Opening statement ... "Thanks for coming out. Number one, on Saturday I thought our guys were united. I thought they played hard together. I think they played and fought. Sometimes that doesn't guarantee you anything. Their effort as a team was something that I was proud of. I'm proud of those kids. I know I said that on Saturday, but that hasn't changed. Sometimes fighting alone doesn't get a victory. I think we need to change those results and execute a little better, coach a little better. It always starts with me, and us. There was some good progress that was made. We want to really emphasize those things. Yesterday we didn't practice. That was already determined. We got back, I don't know, I got home at 4:15 a.m., so I'm sure the guys got home late. We wanted to give them rest because rest will help you heal. We had a good meeting yesterday. I think from the standpoint of corrections and emphasizing the things that we want to see repeated I think were important. You know I don't talk about injuries unless a guy is going to miss the year and unfortunately that's Derrick Green. He broke his clavicle late in the football game. Nice run on our sidelines -- but Derrick's attitude is very good. He knows the expectation of him to help, coach those young guys, be integral in what we're trying to get done. We're going miss him, but De'Veon Smith and Justice Hayes and Drake Johnson are three guys that need to step up. Two of them have had a lot of game experience and have played a lot of plays, so I feel good about that. We'll miss Derrick, but this is like anything else in competition and sports, next man's got to stand up."
On QB Devin Gardner being a starter and QB Shane Morris' subsequent placement ... "Shane's practicing. You know, Devin is the starting quarterback. I thought Devin, from the standpoint of running the offense; I think on some explosive plays that he ran, I thought he ran hard with a purpose. I thought he did a nice job. We had a little mix up on a route with the interception. But overall, number one, his leadership was outstanding. I think when you're on that sideline and the energy and all those things, he did a tremendous job. We're very pleased with the progress that he made Saturday and expect more progress this week."
On the play involving WR Amara Darboh being submitted to the Big Ten for review ... "We talked yesterday. We spoke to the right people, appropriate people. I think we might see it differently, but at the same time, that play is over with. Like I told the team yesterday, anything that happened on Saturday night, things that we've got to move forward, because we start to focus on Penn State."
On RB Justice Hayes' performance on Saturday and not seeing much of RB Drake Johnson ... "Justice has primarily been a very good third-down back. When you get into those situations where from the protection standpoint, I do think that Derrick (Green) and De'Veon (Smith) are getting closer with that standpoint. But Justice gives you something there. I think his ability out of the backfield has been good. He is a different style runner, where Drake is probably a combination of somewhere with Derrick and Justice as far as when you see his ability and his quickness in the hole."
On RB Drake Johnson's attention preseason but lack of playing time this season ... "We talk about compete and challenge. There's always that. Not that he wasn't competing or challenging, but as you go through practice and the execution of everything. We thought he just needed to clean up a little bit."
On RB Drake Johnson making progress ... "Yeah he has, no question about it."
On how RB Derrick Green's injury will affect the offense ... "I'm very confident in the three guys that will be doing most of the work as a running back. I'm highly confident of what they bring and what they can do. When you lose anybody -- we lost guys who have been on our scout team that we can't afford to lose because they give you such a good look -- so is Derrick important? Yeah. Are we going to miss him? Sure we will. But that's why there are 115 guys on this team. You've got to step in when your opportunity comes and make the most of it."
On Rutgers's punt in the 11th minute in the second quarter when there were only 10 men on the field ... "That was during the time where, were we going to put the defense on the field in a safe-punt kind of deal or were we going to go with our punt return group? We decided to go with the punt return group, and one individual didn't get that."
On DB Jourdan Lewis and his development ... "I think JD, the one thing with him, is that he is consummate technique guy. We'll get done with practice, and he'll stay out there and work through releases with guys. His leadership is really developing. I think from that standpoint, we're getting more from him. He's got a good burst from the physical aspect. There are a lot of things that he does awfully well. He's got that make-up speed and that quickness, and so I think technique-wise he's improved immensely. I think the maturity and maturation process is a big part of that. I can't say enough how he's been for us. He's been very solid for us."
On if beyond wins and losses, positional expectations are up to standards ... "Our expectations every year, you always have an expectation to win every game. You have an expectation, and we still always will, of winning the Big Ten championship. Have we played as well as a team on every Saturday? No. Do we need to keep coaching harder? Yes. Do we need coach better? Yes. From the standpoint of a team that stood together and worked extremely hard every day, and liked working hard for each other, there's progress that has been made. Now we have to go out and win."
On OL Kyle Kalis... "Kalis has played good football. I think he has done a nice job how he has responded, of the commitment level he made since January is really showing itself. Right now that's the five (lineman) we are playing with."
On if he's worried about fan attendance against Penn State ... "No."
On what a big crowd against Penn State will mean to the team ... "That environment I don't think is like any other. We have played enough night games at different places. The environment we have had here, it amps your players up because of that environment, and we are excited about it. We have great fans, and they are fans with high expectations, and they should be. We feel the same way."
On if RB De'Veon Smith is capable of being an every-down back ... "Yes. I know he carried the ball in high school 40-some times a game against their league rival. I know it's only high school, but it is still a guy carrying it. How many snaps he gets during the course of the week, how we practice and all of those things, I mean, I think he is more than capable of it."
On how the Big Ten explained the rule on WR Amara Darboh's incompletion ... "There are three phases to it, and sometimes that's subjective to what phases you think are done properly and what were not. We talked about it and number one, it cannot change anything, so to spend a lot of time going back and talking about that distracts about what is important, and that's getting our kids ready for Penn State."
On if there has been a change in QB Devin Gardner since he was benched ... "I think the maturity that Devin has gone through in the course of three years, three-and-a-half years, I think he keeps growing. I think he keeps growing as a person and evolving as a quarterback. From that standpoint, I couldn't be more pleased to see how he worked last week, how he supported Shane all through that week he was not starting."
On if the 10-man punt return was due to lack of communication between coaches or players ... "I think it is both. It is more coaching, and that is on me. The other thing I would say is that it has to be something that we have got to do a better job, and we have to be locked in to doing a better job."
On how to separate the negativity of his job from his personal life ... "I don't know if I can separate it. I don't think I quite understand. We have great support here, and we have great kids here. I don't think I have ever done that. We get about two weeks in the summer, and you try not to take your cell phone, and that is about it. That is the way of the beast, I mean, it's fun. I get to help mentor kids. And I have good support at home. Mrs. Hoke is a very good coach's wife."