News bullets and other items:
- Jabrill Peppers was held out of the second half by the coaches because of an ankle injury. He’ll play against Notre Dame
- Devin Funchess asked to wear No. 1 and cleared the number change with the Kramer family
- No word on what position Graham Glasgow might play
- Hoke wasn’t happy about ASU being able to run up the middle of the defense and will make adjustments before Notre Dame
- Dennis Norfleet's nickname is apparently Fleetwood
- Brady Hoke "Well,..." count: 7
“Football’s geometry. It really is.”
"Good way to start the season. As I mentioned to you many times before, this team has worked really hard and they've done a nice job. I think the leadership throughout has been good. I thought we played hard. Was a little concerned in the second half when they had the opportunity and they were running the ball on us through the middle of our defense. We've got to do a better job there but I thought the kids came out and played hard. Disappointing [to have] no turnovers defensively and we only had one sack. They get the ball out of their hands pretty quick and that's just what they do but should've been a little more than that. Had some opportunities and you've got to make them when you're there."
Is there an area that you were more impressed with between the points scored, the performance of 560 total yards, or the fact that the rushing yards surpassed the passing yards?
"I think the biggest thing was that we weren't competing with the scoreboard, we were competing with our abilities. That's what we talked about going into the game in how we wanted to play and how we wanted to go about every down. Statistics are statistics, and you can look at them and believe them or you can look at them and know that that's not really the true answer because there's a lot of things this football team has to do better."
Jabrill Peppers' status?
"He'll be alright. I'll be honest with you, at halftime just decided not to bring him out the second half. It's not a life-[threatening] injury or anything. He'll be ready next week."
Talk about the decision to give Devin Funchess the number one and how he responded.
"You know, the young man asked me about it and I said it was fine and I said call a member of the Kramer family and that's what he did. Ron Kramer may have been the best player ever to play here, the best athlete ever to play here and so he talked to Kurt, his son, and Devin being more of a wide receiver now obviously, he decided that's what he wanted to do. And believe me, I asked him who's worn the number one and he started with Anthony Carter and went down the list so I think that's...he earned it."
How he played today?
"Well, let me look at his stats.
/pretends to look at stats packet but doesn't because he's Brady Hoke and statistics are lies
"He was a presence out there."
Talk about the importance of 100 yard rushers and [playing] winning football.
"Well, we want to run the ball and to have two 100-yard rushers is a good thing. We wanted that offensive line to play together. We talked about taking them out the series before the last touchdown but really they haven't played as much together. You know, Kalis missed some of camp. Getting him back in and playing with him and the combination with him and Joe [Burzynski]. Getting Mason [Cole] as many snaps [as possible], especially with a quality guard next to him, I think, was important. I thought Jack Miller did a really nice job with our offensive line. Between the communication I was very impressed with Jack and have been all camp. They did a good job. There was a sequence – a series, two series in the second quarter where we lost some yardage on a couple runs and that bothers me. I think we want perfection and that's good because high standards should be high. That bothered us.
"There were a lot of big runs in there. You watch Jehu [Chesson] block, you watch Darboh block, little Fleetwood block, I mean, those guys open up a lot of the big plays."
[More after THE JUMP]
Devin Gardner was obviously pretty efficient today. Can you talk about what he did and in turn what you wanted out of him?
"Well, we wanted him to, number one, manage the game and take care of the football. And I think he made some really good decisions. He changed a play or two at the line of scrimmage, one or two, and I thought he played locked in to what was going on. With Doug [Nussmeier] being on the sidelines I think helped in this situation because of being able to talk to him between series and make some adjustments."
It seemed like much of your success early came out of the shotgun with some spread formations. Is that a product of the opponent or maybe the best fit for your personnel still?
"Well, anytime you can run some of those spread things you've got a pretty mobile quarterback, one of those dual-threat guys they talk about. I think having the ability to do so regardless of whether you're going to make it your backbone of what you're doing, defenses have to prepare for it so it's always good to have that in there."
How important was it to jump out to a good start to give your guys confidence and maybe knock back some of theirs that they may have had coming into the game?
"Well, I think that's important. I think we think our football team was ready. You could tell how they were really prepared the whole week. I think it was important to get on the board.
"It was important for the defense to get on the field first. We had talked about our kickoff team going down and setting the tone and again defensively setting a bit of a tone. I think they did that that first series. The offense...they feed off each other a little bit. We were at 14 for a while so it was good to come out and respond. I still think coming out in the third quarter, we need to do a better job in coming out like we did in the first quarter.”
How big was it to get the balance from Derrick Green and DeVeon Smith, who combined for almost 300 yards. How huge is that going into the Notre Dame game?
"I think it's huge for our football team and it's huge for those young men. They're both big backs but they're different. You notice DeVeon, he would rather run you over than play tag or try and make you miss and Derrick's got a little combination of both. It was good to have those guys have success and I think it speaks again to what the receivers did and the offensive line did."
Their success in the run game. Was that more about fits or...
"I think that's more about some fits. I think it's more about guys didn't get off blocks because you go [Ed.- ?] series and all of a sudden a guy who wasn't getting off a block is getting off a block and it's a plus-1 or a minus-1. So the consistency of doing that every time."
How does the offensive line change with [Graham] Glasgow available next week and is Kalis ailing a little bit? Is that why he didn't start the game or was that already decided?
"We had decided Joey would start it and then get Kyle into it.
"How it changes I'm not sure yet. I think that's an option that we're glad we have but I can't tell you if it's going to be a change right yet."
On Peppers- is it an ankle...
..and do you think he'll be able to play against Notre Dame?
Speaking of Notre Dame, can you speak on the opportunity and the added intrigue of this being the last one?
"Well, it's always been a great football game. Bo would say it kind of lets you know where your team is early in the season because of the similarity in the athletes that are on the field. So from that standpoint, I just think for college football it's a great rivalry. The significance of it being the last one down there? Yeah, there's significance to it."
I imagine you never quite know what you're going to get out of your team the first game. From the concerns that were out there about the offensive line and other things, did you feel some of that, at least in your mind, was alleviated even though it's just one game and did they come out with the aggression you were looking for?
"I think that second part, yes. I thought they came out aggressive. Just being on the sideline and watching body angles and the leverage that they were playing with and just finishing blocks- the last play of the game [Patrick] Kugler's in there and he finishes a block with a guy about eight yards down the field and so that was the only play he played and he made the most of it. I think we're a long way from being what I think we can be. We've just got to keep working and that's the great thing about this team. They've come in and worked every day and they love working together."
You talk about what you didn't like from the defense. Talk about what they did well in a shut out first half and only allowing seven [points] with the starters in.
"I thought they were pretty tight on coverage, that part of it. And we've worked pretty hard at being tighter on coverage aspects. I think the flow of the linebackers. All three of them, because they kind of rotate depending on what defensive package we're in. James Ross, James played some in our normal defense inside. You felt those guys. You felt them breaking on balls and cleaning hits up"
Your comments on Coach Nussmeier's work with the offense and the offense's performance based on coach working with it, today's performance, and your overall assessment of it.
"I guess the only thing I would say to that is we won the football game. We got in the end zone. We play Notre Dame next week."
You mentioned Doug [Nussmeier] on the sidelines there. What does that do for the whole team when he's down there and involved and right next to you and what does that do for you? Does that change anything for you?
"Well, he gets in my way.
"Really, I'm trying to keep him off the field. I think he wants to go out and play. I think this year at this time with being with the quarterback for nine months he's there with him, they can communicate. I think it's the same for the offensive line."
That energy's a good thing?
"Well I would hope so, yeah. I've always liked energy."
Two things with Devin [Funchess]: do you anticipate more double coverage for him and talk about being a wide receiver, being split and how that's benefitted him.
"He's definitely someone you need to pay attention to. I think as the year goes on, as he keeps working, as he keeps learning and developing I think more people may bracket him a little bit. Put a corner over top or a safety over the top but then that helps Chesson and Darboh and Fleetwood, Norfleet and those other guys."
And having him focus- he's a split...
"I think that helps him, no question about it. Moving him back-and-forth is something where there's a lot to learn. In this offense there's a lot to learn for a wide receiver when you talk about splits and minus-2s or plus-2s, all those kinds of things for certain routes and plays. Football's geometry. It really is. How they decide on the spacing of it is huge, especially in an offense."
What's your overall assessment of your special teams. They had the block but almost didn't recover the onside kick.
"We were a little too deep. And the one thing about it, and we had talked about it and we had done it with them, we just didn't react. And it'll be interesting to see the replay to see if we were back on our heels a little bit trying to get depth. The block was- I don't even know who blocked it. Who blocked it?"
"McCray did. Mike did. Anytime you can generate points in your special teams there's statistics out there, I think there's a 70% or 75% more chance of winning the football game and one of those is based on blocked punts so we want to be aggressive. Didn't know exactly what we were going to get from them totally because in the pregame they lined up in a pro-style punt but in the game they were obviously a spread punt with a shield when it got to real live bullets."