Iowa Postgame Presser Transcript: Everyone Comment Count

Heiko November 6th, 2011 at 5:43 PM

(Presser audio for this transcript courtesy of The Michigan Daily. Thanks Tim.)

Brady Hoke

This file photo seems sad given the current context.

Opening remarks: “Well that’s why you play 60 minutes of football. I didn’t think we as a team played as well as we could and should throughout the game, but especially the first half. We have to do a better job of coaching, preparation, all those things. I’m proud of the kids, though. They kept swinging away. Kept coming and fighting. We had some opportunities to get the ball back a couple other times where we didn’t get it done defensively. Obviously when you get into the redzone you have to score touchdowns.”

Your last possession in the first half really seemed to swing things a little bit. “Well, we [were] trying to make a play and put the ball on the ground. That led to a field goal. And the interception down there going in. Ya know. That does swing. When you don’t have the ball and you don’t score.”

Did you get an explanation on the flag (pass interference) that got picked up? “One guy said it was, one guy said it wasn’t.”

When Denard forced the throw that led to an interception … “I don’t know if it was forced, to be honest with you. You’re talking about the one at the end of the first half?” Yeah. “He had a receiver.”

Was this was a game of missed opportunities for you beyond the two turnovers? “At times we rose up and played pretty good third- and fourth-down defense. Third-down stop there late was huge. We need to do a better job on that. I think they were 4 of 12 on third down conversions, which defensively is okay, but there’s always six to eight plays in a game that really are going to define when you’re playing a good football team and a team on the road, and you think back and there are six to eight plays that determines who executed and who didn’t.”

What went wrong on Coker’s last TD run when nobody even touched him? “Well they got to the edge and we were really trying to stack up the middle. It was a bear defense. Without seeing it, I have a feeling that the six probably got scooped out of his gap and then [Coker] got downhill pretty fast.”

How do you think you did against Coker as a whole? “He’s a good back, and I thought we put bodies on him. I think our guys did a pretty good job. I felt Mike Martin a ton, so until I look at it -- I’ll know a lot better.”

The missed extra point, when Dileo bobbled the snap … “He’s caught probably a thousand of them. It’s like anything else. It’s probability. It’s going to happen.”

Whose decision was it to keep Denard on the sideline? “Well it was really his hand's decision.”

What do you think of his play? “I think he played well. I think he keeps growing as a quarterback.”
Toussaint? “He got bruised up a bit, but that’s the kind of game it is.”

On that last drive, Denard was throwing a lot of jump balls. “What jump balls?” The longer routes. Seemed like he was throwing deep a lot. “Well on one we tried to run a rebel, and the rebel wasn’t open. The one-on-one coverage on the outside was.”

What did you think of your linebackers? “I could feel them. I felt them more the second half than the first. I think Kenny made some plays in there. I think Brennen Beyer played a lot of football. This is a good environment for a freshman to play.”

How did Brennen Beyer respond? “Good, I think. Again, until you look at tape, I’m not real sharp, so it’s hard for me to see it all.”

Did it looked to you like Hemingway caught the ball? “I didn’t have a great seat, but I know one guy in the back thought he did and the other guy thought he didn’t.”

Hemingway dropped a couple passes at the beginning but bounced back to make some good catches. “Yeah, Junior’s a prideful kid. I mean, these are all prideful kids. He didn’t try to drop any balls, I can tell you that. It’s good to see a guy who’s played a lot of football come back from adversity.”

What did you think of Jordan Kovacs today? “I like him. I mean, I like him. I think he did okay.”

You’re all about November. What do you tell your team after this loss? “It’s still November. We have a lot of games left. There’s a lot of football to be played, there’s a lot of things at stake, and number one, we have 24 seniors who are going to play their last three guaranteed football games at Michigan. We’re always going to coach for them, and we’re always going to play for them.”

That may have been Iowa’s best defensive performance in a while. Can you explain why they played better? “I can’t. I think everybody plays well when they play Michigan.”

Your offensive line took a step forward last week. How would you assess their play today? “Again, until I see the tape -- but I thought they did okay. I think Fitz had close to 70 [yards]. We’d like to have 170, but that didn’t happen. I think they did some good things, and I’m sure as we look at it, there’ll be some things they did real well and there’ll be some things we have to go back and fix.”

Do you think they played with more urgency in the fourth quarter or was it just better execution? “We went into 'NASCAR' -- we call it 'NASCAR.' I think that was pretty good for us. And we practice it a lot.”

Was it essentially just hurry-up? “Yeah, it’s different in two-minute, though. There’s a different dynamic to it.”

Are you surprised there was no pass interference call on the last play? “Were you?” Yes. “…”

Turnovers. Considering how much you emphasized it, how much does that hurt? “Well it always hurts. Turnovers always hurt. And that’s one thing that we’ve done a good job -- taking care of it and ball security. The thing we missed today though was we didn’t get any back. That’s where we have to revisit why and those kinds of things.”

What were some of the flaws in not being able to stop Coker or Vandenberg? “Flaws? We missed some tackles especially in that first drive. They hit the under route and the corner should have tackled him and it’s maybe a 20-yard gain. Instead it goes down the sideline and then we miss a tackle in the hole on a touchdown. I think the timing in their passing game, they did a nice job with the first-down throws and the max protection kind of things.”

Do you attribute any of this to being on the road? “No. I thought our guys loved it. I really do.”

Denard Robinson

from file

Hemingway’s catch? “Yeah he caught it, but the referee said he wasn’t in.”

Did you think he was in? “Of course I thought my teammate was in.”

What’s your takeaway from this game? “Oh man. What we did good was we kept fighting. No matter what, we just kept fighting, and that’s the biggest thing we’re going to take from this game, and learn from my mistakes.”

Did they do anything defensively to surprise you? “Oh no. We just started slow.”
Are you surprised there was no pass interference on the last play? “We can’t let the game [depend on] the officials. We have to do it ourselves.”

What happened when you left the game for injury? “I just got hit a hit to the elbow. That’s all.”

Do you feel like you missed a lot of opportunities today? “Yeah that’s the biggest thing. Turnovers was the biggest thing. Coach Hoke always tells us we have to keep the ball. Keep the ball. No turnovers.”

How much confidence does the defense give you, knowing that they can make a stop this year? “Oh yeah. The whole time the defense kept telling me they would make a stop and give us the opportunity to score, so that’s what happened.”

Was the plan on the last drive to take so many shots downfield or was it just what you were seeing? “It was just what I was seeing.”

Offensive line? “They played great. Hats off to them, and I love them.”

On that last drive -- you’ve been in that situation before. What was going through your head? Were you calm? “Oh yeah. Everybody was calm. We just knew we had to try and make some plays.”

On second to last play, did you think about running at all? “I thought Vince came open a little bit so I just gave him a chance to catch the ball.” Did you think you had a running lane? “I don’t know. I was just looking downfield.”

Kevin Koger

Just the good times.

Can you talk about the resolve you showed on that last drive? “Yeah. That’s expected. We play Michigan [football]. We’re supposed to fight back. That was a physical football team, so getting down … [it] would be tough to come back on them. But I mean it’s expected for us to fight back to the last second.”

Why were you struggling to move the ball for the first three quarters? “It’s just a testament to what Iowa was doing defensively. They don’t do a whole lot on defense, but what they do do, they do it well. They’re very gap sound, and I think we struggled with that a little bit.”

How costly were turnovers today? “Definitely. Definitely the fumble before halftime, they went down and got a field goal. That was a big turnover, but the defense did a great job of only holding them to a field goal, because they could have gone in and scored.”

Why did you leave the game? “Just banged up. I’m all right. I’m good. I’m still living.”

Where do you think this leaves you going forward in terms of the division and conferece? “We really can’t worry about that. You can’t tell the future. You never know what’s going to happen in the few weeks. All we can do is learn from this tape and get better every week. Whatever happens, happens.”

What was disappointing about this game? “Just the overall performance. I felt like we were ready this week, just like every other week. We came out, and we didn’t play how we could have or how we should have. It was just disappointing really the poor play we had.”

Can you point to anything specific? “Probably just taking care of the football. It’s hard -- I haven’t watched the film yet, so I’ll have a better idea of it on Monday -- but just taking of the football right now. But the defense played great, I thought.”

What did you think of the final drive? “We practice it all the time at practice, so it’s nothing new to us. So we were in our element.”

Did you think back to the 2009 game at all? “Before the game, but during the game you’re so caught up in your assignment and what the defense is doing that you don’t even have time to think about what happened two years ago.”

Did it feel like that in the final drive? “I mean, actually I wasn’t in two years ago, but it may have had a little bit of the same feel. A little bit.”

Were you watching the replays on the board? “I actually didn’t even see it. I mean, we thought he scored a touchdown, so we were getting ready for our two-point play. So it was kind of disappointing that they did call it out.”

What was Junior Hemingway say about it? “I didn’t hear him. I just read body language, and he was confident that he was in, but the refs made the right call.”

Mike Martin

From file, on right. 

You played a lot better in the second half. Was there an adjustment made? “No, not really. We knew this was going to be a physical game and it was going to be punch for punch on both sides of the ball. We had to make plays right back, so we just didn’t play as well as we needed to today.”

Why do you think you struggled in the first three quarters? “I don’t know. We just have to, on our side of the ball, execute better. I just comes down to the little things. Guys missing tackles that they were supposed to make. Not executing and being in certain gaps. That’s something that we’ll have to break down on film.”

What’s your impression of Coker? “He’s a tough runner. We were putting bodies on him and getting to the ball, and he made plays.”

You’ve seen your offense score on last-minute drives before. Was there any doubt that they wouldn’t make it in with four shots down at the goal line? “No. We didn’t have any doubt. I was standing next to Van Bergen, and he’s like, ‘Man, I believe in these guys,’ and I’m agreeing right with them. It’s in their hands at that point, and we have their backs, and what happened happened.”

You guys seemed to be pretty excited when you saw Hemingway’s catch on replay. Why do you think it ended up not being a touchdown? “That’s not for me to tell. The referee made the call he made, and we can’t control that.”

Did he look like he was in? “Yeah. Junior, he does a good job with making plays on the ball. He’s a good player and he always plays hard.”

Hoke talked about missed tackles and missed assignments. Was it disappointing since you thought you had fixed those problems? “You know, you have to give it to Iowa. They played hard today, and Coker ran hard today like he does. We just have to get better on our side of it. It’s about us tightening down on how we play and getting better.”

What’s the biggest thing you need to shore up? “I think we just need to work on getting more bodies to the ball and swarming around. That’s something that I don’t think we did as well today. We just have to get better.”

There were a lot of freshmen in there, especially early in the game. Did you need to calm them down a bit? “I don’t know if they were too amped up. They know we have confidence in them and we just don’t want them to have any doubt in their mind, and I don’t think they do. Those guys, they’re very talented, and whoever’s in there, there’s the expectation for the position. Whoever you are, a freshman, senior, or in between. Whoever’s out there has to play and make plays.”

Where does this leave you guys going forward? “We have three more games and that’s all we can worry about. There’s a lot more football to be played in this league, and we can’t tell the future, so we just know that we have the next game, Illinois, and that’s all we can think about.”

What will be the seniors’ message to the rest of the team after this game? “I’m going to say, ‘Pick your heads up, we have to bounce back, and there’s nothing to hang your head on. I know it hurts. It’s gonna hurt. It should hurt. But that’s in the past now, and tomorrow’s going to come and it’s not going to be Saturday anymore. The game’s over. We just have to worry about Illinois, and that’s the next opportunity that we have.’ ”

This defense is becoming known for producing turnovers. Why do you think you didn’t get any today? Do you think it might be because you didn’t get enough people to the ball? “That’s probably one of the reasons. I don’t really know. Like I said, you have to give it to Iowa. They played hard today. They played well, and they had good ball control. But yeah, we just have to get better on our side of it.”

Third-and-one stops? “We’re always trying to get the ball back to our offense. Whatever we can do on defense to get the ball back in their hands, get it back to Denard and those guys or whoever’s in there is our priority. Whatever we have to do to do that. … We stepped up. We knew what to do. We had to make a play. Period. We did a good job of doing that.”

Was there an emphasis on putting pressure on Vandenberg? It seemed like he had a lot of time to throw on first down. “Yeah. They were doing some things with their play-action stuff, and they were doing a good job with that, so we just needed to adjust a few things, and I think we did a better job with that the second half.”

Jordan Kovacs

From file, on left.

Were you limited in what you could do today due to your knee injury? “No.”

When did you find out you could actually play? “They were working me into the lineup all week. I could tell that they wanted me to play, and I felt like I could play.”

Did this feel like a typical physical Iowa offense? “Oh yeah. We knew what we were going to get. We knew it was going to be a smashmouth football game and it was going to be a dogfight, and that’s what we got.”

Did your knee feel okay? “It felt great.”

Do you think the secondary played well today? “Not well enough to win.”

What could have you done better? “I think we could have done a better job of containing the football and cupping the football and not giving up big plays. That’s something that we’re certainly going to work on. I think we can improve on third downs. That’s a time when we have to get ourselves off the field, and I don’t think we did a good enough job of getting ourselves off the field today.”

Something about opportunities. (Sorry, couldn’t hear the question.) “We didn’t cause any turnovers, I don’t think. They won the turnover battle, and that was the difference in the game.”

Was it a lack of energy or lack of execution? “Probably a little bit of both. I think it’s something that’s happened to us quite a few times this year, and it’s something that we certainly have got to improve on. That’s one thing that we’re going to take from this game.”

Why do you think the defense has been starting so slowly? “I’m not sure. I’m not sure. I don’t know if it’s because we get wide-eyed when we get out there, but it’s definitely a concern of ours and something we have to improve on.”

I know you say “the expectation is for the position,” but does it matter at all that you have so many young players? “No. I think that, like you said, Coach Hoke always says there’s expectations for the position, and I think those young guys have done a great job of coming in and stepping up, but at the same time they’re going to continue to improve every game, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Why do you think the turnovers never came today for the defense? “I think they did a good job of keeping themselves out of third and long. I don’t know that they ever really had it. There were a couple third and longs, but not as many as we’d like. We didn’t put ourselves in good position to make those plays. They did a good job of running the football and holding onto it.”

Did you have any doubt that you were going to head into overtime? “I was ready. I think the whole defense was ready. I thought for sure we were going to overtime, but it didn’t work out like that.”

Was the loss due to the fact that you were playing on the road and you maybe don’t play as well on the road? “I mean, certainly it’s a tough environment to play it. Those fans are crazy, but that’s something that we have to be able to overcome.”

Does this game remind you of the 2009 game? “I mean, it was similar, but we were a completely different team.”

Where does this leave you guys going forward? “We’re only focused on what we can control, and that’s these next three games starting with Illinois. It’s going to be the biggest game of the season so far. We’re looking forward to the game. We still have to watch film tomorrow, get in and improve. We’ll turn the page on the next three.”

Is it different next to Troy Woolfolk vs. Thomas Gordon? “I think Troy did a great job out there, and we did a good job of communicating. Obviously it’s different because it’s been a couple years since he’s been back there, but I think he did a great job today and we did a great job of communicating.”



November 6th, 2011 at 5:48 PM ^

From Denard's responses, he basically say's he is only looking downfield for passes, not even seeing that he has running lanes in front of him. He is being forced into becoming a passer, thus negating the most deadly part about him. I really don't like what Borges is doing to him.

Brown Bear

November 6th, 2011 at 9:11 PM ^

Never has. Spielman kept saying that Denard is most dangerous when scrambling and not on designed runs during the game(when he wasn't saying over and over and over again how Devin should never come in). I wanted to smash my tv when he kept saying this because Denards never been a scrambler and has made just about all his big runs on designed runs. What do these "analysts" watch in their prep?!


November 6th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

That was a stupid play to bring up the looking for a running lane question. There were what? 4 seconds left at that point, Denard had just run back 10 yards to avoid the blitzer. If he got tackled it would of been over. Instead he throws a catchable ball to Smith with enough time to run another play and gets second guessed in the presser. There were probably opportunities to pick up yards with his feet, particularly earlier in the drive when Iowa dropped everyone into coverage, but that play wasn't one of them.


Also interesting that Hoke and Denard basically said the long bombs were because the short routes weren't open and Denard went through his progressions to find the deep man open.


November 7th, 2011 at 10:51 AM ^

I agree - the throw to Smith is a bad example if you want to criticize Denard for not running. There may have been a lane, but it's not like he would have walked in untouched - there were bodies in the area and pusuit from behind. On 4th down? Maybe. But with 4 seconds left and no time outs, you have to throw, or you waste a chance at 4th down. And anyway, he threw a ball to a place only Smith could get it, and Smith dropped it. Good decision, bad result.


November 6th, 2011 at 8:06 PM ^

There's a reason he wasn't able to run against Iowa. It was the same reason he had so much time in the pocket. They werent rushing, they were holding the line of scrimmage for the most part so that they didnt over pursue. To be honest, the most successful Denard plays were the power sweeps out of the shotgun, which has nothing to do with his scrambling skills, they are just designed runs.

If the team is going to win games in November, then Denard has to establish some threat as a passer. If not, then he is basically worthless to us as a snap taker. There is a reason that the team has fallen apart at the end of the year and even our biggest wins all have to come from behind. 

Denard is basically the definition of the type of person that I want to recruit on my football team. He is athletic and humble and team dedicated, but to be successful we need him to throw the ball well and make reads, not just stare at one receiver each play.


November 6th, 2011 at 6:08 PM ^

Denard looks very very comfortable running NASCAR.  I suggest we work NASCAR in to the opening drives.  Don't save it for the end of the game!  MOAR NASCAR PLEZ!


November 6th, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

to show class in defeat, that says alot about this team. With Junior's touchdown negated and the pass interference ignored, I'm disappointed, not in UM, but in the referees.


November 6th, 2011 at 7:20 PM ^

One play resulted in a score the refs totally screwed up and ruled incomplete, a second hit V Smith in the hands and was dropped, and a third would have hit the slot receiver in stride if not for a blatant PI. Enough with the "run Denard" monday (sunday) morning quarterbacking. We had more downs than time ( and no time-outs), I have zero issues with calling up quick throws. Any unsuccessful run would have ended it, as opposed to taking 4 shots that someone would come up with a catch.


November 6th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

Bootleg, run/pass option.  See an open receiver, throw.  Think you can make the corner, run.  Can't do either, throw the ball out of the endzone or run out of bounds.


You can't possibly not know this.  At the very least, not rolling him out on 4th down is absurd.  He's the best player on the offense, and you literally took away his strength.  You're saying one of two things as a coach:  We don't think you're good enough to get 3 yards, or we're going to do it our way even if it costs us the game.

coastal blue

November 6th, 2011 at 10:24 PM ^

Have you seen Denard on rollouts this year? Not that great. 

And once again, if he decides to run and doesn't make it, that's the game. 

If we saved the timeout, I agree with you. But we didn't. 

You've completely lost sight of the fact that 3 of the plays worked and two of them were disallowed by officiating errors. 


November 7th, 2011 at 1:23 AM ^

Maybe you didn't hear, but none of the plays worked. 


First and goal at the 3, you need to score, and you're QB is Denard Robinson.  Ask anyone in the nation, fan, coach, commentator, analyst, what-have-you, they'll all say the same thing:  You're a fool not to let him use his legs.

coastal blue

November 7th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

But if you have this sight that you speak of, you would have noticed a TD that was not called and a PI that was PI not called. So really, two of the plays did work, but the officials took away their results. Of course you won't acknowledge this because it makes your post pointless.

And once again, Denard has not been good on rollouts this year, not to mention a rollout wastes more time than a simple shotgun snap.

And, once again, what if Denard had no one open and elected to run and got tackled?

I agree with your above post, I think we should have spiked it and ran three plays with a timeout, but given the scenario, Borges made good calls and Denard gave his guys three chances to score, two of which were stopped by terrible officiating.

Blue in Yarmouth

November 7th, 2011 at 8:00 AM ^

I don't have any issues with the play calling on the final few plays. Heck, I don't even have issues with the play calling in the final quarter at all. What I have issues with is the play calling up to that point. If Borges would just playcall to Denards stregths I think we could be undefeated this season. It is painful as a fan to know what Denard is capable of and watching him run plays that aren't suited to his skill set. I can't imagine how painful it is for him as a player. This is a guy who has the ability to be in the heisman hunt but because of playcalling his number paint him as a below avergae college QB. He already has more picks this year than all of last year. Just call the plays he runs effectively for pete sake!


November 8th, 2011 at 12:55 PM ^

+1 to this. It's pretty much exactly how I feel. That's not to say we'd have beaten MSU for certain, but calling plays more suited to Denard rather than certainly would have given us a better chance. I'm not sure whether Borges is stubborn as hell, or just clueless when it comes to how to use Denard, but it's frustrating to feel that it's our OC rather than our players holding us back on offense.


November 6th, 2011 at 6:35 PM ^

I haven't been on the site much since the game, but has anyone talked about clock management in the last drive?  When Roundtree was tackled in bounds (i'm okay with his efforts) but why not either spike the ball or have a set play to run, instead of calling a time out?  We were forced to limit our options to pass plays.  

Anyone else have any thoughts there?


November 6th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

i could live with the timeout before the punt to make sure we were ready for a fake.  if they faked and got the first, game over.  i would have liked to see them spike after roundtree's catch so that there was at least the possibility or threat of a run.  denard doesn't scramble, so that's sort of a nonissue, but we could have either run, called play action or designed role out if we had a timeout left.  having said that, we had a chance to win the game on 3 of the 4 plays that were run.


November 6th, 2011 at 7:32 PM ^

i could live with the timeout before the punt to make sure we were ready for a fake.  if they faked and got the first, game over.  i would have liked to see them spike after roundtree's catch so that there was at least the possibility or threat of a run.  denard doesn't scramble, so that's sort of a nonissue, but we could have either run, called play action or designed role out if we had a timeout left.  having said that, we had a chance to win the game on 3 of the 4 plays that were run.


November 6th, 2011 at 6:50 PM ^

Denard:  Did you think he was in? “Of I thought my teammate was in.”  This makes no sense to me.  Is this actually what he said, or is there a typo in there?  Sorry for the flamebait question, but thanks for any clarification!


November 6th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

No bitching, no complaining, no calling any teammates out. How anybody could not love this kid—or respect this young man—is beyond me.


November 6th, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

If one of the refs says it is pass interference, and one says it isn't, shouldn't that mean it is?  Doesn't that mean one saw it and one didn't? They each have a different angle, and they all know the rules, sooo.. how do you tell a guy he didn't see something?


November 6th, 2011 at 8:28 PM ^

I'm confident the team will come out with a similar fire that Iowa came out with yesterday. They deserved to have a chance at the 2-point conversion and a possible OT and probably know it. They played it smart publicly but I have a feeling Ron Zook and Illinois aren't going to know what hit them. Of course Illinois is going to be hungry too which should make for a great game.


November 6th, 2011 at 8:44 PM ^

I really thought running to the line and spiking the ball on 1st down from the 3, saving the time out, would have been a better option than the time out.  You lose one shot at the endzone, but you gain the option to run without the risk of running out of time, thus putting that much more pressure on the defense to cover each play.


November 6th, 2011 at 8:53 PM ^

I still dont understand why Thomas Gordon was benched considering the what he has brought to the table this season. I mean to be benched for a guy who was benched for a freshman is just mind boggling to me.


November 6th, 2011 at 9:19 PM ^

Clock management at the end was poor.  Not just the timeout from the 3, with the clock stopped, but throughout that drive, we took to long to get plays in and snap the ball, which is on both the players and the coaches.

Why not throw a couple easy fades to Koger or Hemingway at the end.  Hemingway does a great job of adjusting to the ball in the air.  It seems to me that Borges has had a rough time in big game situations.  Sometimes the easiest call is the right call.  On fourth down we knew it was the last play, why not roll the pocket.   You knew the refs were going to swallow their flags and Roundtree had struggled all day with the physicality of the game.

Denard is hurt, no doubt about it.  When my wife notices that he is not running at the same pace, and having trouble planting, cutting and changing direction (he slipped more than once) he is obviously hurt.

Time to move on... still can have a good season.




November 6th, 2011 at 10:15 PM ^

I don't recall when the two timeouts prior to the final set of downs from the 3 yard line were taken, but I would've liked a question about that..  If we'd had 2, we could run Denard and it might have opened things up.


November 6th, 2011 at 10:32 PM ^

Hoke:  "Well, it was really his hand's decision."

Denard: "I just got a hit to the elbow.  That 's all."

I like this a lot.  No use in telling the other teams exactly what part is injured, or how his throws might be affected.  


November 7th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

Love the interview - hope for more pre-game chats in future.