Utah Postgame Presser: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 21st, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke thinks ball security is their biggest issue
  • The starting quarterback against Minnesota will be determined during the week via competing and challenging
  • Jourdan Lewis’ cross-field rundown that saved a touchdown was compared to a similar play Woody Hankins made in 1996 against Ohio State. The coaches show the team the Hankins play every season.

Opening remarks:

“Obviously very disappointed with the outcome of the game. I thought our kids came out very ready to play. I thought that they demonstrated that the first drive down the field and I think the defense, what they did early in the football game, was indicative of how they prepared, how they practiced, and how they got ready to play the game.

“I think obviously you have a punt return against you for a touchdown. Anything in the kicking game is momentum and we had some momentum and then we give up the touchdown on the punt return, which is very disappointing.

“You look at, from a standpoint of taking care of the football- you know, and we’ve talked a lot about that. Probably more than I would’ve liked to or you would like to talk about it but that’s one thing we’ve got to do a better job of and that’s constantly coached and we talk about it and sometimes those things happen and we’ve got to make sure we’re going back to work, working hard on it and we can’t have that happen through the Big Ten season.

“We talked as a team afterwards about what we need to do and I reminded them of the 1998 team, which was a team that went to Notre Dame- I was part of that team- and lost and then lost here at home against Syracuse and then went off and won the Big Ten or a part of the Big Ten championship. Those goals, our goals, are all out there. And I do believe we have a team that can do that. Now, you can’t play the way we did today and do that. We realize that. But we’ve got a bunch of guys in that locker room who every day work their tails off and are supportive and believe in each other.”


Brady, after a game like this when you pulled your quarterback and the score was what it was what do you see and why do you believe you can contend in the Big Ten this year?

“Yeah, and that’s a great question but I think the one thing I have that you don’t is I’m with this group of young men every day, these kids. I know how they go to work. There’s some things we did very well today. We did some things not as well as we needed to. And we’ve got to improve on that. We’ve got to go back to work. It starts with me as the head football coach. It starts with the assistants [and] everyone who’s in Schembechler Hall. We’ve got to do a better job for those kids.”

The incident on the sidelines with you and Greg Mattison right before or right after the penalty, was that a little loss of control there? What was that?

“Well, I’ve known Greg since 1984 and I can guarantee you that that wasn’t the first time two competitive men have had a- I wouldn’t even call it an argument.”


“Did I finish that? Sounded like it. Discussion. You ought to see us play euchre. We really have discussions.”

[More after THE JUMP]

The turnovers in the second half obviously were a problem, but in the first half you only had one turnover at the end and still it seemed like finishing drives was the problem. Talk about the need to be able to finish drives.

“Yeah, there’s no question that that’s one thing- we start a drive, we have some success with it, we get a sack and so we’re behind the sticks again and you don’t like to play offense that way. We had a penalty that put us back, and so we’ve just got to finish those drives. First drive of the game, really the execution and what was going on was good but we settled for three points. Great kick by Matt [Wile], good to see it from him obviously but we want seven points, not three points.”


What’s the plan at quarterback at this point?

“I think, number one, it’s way too early for me to assess that until Doug and myself and we look at the tape and all that stuff. The one thing I can tell you is sometimes it’s good for a guy to come out and just watch and see what he can see from the sidelines and look at rotations of coverages maybe from that standpoint. There’s not going to be any answers to that tonight. We will compete and challenge like we have everyday and we will have a starting quarterback against Minnesota.”


In your two losses the team hasn’t reached the red zone. How much of an overhaul or how much change needs to happen with the offense?

“Say that one more time.”

In the two losses you guys haven’t reached the red zone with your offense. How much of a change, how much of an overhaul has to happen or are you kind of going with the plan you have at this point?

“Well, I don’t think there has to be an overhaul. I think our execution- you know, the little things that we need to do, and again that starts here, and we’ve got to do a better job of it. I have a lot of faith in those guys on the field.”


How tough is it to hear people complaining about the state of the program? In your estimation-

“You know what I don’t like? Those are 18 to 22 year olds. That’s what I don’t like. That’s fine, and I know they buy tickets and they’re more [than] welcome to do it but they’re 18 to 22. Yeah, they’re out there but they’re students. They’re student-athletes and believe me, they’re working their tails off. If they’re all for me [Ed: the boos], good. I don’t have a problem with that at all.”


Coach, can you talk about their first drive of the second half and some of the adjustments and what happened there?

“I wish I could tell you exactly what happened. We were very disappointed in that drive though. I mean, that’s not the way we wanted to start the second half. A couple under routes on third down. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to. I think the pace- I know on one play we just got set [and] we weren’t all the way where we needed to be. That drive bothers us and bothers me.”

And the big play in the first half, the passing play. Was that a lack of communication in the secondary?

“No. It wasn’t a lack of communication, we just didn’t execute.”


Brady, can you take us inside the locker room during the 2.5 hour delay? What did you guys talk about and what was your goal coming out with just seven minutes and change left in the game?

“Well, the goal is to win. And so that’s why we come back out. And to compete. In the locker room, I think sometimes- and we had the one a couple years ago against Western Michigan and I think we went back out and played and came back in so you have a little bit of an idea about it but this was a long one. We tried to- we fed the kids a little bit. They ate some stuff that’s good for them to eat so that they can go out and play. They relaxed. You know, they all have iPads these days so some of them relaxed, especially when we knew that it was going to be an hour and a half [or] two hours, and then we came together. We had a great plan for warm ups and what we did there and really they were excited to get back on the field.”


Brady, you mentioned little things that are kind of keeping this team from turning the corner. That’s been a consistent deal, the little things. Why can’t this team seem to find the inches there?

“Well, the only thing I can tell you is we’ve got to keep working at it. We’ve got to keep working at it.”

Is there any one area in particular there that…

“I think the ball security issues are probably our biggest issue when you look at it overall. The secondary- you know, Jourdan Lewis played his tail off today. May have played his best game and if you don’t write about the play he made to keep them out of the end zone then you don’t know anything about the game because that effort that he made from all the way across the field- I can remember Woody Hankins did that down at Ohio in 1996. Kept them to a field goal and that was a 13-9 game. We show that clip every year of a backside corner doing that and that’s what he did.”


Talk about the anticipation Willie Henry had on his pick and that play and the momentum it gave you.

“Well, Willie will tell you he probably diagnosed it but I think Willie popped out, did a nice job, got his hands up. Willie’s a pretty athletic 305-pounder. It was a good football play. I don’t know what else to say about it. He made a good football play and that’s what you talk about- if you’re not to the quarterback get your hand up and he got his hand up and did a nice job.”


And you mentioned Jourdan, but Jake [Ryan] also…

“Well, Jake, I don’t know the final statistics tackle-wise but he’s a football player. I think he’s adjusted well to playing inside linebacker.”


Brady, how much of a concern is the pass protection? It looked like they were able to get pressure quite a bit just rushing four.”

“You know, I thought our quarterback stepped up- sometimes on pass protection when the ends are going up the field sometimes you feel like, boy, they’re getting closer but there was a pocket in there the majority of the time. Not all the time. Obviously when you’ve got four sacks you’re not excited about it totally but I thought there was some good things in the protection and I thought Devin had a chance and Shane had a chance to step up.”


Brady, after the Notre Dame game you fully endorsed Devin Gardner. Are you saying now that the position is open, that it’s up for grabs?

“I don’t think I said that. I said we’ll have a quarterback for the Minnesota game and we’ll assess where we’re at right now and we’ll compete and challenge all week.”

But you had said then that Devin was your quarterback. You’re not saying that right now though.

“Well, I don’t always say the same things, do I?”

No, you don’t but Shane came in-

“We’ll see what happens. I think that’s the best way to put it.”


My other question is what is your level of concern with the offense right now?

“I’m concerned about everything that we’re doing. Do we want to be better offensively? Yeah, no question. Do we want to score points? That’s part of the game and what we want to do so am I concerned? We need to play better. We’ve got to make sure we execute better.”



September 21st, 2014 at 2:39 PM ^

I think Brady did a better job of taking responsibility, putting it on himself, and using humor to field questions rather than being snappy (the euchre reference). Surprisingly, he seemed more comfortable and purposeful with his responses, although they were characteristically ambiguous, which is much more preferrable to unhinged, after the direction things have taken.

I think it inspires more confidence that he isn't backed in a corner. I'm still waiting to see where we go from here.


September 21st, 2014 at 4:26 PM ^

I hope you win the lottery, too.

But sadly, I find I can no longer spend Saturday afternoons watching the lottery numbers arise and hoping your ticket matches.

I also will no longer be purchasing Cranky Dave merchandise (I have returned my Cranky Dave trucker's cap and wife beater to the local Wal Mart just this morning), as the poor prospect of your lottery ticket coming up a winner becomes ever more depressing.

Add to that your in-state rival, Saucy Jack, having such success this weekend with the Pick Six, and it makes things even more awful.

I don't even want to think about the Card Scratch-Off at the end of the season against Ohio's Stinky Pete, who has been matching three of the "plus four"s on his lottery card the past three seasons.

No, Cranky Dave, I don't think this is your year to win the lottery. And next year doesn't look good either.

But I know you'll ever remain a true Michigan Lottery Man!

Go Annu [ity]!


September 21st, 2014 at 8:02 PM ^

yeah but some of that was erecting the straw man of fans who are pissed off at the students. people are mad about the state of the program because of hoke and dave brandon and lou ferrigno and darrel funk, even if they don't know all those names. not so much the kids, who are, after all, only here five years tops and therefore none of whom have been around since the last time we were any good.

correct me if i'm wrong, maybe there are fans out there who boo the kids in earnest. but i don't know anyone who's really pissed off at devin gardner or anyone else on the team, at least not in a coach-free vacuum. it'd be great if devin played better (it especially seemed that every single throw was behind the intended receiver), but for him i mostly feel sad and resigned, not angry. pretty much all of my frustration is for the coaches and their apparent inability to prepare the kids to play well, at least on offense. 

so yeah, good on hoke for deflecting negative attention from the kids. but i don't think most of the negative attention is directed at them to begin with. 


September 22nd, 2014 at 7:25 AM ^

Well it's time for Hoke to pack his bags, there's no reason with the way we been recruiting to be 2-2. UofM AD must get it right this time we need to do whatever it takes to bring Harbaugh to Ann Arbor. I wpuld love to see Jim come home but I would be even if John came too


September 22nd, 2014 at 7:26 AM ^

Well it's time for Hoke to pack his bags, there's no reason with the way we been recruiting to be 2-2. UofM AD must get it right this time we need to do whatever it takes to bring Harbaugh to Ann Arbor. I wpuld love to see Jim come home but I would be even if John came too


September 22nd, 2014 at 8:35 AM ^

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Bando Calrissian

September 21st, 2014 at 1:33 PM ^

Hoke's weekly routine of "I thought we prepared well" and "I thought we practiced well" is just tiresome. If you practiced and prepared so well, how do you explain what's happening on the field? How do you explain 10 guys on punt coverage

Out of touch, out of time.

Sten Carlson

September 21st, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^


What if he's being honest?  What if the team did prepare and practice well in the week leading up to the loss?

I am done defending him and his staff -- something ain't right, that for sure -- but there have been times when he's said that he didn't think the team practiced as well as they could have.  Right now, the team is having a hard time taking it from State St. to Main St., and I am not sure anyone can explain why that is.  I know people will say, "but he's the coach, he should know why and make the changes necessary."  Sure, that's easy to say, but sometimes things don't translate just right.

Again, I am not defending him, but player execution is where the rubber meets the road.  Coaches try their best to get them ready as best they can, but the players have to go out and exectute.  Now, it's possible that this staff's "best efforts" to get them ready aren't enough for this level, but still, the players are executing at a very low level.


September 21st, 2014 at 4:57 PM ^

I'd rather for once that they played well in the actual game and hear that they prepared poorly in practice.

As the leader of a complex organization, you can get too wrapped up in internal process and lose sight of what is important . . . results.  It happens all the time in organizations from General Motors to the local general store.

Sten Carlson

September 21st, 2014 at 3:59 PM ^

The players are the ones that are responsible for making the plays, not the coaches. 

Stangely, Bando, you've tried to polarize every comment I have made all day long. 

Coaching is important, but it is the players who must execute the plans laid by the coaches.  Now, if the coaches are making bad plans, then so be it.  But, from what I have seen, this season, there's nothing bad about the plans, just poorly executed plays.  Now, the coaches are responsible for teaching the players to execute, and Hoke has take responsibility for that many times, but the players have to go in the field and do it.


September 21st, 2014 at 4:48 PM ^

And if we took your model, then incompetent bosses would remain on the job forever while the workers who executed their orders would be fired. Oh, wait--

As ESPN said this morning: a fifth-ranked recruiting class in 2012, a sixth-ranked class in 13. At some point you have to start admitting that we have the talent but the coaches aren't making the thing work. It's called accountability. 

We see the talent all over the field. We do not see poise or confidence. We do not see play-calling that puts them in a position to succeed. 

Mr. Basketball13

September 21st, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

How do you explain the increase in talent but the decrease in production? If the players are not executing the plays it is the coaches job to give them plays that they can succeed with. Also all of our starters have talent and if they cant exucute bring in their 4 star back up. I do not see in any world how the players are more at fault than the coaches for this 2-2 start.

Sten Carlson

September 21st, 2014 at 6:07 PM ^

Where did I say that the players were more to blame?  EVERYONE is to blame, coaches, players, even the S&C staff.  But, the players are the ones responsible for doing the playing. 

For example, the INT that hit Funchess in the hand.  Who is to blame for that?  Hoke?  It was executed to perfection, but Funches (whether due to lack of effort or injury) just doinked it off his hand, boom, INT!  Again, who is blame for that?  The OC designed and called a good play, the QB throw a good ball, and the WR didn't execute.

Look, I am all for blaming coaches for things that they do poorly -- like development, planning, game management -- but in the end, the players are responsible for doing the job that they have been tasked to do.  It's not hard to figure out.  When DG locks on to Freddy Canteen, and completely ignores the LB dropping back who is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, and throws it anyway, who is to blame for that?  Sure, coach him up, but I promise you he is getting coached up, he's just not executing what he's being taught. 

I am not saying that Hoke & Co. shouldn't be held accountable for the failure of the team of late.  But, DG should know better than to do what he's doing game in and game out.  Some people have this notion that coaching can be beaten into a player, and if someone else, someone more talented says the same thing, they'll get it.  Some players don't get it, and some do.  Why?  I don't know.

Right now nobody is doing a very good job -- neither players NOR coaches.


September 22nd, 2014 at 1:31 PM ^

Some people have this notion that coaching can be beaten into a player, and if someone else, someone more talented says the same thing, they'll get it.  Some players don't get it, and some do.


Yes - and MORE players will get it from a better coach. Some coaches are just plain are better at teaching than others.


...and some players will never get it - but that is also on the coach. He recruited him. All players are there by the CHOICE of the coach. Some coaches are just plain are better at choosing players than others.


Poor players? It's the fault of the coach. Lack of development (whether because of poor teaching or poor raw material)? It's the fault of the coach. Coordinators performing poorly? It's the fault of the coach.


The coach chooses the players. The coach chooses the coordinators. The coach chooses the philosophy. The buck stops there.


September 21st, 2014 at 2:15 PM ^

I dont think anyone noticed that live and the press hadnt had time to watch the tapes when they interview him right after game. Im sure that will be asked at Monday's press conference.

Also, there were only 10 men on field for the extra point right after the punt return..so two plays in a row with 10 players.


September 21st, 2014 at 1:45 PM ^

Same thing every week:

"Didn't execute"

At this point you need to be honest or something. Didn't execute doesn't mean anything. I don't want you to blame your players per se, but instead of saying "Didn't execute" I want to hear that "The QB is not going through the progression, is biased toward a receiver, locks in too soon, and tips off the defense."

That is the specifics of didn't execute and shows understanding. Anyone who watched the game could see that, so being coy doesn't give away anything.


September 21st, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

If the answers are repetitive, it's because the questions are too. Hoke's obligated to give these press conferences, and it's not like there is much else the press can ask other than different versions of "What went wrong?" The need to execute was also the common refrain when Rodriguez was coach. There's really not much else they can say.

He could, I suppose, call out particular players: this guy missed a block, this guy had poor ball security, etc. But what's the point?

It is execution.  Seems like the team is killing itself with mistakes. This produces very strange stat lines, where the game is not close in terms of the score but otherwise looks pretty good. They outgained both Notre Dame and Utah, had better third down efficiency than Utah, had a significant edge in time of possession against both Notre Dame and Utah. Yet, they kill drives with turnovers, penalties, and mistakes.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a team lose two games so soundly and yet finish with stat lines like that. 


September 21st, 2014 at 5:01 PM ^

In all our games against OSU ( that tOSU or Ohio or whatever you want to glibly call them ) in the early 70s we out gained them out first downed them and still lost. Of course we scored touchdowns and got into the red zone in those games but it was still " we out performed them in every where but the score " Of course we eventually did excorcise that demon but it took years


September 21st, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

I'm not sure insulting all the students at the University is really a great decision. Even if only undergrads were upset (they're not), that is still a big freakin' deal. And as a 30-year old who also questions the state of the program, Hoke's comments on the issue are both ignorant and insulting.

I know the available HC options out there aren't great but I am so over this shit.

Julius 1977

September 21st, 2014 at 1:49 PM ^

Ball security is not the problem.  These are highly skilled players that are not performing.  I don't claim I know enough about football to pinpoint anything with regards to actually playing the game.  However, I know people, and whatever is going on here is an issue that is very basic to the mindset of the team.  I really like this coach as a person.  He talks a lot about expectations.  Right now my expectation is to lose to any team that is not a doormat.


September 21st, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

I kind of like this presser in a way. He made it crystal clear he is fine with us being disappointed on the staff.

Good. We are rightfully pissed off with this staff.

They should feel like they are fighting for their positions because they essentially are. If we win the Big Ten this year I will become their biggest supporter.

The season begins anew. This is not the greatest conference so if we lose even two games I'd say it's time for a change. If we go 7-1 and challenge MSU at their place I would give them next year to win a Big Ten championship and accomplish the goal Brady laid out that fateful day four years ago.

We support the kids Brady Hoke. Now it's time for you to earn our support.

Let's go.