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UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 23, 2014


Matt Limegrover


THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach Limegrover.

Q.  Matt, how do you think the offensive line responded from the TCU game to last week?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Overall I was generally pleased, but still a ton of work to do.  That's actually the very first thing I told them when we met on Sunday to go over film.  I felt like they answered the call, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.
We have a huge challenge this week.  Michigan's playing very well on defense, especially up front.  Their front seven are pretty darn good.
Doesn't get any easier from here.  That's basically what my message was on Sunday.

Q.  (Question regarding the quarterback.)
COACH LIMEGROVER:  You know, we won the football game.  The big thing I tried to get across to whoever asked was, you know, Chris did a great job of running the offense and doing the things that he needed to, really taking what they gave us.  The reads he made in the run game with the zone reads, it's as good as I've seen of a group that we've coached as far as the decision making he made.
There may have been one, maybe two times we saw he should have kept that one or he should have pulled that one or given that one.  That's a hard thing, especially for a new starter.
As far as throwing the ball more, if put in a situation where we felt like we had to, we would do it more.  I felt like we were in a groove and going, so...

Q.  Offensive line healthier now?
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† We're getting there.¬† We're still trying to work some things out with that group of guys.¬† This time of year they're never going to be 100% healthy.¬† You try to get them feeling as good as they can come Saturday.¬† They're nicked up.¬† But I think probably you ask any O‑line coach in the country, they're basically going to tell you the same thing at this time of the year.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH LIMEGROVER:¬† They both played well.¬† I wanted to get Jonah a little bit more work than I did. ¬†The way the rotation worked out, sometimes when you're rotating guys through, a guy will get a series, it will be a 10‑play series, unfortunately the next guy gets in there it's a three‑play series.¬† Jonah didn't get as many reps as I hoped to get him in the ballgame.¬† When he was in there, he did a nice job.¬† Ben is really coming on since he had his ankle injury in camp.

Q.  How has Maxx come along?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  It does change things.  That is something that you have to account for.  Brandon Lingen does a great job of getting in there and doing a lot of the things we ask Maxx to do.  But Brandon is not Maxx right now.  He'll get there eventually.  So you do lose out and you do have to find other ways to compensate for that in all the things that Maxx does for our offense.

Q.  Are you saying with Chris, his reads were as good as any quarterback, going back to when you were at Northern?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah.  He did a great job.  I mean, the thing was, it wasn't easy either.  They were giving us a lot of different looks.  They were kind of trying to figure out how to solve that riddle.  He did a fantastic job.  Everything they threw at him, handled it like a vet, which was great to see.

Q.  Chris was struggling in fall camp throwing the ball.  Has he made improvements throwing the ball?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Yeah, you know what, the biggest thing is if you look at a couple of the things he did on Saturday, he put a great ball on K.J.  You really couldn't ask for a better placement of that ball.  The second ball to K.J. on the third down where he tried to hit him over the middle, it was something that was on the money.  Safety made a nice break on it.
There isn't a concern with how he throws the football.  With the way the game went on Saturday and how it progressed, it was a situation where we were going to force them to stop the run game to put us in that situation.  We really never felt like we were in that situation.

Q.  Was there thought given going into San Jose State to put him in, Chris, where he was going to be exposed to things that might knock his confidence given you may need him to start again one week later at Michigan?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Well, yeah, there's some things you don't necessarily want to be completely trial by fire.  What you try and do is in practice you try to put guys in deficit situations, try and make things tougher, maybe blitz in a situation where a team doesn't generally show blitz or what have you, just so there's the unknown.
When you get to the ballgame, you want it to be as smooth sailing as possible.¬† You try to eliminate as you go along, like today there's a couple things, Boy, we think will be great with Michigan.¬† When we get to Thursday, finalize the game plan, maybe it's something the quarterbacks don't feel comfortable with, something we're not going to be able to handle up front protection‑wise because of some things they do, that gets pulled away.
That's really what we did as the week went on knowing Chris is going to be the starter.  We had our game plan that we had that we felt good about beating San Jose State with.  The majority of that game plan, Chris was going to be able to execute and felt good about.  That's how we try to approach every week.

Q.  The quarterback's ability to run, Cobb in there, that gives you something that's almost as effective as a passing attack?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  I like your thinking.  You're exactly right.  The nice thing about what Chris gives us is that it gives you some additional outside types of run, some things that break the tackle box.
One of the things San Jose State was going to do was they were going to put eight and sometimes nine guys up around the football.¬† When they do that, there's a couple ways to attack it.¬† You can throw the football because it's one‑on‑one on the perimeter, but there's not many guys left on the perimeter.
If you can find ways to get that ball out there, that's another reason why maybe against some teams a five‑ or six‑yard gain that Chris might have had turned into a 20‑yard gain because there wasn't anybody left out there.
That's where we look and go bigger picture.  I knew coming in here, everybody was going to be, Hey, I don't know how many passes we threw, we completed one, I get that, but Chris did a great job in what we asked him to do on Saturday.  I feel like if we had to throw it 20 times, we're going to do a good job on that.

Q.  If you run on it exactly the way you ran it last week and throw it like you did last week, can you win in the Big Ten?
COACH LIMEGROVER:  Probably not.  We've got to get better.  When we do throw the football, we've got to get better.  I'm not going to say we need to throw it more.  But when we do, we need to make sure that it's spot on.
It's a constant thing that we're working on.  Like I said, what happens is there is a little bit of an adjustment, a little bit of shifting as far as the priorities in the pass game.  No matter how much we try, I say, Hey, we put together a game plan, there are some strengths that each quarterback is going to have.  We'll pattern the game plan a little bit to those strengths, as well.
That doesn't mean that Chris is going to be the guy that's going to be the starting player or Mitch or what have you.¬† It's always nice to have some of those things where you go, Okay, this is the go‑to stuff and stuff we feel good about.¬† If it's six times, 12 times, 22 or 29, we need to have a good percentage, we need to make sure we're converting.¬† That's always a priority.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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