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Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke reflects on Nebraska win, looks forward to 'Ohio'

By Rich Rezler


Michigan fan Scott Miranto shows how he feels about Tiffany Burns' Ohio State outfit at a tailgate party before the Wolverines' game against Nebraska. Miranto will probably like it even less this week. The Buckeyes come to town Saturday.

Jeff Sainlar I

It's Ohio State week. Or Ohio week, as they're calling it these days around Schembechler Hall.

Whatever you call it, it's big. Big for the first-year Michigan football coaching staff, and bigger for the players — particularly the seniors, who will try to avoid spending their entire college football careers without a single win over rivals Michigan State and Ohio State.

The Wolverines are looking for a 10th win in this turnaround season while the Buckeyes -- winners of seven straight against Michigan — limp into "The Game" on Saturday (noon, ABC) in Michigan Stadium trying to save a scandal-shredded season.

Hoke and some Michigan players will meet with the media today at 12:30 p.m. We'll update this post throughout the press conference.

Brady Hoke: On Nebraska, "our guys played their best football game, as a team, on Saturday."

Brady Hoke: On Ohio State, "When you get a chance to play in this game or coach in this game, it's always a fun week."

Brady Hoke: On his seniors, "Seniors are always out in the forefront, and this is a group of guys that have been through a lot."

Brady Hoke: On watching "The Game" growing up: "I can't remember how old I was or anything, but my dad played for Woody Hayes and loved coach Hayes. That game, you're always watching it. It's always been of special significance at 12 noon on that last Saturday in November, you were watching that football game."

Brady Hoke: Asked why he calls the team "Ohio" instead of "Ohio State," he said there was no significance to it, just something he's always done. How long? "Always. How ever long always is." What about when he coached in the MAC and played Ohio? They were the Bobcats, Hoke said.

Brady Hoke: On the perceived role reversal at Ohio State and Michigan: "Our teams are different every year. We'll be a different team next year than we are next year, good or bad, I have no clue."

Brady Hoke: Would losing to Ohio State mean this is a disappointing season? "Our goal was to win the Big Ten championship."

Brady Hoke: On the countdown clocks in Schembechler Hall: "You want to motivate your players on a daily basis, and it's just a reminder of the great history that this rivalry is."

Brady Hoke: On keeping emotions in check this week: "It seems like we're a pretty grounded team right now and hopefully we'll do a good job, as coaches," of making sure that remains.

Brady Hoke: On what it means that Michigan played its best game of the season against Nebraska, considering Hoke frequently says that November is the most important month of the season: "I don't know if it means anything until we see how they play this week."

Brady Hoke: On seniors again, "This senior class that's been through a lot -- three head coaches, three assistant coaches, positionally some of them four -- I'm proud of this class. ... We're just trying to get better every day as a program."

Brady Hoke: On seniors making the transition to Hoke and his staff, "I can't tell you it was quick. We've done some things together from a trust standpoint ... I think that's all part of it. I think our honesty -- which is sometimes tough love and sometimes a kiss on the cheek when they've done something right -- is part of it. But I think they decided they were going to stay together."

Brady Hoke: On seniors having their legacy on the line this week, "To be honest with you, I think some of them are probably putting more on themselves than they need to. All they have to do is go out there and play as well as you can for the guy next to you."

Brady Hoke: On OSU quarterback Braxton Miller, "I've got to watch four games now, and he's impressive. ... He does a great job for them. The way he handles himself, how he plays under pressure, I think he throws the ball well. ... We've got our work cut out for us. You put (running back Boom) Herron in there, and he's a great back."

(That concludes the podium portion of the press conference. Moving over to a roundtable discussion with reporters in a moment.)

Brady Hoke: On the seven straight wins OSU has in the rivalry. Does he emphasize it? "To be honest with you, I haven't talked about that to our kids and probably won't." Says Michigan players are "intelligent young men" and telling him that would probably "insult that intelligence."

Brady Hoke: On Vincent Smith, who didn't play against Nebraska: "He probably could have played, just didn't." Has shoulder injury.

Brady Hoke: On Devier Posey, the OSU wide receiver who has played just one game: "There's some good receivers in this league, and he's right up there with those guys."

Brady Hoke: On preparations this week: "Be consistent with how you've coached all year long. That's one thing we've always tried to do, win on a Saturday or lose on a Saturday. We have the same expectations. ... I may look at this different, but this is fun. Are you kidding me? It's hard work, and it should be. Nothing you do comes easy, so it's fun for them."

Brady Hoke: On whether intensity increases this week: "I know one thing from being here before for eight years, you don't have to do a lot of coaching this week. You don't have to do a lot of butt-chewing ... not this week."

Brady Hoke: Does the current status of the rivalry make you angry? "For me to be angry about it doesn't do anybody any good. It is what it is. .... My emotional state doesn't help anybody."

Brady Hoke: On a potential BCS game and if he discusses it with his players: "It's not important." Says his team doesn't make those decisions.

Brady Hoke: Practice schedule for this week, with Thanksgiving ... Will practice in the morning and have Thanksgiving dinner for 500 (parents and friends) in the afternoon.

(That concludes Hoke's roundtable. Players expected to join the press conference soon.)

Ryan Van Bergen: Following Nebraska game, "That win was celebrated in the locker room and just as quickly forgotten. We have goals in front of us."

Ryan Van Bergen: "All we're focused on is having our best week of preparation in practice."

Ryan Van Bergen: Is Michigan back? Or to be "back" do you have to beat Ohio State: "I wouldn't say the whole season rests on that."

Ryan Van Bergen: Will this game define anything for you? "After Saturday, maybe I'll be able to evaluate that a little better."

Ryan Van Bergen: "So much emotion goes into this game ... I'm sure both teams go into the locker room after the game and it's extra emotional, especially for seniors."

Ryan Van Bergen: "It's been an emphasis every day. There's countdown clocks. We talk about them every day, and I'm sure they're doing the same things down there. ... We know how big this game is. There's nobody in the Michigan football building -- even the people who let us in the doors -- that doesn't know this is the biggest game of our season."

Ryan Van Bergen: Why is defense so improved against the run? "I would say the scheme. We're in a four-man front, there's a lot of time when we have eight guys in the box. ... We have a more aggressive mentality ... Coach has unleashed the defensive line ... and we pride ourselves in our technique."

Ryan Van Bergen: On how similar Nebraska, with its solid run game and dual-threat QB, was to Ohio State: "I'll be honest, I've only seen about 50 clips of game film so far. ... They have a really good back in Herron, their offensive line is probably one of the best we've played all year."

Ryan Van Bergen: "I'm trying to just embrace every moment. Nobody gets excited about a Tuesday practice ... but I'm going to enjoy every moment."

Ryan Van Bergen: On the senior class deciding to stick together after three tumultuous years: "That meeting happened in January. Me and Dave Molk talked to the team before coach Hoke was even hired ... We really wanted to see this thing through. We say we have great leadership, but we also have great underclassmen who buy into the leadership. Leadership is worthless if you don't have anybody following you."

Ryan Van Bergen: Watching UM-OSU games on recruiting visits: "Just the stage set for these games is a big part of the allure to go to either of these schools."



Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 10:58 a.m.

Here is my prediction for the GAME. Michigan out coaches Ohio. /that is all


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

A2D2: Disagree about your conclusion but it's nice to see you gave it serious thought. Also nice you to see you handled the grade-school math. Where's everyone else prediction (and how they came to their conclusion)? Ghost? DonAZ? Theo? Heartbreak? 81? So far, with the sole exception of A2D2, Blue's predictions are "all sizzle, no steak."


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

And finally, here's the fearless Game 12 prediction: Michigan 28 Ohio (not the Bobcats, the other ones) 10 For the benefit of Mr. OSU, justification for my prediction is as follows: Michigan allows 16 points per game on average Ohio (not the Bobcats, the other ones) allow 19 points per game on average Michigan scores 34 points per game on average Ohio (not the Bobcats, the other ones) scores 24 points per game on average Taking their defense and Michigan's offense into consideration, Michigan scores 28 (34+19+3 for homefield = 56/2=28) Taking their offense and Michigan's defense into consideration, Ohio (not the Bobcats, the other ones) scores 20 (16+24= 40/2=20) Then, subtract 10 from Ohio (not the Bobcats, the other ones) just because it's my prediction and I can, So There!!!!! Michigan 28 Ohio (not the Bobcats, the one with the worse record - Ohio University is 8-3, I think) 10. You heard it here first.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

C.W. McCAll Wolf Creek Pass -- "I looked on outta the window and I started countin' phone poles, goin' by at the rate of four to the seventh power. Well I put two and two together, and added twelve and carried five; come up with twenty-two thousand telephone poles an hour. " Nice post A2D2 ... you made me smile. Your "not the Bobcats, the other ones" refrain was funny.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

True Story: I was told that Luke Fickle (the ohio substutute teacher) was asked in his presser today about how he would call plays against Michigan Saturday. He responded by saying the "it would be pretty basic. We don't have to do anything Hoke-y." Our preferred response is to be consistent - we don't need to be Fickle. Let the games begin!!!!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7 p.m.

Alright Blue Fans: Put it in writing (electonically)!!! How will the game play out? I've put my thoughts down in previous posts: Buckeye "D" comes to play. DR and Blue "O" held to 2 TDs. The Buckeye offense is still struggling and has a freshman QB with limited passing skills. Just 2 TDs. Game-breaker will be special teams. Punting (field position) will result in the game being predominately played in Michigan territory. Result: 3 Buckeye field goals. Final Score: Ohio State 23 Michigan 14 Now that you know how the game is going to go, save yourself the overpriced parking fees and 4 hours on a cold bleacher seat. Have a turkey-and-swiss sandwich and then go Christmas shopping and see what's leftover from Black Friday.

Don Eggen

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:12 a.m.

Prediction: Michigan 24 ohio 14 At home, Michigan is giving up less than 12 pts per game (11.7), give the bucks a couple of extra points for playing in The Game and they have 14 pts. The freshman QB for the bucks will be forced by the Michigan defense to try and win the game with his arm. Michigan's defense will key to stop the run, like they did vs. Nebraska and Nebraska (and Northwestern and Illinois) have better dual threat QBs than ohio. The blitz and pressure packages the M def coord will throw at the bucks QB will confuse him and cause him to make mistakes (TOs) and will make him miss his targets or force him to run. Michigan contained the Nebraska QB very well and pressured him in his throwing game. The same will happen to the osu QB. On offense, Michigan must not have turnovers. Denard must not turn the ball over. If he does, osu scores more than 14, if not, then osu will get their 2 TDs and that's it. The first drive of the game for M will be important. M has scored on the first drive or 2nd drive for each of the past 5-6 games. If Michigan gets the lead, the pressure is on the osu offense and the M defense will put on their pressure packages and force osu into mistakes and TOS. The Michigan running game is key, and the RBs must step up. Also, if Denard adds his scrambling runs (not designed runs) to his game, then the osu safeties will have a tough day. Denard is very dangerous with the play action quick pops over the middle, which will keep the safeties at-bay and will then open the running game. If Michigan keeps making 1st downs like they did vs. Nebraska, then the Michigan defense is resting and licking their chops. The key to the Michigan offensive game plan in this game is do not turn the ball over and make 1st downs (i.e. convert 3rd downs). Now, in the red zone, M had some trouble in games before the Nebraska game ... M needs to score TDs and not kick FGs.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

Michigan has endured an Ohio coach who deliberately wore sissy type clothes (sweater-vest and tie) just to infuriate his opponents and their fans. He acted like a pansy to flaunt his vanity and mock all that is holy and righteous. Even though Coach T is no longer running things at that Columbine school, his adopted son Luke Sky Fickell is trying to continue the aggreivating. A true MICHIGAN man will not tolerate any more L's. No true blooded fan of the Wolverines, will be satisfied with anything less than a true butt kicking of the scarlet and gray football team. Final Score: MICHIGAN 52 Ohio 0 That team down south and their friends will be crying like babies. I can't wait to watch the tears begin to flow. Go Blue!

Ted Bundy

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

What was your prediction for the O$U vs Purdue game buddy?


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

I doubt if OSU comes to the Big House and puts up 23 points. A low scoring game is your best bet. Michigan scoring defense second to Penn State in B1G games and should be more effiective at home. Lots of focus with the Michigan team already, maybe they'll be too nervous early on but they'll get in gear...Michigan 21, OSU 7.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

Let me reply with the same amount of thought, consideration and intelligence you certainly put into your post by simply saying: Nuh-uh! Michigan 28 Ohio 10.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

Michigan will be ready on Saturday, I'm 99% sure on that. Hoke fully understands the rivalry. And he won't admit it in public, but I'm sure he knows how important this game is for the team and the school. This would be the perfect way to complete his first regular season at Michigan and set the program up for great success in coming years. 10-2 teams make fans, students, and alumni very excited. And successful seasons help attract even better high school athletes to the program. And a 10-2 season with a BCS bowl bid would go a long way to making people forget about the horrors of the last 3 seasons.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:30 p.m.

Love the focus that Hoke has. Finally, his comments seem to be a bit self-depecrating. His team will be ready for this weekend. Maybe he'll roll out the first ever 3 QB formation!!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

I don't want to sound like a fair weather fan, but Tiffany could change my mind :-) Go Blue!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

Let's win this one for Rich Rodriguez...


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 11:22 p.m.

Already the hates gone. I like that. After what Tressell and Paterno did to their schools- RR seems pretty benign.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Right on RWBill!


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

A parting wimper from someone who has run out of credible reasons to suggest the team's success this year has anything whatever to do with the previous coach. This is all Hoke and his staff. They took rough talent and did what their title suggests -- coached. Can't say that for the previous "coach."


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.



Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

He probably is not aware they are playing Ohio. He wasn't when he coached here.