been for two reasons, for the sake of the defense and sake of the personnel.
That, my friends, is a hell of an answer and one RichRod should study. Being a one trick pony might help you catch lightning in a bottle but it also provides seasons such as the one Michigan is currently experiencing.

On the sensitive topic of Beanie Wells, Tressel noted Beanie is fine:

Beanie's fine. Beanie, I'm not exactly -- mentioned Harrison Dillard in my post game and all these young guys gave me that brook trout, they'd never heard of Harrison Dillard. When he hurdled, he might have tweaked something, but Beanie will be fine. The only guys I'm concerned about that might not make the bill will be Jermale Hines.

On the topic of Boeckman seeing the field, Tress was non-committal:

Well, we haven't talked about that, although we're not very deep into the week. One time I remember I had so many seniors on offense in particular I started 11 seniors on the first play and then on play two, it was back to the rest of the group. I'm not sure that that's in the cards here, but I haven't really talked about that.
I don't know about you guys, but I think it's safe to say Boeckman will get a series barring an unforseen nail biter. If anything, I hope the fact Tress wants to get Boeckman some time will lead to an open playbook and an intention of building a sizable cushion instead of getting up 17 points and choosing not to step on Michigan's neck.

That's about it for this week. The presser was longer than usual but I didn't think most of it was worth rehashing. As usual, you can read the full transcript here.

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