Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-12-12: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko September 12th, 2012 at 2:03 PM

News bullets and other important items:

  • Frank Clark's recent hearing has no impact on his status.
  • Sounds like Courtney Avery will be 100% for Saturday.
  • Blake Countess's surgery has not been schedule yet.
  • Richard Ash is out this week with a boo boo, but will return next week hopefully.
  • Brennen Beyer is also out this week.
  • Barring further injury, no additional freshmen are likely to play.

Brady Hoke


Opening remarks:

“It’s an important week for us as a football team as far as how we come out to practice, the improvement we need to make in all areas. We had a good intense practice yesterday. I thought we came out with the right attitude and we have to follow that up again today, obviously. Frank Clark’s situation hasn’t changed. Won’t change. The judicial system obviously, he’s paying for that, and he’s paid a very heavy price with us. He’s a teammate, and he made some bad decisions -- a bad decision that is not what we want. But he is a teammate, and he’s part of our family. So.”

Frank Clark derpy derpy derp.

“I just made a statement on it.”

How have you seen Elliott Mealer settle into his position at center?

“You know, I think Elliott is really settled in, and I think he has a presence about him in there at center. I think the one thing he wants to do a little better job with is maybe some pad level at times and keep finishing on blocks, but I think he’s really been consistent when you look at what we ask that position to do.”

If you had to challenge him on the beard, could you do that?

“No. Not even close.”

How do you see the cornerback position evolving?

“Yeah. And you know, they’re evaluated every day. If you have a bad day around here, it’s easy to get shipped to the second or third team. With Blake not being there, J.T. has to step up. I think that’s important. I think Courtney and Raymon and even Delonte are all competing, and I think they’re all guys -- and Terry’s getting some reps in there. I think that will continue to be a competition that we’ll [look at] on a weekly basis. If one guy is the a starter consecutively or consistently, then he’s done a good job of competing.”

How is Courtney’s back?

“Okay. Okay. He did everything yesterday. He felt pretty good.”

Is there a date for Blake’s surgery yet?

“Not yet. Not yet.”

How is Brandon Moore?

“He’ll be out this week. He’s getting better. He just got twisted up a little bit with his knee, a little bit of a sprain. But he’s getting better. He hasn’t done anything on the field with us yet, but the trainers think he’s healing up. Brandon thinks he’s feeling better.”

Have you had so many knee injuries this early in the season?

“No … I haven’t. I think it’s one of those years. Last year we were looked upon pretty well because we really didn’t have any injuries until late in the year, to be honest with you. I think Beyer was the first, and he missed the Ohio game, and then Will [Heininger], with his foot and ankle, and I’m forgetting the other guy. Who am I forgetting?”


“Yeah. Molk. With his foot.”

Is it a freak thing?

“I think it’s freak. I think it just, from a medical standpoint and a development of all that stuff, because Aaron, as much as you can do preventatively, he does more than anybody I’ve ever been around of the different things that you do. He has studied it unbelievably.”

MGoQuestion: How much do the injured players participate in day to day things?

“Oh they’re in everything. Believe me. They’re in everything. They are working out during practice, alternate conditioning, I mean, we keep them pretty busy.”

How hard is it for a guy like Schofield to move from left guard to right tackle? Is that a challenge?

“It could be. I think the intelligence of Mike, though, and his football intelligence helps because it is different. And then it can vary because you can play an even front team where the guards are covered or you can play an odd front team like last week where the guards aren’t covered as much. I think all those things tend to make it a little harder from week to week, but at the same time when you get down to fundamentals and techniques of drive blocking or reach or cutoffs or combination schemes, whatever, they’re all pretty much the same.”

What was his response when you approached him to switch to guard last year?

“He wanted to help the team. I mean, he was all in.”

How would you assess his play so far?

“I think he’s been pretty good. I think he, like the whole lot of us, we have to improve. I mean, he has to get a little better, more finishing when you look at blocks. But I can say that about everybody on our football team. We have to finish plays better, whether it’s defensive linemen, the backside corner on pursuit, the receivers downfield getting on harrassing guys in the secondary -- he’s not alone, let’s put it that way.”

If you blow out UMass [Ed: very paraphrased], will Russell Bellomy go in as the next quarterback in after Denard?

“He would be in a game situation, no doubt about it.”

How would you evaluate Patrick Omameh so far?

“I think Pat’s had a really good fall camp, and he’s carried it over. I think he was physical the first week, and I think last week he continued -- there was a little bit of movement stuff, which was different. I think I mentioned there were 35 man pressures that they ran, and obviously not 30 different ones, but as an offensive lineman it keeps you [focused on] technique and fundamentally conscious of it.”

What do you do to make sure they’re focused on UMass and not looking ahead to Notre Dame?

“Well, you know, I think we’ve done a nice job of taking them one at a time, but at the same time, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s really about us and how we prepare and how we improve and how we practice every week. Every week the discussion starts with us and what we need to do as a football team. We need to have expectations and high goals. If we don’t get better every week, then we’re not going to be the football team we have to be.”

How high on your list is getting your running backs going and having more offensive snaps?

“We play really good defense when our offense is out on the field. First and foremost time of possession is a goal of ours -- to win the time of possession. Turnovers, we have not really -- we got one defensively, and we’ve turned it over four times. We’ve got to be on the other side of that ledger. We’d like some consistently on being able to run the ball, just not with Denard, but with the running back. That part of it. I think that it’s so critical for us as a team, getting in on a little bit of a flow if you want to call it that. I think it’s important.”

What are some of the things Roundtree is doing that we’re not seeing?

“Well I think every day, and we’ll start with practice. I think every day he comes in here to get better, no matter what it is. Roy, as a senior, values that leadership. We value it. On the field, again, work ethic, practice-wise, he’s just as good as anybody. I think game-wise, the way he’ll get on a corner or safety, I think all those guys are pretty daggone good blockers, but he finishes those most of the time.”

Does he do anything with the younger receivers?

“He communicates, you know, when they’re going through the walk-throughs. They run play route or they’re on the sideline. He’s a good leader.

Have there been any freshmen who haven’t played that have stood out to you?

“I think the two D linemen are going to be pretty good players. I think the guys on the front line offensively, they’re going to be good players. Chesson’s a good player. You know, the safeties, they’re good players. They’ve all done a nice job.”

At what point do you make the redshirting decision?

“I think we’re kind of where we want to be unless we get totally drilled somehow at a position.”

How much emphasis is put on getting turnovers? Also, why haven’t you had the success with turnovers this season that you did last season?

“I think that’s the best question. I think Air Force had the ball on the ground twice. Once, the fullback had it jump back in his hands, but you know, I think we emphasize it, I think we talk about it. I mean, everyday in practice if there’s a ball on the ground, skelly, no matter what it is, our guys are running over and scooping it and trying to score with it or whatever, even if it’s an incomplete pass. So the emphasis on getting the ball, I do think we do need more guys to the football at times. More hats on the football. I think that’s a very important part of it.”

Do you think they’re not swarming to the football as much last year?

“I wouldn’t say that last week, and I wouldn’t say that the first week either. The first week we missed some tackles obviously, and then just trying to get more bodies to the ball.”

Fitz was the only running back to get any carries last week. Was that by design or just how it panned out?

“I just think it’s kind of how things went to be honest with you. Yes, we wanted to get him some carries, but it just didn’t work out that way. Again, when you go back to blocking better at the line of scrimmage or the point of attack, we have to make sure we’re getting the right reads if they’re read plays, and the other thing is just how the game went.”

With the offensive line, it seemed like some of the guys pulling were slow to get to the point of attack. How do you work on that?

“I think there were a couple power plays where they needed to get there quicker. You just keep working on it.”

Greg Mattison took a lot of responsibility for not coming up with enough defensive schemes. Is that something where you can only identify that after the fact, or was there a decision to limit the schemes prior to the game?

“I think there’s always self-evaluation, and I think, you know, Greg is a pretty honest guy obviously. But at the same time, if we execute what we are playing a little better, then maybe he doesn’t have to say that.”

Back to Roy, is his attitude and approach --


A little too good to be true? He’s always so upbeat.

“That’s Roy. And he loves his football team. And he loves his teammates and he’s well respected because of that atittude.

Is Brennen Beyer out for the week?

“He’ll be out this week. I’m hoping to get him next week. Don’t know for sure yet.”

Is Ash still on track to return?

“He did a couple things yesterday. I don’t know if he’ll be full on Saturday.”

Where is the boo boo specifically?

“It’s on his body.”

Upper body? Lower body?

“It’s somewhere on his body.”



September 12th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

So...what freshmen have played?  and who hasn't played (i.e. likely redshirt, given Hoke's comment) that we might have expected to play?  Many thanks in advance.

Blue boy johnson

September 12th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

Interesting Hoke hopes to not play any additional true freshmen this season. As of now 12 true freshmen have played.

These 12 have appeared in both games:

A.J. Williams TE FR
Amara Darboh WR FR
Ondre Pipkins DT FR
Mario Ojemudia DE FR
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB FR
Sione Houma FB FR
Joe Bolden LB FR
Dennis Norfleet RB FR
Jarrod Wilson S FR
Devin Funchess TE FR
James Ross III LB FR
Terry Richardson DB FR

These 13 have not seen action and are in line for a redshirt:

Matthew Godin DE FR
Jehu Chesson WR FR
Erik Magnuson OL FR
Ben Braden OL FR
Willie Henry DT FR
Kyle Kalis OL FR
Blake Bars OL FR
Tom Strobel DE FR
Kaleb Ringer LB FR
Chris Wormley DE FR
Jeremy Clark DB FR
Drake Johnson RB FR
Allen Gant DB FR



September 12th, 2012 at 2:56 PM ^

It means true freshmen lineman, even the most college-ready of the bunch, generally aren't physically ready for playing the line in college, and it would be best to redshirt them and avoid burning a year of eligibility if at all possible.

Blue boy johnson

September 12th, 2012 at 3:00 PM ^

Yeah let's speculate. Hoke said the "two"  D lineman are going to be pretty good players. With Wormley out with an injury that leaves three D lineman. Could this mean Godin moved to the OL? Interesting. I don't see Tom Strobel or Willie Henry as OL, so yep, that's it, number 99, Matthew Godin moved to OL.

Mr. Yost

September 12th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

You don't want to EVER play true freshman offensive linemen.

What it means is that we've got a little more depth on the interior than we anticipated. The coaches feel comfortable with Burzynski as the backup guard. Nothing wrong with that.

Kalis is your starting LG next year, IMO. Burzynski and Bryant duke it out for the RG spot.

Here's my best guess, Lewan is key, he'd be a captain next year...

1. Taylor Lewan (RS Sr.)
2. Michael Schofield (RS Sr.)
3. Erik Magnuson (RS Fr.)
4. Graham Glasgow (RS So.)
rs: Kyle Bosch (Fr.)

1. Kyle Kalis (So.)
2. Joey Burzynski (RS Jr.)
3. Blake Bars (RS Fr.)
rs: Patrick Kugler (Fr.)

1a. Jack Miller (RS So.)
1b. Joey Burzynski (RS Jr.)
rs: David Dawson (Fr.)

1a. Chris Bryant (RS So.)
1b. Joey Burzynski (RS Jr.)
3. Blake Bars (RS Fr.)
rs: Chris Fox (Fr.)

1. Michael Schofield (RS Sr.)
2. Ben Braden (RS Fr.)
3. Erik Gunderson (RS Sr.)
rs: Logan Tuley-Tillman (Fr.)


September 12th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

We've already played 13 guys at the five SLB+DL spots up front.  12 guys have made a tackle (only Ash hasn't) and 7 have picked up at least part of a TFL.

When you can play that many guys, you can afford to redshirt folks.  You can also see that a lot of guys will probably get a shot to play down the road, even if they aren't the top dude on the depth chart.


September 12th, 2012 at 2:59 PM ^

Houma, RJS, Richardson and Norfleet have only played on special teams.  Pretty much everyone who has gotten in is doing so on merit.  Funchess is a beast.  Ross and Bolden are getting PT in a unit that returned the entire 2-deep from last season (when the defense was pretty solid).  Wilson is seeing the field ahead of Robinson/Furman.  The coaches seem high on Pipkins and Ojemudia.

I think we've discovered a few future stars and if we can avoid a rash of injuries and redshirt 8 linemen this is about as ideal a scenario for a freshman class as you can get.


September 12th, 2012 at 3:08 PM ^

He's on the player participation sheet for the Alabama game at WR.  Don't think the ball ever went his way and he's #82 (Robinson is 83) so probably easy to get lost in the shuffle.  Doesn't look like he played on offense against AF.


September 12th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

I would think we would want some game experience for some backups just in case. Maybe Miller is next guy in regardless of the interior position, but wouldnt you want someone to get a taste at right tackle before the B1G season?


September 12th, 2012 at 3:22 PM ^

I think we saw what the coaching staff has in mind in case of emergency in the Bama game.  Miller and/or Burzyinski would be the next guys in and if a tackle goes down Omameh would slide out to that spot. 

To get beyond that you are talking about a pretty horrendous rash of injuries (Bryant and 2-3 starters).  Things might change if that were to happen, but it isn't the kind of likely scenario that justifies burning an OL's redshirt just to be ready for it (since otherwise you don't really rotate at the position at all).


September 12th, 2012 at 3:28 PM ^

At the tactical level of this season that makes sense.  At the strategic level though Borges and Hoke might be thinking fifth year senior Kalis contributes more than freshman Kalis does (assuming he stays for four years of playing time of course).  I'd be okay with seeing Miller and then some of the older walkons hitting the field before Kalis does myself.  The emotional part of me wants to see us do whatever it takes to send Denard out as a Big Ten champ, other parts of me want to stockpile as much talent as possible and aim for a1997 team repeat in a couple of years.  

Blue boy johnson

September 12th, 2012 at 3:32 PM ^

Young Team:

If the redshirt situation holds up, with no attrition in the current freshman/soph, and Hoke signs a class of 25, this will be a very young team in 2013.

38 Freshman 13 RS + 25 incoming

18 Soph's 6 RS* +  the 12 freshman playing this season

56 freshman and sophomores

* current RS freshman

Keith Heitzman DE
Jack Miller OL
Chris Bryant OL
Antonio Poole LB
Russell Bellomy QB
Justice Hayes RB


Mr. Yost

September 12th, 2012 at 4:01 PM ^

Also, this will be the 4/5 year "cycle" from when Rich Rod was here and there was attrition and we had to play a bunch of young players.

Really Coach Hoke would have to be here for another 8 years (with success) for it to "fix itself" otherwise I think we'll keep saying that every 4/5 years we're playing a lot of younger guys.


September 12th, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

We'll be young mostly because we've had a bunch of good attrition since Coach Hoke took over.  The team would be older if a bunch of 3rd and 4th string DBs were still on the roster, but it wouldn't be better.

The team will also return a ton of experience.  Kovacs and Floyd graduate, but Countess, Avery, Gordon, and Taylor all return, plus guys like Robinson/Furman, plus some young guys, plus a big incoming class.  At LB we lose Demens but return Morgan, Ross, and Bolden who will all be better, have a few more recruits waiting in the wings, and add some newcomers.  At DL/SLB we lose BWC and Roh, but return 11 guys who have already played this year, plus 4 redshirted DL, plus a new class with Hurst and Poggi.  Smith, Moore, and Roundtree are the only skill guys who graduate and their production looks like it will be replaced without too much trouble.

The only remote question marks are how the o-line will look (a lot better if Lewan and Schofield return) and who plays QB and just how big is the dropoff from Denard (and that was going to be the big question no matter what).



September 12th, 2012 at 8:26 PM ^

Since the SLB is rushing the passer so much and since both Cam and Jake have played DE (they did it against Bama in passing situations) I just count that spot as part of a larger front 5.  With those two on one side and Clark/Beyer on the other with more experience across the board the edge pass rush will be a big strength of next year's team (and probably this year's as well).  Bring back Washington, Ash, and a maturing Pipkins in the middle along with the four big bodies getting a redshirt and the 2013 defense looks like a potential monster across the board, and one with a lot of years of eligibility remaining.


September 12th, 2012 at 9:12 PM ^

I agree - I think our defense could be incredible next year.  Replacing Demens will be a no brainer (and might happen before he graduates).  As much as I like Roh and Campbell, I don't think those guys will be too tough to replace either.  Losing Kovacs will be tough, but we have Jarrod Wilson who the coaches already like, and Floyd is a solid player, but can probably be replaces by one of the guys getting reps in Countess's place this year.  

Not only will it be good, but deep as well.  Now if only Lewan can stick around so our OL has a little more experience, that could be better than this year too.


September 13th, 2012 at 8:22 PM ^

But I really worry about our offense as a whole next year, simply because QB is pretty unknown. Losing Denard is going to hurt in a big way, no matter how we look at it. I also want the best long term scenario for Gardner, so I'd like to see him stick at receiver, which would put us in a tough QB spot unless Borges can scheme around it.