under pressure. Don't worry, Brady--these colors don't run, at least not prematurely.
"Sun came up on Sunday" / file
“I want to thank Wolverines for Life and the transplant center for all they do. To Tucker, who you heard from earlier. We’re glad to have you here and glad to be part of it. I know we have a couple guys who are pretty involved who were part of it. Thanks for that.
“As far as where we’re at right now football-wise, we need to do a better job from the perspective of a coaching standpoint, because it starts right there. It starts with me. We need to play better football. We need to play better in the red zone from an offensive standpoint. And part of that and most of that is you have to be able to run the football in the red zone. That’s an important place because in the throw game, it shrinks down there a little bit. Your verticalness of what you can do and being able to run the football is a big part of it. We didn’t do that well obviously the other night, but that’s something that will take a front seat and center during this week as we get ready to go to Minneapolis. It’s an important game for multiple reasons. Number one, it’s in our devision. It’s an opportunity that we get back out on the field, which we need to go to, and the Brown Jug is part of that great rivalry and tradition and trophy that we’d like to keep here in Ann Arbor.”
You always talk about championships being won in November. Was yesterday a good time to re-emphasize that?
“I think I probably didn’t re-emphasize that as much as the things we did poorly, but I will. Believe me, it will be addressed. We have a heck of a lot to play for. There’s four guarantees left, and we have to play our best in each of those four.”
What’s Denard’s status?
“He should be fine. He should be ready to go on Saturday.”
Will he be able to practice?
“Well he wouldn’t play if he didn’t practice.”
Will he be able to practice the entire week?
“We think so.”
How did Denard’s injury affect him?
“I’m not a doctor. I don’t know if you knew that, but there’s a nerve that runs down your elbow down your arm -- I think it’s the ulna[r nerve]. It just takes a while to … It gets numb and tingly.”
Would you consider giving Devin more snaps at quarterback?
“Well, we will do that as a precautionary thing, giving him some more snaps. Him and Russell both, which means we’ll add a couple more plays to your script that you’re working off of for practice, but no. We’ll do that.”
Would you change the plan for Devin depending on how Denard progresses during the week?
When does that happen?
“I don’t want to speculate until it happens.”
Do you have a time frame in your head?
“No, not really.”
What does Russell need to do better, and what does the team need to do better around him?
“Well I think a couple things. I think number one we’ve got to do a better job of picking up a couple blitzes that we are -- trying to think of the right word -- able to do. It wasn’t like it was a plus-one, one more guy coming that you couldn’t block. So we need to do that from the stnadpoint of an offensive line and running backs. I think the experience that he gained going into that environment is a major help to anybody. I think it’s a great learning [experience] for him. I think him and Al, when they review the film, I know how Al will go back through it or how he does and put him in those situations.”
“You guys are awesome.”
How is Gardner physically? Is he back to 100%?
“I think so. I haven’t seen him -- he’s practiced well. He had a little bit of an ankle earlier. A little bit of a shoulder, but he hadn’t missed any time.”
How much would you say he’s thrown since the start of the season?
“Uh … how much as he thrown? That’s hard for me to calculate. I think he’s thrown enough.”
Will Devin and Russell compete at quarterback or will Devin play more wide receiver?
“Well the plan is if Denard is as well as we know he’s going to be, then Devin’s still going to play receiver.”
But if he’s not, will they compete?
How important is it to tell your team you’re still contending for the B1G championship?
“Well there’s no question, and that’s what we talked about yesterday a little bit. We’ll talk more about it when the guys drop by today and then tomorrow, but there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of season left. I think the statement that November is when you win championships in this league -- I’ve always believed that, and I think that’s an important thing for us to realize, but we have to correct the things we did poorly. We did enough of them on both sides of the ball that we’re ready from week to week in how you prepare. And we prepared pretty daggone well practice-wise. I liked that about us. Now executing? Gameday? That needs to be better.”
Impressions of Minnesota QB Philip Nelson?
“I think he’s done a very good job. I haven’t seen all their stuff yet, but from what I’ve seen, pretty poised. Throws the ball well. Can get out of trouble. Good feet. I have a lot of respect for Jerry Kill as a coach and more importantly as a man. Jerry obviously likes him, so I would say he’s a pretty good quarterback.”
Is there anything preventative that can be done with Denard?
“You know, it’s a good question. I think that’s one that we’re looking at. I know Smitty and the doctors and everything, there may be something, a sleeve of some sort, and then the guy’s got to get used to it.”
Does Denard have to start running out of bounds more?
“Uh, I don’t know. You’d have to ask him if he’ll think about doing that.”
Could Denard sit out of practice and still be fine since he’s so experienced? Guys have done that in the past.
“They don’t do that too much under how I do things.”
All right. I just remember a couple players in the past …
“Everyone has a different philosophy towards it. I think the preparation -- I think you play like you practice. I think that that position, look-wise and what you’re going to see is a little different from being a wideout or even to some degree being a running back or defensive lineman.”
Is this an injury that can’t completely heal until he takes a few weeks off?
“That’s out of my league.”
I thought you were a doctor.
“No, I pretend to be.”
Looked like Mario Ojemudia injured himself …
“He should be okay.”
What’s his predicament?
“Just, you know, things.”
Do you expect more from the defense?
Do you give them any leeway for the fact that they were out there so much and put in bad positions due to turnovers?
“No. No, because those guys are on scholarship to play defense. If that team doesn’t play defense, they don’t score, and they don’t win. I mean, it’s as simple as that, and we’ve talked to them that way all the time. They understand the expectations. No. They have a job to do, and they have to do their job.”
Two of Nebraska’s drives started inside your 40 and only resulted in field goals. Is that a positive to take away from that?
“That’s a positive. Those sudden change situations, the team gets the ball inside the 50, you’re really working and you have to hold them to field goals. We pat them on the butt when they do that, but they’re expected to do it all the time.”
What happened to the running game after Denard went out?
“I was a little disappointed. Even though we were doing okay. I think we ran 40 plays in the first half out of five possessions, three of them were 10 plays or more. We were doing okay, but I usually generally am always disappointed in the running game if the numbers aren’t there to a certain point. I think the most frustrating thing for everybody is our red zone right now offensively and not getting touchdowns. And when you can’t run the ball, that’s when it starts. You have to be able to run the football in the red zone. People have too many different ways to take the throwing game away because of the shrinkage of the field.”
Do you start looking at Rawls at tailback a little more?
“I don’t know if you watched it enough, but Fitz ran hard. I mean, Fitz, he took on ‘backers, he took on safeties. I was happy with how he played. I know one thing, we gotta block better. We didn’t block -- we didn’t finish blocks the way we had the week before, and we didn’t score touchdowns the week before, but we were finishing blocks better. That’s the disappointing thing.”
Would you say Fitz’s lack of production an offensive line issue?
“Yeah. I think that is where it always starts …”
Denard is getting so much more production than the rest of the running backs --
Do you know why?
“Well I think part of it is Denard in our offense is a quarterback-running back. And the way you set things up, if a guy doesn’t take the read, a guy hesitates, we seal the back side, I mean all those things are part of it. An opponent earlier in the year, the nose was coming too fast over the center and the backside runs were there for Denard. They’re not there for the tailback per se all the time because it’s different.”
Why do you think they’re not there for the tailbacks?
“Well it’s a whole different animal when you have Denard and some of the runs he’s been able to make. And it’s a different -- scheme-wise it changes a little bit.”
Is it missed assignments on the line or lack of execution or --
“No. We need to finish blocks. Period.”
Your turnovers are way up on the road. How important is that?
“It’s always critical. The one interception Russ was getting hit as he throws it. The one to Vince, I don’t know what that was exactly -- is it possession, non-possession? I think there’s questions on that, but he had one bad throw to be honest with you.
Receivers drop Bellomy’s balls more than they drop Denard's balls. What gives?
“I don’t think there’s a difference. I just think we have to concentrate and look the ball all the way in.”
Can Denard grip a ball right now?
Could he play today if he had to play today?
How limited is Borges’s playcalling when you can’t establish the run game on first down?
“I don’t understand your question.”
When you were having trouble running on first down …
“The first half we didn’t at all.”
In the second half though …
“Well you have to limit a little bit because your quarterback runs aren’t as effective.”
Did Frank practice on Saturday?
Will he be full go this week?
What was with the officiating on Gallon’s punt return? You seemed pretty animated talking to the refs.
“I was just trying to clear up the rule.”
Did you win…? Obviously they didn’t reverse it, but did you make your point? Did they admit they made an error?
“No. No. Just had a discussion.”
Thoughts on Minnesota in general?
“Well I think they’re vastly improved. I think Jerry Kill, and I said it up there, I think he’s a very good football coach. He’s a hard-nosed guy whose teams are going to play that way. I think from a talent standpoint, I think they’re playing faster. When you watch the tape from the skill positions but also I think they’re playing faster as a team defensively and offensively, and that’s usually a good sign of knowing the schemes, feeling more comfortable in it.”
Have you ever played at their stadium?
“Not at the new stadium, I have not.”
Do you like the noon game better?
“Yes. Yeah. We got home at 3:30 or something like that -- and that’s hard. These are student athletes. I don’t care what you say.”
How did Nebraska’s pace confuse you on defense?
“I think we had a couple communication letdowns, but we’ve played vs. tempo already, so I think it was more of us not taking care of the details.”
Is there a fine line between running a route and setting a pick? On that touchdown, it looked like there was …
“Yeah. You have to fight over it. We probably should have also been pressed on the guy on the line of scrimmage. Would have helped the other guy off.”
Lapse in communication on Nebraska’s TD drive -- was that sort of inevitable? Or would that have not happened against a team with a slower tempo?
“No. I just don’t think we communicated the call through. It happens now and then. You don’t like it to.”
Do you bring the Jug in this week?
“Oh yeah. Yup. Jug’s out.”
The Jug’s in the locker room?
“It’s where it needs to be right now.”
Team meeting room?
“It’s where it needs to be right now.”
And you’ll talk about the history?
“We’ll have a discussion.”
under pressure. Don't worry, Brady--these colors don't run, at least not prematurely.
tell that to the last guy who coached around here...
His verbs just need to do a better job up front and his nouns need to improve on technique. But it really comes down to the conjugates in the trenches. They've gotta do a better job conjugating. In the film room they've reviewed a lot of sentence diagrams from last week and you could see where they were missing the down lines for adjectives. You just can't have those kind of mistakes and expect to win Pulitzers. The good news is they have 4 guaranteed pressers left and he's focused on those.
MGoQuestion: Wouldn't running a bubble screen help?
I don't know what you're talking about. This is English 101 fergodssakes!
I know we'd all like to get more information from pressers, but Hoke's evasieness is kind of entertaining.
I still haven't shaken the fact that they just refused to try Devin in this game. I had talked myself into a situation where his shoulder was hurt to the point where he can't throw, but he can catch. Now that Brady is saying he's fine, it makes me mad again. Football coaches are usually rewarded with stubbornness (sp), but in this instance it drives me crazy. How can you see Bellomy out there drowning and not give someone else a shot? Jack Kennedy is also a football player that might not have folded up into a ball screaming for his mother. When you throw three completions and three interceptions along with a ton of incompletions things aren't going well. I just don't get the bull-headedness.
It's the same with Fitz. Brady can blame this on the line all day, but I DID watch the game several times, and I don't think the guy is back to his fire from last year. I think his best effort came in a game where he split time with Rawls. Thomas runs through tacklers and doesn't always go down on first contact. I'm not saying we would have won with someone else, but it seems like the coaches are going with the starters no matter how they play. This is a bit strange IMHO.
Wasn't it the same reason that they kept Denard in the ND game? There's the hope that they'll snap into a rhythm at some sort.
I'd take Hoke's saying Devin's fine with a grain of salt. Everyone is always fine. Unless it's a known injury where they might not be able to play, then it's just a boo boo somewhere or a tweak of something. Remember Denard's staph infection from last year despite Denard being "fine"?
Seems to me they answered this question when they asked if Denard would practice this week.
Will he be able to practice?
“Well he wouldn’t play if he didn’t practice.”
Mario Ojemudia has a "thing" and "stuff." You think I'm making this up but I'm not.
We know Hoke well enough by now to realize that you're not making this up. If you had written, "Hoke said that Ojemudia suffered a high ankle sprain in practice and is expected to miss two weeks", then we would think you were making it up.
Let's try this again:
If Denard can't play who is your #2 QB?
If Denard plays and goes down during the game and Devin is at WR, who will take snaps?
Some of the questions are just stupid. Does Denard have to start running out of bounds more? Hey Denard, as soon as you're in the clear head to the sideline. Yeesh.
This is why I love the fact that Hoke doesn't give the reporters the time of day. 90% of their questions are stupid (minus Heiko, of course). I don't know why people are so put off by the fact that Hoke gives non-answers. What do you want him to say?
"Well, yeah, Denard should have ran out of bounds instead of gaining 7 yards on that play where his elbow just barely hit the ground and then his nerve exploded"
didn't gain a few more yards on his long run against MSU. I don't think the issue of whether he should have run out of bounds or protected himself should be an issue here at all. The problem was NOT with a hard or late hit, or even with a failure to protect himself, but re-aggravation of an injury on a completely benign play.
mustangs this week. well played Heiko
I just want to know what Rawls is doing in practice to not earn some carries? Is he that bad in pass protection?
Is that a Borgess word or a Hoke word? Either way, it explains a lot. It is clear that Hoke pays about as much attention to the offense as RR did the defense. I'm concerned.
My sense is Hoke knows plenty about offense ... but he's not the best at forming the words and saying them in this kind of press conference setting. So he reverts to half-formed sentences and phrases.
His point is valid enough -- down in the red zone the vertical field is compressed, which changes the passing dynamics. Hence if the run game is absent and all a team has is passing, then the defense's job is that much easier.
Of course what he's not saying is why the run game is not working in the red zone. Or more precisely, he's not laying the blame on any named players, but rather the team and the coaches. "We have to block better."
I probably would have led the charge against Borges Sunday. But the more I let the game sink in, the more I think that Hoke and the coaches will work things out. I think Hoke will make sure Borges has a plan and backup plan for Min and make sure the backups get a chance at positive game experience.
that the sideline reporter said that Hoke brought the O Line together and told them to work as a team and start blocking. Could it be the Oline has become a bit complacent knowing that DR can run wonders? Personally I think the entire offense, to include the OC, has become complacent with the knowledge that DR will do the heavy lifting.
"How did Denard's injury affect him?"
You're kidding me, right? Please tell me it wasn't a paid professional who asked that question.
...generally, journalists don't know jack shit about football (or any other sport, for that matter).
in the nation, giving up 144.1 yards per game and only 7 TDs in 8 games.
Matters could be a lot worse.
You had me at "your verticalness of what you can do and being able to run the football is a big part of it", Brady.
Put that sentence on any thread in this forum and the poster is flamebait.
YES I'M SUGGESTING WE SHOULD ALL BE THE HEAD COACH OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL.
I love that Hoke never makes a comment that can be turned into a story. I'm sure at some point in his career he'll make a mistake in that regard, but he looks the same and talks the same after a loss as he does after a win, and is consistent and supports his players. He never calls people out publicly.
As for the offense, it's not very good. Borges deserves some of the blame--he's the OC. But all the talk of firing him is stupid, and people who seriously feel that way shouldn't be supporting Hoke either. The buck stops with Brady, not Al, just like it did with RR, not GERG. If Hoke didn't like the offense, he'd fix it, or find someone who would. He understands that's his job.
But really people...the WRs dropped easy passes. The QB missed easy throws. The O-Line missed blocks. NONE of those are Borges' fault. Why does everone have to be either: a) Al Borges is a complete moron who should be fired! OR b) Al Borges is a genius! The simple truth is exaclty what coach Hoke says: the players need to do better, and so do the coaches. But Borges can't make throws for the QB, catches for the WRs, or blocks for the line. What I saw against Nebraska wasn't a terrible gameplan, it was average execution.
I think it is a combination of a conservative gameplan and average execution. The coaches seem to know that we can beat most teams by playing good defense and not turning the ball over. Combine the plan with a letdown after an emotional win and our senior QB getting injured and you get a 14 point loss to a solid team at their house.
Overall, I think people are way overreacting to this game. If Denard can stay in games, we will have a shot at the Big Ten. If he misses significant time, we will probably lose a couple more. Is the gameplan great? No but it will win us games if the team executes and Denard can play. Just take a deep breath and ride this out.
I totally agree with you! Except I think after a few series we should have at least tried Devin at QB... Couldnt have hurt any to do that... After going 0-11 the coach needed to say ok, this guy is rattled at best and at worst he is unprepared to play in this type of game setting... I believe Devin would have given us some running game ability and only been a small drop off from Denard...
Would somebody grow a set and ask where the heck Rawls has been?
Is he hurt?
Is he in trouble with the Law?
Is he fumble happy at practice?
Does he not pass block?
Fitz is not getting it done. I must not be watching the same game Hoke is coaching, because about all I see Fitz do is run up the back of somebody and fall to the ground.
It's impossible to know what's actually going on inside the Fort, but my suspicion is Gardner is hurt and physically incapable of playing QB at the moment. Hoke has been especially vague and inconsistent when responding about Gardner. Gardner was MIA for large parts of the State game and parts of Nebraska (giving Jackson more PT). When he is targeted, he doesn't seem to have the strength to hold on to the ball after the catch if there's even a little contact.