Big Ten Media Days: Brady Hoke Transcript Comment Count

Ace July 24th, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Video via 247.

Big Ten Media Days are under way in Chicago, and if you've been watching on the BTN you've already had your fill of questions about Ohio State's discipline and WHY ARE YOU TALKING SO LOUD, TIM BECKMAN. (Beckman: "Huh?")

Anyway, here are the important points from today's breakout session, culled together from the Twitters:

  • As posted earlier, LB Antonio Poole's career is over due to injury. He'll be a student assistant this year.
  • According to Brady Hoke, all of this year's freshmen have qualified, and aside from Poole all of the returning players are on track to be eligible for fall practice.
  • Injury updates: Fitz Toussaint "continues to improve," but still isn't cleared for practice, though they're meeting about that on Monday. Blake Countess, on the other hand, has the green light to practice, and Hoke expects his medical redshirt to be official before the season.
  • Taylor Lewan called Ben Braden the "most physically gifted athlete" he's ever seen, and claims that Braden is up to 322 pounds with just 12% body fat, which... yowza.
  • As for Lewan himself, he's on a 5,600-calorie diet, with 1,000 calories per day from olive oil — per Chris Balas, he looks to be in the best shape of his life.
  • Devin Gardner plans to room with Shane Morris during fall camp and help him deal with the hype and the process of waiting his turn.
  • Hoke stands by his comments about Notre Dame "chickening out" of the series, saying, "I know Brian (Kelly) didn't make that decision, and neither did the players on the team."

And here's the full presser transcript from Hoke's turn at the podium, courtesy of the Big Ten and

THE MODERATOR:  We’re joined by Brady Hoke.
COACH HOKE:  First off, I know we’re all excited that you’re all here and you took the opportunity to travel up here and it’s really an honor and a privilege to represent the University of Michigan and the team 134.
We’ve got 12 days until fall camp, look forward to it.  We’ve had some good things throughout the summer and since we got back from the game with South Carolina a year ago.  Not a year ago, but in January.
We’re a young team.  We’ve got to replace some guys who have been very important to Michigan football.  But with that youth comes a lot of competition, and that competition is always good.
And the expectations, though, never change.  And that’s to win Big Ten championships.
A year ago we were 8 and 5, and that’s unacceptable.  It’s unacceptable at Michigan.  It’s unacceptable for us.
And in those five losses, we had 18 turnovers.  So it tells you a little something that we need to be a little more diligent in taking care of the football.  We need to be a little more diligent in making better decisions.  And those are things that we’ve talked about and we’ve had through spring ball, had a good spring.
I like our football team.  I usually don’t say that.  I said it after the spring.  I will continue to say it because I like how they’ve handled themselves on the field and off the field so far this summer.  I like their work ethic, and I like how they’ve represented Michigan in a lot of ways.
Me liking them doesn’t guarantee us anything, because we have a lot of work ahead of us still.  And at the same time we’ve gotta do a job as coaches to make sure that we are doing everything capable to help our kids perform at a high level.
We’re excited about the season, the challenges that lay ahead.  Questions now?

[Hit THE JUMP for the full transcript.]

Q.  Devin Gardner took over for you in the season last year when Denard was injured and it’s always been Denard’s team since Devin was there.  How have you seen this off season Devin take ownership of the quarterback position and be that type of leader that maybe Denard was, but just that transition to him now being the guy?
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think a few things.  I think number one, I think he had some strong help on that side of the ball when you look at leadership.  I think Taylor Lewan and the decision that he made in January spoke volumes about the University of Michigan, Michigan football.
I think Devin, his maturity and understanding what it is to be the quarterback at Michigan, I think he’s absorbed that, understands the decisions that we have to make as a football team and the decisions that he makes as a quarterback.  They’re going to be very important.

Q.  Can you talk about the depth that you have now on the defensive line and the offensive line and how it has evolved since you’ve gotten here?
COACH HOKE:  I think when we came in a couple of years ago, we had eight offensive linemen on scholarship.  Eight or nine.  And I think we’ve improved those numbers.  I think we’re at 15 right now, maybe 16.
I would say the same thing a little bit with the inside people on the defensive side of the ball, because of?? style of defense had a lot to do with that.
But I think our numbers are up.  I think our competition throughout spring, I think the competition that?? in how they did things through summer have improved both positions, particularly the interior of the offensive line and the interior of the defensive line.

Q.  Denard Robinson, when he got hurt last year and you had to insert Devin Gardner at that position, did you expect that Devin would perform the way he did?  And if Denard wouldn’t have gotten hurt, would Devin Gardner be a wide receiver this year instead of a quarterback?
COACH HOKE:  No, he was always going to go back to quarterback.  That was already?? him and I had talked about it.  He really showed a lot of unselfishness by moving to wide receiver, and it really became part of his DNA and what he wanted to do to help the football team.
With Denard obviously getting hurt, the opportunity for Devin to get experience and move back to quarterback meant a lot.  And it meant a lot for his experience and how he learned from those things, good and bad in spring ball.

Q.  It seems like the trend in college football is to get more toward the spread offenses, put people in space.  You’re obviously going back to your pro style offense.  Could you talk about that, what you like about that?
COACH HOKE:  I think everyone believes in a philosophy, obviously.  We all have our own quirks and beliefs.  But I think the physicalness that the game of football needs to be played with, I’m of the feeling that playing physical football, some pro style, and then there will be multiple enough personnel groups that I think that will be big.
I think also with Devin at quarterback, you still have an opportunity to do some of the things out of the spread that may be there.  But I think the physicalness that will help your defense, when you run some downhill schemes, the combination blocks.  I’m an old defensive line coach, still am, and I think teaching that every day and going through that every day is something that’s important.

Q.  What were your thoughts when you initially heard Michigan being compared to cancer, and what was the reaction from Grant Reid when you called him and offered him tickets to the game?
COACH HOKE:  Well, number one reaction is we were glad.  We were excited for that young man.  And being a father, our children are so important and you try and put yourself through what that family has gone through.
So him beating Michigan in this context, we were all for.  But it’s just something?? I’ll be honest with you, it was something that we had talked about, Justin Dickens and myself, because our kids do an awful lot in Mott Hospital, C.S. Mott.  And our daughter was five months in the hospital when she was born, and so you just imagine what that family was going through.
And I spoke to Grant a little bit.  He’s doing well.  He was excited.

Q.  I was wondering if you shored up that backup quarterback position yet, and should Gardner go down this fall, what was the plan going forward for that?
COACH HOKE:  Well, we looked around to try and find maybe a guy who had graduated early and could transfer.  We looked at some junior college prospects.  And we just didn’t feel comfortable enough.  In 32 years or 33 years of coaching, I try and think how many times you’ve gotten to your second quarterback on the teams that you’ve coached.  Hasn’t been very many.
I think Brian Cleary and obviously Shane Morris are two guys that we feel very good about.  And so it would either be one of those two guys if anything would happen.

Q.  What is it about Devin Gardner that makes him maybe a better pro style quarterback than Denard Robinson?
COACH HOKE:  I think typically when people talk about pro style quarterbacks, a lot of times they talk about the heights.  And they also talk about the running quarterbacks obviously is how they’ve performed in the gun, read zone, counter, whatever it might be.
But I think Devin has a nice dual threat capability, because he probably spins the ball a little tighter.  I think his height helps him over the line of scrimmage.  So I think those reasons.

Q.  How has the situation in Detroit, the bankruptcy, the economic, affected your program and how your personnel that are from the Detroit area?
COACH HOKE:  Sure.  I think that, you know, everything’s a little different for every kid.  Every individual, every family.  It’s a little bit of a different path they all have taken.  Obviously we’re pulling for Detroit.  We’re pulling for the city and the state to get together or the federal government, because it’s a great town.  It’s a great city.
For our kids, I think every situation is different, but I think all our kids, you know, maybe they haven’t thought in detail enough about it.  But it’s all been positive.

Q.  Is there any change on Jake Ryan’s status?  Has he accelerated his return during his rehab?
COACH HOKE:  I think we’re very excited about his progress.  So I don’t think anything’s really changed besides he’s done a great job of being very committed, very disciplined to getting himself back through the rehab and everything he’s doing.  We’ll find out a little more as we keep going and getting closer.  But I think sometime in October I think would still be a likely date for him.

Q.  How much importance do you put on instate recruiting?  You get a lot of Detroit, Michigan guys.  How much focus do you put on that?
COACH HOKE:  We put a lot of our efforts in the state of Michigan.  That’s important to us.  And that’s something that?? the high school coaching is very good.  The caliber of the athletes we really like.  And also they understand playing at the University of Michigan.  So that’s always a very important part for us in our recruiting.

Q.  Your schedule is pretty loaded up for November particularly this year.  Is that a good thing for a team where you’re going to bringing guys along on both lines throughout the year, especially that interior of the offensive line?
COACH HOKE:  The goal is, John, every week you have to get better if you’re going to win championships.  And the good teams I’ve been fortunate to be with, that’s what they’ve done, from week one to week two and so on.
So as far as the back end of the schedule, we’ve got a great schedule.  And if we keep coaching and doing the things we need to do for our kids, then I think we’ll be competitive and it will be a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach.


Space Coyote

July 24th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

But I honestly can't get over how stupid of a question the "situation in Detroit" was. I mean, really? You have a chance to talk to a head coach about football and you ask how his players are reacting to that? I'm not sure what you're supposed to say there, but I know what I would have said and it would have been a little different than what Hoke said.


July 24th, 2013 at 2:49 PM ^

What about explaining the difference between Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner with respect to switching from a spread offense to a pro-style offense?  How do these guys get their media credentials?


If I were Hoke I would've simply said "height"......."next question".


Incidentally, did anyone else hear Hoke say "heighth"?  *sigh*    We traded "irregardless" for "heighth".  


July 24th, 2013 at 5:59 PM ^

That was a really stupid question.  Fortunately, Hoke is bright and a quick thinker.  He seems almost never to be thrown off no matter how stupid the question may be.  He often comes across as a golly-gee-whiz kind of guy, and some fan bases try to make the case that he isn't very bright, but he runs circles around the reporters (and most of the other coaches, too) with his responses.  He never seems to be caught saying something stupid or unkind or that he has to later explain or back away from, something many of his colleagues cannot say. He comes across as both humble and confident at the same time, something that very few other coaches have been able to achieve with the consitency that he has.

Space Coyote

July 25th, 2013 at 8:55 AM ^

But turning and spinning an answer about that into anything sensible or logical would have been downright presidential in ability, not football coach. Personally, I would have elegantly went Carr on his ass and say "Why would you ask a dumb question like that? Now sit down and SFTU" (last part not Carr elegance, but I probably would have added it on).


July 24th, 2013 at 4:05 PM ^

Yeah, that's good news. No one is concerned about the tackles, and there has been positive buzz about Kalis for a while now. Hearing such high praise for another one of our OL is certainly a good sign.


July 24th, 2013 at 2:32 PM ^

I was wondering the other day what the effect of the "chickening out" statement would have on Hoke's relationship with Kelly, given I gather they're friends.  I'm curious if he was just trying to take his comments off the bulletin board, or if he really believes Kelly wasn't a part of that decision (or maybe he knows it because Kelly told him).

I saw Kelly's fingerprints all over that cancelling, as did others.  Could be wrong.

Space Coyote

July 24th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

And by hang out I mean: he only goes to Borges's press conferences... and then they hang out at the club, and celebrate grandchildren/neices birthdays together, and play games of chess over the phone late at night and into the morning, and their significant others make jokes about the Heiko/Borges being their real significant other... you know, cute stuff like that.


July 24th, 2013 at 7:04 PM ^

Watching Beckman's time at the podium replayed on BTN.  Is he on speed?  Serious question.  He might actually be an upgrade from the Zooker in terms of entertainment value.


July 24th, 2013 at 7:22 PM ^

Poole's situation saddens me. He had the knee thing, and then tore a pec during rehab, and then tore his achilles during rehab from that. I'm out of the loop now, but I assume that medicaling him means that something else happened after that. Poor guy.

Indiana Blue

July 24th, 2013 at 9:33 PM ^

The audio was nearly impossible to listen to. hahha.   Love seeing and hearing Hoke talk MICHIGAN football .... but Coach - you need a quick trip to the Mden and get yourself some new ties.   Seriously, maybe all of us should send Hoke a Michigan necktie .... wait maybe a bowtie (c'mon Dhani - send the Coach a M bowtie !)

Go Blue!


July 24th, 2013 at 10:23 PM ^

I would question the training staff if they are claiming that Ben Braden is at 12% BF at 322lbs as a college freshman. He may be in great shape but I am would eat a hat if he has 284lbs of LBM.  Either way that is high praise coming from one of the "top 5 freaks" in CFB.


July 24th, 2013 at 11:29 PM ^

Is there a rule that the coaches have to reveal if a guy is gonna come back from injury before the game happens?  Like can Hoke just say we expect him to be back sometime towards the end of November when he really expects it to be the start of October?  Could be useful to surprise a team by having one of the best linebackers in the country without warning.