Air Force Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko September 9th, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Brady Hoke


Opening remarks:

“It was great to win the football game, I can tell you that. It’s always good to win. Sometimes they’re not very pretty. This would be one, but you have to give Air Force a lot of credit. I think they do a tremendous job of coaching that offense and running that offense. I think they did a good job when you look at the counters they put in -- when you counter one way -- it’s a chess game a little bit. I thought Greg at the end really had some -- changed some things up that helped us. I think the stops by the end by the defense were timely and huge and needed to be there. We played an awful lot of plays on defense. That means you’re not doing a good enough job of getting them off the field, but their tempo was one of those things that’s good. And I think we learned a lot about it, and we played a lot of guys. We played a lot of young guys, freshmen, and I think that helps us as we continue throughout the season.”

Can you talk about Devin Gardner’s development as a receiver?

“Well I think he did a nice job. I think there were some -- you like to go to playmakers, so there were things set up for him. But he also makes plays. He’s coming along.”

What made you decide to go with Joe Bolden at linebacker during the second half?

“Well I think we were trying to play as many guys as we could. Joe had a pretty good feel for the option part of it. At Colerain high school that’s all that they run. He saw things maybe a little bit more than we were, but it is more just trying to keep guys fresh and trying to rotate them through.”

You talked a lot about offenses getting the edge on your defense last year.


What was Air Force doing to get the edge, and what do you need to improve on to defend it?

“Well it depends. There’s a whole series of -- do you get low, do you get arc? There’s a lot that goes into it. Are they T-blocking it or X-blocking it? And it’s who has the pitch. It varies depending on how they want to block it and attack it. Most of the time if we do a good job constricting the line of scrimmage, they can’t get a tackle up on your safety or they can’t get the tackle up on the linebacker who can continue to flow, and then your safety’s got a chance. So there’s a lot of different things that go along with it.”

You played a lot of freshmen. Are they outperforming the veterans at this point?

“We recruited them because they’re pretty good players. I think they’re all competing.”

What’s your assessment of your non-Denard run game and how your lines played today?

“You know, I think the non-Denard running game, I guess if we want to call it from now on, it wasn’t productive enough. Therefore I don’t think we played well enough up front. And then defensively, 290-some yards rushing, you didn’t play well enough up front.”

With your defense, do you chalk it up to “this is a unique offense” or do you have major weaknesses that you need to address?

“I would say there’s a uniqueness to the offense, to schemes, but at the same time I think we’re a work in progress. Quinton Washington’s getting better every time he plays. I think Ondre Pipkins, I think he’s getting better every time he plays. Heitzman -- Keith played a decent amount today. Then the four outside guys. Ojemudia. He’s getting better. Frank Clark, having him back. I think Craig and the guys who are the older guys are doing a pretty good job. I think we’re a work in progress on defense [overall].”

How big was the swing in momentum after the tipped pass interception and having to go into the half up just 14-10?

“Oh, it’s one of those things. I didn’t get a good look as I’d like to. I don’t know if it was a little high or what, but that’s football. When you’re called to play defense, you have to keep them out of the end zone, and we didn’t do that.”

A year and a half in, are you still wowed by Denard?

“Well, you know, I see a lot of it in practice. So yeah, I don’t know if you ever get used to it, but when he sticks his foot in the ground, he’s got an ability.”

Two games in, are you seeing enough out of this team that you’d want to see out of a B1G championship team?

“I think if we keep improving every week, that’s our expectation.”

Can you talk about putting No. 47 on Jake Ryan and his performance today?

“We looked at as a staff the guys who, from a character standpoint and from the standpoint of how he goes about his business every day. There wasn’t a better [decision] than to have Jake represent Bennie. So I think that was, as a staff, we came up with that. That’s the right guy. How he played ... I think he made some plays in there. I think he got on the ground sometimes. For me to say how he actually played, I couldn’t tell you. I know he played hard.”

He made a couple big plays at the end.

“Yeah he did. There’s no question about that. I think though what we’ll probably look at as much as anything is that they load blocked on him and he got chopped or he got arc’ed on him -- we didn’t have that pitch player you needed.”

Dialogue between you and Mattison re: late game adjustments?

“Greg and I think an awful lot alike. We knew we needed to do a little bit something different on the back end because we had three different possibilities, and two of them may have been too confusing to try and do on the sideline without them seeing those looks over and over again. So we kind of went back a little bit to base stuff on playing defense.”

Was Fitz rusty?

“I don’t think he ever got a chance to get started.”


“We didn’t block well enough.”

Did you see any rust or was it more up front?

“No … yeah. He’d been practicing the whole time.”

How do you prepare a defense for that insane tempo?

“It … really besides the tempo part, it takes you about a quarter to get used to the speed and how they execute that offense. We tried to mimic it. Our scout guys -- they’re playing with guards and tackles that are 255 pounds. We have Ben Braden who’s 315 pounds who’s trying to veer block, and he’s giving everything he’s got, but it’s a little different tempo, little different speed. Joe Reynolds did as good a job as anyone being Connor Dietz, but it takes you about a quarter. It really does. I thought we hung in there. We weren’t pretty. The thing we needed to do was get the ball on the ground a couple times, and we didn’t do that. It’ll be very interesting. I’ll talk to the kids tomorrow to see how they felt about the tempo. Because I never really -- I didn’t really see us not set and ready to go as a defense, which you’ll see. Believe it or not, that’s a big step that everybody’s on the same page.”

Brennen Beyer was in a cast. What’s his status?

“Well he strained his knee. I can’t -- I don’t know anything more than that right now, but that’s kind of what’s going on.”

Any other issues health wise?

“Not that I know of.”

Richard Ash?

“He should be ready next week.”

How many true freshmen have you played so far this season? And is that by design or by necessity?

“Um … I want to say 12. It’s by design and necessity. I’m being honest.”

What kind of matchup problems does Funchess cause for a defense?

“Well you know, he’s a tall guy. He’s rangy. He can run. The thing I like about him is he’s not afraid to block. Matchups on strong safeties, matchups on linebackers.”

What kind of game did Frank Clark have, especially on that last drive?

“I know Frank was active. I know he was disruptive, especially there at the end of the game. Now we’ll see how he played the other 80 plays.”

(player transcripts up later today)


Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

But I had the same injury and was told 4-6 weeks to be complete healed. I'd assume with Michigan training staff and Beyer's conditioning, that's more like 3-5 weeks.

I'd expect to see a lot of Black and Frank Clark at WDE with Super Mario (and Jake Ryan) spelling them in pass rushing situations.

Note I said "completely" I wouldn't be surprised to see Beyer playing by the time the B1G season rolls around.

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

It doesn't help that Demens has been a step slow in both games. He played better vs. Air Force, but still not good. His reaction time just seems slow, like he's trying to process everything and he's just late.

Hopefully he goes back to being more instinctive and just plays football. So what if he makes a mistake or two. He's good enough that he'll make the right play more often than not and he'll make a GREAT play 4-5 teams for every mistake. I think UMass will help get him back on track.

I think he'll hold off Bolden starting wise but I wouldn't be surprised if they split PT 50/50 or even 45/55 by mid-year. Ross, Bolden and Ryan....whew. I can't wait.

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

I think it is clear which Freshman are here to stay...

We haven't seen the WRs enough, but Funchess and Williams could be the starters by the end of the year. Kalis was beat out in the fall, but he's a "lock" to start at guard next year. Ojemudia may be the surprise, 99% of us thought he'd redshirt. Especially with Black back at WDE and Jake Ryan able to play the position...those 2 and Beyer/Clark seemed like plenty. He's played well in his time.

Pipkins has rotated in some, I don't think he starts this year, but he plays the BWC role of last year. Solid 3-4 BIG time plays during the season, promise for next year.

I was high on James Ross (just like I was Morgan last year), but he may be your starting WLB next year. They must love the kid and I certainly see why, he's been very good in his time on the field. He's had freshman mistakes, but he can simply make more plays than Morgan can. Toss in Bolden who's played as good or better than Demens so far this year and the future is bright.

Personally, I see Biggs starting by the time we play MSU...I think Morgan finishes the year backing up WLB and sharing time with Bolden as the #2 MLB before moving to MLB to backup Bolden next year.

Ross-Bolden-Ryan will be the best LB group in the B1G in 2 years, no doubt in my mind. They'll also have some excellent talent behind them.


September 9th, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

even get asked once about the botched clock management at the end of the first half?  I'd be more than happy to sit on the sidelines and let them know when the time to call timeout is in exchange for nothing more than being on the sidelines during the games.....


September 9th, 2012 at 3:36 PM ^

I mentioned before the turnover near end of half stopped us from being up 21-3 with time to possibly get more with a defensive stop or score to start 2nd half and we are up 28-3. The les Milesque time management really had me pissed at halftime being up only 14-10, could have/ should have been 21-3.


September 9th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

played like shit all game.  UM needs help at the saftey position, big time.   He was out of position all game and when he was he didn't make the play.  Passing teams are going to light this defense up!

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 4:13 PM ^

I'm rewatching the Michigan game...does anyone know the rule on a player in motion going TOWARDS the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped?

On Air Force's first touchdown, one of the wings is sprinting forward arena football style, the snap the ball and score.

IMO, that's a false start. Am I wrong?

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 4:27 PM ^

  • On Denard's first long run, we may not block a play that well all season. That was perfection. I encourage everyone to go watch that play 9 times (Denard isn't blocking and Gallon is running a screen) and literally watch every single offensive player from beginning to end. It's also hilarious watching the OL sprint upfield from behind the play. EVERYONE blocked that play beautifully.
  • So far (only done with the first half) we're 50/50 on positive Air Force option plays where we just called the wrong play/got schemed vs. someone missed an assisgnment. Usually when it was the latter, it was just one person from the play being no game vs. 6-10 yards.
  • Denards mechanics are a lot better
  • Taylor Lewan is seen "coaching" AJ Williams on the field multiple times
  • Funchess is the real deal...we've finally got a Travis Beckum/Dustin Keller type.
  • I don't know if it's habit or by design but Beyer gave up the edge quite a bit because he was crashing down on the FB. If he holds his corner, we've got one more guy to prevent AF from getting wide. When he did crash, he didn't seem to do much - always a step late.
  • Hoke's clock management was horrible...oh well, it happens. (Note: you should always use your timeouts earlier than most people do to prevent what happened to Michigan in the 1st half)


Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 6:30 PM ^

Just finished the game...

  • Devin Gardner is our #1 WR...Jackson is developing into a nice possession WR that moves the chains. I'm thinking our best opportunity is to move Roundtree back to the slot (where he played under Rich Rod).

This is what I would do at the WR position...

WR 1: Devin Gardner
Jeremy Jackson
Amara Darboh

WR 2: Jeremy Gallon
Jerald Robinson
Jehu Chesson

Slot: Roy Roundtree
Drew Dileo

I think this gives us depth and puts everyone in their best position. Roundtree is just so much better on the inside.

Lastly...I HATE the "under armor" that we wear under the jerseys. The blue isn't the same color blue as the jerseys, the maize and white look like a 1992 windbreaker design. Just get a blue that matches and call it a day. Maybe put a block M on it or "Michigan" written horizontally rather than the vertical text.


Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

QB in the shotgun, and basically in motion and running off tackle when he got the snap.  Their backs were doing much the same the entire game.  Crazy.  I honestly have not seen anything like that outside of the Canadian Football League.  I could not understand how they avoided illegal motion flags on about a dozen plays.


September 10th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

AF got away with a lot of motions that should have been illegal motions, if not false starts.  The most glaring was, I think, the last or second to last TD where it was full on CFL look to it with the receiver moving towards the line of scrimmage before the snap.  I thought for sure it would have been called.  I think, and I'll have to go back and look, the receiver moving was the one who received the pass for the score. 


Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

What up with Courtney Avery?  I'm sorry to say, he looked confused on the first couple of series, and then he sat down.  If he was injured, I am unaware of any details.  I did see him bouncing around on the sidelines, jogging and high-stepping in place, with his helmet on, standing three players away from Mattison.  But he did not return, even on nickel- and dime-package defenses.  Jarrod Wilson came in as the nickel back late in the game.  (And "late in this game" was not late-garbage time.)

It was the biggest personnel issue that I saw in the game.  Was Hoke asked about it?

Ramon Taylor became the new short-side corner.  And from what I saw, I am okay with that.  Not that I have anything but the best wishes for Courtney Avery.

We have at least four high-profile freshmen, maybe more, starting on our kick return team.  James Ross, Royce Jenkins-Stone and Jarrod Wilson up front.  Dennis Norfleet as the returner.  The future is here.  Now.

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

He's one of the best NB's in the B1G, but he's below average at either CB spot. He's got good hips and change of direction where he can play in space and stick those smaller slot WRs.

Leave him at NB rather than moving him to the outside. Let the bigger Taylor play out there (although he struggled at times as well).

The loss of Countess is huge, cannot be understated, but don't hurt yourself even more by moving your good nickelback to corner where he's below average and then bringing in a below average nickelback to replace him. Now you've got two below average players out there.

Section 1

September 9th, 2012 at 6:03 PM ^

It is Raymon, not Ramon, Taylor.  My apologies.

You understand, I was not ragging on Avery.  I have nothing against Avery and I am kind of like you; I thought highly of Avery at nickel-back.

But that was what was so shocking late in the game; seeing Wilson in as a nickel, with no Avery in sight.  Actually, Wilson may have been inserted at safety, with somebody else (T. Gordon?) playing the role of NB.  I don't know.  Things happen fast when it's live.  You see a lot of stuff that the tv cameras miss, but then again with Michigan Stadium's piss-poor replays (pretty much the worst imaginable), there is a lot of extra stuff I don't see.

So I am really just raising a question, not making some football-expert pronouncement.

Somebody above criticized Thomas Gordon's performance against Air Force.  That's not the way I saw it; I thought he played okay.  I'll await UFR.


September 9th, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

One thing I'm surprised we didn't try more was the power run game. I know that we aren't at that personnel point and it isn't Denard's strong suit, but aside from when we were pinned near our own goaline, we never busted it out. While it is not our reality yet, it is our future, and against a line that is undersized it would have made sense to me to get some reps there, especially when our regular run game was not humming (excluding Denard that is). I feel like if we lined up and just grinded them for a few drives, using Toussaint and not Smith, that they may have found success and even benefitted the D, who had to essentially sprint to the line all day long. 

Just a thought anyway. 

Mr. Yost

September 9th, 2012 at 8:10 PM ^

Especially when you outweigh and you're flat out better than the opposing front 7. I said this in another thread and got the "be quiet, Denard ran for 200+ and 10ypc." That's not the point.

The point is we should have at least TRIED to MANBALL them. More power north/south runs than the east/west stuff that was called. It also would've helped us control the clock more.