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Brady Hoke post-game transcript: Northwestern

November 11th, 2012 by Justin Potts


Michigan kept its Big Ten title hopes alive with a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Northwestern. Brady Hoke spoke to the media afterwards.

Brady Hoke postgame press conference (photo by Justin Potts, M&GB)

Opening statement
“Let me ask them a question: Who started writing the article before the game was over? [room laughs] Obviously we’ve got a lot that we didn’t do well, but we did do well when you win the football game. It was two teams that played hard. I have so much respect for Pat [Fitzgerald] and how he runs his program and how his guys come to work every day and how they play. We knew it would be a dog fight. We missed way too many tackles, but you’ve got to give Kain Colter some of that respect because he made us miss him. We’ve got to do a better job there.

“I think offensively, [we] moved the ball pretty consistently. Still need to rush for more yards from the backfield, which  means we’ve still got to continue to improve up front, how we’re blocking the line of scrimmage. We missed a couple of cuts, but Devin did a tremendous job really managing everything, staying in the game and extending some things and then his athleticism obviously helped on some of the first downs. We were 7-of-10, so that’s all I’ve got to say.”

On whether this is the kind of win where he tells his team to just find a way to win and build from it…
“Well, there’s a lot to build from and a lot to learn from. Our seniors play their last game at Michigan Stadium next week. That’s significant and if we want to send them out the right way, then we’ve got to play better. That starts always with the coaching side of it and that has to be paramount for us.”

On the bit plays by the seniors, Roy Roundtree and Kenny Demens…
“Roy really, I think on a couple of balls, he really had great focus and great intensity into what he was doing. On the last tackle there, number one, I like the call that Greg [Mattison] made because it was one where we may have talked them into running the football because of some of the space inside. Then Kenny did a nice of really working inside out to the ball. Maybe a little bit earlier we were maybe getting to far ahead of them.”

On how much the experience of tight games the past couple years is a benefit in a game like today…
“I think that’s a great question and I think when I look at them on the sideline and communicate with them and talk to them, they are never in doubt that they weren’t going to win the football game, in my opinion. I think all of that helps. I think experience in anything in life helps you get through it the next time, and I think the same thing in the game of football.”

On how Devin Gardner improved from last week to this week…
“I don’t know if I could do that right now. I think he managed the game well. I thought he had two throws [that were] probably not the best throws. He did a nice job getting rid of the ball in the end zone. He made some good decisions.”

On how different the offense is run with Gardner as opposed to Denard…
“I think the biggest thing is there’s a little more to that. There’s a little more vertical run. There’s a little more power play, to some degree, but a lot of lead play – iso, they used to call it in my day. But from that standpoint, there’s still the zone read and all those things from the gun too.”

On what Northwestern was doing to convert third downs so well…
“What were they doing? I think they converted and they were a little more accurate in some of the throws on the seven routs, smash routes. We need to do a better job in the seam part of our defense when they were throwing it. And I think he scrambled at times and either we missed the tackle, which we did a couple times on a scramble, or we didn’t force the ball enough. As far as when you talk about your lanes and compressing the pocket from the outside.

On the resolve of the team to step up and stop Northwestern on third- and fourth-and-short in overtime…
“These kids have been great. It didn’t surprise me. It really didn’t surprise me. There were 18 seconds left when they punted the ball or something like that and Dan Ferrigno did a nice job all week because they would rugby punt, if you want to call it that – it wasn’t a full on rugby – but lining up Gallon where he lined him up. That’s exactly where when we charted a year of punts, that’s where they were going and they rugby punted and it was perfect. It got us great field position and then obviously the throw.”

On Gardner’s throw to Roundtree at the end of regulation…
” Well, I really can’t describe it all for you, but we knew we had to get to a certain point on the field. We knew from the 35, 38 in, is where we wanted to kick the field goal to tie it up. It just so happened that the post part of the route, the combination was where we needed to hit it. Devin through it well and Roy made a football play.”

On if Denard could have played if Gardner had gotten injured in the game…
“Maybe. [room laughs] He was dressed, right? [Yes] Ok.”

On what Roundtree has done to step up the past two weeks…
“Oh I don’t know, he’s always been like that. Roy’s always been pretty focused. He prepares well, he gets himself ready for a game.”

On whether he has seen a change in Roundtree the past two weeks…
“No, not really.”

On where do you start with trying to stop Northwestern schematically…
“Scheme-wise was really good. I thought Greg and the defensive staff, you’ll go back and look and [say] maybe I should have ran this more or whatever it might be, but I thought scheme-wise, especially with some of the things we were doing – I’m not going to explain them, obviously – it was very effective. We kind of got them into one formation. When you can get somebody into one formation, two formations, then you don’t have all the other problems.”

On Denard’s status…
“Day-to-day.”

He didn’t do much in warm-ups…
“Day-to-day.”

On whether he would have written the game story if he were in the reporters’ shoes…
“No. No. Because of those kids. No way. My wife just asked me that on the way in. Did you know you were going to win? I said yes.”

On Northwestern’s success with the option…
“Perimeter of the defense. We need to play better on the perimeter of the defense. Need to get off blocks better.”

On whether he’s surprised Northwestern went away from the option…
“No, because I think he [Colter] got beat up a little bit there for a minute. Siemian’s a very good quarterback, but he’s not the same quarterback. Then when he came back, they went to their bread and butter on the fourth down play – tried to go option.”

On how hard Fitz Toussaint ran and what the offensive line has to do to help him…
“Well, I think we’ve got to finish on blocks a little better, combination wise. I really thought they were getting some movement – probably not as much as we would like, because it never is. I do think he ran extremely hard. I mean, you could hear football on the field.”

On the win keeping the Big Ten title hopes alive…
“Well, we can’t worry about what other people do. We’ve got to worry about what we do. We’ve got Iowa [next].”

On what he will do with the quarterback situation when Denard is healthy enough to come back…
“I think that’s probably something we’ll figure out.”

On his faith in Brendan Gibbons to make the game-tying kick and Drew Dileo to hold it…
“You know, that combination is a pretty good combination. They work so much together, because we kick everyday. But they are two – don’t tell Gibbons I ever said this – two football players.”

On Devin commanding the huddle and leading the offense…
“Well, he’s really done a nice job, and always has. I thought the way he’s gone about his business, the maturity and the growth has been really, I guess, expected.”