MICHIGAN COACH BRADY HOKE
December 28, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Coach Hoke.
Coach, would you give us a few opening remarks, and then we'll go to questions.
COACH HOKE: First and foremost, we can't say enough about the great hospitality that we've been shown, our whole contingent of Michigan people and fans. Thanks to all the bowl members, the volunteers. It's been a great and first?class bowl.
We've had a good trip when you look at practice and how we've prepared, how our kids have handled everything. We're at a great facility in Chaparral, so that's been great. We'll go to the stadium later today and have a walk?through later this evening at Chaparral, get into normal game week.
As far as Devin is concerned, he won't play. We talked about the different degrees. I'm not a doctor at all, believe me. Sometimes I act like one (smiling). His turf toe is that. There's different, varying degrees. There's ligaments and all those things that go in there. So he will not be available. I just wanted to make sure I cleared that up. Have no idea what the timetable will be. But right now we're focusing in on playing Kansas State.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Hoke.
Q. Coach, over the years, Al Borges has had great luck developing quarterbacks both at Auburn then with your staff. What are you doing differently to develop a freshman for this game?
COACH HOKE: I think we've had a little time, which is a little bit of a positive. He's had a lot of snaps. We've been able to give him as much as we can during the last 13 practice days. We've had a couple off days in there where the mental part of it with film study and those kind of things, just trying to give him as much experience as we can, live stuff against each other, ones on ones, and put him in situations.
Q. You know that obviously the running game is a big part of what can take pressure off of Shane. What did you see in the last game of the season and throughout the bowl practices that gives you reason to believe that part of the game will step up?
COACH HOKE: We've continued to pound away at it, number one. In the Ohio game, our offensive line did a nice job. I think the backs ran hard, had good vision. You just keep going in that direction.
Hopefully all those guys are developing at the rate that you want them to in the last 14 practices.
Q. Can you give a rundown of Kansas State's special teams?
COACH HOKE: Tyler Lockett impresses you an awful lot, when you look at the returns that he's been able to have. They've blocked five kicks this year. I think three of them were PATs, one of them a field goal, then one of them a punt against Baylor.
Very sound, very aggressive in what they do. We've got a lot of respect for them and always have with a Bill Snyder team.
I know coach is 17?0 when they've scored a non?offensive touchdown some way, somehow. That's a big part of it.
Q. Brady, having such a young team, being able to look forward, is there something more important about this development, this game in itself in terms of a springboard for the future maybe than some other years?
COACH HOKE: You know, we are a young team. That's not excuses for performance being young at this state, you know, the program. I know we want to finish for our seniors well. We haven't been a great finishing team the last five weeks of the season. We need to do that.
I think there will be some lessons learned, like always, from this experience that we have out here.
Q. A couple guys talked yesterday about how throughout the course of November things got tight, then during the Ohio State week, whether it was preparation or whatever, football became fun for a lot of them. Did you sense guys loosened some at the end of the season and has that carried over?
COACH HOKE: You know, I don't know, I think it's always unique when guys say they got tight or loose or whatever. I don't know.
I know that week it doesn't matter what team you're with. The week for Ohio is always different. It's always different. It's always one that when you're at Michigan, you go about your business in a confident way.
Q. Has that carried over to the bowl?
COACH HOKE: Yeah, we've had good preparation. We've had really good preparation.
Q. Anybody else limited or unavailable for the game?
COACH HOKE: No, everybody else is good.
Q. You've used Drew Dileo a lot in the past out of that holder position. I'm not asking you if you're planning to do it this game. Was there a reason he didn't do as much in situations out of that spot this season?
COACH HOKE: Well, I think whenever you talk about that, you've got to see how people defend you. That's first and foremost.
The other thing is, you know, Drew tweaked that knee up, so he wasn't the Drew that we've had.
Q. You've talked a lot about winning this game for the seniors. What has this senior class meant to the Michigan program?
COACH HOKE: You know, they've meant a lot. I think they've struggled a little more than we'd like for them to. But I think they've persevered a lot at the same time.
They've set some good examples and they've set some lessons up that I believe will be built on by the other classes.
Q. With all of his experience, looking at Bill Snyder, coaching against him, does he carry a bit of an aura about him within the coaching ranks? If so, what is his reputation to younger guys like yourself?
COACH HOKE: I think Bill, his reputation speaks for itself. You look at his résumé, what he's done. He was at Iowa for 10 years as an assistant. Hayden Fry is a pretty good guy to be around and learn from.
I think his reputation, his résumé speaks for itself.
Q. Coach, when you prepare to play against a Bill Snyder?coached team, what are the things that stand out to you, the things that you guys have to do well against them?
COACH HOKE: Well, you know they're going to play with good technique. Fundamentally they're going to be strong in what they do, whether it's pass setting as a left tackle, whether it's lining up as a corner, off coverage, having leverage that you need to have.
You're also going to see a team that's going to play all the way through the whistle because they're going to play hard. That's two of the traits that you see from a Bill Snyder team.
Q. Coach, can you remember a win in a bowl that really projected a team well into the winter? Do you remember a year where you saw a team really get a boost from a bowl win and that carried over?
COACH HOKE: You know, I don't know, to be honest with you. Every year is different. Your leadership is different. The chemistry of your team's different.
I can't tell you I've seen that or remember it, let me put it that way.
Q. I don't imagine then you put much stake in the fact that Kansas State hasn't won a bowl game since 2002?
COACH HOKE: I don't put any stake in it at all, believe me.
Q. We talked so much about Fitz' pass blocking. Derrick and Dave I don't know, have they grown?
COACH HOKE: I think they've gotten better. I think De'Veon, probably as much as anybody. Fitz and Justice Hayes both are guys who have done a pretty good job for us.
Q. As far as the runningback load goes, you used all three of them against Ohio State. Has De'Veon moved up and earned more carries? Is he going to play more than Derrick?
COACH HOKE: I think we'll play them all about the same.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, former walk?on, All?American.
COACH HOKE: You know, he's a guy you love to watch because he plays with reckless abandon. He's a guy who, like you said, walked on. You have a lot of respect for him. He earned a scholarship because of how he went about practice every day, obviously how he's played in the games.
He's a guy who is tenacious, a guy that our guys have a lot of respect for because he's one of those guys who will keep playing all the way through it.
Q. How crucial can these 14 practices be for offensive linemen? What kind of steps have you seen?
COACH HOKE: All those practices are crucial for everybody. They're good for the offensive linemen, young defensive linemen, young guys in the back end, in the secondary. I think it's all been good.
I think Csont'e York and those guys at wide receivers, this has been a great growing experience for them.
Q. Not sure how to ask this question, but the quarterback for Kansas State, Jake Waters grew up with Michigan posters all over his wall, Michigan footballs in his room. He had to ask his mom to take down his memorabilia. Can you talk about him and whether that might buy him any credit with you guys?
COACH HOKE: What buys us credit is the competitor that he is, when you watch him on the field. He does a nice job of managing the different things offensively and at the same time he's a guy who makes plays.
They'll read it out a little bit, run?pass it, and he makes plays with it. We got a lot of respect for him.
I didn't realize he was such a Michigan fan, though (smiling).
Q. Can you talk about Shane's demeanor? He's a teenager still. Is he a nervous kid? Is he confident? What does he exude?
COACH HOKE: It will be interesting to see him a little more day?to?day. He's been great. He's been grounded. He's been excited. I think that's a nice combination.
He's gone through practice at a high level and done a nice job.
Q. Is Kansas State the type of opponent you're glad you have a long time to prepare for or do you think that matters?
COACH HOKE: Never have given it much thought. I mean, in what way?
Q. They do a lot of things that other Big 12 teams don't do. They might be hard to prepare for in a week as opposed to several weeks.
COACH HOKE: That might be true. That might be true. I don't know, though. We see a lot of the same things in our league to some degree from certain schools.
Q. Brady, with Devin out, obviously the nature of everyone's thought is you won't have a guy who can run back there. Shane is athletic. What can he do with his feet? Realistically, what can he do with his feet?
COACH HOKE: You know, he's a talented athlete. We wanted to make sure when we recruited a quarterback, we wanted a guy who was athletic and could step up in the pocket and do all those things.
He's that guy. He's a guy that can get the perimeter for you. We're very excited about what he brings to the table.
Q. Coach, with Shane being a left?handed quarterback, how much does that change, if any, the offensive line, specifically the tackles?
COACH HOKE: It doesn't really. We're lucky in our situation because you got Schofield at your right tackle, Taylor at your left tackle. For us it won't change a whole lot. There's some things on boots and nakeds, your under?routes. With a left?handed quarterback, it's a little different.
Q. You've had a month almost to watch these guys. It's not the week?to?week grind. What are the things you're going to be looking for in the game that you want to see in terms of major leaps from the Ohio State game till now?
COACH HOKE: We'd like to be able to run the ball and let the tailbacks get loose a little bit, try and control the line of scrimmage. Have Shane do a great job of managing the game, making the throws off the play?action and that stuff that we think he can do a good job with.
Defensively we've got to be active on the line of scrimmage and control the line of scrimmage better.
Q. Coach, what kind of bowl practices has Matt Wile had?
COACH HOKE: He's doing a great job. He and Kenny Allen are two guys that are prepared to play. Kenny can kickoff and punt, kick field goals. So can Matt.
Q. Will Kenny have a role?
COACH HOKE: He might.
Q. You said before you're not a doctor in any clinical terms. To clear it up with Devin's injury, is that referred to as a broken foot or a bad case of turf toe?
COACH HOKE: No, it's a turf toe issue to begin with.
Q. Knowing what your offense has done well throughout this season, but also factoring in Shane now, does your desired tempo or pace change at all to maybe try to get him into rhythm?
COACH HOKE: No, not really. I mean, we've got a fast pace at times, we want to run. But not specifically, no.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.
COACH HOKE: Thank you.