April 5, 2014
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On how the Wolverine offense looked ... "Inconsistent. I think there were a couple good runs in there that they did a pretty good job with. We needed to be a little more consistent in the protection game. Through the course of the 15 practices, I think there has been some real improvements made."
On his comfort level with quarterback Shane Morris ... "He's getting better every time he goes on the field, and sometimes that's making a mistake that you learn from. I am very comfortable with how he is progressed through 15 practices. He is a long way away -- we're a long way away -- from being the kind of team we need to be. I am much more comfortable now because of the experience that he has had."
On new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier ... "The one thing I'll tell you is he has done an excellent job -- the teaching part of it, the details, all those things. Obviously, he is here because we think he is an awfully good football coach in all areas. It's been a lot for the kids. We have put them in a lot of uncomfortable situations through spring, asked them to learn a lot and see what stuck a little bit. Again, today we didn't do a whole lot, on either side of the ball to be honest with you. He has done a nice job."
On his group of running backs ... "I am very excited because I think we are better. I think they have all improved with the new system, the protection part of it. They struggled early and played a little slower early because of that. They are starting to grasp it pretty well. I think when Drake Johnson gets back in the fall it will be good, he's done a lot of everything but contact. It will be fun to see who emerges."
On the pace of practice and how it translated today ... "I think we will have 39 freshman in the fall, we have 38 sophomores here now, 20 juniors, and 12 seniors. So, we need as much work and as many reps for all those guys as we can. I'll be honest with you, when we got to the scrimmage part I thought it was kind of slow, compared to how we have run the pace and the reps. A big part is the teaching aspect, the reps, the technique, the fundamentals and the other part is putting them in uncomfortable situations because they are going to be a little young. But they are going to be in uncomfortable situations in the fall."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Quarterback Devin Gardner
On his last year ... "Your senior year is your last opportunity to make something happen and leave your stamp, further your legacy here at the university. The younger guys look at the seniors and are understanding that that'll be me soon. It forces them to play with a sense of urgency as well."
On where there is room for growth in the offense ... "I feel like we can always grow in every area. We've been really consistent. We've been able to cut down on negative plays. That's a big thing he [Coach Nussmeier] always talks about. That's what we're trying to do. He demands perfection. Even when we make a big play, he finds something that can be improved. Everyone understands that we try to be as perfect as possible."
On how the defense has been playing ... "They're doing really well. Obviously we're still missing some pieces, but we'll all get a chance to compete through the fall. It's hard to stop a great defensive line, and we have a good defensive line that was coming to get us for 15 straight days. Everybody is learning to play with each other. When you come into the spring game, it's going to be pretty bland. You can't show too much. I thought they did a really good job today, and throughout the spring."
U-M Junior Safety Jarrod Wilson
On his goals for himself this spring ... "Mainly, I want to become a field general back there. I want to help control the secondary, as well as the front seven. I want to be more vocal and have a presence at safety. I think I've done a good job of that so far, and not only me, but the other safeties as well. We've all taken strides forward to making our presence felt, communicate well and control everything back there."
On having Coach Mallory as the new safeties coach ... "Having an individual coach is a lot better than having one for the entire secondary, I think. He helps us get a better understanding of our technique. It's nice to have him focus more of his time and attention on us."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Linebacker Jake Ryan
On the comfort level of the linebackers coming out of the spring ... "I think we're doing well. Everyone feels good about their position. There's always room to improve and we're going into the summer with this film. We'll get everything to improve and take the steps that we need to take to get to the next level."
On how excited he gets for the spring game ... "It's my fifth spring game, so I'm used to it, but for these younger guys, just being in the Big House is always the best feeling ever. Coming back here and playing in this game is always fun and exciting."
On the defense this spring ... "We've had our days. The defense is definitely improving. We're getting into the backfield and we're swarming to the ball. Seeing those younger guys especially improve, take those extra steps, is what we need. It's going to be fun to watch us in the fall."
U-M Senior Defensive End Frank Clark
On spring leadership and chemistry ... "It's been a great spring. I think we've come closer as a team. That will bring everyone closer as a family. A lot of guys, including the freshman, are buying into what Coach Mattison is instilling with the idea of having an identity. That's what we're trying to establish. We basically just have to find it out before our first game. We want to be a run stopping, pass rushing team. It's that simple."
On the offensive line ... "We have a young offensive line right now. We have a lot of guys that are injured or not fully recovered from injury yet... All of those guys will be back when we start camp and that's something to look forward to."
On giving younger players guidance this spring ... "It's been great to coach everybody up and make sure everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing. This is a new offense, so we all have to make sure to pick up the offense fast."
On his comfort level between positions ... "It doesn't matter to me where I'm playing, I just need to find a way to get open. Simple as that."
On the new offense ... "The quarterback has to know a little bit more than me about the new offense, but I'm a fast learner -- I pick up on everything, I learned all the positions to make sure everyone's in the right spot. It's going really well with me."
U-M Sophomore Quarterback Shane Morris
On learning the offense ... "We want to run everything perfectly. Vince Lombardi only ran about three plays, but they ran those plays perfectly. That's what we want and that's what we're trying to do this year--to run everything perfect ... We have to learn every little play. Coach Nussmeier is helping us be able to do that and helping us to learn everything. We have to know what the linemen do on every play and know who the backs are blocking on every play. That helps us know where the hot reads are and the little things like that. It just helps us become more aware of the defense and what we should be doing with the football."
On necessary offseason improvements ... "I need to improve on a lot of things, but a lot of it is learning the playbook. Some footwork stuff, timing with receivers, and watching film on the linemen to get everything straight for when we're on the field."
U-M Senior Linebacker Brennen Beyer
On what to improve in this offseason ... "We need to work on individual technique for everyone's individual position -- just really hone in on that. I think both sides of the ball are making plays and there is good competition."
On expectations for this team ... "I don't like to think of excuses for our team. I think what we get is what we deserve, and this year we're going to go out and shoot for that Big Ten Championship and see what happens."
U-M Sophomore Defensive Back Jourdan Lewis
On tighter coverage schemes ... "I definitely think we're going to be tighter on offenses this year. We are playing more man-to-man and we'll be closer to those guys to break it up or intercept it."
On physicality ... "There isn't really a transition to being physical, it's just a mindset. It's a mindset. I've always been physical, we just didn't emphasize being physical. Mentally, we'll be a better secondary this year."
U-M Junior/Sophomore Offensive Lineman Ben Braden
On his overall spring learning experience ... "Not everybody's going to be perfect. Anyone who has played sports knows that. Especially from an offensive line standpoint, there are things we did well and things we didn't do so well. It's everyday at every position. There are things we need to work on and better at. We'll come back tomorrow and look at the tape and we'll go from there to keep improving."
On strength of the offensive line ... "I wouldn't center it around any position or any one person. We're all coming together and realizing we need to push not only ourselves but also each other, to push the offensive and push the team. Being on the line, you're the one who pushes the team. The game is won in the trenches. So it starts right there. We're all just focusing on competing with each other."
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