Monday Presser Transcript 11-11-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 11th, 2013 at 2:02 PM


  • pew pew.


"Peace for our time."

Opening remarks:

“Obviously very disappointed. We all are. After the outcome of Saturday’s game, we need to make sure we’re finishing and doing all the things we need to do. As a coaching staff, that’s always where it starts. It starts with me. We have to do a great job of repping the things we’re going to see, which we have been. We do a great job of the details, the fine things you want to makes ure you go over. And as a team, we have to make sure we understand each and every plan. We started this thing in January with this football team. In June we inhereited the freshmen guys. Their work ethic has been exceptional. We have to translate that we do well in practice on the field, and we will do that.”

How difficult is it to plan for and execute an offense when the offensive line is struggling?

“Everyone’s going to point to the offensive line, but really it’s all of us. It’s not just them. It’s not fair. It’s never one guy, one thing, in anything in life, unless you’re golfing. I guess that would be you. In a team sport, it’s not that way. All 11 parts have to be working in the same direction. Offensively, defensively, and then you could say all 115 parts that are on this football team … it’s all of us. This has always been a ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘ours’ football program.”

Can you talk about these next three games are a test of this team’s pride and passion?

“Well, there’s no doubt that there’s some adversity. We had some a week ago, and I like how our team responded. I like how those guys got after it. We had a very good week of preparation, week of practice. Again, that adversity has hit us. We will grind and we will work. There’s no solutions that won’t take hard work. Part of that is every day what we do in preparing.”

You mentioned after the game that you need to coach better. What will you do differently?

“I don’t know how many specific different things. I am pretty involved in a lot of things, from special teams to Al and I meet twice a week, talk about the plan. Maybe I didn’t handle Tuesday’s meeting as well as I could with the kids. Maybe I didn’t give them enough information. Maybe there was not enough motivation. Whatever it might be. That’s not a great answer, but it’s what it is.”

Speaking of the motivation, do you think you have a confidence crisis offensively? How do you get it back?

“I think you do a couple things. Number one: you have to take the things that you haven’t done very well, whatever it might be. Any position. It could be anywhere. We’ve got to constructively teach and use those teaching moments. You also have to show them the things they’ve done well. It’s usually similar in both cases. It may be oversetting, it may be my visual key, my eyes not being where they need to be. You’ve got to look at the negatives, and you’ve got to finish with the positives, because they know they can do it.”

Do you have to look at short term changes and adjustments that aren’t necessarily part of the long term plan?

“I think you always look at things that way as you study an opponent, as you formulate game plans. I think that’s part of it. Always will. The other day we went from spread to jet read to two backs in the backfield, two tight ends and a fullback. We hit all the buttons. When you have negative plays, though, your rhythm and everything that you want to do offensively … Coming out of halftime, we moved down the field and score a touchdown. Well, you had a rhythm. The negative plays weren’t there. We get a first down in a critical part of the game, and we miss a snap. Those things happen. Then you’re working in negatives. I think we were three of 13 on third down. They were six of 16. Negative plays on third down start on first and second down. Do you look at everythign? Yeah. You always look at personnel. You always go back to evaluate. You always look at did I work well enough on this scheme? I’ll take it individually because I’m a defensive line coach. Power scoops. Did I work enough on power scoops where Willie Henry and Ryan Glasgow can play the way they’re capable of playing?”

You talked about third downs being tied to what you do on first and second down. In hindsight, it seemed like you ran a lot of off tackle plays that didn’t work.

“I can’t tell you how many first downs we ran or not. I think sometimes we assume that. I can’t tell you that. Obviously we felt we could run the ball or we wouldn’t have called the play. I mean, I think that’s where it starts. Some of those plays are check plays depending on what you get defensively, what looks.”

MGoQuestion: You mentioned you threw out a lot of formations and hit all the buttons on offense. One of Nebraska’s players said they knew what you were going to do. Why do you think that is?

“Yeah. I don’t know if that was exactly the quote, but we know what other guys are doing, too. We knew when they were in pistol with two tight ends, and we got negative plays. Everybody has that. Everyone has -- there’s certain things people are going to do certain ways. Now, when you win a football game I think sometimes it’s easy to say that.”

MGoFollowup: Have you noticed that increase the last couple of games?

“No. Not at all. We change formations and we change personnel on the same play every week.”

With the Big Ten title always being such a deal, what do you play for with these guys?

“Well number one you’re a competitor. You want to go out and fight. We always play for our seniors and we’re always going to work hard for those guys. This group is a group that’s been through some struggles and they’re very important to all of us. The other thing is you have a chance to win 10 football games. That opportunity is always out there. That’s always been a benchmark.”

Did Blake Countess get hurt?

“Early. He was out some time after the first quarter. He should be [okay].”

On their 4th and 2, were your corners supposed to be so far off the line of scrimmage? Was it a lack of confidence they were giving the receivers so much of a cushion?

“I don’t know if it’s confidence. How about experience? I think that’s something throughout our team guys are learning for the first time.”

Did a safety need to tell them to move up?

“They could. They could. I think that’s tough. In hindsight, I should have called time out.”



"In war we're tough and able / quite indefatigable."

What can you do to help Fitz out in pass protection? Do you take him out of the game?

“Yeah, it’s not lack of effort, it’s not lack of toughness with Fitz. You all know that from what he came back from. Again, it’s something we need to do a better job with. We have to coach it. There may be points we may not be doing a good job with. Your base, your knee bend, eyes on, hand inside, all those things. He’s a good screen runner. He does a good job. Do you want to take him out because of all the other good things he does? No, not really.”

Can you look ahead to Northwestern? What jumps out?

“Well, you look at how they’ve played this year, and the games they lost, they’ve lost some heartbreakers. I think from their defense, they’re opportunistic. Tyler Scott is one of the better down guys in this league. From an offensive perspective, you have to be ready to play two quarterbacks. Some of that, the offensive scheme itself is pretty the same, but they both have different gifts in what they can do.”

The suggestion from the Nebraks player’s quote is that the offense is predictable.


What’s your response?

“He’s wrong. I mean, you could say that about a lot of teams. So.”

Do you still like the play calling after you looked at the film?

“Yeah. There’s not even a question about it.”

So is it the offense not executing? Is it what the defense is doing to you?

“I think it’s both a little bit. You have to give them credit. They’re a good football team. We have to do a good job, too.”

You said it’s not all on the offensive line. A lot of it looks like it is.
“You can pick and choose. It’s everybody who’s involved.”

Devin doesn’t look like he’s moving as quickly as he was at the beginning of the season.

“He’s healthy.”

Why do you think he’s holding onto the ball for so long?

“Uh, I think sometimes when things go a little chaotic and [he’s] trying to make too many big plays.”

What do you like about the rotation you have at WILL and MIKE?

“I think it’s worked out pretty well. I think it’s kept them fresh, it’s kept them healthy. I think all of them have earned that right to play. So I think with three of those guys … I think Ben Gedeon is another guy that gets better daily. You like some of the things he does.”

What do you like about Desmond Morgan that allows you to play him at both?

“He’s a smart football player with I don’t know how many games of experience. He’s one of those guys that can fit both. He runs well enough to be the covered up guy at WILL and stout enough and strong enough and tough enough to play MIKE.”

MGoQuestion: Coach Borges says he uses the bye week to do a lot of self-scouting. Is that possible to do without a bye week?

“Oh yeah. They do that really every week. They’re going to look -- we’re going to look defensively, they’re going to look offensively and see maybe what things that may be tendencies or trends formationally.”

MGoFollowup: Have you been able to identify anything fundamentally about this offense that’s an issue?

“No. No. I don’t think so. Fundamentals, yes. That’s what I thought you were talking about. Techniques and fundamentals, yeah.”

MGo: I meant --

“No, I got ya.”

MGo: So no issues.


Are you disappointed in the young players and the offensive line in not being able to progress?

“I think any freshman, number one, they’ve -- it’s a grind. They’ve been here since June. It’s a grind. They haven’t been home. It’s a grind. For the guys that have been there that have redshirted, they understand a little bit, but it’s a different thing redshirting and looking on cards and all of a sudden, man you’re out there. From that standpoint, are you disappointed? I think you’d be lying if you said you’re not because of what you see they can do. And when they do it right, it speaks so right to them being able to do it right.”

Are you disappointed in the fans that booed?

“Yeah. If they’re booing the kids, then yeah. They can boo us coaches all they want. Look, I’ve got a harder time at home than I do there. Believe me. I mean, my daughter and wife, man. You guys are easy compared to them.”

Does it get to a point where you can’t or shouldn’t run play action from certain sets?

“Certain sets, maybe. I think you’re right.”

Do defenses copy what other defenses do against you?

“Yeah. A bunch. I mean, that happens. I think you all look at -- and I shouldn’t speak for every other coach in America -- we all look at who defended somebody well or offensively what gave this defense problems. You’ll get some copy cat looks.”

Do you think that’s why they blitzed more?

“It could have, but they’re the same blitzes that they had done before and we had repped and repped and repped.”

The rest of the roundtable segment harped one the same stuff over and over again, so I’m not going to transcribe it (sorry other writers who need the quotes). I bet most of you stopped reading by now anyway.



November 11th, 2013 at 2:13 PM ^

Didn't read it yet, but here are my predictions.

"I liked the playcalling, we didn't execute well"

"I need to coach better"


I'll update after I read it.


Do you still like the play calling after you looked at the film? “Yeah. There’s not even a question about it.”

I'll assume that Hoke is just doing this so as to not publicly throw Borges under the bus.  He has to know that our offense is a liability, and you can't rest the entire game on your defense's shoulders.

Hoke should really say something like "Well, Al and I used to meet twice a week but I will be spending more time with him developing the gameplan this week" even if just to placate us fans.  I fear this may be Hoke's downfall -- he's a defensive guy, I get that, I don't mind it, but you can't be totally clueless and uninvolved in your team's offense.  The same thing got Rich Rod fired (clueless and uninvolved in defense).

Two Hearted Ale

November 11th, 2013 at 2:32 PM ^

The answers only matter if the questions are coming from Dave Brandon. I'm guessing the real answers are significantly different.

Brady Hoke has never thrown a player or coach under the bus and I don't expect that to change now. That is part of the "family atmosphere" that recruits are always talking about. We'll see what happens after the season. I expect staff changes and a public "thanks for everything".


November 11th, 2013 at 2:09 PM ^

Just wondering if the mood was as tense when this exchange went on as it appears on face value in reading it.

MGoQuestion: Coach Borges says he uses the bye week to do a lot of self-scouting. Is that possible to do without a bye week?

“Oh yeah. They do that really every week. They’re going to look -- we’re going to look defensively, they’re going to look offensively and see maybe what things that may be tendencies or trends formationally.”

MGoFollowup: Have you been able to identify anything fundamentally about this offense that’s an issue?

“No. No. I don’t think so. Fundamentals, yes. That’s what I thought you were talking about. Techniques and fundamentals, yeah.”

MGo: I meant --

“No, I got ya.”

MGo: So no issues.






November 11th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

I know he's keeping things close to the vest, but he just can't keep saying that he likes the playcalling.  If he doesn't make a change on offense (need a new OC, OL coach and Rb coach) it will be Hoke getting fired next season.

Brown Bear

November 11th, 2013 at 2:17 PM ^

Show me a coach who in a press conference mid season slams the play calling by one of his coordinators. I'm not saying it has never happened but it is not something that is done. That's handled behind closed doors and isn't going to be thrown out at a press conference just to appease the fans and cause more controversy when the media grabs a hold of a quote like that and runs with it.


November 11th, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

I guess he isn't accountable for anything then.  Everyone is taking this delegating CEO type coach stuff too far.  He decides our philosophy and he meet with Al Borges twice a week.  I believe he can tell him to get more creative with the play calling.If he can't then he should be fired tomorrow.

State Street

November 11th, 2013 at 9:05 PM ^

Contrary to popular belief, the media is the program's microphone to the public.  Everything Hoke says to the media is amplified.  Look at the articles coming out of MSM this week, from Wojo and Chengelis and even here on the blog from Brian.  All negative.  All containing baffling quotes from Hoke.

Hoke saying ridiculous shit is bad PR.  There's a way to "defend your staff" without sounding like a pompous asshole.  


November 11th, 2013 at 2:43 PM ^

I don't expect him to come out, sigh, and say "Hoo-boy! Borges sure stunk that one up, particularly after the turnover! What was he thinking?"

But it wouldn't be beyond "coach-speak" to say something like "Well, I liked the plan going in, but based on the results, the play calling is not getting it done. It will be up to me and Al and the rest of the offensive coaches to change that, to make sure the team has the best chance of success."

See? I've said nothing beyond actually recognizing that the play-calling needs to be improved, which is so obvious, you wouldn't think it would be "throwing someone under the bus" to be said out loud. 

Instead we get that Hoke "likes" the playcalling and that "there's not even a question about it." That just makes him seem out of touch / delusional, after two of literally the worst rushing performances in the 134 year history of Michigan football.


November 11th, 2013 at 4:02 PM ^

We're missing the point here.

Borges is calling the plays that Hoke wants him to call.

"Hoke:  I like the play calling.  We thought we could do some things . . . "

It is Hoke that wants to keep running up the middle.  It's Hoke who is trying to re-live the 1997 season.  That's why he's so hung up on execution and not play calling.

For all we know, Borges may want to air it out on every down.



November 11th, 2013 at 4:15 PM ^

I assume Hoke actually is OK with the play calls (at least before the game and at the time), even though many of us think those runs up the middle are/were crazy.

But now, in retrospect, if he doesn't see that the play calling should change based on the horrendous, record-setting results (per my "coach speak" quote, which included him and Al together), then we are in a world of hurt.


November 11th, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

That's what's so depressing.  He's not seeing it.  He's convinced that it's just a missed assignment here and there.

We don't realize how insular and disconnected these coaching staffs get.  They spend virtually every waking hour talking to each other and nobody else.  Group think is the order of the day.


November 11th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

Brown Bear,

I hate to put you on the spot, but....  I know that you've been around this program for a long time and know a lot more about this team, and football in general, than most people do.  I'd really like to hear your honest opinion about what the main problems are with this team and in your opinion, how they can/should be fixed.  

Is it just youth?  Are the players not being developed properly?  Is it mostly on the coaching?   Should the Oline be better this far into the season?  Do you think this team is soft? etc...

What does Brown Bear think?

I've wanted to hear this from you for a while but never saw it posted.  



November 11th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

It wasn't mid-season, but here is OSU's OC talking about his failures in their game at Wisconsin last year:

Q: Which defense that you faced last year posed the most problems?
A: Absolutely, Wisconsin. Without a doubt. Their defensive coordinator Chris Ash, who I knew from my days at Iowa State and am good friends with … I felt like I got out coached. He was very simple. He did not call one blitz on first or second down. He called one front and one coverage. Within that front and coverage, he could adjust to any formation or motion we gave him. And he had his kids extremely well coached up on recognition of plays and alignments.

We were trying to run the ball into a nine-man front. I did a poor job in not having confidence in our throw game. You have to throw it over their heads and our guys have to make plays if they are going to commit both safeties to the run the way that they did. Even though we won in overtime (21-14), Chris had his guys more prepared than I did. I learned from it. And it’s better to learn from a win than to learn from a loss, I can tell you that.


November 11th, 2013 at 3:05 PM ^

That's a great question.  I've wondered that myself and the only thing I can come up with is that people don't want to believe our coaching staff is that out of touch so they interpret their words in a way that make that thinking a reality.

I'm like you - I think he's saying exactly what he believes because the results on the field indicate they are deeply committed to running Borges-ball.  I see no evidence at all of any signficant changes in anything.

It would be interesting to see what the response of the board would be if people started just taking Brady at face value and didt ascribe his words (like I see nothing wrong with play calling - twice) as his trying to save his OC in public.

Maybe he really does see nothing wrong with the play calls.


November 11th, 2013 at 3:14 PM ^

I've said it before - Hoke is manball, and running the ball twice--even though Nebraska has virtually everyone up in the box--after that turnover is his philsophy. So from that perspective, "Borges'" play call was Hoke's play call. That's what Hoke wants.

I will be shocked if Hoke fires Borges during or after this season, unless DB somehow gets involved.


November 11th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

How about I show you a coach, Mack Brown, who actually fired his co-ordinator mid-season and replaced with of all people, Gerg! And guess what happened? Their defense, and entire team, responded! They're 5-0 since that move!

And Gerg is by no means a good, even passable co-ordinator. But it has nothing to do with that. It's about sending a message, saying what the current coach is doing isn't good enough, not acceotable, and if you perform at that level, your job is not safe.

That message, plus the general idea of injecting a new face into the mix seemed to have worked for Texas, And it's not like our offense can be any worse tha it is already, so why not do it?


November 11th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

Google it yourself, headlines on September 8th, 2013...Manny Diaz fired after historically bad performance against BYU.

Here you go, just for you.

"The University of Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz after the Longhorns' historically bad performance against BYU...."


November 11th, 2013 at 6:29 PM ^

when he was at Michigan, RR refused to let him do what he wanted.  Perhaps at Texas, Brown told him to do whatever he wanted. He obviously can't be that bad he was the only change and Texas has gone on a winning streak.  


November 12th, 2013 at 1:24 AM ^

in that, if you give him a ton of talent, he can make a good defense out of it. That Texas D is LOADED with talented kids, they just needed someone to slow it down, get back to basics. Robinson could do that as he was new to the job and wasn't under the pressure Diaz was, who may have been trying all sorts of crazy shit in order to get the defense to work and only making the situation worse for a team that didn't really know what they were doing in the first place.

Space Coyote

November 12th, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

Which is important to note. He isn't being forced to run something he doesn't fully understand.

On top that, surprisingly, their fundamentals have vastly improved. Diaz had great X's and O's but it looked like he spent a lot of practice time trying to coach X's and O's rather than fundamental defense. That defense was awful at tackling, awful at angles, awful at disengaging from blocks, etc.

Robinson came in, dumbed down the schemes and implemented some basic blitz packages, and it appears focused a lot of practice on teaching the fundamentals, as those key things have been cleaned up a bit and that's a big reason for the change.

Mpfnfu Ford

November 11th, 2013 at 3:31 PM ^

He cycles through defensive coordinators at a pretty good clip, and has pretty much always been able to find another guy who can do a good job. He doesn't fall in love with them and defend them to death when stuff goes badly, and if something was wrong, he calls it out. He calls himself out when the offense sucks too. He's big on public accountability.

He's got a national championship and built winning programs at two places people previously said you could never win at. Not that Hoke has to be Spurrier Jr, but there's other ways to skin the cat, is what I'm saying. You don't even have to call out Borges publicly, but you also don't HAVE to go the other way and act like everything's cool when you're rolling out one of the worst offenses in the country either. 


November 11th, 2013 at 3:49 PM ^

Responding to brown bear - What hell are you trying to defend dude.  Are you freaking blind.  To say there is no problem with play calling is just idiotic, or saying we knew their plays too, is more idiotic.  I know jack shit hoke, so shut you fat mouth and teach your team to play football.  The dude has no clue yet you come on here and just defend him just to defend him. JUST WOW on you people, how far down you want to see this program go down.  IT is the laughign stock of the entire nation,