Hoke's State of the Program (Part 1)

In part one of Brady Hoke's chat with media member today Michigan's fourth year headman shared his thoughts on questions about his integrity in light of the Brendan Gibbons expulsion, the evaluation of his staff, the process hiring of Doug Nussmeier, competition heading into the spring, and more.

Question:  How much more can you discuss this statement? 

Brady Hoke:  “Believe me it would be easier to discuss some things but privacy and everything else, it’s not going to happen.” 

Question:  Can you talk about you dealt with it, can you talk about yourself and you just can’t talk about him? 

Brady Hoke:  “No, not really.” 

Question:  You can’t talk about when you were made aware of any of this expulsion wise or anything else? 

Brady Hoke:  “No.” 

Question:  How hard is it for you to not be able to talk about it? 

Brady Hoke:  “It is what it is, federal laws and all that stuff.  And university policy.  And to be honest with you, it’s not fair to anybody involved.” 

Question:  How do you address this on their recruiting trail and do you have to address this on the recruiting trail? 

Brady Hoke:  “I haven’t had to, to be honest with you.  It hasn’t been a hiccup.” 

Question:  So when we say (Gibbons) was hurt in the Ohio State game, he was out because of injury.

Michigan Sports Information: “He said he couldn’t discuss it and gave a statement.”

Question:  Just one more on that, you say you would like to say more.  Do you think people would feel comfortable with the way everything has been handled if you could explain? 

Brady Hoke:  “Number one, people are going to have their own opinion.  People are going to write what they want to write.  You know that and I know that.  It is what it is.” 

Question:  Is there a point when you think you will be able to talk about this stuff? 

Brady Hoke:  “I don’t think so.” 

Question:  The new policy, is it something that you spend time with.  Do you, or do you  have someone on your staff talk to the team? 

Brady Hoke:  “We always educate our players on everything.  From social media to how you handle yourself from a standpoint socially.  When we get taped and how we are going to get taped.  That is all part, Angelique, of educating 18-22 year olds.  Some need a little bit more educating than others.” 

Question:  The statement pertains to the Gibbons situation but Taylor (Lewan) had this situation at the Ohio State game.  Is that something that you had to address with the team, Taylor? 

Brady Hoke:  “You know, that situation was blown out of context from everything that I have done.  But believe me, if there was something that we felt was inappropriate and real, we would have dealt with it.  Look at track record. I’ve dealt with everything that has happened on this team, from character issues to the integrity they have.  Those are two of the most important things that I have… my character and my integrity and I got into coaching to help kids understand that.  That is a huge part of what this job is and why I got into it.  So for the people to attack the character and integrity that we have as a program and as Michigan and me personally, I think is something that is not true because we have dealt with it.  We can go back and look at all the different cases that we have had, which we haven’t had many… but there have been consequences and discipline and all those things.” 

Question:  How much investigation can you do in issues that come up?  Do you become a prosecutor and start calling or do you just take what legally is available to you? 

Brady Hoke:  “You try and find out as much as you can and believe me, I get a lot of help.  I get a lot of help when something goes bad or a bad decision was made.  Alright, let us talk about football.” 

Question:  What can you tell us about the challenge of making the switch with Al Borges? You had told us in December that you didn’t think that was going to happen.  What changed that? 

Brady Hoke:  “Really going through the whole season you have to take some time and evaluate.  I didn’t want to make any rash decisions.  I wanted to go all the way through the bowl game.  It is an extremely tough decision because you are dealing with a guy who I have a lot of respect for.  You are dealing with a guy who I think is a really good coordinator and you are dealing with the family.  That is hard and that’s why I took a week, eight or nine days after the bowl game, and I may be wrong, it may be six days, I’m not sure, but to make a decision.  I wanted to make one that was best when I took this job, what is best for the University of Michigan in this football program and this school.” 

Question:  You stressed at the Doug Nussmeier press conference that we are going to get the running game going.  How much did the way that went this year, factor into making some kind of move? 

Brady Hoke:  “I think there are a lot of decisions you make, in a lot of different areas.  One thing obviously was we weren’t running the ball as effectively as we needed to run the football.  Was that a big part of it?  Yeah, that’s part of it.  We had too many tackles for loss, too many sacks.  You can go on and on.  That’s all of us.  That starts with me, that’s my fault.  But what we could do and what I feel I need to do to help this program is why we went in the direction we went.” 

Question:  That is the only staff change that is going to happen? 

Brady Hoke:  “As far as I know.  As far as I know, unless someone gets called, there are still a lot of jobs out there to some degree, as far as I know.” 

Question:  The only one you’re going to make. 

Brady Hoke:  “Yes.” 

Question:  When did Dave Brandon tell you he was hiring Nussmeier?  And I’m being funny because people keep making that. 

Brady Hoke:  “Well, Dave didn’t know Doug Nussmeier.  I almost hired Doug at Ball State my first year.  In fact, I hired Heck(linski) five days before.  Doug’s agent was a guy I played with at Ball State and Doug was just winding down his professional career and wanted to get into coaching.  I had gotten a call from his agent, who is a good friend of mine and said hey, I got a young guy who I think would be really good.  I knew of Doug when he won the Walter Peyton award and all that stuff.  I knew him from another guy, recruiting deal, but that’s another story.  It was a guy that I had a lot of interest in and knew well enough and tracked him well enough that when I made a change, I wanted it to be the best.”

Question:  When was your first contact with him?  It seems like Borges was announced and he was in quickly. 

Brady Hoke:  “We had some contact, even before this year, but nothing regarding (working at Michigan).  It was recent.”

Question:  Dave has taken exception to accusations that he is running the program.  How does that affect you?  You’re running this program, I presume and when you hear that stuff what is your reaction to it?

Brady Hoke:  “Everybody’s got an opinion.  I’m not going to change opinion.”

Question:  You’re making all the day to day decisions?

Brady Hoke:  “Yes every day-to-day decision.  How we recruit, who we recruit, what we eat in pregame meal, when we practice, how long we practice – all of it.”

Question:  There is a financial implication because Al was making a lot of money and Doug we presume will make a lot of money.  Is that something that you have to clear with Brandon because of that?

Brady Hoke:  “He knew and he was very helpful in that part of it.”

Question:  Would you say your previous relationship with (Nussmeier, did that make it quick? 

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah and his resume.  That has a lot to do with it.  In watching those teams, I remember playing down there in Dallas and that wasn’t a whole lot of fun.”

Question:  How much difference can one guy make that quickly or is it a matter of some of these guys growing up from what they experienced, the running game in particular.

Brady Hoke:  “I think number one, it is never just one person, but I do think the intensity that you coach with and how you attack things and take the x’s and o’s out of it, but the details that you need to have every day, I think those are critical.  I think that is one thing that Doug brings to the table.”

Question:  How big do you expect the learning curve to be when you bring in a new guy and the terminology?

Brady Hoke:  “With what he has tried to do, is keep as much of the terminology that the kids know.  It is easier for one guy to relearn it or learn a different method or different way than it is for 45 guys on offense.  A lot of that will be the same terminology.”

Question:  I saw that Devin Gardner tweeted his cast or boot is off and he is walking around.  I know you are not a doctor, but if he is ready to go in the spring are Devin and Shane Morris going to compete for a starting job or is it going to be Devin’s job?

Brady Hoke:  “I think we were seven and six as a football team.  We have a lot of young guys who are on this team that are making progress.  Russell Bellomy is back in the mix.  Wilton Speight came in here in January.  So his learning curve will be pretty good.  Devin will practice, he will be limited a little bit until that thing is 100%.  He has got the boot off like you said, so he is making progress and feeling pretty good about it.”

Question:  What ultimately was the injury?

Brady Hoke:  “It’s still the toe.  It is still classified.  You are getting into semantics of turf toe.”

Question:  That is pretty severe turf toe. 

Question:  It is a broken toe.

Brady Hoke:  “But it is considered a turf toe (laughter).  That’s what it is considered so I’m calling it a turf toe.”

Question:  Did he discuss when he (Nussmeier) took the job of making changes on the staff and is that a possibility that still remains even after signing day?

Brady Hoke:  “No he did not discuss that.  That was not up for discussion.”

Question:  To be clear, when Devin is healthy, obviously he will be at some point, Shane is going to get a chance, Devin is going to have a chance or is Devin going to go in as your starter?

Brady Hoke:  “I think that is an unknown.  Again, we were 7-6 and we’ve got a lot of young guys.  We’ve got a lot of competition.  Now does Devin have the most experience – yes.  There is no question.”

Question:  Now reflecting on the bowl game and given what Shane was asked to do with the part of the plan that he had, your thoughts on that.

Brady Hoke:  “I thought he did a really good job of being composed.  I thought he did a great job in his preparation.  I thought he represented himself well in that game.  I think he probably surprised some people with how athletic he is.  When he took the run down the field, it surprised me even a little bit that he did such a good job.  I thought with the way he prepared I thought was really good and the way he preformed, the first time out being the starting quarterback.  Now are there things that he needs to do better – yes.  Are there things that he did well – yes.”

Question:  There were two high profile decommitments that you guys had…are you sensing a different reaction to the program on the road after this season versus other seasons?

Brady Hoke:  “I’ve been on the road the last three weeks and been in a lot of homes and the kids who are coming, we’ve got seven of them here.  The kids who are coming in and I haven’t noticed anything.  It is the right fit for the right kind of people.  We’re excited about them and we’ll talk more about them on Wednesday.  It is a good group.”

Question:  Are they committing way too early for your liking?

Brady Hoke:  “I think social media, everything about it, I think this process has been accelerated.  Is it fair to kids?  No I don’t think so.  Is it the way it is going to be though?  I think so.  I just think it is tough.  There is so much out there, there is so much misinformation that is out there, as you all know.  You deal with it.  That’s what it is.  Is it going to slow down?  I don’t see how it is going be pulled back.  Do I wish it would be?  Yes.  I wish we’d have first two weeks of June, official visits.”

Question:  Thomas Rawls, Josh Furman and Richard Ash are all gone, anybody else?

Brady Hoke:  “I think that’s it.”

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