Brady Hoke Presser 3-23

Submitted by Tim on March 23rd, 2011 at 2:25 PM


Notes from Brady Hoke's meeting with the media today. Photo from file.


Ray Vinopal is no longer with the team. "Ray decided to go back Youngstown. You know, that issue's more a family issue."

Injuries: Christian Pace is doing individual drills only. "Molk's the other guy who hasn't done anything but some individual. He'll be fine by Tuesday." - hamstring tweak. Troy Woolfolk is doing a little group work, mostly individual. JT Floyd doing less group stuff than Troy. Mike Shaw is doing alternate conditioning things. Next week, he'll do more with the cast on. "I think we're OK health-wise. I don't think we're anything of real significance yet."

"We wouldn't play a game" for the spring 'game' with the team's current injury level. Would do more situational scrimmage-type stuff. With only 11 more practice days, "I doubt if we'll play a game game. I'd like to, but we don't have enough depth."

No new position changes. There may be some later in the spring when they've had more of a chance to evaluate.

During the spring, "we'll put [a depth chart] out. Nothing's given. You're gonna have to earn it." If you end spring as a starter, you better keep working over the summer, and in fall camp, because you have to earn your job.

Wants to install 50-60% of offense and defense in spring (Al Borges would like to get 65% of the offense in). You can install more in the fall as you're gameplanning. "Once we get the power play down, then we'll go to the next phase. You know, because we're gonna run the power play." [ed: This is a very MANBALL quote.]

Individual Positions

QBs: "I think both of them have done a good job. I think you look at, the different things are a little more under center, obviously. The ball mechanics and footwork... all those technical things that go along with it. So, I think they've both done a good job, they're both very capable of being tremendous quarterbacks in this offense."

RBs: "I wouldn't wanna say any of them's any better than the other ones. Vince [Smith] has done a good job, [Stephen] Hopkins has come on, Fitz [Toussaint] had a good day in there with a couple good runs, and Michael Cox is a guy that has some outstanding ability, and we've just gotta keep progressing with him."

Fullbacks: "We don't have a lot of fullbacks." Hopkins works out well at FB "for a lot of the old 49ers stuff" with split backs. Hoke wants fullbacks to block so hard they "come in at about 6-3, and leave the program at 6-1." Wisconsin fullbacks get shorter as the years go on.

WRs: "They have to do both" block and catch. They have the most bodies there and at safety. Lots of competition, so guys they have to block well and catch well to see the field.

Lines: "We just don't have a whole lot of bodies there... That's always, up there, because you need a lot of bodies on both sides." They need to address it in future recruiting. With Molk and Pace out, Rocko Khoury is getting most snaps at center. Patrick Omameh is getting a lot of reps with limited line depth.

Defensive line: "There's some guys who have played some significant minutes and downs up there that we've gotta get 'em better when you talk about the fundamentals of playing the position." Quinton Washington ("he shows up") and Richard Ash ("has made some progress") are doing well, you expect the 2 seniors to step up. "I think Will [Campbell] had some real good plays the other day, and he's gotta have more of those than bad plays."

Kicking game: "They're doing OK. We haven't gone full-bore into it... They have their specialists but we put a little live rush on them and those kinds of things yesterday." All the different elements (snap, hold, kick) need to come together.


There have been three practices so far, one in pads. "I've liked the tempo that we played with. I like how the guys are flying around to some extent. We've still got a lot that we've gotta get better at, and playing fanatical as a team."

"We're not playing as fast as we will" due to the nature of learning. Still pleased with the competition level. Guys come in wanting to improve every day.

How to cultivate a competitive atmosphere: "You do that by rewarding guys who play well, and guys who don't play as well, you maybe don't get as many snaps." In their situational drills (red zone, etc.), "There's consequences for losing." There is competition within positions and also offense v defense.

Smooth transition for Denard? "I think so." He sometimes has issues with rushing the footwork, but both QBs have handled it really well. Once in a while, Denard shows off those feet. "If you leave a little crease in there, he can go get it."

How have players responded to practice intensity? "They haven't come to see me about it. I guess it's been OK."


Any spring surprises? "Not yet. I think it's way too early to make any comment, to be honest with you. We're just really scratching the surface, in my opinion." General thoughts: "I think there's a little more, I think good and bad... You want to see some guys be a little more physical and a little more sudden in some of the things they're doing. At the same time, there's some other guys who have done a good job of being physical and the things that you're looking for."

By the end of spring, "We'll never be where I want us to be. Period. I know me." It's typical here, like it was with BSU and SDSU, they know where the team is starting and where they want to be when they finish spring. "We're where I thought we'd be right now, and where we thought we'd be."

There's a learning curve "paralysis by analysis" when installing new O and D. You see it more on the defensive side of the ball (which is by nature reactive). "From an offensive standpoint you may see it when the guys up front start movement patterns." Players over-thinking new plays, technique, etc. being a little different. "They're hungry, and they wanna learn. We just gotta keep as coaches doing a good job of being teachers."

Fundamentals and techniques of positions are the critical areas. Every position needs to know proper alignments, line splits, etc. Effort and toughness do not have any wiggle room for being less than perfect. The techniques and schemes are new, but effort and toughness do not change. How big is the gap between what players are doing and it should be done? "I don't know. The Grand Canyon size, right now." Players want to be coached and do it the right way. Guys who have played a lot might be further along, but may be slower learning a different way to do things.

They have 1-on-1 padded drills, not necessarily tackling all the time. "You're only limited to a certain amount [of full-contact practices], so you've gotta cherish those dates."

Had to move practice to 5:30 in the morning [ed: !!!] on Monday because 40-some players had Monday afternoon class. "Morning is my favorite time of day, but i worry about the other end of it for the kids" from an academic perspective.

It's important to practice outside in fall, but not so much in spring. "Previous experience here has told me you may get 6 times at the most to get out in the 15 days." The new indoor facility allows full kicking game, you can throw full deep routes without hitting the ceiling.



March 23rd, 2011 at 2:37 PM ^

One of these years people will talk about Michael Cox in spring ball and we will actually see him do something in the fall.


Seems like he is hyped every year, hope this is one it finally comes together, they need some RB production.


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

I'm not disagreeing that the coaches, for whatever reason, don't see a reason to get him on the field.

At the same time, results are results.

If you had a basketball player coming off the bench and hitting 70% of his threes, you would probably try getting him on the court more often.


March 23rd, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

Magnus do you have a Mike Cox app on your Iphone?  Whenever his name is mentioned you are there to defend him like Batman.   Hasn't  it been established by more than 1 source that you are 100% correct the kid can play it's just a matter of him picking up the assignments?


What did you say about RR?!?!?


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

Like I've said before, you find a package that he can understand, and you put him to work.

Denard didn't know the whole playbook back in 2009.  What did the coaches do?  They found some plays that he could run, put him in the game, and let him do his thing.  Why does Cox need to know the playbook inside and out, but not the quarterback?


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

Let's say MAC teams are two-thirds as good as BCS teams.

Cox has 8 carries for 87 yards, which is 11 yards a pop.  That turns into 8 carries for 59 yards, which is over 7 yards a pop.

MAC teams are half as good as BCS teams?  That turns into 8 carries for 43 yards, which is over 5 yards a pop.

Obviously, that's completely hypothetical and surely the math wouldn't work out exactly that way.  But like I said above, results are results.


March 23rd, 2011 at 7:08 PM ^

I think I've had this conversation with a parent after a JV game.  "Little Jonny just ran for 200 yards.  How many yards did the starting RB run for last Friday? "  My response "I don't know"  Their response "Only 100 and zero TD!"  My response "We won by 20."  Their response "If you want to make it to state we are going to need more production than that and I know that Jonny can do better."  My response "I'll look into it."   What I was thinking in my head "How the fuck did this person get my phone number."

To me this is what you sound like and as someone who is a coach you should know better than to play the card of he does well against the backups and shit teams.  If a parent came to you with these arguements what would you say?

Also, as far as only running the plays that he knows, are you serious?  The other team gets paid to watch film too.  As a defensive coordinator I LOVE it what when teams do that, makes my job and my guys jobs so much easier.  "Oh Cox is in the game and he can't pass block for shit and they only run him inside.  What should I do?"  That shit might fly for some crappy high school league, but in the Big Ten I don't think so.

I'm not saying he is not talented and he may very well be a stud this season, but your arguement is just shocking to me. 


March 23rd, 2011 at 7:38 PM ^

a) Cox's opponents haven't been JV squads.  They've been college (albeit lesser) programs. Five yards a carry on JV isn't much when your varsity kid is getting 4.5.  But no matter what level you're playing, nine yards a carry is significant.

b) If you've got a JV kid churning out yards and a varsity kid who's...not, then you probably consider bringing up the JV kid.  If your varsity RB is pumping out 100 yards, then there might not be a reason.  Michigan's varsity running back, one Vincent Smith, was NOT pumping out 100 yards.  Literally, not even once.  Or breaking long runs.  Or scoring many touchdowns.

c) As I said somewhere in this thread, Cox was also the best performer on the team in the 2010 spring game - when he was playing with the #2 offense against the #1 defense and Shaw/Toussaint were playing with the #1 offense against the #2 defense.  If your JV kid gains yards against your varsity kids, but your varsity RB looks mediocre against your JV defense...again, you're probably considering moving up your JV kid.

d) Again, I give you the example of Denard Robinson 2009.  He didn't know all the plays, but he still got on the field.  Why is it okay for a quarterback not to know all the plays, but the running back has to?  I realize that opponents watch film, which is why I didn't say "Give him one play to learn."  I said "Give him a package."  Hell, let him learn the zone read option, the zone stretch, and teach him how to seal the edge on a rollout pass.  There ya go.  That's a few plays a game, and it probably wouldn't be any less successful than watching Vincent Smith run three yards and get thrown to the ground.


March 23rd, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

A)  I would say running for 56 yards against a team that gave up over 450 on the ground is pretty damn close to being a JV team.  Plus you take out the 35 yard run and his average is down to 4.2 which is less than Smith's was last year.  It's not like he was pumping out 9 yards everytime, he had one good run. 

B)  How in the hell is Smith supposed to turn out 100 yard games when he is spliting carries with other RB's and Denard?  If he had the same number of carries as Denard he would have ran for around 1200 yards, which is not to bad.  Plus, lets remember that the kid was less than one year removed from major knee surgery.  If you take last years average and give him Denards number of carries he would have had around 1500 yards, which again is pretty damn good.  Sense you like to pull mathematical equations out of thin air I will too.  Lets say that Smith stays healthy and shows just some growth and improvement lets say half a yard per carry.  Again with Denards number of carries that would have put him up over 1600 yards which would have put him around 7th in the nation.  No I totally see what you are saying this guy needs to go we got a guy who broke a tackle against a MAC team riding pine who with the exception of one carry is averaging 4.2 YPC.  Also, who cares if he breaks off long runs, Mike Hart wasn't some sort of speed demon either and he did alright.  If anything that just shows how he is consistent, there are no long 35 yard runs in his average to make them look better than they really are. 

C)  Are you really going to use the defense that he looked good against our first team defense?  Really?  Did you watch the bowl game?  The same defense that made a subpar Penn State team with a walk-on QB, an average at best RB, and if I remember correctly a beat to shit O-line look like the best in the country.  We let Royster run for 150 yards against us, the same guy who ran for 32 against Alabama and failed to crack 50 in four other games and who averaged less than 4 yards per attempt in six games.  That defense?  Well by that logic Royster was an All-American, because he looked good against the Michigan starting defense, to hell with what happened agaisnt teams with a pulse.  Cam played really well in the spring last year and made some stupid spring All-American teams as a FS, so if we go by spring he should have been a stud.  How did that turn out?  O yeah spring practice does not matter, maybe Ohio State will spot us TD's next year for all the spring game TD's we score on our first team defense. 

D)  The Denard didn't know the whole playbook and played does not hold any water with me at all.  He completed 42% of his passes and averaged just over 5 yards a carry.  Can you imagine how bad we would have been if Denard would have had to start as a freshman.  The plays that he did know how to run he was shaky at best at running and he made the offense one dimensional.  There is also a big difference in bringing in QB to run a package vs a RB.  Bringing in Denard added a whole new element to what the defense had to prepare for.  Bringing in Cox provides what type of wrinkle?  Only knowing how to run three plays that are already part of the offense vs bringing in a QB who runs a different set of plays and brings a whole new skill set.  Also, it was Denards first year and it was Cox's third year, not exactly an even playing field. 

This is big time college football if you cannot learn the playbook you should not play, period.  What kind of message does it send to the rest of the team if he is not held accountable to learn the playbook, but the rest of them are?  What if Roh decides that he does not want to play run defense anymore and just wants to rush the passer?  You can try getting by with letting some guys only do part of the work and it may win you a game or two but that is about it because when you are building a team and want them to compete it is not fair that one guy does not have to pull his weight.  That will destroy a team, because before you know it everyone is only going to want to learn what they want.  If thats how you want to build a program I wish you nothing but the best of luck, because you are going to need it. 


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:59 PM ^

a) Right, but it's probably not a good idea to take away a player's longest run.  If he's getting 4.2 yards a carry when you remove his longest run (for some unknown reason), then he's doing pretty well.  Especially when you consider that he wasn't running with the first team at that point.  Other players on the field when he made that run: Teric Jones, Devin Gardner, Drew Dileo, Ricky Barnum, Je'ron Stokes, etc.  But Michigan actually averaged more yards per carry against Indiana than BGSU, so let's take the Indiana game for Vincent Smith.  Let's randomly - and for no reason - take out his 56-yard run.  That gives him 135 carries for 545 yards on the year, which lowers his rushing average to 4.03 yards a carry.  Yikes!  (NOTE: This exercise is futile.) 

b) lol.  Okay, fine.  Give Smith the ball 291 times.  4.4 x 291 = 1,280 yards.  Give Cox the ball 291 times.  8.9 x 281 = 2,501 yards.  Give Shaw the ball 291 times.  5.3 x 291 = 1,542 yards.

c) Yes, I know Michigan's defense sucks.  Thanks for pointing that out.  I haven't mentioned that a billion times before.  But like I said, Cox got zero snaps with the first team offense vs. the second team defense.  He was on Team Backup against Team Starter, and Cox still outperformed the two guys (Shaw, Toussaint) who were on Team Starter against Team Backup.  Spring practice doesn't mean anything.  Unless you actually watch it and see which guys make plays, break tackles, make good cuts, etc.

d) Let me point out the hypocrisy in your above statements.  First you say "Bringing in Denard added a whole new element to what the defense had to prepare for," even though you admit he didn't know the playbook.  Then you say, "This is big time college football if you cannot learn the playbook you should not play, period."  Which is it?  I'll tell you what wrinkle Mike Cox provides - he's a running back who can actually run the football.  It's a novel idea, I know.

You know I'm not saying Cox should learn a package and then sit on the sideline eating ice cream while his teammates learn the rest of the offense.  I'm saying they should get him comfortable with something, and gradually expand on that.   No kid is going to say, "Okay, I learned my three plays.  I'm done."  Running backs want to be feature backs, situational pass rushers want to be full-time starters, etc.  There are situational guys all over college football and the NFL - third down backs, wildcat quarterbacks, slot receivers, situational pass rushers, nickel corners, blocking tight ends, receiving tight ends, pass catching fullbacks, etc.  A nickel corner might get confused if you put him out there at field corner for a full game, but teach him Cover 3 and some man coverage techniques, and he might be okay.  Just ask the Packers.


March 23rd, 2011 at 10:31 PM ^

By the way, Cam Gordon wasn't very good in the spring game.  Of course, he got rave reviews (as everyone does) from practice "insiders" but he looked slow and out of his element at FS in the game itself.  Which is exactly how he looked for the first half of the 2010 season.


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

2 carries?  Even going into his whole career - 11 carries? 

Funny thing is that I am totally with you on Cox (pun not intentional, but once I wrote it, I sure as hell wasn't going to delete it).  I think that he should be explosive.  I just don't think that your stats support our position.


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

To me it's not just based on stats.  It's also based on what I see from Cox, as well as what I don't see from the other backs.  Cox breaks tackles that other players don't.  People complain about Shaw and Smith not breaking tackles, but there's a back on the roster who can do that, and who also happens to have a little wiggle and speed.

Also, those stats (2 carries for 31 yards against EMU) aren't the entire story.  But the above poster said that Jimmy Potempa could have done just as well.  And my point, he couldn't.  And I have stats to prove it.


March 23rd, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

I thought with the new positive attitude around they might give us a little something to be excited about , but I guess we'll just stick with the standard lines.  Continuous improvement. yada yada.

I vote for Fred Jackson to do the pressers. 

"This offense is looking dope.  I'm thinking New England 2008 but with a better run game, I could see us averaging 65-70pts a game."


March 23rd, 2011 at 3:49 PM ^

RR left the cupboards looking beautiful.  He has his most expensive china displayed perfectly.  Now if you break such china then yeah we got nothing.  Be careful with the china.  Actually we have the most depth we are ever going to have to have a spring game.  The only cupboard left bare is the Oline next year and possible the dline.

So let's get this striaght.  The fans want a full spring game.  The coach says he wants a spring game.  The coach starts practicing and then says we have no depth can't have a spring game.   This is way different than the last 20 years.


March 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 PM ^

I thought we were just talking bodies to play a game.  The defense is loaded up with "bodies".  You got me on talent.   I think we have talent it's just unproven except for Martin, but I can't defend my position.  You win the internet slap fight.


March 23rd, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

I'm definitely just reading too much into it, but I wonder if Devin has a really good shot at becoming starter. Hoke seems to mention both qb's all the time.


March 23rd, 2011 at 3:30 PM ^

Wasn't that exactly the way things were last season, right up to a few days before the first game?  Tate was in the dog house and it was a race between Devin and Denard.  Devin was the backup for Denard.  As we all know from last year, it will be hard to keep Denard off the field.  He adds an element with  his running abilities that no one else on the team (or in the B1G) can match.



March 23rd, 2011 at 9:05 PM ^

This is exactly how it was last year, but no QB was coming off a record-setting year like Denard is this offseason.  And while I agree that it will be hard, even impossible, to keep Denard off the field, I just wonder if there is more of a chance that he eventually ends up at a different position than the coaches are letting on.  Hope not, just wondering.  And like we said, we admit we are probably reading more into the comments than we need to.


March 23rd, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

I am trying not to read too much into his statements also.  However, after the initial "We will do everything to utilize his skills" speech that they had to say to keep Denard, now everything seems to be about both QBs.  I can't help but wonder if we are going to see more Gardner at QB than we originally thought.