Man I love Brady Hoke.
landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
"One thing I really want to do is thank our students and our fans. It was really neat to see that student section in the maize and all that stuff when we went out for our warmups and it just kept building. I want to thank our students because it's fun when they're there. They make the atmosphere and the game fun."
Cam Gordon had a really good game. Talk about his play?
"Well Cam is a guy who has matured in a lot of ways in his time at Michigan. At receiver and then coming in and going to safety. The work ethic he has showed during the offseason, his leadership and his teammates. The motor that he plays the game with. He's a better technician. He's bigger, he's stronger. It's a credit to him and what Aaron Wellman does in the weight room. He's also an intelligent football player and can handle a lot of things well."
Can you talk about Devin's play today and his ability to improvise?
"He's athletic. Sometimes I'm crossing my fingers when I see him out there being athletic. He had a couple decisions where I think -- one for sure that he should have probably made a better decision on. But at the same time he's got a lot of confidence in his abilities, and you like that. I'd rather have a quarterback that has that confidence than a guy you have to keep feeding all the time. I think that he had a good game. I wouldn't say elite or excellent or anything, but I thought he had a good game."
You ended up with 242 yards rushing and 221 yards passing. Is that how you wanted to see it in terms of balance?
"Well I think to the offense itself it's really important ... I don't know, I think the tailback position had about 150, 160 yards, and Devin I think had the rest of it, but it just opens up so much of the play action game. That's the one thing that Devin, more than a lot of quarterbacks, does such a great job with. Ball handling and play action is such a big part of the offense."
Other than the final score, what did you like? What did you not like?
"There's a lot of things probably in the negative side. Winning was good. The defense responding in a couple sudden-change situations was good. I think running the football was something that we want to do, obviously. Getting a lot of touches to a lot of different guys was a good thing. On the negative side of it, I thought we were sloppy, and some of it is body posture or demeanor. Getting in the huddle, getting out of the huddle. Penalties. Those things drive me crazy. That's a negative. The other negative, I didn't think we tackled as well. Second quarter they had first down, run the ball, first down, run the ball, first down, run the ball. Some of that's tackling. Some of it's getting off blocks and fitting the defense."
You played a lot of true freshmen today. How did they do?
"I don't know if any of them really stood out until you really watch the film. I think we think that obviously it's a talented group. At the same time there's discipline and things like that you need to play with. That's something they'll learn. They'll learn a lot from this game. We took 68 guys to the hotel last night, and 36 of them were first or second-year players. That's a lot of babysitting, you know? And a lot of teaching going on. And yeah, it is babysitting."
Is it important that they got the experience?
"Yeah. I don't think there's any doubt that's important. That's something that we were fortunate enough that the game went the way it did so we could do that."
How do you determine when to actually play them as the game progresses?
"That is a really good question, because I'm always nervous, to be honest with you. Luckily I've got good coaches who remind me we're up by 35 or whatever. It was time maybe to play some other guys because I've seen teams come back. I don't want that to happen."
With Notre Dame coming up, did you feel like you got everything out of this game that you wanted?
"Yeah. I don't think there's any doubt that we really wanted to go out and making a really good impression. At the same time, there's so much to teach from this film. So many mistakes, maybe assignment wise, the penalties and all that. I can talk about that all day. I think it's a game we were fortunate enough to play well enough to get guys in so that they've got real tape in a game situation and we can correct from that."
What did you like about Central Michigan?
"Well I told Dan [Enos] before the game -- you coach long enough, when you watch a team on tape -- I was very impressed. They won their last four games a year ago and they had to win three to get bowl eligible. To do that is significant. You watch their tape, and I'm a defensive line coach, so I watch offensive linemen a lot. To see the pad level they played with, their footwork, their mechanics. That's what I told Dan. Defensively, how hard they play, and you see that on tape. Their receivers and their routes and their timing. All those things I told them before the game, he's got them going in a really good direction. I think we were fortunate today and it worked out our way, but we were very impressed."
Did you start thinking about Notre Dame towards the end, and how does this game help your preparation for Notre Dame?
"I didn't really think about it until we were done in the locker room. I think it gets you ready because young kids have played in front of 112,000 people. I think there will be a few more thousand next week. The atmosphere on campus, the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, I would think, would be electric. It's the last time Notre Dame's going to come to Michigan for a while. I think that's got a significance to it on both parts. Yeah, it was good."
Drake Johnson, Joe Reynolds, and Devin Funchess?
"Drake and Reynolds both, we'll find out a little more. I don't know. Funchess has a cramp. That's what it was."
Is that what we're calling it, or --
"No, that's what he told me."
Can you account for Devin Gardner's first throw as just being shaky?
"Uh, it could be. I'm not in his mind, but it could be. Him wanting to do too much too fast."
When did you decide that Thomas Gordon wasn't going to play, and is this going to be an issue going forward?
"No. He's part of our team, part of our family. He'll be out on the field next Saturday night."
When did you decide he wasn't going to play?
"He'll be on the field Saturday night."
How do you decide on the right balance regarding Devin's improvisation skills?
"I think as long as he does a good job of protecting himself, then we'll let him do what he does well."
Is it just a matter of protection, or are you also worried that decision-making could be affected when the play breaks down?
"Well I think sometimes guys who have that kind of ability -- and I said it before -- it's a blessing and a curse. He can make a lot of plays. As long as he keeps learning the decisions, and on third down sometimes punting the ball on fourth down is not a bad decision."
What was the defense's approach to this game without Thomas Gordon, and how do you think they did?
"I think when we really dig into the tape, you find out more. I mean, you can say we gave up nine points. I guess they responded, but did they respond well enough? This is all about winning a championship. If we get satisfied for one effort, then we're not going to win it."
Josh Furman has been in the program for quite a while. How do you think he did?
"Well again, I think watching the tape helps you. I saw him on some plays. I saw there were some plays he needed to be over the top a little more on, but we'll look at it."
Talk about blocking the punt?
"Yeah I thought Dan Ferrigno did a nice job. We thought we had an opportunity. The guys executed it. So yeah. Did it give us some momentum? Yeah. Because the whole team knew we were going to go after the first punt. When it works, they get excited."
Do you think that people were anxious to see Devin play today? Were you anxious to see him play today?
"Yeah. I think we all were. To be honest with you, I've seen Devin play a lot, but yeah, to see him come out there, first start, being at home. I think it was good for him to get out there. I think they all, because they're competitors, they always have a little bit of nerves to them."
You're honoring Tom Harmon with the no. 98 jersey next week. What are the considerations going into selecting sometime to wear that number?
"I think it's significant. Like all the honorary numbers. To be able to honor Tom Harmon and what his crew was here at Michigan, and the legacy that he left. Obviously we want to make sure that we honor the family with the person that wears that jersey."
Early impressions of the offensive line?
"Well, you really got to watch the film ... we started the game in a little bit of Nascar, quick tempo. The first series we threw the pick, the defense does a nice job. We come back out the second series and drive it down. Those were more of the throwing situations. I thought when we started to run the ball, there was movement at the line of scrimmage. I thought guys were finishing blocks. I really think as we watched the tape, I'm going to be anxious to see how Kyle Kalis and Jack [Miller] and Graham [Glasgow] in the interior, how they worked together."
Coming into his game, was there one position group you really wanted to focus in on?
"I would say both fronts. I think how they played, how they came out, it was good to get a lot of the young guys in also. Ben Braden, who was a guy we think has got a good chance of being a good offensive lineman here. I'm just using him as an example. Willie Henry on defense, and those guys. It will be good to watch tape with them and really coach them off of that tape."
Man I love Brady Hoke.
Dollar to donuts the selection for #98 will be annoying.
Because there is no good choice. That said, I think Brendon Gibbons gets it.
85 scholarship guys and only 68 go to the hotel the night before? Who doesn't go?
Anyone not listed on the travel squad, I think.
Practice players (redshirt guys, walk-ons, suspended or injured players). Saves money and less players to have to watch over.
I'd love to have little pictures next to each question to know who is asking. It just feels like a couple were guys who actually follow football and one or two were guys from the Freep who had written their stories yesterday.
You just have to learn how to recognize their voices.
...I'll be interested to see what shakes out. Should be some informative press conferences coming up.
getting the #98 Jersey, also Cam Gordon, all well deserving.
I like our chances very much next week, team looks solid and well coached in all 3 phases of the game. I think there will be a huge emphasis on the team not wanting to lose it's last home game to ND for how ever long that will turn out to be.
...and while I LOVE the "NASCAR" package and pace. I think we should save it for games where we're in the middle of the game and need a change of pace. When we're stalling a little bit. It could help find a rythym. However, Saturday I'd like to see us use the non-Gardner weapons more and ease Devin into the game. Screens, short easy passes, running behind Lewan, simple things to get him in the game.
I was thinking Washington too. It's a D line number these days, and he seems to have done a lot to deserve it
#98 goes to Fitz...
This is nuts. Harmon arguably the greatest college player of all time and cant they give it to an all american or at least all big ten player. Nobody on roster cuts it
I want to know about Morgan. He came out favoring his left arm, hopefully he's full go for ND. It would suck to lose him.
He looked to have a stinger to me.
Will Mark Harmon be in attendance to present his father's legacy jersey?