Spring Practice Presser Transcript 4-12-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on April 12th, 2012 at 2:08 PM

News bullets and other important things:

  • Blake Countess is being considered for punt and kick returns.
  • Nathan Brink will be out for the spring game.
  • Kenny Demens has been held back recently due to a concussion.
  • Jerald Robinson has had an AC (shoulder) problem that he's been working through.

Brady Hoke


Opening remarks:

“This is kind of an exciting weekend around here for multiple reasons. Obviously we get a chance to go in the Big House and play football and compete, kind of assess where we’re at to some degree. The other thing is with Victors’ weekend, I think 350 or so former players are coming back for an event Friday night and then on Saturday, obviously the game and I think there’s 100 guys signed up to play in the flag football game, [for] which we’ll make sure we have enough trainers around [Ed-S: ...because they're old(!) get it?]. And then that night, Victors Night, something James Hall started seven years ago, we’re going to honor Coach Moeller. It will be a great celebration of the guys that he coached and what he did for Michigan.”

Will there be a team meeting like there was last year?

“Yes. On Friday? Yes.”

You’ve talked about having the Spring Game against anothr team. If you had a magic wand, would you prefer an NFL model where a team could come here for a few days or would you rather just have the spring game against them?

“I think the NFL model. I think you get together for two days. You get together, you plan out practices together as a staff. You do your different situational drills that you may do … I think it would be a great idea to be honest with you. I don’t know from a budget standpoint and all those things, if you’re traveling and doing those kinds of things, who you would do it with. I like that model. ”

Would you also prefer it to be not open to the public or the media?

“Probably not. I think that would be worked out through both schools, how they felt about it.”

How has Denard progressed in terms of limiting turnovers?

“You know, I think he’s done a good job with ball security, which he’s been pretty good with that. I think in his decisiveness and throws, I think he’s made some pretty good throws. I can’t say I’ve seen him make a bad throw but maybe once or twice where you’re going, ‘What the heck was he looking at?’ as a coach, but I think he’s done a good job. I think the mastering of the offense or whatever you want to call it. I think he’s a little better.”

What have you seen in terms of leadership this spring?

“Yeah. Well I think so. I think Roundtree and Kovacs are two guys, I think Patrick Omameh … Will Campbell’s done a good job. I’d be remiss not to name a lot of those seniors, but I think they’re really understanding this is the way we want to go about our business.”

Who are some players on offensive and defensive line that have stepped up?

“I think Ricky, as a center. I think he’s really going to be a good center for us. I think his athleticism, I think there’s still some issues with making sure we’re getting the ball where we need it out of the gun and that part of it. We want to make sure we’re not making the quarterback work too hard for it. Elliott Mealer I think has had one of his better springs. I think he’s grown up a little bit and playing with more confidence. Joey Burzynski, a young man out of San Diego, he’s done a good job and he’s made an impact as a guard in there [and as] a second center or third center. I think Mike Schofield … I think Taylor has progressed, which I think there’s more progression for him still because of his abilities. Schofield’s done a nice job. ”

And on the defensive line?

“The other side of the ball, I think Will Campbell’s made some strides. Looking at Tuesday, I thought was one of his better days since he’s been here. I think Jibreel and Craig played inside. Gives us a quickness and gives our defense an ability to run. I think they’re doing well at the point of attack. I think they’ll be better in the fall because of strength gains and weight gains they’ll go through. Doesn’t have to be a lot, but some. Richard Ash has started to play with a little more confidence. Keith Heitzman is a guy we redshirted a year ago and has shown some signs. And Quinton Washington. If you look at all those guys, none of them are where we want them to be or need them to be, but I think at the same time they’re making some good progress.”

How can you tell that you’re playing physical enough?

“Well we really are more physical than we were last year at this time. When I say that, we’re more physical in the standpoint of we play a little faster, I think the effort down the field -- that second or third block, the point of attack, and I think we’re just playing with better fundamentals than last year at this time. Now by no means are we close to where we want to be.”

How is the punting situation?

“I think they’re kind of neck and neck. One day one of them is really consistent and one day he’s not. The other guy’s consistent. We’re going to do some stuff on Saturday to really put some heat on them and see how they handle that part of it. We’ve been doing that some, but I think in that environment you get a couple more speed guys on there, I think it will be interesting to see.”

Hokespeak translation: Hagerup = inconsistent big leg, Wile = consistent less big leg. We'll see what happens when there are punt cover teams running at them.

What about kicker?

“I think Gibbons has done a really good job. And Matt continues to do a good job, [but] I think it’s Gibbons for sure.”

What about the secondary?

“Well I think Blake Countess is a guy working his tail off all the time. Kovacs, I think Marvin Robinson’s improved. That’s huge. I think Thomas Gordon’s better. I think JT and Courtney and Raymon Taylor are doing a nice job, and Jarrod Wilson’s gotten a bunch of snaps. He’ll take a bunch of snaps on Saturday. I think he’s doing a nice job. And a guy I don’t want to forget -- Floyd Simmons is a guy who’s doing really well for us in the kicking game, but he’s done a nice job in the back end too. ”

Are you set with the kick returners or would you like to wait until fall to experiment?

“I think both … I think Jeremy Gallon is a really good punt returner. I think he’s got great confidence in catching the ball. His vision’s pretty good. He’ll take it burst-wise when we look at the punting game. In the kickoff game I really want to see Rawls and Hayes come along a little bit. Vince Smith’s been back there before. Jeremy's been back there some, but punt-wise [it would first be] Gallon, and the next one would be Countess. He’s very confident in what he does back there. I think Countess is a guy we’ve looked at kick returner some.”

How is the competition between Frank Clark and Brennen Beyer?

“It’s pretty good. You’re talking about two wonderful young kids who, I think, as they continue through the weight room and everything else, both of those guys are going to be good football players. They’re pretty good now, but they both have a very good future. I think it’s daily. Frank’s here one day and Beyer’s here one day. They compete and they’re really friends. It’s fun.”

Is Denard becoming more adept at using his running ability as a third option if receivers aren’t open?

“No, I think it’s probably a place where he’s got to improve that a little bit. I think he’s really conscious of going through different reads. He really wants to make sure he’s letting the play play out. He probably hasn’t taken the ball down and run maybe like he will in the fall.”

With a guy like him, how do you balance using his athleticism with making sure he goes through his progressions?

“It’s a balancing act. You’re exactly right. When you have a guy who has that capability and at the same time, I think there’s things where if he let the dig route come further in it’d maybe be a 15 yard gain, but him tucking the ball down would probably be a 15 yard gain, too.”

What will be the format on Saturday?

“We’ll probably go sixty-some plays. We always have depth problems in the spring, so we’ll go ones on ones and twos on twos and compete. We’re not at the point program-wise because of depth issues on the offensive front and defensive front to draft like you want to. So we’ll pretty much do what we’ve been doing.

Will there be a scoring system?

“Yeah there will. There’ll be a blue team and a white team. I want to move the ball all over. It’s not going to be a true drive. We’ll do some punt before it. We’ll work that part of the game in the stadium. We’ll do some PAT stuff. The kids have been over there doing some of that, but just to do it in the stadium.”

How are you health-wise right now?

“I’m good, thanks.”

What about your team?

“Pretty good. Brink has done all the individual drills. He hasn’t done any full contact with 11 bodies out there, but we knew that going in. We get some boo-boos here and there, but we’re pretty healthy.”

Has Kenny Demens been held back at all?

“He was held back for two days because of a mild concussion deal. Kenny -- and he’ll tell you -- probably could have gone, but we’re trying to be, like we should, cautious with those kinds of things.”

Was that this week or last week?

“What’s today?”


“It was Saturday and Tuesday.”

Is there anyone who will be out for sure on Saturday?

“Brink won’t go. I think that’s it. Some guys are going to be limited play-wise. We’re not going to run Fitz 30 times. Taylor’s not going to play 60 plays. That’s not going to happen.”

How beneficial was it for Joe Bolden when Kenny sat out a couple days?

“Oh it was really probably a great indoctrination for a young guy. But it’s been good. Him and Kaleb and Jarrod -- I’m real proud of how they made the transition. When you think about it, they should be going to Prom. But I mean, it’s just … that part of it is good to have them.”

Can you talk about the relationship between the spring game and Mott?

“Well I think as you know, that relationship for over 20 years has been special. The football team and the rest of the athletic teams, the athletes going up there and sharing with the kids and being around them, so it’s one that we really think is special. I think it’s a win-win for both Mott and [the football program].”

How have the receivers developed?

“Receiver-wise, I think Roy’s had a really really good spring. I think Jeremy [Gallon] has, and Jeremy Jackson’s improved. Dileo has done a nice job. Gosh dangit … I have to get through the depth chart in my head … who am I missing? Jerald. I think Jerald’s made some good strides. He’s been a little bit beat up. He’s had a bit of an AC separation, but he’s played through it and has done a nice job. I’m excited about him. I know I’m leaving somebody out. I think they all -- you can see improvement. One thing I like about the receivers and I liked about them last year: they’re not afraid to block. They’re not afraid to get up in a safety’s face or a corner’s face, and that’s pretty good.”

Is there any amount of a bounty system in college football, and is that why coaches are hesitant to talk about injuries?

“Yeah … I’ve never heard a coach ever talk about that. I think coaches talk about we have to stop this back or whatever, hold him under this many yards, but that’s part of team defense. I have never heard a coach say we want to dive at his knees. I think it probably has been said, but none that I’ve been around.”



April 12th, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

I love his response to the "health" question. Also asking what day it is. Hoke does a great job of seeming like/being a regular ole, run of the mill, doggone football coach but I'd be shocked if he isn't one of the smartest guys in the room.


April 12th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

After hearing coach after coach go on and on about not being able to play a spring game due to depth concerns along the lines can we just get Hoke to come out and say we'll never play a game to end the whining every spring about depth.   You only have 85 scholarships and 20 of them probably graduated.  You are always going to have about 60 to 65 scholarship guys ready to play each spring. 

I am fully aware that we have depth issues on the oline the last couple of years but we have walk ons who are ready to go, let em play.   Certain teams play a full spring game every year regardless of issues of depth and some don't.  stop using this bullshit depth chart issue as an excuse.    I don't really care one way or another, but having to hear whining year after year from Lloyd, Rich and now Hoke is just  brutal.

Let em play or don't but with 85 scholarships waiting around for the day that you have enough depth at all the positions to play a game is pointless.   You may get the 1 weird year out of 10 where you have a monster senior class and you only have 10 to 14 scholarships open, but that is going to be the exception not the rule.

The silly thing is this game/scrimmage/practice is probably not as intense or as long as most of the Spring practices.   I don't know why injuries are a concern on this more than any other scrimmage day.   Just make a decision and stick with it.





April 12th, 2012 at 3:11 PM ^

I know it's mostl coachspeak at this point and maybe I'm just being a nervous nellie (and i'm positive I'll be neg bombed for this) but Hoke's comments so far have been less than glowing for the most part. He keeps talking about how certain guys aren't where they need to be and about how other guys need to step up. Just not the kind of stuff I like hearing, especially in the second year of their system when guys should be knowing the right way to do things already.


April 12th, 2012 at 7:28 PM ^

... but his expectations are unreal

His expectations are probably spot-on.  What he's managing is our expectations.

I can't count the number of forum posts -- here and elsewhere -- confidently predicting a NC this year.  Anything is possible, but there's nothing in the cards that assures that.

Here's what we can be assured of -- if there's a coaching staff in the country that will extract up to 100% of the athletic potential of a team ... this is that coaching staff.


April 12th, 2012 at 3:59 PM ^

With regard to this point, you may want to consider Hoke's repeated and rather passionate references to his failure to properly prepare the 1998 defense for the start of their season. 

He and the other coaches have said that spring is about starting over and building from the fundamentals up with raised expectations on performance from the previous year. Borges and Mattison have said that it starts all over again in the fall.

While Hoke has stated in mulitple pressers that neither line is playing with the physicality that is expected, he mentions in this press conference that both lines are playing with greater physicality than last spring. It's not that the lines have necessarily taken a step back, rather expectations have been raised.

If he's still saying this the week before our first game then we'll have reason to be concerned. Until then, I don't think you need be made more nervous by Hoke's comments.


April 12th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

I know it's been mentioned before, but I love the expectations these coaches have for this team.

Numerous times, they're saying players have improved since last year, but the players are still not where they need to be.

Team 132 was a pretty good team to put it lightly. I can only imagine what Teams 133, 134, 135, etc. are going to bring to the table.


April 12th, 2012 at 3:23 PM ^

". . . we’re more physical in the standpoint of we play a little faster."  Huh?  

I've come to the conclusion that "physical" is really just Brady-speak for anything good . . .
"We made a physical kickoff return out there today" . . . "Roy Roundtree has physical hands on receptions over the middle" . . . "that was some physical ice cream at dinner".



April 12th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

  Any word on why Delonte Hollowell get's no mentions when talking about secondary?  He seemed to make enough of an impact in practice last year to burn his red shirt.  Played decently against Nebraska and made a huge play in the Sugar Bowl.  I was expecting him to be at least the third corner if not pushing for the 2nd spot.  Then this spring has been crickets.  Anyone have insight?


April 12th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

Hoke is obviously not really liking Omameh's performance this spring, and Chris Bryant isn't getting mentioned at all.  These incoming  freshmen are gonna get a real long look in the fall.

Section 1

April 12th, 2012 at 5:57 PM ^

Kind of interesting.  The only one that I was ever aware of was the one for twisting off the head of an opposing quarterback using his facemask as a lever.



April 12th, 2012 at 7:30 PM ^

I love Hoke.  Truly, I do.

But I enjoy Borges's pressers more.

Hoke is being a HC ... Borges is just a football wonk joyfully speaking his craft.


April 12th, 2012 at 10:44 PM ^

When I read line two of this post I misread part of  the following:


Obviously we get a chance to go in the Big House and play football and compete, kind of assess where we’re at to some degree.


Had something to do with kicking rear ends the way I read it...


April 13th, 2012 at 8:06 AM ^

I am happy they are honoring Coach Moeller this weekend.  It was Gary's kids that brought us a National Championship in 1997 and he has been a loyal supporter of the football program through thick and thin.  A class guy, who should have gotten a pass for one tough night.