Full Transcript: Coach Hoke

Full Transcript: Coach Hoke on Nathan Brink; Denard and Devin; the runningbacks; kicking game; pass rushing; any playmakers on D?

Brady Hoke: "This was the 14th practice today. There was some good things that we're doing. We're improving on both sides of the ball I think, but we have to improve our consistency so that we can play every week to our best effort and best level, and I don't think we've done that. I think we take a couple of steps forward and maybe half a step back in some areas -- and that has to become a focus, an intensity of how you play the game and mentality of how you want to play the game of football as a team. I think there is a lot of good competition going on. The backs I think still is an open competition. I don't think we've seen any separation by anybody yet. At times, Vince (Smith) looks good, Hop (Stephen Hopkins) looks good at time, (Mike) Shaw looks good, (Mike) Cox does some things in there. I'm probably forgetting a guy, but it is no real clear cut edge to anybody. I think the competition up front defensively… (Nathan) Brink has really had a good camp. He is a kid really I think is a tough kid and plays with good technique and I think that is a help and probably one that we may not have seen earlier. I think he just is a guy that has kind of shown up. Our freshman are now almost completely done with some of the academic stuff, so we'll get a better look at some of those guys on a full time basis. They are hit and miss a little bit with meeting, hit and miss a little bit with the period of practice time and all that, but I think there are a couple of guys out there that will help us as a team. I think Denard (Robinson) has been great. He is completely over 70% of everything he throws. Right now, I think he is handling the offense well. I think when you look at it, I think we're taking care of the football pretty well offensively from either running back, receiver, tight end, quarterback, whoever. From that perspective I think we're doing a pretty good job there, but that is one we need to be always on guard. The last three years, we're a -32 in turnover margin and that's not winning football. So I covered a lot of ground."

Question: Is there any frustration, you talk about the running back competition, is there any frustration that no one has started to distinguish themselves yet?

Brady Hoke: "I probably would not be truthful if I said no. You'd like to see a guy really take the lead and take hold of it. I think they're all competing. I think they're all working hard. Fred (Jackson) doesn't have much tolerance for guys who don't run hard or don't see the hole or don't protect and all those things. They're all trying to do that. I don't know if we have a clear cut guy who you would say he is the number one back."

Question: You said freshmen are almost done with their summer academic stuff; have you been pleased with their performance in that aspect of college life?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah. I don't think we've had too many guys slide backwards or not do what they're supposed to do. From that standpoint, I think that has been pretty well handled. I think our coaches have done a good job with them. I think our academic people, Steve Connelly has done a good job with them just them understanding that this is different than high school."

Question: Is there a date that you get grades before the season with them?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah we will and I can't tell you exactly when. I don't think we'll have any problems from what I can see. I know I got some grades today that were all good."

Question: In terms of making decisions… ?

Brady Hoke: "Sure. I think we're fine."

Question: When you have a walk on like Brink come in and make an impression like he has, how does that filter through the rest of the competitiveness as far as the other guys fighting for spots?

Brady Hoke: "I think it is healthy. I think it is real healthy for us. I give Nate a lot of credit. Obviously, he has got a passion for the game and he is coachable and teachable and all those things that you want to do. I think he is tough minded. If you're going to play up front defensively, you better have that first and foremost. Coming out of spring, we thought he could help us some, but I think he will probably help us more."

Question: How has Will (Campbell) taken that competition?

Brady Hoke: "That's Will, he's competing, but he'll compete and we'll go from there. Really Brink can play the five or the three. He can play both of them pretty well."

Question: Have you found more holes on your defense than you thought you had?

Brady Hoke: "I don't yet. We've got a lot of different stuff. Trying to look at the packages that you run the best and usually that is the one they know the best and feel comfortable with. I think they're getting more comfortable. We did blitz drill today and it was good on both sides, which is good. I thought we were faster with our blitz. I think we from a defensive standpoint, I think we were tighter on the coverage part. I think we were faster in hitting from point A to point B, whatever the point might be and that's a plus. We did the short yardage situation the other day and I thought we were physical on both sides of the ball."

Question: Defense is obviously what people think will prevent this team from being really good, do you buy that at all?

Brady Hoke: "I think defense helps any team. I don't know about this particular team, we'll find out. I think we've got some weapons offensively that are kind of established in place a little bit with some playmakers. I think defensively I'm pretty partial, I'm a defensive guy. I know if they don't score they can't win."

Question: You mentioned Denard hitting 70% in passing.

Brady Hoke: "Over 70%."

Question: Is he at where you would like him to be a few weeks out from a game?

Brady Hoke: "Probably so. I think when you look at how he is handling the offense, how he is handling the huddle, his fundamentals, his footwork, his mechanics and his decision making, I think he has done a good job."

Question: When you talk about that 70%, is that your scrimmaging a little bit here and there every day, is that the two scrimmages that you've had; where is the 70% come from?

Brady Hoke: "Every throw. We chart every throw whether it is skelly (spelling), any drill that is competitive to a certain degree and you should have a high percentage. In skelly there is no pass rush. Anything we do first down drills, second down drills, third down drills, red zone drills, we may not be tackling and doing all that, but we chart every throw."

Question: Over 70% is very high, have you been pleased with the secondary play?

Brady Hoke: "I think we've got to play tighter, but at the same time, there are some routes that you throw off timing, and the mechanics of it and hitting that fifth step, and the ball has got to be out and the receiver is still making his break -- and all that stuff. I think he has done that stuff well."

Question: How does Al (Borges) work with quarterbacks maybe differently?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah that is a good question. I think he's really hands on. I think because of Al's knowledge of the quarterback position -- and when I say that, the timing and the mechanics and all that -- I just think I like how he teaches and like how he coaches with the demeanor that he does that with. If that is different, I don't know. He knows when to really get after them and he has no problem doing that. He also knows how to teach and to progress."

Question: Is that something that you saw when he starting working with (Ryan) Lindley at San Diego State?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, but I've known Al for a long time. Not working with him you really never know how a guy coaches, but I would say that it is correct."

Question: Can you tell Denard wants to be a good passer?

Brady Hoke: "Oh yeah. He wants to be one of the great Michigan quarterbacks and so does Devin Gardner. They're both tremendous guys. They're doing a tremendous job of learning and understanding what a Michigan quarterback is and the tradition and what you represent, and I think both of them have done a tremendous job."

Question: Do you want to have a second quarterback to have some playing time early in the season to have them ready?

Brady Hoke: "I think that is always helpful. I think it is always helpful for him and I think it is helpful for your team. So that would be yes."

Question: How has Devin looked in practice?

Brady Hoke: "I think he has done well. He has thrown the ball well. I like his maturity and just his body language and everything else. I think he has progressed well."

Question: But he is not at that 70% level?

Brady Hoke: "No he is not. He is about 62% or something like that, 59% to 62%."

Question: What is your reaction of what is going on down at Miami? Do you feel compassion for another first year coach?

Brady Hoke: "My reaction is that we have got to make sure that we're doing a great job at Michigan on educating everybody on our kids -- first and foremost on being a student-athlete and what that is all about."

Question: What are you seeing in Denard's throws now that you maybe did not see back in the spring?

Brady Hoke: "I think the ball is coming off quicker. I think his timing is better and you got to give the guys catching the ball credit, because I think their route running is better, so I think all that stuff has helped."

Question: You talked about you have some offense playmakers that you, on the defensive side of the ball is there anybody starting to show that they can be a playmaker or can be consistent for the defense?

Brady Hoke: "You got to understand I'm real hard on the defense now. I would say no."

Question: What is going to be the hallmark of a good Brady Hoke team?

Brady Hoke: "Toughness, running the football, stopping the run, adversity, playing through it."

Question: In the past we've seen those flashes of playmaking from Mike Martin, are there things that you still want to see more of from him in this camp that he doesn't meet that standard for you yet.

Brady Hoke: "I felt him a little more today. In fact, I told him on the way in that if I can feel him that's a good thing. We just got to stay fundamentally sound with him. That's his biggest obstacle at times, is not following through on the basic fundamentals once in a while -- and he is really learning and he is really working hard at it. I like the endurance that he has shown."

Question: Do you think this defense will be able to get to the quarterback? That is kind of a (Greg) Mattison hallmark, but it is not a lot of time for him to do so.

Brady Hoke: "Yeah I think we will. I think we've made a really good stride from same practice seven to 14, whether it be a three man rush and pushing it, or whether it be bringing five for a zone blitz, or bring all of them in a zero blitz -- and understanding the concepts first and foremost, where your help is and your path to the quarterback."

Question: What do you like that Mattison is bringing?

Brady Hoke: "I think there is a lot of different looks that you give a quarterback, and you always want to affect the guy who has got the ball in his hand -- because at the end of the day, the ball is the issue. I like that part of it."

Question: In terms of the scrimmage, what is your plan for that ,and what do you want to see to make it successful in your mind?

Brady Hoke: "Always a tricky question for a defensive coach. I want to see us -- #1 we're treating it like a game day. That doesn't mean we're going to kick off and do all that kind of stuff, but I want to see how they prepare for that scrimmage from a mental standpoint ... and you can tell. You can tell how guys mentally get themselves ready to play because that is going to be a talking point from here on out. On Saturday, we'll be 14 days away, and how you prepare mentally to play your best football, whether it is watching tape or it is your intensity that you have, thinking about your keys, your reactions from whatever it is from a defensive mindset -- and then the same thing offensively. If we're finishing plays on both sides of the ball and we're not having dumb penalties and we're taking care of the football. Now the hard part is that we want to get the football back from a defensive perspective, but if we're doing those things, I may be a little happier on Saturday night."

Question: What kind of went on with Corwin Brown last week?

Brady Hoke: "The only thing I can say is that our thoughts are for him and his family. We think about him every day, he is a Michigan Man."

Question: Is it harder for you to be patient defensively than it is for the offense because that is so much of your background?

Brady Hoke: "Yes it is."

Question: How many of your 11 starting defensive positions are set do you think?

Brady Hoke: "I would say probably two or three."

Question: Who are they?

Brady Hoke: "I think (Troy) Woolfolk has had a nice camp. I think Martin has had a nice camp. Kovacs has had a nice camp."

Question: Why do you like the defense so much? What is it about coaching defense?

Brady Hoke: "I played it, so I think that helps. This is simple -- if they don't score, they can't win. So why wouldn't you want to be out there stopping somebody so they couldn't score."

Question: You're kicking game is sorting itself out?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah I think so. I think we did some things up at the stadium the other day, and I thought (Brendan) Gibbons kicked really well. I think it is still a great competition. I wouldn't say we have who it is. I think (Matt) Wile is doing a nice job in all three. I imagine he'll be our kickoff guy for sure. I think he is punting pretty dang well, and we did that today with some pressure on him and he hit three pretty dang-on good punts. I would say the field goals and stuff like that, it is still a competitive process."

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