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Posted on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke on Illinois and other hot topics

By Pete Cunningham


Brady Hoke and the Michigan football team are on the road again this week.

Melanie Maxwell |

Another week, and there are plenty of questions for Brady Hoke and the Michigan football team to address at their weekly press conference following a 24-16 loss at Iowa.

What are the expectations for this team now that it is 3-2 in the Big Ten Conference and a longshot at best for a Legends Division title? Why is quarterback Denard Robinson struggling to run? What are the goals for the final three regular-season games, beginning with a contest Saturday at Illinois (3:30 p.m. ABC)?

We'll update this post today throughout the press conference, which begins at 12:30 p.m.

Brady Hoke has left the building and players will arrive shortly. Check below for highlight's from Hoke's press conference. Below that are comments from Ryan Van Bergen and David Molk as well:

Brady Hoke: On Brendan Gibbons' production. "He's done a nice job."

Brady Hoke: On calls in the late stages of the game. "We gotta move forward."

Brady Hoke: Said he was pleased with the way running back Ftizgerald Toussaint played. Said Denard Robinson hit his funny bone on a series and his fingers went numb. Hoke said Robinson is fine.

Brady Hoke: On Penn State situation. "I wouldn't even know how to answer that. (Long pause.) We've got Illinois to worry about."

Brady Hoke: "I'm really happy with Desmond's (Morgan) flow to the ball."

Brady Hoke: Said "NASCAR" formation is different than two-minute package in play calling and is more "up-tempo."

Brady Hoke: "Defensively, I think they're (Illinois) a very athletic defense."

Brady Hoke: Said Jake Ryan's "burner" is fine. No lingering effects. Said Fitz Toussaint was healthy enough to return following injury, but didn't because of late-game situation.

Brady Hoke: Said approach to talking about championships doesn't change because there is no telling what will happen.

Brady Hoke: After seeing replays, "I thought Junior (Hemmingway) made a catch," in bounds. "I thought he caught the ball."

Brady Hoke: Said he has not been given a complete explanation as to why Junior Hemmingway's "catch" was not a catch against Iowa. Said he will likely get explanation from Big Ten office later in the week.

Brady Hoke: "I think he grew as a quarterback," on Denard's play in the game.

Brady Hoke: Said Troy Woolfolk "had a better week" in practice than Thomas Gordon, hence the start against Iowa.

Brady Hoke: Said Jake Ryan's reduced play on Saturday was due to a "burner," aka a stinger early.

Brady Hoke: On bouncing back on the road. "I think our kids are pretty daggone resilient, and they'll be in good shape."

Brady Hoke: "You've heard me say this a lot, and I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it. I really like how are seniors have invested in the youth of this fotball team."

Brady Hoke: Hoke said he wasted a timeout in the second half because he thought there were 12 men on the field. There were not. "I talked about executing and effort (of players); I gotta execute better there."

Brady Hoke: Said opting for possession at beginning of the game was in order to have wind in the fourth quarter.

Brady Hoke: On clock management at end. "I thought Al (Borges) really managed it well. We had four shots at the end zone, two of 'em were in my hands."

Brady Hoke: "I thought most of the game we did a good job of putting hats on (Iowa running back Marcus Coker)."

Brady Hoke: "We've gotta execute better. There was great effort on both sides of the ball."

Brady Hoke: "Disappointing to lose a football game. The thing I can tell you is our guys played with great effort."


David Molk: On Illinois defensive front, "I don't know much about them yet," but expects them to be strong based on experience.

David Molk: "I love how these coaches adapt."

David Molk: On evolution of two-quarterback system, "I really like that formation because it puts another playmaker on the field." Credited Iowa coaches for being successful against that formation.

David Molk: On Junior Hemmingway play. "Can't fight it, can't change it, so there's no reason to think about it."


Ryan Van Bergen: Said he expects Illinois to be fired up, especially considering the manner in which the game played out last year, a 67-65 triple overtime Michigan win.

Ryan Van Bergen: On defending Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, "We can't expect one guy to bring him down, we gotta get hats to the ball."

Ryan Van Bergen: "Everybody can be beaten, that showed itself this Saturday."

Ryan Van Bergen: Said he thought Junior Hemmingway made a touchdown catch, but "we had opportunities after that, and we had opportunities before."


Roger Miraclew

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

In Missionbrazil's comment the Michigan defense gave up an average of 42 points per game. It seems to me this was more of a defensive issue than an offensive issue. Teams just don't win many games when they give up 42 points per game!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Thus far, the offense is not better than last year. I attribute that to Denard having to learn so many new things such as footwork, arm delivery, and a new offense. On the other hand, the defense is WAY better and special teams is considerably improved. I supported RR when he was here and I now support Brady Hoke -- one thing Brady Hoke is doing a lot better than RR is getting topnotch coaches who can recruit better players. Denard will become a better player and may just surprise us next season with an excellent senior campaign. Remember, no one predicted Denard's vast improvement between his freshman and sophomore years, do not count him out.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:31 p.m.

RR's offense would have been far better than it is this year. When you've got the pressure of scoring every time on the field it doesn't make things easy. I'm sick and tired of everyone hating on RR when Hoke/Borges are doing the exact same thing and no one is calling them out. WE've got 7 wins, something we would have done with RR. WE probably would have killed ND. And as things look we're not going to win another game, so where is the improvement. What are we happy about? Because a "Michigan Man" is coaching the team? Because former players are coming back and supporting the program when they never should have left in the first place. Bacon's book does a good job of detailing how RR's teams perform and their progression year after year. We would have been far better this year. See his record at Tulane, then Clemson, then WVU. And all the nonsense about a spread not working in the Big Ten against bigger teams is nonsense. How many teams in the SEC run the spread. A far smaller sized Oregon team barely lost to a much larger Auburn team by 3 points in the national championship game last year. Our defense was awful, plain and simple. When your offense has to score every time on the field just to keep up with your defense you're in trouble.

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

As usual for fans of the WCiMFH this poster just glazes over the lack of special teams and a train wreck defense. After three years both units declined according to almost every measurable facit. But you want us to believe that your guy was going to fix all that by magic. Good luck selling that to most people. Mr. Bacon's book is a single source yet to be addressed by principles noted in his story. It's the START of the debate, not the whole debate. Let's see what's said after the season is over. TiM Go Blue!


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 1:24 a.m.

You make a big assumption that Michigan would have had 7 victories, with the poorly coached defense and special teams. The track record doesn't support your assumption


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

Rodriguez's offense is innovative and very effective at times, but mostly in the Big East and against smaller defenses. We have no choice but to move away from it playing in this conference. Our coaches recognize that the change needs to be gradual (unlike RR), and it creates a very difficult balance of trying to keep some of it while adding the new offense. So in the meantime we're really not effective doing either one, and it causes play-calling to be a nightmare. Clearly they didn't know what to do against Iowa, and I think you do have to blame the coaches for that. They need to get better there, but I think they will before the season is done. Personally I'd like to see more option...a lot more option, especially with Denard under center.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

57-44-6 (or mayber we should change that to 6-18, for accuracy sake.) The WCiMFH "is considered a pioneer of a no huddle, run-oriented version of the spread offense,...". But he is unemployed as a coach and he got that position the old fashion way, he earned it. Maybe you missed the last 3 games of the 2010 football season. I sure wish I could forget them. Please explain, although you never, ever, EVER, do explain how after three seasons he couldn't coach a whole football team even though he was the HEAD COACH. So, please don't try to tell Coach Borges or anybody else associated with the current staff about swallowing pride. For the record pioneers are usually out front at the start but seldom finish first. Want to compare Bell's first telephone to my iPhone 4? Didn't think so.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Nothing new in the press conference. Details are hard to come by with Hoke. At least he admitted Junior Hemingway's catch was inbounds in the end zone near the end of the game. Sounds like Denard and Fitz Toussaint will be good to go against IL. There is no point rehashing the Rich Rod spread option offense. Borges runs an occasional mix of it. This is the system they have in place. Most of us agree that Denard should be able to run more if a passing play breaks down. Let's hope this coaching staff will stick to their plan earlier this season about doing whatever it takes to win football games. The game at IL will be important. A road win would even our record at 2 and 2 away from the Big House. I'd call that successful for the first year with Brady Hoke. Given how tough it has been for any other team to win on the road this season.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

Hoke is the master of empty coach-speak. You want greater insights, listen to Borges and Mattison during their pressers. My sense is that Borges has been coaching Denard to be a bit more patient before going to his legs. Last year he tended to run at the slightest sign of distress. His legs are still there, but I think he's probably thinking too much (right now) about "wait" vs. "run." There *is* value in having him be patient and wait when conditions are right. We saw that the last game where he held in the pocket, then hit Dileo or Gallon (I forget) in the endzone wide open. Plus this -- all it takes is one good hit ... one thigh-bruise ... one tweaked ankle ... and Denard Robinson's value as a "dynamic runner" is reduced to nothing. Frankly, I'm surprised it didn't happen last year. And I can promise you defenses this year are looking to do just that to him ... listen to how people respond when asked how to stop Denard: "You hit him, HARD." There's a lot of second-guessing of Borges, but I'm not prepared to think he's suddenly an idiot. He's got a mish-mash of an offensive unit ... a thin line, no running backs, a few good receivers who've had the dropsies of late ... and a quarterback whose running talents are the key focus of every defense he faces. Running Denard this year simply will not yield the same results as last year because defenses are focusing the defense against that very thing. Borges is *trying* to develop Robinson as a credible passing threat and couple that with a credible alternative running attack ... because with that Denard's skills would REALLY open up as a potent threat. Right now Denard's ability to run is easily defended against since that's pretty much all a defense has to worry about.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

"Borges, swallow your pride and start running Rich Rodriguez's offense." You mean the offense that got beat last year by MSU 34-17 ? You mean the offense that got beat last year by Iowa 38-28 ? You mean the offense that got beat last year by Wiscy 48-28 ? You mean the offense that got beat last year by OSU 37-7 ? You mean the offense that got beat last year by Miss. St. 52-14 ? Yeah, that's a brilliant idea, because it worked out so well for us last year.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

Borges!!!!!!! swallow your pride and start running Rich Rodriguez's offense. Auburn and Oregon ran it last year and made it to the BCS Championship. 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.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Rodriguez hit the jackpot with Pat White, Steve Slaton and Noel Devine. He spent three years at Michigan trying to recreate that exact same thing. It wasn't going to happen at Michigan, and it hasn't happened at WVU since.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

Did Auburn and Oregon bring special teams and defenses to the national title game or did they just have one component of a football team like the WCiMFH have last year? Any similarities to the previous offense will be purely by accident. Thank goodness. Pioneers? Didn't the Russians have the first dog in space? How did that work out for the dog?


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

I for one agree with previous poster. This game is on Al Borgess. How do you have a player who was one of the most exciting and productive players last year and not use his talent and limit him in that productivity. It was almost like Robinson has been told that when he drops back to pass not to run. He could have run it that 3 yards at the end at any time and they didn't even try it. As for Brady Hoke I am already tired of hearing "well" at the beginning of his answer. His press conferences never want to deal with the last game he only wants to move on to next opponent. You can see it in his players answers. Doesn't want to be responsible. It was a loss that should not have been and very very disappointing. In saying all that I wish him the best and great success as Michigan Head Coach. 8 games do not a great coach make.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.

Bill, because like the better teams did last year Iowa contained DRob for most of the game. Borges is trying to use DRob and still use other players on the field. It's called a "team" for a reason. What did you realistically think the record for Coach Hoke's first season was going to be? 10-2? Or 7-5? He has built a team where before there was only a somewhat successful offense and a non-existent defense and an invisible special teams. I think they have done a pretty good job. TiM Go Blue!

Michigan Man

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6 p.m.

I, for one, really like the Hoke comments - not blaming the kids, not blaming the refs, solid comments about the upper class men investing in the younger guys, can do attitude, players need to earn the start at practice during the week, no excuses kind of approach - this kind of thinking is my kind of Michigan football. We, I think, are in good hands moving forward! Hoke seems like the antithesis of the ND football coaching clown. Glad Hoke is on the M sideline.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:58 p.m.

@57-44-6 - And there is a reason why your sweetheart, RR, is no longer here. Move on!


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

Borges, swallow your pride and start running Rich Rodriguez's offense. Auburn and Oregon ran it last year and made it to the BCS Championship. 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.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

RR also started out 3-9 at WVU, and equally poor at Clemson. He had no problem making those programs national contenders. As each week passes and our offense gets worse I'm starting to think we blew the coaching decision/change.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

And at West Virginia in particular RR benefited from a pretty good defensive coordinator named Jeff Casteel. I doubt Rodriguez gave the defense there at WVU much thought ... he clearly didn't during his tenure at Michigan. Absent Casteel as his DC, Rodriguez would probably still be at WVU ... and fielding 7-5 teams pretty consistently. In the Big East. And that's saying a lot.

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

you mention, Tulane, Clemson and West Virginia. fine. this is Michigan. we play tough football. and we win. we do not run the spread and shred. as proved by the last 3 years

Matt Patercsak

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

think of the future. The spread offense is the reason why we're in this rut. the #1 and #2 teams played against each other saturday and they BOTH ran pro style, bruising offenses, LSU ran the I formation most of the game and Bama employs a ton of fullback/H-back formations. you also forgot to mention how awful rich rodriguez' offense was in the Big 10. he won 3 games in his first year. THREE. with very decent talent. brady hoke has won seven. the spread option is not welcome at Michigan anymore.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Rodriguez is also credited with the worst record in Michigan history losing to 3-9 powerhouse Toledo, whose coach got fired for poor performance. Going on further, Rodriguez masterminded the largest bowl shellacking in Michigan history against middling SEC team Mississippi State (maybe it is the initials) and broke a 34 year run of consecutive bowl appearances by venerable if not stodgy Michigan, and was outscored by 44-57-6 Ohio state in three years by a combined 100-24 or so.