Brady Hoke Opening Statement: "We've got a lot of work, and I've said that before, and you guys all say, yeah, right, but I think you know when you see it out there, we have a lot of work to do as a football team. Tuesday, yesterday, was an okay day. I didn't think it was a great day. A lot of that is the mental things of game planning. It always seems to happen that way. Every Tuesday is not near as good as Wednesday and not near as good as Thursday, because you tweak your plan a little bit. Both sides of the game and kicking game, you need to have something that your kids, number one, can execute obviously and perform well, but at the same time, you want to take advantage of some things that you want to from your opponent in how you're going to attack them on either side of the ball or kicking game. Eastern Michigan is a very good football team. When I say that and they're 2-0 and all that, I'm talking about how they play the game. You can tell Ron (English) has done a great job in his footprint on that program. I've known Ron for a number of years, and his toughness that they want to have as a team is evident. You look at 331 yards per game; I know they've only played two games. I don't care who you're rushing the ball, if you're averaging that, that's pretty significant. So they're blocking pretty well up front. There are a number of guys who have spent time here in Ann Arbor on that staff who are very good coaches and guys who understand and have a philosophy on how you play the game of football. We've got a lot of work ahead of us. We've got to play much better. We have to have some improvement as a team if we want to reach our goals. So believe me, we've got full attention on what Eastern Michigan does."
Question: Now that you're in week three and you're kind of in the football season, the team. What is a typical practice like? How often are you in position drills, how often are you scrimmaging?
Brady Hoke: "Tuesday and Wednesday are big work days. I mean big physical days and we're going to compete against each other in some of the drills because of the speed and the look that you want. You break up part of practice to switch personnel so you can get a look at the plays that you have to defend or the defenses that you want to try and have to block. The kicking part of it. We do coverage teams on Tuesday, return teams on Wednesday, and do them both on Thursday. All those things, as you look at your opponent, you're trying to put the best plan together."
Question: The fact that Eastern does put some emphasis on the run does that help you shore up some things up front that you haven't seen in the first two weeks?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know if it helps. I think they're very good with formations. I think they leverage defenses pretty well. I think to some degree, window dressing wise off the jet series that they want to give you a little bit confused. I think they do a nice job in and out of personnels and formations to leverage a defense. It all goes back to the same thing on defense; you have to play with your eyes, and you have to make sure you're honed in on what that key is, that visual key at every position so you can react in the proper manner."
Question: Has Cam Gordon practiced this week and what's his status?
Brady Hoke: "He practiced yesterday, ran around some, did some things. My biggest concern right now for him is his conditioning level because he's missed a lot of time. I think we'll get through that, but right now he's available."
Question: People talk about the most improvement coming between week one and week two; where did you see the most or is that cliché?
Brady Hoke: "I think there's a lot of truth to that, and then you've got to continue…to be championship teams, you've got to continue every week. A lot of that comes from the mental process of how you prepare, and that's what we as a team have to do a good job of…the way we prepare every week. I think we did some good things on third downs in the second half from a defensive standpoint. I thought we adjusted well offensively at halftime. When you look at some of the runs Denard had, and how Al (Borges) changed up some blocking offensively to expose it a little more and help it. So there was good reaction from what Notre Dame was doing. I thought that was a good part. I think kickoff coverage was good. That part of it was good."
Question: Do you expect to get Fitzgerald Toussaint back in the mix this week?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah he should be. He did everything yesterday, so we hope to."
Question: Yesterday I mentioned the running back stat line to Taylor Lewan and he said that really made him mad. What does the offensive line have to do to find more consistency to build more of a run game?
Brady Hoke: "You have to be better at the point of attack. You have to finish if you're combination blocking, make sure you're getting up to the next level, make sure that we're getting the movement that you want on the line of scrimmage. There are multiple things, because then your perimeter people you have to count on harassing the guys in the secondary so your bigger plays can come from that. I think Taylor and all those guys have a lot of pride, and it's good to hear that."
Question: Do you think Fitz made that much of a difference rushing well in the first game versus not rushing?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know. I couldn't tell you that. I think we have to block better. I think that's where the game starts. It's like everything else, i's all of us, coaches, players, and everybody."
Question: Ricky Barnum made the start at left guard, is there more competition now still with him and Michael Schofield?
Brady Hoke: "I think Ricky has probably cemented himself decently to some degree in there, but if he practices badly or plays badly, then it's nice to have a little bit of an option with Mike."
Question: You given any thought to the fact that Saturday is you 100th game as a coach?
Brady Hoke: "No."
Question: So it doesn't mean anything to you?
Brady Hoke: "Not really."
Question: You referenced a little bit of improvement on third down stops. The overall number is not very good yet, is there a common theme or two that has happened on those plays?
Brady Hoke: "A couple things, I think number one, we've got to challenge a little more in the back end. That would be first. We let some runs that were, I think there were one, two, three runs on third downs that broke because of one reason or another that we've got to execute a little better."
Question: Mike Hart is going to be on the opposite sideline, do you have a relationship with him?
Brady Hoke: "I know Mike. Obviously, I wasn't here when Mike was here, but I have a lot of respect for Mike, and what he did for Michigan. I know him well enough. He's a good man, and I like the heck out of him."
Question: If the opportunity ever arose would you welcome him back to Michigan?
Brady Hoke: "I think all of those guys are welcome back."
Question: When you have a noon game and you are able to do everything that you need to do post game and clear out of here, is the rest of that night spent looking at other teams or teams that you might play down the road?
Brady Hoke: "Well, I'll take the laptop home and first thing I'll do is watch what we did, and then there's usually next opponents on there game wise, and may look at that a little bit."
Question: Greg said yesterday that Will Campbell would probably get more playing time, is that your impression?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah, I thought in fact I asked him, I guess I'm a little naïve. I said, is that the most you've ever played? and he said, yes,' and I said, really? I guess I should have known that. He did some good things in there. I think he's gaining a little bit more confidence. He is a guy that can help us an awful lot if we can get the consistency and the improvement."
Question: The fact that he hasn't played as much as he expected or hoped, has that lit a fire under him in practice?
Brady Hoke: "I think we all get to a point that he's settled in a position, number one, and I think that helps on a daily basis on what you do from a fundamental and technique side. I think that part of it is real positive for our football team, and positive for him."
Question: How is troy is he going to be limited this week in practice?
Brady Hoke: "No. He did everything yesterday. I really like where he's at in a mental state right now."
Question: Obviously Michael Floyd got his yards but looking back, J.T. Floyd kind of had him one on one in several instances and did a really nice job considering who he was up against, what did you see from JT?
Brady Hoke: "I think JT's improved. I think he's got a long way to go, but I think he's done some things better. I think he has the confidence level you want to have as a corner, without being too cocky. I think that's an important part of it. There's a lot of plays in there where he's got to play a little better, too."
Question: Can you talk about he depth of the linebacker position?
Brady Hoke: "I think with Mike Jones, and (Brandin) Hawthorne being healthy, (JB) Fitzgerald and Desmond (Morgan) being healthier than he was week one, that helps. Brandin's still trying to get himself back. Cam, we've talked about, he's an outside linebacker. Kenny's done a pretty good job. I would say we're okay. We're not the deepest group anywhere, to be honest with you."
Question: Speaking of the WILL specifically, you played Brandon Herron and Mike Jones the first game, you played Morgan and Hawthorne the second game. Obviously Herron is injured, but how much of that rotation is just trying to find…?
Brady Hoke: "Some of that depends on what defense you're in. If you're in a nickel or dime package, who's out on the field, or if you're in our base package. So with what Western Michigan wanted to do, it was more of a nickel/dime kind of setup and with these guys (Eastern Michigan) obviously they will get in some four wide and those kinds of things, but when you're rushing the ball for 331 yards a game out of two base personnel groups, you'll be a little more with your base defense."
Question: Does it help having stability in the middle with Kenny Demens?
Brady Hoke: "I think it always does. You have a guy who has experience, you have a guy who's pretty sharp when it comes to making the calls, setting the front, and adjusting at that level, so yeah. Kenny does a good job, and JB does a good job when he's in."
Question: Are you still considering playing your freshman running backs?
Brady Hoke: "Maybe."
Question: What will that depend on, their progression?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah. It always depend on how fast they learn, maturity-wise, and all those things."
Question: Have they caught up since missing a couple of weeks early?
Brady Hoke: "I think they're okay. Depending on where we get, they may play."
Question: Your not going to take a knee on third down just so you can kick a field goal but how important is it to get a couple of attempts in the next couple of days before you get into the meat of the schedule?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know if it is as important as we all may think. We're kicking every day. He's going up to the stadium every day. He's shown good consistency. We've come at him every day. We've put pressure on him and I think right now he's hitting the ball right now."
Question: When you say he, you mean Brendon Gibbons?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah."
Question: Is that still really one of those things you're really never going to know though until he gets into a situation?
Brady Hoke: "It is like anything else in life, I don't know what's going to happen ten minutes from now. I don't worry about that."
Question: It looked like Matt Wile was taking a few practice goes during the game when it looked like maybe a field goal attempt would have been a little longer. Is that still a situation where if it is a little longer?
Brady Hoke: "Yeah I would say so. Yeah I would say either him or (Kris) Pauloski. Either one of those two guys, they seem to have a little bit stronger leg."
Question: How were they mentally yesterday or did you have to remind them that last Saturday was over?
Brady Hoke: "They were pretty good that way. I think you're Tuesday no matter what because of a couple wrinkles here or there, and they are students also, so they come in here and they have to focus on this part of it now, and some do a better job than others."
Question: Have you given any scholarships to guys who are walk-ons?
Brady Hoke: "I don't think so. I think we've renewed some that were given a year ago."
Question: No one new?
Brady Hoke: "No."
Question: What have you seen from the true freshman backs that you like the best?
Brady Hoke: "I think Rawls is a strong runner, he's got good vision and pretty good balance. He's got a pretty good burst. Justice (Hayes) is a guy who's got great quickness, catches the ball well. He's doing a lot of things for us now on our look teams, sometimes lining up as a wide out, just because of numbers, and he's maturing."
Question: What about Vince? What does he bring to you especially in pass protection?
Brady Hoke: "He's tough. He knows what he's doing. He's tough. He's not afraid to put his face on somebody, and he's good out of the backfield. (He) catches the ball well. I like that little guy."
Question: In terms of potential redshirting, you probably have to think about those things in the next couple of weeks whether your going to play a guy, does that go into some of your thoughts?
Brady Hoke: "You know, not really. We're not going to be afraid to play a freshman, obviously. The best players going to play because they're still learning to some degree, but from the fundamentals standpoints, if they're the best, they'll play."
Question: How do you get more out of your kick return game?
Brady Hoke: "Got to block better. The punt return that (Jeremy) Gallon had the other night was huge, when you look at field position. But on the kickoffs, we have to do a better job of picking guys up. I think our vision was okay back there as far as the return part of it. We just have to be more consistent staying on guys longer."
Question: Is Blake Countess putting himself in a position where he might be able to help you at some point?
Brady Hoke: "I think so. I think he will."
Full Transcript: Coach Hoke midweek
The Michigan Insider Top Stories
Michigan announces hire of Mel PearsonPearson spent 23 years as an assistant coach under Red Berenson.
The Michigan Insider10:15 AM
Dorian Thompson-Robinson picks UCLA over U-MThe 2018 four-star quarterback announced on Sunday that he has committed to UCLA over the Wolverines.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 7:21 PM
Report: Pearson to be named U-M hockey coachRed Berenson's reported successor doesn't fall far from the coaching tree.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 3:46 PM
Speight connects with refugees in RomeMeeting with refugees from war-torn countries puts life into perspective for Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight.
The Michigan InsiderYesterday at 9:56 AM