Monday Press Conference: Ohio State Week

Nov. 25, 2013

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Game Notes PDF | Game Central

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "Thanks for coming. This is one of the weeks in football where if you are passionate about the University of Michigan or passionate about Ohio, (it) is exciting. We are excited. We had a chance to get together as a team. It's such a great rivalry that we are fortunate to be able to play and to be able to coach in. This week is a week that gets everybody involved: media, fans, all those people. Everybody has an opinion, which is good. It's good for the game because the game is talked about. It's going to be a lot of fun on Saturday to play the football game."

On linebackers Desmond Morgan and James Ross III and quarterback Devin Gardner ... "They're all going to be fine. All three of them will play on Saturday."

On turning the offense around ... "Offensively, we need to be more consistent. We get a nine-yard gain and then take a step back. Or we have good protection and don't finish the throw, or execute the throw, or catch the football -- which is all part of it. That is all part of execution. The rhythm you need to have from an offensive perspective has to be more consistent. The kids are working, believe me. They're working. They want to find that rhythm as an offense and run the football and be able to play-action pass and do things that have been very good to us at times."

On taking more chances this game because of the rivalry ... "I think you go into every game, and you try to look at the pluses and minuses and do a good job with a game plan in all three phases of the game. There are always different outside factors that may dictate things: injuries, wind, weather and all those kinds of things. You have to have a contingency plan, whatever that might be."

On the mental state of the team after a tough loss ... "Good. We practiced this morning, and they were very good."

On Kyle Kalis starting at right guard ... "Well, he had earned it. It's really no bigger decision than that. He had earned it. He did a good job during the week. They evaluated him. We thought it would be good for the other Kyle, for Bosch, to take a step back and watch for a little bit and keep learning. And I think that's what Kalis did."

On putting Kalis at right guard and Erik Magnuson at left tackle ... "Well, Mags came in here as a left tackle, and he's been on the left side more. And Kalis was more comfortable on the right side. Magnuson is pretty adaptable and can do both, but he has been a left tackle, so it worked out well."

On his impressions of Ohio State ... "Well, they have a very good football team. They have four out of five offensive linemen that are seniors. They have a lot of veterans who have played a lot of snaps. Their running back (Carlos Hyde) is leading the Big Ten. He's a good running back. He's a guy who can break tackles. You've got to make sure you get hats to the ball. Their quarterback (Braxton Miller) has played well; he's throwing the ball a little better. They have good wide receivers and are explosive offensively. Their backend defense is good. They are aggressive in what they do. I think that Ryan Shazier is one of the better linebackers in this league. He finds ways to get to the football and has good instincts. They are a good football team."

On Ohio State being the biggest test thus far ... "Probably so."

On Chris Wormley ... "Chris has done a real good job. I think that missing last fall and being limited at times this spring obviously hurt him in terms of the experience of one play after another play. I think Chris has really taken some positive steps. He's played better in every football game, and he's playing faster. I think that when a guy starts to play faster like that you get the idea that he feels more confident in how he is playing."

On what he would say to Michigan naysayers ... "Number one, I would say that we are going to play the game on Saturday, and that's why we're playing it. This game has always been different in some ways. Are they a good football team? Yeah, they are a very good football team. Do we have to play better than we've played? I don't think there's any doubt about that, and we've got to be more consistent and finish things better. It's what makes it so much fun."

On how the team has improved ... "I think that defensively we've improved as the year has gone on. I think we have some of the young guys -- the Chris Wormley's of the world and the three guys in the interior of the line -- that are making improvements. I would say those two areas."

On Michigan's offense needs to keep pace with Ohio State's offense ... "I think the answer to that is however we have to get it done to win."

On if a win against Ohio State erases the season's struggles ... "No, that never happens. But this game is for our seniors. We are going to honors those kids on Saturday. It is always important to win these types of game for those fourth- and fifth-year guys that have given a lot to this university and this program. That's what you talk about."

On the offensive line's performance against Iowa ... "It was probably a little better overall. For Magnuson, playing left tackle, wasn't that big a deal. He has been early in the process and has played almost every position at some point. I think his transition was flawless."

On Devin Gardner's performance through 11 games ... "He has had some really good moments and some moments that he'd rather redo if he could. I think we all have that. I do as a head coach. There are always moments that you think about and wonder if you should have done this. But the one thing about Devin is that he has been pretty resilient. He is a guy who comes to work every day and prepares to get ready to play and play his best."

On how to coach consistency ... "I don't know if it's difficult; when you look at the little things that you have to do to have discipline to be consistent. And those are things that you are coaching every day, whether it be your footwork or a stance, ball security and whatever it might be. Those are things that you demand every day so that they become great habits and consistent."

On the state of the football program after three years ... "The No. 1 goal has always been to play for our seniors and to do everything we can as coaches and as underclassmen to represent the seniors. At the same time, the seniors have to do a great job representing that senior class. Is the goal always to win the Big Ten championship? No question about it. And we won't make excuses nor back down from it. Have we played and coached as well as we've needed to? Obviously not. And those are things that we've got to keep going and keep working at every day because that's all you can do."

On the keys to winning on Saturday ... "I am very confident that we can win, or we wouldn't play. I'd call down there to Columbus and say that we won't do it. No. 1, we have to stay away from negative plays offensively. You've got to manage the manageables when you look at down and distance. Negative plays, taking care of the football, trying to steal a possession with a turnover. Defensively, their running game is going to be a big part of it. It always has. We've got to do a great job in the rushing game and try to create longer distances for them."

On his earliest memory of the rivalry game ... "Every year I get older, so it gets a little harder. Watching the game on TV, you know. Black and white. I really respected Coach (Woody) Hayes."

On spoiling Ohio State's perfect season ... "We don't talk about that. We talk about ourselves and what we have to do. We've never ever mentioned it, and I won't. That's not what the game is about. It's about us playing our best football for our seniors and the greatest rivalry in sport. That's what it is."

U-M Senior Cornerback Courtney Avery
On what it will take to beat Ohio State ... "We just have to be consistent. Consistent, and we have to finish. We have to have all three phases of the team at full effect doing their best on Saturday -- offense defense, and special teams. Everybody's just got to come out and give their best. And we have to have great preparation this week and come out and perform."

On what the team leaders can do to make sure the team plays with consistency ... "That comes from the captains and comes from the seniors, passing it down to the younger guys, getting them all on board, and I think they are. We had a meeting, and we talked about everything and everyone knows this is the week. This is the rivalry game, and if you need a big pep talk to get ready for this week, then you shouldn't be a part of this rivalry. It's Ohio week, we're all ready to go. Anything these coaches feel we need to do, anything us seniors and the leaders of the team feel we need to do to be successful and win this game, that's what we are going to do. The key is to get as many as playing as hard and as perfect as they can as possible, so that's what we plan on doing, practicing hard to get the most perfect play we can get for Saturday."

U-M Fifth-year Senior Left Tackle Taylor Lewan
On how to avoid negative plays ... "Playing more consistent, taking what we do on the field and bringing it to the game. Guys just have to stay in the game, can't focus on the big crowd, who is in the crowd, is there more red? It doesn't matter. We are playing a football game."

On his decision to return for his senior season ... "I think people might think that I regret my decision to come back as a senior. Absolutely not. Being around these guys in the locker room, win or lose, they are my brothers and being around them for one more year, experiencing college for another year, that's huge, and I know we didn't win the Big Ten championship, didn't accomplish individual awards but at the same time, I am playing football with my friends and hopefully, I get to do that in the future, but I am happy about that right now."

On what he has taken away from this season ... "My body is healthier, I am in better shape than I ever have been. I am taking so much from this. Most importantly, taking away these friendships and being with these coaches for another year and being around this university for another year. I really can't explain how huge this is for me and even though we didn't have the season we want I will never regret this season ever."

On if the team needs to score a lot of points to beat Ohio State ... "We have a good defense. This is not about Ohio, this is about Michigan, University of Michigan 134 years of Michigan Football; most wins in college football. I'm talking about that right now. Our defense will play; our offense needs to be more consistent. We worked on that this morning, and we are going to work on this all week. These guys understand what kind of rivalry this is. I am not talking about Ohio; I am talking about the University of Michigan."

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