Wed Brady Hoke Presser - Full Transcript

Hoke talks about what they expect from MSU ... and about Mike Martin, Blake Countess, Cam Gordon, trick plays, and Denard's excitability.

Coach Hoke Opening remarks: "We had a pretty good day yesterday. You like the energy and how they competed practice-wise. Lot of things we need to clean up from a fundamental, assignment, and technique and those kinds of things, from playing a little tighter and little more competitive on their receivers. Their three-step game is a pretty integral part of what they do offensively, so that's got to be part of where we need to be…good tacklers there, guys breaking on the ball, and being disciplined with our eyes. I think that's going to be an issue during the football game."

Question: I think it was Jerell Worthy said he had scouted Michigan's tendencies for the past three years to a science. Do you guys have a group that look at your own tendencies to make sure that doesn't happen?

Coach Hoke: "Yeah I think Al and Greg both do a good job of looking every week, after a football game. At what we called and when we called it. I think we're creatures of habit to some degree in how we look at different personnel groups on both sides, how you formationally run a route or combination of routes and good football teams do that. Coach who really look at it when your talking about your opponent, Mark (Dantonio) has got a really good staff. They're good coaches, so I'm sure they've dissected this thing every which way you can."

Question: Do you see similarities in how to stop BJ Cunningham to what they were to stopping Michael Floyd from Notre Dame?

Coach Hoke: "Yeah. I think the difference to some degree is that they've got some other guys and their tight ends and using their tight ends and the fullback out of the backfield when they're in two back sets. The play-action there where they are really going to force you, max protect with it and make it a two or three many route, run the boots. BJ, he's a dangerous guy and Martin is a dangerous guy."

Question: Didn't you say before that you don't do a whole lot with simulating crowd noise in practice?

Coach Hoke: "Correct."

Question: Is the system that you use such that it is not that big of a concern?

Coach Hoke: "Correct. We talk about it every week. I want to make sure we're dotting the I's and crossing the T's. I think the way Al's system is set up and the communication part of it, he feels pretty comfortable with what we have."

Question: Michigan State's rushing numbers are not the same this year as they were last year. Obviously, they were a big rushing team last year, very successful, can you see a difference of what they are doing?

Coach Hoke: "I didn't watch last year's tape and they are two different teams. From a configuration of your defense schematically, it is different to maybe what guys are being taught from a technique and fundamental standpoint. That happens from defense to defense, coach to coach."

Question: I'm talking Michigan State and their rushing game.

Coach Hoke: "Oh I got you.

Question: Have you seen a difference in what they try to run?

Coach Hoke: "No, no not really. They're going to be physical up front. They're going to run the power. They're going to run the outside stretch play. They're going to run the inside zone. They're going to combination block at the point of attack. They have big tight ends, so the C-gap run game is pretty good for them. They do a nice job of zoning off and the combination on the stretch play. The three backs are all really capable of hurting you."

Question: What's Barnum's status?

Coach Hoke: "He practiced yesterday and he'll practice today."

Question: Brandon Herron didn't travel last Saturday, where's he at right now?

Coach Hoke: "He's on our football team, and he'll practice again today like he did yesterday."

Question: Why didn't he travel last week?

Coach Hoke: "He, uh, got hurt."

Question: With their running game, you went through the motion, the power play and all that, it sounds a lot like what you guys do. How prepared are you in defending that?

Coach Hoke: "Everyone has a little bit of their different intricacies to it. How you're going to handle the five, how you're going to course of the back, even from the quarterback's action and all that kind of stuff. It's good that we see those blocks, but there's different guys blocking you."

Question: You talk about this being a physical game, how much of the best does that bring out of your defense, especially up front?

Coach Hoke: "Well, we're going to find out. It's always been a physical game. It's a game where both teams take a lot of pride in how well their fronts play on both sides and the physicalness that they'll come off the ball with. The way that they want to possess the ball, you know all those things are part of it."

Question: This is about the latest you've played them in recent history. In 2009, it was the fifth game, 2010, it was the sixth and now it is the seventh; how much does that one or two week cushion later in the schedule prepare you guys?

Coach Hoke: "I have no clue, to be honest with you. I think the last time that I was on a team that played them, it seemed like it was this time of year, so I don't know if it makes any difference."

Question: You've played rivals before, is it better to play them early in the year versus end of the year?

Coach Hoke: "I don't think it really matters much."

Question: You want every week of practice to be intense, but in your experience is this week of playing Michigan State a little bit different?

Coach Hoke: "I think it always has been. We have three rivalry games that we're fortunate to have, but I think this one and the one at the end of the year are both ones that usually don't have to do a whole lot of motivating."

Question: We've talked about how Denard Robinson gets excitable before games, particularly the Notre Dame game and this past game. Can you tell just in his demeanor before the game and the way he is throwing the ball, the way he's bouncing around that it is different than maybe how he played against Minnesota?

Coach Hoke: "No I think he gets excited for every game. I sit with him at breakfast and you look at his mannerisms and his focus and all those things. He loves to play the game of football."

Question: How much has the secondary improved from the beginning of the season?

Coach Hoke: "I think we've improved some. I don't think we're near playing as well as we need to. From supporting the run, supporting the bubble screen, getting off blocks to where our eyes and our discipline on alignments and discipline on assignments and keys. I think Curt (Mallory) has done a good job with them, but we are a long way from being a good secondary."

Question: What have you seen from J.T. Floyd this year?

Coach Hoke: "I've seen some consistency, a little more consistency, but at the same time, I think he's got to show that more consistently."

Question: Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon are different players and different skill set at that position has that kind of changed the way you planned to play defense this year?

Coach Hoke: "Not really. They are different to some degree, but Cam being banged up a little bit hasn't helped his development like you'd like to see. He's put on some weight, and he had gotten a little stronger, all those things that you need for the physicalness of the position. I don't know if it's fair for me to judge one or the other right now. Obviously, they are different, but at the same time, they both have the skill set to play the position."

Question: Is Cam healthy enough to play at this point and at what point do you start maybe looking at if there a point of maybe holding him out for the whole year?

Coach Hoke: "He practiced pretty well yesterday. I think the more he does, the better he'll get."

Question: What is your philosophy on that…when a guy is going to be an impact player and doesn't seem to be able to do what he is able to do?

Coach Hoke: "Well, get him healthy first for his own safety. The worst thing we can do is put a guy out there who's not ready because that's not being accountable to this program and this team, and it's not being accountable to him when you look at where he is healthwise."

Question: How does Spartan Stadium rank in terms of hostile environments that you've been in?

Coach Hoke: "I think it's a great atmosphere. I think they're very passionate about their team, so personally I think it's a great environment. I can't rank any of them, but I think it's a neat place to play."

Question: Because it is so physical and the running game is so important, do you guys tend to rotate maybe more up front because of the intensity and physicality?

Coach Hoke: "I don't think so. I think we'll kind of stay with what we've been doing. It was a little trickier last week because of some of the tempo things, but I thought Jerry Montgomery did a nice job getting guys in and out. I think we'll probably stay how we are."

Question: How big was second half for Jake Ryan to be put back in that position and make some plays like he did?

Coach Hoke: "Well it always helps your confidence, and probably as much as anything, the experience of playing plays…other than your look team. You've got different colored jerseys that are playing plays, and probably the speed of the game being higher, so it's good for him to get those looks. Those keys from that look…I know what I'm saying. You don't. I think it is always beneficial to get that kind of experience out on the field in a game situation."

Question: Can you talk about the decision to change the jerseys after halftime?

Coach Hoke: "They were pulling a little bit, and we'll always have another set that will be a little tighter. If you're a defensive lineman particularly, you like to….you see how tight this is on me, maybe I should get another, you want to have a tight fit on you so people don't get greedy with their hands."

Question: So was there a concern about holding?

Coach Hoke: "We hold. They hold. They all hold. It's football. We just have got to fight…the way you get holding penalties is you fight and compete off blocks."

Question: Are you going to keep wearing those jerseys?

Coach Hoke: "I don't know. That's a good question for big Jonny."

Question: How has Mike Martin been grading out when you go back and look at the tapes?

Coach Hoke: "I think the last three weeks he's played very well. I think he's playing more physical at the point of attack. I think he's reacting to blocks better, more consistent. We still have to finish plays more, clean up hits and those kinds of things."

Question: What went wrong on the field goal?

Coach Hoke: "We got pushed back a little bit over the guard. When people put two or three guys in there, it takes a man to play that position. We practiced the heck out of it, and I get scared we're going to get somebody hurt when you do it, but the only way they're going to do it right is to practice it. We just got too much penetration."

Question: Is that the edge of Brendan Gibbons' range?

Coach Hoke: "I don't know what it was.

Question: 47 yards?

Coach Hoke: "Nah, he's probably little stronger than that. He's hit some balls in practice out there outside and inside. I think 55 or something like that, with a little bit of distance to it."

Question: So has he supplanted Matt Wile as the long field goal kicker?

Coach Hoke: "I don't know. I know we have a lot of faith in Brendan right now."

Question: You talked in your opening about needing to be more aggressive with the cornerbacks, a couple of teams have had some success with quick outs and quick slants, with a secondary that is still learning, how do you defend that?

Coach Hoke: "You show it to them. You show it them. You talk about their technique and their hips and if they're keeping their feet under their hips, not opening up. There's a lot of technique, and you can't defend all of those. That's just part of you playing cover-3 that's the weakness to the defense. Cover-2 takes it away. Quarters, you got to be a pretty good man player. Cover-6, you're good one side, you're not as good the other side. Five you're alright. It's just the technique and fundamentals you have to have, and there's always a confidence to it."

Question: Have you been happy with progression of corners as man-to-man defenders?

Coach Hoke: "Every day's different."

Question: Cornerbacks using their eyes, Thomas Gordon mentioned the other day that Blake Countess has great eyes for a freshman; what does he mean?

Coach Hoke: "What he's looking at, what he's supposed to look at. Everybody has to play that way from Mike Martin…because you play the game with your eyes, your face, hands and feet. It doesn't matter. That's how you have to play defense and he's disciplined. The two things that you'll find with secondary's is guys who have bad eye discipline and feet discipline, they're not going to be as good as players. He instinctively does a good job."

Question: I asked Greg yesterday about the seniors going into this game 0-3 against Michigan State. He said you look in their eyes this week and he wants to do a better job coaching, is that something that you think about?

Coach Hoke: "Yeah, we talk about it as a staff. We're here at Michigan for those kids and no other reason and to help those kids. From the academic to the community and social and all that, to how we play football and how we represent Michigan. Yeah, that's important."

Question: Can you prepare for trick plays, Michigan State has often unleashed?

Coach Hoke: "Getting back to what Tim and I were talking about, your eye discipline is going to help you defend those plays. There's always some that are very unique that you may run into now and then, but if you're disciplined with what your job is and your eyes, then you'll do a pretty good job."

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