Bye Week Presser Transcript 9-25-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 25th, 2012 at 7:02 PM

News bullets and other important items:

  • Devin is "fine" (as reported from teleconference) and unlikely to be limited in practice.
  • Marvin Robinson did not make the trip due to an injury, but he should be back.
  • Hoke really dislikes injury reports because it helps gamblers. Shame on you, Jamie.

Brady Hoke


Opening statement:

“Are you ready?”


“You’re the only one who answers.”

I’m ready, coach.

“All right. Good. Um, you know, we’re obviously moving forward. I think we’ll move forward pretty well as a team. The kids, I thought they played hard and all that. We talked about that the other night. We’ve got to execute a little better on a lot of things. You know, there’s enough in there. We had some missed assignments that we can’t have on both sides of the ball for us to be as effective as we want. I thought up front both sides of the ball, we played better. I think there’s more in there that we’ll get out of them. We went back to basics and the fundamentals which we always do in a bye week because the times you lose a little bit of your individual technique work as the season progresses because you do so much together. That being said, I liked the attitude of our football team. We start the Big Ten season, and the expectation is always to win the Big Ten championship. I like how our kids -- where they’re at mentally.”

You said earlier that Gardner is okay. Were there any anxious moments when he went down?

“Uh, you know, you can’t afford to lose anybody. We’ve got a couple of our scout defensive linemen who’ve got some bumps and bruises that we missed during practice. You can’t afford at this point to miss anybody.”

Will Devin be limited in any way in practice?

“I don’t think so. Devin is in always pretty mentally tough, you know. I think he likes where he’s going to with that being a wideout.”

What will you focus on during the bye week?

“Well you know, like I said, a lot of it is getting back fundamentals, technique, playing both sides, and I’m so ingrained in the fronts because of my background, but from footwork to hands to getting off blocks to finishing blocks to combinations and those things, from a run game standpoint, making sure we’re doing a nice job with the footwork and all that kind of stuff.”

It looked like you improved in the fronts last Saturday. Were there positives to take away from last game?

“Is that a trick question? But no. There’s some things that obviously we did well. And I think our defense obviously gave us a chance. I think guys played really hard if you watched the tape. There’s white jerseys getting to the ball. That’s a sign a little bit that we’re playing a little faster. I thought in the back end, I thought Thomas Gordon and Kovacs both did a nice job, and Ray Taylor, who’s getting better every day he goes out. I thought the two -- the four linebackers all did a pretty nice job out there.”

Denard apologized after the game for his performance. How did you approach him after the game?

“Well I think you deal with it like you deal with anybody. I think you make sure he understands that we took 69 guys to the game. We’ve got a 115 on this football team. We’re all responsible -- coaches, players, everybody.”

How concerned are you with his turnovers going forward?

“Well we don’t want to turn the ball over. I think that’s pretty obvious, but I think he’s smart enough. He’s competitive enough that he’ll take a lot out of this game.”

Was there a theme to his interceptions?

“No. Not really.”

Did Notre Dame do anything to disguise their coverage or confuse him?

“No. Not really.”

Are you at all disappointed that the series is going to take a long break?

“Well, they’ve got to do what’s right for Notre Dame … obviously we enjoy and cherish the rivalry because there’s so much history there. But we’ll move forward.”

Does this open up an opportunity for other prime-time opponents?

“Well I think when you’re Michigan and that ability is there because you’re Michigan, I think that will probably open up some different scheduling.”

You brought Kovacs down in the box a lot. What does that get you guys?

“Well they were playing a lot of three tight ends, two tight end alignments so you’re not spread as much. It’s just another guy in the box.”

What are your chances of winning the Big Ten championship compared with a month ago?

“I think nothing’s changed.”

Do you like your chances?

“I like our team.”

Aside from turnovers, what would be the biggest thing you want to see different and corrected?

“I think we still, from a defensive standpoint, would like to tackle better. We missed a couple in the hole. I think when we are in position to make a play, you have to make a play. I think offensively, obviously, and you said it, taking care of the football is a big part of it. Defensively we want to keep generating opportunities for our offense by getting the ball back. I think the running game is something that -- with the quarterback or the tailback -- is something that we need to keep striving to get better at.”

Do you have guys that you give off this week because of bumps and bruises?

“Not really. They’ll all do a certain amount of stuff. The thing you don’t want to lose is your timing. Saturday we were playing fast. And we’ve got to keep that up, so we’ll go again on Thursday. They’ll have tomorrow off. We’ll go in Friday morning, and that will give them Saturday off and we’ll come back Sunday. We’ll do some competition stuff against each other, ones on ones, which in the past it’s been a good way of keeping the speed of the game you want to play with.”

Marvin Robinson didn’t make the trip because of an injury. What was his issue? And will he be out for a while?

“No he shouldn’t be, but he got banged up a little bit on really the last game and practiced with it and then on Wednesday he just couldn’t go.”

Do you see an opportunity for some guys to prove themselves over the bye?

“Yeah I mean we’ll evaluate and we’ll have some stuff where the young guys are getting a few more snaps.”

Fitz ran well in the second half. Was that more him or was that the offensive line?

“I think it’s a combination of both. I think both of them, there was some movement, and I think he was more decisive. It was more vertical, which is something that I think he’s at his best when he is more vertical.”

What’s your opinion on mandated injury reports?

“I don’t know. Are you trying to help the gamblers?”

No. I’m not.

“Well that’s basically nobody’s business but ours.”

As a defense, you’re on track for only 10 sacks. How important is it to get more pressure?

“Well you can do it a couple different ways. If you feel good enough about man coverage, you can bring more people. If you don’t feel good enough about man coverage, then you want to do it with a four-man rush, and maybe even a three-man rush and make them hold the ball a little longer. We’ve got to generate a little more pass rush. I think we’ll do that. But you have to pick and choose.”

You don’t pick your bye, but do you like the timing of it?

“You know, I don’t know if you can ever say this is a good time or a bad time. You don’t know until you really go through your season. I think for the first four, and then getting ready for Big Ten, it might be okay, but I think that really depends on how healthy you are.”

In the first four games, What are some of the bright spots on your team? Would Dennis Norfleet be one of them?

“I think Dennis is doing a nice job in the return game. He’s not afraid and he’s got pretty good vision. He’s got a pretty good burst. Quinton Washington is a guy who’s really improved and really helping our defense. I think Taylor’s played well. I think Taylor should, and that’s expected. There’s all kinds of guys playing hard. Now we have to play better, but I think they’re playing hard.”

Have you talked to Denard about his interceptions?

“Believe me, he’s had a conversation with his coach.”

What do you say to him?


That’s it?

“What else are you going to say?”

I don’t know.


Do you have to be careful not to pound a kid in that situation?

“We try not to pound any kid to be honest with you. But seriously. They’re 18-23. They’re competing and if they didn’t practice well or they didn’t come to practice well and they didn’t have energy and enthusiasm, I’d feel differently, but I like the growth we’re making.”

Is there a position group that you’d like to see move forward this week?

“It’s so boring because I’d say the defensive front and the offensive front, but specifically ...”

What specifically do you want to see?

“I think you know, a little more physical on the line of scrimmage on both ends, and getting off blocks better defensively. I think we’re doing a decent job point-of-attack-wise, but then that next progression is getting off the block. We need to do a better job of that.”



September 25th, 2012 at 7:29 PM ^

What an informative guy. At least we can rest easy knowing Gardner is injury-free. Also, making it through the nonconference schedule with our offensive line intact is a relief.

Indiana Blue

September 25th, 2012 at 7:31 PM ^

he will never throw a player under the bus.  He knows they have a very good chance to be at Lucas Oil for the B1G Championship game, and that all starts anew on October 6th.

BTW  -  purwho rarely sells out.  You can get tickets directly through their ticket office for 1/2 the price of M's website.  Southwest end zone ($25) is a place for a lot of M fans.  Make the trip and support team 133.

Go Blue!

Indiana Blue

September 25th, 2012 at 9:34 PM ^

if you lived in Indiana and had to deal daily with the purdue and nd football fans - you would understand (IU just doesn't give a shit about football).  

Ever been to a game in West Lafayette ?  Get ready to be harassed by fans of a school that has 0 national championships (that is football and basketball) and yet will tell you to your face that your school sucks (I went to every away game last year and was never treated rudely, even sparty students were nice).  I go to cheer the maize and blue ....  Easy place to get seats with a good view of the field.  Plus that SW section does have a lot of M fans.  This will be at least my 5th U of M game there.

Go Blue!


September 25th, 2012 at 7:58 PM ^

game strategists. Because this guy stacks up as a good person to be around our kids: 

“We try not to pound any kid to be honest with you. But seriously. They’re 18-23. They’re competing and if they didn’t practice well or they didn’t come to practice well and they didn’t have energy and enthusiasm, I’d feel differently, but I like the growth we’re making.”

Blue in Seattle

September 26th, 2012 at 11:59 AM ^

I don't think you've watched a lot of football if you truly haven't experienced other players like Denard.  Desmond Howard was a very fast and quick athlete, probably can't throw the ball either, but then no one tried to make him a quarterback either.  When he got to the NFL, too short to be a receiver, but was an exceptional return man, getting MVP for the SuperBowl while at Green Bay for returning I believe two TDs in that game.

Woodson quickness and athleticism I would say is clearly on par with Denards, but again, Woodson knew that for his body, he needed to change from High School running back to corner to really excel at the next level.

And finally there is Wheatley.  Someone who ran track like Denard, is as fast as Denard, but was bigger, and therefore could be a running back.

All of those players had great attitudes and were great players on and off the field, and there are plenty more examples.

I'm not saying that Denard isn't a great player, but he's just one of many great players in a great tradition.  The longer you experience Michigan football, the better chance you will have in understanding that.




September 26th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

Michigan has never had a player like Denard... And they may never again. I think it's fair to compare him to Michigan greats like you have... But Michigan has never had a player like him. I don't really think the NCAA has had a player like him. He is unique. He ran for over 1700 yards in 2010... people say he's not a QB, but he is. Saying he can't throw the ball is ridiculous. Not a dynamic passer but serviceable. He had a god awful game last saturday... fair enough. But I have never seen any individual player be as successful as he has with less talent then he has had the past 3 years. Howard, Woodsen and Wheatley all played on good to great teams... The past Michigan teams just do not have the same talent.... Just look at the NFL draft. Am I saying the other kids have less talent? Absolutely not. I think Charles Woodsen is far and away the best and most dominant player to play at Michigan. But saying someone has not watched a lot of football because they alledge Denard is one of a kind is unfair. Ive been going to games since I was 7 and have never seen anyone who can do what he does. He is truly unique and I dont think people will appreciate him until he is gone. 


September 26th, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

As one of the all time great players in college football, you're setting yourself up for the let down when he performs as only a really, really good college football player. Barring him doing everything to 9 straight wins, he's not going to win the Heisman, so to say there's never been a player like him in college football is kinda overstating it. Vince Young, Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Pat White...there just recently have been a number of great running quarterbacks, and that's not even going back through history like the Tommy Fraziers.  Saying  he reminds you of them is honor enough. He doesn't need to be put on a pedestal over them.

Frankly, the Michigan player he reminds me most of is Steve Breaston.  Breaston could play some QB at high school, but due to the system he went in was a return guy and wide receiver.  Denard has played QB for 4 years, and has gotten better, but I don't doubt he could have player other positions, or other athletes couldn't learn to throw as well as he does with that many reps.

He's a great player, but to be one of the all time greats, he's going to have to do more and make less mistakes. Luckily, there's a lot of season left to be played.


September 25th, 2012 at 8:09 PM ^

hey sorry is anyone else's background behind the writing blue now instead of white?

Ummmm, Hoke Uberalles or something just so I can type something relevant to topic. Kind of a weird thing that "gamblers" come up in a press conference. Uh, yes Mr. Hoke, if you could just email me that full injury report at least 20 minutes prior to kickoff I'd appreciate it kthnxbai.

Blue boy johnson

September 25th, 2012 at 9:06 PM ^

When Hoke mentioned the 4 linebackers playing well, I figure he is talking about: Demens, Morgan, Ross, and Bolden.
Is M playing a 5-2 defense, with Jake Ryan a DE/LB hybrid. If so, is Hoke doing so to accommodate Ryan's skill set, or is this what to expect from that position going forward?


September 25th, 2012 at 9:13 PM ^

I think this is the defense.  Cam plays a similar role when he's in, and I've heard and read a few places that this is what Mattison likes to do.  Plus, the 4-3 under is a defense that is kind of like a 3-4, but at the same time kind of like a 5-2, since the two outside guys are often either both LB-ish (3-4) or both DE-ish (5-2).  


September 25th, 2012 at 10:24 PM ^

i wish somebody would have asked him why he didnt put bellomy in for the 2nd half.  that is what a backup qb is there for, when the starter gets injured or is playing poorly.  any other college coach would have put their backup qb in, in fact rees went in after golson was int twice.  Im not saying i think we would have won if he would have put bellomy in, but i do wonder why he didnt and what he would have said if asked that question.


September 25th, 2012 at 11:09 PM ^

What makes anyone have confidence in Bellomy, at ND, in prime time?

He has a 50% interception rate going, a 0.00% completion rate and -100 QB efficieny rating.  He's in his fourth game as a backup and he's backing up a guy that has pulled the ND game out of his butt for two consecutive games.  Rees comparison doesn't fit at all. Rees is a former starter who has a proven track record.

So explain to me the positives of putting Bellomy in there in a close game again?


September 26th, 2012 at 1:28 AM ^

Even if you think Bellomy will start next year (and I think he will, though I doubt if Shane redshirts. He might pass Bellomy by mid year), you don't expect him to pull us out of an offensive funk in prime time as an RS Frosh who was recruited for depth, not to be the next star. Shoot, even if he WAS recruited to be the next star, that's not the time. Maybe if it got to be a laugher, you can put him in for garbage snaps, but nobody was taking their starters out.

Remember a few years ago when Colt McCoy went out, Texas inserted Freshman Garret Gilbert, and he made a couple neat plays, but basically barfed up a humiliating performance? Yeah, that, except worse, cause Bellomy doesn't have Gilbert's arm or athleticism. (Notwithstanding that Gilbert ended up being a total flop. I think his failure in that first game fried his nerves anyway.)


September 26th, 2012 at 4:19 PM ^

I wish somebody would ask a real question like:  Coach, are there any plans to ditch all of the play action pass plays from under center since it's stupid?