"Game week is going well," said Hoke to the media this noon-hour. "I thought we had a good practice yesterday. I thought we were physical. I thought we had a great tempo. We did a lot, we had to learn a lot."
Part of what the Wolverines are working to learn in preparation of Air Force Saturday is defending and attacking the unique offensive style Head Coach Troy Calhoun has implemented since being hired in 2006.
"From their offensive standpoint there's Army in there, there's Navy in there," said Hoke. "The midline series, the veer series, but then there's also some pro style offense. They give you a lot of different looks and a lot of different formations.
"There's a lot of window dressing that goes along with it," continued Hoke. "And I would say the same thing defensively—how they try to hold their back end and their looks and those things. They do a nice job with it, and they're really disciplined in executing what they do."
With former walk-on, now scholarship wide receiver Joe Reynolds helping out as the scout team quarterback, the Wolverines masquerading as Air Force for the week are helping; but Hoke says Michigan isn't ready just yet.
"Today will be a better gage; but there's some good plays in there, and then some plays that you give up a home run, or a guy doesn't squeeze or friction a block long enough or take the full back, or whatever it might be," said Hoke. "We're a long way from being game ready, but the tempo and the attitude and the wanting to improve as a team was better."
For Hoke, who was 1-1 against Air Force in his two seasons as head coach at San Diego State and also finished his career with the Aztecs with a 35-14 victory over Navy, there's a personal respect and familiarity for what the servicemen do on and off the field.
"I love playing against the academies," said Hoke. "Because of the offense they run. I think it's a great challenge—and again I'm a defensive coach. And how you coach defensive line play, and being heavy on techniques and friction and eyes and hands and moving feet. I really like it."
An undisciplined and mistake prone team left the Alabama game with plenty to improve upon; and if the Wolverines are going to have any success against Air Force on Saturday, missed assignments can't be a part of the game plan.
Coach Hoke updated the status of the starting cornerback position opposite J.T. Floyd, a spot that appears to be decided heading into Saturday's game.
"Courtney will start at corner," said Hoke.
But don't be surprised to see a lot of sophomore corner Raymon Taylor, whose combination of size and speed translated itself well against Alabama.
"Ray-Ray did a nice job playing physical," said Hoke. "He kept his head in the game. I don't think the big stage bothered him, which for a young guy getting in there can do that to him. When it was time for him to be physical as a corner he was physical."
At the tight end position, depth is scarce and inexperience is plentiful, with redshirt senior walk-on Mike Kwiatkowski set to make the first start of his career.
"Mike doesn't have a lot of experience, but he is a guy who's got a lot of pride and has got a lot of size to him," said Hoke. And of freshmen TE's A.J. Williams and Devin Funchess, Hoke said, "The two young guys continue to improve. A.J., I think his weights down I think right under 270 which is good." And as far as Funchess' status, "I think Devin is the same. They're both going to play a lot of football for us."
To watch video of Hoke from Wednesday's press conference, press play below.