October 21, 2013

Karsch: From The Sidelines

Michigan sideline reporter Doug Karsch watched the Wolverines burn up the field for an all-time record in total offense against Indiana. He shared his thoughts in this exclusive to TheWolverine.com.

Here's Karsch…

On general impressions from the game: "It was reminiscent of games from an era bygone. I guess I came to expect it during that era. I didn't expect it during this era.

"Indiana has played some talented teams. They played Missouri, they played Michigan State, which is talented defensively. They put up 49 against Ohio State last year. They led the Big Ten in scoring and passing and total offense going into this game. They're a legitimate offensive team.

"You still look at opportunities missed by the defense to make a stand or to make a stop. There were multiple opportunities to intercept passes that they couldn't capitalize on that seemed to be 14-point swings. Michigan's offense was unstoppable. They had relatively easy plays, players in position to make plays, and they didn't do it.

"Offensively, one of their better games this year. The turnovers are still an issue. The fact is, they were a juggernaut on Saturday. I seriously think a lot of the credit goes to Devin Funchess. Even though he didn't have the big game, he's another bullet point on a defensive coordinator's to-do list.

"The emergence of Funchess has made things easier for Jeremy Gallon. The last two weeks it was Funchess. I imagine Indiana's primary concern was Funchess, although Indiana played a lot of man coverage, and Michigan took advantage."

On the boost to the offense's confidence: "On the offensive line, I am always trying to see which color shirts overwhelm the battle at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line created stuff for Fitz [Toussaint].

"Even when I couldn't see, at field level, I'd hear Frank [Beckmann] on his call say 'Huge hole!' He said that more in his play-by-play calls this Saturday than he has said in weeks, and that is encouraging.

"When Joey Burzynski got hurt on that second drive, they didn't hesitate. They went right to Kyle Bosch. After the game, talking to Graham Glasgow and Taylor Lewan, they were almost laughing. They said his eyes were just wide, and he was all kinds of amped up.

"They all said it reminded them of their first time out there. You've got to give the kid credit. They threw a blitz at him right away and he picked up the blitzer. These kids are getting better from Saturday to Saturday. Maybe this is an example of the freshman class finding a way to contribute in the trenches."

On U-M defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, during Indiana's scoring skein: "It was harder to see him this week. They were holding towels up, when he called his troops in. Two managers were holding huge towels up behind him. It seemed to be they were worried about somebody from behind stealing signals.

"But they never show panic. They definitely encourage guys and get into them a little bit, but I never sense panic from this staff."

On Gallon's demeanor after a host of big plays: "Everybody is always more excited than Jeremy Gallon. Jeremy Gallon is as humble and as an 'Aw shucks' kind of player as there is. You tell him after the game he set a Michigan record and he kind of laughs and then deflects attention right away, gives credit to Devin [Gardner], gives credit to the offensive line, gives credit to Fitz for establishing a run game.

"Gallon is not a kid that draws attention to himself. He just does his job quietly. And I don't blame kids for getting excited when they get in the end zone. I don't blame them for getting excited when they're coming to greet their teammates.

"It's just Gallon's way. He's just quiet and unassuming. He tosses the ball to the ref and goes and finds a teammate to celebrate with. He's that kind of guy.

"After the game, when you tell him about the records and the numbers, it doesn't seem all that important to him on a relative scale, when you compare it to winning the game."

On Lewan in a leadership moment: "Taylor Lewan came over at one point and gave a real pep talk to Channing Stribling, who looked like he was beating himself up. I asked Taylor about it after the game, and Taylor said he saw Stribling slam his helmet to the ground.

"He went over and told him it's a team game, we've all got to make plays, it's not just you. Just kind of gave him a little pep talk."

On a bye week before Michigan State: "They're playing a game coming up in two weeks that, in a lot of ways, will define what they're playing for this year. They still clearly have the goal of winning the Big Ten. The loss to Penn State was an out-of-division loss, so that isn't as costly as an in-division loss. Those games count as two.

"They now have to get into East Lansing and be able to pull that game off. If they can, it's a game-changer for this season. Everything they've done up to here, the problems everybody sees, can get corrected with one, good, solid, mistake-free performance, which is probably what it's going to take.

"Having two weeks to prepare for it is definitely an advantage."

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