Media Day: Bielema's Bits

Here's what Coach had to say . . .

A summary is what you're after? Here's what I took away from Coach's comments (my additional editorial in italics):
17: he's excited about all of his returning starters and looking forward to seeing this team on the field.
On defensive injuries: Langford and Henry are ready to go, but Shaughnessy will be limited early in the season. (I'm concerned about what Shaughnessy's limitations will mean for our thin defensive line.)

More on the defense: they will spend twice the time they did last year practicing to defend the spread. (thank goodness; it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that the Citadel (!!) was killing us with it.) Bielema also pointed out that Michigan's Rich Rodriguez was a coach with Paul Chryst a while back, so the Badger staff has some familiarity with what Rodriguez may bring to Big Blue's offense.

On the offense Bielema suggested we will run the ball hard with a traditional downhill mentality: Pressley leading our backs into the line. (I wonder if he isn't overselling this; Chryst's three years on offense have shown he likes misdirection and short yardage passing). He's seeing solid improvement among our now-sophomore wide receivers, which is encouraging. However . . .

At QB, Evridge is the starter. Bielema won't say it, but it's fairly plain (he did say his decision will be official no fewer than ten days before the opener against Akron). Evridge needs to work on his accuracy (e.g., he's not happy with Evridge's accuracy, which is hurting his effectiveness in Chryst's controlled passing attack). On the other hand, Coach referred to the other guys learning how to run the huddle and read adjustments, things Evridge has proven he can do. Bielema recruited Evridge to KSU (and will stick with him). He also referenced Youtube videos of how Kansas introduced Alan to NCAA football, something the other guys haven't had:

Bielema is going to take the green shirts off of the quarterbacks in Fall camp to let them get a taste of the real thing. Still, is it really going to look like this?
(More Evridge, courtesy of Youtube)

On who else to watch in the BigTen, although he mentioned Indiana and Northwestern, MSU and D'Antonio were first out of his mouth, and I suspect first on his mind. He mentioned all the trouble they gave us in Madison last year. He clearly thinks the Spartans are on the rise.

On Michigan expected to struggle? That's a "misprint." He doesn't buy it, based on Rodriguez's coaching skill and Carr's recruiting.

On all the other questions about Michigan? Tongue firmly planted in cheek, he thanked the reporters for inviting him to a Michigan press conference.

On scheduling, he isn't ashamed of Akron. He pointed out that when the Marshall deal was done, Marshall was pretty good (see Leftwich and Moss for examples), pointing out they upset then #4 Kansas State (when Bielema was coaching in Manhatten). As for Cal Poly, they were the only team available that week (within reason, I'm sure), and with a BigTen season starting with Michigan, Ohio State, then Penn State, he didn't want Virginia Tech the week before. While Cal Poly is a drag (notwithstanding that my brother went there), I can understand his (and Alvarez's) thinking there.

Speaking of scheduling, he's excited to have a little extra home field advantage with two night games against Ohio State and Penn State. He's looking forward to Badger fans "relaxing" in the stadium parking lot for a couple of extra hours and providing a "festive" environment at game time. I was there for Iowa last year. I don't remember "relaxing," but I do remember "festive." Good on ya, Coach.

On clock rule changes. He likes the 40-second clock between plays to even out what he sees as inconsistencies between refereeing crews (he went out of his way to say they are all excellent, of course). He's not happy about the clock restart rule change after the ball goes out of bounds and thinks it will hurt teams trying to rally from a deficit in the 4th quarter. He also made light of his kicking game shenanigans against Penn State two years ago, taking advantage of the silly clock changes in 2005.

Finally (this wasn't the last thing he talked about, but it's at the bottom of the list of things I cared about), he's sick of hearing about the BigTen not being very good because of OSU's struggles in the national title game. He points to the last three Capital One bowls as the antidote to that line of thinking.

No comments: