Wednesday Presser Transcript 8-28-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko August 28th, 2013 at 3:49 PM


  • Jarrod Wilson will start at safety opposite Thomas Gordon.
  • Expect a fake punt. Or a fake kick. Something fake. 
  • Drake Johnson will be the next running back in after Toussaint.


Opening remarks:

"Three days away. We had a good camp. We broke camp. Had a good week of practice so far. We have to make sure at all times we're paying attention to the details and the discipline that we want to play with. Today for us would be like a Thursday and tomorrow would be like a Thursday because you've had an extra day to prepare. The band comes tomorrow, which is the best practice day of the year because they've been practicing hard, and we love our band, and we love to take our band on bowl trips, so it will be fun to have them out on the field.

"Central [Michigan], you know, they won the last four football games a year ago. They won three to put themselves into a bowl game, won the bowl game. I think that's significant in how they've developed and how Dan [Enos] has developed his football team. They have a veteran group of coaches in some spots that have been around and do a nice job. We'll have our work cut out for us. We've got to play our best football game."

What is it that you don't know about the team today that you'll know after the first game?

"Your team gets to a point where when you're going ones on ones, twos on twos, they know the offense, they know the defense. They know the little quirks guys might have. A defensive lineman, his stance might chance if he's on a movement. We don't want to, but you give some things away that way on both sides of the ball. The different line calls, the check system. So it will good -- number one they're tired of beating up on each other, and it'll be a good test to see where we're at and we're looking forward to the test with as many of the young guys that are going to play and guys that really haven't taken the field before."

Have you ever had a three deep worth of contributors on the defensive line before, and do you think all of them will really be able to rotate?

"You know, I don't know if we've had three. To answer the question, yeah, I think they can. Never have had that much depth. At San Diego State, we had guys coming in all the time at all positions. We'll be a little more selective in the back end, but in the front seven, there's a lot of depth and guys are fighting. They're fighting to get on the bus. In turn, I think we'll become a better football team because of that."

What are the defining characteristics you want out of the safety spot opposite Thomas Gordon?

"You know, they've got to be the quarterback on the field, number one. Intelligence level, how we play, how we get guys aligned, making sure that we don't get out-leveraged defensively. Making sure if you're the last one to the party, whether you're a half field safety or a deep third safety, that you do a good job of keeping the ball inside and in front. Help us on run support when they're asked to when they're put in those support positions. I think the guys back there have all done a nice job. they've really competed hard, so it's been a good camp as far as that goes. I think that the development of Jeremy [Clark], we have to keep bringing him along. Delano Hill is a guy that -- he's a big ol' safety, and he's developing."

Do you have an idea who might start Saturday at this point?

"You know, I think Jarrod [Wilson]'s had a nice last two weeks of fall. I think the pressure that was put on him by other guys ... Josh Furman's improved. I would say Jarrod probably."

If you get the opportunity, how important will it be to get Shane Morris some snaps?

"You know, I think you always want to be able to get guys in games. Obviously the quarterback position being what it is, if that ability came we would want to get him as much work as we could."

MGoQuestion: Going back to the safety situation, is asking your safeties to make all those checks something that's unique to your system? [Context: Usually when you think of the "quarterback of the defense" you think middle linebacker. I was wondering whether Michigan's reliance on their safeties to do the quarterbacking was a unique byproduct of having Jordan Kovacs for the last couple years.]

"No. I think every defense in country -- the back end is held by the safeties. The linebackers do an awful lot for us getting the front seven squared away, but the back end, the big picture, is always by the safeties."

A lot of your vets talked about not being nervous for Saturday but being anxious to go out there and hit someone else. What about you and the other coaches? It's been a long camp --

"It's been a long camp. We have some things we have to finish, and that's the biggest thing. You want to make sure you're dotting your i's and crossing your t's and you've gone through every situation, if it's a whistle kick because the 2.6 seconds left in the ball game, and once that whistle goes by the official, you have to kick the ball because of the rule where anything under three seconds, it's a run-off. Those things, you have the ability to spike the ball if you need to. Onside kicks ... I'd expect one. I'd expect a fake punt. Maybe a fake field goal. I would expect that."

Are you excited to be on the sideline?

"Yeah. It's a great place to be. It's the best seat in the house."

The last couple of years, you had to start true freshmen at certain spots. Looking at the depth chart this year, it doesn't seem like you HAVE to. Does that feel different?

"There's no question. You hate to have to rely on a true freshman. Not because they're not smart, not because they're not competitive, not because they're not good athletes. But it's inexperience. Going down that tunnel for the first time, the distractions that can come with that. You look on our front four defensively, there's 17 career starts in all four of them. Quinton I think has 10 of them. We're not what I would call a real veteran team even with some of the veterans. Putting a freshman in that situation is something that you really don't want to have to do. It's been done, but we'd rather not."

Is it ideal to bring them up slowly unless they demand playing time right off the bat?

"I was here with Charles [Woodson]. He didn't start the first game with the regular four defensive backs. Played nickel, but I think he started every game almost after that. He earned it."

How much of your hand do you want to show Saturday with Notre Dame coming up next week?

"We got nothing to hide. We really don't. We've got nothing to hide in what we do and how we do it. I think that is really overblown when you're trying to keep something that maybe they haven't seen. You're going to tweak something you do from one week or the other for the most part anyway, especially from an offensive perspective. We'll do what we do."

What will you do with the running backs?

"Well, Fitz is going to get the primary work, and then we'll just go from there."

Drake Johnson would be the next guy in?


Can you talk about Joe Reynolds and his emergence? What's it like for a guy who finally gets that chance his senior year? 

"Well, Joe's always been one of the hardest workers on the football team, period. I mean, I could be up in my office and Joe would be out there catching jugs all day. So you know, I think he's earned it. His toughness, the way mentally he's approached every day, his physicalness, and then his talent."

Al Borges said Amara was pretty much an all-around receiver. What kind of receiver is Reynolds?

"I think his intelligence, number one, which I think is important. Knowing the game and then his selflessness for his teammates."



August 28th, 2013 at 3:06 PM ^

I'm still skeptical on the supposed RB depth chart. Maybe Drake Johnson was just a great find, but I'm a little surprised he's ahead of Rawls and Hayes as well as Deveon and Green.


August 28th, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Sounds like tyrone Wheatley. I think he may have not had the ability to cut or the build of a stub in high school but he has gotten bigger and if he can hit a hole and use that speed, he could be really good if he gets good blocking. 

The other thing is, freshmen miss a bunch of fall camp due to classes. Combine that with Green being hurt and it isn't surprising at all that the freshmen are further down the depth chart. I think Green will get more and more carries as the year goes on, once he is fully healed and they can trust him on blitz pickups. 

Brown Bear

August 28th, 2013 at 5:57 PM ^

Lets not talk crazy, there is and only ever will be one Tyrone Wheatley. To compare the kid to him isn't fair to either party. But yeah, hopefully he surprises and with the kids and Hayes also we might just have a nice little stable of backs.


August 28th, 2013 at 10:10 PM ^

Yes, he may have just plain flat out won the job.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I think there is a bit of bias against Johnson because he's just the boy next door.  There'e no mystique.  How could a kid from Pioneer where we park all the RV's be better than national #1 rated running back recruit?  



August 28th, 2013 at 4:28 PM ^

I actually believe that Hoke is saying here.  He is NOT saying that Johnson is ahead of Smith and Green for the season - just that he is ahead of those guys for the first game.  Both are true freshmen.  Green, the more hyped of the two, came in a bit soft, and then got hurt, so his development may have been hampered a bit.  The worst thing you can do with a massivly talented true freshman is to throw him in too early and kill his confidence.  Smith seems like he had a great fall, but he is also still a true freshman, and may still be learning some of the blocking / protection and schemes and just getting used to the speed of the college game.

As for Rawks and Hayes, I am not sure why anyone would be surprised that Johnson passed them both.  Rawls has been REALLY ineffective in his two seasons with the team.  He is not fast, lacks power for a big back and does not seem to have good vision.  As for Hayes, it seems like his hands will make him a likely 3rd down specialist, but remember that Johnson is both faster and bigger than him.


Blue in Seattle

August 28th, 2013 at 3:44 PM ^

From reading the transcripts from Mattison over the last two seasons, and this fall camp, He seems to call the defense as if it's two main components; the front seven and then the back four.  Within those two groups, there is a variety of choices to make, or items to call out when the offense shows their formation.  And then changes their formation.  Jordan Kovacs was clearly the player that picked up the best view on calling out items for the back 4.

What's also interesting is the different defensive line stunts that can be called.  RVB was the one who was first allowed to call those.  So is that now with the LB's or is there really three groups in the defensive formation, each of whom can make an adjustment on the tactics called by Mattison?

Anyway, great question, and intersting that Mattison has said he doesn't want to platoon the back 4.  Maybe that really happens through the tactical formations of the base D, versus Nickel and Dime?

Also, the ability of the players to "not switch" sides of the field and be "multiple" in their position would be the next intersting questions along these lines.


August 28th, 2013 at 4:09 PM ^

I'm getting less and less excited about Derrick Green.  Not because I don't think he can one day be an elite rusher in the Big Ten, but because I do not think he is ready to play at his current weight.  I think he is simply too heavy and too slow to be a big contributor right now.  The big bruiser who can truck 200lb Mike linebackrs in HS generally has a lot of work to do in terms of changing his body in order to be able to continue that trend at the next level.  I am sure people are going to be surprised at the little amount he gets used this year.  I am hoping he can avoid becoming a victim of the hype machine and end up being  dependable 215-225 lb running back in the future.  That being said, he seems like the kind of kid with the character and determination to put in the work to become a great rusher by his Junior year.

Anyone have any opinion about difference in "development time" for speed guys versus power guys?  (EX: On average, do guys like T.J. Yeldon generally develop earlier than a guy like Edde Lacy?)

Blue in Yarmouth

August 29th, 2013 at 8:11 AM ^

I see this guy has like three points in his time here which gives me the impression he follows the logic my father passed down to me:" better to say nothing and be thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

With that many points over that period of time I would have thought he prescribed to that logic...then he posted that. 


August 28th, 2013 at 4:32 PM ^

Many might neg you for this, but it could make sense, depending on where he is by the time mid-season rolls around.  If, in fact, Fitz is running like 2011 Fitz, Drake Johnson has emerged as a solid to good back-up, and if Smith looks good in case of emergency or injury to Fitz and Drake, why not RS Green?  If he is as talented as many expect, then why not give him a year to get in great shape, really learn the playbook, adjust to the speed of the game and come in with a shot of being the starter in 2014?  Now, if Green looks awesome by game 3 or 4 and looks like he could help us win, they he will play, but if not, I certainly would not want to see him play only a handful of snaps.


August 28th, 2013 at 4:49 PM ^

I doubt both the RBs will redshirt but I expect one to and there's no reason why it can't be Green. With not taking a RB in 2014, a year separation will be good. On the other hand, you don't want to sit both because Fitz will be gone next year and if you think one of the FR could be "the guy" next year, you'll want him getting some playing time.

Section 1

August 28th, 2013 at 4:28 PM ^

I really think, that when you have been around enough college football you realize that freshmen are freshmen, and that the ones who step in to play right away are very rare.  Not just being ready themselves, but also in beating out whoever is the incumbent Number One at a program like Michigan.  That's not easy, times two.

I think that the "I'm so disappointed in Derrick Green" crowd will eventually be seen as hysterical as the "I can't wait for Derrick Green to dominate as a freshman" crowd.  It's two sides of the same hysterical coin, right?


August 28th, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

This makes too much sense.  Joking aside, you are spot on in this.  Even a top rated RB has to  learn the playbook, learn how to block / protect at a collect level and has to get used to the size and speed difference between the high school and college games.  It is not realistic to expect anyone to come in and start right out of the box. 


August 28th, 2013 at 4:46 PM ^

I agree with this 100%. I think this all came about not only because Green is a 5* but because we didn't know if Fitz would be recovered. As a result, we wrote Green in at the top of the depth chart, apparently in ink for some. All of a sudden, Fitz emerges to lock down the top spot and Green get's buried and some people just can't wrap their minds around the fact that this is normal for 95% of freshmen RBs. Add the extra 5 lbs and people are running around screaming bust already. Is it really that hard to accept that 18 year olds arriving on campus a month before the season starts aren't plug and play on day one? particularly when you have decent depth and the incoming kid misses significant time to injury.


August 28th, 2013 at 5:24 PM ^

I see a lot of rationalization around the Green hype machine of 6 months ago.  As long as the people today who say "he should be redshirted" were not the same who said "I can't wait to see him start... by Big 10 season, when he passes Fitz." OR "I can't wait to see him be the #2 back challenging Fitz from the start".  Or at least they admit they are the same people.  Because otherwise it is explaining away what many here thought (and not just slappies).  Was the expectation he beat out Fitz over the top? Yes.  Was the expectation he be a contributor as a freshman in a meaningful way over the top? No.   Can he still be a contributor as a freshman? Surely.  Hence the bust label is hilarious but yes so was the hype on this site among others. 

And to those who say it is unrealistic for a freshman to come in and do this that or the other - see Michael Dyer of Auburn and Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina just a few years ago, both had 200-250 carries for 1000+ yards as pure freshman in a more difficult conference where "protecting your QB" and "knowing your blocking schemes" to keep your QB alive is even more important since many of those defensive players are next year's 1st and 2nd round NFL picks.   So is it difficult to be a meaningful contributor as a freshman RB?  Sure.  It is low probability for the #1, #2, or #3 rated back? Nope.  And trying to say it is now is ... rationalization.  And again it doesnt mean he won't have a storied career at Michigan, it just means for now, in the early days for whatever reason (added bulk, injury) he is a bit behind where MANY (not all, not few) thought he would be and that is a solid #2 or at least #3, with a fast track to #2 by Big 10.


August 28th, 2013 at 5:52 PM ^

Speaking for myself, I had him slotted in between a healthy Fitz and a struggling Fitz, but ahead of Rawls and Hayes (Johnson, to be honestly wasn't even on my radar). Is it a bit of a surprise to me that he's behind all those guys? not really. He missed 1-2 weeks of full contact reps, out of a 4 week camp, and freshmen are apparently limited the first week anyway. By conference play, he'll have more than doubled his practice time in the program, so I certainly haven't written off his season and expect he and Smith to compete and crack the depth chart. Even if Green redshirted because Smith is better, I still think it's too early to write him off, it would just mean Smith is something special.

Brown Bear

August 28th, 2013 at 6:01 PM ^

So you name two running backs out of the HUNDREDS of freshman running backs that contributed largely in their freshman year(one who had Cam Newton alongside him) as an example that Green should run for over 1000 yards and take Fitz's job? Those were the exceptions to the rule, most freshman don't have HUGE impacts right out the gate.


August 28th, 2013 at 6:57 PM ^

Nope I didn't.  I named 2 backs to say he can contribute in a meaningful way as a freshman. He needs only do 1/3rd-1/4th of what they did to be a 300-350 yard rusher which is fine and dandy for a #1 ranked HS freshman RB.  Rawls did that much last year with little burst outside of 1 run - its not asking a ton.  The comments above were already talking about "sitting him for a year to get him up to speed" and "no one can expect a freshman RB to do this or that."  I gave 2 high profile examples of similarly ranked HS RBs who were stars as freshman who did it in a conference where everyone acknowledges the defenses are faster and superior hence getting those RB yards is more tough. 

I did not imply Green would follow in their path nor was it expected.  But he can contribute meaningfully and into Big 10 season.  If he does not do even that much as the #1 RB of his class in a position others can, then in the short term it would be considered a bit of meh versus expectation.  I can surely pull up his "Hello" posts if we want to see "expectations" of him at the time, healthy Fitz or not.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 29th, 2013 at 9:06 AM ^

you must have missed what he was responding to. The poster said something along the lines of 95% of true freshmen don't contribute so why should Green be any different. The person you responded to was making the point that Green was widely regarded to be in that other 5% (of which the two examples he listed belonged to). 

I understand that it isn't always appropriate to compare people to the exceptions of the world, but in the case I think he has a point. I mean lets face it, many of the 5* rbs of years past did contribute as freshmen so it wouldn't be all that stange to have expected something similar from a rb of the same quality today. 

Sten Carlson

August 28th, 2013 at 5:52 PM ^

"I'm getting less and less excited about Derrick Green."

Pretty asinine statement dude.  You realize that Green has been on campus for mere weeks, has had practice time limited due to classes and a slight injury, right?  I realize that he's been very hyped and highly rated, but give the kid a break before you throw him on the scrap heap.

"...he seems like the kind of kid with the character and determination to put in the work to become a great rusher by his Junior year."

Well, at least you give the kid a bit of credit. 

Personally, I think he will work into the line up as the #2 RB by mid-season.


August 28th, 2013 at 11:14 PM ^

The point of my comment was supposed to be about my excitement for Green's production this year. Didn't mean to offend. Just heard from some friend who have been to practice and their reports have been the opposite extreme compared to most of the mgoblog community. Was not trying to make any predictions, just start a conversation.

Hopefully I am way off base and Derrick Green gets invited to the Heisman Trophy Presentation!

Sten Carlson

August 29th, 2013 at 7:30 AM ^

"Hopefully I am way off base and Derrick Green gets invited to the Heisman Trophy Presentation!"

I'm not offended, and I hope the same as well. As I said in my intitial response, I bet Green will be vying for the #2 spot by mid season and will be taking the bulk of short yardage carries. Given how close to the vest Hoke is, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Green's "Boo Boo" has played a bigger role in hindering his immediate participation than they're letting on.

I wonder how many true freshmen RB's that contribute immediately enroll early. It would seem to me that getting those extra practices, time with the playbook, and college level workouts makes a HUGE difference. Maybe Green is regretting his decision/ability to have done so. Either way, I agree with you in that I think he's got the character and work ethic (seemingly) to earn his spot in time.

Ali G Bomaye

August 28th, 2013 at 5:11 PM ^

If the game clock is stopped with fewer than three seconds remaining in a quarter or half and will start on the referee’s signal (i.e., if the clock is stopped while they move the chains), the offense only gets one play.  So if we complete a pass for a first down into field goal range with one or two seconds left, we can't spike the ball and then run the field goal team onto the field - we would have to run the field goal team onto the field while they are moving the chains.  I'm really excited that Hoke knows all about the rule change, particularly since it's so common to see other coaches make serious clock management errors.

Basically, this rule is intended to prevent a controversy like at the end of the 1998 Rose Bowl, where Washington State tried to spike the ball with two seconds left and ran out of time (but they didn't think they did).  However, it wouldn't prevent a controversy like the Spartan Bob game, because the clock wasn't stopped by the ref before MSU tried to spike it.

South Bend Wolverine

August 28th, 2013 at 5:52 PM ^

Gotcha, thanks for that clear & helpful explanation.  I'm not sure how I feel about that rule, but I definitely see where they're going with it.  I've seen a number of games end because of teams trying to spike it with 1 or 2 ticks left, and so I think it's probably a good idea to just take away that possibility.

Mr Miggle

August 28th, 2013 at 5:59 PM ^

to shorten the game a little. We used to have sequences of spike followed by multiple defensive timeouts to ice the kicker. It was a long time ago, but I recall the problem in the Rose Bowl was the scoreboard clock was out of synck with the time kept on the field. WSU's receivers were getting 20-30 yards downfield before the scoreboard clock started on that last drive. Then the clock would keep running a little while after it should have been stopped.


August 28th, 2013 at 4:55 PM ^

I suspect the whole rb depth chart thing has as much and maybe more to do with protecting Gardner as it has to do with actually running the ball.