Nebraska Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko November 10th, 2013 at 5:08 PM

"I passed your floor on the way up, and now I'm passing it on the way down, and I don't think I'll be taking this elevator again." - Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon


There’s probably some degree of frustration on the team. Can you talk about the number of missed opportunities on the field?

“Yeah. You know, frustration because we lost as a team. Yeah. It’s a frustration that we all have. I have to do a better job coaching this football team. The effort was really – guys were working, guys were fighting, guys were doing things. Did we do them well enough? No. And that goes on me.”

Seven sacks this week. How do you keep Devin’s spirits up?

“His spirits will be up because he’s a competitor. He’s going to be sore, and that’s part of it. Again, I have to do a better job coaching.”

When you talk about coaching, we do have to ask about the play calling from Al Borges. Do you have to look at that much more closely this week?

“I like the play calling. I think we thought we could do some things and we didn’t.”

Did you hear the booing after some of those offensive plays?

“Well, that’s you know, that’s the way things are.”

What’s Thomas Gordon’s situation?

“He had a little bit of an ankle. He played on the punt team. We also thought Courtney [Avery] and Josh [Furman] could give us something. And Jarrod [Wilson].”

What did you think you got from the safeties?

“I think it was okay. I don’t know until I watch it.”

Negative 69 rushing yards over the last two games. How do you explain that?

“Well, it’s hard to explain, isn’t it? I’ve got to do a better job coaching those guys.”

MGoQuestion: What kind of adjustments were you hoping to make over the course of last week as well as during this game?

“Well, you always have a plan that you think is going to work, number one. We change the plan all the time every week. I think there were some things that we did pretty well. But there were a number of things that we have to do a better job coaching the kids on.”

Can you talk about not cashing in on the turnovers?

“Well, we didn’t. We just didn’t execute.”

It looked like Devin really struggled scrambling. Is he banged up?

“His legs and everything are fine. I don’t know if he took a shot over there near their sideline. I think it was the second quarter. I thought he was fine.”

Was there fatigue on defense during the last drive?
“I don’t think so. Because of the number of plays guys are playing? No.”

What do you attribute it to?

“I have to do a better job of coaching.”

You have blocking issues all across the board.

“I don’t know about all across the board, but there’s some blocking issues.”

Why is that not progressing? If anything, it looks like it’s regressing.

“I’ve got to do a better job of coaching, it looks like. We’ve got to do a better job of what we’re doing and look at what we’re doing.”

You said you did some things good and some things not good. What were some of the things that were good?

“That were better as a team? Well defensively after the first quarter they settled in. Did a good job. I think they were 6 of 16 on third down. Most of the third downs – you want them all, but the critical ones, we needed to execute a little better on.”

How much does it hurt to see the home winning streak end?

“Home winning streak, away winning streak, any winning streak, you’re disappointed when it’s not there.”

Taco played today. What did you like about him?

“He’s been fortunate enough that he’s been able to improve over the course of the year without having to take full time snaps in a lot of critical situations. We just like how he’s come along. It’s about the right time for him because of how he’s come along to play.”

Is interior defensive line where he can play more?

“That was all in the nickel packages, sub packages. He’s still an outside end, but he’s got the length and the size and as good of quickness as anybody. He’s pretty good inside when you get in the sub packages.”

You were able to generate some offense with some screens and quick passes. Is that something you have to look at more?

“Last week we had that different screen in that we thought was going to be pretty good, and [Michigan State] sniffed that one out pretty good. This new one today was hitters but not consistent hitters. It’s something we tried to do. We threw the rocket to Gallon the one time, hit the windows route one time in there. Some of that stuff, it helps you a little bit, but at the same time, there’s some of it that’s similar when you look at what they did and what we did.”

At some point, do you have to admit that you can’t run the ball and not beat your head against the wall?

“I agree. And yes, you can do that.”

Is Devin holding the ball too long?

“Well I think any time you have negative plays either way, and let me go back to [the previous question]. The negative plays are what kill you on third down. First down negative plays, we snapped the ball again a little high. That was a 10-yard loss, so now you’re second and 20. I think as you watch the tape, he may have held it too long once or twice. I think you also coverage-wise, you have to give them a little credit also. They did a pretty good job on some of the coverage things that they did with Gallon and Funchess.”

You said you needed to do a better job coaching. In what area specifically?

“Just … everything.”

How did you think the other young guys played on defense?

“Willie started last week and played well. Again, I think you get a chance to look at it and grade it and do all that stuff. I know Willie [Henry] made some plays again, which is a good sign. I think Taco forced the sack that Cam got. Did a nice job on a gain. Also did a nice job on a run play in there. Until you really look at it, it’s hard I think for you to make an evaluation that’s fair.”

You mentioned the negative plays that hurt you on third down. What do you attribute that to?

“Because we had negative plays on first down.”

Those have increased, too. What do you attribute it to?

“I think you attribute it to the opponent did a good job, and I have to do a better job coaching our team.”

Looked like the running backs struggled in pass protection.

“That’s something we’re trying to get fixed to be honest with you. Is it a concern? Yeah. It always is. Not tackling, not blocking, not covering. Not throwing the ball, not running good routes. All that stuff is concerning.”

Are you concerned that you’re running out of practice time because it’s November?

“No, because we have three opportunities left. Two of them on the road, one here. Would we like to have played better? Yes. Would we like to have run the ball better? Yes. Would we like to have done a good job on third downs? Yes. And we’ve just got to go to work and keep working at it.”

Did Nebraska bring more pressure than you thought they would?

“I thought they brought a little more.”

What’s the most important thing you need to do as a coach?

“Right now it’s this team being a team. From a staff standpoint and a team standpoint. I tell you, they practiced their tails off. Tuesday and Wednesday they gave as good an effort as any team I’ve been around. The physicalness with which they attack each other and compete. We have to keep doing that.”



November 10th, 2013 at 5:14 PM ^

A get that Hoke puts on his best PR face when doing press conferences but I'd like to just hear him admit that things aren't going well and they need to take a serious look at things. I hate hearing "We need to execute" and "I liked the play calling" and "I have to do a better job coaching". Those are all great for not giving any juicy quotes to the media but it's frustrating to hear every single week that they publically refuse to admit anything is seriously awry


November 11th, 2013 at 7:36 AM ^

Yes. It's a business. If I were a recruit and the CEO + the coach saying he's got to do a better job I'd be second guessing right now. The program is going backwards with no sign of "doing better".    My guess here  is that M is a class orginization, Al and Funk will not be canned this year. However with the players in the locker room there has to be be rumblings. We might lose on some commits and we may also see a transfer. At the end of the year Funk and Al would most likely render their resignation making it a class move for the betterment of the team. DB should be out looking to make plans for next year's replacments. As is any business the CEO to make their business plan and forecast to sit pat would be an insult to the players (associates). M is a Forbes 100 program in football, so run the business like one. Al...take this opp to retire in grace and provide hope for 2014 right after the season.


November 11th, 2013 at 8:45 AM ^

Hoke seems lost, he doesn't know what hell is going on.  He doesn't know how to coach in all honesty.  Sparty should how to kill this team, and you come out here and say I thought they blitz a little more than i thought.  How the hell do you think that HOKE.  When the commentater says I would blitz on every down, you know there is a big issue and you didn't coach them up hoke. Or tried to even mask your weak line by practicing blitz pick up. if you did that and this is still the product, then there a bigger issue at hand that you cant evaluate talent and you are the wrong man for the job.  I had enough this bull shit excuse we are young, we are young.  YOu lost to a damn team that has 3 back up offensive linemen, back up qb, their best receiver not at 100% and they are on the road.  So how the hell is that coaching staff able to do that and you cant do jack shit in about 5 weeks.  Another thing, how many times am I going to see you defense tip their hand on a blitz and the opposing team changes the play and you stay in your dumbass blitz and get burn? How many times am I going to see these dumbass packages of your that tell exactly what play you are running to the opponent on a constant bases. Damn man, these kids are getting UM education, I am sure there is one intellegent player on defense that can check them out of the blitz into a base play or may be practice it during the week.  If you see the opposing offense change the play, you automatically go into a base defense.  This should not be htat hard to do.  If devin cant audible out of a bad play, may be go to the line with more than 2 sec on the play clock and do like most teams in america and give him another play to run. How unintellegent are these coaches and players, that they cant put in their game plan check to keep the opposing team honest.  Everyone knows exactly waht you are going to do, so you (coaching staff) are making hard on yourself not the player execution.  There is a big problem if the opposite teams knows what you are running and you still run it. 


November 10th, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

It's a start.  Bear with me here.

I didn't go into this expecting any answers from Hoke.  There's nothing he can reveal about what's going on the inside that would fix the problem or do anything other than further damage.  This was an opportunity to see if Hoke knows that the way he's doing this is under more scrutiny and less patience.  The terseness of his deflections tells me he gets it.

Look, I understand if some people get the impression he's not respecting us.  Maybe, but believe me, no one talks this way unless they're intensely aware of the pressure that's on them, and to a coach that's basically their measure of job security.  So as far as me hoping for progress, this is the start I've been waiting for.  I did say during the awful showing at Akron I was hoping they'd lose (I was roundly called to be perma-banned) -- not because I wanted to see them lose, but because I knew if they won, it would take this long for them to get it.  And it has, goddammit.  I would rather have reached this point sooner rather than later, during the toughest month on the schedule.

I didn't become a Michigan fan last week.  No coach likes to make wholesale changes on their homeboy crew, and if there's a future for this program it's going to require hitting rock bottom first.  We're probably another 2-3 ugly losses away from that, unfortunately.

But if you're a long-term fan, well. . . this is the start.  Let's see how it goes from here.


November 10th, 2013 at 5:55 PM ^

OK, I'll grant you a little latitude on this counselor. But just a little. His responses do seem a bit more tight/terse which may be read as an indication that he's actually feeling the heat. But by god there better be some tangible action (i.e. - coaching changes) come year-end or there won't be a torch or pitchfork to be had within a hundred miles of Ann Arbor. Hell hath no fury like a fanbase scorned.


The last three games (plus Pizza Bowl?) are going to be pure, unalduterated torture.


November 10th, 2013 at 5:16 PM ^

I expect the remaining teams on the schedule to blitz a lot more than their film has shown so far.  

I did notice, as Hoke mentioned, some really poor tackling, too, on both the special teams and defense, that allowed players to get additional yards, in some cases quite substantial yards.


November 10th, 2013 at 7:34 PM ^

Your comment made me go watch the presser. It reads differently than it does on video.

In reading this, you can sense the pressure he's under and Hoke's response seems to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.

However, in watching it, it Looks like he's holding back a smirk on the last couple of 'I've gotta do a better job coaching' comments.


November 10th, 2013 at 5:20 PM ^

I want to know if Brandon is going to give a 3 year evaluation review with Hoke, as he did with Rich Rod? If he has any consistency about himself he will fire Hoke on the spot (not saying he should, but if he uses the same criteria he did with RR he should). Granted, RR's start was dismal, however, he got better each year. Hoke has done the exact opposite. BOTH coaches did not fully have players for their system yet - so no excuses for Hoke. In fact, Hoke did better with RR's recruit than he has with his own. This excuse of youth, execution, etc; has gotten old. Heck coach, you have a senior who can't run or block for shit. What's the excuse there?


November 10th, 2013 at 6:02 PM ^

He blamed the O-lines' struggles on youth the majority of the year.  I think he recognizes he can't use the same excuse every week.  He didn't really talk about execution this week.  Coaching was the buzz word of the week.


November 10th, 2013 at 6:09 PM ^

No, "youth" was not specifically mentioned in Hoke's presser yesterday.  However, in case you've missed it, Hoke and his apologists have been spilling the youth mantra from day one?  

That point aside, blaming yourself by saying "I've got to coach better", (another canned phrase we've been hearing week in and week out) and then week after week showing us NO improvement - this clearly says something about his ability to make this team better.


November 10th, 2013 at 7:31 PM ^

Yeah, like what is your specific plan to "coach better"?

Is it new schemes?  Is it return to old/simpler schemes?  Is it different personnel?  Is it trying to get the players to do something different?  Is it to stop trying to get the players to do something different?

The players ain't changing.  You got who you got.  They're as old and as big and as fast and as experienced in November as they're going to be.  

So what's the plan to "coach them better" . . . to win games against actual opponents that are trying to beat you, not just to look good in practice on Tuesday? 



November 10th, 2013 at 9:04 PM ^

Do you seriously believe what you wrote?  RR was 3-9, 5,7 and 7-6.  He lost the last three games of his tenure by 20, 30 and 38.  Hoke has gone 11-2, 8-5 and 6-3 (pending).  His teams have only been blown out by Alabama and MSU.  Obviously Hoke's teams are not performing up to the standards that he's set for himself (or that we expect of them) but you simply can't compare three years of RR to three years of Hoke.  As Brandon does his annual review, Hoke will get a pass.  RR did not (and should not have).


November 10th, 2013 at 10:53 PM ^

Let down on your "I'm here to fend off all RR rhetoric" guard.  I'm simply throwing out what will amount to the hypocrisy of Brandon.  Yes, we all know the disaster that was called the defense under RR - which led to the aforementioned "blow outs".  At least RR was improving what he specialized in - offense.  You cannot say the same with Hoke.  The man who is supposed to be Mr. Trenches, has the worst trench in the Big Ten, maybe the FBS.  You can argue till your blue in the face about comparing RR and Hoke, but from an offensive perspective there is no comparison.  The offense under Hoke has gradually declined over the 3 years.

Back to my point.  Brandon's reason for firing RR was his failure to win "red letter games" or "benchmark games" and "compete at the highest level".  Using the same benchmark he would fire Hoke, but won't because he is ___________.  Below are Brandon's statements about the next coach after the firing of RR - in case anyone has forgotten. 

“has to be able to compete at the highest level. The expectations here are extraordinarily high … That puts a coach in a position where they have to have the ability to stand up to that pressure and perform against it. We play difficult schedules. The Big Ten is a challenging conference. It’s a smash-mouth conference with big teams … you saw how difficult it has been [under Rich Rodriguez] for us to go nose-to-nose with the big guys in this conference.

Yeah, Dave, we've seen how it's been.  I think about this man's arrogance and Dantonio's words "pride comes before a fall",  and have to think that Mark is just sitting back smiling at this tire fire.


November 11th, 2013 at 2:25 AM ^

Did you actually watch the entire years of RR offense or did you just catch the highlights package? Against any competent defense the RR offense looked silly. The defense looked bad against anyone. Put em together and he needed to go.

Hoke's offense has not looked terrible every year even against good teams. It has looked atrocious this year. The defense has looked excellent in a couple years and good in one. That's the nature of college football.

Comparing schedules and knowing who we faced each year, Rich Rod's schedule and record can't hold a candle to what Hoke did with his so far.

Definite, definite concerns about the offense and I'm now convinced Borges needs to immediately get better or leave, but you're crazy if you think Hoke should be fired even by holding him to some "objective" standard.


November 11th, 2013 at 8:50 AM ^

You are questioning if I actually watched the games when you cannot even read my entire post and understand its MAIN point?  I did not say Hoke's offense has been terrible every year. ?  I simply stated that is has regressed every year.  I did not say that I think Hoke should be fired?   Only that based on Brandon's own criteria he should be.  That's it!  So put down your RR chew toy and process facts.  And the fact is RR's offense was #1, that's right #1 in the Big Ten in 2010 by averaging a whopping 488 yds/game.  Did you watch the games???  Don't confuse offense with defense.  And schedule strength?  Really?  I think an argument could be made the Big Ten is the weakest it has ever been this year!  Which makes this debacle even worse.  

Prince Lover

November 11th, 2013 at 1:03 AM ^

These are gues-timates so don't get in an uproar if I get the #s wrong. But didn't RR go 3-9, 5-7 and then 7-5. BH has gone 11-2, 8-5 and now ???.
My question is, how can DB justify not firing BH? Don't get me wrong, I hope to hell he doesn't fire him (I didn't want RR fired either for what its worth) I just wonder if DB knows the corner he painted himself in.


November 11th, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^

Hoke could literally have gone winless this year and STILL have 4 more wins in 3 years than RR ever did. 

My point is we cannot hold every coach to such a black-and-white 3-year standard of "wins trajectory", because it's not fair. It wasn't fair to RR either (but that was an exception...and there was plenty of blame to go around for it). And if the standard is as you say, it would be even more unfair to Hoke because of what he's done. He's been blown out TWICE in three years. He's won a BCS bowl. His team has certainly regressed this year, but if you're firing him then it looks even worse than the RR firing because as it is Hoke already has 10 more wins than RR did in the same time

You can talk about trajectory, but you can't ignore the reasons for that trajectory that are not coaching related. You can't ignore RR's "bare cupboard" in year 1 just like you can't ignore that 3 of Michigan's losses last year were to teams that had TWO combined losses among them the entire year (and one of those losses was the National Championship!), the fourth was because of playing Bellomy and the 5th was a hard-fought game against a very good SEC team.

Quite frankly, I think it's asinine that ANYONE would think Hoke should be fired based on the results of his first 3 seasons so far. Maybe his seat warms up next year based on this rather...underwhelming...season. But even if he loses the last 3 games...he's not getting fired, and he shouldn't get fired.


November 10th, 2013 at 5:26 PM ^

NOT LIKING THE COMMENT ABOUT THE PLAY CALLING. YES, CAPS LEVEL BOTHERED. I get "fort talk, coach speak, not throwing staff under the bus, etc" but saying you liked the play calling is too much. I think Hoke will and should get 5 years here before he continues or we go another way. Most coaches should. Yet, as a game manager more than hands on X & O guy, he has to fix his staff. Sorry but we all know who had to go. One or two more can be debated but Borges has to go. Liking the calling? That is too far, too much fort/coach speak.


November 10th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

Hoke taking responsibility for the team, and not sticking a knife in Borges.  He may be furious with the play calling, but he's the boss and he owns it regardless.  Whatever issues Hoke had with the plays, he'll discuss it in private with Borges - not cut his legs out when he can't defend himself.


Don't read too much into these. 


November 11th, 2013 at 6:53 AM ^

suggests he's much farther from the action than he is. He understands it, he's part of it, and he has signed off--every week--on the general approach. I think that Nebraska has/had a shitty D, and as with many of these games they have gone in believing that they could establish the run, at least a little. It hasn't worked, and that's on them--on everyone--but I'm convinced it's that simple. This is Hoke's team. Borges may well get shitcanned if the public uproar is great enough. But putting it all on him is blindness. 

Maize and Blue…

November 10th, 2013 at 7:24 PM ^

Or is Borges just that stubborn and Hoke to dumb to know any better. This staff hasn't had an answer for the A gap blitz since they got here. Nebraska took the MSU game film and said hey this works and they have no idea how to stop it. We ran two screens that resulted in gains of 23 and 27 yards and then never ran another. Borges sucks plain and simple. Funk's Oline is way worse than RR's 2008 line that had very little experience and even less talent. How much should we appreciate Vincent Smith for his ability to pick up a blitz at 5'7" 168lbs.