Brady Hoke Opening Statement: "Thanks for coming out. We had a pretty good practice yesterday. We had the first day of school. You worry about how that affects guys, especially your freshmen, getting them to class and making sure they know where they're going….overall putting a plan in. Tuesdays are usually a day that there's a lot of planning. There's a lot of tweaks to the game plan, and sometimes they're not as good as you'd like them to be, but I thought overall as a team, and in the kicking game, and the offense and defense side of it, I think we had a pretty good day. We needed a better day today, obviously, because that improvement daily is very important to us. We've got to have a great practice today."
Question: How can you get better at kick coverage without running it live over and over?
Brady Hoke: "We run it pretty live. We get after it pretty well. I think our guys understand that. I think we looked at some personnel things that we'll continue to look at throughout the rest of the week, building up till Saturday. We go pretty full go."
Question: Do you expect Troy Woolfolk to play on special teams?
Brady Hoke: "I would expect Troy will be healthy. He did more yesterday, really, than I thought he would and the thing I liked about it was Troy wanted to do more. There's been situations I think we've all been in as coaches where some guys who've played football and are older, they may be a little more delicate about when they get back in there, but he jumped right back in, and I was real pleased with the way he approached yesterday."
Question: So he'll he healthy enough that you can use him anywhere?
Brady Hoke: "Oh, sure."
Question: Have you seen the kind of strides in kickoff coverage that you would have wanted to this week?
Brady Hoke: "We work our coverage teams two days a week, and then our return teams on two days a week. I think for the first day, it was good. I think the guys know that we didn't perform like we should. We'll look at some other guys in there a little bit, but I think it was pretty decent yesterday."
Question: Were guys just getting too far outside of their lanes?
Brady Hoke: "We had one situation where two guys kind of ran into each other avoiding. There is a way you want to avoid blocks, and placement of the ball is important when you want to try and kick into the boundary a little bit more. You need to have the ball a little bit more into the boundary. We were folding the guy early in the game, and we quit doing that because of where they wanted to take the football. So I was more pleased yesterday than I was on Saturday."
Question: What about Cam Gordon? Is he healthy, is he still kind of…?
Brady Hoke: "He's still up in the air. I don't talk much about injuries and won't, but he's still up in the air. He did a couple things yesterday, but not near as much as we like."
Question: What do you need to see?
Brady Hoke: "I need to see him go out there and run around and play football today. Because if not, you pretty much got to do some things on Wednesday at a full tilt level, or Saturday you're not going to be effective anyway."
Question: Is that pretty much your policy that they've got to practice Tuesday or Wednesday in order to play?
Brady Hoke: "Yes."
Question: Al Borges talks about how he wants Denard to makes plays, not miracles. With all the hype of this game and at Notre Dame last year where he had 500+ yards where he does not make every play?
Brady Hoke: "That's always a good point. When you have a guy who has a skill set that's pretty special and Denard as he's progressed in the offense and learning it, I think he sees that he doesn't have to be everything. That's an important part. There is a poise and a composure that you want to play with, that you don't want to force things whether from running or throwing it. I think just staying in the framework of what we need our quarterback to do, because he'll make enough things happen during the course of the game that just happen because of that skill set. But he just has to play in the framework of what we're doing offensively."
Question: When he hands off the ball like last week and the running backs are making plays that probably reinforces to him that he can delegate it and guys can make plays?
Brady Hoke: "If our offensive line, and it starts there, can get movement on the line of scrimmage, if our lead blockers, whether it be with an h-back or a u-back or whatever you want to call it or a fullback, can get on guys, and we do a great job down the field with the receivers harassing the secondary then good things will happen. I think that is a big part of what we need."
Question: Jordan Kovacs said yesterday that Daryl Stonum is giving them a good look as Michael Floyd, but he is not Michael Floyd, how do you get a good luck?
Brady Hoke: "Well I don't know. He's pretty daggone good. I would say that the thing about Darryl is that he is a team guy. He has jumped in with both feet, and really done a great job the week before, and right now him and Jerald Robinson are both wearing number three out there, so it gives our guys a good look."
Question: Is that more of a skill versus height thing to where certain plays you'll have Jerald?
Brady Hoke: "Not really. We run enough plays in the switch personnel groups that we call them that they both need a little air now and then."
Question: You and the players have talked about keeping the distractions of all the hype and such apart, is that easier said than done or are you hoping it is especially under the lights, the legacy uniforms and all that?
Brady Hoke: "You're right, I think it is easier said then done. That's our job and the older guys who have played a lot of football and have played in games that are significant, I think that is part of there maturity with the football team in how they lead and how they handle themselves. That's always the best way to lead is by how you handle yourself. I think when you ever get into these kinds of games. It is one of those things that you have to do a good job every day, all talk about distractions and what's important and what's not but so far it has been so good."
Question: What's that important?
Brady Hoke: "Everything external. The internal things are what's important, our plan. How you visualize and prepare yourself this week. How you focus from Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday on what your job is and then how you get yourself mentally ready to play your best football."
Question: Are there ways you're able to simulate environmental even though you're not practicing at night and it is not in front of 115,000?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know if you can really simulate it. Crowd noise and all that kind of stuff is sometimes overblown. We can't obviously put two big boards in our practice fields and I imagine if we wanted to, we could go up there and practice, but we'll do that Friday night. We'll have a little catching punts throwing balls that kind of thing on Friday, which is a little bit different. With an eight o'clock start it is also keeping guys focused in on what's going on."
Question: Does the eight o'clock start make Friday's practice even more important than a noon or 3:30 game?
Brady Hoke: "I think it is probably the same."
Question: On game day can you explain to us what changes from what you did against Western Michigan?
Brady Hoke: "We'll just get them up a little later. Walk through a little bit, maybe have a little film session in there, maybe take a walk around the block, all those kinds of things to get them out and get them walking around."
Question: Is that something to fill time that you normally wouldn't do?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah and you want them to relax and be together to some degree but also relax on their own. At the same time, I think it is important that you don't lay around in the bed all day long and watch football."
Question: Is it weird staying right in the middle of the campus and there is a lot of people around?
Brady Hoke: "Not really. I think most people are respectful for what we're trying to do and if not, we'll tell them."
Question: Before the season Kovacs said that in this new defense he wasn't going to have to make some many tackles and things are going to get funneled to the linebackers but again Saturday he led the team. What more do you want to see from the linebackers?
Brady Hoke: " Well the linebackers and the defensive front, we need to see more disruption up there and guys getting off blocks from the front to start with. I don't think I've made it a secret that I wasn't real happy with how we played there. There's a higher expectation, than obviously your second level guys, the linebackers, they've got to do a great job with their run fits and the different defenses we have. The other part of it is Jordan does a nice job of deducing. He's a smart football player. I think you got to give him some credit for some of his reactions as a football player."
Question: You've been through a couple of scrimmages and all these practices in the spring, but are there things you learned on Saturday about your guys that you didn't know to the way they reacted to circumstances?
Brady Hoke: "That's a good question. I think the tempo early in the game even though we've done that, but it is a little different and I've talked about the kicking game, State Street/Main Street. There is a little bit of difference because there is always some anxiety on your first game day and all that kind of stuff. Some of the communication needs to be a lot better on the defensive side of the ball. I think we've addressed that pretty good, Coach Mattison has because that's kind of where it starts. You got to have somebody making sure everyone knows where the front set and all those things. I think that was a little bit of it early. I think we got through it obviously pretty good, even though drove down and scored the first touchdown. I think the guys reacted pretty good."
Question: What did you lose that you would have liked to have had if had had a fourth quarter?
Brady Hoke: "Well depending on how the game goes, there are some guys maybe you would have loved to get in the football game for experience. I know offensively, just talking to Al a little bit, there's some things that he wanted to look at in a game environment that we didn't get to. I think those two things as much as anything."
Question: Would you have liked to get a field goal attempt?
Brady Hoke: "I like touchdowns. PATs are fine."
Question: How about their quarterback, it looks like their going with Tommy Rees?
Brady Hoke: "You look at the last four games of last year, you look at what he did, he played with a great deal of composure. He has a very good arm. I think his release is good. I think he understands conceptually Brian's offense. Both of them I think are very talented guys. Obviously Brian's going to make decisions that are best for his team, but we have to prepare the same way for both of them."
Question: Al said yesterday that Stephen Hopkins is in the mix, could he conceivably win the starting job this week?
Brady Hoke: "Oh he could. We'll let the week play out. I think he's done a nice job. He did a nice job in fall camp."
Question: Can he play some fullback?
Brady Hoke: "He can play some fullback, can…has."
Question: Toussaint didn't do anything to make that his job?
Brady Hoke: "No, well, I think right now he'd be the guy to start the game."
Question: Did you run more single back than you wanted on Saturday?
Brady Hoke: "I think number one we're trying to get Denard comfortable. I think that always is part of it. Your quarterback, doesn't matter if it's Tom Brady or Denard Robinson, you want guys to be comfortable because that position specifically is so important to your football team. We may have gotten a little more into the two-back stuff as the game progressed."
Question: In the spring you were pretty adamant that you're a shorts guy and you wore pants on Saturday?
Brady Hoke: "(Laughter) I think I probably have to. Believe me, I'd wear shorts in a heartbeat."
Question: Did the boss (Dave Brandon) tell you that?
Brady Hoke: "No, I think it probably just comes with the territory."
Question: So pants from now on?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah game day, not practice."
Question: A lot was made of Brian Kelly's on field demeanor last Saturday and he addressed it yesterday in his press conference. He said he has to remember that TV cameras are on you. Are you aware of how you need to behave?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know… you don't think of that. Every guy's different. That's what makes you all different. You all have different questions, you all have different slants in what you look at, and so I mean, everybody does some stuff differently. I know I look real big on HD (laughter), but my whole point is you're coaching kids. You're trying to help them so that they're going to make the improvements in fundamentals, techniques, recognition, sometimes it maybe a mentality you're expecting them to play with."
Question: You are in a difference place, you've got more eyes on you than ever but you try to ignore that?
Brady Hoke: "It's not about me, it's about those kids. I'm going to coach."
Question: Kelly said you guys have a similar paths, you have been on a lot of similar levels working your way up, have you guys ever had much interaction?
Brady Hoke: " Yeah when he was in the MAC at Central Michigan he beat us three times."
Question: He's an offense guy and you're a defense guy, so not really?
Brady Hoke: "League meetings, those kind of things. I've got a lot of respect for Brian. He's a good coach. He was at Grand Valley and did a great job there and Cincinnati and Central. We talk lets put it that way. I don't talk to a whole lot of people period."
Question: When was the last time you did talk to him, when that was when he left the MAC?
Brady Hoke: "No. I'm sure it has been some time."
Full Transcript: Coach Hoke midweek
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