Brady Hoke: "We're getting close and that's exciting. I think it is exciting for everybody. I think our energy of the team and getting to game day is always something that you look forward too. The first test when I talked about that the other day. That is what it is. I think we've had good practices. As a coach, you get a little paranoid, a little bit about how your team is always going to play. I think that is just natural, happens every week but making sure we dot the Is and cross the Ts and getting ready to go play football."
Question: There is a lot more uncertainty in the first game I would assume because you don't have anything to work off of?
Brady Hoke: "Right. You're right and I think there is always that uncertainty out there especially the first year. They're getting to know you a little bit in a game setting situation and we're all different. We all have our quirks, I guess is the best word as any that we bring along with us and different ways that you like to eat pregame meals, different ways that you handle Friday night. It is all part of it and it all goes with it. It is just a continued education and learning process."
Question: Might there be a moment during pregame when you're out there, take a look around…?
Brady Hoke: "You always look around in that stadium. It is a beautiful stadium. I assume there will be but game day is fun. When I say that, I think sometimes people maybe think it is not serious but it is a fun seriousness to what you're doing and you want to have fun out there and you want to see a team play together and see a team play with great spirit for each other."
Question: Given all the emotion of the day, the celebration penalty thing, have you addressed that quite a bit?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah we have. In fact, we had one in one of the scrimmages that we had out here that was close and could have been called so it was good educating, good to see it on tape and talk to the guys about it. We've had the Big Ten officials in. We've had a lot of Big Ten officials at every practice. You hope they understand there are team consequences for it and then obviously there will be some personal consequences."
Question: Do you look at that Friday five o'clock practice as kind of an extension of game day and just kind of a carry over of the mindset that you want on Saturday?
Brady Hoke: "Pretty much. I would say that is probably right. I don't believe in walkthroughs. I think there is a way you prepare. I think it is important to sweat on Friday's a little bit. Some people don't practice on Friday's, but since I've been a head coach we always have. I think it is good for your guys and if anything else it drives down the mental part of where we want to be."
Question: Denard Robinson's stats were off the chart last year, what do with him and offense is it unrealistic that he could come close to matching what he did last year and how would you judge him and evaluate him?
Brady Hoke: "Wins. That's first and foremost. I think us taking care of the ball and making good decisions. From a quarterback perspective to managing the offense to the perspective of how the flow and tempo and everything else. I'm not smart enough to talk about what kind of numbers I would think he would have. As long as the numbers on the left side of the scorecard are high, he would have had a good year."
Question: He kind of an interesting debut against Western Michigan in 2009. Have you watched the tape from that play or that game?
Brady Hoke: "Nope."
Question: You've never seen that play?
Brady Hoke: "Nope."
Question: Health wise?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah we're pretty good. Right now we're as healthy as we can be. Guys got bumps and bruises but this is football not golf and so they're beat up a little bit, but there are 121 division I schools and everybody is beat up and you'd better be or else you haven't done much."
Question: You've talked about tapering off a little bit. Do you still like the intensity that you've seen this week?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah, I thought yesterday was pretty physical and that's a good work day. We're supposed to have a good physical work day on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is a little different this week since we've been in camp this whole stretch. We'll cut it back a little bit today and then obviously Thursday will be cut back a little more just so their legs…I think part of that is all mental anyways. I know when my legs hurt I don't feel that, but it is probably mental on my part. We'll make sure that the legs are coming back and all those things and we do a lot of ice tubs after every practice. They do a lot of stuff with bands and rollers and things that I don't understand that's why we have strength coaches. I think we're in pretty good shape."
Question: Is there anything about Western that scares you?
Brady Hoke: "Offensively, I think the quarterback is…I would like to see who is a better quarterback in the midwest than that kid. I think Alex Carder throws the ball well. He manages the offense well. He has great timing. He has got a quick release. He is tough. He is a durable guy because you've seen him on tape last year getting hits sometimes and he gets right back up and he goes to work and it doesn't seem to phase him. I think they're talented at the wide receiver position. I think the O-line they've had to revamp a little bit and retool, but I think they are still and Bill has always had good offense lines. They've got their whole defensive line back from a year ago. So you've got a lot of experienced kids. You've got some very athletic kids and the linebacker, Mitch Zajac, he is a guy that is the bell cow. You can see that on tape. He is the guy who makes a lot of tackles. He's tough, he blitzes well. In the secondary, they're pretty stout. It all bothers me. Probably not as much as us bothers me. We've got to worry about ourselves more than any opponent and making sure that we're preparing the way that we need to, to win."
Question: What is your most memorable big game experience?
Brady Hoke: "Probably the Virginia game as an assistant game and how that thing finished. When Mercury Hayes' catch in the end zone. It was my first game at Michigan. That was a pretty wild game, a pretty good comeback."
Question: That was Lloyd Carr's first game, right?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah and they had a good football team. You look at all those guys from that team that went and played in the NFL, they had a pretty good football team."
Question: How do you sleep at night in general and does that change as game day approaches?
Brady Hoke: "This week, I'm not a big sleeper anyways, but this week is always…game week is always different. I grind my teeth, so I don't sleep very well. It's not good for your teeth I've been told or your jaw."
Question: Wear a mouth guard?
Brady Hoke: "I can't find it. I think I swallowed it (laughter)."
Question: If you started a game today Michael Shaw would be the there?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah and I think that's fluid though. It really is. I think between Fitzgerald Toussaint and Shaw and Vince Smith, I think they all have done some good things. They've all done some good things, but if you were to tell me right now I would say that Mike would probably start the game."
Question: First play a power play?
Brady Hoke: "Most likely. I know Al Borges, so most likely."
Question: Shaw and Fitz are two different backs is one of their skill sets or build tilted more towards what you want to do?
Brady Hoke: "They are and they aren't two different backs. Their physical statures, they're different. They both have a good burst, good balance. I think they have good vision, which you need to have as a back. I think they both run hard. I think when you start looking at the offense as a whole, you start looking at the protection who is going to face up the linebacker in the A gap, and they both have shown that they are not afraid to do that. I think there is some subtle differences. Obviously, the physical makeup, Michael's taller and all that kind of stuff, but I think again, it is such a close competition it is hard to say who is who."
Question: A lot of times you learn something by coaching a guy and seeing him every day like that you didn't know just watching on tape. How about Denard, anything with him that you've learned about him?
Brady Hoke: "I'm really pleased with his growth and his command of the offense and his maturity as a quarterback. I probably am a little more anal about the maturity of your quarterback and how he handles the offense, how he handles his teammates, how he leads and manages a game or manages are scrimmages. That's what I really like about him and he has an energy to him that you love to have. He has got a great competitive demeanor."
Question: Did you have any moments watching Denard in the spring, kind of the wow, maybe he did something that you didn't even think he could do?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah he almost ran me over in the spring game or it might have been Devin Gardner. Yeah, he's got a gear to him that is different and what's different about it is he can make a cut and accelerate out of it at top end speed. He's got an opportunity if he gets behind you, you're going to have to be a pretty fast guy to catch him."
Question: Are even during camp are there moments when he surprises you?
Brady Hoke: "Sure."
Question: Any examples, not running you over?
Brady Hoke: "I learn, I stay back a little further. There has been days where we have had a pretty good rush on him or blitzed him and we don't contain it well enough, maybe it was contained well enough for a guy of normal abilities, let us put it that way. But with him, he's got that opportunity to get around it and make up some yards."
Question: How is he doing with his check downs?
Brady Hoke: "He's doing good. He's had a good fall camp. I would say that there are always things that we can do better, but I think he forced one ball yesterday that he went to one to two, too late to go to three went to three instead of just taking off."
Question: Is he ranking up there with Carder among the best in the Midwest?
Brady Hoke: "You know what, I think he is a pretty darn good quarterback. I'm glad he is at Michigan. Let us put it that way."
Question: What is Daryl Stonum's role going to be in terms of…?
Brady Hoke: "He is a great scout team wide receiver. He has been awesome. He cherishes it. He's been really competitive. He gets on our DBs. He is a guy that has got a lot of experience. He has been Jordan White kind for us this week."
Question: How would you describe the cupboard that Rich Rodriguez left you here?
Brady Hoke: "I'm not going to get into that. These are great kids and they came here to play and win for Michigan and that's what we want to give them greatest opportunity to."
Question: Tay Odoms still looks like he is supporting a cast?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah that's a practice cast. He's fine. He's a pretty tough guy. He jumped and we do Michigan drill and that sucker jumped right in. I was real pleased to see that."
Question: With the running backs, you said in Chicago that if three weeks of fall camp went by you would be a little more concerned. How concerned are you about that?
Brady Hoke: "Probably not as much as I said then. From the simple standpoint that competition has really been awesome. I think competition is what makes us all better and I think all these kids have done a great job. We'll see and we may have to use two guys for a while or a third down guy. I think it will all clear out. You play each other so much and the defense knows what the line call is and it is going to be fun to play somebody else."
Question: Playing someone else, is this a good test for your defense?
Brady Hoke: "I think it is. Bill Cubit is a smart man. He's always had good offenses. He uses his personnel well. I think when you've got a guy like Carder as your quarterback, I think it is an advantage for what he has in his tool chest if you want to call it that. I do not think there is any doubt. There are some guys that are up there that haven't played much football when you look at he two deep and so they are going to be gaining some valuable experience in front of 112,000 or however it may be and that's a whole different show up there. State Street and Main Street, they are two different streets."
Question: Do you think you would feel differently about going into Saturday's game if you hadn't been an assistant here and experienced Michigan Stadium?
Brady Hoke: "Probably, I would think so."
Question: You seem like it is pretty straight forward, maybe not excited…
Brady Hoke: "I'll say this until I die. This is all about those 115 kids and if we're not thinking about them and we're not doing everything to put them in the best position to win as a team and teach them life lessons through football that's where it all is. When you do that, the scoreboard will take care of itself."
Full Transcript: Coach Hoke post-practice Wed
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