While its hard to look at Michigan's 13-6 loss to Notre Dame Saturday and find silver linings, head coach Brady Hoke appeared optimistic Tuesday, seeing the positives that can be shaped and improved upon during the bye week.
"We've got to execute better on both sides of the ball for us to be as effective as we want," Hoke said. "I thought on both sides of the ball we played better. I think there's more in there that we'll get out of them."
"I like the attitude of our football team," added Hoke. "We start the Big Ten season and the expectation is always to win Big Ten championships, so I like our kids' frame (of mind) and where they're at mentally."
The Michigan defense appeared to show some attitude and toughness consistently for the first time Saturday night in South Bend, standing up to several two and three tight end power sets.
"I think our defense obviously gave us a chance," said Hoke. "I thought guys played really hard, and when you watch the tape there's white jerseys getting to the football and that's a sign, a little bit, that we're playing a little faster. I thought in the back end, Thomas Gordon and Kovacs did a nice job. Ray Taylor is getting better every day he goes out."
"And I thought the four linebackers all did a nice job in there," added Hoke.
Up front, Hoke singled out junior defensive tackle Quinton Washington who is beginning to ‘stack positive plays on top of one another'.
Loss not all on Denard
Saturday night in South Bend, Denard Robinson was responsible for five Michigan turnovers. But as Hoke pointed on Tuesday, that doesn't mean the 13-6 defeat rests solely on his shoulders.
"You make sure he understands that we took 69 guys to the game," said Hoke. "We've got 115 on this football team. We're all responsible. Coaches, players, everybody."
As far as Denard's mistakes, he said, "We don't want to turn the ball over. I think that's pretty obvious. But I think he's smart enough, competitive enough, that he'll take a lot out of this game."
For Robinson to significantly cut down on his interceptions, totaling 8 through 4 games, Hoke believes the fix comes down to one key factor.
"Decisions," said Hoke. "What else are you going to say? Decisions."
With fans and media alike coming down hard on Robinson for his continued poor decision-making in the passing game, Hoke and the coaching staff aren't ones to be too hard on players who give maximum effort.
"We try not to pound any kid to be honest with you," said Hoke. "They're 18-23. They're competing. And if they didn't practice well and they didn't come to practice well and they didn't have energy and enthusiasm, I'd feel differently. But I like the growth we're making."
To watch video of Hoke from Tuesday's press conference, press play below.