Question: I talked to some of the guys after the bowl game and you’ve mentioned this before, if you are the leader of this team and they have a problem in the locker room…did you sense at all last year that the leadership maybe needed to be better and is that emphasis even more than it usually is that needs to improve?
Brady Hoke: “We were 7-6. You can look at that and see where we didn’t play consistently as well as we needed to. Did we prepare consistently? I thought that we had a team every day and I would talk to you guys, they came out and they prepared and they practiced and we had intensity. I think that being part of it, our leadership has to continue to grow. We have a lot of guys who are younger guys who are in that role because of the number of snaps that they’ve had, the experience they’ve had. I don’t think it can be just a group of 11 seniors. To get back to that, I’ve got to do a better job in the leadership of this team.”
Question: How so, what do you mean?
Brady Hoke: “You always look in the mirror first, maybe I could have handled things differently at times. I’m saying some day to day things that I could have coached a little differently. I’m not going to give you an exact for instance, but as you go back (I think it is human nature) and see what you could have done better.”
Question: Injured guys, Amara Darboh, Drake (Johnson)…
Brady Hoke: “Drake will be limited, Darboh will be limited. The guys who are out for sure are (Erik) Magnuson, Chris Bryant, (Joey) Burzynski and (Ondre) Pipkins.”
Question: Magnuson what was his injury?
Brady Hoke: “He had a shoulder (surgery) done.”
Question: He is just going to miss the whole spring and be ready for fall?
Brady Hoke: “He will be ready for fall for sure.”
Question: He just won’t practice this spring?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah right.”
Question: Do you guys anticipate any position switches?
Brady Hoke: “We’re going to talk about a couple of things in the next two days to be honest with you. Some of the staff is out doing some professional development so when we get back together on Wednesday morning that will be part of the discussion. There are a couple of guys that we would like to see. Of course, we’ve got to go and talk to them about it.”
Question: When you say limited and you are talking Devin too, it just means that they can do some of the things?
Brady Hoke: “They might not be able to have contact. They may be able to do everything in drill work. That is something that Paul and docs will give us a little bit more. We are what two or three weeks out from spring. We’ll know a little bit more in three weeks. Right now, I think the four guys are definitely out.”
Question: Will Hagerup will be back in the spring?
Brady Hoke: “Yes. We’re going two days non-pads before spring break to get those two days out of the way and then we’ll come back. They’ll run on Monday and then we’ll practice Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.”
Question: Why did you go so early (for spring practice) this year?
Brady Hoke: “You gain some time on the back end a little bit. You get a little time if you get a Guy Hurt, you give him a little more time. You get a little more strength and conditioning time before we go into…there are so many dag on rules before you go into the nondiscretionary time.”
Question: If there are one or two things that you could come away from spring ball, feeling better about, looking better than you looked at the end of the season, what would they be?
Brady Hoke: “Number one, I think in the backend, we need to play with identity a little bit. We’ve got to play in my opinion a little better in space. I think our tackling from that standpoint. I think we need to be…did you guys watch the game last night? (Yeah) The best part of the game was Bruno Mars, I know you were going to say that (laughter). We’re a little bit more physical from the safety position to the corner position, physical in destruction of routes and those kinds of things. Offensively, it would be the line of scrimmage. A lot of these guys got eight games in, some more, some less, but their experience with that and the combination blocks that you need to make on the line of scrimmage are extremely important.”
Question: Not having Magnuson in the spring, who you would assume would be one of the guys in the mix then how do you get a line that you are going to look at in the fall?
Brady Hoke: “I think you’ve got enough guys there. We’ve got David Dawson, a guy we redshirted who we think has a chance to be a good player. Ben Braden, I think and we all felt that he got better as the year went on. So he is going to get multiple reps. I thought Blake Bars played better. You’ve got (Kyle) Bosch, you’ve got (Kyle) Kalis, you’ve got (Graham) Glasgow, you’ve got Jack Miller, you’ve got (Patrick) Kugler. You’ve got Logan (Tulley-Tillman). We’ll obviously start with the five, but all that is going to be competitive and with a young team to some degree, even though they played a little bit, you’ve got to have it competitive.”
Question: Even Graham (Glasgow) doesn’t have his spot?
Brady Hoke: “I would say that he is the starting center the first day of spring ball. I could do that at all five positions. Kalis would be your right guard. Braden either your right tackle or left tackle, where is Logan, where is Dawson at.”
Question: Where is Dawson, is he a guard or tackle?
Brady Hoke: “He ran most of all on the scout team as a tackle. Does he have the complete length that some of those guys have…he really showed good feet and really has a toughness to him that I liked about him.”
Question: Is he a right tackle kind of guy?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah.”
Question: With Erik out, he is going to get the look?
Brady Hoke: “I would say he is going to have a heck of a look at it. Logan has gotten stronger and Logan is very athletic. It is probably where he has grown. Mason Cole is going to be here. We think he is a pretty good player.”
Question: You would rather red shirt him?
Brady Hoke: “I think that is overrated.”
Question: For even a lineman?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah, he is pretty physical. I think it just depends on how he comes along. I know he has been here for four weeks and he has gained about five to eight pounds, which we think is good.”
Question: When you went back and evaluated after the bowl game and you were picking apart how the season went, did you ever look at coaches and that the players were not developed as quickly as you wanted to see, was that something that was told?
Brady Hoke: “I told them that.”
Question: For every position?
Brady Hoke: “Every position.”
Question: Why do you think that is?
Brady Hoke: “If I had the answer I would be able to tell you more, but I know we need to do a better job, I will tell you that. I just did not think starting with me, did as good as job developing this team. I coached two inside guys defensively. I thought Willie (Henry) got better…when you give up how many yards we gave to Ohio up, you are not doing a real good job in there.”
Question: Is there one position that you would say that did make progress?
Brady Hoke: “I think our receivers did a decent job. I think Jake Butt came along. I think Chris Wormley and Willie Henry have gotten better.”
Question: Individuals but not position groups?
Brady Hoke: “Yeah. There are other guys at that position that you would like to see take more steps forward. That is always on you as a coach, the development of where your guys are.”
Question: So it is a challenge that you have set down to the staff?
Brady Hoke: “I don’t know if it was a challenge, but it was how I felt. It was being honest.”
Question: If there is across the board, how do you settle on one coach…you felt Al was just not there directing an offense that you wanted to see?
Brady Hoke: “When you say that, we all, when you’re a coordinator or head coach then you assume a lot of responsibility. I think that is the best way I can put it.”
Question: So you’ve even had this discussion with Greg Mattison?
Brady Hoke: “Oh yeah.”
Question: You told the coordinator that these guys aren’t…?
Brady Hoke: “Oh yeah.”
Question: Were you angry in these meetings?
Brady Hoke: “You get angry, but I think you are just being honest and truthful. The one thing with guys who have done this long enough is that they already know.”
Question: To get back to the defensive side for a minute, what is really the key? You’ve mentioned the secondary play, but the key to a more physical, more aggressive defense is?
Brady Hoke: “Some of that is the identity that they’ve developed. I think we lost our identity a little bit. Playing fast and playing physical. There are times in games that they did, but the consistency of that identity of how you are going to play, it wasn’t there game in and game out. It may not have been there a whole 60 minutes and that’s where we’ve got to learn from and where we’ve got to grow from.”
Question: Can I ask a question about the star system and no offense to what Sam (Webb) does, but how much do you guys look at that? When people are talking about a team and say Michigan State developed two and three stars and look how great they are and Michigan has five stars and why do these guys not developed?
Brady Hoke: “What was Jake Ryan?”
Question: I think he was a three star.
Brady Hoke: “How about (Jordan) Kovacs)?”
Question: He was a moon he said (laughter), a zero moon or something.
Brady Hoke: “I don’t put much stock in it.”
Question: So you’re basically ripping Sam (laughter)?
Brady Hoke: “No. Sam knows how I feel. He doesn’t star them.”
Question: So you don’t ever look at them, you never use them for any kind of guidance in who you are looking at?
Brady Hoke: “No I don’t. We’re looking for guys who are number one are football players, academically understand the value of a Michigan degree and guys that understand the concept of being on a team; on the field and off the field.”
Question: So would you like to see even in bios and media guides, getting rid of that this kid was a three star?
Brady Hoke: “We may be doing that. That’s a good idea.”
Question: Funny (laughter).