Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-18-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko September 18th, 2013 at 1:17 PM


  • Boo boo watch: Courtney Avery and AJ Williams are back at practice. This is not a drill. 
  • Boo boo watch part 2: Taylor Lewan didn't practice yesterday but will today. He's fine. Mario Ojemudia will be the most limited of the boo boo watchees. I don't know if he'll play.
  • The offensive line is in an introspective phase. Changes might occur as early as this week. However, the bye week presents a much better opportunity to shake things up.


Opening remarks:

"Good practice yesterday. Thought we came out and competed very hard, which you expect every day. But I thought we physically were getting after each other, and we'll do the same thing today. We've got to play the run better, run the ball better, same old stuff you always hear, but it's the truth and it is what it is. I liked how we came out and competed with each other."

Noticeably different from last week?

"On a Tuesday? Probably a little bit."

A lot players said last Tuesday was lackluster. Can you tell that?

"They would know best if they felt that way. Maybe it's an individual thing, too."

Can you talk about UConn's defensive front?

"Yeah they're a big front. Not quite Notre Dame big in some ways, but they're a big front. Active in the linebackers. I think Smallwood is a guy who is their main bellcow when it comes to tackling and getting the ball on the ground. Just reading some of the comments Paul has made, I know they want to play better against the run also. I'm sure they've worked their tails off like we are."

Did Taylor Lewan practice?

"He didn't do anything yesterday. He did some alternate conditioning stuff, but he'll practice today. He's fine."

The rest of the guys?

"Yeah. AJ [Williams]'s back. Courtney [Avery]'s back. Trying to think of who else. We limited Cam a little bit yesterday. He practiced but limited some snaps and some reps, but he'll be back."

Mario Ojemudia?

"He might be the only guy that will be playing a little more hurt than others."

Chuck Long said Akron seemed to be timing your snap count a bit. Did you see that?

"I think at times we all get caught in doing that. We've done it to teams, and it's just something when you're in the gun there's a little more problems with it than when you're under center. We'd like to be under center a little more."

How much of an effect does jumping the snap count have?

"You have to be right. That's the whole thing. James Hall was as good as anybody when he was here, and it can affect you a little bit and that's why if you can get some silent counts that we'll use and also get some under center snaps that are beneficial."

MGoQuestion: You said the punting game was going to go under a microscope this week.


MGoQuestion: What did see this week?

"Well you know, with Matt [Wile]. I would say him because he struggled the most, really. He did a good job yesterday, and he did it throughout the weekend, figuring out where he's at and why. All these guys have a guru who they talk to or they work with in the summer. So I know he got in touch with his [guru] and talked to him about some things and they evaluate the tape. You have all the technology today. It helps him."

MGoPleaseSaySpreadPuntSoIDon'tHaveToAskAboutIt: Did you do anything differently with regard to coverage or protection?

"No the coverage was fine. And the protection, really -- it was more missed assignment or miscommunication than anything else that really shouldn't have been there. Because we've worked the looks so much. Dan [Ferrigno] always does a good job of showing looks that we think are most advantageous to the protection and also how to change the protection."


With the offensive line, what sort of changes are you considering?


"I think we're in a unique situation a little bit because of the bye week. When that comes, I think you have the ability to put some guys in there maybe who haven't played as much but you think are competing very hard during the week. It's a great week to see where they're at and maybe a little more high pressure. Obviously the best five guys are going to play. The guys who deserve it on a daily basis are the ones that are going to play. This would be a week to do that because then you have another week to keep working."

You have a lot of runs that don't go very far, but you're fourth nationally in rushes of over 20 yards.



"I didn't know that. I don't look at those kinds of things."

How important is it to get those intermediate rushes of 6, 7, or 8 yards?

"I think it'd be interesting to chart about six different teams and see where they're at with that. I think it's obviously important on first downs if you can buy yourself a waste down on second down, but put yourself in position so your second and third down are a little easier. Now I didn't know that statistic. When you say that the big play statistic, that's your receivers as much as -- obviously the front's doing a good job, but those guys down the field doing a good job."

You guys have struggled on the road the last couple years. What are the things that plague your team on the road?

"Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers. That's what's plagued our team."

Why is that cropping up more on the road?

"I don't know. I have no idea. You wouldn't think it would. It did last year."

You mentioned defenses doing different things up front to confuse the offensive line. How much does the physical matchup factor into that now?

"I think they've been pretty physical. When they're targeting guys and getting on the right guys, I know there's some technique issues here and there that don't make a guy as physical. His hips get high and the angles that you want to play with. But Kyle [Kalis] is pretty physical. And Graham [Glasgow]. Those two guards are physical guys. We go against them every day. I think sometimes guys are hesitant to let it go like they do in practice. That's a learning step for young football players. We've got Ondre [Pipkins] and Willie [Henry] on our side of it. When they just let go and go play, it's amazing. So you don't want them thinking too much and you want them to know that they're going to make a mistake, but if you play hard enough, you'll play through them."

How important will this week to restore Devin's confidence?

"I think getting back on the field helps. Getting back into a competition helps. You know, you hopefully do a good job as a team taking that last game, win or lose, and 24 hours or 48 hours after that, make sure you focus on the next challenge. That's how we talk about it as a team. Do you want him to remember some of the decisions that weren't so good? Sure. But you really want him to move forward. My biggest thing always with a quarterback is they have help out there. Rely on your help. There's 10 other guys. The defense is going to play hard. Let it come to you."

How do the mistakes compare from one game to another? Is Devin making the same mistakes or are they different?

"I think every game's a little different because of what they give you. Again, they're not just all on him. There's routes that are cut short or not the right route run in there. There's probably a little pressure sometimes. Someone gets in your face, you know. Those things are all part of it."

Who are the guys that could contribute on the offensive line?

"Chris Bryant's a guy that we've been excited about. He's been banged up a year ago. Had a little bit early in fall camp and probably right in the middle. He got a little banged up again, but he's back and playing awfully hard. Ben Braden's another guy. We like what he's doing. And Erik Magnuson. I think all those guys are doing a nice job and they're all improving."

How is Willie Henry doing? He played a lot Saturday.

"Yeah Willie has done some nice things. We'll continue to roll those guys through, but I thought Willie is starting to understand about big boy football and how you have to play."

Just want to clarify -- do you anticipate starting the same five against UConn and then reshuffling during the bye?

"I don't know yet to be honest with you. We have another practice and we'll still compete and we'll see what happens."



September 18th, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

Hard to say. On one hand Center obviously has unique requirements and if Miller's the only guy that can handle snapping reliably or making the right calls for the line, then he's safe. That said, IMO, he's the most ripe for getting benched if any of the other guys (probably Glasgow) can handle Center duties. Miller (again, just my opinion) seems to be the weakest blocker of the 3 interior guys by a long shot.


September 18th, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

My money is on Glasgow. He's simply been worse. He whiffs on runs and busts on protection. Miller has been overwhelmed trying to move noses man to man, but the calls have been good and the snaps have been perfect. If he were to lose the job, Glasgow would go to C and Bryant would come in at guard. That's a lot of shuffling to do midseason.

Mr. Yost

September 19th, 2013 at 2:10 PM ^

Glasgow graded out as good or higher than any other OL on the team vs. Akron.

Just because he's a walk on and you don't know football causes you to suggest he is the worst.

Actually it's Miller, but he's the best snapper on the team.

Lewan-Bryant-Glasgow-Kalis-Schofield is the best line...but that's assuming Glasgow can consistently snap the ball.

John W.

September 18th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

but in an ideal world then both would be out of a job. If UM can cut the problem in 1/2 (Miller/Glasgow) that should offset 1/2 as many blown assignments


September 18th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

There have actually been fewer missed assignments than there were last season. Where were screwing up is missing our men. Technique has been horrible off the line, and Glasgow has been the main culprit. He often just misses. And he's missing 3s and 1s, ie guys not more than 2 feet away. This is more troublesome than missed assignments, which can be corrected through film and teaching and just getting used to the games. Missed men generally indicate a lack of athleticism.


September 18th, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

All the assumptions seems to be Miller and Glasgow are the 2 guys who might be replaced. Hard to say but if it gets bad enough I wonder if moving Schofield back inside would happen.



September 18th, 2013 at 1:53 PM ^

I also wonder about this. If Magnusson is the 6th best guy, then moving Schofield back to guard might be the way to go. I thought I read that they'd promised Schofield would remain at RT this year; if the coaches feel like Glasgow or Miller isn't among the best 5, I hope they get Bryant on the field.

Ron Utah

September 18th, 2013 at 1:48 PM ^

Taking a step back, I have to say I think we're still in pretty good shape on the O-line.  Miller got manhandled and Glasgow may have missed a few blocks, and Kalis is making some freshman errors...but I think it's a lot better than last year's version, and I think they'll improve (which didn't seem to happen last year).

I would love to see Bryant on the field.  He's a big, nasty guy and I think he'd help our run game.  Maybe moving Glasgow to center and Bryant to LG would help.

I firmly believe our greatest weakness is our pass rush.  The O-line needs to improve, but like Al said yesterday--at least there have been some holes and big plays.  We didn't have holes last year, just Denard.  But the pass rush is just terrible.  And it's not just the D-Line: there haven't been many effective blitzes.

If the pass rush isn't fixed, we won't be winning the B1G.  I think the O-line will be at least decent by the time November rolls around, with DG's legs able to make-up for any deficiency we have in blocking.  If another consistent receiving option emerges (Funchess, Butt, and Chesson seem like the most likely candidates) I think we'll be fine--the offense has been good.

The defense, on the other hand, shows no signs of being able to stop the pass and hasn't yet faced a dangerous running QB.  The red zone defense has been good, but that won't cut it against Ohio, Northwestern, and Nebraska.  We've allowed too many big plays and the only team we've stymied is Central.  IMO, the defense has further to go than the offense, which is a surprise to me.


September 18th, 2013 at 1:57 PM ^

This seems like what would happen if blocking ability is all we take into account, but center is a weird position that way. Getting the line calls right and snapping the ball well are absolutely essential, so even if Miller is significantly worse than somebody else at blocking, no way the coaches sit him if they aren't confident in anybody else to get the other stuff right.


September 18th, 2013 at 2:37 PM ^

Is it me or does Devin lock on to his reciever that he will throw to right after he snaps the ball? He doesn't do this all the time but it seems like he does it a lot. Teams with elite (or just smart d-coordinators) will pick up on this and exploit it. Kind of like when molk would snap his head back before the snap. 


September 18th, 2013 at 9:34 PM ^

Loved this quote:

"When they just let go and go play, it's amazing. So you don't want them thinking too much and you want them to know that they're going to make a mistake, but if you play hard enough, you'll play through them"

This immediately brought young Jake Ryan to my mind. Early in his career, he'd make mistakes, but he ran so hard that he was able to mask many of his bad decisions with an amazing combination of athleticism and drive. It wasn't until later in his career, after he had shown promise due to his great motor, that he really became dominant though. Seems like this is what Hoke wants to see from Pipkins, a guy who may not have perfect technique yet, but can still make plays due to freak athleticism, then, later in his career, he can add the technique to a relentless pursuit of the ball. That is obviously a best case scenario, but it seemed to work out for Ryan (and Ryan Shazier, I might add)