Wednesday Presser Transcript 9-21-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on September 21st, 2011 at 2:56 PM

News bullets and other important things:

  • Vincent Smith is starting at RB.
  • Thomas Rawls is second or third on RB depth chart.
  • Russell Bellomy is scout team QB to simulate Ryan Lindley.
  • Matt Wile hit a 59-yard field goal in practice.

Brady Hoke

Greg said yesterday that he’s asking the Michigan defense to play perfect. What does that mean? “I think perfect means perfect, and it’s a part of what you want to be. You’d like to go out and play a perfect game. When you say that, you have high expectations for each individual out there for a specific position and for the defense itself. Whether it’s playing your base package, your sub packages, whatever -- if they’re doing exactly what thye’re supposed to do with the best of their abilities with great effort and toughness.”

Will Vincent Smith be the starting running back? “Yeah, I would think so. And Fitz had a good day yesterday, too. Both those guys ran the ball hard. Rawls ran the ball hard. He had some snaps in there. I think we’re still trying to find what the magic combination is.”

Don’t want to be running back by committee, but is there a point where you want to see just one guy to establish rhythm? “I think there’s a point, but I can’t tell you on the 21st of September that we know when that point’s going to happen. I think there’s good things that they all do, but at the same time, we want that guy who’s going to play a perfect game.”

Where does Rawls fit into the depth chart right now? Would he be second or third? “Probably somewhere in there.”

Mike Shaw has gotten fewer carries. What’s going on with him? “He has to be a little more consistent in everything that we do. He’ll have his time in there. There’s a lot that goes along with being a back besides running the football, and we’ve got to be a little more consistent in those areas. He’s working his tail off. That’s the encouraging thing.”

How important is running back pass protection in a week like this? “It will be very important. This is unique. You never know what Rocky Long’s going to have in store for you. Working for him for six years on the defensive side of the ball, he’s going to have something you haven’t see and something a little different.”

Rocky Long does funky things with defense. As his head coach did you talk about those things with him? “We ran it at Oregon State. Believe me I still have playbooks from that, not that it helps, because he’s evolved quite a bit from the basics. Number one, the personality of that team and the quickness of that team -- the thing that you equate it to from a defensive standpoint, when you play midline option to use a true triple option, your defense has to catch up a little bit with the tempo and the speed. I think it’s the same way offensively three or four possessions in, trying to have a clear understanding of what the defense is doing and catching up to that speed.”

What do you do for the scout team? “Well they’ve been working like heck. They gave them a great look yesterday. Roy Manning, the GA who runs it, did a great job of preparing them for it. Credit to those kids on the look teams -- they did a nice job.”

You have a quarterback still in his first year getting used to the offense. How difficult is it to prepare for such a unique defensive set? “When you look at your schedule, I think there’s a uniqueness to every defense. Some of that may be if you’re going to be a man team, a man free team, a tampa 2 team … He did a nice job yesterday. What we ask a quarterback to do, getting in and out of things, that’s a good start.”

Is it a problem that you don’t have anyone on the scout team who can throw the ball as well as Lindley? “Well, Russell Bellomy throws the ball pretty well. So that’s a plus. I really think the pride that those guys are really getting when it comes to giving you great looks. We reward those guys who do the best job every week. We’ve had two guys a lot of the time, which is good. I think they’re doing a daggone good job. In fact one guy came up to me and apologized after practice because he didn’t think he did a good enough job. That tells you a little bit about their consciousness of helping the football team.”

How would you assess tight end play up to this point? “I think we’re doing okay. Kevin’s a really good tight end to do both -- blocks at the point of attack well, runs good routes, catches the ball well. Brandon’s coming along well. Steve we’ve used both at fullback and tight end. Ricardo hadn’t gotten any playing time yet, but he gets some good work with them. He’s escobar for us this week and doing a nice job of running the routes and the speed and those things. I think they’ve been pretty good.”

You looked a little mad when team when over to student section after the Eastern Game. How come? “I wanted to score a touchdown at the end instead of a field goal.” Is that something you’re going to allow the team to do? “Yeah it’s fine. I mean, the students are important. I hope they will get there early. We need a lot of noise.”

Greg said that he’s been very hard on Craig Roh, and about a week ago he saw a different player. “I think if you’d ask Craig, he’ll tell you his best week of practice was last week. It’s amazing -- how you practice is how you play. That’s always a battle, Angelique. Angelique, is it your birthday? Are you 39? 29?” I’m still younger than the head football coach at Michigan. “So is everybody else! But, uh, no, that’s something that you always push and you always want. You’re going to play like you practice, and that’s what he did.”

How has he practiced this week? “Good. He’s been good. He’s got a lot of pride and ownership of you are, and pride and ownership of who you represent.”

Is part of that breaking bad habits and rebuilding them? “We all have habits, good or bad. I think the expectations that we have for the kids and what they have for themsleves are always different. We’re coaching pretty hard but fair. We love them and kiss them on the cheek when they do things the right way, and kick them in the butt -- not literally, please understand that.” So you do kiss them on the cheek? “I do. Yeah.”

Is there a lot of emphasis on special teams coverage? “Yeah. Part of that’s placing the ball. Part of that is doing a good job of lane recognition and the block recognition at full speed. Wasn’t as bad as you think, and I hate saying that. I think the kids have a lot of pride, and they don’t like if we think they didn’t do as well as they could.”

Wile hit a 59-yarder in practice. Would you try such a long field goal? “Yeah. Yup.”

You want defense to be perfect. At what point would you say they were perfect or had a perfect game? “Hm. I don’t know. I don’t know.” Have you ever said that about any of your defenses? “Nope.”



September 21st, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

picking smith to take over as starter after a good wk against a brutal EMU defense is interesting..  I know fitz had his chances too, but he ran hard between the tackles most of the time.   Be interesting to see how it shakes out following this game, instead of us rotating starters at RB every wk


September 21st, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

Seriously. If we line up with a TE, we have six guys to block their front six, and ours are much bigger. Then we have a fullback to plow over their 190lb safety they bring up into the box. Then it's Toussaint vs. The secondary. I'll take that all day. As soon as they start bringing more guys up or adjust against it - boom, play action. Throw in a few Denard runs, designed or otherwise, and we should score a lot of touchdowns.


September 21st, 2011 at 5:02 PM ^

That's exactly it.  If they're running a traditional 3-3-5, they line up the smaller guys, like you said, up front against our front 5-6 (including the TE, or TWO!) and they'll be adjusting and readjusting all damn day.  The offense that was successful last week is running buckshot all over pun intended.


September 21st, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

I'll believe Smith is the starter when I actually see him start.  Until then, consider me skeptical no matter how many times Hoke is forced into vaguely agreeing that Smith will probably start.  In my opinion, Fitz has clearly been the better back in the games and there is likely reasoning from practice that got him the starting job to begin with.

Even if the coaches disagree with me and decide to start Smith, I would not expect it to be long before Fitz gets it back.


September 21st, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

what exactly has Fitz done that makes him so much better than smith?  I've seen nothing in games that seperates the two of them, other than Smith's superior blocking/blitz pick ups.  Therefore, I'll have to go with the coaches that get to watch them both 6 days a week. I think the Mgocommunity is a little too caught up in the Fitz hype machine and "what could be", but fails to honestly analyze what's actually taking place on the field. 


September 21st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

I agree with you that Fitz seems to be the popular mgochoice, but although I take nothing away from Vince, what exactly has Fitz done to lose the starting job and possibly be passed by Rawls? It seems to me that every time he's had carries he's shown both good movement and toughness between the tackles. It's not like he has given 20 carries one game and had a 3.0 average. He's done very well with limited carries. And in the eye test, apart from one run from Vince last week, Fitz's carries have been more impressive. I honestly don't get why he doesn't get more opportunity.


September 21st, 2011 at 8:43 PM ^

As respectfully as possible, I still think your "eye test" has on some Mgoblinders.  I really can't comment on why Fitz might be losing carries to Rawls, but I can certainly see why he's losing the starting job to Smith.  Although Fitz started the first game, I think it was very clear heading into that game that no one had seperated themselves from the pack.  Since then, the numbers don't lie. Smith has averaged 11 yards/carry vs Fitz's 5.6 in games.  Fitz can "run hard between the tackles" all he wants, but i'll take Smith's 11 yards a carry regardless of how he gets them.  Furthermore, our offense is slowly drifting back towards a spread attack, for which Smith's game is much better suited.  Lastly, it's pretty well known that Smith is a much better blocking back and reciever out of the backfield than Fitz, or anyone else on the roster for that matter.  If three weeks from now, Smith is averaging 3 yards/carry, the discussion can be reopened. Until then, I don't think it makes a ton of sense for anyone but Smith to see the majority of snaps.       


September 22nd, 2011 at 9:23 AM ^

as I said, I take nothing away from Vince, and the positives you list are correct. But 11 yards per carry is a wildly inflated number and not representative of his actual impact on an average running opportunity. But I have no issue at all with his playing time and don't begrudge it a bit. I just look at Fitz and, based upon what he's shown, he looks like a guy that you would want to see carry 20 times in a particular game to figure out what you have. Most of the other backs we have (apart from Vince) I don't see that, and the coaches don't either. But Hoke is consistent with praise of Fitz, and all I'm saying is that it's not like he has gotten the chance and not performed. 


September 21st, 2011 at 7:36 PM ^

Kicking the ball 59 yards (or more like 63 or 64, once you count the yards after it goes through the uprights) still doesn't get you a touchback.  It could be that he's just pretty accurate when he boots it as hard as he can.  To get the ball 5 yards deep repeatedly, you need to kick it 70 yards, on a regular basis.  That's not the same as kicking it 63 yards accurately once.


September 21st, 2011 at 8:47 PM ^

Correct me if i'm wrong, but hasn't Hoke commented a couple times on our "kickoff placement" when discussing our kick coverage?  It seems like I heard him saying something to the effect of "we need to do a better job of kicking the ball where we're supposed to be kicking it".  IIRC, this somewhat contradicts the theory of being accurate when he boots is as hard as he can. 

Indiana Blue

September 21st, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

that Dunn would have an excellent opportunity to start as a true freshman, WHEN he commits to Michigan?

I think its obvious that Hoke has not found exactly what he is looking for in a running back with the current stable.  Don't get me wrong ... I think Smith, Fritz and Shaw all have talent and can be effective at times, but just not that 20 carries every Saturday kind of RB that Hoke & Co. are looking for ....

Go Blue!


September 21st, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

Maybe he's shown the staff that he can be a solid D1 QB and that's why they don't appear to be going after a QB for the 2012 class anymore.  Their main targets have committed elswhere, but they would still be beating the bushes if they thought only Devin was a legitimate QB.

I was happy when he committed to Michigan and maybe with good reason. 


September 21st, 2011 at 6:13 PM ^

I wish someone would ask about Mike Cox just to see what Hoke says. I am fascinated by how this kid with allegedly unlimited ability can't get on the field in a bloodbath game under this coaching staff.


September 22nd, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

When even the head coach is noticing no one is showing up:


I mean, the students are important. I hope they will get there early. We need a lot of noise.

Students, you're being called out! Get out of bed, put the beer down, and show up before the first quarter ends if you want to brag about how the atmosphere is all about the students. We'll probably need it this week.