Hoke Breaks Down Team 133 (Part 4)

In part four of this four part interview with Brady Hoke at Big Ten Media day, Michigan's second year headman talks about Big Will, more on The Game, the receiving corps and Devin Gardner, Taylor Lewan, Joey Burzinski, the early-entry freshmen, recruiting.

Question: You talk about Big Will (Campbell) obviously he is an important part of the defense this season with the loss of Mike Martin. Can you talk about how his growth coming from last season to this season?

Brady Hoke: "I just think he is taking a leadership that is important. He has done a tremendous job with his weight and his body, all of those thing. He has done a tremendous job of trying to extend himself to the younger guys and help them, and teach them. I really think he has matured. I think he is the youngest of all our seniors, age wise, so I think he has done a nice job of that maturing process."

"I think because of his career because he has played offense, played defense; he has not been in a position. He has had different coaches. I mean there is a lot of there is always a maturity aspect for all of us. He turned 21 a week or two ago. There is all kind of growth a young man makes. I think he has done a tremendous job."

Question: The weight loss is huge.

Brady Hoke: "I mean it is for all of us. I think he has done a great job of really getting himself in shape where he has endurance and maybe help his feet a little bit and all those things."

Question: I remember last year you said a lot of the same thing about Will, he had loss weight, his endurance was up and he was still a rotation and not been in the starter's role. He is expected to play a bigger role this year. Why do you think this year is different than last year?

Brady Hoke: I still think there is a maturity. Sometimes when you have somebody who is playing in front of you and is pretty good, you don't see where you're going to have an opportunity. Right? Well that opportunity is how many days away, 35, 38."

Question: So you think he has embraced the opportunity?

Brady Hoke: "I thin we all do right now. If you were going to interview Walter Payton, would you be at your best interview?

Question: If I was getting ready to do an interview with Brady Hoke, I would be at my best right now.

Brady Hoke: "I wouldn't make a big deal out of that one."

Question: At the end of the season, what would the ultimate goal be? What would you like to say about him, what he achieved the season?

Brady Hoke: "That he played like a Michigan defensive linemen is supposed to."

Question: Looking back a year ago obviously the Ohio State victory snapping that streak. Just how much does it mean for the program to put that one on the book?

Brady Hoke: "It is always good to win. It's a great rivalry. To be part of it is a privilege. To be part of it is something you look forward to when you a coach at Michigan or Ohio when you play it. So it's a great rivalry."

Question: The Michigan and Ohio State program are measured really against how they do against each other in a lot of ways, did you kind of sense there was a little bit of winning one in seven years, how tough was that for so many people? Did you ever get a sense of what that really meant to a lot of people?

Brady Hoke: "Well, I am sure there are a lot of Michigan fans who probably are not very happy. I mean it's a great rivalry. I mean its respectful rivalry. That's what makes it important."

Question: How do you see the rivalry when you go out recruiting, what are your impressions of when people talk about it?

Brady Hoke: "You know it's been a rivalry for so many years. It's always been part of it, so I guess I don't understand the question well enough, but I mean there is passion in people on both sides that love their school, love their school even if they didn't go to that school, there's great passion, so that part of it's fun. People will have a lot of fun with it. Former players, believe me, they all know their record against Michigan guys know how they did against Ohio. Ohio guys know how they did against Michigan."

Question: How important is it for a program to be able to recruit the state of Ohio very well?

Brady Hoke: "I mean that goes years back. You look at population in state, you look at the number of high schools that play football in the state, you look at the passion, you look at how well coaching is in that state. I am from that state, so I understand it. It's always going to be a big part of what we do. We are going to recruit our state heavily and the state of Ohio those are going to be our main two areas."

Question: How much do you think being from Ohio really kind of gives you an inside edge I guess you sort of understand the state better than they do?

Brady Hoke: "Ugh, well you know I have recruited the state at Ball State for six years. I recruited it when I was in Michigan. There is obviously a lot of high school coaches that I go a long way back with, friends. I just know we have two Heisman trophy winners from the state of Ohio. So it's always been important let's put it that way."

Question: How is scheduling with the new playoff system?

Brady Hoke: "I think it's hard for the athletic director. You know they'll try to find games and they're trying to do those things. Then people want more money to come play you. There is a home and home I think there is a lot of different hoops that I know are Ads go through. So it will be interesting to see."

Question: When you play in a league like the Big Ten is it hard to go out and schedule top for nonconference or is there a consideration I guess?

Brady Hoke: "I think it's always a consideration. We have got it kind of built in with Notre Dame. So I mean, for us I think a little different than a lot of the schools are because of that rivalry and that relationship."

Question: Is there a kind of game you like to play every year or is that a game like Alabama or the one you sprinkle in depending on the stage of your program?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, I think depending on what happens with Notre Dame and us. I think it would be great every year from a national standpoint and a four year program. Kids come to Michigan to play in those games."

Question: Do you think you will ever get to the point where there is no FCS teams or one double A teams or does economics dictate playing them?

Brady Hoke: "Well, I think everybody's different. I don't know. I'm a MAC guy, so it is important to me."

Question: You don't forget your roots?

Brady Hoke: "No, I never do."

Question: The basketball coach at Wisconsin, it is the same thing.

Brady Hoke: "Right. That's right and to turn and schedule those teams."

Question: Brady how has it been for you in Ann Arbor, your profile has raised since you are the head football coach?

Brady Hoke: "You don't think my profile was bigger than earlier."

Question: It is bigger now though right after an 11 and 2 season and all that, what is it like to walk down the street or you go into a restaurant?

Brady Hoke: "I don't do much. Kind of boring."

Question: When you and the misses want to go out, what do you guys do?

Brady Hoke: "We don't. I am telling you the truth. I got a great wife."

Question: I guess she doesn't want to go out? Do you rent movies on Netflix or something?

Brady Hoke: "We don't do much."

Question: You just sit and stare at paintings on the wall?

Brady Hoke: "Well its football. We got football to do. She loves football."

Question: What it been like on a personal mode just transitioning from San Diego, I mean the beautiful weather there and the atmosphere to there compared to Michigan?

Brady Hoke: "Oh, It's great. You know we were in Michigan for eight years so it's like going home. We don't see the beach like she used to."

Question: I am from Southern California myself, so I know the feeling.

Brady Hoke: "So, but it's good. It's been great. It's a great community."

Question: What do you think is the biggest difference between last years team at this point when your looking at this season and this year's team?

Brady Hoke: "I don't know if I would be able to say this is the difference. I won't know the difference until about three weeks from now. How they practice and what they do. I think there is obviously growth on how we want to do things from the expectations Mark, but for me to say this is the difference, I can't say that yet."

Question: Are your more comfortable this year with what you're going to be going through?

Brady Hoke: "Probably not. I mean I don't know if I am every comfortable besides being with you guys. You put me at comfort."

Question: There has been a base established with the scheme that you guys have gone through it for a year. That is an advantage.

Brady Hoke: "Well that probably does, but you know all of that stuff is important that's here. That's where it's all at. This is a mental game. It's a mental game. How you prepare and how your attitude is every day."

Question: How big of a difference coming into your second season knowing what different players can do where you put them in different situations, where in the first year you hadn't seen everyone in a game situation.

Brady Hoke: "I think there is some truth to that. I think you have seen guys react and how they have played positive or negative in big games, game situations."

Question: Coach there are three new coaches in the room today. What are they going through right now?

Brady Hoke: "Tim (Beckman) is probably doing fine because he has done it before. Because coaching to some degree is coaching. I mean I am sure every guy in here, the two a day practices are set their schedules are so from that part of it you know I think we are all saying lets get back to campus and get back to work."

Question: Is there not cramming for a test, but your almost in a hurry just to try to get to know your team, what their backgrounds are and who is the junior and all of that kind of stuff?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, I would think though being through spring, summer, and everything, I think they probably got a pretty good idea, but your right I mean there is still that you know familiarity and the expectations. What's coach going to be like game week. What's it going to be like two a day camp. Those things and I guess as a coach how are they going to respond to the grind because it has got to be a grind."

Question: I guess that's why I asked it, because you are all thorough guys and you probably want to know their families and want to know what makes them tick.

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, that always takes the longest probably. Those relationships that you build."

Question: Brady you and Al have talked so much about the growth Denard has made in the passing game. What about the guys who are catching the ball. How do you feel about where your receivers are going into fall camp?

Brady Hoke: "I think they had good springs. I think they are a group of guys that have played a lot of football. At the same time, I think there is some young guys who have come on, but you look at Drew Dileo, may not have played as many as snaps, but he has played in big time snaps. He has made some plays in big games. So you know you look at him and Gallon and Roy obviously, Jeremy Jackson I think has had a very good spring. Jerald Robinson, Jerald I think has really worked hard. I think the two freshmen kids, it will be interesting to see how they react and how they fit it. Joe Reynolds has worked his tail off so we we'll see."

Question: Denard so often last year his go-to guy was Junior, especially the big catch – Junior made a lot of big catches last year. Are you concerned going into this year not having that kind of reliance with….?

Brady Hoke: "You know, not really, not really. Somebody will come out. You know we love Junior. You'd always love to have a lot of them back, but I think we will find some playmakers within. It's not like Roy hadn't done it."

Question: Is there an open competition for that third spot behind Roundtree?

Brady Hoke: "There is open competition for every thing."

Question: How much will Devin legitimately play receiver?

Brady Hoke: "I think we'll see. I mean I'm being coy, but I mean I think we will see as fall camp goes through. Ball security after the catch—I mean there is all kinds of things like that that we got to make sure are right."

Question: He is primary your backup quarterback?

Brady Hoke: "He is."

Question: Taylor also stressed the word… and Jordan used it to describe Taylor also, vanilla. He is vanilla now. Did you tell (Taylor) to be vanilla?

Brady Hoke: "I don't tell him a whole lot. Why would I do that?"

Question: Well, I mean because he is sort of…

Brady Hoke: "He has got a great personality."

Question: He does, but he also says stuff that I would imagine frankly a little bit?

Brady Hoke: "He looks like he is doing pretty good."

Question: So vanilla is good?

Brady Hoke: "He looks good."

Question: Jordan said Joey Burzinski has made tremendous strides. When did he really kind of catch your attention?

Brady Hoke: "Every day. I mean blocking Mike Martin. I have had those guys down with me, unbelievable. I mean he has made strides. He has got a natural leverage that for being a center is good. He is just one of those guys who is naturally strong. He is smart, so he knows what to do, conscience."

Question: Was is it in your nature to be a public speaker until you had to be? Do you talk about that process with Denard at any point last year?

Brady Hoke: "We have talked a little bit about it, but to be honest with you he has done a nice job. He has taken a lot of pride in what his thoughts were and what he wrote down. I am proud of him because he has made some strides. We all make strides when we get out of our comfort zone."

Question: We have seen him obviously change so much you now as a person over those four years, Have you seen any of that development from the time you met him?

Brady Hoke: "Oh, sure. Yeah. Big time."

Question: What do you attribute that to the most?

Brady Hoke: "Maturity, I think being a Michigan is part of it. I think we all mature at different levels, different speeds, but I think he also has done a great job being responsible."

Question: Is that hard? Is that difficult to be that guy in the spotlight when you have to be responsible all the time?

Brady Hoke: "I know I have told him, I wouldn't want to be him."

Question: Just because of the spotlight?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah."

Question: You mentioned that on signing day that there are freshmen that physically might be ready to come in, not saying they will, but you talked about Kyle Kalis and you talked about Ondre Pipkins, you saw them when they came in, they looked physically like they were going to be able to be in the mix.

Brady Hoke: "Well they all have that opportunity. I mean there are some guys who are genetically are impressive looking guys, and so I think you look at the two wideouts remaining. They are two very good looking young men, but at the same time there's a lot of learning that goes on."

Question: When you speaking of recruiting since like you got to Michigan, I know you cant talk about specifics, but you really sort of hit the state of Ohio hard. How much important did you make with the state of Ohio?

Brady Hoke: "It's always been part of Michigan's recruiting. We have two Heisman trophy winners from the state of Ohio, coach Schembechler, Jerry Hanlon, coach Moeller, Lloyd. They all even before then, Bump, coach Elliott. You look at I think you look at Dan Dierdorf, a Canton guy. I mean it's just a big part of them. You have got a state that has great coaching. The high school coaches are passionate about the game of football. They do a tremendous job of coaching kids. Population based, the number of high schools that play football. Friday nights in Ohio are kind of important."

Question: You mentioned coaching, population just now, but is there something that you can't really put a finger on that just makes Ohio high school football strong?

Brady Hoke: "I think it is always an emphasis. It has always been emphasized at a high level. I grew up there. We weren't very good for a couple of years, but it was important."

Question: Brady, what has that been like, guys are so familiar with you?

Brady Hoke: "Well, you know we have got being from there obviously my dad being part of the school system for a number of years, there is obviously a lot of guys who have been friends and I have known and had relations with. Then at Ball State recruiting and even here before, I recruited Akron, Canton, Massillon, all of that area. Then at Ball State recruiting the heck out of Ohio, I mean that is what we were going to do. We do due diligence and what we could do in the state of Indiana, but again, population bases are different. The state of Michigan we are going to work our tails off in the state of Michigan, again, to some degree population differences. So there is an awful lot of football players in the state of Ohio."

Question: Do you think Michigan can get into any living room, because it's Michigan, but do you feel like your ties to Dayton, does that help you?

Brady Hoke: "Well I think the familiarity probably helps."

Question: Do you think it's important to have a certain number of guys who are from around from the area around Michigan and Ohio that kind of to have as a base in your program. I mean you would like to have an all-star team I am sure?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, I think it is important. You know coach Schembechler used to say the last Saturday in November if they are on your team they are not playing against you. It's important."

Question: I guess something kind of has to be instilled in guys. I mean do you want them to come there already knowing that?

Brady Hoke: "Most of them understand the rivalry games we play."

Question: The accelerated recruiting kind of a sign of the times. Do you see that as kind of a risk and reward thing?

Brady Hoke: "I think it is going to be interesting. I am not sure where I stand totally on it yet, but I think it is going to be interesting in a lot of different ways. I don't like it. I can tell you that. It is putting a lot of pressure on high school kids, parents, and everything else, but if you don't do it, you are going to fall behind."

Question: You say you don't like it, I mean you guys really attacked, you have 23?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah, but if we didn't somebody else would. You can't sit back. You know we're going to be aggressive in what we do. I mean you can't sit back. Somebody is going to pass you."

Question: Did it surprise you though that you had that many commits, I mean everybody wanted to get on board?

Brady Hoke: "Sure, yeah. Yeah, I don't blame them."

Question: You had three, earlier when you were speaking of Ohio, three guys from Ohio who came in early. What kind of progress did you see from over the spring?

Brady Hoke: "Oh, all three of them I think Joe Bolden from Colerain, Cincinnati, I thought he had a really, really, good spring. Jarrod Wilson safety, out of Akron, I think he played well. Kaleb Ringer, he had a good spring, I think he learned a lot through spring. He got banged up a little bit early, but I think he did a nice job. Kaleb is going to be a good football player. I think all three of them are going to be good football players. They got acclimated. They did well academically, which probably is an important as anything. So we are glad they came early. We are glad they are on our team."

Question: You say it is going to interesting, do you foresee maybe some rule changes as far as early recruiting?

Brady Hoke: "I don't know what they are going to do. I mean who is going go handle it, what they are going to do. It's because of technology why it's progressed. Why it's become early. Because you know it used to be you would call the coach, hey do you have film on Sam Webb? Can you send that out. Well, you would get it a week later. You know you would look at it. Then you may want a new one because the coach may have not had the film you wanted. Now you click on that thing there and so I don't know what is going on."

Question: Something needs to?

Brady Hoke: "I don't know if it's fair to kids. That's my thought."

Question: Kids being kids?

Brady Hoke: "It's like kids coming early, I am really not in favor of kids coming in January. Well three of them wanted to come. They got it done. It was good for them, good for us, but to be honest with you, go to your senior prom. Play baseball if you play baseball. I like kids playing three sports. You know why, because they are competing. Competition is the most important thing there is, in life, in athletics. I don't like kids when you sign then and they say well I am not going to run track. I want to get big for football. No go run track. Go run track. Go play baseball. Represent your team, your community. That stuff drives me crazy. Alright, I am done."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories