Full Transcript: Coach Hoke Postgame

Coach Hok talks about Denard's performance running and passing, Thomas Gordon, Vincent Smith, the slow starts, defensive and offensive adjustments, more.

Question: Can you talk about the development of this game and how it turned into running Denard Robinson 25 times, I'm sure that was not the strategy going into it.

Brady Hoke: "No. We don't want him to get beat up. We're going to play in a pretty physical league and so we have to make sure that we have to make sure we get other ways. I thought Vince Smith and those guys did a nice job. Vince and Toussaint did a good job of running the football, but it takes a toll on your body and he's not the biggest guy in the world."

Question: How much of your defensive struggles early were them showing you something that you hadn't seen or how much of that was them winning in the trenches?

Brady Hoke: "I think it was more the jet series sweep, which is part of their offense. It hasn't been a huge part depending on different things that you watch game wise. I thought that really was where they hurt us early in the football game but after I think the guys settled down and kind of got used to where they were trying leverage you and I thought they played pretty well."

Question: All the conversation of the lead back was usually Fitz (Toussaint) and (Michael) Shaw before this game, can Vince Smith be that lead back and how do you think he ran today?

Brady Hoke: "He ran the ball pretty well today. I until you analyze it, look at it, and really evaluated it, I would hate to say that."

Question: Thomas Gordon made two big plays for you early in the game, talk about the fumble recovery and interception.

Brady Hoke: "Thomas has had a really good summer. It starts there with what he did with his weight and how he reported to camp. Then I think his attitude and Michigan football being important to him and his teammates being important. Just the way he has come to practice every day. I'm really proud of him for doing those things. It is paying off for him and paying off for us."

Question: The team seemed flat early, did they seem flat to you or did they just out execute you?

Brady Hoke: "No. They're good coaches too. I think they had a good plan. I think a lot of the movement and some of those things they are a little bit unconventional as it is from that standpoint. I thought they did a good job."

Question: Is maybe the best way to not beat Denard up is for him to complete some passes and get going that way and what can you do to get the passing going?

Brady Hoke: "I think we just got to be better with our feet. Setting our feet on some throws that's usually where it starts with a quarterback. We need to do a better job there. It would have helped obviously with some possessions early in the ball game. If we make a couple of first downs."

Question: This is the third game that you've started kind of slow on the defensive side, is there a way to combat that?

Brady Hoke: "If there was I think we would have tried to do that. We just got to execute better some thing. There is not a real answer to it besides we got to keep working on it and we've got to play hard with it. Guys got to do a great job in practice, which they have. I think that part of our team has really made some good strides. It's coming along."

Question: Can you talk about the in game adjustments that you've been able to make to kind of shore up the defense?

Brady Hoke: "I think you always have the things that you want to run from a defensive perspective and there is also things that may be on the fringe that okay let us do that. We were pretty vanilla and pretty base to be honest with you today. There were a couple movements that I thought Greg Mattison called that really helped us. A couple of adjustments coverage wise that really helped us, more on the run support than on the actual coverage."

Question: Up 28-3 pretty late in the game did you think about giving Devin Gardner that series previous instead of putting Denard out there?

Brady Hoke: "No not really. I've been around this game a long time and I never feel real comfortable until it is :00 on the clock. We wanted to go down and put the ball in the end zone and unfortunately we didn't."

Question: How do you feel like front four performed?

Brady Hoke: "I felt them a little more this week. I felt Mike (Martin), I felt Craig (Roh) and Ryan (Van Bergen). I felt those three guys more than I have."

Question: You downplayed it a little earlier in the week, but is there anything to (Brendon) Gibbons being able to get out there in front of this crowd and kick a field goal?

Brady Hoke: "That might be a better question for him. I don't think so. I think the way he has kicked during camp either up here or down at the practice fields, putting some pressure on him and all that, he's been pretty dang on consistent."

Question: For your running game, what was it that kind of clicking for you and obviously you just talked for a moment about Vincent Smith but how big was it to have someone like that complemented Denard today?

Brady Hoke: "That's huge. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that's it not. The offensive staff came in at halftime said this is what we like and this is how we out to align ‘formationally' and this is how we probably need to tweak the blocking of it. It went pretty well. Vince did a nice job. He made one more cut too many on one run, but he really did a nice job with his vision and I thought Fitz did also."

Question: When you can get a tailback going whether it be Vince, Fitz or anybody like that, what does that do for the confidence of the unit as a whole?

Brady Hoke: "I think they are all very competitive and I also think they all want to play, but I also think they are very supportive of each other."

Question: You highlighted a couple of guys on the defensive line but Jibreel Black really seemed to make a difference out there, what did you see from him?

Brady Hoke: "I think Jibreel has played pretty consistent the last two games. I just didn't feel him as much as I felt those other guys."

Question: Another game, another big play by Jordan Kovacs, can you talk about how he came around the end on that fourth and one and got the legs.

Brady Hoke: "It was a man coverage situation and he was locked on that guy and he did a tremendous job of beating that guy to the edge to be honest with you and that's something that Curt Mallory has worked with those guys all weekend."

Question: Off to a 3-0 start, the team started 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 the last two years as well, is there any sense of you guys trying to temper the excitement and kind remind the team; do you feel the need to that that this is early and conference is still a long ways off?

Brady Hoke: "Tougher opponents, I think they're all tough, believe me. College football, they're all tough, every game. It is such a from the neck up football game. We're a different team. Yeah we've been there, but we've got to improve so much tomorrow. When we look at the film and see if maybe we got out leveraged here on this and why and there is some urgency things when you're setting a front and guys get lined up and all those things, not to get technical stuff, but we've got to go to work. I'm not the funniest guy in the world like I am today, but Sunday and Friday, we've got work to do."

Question: Second week in a row that Jeremy Gallon has made some nice plays for you, the punt return gets called back, but just talk about his development in general.

Brady Hoke: "He's another one of those guys that really you can sense some things in his demeanor, changing in the spring and then he had a very good summer, good fall camp. He's earning respect because of how he's coming to work, how he's playing."

Question: Obviously Denard has a had a little bit of a struggle in the passing game, what do you want to see from the receivers to kind of help him out a little bit in that area?

Brady Hoke: "The one interception that was kind of a bang-bang deal. I think Junior (Hemingway) and I talked about if he comes back a little bit more he may have bodied the guy better and been in a better position, but I think we're pleased with our quarterback and I'm glad he's at Michigan."

Question: You talked about Denard a little earlier about getting his feet set. He had a couple of passes where he did set his feet…how hard is it to get a guy who is so good with his feet moving to set it? Is that part of the problem?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah I think it always is. I think when you've got a guy who can make multiple plays because of his athleticism, there is no doubt it is a little more difficult. He's done a nice job. We just got to keep working and he's got to keep working on it and focusing and concentrating on that improvement in his game."

Question: Do you see Brandon Herron and Cam Gordon getting closer to getting some time?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah Cam is real close and so is Herron. I would think they'd both be ready next week."

Question: We didn't see a lot of power runs today, a lot of spread option and last week a lot out of the shotgun. Is this more so by design that you're playing less than what Al Borges is used or playing more to Denard's strength?

Brady Hoke: "It is kind of what we've been since we started in the spring to be honest with you. The quarterback power is still the power play. The read zone a little bit and a couple of things on how we're blocking that a little different depending on front. I think when we got in I backs today and Phil Snow is a tremendous defensive coordinator, the guy has got a tremendous pedigree, but he was going to load the box and that's when we had a couple of opportunities with some throws because it is all man coverage, you connect on those and the game changes a little bit."

Question: You're thoughts on the next game?

Brady Hoke: "The guy from San Diego would ask that wouldn't he (laughter). We got our hands full. That's a very good football team, a well coached football team and a talented team. We're going to try and get by the next 12 hours and then focus on that one."

Question: Are you glad you scheduled it?

Brady Hoke: "Uhhh, no (laughter)."

Question: The last couple of weeks we've been asking you about Craig Roh and if he is playing better than his statistics. He had five tackles and a sack today, what is it going to do for him to have that kind of performance and how did you think he played?

Brady Hoke: "I thought he played more physical today. I thought he played with a little bit of in my opinion different mentality and he was aggressive. You can really tell how he prepared all week that he was going to do a great job for us today."

Question: I noticed that Michael Schofield made an appearance in the second half, was that something that Ricky Barnum had an equipment problem?

Brady Hoke: "It was a shoe. His shoe came off. He's got big feet and to get a big shoe on a big foot, sometimes it takes time."

Question: The way you guys end the game doesn't seem to always be the way you start the game either offensively or defensively is that adjusting or is that the evolution of melding different types of systems?

Brady Hoke: "I think it is a little bit of both. I think both units, offensively and defensively and their perspective coaches do a tremendous job of gathering information during possessions in the first half and then coming in there as a group in each other's room and taking some things out, putting some things in, making adjustments and then relaying it and teaching it to the kids so they understand it. We can understand all we want to understand, but I'm going to tell you that doesn't do us any good. If they understand it then you're going to make progress."

Question: With Denard when he's struggling passing do you guys actively try to give him more carries to try and get him into a rhythm?

Brady Hoke: "I don't know if we do that. I think your comfort level that you always want your quarterback to have is important because him and the center are the only two guys that are going to touch the ball every play. Again, Al looked at where we were and what we needed to do and because we have worked on both styles so much it is easy to revert back and forth."

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