[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.
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.”
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.”