Brady Hoke opening remarks: “Obviously very disappointed - we all are in the outcome of Saturday’s game. We all feel we need to make sure that we’re finishing and doing all the things we need to do. As a coaching staff, that’s always where it starts. When you say that, it starts with me. We have to do a great job of making sure that we’re repping the things we’re going to see, which we have been. We do a good job of making sure the details, the fine things you want to make sure you go over. As a team, we have to make sure we understand each and every plan. We started this thing in January with this football team. In June, we inherited the freshmen guys and their work ethic has been exceptional. We have got to translate that we do well in practice on the field, and we will do that.”
Question: How difficult is it to plan for and execute an offense when the offensive line is struggling?
Brady Hoke: “Everyone’s going to point to the offensive line, but really it’s all of us. It’s not just them. I don’t know if that is fair. It’s never one guy, one thing, in anything in life, unless you’re golfing. I guess that would be you. In a team sport, it’s not that way. All 11 parts have to be working in the same direction. Offensively, defensively, and then you could say all 115 parts that are on this football team and then all the support people, coaches… it’s all of us. This has always been a ‘we,’ ‘us,’ and ‘ours’ program and that’s how we look at it.”
Brady Hoke: “Well, there’s no doubt that there’s some adversity. We had some a week ago, and I like how our team responded. I like how…I know we as a staff like how those guys got after it. We had a very good week of preparation, week of practice. Well again, that adversity has hit us. We will grind and we will work. There’s no solutions that don’t take hard work and that’s where we’ve got to go. Part of that is every day what we do in preparing.”
Question: You mentioned after the game that a lot of it is on you and you need to coach better. What are the specific things that you are going to do differently?
Brady Hoke: “I don’t know how many specific different things. I am pretty involved in a lot of things, from special teams. Al (Borges) and I meet twice a week, talk about the plan. Maybe I didn’t handle Tuesday’s meeting as well as I could with the kids. Maybe I didn’t give them enough information. Maybe there was not enough motivation. Whatever it might be. That’s not a great answer, but it’s what it is.”
Question: Speaking of the motivation, do you think your team has a confidence crisis especially offensively and how do you get it back to go on a road especially a place you guys have a tough time with?
Brady Hoke: “I think you do a couple things. Number one: you have to take the things that you haven’t done very well, whatever it might be, any position. It could be the long snapper, it could be anywhere. We’ve got to constructively teach and use those teaching moments. You also have to show them the things they’ve done well. It’s usually similar in both cases. It may be oversetting, it may be my visual key, my eyes not being where they need to be. It could be one of those things, but you’ve got to look at the negatives, and you’ve got to finish with the positives, because they know they can do it.”
Question: When something is not working like the running game isn’t working. Do you have to look at short term changes and adjustments that aren’t necessarily part of the long term plan for a particular game or particular scheme that you’ve got to get by that game?
Brady Hoke: “I think you always look at things that way as you study an opponent, as you formulate game plans. I think that’s part of it. The other day we went from spread to the jet read to two backs in the backfield, two tight ends and a fullback. We hit all the buttons. When you have negative plays though, your rhythm and everything that you want to do offensively. You take coming out of halftime, we moved down the field and score a touchdown. Right. Well, you had a rhythm. The negative plays weren’t there. We get a first down in a critical time of the game, and we miss a snap. Not a great snap. Those things happen. Then you’re working in negatives. I think we were three of 13 on third down, something like that. They were six of 16. Negative plays and third downs start on first and second down. Do you look at everything? You always look at personnel. You always go back to evaluate. You always look at did I work well enough on this scheme? I’ll take it individually because I’m a defensive line coach. Power scoops. Did I work enough on power scoops where Willie Henry and Ryan Glasgow can play the way they’re capable of playing?”
Question: You talked about third downs being tied to what you do on first and second down. In hindsight, it seemed like you ran a lot of off tackle plays with running backs that didn’t work on first down. Is that something you need to look at?
Brady Hoke: “I can’t tell you how many first downs we ran or not. I think sometimes we assume that. I can’t tell you that. Obviously, we felt we could run the ball or we wouldn’t have called the play. I mean, I think that’s where it starts. Some of those plays are check plays depending on what you get defensively, what looks.”
Question: You just mentioned the number of formations and the plays that you tried to use, all the buttons. One of Nebraska’s defensive ends said they knew what the offense was doing, why do you think that is?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah. I don’t know if that was exactly the quote, but we know what other guys are doing too. We knew when they were in pistol with two tight ends, and we got negative plays. Everybody has that. Everyone has – there’s certain things people are going to do certain ways. Now, when you win a football game I think sometimes it’s easy to say that.”
Question: Have you noticed that increase the last couple of games?
Brady Hoke: “No. Not at all. We change formations and we change personnel and run the same play every week.”
Question: With the Big Ten title always being such a deal and that being out of reach at this point, what do you play for with these guys?
Brady Hoke: “Well number one you’re a competitor. You want to go out and fight. If not then they shouldn’t be at Michigan. I think for our seniors, we always play for our seniors and we’re always going to work hard for those guys. This group is a group that’s been through some struggles and they’re very important to all of us. The other thing is you have a chance to win ten football games. That opportunity is always out there. That’s always been a little bit of a benchmark.”
Question: Did Blake Countess get hurt late in the game?
Brady Hoke: “Early. He was out some time in the first quarter. (Question: Will he be okay?) He should be.”
Question: I know you’ve said in the past when we’ve asked about guys playing too far off the line of scrimmage, cornerbacks not playing up that sometimes they are supposed to be playing up and they just don’t. On their 4th and 2, the guys were about eight yards off and they threw a quick five yard route, were they supposed to be up there and it is just two young guys that do not have confidence?
Brady Hoke: “I don’t know if it’s confidence. How about experience? I think that’s something throughout our team guys are learning for the first time.”
Question: Is that in a moment where a safety need to convey to them that they need to move up?
Brady Hoke: “They could. They could. I think that’s tough. In hindsight, maybe called time out.”