News bullets and other items:
- Jabrill Peppers at corner looks like it’s happening. For now he’s at nickel, but all evidence points to him eventually usurping one of the corner’s spots.
- Boo-boo watch: Kyle Kalis [back] and Ty Isaac [stinger] should be back Monday
- Derrick Green was the #1 running back heading into the scrimmage
- Expect to see lots of two (or more) tight end sets from the offense this season. /sighs
- Hoke was again impressed by Mason Cole
- The defense is ahead of the offense, which Hoke says is typically the case
- Starters on both sides of the ball should be figured out by Wednesday or Thursday
- Brady Hoke “Well, …” count: 11
"Number one, thanks for coming out. Thought it was a good atmosphere for our team to be in front of, environment, I think that's important. We probably went a little longer than I thought we would but I knew my math and plays and play count, I knew we'd go a little over and I think we did. There were some negative plays in there that we've got to still clean up. Some of it is up front and I really think some of it today- we've got to have better vision in the back and so from that standpoint offensively. From a defensive standpoint I thought they got after it. Too many penalties. The PI rules are going to be called, probably, a little closer in this league. We had a little bit too much, where a guy got grabbed too much or didn't move his feet well enough, those kind of things. But that's why you do what we did. Some negative plays with some penalties breaks your rhythm a little bit and you don't like that but we need to coach off of it, teach off of it, educate off of it and keep working forward. Can't complain about what these guys have done to this point, and we know we've got two weeks. This will be good to learn from for everybody and we'll start really focusing in Wednesday with Appalachian State."
You mentioned just getting them out there and getting them reps. How big do you think it is just for the freshman? They see the environment, they're here, was that kind of the main...
"Well, that's important. Then there are guys who are redshirt freshman or third-year sophomores who haven't played a lot but to get out, come down the tunnel – most of those guys, the only time they've been down the tunnel was on their visit or for games when they came as visitors and so going out there with that winged helmet on, going out there to have a big stake in what we're trying to get done I think is pretty significant. I think that helps."
Defense seemed to get the better of the offense in the running game. Have you seen more progress in the running game then we saw tonight?
"Yeah, yeah. The other night we ran the ball pretty well. Again, you can't play well one Saturday and not as well the next so there's another lesson of consistency there. Yeah, the defense I thought – and to be honest with you, they should. There's more veterans over there, more guys with game experience. I think defense always, to some degree, gets always a little ahead of the offense and it's been like that forever but we need to catch up offensively pretty fast."
You mentioned the vision of the backs you want improved but offensive line-wise, can you think of anything that's kind of keeping them from turning a corner?
"No, I don't think you can pinpoint anything particular. You've got to play with good leverage, you've got to be positive with your footwork, your hips have got to get down the field, and you've got to face blocks. I mean, it sounds easy but when you've got a defense that- we move a lot, we blitz a lot, it puts a little more pressure on them."
You mentioned on Sunday your primary depth chart at running back at that point without [Justice] Hayes. How's he been doing out there or how'd he do this week?
"Well, I think he's had a good week. Again, I don't know if any of them tonight in my opinion – again, this is without watching the tape but I think we've got to keep improving there and keep seeing things a little better."
You have two weeks to go. Your level of concern with the offensive line and the running game?
"Well, let me say this. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about all of our football team. You know, that's just being a coach. Do we need to improve still? There's no question about it. I think the running game, like I said, the other day we ran the ball pretty well."
[After THE JUMP: evaluations of the running backs, secondary, and more, and all the Jabrill Peppers talk that’s probably the reason you’re reading this in the first place]
Jabrill – he played a pretty active role today. Is he moving into more of a starting role at corner?
"Well, the evidence for making decisions is on the film. It's evidence-based decisions based on the film, based on production. He's done very well. He'll learn some things today, in some man coverage which I think you saw. Again, we're competing and he's done a nice job.
If Jabrill is at corner than who's your guy at nickel and what about Jeremy Clark? Looked like he was out there first.
"Jeremy Clark's really had a good fall camp, you know, really excited about his progress. Delano's [Hill] out there with a vest on for no contact and he did some of the [inaudible]. AJ Pearson, I think, has really improved. What was the first part of it?"
"Well, what we'll do is slide him in to nickel."
What were you looking for out of Mason Cole? He appeared to hold his own tonight. Your take on his performance.
"He didn't have one penalty. He didn't have one hold. He lines up against a pretty good guy when Frank's [Clark] on that side, a guy that can get off the ball and torture you a little bit. He just is very consistent and to be honest with you, I think sometimes that's the least of our worries when you look at it."
How serious is [the injury to] Kalis, and Glasgow looked like he had an ankle, right ankle problem...
"He got out there and they taped it so I can't tell you. Kalis should be back Monday."
And that's [his] back?
"He'll be back Monday."
But it is his back?
Can you talk about vision in the backend and can you talk about Devin and what he was seeing, can you elaborate on that a little bit and whether to be concerned…
"Devin, I thought, did a pretty good job. I'm talking about running backs..."
Yeah, running backs.
"I thought Devin probably had two bad plays that stick out in my mind a little bit and a bunch of plays where I think he was very efficient with what he was trying to get done. One of them, I thought, getting rid of the ball and trying to, you know, make something happen because you have the confidence you can but it's never going to be there for you. I thought that was some good discipline. I thought overall he played solid. Did he play great, good enough? Probably not. You can say the same thing for Shane [Morris]."
Moe Ways seemed to play pretty well under the lights tonight. Talk about him a little bit and also the receiving corps as a whole.
"Well, I think this was one of the better days that Moe's had. He's got some talent obviously, he's a big receiver. I think overall this receiver group, I think a couple of them got tired because they run a lot. And that's one thing we've tried to cut back on but when you scrimmage and you go 100-some plays and they're out there 8-10 plays in a row they get a little tired and that's something we've got to get through that."
A lot of two tight end sets today, I think more than we've seen in the past. Are you trying things that like to try and get the offensive line and the blockers a little more help?
"Well, it's part of what we like. It's solo personnel, we call it, and getting into three tight ends and when you have an H-[back] or two tight ends with an H-[back]. I think you'll see a lot of that from us."
Talk about Will Hagerup. Looked excellent tonight. Couple really big kicks. How are you feeling about him coming back after missing last season?
"Well, I think number one, Will kicked very well tonight, punted very well tonight and we needed to because I just told all three of them before we went onto the field that I was disappointed in the week they had so it was good to see that."
On the defensive line with Mo Hurst and Willie Henry, we saw them in the backfield a lot tonight. Is that how it's been since camp started?
"Well, I think [Ryan] Glasgow, Henry, Hurst, [Chris] Wormley, [Matt] Godin, [Bryan] Mone, they've all been pretty active in there. It's a good problem we have right now but again, I think I mentioned this the other day, I'm interested to see the tape and see if there's some separation and see who played that well."
Is Ty Isaac hurt? Did he play today?
"He did not play today. He had a little stinger. He'll be back Monday."
Defensively, do you guys feel like you're where you should be? Are you excited about this? A lot of blitzing, a lot of pressure, is this where you want to be at this point?
"Well, I think we want to be- a lot of blitzing, yes. Want to have a lot of pressure. Want to be able to play better coverage with it. I think we still have a real long way to go. When you talk about the front I really below we want to see somebody separate. Who's the guy you're going to count on? I felt Frank [Clark] a little bit tonight but like I told him, this is the first scrimmage where I've felt him. Having some consistency. We've got a chance to be good on that side of the ball but we've got, still, some issues we've got to work out."
With the wide receivers and cornerbacks or defensive backs, just looking at position groups, Darboh looked pretty good, DaMario Jones had a couple nice catches and then Brandon Watson, Jourdan Lewis, they looked sharp at times too. Could you just talk about overall what you saw from those positions?
"You know, I think you probably saw more of what they did than I did because my eyes tend to go towards the center of the offensive line to watch the defensive line, I'll be honest with you. I think DaMario made some good plays, had some good balls and at the same time he had some things he can do better. I think [Devin] Funch[ess] we're obviously very excited about, I think Darboh's had a good fall camp, I think Jehu's [Chesson] had a good fall camp. From the secondary perspective I think the safeties are, I think, really improving. I think the competition at cornerback with Ray [Taylor] and Blake [Countess] and [Channing] Stribling and Peppers- that's real and it's good."
You said, generally speaking, that you want someone to separate, it sounds like, pretty much everywhere. When do you want to have a starting lineup in pen and right now what's your hierarchy at running back? Is Derrick Green #1 now?
"Well, I think going into it Derrick was #1, yes. I think #1a, obviously, was DeVeon [Smith]. I think Drake [Johnson]...Drake can help us a bunch and Justice [Hayes] caught the ball today out of the backfield and I'll tell you there was a cavity blitz and he stepped up and took on a linebacker and really did a great job so they all have their positives. Yes, you want somebody. By when? Probably Wednesday or Thursday of this week we'd like to be pretty settled."