Sept. 14, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
On the game ... "Well, I think it is in a lot of ways. No. 1, give Akron a lot of credit. Their kids came in here like most Mid-American Conference schools are going to come in here, to win the football game and play to win the football game, and they coached it that way, they played it that way. They did a nice job. I told Terry (Bowden) that, and I told Chuck Amato, because he did some things defensively that were a little different, but at the same time, you know, they are things that we should be able to overcome to a certain extent, and we didn't."
On the turnovers ... "The upsets are always in the mind of the favorite, and any time you don't take care of the football, and I don't care if we are playing Saline High School, or, you know, I don't know, the Super Bowl champs, whoever that was; you can't turn the ball over. And that is No. 1, turnover margins will kill you as a football team."
"The other thing, penalties. Fitz (Toussaint) got 50 yards of rushing wiped out because we fundamentally didn't block properly, and we held and that can't happen. That's 50 yards of rushing. That's a rhythm in a game. And so that, and we had a couple balls thrown over our head. I think two of them were defended decently well, and you have to give people credit; it was good people with the ball, and they were needed to be ,and it was a good catch.
"Still, there was too many of those. They hit the post and two deep and should have been in better shape, and we weren't. From coaches first, from me first, we've got to do a better job. I mean, you can't win championships with those mistakes."
On practice this week ... "I think, you know, it's like anything else. Taking finals and tests and everything, in college, and you've got to study and how much you study usually would how well you're going to do. Maybe the effort wasn't there totally. You know, I thought Tuesday, and I think I told you guys on Wednesday, I didn't like practice as much, but I did like Wednesday and Thursday."
On what needs to change next week ... "The one thing that's interesting, I'm not going to play down. But we are going to coach our butts off during the week, and I thought we didn't coach our butts off last week. But obviously we need to do some things a little better."
On Devin Gardner's slow start ... "You know what, I don't know. It's a really good question and one that I'll be thinking about all night, why he made a couple decisions that he made. I know he's beat up a little bit, he was coming in. Just a little. I mean nothing terrible. It's football. But no, we've got to get to the bottom of playing more consistent in how we do that."
On Jourdan Lewis' playing time ... "We like how he's progressed. We think he's him, (Channing) Stribling and Delonte Hollowell), really those three, all get about the same amount of reps, and we like how Jordan has responded."
On the lack of success in stopping third downs ... "Not tight enough coverage, not fitting the run well enough and no pass pressure; that would be it."
On improving the pass rush going forward ... "I think the way we've worked at it, it's kind of surprising it has not been as good to a certain degree. I think what hurt us today, and if you go back and watch it, how many times we let him out of the pocket."
"When we had good push in the middle from, you know, whoever it might have been, how many times on the outside, and that's one thing going into the game we wanted to whatever we did, we wanted to do in the cavity up the middle and push them to the guys on the outside. Well, there's a couple times in there, four times, that I remember, he got out extended plays, made some good throws. We've got to have a couple [sacks]."
On if he believes in wake-up calls and the defensive stand late ... "I get one, you know, sometimes at a hotel. I think, you know, No. 1, we have five goals that we have as a team that we go over on Sundays, and the No. 1 is to win. So it was good to win. You know, it's a heck of a lot better to win. But, you know, time of possession, you're horrific you're horrific when you turn the ball over four times. Turnovers, I think they had one, one pick two. They had two. Kicking game, I thought our coverage was really good on the kickoffs. I thought those guys did a nice job. Obviously, our punt game needs to go under the microscope in a lot of areas and winning the fourth quarter, that's one thing that we want to pride ourselves on. Was it embarrassing?
"I think there's a lot of embarrassing things that happened when you don't do what you're supposed to do. You know, and I say that from everybody on that team has a job, and everybody who travels has a job from the equipment people, the trainers, the doctors, coaches, players. We all have to perform every week, every test at our highest level, and obviously we didn't do that the ones at the end of the game? Well, could I have told you before what the last call was going to be, because I know Greg Madison, and it was cable zero train, and it was executed very well."
On what else besides winning went well today ... "Oh, I think we'll learn a lot. I think we'll learn a lot about our team. I think you always do. You know, we'll learn a lot as coaches. We'll learn a lot as players, and then we'll go back and correct those things and respond to them."
On the offensive line ... "There was some good holes in there at times, and Fitz made a couple good cuts out of it. Is it consistent enough? No. And I think watching it like we will, there's going to be a lot of learning, and there will be a lot of good teaching going on."
On team leadership ... "Well, you know what, I think those guys have taken a lot of pride, and they have worked very hard in that part of it. You know, as a coach, sometimes you put a little pressure on your leadership, and maybe that's what he's responding to."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Offensive Lineman Taylor Lewan
On his message as leaders of the team after a game like this ... "It was embarrassing. Got to give it to Akron. They played a hard-fought game. We didn't prepare. This is on the seniors. This is on the leadership of this team, and extremely poor, poor leadership. Especially on my side. Being in the offensive captain on this team, I put that offensive performance on myself. Devin (Gardner) didn't have enough time to throw, our running backs didn't have enough holes, and that's my fault.
"This is embarrassing for the University of Michigan football team. I've said it three times. Yeah, we won the game. We're 3-0. That's great. It was embarrassing. It was embarrassing. It wasn't Devin's fault. It was the leadership of this team. Devin is a leader on this team, but it was not on him."
On if today was a letdown and maybe a little bit of disrespect for Akron ... "I don't know about disrespect. I think Akron came out and fought hard. Like I said before, we didn't prepare as a team. That's truly embarrassing for Michigan that we came out like that. It's not fair to the fans. It's not fair to the people that are associated with this program. It's not fair to the freshmen on this team that aren't playing. This is the seniors fault. This is the captains' fault. We will not come out like this again."
On what changes next week ... "Preparation. If any guy on this team thinks they can do anything but prepare every single week -- you have to take this as your job. You came here to be a student-athlete. You go to school, you get your degree and you win Big Ten championships. And if we prepare like we did this week, we won't win another game."
On if he went to the student section after the game ... "We're 3-0, so I'm not here to celebrate that kind of game, that kind of preparation. I know in that locker room, it's quiet right now. I'm fired up. I'm fired up, and we've got a lot of work to do if we want to accomplish these goals. The senior class, Devin (Gardner), Jake Ryan, we've all worked too hard, too hard to have games like this, way too hard. Y'all don't even know. Y'all just write [stuff] down. We are just ready to play. We'll be ready."
On what was lacking ... "For the running back Fitz (Toussaint) is a great, unbelievable running back, but you can't do anything if you don't have a hole, and there's a couple times, there's a hole here and there, obviously Fitz got out, a couple penalties took him back, but we'll get that fixed."
U-M Senior/Junior Quarterback Devin Gardner
On his message as leaders of the team after a game like this ... "He (Taylor Lewan) pretty much said it all. I talked to Tom Brady, and he talked about being the best quarterback for the team every time out in practice, and in the game, and I was not the best quarterback for this team today. And like he said, it's embarrassing, and we are going to respond. We won the football game, but we are going to respond, I can guarantee you that."
On the pressure he faced ... "Pressure, it doesn't bother me, and they got to me today. And I made a lot of bad decisions. Probably played my worst game ever and won't happen again."
On if today was a wake-up game ... "You guys can call it what you want, but we are going to respond. That's what we talked about in the summer is responding to adversity, and this is probably the most adverse situation we probably could be in. We almost lost to Akron, no disrespect to Akron, but we almost lost after coming out and having a great win last week in front of the whole world, and we come out and almost blow it. I definitely would have been sick if we didn't get a chance to pursue our goals of a national championship and Big Ten championship because of the way I played today."
On scoring late and then watching the defense at the end ... "We shouldn't have to have our backs against the wall like that, against anybody, not just Akron but anybody. We did what we had to do, like we said earlier, won the football game, we responded with the last drive to put us ahead, and the defense got a stop on the goal line. We can't change the past. The game is over, and we won, and we're going to move forward, and like Taylor (Lewan) said, we are not coming out like that again."
U-M Junior Linebacker Brennen Beyer
On what went through his mind during the last play ... "I could tell that the ball was in the air, so I turned around to see what happened, but I fell over. I was looking at my teammates, and their reaction told me that we had won the game."
On the day not turning out as expected ... "I don't think you can really expect anything coming into a game. You have to treat every opponent the same, and I think we need to prepare better in practice and come out and know what our job is and execute it a lot better than we did this week."
On concerns about the third-down defense in particular ... "It starts with pass rush. The guys up front, we have to get to that quarterback a lot faster. We've worked on it a lot, and we'll work on it more this week. In the backfield, just know your assignment and execute."
On teams spending time in Michigan's red zone ... "Red zone defense is a big mindset, and we really pride ourselves in having the best red-zone defense we can, but we can't let the ball get there all the time. It's going to happen every once in a while, but we really need to work on keeping them out of the red zone and giving them no points."
On what he saw on the final snap ... "I was blitzing right up the middle and to my surprise, it opened wide up. Jibreel (Black) did a good job of opening that gap up wide, so I tried to get to the quarterback as fast as I could, and I thought he was going to throw it, so I tried to get a hand up."
On whether or not he did (get a hand on the final pass) ... "I don't really know. I don't really know what happened after I hit him."
U-M Senior Safety Thomas Gordon
On what the defense needs to focus on going forward ... "We just need to compete. We need to get better pressure with the defensive line, which was an emphasis all week. And as defensive backs, we need to be playmakers and make plays on the ball."
On considering the game an emotional letdown after the win last week ... "That can be an excuse, but we still expect to come out and to execute and compete. We didn't do that."
On whether this game will strengthen the team ... "We're going to make corrections. We're happy that this happened right now because we needed this as a team. I feel like this is going to make us better. We're going to put this game behind us, and we've got Connecticut on the road next week."
Akron Head Coach Terry Bowden
Opening statement about the game overall ... "It was a wonderful game to watch. I am sick for my players, for how long they played and how hard they played and how well they played, to not come away with a victory. I have been fortunate in my lifetime to be a part of some big wins and that would have been the biggest. I am sorry for our players because they have worked so hard and been through so much. But I told them they had a chance to play the game of a lifetime and they tried."
On the pass that got Akron to the 1-yard line at the end of the game ... "It was a great throw and catch. We pulled out every play in the playbook to try to find someone to get open. We did a good job of giving our quarterback protection. We would go inside then go outside, and fake the short one and then spin and go deep. They were scoring and we had to find a lot of ways to make plays."
On when Akron felt like it had a chance to upset Michigan ... "We came out and got a hit in the second half. Sometimes it will be a first half and then the other team goes in the locker room and gets yelled at, and then they come out and pound you. We came back and stopped them, and we came ahead 10-7. I have been on the other side when I was at Auburn playing that type of game, and you get a little uncomfortable when you are on that side. When we got down 21-10 that was a point there when I was worried about my players, because they have tried so hard and then the defense intercepts a pass for a touchdown. We had to come back and score at the beginning of the second half to really convince me that this was going to be a ball game."
On what today will do for the program despite the loss ... "We have a building program, we have a building process. I compare it to what Brady Hoke went through when he was at Ball State. He takes over the job, goes 4-8, 2-9, 4-8, 5-7 before he starts (winning). We have got a building job, and we have got to get better every single week. We have got to recruit, we have got to develop, and we have got to get better to build our program."
Akron Sophomore Quarterback Kyle Pohl
On the point in the game when players thought they could win ... "I think with how our defense was playing in the first half before we were even ahead we knew we could beat them. I knew we could move the ball as soon as we got our offense straight, so I really was confident before we even went ahead because of how our defense was playing. We were moving the ball, we just were not executing like we were in the second half."
On the last play of the game ... "That's a tough one. That happened fast. It was a good call by Coach. We had what we wanted. If it was a half-second more, maybe I could squeeze it and make a better throw."
On the pass to set up the final drive ... "It was another great call. Coach did an awesome job today with play calling; he gave me stuff that he knew I would be comfortable with. The preparation this week was good, and I knew we had it as long he ran a good route and I made a good throw it was going to be a good play and he did it. I threw it right to him and it was perfect."