Brady Hoke: "As a football team, I think we did a nice job of complementing each other tonight and facing some adversity on the road, being down ten. We talked at halftime…we had three penalties in the first half, three interceptions so we weren't playing Michigan football and we needed to play Michigan football. We weren't getting off blocks defensively and believe me, give Northwestern a lot of credit because they are a well coached, tough-minded, physical football team. I just really liked how are team respects each other and how they'll play for each other."
Question: Can you talk about how Denard Robinson settled down from one half to the next?
Brady Hoke: "He's a competitor and he's a sharp guy. He's tremendous energy and leader on our team. I think him and Al (Borges) talked a little bit and talked about what we wanted to do offensively and again, you go back to make sure of our fundamentals and techniques. The same thing with getting off blocks. That's all we talked about, fundamentals and techniques and doing it better."
Question: You're not a stat guy but 14 out of 17 on third downs….?
Brady Hoke: "You have possession. I don't know what time of possession was, but the third quarter our offense had the ball a while and the defense did a pretty good job of getting the ball back a couple of times also."
Question: What changed with your defense in the second half?
Brady Hoke: "What changed? We went to a bigger group. We were using some nickel package sub groups and put Jake Ryan back out as a SAM. Where a bigger body guy could engage the receivers out there and maybe make something happen. I think the first option they ran in the second half, he made the play. He got off the block and made the play. I think that was part of it. We went a little more simplistic to be honest with you, which as coaches, if we know, it doesn't matter if they know it and they play it well and they're used to playing it. They did a good job with it."
Question: The stop on fourth and inches, how big of a turning point was that?
Brady Hoke: "I think those peak and valleys in a football game. To gain some momentum there I thought was huge for us."
Question: How do you think you guys responded to playing on the road for the first time?
Brady Hoke: "If you had asked me at halftime, I'd have said probably not every well. I think our guys did a nice job of staying focused during the trip and not letting anything distract them coming into a different stadium and all those things. I think they did okay."
Question: Was there things that Junior Hemingway was doing to be in position to make those big plays?
Brady Hoke: "I think some of that is the route progression that we ran for him and when you're looking at what they're trying to do from a defensive perspective. The other part of is that Junior is a big guy. He can body DBs pretty well because he's a big guy. We call him an offensive guard sometimes. He's a big guy. He goes up with his hands well. He competes for the ball."
Question: Can you talk about getting Roy Roundtree more involved?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know if we purposely try to get one receiver more involved than another, but it was some things that Roy was able to get loose and Denard made some good throws."
Question: Dan Persa got his yards but you were able to keep him out of the end zone. How were you able to do that?
Brady Hoke: "We talk a lot about red zone defense and keeping people out of the end zone. I think Dan Persa, #1 is a tough guy and #2, I think he is a smart guy, #3, he is an unbelievable competitor. You knew that he was going to get some of his…you don't want to give up the big ones. We gave a couple of big ones up. One in the throw game and one run that was bigger than we'd like to. The scrambles and those kinds of things, that's going to happen. You just hope that you get to hit him enough and contain him to some degree."
Question: What was the difference between Denard's good throws he made throwing to Hemingway and (Jeremy) Gallon and the interceptions he threw and do you consider this game a step forward for him?
Brady Hoke: "I don't know if I can tell you what the difference in the throws were besides they caught them in the first half and we caught them in the second half. Until you look at the tape and really see it and try to see it. I'm sure that Al and him have had this conversation. What did you see? What did you actually see and I'm sure that Al coached him up after that."
Question: How much of your defensive changes were towards stopping the option?
Brady Hoke: "The option was their big run play that was hitting us – the bubble and the option and on the perimeter. We were playing man coverage a lot and when you play man coverage you have to be able to get off blocks and your safety has got to run the alley and we overran two of them early in the game. The safety did and that…you overreact sometimes as coaches because, oh man, they're killing us, killing us, killing us, but I think we made some nice adjustments."
Question: What was Denard that he had to leave those few plays?
Brady Hoke: "He had a little boo-boo on his non throwing hand."
Question: How do you think Devin Gardener responded to being out there?
Brady Hoke: "Good. I was glad to see Devin be very quarterback like."
Question: How much do you think the tempo bothered you initially?
Brady Hoke: "I don't think it did. Our guys were pretty much ready for it. There was one play where we weren't set, the communication wasn't as good as it should have been but they really were prepared mentally to be in that situation. You try and mimic it the best you can in practice, but it's hard to do."
Question: When do you start getting ready for the next one?
Brady Hoke: "Tomorrow's Sunday, right?"
Question: What was the key to shutting down Northwestern's offense in the second half?
Brady Hoke: "I think our offense helped us when they possessed the ball and if you look at the time of possession, which I'm saying something I really don't know, but it seemed like it. We were possessing the ball better so our defense was off the field. We play good defense when we're off the field. I think the first series, the guys went out with a purpose. I think we got a little more pressure, either four man or a fifth guy coming. I thought we did a better job of getting off blocks."
Postgame Full Transcript: Coach Hoke
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