Brady Hoke Press Conference -- Hoke declares Woolfolk and Gordon healthy

Submitted by wresler120 on September 5th, 2011 at 12:59 PM

During Hoke's 12:30 PM press conference, he declared both Troy Woolfolk and Cam Gordon are healthy, and will likely play against Notre Dame.

This is huge for Michigan, as Woolfolk is the leader of our defense, and our secondary has to be ready when Notre Dame rolls into AA.

The depth at Linebacker looks great heading into Saturday with Gordon likely suiting up. I can't wait to see the rotation at LB, and we should see some great plays made on the blitz.

http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-football/brady-hoke-talks-night-football-notre-dame-and-more-today-at-1230-pm/

Comments

Bodogblog

September 5th, 2011 at 1:07 PM ^

I am so looking forward to watching him play this year. Seeing those first 2 tackles he made on Saturday was a joy

Did anyone ask Hoke if he'd be pulled off special teams?

MGoVillain

September 5th, 2011 at 1:19 PM ^

I wonder if Hoke has an issue with his #1 corner being hurt for the year again?  I know I know injuries can happen anytime in football but I'd just rather not see him get hurt on plays where there's probably somebody else that could take his position and do about as well.  Judging by the collective sigh in the Big House when he was announced as the hurt player.. I think a lot of people share that feeling.  After seeing the team suffer last year w out him, he's definitely one of the big keys to the team similar to how Martin is to the D line.  It's too early to tell if there's a massive drop off between him and Avery/ Floyd but based on the few plays he was in for he seems like the most aggressive CB we have.  

jmblue

September 5th, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

What makes Woolfolk our #1 corner?  People constantly talk him up, but when has he ever held a top WR in check?  He's a 5th-year senior who has never intercepted a pass and has only broken up a couple in his career.  In fall camp, he won the job over Avery by the skin of his teeth.  I didn't notice any dropoff in coverage when he left the game; he was playing corner during WMU's best drive of the day.

MGoVillain

September 5th, 2011 at 1:50 PM ^

He also made the best play of any corner and he was in a fraction of the time.  I'm not sure yet if he's the best but watching him read that play and then make a great tackle, it seems like he made an adjustment to what happened on the first drive and got more aggressive to attack the line of scrimmage on a screen.  I didn't really notice the other corners step up like that.  Whether or not he's the best, though, may not be important at all, as I'm sure we can all agree that without his depth the already thin secondary gets dangerously thin.  Simply put, he needs to be on the field even if he turns out not to be the #1.  

jmblue

September 5th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

Whoa.  "Best play of any corner"?  He made a tackle in the flat.  It was a good, aggressive tackle, but told us nothing about his coverage ability.  

I'd say the best play by any corner was Avery's breakup on the fade pattern in the endzone.  The ball was right on the money and he knocked it out of the WR's hands.

MGoVillain

September 5th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

I just wrote a response and deleted it like an idiot but basically I thought Troy's play took more recognition and ability.  They were getting picked apart on those passes and he stepped up and made a play in the flat.  I thought Avery's play was nice but lucky too- I think a better receiver makes that play/ draws pass interference.  It remains to be seen but I thought Troy's play was a good omen for an aggressive corner willing to come up to the line to make a play in space.  If they can do that consistently, it will make it a lot harder for quarterbacks to pick them apart on those short sideline routes like they were Saturday.  

MGoVillain

September 5th, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

I agree Avery's play was nice but usually when corners get stuck facing the receiver on a jump ball it's bad news.  He did a great job of not picking up a flag on the play.  I just like aggressive corners.  It reminds me of when Woodson would step up on guys (not a comparison of the 2).  I think that's a good sign for Troy if he can stay healthy.  Means he's seeing the plays and isn't afraid to come after them.  If Avery had been looking at the ball and broke it up I'd think his play was a lot more impressive. 

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

Troy was on of the first three guys named to the starting lineup (along with Kovacs and Martin).  Not exactly "skin of his teeth" territory.

http://www.annarbor.com/sports/um-football/michigan-football-coach-brad…

Go back and watch him when he played corner two years ago.  He was quite good at it.  The other guys last year, not so much (though I agree both looked much better yesterday).  He's also the fastest guy on the defense by a considerable margin.  Risking his health is not smart.

jmblue

September 5th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

Practice observers have said that the competition between Woolfolk and Avery was very close, regardless of what was said publicly. 

As for 2009, I remember watching him.  He looked like a free safety playing out of position.  He was fast, but didn't change directions that well (which is a lot more important for a corner) - and that was before he destroyed his ankle.  I don't think he's ever been a great fit at corner and his upside there is probably lower than Avery's. 

You say he was "quite good" in '09.  Care to offer any examples? 

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 2:15 PM ^

There was zero possibility that Woolfolk wouldn't be in the starting lineup.  Would it make you feel better if I said we shouldn't risk our #2 corner on kickoff coverage? 

As for 2009, when he moved to corner people actually threw the ball at Donovan Warren.  That wasn't happening when JT Floyd was on the field.

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

Kickoff coverage is an injury factory.  Also, how much is there to be gained by putting Woolfolk in this role (one of 10 guys on the coverage unit) as opposed to random freshman?  It isn't like he's going to just be running down and ripping the ball out of the return guy's hands.  I could see using him to return the ball, block punts, or maybe even as a gunner on punt coverage, but risking injury for our #1 corner on kickoff coverage is really fucking dumb.

jmblue

September 5th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

I don't understand how you could have watched Saturday's game and concluded that we could just throw random freshmen out on the kickoff team.  If anything, the game should have underscored the importance of kickoff coverage.  WMU had only one offensive possession of more than 43 yards, and yet they drove inside our 25 five times, because they consistently had great starting field position.  That can't continue.  I think the biggest problem was Wile's kicks (which did not have enough hang time), but pulling quality players off the coverage team isn't likely to help. 

 

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

It is a big deal, just like every other special teams unit.  I'm saying there is no reason to think Woolfolk is going to cause a significant upgrade in results over random freshman safety/corner.  That is not the case on defense (he makes a huge positive impact).  If we're talking about letting him return kicks or rush the punter off the edge (an instance where he could make big plays and the injury risk is much more limited) I'd be all for it.

I'd rather see us coach up the young guys, get Wile to put some loft on the ball (the biggest problem with that special teams unit IMO), and not risk getting one of our best defenders hurt.

People go on and on about protecting Denard, but at least letting him run with the ball creates good things for the team.  Putting Woolfolk on kickoff coverage is just an unnecessary risk.

Seattle Maize

September 5th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

From what I saw on ST Troy looked like he was the safety and that his job was to hang back at the 50 and be the last line of defense.  He wasnt taking on anybody head to head and wasnt at a great risk of injury.

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 1:43 PM ^

And the second time he got hurt.  Seems like pretty good odds to me. 

Kickoff coverage is a recipe for injuries (22 guys running at each other full speed, then guys chasing the play from behind if a guy reverses field or breaks a long run).  If he's only playing a safety role, that is just even less reason to risk putting him out there.

HartAttack20

September 5th, 2011 at 1:27 PM ^

I felt so bad for the guy when he got injured Saturday. I just want him to have a full healthy season after his misfortune with the ankle. My problem with him playing special teams is that the units were horrible anyways, so why risk his injury when they aren't performing well anyways. I don't see why he needs to be playing special teams anyways.

PurpleStuff

September 5th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

But the question isn't "Should Woolfolk play on special teams?"  The question is "Should he play on kickoff coverage?"

Woodson and Desmond weren't running down on the kickoff team and getting blown up by the wedge.  They were given an opportunity to make big plays with less physical risk. 

Section 1

September 5th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

My recollection is that Bo never failed to put out his absolute best players, in all manner of special-teams situations.  Kickoff and return teams always looked a lot like starting units.  Starting RB's, DB's, LB's, WR's.

And of all of them, the one coach who struck me as doing less of that was Carr.  Carr seemd much more of a mind to develop special teams as their own units, with different players.

Moeller and Rodriguez somewhere in between.  That's my memory; stats needed, STAT.

bklein09

September 5th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

IMO, I don't really care what Bo, Lloyd, or God Himself did with their special teams.

I just know that I think it would really hurt our team to lose Troy on the defensive side of the ball. If anything he's got a ton of experience and plays with a ton of emotion.

That being said, I don't want to increase the injury risk of a guy with a plate and 8 screws in his ankle. I know he hurt the other ankle but still...

He already plays defense people, the injury risk is high enough there.

 

Franz Schubert

September 5th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

He is far too valuable to risk injury on the most dangerous play in football. Something to consider is that when you come back from an injury, the injured ankle or knee may be back to full strength but mentally your body will still try to protect it, and this puts added stress on the other side of the body. Its possible that this may be applicable in this case or maybe not.

Mr. Blue

September 5th, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

Woolfolk isn't an all conference corner, but he is a senior and a vocal leader. He has sound technique and seems poised to play with a fanatical toughness. In that sense, he is the best corner we have.

Brown Bear

September 5th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

the wrong thing with ST's.  Did anyone else see Gallon fumble again on PR?   It was while going down and he fell right on it but YEESH!   That guy is a heart atttack waiting to happen on PR's.....PLEASE PUT SOMEONE ELSE OUT THERE!!!!