Brady Hoke's Fall Preview (Part 1)

In part one of Brady Hoke breakout session with the media, Michigan's headman discusses the physical improvements made by a number of players over the summer, Fitzgerald Toussaint's health, Devin Gardner's growth, and more.

Question: Do you think the (Jadeveon) Clowney hit of Vincent Smith was legal under the new rule?

Brady Hoke: "They were showing that the other day and I don't know to be honest with you. I'm not copping out, but I really don't know. I don't know if I would have called it."

Question: Does it change the way you guys have to teach?

Brady Hoke: "It doesn't change. We've always tried to talk about practicing and playing with your eyes up. Because you've always taught that any time your head goes down and hitting on the top of your head and the different things that can happen injury wise and safety wise. So I don't think that changes. I think emphasis-wise, I think it'll be more people emphasizing how you tackle, your eyes and all those things that are involved."

Question: When you saw the play and then saw the film and reaction, did it ever enter your mind that hey that was a dirty play?

Brady Hoke: "No not at all. I'm a defensive coach, so if a guy makes a great play, a great move and Smitty hopped right back up. It didn't look that way to me."

Question: Can you talk about the excitement of having Taylor Lewan back for his senior season.

Brady Hoke: "When Taylor made his decision to stay, I think it spoke volumes for Michigan football and the University of Michigan. Obviously having a guy with his experience. I think he has improved his game, improved his body, improved a lot of things that you want to do and he has great goals and he has been a tremendous leader for the young guys that we'll have on the offensive line through winter, spring and now the summer."

Question: He is taking his diet very seriously.

Brady Hoke: "Yes he is."

Question: Can you talk about that a little bit?

Brady Hoke: "I can't because obviously I'm not dieting (laughter). Why do you guys always have to laugh (laughter). He does and I think our strength coach and nutritionist, he has obviously talked to them a lot about what to eat and his body fat and all those things."

Question: How was the experience yesterday going to the pizzeria, the first time of breaking his diet?

Brady Hoke: "I was not with him last night, but he told me that he was going to get a salad. He must have not been truthful with me."

Question: Do you have a sense for what his presence has met to the guys over the summer just with him being around?

Brady Hoke: "I think it has meant an awful lot. I think how he has gone about his business every day. How he has gone about his work ethic, his leadership, I think off the field also has been a real positive for a lot of those young guys. No of us are or where perfect. He makes the mistakes as a young football player at Michigan and he has done a great job of helping those guys understand that you can't make those mistakes."

Question: You can't be around for the summer workouts, but do you have a feel for what those new guys have done to get better this offseason?

Brady Hoke: "I ask Taylor, I asked the older guys and I think they've been very pleased. I think (Kyle) Bosch and Logan (Tulley-Tillman), the guys who came in January. The guys who have redshirted those are the guys – Kyle Kalis, he looks entirely different. His body fat is down too. He has taken a little bit more sense of urgency about how he wants to perform."

Question: When you look at the Big Ten as a whole, how do you assess the conference?

Brady Hoke: "I think it is a great conference. I think when you look at the Big Ten…when you look at a conference there are a lot of things that you need to look at. You look at the schools from an academic perspective. You look at schools, the Big Ten number of sports, number of student-athletes, the number that this conference gives to perform and whether it is lacrosse, water polo or whatever. This is a conference known for that. I think from the football perspective, I think it is going to be competitive. I just think about the games last year. We go into overtime with Northwestern at our place. It was a great football game. You have two teams fighting their hearts out. Ohio-Purdue, so this is a good conference. When you look at how we're going to go play at a conference, I think we're going to surprise a lot of people."

Question: Antonio Poole is not on your roster any more. What exactly is his status?

Brady Hoke: "He is going to be a student assistant."

Question: Is there a chance he could come back?

Brady Hoke: "No."

Question: The young man you invited to the Ohio State-Michigan game, can you talk about your gesture and why you reached out to the young man?

Brady Hoke: "I think as a father and a parent and I also think Laura and I have a daughter who was three months early and five months in the hospital, kids are important. For us, we're glad in this instance that he beat Michigan. That is probably the only time I'll say it. That's important and it is important to us…we have a great and unbelievably opportunity to help kids and help people understand that this is a great rivalry, the greatest there is and it is competitive and compassionate, but at the end of the day there is a heck of a lot more things important then just that rivalry."

Question: You mentioned the Big Ten as a whole, how bad do you want to take home that football title?

Brady Hoke: "I think we all want to. Our goal is to always win the Big Ten Conference. You have to start there. You really do. I don't see how you can not go through the Big Ten Conference and if you're the champion and not have an ability to play for that would be wrong. We obviously as a team and program, we look forward to the opportunities to play for that crystal ball."

Question: Coming here and building the program, do you feel like this is the season where you are where you should be and it is goal?

Brady Hoke: "It is always going to be a goal. We've got a lot I think we learned a year ago. We had five losses with 18 turnovers. That is three turnover a game in losses. You can't play football that way. I think us from a physical standpoint and toughness standpoint, I think we've grown and we've grown on both sides of the front even though they are young. I think the understanding of how we're going to play Michigan football, maybe there is a little more clarity to it."

Question: Where is Fitz Toussaint in his return to health?

Brady Hoke: "Talking to Paul (Schmidt) and talking to the docs, he's doing everything. He hasn't been held out of anything that Coach Wellman and the strength guys are doing. I think he is ready to go."

Question: Has he been cleared for practice or anything like that yet?

Brady Hoke: "That's something that we're meeting next Monday on about who will be there and who won't. I don't think anything is going to hold him back."

Question: What about Blake Countness?

Brady Hoke: "Blake is fine. Blake is 100%."

Question: He is cleared to go?

Brady Hoke: "Yeah."

Question: In light of a lack of depth at quarterback, Shane Morris this summer, has it been different because he's really had to ramp it up?

Brady Hoke: "He came in a little bit earlier than the other guys who were in summer school. From what I know, I think he has had a good summer to this point. I think he has done a nice job learning. I think Devin (Gardner) has done a good job with him. I think Brian Cleary has done a nice job with him. He'll be in good shape coming into fall camp."

Question: Will he get more snaps early in fall camps because (of the lack of depth)?

Brady Hoke: "I would think so. I think there is no question that he would."

Question: Can you talk about that rivalry a little bit. You're one and one against them. What is your relationship with Urban Meyer?

Brady Hoke: "I think we have a professional relationship. We've known each other a long time. We're both from the state of Ohio. We recruited together a little bit when he was at Notre Dame in the state of Ohio during spring. It is a good relationship."

Question: Speaking of the state of Ohio, Jack Miller taking over for center for you guys this year, filling in the shoes of Elliot Mealer, what is it about centers from Northwest Ohio to be the first guy to touch the ball at Michigan?

Brady Hoke: "I never thought about that but Jack and Graham Glasgow are both two guys who have worked extremely hard. They'll compete and they'll compete through the course of fall camp and I think they have both are working hard at it. Having two guys from Northwest Ohio, back to back is a great possibility."

Question: The experience Gardner got last year starting, how is that going to help his transition into the full time role?

Brady Hoke: "When you look at the games that he started, he started some significant games. Games at home, games on the road, I think he learned from some of the success that he had. I think he also learned from the different environments and some of the losses, playing in Columbus I think is a great experience for anybody. I wasn't pleased with how that game ended up obviously, but it was good to have a returning quarterback who has been there and has been in that situation and in the bowl game. I thought he did some really good things in that game. I think all that experience whether it is positive or negative, he has learned. You are talking about a kid who graduated from Michigan in three years. He is an extremely intelligent young man. He has got a great football sense. He loves breaking film down. He loves being in the offices. I think it is all positive."

Question: He has received an awful lot of attention this offseason for a guy who has only started five games. How has he done handling the spotlight?

Brady Hoke: "So far so good. I'm sure that if he doesn't handle it well, he'll be notified of that."

Question: He said that last year during the bowl trip that he learned a lot from Denard (Robinson) and how he handled the spotlight and being at the center of attention. Do you see some of Denard in Devin and how he handles the off the field?

Brady Hoke: "They have different personalities in a lot of ways, but at the same time I think there is a composure and poise that Devin has probably taken from Denard and learned from."

Question: (Who are) your other guys who have made strides in addition to Kalis?

Brady Hoke: "Ondre (Pipkins) has really done a nice job this summer when you look at the physical standpoint, conditioning standpoint. We're big into body fat and comparisons and he has done a tremendous job in that part of it. I think Willie Henry. I think Chris Wormley, Tom Strobel and go through those young guys who redshirted a year ago, but who have now received a lot of attention, a lot of work. They've continued to achieve. Our bodies look totally different than they did a year or two years ago. I think the interior offensive linemen, the Bars, the Kalis, Joe Burzynski, Ben Braden. I know I am forgetting somebody, but all those guys. It has been nice to see them develop."

Question: Ohio State eked out a couple games in route to that 12-0. You had some success against Braxton (Miller) two years ago, what kind of threat does he give him and what do you expect from them this year?

Brady Hoke: "Ohio has always had good players and always will be. We've been through this before. I think they've got a tremendous football team. When you go undefeated, you've got to win some games like that. The ball rolls for you a little bit and I know that from personal experience. Then sometimes it doesn't go as well. They are a talented team. They've got a lot of talent. They've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football. At the same time, some good young guys."

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