2011-2012 Season

Notes and Quotes: John Beilein on Big Ten Teleconference

Michigan-at-Indiana-2[1]Michigan coach John Beilein met for the weekly Big Ten teleconference this morning. During the call, he talked about Evan Smotrycz and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s struggles, and why he now refers to Ohio State as ‘Ohio’. (Photo: Jamie Owens)

Here are notes and quotes from the call:

  • Opening statement: “We had two tough road games, two places that in my time here we have not been able to win at, at Purdue and at Ohio. We feel fortunate to come out of there at least one and one, because it certainly could have been 0-2 with as good as Purdue is. We’re not the lone rangers in that. I think there’s probably two losses between the two of them at home all year. Now we’ve gotta move forward because we have a great Indiana team coming in Wednesday. We have to refocus and get our mind right so that we can be at our best in two days.”
  • On referring to Ohio State as ‘Ohio,’ like Michigan football coach Brady Hoke does: “I can’t tell you how it’s happened, it just sort of happened. With the ‘Beat Ohio,’ and I hear (the players) yelling yesterday, Ohio, Ohio, so we just call them Ohio. There’s no direction in those areas, no direction from anyone. Just adopted it myself. So there’s some uniformity with what Brady’s done.”
  • On Evan Smotrycz, and what Beilein and the coaching staff is doing to try to get him back into the form he was in earlier this season: “Keep in mind, the double doubles were against a different talent level than we’re playing against right now. That’s very rare to get double doubles at any level, but he was doing it, and it’s good news. At the same time, it’s not something that we ever say hey he’s gonna do this all year long, because nobody does it all year long. Maybe Jared Sullinger does it, but very few are gonna do that. What we do is we make sure he gets extra reps in practice, make sure that he watches enough film whether it’s rebounding, whether it’s defense, things like that, where he can improve. We do everything we can to get him to take ownership of his blind spots so that he can become better every day at becoming more than just a shooter. Because when a shooter’s not on and he’s not doing other things, it’s not good for him or the team. So he’s got some other areas he can really improve in, and he’s working every day at them.”
  • On Indiana, who Michigan plays on Wednesday: “They are so talented and Coach Creen has such a great plan for that talent that it’s just difficult to catch them. They’re on the move so quickly, they just do so many things where you have to be very focused and sneaky fast. That was a big issue with us the first time. Credit them for the way they play and how well they did it. They have a great combination of probably one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, and then you had an incredibly developing post play with the big freshman (Cody Zeller), and as a result, they’re just hard to stop from scoring points.”
  • On Michigan’s ability to rebound better this season in comparison to the last few years: “I think we have some guys that take some individual accountability to make sure that they get a man. It wasn’t great yesterday. It was better than it’s been but against Ohio, it has to be tremendous and we were not yesterday in that area. But I think it’s just, we’ve always emphasized it, but there’s times when it’s just hard for some players to do. As a result, we’ve emphasized it more, and they’re taking ownership of it more individually.”
  • On the first half of the Big Ten season: “To be at the top of the Big Ten, you have to be able to win both home and away, and it’s so difficult to do. We’re 6-3 at the halfway point. To be 6-3 at the second nine that we play is usually a very good season. I don’t predict any of those things, but given the strength of the league this year and how competitive we’ve been in most of our games, at least for 30 minutes if not all 39 in our three losses in the league, I feel good that we’re heading in the right direction. It certainly beats last year when we were 3-6 at this time.”
  • On Tim Hardaway Jr.’s struggles behind the arc: “Tim’s got a great attitude for it. He’s gonna work really hard at shot selection. He’d like to have a few of those back yesterday and in other games. Everyone is a higher percentage shooter when they have a little more space, and Tim’s got a great ability to be able to shoot while guarded, but maybe a little more patience, and his percentages will really rise to a level he should be at. We talk about a consistency. Tim wants to win so badly that sometimes, he’ll try to do it by himself. And that’s a good quality to have a guy that wants to help his teammates so much, but at the same time, it isn’t always as good to go for that homerun when he might be able to just hit a single. He’s a great kid to coach and we love him, and he’s working through this.”

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