Talk about special teams today – how big of a part was that …three turnovers forced…
Well, it was a big part, you know? It's a big part in every game. To be able to knock some balls loose and set up a great field position, you know, is a good thing for us. Obviously, offensively having a short field…but that was a big part of what we were – what our kids were doing and what helped us today.
Brady, you're pretty hard to please, but how happy are you with the total phase, all three phases of the game?
It's probably as well as we've played with all three phases. You know… there's still…we had some opportunities from an offensive standpoint that we didn't take advantage of, and you know, we don't field a punt and backs us up and then we're kicking on the short field and those kind….there's always something. I could sit up here and go a long time about that, but I think, you know, as a group they played with a great toughness, and a great – complimented each other well. I though the guys upfront offensively were really working hard to make things happen. Fitz did a nice job, Denard did a nice job. And then defensively our first seven played well.
We knew coming into this game that Nebraska was a pretty big powerhouse. Does that, on top of Lloyd Carr being here, and just not having power in the stadium, did you feel any extra pressure from any of that, or…?
No. No, we're going in to win a game, we're going to fight, and compete, and coach, and motivate and do all of those things.
Coach, during the week you talked about Nebraska's special teams, can you talk about what you did differently in the kickoff coverages and what you emphasized…
We're playing differently, I mean we, you know, challenged our guys – and which you always do – and for them to out compete together playing against and T-Rob, you know, he…ball came out when Cam hit ‘em. The ball came out, I mean, it was really just trying to play and compete as best we could every guy who was in our locker room.
What difference did you see? Were they going harder or…?
You know, I don't know if they were going harder, I mean it looked like about the same speed we usually do going down.
Coach, the blocked punt, how big of a momentum shift was that, to not only get the blocked punt, but to capitalize on it?
You talking about the penalty?
No, no, the one blocked punt at midfield.
Oh, yeah, yeah, that was huge. Yeah, he kind of dropped it there, and I mean the field position, again, it was a huge part of it, and we capitalized on a mistake and error that happened, and the hustle that the guys showed, I thought it was great.
You talked about your quarterback playing with poise. What's the challenge with Denard going down the field when don't have a play clock to read. Was there any communication that way that kind of let him know what was happening?
Well, you know, a couple things. Number one, I think the one thing we can do as a coaching staff and as an offense is make sure that were getting the plays to him as quickly as we could, and making sure David had to make sure the huddle was set as quickly as we could get it set, and that if you were a receiver, if you were one of those guys coming in and out that you're hustling on the field or off the field as personnel groups, but the first one…the penalty we had, that's on me. I should've called time out, you know, and for me not to do that, that's bad coaching, and so…but I thought he did a tremendous job.
How much has this defense grown since you guys got him in January? Basically the same guys as last year but the results are much different.
You know, the seniors on that defense have done a tremendous job. They're prideful kids. I mean the Mike Martins, VanBergens, Woolfolks…and we, from day one, have said we're always going to play and coach for our seniors. And I think the young guys understand that , and I just think fundamentally and technically they're playing what they're coached to do, and they're playing together, and that's been…it's been fun to watch.
Brady, Burkhead I think, only had four carries in the first half, is there something that you guys saw that that you'd take him away a little bit, take away their running game away?
No, I mean, it just…you're just doing your job, you know, if you're a nose tackle and you're getting the double or base reach, you have to play the base reach and get off, and make plays, and you know, we had talked about because of the physicalness that he likes to run the football with, that we wanted to try to get eleven guys to the ball all the time.
Inaudible…Denard, is that the best you've seen him play since you've been here?
You know, I don't know. I'd have to re-watch it probably to…I thought he did a nice job managing our offense and, you know, I think he took advantage of some creases he found in there and accelerated through them pretty well.
Could you have even dreamt of a better way to welcome Nebraska to the Big House in their first trip as a part of the Big Ten?
Well, I don't know, they want to win, we want to win. I mean, I don't know if it's…it doesn't matter if it's Nebraska or Slippery Rock, you know? We want to win football games, you know? And I'm just being honest about it, you know? We have a lot of respect for Nebraska, the pride and the tradition that they have. Bo Pelini is an excellent football coach. They're a good football team.
You obviously made the most of your opportunities, time of possession, I think was about 43 to 17. Can you make any comment toward that?
Well, you play really good defense and you get to watch your offense, and believe me, and that's part of it. Our offense, not in every game, but having a little bit of advantage in the time of possession…they're one of our best defensive calls is them on the field, so you know, I think that…and then you look at the defense, I think we were 3 of 13 in defending them in third down conversions, and you know, then you're helping yourself defensively and getting yourself off the field.
With six minutes to go the crowd starts chanting ‘beat Ohio,' ‘beat Ohio.' What are your thoughts on that?
Well, we're really going to work on that tomorrow. But that's our next opponent.
Talk about the momentum you have going into that game.
You know, I…we won two in a row, right? There's another one to get a win.
With the way you guys are playing defense and running the ball, is this as close to your vision of Michigan football as you guys have gotten so far this year?
You know, we definitely want to run the football. We want to control it and we want to take care of the football. From that standpoint - and we want to play defense as eleven, and we want to play defense where we're stopping the run. And then putting people in a situation where they have to – and maybe they feel, or they do have to – throw the football, and I think that's where some of the uniqueness of what Greg does is very good for us.
Can you talk about picking that spot for the fake field goal?
We had talked about….we had put it in – is the one that Penn State used against us in ‘95 – I think it was ‘95, but it was run it on the right hash, they gave us the look that we wanted, and even if we would have kicked the field goal, Drew Dileo, having him as a holder, he's such a smart football kid, he did a tremendous job with it, but you got it, you might as well use it.
You talked a little bit earlier about the way Denard managed the game. Can you talk about some of the bigger plays he made, especially with third down, what are your thoughts on that?
I thought he did a nice job, you know, believe me, because we would make some more yardage on first down, and then second down we went backwards a couple times, and you get into a situation with those longer third downs, but I thought he was very accurate with the ball when he was throwing it, you know? I think the throw he made for the touchdown to Martavius Odums was as good a throw as I've seen him make, especially on a long ball, and it was a great catch by Martavious, but that's where he had to put the ball.
Brady, I know you have to say what you say about the next game – it's another game, but your first press conference in January you emphasized Ohio State over and over again. Why is it so different, how much more meaningful is it for you, and how good does it feel to be going in with nine wins?
Well, I think any time that rivalry is played, we appreciate it always being at the end of November, and we have tremendous respect for that football team and that program, you know, and that school, but it's exciting, it's exciting. You get excited.
When you hear the fans start chanting it though, does that kind of get you a little more charged?
It's, you know, eight days…less than eight days.
Brady, the way you guys defended the option, is that more Demens on the keys or is that…
Well it was more of the ends. I mean, our ends did a nice job on the quarterback, and we tried to keep the backers inside because of what they were doing with the zone part of it, and put it on the two ends. The one he got out earlier in the game, our end didn't do the job he should have.
Formationally on offense, did you change something? It looked like Denard was maybe making more checks at the line today.
No, not really. It's about normal.
Getting back to special teams for a second, talking about field position during the week. Can you emphasize what that means, and also speak to how special teams played in the win?
Well there's no question that that was a huge part of a lot of different things. The first kickoff return when Martavius got out to the 35, you know, and did a nice job running it, and really was about a block away from having big yardage, but, you know, I think when you look at field position and how a game like this with two good football teams, that's going to be a…that's a big deal, and you know for us to do a nice job…Jeremy did a nice job on a couple returns. There was one, you know, he doesn't go out of bounds, he's going to go a long way. And you have to credit their kicker, but the block, the fake on the field goal gave us a new set of downs and an opportunity to score, and just they were what they were supposed to be: special.
Coach, don't hate me but as much as you guys dominated today, there's a certain team down the road that won, so does that, in any way, change that victory at all?
Not at all, you know, not at all. We had opportunities, and part of competitive sport and competitive life is you have to take advantage of the opportunities. So I really don't hate anybody.
Unintelligible question about Denard
You know, I think he was a little bit beat up, I think, mid-year, with some ailments, but I think he's healthy now, I think he's more confident, and I think he's…one thing I can tell is he's taken ownership as a leader, and that's neat to see.
Postgame Full Transcript: Coach Hoke
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