Full Transcript: Hoke Remains Stoic

Coach Hoke fields lots of questions about the dirty play of the Spartans, about the 4th and one call ... and about Denard's passing ... he is asked again and again.

COACH HOKE: Disappointed with the outcome of the game from Saturday. We didn't win obviously, and we didn't play well enough to win. That's where it starts, and it starts with me doing a better job coaching this football team and our coaches doing a better job of coaching and preparing our guys. One thing I can tell you though is the kids stayed in there and fought in there and played in there. You know, I'm proud of how they did that. We just need to execute better. We need to tackle better from a defensive perspective; block better if an offensive perspective. Then when we have the six to eight plays you have to execute to win, you got to be on the right side of those plays. We didn't get that done, so...

QUESTION: One of those plays, the fourth and very short, you've talked about toughness from day one. When you watch that tape, do you wish you would have called a tougher play?
COACH HOKE: No. I like the play. If we execute the play, Koger is in the end zone. We don't make a block that we need to make, and it's part of it. I mean, that play has been very successful for us. It's a nice complement to the dive. We just didn't execute.

QUESTION: After the game, Denard Robinson said that studying film they kind of had a feeling for what your snap count was, and then he said the second half they really knew and they were coming after it. Did you guys know they...?
COACH HOKE: I think everyone has an idea on snap count from guns, because there is mechanics that every team has. We have a silent count and we have a double silent count. And getting in and out of those, you know, I think -- I don't think that's all the way correct. Let me put it that way.

QUESTION: Brady, on that fourth and one call, seemed like the corner blitz was giving Denard problems all day, maybe corralling him?
COACH HOKE: You know, I don't know. Tim, that's part of their defense, you know, playing that's corners, especially when you get into two tight ends. A lot of people will do that to that weak side. You know, again, he was accounted for if we execute.

QUESTION: On Saturday you said you didn't see Gholston punch Taylor Lewan? Did you see that now? Have you watched that film? What was your reaction to it?
COACH HOKE: I mean, I'm not going to react to it. You know what? I'm a football coach. I'm not a referee or a rulesmaker, so I'm not -- you know, that's not for me to say. Did I see it? Yes. Does that happen in games? Yes. Is it sometimes part of the game? Yes.

QUESTION: Gholston came up to you after the game and talked to you for a minute. He said that he thanked you for bringing Michigan back again. Is that what he said?
COACH HOKE: I don't know.

QUESTION: One more thing with Gholston. Do you feel that in the past the Big 10 has suspended players when they've thrown punches or had illegal hits? Do you feel like he should be suspended?
COACH HOKE: That's not a decision for me.

QUESTION: Did you send film to the Big 10 about it?
COACH HOKE: I'm sure they have film if it was on TV.

QUESTION: Did you and Dantonio shake hands or embrace? And in a greater scope, what's the expectation or protocol when a heated game ends? Obviously a lot of people were talking about the cheap shot thing yesterday. Not so much your comment about that, but did you shake hands?
COACH HOKE: I was going to say, don't ask me to comment on that.

QUESTION: I won't. But just the protocol and how awkward this is at times. Has it ever been heated for you like that?
COACH HOKE: Um, I imagine. You know, it's part of what you do. I mean, I don't know protocol. That's a big word for me. You know, it's just what you do. I've done it when we have won and done it when we've gotten beat. Believe me, they're all very emotional.

QUESTION: You talked about being disappointed overall. Was there one aspect of the performance outside of execution that disappointed you the most?
COACH HOKE: Yeah. I don't think we tackled worth a darn; I don't think we played the perimeter of our defense worth darn; I don't think we took on blocks and got off blocks and had very good block protection. From an offensive standpoint, I don't think -- besides the first series of the game, (recording interference) started to hurt us and we were breaking 'em off too soon. I don't think we engaged with aggression at the line of scrimmage like we should.

QUESTION: The two touchdowns I think were scored in about the same spot. Was that an example of kind of...?
COACH HOKE: I would say yeah. I would say you see a guy try and block a guy instead of tackle a guy, wrap your daggone arms and put your face to him like you're supposed to tackle him.

QUESTION: Tackling, that's something that Northwestern did; Michigan State did it, too.
COACH HOKE: Yeah, in a different way.

QUESTION: Right. How do you counteract that?
COACH HOKE: That's a great question. We want to do it with the speed option a little bit, and then also the (indiscernible). You know, we need to this week -- Tuesday and Thursday, I can assure you we're going to work on block protection and chop blocks and all those things and make an emphasis. You know, at the same time, there were times when it was played decently, but I didn't feel our flow from the inside.

QUESTION: So to that end, what does this week's schedule look like?
COACH HOKE: Tuesday and Thursday we're going to practice. They'll lift three days.

QUESTION: Will they have time to go home or any of that stuff?
COACH HOKE: No. They're playing Division I college football.

QUESTION: It's always been about toughness for you. When Jordan comes out and says they were more physical than we were, as a coach, does that hurt to hear a little bit?
COACH HOKE: The truth never hurts. You know, it's things that aren't truthful that hurt. The outphysicaled us; they outplayed us; they outcoached us. I mean... And we had a chance to win the football game.

QUESTION: Does that make it easier?
COACH HOKE: No. Never makes it easier, believe me.

QUESTION: What will the next six weeks say about the toughness level of this team now bouncing back?
COACH HOKE: Yeah, you know, I think that's a great point. I think that's something that, you know, I was interested to see how we would react as a team in that environment going in. I think I said that, you know. Because you really don't know until you go through it and see how we learned from it. I know one thing: You can't let one team beat you twice. So you've got to do a great job of pointing out the things that need to be corrected immediately and then focus on what's next. You know, we have five more guaranteed opportunities to play football. For our seniors, they have five more times to represent Michigan. That's pretty significant.

QUESTION: Brady, you mentioned Michigan State was overloading with their blitzes because of how they were defending Denard. What are you going to remember about this game for the rest of the season?
COACH HOKE: You know, did I say that after the game? Yeah. Well, you go back through the film, which is always helpful, and we block the same blitz early in the game and Fitz spurts for 17 -- or I think it was 15 or 17, something like that. We don't block it later for one reason or another. I been talking to Al, and they saw what we call the barrel 25 to 30 times Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week. But for some reason we don't block to correctly, and then you got a problem.

QUESTION: Has Blake Countess passed Troy? Is that close to happening at this point? Because you pulled Troy pretty quick and he didn't really come back after that.
COACH HOKE: Yeah, you know, I think -- I don't know if anybody passed anybody, but I do know there was great competition there. I think that will make both those guys better players.

QUESTION: Is Troy back to healthy? Is he a guy that needs the bye week more than anybody?
COACH HOKE: I think he's probably one of the guys that does. You know, rest him a little bit. You know, when you go through what are you going to do during the off week, you know, whether -- we were going to go three times, but I thought a week and a half ago, You know what? I think we go two practices and give 'em some time to get a little rest and get away from us just a tad I think is always good.

QUESTION: With Denard what's going on with him health-wise?
COACH HOKE: He's just beat up a little bit. I mean, I think it's more his back than anything. But, you know, he'll be fine. The rest will be good for him. We came out of the game pretty healthy, to be honest with you, so...

QUESTION: Coach, you mentioned you were outcoached. What do you feel like you didn't go well enough?
COACH HOKE: Well, obviously you don't think you prepared 'em well enough to go into a physical football game and keep -- you know, you get punched in the mouth; you come back and you punch back - not literally - but come back and keep fighting. You don't lose the composure of my fundamentals and techniques. You know, we talk about poise and composure a lot, but part of is that is how you do your job. You know, are your eyes on the right key? Am I taking the right steps? You know, all those things. That's part of it.

QUESTION: What do you have to say about Hagerup's efforts in terms of the punts and really keeping them pinned down?
COACH HOKE: Yeah, you know, I thought Will a couple times did a really good job, you know, in there. You know, the biggest thing what happens in a game when you have kind of wind is your kicking game. You know, your kicks gotta change a little bit. It's a mental thing in those specialists' mind, you know, from a snapper depending on the wind. But I thought he did a pretty nice job in there a couple times for sure.

QUESTION: We saw more of Devin Gardner, and we've been seeing more of him. Is there a part where he gets a whole series or a quarter?
COACH HOKE: No. Denard is our quarterback. We're 6-1, and a lot of that is because Denard is our quarterback.

QUESTION: What do you say to critics and fans who want to yank Denard and get Devin in there?
COACH HOKE: They have an opinion. Doesn't carry much weight, but they have an opinion. We're with 'em every day.

QUESTION: What can you and the staff do to help him in the passing game? You know, Michigan State was like, We were daring him to pass because we knew he couldn't pass.
COACH HOKE: Yeah, that's not true. That's a bogus statement, because he can throw. He's proven it a couple different times this year, I believe. I mean, there's a lot more than just Denard.

QUESTION: When you put Gardner into the game and Robinson had to go out, was there a purpose to that?
COACH HOKE: There were three plays that we liked Devin to play. One was a touchdown that he had against Northwestern, that boot. And then there was another boot in there that we really wanted him to be a part of, besides the combination of them both in there.

QUESTION: When Gardner is in the game, you know, for the lack of consistency you had in your drives, do you feel that might have messed Denard's rhythm?
COACH HOKE: I don't think so. You know, that would be similar to taking a defensive end out and rotating him when I think about it, because they both have fundamentals and techniques and things that they have to do, you know, when you look at schematically from a defensive standpoint. So I don't know what the difference is.

QUESTION: So quarterback is no different than any other position?
COACH HOKE: Well, I mean, besides he touches the ball every time. I think there are still fundamentals when you break down position by position and whatever that defense might be. You know, the difference is, yeah, the ball is in his hands ever snap.

QUESTION: Do you feel like Denard's passing has improved or progressed throughout the season?
COACH HOKE: I wasn't here last year.

QUESTION: Over the course of this season.
COACH HOKE: I think he's fine. I don't have any problem with it.

QUESTION: Coach, you said after the game you wanted the guys to feel this loss before you moved on to anything else. With two weeks do they feel it bit longer?
COACH HOKE: I hope not. We'll get together tomorrow and move forward. Usually we meet on Sunday but we gave 'em Sunday off, so we'll get together tomorrow.

QUESTION: Is there anything you do to sort of mentally shift with your team?
COACH HOKE: Well, I got to shift myself first probably. But, yeah, I mean, seniors now will get together tomorrow and have a very good conversation. You know, they're a prideful group. You know, kids are more resilient than we are, period, and so we'll move forward.

QUESTION: Are you surprised seven weeks into the season that you're still dealing with issues of tackling and blocking and fundamentals?
COACH HOKE: I think you always are. I mean, am surprised? I don't think I'm surprised. Do I wish it was better? Yeah.

QUESTION: Brady, in the breakdown of the technique, were you most disappointed they came on your lines, your offensive and defensive lines?
COACH HOKE: Well, inside, you know, Will Heininger and Mike really played pretty good football for us. And their plan was not to attack the interior of the front. They had a young center in there. But I though Mike and even Will Heininger, I think both of those guys, when look at all the tape and you evaluate who did what, those guys both held in there pretty good.

QUESTION: You said the guys wouldn't have time to go back and see families, but they're also getting time way from you. Do you not want them to go home?
COACH HOKE: No. I mean, I'm sure kids who are close next weekend will go Friday or something, go watch the high school teams play. But, I mean, we're on some break right now, aren't we?

QUESTION: Coach, after the game, Michigan State's defensive coordinator said that he wanted to pick up all that unnecessary roughness because that's what they tried to do, play 60 minutes of unnecessary roughness in this game. How do you counter that? Is there any way, without stooping to that level, to coach your players to kind of...
COACH HOKE: You know, I'm not -- we just got to play Michigan football. We got to play for each other and play the way we know how to play.

QUESTION: Is Michigan State a dirty team?
COACH HOKE: I don't know. That's your opinion.

QUESTION: What do you think of the hit that knocked Denard out?
COACH HOKE: It's football. You're playing football. I mean...

QUESTION: It was pretty late, though.
COACH HOKE: Playing football.

QUESTION: Is too much being made of that, in your opinion?
COACH HOKE: Probably.

QUESTION: Did anybody submit any of the plays in the Big 10?
COACH HOKE: We always submit a couple plays, yeah.

QUESTION: So we can assume that you submitted some plays from this game?
COACH HOKE: Yeah, but, I mean, they already have those, the ones that are called foul.

QUESTION: Jack Miller has traveled with you guys the last two weeks.

QUESTION: Is he going to play, do you think?
COACH HOKE: Hope not. You know, he's a guy though -- he's is a guy that has to be ready.

COACH HOKE: Yeah, center.

QUESTION: As far as Denard's back, is that something that's been lingering?
COACH HOKE: No, I think he got bruised.


QUESTION: You said you have to shift yourself mentally. Are you saying that you haven't moved forward yet?
COACH HOKE: I have not.

QUESTION: Part of that because you don't have another game to get ready for this week yet?
COACH HOKE: No. No and yes.

QUESTION: Partly because it's Michigan State?

QUESTION: Do you think it's good you have a bye this week?
COACH HOKE: I don't know. I think it helps us get a little more healthy. You know, the guys asked about Woolfolk and Denard's back and all that, so it's always good to be a little healthier.

QUESTION: Taylor's ankle?
COACH HOKE: Yeah, he'll be all right. He's a tough sucker.

QUESTION: Coach, can you talk about the decision to pass more than you ran?
COACH HOKE: Well, I think we ran for a grand total of 82 yards, and I think part of that is they were stacking the box a little bit, and then you got to try and get some things -- they played zero coverage on Roy Roundtree, and he goes whatever that was for a touchdown on a slant. We ran a couple slant routes maybe more pure or better and we may have had another one.

QUESTION: Playing defense on the perimeter, you talk about your guys weren't getting off blocks.

QUESTION: How do you teach them?
COACH HOKE: There are different drills that you do, and then you got to do it live enough. You know, I know during fall camp you always get a lot of stuff in. Then as the season starts, you get away from a little bit of it because of your game plans and seeing the opponent's plays and all that. So this will be a good week for us to get back to it.

QUESTION: Was that kind of a surprise that you gave up over 200 rushing yards?
COACH HOKE: No, the stretch play was one of their plays. You know, knowing that going in, I think they blocked a couple things a little differently. You know, where they put the -- you know, they blocked it before with the fullback maybe on the safety or depending how many tight ends where were. But getting him up on the linebacker and taking the U-back on the safety, I mean, some of that stuff was a little different, but it's still football. It's still the backs going and all that stuff. You got to react to it.

QUESTION: Do you expect Denard to practice this week?

QUESTION: When you say your team needs to be tougher, do you mean physically, mentally, or both?

QUESTION: Marvin Robinson, you said you thought he would travel?

QUESTION: Same thing with Herron?
COACH HOKE: Marvin still has some lingering things. And Herron still in -- where we want him to be.

QUESTION: Marvin is physical things?

QUESTION: Herron, too?

QUESTION: How is Cam?
COACH HOKE: He's much better than he was.

QUESTION: The mistakes that you talked about that need to be corrected, is that something you can just say once, or do you need a bye week to have extra time to show them?
COACH HOKE: No, I think that there was some good teaching going on on the sideline and in the locker room at halftime. You know, this will be maybe more of an emphasis.

QUESTION: Is this an open week for recruiting? Big week?
COACH HOKE: The guys are out now.

QUESTION: What about you?
COACH HOKE: No, I won't go out.

QUESTION: What do you do Saturday?
COACH HOKE: I'm not going to tell you. (Laughter.) I do like a personal life.

QUESTION: Where did you go in between the first and second quarters?
COACH HOKE: Well, that is really a personal question. I had to use the men's room. I've had to do it before. (Laughter.) I drink a lot coffee and a lot water.

QUESTION: Instead of reading?
COACH HOKE: Correct.

QUESTION: When you talk about Denard's your quarterback, what point would it have to get to where you would think about making a change?
COACH HOKE: I wouldn't even speculate, because that's a point that's way out there.

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