Aug. 11, 2011
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "Four days in and being in half pads for two days, we have a lot of work to do. It will be good to get in full pads tomorrow to maybe tackle a little bit and do some of those things that are important to play in a game. I think the kids have given a good effort. The one thing I can say is that you're got to be able to hear football. When I say that I mean offensive linemen coming off the ball, defensive lineman making contact, that secondary contact you get down the field. I told them last night I didn't hear it yesterday. I heard it a little better today. Hearing football is important because it kind of tells you what's going on. Luckily it's not September 3 and we've got some days to get after it."
On what has encouraged him about Denard Robinson ... "I've been really encouraged by the little things and that is really what we talk about constantly at every position, paying attention to detail. When you look at ball fakes and everything you do off the run game, I think he's throwing the ball well. I think he's placed it well. I think his timing coming back from under center or out of the gun if it's a quick three or a quick five have all been really good. I think his growth is really good."
On first impression of the punters ... "Seth (Broekhuizen) and Matt (Wile) in the four days have both kicked the ball pretty well. We had a pretty good wind kicking into it yesterday. It's always good to see how they handle that part of it. They're both doing a good job."
On what he's seen from the running backs so far ... "It's hard to tell right now and no one has really stood out. They know they are not going all the way to the ground. I think it's hard to judge to some degree until we really start putting them down and seeing them protect with a big linebacker coming and how they're going to hold up there. I think they're all working hard."
On how to teach a running quarterback patience in the pocket ... "I think that is hard for a lot of quarterbacks. I think part of that is on them. It's recognizing what you have up front, recognizing what the defense is going to give you. The other part of it for him is that it's a great weapon. If he can clear through the zone or the play action part of it and has his footwork and the timing and the mechanics and the reads, if it's not there, him bringing it down from a drop back situation, he's a dangerous guy. I've been really impressed with him because since the spring he's even more patient."
On what it means to "hear football," is it communication or is it the players being physical? ... "It's both. I think I like the physicality of it as much as I like anything. When you hear it, you know it. It's guys coming off the football and looking to hit guys with their eyes and getting after somebody."
Senior Linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald
On what he wants to see in tomorrow's first full padded practice that he hasn't seen yet ... "I wouldn't say it's anything we haven't seen. I expect a lot of intensity tomorrow. I know guys are itching to get into full pads. It's too bad we have to wait four days to get in them, but everyone is excited to get in there and get after it, offense and defense. We want to continue the competition and play real football. We have really physical practices but there's nothing like getting into full pads."
On the linebackers ... "Everybody is stepping up and really getting after it. Kenny (Demens) just got back and he's been really stepping up and getting in there. Cam (Gordon) has been doing well. Marell (Evans) is back. Everyone's been stepping up. It's good because we have strong competition at every position. It's only going to make us better. It's going to keep continuing until game week and thereafter."
On two defensive tackles taking up blockers for the linebackers ... "It allows you to flow like a linebacker should. It's good, I like it. I know a lot of the other guys like it too. (The defensive line) has been doing a great job with it, just controlling the line of scrimmage. That's something that the coaches really emphasize, starting up front. Win up front. They've been doing a really good job of doing that and coming off the ball hard."
On the improvement of defensive tackle Will Campbell ... "Will's been doing really well. He just gets better and better every day. He showed a strong commitment over the summer. I think it's really starting to pay off for him. He keeps improving. You have other guys working in there too. He has some guys competing with him, but the work that he's putting in is paying off. He just gets better every day."
On playing middle linebacker vs. outside linebacker ... "Right now I'm competing at the mike position, the middle linebacker spot. Nothing is better than competition for a football team. I fully believe that. Kenny (Demens) and Marell (Evans) have been working in there as well at the mike spot. It's great. It's almost a pure thing. We're all out there competing as hard as we can but helping each other as well, pulling each other along and coaching up each other. I feel that's how it has to be. If you want to have success and reach the goals that we have set for ourselves you have to have that."
Senior Running Back Michael Shaw
On his impressions the first few days of practice ... "Everybody's excited. Everybody's finally back in the swing of things. It's good to be back on the field or in the weight room after a hard summer. It's good to just be playing football again."
On the coaches saying no running back has stood out yet as far as carry the load at running back ... "It just makes me want to work harder, and it makes the guys want to work harder. At the end of the day, the guy who works the hardest and who shows he's physically and mentally capable of handling the duties of the running back position at the University of Michigan, he'll get the job."
The guy that wins the job, what will he have done in camp ... "He has to be able to pass block and just has to be tough. That's what the coaches want. They want whoever is back there to be the toughest guy and a guy that carries the mold of the past Michigan running backs, which are tough, physical guys who can run downhill and who keep guys off the quarterback."
On if he put on weight to be a 25-carry type of back ... "I think it's good for my running style, because I see myself as a guy that likes to run downhill. I think that me putting on weight is a tribute to (strength and conditioning coach Aaron) Wellman and his staff and how great they are. I didn't really do anything special. I just took care of my body and listened to him and his advice."
On how much the offense retained from the spring ... "I don't think we've lost a step. I think we're picking up from where we left off, which is good. I think a lot of that has to do with what we did as a team without the coaches -- the seven-on-sevens, the player-held walkthroughs, and just to make sure we knew our assignments, we watched film. So I think because of the things we did as players without the coaches, we are actually still upbeat and that helps the coaches from having to re-coach things that they've already taught us in the springs so we can add more plays and do more installation."
On having consistency because of Fred Jackson and if that has helped the running backs ... "It makes it easier and we're comfortable with Coach J because we know he expects from us, so a lot of guys know they have to step up their games, because if we don't show him, he's been with us and we've been with him such a long period of time that the playing time is going to dwindle if we don't pick up to where he wants us to be. So it's actually good for us that we have Coach J because we know what he expects."