Monday Press Conference: Northwestern Week

Nov. 11, 2013

Press Conference video icon
Game Notes PDF | Game Central

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "Thanks for coming out, obviously we're very disappointed, we all are, in the outcome of Saturday's game. We all really feel that we need to make sure that we're finishing and doing all the things we need to do. As a coaching staff, that's always where you start and when you say that, it starts with me. We've got to do a great job of making sure we're repping the things that we're going to see -- which we have been -- we do a good job of the details and the fine things, you make sure you go over them. And as a team, make sure we understand each and every plan. We started this thing in January with this football team. In June, we inherited the freshmen. Their work ethic has been exceptional. We need to translate some things that we do well in practice on to the field, and we will do that."

On executing an offensive game plan when the offensive line seems to be struggling ... "Everyone points to the offensive line, but it's really all of us -- it's not just them. I don't know if that's fair. It's never one guy or one thing in anything in life, unless you're golfing. In a team sport, it's not that way. All 11 parts need to working in the same way. Offensively, defensively and then you could say all 115 parts on this football team and then the support staff and the coaches -- it's all of us. This has always been a 'we, us and ours' program, and that's how we look at it."

On how the next three games will test Michigan's pride and passion ... "There is no doubt that there is some adversity. We had some a week ago, and I like how our team responded, and I know as a staff we liked how those guys got after it. We had a very good week of preparation and practice. Again that adversity has hit us, and we will grind, and we will work. There's no solutions that don't take hard work, and that's where we've got to go. Part of that is every day, what we do in preparing."

On what Hoke can specifically improve on in his coaching ... "I don't know how many specific different things. I'm pretty involved in a lot of things from special teams on down. Al [Borges] and I meet twice a week to talk about the plan. Maybe I didn't handle Tuesday's meeting as well as I could, with the kids. Maybe I didn't give them enough information, maybe there wasn't enough -- I don't know -- motivation. Whatever it might be. That's not a great answer, but that's what it is."

On if the offense is having a confidence crisis and how it can get its confidence back ... "I think, that you do a couple of things. Number one, you've got to take the things that you haven't done very well, whatever it might be, with any position. It could be the long snapper, it could be anywhere. We've got to constructively teach and use those teaching moments. And then you've also got to show them the things they've done well. It's usually similar in both cases, it may be oversetting, it may be my visual keys -- my eyes not being where they should be. It could be one of those thing,s but you've got to look at the negatives, and you've got to finish with the positives because they know they can do it."

On short-term adjustments and changes in the running game ... "I think you always look at things that way when you study an opponent as you formulate game plans. I think that's always part of it. The other day we went from spread to jet-read to two-backs in the backfield, two tight ends and a back -- we hit all the buttons. When you have negative plays, though, your rhythm and everything you want to do offensively (are thrown off). You take coming out at halftime, we moved down the field and scored a touchdown. We had a rhythm, the negative plays weren't there. We get a first down at a critical time in the game, and we miss a snap. Not a great snap -- those things happen -- and then you're working in the negative. We were 3-of-13 -- you guys would know -- on third down, and they were something like 6-of-16. Negative plays and third downs start on first and second down. Do you look at everything? Yeah we're looking at it -- you always look at personnel, you always go back and evaluate. Did I work well enough on this scheme? I'll take it individually because I'm a defensive line coach. Power scoops -- did I work enough on power scoops where Willie Henry and Ryan Glasgow can play the way they are capable of playing?"

On reevaluating first-down running plays ... "I can't tell you how many first downs we ran or not, I think sometimes we assume that, but I can't tell you that. Obviously, we felt we could run the ball or we wouldn't have called the play -- I think that's where it starts. Some of those plays are check plays depending on what you get defensively, how it looks."

On Nebraska players saying they knew what Michigan's offense was trying to do ... "I don't know if that was his exact quote. But we know what other guys are doing, too. We knew they were in pistol with two tight ends, and we got negative plays. Everybody has that. There are certain things people are going to do certain ways. Now I think when you win a football game it's easy to say that."

On motivating the team without a shot at a Big Ten title ... "Number one you're a competitor, and you want to go out and fight, and if not then they shouldn't be at Michigan. And for our seniors, we always play for our seniors, and we're always going to play hard for those guys. This group is a group that's been through some struggles, and they are very important to all of us. The other thing is, you've got a chance to win 10 football games. That opportunity is out there and, that's always been a benchmark."

U-M Fifth-year senior Offensive Tackle Michael Schofield
On how negative rushing plays affect the offensive line ... "It's definitely frustrating, especially because I play offensive line, and we are getting a lot of blame for that. It all comes back to executing, we just have to go out there and start executing our plan during the game, executing our blocks and just doing our jobs. We have to get back to doing your job and getting your man blocked."

On how Erik Magnuson and Kyle Bosch are responding ... "They're doing well. Taylor [Lewan], Gundy [Erik Gunderson], and I are getting them going. We try to keep their confidence going. I was in that spot my redshirt sophomore year when I was in a new position. I know it was hard sometimes."

On being an underdog against Northwestern this weekend ... "Well, Northwestern is a pretty underrated team. They lost a couple of close games, as you saw a couple of weeks against Nebraska with the hail mary. They almost beat Ohio [State]. They were in that game. Their record is very underestimated. They've been in a lot of games and are better than people think."

On the team's ability to rebound and finish the season ... "We have gone through so much as a senior class, and we are going to try as much as we can to finish this season the right way. We are not going to let this team quit. There's no way we are going to allow that to happen. We are going to push these guys and get them motivated."

U-M Sophomore Linebacker James Ross III
On what he learned from playing Northwestern last season ... "Looking at the film you can always critique what you did wrong and do it better. Taking a hard look at that film, Northwestern is a very talented football team, and their record doesn't show how good they are, and we know they are very talented and can beat any better. We need to take a look at it and do our corrections, understand the game plan and all the checks that need to be made and go from there."

On what the defense can learn from Nebraska's fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive ... "It's understanding your whole defense and not leaving anything unsaid, just knowing all the checks and everything like that. It's more of a mental thing, mentally preparing for the game and for any situation. One play can cost the game as you can see. Knowing everything you need to know and then go from there."

On what he is doing better as the season has progressed ... "It's just preparing well -- preparing better, I should say. My coaches told me that I wasn't doing what I was capable of doing. I really took that into consideration and thought about what I did differently last year and what motivated me, what got me going. Just don't lose that hunger. Do everything you can do -- watch film and talk with the guys, go over stuff that you don't think is right -- be active and not passive."

On holding opponents below their average rushing total each game this season ... "At linebacker that's a big job, keeping them from running the ball. If they can't run the ball then they're one-dimensional and then our secondary -- which is pretty talented -- can get an interception or something like that. And our defensive linemen get sacks. There's a lot of pride in that. Coach Mattison has instilled in us to shut that down. And especially earlier when I wasn't doing my job as well as I can do, he made sure I made all the corrections I needed to be successful."

»  Learn about season ticket opportunities for the 2017 Michigan football season.