February 28, 2014

Nussmeier touches on spring topics

New Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier took on a number of subjects in meeting with the media on Thursday. Here are a few more bullet points on his commentary.

Nussmeier talked about…

  • Putting together the offensive line: "You try and plug guys in and out. In spring ball, you're really trying to find the pieces to the puzzle, then you put the puzzle together as we get into the fall. Right now, with injuries and those types of things, you're a little limited, as far as some of the guys not being able to go full speed or go through all the reps. What we're trying to do is develop depth within our offensive team."

  • Playing a fullback: "Fullback is an intriguing position. A lot of people don't use a true fullback anymore. Most teams have gone away from it. You see the evolution of the spread, and more of the four-wide-receiver personnel sets, or five-wide-receiver personnel sets.

    "We'll use our fullback in many different ways. Sometimes, we'll use them as an in-line blocker type, in the backfield, downhill-type runs. Another thing we'll do is put him out in formation and do different things. You're always looking for intriguing athletes who can create mismatch opportunities for you."

  • Getting Michigan's offense installed: "The first thing you try to do is evaluate your roster and look at the things you think you can do well, and maybe what you can't do as well, that you would like to do. That's a big key. You've got to start from a teaching premise, and a base system.

    "Maybe some of the plays we're running here in the first day or two may not be plays that we major in as we move forward, but they're the base of the foundation. You've got to start with the foundation and we'll go from there."

  • What Michigan does well right now: "We've got a lot of guys playing different positions right now. I don't know that you'd say right now it would be fair to make an evaluation. I really like how our kids have worked hard to develop their skills sets. As a full unit, we're not really prepared to say right now. I'm not prepared to make that statement."

  • Shane Morris: "Shane is a very talented young man. When you play a player like that, the thing you're looking for when you put a young player in a game like that, is the game too big? Is the moment too big? And it wasn't for him.

    "He performed. Obviously, there were a lot of things he'd have like to have done better. But that's with any player in any game. The biggest thing for Shane is a large learning curve, and he's worked extremely hard with the system. He's got to get better each and every time we come out."

  • The percentage of the playbook he wants installed in the spring: "I don't know that you ever put a percentage or number on that. The biggest thing for me is, how fast and how well are our players grasping what we're doing. You can have 100 different plays, but if you can't execute five of them, it's not worth having 100.

    "We'll go as fast as our players can go. They've worked extremely hard. We've got a very bright group of young men. I think they'll grasp it very quickly."

  • The importance of quarterback reads in avoiding negative-yardage plays: "It's the age-old thing. You talk about sacks, and everybody always wants to pin sacks on the offensive line. There are a lot of other factors that play into it.

    "It's the receiver getting open at the right time and in the right spot. It's the quarterback getting the ball out of his hands. In the running game, it may be a situation where a quarterback was supposed to get out of a bad look, where there is an unblockable hat and into a different look.

    "It's 11 guys on every play, and if we've got one guy not doing what he's supposed to be doing, we're not going to have success."

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