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September 10, 2012

Brady Hoke

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  I think we need to have a little better communication.  That could have been disastrous, you know.
Again, he's a freshman.  He's young.  He loves to compete.  So got to get that squared away.

Q.¬† Is he at times over‑eager?
COACH HOKE:  No, I think all his decisions were pretty good, besides maybe that decision.

Q.  How much do you hope you can get him going against UMass?
COACH HOKE:  I don't know against UMass or anybody else.  There's a lot to being a runningback.  There's a lot of things that he's still going through a process of learning.
If we felt he was our best runningback, he'd probably be playing.

Q.  Especially with Beyer's injury, are you expecting to have Frank back?
COACH HOKE:  Frank gives you a little more experience from a year ago.  He's pretty athletic, and pretty physical.  Before Brennen was hurt or not, it was good to have Frank back.

Q.  When you see him and some of the younger guys stepping up, how important is that for depth?
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think that's always an important part in your development of your depth.  I think we've been able to do that a little bit.  That's something that we got to keep the competition very healthy and very lively in practice and at the same time be able to feel confident in the guys who are going out on the field.

Q.  Do you think the defensive line is going to improve on a similar trajectory as they did last year?
COACH HOKE:  You know, if I knew that, I'd feel a lot better.  But I think we got a long way to go.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, he did some good things in there, but I think the consistency from a leverage standpoint, pad level at times, he needs to play a little better.
He comes to work every day.  I've loved his work ethic.  I've loved how he's come in to lead.  I expect he'll keep improving.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think the only 'correct' is doing it every day right, those good habits you try and create.  I think playing defensive line maybe didn't come natural at first to him.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  The rule, I'm a defensive line coach, so I have a little problem with the rule.  I don't make rules, so that doesn't help any.
He did a nice job of flattening the center.  When he's flattening the center, the guard's going to try to cut him from the backside.  So sometimes you're holding onto the center as you move your feet so you can stay upright.

Q.  (Question regarding Mike Cox.)
COACH HOKE:  No, I'm happy for Mike, that he's getting to finish out his eligibility, getting to play.  I'm going to root for Mike every Saturday but this Saturday.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  Well, you can go from staff to staff across the country.  I like playing that offense as much as anybody, believe me.  But most people will tell you they don't.

Q.  Is that because of how disciplined your defense has to be?
COACH HOKE:  It's some of that, it's some of what they do.  How the blocks take place is part of it.  I mean, it's a little different.

Q.  Looking back at the film, seems like when they ran the dive, you did pretty good with it.  When they went outside, they did pretty good with it.  Why do you think that was?
COACH HOKE:  There's all kinds of reasons.  Pitch guy blocking or not blocking.  Were they arcing?  Were they loading, loading the fullback?  They did a lot of different things.

Q.  Did you actually cut block in practice during that week?
COACH HOKE:  It's hard to do that during that week.  You got bodies.

Q.  Did Joe Bolden play a little bit more because he played the triple option?
COACH HOKE:  I think he saw things pretty well.  I think part of that experience might be that.

Q.  What have you seen from your freshmen offensive linemen and can you envision them maybe playing this year?  Would you rather they didn't?
COACH HOKE:  You know, I don't care if they do or don't, to be honest with you.  I want the best players on the field.  I think they're all making progress.  Probably as hard a position in Division I football to play as a freshmen because of the schemes, the protections, the defenses you face, the variety of blitzes, zone blitz, all those things.  That's probably the toughest.
If they progress, we feel they're better, then they'll play.

Q.  Where exactly is Richard Ash?
COACH HOKE:¬† He's got a boo‑boo.

Q.  Ondre Pipkins, what have you seen from him?
COACH HOKE:  Ondre, he's a long way from being the nose tackle that he will be.  He has pretty good quickness for a big guy.  More explosion probably.  Technique and fundamentals, he keeps working.  Got to be better with his hands and his eyes.  But he's making progress.

Q.  His neck injury slow down his development?
COACH HOKE:  No, no.

Q.  I know this year is different from last year, but as far as answering the questions about Denard accounting for so much of your offense, what do you think that says about the progress?
COACH HOKE:  I don't know.  I think game to game, again, you got to go back to how people defend you, how they want to defend him.  I think that's a big part of it.  Then how we can be successful enough at point of attack on the run plays by the runningback.

Q.¬† Did Alabama try to stop or do anything scheme‑wise to try to stop Denard than Air Force or did they just do it better?
COACH HOKE:  They did a good job.

Q.  You put the headsets on for part of the game on Saturday.  Was it something you needed to monitor?
COACH HOKE:¬† No.¬† I mean, I put them on every game sometimes, especially in the two‑minute, that part of the game.¬† We were in between.¬† If we wanted to go two‑minute end of the first half.¬† We started on the ball on the 20.

Q.  It seemed like there was some confusion at the end of the half on what you wanted to do.
COACH HOKE:  Well, to be honest with you, the first part of it, we wanted to see what we did on the first play, how we reacted, if we got enough of a chump.  Didn't want to at that time give the ball back to them.  That's part of it.

Q.¬† How much did you learn from that clock‑management situation at the end of the half?
COACH HOKE:  I think we did okay.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, we had to.

Q.  56 offensive plays in the first two games.  Is that a number you like?
COACH HOKE:  No.  I'd rather have about 80 offensive plays.  You play better defense watching your offense.

Q.  Is that something you actually emphasize to the players?
COACH HOKE:¬† No.¬† What are we going to do, take away a 90‑yard touchdown run, something like that?

Q.  You have an appreciation for Michigan history.  You see somebody has nine of the top ten games in school history, what's your reaction to that?
COACH HOKE:  Let's hope he gets nine more.

Q.  Did you offer Jake Ryan the number or give him a choice?
COACH HOKE:  Sure, sure.  I mean, him and I talked about it.

Q.  Do you like the fact he's going to have some time to wear that number?
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, I think so.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  He probably won't initiate them.  I'll initiate it.

Q.  What do you have to see from that player?
COACH HOKE:  I think Jake's character, integrity, how he's represented himself and this program.  I think from a purely football standpoint, his competitiveness that he shows daily.

Q.  Are there different criteria for the different jerseys or same approach for all of them?
COACH HOKE:  Same approach for all of them.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think he is getting more comfortable running the routes, doing those kinds of things within the offense.  I think it's still a learning curve, especially when it comes to runs.  Does he have support, what guys you have, because that can change.

Q.  Special teams in general, your evaluation?
COACH HOKE:  We were 31 yards net punt.  That wasn't very good.

Q.  I just meant over two games, are you feeling like they're improving?
COACH HOKE:  I feel like we have the potential to be very good in the special teams.

Q.  You talked Gardner.  He made five catches.  Is he advancing faster than you thought?
COACH HOKE:  I never thought how much he'd advance, like we had this marker or this goal.  Like all of us, if we have a chance at all to win the Big Ten championship, we have to improve:  coaches, players, everybody.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH HOKE:  I think he's a guy who, number one, is an athlete.  Number two, I think he understands football at a pretty good rate.
Thank you.

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