You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke discusses second-half collapses, off weeks and more during teleconference

By Kyle Meinke

How can the Michigan football team avoid another second-half letdown?

Coach Brady Hoke affirmed on Tuesday what center David Molk and defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen said Monday: It starts with senior leadership.

From what Hoke has seen, he likes his chances.

"I wasn’t here, so I have no clue what the mind-set was and all those things," he said during his weekly teleconference with reporters. "It would surprise me if this group didn't come out and play better football than we have the first seven games of the year because of how they’ve gone to work.


Michigan coach Brady Hoke.

Melanie Maxwell |

"The media makes more out of (the collapses), probably, than anybody else. The schedule improves as you go through, and the quality of opponent always improves."

No. 17 Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) started the season with six consecutive wins, but lost its last game 28-14 to rival Michigan State, then had an off week to ponder what went wrong.

"For us, you get a bad taste in your mouth coming off a big rivalry loss, and you want to get that cleared away," Hoke said. "We just have to get back to playing our style of football."

The Wolverines will return to action Saturday against surging Purdue (4-3, 2-1). Kickoff is set for noon on ESPN2.

Hoke is 4-3 in his career when playing a regular-season game with 10 or more days of rest. He said the key to coming out strong after being idle is strong leadership.

He thinks he has it.

"I think our guys and our seniors have done a nice job," Hoke said. "I think we’ve had good tempo in practice and good physicalness in what we try to get done."

He also added: "You’re always beat up. This is football. So, we got some good rest there, I think we got some good evaluation of where we’re at as a program, things we need to get better at, and we figured out there’s a whole lot of things we need to get a ton better at."

When asked for the area that most concerns him, Hoke offered what has become his stock answer: The line.

"Technique, the fundamentals, the leverage you want to play with," he said. "Then, I think on defense, our linebackers and how they show up and get to the football and react to what they see."

Michigan allowed seven sacks against Michigan State, and the Wolverines' defense yielded 213 rushing yards.

Other topics from Hoke's teleconference:

A look at Purdue

Hoke credited Purdue as being "a very good team," a characterization that seems more plausible after the Boilermakers upset No. 23 Illinois last week.

He seemed particularly impressed by two players, starting with quarterback Caleb TerBush.

"Terbush has done a a tremendous job managing the offense," Hoke said. "He’s accurate with the football, he can run with the football, he can get out of trouble."

Hoke also mentioned cornerback Ricardo Allen as a force for Purdue, and someone that might present a difficult matchup for the Wolverines' passing game.

Allen returned an interception for a touchdown last year against Michigan.

"He's a guy that's got a bunch of quickness to him," Hoke said. "If you're scouting, he's loose in the hips and a guy who is doing a lot of different things."

Hoke also said he's familiar with several Purdue players because he recruited them while he was at Ball State. He declined to name anyone in particular.

He said he frequently went up against the Boilermakers on the recruiting trail, despite being at the small Mid-American Conference school in nearby Muncie, Ind.

"You always try," Hoke said. "You gotta try. That’s part of competition. I mean, that’s life. And so, it didn’t matter who was recruiting anybody, we were going to put our best foot forward."

In-game adjustments
Michigan allowed 21 second-half points to Michigan State, equaling its total from the previous six games. Still, it remains one of the country's best second-half teams.


Hoke credited offensive coordinator Al Borges and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

"They do a very good job of teaching, and teaching at halftime," Hoke said. "Sometimes, there’s more adjustments to make, sometimes it’s just an attitude adjustment. ... The players also get credit for making those adjustments."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Purdue will be a good test. You know that Um will need to handle blitzes, the rest of the way. BUT, if Borges has used this week wisely, Um will pick up some real nice gainers, on short 'escape routes', that have big YAC. Defensively, I will only look a week out. Injuries WILL play, a huge role on both sides of the ball going forward. This team is SO thin! Countess and Kovachs, will be critical, in their ability to stand up. msu is NOT the best team in the league. They are the dirtiest, but not the best. SO...there is a lot of football, yet to be played. Lets' just say, don't sell your championship seats just quite yet.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 3:59 a.m.

I look forward to seeing what this team does against an improved (from the beginning of the season) but not great Purdue team. I'm more concerned with seeing them come out hungry and with passion than anything else and expect the coaching staff and the seniors to have this team ready. They can still have a very good season and if they play well will be in every game they have remaining.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

It is up to the players and coaches to come through. I like their attitude. Let's see them execute. Keys to the game for me are good performances from the running backs: Vincent Smith, Fitz Toussaint, Micheal Shaw or Thomas Rawls. Another is the wide recievers. They to have to run the routes and catch what is thrown at them, no doubt Denard needs to be more accurate with is passing and be consistent. I have confidence in our defense. If the offense can gel, this should be a blowout game for Michigan. Given what we have seen thus far, it has all about getting keys plays to win. That should continue. I like the odds for the Wolverines. This game will reveal how well they will do for the remainder of the season. GO BLUE!!

Wally the Wolverine

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

OK, I'll say it...the Purdue game is a "must win". A strong team psyche - and finish - hinge on it. Though this doesn't have the "easy W" look it had at the beginning of the season, some home cookin' still makes a win a strong possibility. Yes, MSU may have been the best team on our schedule, but OSU was no pushover for them. Plus OSU will have their suspended talent back. Rich Rodriguez? Excuse me, but what does he have to do with the price of tea in China? Get after it boys! Go Blue!


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 2:43 a.m.

Agree that Purdue is a 'must win.' Further agree that OSU may be even better than MSU, especially when UM gets them as they'll have all of their players back and Miller will have played a lot more games by then.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

I think experience this year will help them turn the table. Most of this team were freshmen then sophomores the last two years, going against a tough BT schedule. If you guys have ever played College Football, you know you're asking a lot for freshmen and sophomores to come in and lead your team, especially in a strong BT conference. This year M's more experienced, better defensively and playing a weaker BT schedule. I personally think M is a better team than what's said of them, and capable of winning out. I also think, they've played the best team on their schedule already in MSU. Once the new coaching staff finds an offensive identity this team will be tough, the pieces are there, it's just putting them together, and it may take the coaches coming out of their comfort zone.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez is considered a pioneer of a no huddle , run-oriented version of the spread offense , although a pass-first version was already being implemented by others. He first developed this offensive approach at Glenville State and refined it during his stops at Tulane with Shaun King , at Clemson with Woodrow Dantzler , and at West Virginia most notably with dual-threat quarterback Pat White . This strategy features frequent use of the shotgun formation . Rodriguez is also credited for inventing the zone read play run out of the shotgun formation.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 11:25 p.m.

Excuse my ignorance, but I seem to have totally missed the parts about stopping the other team (defense), figuring out what to do when the other team stops your offense (adjustments), and how to avoid problems outside of the game (probation). Go Blue!!!

jeff blue

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

There is nothing to say about this, except now Purdue is the most important game on our schedule. Only one way to stop the perecieved slide after the MSU game, and that is win. Win this game -- win now. IMHO we should play Purdue the way we would play OSU. This is a critical game and we should play extremely focused and win. Win baby, just win.