Sugar Bowl Postgame Transcript: Michigan Comment Count

Heiko January 4th, 2012 at 1:30 AM

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the official postgame press conference for the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl.

We'll begin with Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. We've been joined by Denard Robinson, Junior Hemingway, and Brendan Gibbons.

At this time I'm going to turn it over to Coach Hoke, a few thoughts on the game, and we'll open the floor for questions.

COACH HOKE: You know, thank you. It was a great college football game. Two teams who played extremely hard, two teams that played for each other. I think Virginia Tech and Coach Beamer, they did an excellent job, when you look at how they defended us a little bit and then offensively and then you look at the Michigan Wolverines and how our guys stayed together, complemented each other.

We talked about playing 60 minutes of Michigan football. We played about 63 and a half, I think. So I'm just real proud, real proud of our seniors, real proud of how they took this football team last January and molded it and did a tremendous job.

And we always have a tremendous legacy of Team 132 that a lot of teams are going to have to try and match up to.

THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Ryan Van Bergen.


Q. Brendan, it hasn't been a great Bowl season for kickers. You see him miss, and you go up. Just talk about what's going through your mind at that point and how good it felt?

BRENDAN GIBBONS: It felt good to go out there. Coach Hoke and the whole Team 132 had faith in me the whole season. Coach puts us in situations, two-minute drill every Thursday practice.

And it just felt good to make the kick for the team to help the seniors go out in a good way.

Q. Junior, you seemed to get very emotional after the game. What was behind all the emotion, just the victory? Was there something else? What does it mean to get the two touchdown catches and the victory?

JUNIOR HEMINGWAY: From the beginning when the coaches first came in, you know, we had to buy in and the seniors had to get the rest of the team to do the same thing, Team 132.

It was just a hard-fought season. And to go out there and do it for the underclassmen who now have a Sugar Bowl championship under their belt and for us to leave with the Sugar Bowl championship, it just shows our hard work, our determination, our resilience. And that's where most of the emotion came from.

Q. Coach, I'm curious: What do you think this win means for the program? Is Michigan back?

COACH HOKE: I was asked that the other day. Michigan never left. And some people may have thought that way, but Michigan never left. What it means is that we've got a group of guys, especially a group of seniors, who won 11 football games.

And it's only the fifth team in the history of 132 years of Michigan football to win 11. And so it's a significant task.

And these guys have grown as a team. We've grown as a football team and a staff, and there's a lot of love and respect that we have for each other.

Q. Denard, how do you describe the way this game went, just from your perspective?

DENARD ROBINSON: I feel like this was a team that didn't quit and we just kept fighting. We held everybody accountable for what we had to do to win.

Q. Ryan, Brady's talked throughout the year about what this season has meant to the seniors and he's in a way dedicated this year to seniors. Can you talk about what it meant for you ending it with so many challenges in losing Will and all that?

RYAN VAN BERGEN: We've had times where we had to face adversity throughout this whole season, and it kind of comes full circle for the seniors. Like you talked about, we faced a lot of adversity since we've been here.

This game was kind of just, you know, a microcosm for what happened to us so far as a senior class, and it's been an amazing turnaround for this year, and I think the seniors left an amazing legacy.

Team 132 will be the fifth team in Michigan history to have 11 wins. That's significant when you play in a program that has the tradition that Michigan has.

So we couldn't be more proud as a senior. I couldn't be more proud of the guys that we got the opportunity to lead. It's a full team effort. And we just stayed strong all season. It's a marathon.

Q. Brendan, did you know it was good when you hit it? How did you celebrate when you were absolutely sure?

BRENDAN GIBBONS: I thought it was good when I hit it. Felt good coming off my foot. How did I celebrate? I just wanted to celebrate with my teammates, and it felt good to celebrate with them.

Q. Denard said earlier in the week he wasn't second-guessing himself, whether he made a mistake throwing the ball to Junior Hemingway. After he throws that pick looking for Junior earlier in the game, goes back in the corner, I guess, what kind of confidence does Junior instill in you and what kind of confidence does Denard instill in you and your performance today?

COACH HOKE: I've always had confidence in both of these guys. And when you have a big target and a guy who has great timing, which I think is part why Junior makes a lot of those catches, and has a big body and bodies some people out of the way.

And so we've always had a lot of confidence in that combination and sometimes you are going to make plays. And you've got to have guys who can make those plays, and when they're the ones doing it, you feel pretty good about it.

Q. Junior, talk about your two catches.

JUNIOR HEMINGWAY: The first one, the play was called. I forgot what the play was. It was corners. So I saw how the DB was playing. I broke it off in front of him. I seen Denard getting ready to throw the ball, but I didn't know who he was throwing the ball at. He threw it up and, number one, didn't play the ball good. I caught it. I heard the safety coming over I didn't know if he was going to take me out or what. Snatched the ball in there, ran it in for six.

And the second one, it was an all-go play and I got behind the safety, and I was thinking in my head: Please, Denard, throw this up, please, I want you to so bad.

And he threw it up. He threw it up. And I made a play on it.

Q. Coach, a lot of people question the selection process for this game and said that maybe the teams weren't worthy. What do you think that the result of the game and the way that it transpired says about that proposition?

COACH HOKE: Well, you know, people always are going to have an opinion, and that's part of the beauty of college football, part of the beauty of the BCS and all that kind of stuff.

And I can tell you that team we played tonight is a pretty doggone good football team. And I think we're a pretty good football team.

So people are going to have their opinion. We just happen to disagree with them.

Q. Brady, a couple of things kind of related maybe. If somebody had told you you weren't going to have 200 yards of offense in this game and only have the ball for 23 minutes, how much trouble do you think you would have been in? And can you talk a little bit about what David Molk went through to even be on the field?

COACH HOKE: Well, you know, I'll answer the second question first. David, he's a warrior. He's a captain on this football team. He tweaked his foot during the pregame. And our trainers did a tremendous job, our doctors.

And he has a lot of pride in Michigan and he has a lot of pride in this offense. And so it means a lot to see him come out there and perform like he did.

What was the first question?

Q. Getting it done without offense …

COACH HOKE: Well, you know, you never know what you're going to get in any game. We just gotta be able, when the time's right and when either side of the ball needs to make a play, and we've done that through the course of the year.

The defense caused a turnover. We got a great turnover on the kickoff, their kickoff return, which was a big part of it. But to be honest with you, you know, you really -- points on the board. And that's what's at the end of the day. We had more points.

Q. Brady, you've been resistant, reluctant, throughout the year to qualify whether or not this season has met or exceeded your expectations for this season. Now that it's over, can you qualify if the season lines up with what you expected?

COACH HOKE: We go in with the expectation to win the Big Ten championship. And that won't ever change. Winning ten games or more are part of that expectation. So we didn't reach that goal. But I can tell you this group of guys got us a heck of a lot closer than we were before.

Q. Brendan, what was going through your mind as Virginia Tech calls time out and it's overtime you're lining up that kick and thinking about lining up that kick? What was going through your mind before the kick in overtime, during the timeout and all that?

BRENDAN GIBBONS: Brunette girls. Every time we were like struggling in kicking, Coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls. So that's what we did. Made the kick. (Laughter).

Q. Brendan, I'm curious if maybe thinking about those brunette girls you may have false started on that kick. Replays appeared to show that you jumped a little early. Do you feel you might have beat the snap coming out there?

BRENDAN GIBBONS: I moved a little bit. Not really. But it's kind of like my false step approach. So Glanda and Drew did their job and I did mine to win the game.

Q. Denard, after giving up two field goals early, what helped you change to get the offense going?

DENARD ROBINSON: We knew the defense was stepping up making big plays. It was time for the offense to step up and make plays, and that's what we did.

Q. Coach, out there Al talked about how this really wasn't about execution, it was more about will. In some ways is it even more satisfying for you as a coach?

COACH HOKE: I think you're right. And Al's right. It was about will. When you play a game like that and we're both -- both teams are getting after each other -- and I can tell you down on the field it was physical. You could hear. And guys were playing football, and you could hear football. And so it was a physical game.

The one thing that's great about this football team is they've continued to stay together. And they've continued to complement each other. And that's exciting. And that's why we've won 11 games.

Q. Ryan, obviously in the crutches, just what happened in the end?

RYAN VAN BERGEN: I got stuck under a pile and my foot got bent down in an angle, so my foot was parallel with my shins, so that was an awkward angle. That was early in the game, and that was bothering me. I had a cut block actually fold it the other way. So I was just trying to battle it off.

This was my last game. Unless I saw a bone, I was going to try to stay in and fighting that off. The guys behind me, they filled the role really well. Jibreel Black did a great job at the end of the game.

Q. We talked about after the Ohio State game what this senior class means to you. After a game like this, a win like this, how are you going to remember them? How are you going to remember the team and how they set the foundation for your first year?

COACH HOKE: These guys have left a mark and one that -- I can tell you, the senior class, we'll always remember and always be proud to say that we had the privilege and the opportunity to coach them.


(FastScripts by ASAP Sports)



January 4th, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

Hypothetical dialogue between David Molk and Ryan VanBergen

RVB:  "Yo Dave, what the hell is Rocko doing out there at center?"

Molk:  "I hurt my damn foot during warmups and it hurts to push off on it, so coach started Rocko."

{Offense comes trotting off the field after going 3 and out and Mattison is heard shouting}

Mattison:  "DEFENSE, get out there!"

RVB :  {looking intently at Molk's foot before heading onto the field}, "Dude, I don't even see a bone."

Molk:  {pauses with look of reflection on face then shrugs shoulders and nods in acquiesence} "Hey Coach!...."


January 4th, 2012 at 9:40 AM ^

I always get annoyed when stupid reporters ask the "what were you thinking about when ____ happened" question, because it's inane and annoying and contributes nothing of value to the broadcast. Today I was proven wrong.

Also, can we get brunettes to join the muppets in the MGoBlog victory celebration routine?


January 4th, 2012 at 1:59 AM ^

Well, you know, the way Team 132 made plays when it had to was, in a word....


What a season.  I have drunk the Kool-Aid and cannot wait to see what Brady Hoke does with full recruiting classes that aren't cut in half by the time they hit campus.  Were we lucky this season?  Sure, but you make your own luck

Mark G

January 4th, 2012 at 2:03 AM ^

Don't know what else to say. And it's late. Well Done gentlemen!
<br>And some classic quotes!
<br>"Michigan never left."
<br>"So people are going to have their opinion. We just happen to disagree with them."
<br>"Brunette girls. Every time we were like struggling in kicking, Coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls."
<br>"This was my last game. Unless I saw a bone, I was going to try to stay in and fighting that off."
<br>I love these guys! Hoke Über Alles!


January 4th, 2012 at 8:31 AM ^

Junior Hemmingway's MVP speech literally brought a tear to my eye. After reading Three and Out, I think I understood where that emotion was coming from; and I couldn't have been more proud of these seniors for pulling it through, to finish both the season and their careers at Michigan the right way, and set their legacy by turning Michigan in the right direction. It was the kind of group only those years of adversity could forge, when everyone from the Freep to ESPN had pronounced Michigan dead...

Those Who Stayed were Champions.


January 4th, 2012 at 8:37 AM ^

So I think Brian needs to start a "brunette girls" meme. Like when he's apprehensive about Michigan's next opponent he thinks of brunette girls or something. This is too awesome to let it die.


January 4th, 2012 at 9:13 AM ^

I've been reading some of the comments on the different news sites and I have a hard time stomaching some of them.
This wasn't a lucky win, it was a gutsy win complete with a beat up O line that could barely stand by the end of the game, A much maligned D stepping up big when we needed it the most, and a team that wouldnt quit all year long.

What a way to go Guys!

I'm so sick of games that pile point after point up with no one playing on the defensive side of the ball. This game reminded me of Bo's type of game, grind it out, and gut it out.

Congratulation 132!





January 4th, 2012 at 9:19 AM ^

We stopped to watch the post game last night and his girlfriend walked up behind us. She is a brunette. "Brunette girls" is the correct answer when the other option, is "girls on a beach".


January 4th, 2012 at 10:26 AM ^

I'm really happy for team 132.  However, Virginia Tech's defense dominated our offense.  If you have a good secondary that can play the WR's one on one that Michigan spread is dead.  Denard is awesome at doing certain things, but he's also pretty bad at doing other things.  He isn't good at throwing on the run and he has a hard time seeing the WR's downfield.  The way you stop Michigan is to blitz and blitz some more.  If you take Denard and the RB out of the play you have a good chance of stopping them.  I would imagine that most teams will try to do what MSU and VT did against Michigan defensively next season.   Michigan won this game because of their defense and a few questionable coaching decisions by Beamer.  Don't get me wrong the back of the end zone catch by Hemingway was great.  The first TD catch was a gamble and Michigan was fortunate.   That being said any way you slice the pie it was a "TREMENDOUS" season for team 132.  This was supposed to be a transition year, and to win eleven games is impressive.  I'm looking forward to 2012 and hope to see the offense evolve more into the west coast offense that Borges prefers.  I think Denard will be much improved running the offense in 2012.