WMU Postgame Presser Transcript: Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke

WMU Postgame Presser Transcript: Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Dave Brandon

Dave Brandon wants me to terminate in-game tweeting for my own safety.

Opening remarks: "Hi everybody. If this has ever happened before, I don’t know when, and it’s been in the way, way distant past. We did have a pretty good look at the forecast coming into today, and we spent a lot of time yesterday with contigency plans, and I thought my operations staff did a terrific job of keeping their eye on the weather. We had every weatherman in southeastern Michigan helping us out. It was an unpredictable day because these cells kept popping up and dying down really fast. We were hoping we could get it in. We got through the first delay, and we actually thought we had another hour-and-a-half window before the next big front was moving through, but this time of year, with the humidity and heat that we had, we just had buildups come out of nowhere.

"In a conference situation, as I understand it, the Big Ten has some very specific rules and protocols to follow. In a non-conference game, it's a little more open-ended in terms of how this is managed. But in the conference rules, the officials and the head coaches and the home athletic director meet with the director of operations, and in our case that would be Rob Rademacher, and we would make a call.

"The choices that we had were to wait it out -- and we looked at that -- the choices that we had were to suspend the game and leave the score where it was, and there were some other options, but none of those were acceptable. We decided after a bit of discussion, and I want to compliment coach Cubit and Kathy Beauregard at Western -- they were really terrific about this. We really thought about the safety of the fans, and we thought about the safety of the players, because to make them sit what could have been an hour and 45 minutes based on some of the projections we had with the weather, and then try to go out and get warmed up again and play more football would have not been in the interest of either team. If this was a close game that was into the fourth quarter and the game was in doubt, I think we would have waited it out because -- well, we would have either waited it out because that was what the coaches wanted to do, or we would have decided that this would have gone in the books as a non-game.

"But the agreement that was reached between Western and Michigan was that the game was in hand, and that the game would stand as the final score would be indicated, so that’s kind of where we are."

Are there any stipulations about this win (in terms of stats and records)? "It’s a win for Michigan. It’s a loss for Western. And all the records and stats will go in the books as if it were a completed game. We just terminated the game for the safety of the players and the safety of the fans and the reality of the situation with the weather."

What would have happened if this had been a Big Ten game? "If this was a Big Ten game we would have been on the phone with the commissioner’s office and would have had Big Ten officials in the booth, and we probably would have been more involved with the Big Ten office in terms of managing that entire situation. We contacted the Big Ten only because we were looking for some directions in terms of -- we anticipated the possibility of a delay today, and you saw what we did. We had the messages all up on the board, we had the script written for the announcer, we were ready to put the weather map from the Weather Channel up there. We anticipated the possibility of a delay, and we got one. What we didn’t aniticpate was what happened, and that was the weather just kept rolling in and it was a danger situation."

Was it a quick decision to cancel? "Once we went in for the second time, we thought that maybe it was going to be a short delay, and then it became very apparent that we would never get the teams out before this next round. We knew it was going to be a long time, and at that point, I got a call from the head of officials, and I was over in the operations booth by where you all sit, and I ran across the field and got over here to have the conversation with the officials and the coaches, and we reached the decision that we reached."

Would it have been possible to postpone the game? I don’t even know that that’s an option. Certainly somebody said, “Is there a way we could … ” but that was cast aside right away. Certainly somebody, and I think they were wearing a different color than maize and blue said, "Well, maybe we should just terminate the game and it really never happened." And we’d be here till 3 o’clock in the morning before we were going to settle that outcome, because I’m proud of our team, and I think we had the game under control, and our team deserved the victory, and it all worked out.

What do you think of first game of Brady Hoke era? "It’s a win. It’s a win, and I am proud of the team. I think if I remember correctly we scored defensive tocuhdowns. I think if I remember correctly we won the turnover battle by a significant margin, because I don’t think we turned it over. How many penalties did we have?" One. "One. I like that. And I thought we were pretty diversified on offense. We weren’t letting any one player get beat up, we had a lot of things happening out there, and we were getting the ball out there to a lot of people. So coach Hoke will get up here and tell you all the things we have to work on -- and boy there are a lot of them -- but I loved winning the opening game, and Brady Hoke is 1-0."

What were some of the issues concerning the heat? "We were worried about the heat a lot. The players have misters over there, and I know the coaches were working hard on rotating people in and out. But we were worrying about the heat for everybody. When members of the Western Michigan band went down before they even got out of the tunnel, that’s how they ended up stripping down to t-shirts and shorts, and I thought that was a good decision. Our band did a magnificent job, because they were in those uniforms and they were out doing their thing … we have a tough band. Tough band. But at the end of the day, it was a tough day out there, it was hot, it was humid, and that just added to the complexity of it all."

Brady Hoke

Brady Hoke thinks that my tweets lack top-end information. Accuracy, too.

Opening remarks: "For all of you that stayed dry, good for you.

"Obviously it’s an unusual circumstance to have the weather kind of stop the game when it did. I think [Western H.C.] Bill [Cubit] and myself both had concerns [about] how long we’d be stopped, how many times we would be stopped. I’ve got so much respect for Bill as a football coach and as a person -- I think both of us we worried about the kids. You go out there and you play your heart out, then you’re back in for another half hour. And you [get] a five-minute warmup, and then all of a sudden a lightning strike comes again, and then you come back in … and it didn’t look like this was going to get any better, so it ended probably not the way all of us would like it to, but as long as those kids can be healthy, and no one got needlessly hurt, then we’re all for it.

"As far as what did go on on the field, turnover margin is a statistic that’s very important in the game of football. Our offense did a tremendous job taking care of the football, and our defense created three turnovers, obviously two of them were for defensive scores, which is always fun, but I think our guys really understand that message that we sent about taking care of the football. Defensively I think some guys did a nice job up front of applying some pressure, or if you were a guy who was coming on a blitz. Kovacs did a nice job, and [so did] Jake Ryan. And they all got good push.

"The game itself, we got a lot to work on. You look at our kickoff coverage, I thought was not near what it needed to be. You look at some of the third down conversions -- and I haven’t really looked at that total number yet. I was pleased with the 190 yards rushing the football. You gotta control the line of scrimmage to do that. And I would say the other thing that I was pleased at was that we didn’t have any penatlies, and that’s an important part early in the season – all season long – but I thought our guys did a nice job for that part of it."

Did you imagine your first game happening like this? "No I don’t think so. It was kind of wild. Wet and wild."

How big was Herron's interception? "Huge. We talked all week -- offensively, they’re a very good football team. I think [Cubit] is one of the great offensive minds in college coaching, and the way he uses tempo, the way he uses personnel, and the quarterback Alex Carder, who’s as good as any guy that we may play all year. He’s got some great weapons out there. At the same time, we need to push the pocket a little more. I think also in some of the zone coverage aspect, we need to challenge a little more, be a little tighter."

What's Troy Woolfolk's status? "He sprained his ankle -- his other ankle -- if we would have needed him he was going to go back in [Ed-M: we thank you Angry Michigan Defensive Back Hating God in your mercy!] but the other guys held pretty well."

Did blitzing a lot help your defensive plan later in the game? You have a plan, and you have certain things, and you want to make sure you have enough bullets for your guys, and that was all part of it. Obviously at times when they’re in what we call 10 personnel/four wides [i.e. one back] you can outnumber them [when you come with seven]. The key to it is the guy who’s unblocked having a great path to the quarterback, and that helped us some."

Does Denard being the third-leading rusher allow him to do other things more effectively? We just had a plan, and Al had a plan that he thought would be successful against what they did defensively. Denard’s always going to have a hand in what we do. Number one he’s the quarterback, but secondly because of his ability to run with the football."

Why did you decide to make Fitz your starting RB? "I thought he finished off fall camp real well. Thought he had a nice finish."

Can you talk about Herron’s playmaking ability? "That was good. Obviously they were timely and meant a lot to where we were in the fooball game. I think Brandon’s a guy who will continue -- as a senior for us, as he learns a little more concept-wise -- will continue to grow."

Can you address the issue of the suspended players? "I think it was addressed. We didn’t dress them."

Denard’s first series looked a lot like last year's spread. Did you plan it that way? "Al and I had talked, and he was going to start the game with the 38-39 sweep: the quarterback sweep. That was a comfort level probably -- [that] you want [Denard] to feel good about, and I think we blocked it well. I think he got a first down on it, so I think we were in and out of [the shotgun] enough. I think with Shaw’s run and on Fitz’s couple times he pounded it up with the power play, those were good also."

Are there times where you look at the defense and say that’s how I want it to look? “Well it’s never 'I', it’s 'We'. We’re a long way from any kind of defense that we want to represent Michigan with.” But just to build confidence? “Yeah I mean that’s great. And it’s really good, you know. It’s always fun to score on defense. But there’s a hundred different things in that tape that tomorrow we’ll address and correct and get better with.”

Early on, Carder was 14 for 15. But then the defense got better. How do you feel about your defense right now? "I would say not very good."

Was the physical camp rewarding? "I think there was a midnset that they understand how we’re going to play. And I think you could see it a little bit -- third quarter up front on both sides, it was going to be more physical, it was going to be more attacking, it was going to be that kind of deal. I think you can feel that. I thought there were some hard runs. I thought Fitz ran the ball up in there pretty hard, took some guys on, which you want to see out of your backs."

Did you rotate on defense as much as you had planned? "Yeah, pretty much. I think if we would have been in our base front more, we probably would have rotated just a little more. But I thought we stayed pretty fresh. It was pretty humid down there, pretty hot down there. We did have a pretty good wind there for a while, but you wanted to keep those guys fresh during the course of the game."

How long will you let yourself enjoy the win? "Well, I understand they’re on TV, right? And they’re delayed? So we’ll look at Notre Dame."

Can you comment on Fitz vs Shaw at RB? "I think number one, they both found -- had good vision, let me put it that way. Michael’s got a little more top-end speed, so he was able to get away from the safety, but if you noticed on the one long run by Fitz, he lowered himself to go through a guy, and if you watch, you’ll see Junior Hemingway launching himself to try and get a block over the top. That was exciting to me. That was good football to me."

Talk about the level of senior leadership. "The one thing I’d say -- Troy -- he got banged up there and all that, and he worked himself in the trainer’s – Paul Schmidt and his crew did a great job with that -- but he worked himself, and you could keep hearing him on the sideline encouraging on both sides."

(I think this was the question, but Dave Ablauf was talking over Angelique) Will Cam Gordon be held out for Notre Dame? Yes.

Can you talk about how special teams played? "Kickoff returns were awful. On the one [long WMU kickoff return], the defense had been on a long drive, Herron gets the pick, and he runs it back 90-whatever yards it was, and there was a celebration, which you want to see. It’s beautiful, because it’s fanaticism for the game, and all the guys -- a lot of them are on your kickoff team. I thought about taking a time-out and it would be a time we didn’t have a TV time-out, so we put some other guys in, and the other guys, to their credit -- Frank Clark was in there, and he made one hit for sure, and probably should have had another one."

What happened on the missed PAT? "We got knocked back a little bit, and we’ll correct that, and in fact the young man did correct it."

Did you treat the delay as a hafltime to do some extra coaching? "Here’s the first thing that went through my mind: We played Northern Illinois in Nuncie when I was at Ball State. We had a 45-minute delay, we were winning the game 14-7, maybe 14-0. We come back, Garrett Wolfe ran for 355 yards.

"So I wasn’t feeling really good about a delay."

Preview 2011: Wrap, Hype, Hope

Preview 2011: Wrap, Hype, Hope

Submitted by Brian on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:00 PM

It's the day before a Michigan football season, so there's an 80% chance you're about to see Bump, Canham, and Bo. Survey says…

bobumpdon_thumb

…bingo. Three years ago I posted it up to point out just how long it had been since Michigan had to think about who would be its head coach: forty years. They'd secured an A-list candidate but whenever you're trying something new after doing one thing forever, things can go awry. They did—you may have noticed.

I thought about Bump and Bo over the summer when Ramzy at Eleven Warriors took a brief hiatus from ripping Kirk Herbstreit* to survey the new enemy in Ann Arbor. He used a certain picture, which I'll put next to what seems like the most representative image of Rodriguez on the first three pages of a generic image search. I'm not sure what that will be yet. Let's find out:

Rich-Rodriguez-liphokesmug

Slotting the two coaches** into the image above is left as a bloody obvious exercise for the reader.

Hoke may not have a winning record but he's got bravado. That, the knowledge he's not a Super Genius, and his magical intestines plus Denard Robinson is a pretty good start. When Hoke was hired I said "sometimes having an identity feels like having a ceiling," but thanks to Jim Tressel kindly donating his career and most of the meanest kids in Ohio to the cause that ceiling is a lot vaguer than it was in January. Let's go find it. In Pasadena, preferably.

*[Ramzy : Kirk Herbstreit :: Brian : punting from the 34]

**[In re: selection. For one, this shows up three times. It's not the best but it's far from the worst and it's not plain boring. Seems as good a choice as any.]

---------------------------------------------------

THIS CONCLUDES the 2011 edition of the MGoBlog season preview. Every year I tell myself I'm going to get ahead of the curve and start posting these things two weeks before the season; every year something comes up and I spend this week eating microwaved dinners and staying up until 5 AM. At this point it would feel wrong to do it any other way (but I'm definitely doing it some other way next year).

The Recap

The Story, 2011

Mitigating William Caines

OFFENSE

  • Offensive line: 4.5. Excellent if allowed to zone block, more than two injuries and it's time to panic
  • Receivers: average of 3.5. Good depth, few stars, a lot rides on Hemingway.
  • Running backs: 3. Six bullets (for now) instead of two; everyone's older.
  • Quarterbacks: 5! Denard.
  • Offensive questions: Verdict is basically last year's offense minus 5-10 Denard carries per game.

DEFENSE

  • Secondary: average of 2.5. A little depth, no freshmen, look out for Avery.
  • Linebackers: average of 3. Demens bustout.
  • Defensive line: average of 4. Top end is sexy except for SDE; depth is precarious.
  • Defensive questions: tackling how much the GERG effect can help us. Survey says: lots.

MISCELLANEOUS

I would have bumped some fantastic diaries if doing so wouldn't caused everyone's heads to explode with word overload. If you're just dying for 3:30 tomorrow and need more, the Communist Football Almanack finishes in spectacular style, Jamiemac previews Western with prop bets a-plenty, and Michael Scarn drops a personal essay.

Now it's time for a hype video.

Here's to less drinking during UFRs. Go Blue.

banner-touch

Monday Presser Notes 8-29-11: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Notes 8-29-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 29th, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Brady Hoke:

Good news: I took pictures today. Bad news: I left my card reader at home.

News bullets:

  • No one is seriously injured
  • Mike Jones had pneumonia the other day, but was better today
  • Fitz still has opportunity to earn start over Shaw this week
  • Gibbons is solidly starting at placekicker, unless it's a long field goal, in which case Wile or (Kris) Pauloski might kick
  • There will be an intense practice late Friday night
  • There will be no Victors Walk
  • Kick/punt returner situation is fluid (obviously)

Press Conference (this part was filmed)

General fluff:

"Finishing fall camp on Saturday morning, I think we were very productive in what we wanted to get done. You're never going to be satisfied, it's never going to be as good as you'd like it to be, and that's just part of being competitive. I think we developed as a team, I think we became closer as a team. I think when you look at us as a team, we're excited to get going and to have that first opportunity. We're guaranteed 12 opportunities, and we've made that known to our players. We want to play obviously 14, but the 12 opporutnities we have, we start with the first test this weekend."

"We voted on captains last night as a team. I think our players understand that our seniors will always be our leaders, and the three guys, with Mike on defense, Kevin Koger and David Molk on offense, have demonstrated an ability to lead. I think they all three bring a lot to our football team, when you look at the leadership roles that they'll play, and you look also at the roles from a production standpoint."

"Western Michigan is a well-coached, disciplined, tough football team. I've had a little bit of experience with Coach Cubit and how his teams play, offensively and defensively."

Offensively, QB Alex Carder is good. He's as impressive as anybody with 30 TDs, >63% completions. WR Jordan White caught 94-96 balls a year ago, challenge for Michigan secondary. LT Anthony Parker spearheads a big, physical O-line. They have some Juco transfers. Defensively, D-line has everyone coming back. Secondary is one of the better ones in MAC, very aggressive and like to attack the football.

"We're excited. We're not near ready to play, and I'll probably say that on Friday. We're not near ready to play, but we get to play, and that's a good thing. We get to see our first test, where we're at as a team and as a program, and to get out there and not beat up on each other, but you get to play with somebody else."

Looks like there are lots of "ORs" on the depth chart. What gives? "I just think there's great competition. At the running back, Fitz has done some good things, Mike [Shaw] has done some good things. Vince Smith's a guy we talked about being a third-down back for us for multiple reasons, but I think there's some great competition there. I think with JT and Troy, when you look at Courtney Avery ... Blake Countess is a young guy who's played pretty well ... Raymon Taylor ... all those guys are competing, and Greg Brown. I would expect JT and Troy would be the guys who would start the football game, but when we get into the nickel, then we get into the other situations."

Why is Will Heininger starting? "More than anything else, it's his experience. We like what Nathan has done. He's practiced very well, played well, been productive, but Will at the same time has done a great job -- Will Heininger -- but the other guy who has come on a little bit is Will Campbell. That will be fluid anyway because we want to play six guys during the course of the game so we can keep guys fresh and keep them healthy."

Any questionable players healthwise? "Healthwise we're in great shape. As good as you can be coming out of fall camp. We had a pretty physical fall camp, so I'm pretty pleased. Mike Jones had a little bit of a fever and pneumonia the other day, but I just saw him on the way here in fact, and feels pretty good."

Does it help that you've played against Western? "I don't think it helps, because you've got to go back to the tape you had from a year ago. First games are always a little bit different as far as when you start to study. Do you take the last four games, (or) do you take the first three from a year ago to see what they taught within their offense and defense? And then the last three games as far as when you start breaking an opponent down and looking at it.

"I really am impressed when you watch them play on the tape. Being a defensive guy, I'll always look at more offensive film of an opponent than I do defensively. I'm very impressed with Carder and how he handles this offense."

I'm writing some fluff about you coming out of the tunnel. Can you give me a some fluff about coming out of the tunnel? "It's a special place, being at Michigan. I'm sure that we'll be very humbled. But at the end of the day, we're playing a football game, and our consistency as coaches is important, so we'll move pretty quickly. I'm hoping we get to the sidelines the right way, and you're always as a new staff, you're doing things different. When we go to dinner on Friday night, we'll practice at 5 o'clock on Friday night, and all those things are different than what has been done in the past, so those things we'll all be worrying about until the game's kicked off."

Roundtable (this part was not filmed)

This is what Hoke sort of looked like when I took a picture of him.

Western has no idea what you're going to do. Is that an advantage? "They're a good football staff, and I'm sure that they got a hold of all the San Diego State film they could from an offensive perspective. I think defnesively it's always a little harder getting NFL film. I'm sure they've been able to see remnants of what we're trying to do." 

RB's still have to prove themselves? "I think they all do, not just the running backs. We want to evalutate them every day, and if a guy doesn't meet the standard or expectation that we need to play with -- it could be any position -- if he doesn't meet that standard, then we gotta find someone else."

Do you evaluate players differently between practice and games? "I don't think so. I'm a big believer in that when you prepare and when you practice, you're going to play that way. So if we've got great intensity getting to the football (with the) eleven guys defensively, (or if) our wide receivers are sustaining blocks and harassing corners, we expect that to be done during practice. That's a demand that we have because I believe you have to play like you practice."

Will you give both kickers a shot in the game? "Right now, Gibbons is going to handle the field goals, and if we get into a long field goal situation, I think Wile or Pauloski would be next in line for that. Matt will kick off, and Matt's going to punt."

What's the range for Gibbons vs. Wile? "When you start getting over, I dunno, I would guess from my observation, 43-44 (yards), som'n ike that, Matt's just got a little ... I don't know if it's a bigger leg, a better leg ... he's got the opportunity to hit the ball more cleanly. Everybody attributes and compares it to golf -- and I can't tell you about golf, if you've seen me golf you would know why -- and it's kind of the sweet spot he hits it with."

How much has the offense changed from the spring re: Denard? "I think his knowledge of what we're trying to do as a whole package [has increased], and I think there's still some things Al hasn't added to the mix. I think his grasp of it is at a higher level than it was in the spring. I think when you put that together where he doesn't have to think as much, and now he can be settled in his fundamentals and techniques. I think that's where the growth has come, and then his growth being a leader, and that maturity level, is at a higher place."

Is the offense what you envisioned when you first came in? "That depends. I think the basic plays of a pro-style offense are a big part of it. The play-action game, all those things. There are some things out of the spread that we're obviously going to stay with, that kind of overlap a little bit with how you want to block at the point of attack and those things. We're still going to line up and run the power play a bunch."

Do you tell Denard the same things you tell a normal QB about getting out of bounds? "I think it's the same. You don't want him to take needless shots, and we wouldn't want Devin to either. We want to be aggressive and always know where the stakes are, but we don't want a guy to take needless shots if he can help it."

Most coaches play freshmen during a coaching transition because they recruited them. You're playing older guys. Is it because you value experience? "I think that's an important part of it, to some degree. Believe me, if we thought those younger guys were at a point where the older guys weren't better, the younger guys would be playing. I think we're growing with some youth, and probably more so on the defensive side of the ball. There are some guys who have a better chance to play than on the offensive side."

I'm going to ask a convoluted question about the guys who started last year. They worked to earn these spots collectively, maybe, you think. Hunger, winning, Michigan. ? "I hope they're hungry, first and foremost. I mean, this is a competitive game, this is the winningest program in college football, so I hope they understand those expectations that we have as a team and we have as a program. Um, you know, I think ... when you ... and I don't know if I understand the other part of your question."

Basically, I mean, the starting lineup, more or less, are guys that started last year, and yet, it wasn't handed to them, collectively, you know. "I think we had good competition, I guess that's what I would say. I think we had good competition, and it's easy to see. Our depth on both sides of the ball up front aren't exactly where you'd like it to be, and that's okay, because it's always an expectation for who's playing the position. It doesn't matter if they're a fifth year guy or a guy who's a true freshman, you've gotta play to a Michigan standard."

Were some of those decisions made during the scrimmages? "Everyday they're evaluated. And it doesn't matter if they're in the weight room ... I talk to Aaron everyday. Every night I talk to him and (ask), "How'd he do there?" Because you're looking for an attitude. You're looking for a team attitude first. And if a guy goes in there and doesn't do what he needs to do to help his teammates, then we're going to have a problem with it.

"It all starts there, and obviously when you're in those situational things that you do with the football aspect of it, you're expecting them to play at a fast level and a fast tempo with an enthusiasm for the game."

Is Van Bergen locked in at DT? "He's one of those guys who can play a lot. He can play in sub defense, he can be over the center, which [he] is at times. I'm talking about nickels and dimes and those kinds of things. He can do that, and he can swing back out to the 5 (-tech). Ryan brings a lot of intelligence to the game, and being an older guy who's been around football a lot, it really helps him out and helps our team out."

I'd like to ask another question that you will answer in a non-informative way. You haven't played a game yet, but you've been here seven months. Do you ... feel like the transition has been what you thought ... Has there been more you thought you would have to change? Or less? Or ... ? "Uh. It's about what you would think it would be. I mean, you know, it's, it really just ... trying to, you know, have a focus on what Michigan's all about, and starting there. You know, and, uh, I don't know if it's any different or not."

But History? And Tradition?? "Well, I think that's important, I mean, that's an important accountability that we have." 

Thank you. That was a productive series of words.

You have four punt returners with "Or" next to their names. You gonna make up your mind or not? "It probably will be fluid. I wouldn't be surprised that we probably had two guys back there and switch them for punts to see who we think may be the best playmaker out of it."

You got any superstitions or rituals? "I would not share them with you if I did."

You doing the Victors Walk? "No."

But you said in Chicago you would do it. "Nope."

Could Fitz Toussaint still win the job this week? "Sure. Sure. No question."

Do you get nervous close to gametime? "My nervousness only comes that we're dottin' all the i's and crossin' all the t's. We talked as a staff -- number one, (we have to) have a great plan for (our players). And that's our responsibility, that we have a plan on both sides of the ball, in the kicking game, that's going to help these guys be successful. That's what you think about constantly. Did we cover this? Have we covered this enough? Taking a safety from a punt formation with 13 seconds left on the game, you know, what's the punter do? There's a lot of different ways you can do it.

"I don't know if it's a nervousness, because once we're here on Saturday, it's fun."

Do you meet with the captains? "I meet with the seniors every Sunday and every Thursday, so they'll be part of that group obviously. Captains, I'll meet with them periodically when I feel there's a need."

Countess and Clark made the two-deep. What'd they do to impress? "Frank is a guy we think can do something in those nickel and dime packages. Blake has got an opportunity to be a very good corner here. Very good feet, and he's got some make-up speed that corners need to have. He's tough. Both of them are tough. I think they both, from a defensive mentality ... we don't want to overload them so that they go out there and have paralysis by analysis. We want them to be able to go and play the game ...

"I like them, I'll put it that way."

Will it take some time to see the whole Brady Hoke system? "I think it always does. I've done this at two other schools. Every week's a learning experience. When I say that I'm going back to every week, how we travel. We're playing at home, but it's still, we're going to the Campus Inn, and how we meet, and all that stuff, it's a learning experience every week. The sooner that we feel ... I don't want to say comfortable, but that's basically what it is ... then the faster we'll start playing and then the more physical we'll play football."

You talked about corn chowder last week, are there other traditions -- "CLAM chowder."

Are there any other traditions that you've brought back, or that you're bringing, that are important to you this week? "We practice later on Fridays. There will be a little more intensity to it than maybe other programs have had, because I'm a big believer in that mental practice that we'll have. You have to have an intensity in how you do it, because then you're going to play fast. At the end of the day, you have to play fast in this game. I don't know what else."

(David Molk, Mike Martin, and Kevin Koger notes will be up later. [Ed: probably tomorrow morning.])

Fall Camp 2011: Presser Notes 8-26

Fall Camp 2011: Presser Notes 8-26

Submitted by Heiko on August 26th, 2011 at 7:47 PM

(Newsy bits pulled out for easier digestion. Important stuff underlined for better clarity. [Ed: jk, I guess we're still bolding.])

Brady Hoke

Again, from not my file, but we'll get there soon.

News Bullets:

  • Gallon, Dileo, and Vincent Smith handling returns
  • Odoms is healthy
  • Starting O-line, from left to right: Lewan, Barnum, Molk, Omameh, Huyge
  • Shaw starting RB, Fitz likely back-up (based on mention only)
  • Thomas Gordon likely starting free safety, may play nickel along with Woolfolk
  • Cam Gordon starting at SAM, no starter at WILL yet.
  • Gibbons likely kicking FGs. Wile will kick off, also might punt. 
  • Started prep for Western Michigan two days ago.

Okay, on to the poetry.

General, aka fluff:

Footbawww. "It was really good to get up in the stadium, get up there and kind of go through our process on gameday, so guys get an idea what our expectations of mentally preparing for a game -- how you come out, where you go with your group to warm up -- all those things that we don't think about, but they're all organization things you've got to go through. We got to do that, we got to be in that locker room, go down the tunnel, and get a sense for playing in that great stadium."

Consistency. Toughness. Improving. "This was practice 23. We have six opportunities left. We have to keep grinding and keep improving as a team. There were some good things you saw on both sides of the ball, but at the same time we're a long way from where we need to be as a football team."

We need to stop false-starting. "We had a couple penalties today, two of them were composure and poise penalties. We had a full Big Ten crew working the scrimmage. It was a much lighter scrimmage than it was a week ago. Our composure and our poise -- we had a couple procedure penalties offensively that obviously don't help you. Instead of first and 10, you're first and 15 or you're second and 12 or whatever it might be. Those things bother you."

But we didn't fumble or throw INTs! "We took care of the ball pretty well. When you look at the ball security issues ... that's huge for us. We've been minus 32 in turnover margin the last three years. You can't play football that way."

What is the two deep? "I think there are things that are set. We'll do a good job of diving into the tape tonight and further some evaluations on guys. The corner position is hotly contested. I like how JT and I like how Troy have come back, but Courtney Avery and, oh, daggonit, uh..." Talbott? "Calvin! Yeah ... " No, Talbott. " ... Talbott is doing a good job. I just went blank... I'm good with numbers ... Number 18, Blake Countess is doing a good job. Greg Brown is playing well. There's great competition there."

How is health? "We're pretty good health wise." Nothing major? "No, no ... everybody's a little beat up." Tay Odoms? "He scrimmaged today. In fact, he's gone the last three days. He seems fine."

Return game? "Gallon -- both kickoff and punt -- has done a good job. I think Vince Smith in kickoff returns is a guy that would either be the off returner because he's not afraid to go hit somebody in the face, or return the ball. Dileo -- punt -- when you look at punts, you always want to make sure that guy first and foremost is going to be able to field the ball, and isn't scared. I think between those two right now we'll probably start that way."

How many plays did you run in scrimmage today? "We went 126 plays last week. If my count's right, we'll probably get 73-74 today."

How many 4th and 1s? "One."

Did you do anything situational? "We did black-zone coming out, trying to get a first down so you have room to punt and field position. We didn't put it on the 1-yard line. We had a bunch of shots last week at it, and that was a pretty phsyical deal. You're starting to get to the point where you want to get into game week."

Were you surprised by the transfers? "I think you're always surprised, but guys gotta do what they feel is right for them. This isn't for everybody here, and it never will be. They're great kids, and we wish them the best."

But you recruited them! "That happens."

Resolution at some positions, can you share? "Mike Martin's probably going to be the nose tackle. Denard's going to be the quarterback." Oh. Ha ha. "Koger's going to be the tight end. Molk will be center. Lewan will be the left tackle. Huyge will be the right tackle. Patrick will be the right guard, and Ricky will be the left guard. Running-back wise I think we'll look into his tape a little more, but Shaw's had a pretty good camp. Fitz has had a good camp. Safety-wise, Kovacs will be one of those safeties at our base, and I would think Thomas Gordon will be. Thomas is really having a tremendous camp. He had a tremendous summer, and that's why his camp was so good."

Whoa, wait, where did Gordon come from? You never talk about him. "I just think his whole attitude and how he approached the game of football, workin' out, all those things. He's really taken a conscious effort. He'll play some stuff in our nickel. Him and Troy, depending on what unit we have out, they're both playing some nickel. Thomas is basically a dime in another defense. There is a lot of learning that goes on, and he's done a really good job with it, and I'm proud of where he's at right now."

SAM and WILL: "Cam Gordon, I would think, is going to be the SAM. Jake is obviously pushing in there. Brennan Beyer has done a nice job for us. At the WILL ... I don't know yet. Mike (Jones) and Kenny Demens (?) have done a good job, but at the WILL, Hawthorne missed a couple days because of an ankle, and he's fighting his way back. Mike Jones is playing a little bit of both them, both MIKE and WILL. Freshman Desmond Morgan is a good football player. He's got a slight ham, so we held him out today. I don't know if we have a definite guy."

Kicking and Punting: "There's no doubt Wile will kick off. I think Gibbons has done a nice job. He's been accurate. [Ed-M: whaaah?] We did a lot of kicking again today. He's had a good camp. Wile has had a pretty good camp. I think Wile will probably punt, but Seth is a real good possibility there. I think that will probably be a decision made up Wednesday or Thursday to be honest with you."

But that's really late! "You can do that one late I think." 

"They all have a real great mindset about their craft, and I like that about them. I don't know if I would have said that in the spring as much, but I think they all have worked hard at it. Every night they're evaluating their kicks because we film them a lot from all angles. You get a write-up from them, and some of them are a page, page-and a half about each kick and my plant foot and whatever it might be. I'm pleased that they're into football, let's put it that way."

You're a big tradition guy. What does it mean to be in stadium now? "Yeah it's always special to be in the stadium. We talk about that a lot, when we go up there, the expectation, how you play.  We had one other date that we were going to be there, but we had the bad rain and the storm, so we had to stay indoors. We were at [Big Ten Championship site] Lucas-Oil Stadium indoors for that day because all those scrimmages are gamedays. And the championship is played in Lucas-Oil, so we had to go indoors, we just thought it was lucas-oil." (I think Hoke means that they were playing make-believe.)

Minus blitz, how is the pass rush? "Mike gets some good push. I think he is a guy that is aggressive enough, strong enough, pretty good technician in there to push the pocket. I think Jibreel has shown some life as a pass rusher, and Roh. Ryan's kind of a meat and potatoes guy. He works hard at it, and because of that, he'll have some good things happen."

What's your schedule the next two days? "We're going to have a very good mental practice tomorrow at the stadium. Probably about an hour and fifteen minutes. A lot of kicking, a lot of situational stuff. A lot of mental stuff. We'll do a two-minute at the end. We've started Western -- we started about two days ago on some of the switch personnel things, looking at them on both sides of the ball, and we'll have a couple of periods on Sunday. On Monday, they'll be off of meat," (No meat!?) "but there will be no practice for them. We're getting into the school-time schedule where we'll be off as far as practicing goes."

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Unverified Voracity Ran This With Navarre

Submitted by Brian on August 24th, 2011 at 2:55 PM

Countdown: 10.

black_death

I figure that if the children are alive when I get home, I've done my job.
Roseanne Barr

Hatch encouragement. Austin Hatch's latest Caring Bridge update is very encouraging.

Pick Six: the return. Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky used to run an annual contest wherein blog users would pick six teams, five from the AP poll and one unranked, that users thought would do well. Because they know what verbs are and can count, they called this Pick Six. (Ohio State fans would have called it "Ramming Speed.")

One user around here has been missing it since BGS called it a day a few years ago and finally stopped waiting for me to do something about it. Presenting Pick Six: The Return.

Contest king Jeff does not have a prize, but I do: the top five all get a free MGoShirt from the MGoStore and the winner gets three.

manballPrintthe-team

click for store

All these could be yours. Or other items, like maize versions. Hit up the google doc to get registered, and don't pick Michigan if you want to win.

U MAD, media? Brady Hoke is trolling the media. They hit up practice and get to see a bunch of stretching and Brady Hoke punting, and then:

The media saw only one snap from organized drills, and it was a carry by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is among the seven players vying to become Michigan’s first lead tailback since 2007.

That's worse than not opening practice at all. Someone photoshop Trollface onto Hoke pointing at something.

Tangent: I wonder if the Fort is back in earnest after watching a significantly lamer edition of the BTN's tour show. We got hardly any insight and they were so hard up for video they showed the same plays a half-dozen times. Will Michigan still issue an injury report this year?

No need to hit play. This is Hoke talking about his team from yesterday:

But I'm just putting it here so I can compare him to Towlie.

towlie-pointing

He's even pointing.

Q: How is will Campbell doing? A: I have no idea what's going on.

Send this to Borges a thousand times. Smart Football's latest post is on the speed option, something we've never seen the good side of Michigan. We've been annihilated by it time and again; never have we used its powers for good.

Apparently it's just what we already run with added oopmh:

What further makes the play so good is that these concepts are universal; they are not tethered to a single offense or system. The play works from under center or shotgun, and has been effectively used by teams with great running quarterbacks and it has been used by teams with more pedestrian quarterbacks as just a cheap way to get the ball to the outside.

In modern form, the play is simple. The line outside zone blocks, which means they step playside seeking to cut off the defense and to even reach them as they can. The linemen work together to double-team the defensive linemen before sliding off to block the linebackers, and the idea is to create a vertical crease somewhere between a spot outside the tight-end and the sideline. The offense leaves an outside guy unblocked, typically either the defensive end or the strongside linebacker. The quarterback takes the snap and runs right at the unblocked defender’s outside shoulder. If the defender stays wide, the quarterback cuts up the inside crease (and typically looks to cut back against the grain). If the defender attacks the quarterback or simply stays inside, the QB pitches it.

To everyone except the runners that's a read option or outside zone. Meanwhile, the quarterback is attacking the same side of the defense the line is and is moving towards the LOS when he makes his decision. The lack of true option plays last year was likely an artifact of Denard's rawness; adding them is a good way to suck defenders to that threat without getting him killed. (You can get killed running the option, of course, but speed options from the gun seem less likely for that to happen because the QB has more time to make a decision.)

Additionally, the speed option seems like a good way to combat scrape exchanges. If that DE is hammering down the line he's blocked himself when the play heads the other way, and then another defender gets optioned off.

Chris praises the speed option as a simple, economical wrinkle you can put in even when your quarterback is not particularly fleet of foot. Even if Borges is not an expert on running quarterbacks, adding a true option to Michigan's repertoire seems doable. As a bonus, the speed option gives Michigan a run play that uses Denard from under center. An example:

Michigan's existing zone system paired with under-center running that uses Denard. Sex? Sex.

You can take things back. If only the Big Ten had the humility of Iowa Corn:

"The overwhelming feedback has been negative," he said. "Because we've listened ... people want something different than what was proposed last week. And we as Iowa corn growers and the farmers we represent, we want people to be happy."

A temporary trophy will be designed for this year's game on Sept. 10. Fans will be able to suggest a design for the more permanent replacement.

"The new Cy-Hawk trophy, we trust, will truly be something fans will embrace," Floss said.

The vetoed trophy is en route to the third world, where it will become the African Cup of Nations. The temporary trophy will be briefly labeled "interim" until that hurts recruiting; then it will be not interim, but not hired, either.

If Jim Delany was in charge of this, the new trophy they debut for the 2012 game would be exactly the same instead of what it should be: a hawk in an F16 shooting a missile at a tornado.

Evanston: so hood. I saw this on twitter but dismissed it as a joke. It is not a joke:

Does Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa have a limp or not?

‘‘Your limp could be somebody else’s pimp walk,’’ Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said.

You'll have to forgive me a moment of regret that Michigan didn't score Fitzgerald during its coaching search.

(HT: Rittenberg.)

Even more Hart. Man, Mike Hart takes a coaching job and everyone's all up in his business. This time it's the Syracuse press reliving his high school days and publishing an extensive interview with him. Hart's career goals:

“As I look forward, I want to be a head football coach of a college program that wins a national championship. My next goal is to go down as one of the best-known coaches. I’d like to be on the level of Lloyd Carr. I plan on being a great coach one day.”

He also says his exit was because he couldn't stay healthy—"If it was my business, I wouldn’t risk my money on somebody who got hurt every fourth game, either"— and flatly refuses to ever work for OSU or MSU. Recommended.

Etc.: The Dayton Daily News has just discovered that Terry Talbott got a medical scholarship a month ago. Do not panic about Terrance's status—at least don't do so because of that. Bill Connolly throws up his hands when trying to project OSU's season. Corn Nation previews Michigan—hey, that's us! Their poll about the game is split nearly 50-50 as to who wins. Weird. Just Cover looks at MSU and their Vegas-set over under of 7.5 wins.

Football Media Day 2011: Brady Hoke Presser

Football Media Day 2011: Brady Hoke Presser

Submitted by Tim on August 14th, 2011 at 2:18 PM

IMG_3588.JPG

Now seven practices in, the kids are "learning more with each practice." They're bringing energy to practice, but need to sustain that throughout to show they can compete late in games and in the season.

The team is healthy, and there's lots of competition

Two-a-days start tomorrow. The adversity of two-a-days can "teach you about who the leaders will be on the team."

On padded practice: "guys are willing, wanting." Need to see consistency between the morning and afternoon practices. Will be in full pads for 3 days of two-a-days this week. Guys are anxious to establish themselves. Want to prove to coaches and teammates how they've progressed since spring.

On kicker Matt Wile: "Obviously he's a San Diego guy. His dad was one of our orthopaedics at San Diego State." Lance Ortega was his kicking coach, the staff knew him. Matt is a 5th generation Michigan grad.

"He's doing well. I think this is a big stage. That mental part of going out there, until you get on Main Street and have 110,000, you've gotta see where the guy's at." He can do a good job coaching himself with fundamentals, etc. Doing punting, KOs, and FGs right now. "I'd be very comfortable" having a true freshman handle those duties.

On running backs: The young guys missed some time finishing up summer school. Rawls is talented, has done a good job. Backfield is unsettled. Need to show consistency from practice to practice. "We'd like to have one guy who could tote it 25 times." Maybe a couple situational guys, 7-10 carries for a secondary back.

"Our base run play will be the power play, and that's no secret." Denard's talents, and opposing defenses wil adjust what they do. 10-15 snaps running for Denard. "The objective is to win, and we've gotta do what it takes to help Michigan and this team win." He's fitting into the offensive system. "We're fortunate enough that he has some other things that he brings to the table."

Denard is a great kid. "Leadership qualities really start to stick out more and more [for upperclassmen]. That's what I've liked that he's done in camp."

On rooming, Koger: "Seniors are rooming with freshmen. Part of that is to get to know them. Set the example, set the expectation." Koger extensively praised for his demeanor and selflessness, the sacrifice he'll give for this team. "He's a tremendous guy. I'm talking about things not on the football field."

The offense question again: "You've got a system that you wanna run, but you're not going to be putting a square peg into a round hole either." Al Borges has a coaching pedigree that proves he can adapt to different personnel. He'll get playmakers the ball. "At the end of the day, we've still gotta block up front, and knock people off the football."

On Mattison: great coach, great integrity. Builds great relationships with players. "He's coached a lot of football, coached a lot of guys. He brings so much from a knowledge standpoint."

On captains:  "They won't get picked for 2 more weeks. The team will vote."

On countdown clocks: "Those are important football games. Those are big rivalries."

On the defense and standouts: "I don't think we've played to the standard that's going to be acceptable, to this point. We need to be more physical at the point of attack."

"Tom Gordon has had a good summer. Kovacs has really taken ownership." Kovacs is one of the guys who shows urgency in getting to the football. Kenny Demens also mentioned as a standout. Nathan Brink shows toughness as a DT/DE. JB Fitzgerald: "you talk about another guy who stands out as far as his leadership goes, and selflessness."

On the two-deep: They'll start penciling that in by the end of the week. "We're gonna scimmage pretty good in six days on Saturday. We'll put them in a lot of situations and see how they respond."

On Woolfolk: Troy Woolfolk has progressed well. Has taken some senior ownership of the team. Had a minor hamstring injury yesterday, there's enough competition at that position that they could afford to rest him and be cautious. JT Floyd and Courtney Avery competing at CB. "We don't have the greatest competition everywhere. I wish we did, because that makes us better."

On McColgan: a tough guy. "When you look at it, he's one of the true fullback bodies that you have." TEs will get a chance to play H-back as well.

On this still being Michigan [tremendous van river]: "I think I've made this comment before: This is Michigan. There won't be any excuses. If we don't win the Big Ten Championship, we've failed these kids, as coaches."

On the offensive line: Elliott Mealer: "He's competing." The rest of the guys: "Our left side of our line with Taylor back, and I think Ricky Barnum's done a nice job. Molk's back." Omameh at right guard. "Patrick and Elliott and Mike Schofield and Huyge - I think that's great competition."

On the backfield again: "I think there's some guys back there who can do it. All of them have shown signs of being able to run the ball like we'd like."

Fall Camp 2011: Day One Presser Notes

Fall Camp 2011: Day One Presser Notes

Submitted by Tim on August 8th, 2011 at 10:05 PM

IMG_3574.JPG

Brady Hoke

Actual News:

  • There are no real injuries on the team. Troy Woolfolk and JT Floyd are full-strength, "we're pretty daggone healthy"
  • "Darryl's done a great job with what we've asked him to do, and we'll go from there." He will be able to practice with the team as he redshirts. The redshirt will not affect the number of scholarships available for the 2012 class (still 26).
  • "There's a couple guys" who will challenge to be the starting punter in camp. Matt Wile will be able to (possibly) do both. "You can be a great kicker on State Street, but we kick up on Main Street." They still don't know how the new video boards will affect the wind in the stadium, so kickers will practic ein pressure situations there.
  • Will Campbell left spring around 342 pounds, now he's around 319 pounds. Taylor Lewan has gained a few pounds.
  • There will be five days of 2-a-days during summer camp. That can be adjusted, based on how the practices are going. On Wednesday and Thursday, the players will be in shoulder pads and helmets, then full pads start on Friday. Guys are practicing hard even though they aren't in pads yet. There's a balancing act between being physical in practice and keeping guys healthy. Quarterbacks won't be live during camp.
  • In the past, summer camp could consist of three days with just freshmen, to get a little extra teaching in for the young guys. They don't have that anymore, but sometimes the freshmen will stay an extra half an hour after practice to get some work in.
  • As far as installation, both sides of the ball need three bread and butter plays "that we can hang our hat on." On offense, that includes the power play, a play-action pass off that, and a 2-minute specific play. On defense, they need three calls guys can execute without having to think.

The first day of camp is best for seeing how the players' bodies have changed, and getting a first evaluation on team toughness and senior leadership.

The players came into camp with an attitude of being ready to improve.

It's too early to evaluate running backs. They've only had one day in shorts so far.

There are enough players at wideout to make up for the absence of Stonum.

The team is too busy to worry about buying into any hype or anything. "We now we have so many things that we need to get better at, and so many things that we need to be a little more physical at."

It's been hard for Will Campbell to get established, as he's been moving around positions. Now, he's set at one position and will hopefully take advantage of that.

The first day of practice went alright, but Hoke has a list of things to talk about improving in the staff meeting and team meeting tonight.

The coaching staff needs to communicate clearly about what they want, so the players will be able to retain what they've been taught.

There's a lot of "want-to" and "pride" on the defense. They need to identify the playmakers before they can worry about what it will be this fall.

"We want a championship culture here. There's an accountability that we all have to have to each other for a championship culture."

David Molk

Molk doesn't have troubles gaining the right amount of weight. He's around 288 or 290 now.

Will Campbell came into Michigan out of shape, but he's been working hard ever since. There's a hunger in his eyes to succeed this year.

The chemistry on the offensive line is good.

"We didn't only work hard - which we've always done, we've always been a hard-working team - but we worked hard together." The team made strides together. In the past couple years, there were a few stragglers who weren't "all-in."

The first couple days of camp aren't fun, because they don't get to hit each other yet.

There's less yelling out of the new staff. There wasn't a problem with the yelling before, but it's just not there now.

Jerel Worthy's tattoo is stupid. "I don't know why you'd stain your body like that. It's his issue."

Both lines are strengths of the team because they have experience. "Put more pressure on us. If the offensive line is the only thing judged to win a game, put it on me. We'll win."

Denard's been working on dropping back, and the offense is running smoothly. There's no difference for the offensive line. There's a misconception that spread offensive lines aren't physical, but Michigan ran primarily inside last year.

The fifth-year seniors haven't had a satisfying season yet. After the 9-4 Capital One Bowl year (which should have been better), they had three disappointing seasons. "There's nothing more that I want this year then to win every game and beat every opponent by as many points as possible."

The seniors have passion together for winning, and that will rub off on the younger players. Hoke gives the class some responsibilities, and that has made them tighter as a group.

"I guess it can make them tougher" for a defense to practice against a pro-style offense.

Troy Woolfolk

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There's a sense that things are returning to "Michigan" again, after a few weak years. They didn't stray away over the past three years, but the winning wasn't there. "The main thing about that Michigan tradition is winning."

The toughest part of getting back on the field is the mental aspect of believing that you can make the cuts you could before. "Will I be the same athlete that I was?"

The defense will be better this year because they'll bring more intensity. The secondary will improve with more experience, because the freshmen got thrown into the fire last year, and now the veterans are returning. This is also Troy's favorite defense of the four coordinators in five years. "It's not too much of thinking... I just feel like we can react and we're putting pressure on people." They're focusing on the little details of technique, which should help the defense be more successful this year.

Will Campbell (hey, expect lots of MSM columns about him this week!) hit his weight goal. That's helping him move faster and be a better athlete.

It's going to be tough for Darryl Stonum to sit at home on the away game weekends. Troy went through it last year with his injury, and he'll try to help Darryl through it. Stonum, Brandon Herron, and some of the other teammates got in contact with Troy last year, and he'll do that going forward.

The year off helped Troy gain an appreciation for the mental aspect of the game, instead of just relying on his athleticism (since he couldn't do the physical part last year). Is he as fast as we was before the injury? "Faster. No doubt." Before he was back to 100% on the ankle, he had to work on the right speed mechanics instead of just running out there, now that it's back to full strength, he has the technique and the natural ability.

Coach Hoke sees Michigan as "his final stone," rather than seeing each coaching job as another stepping stone. That sincerity and passion for Michigan are part of what has made him such a successful recruiter.

Troy is planning to compete for a starting spot - nothing is guaranteed. He's planning to only play corner.

There's nothing wrong with a coach who yells constructively. These coaches prefer to explain rather than yell though.

Ryan Van Bergen

The tempo of this camp is a little slower than in the past, because there's a bit more focus on individual teaching of the new schemes.

Mike Martin, RVB, and Will Heininger did a good job getting the D-line together in the summer to work on individual things, because they all want to get better. "We tried to spend a lot of time together as a unit... we tried to make each other as close and as tight as possible before camp started." They're still a work in progress.

Taylor Lewan came in around 250 pounds, and he's put in a lot of work in the past couple years to get up to 303 now. Craig Roh has put on 10-15 pounds as well. RVB is up near 290. That's a good weight for him in the scheme. There's been some emphasis for a lot of guys up front to add weight. In the previous regime, quickness was more valued.

He was eating 6,000-7,000 calories per day to gain weight. It's tough to eat that much and keep a diet of healthy foods - you need good fuel foods. "My specialty right now is pineapple-glazed salmon."

The defensive line should get more pressure on the QB this year. "I think we had some good pressure on quarterbacks last year, but the amount of takedowns we had when we got there, we weren't cutting it." They want to lead the league in QB takedowns this fall.

"I feel an obligation right now to my seniors" to have a successful season. They've been through a lot with coaching changes, etc. "I want these guys to be remembered as some guys who came in and helped the transition for Coach Hoke."

Jerel Worthy's tattoo: "He can put whatever he wants on his body, he's still gotta play a football game."

Brady Hoke B1G Presser Notes

Brady Hoke B1G Presser Notes

Submitted by Tim on July 28th, 2011 at 2:06 PM

A recap of Brady Hoke's time in front of the cameras (and also off-camera media questions) at Big Ten Media Days today.

It's humbling to represent Michigan in the greatest conference in the country. It's the Wolverines' 132nd year of football. "I don't think we're rebuilding. Period." The players understand what Michigan means, and the team doesn't put stock into a rebuilding year.

The players are doing what they've been asked, but the team is still a long way from where we need to be. How you go through camp (attitude, toughness, discipline, accountability) will lead to how the team performs.

The expectation is always that seniors will lead the team. Fall camp is "funnest time of the year." Hoke thinks the guys will show up on August 8th in shape to play.

Fortunate at Michigan to have several great rivalries. "The rivalry with Ohio is as big a rivalry as there is in the sport." If you don't get excited for that game "you may not be human." Hoke says the team understands the importance of that game, and they talk about it all year. OSU is not a wounded team right now. They're a tremendous program with great tradition. Michigan has 42 B10 championships. "When you have schools that have those legacies, I don't see anybody as wounded." It doesn't diminish the rivalry that both teams have taken reputation hits recently.

Hoke is excited for Denard's potential in the offense. He's done a tremendous job so far, and ran the same offense in high school that he'll be running now. The mechanics of taking snap, play action, etc. is not new to him. Borges has done a tremendous job with him.

"We're smart enough to have elements that he does well from what he did in the past in the spread in our offense." They'll adjust the proportion of spread and pro-style elements in the offense depending on how the team executes in fall camp. They still need to worry about finding a tailback, which should happen within the first 2-3 weeks of the fall.

Why would you worry about changing schemes, when they were so successful last season? "Two sides of the ball in the game of football." As a defensive coach, when you play against a pro-style offense in practice, you build a toughness. This is a physical league, and you need to stop physical offenses.

The excitement of adding Nebraska's tradition, adding a championship game, brings even more fanaticism for the Big Ten conference. Even if it means playing OSU twice? "That game always needs to be played the last week in November. That's tradition. I think there are certain traditions you don't mess with." If you happen to play them twice in a row, so be it. It happens in other sports all the time.

Mattison doesn't just bring X and O benefits. Knowledge, teaching. "That's first and foremost: you've gotta be a tremendous teacher." There's a scheme knowledge that is good, but it's the relationships with 18-23yo kids, and motivation skills all tremendous. If the staff or head coach aren't thinking of the best interest of the kids, they aren't doing a good job.

Hasn't made decision on Stonum. There's no timeframe for making a decision, and he's not worried about team chemistry in waiting to see if Darryl does all the right things to earn his place back on the team. Redshirting this season is possible, but there's too much that can happen in between to be thinking about that.

As for other wideouts, Junior [Hemingway] and Jerald [Robinson] have done a nice job. Odoms "brings a lot of life to us." Presents problems in the slot.

Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, and Will Campbell have worked hard this summer, along with Craig Roh. The seniors are "doing the things that seniors should do."

JT Floyd should be healthy enough to practice right away.

Recruiting: "This might sounds arrogant, but if it is, it is: We're Michigan." Great history, tremendous staff. lifeblood of a program is the guys who come in. Wants toughness, team players, etc. The coaches out on the road do a great job, but Michigan sells itself.

Recruiting is going well, but Signing Day is still a long way away. "We've got 5 or 6 left that we need to be a little picky about." They'll probably sign more than 25 prospects. Recruiting is strong in Ohio, but it's always been like that. Possibly started with Bo Schembechler's roots in Ohio.

Big House night game. "We're looking toward September 3rd first and foremost." First night game with a rival, but the place is going to be jumping with excitement, looking forward to it.

On Kellen Jones: "He's just not enrolled in school." There are no other players that he knows of who won't be on the roster this fall.

Hoke got a bit of time off, but he wasn't able to "turn off" coach mode. He has 115 sons to worry about every day.

Closes with "Thank you, and Go Blue."

Big Ten Media Days: Call For Questions

Big Ten Media Days: Call For Questions

Submitted by Tim on July 25th, 2011 at 2:43 PM

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Like this, but in a suit. And at a podium. And with other Big Ten coaches and players as well. So basically not like this at all. Sorry.

Since yours truly will be at Big Ten Media Days on Thursday and Friday, time to crowdsource some questions. Those of Michigan players (Denard Robinson, Kevin Koger, and Mike Martin), and coach Brady Hoke are most likely to be asked, but if you have things for other players/coaches that are interesting enough, I may get a chance to ask them at Friday's roundtables.

So, if you have a pressing question (WHEN U SCORED TOUCHDOWN HOW U FEEL?), drop it in the comments here, and I'll ask some of the best ones. You have a couple days to give it your best shot.

Unverified Voracity Excepts Van Earl Wright

Unverified Voracity Excepts Van Earl Wright

Submitted by Brian on July 15th, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Brady, Bernie. Bernie, Brady. Man, local sportscasters never die.

Bernie's "Hoke impression" is… something.

Yes and no. Desmond Howard wants his number retired or a statue or something:

"You travel around and you see how a lot of these programs have retired jerseys of players who haven't even accomplished some of the things on the field like myself and Woodson have accomplished," Howard said. "It's just a way they try to honor their players."

At Oklahoma and Florida, for instance, Howard has seen statues of former players.

Howard says Michigan is now more receptive to change.

"You look at these things and you understand the tradition and the way Michigan has handled that in the past, but obviously, you kind of got to get into what's happening now," Howard said. "We're moving in that direction. Just like … the stadium — you update your stadium to keep up with the competition."

I'm not a fan of retiring numbers. I like seeing a guy out there rocking the #2 or #21 and being reminded of Howard or Woodson (and usually how much less good at football the current guy is than Howard or Woodson). I wouldn't mind a Ring Of Honor bit where they have the names in the stadium. With the boxes there's even a place to put them.

Statues are cheesy unless you are deceased, and sometimes even if you are.

Q: if there was an in-stadium commemoration thing who would be on it?

  • Obvious Heisman Guys: Harmon, Howard, Woodson
  • Essentially as obvious: Ford, Oosterbaan, Friedman, Carter
  • Fringe-y sorts: Braylon, Jake Long, Steve Hutchinson, Dan Dierdorf (someone from 1969 is a given, no?), Tom Curtis (all time INT leader, CFBHOF), Woodley, Graham (all time sack leader), Messner, Irons

I'd probably grab one guy from the 1969 team to go with the obviously obvious ones and call it a day. Add one name per year starting with Harmon.

Tatgate du jour. Another batch of FOIA requests have been responded to by Ohio State, and the results are as embarrassing as usual. Highlights from two articles:

  • Jim Tressel got an "unacceptable" on his 2006 performance review when it came to promptly informing compliance of stuff.
  • Tressel was specifically admonished to pay closer attention to the cars his players were driving after the Clarett business.
  • That was the last performance review Tressel got because Gene Smith started doing verbal reviews; Thad Matta continued to get written ones.
  • Ohio State's reviews that loaners were totally on the up and up were regarded as suspicious even by people in the department: 'Greg Gillum, director of football operations, wrote to Smith and Archie that car salesman Aaron Kniffin, who once worked at Maxton and later at Auto Direct, "is supposedly working on players' cars and sending guys to Auto Direct for loaners ... Our suggestion is that someone from compliance try to investigate whether this arrangement is valid."'
  • Ohio State "heavily" redacted the documents, including blacking out the number of cars purchased from one particular dealership.
  • One redacted Ohio State player was driving around a 75k vehicle.
  • The investigation into ten pairs of cleats claimed stolen by Pryor, Herron, and Posey reached a dead end after a random purchase of some old-model Pryor-signed cleats.

I'm not sure if there's any upshot here except the car stuff going further back to Clarett and the lack of reviews for Tressel. Pryor entering the supplemental draft when his stock is poisonous certainly implies the NCAA will find him ineligible for car-related hijinks Ohio State started right at and chose to ignore.

Strike while the iron is hot, which it is because you just breathed on it. The "Mankato" in Minnesota State Mankato seems likely to become useful instead of redundant, because DUCK

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Flames all up in here, all golfin' and stuff. Also this guy:

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Moorhead is a DII program with no hockey program… yet. They just announced today that they're looking for $37 million to start one and already have 15 in soft commitments. They're looking for the rest in the next three months; if they make it the WCHA will no doubt snap them up. And then everyone gets to play against the Dragons.

Mwahahaha. Rivals has just released its state rankings for Michigan, and Brady Hoke All Your Base Co. has secured five (RJS, Ross, Richardson, Funchess, and Godin) of the top seven. Michigan is heavily involved with the two others, Aaron Burbridge and Danny O'Brien). MSU's first commit is #8 Jamal Lyles, and it's a little surprising Ben Braden isn't ahead of him—he's been killing people at camps and I was under the impression he had a shot to move up to four stars. Maybe that was Scout.

Etc.: LSU is still oversigned by seven(!) in the middle of July. They've been "transparent" with the kids this time around, so at least the guys know two of them are totally screwed. Les Miles == NFW. Meanwhile, South Carolina people are upset because Spurrier didn't renew the scholarship of a track walk-on who got one last year. I'm high on the zealotry scale when it comes to oversigning but that one fails to stoke any outrage with me.

MVictors on old-timey polls. Dodd suggests college football's cleanup needs to start at OSU. Okay by me. Stewart Mandel's version of "Brady Hoke poops magic." Wojo on the open door in Ohio. Glenn Robinson hooping it up. No one closes the barn door or writes open letters like the Ohio State Buckeyes. The SBN ND blog is newly extant. Alex Massie likes the CFB blogosphere.