Question: Just talk about blocking for a guy like Vince Smith when you guys are running the spread read for Denard Robinson and when he is with his running backs, what kind of success did you guys have on the ground today?
Patrick Omameh: “We had some pretty good success on the ground, more late than early. The offensive line was doing some good things. On those replays, blocking we not really sure who is coming out with the ball, but we’re doing our best to get some movement and we were able to get Vince some yards today.”
Question: What does Vince do that maybe the other backs don’t; is it his style, is it something else that he’s able to be that productive?
Patrick Omameh: “Today, I guess he just came out, he was making the right reads and he was getting downfield; and he was, I guess reading, off the blocks well and found those creases and had a successful day.”
Question: Was there a moment in the second quarter or so where the coaches just kind of said we’re going to have to go back to running Denard (Robinson), running Denard to get this offense going?
Kevin Koger: “No there really wasn’t a point they really announced it. It kind of just happened. You started seeing more of the quarterback runs. You started seeing Denard run more downfield, so I think that is what helped us get going on the offense.”
Question: When you see Denard struggle at times throwing the ball, Coach Hoke talked about his footwork, can you see a difference in when he is getting set and delivering the ball well?
Kevin Koger: “It is hard playing tight end (to see footwork). I’m out there trying to run my route and trying to get open for him so it is hard to see his footwork. I know in practice, Coach Borges talks about footwork a lot with Denard and Devin (Gardner) also and I know they’ve been doing a great job with it. It is probably a tribute to his great footwork his success down the field throwing the ball.”
Question: I know it is the team, the team, the team, but is it a little frustrating that the passing game is really struggling like it is and there are a lot of balls that are thrown high or thrown behind you guys at this moment?
Kevin Koger: “No it is not frustrating. I’m aware of what we can do. We’ve done it at practice, we just have to show on Saturdays what we can do. The ground game is working real well for us, so we’re not going to deter from that too much.”
Question: Can you talk a little bit about what the temperment was like in the sideline and in the huddle when you were struggling to move the ball early in the game especially?
Kevin Koger: “I thought it stayed positive. We never got down on each other. The defense did a great job today, so they helped us out a lot to get us going. I think we stayed positive and just let everybody know just do what we can do and let’s just calm down.”
Question: Why do you guys think Denard is struggling so much in this game in particular with the passing game? It really looks like he is struggling to become comfortable.
Kevin Koger: “Just a tempo thing, execution—and it is not just him. It might be a receiver not running the route the right depth, but he gets the blame because it is an incomplete pass but it might be on the receiver. Maybe he didn’t run the right route or run it deep enough or short enough, so it is not all on him.”
Question: Going off that, what can the receivers and tight ends do to help him out and what was the temperament in that group after the game?
Kevin Koger: “We just got to get open. I thought we did a pretty good job today. We just weren’t on the same page and it is going to be like that sometimes. We’re not perfect. We’re all human beings. There are going to be games like that where one aspect is not working well and it is up to the ground game to get it going and that’s what we did today.”
Question: Can you talk about how tough Vincent is. He’s a pretty little guy doing what he does in pass protection and how that impresses you guys and certainly were you pleased to see him have the production he had because of that, all the stuff he does on the field.
Kevin Koger: “I was very pleased. I see it every day in practice how hard he works. It is just a testament to what he does every day. He comes in and works hard and it is great to see him get a couple more carries and him running down the field a little bit more. He’s a shifty guy so he makes a lot of guys miss.”
Patrick Omameh: “Speaking on behalf of the offensive line, Vince is one of those guys that you see every day that is not scared at all to put his face on, a Mike Martin coming up the middle or somebody that might be twice his size. He’s a real gritty guy. He loves to do the dirty work, which you don’t always see in every dude who is a dude that is primarily touchdown scoring position. I guess it is nice to see him get some of those stats as well.”
Question: What changed for the offense in terms of being able to run the football? Obviously the first quarter was slow but you guys were able to start picking up momentum, picking up momentum and then I’m looking at time of possession, about 20 minutes between the second and third quarter.
Patrick Omameh: “In our case most of our struggles are brought upon us by ourselves, and we came off the sidelines and the coaches coached us up. We made some adjustments. They told us about mistakes we might have been making and also Eastern Michigan had a pretty good scheme and their players were playing hard. We had to in some cases come up with some adjustments to counter what they were trying to do to stop us and after that we found some more success on the field.”
Question: Denard mentioned before the game that Kevin got everybody fired up; can you talk about how that went or what Kevin’s leadership means to the team?
Patrick Omameh: “Kevin Koger, he wasn’t elected captain for no reason (laughter). He’s got the team behind him. He knows what to do to get us motivated. He’s just the kind of guy who, when he felt the need, he tried to get us up. And everybody was getting fired up and we knew it was time to go and time to play.”
Question: Why today, did you just feel the need because maybe you expected a letdown from the Notre Dame atmosphere?
Kevin Koger: “I didn’t expect a letdown. I just felt like it was my time to say something. I don’t really say too much and Patrick could probably tell you that. I just felt like it was my day to step up and lead not just by example but actually vocally, so I felt like it was my time to actually say something today for a change.”
Question: On that one Denard run, did you have to think twice about attacking again when you didn’t have a helmet and is that scary or what was going through your mind?
Kevin Koger: “You really don’t think about it. I did notice my helmet came off, but the main thing was protecting Denard. I want to think about him before I think about myself, and if I get hurt than on to the next man. Brandon Moore do a great job in there at tight end.”
Question: How good does it feel to be back in the end zone and do you like the evolution of the tight ends at this point?
Kevin Koger: “I love getting in the end zone, not just scoring but watching other people score. I’ll try to be the first one down there, like when I saw Drew Dileo streak into the end zone. It was a lot of fun. I think I caught two balls today. It is fun catching the ball. I love it. Hope to see a lot more of it.”