Nov. 28, 2011
Press Conference: Coach Hoke | Mike Martin | David Molk | Notebook
Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement ... "It's great to go out and play well enough to win. I think there are some things we know we've got to do a better job with when you look at a whole football game, but I think our guys responded well. I think as a team -- I've said this many times -- but they really complement each other offensively and defensively and in the kicking game. So it was great to win a football game. Any time you can win that great rivalry game, it's good."
On Denard Robinson showing what he is capable of ... "No. 1, I think he's grown and matured as a Michigan quarterback throughout the course of the year. I think the decisiveness that he has run the football with when he's made that decision that there's some open area or whatever has really been good the last couple weeks. I think that's helped his confidence. I thought he ran extremely hard with the ball on Saturday. When we can rush the ball for 277 yards, it helps you obviously when you get into the throwing game; in the passing game, I thought he made three very good throws again. He was 14 of 17, so his accuracy and the completion rate was pretty doggone good. So I think he just keeps growing."
On the mood around the program over the last 36 hours ... "There are a lot of text messages that I haven't even seen yet, to be honest with you. It's nice and it's great that people want to congratulate you, but we're not done with this year yet. Our goal was to win the conference championship and we didn't do that, so we got a lot more prove."
On the hiring of Urban Meyer at Ohio State ... "He's not going to play a down and neither am I. I've known Urban. He's a good football coach, good guy. I welcome him in. But this is still Michigan and Ohio. It's still going to be that rivalry. Neither one of us are going to play the game."
On Ohio State's players being upset with Michigan's celebration after the game ... "I don't have any problem because it wasn't disrespectful to anybody. It's something they do every Friday -- the last thing; when we get a victory, take a knee. It surprised me the first time they did it. It wasn't disrespectful to anybody. It's something those kids have done for 12 weeks."
On if Michigan deserves to play in a BCS game ... "We're not going to make that decision. One thing I can tell you about this team, this is a team in this conference that's won 10 games. It's a team by that body of work I think is recognizable. I like how we've played at the end of the season and how our guys have gotten ready to play and how they've represented Michigan. Those questions will be answered, but we won't have anything to do with it. We've done all that we can do. Is it deserving -- probably. A 10-win team out of the Big Ten Conference, I think that speaks for itself."
On if he'll take time to review the season since the next game is a month away ... "We'll do some of that. You try to keep up on it every week, to be honest with you, when you look at what you're doing in third downs, then what you're doing from a self-scoutwise and all that. Really for us (it's) recruiting. We had guys in on officials this weekend, so you're working and trying to make Michigan the best. So we've got to continuously work in that area."
On stating that Michigan is a good football team ... "I think the way they've handled themselves from a daily basis, you can see that they are gaining a little bit of confidence as a team together. That's such a big part. They've had good chemistry since day one, awfully good leadership. (They've) done a tremendous job throughout the course of the year. I think the confidence that they've shown together means an awful lot. I think they've gone out there and played that way."
On the aggressive play-calling against Ohio State ... "Some of it is instinct during the flow of a game. You see how your defense is playing (and) get an idea for that. Greg (Mattison) knows that because we've obviously talked about it we're going to take some -- I don't know if you'd call them chances; I really call them opportunities when they come. I have confidence in the offense and confidence in our defense. It's more that than anything."
On paying attention to which teams need to win this weekend to help Michigan reach the BCS ... "I don't have that kind of time. I really don't. I don't worry about things that we really can't control. The one thing, we're going to have a meeting today with our team at 4:30 p.m., and we have recruits in all weekend, so I've kind of been busy. There are other people who can look at all that stuff and figure it out. When they figure it out, they'll tell me."
On fixing the breakdowns in the breakdowns in the secondary against Ohio State ... "You can't just put that on the secondary. Number one, you've got give Ohio some credit because they've always been a vertical team. Since 1995 I remember them being a vertical passing team. I think some of the difference was they max protect a lot, they kept in six or seven so they could be more vertical. We have to do a better job of getting pressure. That means you have to get two guys on the one-on-ones that have to get home. Part of the problem when you play a guy who is athletic like Braxton Miller, if you want to send people or if you want to play man coverage and you've get defenders with their back to the ball and he makes an athletic move scrambling or something like that, it's a little bit of both: we didn't get enough pressure and we've got to play better throughout a whole play. What I'm saying is we've had so many good pressure plays from our front in the last three weeks, if you think about it, that you've got to hold your coverage a little longer and be a little more disciplined with your eyes. We didn't do that as well as we needed to."
On cycling Troy Woolfolk and Thomas Gordon into the safety position ... "We were going to play them both. Obviously we think they're both competing well practice-wise. We think they both give us something as a team. Thomas, I think he was in on the goal line stand, which really was a pivotal time in the game. To get to the goal line stand J.T. Floyd blitzed off the corner and then (Miller) started scrambling and chased him all the way down that gave us an opportunity. If not, he's in the end zone. Thomas did a nice job in that sequence; Troy did a couple good things in other sequences during the game."
On if Michigan has taken a big step forward this season ... "We'll find out. Until the season gets over and until we finish what we start, then I think we'll sit back and look at it and evaluate it a little more. One thing I can tell, the most disappointing thing for all of us, is we didn't win the Big Ten championship. At Michigan that's the expectation. So we've got a lot of the work to do."
On the carryover from this season to next season ... "I think every team is different. We're going to lose some great leaders with this senior class. I hope the guys that are next in line will learn some valuable lessons from these guys and work ethic and the way they respect each other. Maybe not always agreed with each other, but there is a respectful way of disagreeing and being on the same page."
On Ryan Van Bergen's comment that the team played on the line between cocky and confident ... "You want them to be like that every week. I think the kids, what's the term now - swag, I don't even know what that means. But I think you've got to be confident in your ability as a team. There is a composure and poise that goes along with that. I think these guys, to this point, have done a nice job with it."
On the need to beat Ohio State to solidify the good things accomplished this season ... "It's an important football game at the University of Michigan."
On how he's built such strong relationships with the senior class in such a short period of time ... "Trust. It's all based on trust and all based on honesty. Being honest in your dealings with people. Then they can trust you. I think that's it."
On if he will use bowl practices to further develop young players rather than just prepare for the game ... "Yes. When we start, we'll dictate a little bit on when, what day you leave, what day you play, all those things. So that is part of it. The second part of it, as a group we'll work fundamentals and technique once we get back on the field. So you're doing a little bit for everybody, but some of the younger guys we'll give a couple reps to and some stuff that maybe we wouldn't."
On if Brennen Beyer will be able to practice ... "Yep. He's doing pretty well, which is good."
On defensive linemen who have improved behind the scenes this season ... "I think Quinton Washington is a guy that's gotten better and better. I like how he has been practicing. I like his intensity about his work and his focus. Keith Heitzman has shown some things that you get excited about. Chris Rock. There are some things there that he's doing well. So those three. Richard Ash is a guy that we've got to bring along. There are some guys that have done a nice job."
On if he pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen to encourage leadership ... "I think when you force it, it doesn't work. So it kind of has to emerge on its own, but we do second semester leadership seminars, meetings, nine of them. I think eight of them with our seniors-to-be, eight with the juniors, and kind of goes down. So we've started that process when we got here. The biggest thing is they get to know themselves. Once they start to know themselves, then they get to know the guys in their class and goes from there."
On adding things to the offense to play on Denard Robinson's strengths ... "Yeah, we will. There is no question. When we get done with the recruiting cycle, you pretty much go back and evaluate what you can coach better on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. Is there something different to stay ahead of the curve that you want to look at -- we'll do quite a bit of that."
On the fourth-quarter pass from Denard Robinson to Drew Dileo ... "I don't know about best pass of the year. I thought, number one, Drew made a tremendous catch -- that's what Drew does for us, that's why he holds on field goals and extra points -- very good hands. The other throw that he made was the one Roy Roundtree made. He put the ball -- because they buzzed the linebacker out, he put it down and away from the guy buzzing out. It was a great throw."
On if he disagreed with the decision to overturn Fitzgerald Toussaint's apparent touchdown ... "Do I agree exactly with the call? Only thing I can say is I know the rule states there has got to be some sort of evidence to overturn it."
On the potential of being named Big Ten Coach of the Year ... "Any type of awards that are given, Heisman Trophy or best taper, if you're taping ankles is -- we have a great staff and we've had a great group of kids when you look at the senior and what they've done. My point is that it's never one person, one guy. It's everybody involved in the program. John Falk and how he gets the guys ready from the equipment standpoint; Paul Schmidt in the training room, and how the people take so much pride feeding those kids and all that stuff. I got the greatest job in the world. It's fun; fun being with those kids."
On if it's different beating Ohio State as an assistant coach versus a head coach ... "No, not really. I mean, I'm a defensive line coach. That's what I see myself as."
On Brendan Gibbons' fourth quarter field goal ... "Huge. I mean, Gibbons, in that kick -- because there were some people who really doubted him at the beginning of the year, maybe some in this room. But he did a tremendous job all year and has grown and learned. He's got a good demeanor about him. He's worked hard."
On Devin Gardner's role and if it helped Denard Robinson ... "You're going to compete. We're not just going to anoint anybody anything. Jordan Kovacs started for two years, I think. I don't know, maybe three. He's isn't marked in right now as our starting safety. He's going to have to earn it. You have to earn it by what you do in the weight room, what you do in winter conditioning, what you do in the classroom. Everybody does. So I think Devin's come along and done a good job of progressing. You're one play away from ever being that guy."
On how the offense changed depending on the opponent this season ... "Depending on the opponent, but also because -- and we've talked about this before -- everyone defends you a little differently and everyone has their ideas on how -- both safeties down inside or whatever it might be. At halftime, there are things that they adjust because of that. The lead play may be a bigger part of it. The jet sweep read may be a bigger part of it. And then how you block is the real issue."
On what Denard Robinson has improved upon this season ... "I think the thing I would say the best is decision making. Don't think you have to just force a ball in there if it's not there. I think that's a big part of it."
On what he said to Luke Fickell after the game ... "I just thought he did a heck of a job all year. Tough situation."
On the toughness that Denard Robinson ran with against Ohio State ... "I thought he ran very physical, and I thought he did against Nebraska. He put his foot in the ground and didn't try and make too many different moves that only he can make. I thought he did a nice job with it."
On the efficiency of Denard Robinson in recent games ... "I think the thing we're missing, Fitzgerald Toussaint running the football and the job those guys up front have done. That helps everything."
Senior Center David Molk
On the offensive unit starting to click ... "I think you saw a good part of it. I mean there is always room for improvement. There is always ways to get better. There were still plays that should have gone and can be changed or altered. This is a growing offense and it is going to be something that we are going to work through for years to come. I like where it is going. I like what has been done. It has been really good."
On Denard Robinson's growth as a player ... "He has developed as a quarterback, he has developed I guess as a different type of quarterback, kind of adapting to the mesh between what was last year and what is now. He has fit into the system. He understands it now. He has grown throughout the season. He is just really developing and maturing as a player."
On if the victory renewed the rivalry with OSU ... "Every Ohio State-Michigan game is as intense as it gets. That is why that rivalry is so great. That is why it has been going on so long. That is why it is so important to both us and Ohio State. It is a game that whoever plays in it, you never forget playing in it."
On U-M football program's future outlook ... "I'd love to see where this program grows. I see great things coming out of it. It is great to be a part of the first year, the opening year, the transitioning year, which is always the hardest. I expect only great things to come."
On the progression of younger players ... "There is a lot of development that goes on behind the scenes at practice. The second team, third team, freshmen make big strides their true freshman year. Those are all things that you can see at practice. You watch the film, they get better every week. They improve on all of the little things."
On why Brady Hoke should be Big Ten Coach of the Year ... "He deserves it. I love him, he is a great coach. He is a great mentor. He is a great friend. He is every single thing that you want a college coach to be, and he does it flawlessly."
Senior Defensive Tackle Mike Martin
On looking ahead to a possible BCS bowl berth ... "There is football left to be played for other teams and I'm going to be enjoying watching some football. Whatever happens, happens. I don't really get into if this team wins or whatever. We are excited about where we are at as a team and that is all we can worry about right now. Wherever we end up is where we are going to end up, and we will be happy about it."
On who will be a defensive leader next season ... "I would say Kenny Demens has done a great job on the defense this year. Being linebacker he has really taken that role of being the guy that guys can lean on for calls and for knowing things. All types of leadership qualities that linebackers should have. Craig Roh, Jordan Kovacs are guys that really stood out in my eyes and have done a great job this whole season. They are going to continue to get better and I fully believe in that."
On celebration following the Ohio State win ... "Ann Arbor was jumping, and it was special to spend time with my teammates after and just enjoy the win especially with those older guys. Just being able to hang out with the guys on campus; it was a great time."
On helping the program move forward from previous struggles ... "I'm so proud of this team. Every year is a new year, and really team number 132 has really taken steps for our goals. We are disappointed too, our goal every year is to win the Big Ten Championship, and we didn't achieve that, but there is next year for this program. These guys and all of these younger guys going to this bowl game are going to try to end this season on a good note. We are going to work hard and strive to try to take positive steps. We definitely took a step forward. Every weekend you can say you got a `W' is always a good thing. I'm proud of this team."
On finishing up with 10 wins and beating Ohio State ... "It is special. I have no regrets. My first three years leading up to this point is something I'm never going to forget, and is something that has really made me better as a person and as a player. All the things that go into it, there is no place better to go to school then here, and to earn a degree. It is special to have my last game here end on a good note with the seniors and all of the guys that have been through it since day one with me, and really just to enjoy it with those guys. That is what makes it so special."