Rich Rodriguez: No looking past Indiana and other Big Ten teleconference notes
Michigan is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, riding high on emotion after a 3-0 start and preparing to visit rival Michigan State next week. But coach Rich Rodriguez said Tuesday he isn’t worried “at all” about his team overlooking perennial Big Ten cellar dweller Indiana in Saturday's conference opener.
“The way we approach things here, we don’t even look three days ahead, we just look at the next day ahead,” Rodriguez said. "Certainly our goal each and every year is to try to compete for a Big Ten championship and we have the first one coming up."
Michigan and Indiana (3-0) haven’t played since 2006, but the Wolverines have won 15 straight games in the series and haven’t lost at home to the Hoosiers since 1967.
In a hump game against Eastern Michigan last week, Michigan got off to a slow start before running away with a 45-17 victory.
“I would be shocked and disappointed if the intensity wasn’t higher and at a fever pitch this weekend,” Rodriguez said.
More tidbits from Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference:
â€¢ The buzzwords from Indiana coach Bill Lynch on Tuesday were “assignment sound,” as in that’s what his defense needs to be in order to stop a Michigan offense that’s “hitting on all cylinders.”
“In some ways it’s a little bit like playing triple-option football,” Lynch said. “You have to be assignment sound and everybody’s got to do their job. A guy can’t try to do more than what his job is because you got to count on your teammates. That is so critical because in some ways, spread-option football is different formation."
â€¢ On quarterback Tate Forcier, Lynch said, “He’s obviously an outstanding football player, and the performance he had against Notre Dame in a really, really big football game under extreme pressure, that was impressive for a freshman. So you know he’s got the intangibles that are so important at that position and physically he certainly seems like a great fit for the offense.”
“If you had to list co-guys it would be both of them and if Brandon was healthy they’d be splitting the time,” Rodriguez said. “Carlos has a lot of skills. I’ve been really proud, not only of the way he’s been running, but also the way he’s been involved in the passing game and providing some leadership.
“So he certainly has helped fill a little bit of that void that we’re missing with Brandon. But hopefully Brandon can get healthy because we need both of them because they have different skills that they can bring to our offense.”
â€¢ Rodriguez on where the Michigan program is three games into his second season as coach: “We’re obviously further along than we were four weeks ago and certainly further along than we were a year ago, but we’re still a work in progress. The entire offense, can we execute all of it that we want? No. But we’ve at least got enough in that we feel comfortable with it. We can adapt to situations in a game, and that’s the biggest key for whatever system you run. Do you have enough answers to the problems that occur and can you execute those answers? We’re getting closer and closer to having more answers.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.