Monday Presser Transcript 10-17-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 17th, 2011 at 4:02 PM

[As goblue232 on the mgoboard already mentioned (which, thanks), this is the only presser this week since this is a bye week. Most of the coaching staff is out recruiting right now.]

News bullets and other important things:

  • Team will practice on Tuesday and Thursday of this week.
  • Michigan has submitted several plays to the Big Ten to review.
  • Hoke's staff is out recruiting this week. Hoke himself is not.
  • Denard has a back injury but will practice this week.
  • A missed assignment led to Denard getting sacked on the fourth-and-inches play. Hoke still likes the call.
  • Michigan passed a lot in the second half because Michigan State was stacking the box and there were lots of opportunities for big gains.
  • Hoke is a long way from replacing Denard with Devin.

Brady Hoke

Press conference

from file

Opening remarks: “Obviously we’re all disappointed with the outcome of the game from Saturday. We didn’t win, obviously, and we didn’t play well enough to win. That’s where it starts, and it starts with me doing a better job caoching this football team and our coaches doing a better job of coaching and preparing our guys. The one thing I can tell you is the kids stayed in there and fought in there and played in there, and I’m proud of how they did that. We just need to execute better. We need to tackle better from a defensive perspective, block better from an offensive perspective. When we have the 6-8 plays you have to execute to win, you have to be on the right side of those plays, and we didn’t get that done.”

Do you wish you would have called a running play on the fourth and one? “No. I liked the play. If we execute the play, Koger’s in the endzone. We don’t make a block that we need to make, and that’s part of it. That play’s been very successful for us. It’s a nice complement to the dive. We just didn’t execute it.”

Did you notice that they were jumping your snap count? “I think everyone has an idea of snap counts from guns, because there’s a mechanic that every team has. We have a silent count, and we have a double silent count. I don’t think that’s all the way correct.”

On fourth and one, they brought the corner blitz, which was giving Denard problems all day … “That’s part of their defense, bringing their corners especially when you get into two tight ends. A lot of people will do that to the weak side of it. Again, he was accounted for if we executed.”

(jump the after more)

Did you see the Gholston punch? “Yeah. I’m not going to react to it. I’m a football coach. I’m not a referee or a rules maker. That’s not for me to say. Did I see it? Yes. Does it happen in games? Yes. Is that sometimes part of the game? Yes.” Gholston came up to you after the game and thanked you for bringing Michigan back. Is that what he said? “I don’t know.” Do you feel like he should be suspended based on what he did to Denard? “That’s not up to me.” Did you send film to the Big Ten? “I’m sure they have the film if it was on TV.”

What’s the protocol for postgame handshake (re: the Jims), and has it ever been awkward for you? “I imagine. It’s part of what you do. I mean, it’s … protocol. It’s a big word for me. It’s just what you do. I’ve done it when we’ve won, and I’ve done it when we’ve gotten beat. And believe me, they’re all very emotional on both ends.”

What aspect of the game aside from execution disappointed you the most? “I don’t think we tackled worth a darn. I don’t think we played the perimeter of our defense worth a darn. I don’t think we took on blocks and got off blocks and had very good block protection. From an offensive standpoint, I don’t think, besides the first series of the game, I think our route running started to hurt us and we were breaking them off too soon, and I don’t think we engaged with an aggression at the line of scrimmage like we should.”

Were those two touchdowns on the edge an example of poor tackling? “I would say, yeah. You see a guy try to block a guy instead of tackle a guy and wrap your daggone arms and put your face through him like you’re supposed to tackle him.”

How do you solve that problem? “That’s a great question. Northwestern wanted to do it with the speed option a little bit and with the bubbles. This week, Tuesday and Thursday, I can assure you we can work on block protection and chop blocks and all those things and make an emphasis. At the same time, there were times where it was played decently, but I didn’t feel the flow from our inside.”

What’s this week’s schedule looking like? “Tuesday and Thursday. We’re going to practice and lift three days.” Do they have time to go home or anything? “No. They’re playing Division I college football.”

Does it hurt to hear Kovacs saying you were outtoughnessed? “The truth never hurts. It’s things that aren’t truthful that hurts. But they did, they outphysicaled us. They outplayed us. They outcoached us. And we had a chance to win the football game.” Does that make it easier? “No. Never makes it easier, believe me.”

What will the next six weeks say about the toughness level of this team? “I think that’s a great point. I was interested to see how we would react as a team in that environment going in because you don’t know until you go through it and see how we learn from it. I know one thing -- you can’t let one team beat you twice, you have to do a great job of pointing out the things that need to be corrected immediately and then focus on what’s next. We have five more guaranteed opportunities to play football. For our seniors, they have five more times to represent Michigan. That’s pretty significant.”

How do you solve the overload blitz? “You go back through the film, which is always helpful. We block the same blitz early in the game, and Fitz spurts for 17 -- something like that. We don’t block it later for one reason or another because they saw what they call the barrel 25 to 30 times Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week, but for some reason we don’t block it correctly, and then you have a problem.”

Has Blake Countess passed Troy Woolfolk on the depth chart? “Yeah, I don’t know if anybody passed anybody, but I do know there’s great competition there. I think that will make both those guys better players.”

Is Troy any healthier? Or does he need the bye week to rest up? “Well, I think he’s probably one of the guys who does. Rest him a little bit. During the off-week, we were going to go three times, but I thought a week and a half ago, you know what, I think we go two practices and give them some time to get a little rest and get away from us just a tad is always good.”

How is Denard healthwise? “He’s just beat up a little bit. I think it’s more his back than anything. But he’ll be fine. The rest will be good for him. We came out of the game pretty healthy, to be honest with you.”

You said you were outcoached. What do you think you did poorly? “Well I don’t think I prepared them well enough to go into a physical football game. You get punched in the mouth, you come back and punch back -- not literally -- come back and keep fighting. You don’t lose the composure and fundamentals and techniques. We talk about poise and composure a lot, and part of it is how you do your job. Are your eyes on the right key? Am I taking the right steps? All those things.”


from file

Hagerup’s punts? “Yeah, I thought Will, a couple times did a really good job in there. The biggest thing in a game when you have wind is the kicking game. The kicks have to change a little bit. It’s a mental thing. I thought he did a pretty nice job in there a couple times for sure.”

Will Devin get more snaps? “No. Denard is our quarterback. We’re six and one. A lot of that is because Denard is our quarterback.”

What do you say to critics and fans who want to yank Denard for Devin? “They have an opinion. Doesn’t carry much weight, but they have an opinion. We’re with [our players] every day.”

The Michigan State players said they were daring him to pass because they knew he couldn’t pass. “That’s not true. That’s a bogus statement, because he can throw. He’s proven it a couple different times this year, I believe. There’s a lot more than just Denard.”

When you put Devin in the game, is there a purpose to that? “There’s three plays that we like Devin to run. One was the touchdown that he had against Northwestern -- that boot. And there’s another boot in there that we really wanted him to be a part of besides the combination of them both in there.” Do you think putting Devin in messed with Denard’s rhythm? “I don’t think so. That would be similar to taking a defensive end out and rotating him. Both have fundamentals and techniques and things that they have to do when you look at schematically from a defensive standpoint.”

Do you feel like Denard’s passing has improved or regressed this season? “I think he’s fine. I don’t have a problem with him.”

Are you surprised you’re still dealing with fundamental things like tackling and blocking? “I think you always are. Am I surprised? I don’t think I’m surprised. Do I wish it was better? Yeah.”

Can you evaluate the trenches? “Well, inside, Will Heininger and Mike played some really good football for us. And their plan was not to attack the interior of the front. And they had a young center in there. I thought Mike and even Will Heininger, both of those guys, when you look at that tape and evaluate who did what, I thought both of those guys did pretty good.”

Did anybody submit any film to the Big Ten regarding personal fouls? “We always submit a few plays, yeah. But they already have all those, the ones that are called foul.”

Jack Miller has traveled with you the past few weeks. Will he play? “I hope not. He’s a guy, though, that has to be ready [at center].”

Denard’s back? “I think he got bruised.”

Have you moved forward yet? “I have not.” Is that because you don’t have another game to prepare for this week? “No. No and yes.” Partly because it’s Michigan State? “Yeah.”

Is it good to have a bye week? “I think it helps us get a little more healthy. You guys were asking about Woolfolk and Denard’s back and all that, it’s always good to get a little healthier.” Taylor Lewan? “Yeah. He’ll be all right. He’s a tough sucker.”

Can you talk about the decision to pass more than you ran? “Well I think we ran for a grand total of 82 yards, and I think part of that is they were stacking the box a little bit, and you have to try and hit some things. They played zero coverage on Roy Roundtree and he went for whatever that was for a touchdown on a slant. If we run a couple more slant routes maybe more pure or better, and we may have had another one.”

Perimeter defense -- how do you teach your players to get off cut blocks? “Well there’s different drills that you do, and you have to do it live enough. I know during fall camp, you always get a lot of that stuff in. And then as the season starts you get away from that a little bit because of the game plans and seeing the opponent’s plays. This will be a good week to get back to that.” Was it surprising that Michigan State played the perimeter so much? “No, the stretch play was one of their plays [and we knew] that going in. I think they blocked a couple plays a little differently where they bossed it before with the fullback on the safety depending on how many tight ends were in there, [or] getting him up on the linebacker and taking the U-back on the safety. Some of that stuff was a little different, but it’s still football. The back’s angle -- you have to react to it.”

Do you expect Denard to practice this week? “Sure.”

Marvin Robinson and Brandon Herron? “Marvin still has some lingering things, and Herron still isn’t where we want him to be.”

How’s Cam Gordon? “He’s much better than he was.”

Those mistakes that you were talking about -- are those things where you can just say once and it’s corrected or do you need a bye week to fix them? “There was some good teaching going on on the sideline and in the locker room at halftime. This will be maybe more of an emphasis.”

Is this a big recruiting week for you? “The guys are out, yeah.” What about you? “No, I won’t go out.”

What do you do Saturday? “I’m not going to tell you.”

Where did you go between the first and second quarter on Saturday? “Well that is really a personal question. I had to use the men’s room. And I’ve had to do it before. I drink a lot of coffee and a lot of water.” Instead of eating? “Correct.”

At what point would you think about making a quarterback switch? “I wouldn’t even speculate, because that’s a point that’s way out there.”


Bertello NC

October 17th, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

I think we are all finding out how far RR has put us behind the 8 ball. With a bunch of offensive players that just don't fit with what Hoke wants to do or with what it takes to win in the BIG 10. I'm not real real confident in Drob as of right now. Is he still learning? Yes I would say so. But I also think that he is very close to reaching his ceiling as a true passer. Our o line is a big problem. We can't run the ball very effectively, or the way Hoke and Borges want to, and probably won't for another year or two, and we can thank RR for that. Is devin the answer? I'm not sure. One thing is for sure tho.. UM has the #1 recruiting class in the nation coming in and 75% of it is on the defensive side of the ball. We have to be patient. Going into this year I was more worried about the offense than I was the defense and I was right. It's going to take a couple years before we see us lining it up and running the ball effectively again, that's just the way it is.. That's the way the cookie crumbled. Hoke and staff are doing what they do in terms of recruiting we just have to be patient. When we can run the ball, well be able to throw the ball with a better degree of success. It's the defense I'm excited about. Hoke is putting together a good defensive base. So the defense will keep getting better, we just have to be patient with the offense. GO BLUE!

Section 1

October 17th, 2011 at 5:47 PM ^

Joined: 09/13/2011
MGoPoints: 3
I think we are all finding out how far RR has put us behind the 8 ball. With a bunch of offensive players that just don't fit with what Hoke wants to do or with what it takes to win in the BIG 10. I'm not real real confident in Drob as of right now. Is he still learning? Yes I would say so. But I also think that he is very close to reaching his ceiling as a true passer. Our o line is a big problem. We can't run the ball very effectively, or the way Hoke and Borges want to, and probably won't for another year or two, and we can thank RR for that. 


I always said RR was doing a bad job recruiting for Brady Hoke's and Al Borges' offensive scheme.  He just never got it.

Well thank God that Brady Hoke recruited Devin Gardner!

Have a herpy derp day!


October 17th, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

God bless coach speak...but I dont recall Martin ever really making a difference at all. Even on passiing downs it didn't seem like got much of a push.

I'd say this season RVB has been far and away our best defensive player.

The cut blocking was really sad to watch..I still have visions of Woodley and Graham eating that kinda of block up and smoking the ball carrier.

Oh well I guess, time to move forward.

coastal blue

October 17th, 2011 at 9:48 PM ^

And say its Kovacs and by a fairly significant margin. He always seems to make at least one big play a game and has hardly put a foot wrong this season, unlike those times the last few where his lack of speed was on display. 

Little known fact: He was actually a walk-on who had to make the team twice. 


October 17th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

From my little football I have played and the ton of football I watch, the best thing to do is use your hands. They should be doing this anyways.  When the blocker trys to cut you, you use your hands to push him in the direction he is cutting then step around him. Basically like throwing him out of the way (engage and toss). Im sure someone like magnus knows a little mor than I do though.


October 17th, 2011 at 6:21 PM ^

Yeah you basically use the blockers momentum against them and allow them to eat the turf they are trying to spend so much time by.  Still difficult to deal with as you have the guy hanging out by your feet, but if you handle it right it's easy for the d-line to hold up the front and then let our linebackers go and.......Oh wait our linebackers rephrase allow Kovacs and Gordon to come up and clean up the play after they've gotten 5 to 6 yards downfield.


October 17th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

non-threatening questions. I'm guessing the team takes these two weeks and really regroups and comes out firing for the Purdue game. Bye-week comes at a great time for guys to get healthy for the rest of the B1G season. Outside of that I'm shocked that the question of who should be QB is actually getting tossed around. I know that Urban and Chris were all for it but the coaching staff knows (for the most part? 6-1?) what they're doing. Still a little surprised that they displayed the new looks during the Minnesota game - but I guess that's a coaching staff that favors the conservative side trying to see if something works before they actually need it.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 18th, 2011 at 8:01 AM ^

All I heard them say the whole game was why take DRob from behind center when he is your biggest threat? Urban said he didn't  mind him splitting out wide once in a while but commented that even that would screw with his rhythm. I just don't know where you get that Urban and Chris were fine with Devin taking Denards place. I never once heard them say that and I watched the entire game.


October 17th, 2011 at 4:31 PM ^

Simple question that has been on my mind...the last 2 days I keep reading about most exciting/puts the team on his back stuff from a lot of people.

I guess I wonder would it even come to this if he could actually hit a receiver in the #'s or in stride? It's almost like he puts us on his back because he misses guys or throws horrible passes that put us in this situation.

NW for example...go watch that game again the only reason were down and he has to be superman the 2nd half is because of some terrible decision making in the 1st half.

I guess I just wonder if we give him to much credit for what he does when in reality he causes his own problems at the start that forces him to have to be superman later on in the game.


October 17th, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

There are a lot of factors but, IMHO, Denard is still learning the system.  First, he's tightly wound, and he needs to get in a rythm before he can settle down.  Secondly, he's still learning the system, along with his receivers.  Also, when he's indecisive, he finds himself throwing off his back foot.  There was going to be a transition period for the offense to come together, it may take all year.  We're still ahead of schedule as far as expected wins/losses.  Some of this has to fall on the coaches and their ability to figure out how to help him be successfull.

Maize and Blue…

October 17th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

that Denard completed 45% of his passes in HS including 43.3% as a senior.  Last year's offense was built for him with quick routes and easy reads.  I'm not sure he ever gets it in this offense and there are many reasons for the statement. Roundtree is a premium slot, but average on the outside.  Junior can go up and get it and use his body, but he isn't going to just blow by people.  The loss of Stonum this year has really hurt because his speed would have helped stretch the field vertically.

I love Denard, but it is hard to run a West Coast O with a QB who struggles throwing the deep ball.  Throw in the amount of time it takes to learn the WC with the potential for disaster if QB and WR aren't on the same page and I think it is a poor choice of offensive style for a college to run.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 18th, 2011 at 8:11 AM ^

It is a poor choice for a college to run. It isn't a poor choice to have DR as the QB, but we are asking him to do something we shouldn't be asking him to do. I think it is time for Borges to draw up some shorter pass plays. Everyone knows DR can hit those with regularity and the the fact that we have only used them in maybe two games just boggles the mind. 

I have maintained from the start that I thought RR did what was best when he pushed the spread when he came in because we were going to have a tough year regardless with the pQB's we had. We may have had one or two more wins playing to their strengths but the rest of the players would have had to start from scratch the following year learning the spread. This way he had a bunch of players used to the system even if the QB's weren't. 

In this instance though, we have what most people think is the most exciting player in college football and not adjusting your system to fit him is a mistake. What we have seen so far is a system that is handcuffing DRob and making him look like nothing more than a mediocre player, and we all know that is not the case. This offensive staff needs to put their pride aside and do what is best for this team now, which means developing some plays that play to the strengths of the players we have.


October 18th, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

If you watch the game and you count the number of times Denard was rushed successfully - - I am not even talking about the times he was hit after throwing, or while he was trying to make the pass play - - you can easily see that without the protection he needs, he is going to be ineffective when he tries to pass.   And he is going to get gun-shy as the game progresses.  This is hardly a surprise:  We did that some to ND and it made Rees gun-shy.    Brady against the Lions in exhibition this year - - same thing.  So while Denard is not a Brady or a Chad Henne with his passing skills, he has a toughness and a cleverness to put the team on his back successfully - - IF he gets protection.  And I don't think all of that is just the players.  Some of the formations don't appear to allow for much protection.  And how about letting him out of that damn pocket more!?


October 18th, 2011 at 11:06 AM ^

since Saturday, dunno why it's so hard for people to accept. Give him a little more time Saturday and it's a different game. 

I get that he isn't a superlative downfield passer, but either people here have very short and selective memories or they are forgetting that there have been games where he excelled, including in the passing game. 

The very charge that this team (and the spread) breaks down when we get to B1G play points strongly to the O line, not Denard or the spread itself, which seems to work okay in the SEC.  

Edit: I do think it's probably hard to run two offenses at once, which is what--to a degree--we are doing. Not to mention complete changeovers on O and D this year; these kids are performing heroically, considering. Dantonio's days are number, and he knows it. That's why he has to instruct his kids to hurt ours. 


October 17th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^


Will Devin get more snaps? “No. Denard is our quarterback. We’re six and one. A lot of that is because Denard is our quarterback.”



October 17th, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

Can anyone explain how a silent count or double silent count works.  Is it as simple as when Denard signals to Molk with his arm that Molk then snaps and the double is we do this twice.


It seems real easy to time a snap count for the Linebackers to just start their blitz as soon as the QB makes this move.  


October 17th, 2011 at 6:01 PM ^

The snap in the shotgun is almost always a visible key - hand clap, raise the foot, point the hand to the ground.  You can vary it somewhat.  One time maybe it's one hand clap, the next time two. 

However, once the keys start the defense knows the snap is coming soon. 

The other item with this is that on the oline, the only person that knows when the ball is being snapped is the center.  The guards and tackle's aren't looking at Denard to see when he gives the key.  Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the guards and tackles are looking at the ball.

Promote RichRod

October 17th, 2011 at 4:40 PM ^

was when he said that subbing out the QB has the same effect rhythm-wise as rotating a DE out.

Wow, just wow.  He can't be serious, right?  There's no possible way he actually believes this.  Personally, I think the 2 QB stuff has got to go.  It's hard on both players.  Denard has a hard enough time finding a passing rhythm...and if you don't think splitting him out wide or benching him every few plays doesn't impact his ability to find some rhythm you are wrong.  Similarly, it forces Devin to come in during high pressure situations and be asked to run through passing progressions against a good defense with almost 0 prior experience.  Result?  Devin misses wide open receivers for touchdowns - and it's not his's on the coaches.  It's a stupid gameplan and should be shelved.


October 17th, 2011 at 4:43 PM ^

Does it have an effect, yes.  Is it appreciable, I don't know as far as Denard..  A lot of teams ran the wildcat a few years ago and it didn't seem like that big of a deal on the QB to step out for a play or two every couple of series.  


I think the bigger impact is on Devin who has to come in cold.  If he is asked to run ok, but if he has to throw it has to be difficult.  


October 17th, 2011 at 5:21 PM ^

To be honest, the rhythm stuff sounds like an ex-post rationalization or ex-post pattern recognition out of fundamentally random events.  There's a literature on "Is there a hot-hand in basketball" starting with a research paper of the same name.  The claim of the authors is that the notion of a hot hand is an artifact, though quickly googling the paper's name suggests that it might not be the slam dunk (pun intended) the authors suggest.    It might be an interesting research item (QB passing rhythm) for an undergrad interested in an empirical paper following the statistical techniques in the basketball literature.


Promote RichRod

October 17th, 2011 at 5:44 PM ^

but I don't think there is any doubt that rhythm is a factor.  Hell, even the coaches have said at numerous pressers that he sometimes takes a while to settle down and get into a rhythm.

If you want to completely disregard the mental aspect, taking him out for plays or having him play a different position at times hinders his experience and growth in the new system he is trying to learn.  You learn by doing, not sitting on the sidelines or acting as a jet sweep decoy.  Every play has the potential to be a learning experience for the QB, especially within a single game.  He might notice that the FS bites really hard on a pump fake, for instance.  He can come back to that later in the game and exploit that.  If he was sitting on the sidelines while Devin learned of the safety's tendencies, that bit of knowledge is lost.

Maybe a dumb example but it makes sense in the aggregate - you learn stuff better by playing the same position consistently and by noticing certain nuances in the defense's strategy.  A good QB/OC combo can then exploit this.  Take the MSU game for example.  Borges obviously set something up to get Hpkins crazy open over the middle on that one Devin passing play.  The problem?  Denard was in on the plays that set this play up.  Devin was unaware and didnt look for that read.  Missed opportunity.  Denard would have had a much better chance at knowing that Hopkins would be open for the TD.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 18th, 2011 at 8:18 AM ^

who has played many sports (and two at high levels) I can tell you that "having a hot hand" isn't a myth. Confidence plays a huge role in sports and when a player is "feeling it" they often perform at a higher level than they typically would. Sometimes you are junt "on" and nothing can stop you when you get in that sort of zone, but other times you find yourself lacking in confidence and passing up shots you would normally take because you just don't have that feeling. I can tell you it plays a big part in high level sports.