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November 26, 2012

Brady Hoke

COACH HOKE:  We're all disappointed in the outcome down in Columbus obviously.  One thing I can tell you is that we are very proud of our senior class.  Proud because of the leadership and the development of the program that they've helped and their commitment to the university.  Proud of how they continued to lay the foundation of what we want to be as a program.
So it was hard.  It's disappointing for them to play their last game against Ohio and not be successful like we all want to, and that's an expectation.
But we're proud of them.  We'll have one more opportunity with them, and we'll take that very seriously.

Q.  As you looked at the second half in particular, outside of the turnovers which is obvious, what did you see in looking at the film that could have been done differently?
COACH HOKE:¬† Well, I think a lot of it‑‑ you know, number one, short yardage things.¬† You know, we kind of prided ourselves at being good in short yardage.¬† We tried really three different ‑‑ really four different schemes, the ISO (indiscernible), the power run, quarterback read play, and just couldn't ‑‑ didn't‑‑ execute it like we would like to.
And they had had possibilities besides probably the ISO that could have been executed.  That was disappointing.  You get 21 plays in the second half, that is hard when you want to get in a rhythm and turnovers are a part of it.  We've talked about turnovers throughout the year.  You turn the ball over four times you're not going to win many football games.
At the same time, I though from a defensive perspective we would have loved to been a little better versus the run in there, especially with Hyde.
Braxton was going to get his share to some degree, but the defense stood up when it had to.  Like to have, on the last drive, got the ball back one more time.
We went in at halftime and it was 21‑10.¬† From a defensiveperspective ‑‑ 21‑20‑‑ if they don't score, they can't win.¬† Well, we got to keep them from scoring.

Q.  Was Denard limited at all physically in that game, and did that affect they way you called any plays?
COACH HOKE:  Not really.  He can throw the ball, but he can't throw it with the confidence that he would like to throw the ball with.  That's was one reason we weren't going to put him in a situation where he's not throwing as well as he would like to.  That would be unfair.
But, no, he was okay.  In our last two drives we had to try and get points, so keeping Devin in the game and throwing the ball a little bit.  Unfortunately we throw the pick, but that's football.

Q.  Along the same lines, after the first half Denard had, why didn't he get the ball more in the second half?
COACH HOKE:¬† Well he had 21 plays.¬† We tried to give him a shovel, tried to get him out‑‑ trying think of the other situation there was.¬† It just didn't present itself.
And then the fourth and two, fourth and three, you know, which was the same play that he had a nice run earlier in the football game for about seven or eight, you know, we don't block it right.

Q.  You had mentioned on Saturday that the guys, Devin and Denard had only had a week or ten days to practice together on the field at the same time.  We saw a lot of it at Iowa, and someone counted and said it was about twice as much or three times as much we saw the together at Iowa versus Ohio State.  Was it something that they were doing that you didn't think it would work, or was there reason we didn't see more of them on the field together at the same time?
COACH HOKE:¬† I would say the reason would be it wasn't exactly the timing of it.¬† You know, there is a timing of how you set things up, especially in the second half.¬† We turned the ball over three times.¬† So offensively you're a little bit out of your realm and your‑‑ just your mojo if you can call it that.
So trying to do something that maybe wouldn't be as successful, you know, we just didn't feel like it.

Q.  The fourth down call, you initially brought the punter out and called timeout.

Q.  Whose call and decision was that?
COACH HOKE:  Mine, mine, mine.

Q.  Why the change then?
COACH HOKE:  You know, that's the only thing I wish I wouldn't have done was call the timeout.  Should have left him on the field and gone for it.

Q.  Looked like you were punting there.  Were you going to fake punt?

Q.  Obviously in your two years here you've had a ton of success at home and not so much on the road.  Got reasons for that?
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think when you look at turnovers on the road, the one thing I know you have to do on the road is run the football.  We have not run the football or taken care of the football as well as we need to away from home.

Q.  You said before obviously you have a very high standard for this program:  Big 10 title.  Last year you said it was a failure because you didn't.  When you evaluate this regular season, what do you tell your kids and what do you tell the rest of us?  Do you look at this as a failure?
COACH HOKE:  Well, we didn't win the championship, and that's the expectation.  I think there was some growth, and I think I that growth is probably as much with how the senior class came together.
I think it also is for the young guys who played some snaps, valuable snaps in football games.  So that foundation of what you want to do in the weight room, what you want to do in spring football, summer conditioning, winter conditioning, all those things.  I think there is always that foundation in how one group responds, and is it a better job than the last group?
You know, yeah, it's disappointing to all of us.  More disappointing because of the seniors, for them.

Q.  You knew coming into the season the schedule was going to be tough.  Now that the regular season is done, you guys lost to two undefeated teams, and another one that is in position to win the BCS National Championship, and the potential Big 10 champion in Nebraska.  Talk about the schedule and what troubles it's provided you guys.
COACH HOKE:¬† I don't know troubles.¬† You go out to compete.¬† Maybe self‑inflicted troubles at times.¬† Giving the ball up, not running the ball well enough, all those things are part of it.

Q.  Does the quarterback situation for the bowl game depend in part on Denard's healing over the next few weeks?
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, a little bit.  A little bit.  But I think at the same time, you know, there is an opportunity to expand more maybe on some of the two quarterback things.

Q.  (Question regarding redshirt.)
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, I would expect that would go through.  I think all the documentation, everything is being sent to the Big 10.
You know, I think there is some momentum.  I know how terrible he feels right now, but there is some momentum and things to learn from.  Also, he had some success, too.

Q.  Obviously you approach ball security.  What more can you do?
COACH HOKE:  You'll see guys walking on campus with footballs in their arms.

Q.  Have you done that already?
COACH HOKE:  Not here, but I've done it.

Q.  (Question regarding senior Roy Roundtree.)
COACH HOKE:  I think we're all excited for all of them, but Roy, because of how he has handled himself as a student and an athlete and how he's come to work every day, I think all those things are a big part it of.
Thought he played a good football game the other day obviously.  Being an Ohio kid, you want to see that for him.

Q.  You mentioned that Denard, late in the game you were going to take him out of the game.  Is he just not far enough along as receiver to be an option, and...
COACH HOKE:  Well, we had a couple routes in there for him, and, you know, it was pretty obvious that they paid attention to where he was.  You know, you can do that.
Has he had a whole lot of route running and that stuff?  No.  Maybe if he would've had a little more.  But that wasn't the plan.

Q.  Along the same lines, do you think that the offense, because when he was on the field he touched the ball, so the offense would become a little bit predictable to their defense...
COACH HOKE:  I don't think so, because I think there were plenty of opportunities.  You got to block, too.

Q.  Specifically when Denard was on the field.

Q.  You mentioned the running game.
COACH HOKE:¬† Uh‑huh.

Q.  That's been an issue I think from a runningback and offensive line standpoint.  How quickly can that be fixed?
COACH HOKE:  I don't know if there are any quick fixes.  I think there are some guys that we haven't played that we'll see.  They got some growth to do, though.  I think that's a big part of it.  These 15 days that we'll practice will be a big part of bringing them along.
I think in both of those areas we've got to‑‑ there is a higher expectation than what we're doing right now.

Q.  What do the young offensive linemen get during bowl practices that they maybe didn't get in the regular season practices?
COACH HOKE:  We try to develop them all Fall, but there will be a couple practices in there that will be a little more focused on what they're doing.

Q.  With Fitz, would you anticipate him trying to apply for a redshirt next year, or do you think he can be back in time to get out...
COACH HOKE:  You know, I don't know.  I don't know.  They think he'll have a full recovery.  How long that is, I don't know.

Q.  The idea of two quarterbacks in the backfield is a pretty radical and unusual idea.  I think maybe some cases in the '40s and stuff like that, but that's about it.

Q.  I wonder if going forward you might ever think about using that or is this essentially just a...
COACH HOKE:  I think depending on your personnel, I think there is not any limitations to what you may be able to accomplish with it.
I think in doing that, you got to then look at then offensively what are you?  Are you a pro style?  Are you a spread?  What are you?  Because how do you get them both involved?

Q.  Could you take someone like, say, hypothetically Dennis Norfleet and turn him into a read option guy and throw him in?  Is that something...
COACH HOKE:  You could.  I imagine you could, but...

Q.  You're not thinking about it?
COACH HOKE:  I'm not as radical as you are right now.

Q.  Was there any consideration after what you saw in Iowa of,  Oh, man, you wish you did some of that sooner with Denard?
COACH HOKE:  No, because we weren't in position to.  He was our quarterback.
But, no.

Q.  On the fourth down call you were emphatic and said it was mine, mine, mine.  What's the process?  What do you go through when you are making that decision?  Are you talking to Al?
COACH HOKE:¬† I just told him that after I called the timeout, Be ready.¬† Go.¬† And we thought we had a good play.¬† In fact, we did have a good play ‑‑ if we execute the blocking.

Q.  So that was more on the offensive line.
COACH HOKE:  It wasn't blocked the way I would like it to be blocked.

Q.  You talk about execution off the offensive line.  Does that now change the way you call a game?
COACH HOKE:¬† Sure it does.¬† Sure it does.¬† Same thing defensively.¬† You know, you've got have enough calls in there ‑ which I can guarantee you on both sides of the ball we've got enough balls calls ‑ that if they're taking advantage of you somehow, some way, that you can respond differently and counteract.

Q.  How much during a game are you talking to Borges?  I don't know if you detect it, but people are questioning the play calling in the second half.  Do you get on the headset?  What you did think of his second half?
COACH HOKE:  I thought he called a good football game.  If we do a couple things better I think we'll all be much happier.  I thought play calling was exactly what it should've been.
And how much do I talk to him?  I talked to him at halftime, I talked to him during the third quarter, and I talked to him during the fourth quarter.

Q.  Chris Bryant's recovery, can you tell us about how he's doing.
COACH HOKE:  He's coming along.  All those guys, Blake and all those guys are making progress daily.  Who will be ready for Spring?  I don't know that yet.
We'll be very smart in how we do get those guys back involved.

Q.  What's the schedule more or less for you and your staff in terms of recruiting, practicing, working out?
COACH HOKE:¬† Recruiting, working out‑ not the staff.¬† Some of them do, but...
Game planning once we find an opponent.

Q.  Will you not practice until you have an opponent?
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, we won't practice.  We're going to lift and try and give them some time this week.  Finals coming up, all those kind of things.

Q.  You said earlier when you talk about the two quarterbacks on the field at the same time, you said you didn't want to do something that might not be as successful.  Was the reason you didn't think it would be as successful against Ohio State just the quality of their defense compared to Iowa?
COACH HOKE:  Well, I think I was talking about throwing the ball with Denard.  If he couldn't be successful and doesn't have that confidence, you know, why put him in a situation that's not fair to him?

Q.  Not that it's giving away any secrets now, were you planning to run a fake punt?
COACH HOKE:  We always have a fake punt ready.  For a long time I had it ready.

Q.  What happens in that moment when you get that gut feeling?
COACH HOKE:  Coming off the first half we had, from an offensive perspective we felt pretty good that we could get the first down.

Q.  Obviously the NFL draft is a long ways away, but with guys who have consideration like Taylor Lewan, is that a discussion you'll have in the next month or not until after the bowl?
COACH HOKE:  No, we'll talk about it this week.  We've done our due diligence and sent in all the information that we need to.

Q.  When the draft advisory board?
COACH HOKE:  You know, I'm trying to think.  There is a date.  Do you remember?  There is a date that they'll give you the information that you need.  I can't remember what that date is.

Q.  Have you talked to Taylor about that?
COACH HOKE:  No.  We'll talk this week.

Q.  Is Lewan the only one you think that's seriously being looked at?
COACH HOKE:  I can't think of anybody else.

Q.  Not just Taylor, but when somebody is considering a move like that, do you always kind of steer them back towards school or...
COACH HOKE:  I want to gear the young man into what's the best for him.

Q.  Talking about the offensive line, how discouraging is it and what do you attribute the fact that we're talking about the same thing at week twelve as we were at week four, they were talking about at week eight?

Q.  What do you attribute the fact that, I mean, just the development wasn't there?
COACH HOKE:  We just didn't develop as well as we would like.

Q.  It's been a month now since the Nebraska game.  Have you seen improvements from Denard week to week in the passing game?
COACH HOKE:¬† Uh‑huh, yeah.¬† You mean in him healing?

Q.  Yeah.
COACH HOKE:  Oh, yeah.  Yeah.

Q.  What does that look like I guess arm strength versus confidence?  You've been putting those two...
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, I think it's all part of it.  How the ball spins, all that stuff.

Q.  So his ball is not spinning right?
COACH HOKE:  I don't think it's spinning the way he would like it to.

Q.  If Denard is 100% for the bowl, will he play quarterback?
COACH HOKE:  I would think he would play quarterback, maybe wideout, maybe runningback, maybe...

Q.  Center?
COACH HOKE:  No, I don't think we'll get him there.

Q.  Maybe return of kick?
COACH HOKE:  Might do that.

Q.  Is it safe to say going forward that Devin Gardner is your quarterback into next year?
COACH HOKE:  Well, he's going to have to compete and earn it, but he's done a good job of what we've asked him to do to this point.

Q.  Do you expect Russell to be back next year?
COACH HOKE:  Yeah, oh, yeah.  And they'll compete.

Q.  To run your offense the way you want to run it, how badly do you need a runningback?  And I know we've talked about the offensive line, but...
COACH HOKE:  You need both.  You better have a back or a couple backs and you better be able to have guys up front who can move the line of scrimmage.

Q.  They didn't progress this year either, did they?
COACH HOKE:  I think it's hard to evaluate to some degree for the simple fact that maybe if we were blocked a little better it may have been better.

Q.  Why do you think Devin is going to get the extra year?
COACH HOKE:  Just a gut feeling.  I mean, I'm serious.

Q.  But all the paperwork has been...
COACH HOKE:  We have all the paperwork, yes.

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