News bullets and other items:
Today’s starting offensive line would be Mason Cole- LT; Erik Magnuson- LG; Jack Miller- C; Burzynski/Bosch/Kalis- RG; Ben Braden- RT
Jabrill Peppers will start at nickel but has picked up the defense fast enough that he’s taking some snaps at boundary corner
Hoke can’t remember Devin Funchess dropping a single pass in fall camp which, like, eeeeee
Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith are considered the downhill backs, while Drake Johnson and Justice Hayes are the third-down backs
Preparation for that game on the 30th against that one team begins Thursday
Brady Hoke “Well,…” count: 6
"Thanks for coming out. I think we haven't spoken to each other since Saturday. We've had good practices, good energy, good competition. I think that's one thing we've talked about every time is to compete and challenge each other and I think this team has done that. I think there's leadership throughout the team in all classes which has been good to see. If you're good enough, you're old enough and that's been part of what we talked about. I think that's very good. Starting to get...we are starting to get prepared for Appalachian State here in the next couple days. We'll do some things with switch [?] teams and really have some good competition with that part of it and also keep the speed of how we want to play the game, so there will always be situational ones on ones, twos on twos. Tomorrow is Tuesday, the next day is Wednesday and Saturday is a Thursday how we look at it and next week we'll take Sunday and do some walk-throughs, get the tape reviewed. Next Tuesday will be a Tuesday, Wednesday will be a Wednesday, and Thursday will be Thursday so you've got to figure it out on my end sometimes. But it's been a good camp. I guess we'll break on Saturday morning – about 1 PM on Saturday after we go up to the stadium, have a good practice there. We'll do a lot of game rehearsal things, trying to put the players in situations that they will be in. I think that's important. So… excited. I think we're all excited. Are we ready? Not yet, so we have a lot of work ahead of us but at the same time I like how we go about our business every day."
You said this was the day you start preparing for App State. Do you have a set offensive line?
“Well, I think there's still some competition but I think Ben Braden has been a very steady performer at right tackle. I think Mason Cole has been very, very steady at the left tackle position. I always get asked – not just by you guys but Mason Cole, you don't notice him so you don't notice any mistakes. He's not a guy who's been a guy who killed plays and that's the kind of stuff… Jack will be the center, Kugler will back him up. We'll be without Graham as you all know. Mags will be the left guard if we were playing today and at the right guard I think there's good competition. Joe Burzynski, Kyle Bosch, Kalis is getting work at both guards, he's just getting back into things yesterday so I think we're still– I have an idea, but I don't think we're set at that right guard position right now.”
What did the film from Saturday show you as far as the offensive line goes?
“You know, there were some holes and there were some holes we have to take advantage of and there's also times where the back’s got to make it right, you know, quarterback drifting out of his ball handling knocks a back out of his A gap. We had some of those. Still not enough of them. We still got to move the line of scrimmage better and that's a constant that we'll have. I thought that yesterday the backs did a nice job. I think that Fred [Jackson] definitely had an effect on how they need to approach it and so I think we're making really good progress there.”
To clarify something from Saturday, did you say that in a 4-3 defense, your base, Jabrill [Peppers] would be a corner and then slide into the nickel spot?
“Yeah, I mean he would slide inside. We're going to really try and make sure that he’s set at the nickel before we get too far out there being a boundary corner. I mean, we played him at boundary corner some the other night with the first group. There's some things that are different when you're playing one-third than when you're playing a nickel position so right now, yes, he's playing some corner but we are going to focus in on nickel with him in there.”
You said that you wanted him just to be practicing in one position to get really comfortable there. What have you seen out of him that you feel comfortable, obviously, giving him more responsibility?
“Well, he's learned fast. I think the way he's engrossed himself in the playbook. I think from a fundamental/technique standpoint he's come a long way. Just think he's done a nice job overall.”
[After THE JUMP: sorting out the running back situation, Devin Gardner’s leadership, and my inaugural MGoQuestion]
You said there were some holes that were missed there by the running backs. You watch the film and you had an order going in on Saturday. Is that still the same and is that even close to being set as far as who's your guy at running back?
“Well, I think when you look at our backs all of them have done a nice job. There are improving, I think they're getting better. When you look at third-down situations Drake [Johnson] and Justice [Hayes] both’ve done a nice job. Derek [Green] and DeVeon [Smith], from getting downhill, both of them we have to keep improving with.
Is it sort of split? Derrick and DeVeon are the downhill guys, Drake and Justice are the…
“Yes, even though Drake had some really powerful things yesterday.”
When you look at Devin and what he's done in this camp and you went in with expectations of what you wanted to see from him. Where has he shown the most growth?
“I think, you know, how he's taking the offense. I think from that standpoint getting us in good plays. Being a little more assertive at the line of scrimmage when you look at MIKE points and motivating guys. His demeanor has been really positive when things aren’t going well which is good because body language, I think there's a lot to that.”
Confidence you had talked about as a thing you wanted to see from him. Is that a consistent thing?
“Yeah, I think so. I think it really has. I really think and I think we all think him and Shane have a lot of confidence. I think by the 30th he’ll have even more.”
Have you made a decision yet on walk-ons getting scholarships?
When are captains going to be decided?
“Sometime here… I'll go back to my statement. I think we got great leadership throughout our team. A lot of guys on board with.”
You talk about competition on the offensive line, a lot of guys could be starting for the first time. What have you seen through camp and who’s the strongest person you’ve seen so far on the offensive line?
“Well, it depends what you look at. You look at consistency, I think Jack's been pretty dag on consistent. Magnuson has been consistent. I'd say Mason Cole but they've all worked extremely hard and they've all improved themselves since the beginning of fall camp.”
And in the grand Heikoian tradition, the season’s first…
MGoQuestion: from a schematic standpoint, are the safety roles similar or they significantly different?
“Well, depends. It really depends and you get in subpackages or just a base package and so with Jarrod [Wilson] and Jeremy [Clark] right now being the two guys who are out there…again, and I think both of them of had a good camp so far. There's a little bit of differences but depending on the package it changes a little bit.”
Is Ray Taylor getting a little bit of a look at safety right now?
“No. It's how schematically that defense lines up.”
We saw in the scrimmage on Saturday that Devin Funchess had a couple of really nice catches but that was never a problem for him last year, making the great catch, it was more the consistent every-catch. How has he done in terms of the ones he should be catching, is he catching?
“You know, I can't remember a whole lot where he hasn't done a good job catching the football this fall camp. I'll go back – you know, we chart drops and all that stuff but I don't remember any offhand right now.”
Can you talk about the defensive line a little bit in terms of pass rush. Are you starting to see what you wanted to?
“I think on the outside. I think our outside rushers have done a nice job. I think the interior rushers, we need to get more push. And we've challenged them for that. They done a good job working on being a little better fundamentally but Willie Henry has stepped up a little bit and Ryan Glasgow was playing very good in the middle.”
Guys we haven't heard a lot about – Tom Strobel, Henry Poggi?
“Poggi’s getting a lot of snaps and he's been… you can see the improvement and I would say Tommy the same. Tommy's a very intense guy so we are pleased with his progress.”
When Graham’s [Glasgow] back does he move back into the middle spot?
“I think that's one possibility but I'm not going to say that's what's going to happen.”
I just had a question to clarify: is Doug going to be on the field or…
“He'll be on the field.”
The wide receiver group, it's competitive. Do you think a guy like Maurice Ways is going to be able to contribute this year?
“He's a guy that we’re looking at as to where his fit will be this year. You know, I don't think we made a decision. He’s gotten some snaps with the second group and third group. Hasn't gotten a whole lot of snaps with the first group but I think he's a guy where it's still up in the air what we are going to do with him.”
With 10 days to go until the game how much better can a young offensive line get between the scrimmage on Saturday to two weeks from now?
“Well, I think there's a lot they learned from Saturday and we're going to continue to put a lot of pressure on them and a lot of stress on them. So far defensively it's usually that way and I think, you know, because of the experience that we have on defense with older guys and leadership the defense has been ahead and Greg doesn't make it easy for them. I mean, they're not just sitting there in a 4–3. There's linebackers coming all over the place and that can slow you down a little bit but at the same time they have started, in my opinion, really – because the communication when we put stress on them, Glick gets pretty loud. Watching them communicate with each other, talk to each other, there's a significant improvement.”