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September 3, 2012

Brady Hoke

Q.  Was there ever a conscious decision to (Inaudible)?
BRADY HOKE:  No, not really.  You start doing that, you respect his abilities and his athleticism, but we've got pretty good athletes.  We've got guys who can do some things pretty well.  So no.

Q.¬† Seemed like the second level blockers were getting easily to the linebackers‑‑
BRADY HOKE:  Yeah, some of that is the linebackers' fault and some of it is the defensive linemen's fault.  Some of it you've got to have a little more friction on the offensive linemen, sometimes linebackers maybe hesitate or their footwork is bad and they're a little slow getting to where they want to get to, so it's a combination of both.

Q.  What were your overall impressions of the line play on the defensive side?
BRADY HOKE:  We didn't get off blocks.  I didn't think we handled the point of attack as well as we can.  I think there was inconsistency with it because as you'll watch the tape there's some really good plays and guys knocking guys back.  And then there's some other plays where it's not near what it needs to be.

Q.  I know you said that Frank faced some internal consequences, but how do you resolve in your head playing somebody who still has a felony charge?  How do you go about doing that if you can take us through that process a little bit?
BRADY HOKE:  I don't need to take you through a process.  I just resolved it.

Q.  What has Bellamy done to take over the backup quarterback job, and when did you decide Devin exclusively would be a receiver?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, you're in the middle of a game, and a guy has prepared both positions, and I'll get back to your initial with Russell.  I think that's a tough transition.  And then Devin is still playing quarterback some in practice, but in the heat of the battle game wise, and then Russell has really had a great fall camp, and I'm very proud of how he's progressed.

Q.  Part of running as often as he did or as few times as he did was his reads on whether (Inaudible)?  What were you seeing that they were doing that argued against him running more than he did?
BRADY HOKE:¬† Their nickel or their safeties.¬† You could go action the other way.¬† They weren't moving.¬† They were waiting.¬† And it could have been the backer‑‑ depends if they drop the safety down or the backer out and drop the safety inside.¬† I mean, they weren't moving.¬† And that's where we've got to hit a couple of those throws, you know, when we do throw the ball, to take that out of them.

Q.  How did Elliott do in his first start do you think?
BRADY HOKE:  You know, he did a pretty good job.  He hung in there.  He was pretty physical at the line of scrimmage.  I think all his gun snaps were good, and he did a nice job.

Q.  Will you keep him there for next week?

Q.  With (Inaudible) out, does that change the defense outside of him as a player?
BRADY HOKE:  No, no.  I mean, not one guy we have out there is going to change the defense and the schematics that you do with it.

Q.¬† What about a nickel?¬† Is that going to be‑‑
BRADY HOKE:  Well, it could be Thomas, it could be Courtney and bringing another corner in.  We've practiced Courtney there a lot, practiced Thomas there a lot.

Q.  Is Ray pretty physical for his limitations?  He didn't seem as involved in the passing game.
BRADY HOKE:  I don't think it was anything to do with him.  He's fine, Mark, he really is in good shape.

Q.  Regarding the freshmen, as a coach what goes through your mind?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, we traveled 17 of them, and that was interesting.

Q.  Is it concerning to have that much inexperience on the field?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, it is, but what are you going to do?  The best players got to play, and so you've got to play the best guys.

Q.  You said it was interesting bringing 17 freshmen down there.
BRADY HOKE:¬† Yeah, it's like babysitting sometimes a little bit.¬† I mean, they're just young.¬† They got on a big‑boy jet and they fly down and playing in big boy stadiums and a big boy team and a big boy hotel.¬† There's a lot that's different.¬† They did a nice job with it, but there's always‑‑ travel is something that as a coach is a headache to some degree.¬† You worry about how guys prepare mentally.

Q.  With a trip like that are they almost less young after the first game?
BRADY HOKE:  You hope so.  You hope so.  You remind them that this is not Sycamore High School anymore.

Q.  Talking about the safeties and watching Denard, you said that he should have run the ball more.  Should he have run the ball more in your opinion?
BRADY HOKE:  I think there were a couple reads maybe he should have, but this kid is a great quarterback, and he's a great athlete, and he's probably going to run it sometimes when it shouldn't and something is going to happen.  He's a competitor.

Q.  Will Furman be available this week?

Q.  Do you think the team is a little bit more physically beaten up than after a typical game going against a team like Alabama?
BRADY HOKE:  No.  No.  We've got physical teams in our league.  This team this week coming in here will be a physical football team.  That's how they play.

Q.  Now you've got a completely different offense that you're going to face.  In fall camp did you guys work at Air Force at all, and how do you go from playing that offense to this offense?
BRADY HOKE:¬† Well, it's always a challenge.¬† Any time you get into a midline series offense.¬† It's a fun challenge, because it really speaks of playing assignment football, and so we have game planned them way back, did very little this fall camp, but we'll start tonight.¬† You can't do too much because their personnel, and what Troy is doing‑‑ they have changed a little bit with‑‑ they're going no huddle now, and when we were in the Mountain West with them they still huddled, and they've changed around the midline and some of the pro series that when he was at the Texans they did from a no‑huddle offense.¬† So it's pretty unique.

Q.  I guess a team that does stuff like that, are you worried about guys maybe thinking too much and not reacting enough?
BRADY HOKE:¬† Yeah, I think that's part of it.¬† The biggest thing is you have to really do a great job at the line of scrimmage of frictioning the blocks and keeping your linebackers a little more clean and then taking your rotation of fullback‑quarterback pitch, just over and over, and then they'll have ways when you line up one way, they'll have ways to attack you.¬† It will take us a little bit of time to get used to the speed because we don't have a quarterback who can run like theirs besides our quarterback, but he's not going to run scout team this week.

Q.  Devin?
BRADY HOKE:  No, we couldn't do that with him, either.

Q.  Going bigger picture still looking at Alabama, obviously defending national champion, how far is this program from being in that spot at contending?
BRADY HOKE:¬† I don't know if I have an answer for you.¬† We've got to get a bit more consistent, we need to be more physical.¬† I think we‑‑ I think those two things are the big things.¬† Those two things are the big things we have to be.

Q.¬† And that's recruiting in part.¬† How many do you‑‑
BRADY HOKE:  I don't know why we can't do it this year.

Q.  Will Hagerup struggled a lot last year and had a pretty good game against Alabama.  What do you see from him?
BRADY HOKE:  I thought Will and Matt both did well, the kickoffs he did a tremendous job, Will punted well.  I was glad to see that because once in a while Will will try and overpunt, and I thought he may be trying to hit the screen.  And so I'm glad he didn't try and do that.  So I thought he punted well.
I thought the special teams part of it with the kickers and then with Norfleet, I thought he did a nice job in returns.

Q.  He kicked through the end zone and had a few touch backs.  (Inaudible)?
BRADY HOKE:  I think so.  You know, you give him to him at the 25.

Q.  How much of a role can you see for Norfleet besides special teams going forward?
BRADY HOKE:  You know, I think he's a pretty good guy with the ball in his hands.  How you get it in his hands I think is what we have to really look at.

Q.  Do you envision doing more of that?
BRADY HOKE:  Possibly, yeah.

Q.  After a game like you had, what are your thoughts on the helmet coming off?
BRADY HOKE:¬† I really don't know if‑‑ I know the intent.¬† I don't know if‑‑ I don't know if it's right, because if they can't see at all, it's a judgment call, and an opponent takes the helmet off, they don't call every hand to the face.
I think it's going to be interesting to see.  The intent is very good, but I don't know how you manage it.

Q.  (Inaudible.) What were your impressions of him overall?
BRADY HOKE:¬† I think he had probably one penalty.¬† That's my‑‑ I thought he played well.¬† I thought he played with a lot of heart and toughness and things you like players to play with.

Q.  You mentioned how disciplined the linebackers are going to have to be this week.
BRADY HOKE:¬† Well, the D‑line, too, now.

Q.¬† What did you think about‑‑ especially Jake Ryan, their reads and their discipline?
BRADY HOKE:¬† Jake played well.¬† I mean, Jake is always going to play‑‑ he may not step exactly like you teach him all the time, but he's going to end up in the right place.

Q.  With Devin at quarterback, it's such an ego position.  He said that he had talked to you guys and sort of had a mutual discussion about moving.  How hard is it for a guy when he's in that position to say, you know, volunteering or however it transpired, to do that?
BRADY HOKE:¬† How hard is it for‑‑

Q.  For him.
BRADY HOKE:  Well, I imagine it was a tough decision, but I think he's a competitor who wants to play.  I think he knew Denard was our quarterback.  And I think the other part of it, he's helping our football team, and that's probably as big as anything.

Q.  With Brandon Moore out this week, is Kwiatkowski basically the guy?
BRADY HOKE:  Well, it'll be Kwiatkowski, it will be A.J. Williams, it will be Devin Funchess.

Q.  About the same amount?
BRADY HOKE:  We'll see.

Q.  When did you get sick?
BRADY HOKE:  Wednesday.

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