Monday Presser Transcript 9-30-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 30th, 2013 at 5:05 PM


  • Jake Ryan is practicing!
  • There may be a change on the offensive line!
  • DaMario Jones might contribute on offense!
  • Derrick Green might get more snaps!



Opening remarks:

“First thing I want to talk about a little bit is this weekend you saw a lot of the ‘Cure MD’ patches that all the coaches [wore]. The organization has been at the forefront with the cure. We obviously didn't play, so we'll have our patches this weekend, and we certainly want to raise awareness of MD. It affects a lot of children all across the country.

“On the Football side we had a very good week. We got a lot accomplished as a team. I know we as a staff felt that way. I know the players felt that way. In the practices that we had and the fundamental work that we had in all areas at every position. The intensity and the competitiveness was very good. We’re excited to start the Big Ten season. We’re excited to play in the oldest trophy game there is in the Brown Jug with Minnesota. We have a lot of work to do, as you all know. We’ll continue to do that throughout the week.”

It’s been almost a decade since Michigan has won a Big Ten title. How important is that to you and how can Saturday put you one step closer?

“Well I think you said the answer is to take it one step [at a time]. I think that first step is a big step. At home here for homecoming, the Brown Jug being a big part of it. We'll take it one week at a time. We understand what the expectations are and should be for this program, so we'll have a good week of practice and put our best foot forward.”

Have you made any decisions about the offensive line and personnel?

“No. And we've talked a lot and done a lot during the bye week. We've got two real good work days with Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think really probably after Tuesday, we'll have a little better indication which way we want to go.”

Looking at Minnesota, can you tell us one thing on both sides of the ball that you’re preparing for?

“Number one, I have as much respect for Jerry Kill as anybody in this conference because of how he coaches and what he's done. The program -- he's done a tremendous job with as he works through it. They're going to be a physical football team because that's the way Jerry wants his teams on both sides of the ball. Up front, they're very good defensively when you look at guys making plays, tackles for loss, negative plays. The linebackers are very active. The safety [Brock] Vereen has been playing for it seems like 10 years. From a defensive perspective, I think they're pretty daggone salty. Offensively they want to run the football, and they want to run it -- they have two quarterbacks who have both played, both had good performances, probably not as good as they'd like, totally, like all of us. We'd all like to be great every time we go out there. And they've got three backs that roll through there. Offensive line, it's a big offensive line. They're a well coached offensive line.”

Are you inclined to make changes to the offensive line?

“I think we'd be inclined to evaluate from the four games, from practices, from individual and fundamentals and all those things. Yeah, we wouldn't have a problem making a change if that's what we deem we ought to do.”

Can you talk about the level that Jake Ryan has reached in practice?

“He does some individual stuff. Most of that. He does some team stuff more and more every day. I think from talking to him, and I don't want to speak for Jake, but talking to him and talking to the doctors and trainers, he feels good. I think we'll get him a little bit more involved these next three days and see what next week brings.”

After the UConn game, you said Devin was a little banged up or sore. Do you think he’ll be a little fresher this week with the week off?

“You know, we went out tuesday last week and Thursday. He didn't look sore. He may be doing a good job acting, because he knows there's a lot of guys sore out there. It's just part of it. Part of playing. I thought he did a nice job.”

You’ve been a better team out of the spread than under center. Do you agree with that, and will you try to evolve back towards the spread?

“No. And I would tend to agree and disagree with you on that, because I think when you see some of the downhill runs and some of the play action runs off of them, the outside stretch play, I thought we've done a good job with those things. Too many negative yards, and a couple of them at the point of attack, but the downhill runs are something we need to be more cognizant of.”

We’ve seen a lot more Joe Bolden the past few weeks. He was at the WILL with James Ross. (?) Is there competition there?

“Really, no. We're just rotating those three guys through, so they both probably -- I don't have the information, but if you count the number of plays, I'll be they're even. Or close to it.”

At cornerback, is the competition open between Courtney Avery and Raymon Taylor?

"Courtney coming off the knee, I think they'll both compete. And that doesn't mean Blake's not competing. I think they all are. Courtney coming off the knee we thought looked pretty sharp, so him and Ray, and we played so much nickel, which kicked Blake inside."

How do you balance making a change on the offensive line with keeping chemistry intact?

“Well so is production. And that might be more critical than chemistry. We've got to put the guys in there that give us the best opportunity to be successful.”



What have you been doing up front on defense to have success against the run?

“You know, I think the guys are just getting better. We're playing a lot of guys. I think Quinton [Washington] and Jibreel [Black] and the three five-technique / strong ends with [Chris] Wormley, [Matt] Godin, and [Keith] Heitzman is really a good combination. At the rush, Mario [Ojemudia] with his improvement, and Frank [Clark]'s a better football player than he was a year ago. We've tried to get Taco [Charlton] into the mix a little bit, probably not as much as we'd like to. Those guys are doing a good job. We have to be tested, and we will. I don't know how much UConn tested us two weeks ago. I think we'll find out more as we get in the league with what people like to do. The linebackers, the three of them in the rotation that they have, have been pretty good. I think the outside position with Brennen [Beyer] and Cam [Gordon] kind of sharing the duties. Brennen Beyer probably is as important piece to our football team as anybody because he can do so many different things for you.”

You’ve faced 162 passes in four games. Considering that, how have you liked the ability of the secondary to hold up?

“I think we need to get a little better from a run support standpoint first. And then we've got to get a little better when you look at some of the coverage aspects, the concepts a little bit at times. I think some real ground we can gain, and I think we did. Last week was great for us, and then some of the fundamental stuff.”

How are the running backs behind Fitz doing in practice?

“Good. I think Derrick [Green] got a lot of work. [Thomas] Rawls and DeVeon got a lot of work, which was good. Fitz has played a lot of plays. I don't know if he needs to take 20 snaps in practice that are pretty live. So we'll get the other guys in.”

Would you like to lessen Fitz’s work load during games?

“Yeah. We would. Would love to give Derrick some more work, DeVeon some work.”

What does that give you?

"I think it gives [Fitz a chance] to be fresh. And it gives another guy an opportunity, who is a little different than what Fitz is."

More power?

“Bigger body. I would say [Derrick] -- Rawls is a pretty physical runner -- but him and DeVeon are big, physical big guys.”

If you were going to make changes to the offensive line, why did you wait so long? Why didn't you do it already?

“Well I think we're at the point where we want to make sure, so one more day isn't going to hurt us. And to be honest, Darryl rotates those guys through pretty good during practice. You see a lot of the same groupings.”

Is there one area in the interior you're looking at?

"I think we need a little better play from the center, whether it's Jack [Miller] or it's Graham [Glasgow] or Chris [Bryant] or Joe Burzynski at the guard."

What can you as coaches do to help Devin cut down on turnovers?

“It's like anything else. Like a guy false stepping from a defensive perspective. It's fundamentals, and you have to keep talking about the fundamentals. Devin isn't the sole responsible [person] for some of the turnovers. There's a lot of people that goes around to. Him getting back to fundamentals and techniques, footwork, is a big part of it. How you throw through the ball is something that helps. We talk about decisions all the time, and he's shown at times that he's made good decisions. I think that's a part of it. And us running the football. That's a part of it. Taking some of the pressure off of him to do everything.”

Who benefitted most from the week off in terms of healing?

“To be honest with you, everybody participated. I've been around teams where guys can tell the trainer that they have a hamstring pull, and it's hard to test hamstrings and backs. And so we didn't have any of that.”

MGoQuestion: Is there a disconnect between how you do in practice vs. how you perform in games, especially from an offensive perspective?

“No. I don't think so. We go against each other an awful lot. For the speed of the game, the competition level and all that. There's days and whatever drills we're doing where the offense is on fire. If you coach defense, you're not happy. There's days when the defense is on fire and the offense isn't very happy.”

MGoFollowup: Do the same issues that we see in games crop up in practice?

“No, I think the only thing is ball security and doing a better job with that.”

It seems like option teams aren't optioning the backside defenders much anymore. They're optioning the frontside guy --

"Well they'll get the frontside or -- Minnesota will option your 2-technique or your 3."


"Oh yeah. It's true midline. It's option football. It's truly option midline football.

History of the Jug?

“We talk about it. We bring that trophy in. Yesterday -- yesterday was Sunday, right? We brought the jug in. Talked about it again. Kind of went through the history of it and what it means from that history.”

What’s the one thing you want to impress upon your players?

“You don't want them to come over to your sideline and take it back.”

Where is the Jug right now?

“It's safely secure with Jon Falk.”

This is Jon’s last game. A lot of people associate him with the Jug. Did you do anything special?

“No, but Tuesday we'll have Jon come down and talk to them. We practice tomorrow. That's how we'll start the team meeting.”

How important is it to preserve rivalry games like this in a college football landscape that’s constantly changing with respect to money, realignment, etc.?

“Well, you know, and I don't know if it's all changing for the good. But I do believe that those games that you have the privilege to play in because of the history and tradition that's been there, and this is a personal opinion. I think it's very important. I think the kids knowing -- and we have kids all over the country. I'm sure when Taylor Lewan came here never knew what the Little Brown Jug was. We educate them on the significance of it. Since 1909. I think it's important.”

What was the reaction of your team when you brought the Jug in?

“Well the guys who've been around understand what you're playing for.”

Has Devin come in and watched more film the last couple weeks?

“I'm sure he is, but he may be somewhere watching the film, where I may be watching film somewhere else. This is a big day because he has class from 9 to 4 because he's [working on] his master's [degree]. He'll be in after four o'clock and spend an hour with Al looking at Minnesota and also looking at things we need to improve upon.”

Did anyone else stand out during practice?

“There's some guys who played a little more. I think Ondre Pipkins, Willie Henry, Ryan Glasgow -- I'm a litlte more in tune with those guys because I coach them. HOw they've started to learn and started to grow and grow up, I guess, is the biggest thing. because that's part of it when there's young guys. In the back end there's Stribling. You like the way he and Dymonte Thomas, Delano Hill, from a defensive standpoint, and then offensively DaMario Jones is a guy we're going to play. And he's playing on special teams already. I mentioned the backs. And then Kyle Bosch. He's been playing better at left guard. So he can be in that mix.”

What’s the capacity of your team to improve over the course of the season?

“I think a lot of that is when you have youth on your team. We are young, which is not an excuse. There are no excuses. We just have to keep moving those guys in the right direction, and the guys who are the veterans keep doing a good job of being veterans and examples. And that's the thing that I've liked the most and how they've gone out. The seniors are really doing a good job.”

You mentioned DaMario Jones. Are you comfortable with a vertical threat in your passing game yet?

“Oh yeah. No question. You have certain shots you're going to take during the course of the game, depending on how you plan it out. Sometimes when your possessions don't equal up you don't get to use all the shots you'd like to use. So the verticalness, I think Jehu [Chesson] continues to be a guy who can really take the top off the secondary. DaMario can do that.”

Is DaMario going to get more chances with the offense?

“As he keeps coming along, yeah.”

The incident on DaMario Jones vs. UConn?

“That's our fault as much as it is anybody. You get what you call a peter call and all that kind of stuff in a normal situation. but in a pooch situation, Drew's trying to do a good job of faking them out. So he doesn't know that the ball's short or the ball's bouncing on the ground. That's not his fault. The good thing is he's blocking the heck out of his guy and being aggressive.”

So you'd rather him be aggressive.

"You're daggone right. But we've changed that, too. I mean for us not to [change] would be really poor."



October 1st, 2013 at 11:46 AM ^

 There are plenty teams in college football running offensive lines with 0 future NFL starters. The tight end situation and not blocking well is another issue. Tight ends work on blocking with the offensive line coach and their position coach so you're kind of making my point for me. A.J williams was a tackle in high school, you mean to tell me he forgot how to block in college? Kind of like saying Brendan Gibbons forgot how to kick field goals when he got to college. A coaching change happens and all of a sudden Gibbons goes from being booed to a record holder in kick accuracy. You have to get the best out of your players and if you don't your just not a very good coach.

 We're not talking about getting pushed around by Bama or Ohio here We're talking about Akron and Uconn. Akrons D line averaged like 268 or something like that and Ucon got shreded by every other team they played. We're not looking for miracles or a super dominant offensive line but if they play average we're blowing teams like Uconn and Akron off the ball.

 As for the tight ends we have some weapons for sure but if they can't block and you can't teach them to block then they sit until they can block. There has got to be a TE or two walk on or not capable of blocking a LB when asked to do so.


October 1st, 2013 at 12:13 PM ^

Is to put a walk on in? Experienced walk ons at that who came in during a system that didn't use tight ends. Block in high school and blocking in college is a whole differenet animal.  High school is just being bigger than everyone else and pushing them around. In college you need technique too. That comes with practice and experience. Last year you had a guard who couldn't pull and a career back up as starters. Now you have an undersized guy and a walk on. Our offensive line recruiting has been a shitstorm and all the talent that as come in is still freshmen at the position age most helps.


October 1st, 2013 at 3:51 PM ^

 you keep saying Walk on like it means no talent. J.J Watt and Jordan Kovacs would like to have a word with you. You're right tho about blocking technique being learned in practice from the coaching staff. It goes back to getting the most out of your players and blocking is an important part of playing tight end. There where several plays where Funches looks lost and just doesn't block anyone. Wouldn't you spend more time on his blocking then? If he is just not getting it then move him to receiver or just only use him as a pass catching TE. There have been great Tight ends who wheren't the greatest blockers


September 30th, 2013 at 9:17 PM ^

Really? Blue chippers on both sides of the line? Because what I see is a defensive line where one position (SDE) is made up almost entirely of RS Freshman and Sophs, another (WDE) where the starter came in as a Safety with two guys behind him who are one Frosh  and one Soph, another (NT) with a guy recruited to the O-line starting and a Soph behind him, and a fourth (3-tech) with a starter who was a 3 star and a bunch of 1st and 2nd year players behind him. From that, it becomes clear that none of the starters were "blue chippers" (at least not at the position they currently play) and the guys behind them are behind them because they are first or second year players, who are rarely dominant.

Then, on the O-line, we know about the Tackles, who have played well, but then we have an undersized Center (who is backed up by either one of our Guards or a True Freshman), a RS Freshman (who is a blue chipper, but still, a freshman) at Guard and a walk-on at Guard (who has played remarkably well and is backed up by a 3-star RS Soph who is injury prone). The "blue chippers" here are once again are all 1st and 2nd year players. What do you expect? There's a reason that All-Whatever teams are always comprised primarily of Juniors and Seniors, because 18-19 year old kids are not going to be as physically developed as their 21-22 year old counterparts, and that isn't even taking into account not only learning, but mastering all of the fundamentals that are necessary to play at a high level.

(All done from memory, I might be wrong on some of the ages at some of the positions)


September 30th, 2013 at 9:17 PM ^

"We had a great week of practice."  However, this is the week where we'll find out how good our staff is. I know how good Devin is, and that's good. Now it's up to the coaches to let him use his teammates, especially in the throwing game to open up the running game, and pray Fitz comes around a bit more. Shows flashes, but something still missing. Never going to be great, but could be serviceable back.  Devin has been a good qb at every level and saved what could have been a no bowl season last year. All the coaches have to do is get him back to that level.  New to him is this boulder size weight he places on his shoulders as if he has to carry the team, and that has stifled him. If he can get back to just being DG again, he'll be great because all the tools and the mind is there. Might be time for visit to the company shrink, but nothing that can't be fixed.

Marley Nowell

September 30th, 2013 at 7:38 PM ^

Why is this coaching staff do against doing what obviously works? We keep trying to run plays we are just not equipped for. What is so wrong to sticking to a framework that has proven to work?!

Mr. Yost

September 30th, 2013 at 9:06 PM ^

It's really that simple...

Hold on to the ball and you get more plays...more plays means more points. More plays means less plays for the other team. Less plays for the other team means less points. More plays means we're wearing the other team down. More plays means we're keeping out defense fresh.

We can find holes and exceptions, but I think we can certainly all agree that these notions are both obvious and effective.


September 30th, 2013 at 10:11 PM ^

than I have if you think Michigan's problems  are "Ding Ding Ding all about turnovers".

Or do you think the offensive line just lets people shove them into the backfield because they know Devin is going to randomly panic & throw a pick six that play anyway?

The turnovers are a symptom of this team not playing well, not a cause.

Devin is making some poor decisions, but they're not happening in a vaccum; he is reacting to a play either getting RPS'd (coaches) someone blowing an assignment (player/possibly coaches) , getting beat (player), and THEN making his own choice.

Turnovers also don't even begin to describe Fitz getting tackled in the backfield over & over & over again . . . by the dregs of college football.  Incompletions, stacking the box etc. point to other issues.

Of course turnovers & the points they often lead to cause huge momentum shifts and can change a game instantly.  But Michigan has other, deeper issues that I'm confident will be addressed, but having a young O-lineman mature will take a lot longer than just Devin settling down will.


September 30th, 2013 at 10:49 PM ^

I do think we have been watching different games.  UConn is a completely different game if Devin is a little more accurate and doesn't throw that first pick or if we don't give up the fumble touchdown or if we don't screw up the punt return.  If we exclude TOs, our offense has had 3 good games moving the ball and one bad one. I realize we haven't played the elite of college football, but the Big Ten sucks balls and outside of MSU, I don't think there's a defense capable of slowing down Devin if he's ND Devin. So really the number one issue facing the team is Devin getting back on track. Everything else will open up from there. 

Blue in Yarmouth

October 1st, 2013 at 8:11 AM ^

Sure...that game would be completely different if we didn't make all the mistakes we're absolutely right. That's a pretty novel concept as well.

What the poster above is saying (and I completely agree with him) is that the turn overs (though absolutely a problem) are not the real issue here, it's what is causing those turnovers that is a greater concern. 

If you watched the game against UCONN you would have known that UCONN has not had a single sack this season until they played us and was last (or next to last I believe) in tackles for a loss. They eclipsed their entire season output in a single game against us in tackles for a loss, and did it in the first half...You don't think that could be a problem? 

A lot of you people are looking at this and trying to find an easy answer as to what's wrong and not really trying to find the root cause of the problems. Here's an example of finding a root cause: Why was that game so close against UCONN? We turned the ball over X times. Okay, why did we turn the ball over X times? Well, two were interceptions that really could have been caught but were a little inaccurate. Okay, so why were they inaccurate? Well, he was getting pressure in his face all day and on those particular throws he was about to get sacked. Okay, but was the throw itself a poor decision? No, one guy was open and the other was in single coverage. Okay, so it wasn't a poor decision, just poor execution resulting from a lot of defensive pressur in the backfield. So why did Devin have that much pressure? etc. etc. etc.

You're pinpointing the obvious which is yes...without turnovers we would be much better. The real question is why are we turning the ball over this much? For me our struggles begin with the interior o-line and have manifested themselves by having teams that are terrible at sacking QB's and getting tackles for a loss having a field day in those departments against us. If we can fix (or at least mend) the issues on the o-line I think we'll be fine. If we can't...not so much.


October 1st, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

Was pressure the cause of him carrying the ball like a loaf of bread when he fumbled? Is that all true for Akron too?

I don't think the majority of his turnovers were pressure issues; unless you count him scrabbling around wildly and then decided to heave the ball up for grabs as being caused by pressure.

ND Sux

October 1st, 2013 at 7:48 AM ^

solid post.  The issues are deeper than just the turnovers, and you could argue those issues LEAD to the turnovers.  Poor rushing attack leads to 3rd & long...turnover odds surely increase when the QB is pressing to move the chains. 

I would also argue that turnovers do become part of the 'cause', when they lead directly to opponent TD's:

  1. Interception IN the end zone
  2. pick six on screen pass
  3. muffed punt sets opponent up on the 9 yard line

Take away those points, and our D has played okay other than soft coverage driving me nuts. 


October 1st, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

True, but if we've learned anything from the past two games, it's that there will still be breakdowns, and DG has made mistakes when that happens.

The learning curve in that situation is harder for him than most, precisely because he has the ability to improvise his way out of trouble. So the line between "keep trying" and "shut it down" is different for him than most quarterbacks.

Let's hope we'll soon look back upon these past two games as essential lessons in The Education of Devin Gardner.


September 30th, 2013 at 9:08 PM ^

we've heard the coach talk before, lets see if changes are made. Lets see if they give some carries to others not named Fitz. Let's see if Stribling can get more PT. Lets see  if Damario Jones can get on the field and be an impact somewhat. I'm optimistic, but this team has a lot to improve on, that's for sure. One thing, it will be nice to see #47 back on the field. I have a feeling that the defense will carry this team and that as the season progresses, we will make fewer mistakes offensively.


September 30th, 2013 at 10:51 PM ^

The first thing Coach Hoke mentioned was the Coach to Cure MD event.  Coaches from all across the country wore patches on their sleeves to raise awareness and show their commitment to fighting this terrible disease.  I am so proud that Coach Hoke decided to make mention of this and participate next week.  

It is the number one genetic killer of boys, affecting one out of every 3,500.  It slowly robs kids of their ability to walk, hold their arms up, and eventually breath.  There is no cure, yet.  It is also the disease that my son has.

While I love Michigan Football and talking about how the OLine might change or who is better to cover the slot receiver, I am ecstatic that my school will make the special effort to champion this cause.  Taking nothing away from the importance of this week's game, talking with the athletes who are so gifted physically about those who are not so lucky means so much.  Those Michigan Men that the program is making will be leaders and best because of the coaching staff's committment to causes like this in addition to what they might do on the field. 

If you want to know more about Coach to Cure MD, here is their web address:

Through this effort, kids that cannot walk are lifted emotionally as well physically.  I have a picture with Barkevious Mingo from LSU carrying around a boy with Duchenne he met.  The coach from Rutgers Kyle Flood has gotten personally involved with a family I know.  For a boy that can't walk to see coaches and athletes caring is inspirational. 

I live in Minneapolis, so a win this week would be very nice.  But to see our coaching staff with those patches, telling my kid to keep fighting is priceless.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and please tell your friends what great coaches we have.


Magnum P.I.

September 30th, 2013 at 11:02 PM ^

Does anyone here honestly believe that there isn't a current backup OL who would've done just fine against Akron and UConn? I'm sure Bryant, Bosch, Braden, Bars are all capable of doing at least what Towson, Buffalo, and Louisiana-Lafayette's interior OL did.


October 1st, 2013 at 1:04 AM ^

Well, one thing about replacing Miller is that you'd have a different guy snapping the ball.  Even if you might get better blocking out of a different center, you might also have fumbled snaps--which could well be worse.  Michigan was fortunate to beat UConn and Akron as it was; give either of those teams yet another turnover, and we might well have lost one of those games.

Sten Carlson

October 1st, 2013 at 2:34 PM ^


That is all I hear people complaining say.  For the umteenth time -- there is NO SHOULD!  If one of the backup OLinemen were judged to be better by the coaching staff (you know, the guys that do this for a living and see the players every day), then they would have been in the game.

Further, the fact that you list the other teams that UConn has played, indicates that you're still suffering from the "Michigan Myth," i.e., you cannot fathom that maybe, just maybe these teams have *gasp* better and/or more experienced OLinemen (at this point in the season) than Michigan does.  I know it's hard to believe, but hey, Coelacanths were found to still be living in the deep ocean after they were thought to be extinct for millions of years, so pretty much anything is possible.


October 1st, 2013 at 12:40 AM ^

I wouldn't be surprised if Devin was/is hurt. I believe it was post Akron, Hoke said something about DG being injured a bit, and then backed off the subject. His issues with ball control and pass accuracy really makes me wonder if he had/has a hand or wrist injury. The ball has basically fallen out of his hand on a few plays, and I don't recall him having any issue with that pre-Akron. Also, his passing was pinpoint against ND, and completely wild post-ND. He was very accurate last year as well. It's hard to believe that he just randomly lost his passing skill. Going from pinpoint passes to a 5'8" receiver, to totally missing 6'6" TEs seems fishy.


October 1st, 2013 at 12:48 AM ^

I would like to see Devin benched after his next turnover for a series to see if that calms him down. Shane isn't ready, but he won't throw 4 picks either IMO. Also, we might want to just run and punt on third and over 15yds. Our playcalling gets fishy on long distance downs. Fight to live another day

Blue in Yarmouth

October 1st, 2013 at 9:00 AM ^

I don't think I agreed with a single thing you just said in your post. Usually I can at least find one thing I agree with, but not this time. I should note I especially disagree with your butchery of the cliche "live to fight another day"...not fight to live another day.

Now I want to be clear and say that I don't think what you are saying is stupid or anything terribly negative about it, just that I disagree. I think benching Devin at this point would do more harm than good as I think a lot of his issues (at least in the UCONN game) were mental. I also disagree that Morris wouldn't throw as many interceptions and that we should give up and punt on third and long. I just simply disagree with everything in your post.


October 1st, 2013 at 8:52 AM ^

"can you talk about the history of the jug?" should get run out of town. there is nothing left to be said by anyone especially a coach who has been here a while.


October 1st, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

What's the capacity of the team to improve over the season?

Well, considering the youth on this team, I would say that the sky is the limit and the floor is what we've seen the past few weeks. 


October 1st, 2013 at 10:03 AM ^

I’ve often heard football coaches say that the center has to be very smart, because he has the hardest job on offense and every play starts with him – from checking the defensive alignment, to calling the offensive line’s assignments, to getting a clean and proper snap, to executing his own blocking assignments.
If I’m not mistaken, during Jack Miller’s freshman year, he spent a lot of time on the sidelines during games speaking with and standing near David Molk who wound up winning an award for the nation’s best center.  David Molk was not the biggest man on the Michigan offensive line that year, but like some coaches say, “you can’t teach heart.”  David Molk had a big heart when it came to focusing on his football work and performing at a very high level.
I suspect that Jack Miller is under enormous pressure because he has become the center of attention (pun intended) for Michigan’s offensive line woes this season.  I also suspect that the coaches see something special in him that justified having him start at center.  After all, throughout the spring and summer camps, there was a lot of competition for the center’s job. The job wasn’t Jack Miller’s to be had automatically.  As far as I can recall, his snaps this year have been flawless, even though his blocking apparently has not been what he or the coaching staff would have liked to see.  I have no way of knowing whether the coaches have been satisfied with his calls for his linemates.
I’ve probably been guilty of the sin, but I’m not a fan of derogatory comments on MGoBlog about Michigan’s athletes (except when they’ve intentionally done something stupid or reckless or when they’ve been mean spirited), because I think that if one of those athletes were my relative, I wouldn’t feel too good about reading nasty comments about him or her.  Jack Miller’s no relative of mine, but I’m rooting for him to succeed and improve as this season moves on, even if he’s only playing as a stopgap until Patrick Kugler is ready to start.


October 1st, 2013 at 1:23 PM ^

but I don't understand the negativity. A season is a process of learning, and each game is a new lesson, regardless of outcome. If you have three new starters in the middle of your Oline, you are going to have growing pains. Now, we focus on our problems because that's what you do when you are a fan. 

It's interesting that a week after Michigan sidesteps disaster against UConn, the Huskies get blown out, a slight letdown apparently, and the coach gets fired as a result. Maybe Michigan had something to do with that disappointment --who knows? 

Because this site so excruciatingly analyzes  trends, tweaks and nuances in most aspects of play --not special teams, which always gets a pass--every block, every formation and every missed assignment or apparent one gets graded and judged, along with the coaching. 

This is still about winning --and not losing-- and like Taylor Lewan, I see no reason to apologize for winning every game, no matter the margin of victory. Because in the end, the margin of victory against any team not in the Big Ten or a bowl contest, is mostly irrelevant. It might have some ratings relevance to this point, but this is a futures contract marketplace we live and compete in, not one based on past performance. 

You can be upset about trending performance and concerned about future opposition based on that, but the matchups differ every week and so do the gameplans. And, if you don't understand the fundamentals of every position, execution of every play and assignment of those involved, how can you question the ability of a coach to teach it properly? 

I find this Chicken Little perspective to be very tiring. Coaches coach and players play, and we watch from afar and judge, and sometimes we think we get it right and sometimes we don't. But in the media space that occupies our time between contests and raises our level of suspicion, doubt, fear and hopefulness, I see little reason to worry about whether this team is going to get better. Because it will. It will because that's what happens when young players get more game experience and learn by doing. 

And when they don't better, if that's the judgment at season's end, then the record of that will be apparent. What I see now is a team with uneven performance looking to find its way and fight through a slew of mistakes that's limited its progress. If that continues, there will be an avalanche of negativity heaped on this program. I get that. But we aren't even close to that point --nor do I expect we will. Meantime, enjoy this team's progress --even if it gives you a peptic ulcer doing so. That's the only way to appreciate being 4-0 heading into the best part of the season. 


Sten Carlson

October 1st, 2013 at 2:17 PM ^

Well said Charblue!

Despite all the hand wringing and worry about how close we came to losing to UConn and Akron, IMO, I think back to what RR said about "playing poorly and winning."  Others might not see progress, and might be worried about the upcoming conference season, but I am very optimistic as it seems that Michigan has come to the point where they can play poorly and still win.

Personally, I am enjoying the process of watching these young men develop as players and as Michigan Men.


October 1st, 2013 at 10:26 PM ^

I didn't hear about the UConn coach, I've been living under a work induced rock the last couple days. I haven't seen't too much Connecticut football over the years, but I thought they were headed upward toward the chance of one year maybe possibly being decent-ish. They played M tough, played together, with tons of energy (I know, everyone gives M their best shits) I think it was a clash of personalities with that new AD or whoever, who cares, I'm drunk.

They were just another team, in a long line of teams that Michigan "played down to".