Wednesday Presser 10-15-14: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 15th, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Hoke presser 2

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News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke expects Devin Gardner to start against MSU, with Shane Morris now healthy enough to be his backup
  • Hoke identified zone coverage, the run game, and creating big plays as areas for improvement over the final five games of the season
  • Kyle Bosch will re-join the team in January after taking a leave of absence for personal reasons
  • Willie Henry could have played against Penn State if it was necessary
  • Hoke alluded to being past the point of making a decision regarding Desmond Morgan redshirting and was evasive when asked if he’d miss the rest of the season
  • The coaches go over negative highlights from around college football each week in team meetings
  • If you’re wondering why there were no MGoQuestions it’s because they were all about MSU, and I decided to save them for Monday since Hoke said the coaches are only in the preliminary stages of gameplanning

Opening remarks:

“Number one, thanks for coming out today. It was good to get a win. Obviously winning's an important aspect of what you do when you compete. The atmosphere, I think, in Michigan Stadium was unbelievable and I know our kids, the energy, they feed off that and it was through the whole game. It was loud when it needed to be loud [from] our students and our fans so we really appreciate that.

“Yesterday we had a shortened practice. We'll go a little longer today. Just fundamentals and techniques being the main emphasis. A little bit on our next opponent, Michigan State, but a lot of fundamental work because we've got some young guys who want to continue to grow and continue to get them as many reps as we can, and then you've got some older guys who've played a lot of football in seven games [over] seven weeks so you want to get them some rest when you can but at the same time try and get some of the early game planning stuff. And with byes, to get physically healthy is an important part of it as much as you can; you're never going to be all the way. And then we've got a great rivalry game with Michigan State.

‘So the other thing we’ll use the bye week for is recruiting. The other part of it will be for us to– for us as a staff to do some self scout with where you're at and what you've done so far and where you might want to change some details up and I think that's one thing Michigan State did – not Michigan State, Penn State, the other night when you look at some of the down and distance and formation things in the first half from an offensive standpoint. They had the bye week and I think they went in seeing that they needed to change up a little bit and I think they did that.”

Do you expect Devin [Gardner] to start at Michigan State?

Yeah, I would. I think having Shane back and healthy also is a big part of it and as much as we are going to talk about injuries yeah, we expect Devin to be there.”

You've touched on this in the past, but what would you say is the biggest area of improvement in Devin since you've known him?

“I'd say as much as anything I think [it’s] his leadership. I think nowadays kids, not a lot of them have that natural leadership. And a lot of that is, and this is an opinion, I haven't studied this but they play so much AAU now. It used to be you go in a backyard or churchyard and you’d say [to] 10 guys, ‘Okay you're the captain of this team and you’re [the captain] of this,’ then pick. Now we have adults making decisions that I don't believe kids get to make and it doesn't help them grow and so that's just part of what I think. So it's a little tougher at times to help kids grow in that department.”

[After THE JUMP: more details on stuff summarized in the bullets]

Can you talk about the status of Kyle Bosch? Do you expect him back this year?
“Kyle will join us in January.”

How important, or is it not important at all, that you guys are coming off a win and now you get the bye week. Put a good taste in your mouth…

“Yeah, I think it’s always important. I’ve been doing this long enough [that] you’ve come off losses, come off wins. I think it’s always…creates a better teaching atmosphere when you come off a win and so I think that’s been positive. I really yesterday, the energy we had as a team and the competitiveness was really, really good and I hope to see that again today.”

You’re just past the halfway point in the season. Where are the areas where you see your team needing growth [and] where are the strengths you can really go off of going into the final five games of the season?

“Well, I think one thing- we didn’t run the ball very well obviously the other night, so that’s something that we’ve got to continue to make improvements on. Some of it, you’ve got to give the front of Penn State some credit. They were leading the league in rush defense and they’re one of the better fronts, but at the same time some of the fundamental things we need to do a better job finishing particularly on the perimeter of the line of scrimmage. That’s one area.

“I think the area you still look at [is] coverage. We did some really good things in man coverage the other night. Not as well in some of the zone coverages that we ran. I think part [of] what helped us was the six sacks and pressure on the quarterback. I will say because of some of the man stuff he had to hold the ball a little bit, or he held the ball a little bit and that helped. But I would think those two areas probably as much as anything.

“The other thing [is] we’ve got to create more big plays. We haven’t had big chunks and big plays in the last couple weeks and we’ve had some opportunities and haven’t executed all the way. At the same time, we’ve just- those change the morale of a game and the morale of a team.”

Could Willie [Henry] have played the other day if necessary?

“Yes.”

Moving forward, I know you’re not going to get into specifics but the bye week gives you guys a chance to rest. You have a ton of guys out on defense. Do you feel that going into Michigan State you could be as healthy as you’ve been since the beginning of the year?

“Yeah, I hope so. We do have a chance to get some guys back. Hope to get some guys back. I can’t tell you if that’s going to happen all the way and probably won’t tell you. I’m just not sure. I think it helps, don’t get me wrong.”

A couple of things: is Shane healthy enough and would he be the backup going into Michigan State?

“Shane’s healthy enough, yes.”

My other question is Dennis’ dancing at the game; what was your opinion of that? The reason I ask is that I think Kentucky had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago and their special teams coach was actually worried about drawing some kind of penalty for that.

“Well, I don’t think the ball was in play.”

Right.

“I don’t think- the one thing about Dennis, I’ve said this before; you talk about a guy who brings energy and loves the game and this is what he has. I think he was inspired. I don’t know if any of us could do the dance that he did. I know you probably think you could, but he brings a lot of energy. He’s like that every day, and when the whistle blows he’s as focused as anybody on getting out and competing at a high level.”

Are you familiar with “Atomic Dog?”

“I know the song. George Clinton. I mean, c’mon. I’m 55 years old. I’ve been around.”

You mentioned yesterday with Jabrill Peppers that you’d see when you see on that. Is it a different situation with Desmond Morgan, because he is eligible to redshirt? Is it different for him because he is a senior and this is his last go around?

“No, I don’t think there’s any difference. I think it just depends how guys progress. So us not doing anything or doing something with Des, yeah.”

Is there a cut-off point that you want to get to?

“I think we’re kind of by it in some ways.”

So is Desmond going to sit out the rest of the season?

“I didn’t say that.”

Is it a possibility?

“I think there’s a lot of possibilities.”

As a former long snapper how would you assess the job Scott Sypniewski’s done this season, and what’s your relationship with him like?

“I have a very good relationship with Scotty. Number one, his dad played for us at Western Michigan so I’ve seen his dad when we were at Ball State. His dad would always come to the Western game and go see Laura [Hoke] and see me after the game, so we’ve had a very good relationship.

“I think Scotty has become more consistent. When you look at on the field he had a couple low snaps early in the year and we work on every day championship snaps. He’s got terrific speed on his snaps and we’ve just got to make sure the consistency [is there] and where it needs to be is important.”

I just wanted to ask, in light of all this other stuff going on in college football with autographs do you talk about that again with your players and make sure they’re in tune with what-

“Well, no question. Every week you have something, and we collect every headline that’s made in college football, negative or positive. The negative ones, we put them up and talk about them in team meetings. There’s rules out there and we want to abide and live by the rules.”

So just the headlines, not the stories?

“Well, it’s both.”

I’m kidding because you say you don’t read-

“That wasn’t that funny, though. Go ahead.”

I know. But have you in light of this made a point that you have to be careful about-

“Yes. Yes, we have.”

Ben Gedeon’s made a couple big plays for you this year. Can you talk about his progress?

“Yeah, I think Ben [and] Mike McCray. Mike McCray made one of the better plays that we’ve had all year on the fake. I think both those guys have done a tremendous job. I think Ben- on our punt return team he’s what we call the brain. He makes all the calls and does a nice job there. I think sometimes when you give guys a little more responsibility the intensity of their focus during everything steps up, and I think that’s what Ben’s done. Real excited about the opportunities he’s had and what he did with those opportunities.”

With Matt Wile, how involved are you in the psychology of it in terms of early in the year? Not necessarily the kicking mechanics, but did you feel the need to kind of get with him on that personally?

“I think Dan Ferrigno does a really good job with him. Dan understands a little bit more the mechanics of it and all those things. When Matt is struggling or- today we’ll start on the right hash and that’ll be the start of practice, and we’ll bring him back down the right hash because that was the hash at one time where he had a little bit of a problem and if he misses a couple in a row I’ll just tell him, ‘Don’t over-think it.’ Sometimes he just flat out over-thinks it instead of just going up there and swinging your leg, so if that’s psychology I guess that’s the best—"

You didn’t have a sit-down with the two of you?

“No, not really. We haven’t regarding that kind of stuff, no.”

Comments

leftrare

October 15th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

I would like to see game film of the punt return when Michigan only had 10 on the field.  It's the return man's job to count his teammates.  But if he's dancing to the music, maybe he forgot about, you know, football.

 

If you can't tell, I really don't have an appreciation for those antics.  Sorry.

 

Maybe if you score a touchdown, ever....

 

BayWolves

October 15th, 2014 at 5:20 PM ^

Norfleet has only set the record for returns and I don't think he has ever been a liability. He Has been an asset to the team in many ways. The ten men issue is fair game but it starts with the coaches. Special teams have not been good overall but fleet "has done a nice job" for us.

NC Wolverine

October 15th, 2014 at 8:08 PM ^

I agree about the return record. The thing that impresses me the most with Norfleet (Outside of the dancing) is that he is normally the first one down the field on special teams to make a tackle or down the punt. He has great passion and I have NEVER seen him take a play off. Just like most people I think the more Norfleet is invloved the better. 

RJWolvie

October 15th, 2014 at 9:00 PM ^

In yards per return, he's been average.

Total yards is record b/c we've sucked in an era of high-scoring, so returning. A lot.

Where he's been great (outside of dancing), is exactly where Hoke says he's been great: energy & effort & love of the game.

trustBlue

October 15th, 2014 at 9:45 PM ^

Serious question - is the return man normally the one that is supposed to count the number of men on the field? What's he supposed to do if there are not enough guys lined up?  Jump up and down and wave his arms and hope somebody notices?  

It seems like that would/should be the responsiblity of someone on the sidelines rather than the guy who is about to catch the ball.  

ST3

October 15th, 2014 at 5:42 PM ^

Hoke would answer every question like the Norfleet questions, but right after that it's back to the evasive injury stuff. Or maybe the reporters just need to stop asking about injuries.

Mr. Yost

October 15th, 2014 at 5:53 PM ^

I don't know why they keep asking...it's getting creepy. It's past annoying.

I thought the Norfleet answers were the best he's had all year. The 55 comment was actually refreshing until I realized who said it.

And then...more injury questions.

Brimley

October 15th, 2014 at 6:14 PM ^

It IS a funny line and refreshing.  You can say you want BH replaced AND acknowledge that he is still a decent guy.  They're not mutually exclusive.  

By the way, I've always enjoyed your posts and feel bad if this comes off as in any way negative toward you.  My comment is the result of some frustration I've felt for a bit.  I've been troubled by the vilification of the guy that's become de rigueur here the last couple of weeks.

EnoughAlready

October 15th, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

I really liked Hoke's answers to the Norfleet "Atomic Dog" dance.  He seems to really like Norfleet.  And I had to chuckle when Hoke said:" 'Course I've heard of the song.  I'm 55, I've been around awhile..."

Mr. Yost

October 15th, 2014 at 5:59 PM ^

Why not ask about recruiting? General stuff...

Why not ask about the schedule the team is on this week?

Why not ask who's impressing on the scout team that may get a shot in the coming weeks? Or who's impressing that's still going to redshirt?

How did he feel about the UNIFORMZ?

Ask what they're doing to prevent injuries and if he plans to suggest any changes in the weight room.

Ask if he plans to attend the game in the Big House this weekend.

...oooor just keep asking specific injury questions.

chatster

October 16th, 2014 at 12:19 AM ^

But wait, there's more:

Would you like to see more former Michigan football players returning for the final two home games?  And would you welcome having them lined up on the field for every home game when the team comes out of the tunnel and touches the banner?
 
Did Will Hagerup speak with you about his letter to the team before he distributed it?  What was your first reaction when you read that letter?
 
Have you read about David Molk’s performance for the Eagles last Sunday night?  Have you spoken with him about it?  And speaking of Michigan centers, how would you evaluate Jack Miller’s progress this season?
 
Have you read about Taylor Lewan’s performance in his first start for the Titans last Sunday?  Have you spoken with him about it?  And speaking of Michigan left tackles, how would you evaluate Mason Cole’s progress this season?
 
Is there any chance George Clinton might be invited to perform with the Michigan Marching Band at one of the final two home games?
 
Considering the show of support that other Michigan teams have been giving to the football team, will you be encouraging your players to attend one of the two hockey games at Yost this weekend against New Hampshire, or the field hockey game against Northwestern on Friday night, or the women’s soccer game against Ohio State on Sunday afternoon?
 
If former New Jersey state track champion Jabrill Peppers isn’t healthy enough to play against Michigan State on the 25th, but he’ll be in perfect health by the end of the season, if he asked for permission, would you let him run for the indoor track team against Michigan State on January 31?
 
If former Florida state wrestling champion Brady Pallente asked for permission, would you let him work out with the wrestling team during the offseason?

 

 

howmuch

October 15th, 2014 at 6:51 PM ^

Someone tell me if I'm wrong, but isn't zone coverage something they have been good at?  Isn't man or press coverage where the defense has issues?

MGoManBall

October 15th, 2014 at 7:00 PM ^

Hoke identified zone defense, running the ball, and big plays as areas to improve on....
 
 
So basically all Michigan has to do is play better defense, run the ball better, and throw the ball better... and they should win out.
 
Ready, BREAK!

RJWolvie

October 15th, 2014 at 8:52 PM ^

(Expansion-era TB Yuck-aneers coach, for you youngsters)

Other than offense, defense, & special teams, we played pretty well today.

Can't win on the road, can't win at home, and can't figure out where else to play!

BluCheese

October 16th, 2014 at 3:09 PM ^

It's like eating peanuts.  Here's few more:

After another uninspiring effort: "We didn't tackle well today. But we made up for it by not blocking."
 
Asked where he stood on an upcoming game at Pittsburgh: "With Custer."
 
After being told his teams didn't play with emotion: "Emotion is overrated. My wife is very emotional. She can't play worth a damn."
 
On ending the franchise's 26-game losing streak by beating New Orleans in 1977: "Three or four plane crashes and we're in the playoffs."

Magnum P.I.

October 15th, 2014 at 7:01 PM ^

What the hell does this mean?

 

Willie Henry could have played against Penn State if it was necessary.

 

The team was 2-4. The balance of the a game was on a knife's edge. And you're coaching for yours and your staff's jobs. When would it ever be more necessary?

Jgruss42

October 15th, 2014 at 11:50 PM ^

I think Hoke was answering a more existential question.

Yes, Henry has a physical mass. Yes, that mass could have been on the field.

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so technically, if we NEEDED him, he could have gone out there - alive or dead.

HarBooYa

October 15th, 2014 at 7:11 PM ^

The best recruiting one can do for Michigan at this juncture is to feverishly game plan for MSU not be out on the road recruiting kids who are reading naysayer, dead man walking blogs.

turd ferguson

October 15th, 2014 at 7:13 PM ^

It'd really be nice if just this once - coming off of a bye week - it looks on the field like we've thought more and smarter about the MSU game than MSU has thought about it.  I keep going into these games thinking that it'll be interesting to see what our coaches have cooked up only to watch us poop all over ourselves (under both Hoke and Rodriguez).

AZ-Blue

October 15th, 2014 at 8:26 PM ^

The questioner needed a Hoke comment to tie up his/her story based on Devin shouting on the sidelines during the end of the PSU game.  It was a loaded question and the likely answer obvious to anyone who watched the game.  "The Leadership" is the feel-good story of the week.  I'm not down on Devin for doing it, just tired of the same lame questions.  Almost as cringe inducing as the post-game, "What was going through your mind when....."

AZ-Blue

October 15th, 2014 at 8:15 PM ^

If one examines the average "career" trajectory of most of the individuals asking questions in these UM pressers, it's clear most have no business being in the room let alone opening their mouths.  This is one area where we would most definitely benefit by allowing only those who have played or have extensively studied the game.  Doing otherwise produces this garbage week after week.

The lack of MGoQuestions was painfully obvious.

Leonhall

October 15th, 2014 at 8:30 PM ^

We better have a helluva plan for Msu, if we line up in the i formations or try no new plays I will be disappointed. Hoke has NEVER beaten a team he wasn't supposed to. His teams have never beaten someone when they were heavy dogs. Just for once, let's turn the tide back.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

TheBoLineage--

October 15th, 2014 at 9:13 PM ^

good--  this generally supports what I thought I saw H-PaS.  Except that I saw LB-FireStunts TRIGGERING MAN-Cover.

 

Now--  there IS something called Cover-2 Man-UNDER, which generally means LBs and CBs in MAN-Cover, layered-over with the FS-SS Cover-2 Zone.

 

Anyway--  I dont wanna get into The Weeds Here.  But you take that Rutgers 80-yd pass, and that Could Not Have Happened against an effective Cover-2 or 22-Cover.  This is understood.

 

Instead--  GMatt went with 8-Box Cover-3  . . .  there were So Many Very POOR D-Plays by MICHIGAN in that game.  So--  with H-PaS, maybe Progress IS Being Made in D-play  . . .