Jordan Kovacs on what it means to be captain, the team heading into Alabama tomorrow night, and his…
Kovacs: "We didn't Play Michigan football"
Question: Was it a different feeling in person versus on film? Were they that much faster, bigger, stronger?
Jordan Kovacs: I mean, we knew they were going to be tough. We knew they were going to have a great offensive line, and big running backs. It came down to missed tackles, and too many penalties. We just didn't play Michigan football.
Question: Why do you think that happened? Is it because it was the opener, or because of the opponent?
Jordan Kovacs: I mean, I don't think there was any distraction or anything. I think that we just didn't come out here and execute. You know, they played well, they had a great game plan, they pounded the ball, ran downhill, and like I said, we just had too many missed tackles.
Question: This game was supposed to be a measuring stick for how far you've come since the beginning of fall camp, and in some ways it's the beginning of a new era. Where are you on that measuring stick right now?
Jordan Kovacs: Not where we need to be, you know? Obviously, we lost in a big game; but like I said, we can't let Alabama beat us twice. It's going to hurt watching the film, but at the end of the day we have to watch, and make those corrections, and learn from it.
Question: A lot of people say that you guys are just a couple years away from being compete better in this game. Is there a case of that, or –
Jordan Kovacs: No. We have talent on this team. They played a great game, they had a great game plan, and we didn't play very well. We didn't play Michigan football, we didn't stop the run, we didn't run well, we didn't tackle well. We had too many penalties, we were undisciplined, and that will cost you.
Question: Did you talk to any of the guys in the locker room after the game?
Jordan Kovacs: Not yet. I haven't really had the opportunity. I came straight to the media room. But I'll have my opportunity.
Question: You talk about the missed tackles. Was that an issue in fall camp or was it just something that you weren't expecting?
Jordan Kovacs: We knew that they were going to be a tough offensive line, you know? Obviously, you're going to have your issues in fall camp, but we made some strides, and we felt like we were ready to play, but like I said, we just didn't execute well. We didn't – we weren't talking about the next run, we missed too many tackles.
Question: What was the biggest surprise that they did tonight that you guys had to adjust to?
Jordan Kovacs: I don't think anything in particular. They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. They came out and – 21, 22 personnel—and tried to run it down our throat, and that's what they did. We just couldn't stop them, and missed too many tackles.
Question: Last year you guys were (good) against the deep balls. (What were the) issues on some of those throws deep?
Jordan Kovacs: Just bad eyes, you know? And as a defensive back, you have to be aware of the double move and whatnot; but that will happen every now and then, and you just have to bounce back. Obviously defensive backs take pride in not giving up the big plays, and we gave up a couple. We had a couple pass interference calls, or, you know, too many flags. And like I said, those big plays are going to hurt you. And at the end of the day, I think that we didn't do a very good job tackling the secondary. I know I missed a lot of tackles. I don't even want to know how many I missed, but I'll get better.
Question: How different are you guys without Blake in there?
Jordan Kovacs: I just think Blake's a talented ball player, but the next guy steps up. I think Ray came in, and I think Ray played pretty well. I don't think that affected our game plan at all. We have all the confidence in the world in Ray. And Jarrod Wilson also came in and was able to play some safety. So I think Ray played a good ball game, and he's going to learn from some of his mistakes just like the rest of us.
Question: How much in fall camp did you guys – I mean, was it all focused on Alabama? Did you look at all at your other opponents? Do you know what to expect from Air Force next week?
Jordan Kovacs: We haven't gotten to Air Force too much. Obviously the coaches, I'm sure, have watched a little bit of film on them. But a lot of our time was devoted to, obviously, ourselves, and to stopping Alabama.
Question: What positive do you take out of this experience? Anything?
Jordan Kovacs: I mean, you learn a lot from watching film. You learn a lot. And obviously we didn't play very well at all, but we're going to learn from our mistakes, and I think that's a positive.
Question: Are you concerned about effort from anyone that you saw, on defense?
Jordan Kovacs: No, and that shouldn't ever be a problem at Michigan. We take pride in finding the ball and giving great effort, so I don't expect any issues with that.
Question: They kind of beat you guys at your own game.
Jordan Kovacs: Right.
Question: Physical, and ‘We're going run the ball… you know we're going to run, stop us', and you didn't stop them.
Jordan Kovacs: And that's tough, and I think that's why this game stinks so much, because we take pride in stopping the run. That's what Michigan football is about; that's what Michigan defense is about. But they had us today. They had a great game plan, and we just didn't execute.
Question: Their play action, it seemed like got you on that early a couple times. Were you guys just selling on the run so hard…?
Jordan Kovacs: I think that that's what can happen when a team has a pretty effective run game going. You know, you have to honor that run, and occasionally your defensive backs will have bad eyes, or see too much, and give up a deep ball—and that's what happened.
Question: How much did losing Countess early really kind of change what you guys were able to do with the secondary?
Jordan Kovacs: Blake's a great ball player, you know? He's a tough ball player. But we have all the confidence in the world in our backups, and it didn't affect our game plan at all. Our game plan stayed intact. Ray came in and played well, and he's going to be a good ball player too.
Question: There was a lot of talk before the game about you guys kind of flying the flag for the Big Ten. Did you guys buy into that or is there any meaning to that?
Jordan Kovacs: We play for Michigan. Obviously, SEC's been playing some good football, so you know… but at the end of the day we're here to represent Michigan, and hopefully represent the Big Ten well, but we aren't buying in too much.
Question: You said at Big Ten media day about SEC speed that you wouldn't talk about it until after you saw it. Now that you've seen it, what do you think?
Jordan Kovacs: They're some tough football players. They're some fast, physical athletes, and tough plays today. You know, I wouldn't say that they were unbelievably fast or anything. They were just a physical team, ran the ball downhill. The same thing you see in the Big Ten.
Question: Do you think you can separate yourself from the result at all? What are your thoughts on the game, the event, the spectacle that was the season opener?
Jordan Kovacs: Still bitter, you know, from the loss. Obviously, the stadium is an unbelievable stadium. It was an awesome atmosphere. All the fans involved. But at the end of the day, it was a tough one.
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