Tuesday Presser Transcript 9-24-13: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 25th, 2013 at 8:02 AM


  • Jake Ryan! Won't be back for Big Ten opener. Maybe by Penn State. "Mid-october" is the target.
  • The only way Graham Glasgow gets moved to center is if there's a capable guard to replace him.


Opening remarks:

“Good practice today. Back to basics, I think that’s what most of us do during bye weeks, especially the first couple days. Fundamentals, being sound with technique, revisiting technique is always important. I think we did that. We had great intensity. The focus was very good.”

Are there guys that are going to rest this week?

“No. I mean, everybody’s participating, some at different levels than others. Taylor doesn’t need to be out there 30 plays in a practice -- I’ll just use him as an example. You’ll do some of that, but everybody’s doing work.”

For Taylor, has this season been an improvement for him?

“I think he’s playing pretty well. I think he’s been very good as a leader. I think he’s been good fundamentally and technique. I think he’s been pretty good.”

Has he been playing hurt?

“No, I don’t think so.”

You’ve talked about potential depth chart changes. Do you do that this week?

“We would start that today. We’ll work different guys in and out. Defensively, we do that a lot because of how we play. Offensively we’ll do that a little bit.”

What positions are you thinking offensively?

“Well I think the three guys in the middle, the offensive line, are always something that we look at. There’s some guys who have played well in there but there’s great competition behind them. So if a guy has a good practice, good couple days, you may move him up.”

Is it a day to day thing with those guys?

“I think so. I think it always is. I think really at any position, I mean, we’ve had guys who have started, haven’t started some games because the week of practice wasn’t as good as it needed to be.”

Would you be hesitant to move Graham Glasgow to guard center?

“I think the only way we’d be hesitant [about that] is if we didn’t have a guy we thought could do as good a job or better.”

At guard?


How have Glasgow, Miller, and Kalis responded to the last couple of games?

“Well they’re fine. They’re pretty resilient guys. They’re pretty tough guys. Tough-minded guys.”

What can you say or do with Devin Gardner beyond what you’ve already done to get him to cut down on turnovers?

“I think some of that is outside, what we do. How we compete. The different situations you put him in. I think we’ve got a lot of confidence in him. But at the same time you have to point out those flaws and the things that we haven’t done as well as we need.”

Anything like last year where you had guys carry footballs around campus if they were fumbling too much?

“No, because it really hasn’t been -- I think fumbles haven’t hurt us as much as [interceptions]. The fumble on the quarterback sneak, it was tight in there, we’d love for him to have the ball up a little higher, but he’s trying to find a seam that’s there, and a guy gets knocked backwards. It’s kind of tough. That doesn’t excuse not having the ball up here.”

Al Borges talks about not having to recoach Devin on not making the same error twice. Does that still apply?


So that he doesn’t make the same mistake twice.

“He doesn’t. But he has. So we need to, I guess, recoach. Never heard that before.”

You don’t necessarily get to pick your bye weeks, but is this a good time to have one or would you rather be back out there?

“I think this is a good time. We’re four games in. I think it’s a great week for us as a staff to look at personnel, look at special teams personnel, look at the personnel who’s played, look at guys who are improving. Guys like Willie Henry, guys like Ondre Pipkins, see where they’re at in the mix maybe a little more.”

Are the turnovers part of the cost of having a guy who’s mobile?

“Yeah, that’s really a good question. Part of it is that you have guys who are multi-talented. They have had a lot of success being -- I don’t want to say loose, but playing a little bit of sandlot football. You play good teams, you can’t do that. You play teams not as good, you can’t do that. I think it’s a fine line because you’d rather try to tame a bucking bronco than an old mare. That’s kind of what you have to do. But it still comes down to the fundamentals. Our footwork and all the things that you know. At the end of the day, it’s always, any position comes down to fundamentals.”

As somebody who spends so much time with the defensive line, how disappointed have you been in their lack of production?

“Oh I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m disappointed. I think the effort’s pretty good. I think the technique at times needs to be a little better. Would we like to have more sacks? You always do. But there’s been some pressures there. There’s been some things that have prevented us from sacking a guy, either break contain or something like that, but I think they’re working awfully hard.”

How’s Jake Ryan doing?

“Jake’s doing well.”

Is he participating?


How likely would he play in the Big Ten opener?

“I don’t think that would be the game.”

So more mid --

“October. October … Sometime in October.”

You got more pressure against UConn. Is that a product of what UConn did, or were you happy with the way your guys won some one-on-one matchups?

“I think we beat some one-on-ones. They would be a six-man protection not as much. Some of the play-action stuff, yes, but not something that they did a lot of.”

How do you balance physical practices with resting your players during the bye week?

“Our schedule, I think we think as a staff, is a good schedule. Because we can accomplish both. We’re going to physical. We’re going to be competitive, which I think we have to continue because your timing and fundamentals of how you want to play. At the same time it’s an opportunity to not play guys as many plays as they would in a normal week.”

What is your schedule this week?

“We go Thursday and then Friday morning.”

Is there a reason why Devin feels like he has to be superman?

“I think he’s been superman a long time. I think when you grow up being superman, you have that in your mind. He’s competitive, and the thing that I talk to him about is there’s 10 other guys. And then you have 11 guys on defense. And then you have kicking game. It’s everybody together. I think he hears that.”

So is it a little bit of a trust issue?

“Trust in who?”

Understanding the other 10 guys are there.

“I don’t think there’s a lack of trust. It’s just what’s innately in him. It’s in his DNA.”

Was there a similar mindset with Denard, and did you learn anything from him?

“Denard was very much a guy that could make a lot of plays and made a lot of plays.”

Did you learn anything from dealing with him that you can apply to Devin?

“I’ve been dealing with this 30-some years.”

You said that Fitz Toussaint will get a bit more rest.

“We’ll rest him a little bit this week. He’s one of those guys that you don’t need to -- ”

Which of the backs do you want to work in more?

“De'Veon Smith, Derrick Green. Justice Hayes ran the ball a little bit more today.”

Do you think your team got better last week?

“Oh yeah. There wasn’t any doubt. It was a much different team.”

You said the ship’s not sinking. Do you get that there’s a little sense of panic because the wins were a little too close?

“Panic by who?”

Your people. Your fans.

“We don’t really worry about it to be honest with you. We’ve got great fans. They are welcome to their opinions.”



September 25th, 2013 at 12:04 PM ^

of the situation. I would add that he harbors the same doubts. What has happened to his team is something he did not anticipate and now realizes they are not prepared for the Big Ten season. Thankfully, next couple of games are with teams he can beat while trying to improve their caliber of play.

In today's Wall Street Journal they referenced Michigan slipping in the polls while winning games. If history is any guide, according to the WSJ Michigan's poll standing of 11 two weeks ago will be the highest they achieve this season. Not very encouraging.

Sten Carlson

September 25th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

"I would add that he harbors the same doubts. What has happened to his team is something he did not anticipate and now realizes they are not prepared for the Big Ten season."

You know this how?

There is one issue with this team, IMO...TURNOVERS.

Hoke's been doing this a long time, and I'll bet he was pretty certain that the OL was going to be a "work in progress" that would improve over the course of the season, and that with a young team struggles are common.

Again, stop turning the ball over and Michigan destroys ND, Akron, and UConn, and everyone is thrilled.

Personally, I have come to feel that these last two "near miss" games are going to go a long way in building the character of Team 134.  There are a ton of "teaching moments" in every game -- which will only make the players better -- and the resolve to see a less than stellar performance all the way through is very important.  Further, there should be no "false sense of security" going forward, and every player knows that they have to work even harder to shore up their responsibilities and fundamentals.


September 25th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

Hoke admitted on radio after the ND game he did not feel his team is a top ten football team and was not sure if they belonged in the top 20. Clearly he knew he had issues. He knows what wins in the Big Ten is line play. As of today, both the OL and DL are weak and bordering on incompetent.

But I will taken it one step further. Hoke is not at this time a top ten coach. He has not beaten a top ten team as head coach. He knows it and we know it. Hopefully, he will grow into the job and be able to extract the maximum from his players as does Sabin and U.Meyers.


September 25th, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

competition. Michigan TO margin is minus 6 in the last two games and they still won, which is incredible, because that should never happen. 

I also challenge your contention that the line play on both sides of the ball sucks, based on whatever standard you want to use. First, of all, Michigan is tied for second in the conference in sacks with Ohio, MSU and Wisconsin. Your argument is based on your opinion not on facts. 

The offense is middle of the conference, and Ohio and Wisconsin are among the nation's leading ground attacks which are supported by veteran lines. Michigan has three new starters. 

Michigan's defense is giving up a bit more in pass efficiency and big plays than a year ago but its red zone efficiency is pretty solid. I don't care who you play in college football if you allow teams to set up first and goal at your one, and they only score once in three or four tries, it isn't luck that they aren't scoring. 

The defense is pretty solid. The problem with the offense is inconsistency at Oline, at qb, rb and the receiver spots. This team is still trying to determine what it does best and keeps shooting itself in the foot with turnovers and ill-time penalties, which have wiped out a host of big plays, any one of which would have made a scoring difference in the last two games. 

Michigan is what it is thus far, an overhyped work in progress on both sides of the ball. I think it remains one of the most complete teams in the league and once Gardner figures out that he doesn't have to play Superman every week, then this team will find its rhythm and capability. 

Sten Carlson

September 25th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

"Michigan is what it is thus far, an overhyped work in progress on both sides of the ball. I think it remains one of the most complete teams in the league and once Gardner figures out that he doesn't have to play Superman every week, then this team will find its rhythm and capability."

Well said!

There was so much hand wringing and concern over the interior OL going into the season that I am a bit shocked at how many posters seem shocked by what we've seen thus far.  Seems like it's a lot of these same posters who want to put Coach Funk, Borges, and even Hoke, on the "hot seat" over this "unacceptable line play" -- it's like they totally ignored everything written and discussed (in here and by the coaching staff) leading into the season.

Michigan is 2-3 years away from being a National contender, IMO.  But, what is so much fun, to me, is to see how a great coach like Hoke can win (perhaps not all the time, but often) despite the fact that he's still "rebuilding" the program.  Hoke is recreating a cultural identity of the program that when the depth/experience issues are solved, is 100% necessary to have a Championship program.  Without that winning culture, you have a very talented team that seems to fall short in the biggest moments.


September 25th, 2013 at 4:49 PM ^

is a few years from being a National Champion contender provided they are coached well.

Let's not forget one of Hoke's strengths is recruiting. In the past three years he has had the best recruiting classes in the nation. Yet, though he had a good first year coaching with many RR players, last year was not so great. This year barely  getting by one of the worst teams in college football and playing catch up to a team that is headed in the wrong direction is not a good sign for what is to come.

I believe GM is an excellent defensive coach. However, when it comes to coaching the defensive line I suspect Hoke has more to say. The result has been a less than average pass rush against very weak teams. Borges should have stayed retired. The offensive line could not handle Akron or Connecticuts defensive line. I believe it is very telling when the Akron coach said that after the first quarter he felt that his team could beat Michigan. This is from a coach who knows top line football programs  and comes from a famous football family.

Look, I am a diehard Michigan alumni who only wants the best for the team. My view is to tell like it is and hope those in the program recognize what is plainly in front of them; mediocrity. Now is not the time for the fan base to cut them slack. They have the talent. They need to coach them up better.

Sten Carlson

September 25th, 2013 at 8:48 PM ^

"My view is to tell like it is and hope those in the program recognize what is plainly in front of them; mediocrity. Now is not the time for the fan base to cut them slack. They have the talent. They need to coach them up better."

Sorry to say, this is one of the most short sighted and asinine statements I've ever read from an alleged fan. Mediocrity? They're 4-0 for fuck sake! Bowden said be thought his team could win, but they didn't. Stop looking at the opponent's name, and look at how Michigan turned the ball over 8 times -- 2 went for scores, and one gave the opposing team the ball in the RZ. It's hard to win games when you gift the other team that many points, yet Michigan won BOTH. You can play the should/shouldn't game all you want, and you can say the coaches aren't up to par, and that the team is headed for mediocrity, but that's just like your opinion man!


September 26th, 2013 at 11:36 AM ^

They beat one team worth discussing. I don't believe CM or U. UConn has won a game. Akron has one win against James Madison. Now if you believe that is something to crow about and indicative of a good football team then you have a lot of catching up to do.

Get this through your head. After the Akron near upset (they should have lost. The Akron receiver on the last play was clearly held.) every member of the Michigan team was out to show that was was an aberration. They went to Connecticut to kick serious ass. Instead what happened was they took it on the chin by presumeably an inferior team. Turnovers point to team mediocrity or should we use them as an excuse as you do?

Sten Carlson

September 26th, 2013 at 12:35 PM ^

"Now if you believe that is something to crow about and indicative of a good football team then you have a lot of catching up to do."

Honestly, I don't care who the opposing team, nor what their record is:  JUST WIN BABY -- and they did.  You're obesessed with this idea of "inferior" and "superior" teams.  I think that is a mistake given the parity that has developed in CFB of late.  Last season Towson St. almost beat LSU.  In week 1 this season there were something like 8 FCS teams that beat FBS teams, and many other near misses.  It's like you cannot get it through your head that Michigan is STILL rebuilding its depth, and is a very young team.  You're stuck with this historic image of Michigan that is not reality any longer.

Further, I never said that almost losing to Akron and UConn is something to crow about.  But, by the same token, I don't think it is something that should cause fans to get out the torches and pitch forks either.  What I think is indicative of a good football team, however, is the fact that despite horrible offensive performances in both games, they came through in the end and won.  Weaker, less mentally tough teams might have layed down and died, but Michigan didn't.

"Turnovers point to team mediocrity or should we use them as an excuse as you do?"

Turnovers point to QB (considering 7 of the 8 TO's were on DG) who is trying to do too much, and who is loose with the football.  One of the things that I hate is when guys like you play the "excuse card."  An excuse implies using a reason that has little to no relevance on the scenario as the reason why something happened.  Saying that Michigan struggled in both games due to 8 TO's (2 for scores) is not an excuse, it's a fact.  I am not saying they nearly lost because the refs screwed them, or because they had jet lag, or grass was too long.  I am stating what is a commonly held understanding of what causes teams to lose football games: TURNOVERS!  Michigan went to CT to kick ass, and their QB gifted the Huskies points, just like he did the week before.

I didn't see a mediocre team at all.  I saw a team whose leader kept them behind the 8 ball, whose defense was actually fairly stout, and who finally got their ground game going and pulled out the win.

8 turnovers in 2 games dude...8!  Again, if Michigan has a clean card vs. ND, Akron, and UCONN, they would have been blowouts, and you wouldn't be so concerned. 

Blue in Yarmouth

September 27th, 2013 at 9:39 AM ^

you're continuing to make excuses as to why the past two weeks happened and there really are none.Listen...I love Hoke and on a personal level all of the coaching staff (not meaning I know them personally, just that I like what I know about them personally) but the constant excuses are wearing a little thin to me.

For me I believe it is the o-line coaching that I think is subpar. Keep in mind that I am NOT a football expert, but to me you can't keep saying they are young so we should expect them to be bad. Lots of teams play young players and they still perform decently. That line just got manhandled by two of the worst teams in FBS and still people make excuses. Uconn was one of (if not the) only teams not to have a sack going into the game and they pressured DG constantly, sacked him a few times and had more tackles for a loss than they had in their previous games combined...enough excuses.

Oh...and you arguement that there is parity in college football is another very poor one. There is not parity on college football. There is between the top teams, there is between the middling teams and there is between the bottom teams but there is not parity across college football, that remark is beyond ridiculous. Sure upsets happen once in a while, but have you looked at the scores across college football at all? There most certainly isn't parity. As I said, there are upsets once in a while, but UM almost got upset by two of the worst teams in the FBS in back-to-back weeks.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is, but the excuses are wearing thin. I'm going to go somewhere I know I shouldn't but when RR was here he had a terrible time with someone elses players but continuely improved over his time at UM and got the boot after three seasons (which I admittedly thought was too short a time, but have been thoroughly impressed with Hoke since his hire). 

In contrast Hoke and company got here and were lights out with RR's players (the ones everyone thought were terrible) and as they have been given time to implement their system and their players there has been a steady decline, despite the lofty recruiting rankings they have had. I'm not saying Hoke should be fired by any means, but something should change on the offensive side of the ball and to me it seems like either o-line coaching or OC, but I have been pretty happy with AL this year so far so I guess that leaves the o-line coach, who for two years hasn't been able to get his line playing as a unit. 

Anyway, bomb me to bolivian for my remarks, but at some point you have to stop making excuses. 

Sten Carlson

September 29th, 2013 at 9:15 PM ^

"...but something should change on the offensive side of the ball and to me it seems like either o-line coaching..."

Should, should, should.  Have you learned nothing?!?

So you're not advocating giving Funk time to develop the players that HE recruited, even when the oldest of them is a RS Soph?  In reality, the really top notch OL recruiting didn't start until 2012 because the first class was small, and Hoke & Co. didn't have a whole lot of time to get a great class together.  That is my point.  It's not an "excuse" it's a fact that Michigan has a  young, inexperienced, and relatively unheradled interior OL, and those factors usually don't add up to great OL play.

All you guys do is complain, look for a scapegoat, and play the "should" game.  Let's say Hoke fires Funk, then what?  Who should he hire?  You have no idea, do you?  You just are sure that if Michigan had a bad showing against *gasp* the worst teams in FBS that SOMEONE should be fired!  It's pathetic.

Let the kids develop a bit please.  Let the coaches do their jobs.  Michigan has had two of the nation's best OL recruting classes back-to-back, firing the OL coach or the OC right now would be an absolute moronic move.  Right now Michigan need CONTINUITY.   The players need to hear the same terms, from the same guys, despite what impatient know nothings think!


September 29th, 2013 at 4:08 PM ^

Agree with you, but I'm skeptical that he's going to be able to "grow into" being a top ten coach. Let's face it, top coaches make their presence known immediately. They don't have "off games", especially two in a row, three years in.

The top teams have strong ADs that are willing to make a change if enough progress isn't seen soon enough. We'll see what kind of AD Brandon is going to be in due course.

This is the reason Kiffin was fired:  "Did USC have depth issues due to scholarship reductions? Sure. But that didn't change the fact that the area where USC consistently seemed to be most lacking was coaching, in terms of preparation, motivation and execution."

Sound familiar?


September 25th, 2013 at 9:13 AM ^

I tore an ACL myself and I know these athletes are coming back better and better now but I still wouldn't want to risk a setback.

Really just need him for Northwestern and Ohio State. Both late Nov games.

Can't win those w/o him IMO. Other teams have weaknesses like us. Beatable w.o him IMO.


September 25th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

Neb D is terrible. We can outscore them. ryan doesn't play O.

MSU O is terrible. That game will be on the O 100%.

IU...see Neb.

PSU and Iowa will be a close hard fought game.

NW would beat the crap out of us right now without improvement acorss the board. Need better D (ie Ryan) and better O.

OSU will probably destroy UM unless Gardner goes into "ND mode" and we get some turnovers on D. Ryan there helps.


September 25th, 2013 at 9:09 AM ^

The question about Devin, then denard, and if he learned anything from Denard that helps with Devin was funny. It read like Hoke wanted to say STFU



September 25th, 2013 at 12:12 PM ^

Drew Sharpe actually attends and participates in U of M press conferences?  I figured, based on the content and quality of his writing that he pulled his columns from a bank of 25 set derogatory statements about Michigan and pieced them together like a game of Mad LIbs.


September 25th, 2013 at 9:19 AM ^

That didn't read like a typical Hoke presser.  Has he been getting lessons from Bill Belichick?  And, you know, never recognizing the STATE OF PANIC everyone else is in, for what is obviously an offensive line in massive disarray -- it's the opposite of reassuring.  I don't doubt that back in the locker room and film room, they recognize the deep doo-doo they're in.  But circling the wagons like this -- it's just so not him, and it comes across very badly.


September 25th, 2013 at 10:07 AM ^

What coach have you been watching over the last 2+ years? Since when has Brady Hoke EVER NOT spoken in generalities and platitudes? Since when has Brady Hoke been open and candid about problems or injuries at any position? Does the word "booboo" sound familiar?

As far as "circling the wagons" goes, Hoke doesn't have to do that now—they've been circled since he got here. Does the term "Fort Schembechler" mean anything to you?



September 25th, 2013 at 12:18 PM ^

And to be honest, would we want it any other way?  I mean Rodriguez was extraordinarily candid with the media and they all hung him out to dry for it.  Frankly, I can't see being any other way with the media as a head coach.  You don't have to be gruff a la Belichick or Dantonio, but being open about any aspect of your program, in the current climate of journalism makes zero sense.


September 25th, 2013 at 9:27 AM ^

These sorts of things are always laden with coachspeak so my complaints are trivial. I do get sick of hearing though about people playing well and hard and people getting more reps. I assumed all of this already, and if people aren't playing hard we have big problems. Again, these pressers are generally fluff. Better than they used to be, but I don't really learn anything other than Jake Ryan timelines.

I Like Burgers

September 25th, 2013 at 9:48 AM ^

Part of the problem is the reporters don't ask good direct questions.  The majority of those questions could be answered with a yes or a no.  If they would put some more effort into crafting a good question, you'd get less shitty canned coachspeak questions.  

Instead of "which of the backs do you want to work in more?"  Ask "What is preventing some of the other backs from seeing the field?"  Or instead of a leading question like "how disappointed have you been in [the DL's] production?"  Ask "What have your impressions of the defensive line's production been?"

At least half the reason coaches give lazy coachspeak answers is because no one asks them a question that requires any thinking.  And because they have to say something, they resort to cliches.

R Kelly

September 25th, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

I think it goes both ways.  Reporters ask lazy questions because they know that coaches rarely give candid answers.  In return, coaches give crappy generic answers because they don't want to reveal real information and because they don't respect the reporters' questions.  Look at how much of a struggle it has been for Heiko to get real X's and O's answers out of the coaches regarding certain topics. 

Space Coyote

September 25th, 2013 at 10:17 AM ^

You get information, it's just kind of jumbled info, but you still learn more than from the "you guys didn't play well, do you guys have to play well? Are you not playing well because you didn't play well? Are you guys concerned about not playing well? Or are you guys happy you didn't play well?"

I Like Burgers

September 25th, 2013 at 10:36 AM ^

You have to at least try.  That's why I'm saying they are lazy.  Ask a lazy question, and you're all but guaranteed to get a lazy answer.  But ask a good question?  Maybe you get a good answer every so often.  And at the very least, the coaches will repsect you for putting some effort into things.  You can see that with Heiko and Borges.  Borges at least respects Hieko because he's asking thoughtful questions, and he gets good answers more often than not.