Eugene, Oregon-- After another week of practice, Oregon's new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke made his first media appearance of spring camp this afternoon outside the Hatfield-Dowlin practice complex. The Ducks' new DC provided some laughs throughout his time with the press but was mostly excited to be back doing what he loves: coaching football. Hoke spoke about how it has been settling into his new position as DC, something he's never done before, "It's been fun, we've got a great staff... and I love defense, that's where my heart has always been so it's been good,"
After last season's defense had one of the poorer campaigns in recent memory (ranked 116th in total defense), Hoke was asked what he was trying to do to implement change in a Ducks defense that was in desperate need of a revitalization, "I'm just being who I am as a coach. We expect us to get better every day as coaches--if we're not more competitive than the coaches at SC [USC] than we're making a mistake... there's been a lot of positives but we're still not the kind of team that we need to be."
So far the reaction from his defensive players has been that Hoke brings a lot of energy and is more in your face than previous defensive coordinator Don Pellum . When Hoke was asked to identify his own coaching style he said, "There's a lot of honesty. I told them that we're gonna coach you hard and we're gonna be consistent every day in what we're doing." Despite his fierce coaching style and tough reputation, Hoke went on to explain his level of love and passion for the game, "personally getting out on that field is my funnest time and being with those kids. Mrs. Hoke doesn't like that, but it really is."
"Being with those guys and helping them grow in a lot of different ways from a football aspect, you can't play the game if you don't have energy, and I don't know how you could coach it if you don't have energy."
- Brady Hoke
Coach Hoke also took the opportunity to talk about the progress the team is making installing his 4-3 defense saying that "it's too early to tell" if the personnel they have in the building is capable of running his new scheme. "he [Mark Helfrich] knows it's a whole cultural mentality being an up the field defense, and being aggressive and angry, that's how we wanna play," Hoke went on to say. He did add that because of the amount of seniors that departed on the defensive side of the ball (five) that it could ease the transition with the fresh minds that are stepping into bigger roles. "There are some guys who just joined us who really didn't play two gap; who played one gap in high school, and you can see that a little bit, so you know they don't have to go change what they've kinda learned."