Sept. 30, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "First thing I want to talk about is this weekend, you saw the 'Cure MD' patches that a lot of coaches were wearing for muscular dystrophy, and our organization has been in the forefront with the cure. We obviously didn't play, but we'll have our patches on this weekend. We certainly want to raise awareness about MD; it affects a lot of children across the country. We'll be doing that. On the football side, we got a lot accomplished as a team this week. I know we as a staff felt that way and the players feel that way about the practices that we had and the fundamental work that we needed to get back to -- that's every position. The intensity and competitiveness were very good, and we're excited to start the Big Ten season. We're excited to play in the oldest trophy game that there is with the Brown Jug with Minnesota. We've got a lot of work to do as you all know. We'll continue to do that throughout the week."
On the importance of winning the Big Ten title and taking one step toward it ... "Well you just said the answer -- take it one step at a time. That first step is a big step here at home for homecoming. The Brown Jug is a part of it. We'll take it one week at a time. We understand what the expectations are and what they should be for this program. We'll have a good week of practice and put our best foot forward."
On if there will be any changes along the offensive line ... "We've talked a lot and done a lot during the bye week. We've got two good work days left with Tuesday and Wednesday, and I think really probably after Tuesday we'll have a good indication of which way we want to go."
On scouting Minnesota's strengths ... "Number one, I've got as much respect for (Minnesota head coach) Jerry Kill as anybody in this conference because of how he coaches and what he's done with the programs that he's done a tremendous job with. They're going to be a physical football team because that's how Jerry wants his teams on both sides of the ball. Up front, they're very good defensively when you look at guys making plays, tackles-for-loss, negative plays. The linebackers are very active. The safety, (Brock) Vereen, is a guy who seems like he's played for 10 years. From a defensive perspective, I think they are a team that's pretty doggone salty. Offensively, they want to run the football -- they have two quarterbacks that have had good performances, probably not as good as they would like totally, like all of us -- we'd all like to be great every time out. They have three backs that they'll roll through there, they have a big offensive line and they're a well-coached offensive line."
On whether the current offensive line group is making the progress he would like to see ... "I think we would be inclined to evaluate from the four games and practices, from individual and fundamentals and all those things. We wouldn't have a problem making a change if that's what we deem we ought to do."
On Jake Ryan's involvement with practice ... "He does some individual stuff, mostly that. He does some team stuff more and more every day. I think from talking to him -- and I don't want to speak for Jake -- from talking to him and talking to the doctors and trainers, he feels good. I think we'll get him a little bit more involved these next three days and then see what next week brings."
On Devin Gardner's health following the bye week ... "We went out Tuesday last week and Thursday, and he didn't look sore. He may be doing a good job acting; he knows there's a lot of guys out there who are sore -- it's just part of it, part of playing. I thought he did a nice job."
On whether he agrees the offense is more efficient out of the spread and if the offense will evolve into more of a spread look ... "No, and I would tend to agree and disagree. When you see some of the downhill runs and some of the play-actions off of them and the outside stretch play, I thought we've done a good job with those things. Too many negative yards at a couple of them, the point of attack. The downhill runs are something we need to be a little more cognizant of."
On competition between Courtney Avery and Raymon Taylor at cornerback ... "I think Courtney, coming off the knee injury -- I think they'll both compete. And that doesn't mean Blake (Countess) isn't competing -- they all are. Courtney coming off the knee, we thought looked pretty sharp. So him and Ray, we played so much nickel and got into a lot of nickel, then you kick Blake inside."
On balancing a change on the offensive line versus building chemistry with the current group ... "Production (is critical), and that may be more critical than chemistry. We've got to put the guys in there that give us the best opportunity to be successful."
On Michigan's success defensively against the run ... "I think the guys are just getting better -- we're playing a lot of guys. Like Quentin (Washington) and Jibreel (Black) -- and the 3-5 technique strong ends with (Chris) Wormley, (Matt) Godin and (Keith) Heitzman; they're really a good combination. They all have some different strengths to some degree. And then the rush, Mario (Ojemudia) and his improvement; I think Frank (Clark) is a better football player than he was a year ago. We try to get Taco (Charlton) in when we can to get him in the mix a little bit, probably not as much as we'd like to yet. Those guys are doing a good job. We've got to be tested, and we will. I don't know how much UConn tested us two weeks ago. We'll find out more as we get into the league and find out what people want to do. The linebackers, the three of them that have been in the rotation have been pretty good. The outside position with Brennan (Beyer) and Cam (Gordon), sharing the duties. Brennen Beyer is probably as important a piece to our football team as anybody because he can do so many things for us."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Michael Schofield
On making improvements during the bye week ... "We talked about how we had way too many negative plays, and that is a reflection of the offensive line. I think we had over 30 negative plays, and many of them came against UConn. We definitely have to stop doing that."
On what it means to win the Big Ten title ... "Well especially being a senior, I guess I can probably talk for all seniors. If we can go out with a Big Ten championship there would be no better way to end the season. That is our main goal right now, and we are working towards it every day. Especially with the start of Big Ten play, that is on our minds every game."
On the offensive line rotation ... "It's pretty much the same that it has always been. The whole season we've been shuffling guys in and out, trying to get guys going and get the freshmen reps. It's pretty much been the same throughout; we're just trying to get everyone on the same page."
On using his experience as a guard to help the interior linemen ... "I played guard that one year, so I'm trying to help them with little tips I picked up: steps or certain combo blocks I can help them with."
On the ability to switch line positions mid-year ... "I actually had a week to switch over to guard, so I did it pretty quick. They [the other linemen] practice multiple positions, I practice left tackle. Graham [Glasgow] practices all three inside positions. People are practicing all over, so it wouldn't be that big of a switch."
On the importance of winning the Little Brown Jug ... "All Big Ten games, especially the rivalry games, especially when you have a trophy involved, are pretty big games. They brought the Jug out yesterday and talked to the younger guys about the history and tradition of the Jug. I just want to keep that Jug for my senior year."
On how the offensive line can help Devin Gardner ... "We are definitely going to focus on pass protection, giving him as much time as possible to make the smart throws, to make the passes he can make. And along with the running, we have to get some runs going, get out of the third and long situations, so we don't have to put so much pressure on Devin [to make a play]."