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September 27, 2014

Brady Hoke


THE MODERATOR:  We'll get started with an opening statement from coach and then take some questions.
BRADY HOKE:  Minnesota, give them credit and give Jerry credit, but at the same time we didn't ‑‑ we're very disappointed in how we played football today.
I didn't think ‑‑ when you look at different aspects of our game, I don't think we played as well as we can.  I don't think we executed as well and that always comes back to me first, as a coach, and what we can do better to help ourselves and help our team.
Didn't tackle well.  That was disappointing.  Part of that‑‑ we needed to leverage the runs a little better.  There were too many times that the ball got outside the defense and that's never good for you when you're playing defense.
I think from an offensive perspective we struggled in a lot of different areas.  I think De'Veon had some nice runs early in the football game.
But, we struggled just in various different areas at times, either a negative play that put you behind the sticks.  You've heard that, probably heard it too many times and I've said it too many times.
Just not consistent in what we're trying to get done.  That's something that we need to make sure that we're getting to that point where it's going to be consistency.  So that's a big part of it.
I think field position was a part of the game.  We got to do a better job on a couple punt returns that went for way too much yardage.  I thought Will made a couple good punts and a pooch punt, and kind of drove the ball a little bit.  But we have got to get better coverage and we have got to do a better job there.
From the standpoint of our team and their attitude, number one, they're disappointed and they should be.  We all are.
Secondly, I think the guys in that lock room and I've said this before, and you may think I'm not telling you the truth, but they worked their tails off.  That's a sad thing, is they got to keep working.  And we're going to keep working for each other, we're going to keep pushing ourselves to be the best Michigan team we can be and goals are still out there.  There's a lot of football to play.
We talked in the locker room about there's two things can you do.  You can quit, you can shy away from it, or you can be honest with it and go back to work.  And that's what we'll do as a football team.

Q.  Can you share with us what you saw in Shane this week that gave him the start that we didn't see today?
BRADY HOKE:  Yeah, I think that number one, and I said this before and I'm going to say it again, is we got two guys that we have a lot of faith in at quarterback.
Shane had a good week at practice.  He's had good practices throughout fall camp.  I think that I talked about earlier in the year.  He had a good practice last week.

Q.  So what do you think was wrong today?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, again, I think sometimes we want to point the finger at one guy, because he's the quarterback.  I don't think that's fair, I don't think that's fair.
I think that, obviously, we got to do a better job, there's some protection things.  He had to step up, the pocket closed a couple times on him.
I think the interceptions, the tipped ball at the line of scrimmage that gets knocked up into the air, we have got to have better ball security and he would be the first one to tell you that.
A couple times the ball was on ground.  But as far as how he practiced and what he did to deserve to start, he's been doing that throughout camp and fall.

Q.  Is it still his job?
BRADY HOKE:  We'll evaluate it like we do, like we did last week.  We'll evaluate ‑‑ for me to sit up here when you don't look at all the film yet and, believe me, you can see everything from down there.  We'll evaluate it.

Q.  Curious as to the decision to leave Shane in after he got hit.  Might have had a concussion?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, I don't know.  You know‑‑ I don't know if he might have had a concussion or not.  I don't know that.  That wasn't something ‑‑ Shane's a pretty competitive tough kid.  Shane wanted to be the quarterback.  So believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would have come to the sideline or stayed down.

Q.  Was it your decision then to leave him in after the late hit foul?
BRADY HOKE:  Late hit foul?  Yes.

Q.  All week long you've been saying that it's the Big‑10 season, it's time to get going.  What do you think happened out there?  What's your assessment of why this ‑‑
BRADY HOKE:  I think I just went over it, kind of.  Right?

Q.  I guess so, more or less.
BRADY HOKE:  I mean, we got to play better, we got to execute better, we got to coach better.  This is a hard working group.
I'm going to tell you, you know, you got to do a better job tackling, leveraging the football, I think the ‑‑ you look at field position and I think that will be an interesting study to look at.  We didn't have great field position, we put ourselves in poor field position on some punt returns.  Then offensively, I think I guess it's right here, we were 4‑13 on third downs.  That's not sustaining drives.

Q.  We have talked about the same things here the last few weeks and you said it again.  Why do these things continue to appear, the same issues?
BRADY HOKE:  Yeah, you know what?  I think the way these guys practice you would not think some of these issues would appear.  How they work during the week.
So I think, as a staff, we always evaluate it.  Did we give them enough of these looks, did we not give them this.  It may have been a play that the defense didn't see or something like that.
So, we'll start there tomorrow, tonight, on making sure that we're doing everything we can do to help these guys win.

Q.  So you're evaluating inward, you're evaluating yourself?
BRADY HOKE:  You always do.  Win or lose you do.  So it's nothing different.

Q.  You've talked about the team keeping their fate.  Have you seen that falter or do you see that falter at all today?
BRADY HOKE:  No.  Nope.

Q.  You talked about after the game telling the team kind of you got to be honest with yourself and assess where you're at right now.  What's your honest assessment of what this team's capable of at this point?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, I think this team can still win the championship.  I really do.  But we got to play much better and we got to support each other as we do it.

Q.  Just to be clear on when Shane Morris got the hit to the head, did you see him kind of wobbling and fall?
BRADY HOKE:  I did not.

Q.  Because it looked like he was out on his feet.  Nobody saw that on the sideline?
BRADY HOKE:  I didn't see it.  I can only answer for me.

Q.  Secondly, do you feel you waited too long to put Gardner in anyhow, just based on how Morris was struggling?
BRADY HOKE:  No.  You play him, you don't play him, I mean, no.  Shane was the guy who was our quarterback.

Q.  So in retrospect you don't think it was a mistake benching Gardner for the start of the game?
BRADY HOKE:  No, I don't.  I would have started him if I would have thought differently, right?

Q.  But now you have 20/20, you can look back and realize‑‑
BRADY HOKE:  Well, yeah, but that doesn't do any of us any good.  You got to be present in the moment and we made a decision, because of how both of them compete and challenge and when you also believe that given Devin a chance to watch a little bit and learn and that's what we did.

Q.  At the end of the game Morris was taken off the field in a cart.  Do you know his status?
BRADY HOKE:  I do not.  I do not.

Q.  The struggles at quarterback and everything else, are you concerned about losing control of this season and in some aspects of the team?
BRADY HOKE:  No, I'm not.  Not at all.  Not with the kids that we have.

Q.  There's a stretch there in the third quarter where Shane recovered a fumble that he lost, had an interception.  Do you have any thoughts on that stretch?
BRADY HOKE:  He had a fumble that he recovered and what was the other thing?  That was tipped at the line of scrimmage.  Okay.  I think, obviously, we have to have better ball security.

Q.  You say that of all of your goals still is the potential to win a championship?
BRADY HOKE:  Sure, they are.

Q.  You tried to change the quarterback and tried some other things, where else do you look from within to try to spark the team?
BRADY HOKE:  I think it's in all of us.  I think it's in how we continue to go about our business and how positive the guys are with each other about what's going on.  There's guys in there who are taking responsibility for what we have done and I'm talking about players, coaches, everybody.  So, when you look at what's ahead of us, we got to go back to work and get better.

Q.  (No microphone.)
BRADY HOKE:  I don't know if I can give an honest, clear assessment.  I think, obviously, there was some struggles today and I think the thing to look at is the communication a little bit, making sure that we were targeting things right.  I think that's part of it.  I think that we need to look at did we get our hat across the man like we need to do and get the look that we want.  At times we did.
So, all that we'll look at and evaluate.

Q.  I would like to switch to the other side of the ball, Michigan's on defense, last week ‑‑ they had a hard time throwing the football last week.  What did they do as far as those underneath routes that maybe caught you off guard?
BRADY HOKE:  I don't think it caught us off guard.  Number one, they played a different quarterback last week.  And Leidner got healthy, he's a guy who started against us a year ago.
I think we lost a little bit with our discipline with our eyes on a couple of those routes.  Especially the ones that you're talking about, they did a nice job executing on the slide screen, to the tail back.  The one time we got the guy in our hands and he breaks a tackle.
So, a lot of that has to do with your discipline with your eyes.

Q.  You said that you wouldn't be comfortable with losing.  Is this program comfortable with losing right now?
BRADY HOKE:  I would hope not.  I would hope not.

Q.  Are you concerned about that?
BRADY HOKE:  The good thing is we met with the team after and then tomorrow we'll meet with them and assess how they're doing.

Q.  Do you have any update on Peppers?
BRADY HOKE:  No, no updates.

Q.  In that third quarter the fans were chanting that you needed to be fired.  Does that get in your head at all?
BRADY HOKE:  I didn't hear it.  When you're in the moment, you really don't.

Q.  Does it mean anything now that I just, now that you heard it?
BRADY HOKE:  No, it doesn't.  I mean, hey, this is a big boy business.

Q.  If you could give a message to the Michigan fan base right now, what would you tell them?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, I would tell them that, number one, we know their frustration, because we share their frustration.  I would also tell them that as a team, we all take accountability for it and we also all are going to work together to rectify it.

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