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.
“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.”