Aug 26, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "We are five days away. It's game week and that's exciting. Our players, staff and everybody involved has worked very hard since January to get to this point. We're excited about the opportunity to really see where this team is. We talk about never getting a second chance to make a first impression. It's going to be exciting on Saturday.
"We voted on our captains yesterday, and I think the four guys, Taylor Lewan, Courtney Avery, Jake Ryan and Cam Gordon are very deserving, and at the same time, that whole class has done a tremendous job in terms of leadership, teaching and helping to coach the younger football players. As you know, we are a young football team.
"We also had the opportunity last night to award three scholarships to guys who have walked on to the program and set a standard for work ethic, toughness, their love for their teammates and their love for Michigan. Joe Reynolds, Graham Glasgow and Joe Kerridge were three guys most deserving. When you have the opportunity to do that as a coach, you always feel good because it obviously is helping out their families and more than that, the guys have earned it.
"Courtney Avery had arthroscopic surgery on Saturday night on some cartilage. He should be out about two weeks, which is a bit of a setback, but everything went well. He is in great spirits and he'll be back on the field soon."
On what he likes about this team ... "I like the way they practice. We as a staff like how they've come out every day. We just got done with a walk-through and it was a fast-paced one. How they've learned from the offensive side of it, I think the physicality up front is better, even though there are some targeting issues with some of the young guys who haven't played a lot. Targeting the right guys, their footwork and some of the fundamentals we need to keep cleaning up ... The four guys who will start for us up front, there are only 17 career starts between the four of them. Frank (Clark) has played a bunch of plays, Quinton Washington, too, and Jibreel (Black). Keith Heitzman hasn't played much, neither have many of the guys who are behind those guys, but the way they've come out and worked, this has been a very physical camp."
On the offensive line ... "We really like them. I liked them last year too, don't get me wrong, but I really like how Taylor (Lewan) and Mike Schofield have done a really good job of pushing these guys and teaching them more than anything."
On the physicality of this team ... "Whether we have pads on or we don't have pads on, it's the way they play. It's the speed with which they play, together. You get used to each other a little bit. That's where they're at right now. They're ready to play somebody else and have a benchmark for where we're at. I'm sure we're not going to be where we want to be yet after Saturday, but it's just how they've all come to practice and the tempo at our practices. I think it's been a really good teaching month for us. That's the upperclassmen doing a lot of good teaching to the underclassmen."
On naming four captains ... "(It's up to) their teammates. They're the ones who decide. Honestly, it's just the way that the votes came out."
On student-athletes understanding the game more quickly than in the past ... "I think a lot of it has to do with guys coming for summer school and being on campus. They understand the expectations in the weight room and with conditioning. The older guys do a great job of teaching what cover six is, or whatever route it is. I think that helps them. At the same time, freshmen are going to hit a wall. Sometimes (it's) the stress of the academics (or) being away from home or playing on such a big stage."
On playing younger players due to the success of others around the country ... "I don't think that has anything to do with it. I really don't. I think obviously Johnny Manziel is a young guy and there were a lot of factors with that football team and what they did as part of it. I don't know if that comes into it."
On expectations ... "I don't think we really worry about anybody else. If we do that, then we're losing sight of what's important, and that's us. We have high expectations. We have 42 Big Ten championships that have come before. We talk about that every day. We're trying to be the team that wins the 43rd. I'll be honest with you, we have got to worry about ourselves. If we do a good job not having distractions, do a good job the way we come to work every day at Schembechler Hall, then we'll see."
On camp preparation ... "Camp is not always the same (from year to year). It depends what kind of camp you're having. When I say that, is the attitude right? Are the guys coming in with energy? Are they competing in everything that we do? This camp was a little different than last year's, because you could feel that more. I thought we gave them a little more time off. We officially broke camp so mentally they could be 18-22 year olds for eight hours before getting back to work. And they earned that in how they practiced every day."`
U-M Senior/Junior Linebacker Jake Ryan
On being voted a captain of Team 134 ... "I was definitely surprised. Being a junior it is kind of rare being a captain, but I am glad that my teammates have faith in me. I have been working hard on my knee, and my teammates have seen that. I think they took that into account, so that's one of the things that helped me."
On what he needs to do to return by October ... "I think it's just mentally. I need to get into the playbooks and stay up with what I've missed. I've been following along. But mentally, and doing all the cutting and landing on it -- those are the areas I need to improve."
On where his target to return in October came from ... "My goal was six months, that's the minimum of when you can come back from an ACL because the knee needs to build muscle around it, and the ligament needs to get stronger. My goal was six months from watching guys who have done it before, like Adrian Peterson; he was one of my big role models getting through this."
On the biggest challenge during the recovery process ... "Patience, just seeing my teammates get out there doing what they love to do and what I love to do makes me a little jealous. But I know that I'm going to get back out there if I keep doing what I'm doing."
U-M Senior Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan
On being named captain of Team 134 ... "I think it's huge and it's the greatest honor I've ever received to be voted on by your peers and put into a position to lead this team, like these seniors have been doing. I've never been a captain of anything -- not Little League baseball, not high school football, not anything. So this is the first time and I'm going to do everything possible to not let this team down."
On how the offensive line has come together during camp ... "I think they have done a phenomenal job. The depth chart is out so I can talk about it now. Graham Glasgow is playing next to me, Jack Miller at center and Kyle Kalis at right guard. It was a huge competition that really came down to who wanted it more, who was going to play consistently and I think those guys have done a great job. As far as being a cohesive unit, these guys understand that we are a team within a team, and this team is going to live or die with what we do."
On his expectations for the offensive line ... "I expect this team to be a punishing offensive line, that's what we should be. We're Michigan football, we have a huge tradition of Michigan offensive linemen, great offensive linemen and there is a standard at this position. There's a difference between starting and playing well. There's probably plenty of guys around the country who start that aren't that great, here there is a standard. So I expect all of them to push guys off the line of scrimmage, protect the quarterback and make sure we get yards."
On his last season opener at Michigan ... "I won't feel anything other than focusing on the game. I'll worry about the emotional stuff after the season is over. I'm not here to watch "P.S. I Love You" and cry myself to sleep. I'm here to play football. So when Saturday rolls around I'm here to play a football game. It's not about me, it will never be about me, it's about the team."
U-M Senior Linebacker Cameron Gordon
On his reaction to being named captain of Team 134 ... "My initial reaction was that I was a little bit surprised, but at the same time I was very honored at the chance to help lead this team. Really, very honored."
On the roles of the three defensive captains and having three defensive captains ... "It's a very (high) honor for us to have three defensive captains and it kind of shows a little bit of the tradition here as far as Michigan being a defensive school and a defensive team. We didn't expect that to happen but of course we all have the same goals in mind so it's great."
On whether he feels speed and pursuit will be the main characteristics of this defense ... "I do, I really do. Pursuit is one of Coach Mattison's biggest points for us as a defense. He's always stressed it ever since he got here."
On where he's seen the most physicality this camp ... "You can gauge it off of having no pads and still hitting each other with no pads on. Guys kind of getting banged up and we're still getting after it even when no one has shoulder pads on, just helmets. First day was like that so it has been great."
U-M Senior Defensive Back Courtney Avery
On being named a captain for Team 134 ... "It was a great honor. That's the one thing you dream of as a little kid, you dream of going to a college and it's an honor that my teammates have that much trust in me and that much respect for me, so I really appreciate them."
On who he called first after being named captain ... "My parents are actually here in town (because of the surgery) and they picked me up and that's who I told. It was great. Those are my parents, you know, they've been with me growing up and they've instilled values and beliefs in me so I think it was satisfying for them to see me doing a good job and now that I'm away from home I'm still carrying those beliefs and people recognize it enough to trust me and vote for me as being a captain."
On how his knee injury came about ... "My knee had been bothering me and it had swelled up a little bit, so I went in and had the MRI and found out I had to go in for surgery."
On whether or not he's trying to teach the younger guys more now that he's sidelined ... "Even when I was playing I did a lot of teaching to the younger guys but now even more so. Now it's more coaching on the sideline. If Coach (Mallory) is busy with someone on the field I can pull guys off on the sideline and talk to them."