U-M coach quotes from Michigan Sports Network postgame show
Player quotes from press conference
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On the respect he has for Air Force ... "I've always had a great deal of respect for how they play football. I think the option gives you some nightmares and a lot of problems. I think Troy's (Calhoun) done such a good job. From an offensive standpoint, he's mixed in some pro-style things that have worked well for him. They try to keep you off balance."
On Air Force's fast-paced style of play ... "I competed against them for two years in the Mountain West. They were running all of the option, the midline series and all those kinds of things. They weren't a tempo team. I think about a year ago, he went to it and it really helped them out. We were fortunate. I think our guys hung in there. They played well together at the end, and it was really good to get a win."
On the defensive stops on the last two series ... "I think our guys responded well. We didn't get the first down and then the defense had to go right back onto the field. On the series before that, our guys went out and made a couple stops that they had to make. At the end, I think our front took over a little bit and got them a little uncomfortable because they had to throw the football. That's what you want to try to do on all of those third-down opportunities."
On the offensive game plan revolving around Denard Robinson ... "That's kind of what we went into the game with. We wanted to establish him a little more in the running game without over-running him and getting him beat up. I think he hit some holes and found some creases, and overall, he did a great job."
On getting production out of the running backs ... "We talked after the game as a team. Did we play our best football? No. Do we have to play much better football if we want to win the Big Ten championship? Yes. We've got to get better each week. Part of that is up front, on both sides of the ball. I think we're a work in progress defensively. We have a lot of guys in and out. And offensively, because we have some older guys that don't have a lot of experience, we have to keep working through that and get better."
On the improvement from last week ... "I think the one thing I've liked in both weeks is our kicking game. It's been better than it was a year ago so far. We've got to keep that up. I think when you look at defending the option, we're not going to see a lot of that, but with a lot of spread teams, you get some of those elements. I think we learned a lot today."
U-M Junior/Sophomore Linebacker Jake Ryan
On representing Bennie Oosterbaan as the next Michigan Football Legend ... "I did a little research on Bennie. He was an athletic Michigan Man. It's just a number, but I'm representing something. I had pride in what I did today."
On how the team bounced back this week following last week's loss to Alabama ... "We had all week to prepare. Coming off that Alabama loss, it was tough. Going through this week, I think we progressed. We got that question a lot. Towards the end of the first quarter, we knew what was going on, and we knew what we had to do. We got it done."
On what the team can take away heading into next week's game vs. Massachusetts ... "We're definitely going to take a look at the film. It's just technique, and that's huge in this game. They are very disciplined. They come downhill very fast and are physical. Stopping the run is what Air Force did. They're a huge running team, and looking at what they did and how we came to it, I feel like we can progress and keep moving forward to UMass."
On the challenges that Air Force's offense presented ... "Air Force is very high tempo. We're not going to play another team like them this year. You have the option. You have the dive. There are different things you need to key in on, and playing technique is a big part of that."
On the final defensive stand ... "Before we came out, we always do this Law of the Jungle thing. We did that. We all came together and decided that we needed to get this done and get this fourth down out of here. We came together. It's a defensive effort the whole time. We needed a stop and went from there."
U-M Senior Quarterback Denard Robinson
On Devin Funchess ... "He was one of the guys that always makes plays in practice. We looked to him in fall camp and used him. Today, especially since Brandon (Moore), he played a heck of a game."
On weighing Big Ten individual honors vs. team honors ... "To be honest with you, I'm more focused on the team winning the Big Ten championship than me winning the Big Ten Player of the Week Award. That's our goal, to win the Big Ten championship."
On the differences between the first two weeks of the season ... "Air Force is a good team. That's a hard offense to stop. Not a lot of teams can stop that Air Force offense. We came out and played ball today, and played it pretty well, I think. We have to keep moving forward and progress on everything we do. That's how I look at it. We did get better after the first week, and we've just got to keep going."
U-M Senior Safety Jordan Kovacs
On Army's offense ... "I think they are a very disciplined team. A lot of times I was responsible for the run on the options and they have guys coming at you, blocking you, cutting you. They are not the biggest guys or the fastest guys, but they play disciplined. They play tough football and they executed very well. We didn't execute the best we could at times, but at the end of the day we knew it was going to be a dogfight and we are happy to get the win."
On the choice of Jake Ryan to wear Bennie Oosterbaan's number ..."Obviously, he is a great ballplayer. He had a pretty big game today, so I told him that I want to wear it next week. Maybe that is his secret. But he is a great ballplayer. He made some big plays for us today. He does it every week. He was a great choice."
On switching up from Alabama's offense to Air Force's offense ... "It is tough. It was a very tough turnaround, coming off that loss. You have to cram for an offense that you have never seen before. I haven't seen it since high school. We put in a completely new defense, and everyone is playing new positions. It was a tough situation. We knew they were going to score some points. I think we can measure our discipline in this game. I don't think we were the most disciplined at times, but at the end of the day, we probably are not going to run this defense again. That is okay by me. That was a tough offense with some very disciplined guys. We are happy with the win."
On the freshman linebackers playing at crunch time... "I think that shows the amount of trust Coach (Greg) Mattison has with guys like James Ross III and Joe Bolden. Those guys have really earned their stripes. They deserve that time in crunch time."
U-M Senior/Junior Left Tackle Taylor Lewan
On only having seven yards rushing from the running back position ... "I think that explains it. Seven yards from the running back is awful. What Denard (Robinson) did was good, but there is always room for improvement along the offensive line. We need to do a better job of reestablishing the line of scrimmage. It is going to be tough for this team to be successful if we can't do that as an offensive line."
On the rushing attack of Denard Robinson ... "Everybody has their day here and there. Today, Denard had one of those days. That is great. We were able to make holes for him and that is good. There were a couple times when the running back got put in a bad situation. The running back will have more opportunities in the future. I think if we keep progressing as a team and an offensive line, we should be successful."
On what the offensive line needs to do to improve ... "We need to do a better job of reestablishing the line of scrimmage. I have said that several times and I am going to keep saying it. That is what Michigan football is. That is what we have to do. It is disappointing when you have seven yards rushing for a running back. I think we need to do a better job at that."
U-M Freshman Tight End Devin Funchess
On his performance against Air Force ... "I just went out there and did my job like I was supposed to, like I was coached in practice to do. I learned from Brandon Moore and Mike Kwiatkowski how to get off coverages, and it helped me in the game today."
On if he took Brandon Moore's injury as an opportunity ... "I don't take that injury as an opportunity. I was working hard in practice. It just so happened that they needed me to step up this week, and I stepped in to make the job."
On Denard Robinson ... "Denard is a good quarterback. He has improved. As you saw today, he put touch on the ball he threw. He's making it easy for us to get the opportunity to catch, putting us in opportunities where only we can get it and not the defender."
U-M Junior Wide Receiver Devin Gardner
On his progression from week one to week two ... "It's a totally different defense and the way they play. Air Force played a lot of off coverage and not a lot of tight man. I'm not sure how much better I did, but I feel like I can get better. We'll just have to see as the year goes on."
On the biggest adjustment to playing wide receiver ... "It has to be blocking and being in the greatest shape of your life. I go to block the guys and a lot of the corners are smaller, so they like to run around and try to juke me. I'm not much of a tackler and I don't play defense, so it's hard to judge, but I'm doing my best. I feel like I'm getting better every week."
On Denard Robinson ... "I feel like the misconception is that Denard can't throw the football, and he can. Every quarterback makes mistakes. They throw bad passes. Even the greatest quarterbacks do. Everyone batters him about certain throws he makes, and it's not that big of a deal. He's doing well, and he's getting better every day."
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