U-M / PSU Postgame: Brady Hoke

Michigan headman Brady Hoke reflects upon his team's 18-13 victory "Under the Lights" over the Penn State Nittany Lions. Hoke shared his thoughts on Devin Gardner's performance, his signal caller's leadership, the play of the defense, and more.

Opening statement ... "It was obviously good to win, and we had some tough times and tough weeks, but the resiliency of our football team, the resiliency of how they go about every day in practice and the hard work that they put in paid off. And it wasn't pretty at times, but things aren't pretty all the time.

"And what they did, though, is they played together, they stuck together. We had some guys who were banged up, obviously. That's just part of football. If you're not banged up, then you're really not playing, but we got guys who are tough, got guys who understand what it is to play as a team and play for each other and play for Michigan, and I'm excited for them, as much as anything for how they stuck together.

"Also the environment, the crowd; there's no place better in this country when you have a game like this than Michigan Stadium, and I can tell you our kids, they feel it, they feel it when those people are there cheering for them, and the students that were there, former players, them coming back and supporting those kids; you don't get that in a lot of institutions or maybe any institutions like you do at Michigan. So very excited for our kids.

"We're going to enjoy it, and then we'll get back to work next week Tuesday and Wednesday."

On the plays in the defensive second half and then the winning plays at the end of the game ... "I think a couple of things. Penn State had a week off, and as most teams do, you have a week off. You start looking at tendencies. You start looking at things and maybe patterns to it. In the first half, maybe they broke some tendencies they had.

"I think they -- Greg (Mattison) and the staff defensively -- did a great job at halftime. I think our kids had a will, and they willed themselves to keep going, and it was pressure on the quarterback with four-man, three-man rush that really worked out pretty well and maximum coverage. And part of that, you know, is he's gotta hold the ball a little longer, and we got off the field in third downs, which in the first half we really didn't as much."

On Devin Gardner coming back into the game ... "Devin's leadership has been outstanding, and he played a game a year ago with a broken toe for half the game. So you know he's got a toughness to him. He is turning in through his maturation process and everything into a tremendous leader. He was cheering the defense on when they were out there, and he wants to compete and play. And the trainers said, 'Yeah, he can go.'"

Of if tonight was a glimpse of where he expected the team to be at this point ... "Yeah. I think that's the expectations that we all had. I think there isn't any question about it. That's what Michigan has been about, and that's what it's going to continue to be about. And we talked about taking one at a time, and that's what we're going to do, and just see how this team finishes."

On pressure and play of Jourdan Lewis on the interception ... "They kind of go hand in hand, and I thought that No. 1, Jourdan has done a really fabulous job with coverage. And he's usually playing very tight coverage, but at the same time I think the pressure, no doubt, had something to do with it, but it was also, when you watch it again, I think a pretty daggone athletic play by Jourdan, too."

On what it means to see the support for the team today ... "I'm just so excited for those kids. I mean they're the ones who are doing the work. They're the ones out there playing. They're the ones who come to Schembechler Hall every day with an attitude to play for each other. It would be real easy not to be that way. It would be real easy for guys to say, I want to go get mine or whatever. But they haven't done that. And we've held them to a pretty high standard, but they've held themselves to that high standard."

On Devin Gardner's status ... "We'll figure that out because we don't talk about injuries, but we'll figure that out. But with Devin, I think the growth, as I said earlier, and the demeanor, and what he has done on and off the field has been really special."

On the defensive performance without Willie Henry ... "We've done a pretty good job, I would believe, in recruiting defensive linemen, going from three-man front to a four-man front. Chris Wormley, Matt(hew) Godin, Tom Strobel. I mean when you look at the three techniques that we have. And the same thing inside at the nose position with (Bryan) Mone, who started the day, (Ryan) Glasgow and Willie Henry and Ondre (Pipkins). Ondre is fighting something, and he'll be back, and he'll be ready. I think we're fortunate that we've got a lot of young guys in those classes that compete every day."

On the team's resiliency to pick up the win ... "I think the guys have character. I think they're guys who have a tremendous amount of pride in themselves and in each other as a team.

"I think they're motivated. I think when we haven't played as well as we think and know we can; I think they get ticked off. And so I think every day that they've gone out, I think they've gone out to get better, push each other, compete and challenge with each other. And that's what they've done. You know, I just think from the beginning I said this team has leadership in all grades, and they've shown that. And they've demonstrated that."

On if this is a good week for a bye with players banged up ... "Yes, it is. Believe me. It's happening at a good time as far as we get some rest. The guys get away from us a little bit, which is always positive, and probably more positive for them than me because I worry about them. But I think it's good that we have a chance for them to get rested up a little bit."

On if Gardner asked to be put back in ... "You know, the only time he said something to me was the series before, and he just said, "Coach, I'm going." I said, "the trainers say you're okay?" He said, "Yeah". I said, "Okay. Go."

On Frank Clark getting the final sack ... "Poetic. (Laughs). That's an assumption. Yeah. It was good for him to, you know, finish. Let's put it that way."

On Matt Wile's day ... "I think I've said it every time we've had a press conference since Notre Dame. He's been on. And he's been on hitting the ball well. Last week the field goal gets blocked, but he hit it well, and he's been hitting it well. I think his confidence is where you want it to be, where he wants it to be, where we want it to be. So really, really, really excited.

"And I think you forget about Scott Sypniewski, the snapper. You forget about Kenny Allen, who holds and how much they work together every day and how successful he was and a lot of it starts there, too."

On the other quarterbacks available other than Russell Bellomy ... "Well, whoever was dressed out was."

On if other dressed quarterbacks could have entered the game ... "Yes."

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