Nov. 18, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "Thanks for coming out; it was a game where I think our defense really kept us in the football game. We thought from the overtime, the offense started making a couple of more things happen down in the red zone. That's one we need to keep working on both on offense and on defense is our red zones. They haven't been as good as we'd like them to be. But I thought offensively we started doing some good things. We start the game, and after the first kickoff we drive down, but we need to finish better. We got the field goal, but we've got to do a little bit more with it. We were 0-for-10 at one point on third downs, and that is not a number that we want; we'll be better. The two backs -- I think Derrick [Green] and De'Veon [Smith] did a nice job -- averaged 4.4 yards per carry between the both of them. I think Devin [Gardner] ran 17 times, five of those were sacks, and there were probably seven or eight called runs and the rest scrambles. He threw it, I think, 43 times and did a nice job. We had some that we dropped; we've got some that we need to be a little more accurate and read through. But at the end of the day there are two things: [Jeremy] Gallon jumping on the ball in that punt late to save time was a smart football play by him, and then I can't give enough credit -- and I told you this after the game -- one of the best team plays I've seen with the field goal team getting on the field and guys on offense getting off the field. I think [Drew] Dileo -- where he was, he ran a vertical route on the other side of the field -- the effort to get there and slide in and hold. Gibby [Brendan Gibbons] not having the chance to go through his normal kicking procedure. Jareth Glanda, you can't say enough about his snaps with that wind during the PATs and field goals -- that whole team and the team getting off the field did a tremendous job. They gave us the opportunity to keep playing and win the game in three overtimes."
On the improved rushing production ... "I think the three guys inside really established the line of scrimmage. When you watch the tape, they're able to get started better -- the backs were. I thought the bubble screen and the fake bubble, pulling the linebacker a little bit and made it a better angle for a guy to combo up to, both those guys (Green and Smith) are pretty much downhill runners -- they have a chance to end up north-south because of their size and their style. They have pretty good vision, most of the time. We thought one in the end zone and one in the red zone, we probably read that wrong. For the most part they both ran hard, but they got started."
On Jake Butt's one-handed touchdown grab ... "Jake Butt is coming along; he's a freshman, and he made a great catch. It doesn't surprise any of us because we've seen him do it in practice. But he's a guy who is really maturing into being a good weapon for us and just developing as a football player."
On how Saturday's rushing performance will affect the competition at running back ... "I wouldn't say there will be more (competition), we always have a competition like you said. You've got to give them credit, though, for how they played."
On the positive impact Saturday's win can have on the team ... "We needed to go out and play Michigan football and fight for 60-plus minutes. I think the teaching moments that are so critical for a team, and especially when you've got young guys, just what you did with that hurry-up field goal -- how we practice it and how we do it, the emphasis that's made there. I think winning the football game, you can throw the weather in, you can throw a lot of things in, they responded well, and they never panicked. It was kind of neat on the sidelines -- when the offense was out there the defensive guys were chanting 'offense,' it was like high school; it was neat, they were having fun. And we did the same thing when the defense was on the field. They really, as a team, played. And they cared and were accountable."
On Devin Gardner's performance on Saturday ... "A couple of things, I thought his ball security was much better. We had a couple of instances where they had a dropped interception here and there, so we have a couple of reads that we need to detail through a little more. I think his attitude and just fighting, we kept going. We called a timeout, he told me 'Coach you need to call a timeout, I can't feel my left arm,' so we called a timeout, and he worked it back where he could feel it and did a tremendous job."
On scouting Iowa for this week's game ... "For those of you who have covered it for years, you know it's going to be a physical line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. I think they've only let four rushing touchdowns all year. They are averaging 197 yards rushing the football. They'll be physical at the point of attack. They are not going to be flashy, and you know that going in. Both of our fronts have got to be physical -- and from an offensive standpoint, target things right. From a defensive standpoint we've got to get with the stretch plays and zone plays, as much up the field penetration as we can."
On Thomas Gordon's performance against Northwestern ... "I thought Thomas really played fast in that game. I thought he did a nice job with his eyes, his discipline. That's always where it starts in the back end. From his stance to his feet and his discipline, getting his reactions and reads, I thought he really did a nice job and then triggering."
On how Saturday's hurry-up game-tying field goal came to be ... "Coach [Dan] Ferigno and myself, (the field goal unit) was basically all standing behind him, and I saw where the ball finally got marked. They went from there. When that drive started, we started making sure that Quinton Washington and the guys on defense were where they needed to be, and then the guys that come in like Erik Gunderson. I think Gibby [Brendan Gibbons] was still kicking (in the practice net), Matt [Wile] went and got him and said 'You need to be ready for a hurry hurry field goal.'"
U-M Sophomore Linebacker James Ross III
On scouting Iowa ... "I haven't really got to the film yet, I plan on doing that today, but as for last year I know what this game is all about. It's about being really physical, not too flashy. Those guys are real physical up front. They are going to run the power, and they are going to run the stretch, all that type of stuff. You just have to be physical. We have been doing a good job of that lately, and our d-line has been stepping up. We're going to get into the film and see what they got."
On the defense making key stops at the end of the game ... "One of the biggest things we talked about that whole week was the game coming down to the defense. We felt like we've lost game because the defense didn't finish. At Penn State, we wouldn't have had to go to overtime if we stopped them in the two minutes. The biggest thing about the whole week was knowing how to finish. We felt that the game was on our shoulders, and we wanted the game on our shoulders. We wanted to prove that we could finish, to prove to ourselves and to everyone else watching. It was great that we got that opportunity."
On his thoughts about the last-second field goal ... "I was speechless. I was walking back to the sideline not knowing what was happening. Everyone was running on the field, and they finally kicked it, and I looked. It went in, and Gibby was running off the field. It was a great moment. It was probably the best moment since I've been a part of the team. Just to see all of those guys come together. That was something we have practiced for so long, all the guys on the field goal team with the quick field goal. And just to see it actually take place. I never thought it would happen like that. In practice Coach Hoke counts so fast, and I'm like, it could never happen like that. But it did, and the practice paid off. It was great to see it happen the way it did."
On playing his best football at this point in the season ... "I feel like I am, but it is due to the d-line doing a great job up front. When you have a great d-line like that doing their job and taking up blocks, you are free to play, so you have to make the plays. They are doing all they can do so you can be free. Without those guys, we wouldn't be as good as we are today."
U-M Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan
On the offensive line's improvements ... "We had better targeting and getting on guys. Pushing the line of scrimmage and doing things an offensive line should do. Obviously, Devin got sacked a bunch again, so that's not good. We've got to be better at pass protection. We've got to protect our quarterback. "
On the growth of the younger interior line players ... "I'm really proud of them. I know this year hasn't been the year we wanted, especially on the offensive line, but all the experience that the guys are getting will do so much for them in the future. I'm excited for them. I'm excited for a year down the road, two years down the road, when they are the offensive line that they want to be. "
On worrying about time running out on the final kick ... "Honestly, my biggest focus was getting off the field. I ran off the field, and I hear the crowd cheer. I turn around, and the ball is in the air, and then we're going to overtime. If Brendan has the opportunity to put it through the uprights, he going to put it through the uprights. I know he had a couple here and there at Penn State, but Brendan has done more good for us than bad. I'm proud of him and how he's developed over the years. I'm proud to call him my friend. "
On his thoughts on Iowa's pink visitor's locker room ... "It's soothing. It's nice. It keeps it mellow. It's a light pink, not a dark pink or anything like that. Every away locker room that we visit has its own little quirks. Michigan State has a smiley face when you walk down, and Iowa has pink locker rooms. The game is not played in the locker room. If it was it would be a very calm and soothing game."