Brady Hoke Opening Statement: The first thing I want to talk about a little bit is this weekend, you saw the Cure MD patches that a lot of coaches – for Muscular Dystrophy, and our organization has been very in the forefront with the cure, so, we obviously didn’t play, and we all have our patches this weekend, and we certainly want to raise the awareness about MD. It affects a lot of children across the country, so we’ll be doing that. On the football side, we had a very good week. I think we got a lot accomplished as a team. I know we as a staff felt that way. I think the players felt that way in the practices we had, and the fundamental work that we needed to get back to in all areas, every position. The intensity, and the competitiveness, was very good, and we’re excited to start the Big Ten season, excited to play, and one of the oldest trophy game that there is, the Brown Jug, with Minnesota, and we have a lot of work to do, as you all know, and we’ll continue to do that throughout the week.”
Question: It’s been almost a decade since Michigan has won a Big Ten title. Can you put into words how important that is to you and the program, and how Saturday can put you one step closer?
Brady Hoke: “I think you just said the answer, is it’s taking one step, and that first step is a big step, and here at home for homecoming, the Brown Jug being a big part of it, and we’ll take it one week at a time. We understand what the expectations are and should be for this program, so we’ll have a good week of practice and put our best foot forward.”
Question: Have you made any decisions about the offensive line personnel?
Brady Hoke: “No, we’ve talked a lot, and we’ve done a lot during the bye week, and we have two real good workdays with Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think really after Tuesday we’ll have a little better indication which way we want to go.”
Question: Looking at Minnesota, can you tell us something on both sides of the ball that you have to be aware of, or prepared for?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah, well number one, I have a lot of respect for Jerry Kill, as anybody in this conference, because of how he coaches, and what he’s done, the programs he’s done a tremendous job with as he’s worked through it, and they’re going to be a physical football team, because that’s the way Jerry wants his teams. Both sides of the ball, I think upfront they’re very good defensively, when you look at guys making plays, tackles for loss, negative plays, the linebackers are very (good), the safety, Vereen, has been a guy who’s played it seems like for ten years, so from a defensive perspective, I think they’re pretty doggone salty. Offensively, they want to run the football. They want to run it, and they have two quarterbacks who have both played, both had good performances; probably not as good as they’d like, like all of us, we’d all like to be great every time we go out there, and they have three backs that they’ll roll through there. Offensive line is a big offensive line. They’re a well coached offensive line.”
Question: Are you inclined to make changes based on what you’ve seen in the first four games from the offensive line, or are you thinking as a group if you keep them together they’ll make the progress that you need to see?
Brady Hoke: “I think we’d be inclined to evaluate from the four games, from practices, from individual, and fundamentals, and all those things, and yeah, we wouldn’t have a problem making a change if that’s what we deem we ought to do.”
Question: Can you talk about the level that Jake Ryan has reached in practice yet; what he is able to do?
Brady Hoke: “He does some individual stuff, most of that. He does some team stuff more and more every day. I think from talking to him, and I don’t want to speak for Jake, but in talking to him and doctors and trainers, he feels good. I think we’ll get him a little bit more involved these next three days, and see what next week brings.”
Question: After the UConn game, you said there’s a chance Devin was maybe a little banged up, or just a little sore, stuff like that. Have you seen him anticipating him being a little more fresh this week in practice?
Brady Hoke: “You know, he – we went out Tuesday, last week, and Thursday, and he didn’t look sore. He may be doing a good job acting because he knows there are a lot of guys who are sore out there, just part of playing, but I thought he did a nice job.”
Question: You’ve been a better team, I think, out of the spread, than under center. Is there any thought – do you agree with that, first of all, and is there any thought that you might evolve more toward spread?
Brady Hoke: “No, and I would tend to agree and disagree with you on that, because I think when you see some of the downhill runs, and some of the play actions off of them, you know, the outside stretch play, I thought we’ve done a good job with those things. Too many negative yards on a couple of them, point of attack, but I think the downhill runs are something that we need to be a little more cognizant of.”
Question: We’ve seen a lot more of Joe Bolden the last couple weeks. Is that an open competition between those two guys?
Brady Hoke: “Really, no. we’re rotating those three guys through, so they both probably – and I don’t have the information if you’re counting number of plays. I bet they’re all three right even, or close to it.”
Question: And also at corner back, with – and Courtney obviously played a lot a week ago with Raymon. Is that an open competition there between those two?
Brady Hoke: “You know, I think Courtney, coming off the knee, I think they’ll both compete, and that doesn’t mean Blake’s not competing. I think they all are. But, you know, Courtney, coming off the knee, we thought looked pretty sharp, so him and Ray, and then we played so much nickel, you know, got into a lot of nickel, then you kept Blake inside.”
Question: Back to the interior offensive line. How do you balance possibly making a chance versus sticking with the guys we’ve got, because chemistry at that position is so critical?
Brady Hoke: “Well, so is production, and that might be more critical than chemistry, so we have to put the guys in there who give us the best opportunity to be successful.”