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Doug Nussmeier introductory press conference transcript

Friday, January 10th, 2014


Michigan officially welcomed new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier with a press conference on Friday morning. Below is the full transcript. You can watch the full presser on MGoBlue.com.

Brady Hoke

Opening statement
“First I would like to say we addressed what we were going to do as a program on Wednesday and I want to thank Al Borges and his family for their commitment that they’ve made to Michigan and at San Diego State. It’s not easy when you’ve spent five years with a coach and a family and all those things, but we consider him more than just a colleague.

“But as you know, as you go through coaching and the profession itself, we took this job three years ago to make Michigan better. And we took this job knowing that every decision that’s going to be made by me is going to be made what’s best for Michigan and the kids in this program and the legacies and 134 years of teams that have come before. So it’s an exciting day because this change I think is going to be one that we’re all going to benefit from.

“As we look forward and as you move forward, the direction of where we want to go is, we have a vision, we know what that is, and that’s why Doug is here today. It’s a great day for Michigan football in a lot of ways and we’re excited to have Doug here and what we’ll do as an offense and as a football team. A couple things: Doug and I first crossed paths when I was the head football coach at Ball State. We have a mutual friend that I played with and also just happened to be the guy who was representing Doug while he was playing in the National Football League. So Doug and I had a brief conversation and I have tracked his career, obviously, for a long time.

“He’s a great fit and will do a tremendous job with what we’re doing offensively. With Doug himself, number one, he’s got a great family. Christie and Derrick and Ashlan and Colton are a great fit to our football family. We’re excited about that, excited about Doug and his background.

“Obviously, it’s a guy with national championship experience which is the highest goal that we all have, coached in the National Football League, coached in college, and and developed some outstanding quarterbacks. AJ McCarron, Jake Locker, Marc Bulger, at every level, and his tutoring of those guys is excellent.

“I think what’s also exciting is the balance from an offensive perspective that Doug brings. He’s had six 1,000-yard rushers over the last six years and obviously that’s something that we want to do as a program – we want to have that balance and we want to be able to run the football. We’ve talked about that since day one and we will improve that game and what we’re doing. Developing quarterbacks, developing young talent as an offense is something he’s done and proven, and we are a team that is young in a lot of ways but we’re getting older and we’re getting better every day. So we’re excited about that.

“He was a finalist for the head coaching job at the University of Washington. Tells you a little bit about nationally how people think of Doug and his character and what he represents. But the passion that he has for the game of football, the passion that he has for the young men he leads is really what being a coach is all about and having him here to lead our offense and to be a part of this great university and this program and having his family being a big part of it we’re truly excited.

“Today is about Michigan and it’s about Doug in a lot of ways and what he brings, so we couldn’t be more excited and I’m going to have Doug come up here and share. But we’re excited, and we’re excited because of what the Nussmeier family brings to Michigan and also we’re excited because of the fit that we feel we have.

“Doug Nussmeier, please.”

Doug Nussmeier

Opening statement
“I want to say first off, this is a really special day for our family and I can’t say enough how special it is that we are here together, my beautiful wife Christie, my sons Colton and Garrett, my daughter Ashlyn. I want to thank you guys for all that you sacrifice day in and day out.

“We’re very very blessed to be here and I want to say a special thanks to Coach Hoke for giving us this opportunity. Dave Brandon, our athletic director, thank you very much. This is a special place, a special, special place, and that’s why we’re here. We talk about 11 national championships, 42 Big Ten championships, three Heisman Trophy winners. It’s Michigan football and when you say the word Michigan everybody knows about Michigan football.

“I was fortunate enough to be in this conference before. I have a great amount of respect for this league and for all the things that Michigan football stands for. I just can’t say enough about how excited we are to be here, to be a part of the family, and really look forward to working with a great coaching staff.

“Talking about Coach Hoke and how we met each other a long time ago, the respect that I’ve developed over the years for what he’s accomplished as a head football coach. To watch him start at Ball State and to go onto San Diego State and to come here at Michigan, not only as a quality coach when you talk about wins and losses and being a coach of the year in the nation, but you talk about the type of man that he is, the type of person that he is.

“When you talk about Coach Hoke with other people in our profession you hear nothing but class, family, all the right things, cares about his players, as we all do – we want to win – but he also sees the big picture about developing young men both on and off the field. To have the chance to be a part of that, like I said before, we just feel so blessed, and to work with such a great quality of staff. I’ve known Greg Mattison for a long time and what he’s accomplished and the defensive staff, great coaches. To have the ability to come here and work with Heck and Doug and Dan and Fred, just really really excited about that opportunity and I want to thank, once again, coach and Dave for them believing in us as a family and the commitment they’ve made to us and we’re just very very excited to be here. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.”

You’ve talked about the direction and vision with Coach Hoke. In your interpretation, what is that?
“Tough. Physical. Explosive. That’s what we want to be. We want to be able to run the football and we want to be able to put points on the board. We want to force the defense to defend all different elements of the game.”

How much do you know about the Michigan offense? The biggest issue was the offensive line. How quickly do you think you can fix it?
“Well, correct me if I’m wrong but we’re 11 points away from being 11-1, so this is a good football team here with good young talent. If Coach Hoke recruits players, which I know he does because you look at our recruiting rankings over the last years, as well as he recruits coaches – he recruited me – we’re going to do really good with our young players and developing and moving toward the future.

“There is young talent on this team. We’ve got to develop it. We’ve got 45, 46 days before we go to spring football, so getting those young players on the same page, and player development is all about how you view it, and with any young player there’s a steep learning curve. So day to day continuing to improve, that’s going to be the focus. We’ve got to get better each and every day and focus on that day and what that holds and get the players focused on what we’re going to get better at today.”

What does Michigan provide that you didn’t have at Alabama? Why go from Alabama to Michigan?
“Well, obviously I can’t say enough about Coach Saban and the opportunity that we had there at Alabama. It was a great opportunity. Like I said, Michigan football, the opportunity to be here in the Big Ten, to be a part of the winningest program in all of college football, to have the opportunity to integrate into a staff and to take this program to where we all want to go. You talk about the quarterback position, the great quarterbacks that have played here, you go down the list: Brady, Griese, Denard Robinson, Chad Henne. It’s Quarterback U so to say, and the ability to be a part of that room here and help those guys develop and grow, I’m just really really excited about that opportunity.”

What’s your challenge in getting the players as ready to go in the spring as you can?
“I think that communication is essential. It’s essential in anything you do, and it starts with that. We’ve got great communicators on this staff and the biggest thing is for us as we sit down as a staff to evaluate where we are, where we want to go, set like I said a clear path every day for these young men and how we’re going to get better and the things we want to achieve on a day to day basis. As we grow daily, then the end product will evolve.”

Schematically, what are your plans, what do you want to install?
“We’re going to put our playmakers in the best possible position we can to make plays. That’s the goal. What that means is we want to control the tempo of the game on offense, whether that means we need to go fast, we need to go slow, whatever it may be, we want to control the tempo of the game on offense and give our guys an opportunity to make plays. Schematically, look at ways that we can create competitive advantages for our players. So what that means is you could see us in one formation one week running one play and a different one the next week. But like I said, the identity is we’re going to be physical, we want to play fast, we want to be explosive.”

What are your head coaching aspirations? How does becoming offensive coordinator at Michigan fit into your long term career arc?
“I’ve said it before, I’d love to be a head coach in the right situation. As that relates to being here today, I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from Brady Hoke, who in my opinion is one of the best coaches in all of college football. To learn the system here that he has in place, to get into a room with who I feel are very, very good football coaches. Anytime you get a new group of guys together when it comes to football there are so many different ideas and so many different avenues and ways you can go. It’s a really really exciting time for us as a family, I’m really excited, and can’t wait to get here and really get grinding.”

With the perception that Nick Saban likes to control things, do you feel like at Michigan you’ll have some freedoms that maybe you didn’t have at Alabama?
“Coach and I talked about his philosophy. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t all in on what Coach Hoke and I discussed and what he wanted to do on offense, how we wanted to be and how we wanted to move forward. So part of coming here was us being on the same page with what we want to do offensively, and we both agree on the identity we want like I talked about before. As far as schematically how we’ll approach that, we’ll adapt with our personnel. That’s something he and I will work with the offensive staff on a day to day basis.”

When you were at Michigan State, what kind of things did you learn about the Big Ten and how did you view the Michigan program?
“Well, I watched a lot of touchdown passes right here in this corner to Braylon Edwards the one year when we thought we were going to get a W. I have a lot of respect for that program. We had a wonderful time there in the three years we were there. But I said it before, when you say Michigan it’s synonymous with football, and I don’t care if you go to a mall in California, Texas, Florida, you’re going to see somebody wearing Michigan. When you get an opportunity to coach at a place like this and to be a part of this, and let me say this, this isn’t about me, this isn’t about coaching, it’s always about the players. The type of people that come to Michigan, the quality of kids, what they’ve achieved, not only on the field but look at the achievement off the field, it is a special, special place and there’s not many of them. So to have the opportunity to come here and be a part of that was something that after we discussed it as a family was something that we felt was the right move for us.”

What’s the key to being able to run the football even in an era where you see a lot of stacked defenses?
“Obviously, you’re always trying to identify the best way to do things. What’s the best way we can create a fair box count for our linemen to get people blocked, or can we use a receiver with this type of motion to create a numbers advantage? Those are all schematical issues, and there are times too when our players have got to know that there may be a loaded box but you know what, we are who we are, we’re tough, we’re hard-nosed, we’re physical, and we’re going to come downhill and run the ball at people.”

Have you had a chance to talk to any of the players?
“A little bit. Got to see a couple of them and great kids. Can’t say enough about the look in their eye and like I said the quality of student athlete that we have here at Michigan is second to none in the country.”

You’ve had success with quarterbacks. How quickly do you think it can take you to make Devin Gardner a very efficient passer?
“The biggest thing I think from a quarterback standpoint is trying to simulate a game type environment for them Sunday through Friday. When you get out on the field on Saturday, things happen fast, and if you’re not prepared you can get exposed very quickly. So you never want to put a quarterback on the field who’s not prepared and the way you prepare them is try to simulate as much as you can a gameday experience Sunday through Friday.

“The biggest thing is the amount of time we spend together in that media room, and obviously we’re limited by NCAA rules, and I think it’s really important at that position that the players possess a quality of self-determination. They’ve got to be self starters, they’ve got to be driven, because you’ve got to do more on your own because we just don’t have the time that you would like with the NCAA rules. But we’ll prepare our quarterback to play and play successfully, and we’ll do whatever we need to do schematically to put him in the best position to have success.”

On the timeline of the hiring
“Coach Hoke reached out to me recently and the conversations we had, like I said, having followed his career, knowing what type of football coach he was and what type of person he was, it escalated quickly. It’s a great opportunity. We’re fortunate to be here and like I said really looking forward to doing big things.”

When did you and Hoke meet?
“We met, shoot coach, it was a long time ago…”

When did you start talking about the job?
“Just recently we spoke.”

When will you get the ball rolling?
“Well, ideally as soon as possible. Obviously we’re in the heart of recruiting season, it’s important as they say, it’s about Jimmies and Joes, not Xs and Os. So the first thing is on the recruiting front. Football will take care of itself. I’m really excited just to get to know these guys more and really dive in and integrate. As soon as we can we’ll get going. Obviously we’re in a little bit of a dead period here, so the convention’s coming up next week and then after that we’ll get rolling.”

Have you sat down with Coach Hoke and discussed other assistants and what your recruiting role will be? Any specific regions or anything?
“I can tell you right now, it’s got to be tropical, coach. No, I’m just kidding [laughter]. Just joking. No, we haven’t and like I said I want to integrate into the staff and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make Michigan football be successful, whatever that may be to recruit I’m all for that. We haven’t gotten to that stage yet. We did have a brief recruiting meeting this morning as a full staff, but wherever I’m needed I’m willing to go.”

How soon do you think this team can be all the things you want it to be?
“Well, like I said and coach talked about, we need to run the football. Just briefly look at statistically where we’re at, we’ve got to eliminate the sacks. We can’t have lost yardage plays, number one thing we’ve got to eliminate that. We can’t have undisciplined penalties, pre-snap penalties. Any time you’re trying to find consistency on offense you’ve got to start from the basis of we’re not going to go backwards. So we’re not going to have lost yardage runs, we’re not going to take sacks, we’re not going to have penalties. So that’s the first thing we’ll start from, as long as the ball’s moving forward and we’re ending every series in a kick we’ll have a chance. That’s where we want to start from, but that will be the key point of emphasis to start.”

How confident are you now that you have the pieces in place to make this work quickly?
“Very confident. Like I said, this football team is 11 points away from being 11-1. That’s a darn good football team and the young players on this roster, having known some that we recruited – Derrick Green and David Dawson and Wilton Speight and Shane Morris and those guys – I don’t know the whole roster, haven’t had a lot of time to familiarize myself with everybody, but knowing the players that we recruited when I was at Alabama that are here and part of this team, really feel good about where we’re headed, and we need to get there quickly.”

How far is this team from being SEC caliber?
“I can’t answer that. I didn’t see a lot of Big Ten football this season, obviously. We didn’t really cross paths anywhere. I know this, when we prepared to play this football team last season down there in Dallas, I thought it was a very, very good football team we were getting ready to play. There were a lot of sleepless nights thinking about Coach Mattison and his blitzes and all the things that we might see the next day.”

Big Ten Basketball Media Day transcript: John Beilein

Thursday, October 31st, 2013


(MGoBlue.com)

Big Ten Basketball Media Day is in full swing in downtown Chicago and each coach got a few minutes at the podium to speak to the media. Below is the transcript from Michigan head coach John Beilein.

In addition, Michigan was picked by the media to finish second in the Big Ten this season behind Michigan State and just ahead of Ohio State. Both Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III were selected to the preseason All-Big Ten team along with Gary Harris and Adreian Payne of Michigan State, Aaron Craft of Ohio State, and Tim Frazier of Penn State. Harris was selected as the preseason player of the year.

Opening statement

COACH BEILEIN: Good to get to this point of the year where we’re ready to start another season. I like my team. I like the way we practiced. Different format has allowed us to experiment with some things and give us a little bit more contact with the players, more access.

But it’s a long season and we still have a long ways to go, even to get ready for our first games let alone our conference season. But I do like our team. I like the way we’ve approached the preseason. But we have a lot of things to replace. We have five seniors that graduated last year that were incredible leaders for our team and sacrificed so much for the other guys.

Now you lose two guys to the first round of the NBA. There’s obviously some replacement to do. At the same time, there’s 25 or 30 shots out there. There’s another 80 minutes out there. I think our guys are embracing the opportunities that they have in front of them.

Q. Obviously recruiting is very accelerated, Coach, but how have you seen making it to a national championship affect recruiting since then, please?

COACH BEILEIN: That’s a common question. Recruiting is such a unique science to it. I think there’s been good things and I think it hasn’t made a difference in some other ways as well. Certainly I think we’re on a lot of people’s lists. At the same time, everybody has different reasons for choosing their next university, the university they’re going to go to. So I’ve seen some really good things, but at times it’s maybe not the right fit. So we just keep doing what we are doing.

The young men we did have in recruiting probably were not the Trey Burkes and the Tim Hardaways, weren’t on the top of anybody’s lists. There’s a lot of different ways to form a good team.

Q. The past few years you’ve been here, can you sense the target on Michigan getting bigger from the other Big Ten teams?

COACH BEILEIN: No, I don’t think about that at all. I think all the time that we are — we’re just trying to be the best that we can be. And we have enough things to do to grow our program right now let alone worry about any target on our back. We just keep playing and trying to improve and take each day trying to improve, really.

Q. There’s been a lot of discussion about Glenn perhaps changing positionally a little bit, moving more toward the perimeter. Is that happening? And, if so, how is his skill development affecting the process?

COACH BEILEIN: Really, last year he was not an inside player at all. So he’s been a perimeter the whole time. I think the biggest difference is what I just alluded to. There’s 80 more minutes and there’s a good 20 to 30 shots, scoring opportunities that Trey and Tim rightfully took upon themselves last year that are wide open. We want him to fill a lot of those opportunities, attacking from all different sides.

We can play big. We can play guards — all guards. We can do a lot of things. He’ll probably be on the floor no matter what we do.

Q. Regarding some of the new rules aimed toward decreasing the physicality of the game, the Big Ten’s a physical league, do you think the league’s in any way being targeted by those rules?

COACH BEILEIN: The people that have changed the rules over time have really had a good record at doing this. There’s some experimentation probably we would have preferred at times. But we led the country in not fouling last year. I think we were number one or number two in not fouling. So I don’t think there’s going to be a big change in how we coach.

And the block charge, I hope it simplifies things. I do not know that it does. We have to wait. And this is where I defer to the experts and say, okay, if they think it will work, they’ve done enough research on it, we just go and we adjust from there.

But we’ve had a scrimmage and inner squad scrimmage. I haven’t seen the difference, in particular, in how the game was called against us. And I think other teams have a drastic difference. But who knows.

Transcript provided by FastScripts by ASAP Sports, courtesy of the Big Ten

Notre Dame postgame transcript: Gardner and Gallon

Monday, September 9th, 2013


(Justin Potts, M&GB)

On getting to wear Tom Harmon’s #98 jersey…
Gardner: “I appreciate that history and all the great things he did on the field, but he did a lot of great things off the field. He was a great person and a great athlete. I didn’t even know that he even played two years of varsity basketball, so that’s just the ultimate athlete and a great person. He fought for our country. For my coaches to be able to say that I’m worthy of wearing this jersey, it’s amazing that they see me as that type of person.”

On the chemistry with Jeremy Gallon and why Jeremy plays bigger than he is…
Gardner: “I mean, he’s like a little bulldog, man. We worked so hard since I got here. You guys are just now seeing it, but behind the doors we work so hard and we got the opportunity to display it in front of the biggest crowd in college football.”

On whether he has silenced doubts about not being able to win the big game…
Gardner: “Those are the games that we want, the Big Ten Championship (and) Rose Bowl games. And I feel like with the help of my teammates they helped me a lot. I made a bad turnover in our own end and the defense came out and stopped them and the offense blocked for us to get out and run the clock out. So I mean, 115,000, that’s how many people were there, but not to mention all the people that were watching on TV. It’s amazing to be able to participate in something like this, but this isn’t the big one that we really want.”

On Jeremy’s first touchdown catch…
Gallon: “It was a dig and cover-2 coverage and I was just coming down and Devin hit me. It was good to get up there and make my move and they wanted to strip the ball. I spun around and started running and I saw Jehu Chesson lay a block on somebody and I just ran in for a touchdown.”

On starting a night game in Michigan Stadium…
Gardner: “It felt great. I’ve said all week this rivalry is such a big deal, and like I said earlier to be able to play in front of so many people and to respond under adversity and under what you guys see as pressure, it was amazing for me. And my teammates believed in me the whole time, and I just want to thank all my teammates, the offensive line, the defense, and Gallon. I knew I could get the ball there when I needed to and I just want to thank my entire team for believing in me. My coaches too.”

On the interception…
Gardner:
“Coach Borges talks to us about the top three causes of interceptions and one of them is desperately avoiding sacks. That’s what I did in my own end zone which was a horrible decision, but our defense gave us a place to stand. I told them I was going to finish, ‘you give us a place to stand and we’re going to finish this football game.’ And they said they believed in me – a number of them – and that’s what happened, we finished the football game and put that behind me. I mean I’m the quarterback, I respond after adversity.”

On his injury and the chemistry beteween he and Devin…
Gallon:
“Yeah, it’s just a little hamstring deal. The chemistry between me and Devin, like he said we’ve been working with each other since he first got here and it’s been like a brotherhood and we’ll never let anything change anything. We just try to let our work off the field show on the field.”

On the potential of the offense…
Gardner:
“I feel like if I limit my mistakes we can go as far as we want. I feel like the offensive line is going to block, Fitzgerald Toussaint is going to run, and all the receivers are going to catch, and all the other backs are going to run also. I feel like if everybody does their job and if I do my job in particular we’ll be fine.”

On how he shook off the interception…
Gardner:
“I mean I just always remember that everybody’s going to look to me for confirmation that we’ll be alright. So I just tried to make sure that I stayed level. I was pretty upset with myself for the mistake – it was a horrible, horrible mistake and could have cost us the game – but like I said the defense gave us a place to stand and I went out and finished it.”

On his big game and how he will remember this night…
Gallon:
“For me, I could never imagine doing something like this. I just come out and play for my team, just play my role as a senior on this team. I mean, a good game, it’s not me, it’s the rest of my teammates, the rest of the offense and I can’t take all the credit. Those are my teammates.”

On what they will say to their kids 25 years from now about this game and the series being canceled…
Gardner:
“I don’t even know. I can’t even explain it. I’m still kind of, how I feel right now, how it felt to take that knee, I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. But we still have unfinished business in the season, so this isn’t the end, it’s only the second game of the year. We have much bigger goals as Coach Hoke always says”

On the importance of diversifying the passing game as teams start to game plan against Gallon…
Gardner:
“Jeremy had a big game but maybe seven or eight different people caught passes – big passes where we got first downs or moved the chains – so it’s not just like he had a really big game. I feel like it could happen for any of them because Gallon isn’t always on the field. Even some third downs he’s not on the field and we get the first down. So I mean, it was a collective effort. Joy Reynolds, Devin Funchess, Jake Butt had some big catches, Fitzgerald Toussaint had one at the end. So I feel like we can spread it around; he just had a big game tonight.”

On the pro style offense and was tonight an indication of what it will look like going forward…
Gardner:
“Definitely. I feel like Coach Borges is in a groove playcalling. We were in a groove as an offense. We drove the ball down with some nice drives and took a lot of time off the clock and things like that, so I feel like we performed to the level that Coach Hoke would like. I mean, obviously, we’re going to have to watch the film and there are going to be mistakes, even ones that we didn’t notice on the field, overall I feel like we fought. And that’s what we talked about all summer and all winter, is fighting and finishing, because that’s something we didn’t do last year. And today we fought and we finished.”

Notre Dame postgame transcript: Brady Hoke

Sunday, September 8th, 2013


(Justin Potts, M&GB)

“You guys ready to go home? It’s late.”

On the plan of running wide early in the game…
“Well, we thought that we had a chance to get the edge and with Mike (Schofield) and Taylor (Lewan), the two tackles, we felt that we could take over block, zone it out, and then got a couple good blocks by (Devin) Funchess. He’d motion over or be stationary there and that let Fitz (Toussaint) determine where he wants to cut and I thought Fitz made some really good runs tonight. He had some really good cuts.”

On how the offensive line was able to neutralize Notre Dame’s defensive line…
“Well, I don’t know if neutralize is the right word, but at the same time they had some success too. I thought the three interior guys, they take a lot of pride, Taylor and Mike have really taught those guys well (and) Darryl Funk has. They just, good fundamentals and really wanted to finish every block.”

On breaking two records, Gibbons’ consecutive field goals and the attendance record…
“It’s nice to see Gibby because a couple years ago, to me, he wasn’t really kicking the ball as well. To see the work ethic that he put forth and the confidence that his teammates have in him is part of it. I think having the all time attendance record, I think that’s pretty cool, and it was a great atmosphere.”

On what he was disappointed by with the defense…
“You’ve got to give Tommy Rees some credit. I think he’s a good quarterback and I think he’s proven that against us now three years in a row. He’s accurate. They have some big play receivers. We were playing mostly off until we did play man. We were going to give him some of those throws and I think what was disturbing a little bit was they ran the ball in there a couple of times when we were set up defensively well enough to where they shouldn’t, even though we played mostly a seven man front all day.”

On the defense’s ability to come up with a big play when needed at the end of the game…
“Well, that was critical. I think Greg (Mattison), especially in the second half, mixed some things up from a front standpoint to some coverage standpoint, some zone blitzes and some zero blitzes, and I thought it worked out pretty well.”

On whether he spoke to Devin Gardner after the interception…
“Every time he comes off the field we talk. Maybe we’re going to need more, like I told him tonight, we’re going to need more because we were struggling a little bit defensively. They were efficient sometimes. When he came off the field (after the interception) I didn’t have to say a word to him because he was beating himself up all the way off the field. It was one of those things that he knows better and I’ll go back to the same thing (I’ve said before), it’s a blessing and a curse when you have that ability.”

On Gardner’s athletic ability allowing him to get that pass off instead of just taking a sack…
“Yeah, there’s no question. He’s very conscientious in trying to do things that are going to help the team and stay away from those negatives.”

On how it felt to beat Notre Dame…
“Well, it’s always nice to win. It’s just such a great rivalry and to be able to be on the right side of it always feels good. It also tells you a lot (about) where you’re at when we play them early in the year, where you’re at as a program, what we need to do if we want to win the Big Ten Championship. I think we learned a lot about that because of the team we played.”

On whether the offense achieved the balance he wanted it to…
“That’s probably what we’d like to be, that 55-45, somewhere in there, run-pass. We always like to run it a little more, especially with the tailback if we’re having success. We had some tonight.”

On  Jeremy Gallon and the work he has put in to become an elite receiver…
“You know, Jeremy is, I guess I would say first of, he’s a very very tough kid. As well as he catches the ball, finds those seams and creases, he blocks. And when he blocks, he gets on people. Catching the ball is important for him, but he loves to block. And I think how he comes to work every day, because he does come to work every day, and how he competes is probably one of his strengths.”

On Gardner storming off the field…
“Well, storming off the field…I think there’s different storms that can happen. It wasn’t one that I think a whole lot of people would notice, but when good things and bad things happened during the course of the game I think he was pretty even as far as demeanor and how he looked.”

On whether Michigan took it personal this week that Notre Dame ended the rivalry…
“You know, I don’t think so. I think we were playing Notre Dame and I think they always think that – and I’m going back to the Michigan teams that I coached on when I was an assistant – and I just think that there are certain games that you get very excited about, those rivalry games. So I don’t think there was any kind of…I mean, we just…we want to win. And we want to win every week. And we want to win and improve as we win.”

On at what point he realized he needed to tell Devin we need more…
“I say that every game. You can get a feel for a game. We went three and out the first possession defensively, and I just think we always know we’re going to need more.”

On the two interceptions by Blake Countess…
“Yeah, the last one, number one, being an athlete and catching the ball that was kicked, but also being in the right place at the right time and just playing through the play. He was pursuing towards the ball and that’s what you like to see. The first one gave us great field position, a great opportunity, and it was well needed at the time.”

On where the offense is now in terms of the style he wants it to be compared to what it was with Denard Robinson at quarterback…
“Well, number one, we were fortunate to have Denard. Al (Borges) was smart enough to conform what we do with the abilities that you have on your team – and you need to do that in all, offense, defense, and kicking game. I would say this is more like what we’d like to do. We’re going to be multiple enough personnel-wise, multiple enough from a formation standpoint – two backs, three backs, whatever it takes, another offensive tackle in, a lot of different things that we like to do – but this was more like what we want to do.”

On how important was it for Devin to make plays with his legs, picking up a lot of critical first downs…
“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. It is critical. When he doesn’t see what he wants to first and second read he does a nice job pulling the ball down and getting what he can, and we’re fortunate that he has that kind of ability.”

On what he learned about Devin in this signature game that will help for the bigger games going forward…
“I don’t know if I learned a whole lot different than I knew, because I get to see him every day. But I would say the thing that you take form it is he made some very good plays but a the same time he’s got to be more consistent once in a while.”

On the one lasting memory he will take away from tonight, the last home game against Notre Dame…
“Probably two things…three things. Probably winning for maybe the last time. 115,000 and a sea of maize. And it didn’t necessarily happen tonight, but honoring Tom Harmon and having Mark (Harmon) here. It was special. He visited with our team and it was really a special thing.”

On the injuries…
“AJ (Williams) got a little bit of an ankle. He came back in, probably could have gone, but would not have been as effective as we’d like him to be. Taylor’s fine, he got poked. Jeremy’s got a little muscle that he’s got to work through.”

On whether he brought up Brian Kelly calling it a regional rivalry this week…
“Never did.”

On what he learned about the team…
“What we learned a little bit about our team is we can be a good football team if we do a better job playing the run, if we’ll be a little more – and this is all defensive perspective to some degree to start with – be a little tighter in coverage. I think we’ll have a little more confidence to do that. I think in the kicking game, Dennis (Norfleet) had a couple of good kickoff returns. I think they were blocked decently well. Obviously, we gave up some field position, had a kickoff out of bounds, and a punt that wasn’t exactly like we’d like to punt the ball, and they had a return. So those are things that we need to work on so that they don’t happen again.”

Big Ten football coaches weekly teleconference transcript (Week 2): Brady Hoke

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013


Brady Hoke spoke for a little over 10 minutes on Tuesday afternoon, answering questions about his thoughts on the Notre Dame rivalry, recruiting battles with the Irish, Taylor Lewan, FCS opponents, and San Diego State.

Opening Statement

“We’ve got a huge football game this weekend, big game against a great rival that we’ve played 29 of the last 35 years. I can remember being here with Coach Schembechler when he was still alive and in the building. He would always tell us that that’s how you gauge your team, in this great game against Notre Dame, and you find out a lot about where you are as a football team. So it will be an exciting atmosphere, it will be a lot of fun. We obviously need to play a heck of a lot better than we did last week. We’ve got to clean up some turnovers, we’ve got to clean up targeting as far as when you look at offensive linemen getting up to the next level or those combo blocks taking them over. And defensively we’ve got to hit some runs better and play better in the back end.”

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: How intense were the recruiting battles between Michigan and Notre Dame when you were an assistant under Lloyd Carr?

“They’re a national school, a national brand like we are, so those battles then and today for the student athletes I think were similar in a lot of ways when you look at universities from an education standpoint and goals that we have for our student athletes. I think we look at a lot of the same kids.”

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: With Notre Dame focusing more on recruiting the southeast, are you seeing less of them on the recruiting trail than you were before?

“I don’t think so. I think it goes cyclical a little bit, how many scholarships you have to offer, sometimes positionally what you’re looking for, all those things. But believe me, we bump into them enough.”

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: If ND-Michigan and Oklahoma-Nebraska can go away because of conference realignment, are you worried about losing traditions in college football?

“Yeah, as a guy who grew up loving college football and grew up loving those games, those big games, were far and few between televised nationally, but you’d always have the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, Notre Dame-Michigan, USC-UCLA. Those were always games that you were interested in, and obviously Michigan and Ohio. So yeah I hope for college football that this series comes back and I know we have two more games, but I hope it comes back.”

Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: What was your favorite besides Michigan-Ohio State?

“I would probably say the Notre Dame-Michigan game. Just as far as they’re such a national brand and we are. There were always people in your school or in your community that were staunch Notre Dame fans.”

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: What are the most important things that Taylor Lewan has done since deciding to come back last winter?

“I think number one, his leadership that he’s provided since that day in January. How he attacked the weight room, how he went about his business, he brought a lot of guys with him. I think his commitment level and I say that just because I’ve seen what he does in practice, what he does in meetings, in team situations and then individual situations and I think his play. He wants to master it. He doesn’t want to have minuses on his gradsheet at the end of the game.”

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune: Were you surprised when Brian Kelly called it a regional game?

“Everybody sees it differently and I think Devin (Gardner) spoke really well yesterday about it. We all look at things in this world differently. I think that’s his perspective and that’s fine. I just grew up a little differently about this football game.”

Eric Olson, AP: In the wake of several FCS schools beating FBS schools in Week 1, do you think games against FCS schools will go away with the playoff format starting next season?

“Number one, I think we opened up with Alabama last year and some people probably think we were crazy. Personally, I think it was probably one of the best things we’ve done. No one likes to lose, obviously, but I think it taught us a lot as a staff, taught us a lot as a team (about) where we want to get to and what we need to do. I think the Notre Dame rivalry is such a great game to play. I think there’s a balance somewhere in there, but I think if they’re truly going to take strength of schedule in deciding who’s going to be in the national championship, then I think you need to play a strong schedule.”

Eric Olson, AP: Do you think in some cases playing the 120th best FBS school versus playing a top FCS school changes things somewhat?

“Well, there’s some great coaches out there at all levels and there’s some teams that through their recruiting or taking some bounceback guys that help you from year to year. But I don’t know if there’s any difference to be honest with you.”

Jonathan Schopp, Spartan Nation: How has this Notre Dame team evolved from the last time you played them?

“I think offensively, obviously, you’ve got a little bit different quarterback, but you’ve also got the quarterback who’s got right now the all time percentage in completions. He’s given us fits the last two years that we’ve played against him. I think he’s a tremendous quarterback. I think he’s very accurate. I think their team itself, they’re at the point where Brian has been there four years, he’s been able to recruit well and replace guys well. So numbers can fool you a little bit from last week, but you see the technique and the fundamentals they’re playing with, you see how hard they play. Their front seven defensively is still a tremendous front seven.”

Jonathan Schopp, Spartan Nation: What do you expect about this week’s environment and how unique was it last time Notre Dame played at Michigan?

“Well, for being here eight years before as an assistant and coming back, it was exciting as any stadium I’ve been around. The evening, the dusk and all that kind of stuff, and the fans being in the stands when warm-ups were going on, just the environment itself obviously, the game was one that was down to the wire, so it kept everybody into it.”

Stefanie Loh, San Diego Union Tribune: Have you talked to the San Diego State coaching staff at all this week and provided any insider info on how to beat Ohio State?

“Well, I don’t have that message, I can tell ya. I talk to Brian Sipe probably a couple times a month. That’s a great staff and Rocky (Long)’s a great football coach. He’ll have something unique, probably defensively, that will be a little different than Ohio is used to getting. But those kids I can guarantee you are going to play hard.”

Stefanie Loh, San Diego Union Tribune: Are you surprised by the fact that they dropped the opener to an FCS team?

“Again, I think the question really is about some of those teams. Sometimes there’s some awfully good football players that started their careers somewhere else and ended up for one reason or another back at an FCS school.”

Gannett News Service: Why did you feel Brian Sipe would be a good fit for the quarterback coach position at San Diego State?

“Well, number one, he had won four regional – in California they break it up a little differently – championships. I had gone by there, not that he had a player that we were recruiting at Michigan, but it’s Brian Sipe for God sakes, one of the best to play the game, and have the ability to visit with him, so we got to know each other, probably a little bit of a relationship, and then knowing what his teams did and how they played. You have a guy who was one of the best to ever play at San Diego State and has such love for that university. I knew he could coach the quarterback, that was the least of my worries. He was a great fit and a guy that we wouldn’t have had some of the success we’ve had if it wouldn’t have been for Brian Sipe.”

Central Michigan postgame transcript: Players

Sunday, September 1st, 2013


(Justin Potts, M&GB)

Desmond Morgan

On second half adjustments…
“Yeah, they always kind of bring us together at halftime and decide what they’re hurting us with in the first half, what things that we were kind of sticking to them. So we just assessed some of the things that they were kind of getting us with, a couple of the routes on the passing game and things like that, and just made minor adjustments.”

On the defense’s goals and how many of them were hit…
“As a defense, we always want to keep them the lowest points possible. I know one of the biggest things was redzone defense that we always stress and coming out twice with a stop was a big thing for us, especially holding them to a field goal. They started really close there in kind of a quick change of events with momentum and everything like that, so that’s one of them. As far as turnovers as well, our goal was to get two (and) we got two. I think there were a couple of opportunities that we could have got some more and as the season progresses we need to get more, but overall that’s two of the big things that stand out in my mind.”

On whether he felt if the defense got enough pressure on the quarterback…
“I think that’s something we need to improve on as well. I know me personally blitzing a couple of times, as linebackers have to get home on a couple more blitzes. I don’t think we did that too great today. Then pass rush is something we always like to improve on. There was one, the third down scramble that ended up going for a first down, (we needed to) get a little more pressure and contain that guy. So there were a couple of times where obviously we missed and that’s something we’re going to work on.”

On whether he has started thinking about Notre Dame…
“Just started. Game’s over. We’ll try to enjoy this one a little bit, we’re getting the film tomorrow, but walking off that field last year I haven’t forgotten what that felt like, so I’m definitely looking forward to that game.”

Michael Schofield

On whether Devin Gardner was too fired up at the beginning…
“It’s just the first game of the season, you’re excited to play. We’ve been hitting each other all camp, it’s the first time you get to hit a new team.”

On whether he noticed Devin settle down…
“Kinda. Yeah, in the third series he kind of started to settle down a little.”

On whether Devin is more comfortable out of the shotgun than under center…
“I don’t really pay attention to that much at all. I’m just blocking.”

On whether the offensive line feels more comfortable in the shotgun than under center…
“No, we’re comfortable with whatever.”

On if he feels they struck a nice balance between shotgun and under center…
“I think we definitely did. We’re just trying to balance it up.”

On what it means to have good depth at running back…
“It’s great. Not just relying on one guy to run the ball 30 times a game is going to be nice. We’ve got three guys, four guys, whatever it is to run the ball and kind of take hits off each other.”

Raymon Taylor

On the sudden change situations and how the defense responded…
“We do things like that in practice, so when our back’s against the wall in a game it’s just like in practice. When things like that happen we can’t panic because coach put us in that situation during practice. We just happened to come out on top and win the game.”

On if he thought he was going to score on the interception return…
“Oh yeah, I thought I had him, but came up short.”

On the performance of Channing Stribling…
“He did well. Like I told him before, don’t panic, just play like you play in practice, and get to the ball, know your assignments, and he did pretty well.”

On a CMU quarterback playing who they didn’t expect to play…
“All Central Michigan, the guys are great. He’s a great quarterback. I take my hat off and wish him the best this season.”

Cam Gordon

On the blocked punt returned for touchdown setting the tone for the game…
“Coach Hoke talks a lot about special teams. We really emphasize that a lot, so we kind of saw that at the beginning of the game with the blocked punt for a touchdown, so it was great.”

On what the team talked about regarding Notre Dame on the sideline towards the end of the game…
“We were all just thinking about on to the next one. We have corrections that need to be made and now we’re thinking about Notre Dame.”

On the electric atmosphere of the Notre Dame game…
“It’s going to be great, this being the last game, it’s going to be great.”

On his memories from last year’s game and if there’s one thing that sticks out…
“Not really. I mean, we lost. That stuck with me, so we need a different outcome this year, this week.”

On the importance of getting the win in the last game against Notre Dame in Michigan Stadium…
“It’s very important, especially with it going down in the history books. To be able to say that you beat Notre Dame the last time that you played them, so it’s going to be great.”

On what he saw from the defensive linemen…
“I felt like they did a nice job. I’m always going to say that we need corrections, but I feel like they did a nice job, especially getting the win.”

Central Michigan postgame transcript: Devin Gardner and Fitzgerald Toussaint

Saturday, August 31st, 2013


(Justin Potts, M&GB)

On how Fitzgerald Toussaint felt out there, physically and mentally…
Toussaint
: “I’d say physically I felt great, but  if I’m not mentally prepared the mental part will take over that. I felt really good mentally and I’ll be ready to play more football.”

On the importance of getting off to a fast start with the blocked punt…
Gardner
: “It was very important because that’s what the game is about early. Coach Hoke always talks about special teams and starting fast. You don’t want to get behind. If you give a team like Central confidence they will give you a really good game. They were a good team and we just kept on pounding away so they didn’t even have an opportunity.”

On the efficiency of the offense and how they felt like they did in their first game of the season…
Gardner
: “It felt great for me. We ran the ball well which was our biggest emphasis over camp. Fitz ran well. All the running backs ran well and it felt great to see that.”
Toussaint: “I just want to start by giving credit to the offensive line. They’ve been building chemistry all throughout fall camp, we just all stayed together, so we just came out here and played good football.”

On what it’s like being ‘the guy’ now…
Gardner
: “I mean it was amazing. I can’t even describe how I was feeling. My heart was racing and I was just like don’t fall, I probably won’t even touch this banner. I mean, I really can’t describe how I feel. It felt great though.”

On how the freshmen handled the pressure, specifically the running backs…
Toussaint
: “I would say the older guys are a little more anxious over nervous, some of the younger guys are nervous over anxious. The guys were nervous and a little bit anxious, just ready to get out there and be ready for their opportunity, and I think they can, but they showed that they will.”
Gardner: “We talked in camp about how pressure, you can’t touch it, you can’t feel it, you can’t smell it. It’s not tangible, so it really doesn’t exist. And I feel like the freshmen put that on their back and ran with it. They were really confident and they ran well. The DBs, I loved watching those guys play because they’ve been giving me headaches all during camp so I knew they were ready as well. It was just amazing to see guys that are like your little brothers get an opportunity so early to contribute and do well.”

On how they feel Shane Morris did…
Gardner
: “He looked fine. He made the right checks. You guys watch the quarterback, you don’t see all the inside things like the different checks you’ve got to make, getting us in the right play and things like that, so I think he did really well. Obviously, we’ve got to watch the film and see the small things that he might have missed or that he did get where he might have gotten pluses and things like that, so you just got to watch the film and see.”

On the emotion of coming back from the injury and whether he feels like he has anything to prove…
Toussaint
: “I just want to say it’s an emotional feeling. I just want to show that I can contribute any way I can for this football team and protect Devin and run the football hard. And know when it’s time to come off the field to come off the field, and my confidence to step in and my preparation to step in and I’m just ready to go play football.”

On whether it felt like a long road coming back…
Toussaint
: “Yeah, it definitely felt like a long road, but I knew if I prepared right then I could come back.”

On what Devin felt like he did well, and whether this was a good game to shake the rust off before Notre Dame next week…
Gardner
: “I feel like I managed the game pretty well. The two things I didn’t do well was throw the two interceptions, but besides that, I feel like I was pretty efficient, getting us in the right play, and making throws, and making opportunities for myself when things broke down. So I feel like I did well in those aspects. I just have to take the turnovers away and I feel like those were like rust throws. I feel like this first game was a good opportunity to knock the rust off because I’m pretty sure everybody knows the test that we have next weekend, we’ll be ready.”

On whether the two interceptions were a result of decision making or rust…
Gardner
: “The first one was inexcusable. I didn’t execute at all. I made a read and threw a decent pass, it was just a bad read, so it got turned over. The next one, I got hit while I threw it so it kind of went as far as it went. You can somewhat control that but not as much as you’d like to, so I wish I had them both back. But they’re done now, we’ll move on to next week.”

On whether he enjoys scrambling when the play breaks down…
Gardner
: “I just like to stay calm, so when I’m running around my face is pretty straight and I’m not really chaotic, my head’s not spinning or anything. I feel like my calmness allows me to help my teammates be calm. When they see me running around, they’re like ‘is he scrambling or is he not?’ so it’s probably refreshing for them and when they get open I have the opportunity to hit them, and if they don’t I’ll just run.”

On how the three new starters on the offensive line performed…
Toussaint
: “I think they did really well. Just like I said before, they really worked in fall camp to have really good chemistry. With (Michael) Schofield and Taylor (Lewan) on the outside bring those guys inside together and do a really good job of that.”
Gardner: “Yeah, I think they did a really good job. I don’t know exactly how many yards we rushed for, but I feel like we had a pretty good day on the ground. Then through the air, I had time to throw the ball and made the throws I was supposed to make. The way they were playing, our linemen responded because it wasn’t what we saw on film as much. They showed a lot more pressure on second down and long distances and they didn’t do that this game, and they (the offensive line) adjusted. So that’s one thing that you might be scared of when you have three new interior linemen, to adjust on the fly when you don’t see exactly what you’ve seen on film, and they did a really good job of doing it and giving me time to throw the ball.”

On how it went between he and center Jack Miller in their first game together…
Gardner
: “It went well. No exchange problems. Those are big deals, pet peeves for the coach. Those are things where you can’t start the play because of the exchange and we had no problems like that. Our protections were on the same page, the changes in protections, or keeping the protections the same. So I feel like it was a great opportunity for us to show that we have a lot of future.”

Central Michigan postgame transcript: Brady Hoke

Saturday, August 31st, 2013


(Justin Potts, M&GB)

Opening Statement
“One thing I really want to do is thank our students and the fans, because it was really neat to see the student section and the maize and all that stuff. It just kept building, so I want to thank the students because it’s fun and they make the atmosphere fun.”

On Cam Gordon’s play…
“Cam is a guy who has matured in a lot of ways in his time at Michigan. From receiver coming in and going to safety, and the work ethic that he showed during the offseason, his leadership, and I think his motor that he plays the game with. He’s a better technician. He’s bigger, he’s stronger. That’s a credit to him and what Aaron Wellman does in the weight room. He also is an intelligent football player that can handle a lot of things and do it well.”

On Devin Gardner’s play and his ability to improvise…
“Well, you know, he’s athletic, and sometimes I’m crossing my fingers when I see him out there being athletic. But he had a couple of decisions that I think, one for sure, he should have made a better decision on, but at the same time, he’s got a lot of confidence in his abilities. And you like that. I’d rather have a quarterback that has that confidence than a guy you have to keep feeding all the time. So I thought he had a good game. I wouldn’t say elite, or excellent or anything, but I thought he had a good game.”

On the offensive balance and it’s importance…
“Well, I think to the offense itself it’s really important. When you have balance you can run the ball, and I don’t know, I think the tailback position had probably 150-160 yards, and then I think Devin had the rest of it, but it just opens up so much with the play-action game. That’s the one thing that Devin, more than a lot of quarterbacks, does such a great job with ball handling and play-action, which is a big part of our offense.”

On what you liked and didn’t like…
“There’s a lot of things probably in the negative side. Winning was good, the defense responding in a couple of sudden change situations was good. I think running the football was something that we want to do, obviously. Getting a lot of touches to a lot of different guys was a good thing. On the negative side of it, I thought we were sloppy. Some of it is body posture, demeanor, getting into the huddle, getting out of the huddle, penalties – those things drive me crazy. So that’s a negative. The other negative, I didn’t think we tackled as well. In the second quarter they had a first down running the ball, first down running the ball, first down running the ball, and some of that’s tackling, some of it’s getting off blocks and fitting the defense.”

On playing a lot of true freshman, how they responded, and which ones stood out…
“I don’t know if any of them really stood out, until you watch the film. We think, obviously it’s a talented group. At the same time, there’s discipline and things like that you need to play with, and that’s something they’ll learn. They’ll learn a lot off this game. We took 68 guys to the hotel last night and 36 of them are first or second year players. That’s a lot of babysitting, a lot of teaching going on. And yeah, it is babysitting.”

On the importance of the young guys getting experience…
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that’s important. That’s something that we are fortunate enough that the game went the way it did so we could do that.”

On how he decides when to take out the starters and put the young guys in…
“Well, that’s a really good question, because I’m always nervous, to be honest with you. Luckily, I’ve got good coaches who remind me that we’re up by 35 or whatever, and it was time maybe to play some other guys, because I’ve seen teams come back and I don’t want that to happen.”

On whether he got everything he wanted out of this game with Notre Dame coming up next week…
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt that we really wanted to go out and (get a) first impression of this football team, make a really good impression. At the same time, there’s so much to teach from this film, and so many mistakes, maybe assignment-wise, penalties and all that I can talk about all day. But I think it’s a game that we were fortunate enough to play well enough to get enough guys in so they’ve got real tape in a game situation and we can correct from that.”

On what he liked about Central Michigan…
“I told Dan (Enos) before the game that you’ve coached long enough that when you watch a team on tape, I was very impressed. They won the last four games a year ago, and they had to win three to get bowl eligible, in a row. To do that is significant. You watch the tape, and I’m a defensive line coach, so I watch the offensive linemen, but to see the pad level they played with, their footwork, their mechanics, and that’s what I told Dan. And defensively, how hard they play, you see that on tape. Their receivers and their routes, the timing. All those things, and I told him before the game he’s got the thing going in a really good direction. I think we were fortunate today that it worked out our way but I was very impressed.”

On when he started thinking about Notre Dame, and how this game gets him ready for Notre Dame…
“I didn’t really think about it until we were done in the locker room. I think it gets you ready because young kids have played in front of 112,000 people. I think there will be a few more thousand next week and the atmosphere on campus, the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, I would think will be electric. It’s the last time Notre Dame is going to come to Michigan for a while so I would think that’s got a significance to it on both parts. So yeah it was good.”

On the injury status of Drake Johnson, Devin Funchess, and Joe Reynolds…
“Drake and Reynolds both we’ll find out a little more. I don’t know. Funchess has a cramp. That’s what he told me.”

On Devin Gardner’s nerves early on and whether that contributed to his first interception…
“It could be. I’m not in his mind, but it could be, wanted to do too much too fast.”

On when he decided that Thomas Gordon wasn’t going to play and if this is an issue that will linger…
“No. He’s part of our team, part of our family, and he’ll be out on the field next Saturday night.”

Follow-up on when he decided he wasn’t going to play…
“He’ll be out on the field next Saturday night.”

On how he determines how much improvising is too much and how much is the right amount for Devin Gardner…
“I think as long as he does a good job of protecting himself, we’ll let him do what he does well.”

On if he worries Devin’s decision making could be affected when he improvises too much…
“Well, sometimes guys who have that kind of ability, I’ve said it before, it’s a blessing and a curse. He can make a lot of plays, and as long as he keeps learning the decision on third down sometimes punting the ball on fourth down is not a bad decision.”

On the defense’s approach being so young and how it responded…
“I think when we really dig into the tape we’ll find out more. I mean, you can say you gave up nine points. I guess they responded, but did they respond well enough? This is all about winning a championship, and if we get satisfied for one effort we’re not going to win it.”

On Josh Furman’s performance in his first career start…
“Again, I think watching tape helps you. I saw him on some plays, I thought there were some plays I thought he needed to be over the top a little bit more, but we’ll look at it.”

On the punt block getting the team rolling…
“Dan (Ferrigno) did a nice job. We thought we had an opportunity and the guys executed it. So, did it give us some momentum? Yeah, because the whole team knew we were going to go after the first punt. When it works, they get excited.”

On whether he and other people were anxious to see Devin play today…
“Yeah, I think we all were, to be honest with you. I have the luxury of seeing Devin play a lot. I think to see him come out there, first start, being at home, I think it was good for him to get out there. I think they all, because they’re competitors, they always have a little bit of nerves to them.”

On honoring Tom Harmon next week and the considerations that go into who will get that jersey…
“I think it’s significant like all the honorary numbers. To be able to honor Tom Harmon and what his career was here at Michigan, and legacy that he left, obviously we want to make sure that we honor the family with the person that wears that jersey.”

On his early impressions of the offensive line…
“We started the game in a little bit of Nascar, quick tempo, and the first series we threw a pick, defense does a nice job. Come back out in the second series and we drive it down. Those were more of throwing situations. I thought when we started running the ball there was some movement at the line of scrimmage. I thought guys were finishing blocks. I really think as we watch the tape I’m going to be anxious to see how Kyle Kalis and Jack (Miller) and Graham (Glasgow) on the interior, how they really worked together.”

On whether there was one position group that he really wanted to focus on coming into this game…
“I would say both fronts. I think how they played and how they came out was good to get a lot of the young guys in. Ben Braden is a guy we think has a good chance of being a good offensive lineman here. I’m just using him as an example. Willie Henry on defense, and those guys. So it will be good to watch some tape with them and really coach them off that tape.”

Big Ten Football Coaches Teleconference transcript (Week 1): Brady Hoke

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013


Every Tuesday, the 12 head coaches from the Big Ten participate in a teleconference. Each coach gets 10 minutes to speak, which usually allows the media time to as five or six questions. As part of our expanding coverage this season, we will bring you Brady Hoke’s transcript as well as those from that week’s opposing coach once Big Ten play gets underway, and any stories that come out of these.

This week, Hoke answers questions about Central Michigan, his feelings on the offensive and defensive lines, why he gave Devin Funchess a Legends number, a defensive player winning the Heisman, and the new targeting rule.

Opening statement

“Obviously we’re all pretty excited. I think every team in the country (is excited) to get started. You’re tired of hitting each other. We’ve had a good camp. I think our team selected four very deserving captains the other night and I like the leadership that we’ve shown to this point. But as a coach, you’ve just got to keep trying to improve every time you take the field, the meeting room, or the weight room.”

Jonathan Schopp, Spartan Nation: How far has the defense come since you took over at Michigan and how much further does it have to go to get to where you want it?

“There’s no question that we’ve made a little bit of progress, but I think the bar is set so high, not only by the coaches but by the players, how they go out every day in practice and the things that we’re doing. We’re trying to improve. We’re going to be a very young football team in a lot of ways. Sixty-one of the 85 guys are going to be first or second year players. You look at the defense, the four starters have a career (total) of 17 starts between them all. We’re dealing with a lot of young guys, a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot and so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Jonathan Schopp, Spartan Nation: Ideally, how many running backs would you like to feature, and do you envision the college game featuring more two-back sets like the pros?

“I think there’s always that, in any team, any situation, you’ve got to have a multiple number of backs because of the physicalness of the position. I think Fred Jackson, our running backs coach, has done a great job throughout the fall camp to get the reps to some unknown guys, when you look at the two freshmen, Derick and DeVeon, but at the same time the older guys – Justice Hayes and Thomas Rawls and Drake Johnson – have really done a nice job. Fitz is obviously the lead cow in the whole deal, so we hope to go one guy for most of the reps but also do a good job of getting the other guys into the football game.”

Dan Chalk, Midland Daily News: Can you talk about the challenges that CMU presents and assess the development of the CMU program the last four years under Dan Enos?

“Well, you know, Dan has done a really good job. I think you look at how they play and I know some of the coaches who are on that staff and have a lot of respect for them – Mike Cummings, up front – and you watch those guys play and the pad level. Then defensively, I think they do a nice job scheme-wise, and they do a nice job in the effort that they play with. They’ve got a veteran team, I think eight starters on one side of the ball and seven on the other, so they’ve got guys who have been in big games. They played a great bowl game, beat a very good Western Kentucky team, so obviously that program has continued to grow under Dan’s leadership.”

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: How do you feel about the interior of the lines heading into the season?

“Well, we’re young on both sides, but it’s a good young. They’re willing. They’ve been physical in practice. They’ve been touch. I think we in the staff think that we’re going to probably make a mistake here or there where we don’t want to because of some youth, or maybe not play with the great technique that we want to play with early, but we like both lines. Offensively, I think there was great competition and I would say there was great competition defensively also.”

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com: What are the biggest things you’re looking to see out of Devin Gardner?

“Well, I think the improvement that he’s made in making good decisions. I think the improvement of how to lead from the quarterback position. I think he had part of that DNA in him, but you know, he was out of it a little bit. Now, the progress he’s made from decision-making and maturity has been really positive.”

Brandon Folsom, Maize n Brew: Why did you decide to give Devin Funchess, a sophomore, the Ron Kramer Legends jersey?

“Number one, Ron was a tremendous athlete – maybe the best athlete ever to play at the University of Michigan. Being a tight end, we wanted to try to keep it within that position. I think Devin and his growth, and if you look at the tight end position, we don’t have any older guys. I think his growth is something I’ve seen, and we’ve seen on this staff, has been something that’s been very special.”

USA Today Sports: Last year we had a defensive player finish second in the Heisman race. What does it take for a defensive player to win the Heisman?

“Well, obviously, Charles Woodson won the Heisman, so I don’t know (about) the ‘never had a defensive player win the Heisman trophy.’ I get a little confused when I hear that because if we go back and count the snaps that he played on defense they would far outweigh any snaps he played anywhere else.”

Todd Jones, Columbus Dispatch: What are your thoughts on how last year ended up and your expectations for this year?

“I think the expectation when you’re at Michigan is to win the Big Ten Conference championship. That’s never going to change. How we finished a year ago was very disappointing, how we coached and how we played fundamentally, so those things are all things that we need to do a better job, starting with me as the head football coach, help our kids so they can with the Big Ten championship.”

USA Today Sports: How has your staff talked to the defensive players about the targeting rule change this season and do you expect to see any ejections this weekend related to that?

“That’s a good question and one I don’t know as far as if we’ll see any this weekend. The targeting issue is not just a defensive issue. It’s a chop block or a block on a special teams play where someone comes back and blindsides a guy on an interception or an offensive lineman down the field. So we tried to educate our whole team on the safety ramifications that we want to have for our players first, and secondly, the penalties that are going to be pretty stiff, so it’s just not a defensive problem.”

Brady Hoke transcript from Big Ten Media Days

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013


Today kicked off Big Ten Media Days and each head coach in the conference spoke for approximately 15 minutes. Brady Hoke was the sixth coach to speak and touched on a number of topics from Devin Gardner and the transition away from the spread to his phone call to Grant Reid who “beat Michigan” to how the Detroit bankruptcy affected his program. Here’s the full transcript provided by the Big Ten and asapsports.com.

Brady Hoke spoke at Big Ten media day (Jerry Lai, USA TODAY Sports)

Opening statement:

First off, I know we’re all excited that you’re all here and you took the opportunity to travel up here and it’s really an honor and a privilege to represent the University of Michigan and the team 134.

We’ve got 12 days until fall camp, look forward to it. We’ve had some good things throughout the summer and since we got back from the game with South Carolina a year ago. Not a year ago, but in January.

We’re a young team. We’ve got to replace some guys who have been very important to Michigan football. But with that youth comes a lot of competition, and that competition is always good.

And the expectations, though, never change. And that’s to win Big Ten championships.

A year ago we were eight and five, and that’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable at Michigan. It’s unacceptable for us.

And in those five losses, we had 18 turnovers. So it tells you a little something that we need to be a little more diligent in taking care of the football. We need to be a little more diligent in making better decisions. And those are things that we’ve talked about and we’ve had through spring ball, had a good spring.

I like our football team. I usually don’t say that. I said it after the spring. I will continue to say it because I like how they’ve handled themselves on the field and off the field so far this summer. I like their work ethic, and I like how they’ve represented Michigan in a lot of ways.

Me liking them doesn’t guarantee us anything, because we have a lot of work ahead of us still. And at the same time we’ve gotta do a job as coaches to make sure that we are doing everything capable to help our kids perform at a high level.

We’re excited about the season, the challenges that lay ahead. Questions now?

Q. Devin Gardner took over for you in the season last year when Denard was injured and it’s always been Denard’s team since Devin was there. How have you seen this off season Devin take ownership of the quarterback position and be that type of leader that maybe Denard was, but just that transition to him now being the guy?

HOKE: Well, I think a few things. I think number one, I think he had some strong help on that side of the ball when you look at leadership. I think Taylor Lewan and the decision that he made in January spoke volumes about the University of Michigan, Michigan football.

I think Devin, his maturity and understanding what it is to be the quarterback at Michigan, I think he’s absorbed that, understands the decisions that we have to make as a football team and the decisions that he makes as a quarterback. They’re going to be very important.

Q. Can you talk about the depth that you have now on the defensive line and the offensive line and how it has evolved since you’ve gotten here?

HOKE: I think when we came in a couple of years ago, we had eight offensive linemen on scholarship. Eight or nine. And I think we’ve improved those numbers. I think we’re at 15 right now, maybe 16.

I would say the same thing a little bit with the inside people on the defensive side of the ball, because of — style of defense had a lot to do with that.

But I think our numbers are up. I think our competition throughout spring, I think the competition that — in how they did things through summer have improved both positions, particularly the interior of the offensive line and the interior of the defensive line.

Q. Denard Robinson, when he got hurt last year and you had to insert Devin Gardner at that position, did you expect that Devin would perform the way he did? And if Denard wouldn’t have gotten hurt, would Devin Gardner be a wide receiver this year instead of a quarterback?

HOKE: No, he was always going to go back to quarterback. That was already — him and I had talked about it. He really showed a lot of unselfishness by moving to wide receiver, and it reallybecamepartofhisDNAandwhathewanted to do to help the football team.

With Denard obviously getting hurt, the opportunity for Devin to get experience and move back to quarterback meant a lot. And it meant a lot for his experience and how he learned from those things, good and bad in spring ball.

Q. It seems like the trend in college football is to get more toward the spread offenses, put people in space. You’re obviously going back to your pro style offense. Could you talk about that, what you like about that?

HOKE: I think everyone believes in a philosophy, obviously. We all have our own quirks and beliefs. But I think the physicalness that the game of football needs to be played with, I’m of the feeling that playing physical football, some pro style, and then there will be multiple enough personnel groups that I think that will be big.

I think also with Devin at quarterback, you still have an opportunity to do some of the things out of the spread that may be there. But I think the physicalness that will help your defense, when you run some downhill schemes, the combination blocks. I’m an old defensive line coach, still am, and I think teaching that every day and going through that every day is something that’s important.

Q.What were your thoughts when you initially heard Michigan being compared to cancer, and what was the reaction from Grant Reid when you called him and offered him tickets to the game?

HOKE: Well, number one reaction is we were glad. We were excited for that young man. And being a father, our children are so important and you try and put yourself through what that family has gone through.

So him beating Michigan in this context, we were all for it. But it’s just something — I’ll be honest with you, it was something that we had talked about, Justin Dickens (Michigan Sports Information Director) and myself, because our kids do an awful lot in Mott Hospital, C.S. Mott. And our daughter was five months in the hospital when she was born, and so you just imagine what that family was going through.

And I spoke to Grant a little bit. He’s doing well. He was excited.

Q. I was wondering if you shored up that backup quarterback position yet, and should Gardner go down this fall, what was the plan going forward for that?

HOKE: Well, we looked around to try and find maybe a guy who had graduated early and could transfer. We looked at some junior college prospects. And we just didn’t feel comfortable enough. In 32 years or 33 years of coaching, I try and think how many times you’ve gotten to your second quarterback on the teams that you’ve coached. Hasn’t been very many.

I think Brian Cleary and obviously Shane Morris are two guys that we feel very good about. And so it would either be one of those two guys if anything would happen.

Q. What is it about Devin Gardner that makes him maybe a better pro style quarterback than Denard Robinson?

HOKE: I think typically when people talk about pro style quarterbacks, a lot of times they talk about the heights. And they also talk about the running quarterbacks obviously is how they’ve performed in the gun, read zone, counter, whatever it might be.

But I think Devin has a nice dual threat capability, because he probably spins the ball a little tighter. I think his height helps him over the line of scrimmage. So I think those reasons.

Q. How has the bankruptcy in Detroit and the situation there affected your community and the players that are from that area?

HOKE: Could you ask it one more time? I didn’t quite hear the beginning.

Q. How has the situation in Detroit, the bankruptcy, the economic, affected your program and how your personnel that are from the Detroit area?

HOKE: Sure. I think that, you know, everything’s a little different for every kid. Every individual, every family. It’s a little bit of a different path they all have taken. Obviously we’re pulling for Detroit. We’re pulling for the city and the state to get together or the federal government, because it’s a great town. It’s a great city.

For our kids, I think every situation is different, but I think all our kids, you know, maybe they haven’t thought in detail enough about it. But it’s all been positive.

Q. Is there any change on Jake Ryan’s status? Has he accelerated his return during his rehab?

HOKE: I think we’re very excited about his progress. So I don’t think anything’s really changed besides he’s done a great job of being very committed, very disciplined to getting himself back through the rehab and everything he’s doing. We’ll find out a little more as we keep going and getting closer. But I think sometime in October I think would still be a likely date for him.

Q. How much importance do you put on instate recruiting? You get a lot of Detroit, Michigan guys. How much focus do you put on that?

HOKE: We put a lot of our efforts in the state of Michigan. That’s important to us. And that’s something that– the high school coaching is very good. The caliber of the athletes we really like. And also they understand playing at the University of Michigan. So that’s always a very important part for us in our recruiting.

Q. Your schedule is pretty loaded up for November particularly this year. Is that a good thing for a team where you’re going to bringing guys along on both lines throughout the year, especially that interior of the offensive line?

HOKE: The goal is, every week you have to get better if you’re going to win championships. And the good teams I’ve been fortunate to be with, that’s what they’ve done, from week one to week two and so on.

So as far as the back end of the schedule, we’ve got a great schedule. And if we keep coaching and doing the things we need to do for our kids, then I think we’ll be competitive and it will be a lot of fun.