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Posted on Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 1:14 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez: No looking past Indiana and other Big Ten teleconference notes

By Dave Birkett

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:

• 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."

• 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.”

• Rodriguez reiterated that Brandon Minor, once healthy, will share carries with Carlos Brown, who’s coming off a career-best 187-yard rushing day.

“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.”

• 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 He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Wed, Sep 23, 2009 : noon

It's awesome that M is back in the top 25 where we are used to being in the not too distant past. Taking one game at a time is crucial after last year, but I am excited about watching the offense and see how it reacts each week. IMO, it's the most exciting offense since the Moehler era. It can't count on outscoring what the D gives up though. Robinson's got some homework to do each game going into the Big Ten. GO BLUE!!


Wed, Sep 23, 2009 : 6:33 a.m.

Michigan has to realize that it can still lose to anyone and it can beat anyone on a given day given the youth at key positions, only a percentage of the overall playbook and lack of experience. Still, this is waaaaay more fun than last year. I take it one day at a time and one game at a time with this team. That is what makes it fun. There are no "gimmees" the rest of the way.


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 8:10 p.m.

I hope Michigan does keep that chip on their shoulder and doesn't buy into their increased hype. The reason they are 3-0 is because they are playing inspired ball every game. That needs to continue this week against Indiana because we already saw EMU hang with a flat Michigan team for a half. My guess is Indiana is far better than EMU. I know fans looking ahead isn't the same as the team looking ahead by any means, but after App St. and Toledo in the not too distant past, I'm focusing on Michigan winning the Indiana game before I put too much thought into the games after that.


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 5:38 p.m.

I would be shocked and disappointed if the intensity wasnt higher and at a fever pitch this weekend, Rodriguez said. I hope it's the same way next weekend. DRobUM, you're right. I'd like to see Minor limited if at all this weekend, and at full strengh for MSU. Most of all, I can't wait to see the scowl on Dantonio's face.


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 2:16 p.m.

exactly- i'd like to see Minor limited against Indiana or not play at all. We need him healthy to punch MSU in the mouth.


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 1:42 p.m.

Not too long ago, I would have been pretty upset that Michigan was "only" 23rd in the polls. But, after last year, I'm really, really happy! Indiana won't be a good test for us, but it may be a chance for Tate and Denard to fine tune things a little more, as well as for a few players to get healthier. We really need Brandon Minor for the Big Ten part of the schedule, so I hope his ankle gets better FAST. Go Blue!


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 1:17 p.m.

This team can not overlook anyone period. It sure is nice to be 3-0 at this point! Go Rich go..


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 1:13 p.m.

Fans, though, can look ahead whenever they want, and I am looking at MSU right now. If MSU plays Wisky tough for four quarters, they will have a lot less left in the tank for UM. Wisky isn't as good as they used to be, but they are still a very physical team, and playing them usually hurts for more than a week. If they fold their tents early and are blown out, though, they will have more left for UM. UM, on the other hand, gets an Indiana team that shouldn't require the first string for more than two and a half quarters. Hopefully, Denard gets more time to improve, and most of the second string gets valuable experience. UM should get through the IU game in good shape at 4-0, and should take a lot of momentum into EL to take on a 1-3 MSU team. And they definitely won't be overlooking MSU after the year of bragging they have taken from Sparty and fans.


Tue, Sep 22, 2009 : 1:06 p.m.

This team definitely has the proverbial "chip on its shoulder," and will probably have it for the rest of the year. The players had to listen to "3-9" all year, and you can rest assured that they didn't like it at all. This team won't even overlook Delaware State.