Nov. 12, 2012
Press Conference: Coach Hoke | W. Campbell, P. Omameh & C. Roh
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "I'm really proud of our football team. I'm proud how they stuck together. I think I mentioned -- I may not have -- they really stuck together during the whole game. They believed in each other, believed in what we were trying to get accomplished.
"I thought there were some really smart decisions made by players and by some of the guys on the staff. When the two returners in the end of game and the punt, because of the way they tried to punt the ball, Gallon was able to get some real positive yardage set up being able to get the ball down to I don't know what yard line it was to try the field goal to tie it. You know, if you got one returner back and that ball bounces you lose field position and all those things, so kids executed it well.
"This week is a special week. Number one, our seniors, last time they get to play in the greatest stadium in this country, get to wear the blue jersey here at home. So it's really special for us as coaches and for those underclassmen to go out and play well.
"Iowa, as you know, they're a very good football team. They've lost their last two games by a total of I think six points. Run the football well. I think they had some nicked up people when you look at it earlier in the year, but I think they're really coming together.
"James Vandenberg I think is a very good quarterback, so we've got our work cut out for us. We got a lot to do."
On Denard Robinson's status for Saturday's game against Iowa ... "He's day to day."
On deciding to kick a field goal at the end of regulation against Northwestern instead of taking a shot at the end zone ... "I think it just made sense at the time. Kids were running all the way down the field; didn't have a timeout; he spiked it. Did a great job of managing that. No one was moving. And just at that time that was the right thing to do. Because it did cross my mind, No, let's kick the field goal."
On making defensive stops at the end of Saturday's game ... "I thought our defense, we didn't tackle we would want to, we didn't get off blocks as well. I thought the inside run portion of their offense was really eliminated because we did a nice job. We didn't get off blocks well enough in the perimeter. But our defense, there was a play in the came when Craig Roh makes the sack, there was ten guys running their tails off to the football and getting to the football. They played with that kind of effort all day. You got to give them some credit, because I think Colter is a good football player, and I think Venric Mark is a guy that can play anywhere because he's got great quickness and speed to him. So I thought our defense stood up when it had to."
On trying to contain Northwestern's running game ... "Yeah, I think obviously it's some of what we did well and some that we didn't do well enough. I do think they're two really good athletes. So I don't know how you want to slice it, but are there things that we can do better, leverage the ball better, get off blocks better. No doubt about it."
On similarities between Northwestern's running style compared to Air Force ... "Yeah, but it's a little bit different, you know, because Air Force basically has four backs in the backfield depending what they're doing with the slots."
On if the team tried to use the pass to establish the run against Northwestern .... "Yeah, I think it always helps when you can throw the ball and the safeties have to get a little further back off the line of scrimmage. I know we thought some of the hits routes that we threw to Gallon, threw a big one to Roundtree where he caught well with his hands, made a guy miss, and picked up some critical yards. I think there is no doubt that if you can be effective enough in either portion of it it'll help the other."
On if he was surprised Northwestern punted the ball to Jeremy Gallon at the end of regulation instead of kicking the ball out of bounds ... "Well, where do you kick it out of bounds. To me, that's one reason don't do that. I think it's a hard kick to manage. You know, guy's moving sideways. I guess it would be like hitting a golf ball walking towards the tee. I've seen a guy do it pretty good, but I think that's hard to do."
On if Saturday being Senior Day will play into Denard Robinson's status for the game against Iowa ... "It won't have anything to do with it. His health is what it will have to do with."
On the team's seniors ... "I think you see as a team we're pretty resilient. I would say that's what this group is. You know, they've been through two approaches, two styles of how you go through a football program. They have done a great job with it. They've worked hard. They're a fun group of guys to be around. I just think the world of them."
On why the team allowed big plays to Northwestern ... "If I could give you a percentage, I don't know how I would call it, but it was obviously a little bit of both. I think we were in space at times to make a play and didn't. Probably more on some of the pass rush things. I think there was an opportunity to have four more sacks if we keep the ball constricted in this pocket. But some of it is a matter of us not running through a guy or taking not a proper angle, and some of it is they made a play."
On if the defensive mistakes against Northwestern are easily fixable ... "Easily fixable? I don't know anything is easily fixable, but I think the message was sent yesterday as leveraging the football as defense."
On what Denard Robinson has meant to the program ... "Well, he's obviously made a mark within Michigan football. He's done a tremendous job. But I think there are a lot of guys as a team, as a group of seniors you know Will Campbell is a guy who has really grown and probably played his best football game."
On the team staying focused on what it can control in the Legends Division ... "They've done a great job with it, to be honest. I never hear anything but who's next, who the opponent is. I think they know we've got to take care of ourselves. To achieve greatness, you got to put yourself in position and take care of your business to do that."
On if it is disappointing that the team doesn't control its own destiny ... "Yeah, I mean, it always is. You want to be able to control the things you do, but we so control what we can do, and that's why Iowa is so significant."
On if Iowa looks different than past seasons ... "I don't know. Not being there, I don't know. I know they still run the plays that they run. I think they do a great job of blocking them. I think depending both backs, you know, are very capable guys. I think Vandenberg is really a good quarterback. He gave us a lot of fits last year, especially on critical downs. Even though the third down, because I couldn't remember what was it, Justin? 4 12, you know, I would think in my mind it was a lot worse than that."
On Northwestern's kickoff return for a touchdown that was called back ... "There was a couple different things. Number one, you got to cross face some blocks, and we didn't do on the backside. We stayed and we tell them to, you know, cross their face, good butt side, and we didn't do that. They blocked it decently well. We had safety in position that needs to be more aggressive on it. You know, a lot of different things."
On Denard Robinson not being available for interviews ... "You know, he's day to day."
On if there is a senior that has embodied this senior class ... "There are a lot of them. I think, Kovacs, Campbell, Mealer, Omameh."
On why he pointed out those players ... "Just how they come to work every day, how they are as people."
On how Will Campbell has grown through the years ... "Really grown. In some ways he hasn't grown. He's gotten thinner. I think his approach to the game. And you see that in guys who become juniors and seniors. Their focus, their mindset, how they prepare, that's part of it. I think leadership is part of it. You know, the comfort zone that the guy gets because he's been through it and been through the struggles."
On the consecutive tackles made by Kenny Demens to end the game ... "The one on the quarterback draw, first one, he did a nice job coming back and really was forced nice from the inside, you know, where the guy bubbled it for a minute and then only had a certain area to go. Kenny did a nice job of that on the last play of the game. Number one, I thought Greg really gave him something a little different. I think we had run him one other time in the game. But when we ran it, it was Siemian in at quarterback. Gave him a different look. Had three backers in the box. Jibreel Black did exactly what he was supposed to do in forcing the A gap and getting penetration. So there was only one other way the runningback could run the ball. He had to run it right back into Kenny. Kenny obviously made a terrific tackle and was in the place he should have been. The good thing, on the outside of the perimeter, the pitchman was taken care of. Kovacs was exactly where he needed to be, and the quarterback we had two guys on."
On if it is easier to teach a team after a win ... "Yeah, I think so. It's easier to teach always off a win, believe me. So I think, yeah, there were a lot of things that yesterday we I don't want to say cleared up but maybe made a little more crystal in how we want to play them."
On how Denard Robinson has handled the past weeks mentally ... "He's been a great leader. I mean, he's been a terrific leader."
On if Robinson could play in other situations if he isn't healthy enough to play quarterback ... "I don't know. I guess I'll talk about that day to day."
On if the injury has been frustrating for Robinson ... "I would think so."
On if his staff has a greater comfort level preparing for a team like Iowa ... "Oh, I don't know. I think you been coaching long enough you get kind of comfortable with most things. It's usually not the system, it's the players."
On if Robinson enjoys being the face of the program ... "I don't know."
On how he believes Robinson has handled being the face of the program ... "I think he's done a great job."
On how Robinson has handled expectations ... "They're always lofty when you're at Michigan. You know that."
On how Robinson has enjoyed his career at Michigan ... "I think when his career is over, he will enjoy it immensely day to day."
On how the linebackers have progressed this season as a group ... "I think they've made progress. You know, I think the rotation of the guys has been positive. I think Kenny has been productive; I think Jake obviously has been pretty productive. I think as a group they're a very solid group."
On how Robinson has made an impact from the sideline the past two games ... "He number one, you know, he's on the headset. I mean, he was trying to get one of the wide receivers lined up the other day, and it's kind of hard to do because it gets loud in there. When Devin comes off, I mean, they had conversation. I know late in the game when we needed to get the stop defensively, and he was talking to every guy on the offense about keeping them going, I guess."
On if Robinson is frustrated he hasn't played the past two games ... "I think any time a guy can't finish the way they would like to because of injury or whatever, you're disappointed for them."
On the team's mindset when trailing late in games ... "You got to believe in your kids, you know. That's the biggest thing. I've got a lot of belief in this football team. I've got a lot belief in how they're going to go out with effort and how they're going to go out to execute at their highest level and how they're going to play with a toughness. And I wasn't making fun of Angelique. I asked a question. That's all I did."
On Antonio Poole ... "He's coming along. He's not running or anything yet, but he's coming along. He's doing a lot of weight room, biking, and those things."
On if he has seen Kenny Demens change throughout the season ... "No, I think Kenny has a lot of pride. Any time that the competition is healthy for all of us, I think it brings the best out of you. I think he has a lot respect for Joe and how Joe plays, and I know Joe has a lot respect for Kenny. So I think when we can have the opportunity to rotate them a little bit just to keep guys fresh at the end of the game, you know, we're going to do that. So it's not all based on where a guy is. Will and Jibreel rotate a number of plays all the time. Now, that doesn't mean one is better than the other. They're both being productive and we're keeping them fresh."
On how the offensive line played on Saturday ... "Yeah, I thought we were a little better. In the first half I thought Fitz missed two reads. Now, I was a running back in seventh grade, so that tells you how much my vision is. I thought they did a better job, more thorough job, of finishing."
On how he keeps the team from looking ahead to Ohio State ..."I think they have a unique sense of what's important."
U-M Senior Defensive Tackle Will Campbell
On Denard Robinson's contribution during his time at Michigan ... "Denard's a great guy. Even if he's not on the field with us, he's doing whatever he can to motivate us and be the leader that he is. Just being in his presence makes you want to work hard and do anything you can for him."
On his feelings about his last game at Michigan Stadium ... "It's going to be very emotional. They always tell you it goes by fast, but you never know until you get here. That's what we try to tell the young guys every day. It's going to be very emotional, especially going out there with my parents."
On what the defense is doing to prepare for Iowa ... "We have to contain the quarterback. That hurt us a lot Saturday -- not keeping the quarterback in the pocket. "Chase the rabbit," as Coach Hoke would say.
On his journey as a football player ... It's been bumpy. It's been up and down. I wish I was under this coaching staff for four years, but I wasn't, so the opportunities that they gave me, I just tried to capitalize on and make the best out of them. [In previous years] I was young and lazy and I didn't realize what opportunities lay in front of me."
On what the most noticeable difference is between this year and last ... "The amount of snaps I'm playing this year. Last year I probably couldn't have done it because I wasn't in shape as much as I am now. Also, just knowing the defense and knowing what's going on and knowing what to expect when I look at an offensive line, or look at their position or stance. I've grown a lot since last year."
U-M Senior Defensive End Craig Roh
On the last time he will play at Michigan Stadium ... "For me, being a guy that's played here since my freshman year, I'll be thinking about all of the ups and downs and all of the crazy games that I've been in, and all I've been able to enjoy as a Michigan Wolverine. It's been something really special. I think a lot of times when you're in the thick of it, you can't appreciate it as much, but I think my last few games here I can reminisce a little bit more and stop for a second and think, 'I've been really blessed.'"
On what improvements the defense needs to make against Iowa ... "It's just everyone doing their job and being able to get off blocks. Iowa is a much different team than Northwestern -- Iowa is a power running team. You know what they're going to do, and they're going to try to impose their will on you, and with Iowa it's more about being in your gap and being gap sound than throw off and make plays when you need to make plays."
On what makes Michigan Stadium unique ... "It's the greatest stadium in the entire country. You have 100,000-plus coming to every one of your games. I'm a guy who came from Arizona where football isn't as important. It's crazy to see how dedicated everyone is around Michigan football. I think it's that along with tradition, how hard we worked, and coaching, and how we come into every game believing that we're going to win... that all accumulates to that perfect record at home for the past two years.
On Iowa's success through the past two years ... I myself have not beaten Iowa yet and I know just for selfish reasons, it would be a huge motivation for me. I never want to go not beating a team in my career, and that's something that we control. That this whole team controls. And it's really exciting to have another opportunity to go out there and play the way we know how to play."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Offensive Lineman Patrick Omameh
On reflecting back on his Michigan career ... "I feel like it is not something that dawns on you throughout the season. Coming into the season, you know it is your final season at Michigan, and you have been at it so long and it has become such a big part of you. It is something that becomes more and more real each week I guess, but it is not something that maybe hasn't really hit me yet. But it is something that you realize and you know it is coming."
On strategy of a pass-first offense ... "Honestly, I am not even sure. The plays are called and we just run them. As far as the intricacies behind the scheme, and what not, it is more of the coaches. Us, we just do our best to do what is called."
On Denard Robinson's impact ... "He is such a source of encouragement. He is the type of guy who whatever he can do for the team no matter what capacity it is he will try to do that. He is still doing as much as he can for Michigan."
On the offensive line playing better ... "When it comes to protection especially with the offensive line that is a matter of cohesion and everybody being on the same page and everybody executing. It is a lot of different factors that came together to help us get the job done."