Big Ten Media Day: Hoke at the Dais

Michigan head coach Brady Hoke took the dais in Chicago today to set the table for the 2011 Wolverines. In this complete transcript of his commentary he discusses the how the players have handled the transition to a new staff, Denard Robinson's progress, senior leadership, the rivalry with Ohio State, and much much more.

Brady Hoke Opening Statement: "I want to thank all of you for coming, the job that you do."

"It's really humbling and it's a real privilege to represent the University of Michigan and those kids that are in that program. It's humbling to be part, in my opinion, of the greatest conference in this country."

" When you look at it from an academic side to the football that's played, the other sports that are played in this conference, I think it's second to none. Obviously we're excited. This will be our 132nd year of football at the University of Michigan. There's some great legacies, great traditions that go along with that. Our players at this point have done a nice job handling the transition of a new staff, new system on defense, new system on offense, and how they're being coached, what they're being asked to do. We are a long way from where we need to be."

"I can say that this fall camp is as important a time for all of us as anybody, but it also, when you're new to a program, new to a staff, like our players are, I think how you go through your fall camp, the attitude that you have every day, the toughness that you have to have to play this great game, the discipline, the accountability, I think that will say a lot about how we end up as a football team."

"We are a senior-led football team and always will be. I think our seniors in my conversations with them through the summer have done a tremendous job of leading. That's an expectation when you're a senior at Michigan."

"So we're excited. To be honest with you, we're excited about fall camp. It's my funnest time of the year because I don't have to see all you and I get to see 105 guys who we as a staff want to mentor. When they graduate from Michigan, they're going to be great husbands and fathers and people that go back into their communities and do a tremendous job."

Q. Talk a little bit about the rivalry between you and Ohio State with new coaches at the helm.

Brady Hoke:" You know, we're really fortunate at Michigan. We have a national rivalry. We play Notre Dame. We have an in-state rivalry with Michigan State, obviously. Then the rivalry with Ohio is as big a rivalry as there is in sport. It never has been who the coach is. It's always about those two great institutions. We have an utmost respect. It's fun. I mean, if you can't get geared up for that and get goosebumps and all those things for that game, then you may not be human."

Q. Coach Hoke, you have a tremendous talent in Denard Robinson. How excited are you to work with him and get him acclimated to your offense?

Brady Hoke: "Very excited. He's done a tremendous job. I can tell you, he ran the same offense in high school, which is a plus. One of the big differences is the mechanics of taking the snap from center, the footwork, the run game, the foot patterns, the play-action game. He was ahead of the curve a little bit. I think Al Borges has done a tremendous job with him. We are smart enough -- people usually don't say that about me -- but we're smart enough to have elements he does well from what he did in the past in the spread in our offense."

Q. Stepping into a program with the prestige of Michigan, has that made it more difficult or easy for you?

Brady Hoke: "Well, this job is about and will be about 105 guys that we'll have on our football team. If we as a staff or me as a head coach don't ever think about those 105 kids, we're not doing our jobs. When you talk about stress levels, it's all about those kids, us doing a good job of helping them grow, the life lessons you learn from the game of football."

Q. Michigan had one of the most prolific offenses in football last year. Denard was very comfortable. Why would you run the risk of short circuiting that production by moving to a different offensive set? I assume it's to fit the personnel or the opponents you have.

Brady Hoke: "I think this. There's two sides of the ball in the game of football. I can tell you, and I'm a defensive coach, that when your defense plays against a pro-style offense all spring long, they play against a pro-style offense all fall camp, you build a toughness and an edge because the schemes themselves are different. This is a physical football league, physical offenses, people that run the football. We think we can play better defense by the fact of how we do things on the offensive side of the ball because they feed off each other."

Q. Coach, with the addition of Nebraska and now the championship game, what does this mean for the Big Ten, in your opinion?

Brady Hoke: "Well, I think it's tremendous for the Big Ten. I mean, you're talking about a storied program with a great history. I coached in another league where there was a championship game involved. So I think the excitement of the tradition that Nebraska brings into the Big Ten, then us having a championship game, I think it just brings more fanaticism for the Big Ten Conference."

Q. I wanted to get your thoughts on the potential possibility of playing Ohio State two consecutive weeks in the future?

Brady Hoke: "You know, that game always needs to be played the last week in November. I mean, that's tradition. I think there's certain traditions you don't mess with. To be honest with you, if we play them two weeks in a row, we play them two weeks in a row. You see this happen, baseball, they play the same teams back to back to back to back. Or the NFL, you have your leagues. It's usually not two weeks in a row, but it's what it is."

Q. Bringing in a guy like Greg Mattison to run your defense, that has to be a huge boost for you.

Brady Hoke: "He brings so much to the table. I can tell you, it's not what he brings just in the X's and O's and schemes of football. His relationship with our players, the knowledge and the fundamentals and teaching that all the guys have on our staff, that's first and foremost. The fundamentals and techniques to how you play are really going to determine where you're at at the end of the year and the improvement you make each week. Obviously there's a scheme knowledge that we feel very comfortable with we like. But I think his relationships that he builds with kids, 18- to 23-year-olds, motivation skills, are tremendous."

Q. What do you think it will take in the long-term sense to rebuild Michigan to the national power that it was before Rodriguez's era?

Brady Hoke: W"ell, I don't think we're rebuilding. Period. I mean, we're Michigan. We've got kids who understand that they're Michigan. I don't put any stock into that."

Q. Can you talk about your receiving corps, how they adjusted. Will Darryl Stonum be part of that receiving corps?

Brady Hoke:" I really haven't made that decision yet, where he's going to end up. That's something I'll work through with Darryl. But I think the guys with (Junior) Hemingway, I think Junior has done a nice job, a young guy Jerald Robinson has done a nice job, Martavious Odoms has brought a lot of life to us when you look at his love for the game. He's not the biggest guy in the world but he can present some problems in the slot. I think there's a lot of guys there. I think one of the best things we have at that position is we got tremendous competition. That's why fall camp is going to be important for us like it is everybody else, but I think where we sort out who are going to be those guys."

Q. Do you see Ohio State as being wounded right now, this is time to take advantage of the situation from a recruiting standpoint, have you done that a little bit?

Brady Hoke: "No, I really don't. That's a tremendous program with tremendous transition, just like we have. We have 42 championships in the Big Ten. When you have schools that have that quality about them, have those legacies, I don't see anybody as wounded. "

Q. Brady, your recruiting has been extremely impressive to date since you arrived. There were some people that felt that wasn't probably being exploited as fully as it should have been. Can you talk about I don't want to use the word 'ease,' but can you talk about what your recruiting experience has been here and why Michigan has been able to dominate since you arrived here in getting some of these impressive recruits?

Brady Hoke: "This might sound arrogant, and if it is, it is. We're Michigan. We have a global education. We're the winningest program in the history of college football. We have a tremendous staff of guys. The lifeblood for all of us, no doubt, is the guys you bring in your program. We've really tried to focus on the guys that fit the mold of Michigan with the integrity and character that we want to have. We want guys who will play with a toughness, play with an accountability and on a team for each other. Those guys out on the road, they work it and they do a tremendous job. But first and foremost, it's Michigan."

Q. Can you talk about the atmosphere when the Big House hosts their first night game this season?

Brady Hoke: "Looking forward to September 3rd first and foremost. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression as a team. Obviously the first-ever night game with a national rival in Notre Dame, I got a feeling that place is going to be alive and jumping and a lot of excitement. We look forward to it."

"Thank you. Go Blue!"


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