We need more of a pressure off the edge Roh need to get upfield and shrink that pocket ... Thats all I have to say
Monday Presser Transcript 9-5-11: Brady Hoke
(Ryan Van Bergen, David Molk, and Denard Robinson will be up tomorrow morning.)
- Cam Gordon and Troy Woolfolk will play next Saturday
- Fitz remains starting RB
Press Conference (filmed)
"It is a holiday, but in your profession -- in our profession -- you really don’t have holidays, but that’s okay."
Opening remarks: “As far as last Saturday, it was good to win. The weather is -- you can never anticipate what happens -- but it was good to win a football game, and we think we learned a lot team-wise when you look at where we need to really improve. It was good to get out and obviously play someone else besides yourselves because we did that for four weeks. There’s a lot that we can learn from the film, there’s a lot that we can continue to learn from the film and improve on, and hopefully we’re gonna make a big improvement because the test gets much bigger this week.
“This is a great rivalry game, and one that we’re excited about obviously. There’s some other things that go along with this game this year with playing at night, the first night game, and the throwback uniforms, and all those things, but the one thing we talked about as a team is we can’t get caught up and distracted. The field’s still going to be 120 yards long when you include the end-zones, and 53-point-something yards wide, and so that’s not going to change. That’s where our focus has to be and how we prepare this week to play our best football and make a lot of improvements.”
Talk about the injuries to Troy Woolfolk and Cam Gordon. “Troy, he just sprained his ankle—his other ankle. It felt better yesterday. I think emergency-wise, he could have gotten back in Saturday. He’s doing a good job, and Paul Schmidt, our trainer, is doing a good job treating all those things. Cam, he tweaked his back earlier in the week, felt better but still just didn’t feel good enough. There was no sense for us to try and put him out there where he could prolong the recovery process, I would say.”
Anyone else? “No.”
Do you anticipate them starting this Saturday against Notre Dame? “Yeah, I do.”
You didn’t allow very many big plays of 20+ yards. How would you evaluate your safeties? “Obviously I think Jordan played a terrific football game, when you look at his production and the things that we asked him to do. I thought he played very well. He did miss one tackle in there, but he played well.”
“Marvin was getting his feet wet a little more in game-atmosphere kinds of situations, there’s a lot with the communication we need to have more of back there. He’s got to be more vocal -- he’s not a real vocal guy anyway.
“I think Thomas [Gordon] played well, but there’s some things that I know that he wasn’t satisfied with that he needs to improve upon, but he’s had a tremendous camp. We asked him to do a lot because when Troy went down, he moved into nickel in that situation. I think we were okay there. I think there’s a lot that we need to do a heck of a lot better this week.”
ND’s QB situation is kind of up in the air. How does that affect how you prepare? “To me, it doesn’t change anything in our preparation. With the style of offense that Brian runs, I think they’re very talented. [Notre Dame] will make the decision that’s best for the team, and we can’t worry about that. I don’t think it changes the offense in any way at all.”
What’s the most memorable Michigan-Notre Dame game you’ve been involved in? “I was here kind of in those odd years. We played Washington two years and we didn’t play [Notre Dame]. And then we played UCLA two years and didn’t play [Notre Dame]. I think [what was memorable] in the ‘97 year was when [Notre Dame] was inside the red-zone three times, and defensively [Michigan’s] guys stood up and didn’t let them get any points.”
Earlier last week it didn’t look like Herron or Avery were going to start. But then they played a lot. How come? “Some of it has to do with what kind of defensive set we were in. Courtney was the third corner coming in. Troy goes to nickel, Courtney comes on the field. I don’t think the [depth chart] played a part in it. Just what subgroup you were in. The other one was when Cam started hitching up with his back a little bit, we had to get another guy with some experience some reps in the design of the defense that we were in, and I kept going back with that because it depends whether we’re in the dime or nickel or base, where we line up -- but that was the only reason.”
You have countdown clocks for MSU and Ohio. Is Notre Dame on a different level? “Those are Big Ten conference games, that’s always part of it. In-state rivalries and obviously the rivalry on the last Saturday in November is special. [The Notre Dame rivalry] is important as anything. This has always been a game where … I remember Coach Schembechler always talking about, you always get a gauge on where you’re at as a team, because it’s always going to take a national spotlight, and it is an environment where you have expectations of how your guys are going to play.”
Is there one thing you were really happy with from Saturday? “Well, there’s probably a lot of things I was very unhappy with, but we’ll leave that for later. But here’s what I thought: Rushing for 190 yards in three quarters of game -- that was a good thing. I think that once Greg Mattison and the defensive staff made some adjustments [with] the pressure on the quarterback … The man coverage, we have to be much better this week because of the talent that Notre Dame has. But I thought there was a flow to the game then. Herron takes the ball back, and we come back out, and it’s a three-and-out. So we were starting to get some flow and momentum.”
Can you elaborate on what else you need to improve? “We have to play better run defense, we have to play tighter coverage in zone, we have to be able to pressure the quarterback with four guys at times, or with three guys at times from a defensive perspective. We had some missed alignments that were based on communication that you can’t have, or lack of communication.
“From an offensive standpoint, we took care of the football, which was big and always will be big. But there were a couple decisions that we need to make better, and we have to do a better job staying on blocks down the field because there were several opportunities for other bigger plays in the run game. Our routes, where [receivers] broke a couple of them off early -- the receivers have to be more disciplined within the scheme, especially when you’re in the timing phase of your game.
“And then the kicking game -- our kickoff coverage will get a lot of attention from where we place the ball on the kick to how we get off blocks going down the field. So that’s huge. Obviously we’re going to give a lot of attention to PAT and field goal protection on the inside. You can’t get knocked back, and that was part of the one that got blocked. A big part of it was because we got knocked back too much. Another problem was that the snap was too high. It took Gibbons a little longer to approach the ball because of that.
“I could go to the punt team, I could go on and on … kickoff return -- better decision than taking the ball out of the end-zone, getting on guys a little better, I mean this could be a marathon, but I don’t have the time for it, and neither do you.”
Will we see some different personnel in kickoff coverage? Well you could. It’s competitive, and you’re evaluated, and if we’re not doing the job we think we need to have, from a competitive standpoint, because part of getting off blocks is getting competitive, and having an intensity of what you’re doing. That part of it, believe me, was addressed yesterday and will continue to be addressed this week. There could be some different faces on there. It’ll be a fun week, we’ll put it that way.
Do you feel like D-line led the defense? “I think we played okay. We weren’t – you guys have heard me talk about ‘hearing football.’ You also want to feel guys during the course of a game. I felt number 32 during the course of the game. An impact. To some degree, I thought J.T., you could feel him out there a little bit. I never felt our front like we need to. Not to be specific – I think we played okay, but I think we need to play at a higher level and a higher standard.”
You ran 39 offensive plays. Was that enough to answer some questions or are there still some things for which you need to see more in order to evaluate? “I think it’s a little bit of both. I think there are some things that are still out there. Talking to Al and the offensive staff, there are some things we didn’t get to in the offense that maybe we would like to have gotten to a little more. We also saw some things that we wanted to get done, too.”
(more after the jump)
Roundtable (not filmed)
Today was less about fingers and more about palms.
I was too busy stuffing my face with pizza so when the guy next to me all of sudden started asking his question I didn’t hear a word of anything because I had to run up and get my tape recorder going but I think it had something to do with how Schofield performed in Ricky Barnum’s place. “… And I think that he did a great job. I think Ricky and him compete this week like we normally do, but I thought Mike handled himself very well.”
Can you explain what you mean now by when you say, ‘feeling a player’? “You feel a presence on the field. You see it, you feel it -- I don’t know. That’s just me.”
Will Troy play special teams if he plays this week, and what are your thoughts on using starters on special teams? “You know, it’s one third of the football game. I think we’re crazy if we don’t have any segment of the game where the guys who can perform what they’re asked to do at the highest level [are] on the field. You hope to be able to find some of those, depending on what you’re asking them to do, that can really perform at a high level. Maybe it’s not a guy who’s a starter for you, but it’s a guy who’s going to give you great production at the position.”
Would you say this offense relies a lot less on Denard than it did last year? “I wish I could really answer that. Only playing 39 plays and all that, I don’t know if we know that yet. Obviously he’s got a skill set that’s different than a lot of guys, but I don’t know if I would have an answer for that yet. This week will be a good test. [Notre Dame] gave up 254 yards to South Florida, and had 504 yards total offense. They’re playing good defense, and they got a lot of guys back, so we’ll find out.”
Were you going to keep offense vanilla if the fourth quarter had existed? “I think we’re going to do what it takes to win.”
Did you like Denard’s comfort level in running the offense? “Yeah, I thought he made good decisions. I thought he threw the ball well. It was good to see some vertical runs by Fitz and Michael when he was in there, and Vince had a nice seven-yard run off the lead play. It was good to see that part of it, but I thought [Denard] felt comfortable. I thought his timing on … I think there was an out to Gallon that was well timed and well thrown. The one he led Koger a little too much was a good throw though and a good catch by Kevin. He did some things, setting his feet, getting the ball off on time, all those things.”
Is it difficult to keep players focused during night game? “We talked about that yesterday, and not being distracted. As a coach or a player, it’s a long day. Because we all have a nervousness to us -- butterflies, whatever you want to call it. It’s a long day. What you try and do is have enough involvement with them where they’re just not lying in their hotel room all day. So you get them up, you take a walk, you do walkthroughs, you watch film, you do all kinds of things to occupy them at the same time. It’s a thin line to giving them time to make sure they’re relaxed and getting their mind right.
“We’ve done a lot of this. We did San Diego State night games. I think the last year at Ball State we had seven night games, and they were Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursdsay-Friday type deal. So I think we’ll have a pretty good plan for how to do it. This is a new group of guys, so you have to communicate and go through that plan.
Do you change how you practice? Do you prepare at night? “No we don’t do that. Never really have. It really is … it’s just how you structure the day, from how you eat breakfast, when pregame meal is, when is chapel and devotion, walkthroughs and all that stuff.”
Did you have to blitz more to pressure the QB? “You’d like to get more pressure. If you can pressure a guy pretty good with four guys, that’d be pretty good. To their credit, there was a lot of three-step game in there and the ball was coming out quick. As you get those down and distances a little longer, especially on your money downs -- your third downs -- you get those a little longer, and the five-step, seven-step drop stuff become more of a factor. When you go to pressure them, you have to be able to play man coverage. We were able to play a little tighter in man coverage than in zone.”
Do you like night games? “Do I?” Yes, you. “No. But I have no say, which is okay too. I do like twelve-o’clock games, and so do you guys.” Who, us? “You guys don’t like the night games. I know exactly where you’re at with it.”
Fitz vs. Shaw? “I think we’ll probably go with Fitz to start things out. I think Michael did a nice job too. They both handled themselves pretty well. Fitz, he tries to deliver on people, and Mike did too on one sideline. He’ll have to keep his eyes up now that his head is down, but they’re both physical at the point of attack.”
You averaged 8.5 yards per first-down play. How did you like the play-calling? “I like how Al calls the game. We went a little fast-paced the one series in there. It was a little bit of a changeup. It didn’t go as well as we liked to. Al will change things up – I think his mix of personnel in the game, from either four wides or 11/10/22, whatever. I think he does a good job with it.”
What’s your assessment of Matt Wile? “I thought he handled it pretty well. It can be daunting for a young guy, and I thought his kickoffs were pretty good. We would like a little more location. I thought he did a nice job in punts.”
Was Van Bergen an honorary game captain? “I have an honorary senior captain for every game, which is a representation for the rest of the senior class.”
Do you wear a headset on the sideline? “It can vary. Game management, to talking to guys, coaching guys, teaching guys. You’re not done on Friday. Keep coaching and teaching. That’s what I like to do. I usually have the headset on with the defense because that’s where my expertise is, and I just listen basically to make sure I know what the calls are, so if I have to grab a guy or whatever. Offensively, I’ll have it on situationally.”
Are we still going to see a lot of Jake Ryan when Cam Gordon comes back? “This is a weekly, everyday battle. We’ll see. How did he do? He did some good things, and then he needed to do a couple things better. It’s like our whole team.”
What’s your biggest concern with Brian Kelly’s offense? “They’ve got personnel. Their three WRs. I think both quarterbacks, although the one young man struggled a little bit – Crist struggled a little bit the other night. They’re both proven. Their offensive front, there’s four out of five guys back who have played a ton of football for them. Cierre Wood is a really good running back, and the guy behind him, Gray, is good. Eifert the tight end is a guy we tried to recruit at Ball State out of Ft. Wayne, and we thought he was really talented. I mean, if we got him, it would have been a great coup for us. They’re a talented football team.”
What did Kovacs do to get most of his ability? “He’s smart. He’s a smart football player. He understands the game. He can dissect the game. He studies the game. And he approaches it in what I would call championship manner to how he wants to play. He studies it well.”
What’s your impression of Harrison Smith? “He’s a good football player. Their whole football team’s talented. They’re good.”
How comfortable do you feel about your secondary in man coverage? “I think there’s some guys who have shown some ability to play man. I think the thing we have to be is multiple enough, though, and we have to be multiple enough in what looks we give also, pre-snap, and that’s another thing we need to work on.”
forward, in particular Roh, Van Bergen and Martin. Those guys didn't have much of an impact, and there going to need to have a sigficant impact moving forward if the defense wants to be sigficantly improved from last year.
I didn't see any stunts or anything unusual from the line and I wonder if they are not saving something for ND. That group just could not have been that quiet (I hope).
I don't like night games either, and a lot of enthusiastic Michigan fans aren't going to like them much come Sunday morning. The collective hangover in Ann Arbor is going to be amazing.
The atmosphere throughout the day Saturday and into the night will be tremendous.
If you want to have national coverage at night with a big audience you need to play in that 8 PM slot. I agree, though, about the negative side of night games and would rather have a 3:30 or slightly later start so you finish under the lights yet still have an evening to go out on the town.
I remember how bad the exiting traffic was after the MSU game last year. That was as bad as I ever remember it, complicated by A2 downtown street construction that gridlocked all the way back to the Stadium.
And this will be worse.
There are a lot of fans who are no doubt really wanting to see this night game on television. Which might be fine for them. Finish the game, switch to the SNL opening sketch and watch it in bed. No problem! The fans at the game might not get home to Birmingham until maybe 2am. Grosse Pointe 3 am. Grand Rapids and Saginaw people won't get home until 4am.
I think even Brandon knows that he will be pressing his luck if he attempts as much as one night game a year. One every other year would be plenty as far as I am concerned. None of the coaches like them, and a lot of the season ticket holders don't either.
I wish we weren't the only team in history to ever play in a night game. Then we would be able to ask some other teams how they handle it.
Oh well. Maybe some day someone else will play a game at night. I think it would be extra cool if someone like LSU or PSU would play a night game. Could you imagine that?
Not one of my best efforts. Sounded whiny. When in fact there's no point in doing anything other than going with the flow and making the best of what will hopefully be a rare and a great night.
LSU has a wonderful tradition of night games, going back as far as anybody can remember. And even then I knew; if you live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and you are playing football in late summer/hurricane season, it's best to play the games at night. When the temp dips below 90 and you can sort of breathe.
Clearly, this will not be Michigan's last night game; no doubt about it. Everything might go smoothly, and we'll do another one in 2013. I just hope that the pressure remains on Brandon, from season ticket holders and coaches, to do as few night games as possible.
Season ticket holders are nowhere near as important as the student body. The students are the ones that will be your future donors, make 90% of the noise, and are the lifeblood of college athletics. Without the university students, college football would just be minor league football that nobody cares about. With that being said, this night game is creating more excitement than iv ever seen, which should trump the whining of season ticket holders that don't want to be stay up late.
What are the PSD's in the Student Section? (Apart from tuition, I mean.) Trust me; there aren't many people sitting in Victors-priority seats who weren't at one time rowdy students too. And when they are out of school, have started jobs and families and can finally afford season tickets and have the priority to obtain them, their ideas might have changed.
And yes, the Student Section makes the whole thing a much better show. Wouldn't be at all the same, without the massive student presence. It's good. I'm not complaining about that! Are you saying that the students wouldn't come, or that they wouldn't cheer, without the added spice of one night game a year? What pressure do the students have to bring to the debate with Brandon? Funny how we've gotten this far without one.
Anyway, I think compromise is inevitable in this case. Someday, there is bound to be another night game. I don't see Brandon doing even as much as one night game every year; especially not next year when there will only be six home games in all liklilhood. It won't happen again until 2013. If there are no catastrophes this time.
Students are just future wait list victims. They really don't matter to the AD. As a former student and current season ticket holder, let me tell you, students like to tell themselves they're the most important thing, but no one cares what they want but other students. But we made ourselves feel important by saying "it's about us", when only the student-ATHLETE matters. If students had a say, tuition wouldn't go up every year.
And I'm not objecting to the night game. I sympathize with Section 1's concerns, even if they don't really have any affect on me. And I see the excitement it creates and recruiting positives. Personally I hate waiting the extra 3 1/2 hours to 3:30, so 4.5 more is going to suck. But the 4 hours after that should be wild.
Even though we could boil them down to "I don't generally like the idea of night games," and, "But I sure do like the energy in the Student Section."
And guess what. When you read Brady Hoke's comments, that is exactly what he is saying too. He doesn't generally like this new idea of night games, but he appreciates the fans and their excitement. I am pretty sure that I could say, "The sun rises in the east, and sets in the west, and Michigan is in the 'Legends' Division of the Big Ten," and I'd get negged these days.
Do you like night games? “Do I?” Yes, you. “No. But I have no say, which is okay too. I do like twelve-o’clock games, and so do you guys.” Who, us? “You guys don’t like the night games. I know exactly where you’re at with it.”
Take a nap during the day. Besides, if you have any navigational skills, you can get out of Ann Arbor in no time.
The positives greatly outweight the negatives.
like night games, until I found out that I can't get on the golf course until noon Saturday. I will be up a 6 am with 6 hours to kill - must be what the players have to deal with every game day.
I don't believe you.
There has been a lot more enthusiasm during the ND portion of the schedule
I am so glad to hear that Troy's ankle is better. I hope he can stay on the field this season.
Jake Ryan should continue to start. Bring Cam off the bench or start him in place of Herron, but keep Jake starting please
Why would you start Cam Gordon over Brandon Herron, who plays a completely different position and was just named National Defensive Player of the Week?
That's the silliest idea I've heard...today, at least. Maybe even in the last week.
Personally I wouldn't start Cam over Herron but I prefer Ryan over Cam or Herron. Ryan is going to play on Sundays, I'm not so sure about the other 2.
maybe it was one game magic, but then again last week could simply be the start of an unbelievable season. His instincts and speed turned great defensive plays into points. When you're on a roll ... don't change.
I think Brandon Herron earned a start against ND. Some guys just have it during game time, let him start and let's see what happens. He can be pulled as soon as he's not performing to expectation.
I might start Herron at Tailback.
I was too busy stuffing my face with a pizza so when the guy next to me started asking his question all of a sudden I didn’t hear a word of anything because I had to run up and get my tape recorder going but I think it had something to do with how Schofield performed in Ricky Barnum’s place.
I think you have to give Cam his shot because he earned it in camp and in the Spring. If he can't perform to the level that Ryan did against WMU, then you play Ryan more. I see Ryan as more of a pass rusher and obviously the staff does too because he had his hand in the dirt most of the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
On the Herron INT return, Jake Ryan deflects the ball, falls on the ground and by the time Herron rounds the corner, Ryan is up and running even with Herron on the return, preventing the WMU player from catching Herron. That is finishing the play. I love that kind of effort!
I know that he is a true freshman, and has been forced into the role becuase of injury, but he seemed like a bit of a liability out there. I'm not trying to bash the guy, or even comment on his ability to develop into a good player, but he just doesn't quite seem ready. Did anyone else feel that way?
he vacated his lane to get upfield and we got gashed mutiple times, but it was the same with several players doing that. I like the motor, need more discipline positionally. I don't blame him; I assume he was told to get in there and get after it. If we had any penetration from any other part of the line it would have certainly helped. When we got penetration, we disrupted them, which, obviously. He'll need help and he'll need to contain more than just motor past the oncoming ball carrier. Still, can't really blame him and here's hoping he can go hard and stay home when needed.
Are some guys really whining about night games? Jesus....it's 2011 you want national exposure and national tv then night games it is. 1 or 2 a year would be fine. If your really worried about getting out of the place then dont show up and allow people who want to be there for the game to take those tickets.
Sometimes this fan base just seems so prehistoric. It's like they have to object to anything that is being done that was different from the 80's. If we want to be on that national level again things like this have to be done to lure in the top kids.
It's just the way it is now....
I thought night games were a way for teams who don't routinely get national exposure, to get national exposure. So while I think it is novel and all, I don't think Michigan needs additional national exposure. (Between ABC, ESPN, and BTN, we were on TV every Saturday in North Carolina even when we went 3 - 9.)
I live in Switzerland, so noon games are the best for me. Personally, even if I was still in the US I would either be in Chicago or Kalamazoo and thus the night game would be inconvenient. I don't think I would go normally.
Of, course for a Michigan ND game that may be a different story.
Yeah, both Michigan and Notre Dame need some national exposure. Who has ever heard of those schools or football teams.
Boise State and TCU need national exposure, not Michigan and ND.
On the other hand, this guy who does like how things were done in the 70s (they were already screwing things up in the 80s) is very much looking forward to UTL. I think it will be a great event. I wouldn't want it too often, but if it goes well and they fire it up every other year or so, great.
But how did he do on the other 40 some he wad out there for? If he got the award for a 16 tackle, 2 sack, 4 tfl, and 2 turnover effort... Then yeah, he should start. If he was a liability 90% of the time, but cashed in on two plays made by others... He may get pulled and replaced by Cam
That's ten fingers pointing.
on 508 yards of offense (helped by 5 turnovers) like Mr. Kelly. I hope I don't have to sit through too many of those again and that voodoo has officially moved out of AA and into South Bend.
Can you explain what you mean now by when you say, ‘feeling a player’?
This question to coach Hoke is EPIC
I have to agree with JT4104 about playing night games. Come on people, we are into the 2nd Decade of the 21st Century. We need to keep up with the times folks. 1 night game a year is not going to be the end of the world as some might know it.
It will be exciting and exposure producing in a big way, let's embrace it and revel in the excitement.
As for some on here who are concerned with who is starting where and how much they play, I say it doesn't matter. We need to have over 20 guys rotating on Defense for a myriad of reasons. Guys will play a lot and the ones that are performing the best will see the most time, as it should be.
I'm completely fine with night games. It will be much more convenient to watch on TV, will provide national exposure, will be exciting, will be fun for students, will be a real event and happening, all of that. For some, it will greatly extend the party atmosphere. Party Friday night, sleep it off, wake up, party again all day, go to the game, party again, sleep it off.
The one group I could see complaining is folks from out of town coming in for the game. There are too many unknowns, and more than that, there are clear challenges. The big problem has to be for those who live within 3 - 4 hours, who drive in, tailgate, go to the game, and drive home. Right now, you could manage to do that inside of one Saturday. With a night game, you are pretty much going to need lodging, and it will mess up Sunday morning, and you won't really gain Saturday morning. I'm pretty sure you can't easily find a place to actually sleep in an RV, let alone use the water and washroom in the RV. Adding a hotel is not an insignificant hassle and expense.
A main issue in the change is "scalability." Adding 100, or 1000, people to Ann Arbor at night isn't unmanagable. But if the ND game means 20,000 MORE people than usual want to stay the night, well, the lodging and food industry in town literally don't have the capacity to deal with it. The way the "system" has worked, it is somewhat contingent on those people who "commute" in and out for the game to continue to do so. There will always be locals, and always be students. But at best, that accounts for 50,000. Of the remaining folks, there will always be 10,000 - 20,000 who stay in hotels or with friends in the area, arriving Friday and leaving Sunday. But what happens to the remaining 40,000 or so who come in for the day by car from around the state, and from Indiana, and Chicago, and Ohio? This is the group which must be complaining the most.
For me personally, I won't ever be attending a night game in Ann Arbor. My schedule and job just don't allow for it. However, this doesn't mean I think night games shouldn't happen, Change isn't easy, and we'll just have to see how it goes.