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July 1, 2014

Nussmeier talks Michigan growth

Bruce Feldman from Fox Sports chatted with new U-M offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on a wide range of topics involving the Wolverines. Here are a few highlights.

Feldman got Nussmeier to talk about…

The biggest hoped-for changes from 2013: "As with any team, we've got to take care of the football. Secure the football when we have it, make good decisions in the passing game.

"The second thing we've got to do is eliminate lost-yardage plays. We had too many sacks, too many lost-yardage runs last season. A point of emphasis as we went into the spring was, number one, securing the line of scrimmage in the running game, making sure we've got a hat on a hat.

"We've simplified the schemes a little bit, so the players get confidence in what we're doing. In the passing game, it's making sure everybody's on the same page from the protection standpoint, and making sure we protect the passer."

Cutting down on sacks: "Sacks are a team thing. Anywhere, the line is not going to be able to protect all day long. The quarterback has to get the ball out of his hands on time, so he has to be a good decision maker.

"When guys aren't open, he has to do a good job throwing it away or creating a play. And the receivers need to do what they've got to do to get open on time. Your backs have to protect well, your tight ends, so that it complements the line.

"Everybody is always focused on the line. We were young last year, and we're still young, but those guys are growing up. When you simplify the schemes to allow them to get a lot of repetitions doing the same things, it will allow us to be more successful."

Wide receiver Devin Funchess: "Devin is a big, big guy, and he runs extremely well. He's got great length, and a great catch radius. You can play him at tight end, or you can move him out to play the X receiver, like he did last year. It might give some flexibility and create some match-ups that you like to see."

Running back Derrick Green: "Sometimes when you talk about freshmen, you set expectations for them, and sometimes it's an unfair expectation. You really don't know where they're at until you get them, and you do the best job you can.

"Obviously, Derrick was overweight last year. He's lost weight, he looks really good. He had a really good spring, I thought, and has stepped his game up going into the summer.

"He's been running very well with our strength staff. I'm really excited to see him take the next step in his development."

Jabrill Peppers on offense: "We're always pushing to get guys on our side of the ball and put points on the board. But that's Coach [Brady] Hoke's call.

"He's obviously a phenomenal player. We want him on offense, but Coach Hoke makes those calls."

Why he came to Michigan: "I don't think you ever move just to move. There were other reasons. In this profession, you only get so many opportunities to do things that you wouldn't normally do.

"This was an opportunity here, obviously, having known Michigan football and having the opportunity to come be a part of what I believe is something special. It just seemed like the right opportunity and the right challenge at this point in time."

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