MSU Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on October 21st, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I don't always golf. But when I do, I think of brunette girls.

What’s your overall reaction to your team’s reaction to winning No. 900 against Michigan State?

“Well to be honest with you I don’t know if they realized the 900th win. Maybe the two seniors had an idea -- the two captains -- where we’re at, because that wasn’t the point of focus for the week. It was playing a great rivalry game, a game in our division, that’s important to win. Playing hard and playing to represent the 133 years of Michigan football.”

Reaction to Drew Dileo’s game?

“He’s not the biggest guy. He’s not the fastest guy. But the one thing Drew is, he’s a football player. What he does for our football team in a lot of different areas from an off returner in kickoffs to holding on PATs and field goals, I think you all would agree that there were two field goals that were pretty important today. The one at the end, that’s a skill set. He’s just a tough, undersized, not fast enough, but he’s a football player. That’s what he is.”

Where do you think your defense is at right now compared with where you want it to be?

“We really had a bad series in there defensively. You give your opponent credit, but we didn’t do some things well at the start of the second half. They went down and scored the touchdown. You know, I think we’ll look at the film. I think we’ll look at some things we did well, and I hope we repeat those, but we’re not near the defense we need to be to win a championship in this conference.”

Denard was bottled up for most of the game but was able to make some big plays when it counted. What does it say about his leadership ability?

“I think he’s been an outstanding leader. The confidence that he has and his teammates have is part of it. I don’t know if anyone on our sideline thought the game was over. The defense was playing well at that point. Get the ball back and see what happens.”

Can you talk about the fake punt but then holding MSU to a field goal afterwards?

“Yeah that was a very good play for Michigan State. That was a smart play. They saw that we weren’t leveraging the outside, and that’s something that I need to do a better job with as part of the punt return team coaching staff. Because that got them some hope, got them in the game, but the one thing we told the defense: ‘Keep them to a field goal. If we keep them to a field goal here, then good things can happen for us.’ Obviously that’s what happened.”

Did you feel like you did a better job of matching their physicality this year?

“I think so. Yeah. I thought our kids, you know, we wanted to play, finish everything we were doing. Blocks, plays, catches, runs, whatever your job is to do, we wanted to finish. I thought we practiced that way. I thought we did that.”

You’ve talked to us before about Matt Wile having a big leg. What went into the decision to put him out there for the long field goal?

“You answered it. Bigger leg. Stronger leg. That’s one reason why Matt kicks off for us. We had some wind with us. That wind kind of changed really right before the start of the game, so we felt that he would have the leg to do it. He did by kind of a lot.”

What does Michigan State do defensively that’s so effective in terms of bottling up Denard?

“I think they’ve done that to a lot of players, quarterbacks. I don’t know a final statistic, but they have good players. They play extremely aggressive. The things that they like to do, sometimes can be higher risk and higher reward. It’s a belief system they have. They tackle well. They do the things that you need to do in order to play good defense.”

What do you feel like you need to do in order to become a Big Ten championship-level defense? Also, what is Raymon Taylor’s status?

“Raymon got a little boo boo. He’ll be probably okay, most likely. Turnovers. We need to do a better job of creating. We need to do a better job [putting] pressure on the quarterback with four guys. I don’t think that’s a strong suit of ours. That can help our secondary out. I think at times we’re playing too far off the guys in coverage. So that’s a start.”

Gibbons seems a bit of a free spirit.

“What do you mean by that?”

Well, you know, last year at the Sugar Bowl about the brunettes and stuff, not that I don’t agree with him, but …


How do you approach kickers? Do you stay away from them? Do you say something before a big kick? Are you superstitious? Where’s your mind at? Do you go up to him and say, “Hey, we got this one?” Do you --

“I’m with those guys a little bit during practice. I’m not a kicking coach, but it’s kind of like golf, which I’m probably a pretty good golfer ... if I would do it. Those guys, they know what they need to do and how they need to do it. I think them going up to the stadium during the week is helpful because the wind in there’s a little different, especially with the new stuff up there. I think it’s a little different. You know, both those kids, we have a lot of confidence in. And anything else, when you show confidence, kids are going to respond. Not that you don’t rip them once in a while, but I decided when they called the time out, I was just going to watch Gibby do his thing. I don’t know. There’s no magic to it.”

As well as Michigan State’s defense played, you maybe missed a couple opportunities for big plays (dropped pass, missed a block, etc.). Were you disappointed by the execution?

“Oh. I think you could go through every game and there’s going to be execution. We didn’t block down once on a run play that may have been pretty open. We don’t block down. Why? I don’t know. 113,999 or whatever it was? A good defense that you're playing against. You want to see them all execute, but no one has ever played a perfect game. No one will ever play a perfect game. They’re 18-22, 23 years old. We’re going to try and prepare them and remind them and do all those things and grow them right, and then … go play hard.”

Dileo said on the radio that he thought the kick was going wide right. What was your view?

“I watch the people sitting behind the goal post. Because they’ll tell you. I’ll be honest with you. You can’t see it from [the sideline].”

Kovacs said this was the monkey off the back for you guys. Does it feel like that’s what this was for the program, preventing them from beating you five years in a row?


It’s not more meaningful than a “Yeah”?

“It’s an in-state rival. But we have bigger expectations.”

Did you feel like the icing-the-kicker timeout helped you or hurt you?

“I think we were well prepared. Denard did a tremendous job spiking the ball. The field goal team was there. Dan Ferrigno was there, our special teams coach, had all those guys right there ready to go. I think it’s a strategy that can work. Can’t work. You know? Flip a coin.”

What made you go back to Gibbons rather than Wile?

“Because it was his range. We had talked about distance, and it was his range, and he’s more consistent than Matt has been in practice at that range.”

[player transcripts will be up later today]


Section 1

October 21st, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

I posted this elsewhere, under the YouTube game highlights.  Watch the play, and our offensive formation on the spike-play just before the field goal .  I see only two people -- Denard under center, and Toussaint behind him -- lined up as backs.  Everybody else is on the line, as the ball is snapped and then spiked.  If we get flagged on that (Illegal Formation), it pushes a 37- or 38-yard attempt to 42 or 43 yards.  Does that then turn into a Wile attempt, at 40+ yards?  Little things.  A game of inches.  Crazy.

Section 1

October 21st, 2012 at 11:34 AM ^

Great answer.  No more than four in the backfield are allowed under Rule 7, but it is not required to have four.  Nine on the line, with basically nobody going downfield, is indeed legal for a spike.  Not a usual formation, and looks weird, but legal.


October 21st, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

You have to have 7 on the line and 1 in the backfield to take the snap.


I like the formation because it garuntees that you have a legal formation in that situation which is often a problem when trying to spike the ball.


October 21st, 2012 at 11:53 AM ^


> Kovacs said this was the monkey off the back for you guys.

> Does it feel like that’s what this was for the program,

> preventing them from beating you five years in a row?

> “Yeah.”

It’s not more meaningful than a “Yeah”?




Yeah as in you don't rush the field for Moo U.


October 21st, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

The defense was the key to that game.  I think Bell averaged 2.6 ypc and he never really broke loose.  For all the talk of MSU shutting down Denard they never really mentioned that Bell was essentially taken out of the game.  With him neutralized even MSU's suddenly sure recieving corps couldn't bail them out.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:19 PM ^

Sure we haven't faced a scary offense since AF, but this defense held Notre Dame to 13 points and however mediocre their offense is, MSU's is even worse.  Good defense vs. bad offense = 10 points. . . not much of a story there.  Mattison just does not seem to have an "off" game.  If he has a weakness at all, it's that he seems to need a few actual games to get his defense up to speed. . . which isn't the same thing, and I'll take it over inconsistency every time.  The same crew could probably hold Alabama to around 20 points now that they're settled in.

Denard is more interesting to write about, partly because he's so prolific and partly because Borges is far more inconsistent than Mattison.  When an offense scores 16 vs. Iowa and 40 vs. Ohio in the same season while the defense does its thing, the "X-factor" narratives write themselves.

P.S. I know the B1G is weak this year, but Michigan's only losses are against top-5 teams.  Anyone think we can't take South Carolina or West Virginia at this point?  Heck, even LSU looks plenty vulnerable.  I know the polls are crap but this is ridiculous.


October 21st, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

I was talking to my friends after the game and we were all saying the same thing.  Mattison, once he gets his guys coached up, they play exreamly well.  I hope he stays around for a long, long time.

Borges, on the other hand, does not seem to know how to gameplan really well for defenses that shut down plan A.  There are arguements to be made about working with the players he has, but there has to be more he can do to counter attack what MSU was doing.  I could take him or leave him. 

However, once he gets a quarterback who is more of a pocket passer, then I want to see what I think of him and his gameplans.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:24 PM ^

As I'm reading this interview, I'm doing it in Hokes voice, subconsiously. Sometimes I'm adding in a few "Weeelll"s, too, or pauses for drinks from the water bottle where he just pours it in carefully.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:34 PM ^

Whaaat? Brady's either intentionally downplaying the 900 thing, or he doesn't realize that it's impossible for his players to not be aware of it because of this thing called the internet.


October 21st, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

Coming out of an excessively busy week can be like being unfrozen, and the in-season schedule of a Michigan football player is hardcore.  I've seen it plenty of times and been through it myself.  They had "this thing called the Internet" when I was in school, but some weeks it didn't matter.

They might have been vaguely aware of it, and I know Hoke is coy with the media, but this isn't the most implausible thing he's said.


October 21st, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

I was actually shocked that he made that FG.  After all of the problems we have had with our kicking game in past years I was so damn nervous that I actually had no response when he made it.  I just stood there in shock.  Then I jumped around screaming like a 46 year old should not.  Go away little monkey, go away. 

MN Go Blue

October 21st, 2012 at 9:24 PM ^

I love Hoke's answer about needing to get more pressure on the qb from the front 4.  I love what the coaching staff has done with this defense, but when they bring in some game changers on the line it will be a different story.  When they can get pressure and can press with their corners they can become an elite defense.