Monday Presser Transcript 11-18-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 18th, 2013 at 6:32 PM


  • The bubble screen was praised. I may or may not have been there for it. I may or may not have been crying inconsolably all day as a result.
  • Devin's left arm went numb during the game. Had to call timeout to get feeling back in it. Should we be concerned? Should we stop offending Angry Michigan Ulnar Nerve Hating God?
  • Fitz missed practice time last week because of a concussion. He'll be back this week. 



Opening remarks:

“Thanks for coming out. You know, it was a game where I think our defense really kept us in the football game, and I thought from the overtime, the offense started making a couple more things happen down in the red zone. That’s one thing both offense and defense we have to continue to work out. The red zones. Those haven’t been as good as we’d have liked them to be. But offensively I thought we started doing some nice things. We started the games, after the kickoff, we drive down, we have to do better in the red zone. We kicked the field goal, but we have to do a little bit more with it. We were 0 for 10 at one point on third down, which is not a number we want. It will be better. But the two backs, I think Derrick [Green] and De’Veon [Smith] did a nice job, averaged 4.4 yards per carry between the both of them. I think Devin [Gardner] had some form of running the ball 17 times. Had five sacks. Probably seven or eight called runs, and the rest of them called scrambles. He threw 43 times, did a nice job. We’ve got some that we dropped, and got some that we need to be a little more accurate and read through a little more.

“But at the end of the day, two things: Gallon jumping on the ball on the punt late to save time. It was a smart football play by him. And then I can’t give enough credit to – I told you after the game, it was one of the best team plays I’ve seen. When your field goal team gets on the field and guys on offense get off the field. I thought [Drew] Dileo, where he was, ran a vertical route on the other side of the field, and his effort to get there and slide in and hold. Gibby not really having a chance to go through his normal kicking procedure. Jareth Glanda, you can’t say enough about his snaps … But that whole team and the team getting off the field did a tremendous job. Gave us an opportunity to keep playing and win the game in three overtimes.”

What did you see on film in the running game that you liked?

“Well I think the three guys inside really established the line of scrimmage when you watch the tape. They were able to get started better. The backs were. I thought with the bubble screen and the fake bubble, pulled the linebacker a little bit which made it a little better for the guy to combo up to. Both of those guys are pretty much downhill runners. They had a chance to run north and south because of their size and style. They had pretty good vision most of the time. We thought one in the end zone and in the red zone, thought we probably read that one wrong, but for the most part they ran hard. But they got started.”

Will Fitzgerald Toussaint play or start?

“We’ll see where we shake out at the end of the week with who will be the first back in. Jake Butt is coming along as a freshman. He made a great catch. It doesn’t surprise any of us, because we’ve seen him do it in practice. But he’s a guy who’s really maturing and a really good weapon for us. And just developing as a football player.”

Did Derrick and De’Veon force your hand to make this more of a competition?

“I don’t know if it’s more. We always have a competition, like you said. You’ve got to give them credit, though, for how they played.”

What does a game like this do for the rest of your season?

“There’s no question we needed to go out and play Michigan football and fight for 60-plus minutes. I think the teaching moments that are so critical for a team and especially when you’ve got young guys, just what you did with their hurry-up field goal. That and how we practice it and how we do it, the emphasis that’s made there. I think winning the football game, you can throw the weather in, you can throw a lot of things in. They responded well and never panicked. It was kind of neat on the sideline. The offense was out there, and the defensive guys were chanting, ‘Offense!’ It was like high school. It was neat. They were having fun. We did the same thing when the defense was on the field. They really, as a team, played. And they cared and they were accountable.”



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Seemed like the first few quarters were an offensive struggle, but then you did better in overtime. What can you build from that going forward?

“I thought our ball security was much better. That’s been pretty good. We had a couple instances where they had a drop here and there interception-wise. So there’s a couple reads that we have to [improve]. I think [Devin’s] attitude was fighting. We kept going. We had to call a time out. He told me, ‘Coach, we have to call a time out,’ because he couldn’t feel his left arm. We called time out, he worked it back to where he could feel it. He did a tremendous job.”

Is this a typical Iowa team as far as the trenches go?

“No question. If youv’e covered it long enough, you’d know that it’s going to be a physical line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. I think they’ve only allowed four rushing touchdowns all year. They’re averaging 197 yards rushing the football. They’ll be physical at the point of attack. They’re not going to be flashy. You know that going in. Both of our fronts have to be physical and have to, from an offensive standpoint, target things right, and from a defensive standpoint, have to get, with the stretch plays and zone plays, as much as you can up the field for penetration.”

So is Devin really banged up at this point?

“You know, he’s better probably now than he was two weeks ago. So … he’s fine.”

He’s not 100 percent, though.

“I don’t think any guy in football is 100 percent.”

He wasn’t wearing his knee brace Saturday.


What was it for? And why?

“I think he decided not to wear it. I don’t put the knee brace on him. He felt that he didn’t need it.”

How come? Did he have an injury?

“Heh. I think a lot of quarterbacks wear knee braces. Was it on his left leg or right leg?”


Did we finally see what you’ve wanted out of Thomas Gordon over the last few years?

“I thought Thomas really played fast in that football game, so the answer would be yes. He did a nice job with his eyes, his discipline, because that’s always where it starts in the back end. From a stance to his feet and his discipline. Getting his reactions, his reads. I thought he really did a nice job … I think you always as a senior and going back a lot of years, a lot of years, you start realizing that the hour glass is going fast. We put a lot of pressure on those guys in this ball game because of the perimeter and what [Northwestern] loves to do on the perimeter. They did a good job with it.”

Is this the best you’ve seen your perimeter defense play?

“I think a lot of that, you’ve got to get Greg Matty a lot of credit, because we stayed in a lot of what we call our base defense, our Wolverine package, because of you have Cam Gordon and you have Jake Ryan. Those two, with a wide receiver, if you looked at the wide receivers from Northwestern, especially the guys to the field, they’re big guys. They want big guys because they want to block the perimeter. We put two big guys out there who are pretty good athletes in their own right. I think that helped a lot. It helped show things a little faster for a guy like Thomas to trigger off of. That’s part of it.”

How much does having a game like this help your confidence?

“Believe me, that’s an important part. We weren’t perfect, but some of the movement that we got at the line of scrimmage and, believe me, that will be tested this week because of how Iowa plays the line of scrimmage and who they have playing it. It will be tested. But they got movement. It was really good to see the combination blocks working together.”

Did Fitz practice yesterday, and do you expect him to miss any time this week?

“I doubt he misses any time this week. We didn’t do our normal practice. We did some lifting and running and stuff like that. We did more mental work, meeting time, film, that kind of stuff.”

What is Fitz ailing from?

“You know what, he had a little bit of a head – concussion thing. But he practiced late in the week. We just didn’t think he had practiced enough. Let’s put it that way.”

That last play in regulation. When that situation is developing, is it up to each guy to be aware of it, or is there someone on the sideline organizing it?

“Well, Coach [Dan] Ferrigno and myself, they were basically standing behind him and me, where the ball finally got marked. They went from there. Now, there’s always, when that drive started, we started making sure Quinton Washington and the guys on defense were where they needed to be and the guys coming in were Erik Gunderson. Gibby was still kicking. Matt [Wile] went and got him and said, ‘Hey, you have to be ready for a hurry-hurry field goal.’ ”

Does it make you feel better to have two viable backup running backs?

“Well it was nice to see them. And the other guy I want to mention is Justice Hayes. He came in, did a nice job in the protections, tried to get the rail to him, threw one screen which should have been a big play, yeah it was nice to get those two going a little bit. No question.”

Does it seem like Smith and Green fit the power running style more than Fitz does?

“You know, I think that’s a hard question because Fitz has done so good at some of the things the last couple years. So there’s a fit for all three.”

How was the targeting on the offensive line?

“Much better. Much better. Al [Borges] did a nice job with where we ran the ball and how we developed and things that went along with it, which I’m not going to talk about.”

Are you simplifying?

“Yeah, we have for the last two and a half weeks.”

If Shane Morris had to go into a game, what can he do now compared to what he could do in September?

“Well, if you say a percentage, he’s probably closer to 75, 80 percent now, whereas in September, he was probably 45 or 50.”

When Devin throws near-interceptions, is the problem with the read or with mechanics?

“Well, I think some of them he’s reading it and hurrying it or not letting it develop completely.”

With the Big Ten Title out of reach, does it affect your philosophy for how you use your personnel?

“No. If we didn’t have guys who didn’t work hard or didn’t come in and have a good attitude, then that would impact your thinking. But our seniors, and I’ve said this all year, they’ve come in and worked every practice. I think our intensity and our concentration, the focus, I think it continues to get better, but it’s been good all year.”

Willie Henry had another solid game.

“Yeah, he did. James Ross had a good game. A lot of that was Willie, and I thought Quinton had his best game. I think the rotation with him, Jibreel, Willie, and Ryan Glasgow, held in there pretty well to free some linebackers up, which is what at the end of the day they need to make sure they’re doing.”

Do you feel like James Ross has turned a corner?

“Yeah, he seems like he’s been very comfortable in what we’re doing and what we’re asking him to do. At the same time, I would say a little bit the front is doing a better job.”

Has linebacker been your steadiest spot?

“Might be. I think Frank [Clark] and that group with the ends, and the SAMs have been pretty steady.”

What kind of progress have you seen from the pass rush?

“I think the last couple weeks, there was a little more pocket presence on the quarterback. We may not get there all the time, but there’s hurries and quarterback hits, trying to do as much of it without having to bring in a lot of other guys.”

Why is it so tough to play at Iowa? Also, what is Derrick Green’s weight?

“I cannot tell you Derrick’s weight … I think anywhere in this conference is tough to play. It’s a lot like East Lansing.”



November 18th, 2013 at 6:55 PM ^

"I think Devin [Gardner] had some form of running the ball 17 times. Had five sacks. Probably seven or eight called runs,and the rest of them called scrambles..." -- wow, Borges truly is an offensive mastermind. We are the only team that holds the knowledge necessary to execute the "called scramble." He's an offensive witchdoctor.

San Diego Mick

November 18th, 2013 at 7:19 PM ^

but I think it's obvious to most observers that Green and Smith are better options. Sometimes the RB's can make the O-Line look better too, this game proved that, I loved the way both backs hit the hole and didn't hesitate while running downhill.

I hope we also go with a type of offense that Devin can excel better in, like in OT, man ball can wait just a bit longer, I want to win games.


November 18th, 2013 at 8:20 PM ^

Fitz is somewhat of an all around finesse runner, (i.e. not slow but not fast, not weak but not strong, mostly relies on open field jukes and cuts) and those guys need a good O line to build momentum and get to the second level for them to be even moderately successful. Power backs can overcome bad blocking a bit because they can usually consistently gain positive yardage by dragging guys and (as brian put it) falling forward for an extra yard.

I like Fitz a lot, but the line sucks railroad spikes this year and he is not powerful enough to drag guys or strong enough to pass block anyone, so Michigan needs to make a switch.

So, go D & D.


November 19th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

Green's blocking has been just as bad as Fitz's.  The improved run game had everything to do with the playcalling and execution and 0 to do with who was actually running the ball.


November 18th, 2013 at 7:23 PM ^

let fitz heal.  some positive stuff in the game, exasperating as it was.  if we beat iowa, could have some signif momentum to play ohio the next week. 


go blue


November 18th, 2013 at 8:00 PM ^

I don't think Fitz is that injured.  Fitzgerald (NW's coach) said he had watched tape and didn't think Fitz (U of M's) wasn't the same runner after the leg injury last year and I agree.  He hesitates too much.  I think Hoke wasn't really answering the questions, he was beating around the bush saying Fitz is still a great runner, but in between the lines I got the sense that Fitz is done at Michigan.  He had a great year a couple years ago, but now Green and Smith have shown more aggression in running and I think they are the guys now.



November 19th, 2013 at 5:09 AM ^

per hoke in the presser.  as much as hoke (and probably all coaches) spew a lot of smoke and mirrors at these conferences, i don't think you make up a b.s. injury.  would make sense that he was legitimately injured, otherwise they would've put him in for something.  he is an honored member of the team even if his production has been off. 


November 18th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

in OT is because the one huge advantage Michigan had over NW is depth. By OT, NW ran out of gas.

FWIW, winning this game my be the worst thing that has happened to this team. Hoke and staff get to breath easier and there will be no staff changes next year. Also, by winning they now will have to face a better opponent in a Bowl game and that may result in Michigan being beaten badly on National TV yet again.

Consider this. The last two games against NW have gone into OT. In other words, Michigan football is on parity with NW football which has substantialy smaller enrollment (I believe 8000) with higher academic standards. 

This is how far the Michigan program has fallen.


November 18th, 2013 at 7:56 PM ^

Do you recall the incredible beating Miss State gave Michigan three years ago? It was embarrassing. Let's hope we don't have to play them again this Bowl season. Some are predicting Missisippi will be our opponent this year. Prepare for another beat down.

The worst thing we ardent fans can do is give unstinting support to by Michigan standards a failing program i.e losing 9 out of 10 games to OSU, 5 of 6 to MSU, 4 losses to PSU and so on.

It pains me to witness this.


November 18th, 2013 at 9:34 PM ^

But what does enrollment really have to do with anything? Notre Dame has 8300 undergrads, Duke has 6400 undergrads. Ohio State has about 57,000 while MSU has about 47,000 (good now, historically not so much). Enrollment definitely has an effect, I'm not sure it's a strong one

edit: my /s detector may have failed


November 18th, 2013 at 11:45 PM ^

How many scholarships does NW have to offer? Hint the same number as any other D-1 school. How many non scholarship players may they have on the team? Hint the same as any other D-1 school. I haven't looked into NW's endowments and other levels of support, but I'm reasonably sure that their enrollment is completely unrelated to their ability to fund and field a quality football program. 

Michigan could have gone 6-6 and well may go 7-5 either way it does not matter on the coaching staff's job security. Hell they could be undefeated. Hoke will decide if staff changes are needed and that will be true without regard to the remainder of this season. Get a grip.


November 19th, 2013 at 6:55 AM ^

M may still loose 3 more games if that will make you feel better about a possible coaching change.  But if they go 1-2 then the team finishes within the predicted pre-season range and the coaches deserve another season to develop the players. Even if they're 0-3 then Borges and Funk will be on the hot seat, not Hoke.

Michigan-Northwestern parity?  Northwestern went to overtime against Michigan, but Michigan won and NW is having a Richrodesque season overall.

And it's way too early to say that the program has fallen because of OT two years in a row. Michigan lost twice to Northwestern in '95 and '96 then won the national championship.


November 18th, 2013 at 7:37 PM ^

aren't better better options given the current state of theO- line, even if just because of their size.  IE, falling forward for 3 yards is a better option than getting knocked back for a loss of 2.  However, the delayed handoffs that were used for the first time really all season seems to open up some room that hasnt been seen this year.  Feel bad for Fitz, but I think when healthy he will still see like 25% of the carries. 


November 18th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

Arguably, certain events have conspired against Fitz during his Michigan career.  But facts are facts:  Fitz hasn't been blocking or running effectively this season.  He has experienced a flash of genius or three but that's it.  
The program needs Green and Smith for its future, and the best way those two can improve is by running the ball in games now.  They also are registering stats which give rise to optimism.  When it makes sense to insert Fitz, let's do that.  But we should start the other guys and present them with the opportunity to fulfill their promise going forward.  
Loyalty let alone sentimentality can only carry one so far even though practically everybody recognizes the breaks didn't go Fitz's ideal way.  Green should start at Iowa, with Fitz in the wings. 0.02


November 18th, 2013 at 8:49 PM ^

thats the coolest piece of furniture I have seen in a long time
It's what my spouse says after time spent apart.  Then, she blows the dust off and we resume.  We work a lot.  TMI*
* I'm over the 300-mark; space bitches space


November 18th, 2013 at 8:40 PM ^

After we made that kick I too thought back to Gallon jumping on that ball, how many more seconds/yards would that of been? Heads up play. One thing you can say about Hoke teams thus far, not only don't they quit when they are down they seem to find ways to pull out some mind numbing thrillers.  I'm 37 and these kids have giving me high blood pressure weekly, it's been fun to watch going all the way back to Under the Lights I.


November 18th, 2013 at 8:41 PM ^

not young. They may be contemplating a move to the NFL, they may be hosting a 5 star recruit, but someday, they will remember how Fitz was treated by the staff.

Let the staff handle the personnel. They seem to be better at it than the fan base.

Mr. Yost

November 18th, 2013 at 8:42 PM ^

Green has done nothing all year until this game and now he's the option. Guys, N'western SUCKS. OSU took their hearts and threw it into Lake Michigan never to be seen again. They're done.

Green and Smith both had solid games (all things considered)...but remember IU? All of a sudden our offense was Baylor.

Stop putting so much stock into what you see versus BAD teams. If Green can do what he did vs. Iowa and OSU, then we're talking. Until's just an average game that felt great because we were so bad...against a shitty team.

Tip your cap for the game they had and hold your judgement until they do it against someone noteworthy.


November 19th, 2013 at 9:32 AM ^

I don't even think they looked impressive against NW. They both appear to my eyes as guys that tun straight to the hole but have little agility or shake to them at all. And on top of that Green in particular, as has been discussed before, does not really break tackles. I hope I'm proved wrong and look stupid by this time next year, but has either one even once made someone watching go wow, he's good? I can remember Brandon Minor as a freshman, a guy that isn't even NFL caliber, and he has several runs as a freshman that made you excited for his future.

Mr. Yost

November 18th, 2013 at 8:45 PM ^

...he seemed to get a number of big time snaps on Saturday. Seems like he's the clear 3rd down back when Fitz is out. I think Fitz will get some of his snaps back, but I don't think he's getting those 3rd downs back over Hayes.


November 18th, 2013 at 8:56 PM ^

I wouldn't say Northwestern sucks.  They've been in all but 1 game I believe, including the OSU game. They may have not won their games but to say their heart is no longer beating because of OSU isn't accurate.  I would say the lose after ohio was more damning but they have been a tough opponent all year. Remember they lost to the best team by 3 points, ten if you care that ohio recovered a fumble in the end zone on the last play of the game.  If you've ever played sports that's a motivating moment not a surrender moment.

Sten Carlson

November 18th, 2013 at 11:15 PM ^

No they SUCK, Mr. Yost said so ... Jeez get it straight. /s

I said this in another post, but it bears repeated IMO: for all the shit haters are giving this staff (some of if deserved, but much unfair) I wish they'd give praise when it's due -- and despite it only being NW, a great deal is due. Sure there are still issues, but Hoke has brought a resiliance to the program that is a joy to watch. He speaks often about the kids really caring about each other, having fun, and playin for each other and the seniors. When a team never quits, anything is possible, and it is because of COACHING. Haters have said Hoke is soft so the team is soft, that is horseshit! Hoke stays calm and focused, so does his team. When they mature this team is going to be something very special.