UM’s Rudock bristles at label of game manager

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock has bristled a bit when he’s been described as a “game manager”.

Rudock, a graduate transfer from Iowa where he started the last two seasons, has completed 65 percent of his passes through two games, and has two touchdowns. Known as a quarterback who makes few mistakes, he does, however, have four interceptions and a fumble.

Jedd Fisch, Michigan’s pass-game coordinator, said he understands why Rudock dismisses the game-manager description.

“I would too bristle at that,” Fisch said Wednesday. “I think he’s very mature, intense, and a leader. Guys want to play with him and for him. He has a seriousness about him. ... (His craft is) very important to him and he wants to make sure he improves every day as he walks out on the field.”

Fisch also takes exception to those who describe Rudock as conservative with a tendency to avoid the downfield throw when a safer completion is available.

Michigan opened the Oregon State game last week with a deep throw that fell incomplete. In the loss to Utah, Rudock missed on two deep throws to open receivers.

“I think we’ve tried to stretch the field pretty good,” Fisch said. “We’ve taken some shots down the field ... He doesn’t seem afraid to throw the ball out there.

“What he does do well extremely well is move in the pocket and find checkdowns. That fourth-and-5 (against the Beavers, a pass to De’Veon Smith) was probably the best play of the (game).”

Of Rudock’s turnovers, Fisch said he is disappointed by the early sack that led to a fumble against Oregon State.

“That was the most avoidable,” Fisch said. “He held onto the ball there.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged Rudock has had turnover issues, but did not seem concerned.

“We’re improving on it,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think he’s lost a tight grip on his mind in any way. He’s making good decisions.”

Defense seeks turnovers

Defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who spent the last four seasons as defensive coordinator under Brady Hoke, said the focus on generating turnovers has been intense.

“We probably coach turnovers more than any defense that I’ve ever been around, and in the camp and throughout practices we’ve had more turnovers than I can ever remember,” Mattison said. “It’s just right now we’re just not getting them, and we’ve got to do a better job of it. ... That’s a very important part of our defense, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Last week against Oregon State, Michigan’s defense responded in a sudden-change sequence when Taco Charlton forced a fumble and Joe Bolden recovered.

Mattison said the defenders are always trying to strip the ball during practice.

“If a guy is running with it, if you don’t tackle you can still go for the ball and we’ve stressed that probably more this year than ever,” Mattison said. “I think there’s a lot of praise in the meeting room for a guy in practice. You show that clip and you show how important getting a turnover is and that’s been emphasized a great deal.”