Wednesday Presser 10-8-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 8th, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and important items:

  • Ondre Pipkins should be back this week. Sounds like he was injured last week.
  • The coaches want the running game to be filtered through the running backs because they don’t want the quarterback to get hurt
  • Maurice Ways and Chase Winovich are two younger guys who have garnered attention from the coaches
  • Mo Hurst was a running back in high school and has good vision; hence his use in goal line situations
  • Jabrill Peppers is not out for the season

Opening statement:

“Thanks for coming out today. Yesterday, again, the consistency of having good practices continued. They went out and it was spirited. It was tough. Obviously they want to win. They want to play better. They want to compete better, and I think they’ve done that throughout so that’s been focusing on improving at each position and what we can do to play better, coach better, the whole deal. You know Penn State has a very good defense. Very salty, very good defensive front. I think Hackenberg is as talented as a quarterback as you’re going to find. I remember talking to Bill O’Brien about him and I know what Bill thinks of him as a quarterback and I can tell you we share those sentiments. We’re excited to get back out on Saturday. I think that’s the great part about football; you get another opportunity. We’ve got to take advantage of it. It’ll be a historic night, obviously, with the first Big Ten night game in Michigan Stadium. The atmosphere the night games have created the last two years have been something that has been very exciting for our players, so we’re excited about that.”

Coach, Ondre Pipkins didn’t travel with you. Where is he in the mix on the defensive side?

“He’ll be back with us this week.”

So you’re not talking about injuries, but-

“Correct. Correct.”

With the running backs, do you move [Ross] Douglas back there or do you do anything else to get more depth, because you were kind of thin there anyway?

“You know, Ross is playing a little bit of the slot. He’s helping us there a little bit. Haven’t moved him full-time back. The good thing is he’s had some snaps there but right now we feel pretty confident with DeVeon and Justice and Drake Johnson. In some personnel and situation things Joe Kerridge being back there is a possibility.”

Is Wyatt Shallman playing there?

“Well, he- a little bit, yeah. He does some things for us.”

We’ve talked about this all the years with Denard and now Devin but the balance between letting them run, which was obviously successful the other day, and then now the injury factor; how do you balance that?

“Well, I think with two good athletes like that who from an instinctive point of view maybe run the ball a little bit more than you want depending on what they see down the field in those passing situations, but I think there is a balance. I think we would like to keep creating the runs from the tailback position as much as possible so that we don’t have to put him in harm’s way.”

How much of it is Devin initiating it and how much of it is directed from Doug [Nussmeier]?

“Well, I think he initiates some of it. He has a feel for it, and instinct for it but obviously there were some designed runs that were in there.”

[After THE JUMP: Get out your Ouija board, because we’re (barely) talking injuries]

Any freshmen or young guys on the scout team that have caught your eye halfway through the year?

“I think Maurice Ways is a guy who’s been particularly- you know, we’ve traveled him most weeks kind of as an emergency guy. He’s a smart guy. He’s a big body, so he’s a guy who has done some good things. I think Chase Winovich is a guy who can run around the field. Sometimes he’s not quite sure what he’s doing but he’ll show up at the ball at some point in time.”


Last week was the first week when you tried wiring in the medical staff. Did you see any benefits or any difference in the way that helped on the sidelines? You had Jeremy [Clark] there on the sideline and Derrick [Green].

“I think you’ll see that, the effects of that when maybe there is some sort of head trauma or something as much as anything else. I don’t- I’m involved with the game, coaching. I’ve never made medical decisions so I’m sure it worked okay. Which means I really can’t answer that because I’m not on that line.”


The running back hierarchy; the way it is on the depth chart, is that the way you expect it to go?

“How is it on the depth chart?”

I think it’s DeVeon and then Drake or Justice.

“Yep, that would be right.”


Can you talk about Hurst and how you’ve used him a little bit?

“About Mo?”


“You know, Mo was a running back in high school, and a pretty daggone good one. Obviously we wanted to get a little weight on him to play nose. He’s got very good quickness. He is learning a little bit, the game, from an inside interior position especially at this level. I think he continues to improve. From an athletic standpoint, he’s got a very good first step and a lot of quickness, and I think as he continues to mature he’ll just keep getting better and better. From an offensive standpoint, because he was a back he’s got good vision. When you’ve got to sort through that stuff with the lead play on the goal line.”

In terms of last year’s game, obviously that was kind of a turning point in your season against Penn State. Do you use that as motivation with the guys a little bit and kind of look at what happened?

“You know what, we haven’t as much. I think part of that motivation has to come from where we’re at and what we’re doing every day. That game itself, we’ve talked about it, but that hasn’t been a focal point. I think sometimes when you do that you miss what the mark is, which is the 2014 Michigan team playing Penn State on Saturday night. Obviously there’s some lessons learned when you look at the two-minute process; [there’s] different staff, though. There’s some different things you concern yourself with so from that standpoint I’d say that’s what you look at.”

The running back numbers, yards per carry, have gone up this year. Are you seeing the gains there you kind of hoped to see?

“I think we’re starting to, and hopefully we can continue that this week. I thought especially [in the] fourth quarter as much as anything last week. I thought the line of scrimmage during most of the game we were really combative at and competing at and I think as the game went on you could see the movement of it.”

Doug had said for a couple weeks that when you guys were down a lot that’s when you went away from the run game trying to get back in the game. This game you guys were down and still stayed with the run game. Was that a conscious choice?

“Yeah, and I think at some point you’ve got to differentiate from how far you’re down. In this one we- and it’s also a feel for the game. What are you getting done? We just stayed patient with it because we felt score-wise we were in good shape, time-wise we were in good shape and felt the offense and the offensive line particularly making movement at the line of scrimmage. That was a good question though.”

Not technically an injury question, but the guys you have who are hurt or that we think are hurt, you haven’t ruled them out for the rest of the season, correct?

“Correct. The only thing I did was rule out guys who I knew were going to be out the rest of the season.”

I’m just getting at someone like Peppers. You haven’t said he won’t come back this season.

“I don’t think I have, no.”

Okay, just wondering.

“Well, I just made sure I didn’t. That was a good question.”

He’s not out for the year?

“I would say something, wouldn’t I?”



October 8th, 2014 at 6:03 PM ^

He could play trombone while an assistant rolls out a whiteboard with the 5 things that are said every week. He would erase the team name and write in a new one while the press is sweetly serenaded. They get nothing out of the normal format, so why not try something new?


October 8th, 2014 at 5:23 PM ^

"The consistency of having good practices"? Was he trolling us that remark? Yes, we know you are consistently having good practices, Mr Hoke, you tell us a few times weekly. 


October 8th, 2014 at 5:26 PM ^

"The coaches want the running game to be filtered through the running backs because they don’t want the quarterback to get hurt"

I can't even read the transcription of what he said.  there have been countless studies to demonstrate that this is not true.  and what's the point of playing if you're not going to do the things you need to do to win?  the QBs get hurt when your horrible gameplan lets defenders through the line because they don't have to account for the QB running.


October 8th, 2014 at 7:48 PM ^

Here is your problem stuffing those words in his mouth. Nussmeier has said pretty much the exact same thing more than once. Nussmeier has explained more than once that Gardner's legs figure in the offense but that he wants Gardner to let the system work for him and only run when appropriate. Sometimes that's a design run, sometimes thats a check down, and sometimes that's a scramble.

If you've carefully watched Nussmeier's pressers, when he can't say something he believes he simply says nothing or answers a fragment of the question. He has said several times that Gardner's legs are valuable within the system. From my  perspective that says he considers himself hadncuff free.


October 8th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

You just nailed the problem with Hoke and the offensive coaching staff's flawed strategy. They are operating on a false premise that DG won't likely get hurt as much if they keep him in their current offensive scheme. DG takes plenty of hits already passing out of the pocket. Some are because of the offensive line and some are because of him. Regardless he gets hit quite a bit. If instead he is allowed to run in space (more read option) he can go to the ground or out of bounds and avoid some of the hits. Letting DG run more gives this team the best chance of winning games. Putting the players in the best position to do what they do best is something this coaching staff has said over and over. They however AREN'T DOING IT.

Mr Miggle

October 8th, 2014 at 7:14 PM ^

I'm only aware of one involving the NFL. I'd be reluctant to draw too many conclusions from it. NFL running QBs are good at protecting themselves and run OOB or slide a pretty high percentage of the time. I'd say they're better at that than Devin. They're doing things RBs aren't allowed to do because losing your QB to an injury is a big deal. That's certainly true for us right now. 

While it may well be true that running QBs don't suffer more injuries overall, it flies in the face of common sense to assert that simply handing off the ball is as dangerous as running with it. In the same vein, calling for a lot of deep passes or slow developing patterns is riskier than relying on quick throws. I don't think a study is needed to show that.

They can keep calling a few plays for Gardner to hopefully keep defenses honest. He's still a threat, even if not running 15 times a game. Whatever problems we've had on offense under Hoke would be hard to attribute to defenses not having to worry about QB runs.


October 8th, 2014 at 6:22 PM ^

Coach, can you talk about the quarterback and injury situation?

"Wellllll, we had a great week of practice in terms of toughness and physicalness.  As far as Penn State, well the focus is on Penn State and we have a great tradition and I'm proud to be a part of it...  I like what I've seen from Jake Glasgow, he's showed me some good things that we're constantly evaluating in terms of physicalness to the ball and that's well.... one of the things we've always done at Michigan is toughness to the ball.  I know Joe Paterno is going to do a tremendous job of having his team ready to play and we have to match their physicalness in the trenches.  I haven't looked at their film yet but that's where we have to feel our kids do some things.  I've never really studied what the other team does on film because at Michigan the focus is doing things the way we do it at Michigan.  Next question"


October 8th, 2014 at 6:26 PM ^

Does he not talk about injuries because he thinks it will the opponent an already larger advantage than they have?  Or does he not talk about it because something is up with the amount of players being hurt and he doesn't want us to have another reason to fire him?

Or has that always been the practice?  I don't recall it being the practice.


October 8th, 2014 at 11:11 PM ^

Me Brady. Me like Glasgows. Me no like strategy. Likey clappy and pushy practice. Injuries, we hates them; we don't speak of. We practices hard, make soft on Saturday. Me break Gardner. Me break Shane. Physicalness! I feels it.

RB's Mustache

October 8th, 2014 at 11:49 PM ^

Who gives a fuck if Gardner gets hurt running, at this point?

This season is a complete waste. It's worth the risk.

Is continuing to misuse him the rest of his short career going to do anything at this point? He's not going to become a drop back passer in the last 6 games of his college career.