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September 7, 2009 - 11:04am

LIVE BLOG: Rodriguez weekly press conference

BY COURTNEY RATKOWIAK

Rich Rodriguez
Tate Forcier will start against Notre Dame "unless he has a really bad week of practice," Rodriguez said.

Carlos Brown will start over Brandon Minor at running back on Saturday.

Injury Report: Junior Hemingway tweaked his ankle, so he will be limited in practice tomorrow and today. Mark Moundros was injured in the game, will probably be held out of contact all week. Boubacar Cissoko, who had a nerve problem in his shoulder, will also probably be held out of contact. Minor looked better in pregame on Saturday than he had in a few weeks, but Rodriguez held him out of the game anyway and he will be able to play Saturday.

Stevie Brown and Obi Ezeh were the two defensive players of the game. Rodriguez praised Brown's effort in the game.

Junior Hemingway was the offensive player of the game.

Kevin Koger's one-handed catch: Rodriguez said he always harps on the team to catch with both hands: "I've probably yelled 50 times, go up with two hands." Koger told Rodriguez, "I went up with two hands, my other one couldn't reach it," even before they had left the tunnel after the game.

Rodriguez was happy with his team's kicking this weekend. He feels the offensive line was "solid, not great."

Rodriguez feels Craig Roh played very well in his collegiate debut.

The QB situation is a week-by-week deal, and Rodriguez felt Sheridan made a few solid plays before his interception Saturday.

Rodriguez says Tate Forcier was "probably more nervous than he let on, but didn't act like it."

When asked about Robinson, Rodriguez said that "to compare him with Tate is sometimes not fair" because Robinson has only been in practice for a few weeks, as opposed to Forcier's spring practice experience.

Robinson played at slot receiver early in the game against Western while Tate was behind center. Rodriguez says "there's probably more we could do with that," trying to get the ball to fast guys in space more and Robinson is one of those "fast guys". Rodriguez thought it was "invaluable" to get Robinson playing time both in the running and passing game.

Rodriguez said, "It doesn't appear that Adrian (Witty) will be able to make it for this fall." Witty, Robinson's former high school teammate, was having issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse.

On the Western Michigan touchdown: "They made a nice play and we made a mistake." He says it's not fair to throw his guys under the bus by explaining what went wrong.

On Brandon Graham's lack of sacks: "Brandon had a lot of pressure so I think he probably got frustrated because he was close, he didn't make the sack but he made the play." D-line had a good effort. Notre Dame will keep a tight end to protect and release them late, so they won't have many 1-on-1 opportunities.

Ball security was a top priority in choosing who to handle kick and punt returns. Greg Mathews is the best at catching the ball, which is why he handled returns. Martavious Odoms will also start handling some returns.

Greg Banks was an end that they moved inside, and Rodriguez has confidence in him and has been mentioning him throughout the summer.

Kelvin Grady had 30 plays and Odoms had 26 plays. Odoms played too many plays last year, so they're using a planned rotation. Odoms didn't take himself out of the game.

Forcier did take himself out of the game because of something with his ankle brace or shoe, which is why Sheridan went into the game when he did. Rodriguez was planning to play Sheridan anyway, but that was a good time to do it.

Forcier knows about 70 percent of the existing offense, but this week, classes start and it will be a challenge to not overload them.

21 carries by the quarterbacks is probably more than Rodriguez wants, he said. He wants to keep his QB's eyes downfield so he knows whether to run or throw the ball. Some of those runs were passes that turns into runs and some of them were designed.

Rodriguez said that they should have probably put Vincent Smith in the game earlier, since he's done well in camp and he's in the mix.

Rodriguez says Notre Dame saw Michigan's entire defense. Rodriguez said they "weren't holding anything back" against Western and that they were doing everything they could to win.

There are 7 or 8 open scholarships that Rodriguez will award to walk-ons.

Steve Schilling

Forcier is a good leader for them, even as a freshman. He's confident in the huddle. He doesn't act like a freshman and you wouldn't know he was if you didn't already know him.

Robinson is a little quieter than Forcier and is still learning. Forcier was probably more like that during the spring when he was thinking more about the plays than being a leader.

What Schilling remembers about last year's Notre Dame game: "Besides the rain, really?" Notre Dame has a lot of blitzes and a tough, physical defense.

Roh is one of the quickest D-ends Schilling has gone against. He's "given some of the older guys some fits" and will be a good player when he gets stronger.

Notre Dame is a team where they can make a little more of a statement if they can play hard for four quarters.

On Robinson's touchdown: "I don't know how many times Denard's gone 70, 80 yards in practice." He wasn't surprised, but he doesn't know how Robinson does it.

Carlos Brown
Forcier isn't afraid to speak up, and he'll be a great leader.

Vincent Smith is fast and shifty, and both he and Michael Shaw will be good as they develop.

When asked to talk about Notre Dame as a measuring stick, considering the Wolverines are supposed to beat MAC teams: "I wouldn't say we're supposed to beat Western, I would say we take it one game at a time."

Donovan Warren
He's looking forward to the challenge of facing the two Notre Dame receivers - it'll be a good opportunity to show people what Michigan can do.

When asked what the Wolverines have more of this year: "I don't want to say we're more anything - it's just a mentality, a chip on our shoulder."

On last year's pass interference calls against him in the game against Notre Dame: "Any time you're getting aggressive, calls like that are going to happen." He's going to get up in their faces this year regardless of pass interference calls.

Warren says he feels there are a lot more things his defense can do, he doesn't know how much of the defense they showed against Notre Dame.

Junior Hemingway
Hemingway says his ankle is fine and he'll be ready to go on Saturday. He thinks he hurt it on the last catch he caught on Saturday's game. It's the same ankle that has bothered him in the past.

On his mono last year: "It was terrible. I'll never go back there again." He lost about 10 pounds and it took until a few weeks after the season ended to recover. He found out he had mono the Monday after the Wisconsin game. His roommate last year was Mike Williams, who was "tripping out" when he found out Hemingway had mono, until Hemingway told him it wasn't contagious.

On getting back out there and having a 2-TD performance Saturday: "Words can't even explain it. It feels good to be back out there."

Hemingway's real name is Kenneth. He was just asked a very odd question about whether or not he likes his name.

Check www.michigandaily.com tonight and tomorrow for more coverage of the Western Michigan game.