UConn Week: Monday Football Press Conference
Raymon Taylor (L) and James Ross III

Sept. 16, 2013

Press Conference
Game Notes PDF | Game Central

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "Obviously, there are some things that are pretty obvious: it's good to win the game, that's always important and that's why you play, but we didn't play our best football, and we need to get that straightened out. You've got to give -- and I said it on Saturday -- credit to Akron. They came in and played very well, and we didn't play as well as we can and as well as we have to for the goals that we have set for our program. With that said we've got to improve, we went back to work yesterday and pointed out a lot of things that we've got to coach better and things we've got to do to play better."

On running into trouble on third and long situations, particularly turnovers ... "I think anytime you get into those situations people can make life hard on you, either by bringing pressure or dropping eight or spying a guy because of Devin (Gardner)'s athleticism or various things. Some of it we've got to not self-destruct protection-wise not self-destruct route running ways and not self-destruct decision-making-wise."

On the play of the offensive line and if the starters will remain consistent ... "I would say there's always competition. We've got to play better overall, we had too much push at times. They gave us a little bit different look than we had seen from them, a little bit more 4-6 or bear concepts than we had seen from them (on film). We had seen it, but not multiple times like we got (on Saturday). At the same time I think at halftime the adjustments, as I watched the offense adjust; I think they were on top of it."

On the defensive pass rush and where it can improve ... "There was more (pressure) than you would think on Saturday. We shot ourselves in the foot three times by not keeping contain with the rush, to be honest with you. We changed a game midstream, a two-man game, once or maybe twice that the communication across the front didn't get there -- the two guys knew what they were doing but you need all four to make sure they know. There was a little more push than I thought during the game once I watched it Sunday morning, there was more push but if you're getting push (up the middle), then you better collapse the outside. It's one or the other. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot some. Do we want to get better at our games? No question. I think we're a lot better than we were a year ago at it, but we need to get consistent with it."

On assessing Jake Butt's performance ... "Jake did a pretty good job -- they called him for a hold, and I'd like for someone to find it. The guy must have saw it different -- did you see it? I thought he just dominated the block. Maybe you're not allowed to (pancake someone). I don't know. But overall for a young kid I thought he did a pretty good job."

On the issues limiting pass plays over 20 yards ... "There's a few things, you always want to have better pressure -- sense of pressure. How many of those are yards after contact when you should've had the guy on the ground? How many of those are fades or streaks or go routes, that get thrown over your head? I thought two of them the other, the one was defended very well to be honest with you and the guy put it exactly where he had to and it was a tough one to defend. Now, we can't get run by, we got beat a couple of times early. The underneath coverage on some of the dig routes and the skinny posts, the yards after the catch hurt you. Combination of things, underneath coverage has got to be better when you're playing man coverage and we've got to get pressure."

On how the team will perform following Saturday's game ... "Gosh if knew that. I guess what I can say is that we went out and practiced yesterday -- shoulder pads, helmets, the whole deal -- and we usually don't (practice on Sundays). They were very receptive and very -- I wouldn't say excited -- they were glad to get back on the field. I was excited."

On Matt Wile's punting struggles and if his workload is too big ... "That would be an excuse if you said that because he's been kicking and punting since he was growing up. I think a little bit -- and my only analogy is that it's a lot like golf -- I think his swing and his drop and everything has to be constant and consistent. He works very hard at it. Why he's had three punts that haven't been as consistent -- that's what he's working on and working through. I've got a lot of faith in Matt, I kind of coach the punters but I don't. I know what to look for and he'll be fine."

On if the punt rush is affecting the punting ... "I don't think (Matt is rushing), he did a nice job and one should've been blocked, I'll be honest with you, that was poor protection. It's something that we work on a lot, why is that happening? I don't know but we've got to make sure we protect a heck of a lot better."

U-M Sophomore Linebacker James Ross III
On having added motivation coming off the bench ... "It was just the whole team not taking advantage of things in practice. It was on me. I didn't give my best effort in practice and I didn't deserve to start. I will use it as a motivational factor. I need to show up every time I get a chance to. From now on I learned that I can't take days for granted."

On channeling post-game disappointment into in-game changes ... "We were all upset, just because we knew that we didn't give our best effort throughout the week. We knew that we deserved everything that happened during the game. We didn't give it all we had. I didn't even get a chance to start because I didn't do so well in practice. It just wasn't a good vibe for the whole team. We need to prepare one hundred percent these next few weeks."

On generating more pressure on blitzes ... "We need to get off blocks. Coach Mattison does a good job of designing blitzes where it's one-on-one blocks, and if we can't get off blocks then we aren't doing our jobs. The biggest key for everybody is getting off blocks."

On friend Blake Countess playing well after missing last season due to injury ... "I'm very happy for him, very excited. That's one of my closest friends on the team and we talked about how we were going to play all off-season when we get a chance to, and for him to actually do it is just amazing to see. I'm very happy for him."

On the defense giving up big plays ... "Sometimes we lose sight of things. It's just a lack of focus on our end. If the whole defense loses focus for a play, that's when they get that big play. But if we all are focused, which we are capable of doing each and every play, these big plays won't happen."

U-M Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan
On how to convert anger into positive action ... "Just spending more time watching film, doing everything you possibly can to know and learn about your opponent. What they do in third and long, how they act when it's a drive block or double team. Just little things, taking care of little things every time. I was mad Saturday and I'm still mad now but if this team does what it's supposed to do this could be a good thing, if we learn from it and prepare hard and never let this happen again."

On whether or not he saw that yesterday at practice ... "I don't have any doubt in my mind that this team understands what happened yesterday and they know it's not acceptable. At the end of the day we're 3-0 so that's great, we got the major goal. But they're focused and we're going to prepare like no other team has ever prepared before."

On the progress of the offensive line ... "There were good things and bad things on the line. It wasn't just the offensive line on the run game, but a majority of it was. It comes back to preparing, knowing your opponent and that this isn't high school. This is college football. You have to understand who you're playing against -- everyone's good. Everyone was the best player at their high school, now you're playing D-1 football. That's how it is. These guys have to understand that and they're going to learn from this. I'm going to do my best to make sure they understand that."

On what stood out in film session ... "Stay on your block, don't get pushed back. Just little things. The same things they preach every day: technique, fundamentals, doing as you're told, stick to a call. If everyone's on the same page and we're wrong it means we're all wrong together. Fitz is a great running back and he deserves the yards that he's not getting right now. This team, this offensive line will turn it around and we'll get them those yards."

On the tone of Sunday's padded practice ... "I thought practice was good. We needed that, this team needs that and I think we we're a tough, hard-nosed football team and we got away from that this week. That was Coach Hoke giving us a reality check. Understand that you only have so many of these games in a year and I only have so many left, it's counting down. You will all see me only a few more times speaking up here, so I'll be a little upset when it's all over."

U-M Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Michael Schofield
On where the offensive line needs to meet their expectations ... "We definitely need to be more consistent as an offensive line. The first half we were all over the place, we were sloppy with our technique and fundamentals but coming out for the second half we had a couple good drives. We need to be like on those drives where we scored long touchdowns all the time. We have to be more consistent players, all of us."

On what the teaching points were during film ... "Just technique and fundamentals. Some people have their hands outside, or (they're playing) too high, or they have their assignments wrong. We have to be more consistent on all of those points."

On what can be taken mentally from the Akron game ... "I feel we can't take any team for granted, every team that we're going to face, they're playing Michigan and they're bringing their best. They're bringing their A-game and we have to realize that no matter who it is, they're bringing their best and we have to be ready for that."

On halftime adjustments to the 4-6 Bear defense Akron ran ... "At halftime we went over that front a lot, we drew up some plays and said 'this is how we're going to block this'. We had a lot more time to actually look at it and change our game plan a little bit."

On how the team responded to Sunday's padded practice ... "We took it as a way to improve. Coming from a sloppy game we just have to improve and it started with yesterday's practice."

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