Bowl Practice Presser Transcript 12-9-11: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko December 9th, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Brady Hoke

from file

Opening remarks:

“Obviously number one we’re very excited we have the opoprutnity play the 13th game. To be in the Sugar Bowl is exciting to all of us. We’ll start practice today, and we’ll go this weekend, next weekend, and keep it going after next weekend and kind of dodge around finals times and all those things you kind of deal with this time of year and with recruiting. We’re going to play a tremendous, great opponent in Virginia Tech, a well coached team. Frank Beamer’s done a tremendous job for many years, so it’s going to be a great challenge and be a lot of fun. We want to enjoy the atmosphere and embrace it, but we want to prepare to go win. That’s why you play in bowl games when you have that opportunity.”

You’ve done bowl prep a couple different ways. What have you found that works?

“The one thing, there’s a fine line between trying to outsmart yourself, maybe outpractice yourself a little bit and the intensity that you want to do things with. There’s a tendency sometimes to get stale -- and that can happen all year long, but you like the consistency of how you prepare, but at the same time I think you need to change it up enough. We’ll try to do that a little bit from shoulder pads to helmets the full length of practice, maybe some different drills, and those kinds of things.”

What are your thoughts on spending this time strictly for bowl prep vs. developing players for next year?

“If we had better depth at the big positions, your O-line and D-line, I think we’d do more. But when we came in we only had eight scholarship offensive linemen. Usually you’re at 15. That’s a little dicey. You’ve got to be healthy. You can’t run the race if you’re not at the start line. That’s always a part of it. We’re a little deeper at some positions, but O-line and D-line is where we’re thinnest at. You’ve got to be smart in how you transition your practice and the physicalness that you want to play with that you have to practice with. So it becomes more difficult. It’s kind of like spring ball when you don’t have a spring game. Well why don’t you have a spring game? You don’t have enough bodies. We’re still in that position obviously where we don’t have the bodies, especially at the bigs -- the big positions.”

(more after the jump)

There was a suggestion to the NCAA to reduce total scholarships from 85 to 80. Thoughts?

“I think that’s ridiculous. I think when you go through a season, and we’ve been (knock knock) fortunate this year when you look at some of the injuries and things that can happen, once you take your two-deeps and you look at your skill groups and all those things, I don’t think it’s a wise suggestion.”

What did you see from the Ohio State game that you’ll need to work on for Virginia Tech?

“Yeah. You know in the back end I think we played a little looser than we had been. That’s alarming a little bit. Their quarterback has either thrown for or has 28 touchdowns this year. They’re very good at what they do, and we have to be tighter in coverage. We have to be better in zone. All those things are part of it.”

Do you expect your coaching staff do be intact going into next season?

“I don’t know. Did you hear anything? … Yeah I do. I do. I’m sure if there was anything, they would approach me about it.”

Speaking of coaching staffs, the NCAA is allowing Ohio State to have two coachings staffs. One to recruit and one to coach the bowl game. Any reaction to that?

“You know, I think it’s a little different. I’ve never heard of it before. I may have gone that route … It’s different. That would be my reaction. I’ve never heard of it, but there’s probably a lot of things I haven’t heard of. There are a lot of things. So, you know, it’s different. Is it an advantage? Yeah, I think so.”

Thoughts on Molk winning the Rimington?

“It was awesome. It was awesome. Deserving -- David did a tremendous job this year in a lot of ways, and I was excited for him.”

In what ways did you see Denard grow the most this season?

“I think there was a confidence in the offense. There was a confidence in his teammates a little bit, when you look at route running and protection and all those things. But the biggest growth was him understanding progression reads, understanding how you move in the pocket without moving 100 miles an hour, how you step up in there a little bit and gain a little more time and scan the field a little better. And now I think at the end of year, because he was healthier, because we were able to some degree take a little relief off him running the ball so much, he was much more physical and decisive running the football. That was huge for us.”

How banged up was he?

“He had a staph infection. He had a lot of different problems that he went through during the course of the season. His elbow, his hand, he had an abdominal problem -- he’s a tough guy. I just think he was so much healthier and a little more confident at the same time.”

Was it hard to not reveal that information while he was receiving so much criticism earlier in the season?

“Yeah because there are no excuses. Everybody’s beat up. Still there are no excuses for performance. Performance by us to do a better job of coaching them and making sure they understand exactly the expectations for plays or routes or whatever from an offensive or defensive standpoint.”

How bad was the staph infection?

“It was bad enough. I don’t know.”

When was it?

“I can’t remember. I can’t remember yesterday, to be honest with you.”

Was that the thing in his forearm?

“Yeah. Right through here.”

What did they do for it? Antibiotics?

“Mmhmm. Clean it. Get some good stuff out of there every now and then.”

When you say “bad enough,” do you mean you thought he wasn’t going to be able to play?


MGoCueTheTrumpet: You’ve had success with players like Denard and Molk who aren’t prototypical players in a pro-style offense. Does that open up your mind to recruiting players like them in the future for your offense?

“Well I don’t know what you mean with David.”

MGoLowerTheFlag: He’s described himself as a smaller center, but he’s faster and uses his strength --

“He’s got a great quickness. And smaller, I think that’s all up to opinion. He’s 290 pounds. That’s not bad size. That’s not like you’re small, unless you consider me small. I’m closer to 300.”

MGo21GunSalute: But with a dual-threat quarterback like Denard, if there were another player like him in the future --

“I think you always want to have athleticism in your quarterback. Believe me, we’re a pro-style offense, but we don’t want a guy who can’t move in the pocket and do those things, and I think that’s what we’ve kind of recruited. I think the biggest thing has been everyone else’s opinion of what Denard was. And we never put any limitations on what he is.”

With what Borges inherited as far as personnel, are you happy with the job he did?

“I think, number one, the kids on that side of that ball did a tremendous job. I think the guys like David Molk, like Huyge, Junior and Fitz and Smitty and all those guys and Denard, I think they did a tremendous job of adapting to some of West Coast, pro-style offensive things that Al added. I think that whole staff Darrell and Dan and Heck and Freddie, they all did a tremendous job in teaching. The same thing -- fundamentals and techniques and how they do individual and what their expectations are. Al, you know, he has a tremendous offensive mind. Look at his resume and how many places he’s been and coordinated. He had Randle El at Indiana. There’s a lot of different guys. The guys at UCLA and Ryan Lindley, what he did with him at San Diego State. He’s a smart man. You have to look at your personnel first and foremost and adapt to it. The best part of it is he doesn’t have an ego. He doesn’t care.”

Why do you think Denard should be in New York for the Heisman ceremony?

“Well, I can’t sit here and rattle off statistics, but in the Big Ten conference, he took the team to 10-2. It wasn’t solely him, because none of those awards are solely one person’s. I don’t know his stats for the year -- I’m not a big stats guy -- but what he did.”

Rocky Long ranked you guys pretty low. Nick Saban and Les Miles had you at 8 and 9. Are you curious as to why SDSU ranked you so low?

“No. Not really.”

Rocky doesn’t like you anymore?

“I don’t know. It has no effect. We can’t control any of that.”

Do you do your own poll or does someone do it for you?

“That’s a very personal question. I have a little help and I discuss with a person who helps.”

Is it your final say?

“Uh, I think so.”

Do you project any competition at certain positions during the bowl practice?

“Yeah I think you always do. And I would say, you look at it, and that’s a really good question -- linebacker wise I think there’s always some competition for us. I think up front, when you get Will Campbell and quinton Washington and how they’ve performaned and what they do. Nate Brink is a guy who’s constantly pushing and doing a lot of good things in practice. It needs to carry over a little more to game time. I think because of the depth at receiver there’s always good competition. Running back, Fitz did a nice job, and Shaw keeps fighting in there, which is a real credit to Michael. Smitty will be healthier than he was at the end of the year. To answer that, they’ve got to come out every day and earn it. They have to earn it.”

Is bowl practice more like fall camp?
“Yeah. We’ll do a bunch of fundamentals this whole weekend, getting back into it a little bit. They’ve lifted and run, and next week they’ll lift and run again and we’ll come back and have more of a game plan. Because the guys have been out. I know Greg, I think, was in one day. Al was in a couple days. So they’ve gotten a little bit of a head start. The GA’s have done their due diligence in breaking down the games we want broken down. All of that information is coming together. Next week will be a little more game planning. This weekend will be more of a fundamentals, techniques, playing fast, physicalness, all those things.”

Which games do you look at for Virginia Tech?

“You usually always take the last four. And then you may go at look at, and I’ll speak from both an offensive and defensive perspective -- you’ll look at similar offenses or similar defenses and kind of see how they want to approach and attack those schemes.”

What stands out to you about Frank Beamer?

“I think, number one, Frank Beamer’s known for special teams and how they’ve performed over the course of many years, with blocked punts, blocked field goals, punt returns, the whole gamut within the kicking game. That tells you the team is really coached well. Their defense -- Bud Foster does a tremendous job as coordinator -- how hard they’ll play the game with, the soundness they play with. Offensively they’ve always had a guy back there. I think they have 1600-yard rusher this year that’s going to be able to run downhill and run physical. They’re a football team and program that does and should have a lot of confidence with who they are and a lot of pride in who they are. When you have that kind of team and that kind of tradition, they’ve built an awful nice thing in Blacksburg. Those things are what I see and know without looking into the tape yet.”

New Big Ten coach at Illinois in Tim Beckman. Do you know him at all?
“I know Tim. He’s a good coach. Did a nice job at Toledo. He was coordinator at Oklahoma State, and he was on the Ohio staff at one point. He’s a good coach.”



December 9th, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

“Yeah I think you always do. And I would say, you look at it, and that’s a really good question -- linebacker wise I think there’s always some competition for us. I think up front, when you get Will Campbell and quinton Washington and how they’ve performaned and what they do. Nate Brink is a guy who’s constantly pushing and doing a lot of good things in practice. It needs to carry over a little more to game time.

Interested to see how this works out.


December 9th, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^



Yeah, that passage has me feeling a lot better about next year.  You know he has to be just talking them up for encouragement, but just the fact that they get mentioned like that tells me the coaches are seeing something good for them 


December 9th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

in the military, which is another great tie back to his connections with the SEALS.  Praise in public, punish in private. 

Love his approach with the military flavor....take care of each other, do your job, the rest will take care of itself. 


December 9th, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

I get what you mean, but that advice is dangerously incomplete.  It needs to be clarified with a very serious caveat.

Keep your INDIVIDUAL failures local and your ORGANIZATIONAL successes global.  Take on everything by yourself and you'll just be made a fall guy.  The reverse applies but is seldom mentioned -- you also keep your individual successes local and your organizational failures global.  People interested in self-advancement are shameless self-promoters; these people are known as "politicians" and eventually earn the reputations they deserve.  Michigan maintains cohesion by staying humble.  Ask Denard about getting 500 all-purpose yards or 5 TDs and he'll credit the offensive line.  Obviously he knows what he did, but that's what he'll say.  Ask the offensive line about Denard's compliment and they'll talk about Denard.  At the beginning of the season, though, without placing blame on any individual, Mattison very readily stated that the defense had "miles and miles to go".  He was very open about the state of the unit but was not going to throw anyone under the bus.  He simply corrected the issues.

Note an organization that did a horrible job of making their failures global was a certain school called Ohio State, and the cover-up is being punished as much as the crime.  When you have a systemic failure, a true leader does NOT hide it.  That most do is just the common result of the leader usually being the one to introduce the problem.


December 9th, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

Agreed , pretty much. In football its often never necessary to say "the defense is bad." That will be made abundantly clear to you. The media will ask you about it and you'll see it on the field.  The point is you don't ever say "well, JT Floyd has done a terrible job, and he needs to step it up." but when he plays well, praise the unit, the team. Keep the criticisms one on one. Don't run from criticisms of your unit or team, but you don't have to put them on blast, either. 


December 9th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

The feel that I get is that they are really out to win this game coming up. I like the way Hoke deals with priorities when going tete and tete with people like Drew Sharpe (errrr... the latter does have a tete, right?) but then is always ready to deal appropriately with the national scene when the time comes. I like the way he spells it out re. Denard and the Heisman, same thing that a lot of us may be feeling. Looking forward to a great game, sounds like they will be ready.


December 9th, 2011 at 4:02 PM ^

"You know in the back end I think we played a little looser than we had been. That’s alarming a little bit."

Maybe I'm over-reading this, but playing CB (backyard ball but FWIW the pride in coverage is there) I read this as a lineman's ribbing of the secondary embedded in a well-deserved diplomatic criticism.  The "back end"?  And he uses "looser" of all ways to describe our "back end".  Yo, coach, we're not a butthole, ya bunghole!

This being the Interwebs I should clarify that I don't for a moment think anyone took it personally and I certainly wouldn't, armadillo skin and all.  But Hoke's a big ugly -- er, lineman guy and I think he's showing it here.

I Blue Myself

December 9th, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

When the questions were preceded by "MGoSomething," (e.g. MGoCueTheTrumpet, MGoLowerTheFlag) does that mean Heiko was asking them? 

I hadn't noticed that or seen it explained before.  If so, it's a very good idea.  It's interesting to see where and how Heiko's pumping them for information.




December 9th, 2011 at 4:23 PM ^

Thank you for asking those questions. It's something that I would have asked Hoke or Borges if I ever meet one of them. I've been wondering a lot recently if, not only the players, but the plays too, have left any sort of mark on Borges to the point where he might incorporate them more in the future. Things like the inverted veer might be something that he would consider leaving in the playbook when we move onto Gardner and Morris.

Mr. Yost

December 9th, 2011 at 8:21 PM ^

Too bad he really didn't answer them. This leads me to believe he really wants to move towards a power/under center offense. With that said, he's let Borges run things and Borges seems content doing whatever is the best he can do.with that he has. I love that Borges tailors what he has...people use "hybrid" and "quasi" with our offense, but f that, it's OUR offense. No one else runs what we run, we're unique in that regard. Love it.


December 9th, 2011 at 10:03 PM ^ that's funny.  How many "I think, number one..."s are there too?  How come there are never any "number two"s ?  I'm thinking everything is number one.  Everything must be top priority.  GO BLUE!!!!!


December 12th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

Glad to know about some of the injuries that Denard had earlier in the year. I'm content to not giving away some fo the information at the time as long as we get it sometime.