Question: Jake Ryan is on the path of getting back on the field. The fact that they’ve had so many diverse responsibilities last week, will that allow them to find a place on this defense once you get a third SAM into the mix; do you think you are going to be able to find a role for those guys?
Brady Hoke: “Oh I think there are always roles for good football players, and those two guys are good football players.”
Question: Can you talk specifically that make Notre Dame a challenge from Tommy Rees to the defensive front?
Brady Hoke: “You know, unfortunately Tommy Rees the last couple years has done a pretty good job against us. He's a guy who's matured as a quarterback. I think his accuracy….you got one game to look at, but his accuracy was really good. We've taken every clip from a year ago and put that on the tape so we look at that also. Their offensive line is big. They lost a couple guys, but it's a big offensive line. I think they've got playmakers. (TJ) Jones is a guy who makes a lot of plays, (Davaris) Daniels, and then they ran the ball pretty effectively and efficiently last week. I think they had over 540-some yards of total offense. That's significant.”
Question: For you personally, why is this game so special, other than the fact that you watched it a lot, but you personally wise will miss when it is gone.
Brady Hoke: “I think it was always a game that really... it kind of game you a little bit of a true north of what kind of football team you're going to have, if that makes sense. Because both teams traditionally and I think we've won 904 games, and I think they're close somewhere. You got two traditional national powers playing each other. It kind of gave you an indication. I remember Coach Schembechler all the time talking about, how that game, you kind of get an idea of where you were as a team.”
Question: If Shane Morris has to play this week or subsequent weeks, how much does it help that he got that experience for almost a full quarter on Saturday.
Brady Hoke: “You know, there's no doubt in my mind, we were able fortunately to play a lot of young guys so that they number one played against someone besides their own team and played in front of 112,000 people in that stadium, so just getting in the huddle, commanding the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage. All those things are critical for an experience standpoint. The play clock, making sure you're cognizant of that. I think it was huge for him as a quarterback, but I think it was huge for a lot of those guys.”
Question: How much flexibility do you have with your tackles? You were able to do that with the jumbo package or whatever you call it where you have three tackles in there. Is something that you can do because Schofield and Lewan have the experience or is that something that you…?
Brady Hoke: “I guess that's having some depth, number one. The experience of those two guys, Mike (Schofield) and Taylor (Lewan), the number of snaps they've played and what they've done. I think that's part of it. I think it's part of the offense, which is a really good part of the offense because you can do more out of it, which can give people when they start aligning defensively and how much you can leverage a defense, it can cause some problems.”
Question: Is it a credit to Erik Magnuson that he is able to step in there?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah. There's no doubt. Mags has really improved. He's gotten stronger, which is one of the things that he needed to do. He's always been athletic. That's why we recruited him. Knew the strength would come. He's worked hard to get to that point – no question.”
Question: Turnovers were a big part of last year’s game. How do you impress ball security upon Devin but also you want him to make plays and running quarterbacks can make plays on Notre Dame; how do you balance that?
Brady Hoke: “It's a balancing act, there's no question. For Devin, believe me, we started this conversation in July about how we're going to make decisions, how we're going to take care of the football. It's not just Devin, obviously. It's every guy who carries the ball, every guy who snaps the ball. I'd rather have a quarterback like Devin that you have to pull back a little bit than I would a quarterback who you have to kick in the pants to get out there to compete. It is a blessing and a curse to some degree. Just hope we have more blessings than curses.”
Question: Devin mentioned his first interception was a good pass but a bad read. Looks like they blitzed the two linebackers...
Brady Hoke: “No, that's not what he was talking about. He was talking about the safety, the nickel, whatever you want to call him, showed blitz. He thought he was blitzing. He needed to take one more count when he lifted his leg and pointed to the ground and all that to really see if the guy was coming. You've got to bait them also and change your mechanics from the gun, and that's what he's talking about. The inside backers had nothing to do with it.”
Question: How has he been overall with blitz recognition?
Brady Hoke: “Good. He's intelligent. He studies it.”
Question: You mentioned being happy with the play of your interior line. What kind of specific improvement would you like to see from Jack Miller next week?
Brady Hoke: “I think Jack, Kyle (Kalis), and Graham (Glasgow) - it gets a little tougher this week in who they play. It's no disrespect to anybody, but Notre Dame has three guys up front that are big, strong, active. Guys who have played a lot of snaps and have experience. The odd front would be a little different that they like to work in and out of. Having a bigger guy on the center is a little different when he's head up on you.”
Question: You said you were disappointed about the missed tackles defensively. What stood out to you on film?
Brady Hoke: “You know what, I'm glad you asked that. Didn't have as many as I thought. Maybe I was just being mad. I don't know (laughter). But there were a few in there that get you a little more mad, that you don't leverage it well enough. Cupping the ball, keeping the ball inside and in front, and leveraging is something that we work on and talk about. For the most part we did an okay job, a good job. But we've got to do an elite job.”
Question: One of your former players said he never wanted to see Desmond Morgan come off the field because he wraps up everything. Your thoughts?
Brady Hoke: “I thought the three linebackers who played significant reps, Desmond, Biggs (James Ross), and (Joe) Bolden - all three were very active in what they did. Yeah, he tackles very well.”
Question: What was your interpretation of Brian Kelly’s comments yesterday?
Brady Hoke: “Which comments?”
Question: The comments he made at the teleconference.
Brady Hoke: “I don't interpret what other people say. I have a hard time interpreting what I say.”
Question: It came across as a little bit of a dis.
Brady Hoke: “Everybody's got an opinion.”
Question: What's your feeling about bulletin board material?
Brady Hoke: “Anything I say or he says really doesn't matter. Because we're not playing.”
Question: But it generates a lot of talk, among your players?
Brady Hoke: “I don't know. I haven't seen our guys yet. It will be interesting to see if they talk about it.”
Question: Can you talk about Kyle Kalis?
Brady Hoke: “I thought he played well. I thought he did a nice job. A couple backside cutoffs he could have been a little better, but I thought he was physical.”
Question: How about your receivers as blockers?
Brady Hoke: “(Drew) Dileo, (Jeremy) Gallon, and (Jehu) Chesson all did a terrific job. So did Joe (Reynolds) when Joe was in there and Jeremy Jackson. Jeremy was part of that group. I thought they did a really nice job down the field blocking.”
Question: Are you going to have to do an examination since you have had three ACLs in the spring and now Drake Johnson, is this something that needs to be further looked at?
Brady Hoke: “You know, I'm sure we'll look at it, but with Drake - he gets pushed in the back a little bit, he's busting his butt trying to make a tackle, guy kind of pushed him in the back. I mean, those things…I don't know what else you can do about it. But we will, because I know our strength coach and I know our training staff. They'll get their heads together on it.”
Question: Do you think the whole chickening out thing you said as fun in the offseason, do you think Notre Dame will use that and could that be Brian Kelly’s response?
Brady Hoke: “I mean, they could use that.”
Question: Do you stand by it?
Brady Hoke: “Well, I said it.”
Question: There was an inside zone left when Derrick Green was at tailback and it was blocked perfectly. Looked like he had a cutback through the A-gap. Is that the play you mentioned where he missed the read?
Brady Hoke: “Yes. Yeah. It's exactly right. He missed a read.”
Question: You’ve only had one day to look at it, but on film how does Notre Dame's defense stack up on film this year compared to what you saw last year?
Brady Hoke: “I think they're a very good defense because of the experience they have back. They lost a guy who was a very good linebacker for them to the next level. Brian's done a good job of recruiting. They've restocked the shelves pretty well.”
Question: You said that the depth chart is pretty fictional. When you look at the running back is that the order do you think?
Brady Hoke: “What does it say?”
Question: Well, why don't you tell me what you think it says.
Brady Hoke: “It probably says Fitz, number one. And then it would be Green number two. And then it would be Rawls and Smith and then Justice Hayes.”
Question: And that's true?
Brady Hoke: “That looks good.”
Question: You mentioned the tempo is important for your success. Who’s most responsible for getting off to a fast start?
Brady Hoke: “It's all of us. Coaches, guys getting in the huddle, Jack Miller calls the huddle, get your butt to the huddle. Part of that is so we can get up to the line of scrimmage where Devin has a chance to maybe get us in the right play. You have the play clock going on. Give him an opportunity to, on the check plays that were out there or the protection scheme or whatever it might be, get enough time so we can get into the right play.”
Question: On tempo…
Brady Hoke: “We want to have a tempo on how we play. We started the game in NASCAR, which is the high tempo deal. We throw the pick. The good thing was we were stubborn enough to go back to NASCAR. We needed that. It was a teaching moment.”
Question: Seemed like Taylor Lewan was engaged on the touchdown that got called back. Did you get on him for that?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah. Yeah. It's a penalty.”
Question: Should it have been a penalty?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah.”
Brady Hoke: “They have a three yard barrier now over the line of scrimmage on their side, and he had taken the guy about five to seven yards. I mean, he was just blocking, but he's got to remember it was 69 Naked. The ball's getting thrown.”
Question: It is harder with Devin improvising?
Brady Hoke: “No, it shouldn't be on that because it's a naked. Devin…naked booted out and hit Gallon.”
Question: Could that potentially be an issue because Devin is always going this way or that?
Brady Hoke: “Off of dropback, some times.”
Question: More of an issue for you guys than other teams maybe?
Brady Hoke: “Could be, could be.”
Question: So after three yards, Lewan's supposed to what, disengage?
Brady Hoke: “Disengage. It's not the matter he was blocking the guy. It's that physically he was down the field.”