Hoke Lauds Competition; Talks Lineup Changes

Michigan headman Brady Hoke met with the media Friday afternoon to reflect upon the progress made in the last week of fall camp, provide injury updates, share his projections for starting jobs at a few of the most highly competitive positions, and much much more.

Brady Hoke:  “Number one, thanks for coming out.  We’ll break camp tomorrow.  We’ve had two really good practices after taking Wednesday just to get them back a little healthy and rest, all that kind of stuff.  The guys have done a nice job, so those two practices were very spirited.  Obviously, we had some humidity, which was good because it is really the first time.  Yesterday, we were inside because yesterday we thought we were going to the storm that we finally got and it was good because it was nice and hot in there.  So they got to work through that a little bit.  Their mindset has been awfully good in the competition level, the competing and challenging each other every day I think has been really good for us and I think our coaches and players would say the same thing.  The competition has been very positive at every position.  Excited with how they’ve come out and competed.  Today for us was a Wednesday.  Tomorrow will be a Thursday on how we manufacture the practice time.  We’ll give them some rest on Sunday and give them some rest on Monday that would be almost normal with school, getting them ready and acclimated to the school times of practice.  We should be healthy as we can be right now.  Still don’t know about Delano (Hill).  He’s been practicing as far as no contact.  He feels good.  The doctor’s will still evaluate him one more time and let us know if he would be ready for Appalachian State or not.  Jake Butt has come a long way, but I would say we’re still on the timetable that we talked about.  We’ll get with the doctors on that a little bit more.  The leadership for this team has really been throughout the team.  When they voted four guys out of each class to be a representative by class, I think it has been a positive in those guys, you can see it just in the whole team and how they’ve treated each other and came out and competed and the things that you want to see.  It has been a really good camp.  We’ve got to finish it tomorrow morning.  Most of that will be a lot of kicking up at the stadium and a little bit of some of the scout team work that we want to continue to do.  We won’t be there but an hour and a 15 minutes.  A little bit of a preview of game day, how we approach it, who goes out when, all the mechanics with that.  We’ve done it once so far, but this will give us another chance.  We’ve got new guys on the team who weren’t here before and we’ve made a couple of changes.  I think those were all positive.”

Question:  How confident are you that Matt Wile can go from your long range guy to your every field goal guy?

Brady Hoke:  “Matt was always consistent from long range or from every field goal guy.  He has done a nice job.  We’ve rushed him a little bit because he’s been doing kickoffs and that for the last two days.   I’m sure tomorrow, we may not kick him, just for the simple fact that I want him to be at his best.  He had a little bit of a foot, which wasn’t his plant foot, but that’s fine.  We just want to make sure that we’re resting him enough.”

Question:  It was his kicking foot then?

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah, which I’ve never heard of.  You’d that it would be a plant foot.  I’d be more worried if it was his plant foot.”

Question:  Is Kyle Kalis healthy now?

Brady Hoke:  “Yes.”

Question:  Which position is he working at and does he have a chance to start?

Brady Hoke:  “I think he has a chance.  We’re still going through that a little bit with him.  He’s practiced the last two days, which is the positive.  I think between him and the way that we’re running it over there.  We’ve got (Kyle) Bosch over there working some.  Joel Burzynski has been working some over there.  Getting Kyle back out is a real plus, gives you a little more of different people that we can play with.”

Question:  Have you settled on one guy for punt returner yet?

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah that would Jabrill (Peppers).”

Question:  Who’s competing at nose tackle and who’s a three?

Brady Hoke:  “Ryan Glasgow has had a really good fall camp.  Ondre Pipkins has had a really good fall camp.  Bryan Mone, there are four of them at the nose who have all played well.   Ryan would be the starter.  At the three technique, I think Willie Henry, Chris Wormley, Matt Godin and Tommy Stroebel have all done a really nice job, but if we started today, Willie would be the guy up first.”

Question:  You mentioned Jabrill on punt return, you haven’t had much from the punt return, you’ve had some sure handed guys, is that an area you need to get more out of?

Brady Hoke:  “I think number one, we’re putting a lot of our best guys on the field.  I think that’s a plus.  I think we’ve had some in the last three years that have been decent, some that we haven’t maybe fielded the ball as well as we should sometimes.  Every special teams, we want to get improvement.”

Question:  So Dennis Norfleet is still kick returner?

Brady Hoke:  “Oh yeah.”

Question:  What were the two or three things when you opened camp that you felt you absolutely had to accomplish and did you?

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah I think we did accomplish.  The first thing that you guys love to ask is the offensive line.   I think the progress that’s been made there has been really positive.  Do I think we’re where we need to be as we get through the season?  No not yet, but there has been a lot of progress.  I think at the corner position we’ve had a great competition out there.  So I think all those guys have improved and that’s huge.  Up front defensively, being a defensive line coach, the noses and the three techniques, who was going to separate themselves.  I think I said that the other day and Willie has done that at the three.  I would say Ryan has right now at the nose position… the group of linebackers have worked together.  The receivers, who was going to come on, where (Amara) Darboh’s health was.  All those things were part of what we wanted to see.”

Question:  The other day with Jabrill you said you were probably going to work him more at the nickel.  Does Jourdan have that other spot? Is he a starter (at corner)?

Brady Hoke:  “I think if we went out today it would be Ray (Taylor) and Blake (Countess).  Jourdan (Lewis) has had a good fall camp.  (Channing) Stribs had a good fall camp, needs a little more consistency.  Delonte Hollowell has had a good fall camp.  I think if we started the game today, it would be Blake and Ray.”

Question:  Is that an experience thing?

Brady Hoke:  “No, they’ve played well.  The competition has been really heated.”

Question:  When you talk about how the group of linebackers worked together, how has that come together with Jake changing position a little bit and how are they working together?

Brady Hoke:  “I think that whole group has really worked well together.  You can throw Ben Gedeon in there, Royce, James Ross, Bolden, Desmond Morgan and Jake.  Mike McCray has had a good fall camp.  He’s got to be a little more consistent, but we like what we’ve seen of him so far.  I think Jake had a little apprehension coming into camp still, even though he was over there all spring, but I really think that he did a very good job of asserting himself in the position.”

Question:  You guys really liked Jarrod Wilson coming out of spring, has he solidified that free safety spot for you and what do you like about having him back there?

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah he has, like his range.  I like his intelligence.  I like his toughness, his ball skills and the abilities that he has.”

Question:  What kind of rotating would you do at that point?  Are Jourdan and Jabrill going to play outside too?

Brady Hoke:  “They can.  They can.  We haven’t sat down yet and said we’re going to play this guy so many reps, this guys so many reps.”

Question:  I know Mattison didn’t like to shuffle the safeties…

Brady Hoke:  “…as much last year.  I think there were different reasons why.  I think sometimes it is just a comfort levels with guys.  You know everybody is going to get you in right positions.”

Question:  So you may be more open to it this year?

Brady Hoke:  “I would think so.”

Question:  What kind of weapon is Hagerup?

Brady Hoke:  “As far as Hagerup, what I like about Will is how he has come back and how he has taken some…that’s hard.  To go through what he’s gone through.  I’m proud of him.  When he’s on, which two years ago, he was on most the time, he’s very effective changing the field.”

Question:  Have you picked captains?

Brady Hoke:  “We’ve got great leadership throughout.”

Question:  We had heard a lot about Freddy (Canteen) in the spring and we saw him a lot in that spring scrimmage, is he the slot guy or is Dennis the slot guy?

Brady Hoke:  “Dennis right now.  Freddy, he started a little slower, but he’s finished very well.”

Question:  Do you think that’s a shared position?

Brady Hoke:  “Yeah.  I think in personnel groups and formationally, it makes a difference.”

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