Wednesday Presser Transcript 8-29-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 29th, 2012 at 1:47 PM

News bullets and other important items:

  • 7 walk-ons got scholarships yesterday: SDE Nathan Brink, OL Joey Burzynski, LS Jareth Glanda, FB Paul Gyarmati, WR Joe Reynolds, QB Steve Wilson, TE Mike Kwiatkowski
  • Still no decision on Fitz or Frank Clark
  • Chris Wormley had his ACL surgery yesterday. It went well.
  • If Fitz is out, there might be a running back by comittee situation. Super. 

Brady Hoke


Opening remarks:

“Thanks for coming out. It’s always nice to visit with you. We’re getting a little closer to game day obviously. That’s probably an understatement. First thing I want to say is that we put seven guys on aid for the semester or for the year. They’re seven guys who have given a lot to Michigan and Michigan football. I think it’s only fair when we have them available at the time to reward those guys. Nate Brink and Joe Burzynski and Jareth Glanda, Paul Gyarmati, Kwiatkowski, Joe Reynolds and Steve Wilson are all guys that we wanted to make sure that we acknowledged. When you have the opportunity, every year’s different depending on what you have and what you’re going to do at mid terms and mid year and all that. We’re all happy about that. It’s an expensive dealing for some of them. Burzynski’s from Carlsbad or San Diego, California, out of state, and that’s -- you can imagine the price that he’s paying to be a guy who loves Michigan and wants to be part of Michigan football. That being said, that was fun. It was fun because we announced it in front of the rest of the team. There were hugs and kisses -- not kisses -- but hugs and excitement and all that kind of stuff. So that was good.

“Yesterday’s practice was okay. Not as sharp as we wanted, I wanted. We got a lot done, but at the same time you’re into a Tuesday. It’s a big workday. We’ve been working on Alabama for at least four days now. There’s a couple formation things, a little bit of communication from a defensive standpoint that we need to do a better job with. Still don’t have any decision for you on Frank or Fitz. You can ask me when I’m going to make that decision, and it’ll probably be before the game. It’s sometime before the game. With that, any questions?”

How do you get the team to focus on Alabama and just the game and ignore all the external stuff and hype that’s going on?

“I think to some degree it’s part of it. We talk about staying in the football, staying in the game. The one good thing about playing football at the University of Michigan is that it’s not their first time around. There’s a core group that have played a BCS bowl game and handled it well in Louisiana, you know, in the Sugar Bowl. You’ve got some young guys. Those are the ones [for whom] travel is different. Our intensity, business-like, how we travel is a little different maybe than it was in high school. Those are some of those thing where you hope that your leadership does a nice job of really defining to those guys what this is all about.”

How much time will you have in the building before you take the field on Saturday?

“You know what, I really can’t tell you. I think it’s 27 minutes after we come off before we’ll go back on right before the game. I can tell you that part of it. We’ll get there normally an hour and 50, two hours before.”


“Friday we’ll be there an hour and 20 minutes. Kicking, catching punts, catching kickoffs. We’ll do our normal Friday schedule practice like we do, which we do quite a bit. We believe in breaking a sweat and doing some things that are going to be productive in getting us ready to play.”

What stands out to you about AJ McCarron?

“You know, the more I watch him the more you love him as a quarterback. I think he’s decisive, I think he does a nice job of going to the right guy, he’s got good touch on the ball. He can make all the throws. In the pocket, he feels it. He’s elusive with it. He really -- he’s a heck of a quarterback, and you would expect that from a national championship team.”

You and Nick Saban have crossed paths when you were an assistant and he was a head coach. Have you interacted with him much since?

“No, not really. Love watching him play defense. Love watching him coach defense. But other than that, not really.”

What jumps out to you about his teams?

“Defense. Playing defense.”

What are you going to do to keep your team occupied throughout the day? Are you going to keep them inside to protect them from the heat?

“Well, I don’t think so. I think we’re going to go outside. Trying to think -- last year we had a couple games that were either 3:30 or the Notre Dame [game] and it was a pretty warm day here. We did a couple walk-throughs. It will be a little bit hot and we’ll hydrate them and do all that kind of stuff, which they’ve been doing all week. If it’s something that’s too bad we’ll try and use the ball room or the lobby of the hotel.”

The roof will be closed, though, right?

“Yeah that’s what I’ve heard.”

You’re big into the signs around Schembechler. What’s that from? Have you done that at previous coaching stops?

“Yeah. Yeah.”

How did you come up with that?

“Well it’s pretty simple. It’s game week, and making sure that we focus in on what’s at hand for us.”

Will Fitz and Frank travel with the team if they’re not playing?

“Uh, I don’t know.”

Are they technically suspended still?

“They would be practicing, maybe not playing.”

So they’re no longer suspended?

“Well they’ve been practicing. Usually if you’re suspended I don’t let you practice.”

What’s your favorite thing about Michigan football history?

“Well, there’s a lot. I mean, there’s a ton …”

If you had one story to tell.

“Oh man, that’s too hard to do.”

If you had two stories to tell?

“We’d be here all day. You know what’s going to be neat today is the band’s coming to practice. There’s nothing like the Michigan band coming to practice. I look forward to it.”

Is that something that happens every year?

“Has every year since I’ve been here before. The only difference is it’s usually Thursday. It’s Wednesday. But it’s fun to watch the last three periods, and they’ll get on that sideline and come out and play ‘The Victors.’ It’s fun.”

Do you still play “The Victors” on repeat out of your office?

“No. It’s game week at 1:30, we play a lot of things. Mostly Michigan related.”

What’s the biggest gain that Russell Bellomy’s made since fall camp?

“Probably the timing of everything a quarterback, within the offense, has to do. He’s always had what we thought was a pretty good arm. Can make really all the throws. I think part of that timing is probably maturing a little bit and knowing the offense a little bit better. He ran an offense off a card last year during the season, which is always hard, but did a great job with it. I think now being through a spring and being through a fall camp and summer and all that stuff, I think it’s that part of it.”

You mentioned Elliott distinguishing himself in camp. What has he done?

“Yeah. I think he played with a lot of confidence. A much more physical, faster pace, quicker tempo, and the other part of it, he is a smart guy. He can be multiple in what he does. That’s important. It’s like Jibreel Black. Jibreel’s multiple in what he can do, and it’s important to have that on your football team.”

Al mentioned that Thomas Rawls was a little dinged up this weekend. Will he still be the first guy off the bench if Fitz doesn’t play?

“Well, I think Vince Smith. Vince and then Thomas and Justice. Any of the three, but they all three have gotten a lot of reps. Fitz has gotten a lot of reps.”

Is Thomas good to go though?

“Oh yeah. Yeah.”

Would it be a running back by committee thing if Fitz doesn’t play?

“I don’t know. It could be. Or who gets hot, or how we’re playing.”

Is that your hierarchy? You mentioned Vincent first.

“He’s the oldest guy.”

How difficult or frustrating is it that you can’t know much about your team until after the first game considering who you’re playing during the first game?

“I don’t think it’s difficult or frustrating at all, to be honest with you. I kind of enjoy this. Not necessarily this, but playing a team like Alabama. I think it is something that if you can’t get excited about it and look at the great challenge and at the same time the opportunity it is.”

Has Chris Wormley had his surgery yet?

“Yes. Yesterday. Everything went well.”

MGoQuestion: After studying Alabama on film, have you identified any favorable matchups or matchups that you might be concerned about?

“A lot of matchups that we’re always concerned about, and they start up front on both sides of the ball.”

Can you walk us through how you chose the players for scholarships?

“Those are the guys who -- there’s some seniors in that group that have been around and done a good job. There’s some guys who have really proven themselves to some degree.”

How did you tell them that they got scholarships?

“Told them in front of the whole team.”

What was it like?

“It was wild. Their teammates were very happy for them.”

Do those usually go to seniors for you?

“A lot of times. A lot of times.”

Do you have anything special planned for the players Saturday morning? Any speeches?

“No. No. We’re handling like it just like we would an away game. Very business-like. No one coming in to talk to them or anything like that.”


matty blue

August 29th, 2012 at 2:06 PM ^

always like it when walk-ons get scholarships.  those guys bust their asses every day, and it's nice when they get a payoff.

it's great to be a michigan wolverine.


August 29th, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

You will notice that the starting long snapper always gets one of these scholarships, so that should soothe some of the angst felt by those who thought giving one to "Snappy" Sypniewski was a mistake.  Of course if he doesn't win the job then yeah......


August 29th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

Because he's not very good? Working his ass off (you're allowed to say that here btw) makes him loved by the fans, but doesn't change the fact that he doesn't have the speed or size to help very much against Alabama. Toussaint we know has the speed, Rawls was at least rumored to have the size. Vince is a great 3rd down back and I love him, but if he starts it's bad news.


August 29th, 2012 at 2:57 PM ^

Mostly because I don't think he's our best RB.

Look, I've got nothing but love for him, but teams don't win games by starting guys because they're seniors or have busted their asses, at least not just that. I like him picking up blitzes and catching dump offs. I don't really like him running the ball. This is not me talking bad about him as a person, just hoping we have a better option as our full time RB.

matty blue

August 29th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

i get that we're probably cooked if Vincent Smith gets the majority of snaps and carries, but "starting" doesn't really mean all that much.  if he does start and can't contribute in any way, then i have complete faith in our staff to try someone else.  hoke even said as much.  no reason to completely ignore everything else he said on the subject.


August 29th, 2012 at 6:36 PM ^

I get that, and I agree that if he's not cutting it, he'll get pulled for someone else.  I just wish the coaches knew who would cut it and then start that guy.  But - they're probably better at this coaching thing than I am so I bet it works out.

O Fo Sho

August 29th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

on the RB situation is the most surprising.  I don't know if Brady is doing this for smoke and mirrors, but stating that Vince is the first guy is out of right field.  Borgess has pretty much said in the past that Vince does what Vince does....meaning 3rd downs and situational stuff.

There are a LOT of question marks over who will be getting the carries.  Will Fitz play?  Is Rawls hurt?  In the last couple of days Hayes has received a lot of nice comments from the coaches. 

Marley Nowell

August 29th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

Remember when Hoke said the first play of 2011 would be POWER and it was but with Denard running it.  Vincent Smith will be out there for the first snap and could play quite a bit but I doubt he gets the bulk of the carries.

yossarians tree

August 29th, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

Gotta admit I've been kind of scared of this game. Now I'm not anymore, because I know Hoke isn't scared and therefore his team isn't going to be scared either. They might lose this game on sheer talent, but they will keep swingin' til it's over, of that I am sure.


August 29th, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

being told they are awesome day after day and expected to repeat and a two-touchdown favorite is ripe for an upset.

We've seen that one linbacker bite to the handoff or one safety covering lazy can be an instant 50 yard play for Michigan.



August 29th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

I also thought it was interesting that he said that he didn't know if they would travel with the team if they were not going to play, This made me think they are going to play, as did the comment about them practicing and "suspended" players typically not being allowed to do so. Could all be smoke and mirrors. The last presser seemed to have clues that they would be out and this one that they would play.... I give up on the guessing. Can't wait till Saturday!


August 29th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

Great to hear about the walk-ons again.  Always nice to hear kids get rewarded.

The closer this game moves up, the more resigned I am to the fact that it will probably be a constructive loss.  Alabama looks loaded this year, and while I think UM will play up somewhat, I'm just worried that this team is too young and inexeperienced at key positions for this to be the first game.  Hoepfully they keep it competitive (I think they will), and Hoke and co. seem to be keeping expectations down a bit.  That said, I'm guessing Fitz plays but the lines struggle and Alabama pulls away late.


August 29th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

Hopefully the Vincent smith starting is just Hoke blowing smoke up our asses. That means that Thomas Rawls isn't that good or he's slowed by injury. My gut feeling is that Fitz plays after sitting out the first series. This game is to important to the program to hold him out for a owi that happened months ago.


August 29th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

For those of you that are worried about Vincent Smith possibly starting at RB, keep in mind that he is probably the best RB at picking up the biltz. Even if Fitz plays, may not be a bad idea to get Smith in early (even start) to see how bama is going to play Denard. I would be more concerned if Hayes or Norfleet started. I feel good if Fitz, Rawls or Smith start.


August 29th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

At this rate I fully expect every running back to be painted blue from head to toe, and all wear #20 replacement jerseys without names. Bama will never know who hit em.