News bullets and other items:
Dennis Norfleet will play against Maryland
Derrick Green may or may not be back against Maryland. He, like Devin Gardner and Jake Butt, are getting healthier every day
President Schlissel called Hoke to apologize for his comments regarding academics and athletics. Hoke said that they recruit kids that fit the Michigan blueprint and that it’s not for everyone
Hoke said the Northwestern game was the offensive line’s best of the season
Nussmeier and Fred Jackson make the decision on which RB has the “hot hand,” and the decision can be made as early as the third series
“Thanks for coming out. Number one, yesterday we had a good chance with the players to look at the Northwestern film [and] make the corrections we need to make, but really emphasize the good things because really that's what you want to see are the good things. We've got to keep emphasizing those things. We practiced and it wasn't long but there was a lot of energy and a lot of good timing, and the one thing when you talk about bye weeks a little bit is the timing. You don't want to lose that part of it or if you need to get a little better you need to get a little better, especially in the pass game and all those things, so that was really productive.
“Start a little bit on Maryland today. I think the most exciting part of it is we are going to scrimmage some of the young guys against some who have played a little bit and those who haven't. We'll do about 30 minutes, probably 25 to 28 plays. When we do that we have to make sure it's going to help the team because those are your look teams going into the next week so I think it will be very good for us.
“Bye week again gives us a chance to rest some guys. I think getting Dennis [Norfleet]back will be very good for us. He'll be healthy. I think the health of Devin keeps – Gardner keeps improving and so in a lot of those guys there's a lot of guys who're just beat up a little bit. That's the way it is in football.
“The other thing is the president made some comments and I've talked to him. He called and apologized for his comments and I'm not going to speak for him. He put out whatever statements or interpretations that he needed to. We have always believed that this is truly an academic University. I was here for eight years before, as you all know, and I think the one thing you know being a former player and a coach is you only play so long and that's what this degree, a Michigan degree, is all about. And being the truly academic institution that it is, that degree will last forever so we take it very seriously. We try and recruit the best football players, the best student-athletes, and people that fit the blueprint here at Michigan. It's not for everybody because it is demanding and that's the way it should be.”
You kind of had the incident with Jake Butt. How much is he a work in progress on and off the field in terms of what he can be?
“I think Jake, he – from an athletic standpoint and all those things he continues to get healthier. He's one of those guys who another week, if we continue to do the right things with him… and the double edge sword is the timing of the routes and all that because you do want to rest guys so that they get a little healthier. I think he’s always developing and we are happy with his development.”
Have you seen the jerseys that his family where is when they come to games?
“I have not.”
Papa butt and headbutt and stuff like that. Have you seen him embrace that? He talks about getting teased about his last name.
“Yeah, he gets teased but… he gets teased.”
[After THE JUMP: We are grinders. It is stupid. Also some academic stuff.]
You just said you recruit the best student-athletes. You know their 40 times, how big and tall they are, so you must know about their GPAs coming out of high school. Where's the line in the sand for you? Have you brought in a guy with under a 3.0? Under a 2.7?
“I'm not going to talk about that. It's not fair to those kids.”
But you don't have to name names.
Where is the point where you say this kid isn't good enough to go to Michigan academically?
“You know, I think they're all just so different. If you base things just on that [GPA, I assume] totally I think you're making a mistake. There's so many things that you look at in a kid. You try to get all the information that you can.”
For a normal student coming here it's ACT and it's GPA. There are kids who are waitlisted with a 4.0. Where is your point at which look at a kid and say, ‘Boy, he's under a 3.0. We can't touch him.’ Is there a point?
“You know, we go through the proper admissions [process]. We do everything the right way. We get as much information as we can and that's what we go from.”
Can you give me an example?
So is there a limit?
“The admissions office does a great job with it.”
Has that changed at all with the new president?
“Oh, I have no idea.”
When you say you spoke with President Schlissel, did you comment on how you view football’s perception at the school?
“Well, it depends whose perception it is. We've graduated 69 of 69 guys since we've been here, seniors. We’re at 975 APR which is the highest it's been and it'll be higher the next year. We’re engaged and we’re committed as a staff to the academics and what this university means.”
Did you address if there is any kind of gulf between how the University views football versus how football –
“Jim Hackett will do a tremendous job of talking about the academic success of our student-athletes.”
It seems like the offensive line played one of its better games of the year. Did that bear out on film?
“Yeah, we thought it was their best game and I think when you’ve got five guys who played six games together that helps, the continuity there. Knowing each other, if you want to call it that, what they expect. I think that's been good. Communication: Jack has done a really good job when they start making they are different calls and it always starts with the center and then between the tight ends in the tackles, that's important.”
To follow up on Jake Butt, did he respond well to the disciplinary action would you say?
“Yeah. Oh yeah.”
What about Mason Cole and how far he’s come since January?
“I think he was asked how many sacks he’s given up and I couldn’t tell you. I know two for sure, but when you don’t talk about him a lot I think it tells you a lot about how he’s doing and how comfortable he is in what he’s doing. He doesn’t seem to have any kind of problems with picking up things or getting ready for the games.”
Do you have an update on Derrick Green? Do you think he could be back by Maryland?
“Well, I don’t know. We’ll see. He’s doing a little more every day we go out.”
You talked a little bit yesterday on the call about this team’s identity. Is that what you were getting at? That this is sort of a team that’s going to have to grind out wins and is capable?
“I think that’s who we are. I think we’re not going to score 30 points every game or anything like that. We haven’t besides one or two, but we’re going to grind it out. Our offense is going to do their part and the defense is going to respond and that’s what we’ve got to keep doing.”
Can I ask you one thing about Funchess? You mentioned last week something about a toe injury; I think that’s what you said. Is that- he’s had one touchdown since the first game. He’s obviously not had the productivity that maybe you thought or a lot of people thought. Have injuries slowed his production?
“Well, I think he’s…not talking about injuries, but he’s had some things that have developed over the year, yeah.”
MGoQuestion: To go back for a second to the team identity; you said that you think you know what you are but that you want to keep improving on what you are, so what specific improvements are you looking to make between now and Maryland?
“Well, number one we weren’t very good in the red zone. We had been pretty good earlier in the year and that has to improve when we have the opportunities. That drive at the end of the game, we had some opportunities to get off the field with some third-down conversions and we didn’t get that done. I have been and I think we have been pretty excited about the special teams and how we’ve responded there. We weren’t as good, I thought, on some of the returns, opposing returns a week ago and we were much better this week.”
On the running backs question obviously you’ve had two different guys who’ve had 100-yard games, and if Derrick gets back in the mix here how are you evaluating how you’re going to rotate them through, and is that a game-by-game evaluation?
“Well, now you’ve got the three and so to think ahead we wouldn’t do that just because you don’t know if he’s going to back or not. Obviously got the hot hand, if you want to call it that, and it was a DeVeon kind of game in some ways because of how he runs the ball and his style. We’re real excited about all three of them.”
At what point in the game do you guys assess that hot hand thing? Second quarter? Third quarter?
“Sometimes it’s like the third series. You know this guy’s going to go in. You do the same thing on defense with your defensive linemen depending on the tempo of teams and who we’re playing. Ryan Glasgow may get the start and Mone’s going to come in that third series, so it works kind of the same way.”
Who’s making that call [with the RBs]? Nussmeier? Freddy [Jackson]? You?
“Nussmeier and Fred, and that’s stuff we’ve talked about before.”