Brady Hoke opening statement: “It’s obviously disappointing to lose, I mean, no one – you don’t play to lose. It’s disappointing. We need to execute in multiple areas better, and when the opportunity comes, you have to take advantage of it, and you have to make plays when you need to make plays, and we didn’t do that throughout the game. There’s also an awful lot of good things that our football team did, and I can tell you I was pleased with the physical effort that they put through. We had, you know, Tom Gordon played 91 plays, and played a fast, physical, 91 plays, and so did Jarrod Wilson. Both of them are key elements in our punt team. I’m just talking about those two guys, but you watch Jeremy Gallon play, you watch our team play, the physical effort was very good. Now let’s go back to the mental effort, because it takes both. Mentally, we have some things that we need to do better from a standpoint of targeting the line of scrimmage and blocking, finishing a little better on blocks with the angles, or if you’re playing a coverage, making sure that we’re playing a coverage out. If you’re the nose tackle, you need to make sure you’re stepping with the proper foot. All those things, we could execute there better, and we will. I like our football team. There are elements of it that need to produce a little more, need to have a little more urgency to how we’re playing, but I like our team, and we have Indiana coming in here this weekend, and they’re a good football team. Kevin’s done a nice job offensively. They have a lot of different skills sets that they use, and defensively, I think they’re more athletic than they’ve been in the last couple years.”
Question: Can you update us on Taylor’s status and what happened –
Brady Hoke: “He’ll be fine. I think he got, really, two things, a little bit of a hip deal, probably was most of it.”
Question: You’ve obviously used Joey Burzynski on offensive line, and you’ve use other guys, Magnuson, in there. Is there a decent chance we’re going to see a different starting lineup again on Saturday because of what’s going on? And is there a chance that Schofield will move inside to guard?
Brady Hoke: “Probably not. The one thing, Mike Schofield, in that football game I thought really – because he was asked to do a lot. When Taylor went out, with some of the unbalanced stuff, the shifting, he orchestrated all that with those guys. At one time I think there were three red shirt freshmen, red shirt sophomore, and then Scho in there, and he did really a nice job of – he played well, but he also did a nice job of organizing those five guys. You know, he had Chris Bryant come out, and Burzynski come in, I mean, he did a nice job.”
Question: Do you think – I mean, is there a decent chance we’ll see a different starting lineup?
Brady Hoke: “You know, we’ll go through Tuesday and Wednesday and see.”
Question: Over the past couple years, it seems like the offensive line has decreased its production. The lack of depth has been well documented, but the talent seems to be there, so at what point do you start looking at the coaching?
Brady Hoke: “Well, I think the talent is there. It’s young talent, I mean, red shirt freshmen playing, and they have a long way to go.”
Question: Are you concerned with the way they’re being coached?
Brady Hoke: “No, not at all.”
Question: Staying with the offensive line, what can and has to get better now, and what part of it is, as you just said, it’s really young guys that have to get –
Brady Hoke: “I think there’s going to be – and I think when you look at it, they’ve been hit and miss a little bit. There have been times when they’ve played well, and there have been times when they haven’t played as well. Now, you have to look at their preparation and talk to them about it, you know? Because we had good preparation all well. We were physical, we were – I know watching the things we do against each other, I thought they were really good. Now we just have to keep taking them further.”
Question: You guys, entering the season, wanted to go more to a running game, you’ve used the running backs, tried to assert that. It hasn’t always been consistent, hasn’t always been great. Is there any thought to reverting back to some of the spread, and doing some of that moving forward?
Brady Hoke: “I think there are times when we have still done that. The problem is, you know, I think Devin ran the ball 27 times the other day, and most of them, a lot of them called runs, not scrambled runs, but you worry about how many hits he’s taking, and we have to get production from the back end, you know, the running back.”
Question: Looking at the tape, hindsight being 20/20, do you think the play calling on both sides was too conservative?
Brady Hoke: “No. We threw the ball, we had 14 – well, at the end of regulation, we put ourselves in position to kick a 52 yard field goal. There are 20 seconds left. Could have just taken a knee and played for overtime. So I would say no.”
Question: Is this team having a hard time trying to understand exactly what type of team they want to be?
Brady Hoke: “If they are, then I haven’t done a good enough job of expressing what kind of team we need to be, and want to be. Physical at the line of scrimmage, you know, on both sides of the ball."
Question: But is there a point where you’re trying to have this team be the way you want them to be, but they’re not there yet, so as a coach, do you have to say ‘ok, I have to go with what I know may help you win this game, even if it goes counter to what I want this team to be’?
Brady Hoke: “Right, and I think we do that weekly as we look at the opponent’s we’re going to play. We played a lot of snaps last week out of a nickel defense, and because of, number one, kind of how we thought we stood up to them with our passing game, and I think there were some pretty good things about it. We hit the quarterback 18 times, sacked him 4, two interceptions. From an offensive perspective, point of attack blocking has to be better, and I know it can get better. Our fullbacks are pretty good lead blockers when we’re in 21. There are times when everything’s blocked on play side, which – things that bother you, blocked really well, and a guy is slipping off the back side because we didn’t do a good enough job of cutting off. I think every week you have to look what gives your guys the best chance to win, and I think we look at that and make evaluations. Now, do we think we could run the ball more effectively? I don’t think there’s any doubt. Did we? No. Well then you have to change a little bit, and I think Al did that over the course of the game.”
Question: When Devin lost his helmet did you think at all about taking a time out?
Brady Hoke: “I did. I thought about it, but it’s the second half, and you kind of need those things, you know? I mean, I don’t know anybody who didn’t think it would be a game that went down to the wire. I mean, I certainly did. So I didn’t really want to use the time out then. “
Question: And on the other one, on the delay of game at the end of the game –
Brady Hoke: “That’s me, totally. That’s my fault. I have to help him, and I let him down, meaning Devin.”
Question: To follow that though, what is the process? You’re looking at all these things. Is there somebody who gives you a heads up?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah, yes.”
Question: You put the headset on sometimes. In what cases do you think that helps you?
Brady Hoke: “End of game, end of half. Greg and I talk all the time, so I don’t have to, because we’re standing next to each other. Talk to Al before halftime, what we wanted to do at half time, what his thoughts were, what we wanted to change a little bit. Talked to him there and then talked to him at the end of the half, end of the game, you know. Do you take the knee with 20 seconds and play for overtime, or try to throw it down the field, with the possibility of getting hit in the back or fumbling it? Or, do you take the chance of them intercepting it? Or do you take the chance that you’re going to complete it and move forward?”