The Big Ten held its Media Day today in Chicago, and while I watched the presser from home instead of making the trip, I’ll highlight a few key quotes from Brady Hoke’s presser (with a big assist from the Big Ten Network website, which has transcripts for each coach from today).
ON THE TEAM
Our players at this point have done a nice job handling the transition of a new staff, new system on defense, new system on offense, and how they’re being coached, what they’re being asked to do. We are a long way from where we need to be.
I can say that this fall camp is as important a time for all of us as anybody, but it also, when you’re new to a program, new to a staff, like our players are, I think how you go through your fall camp, the attitude that you have every day, the toughness that you have to have to play this great game, the discipline, the accountability, I think that will say a lot about how we end up as a football team.
Hoke can sure construct one hell of a run-on sentence, right? Also, don’t freak out about the team having a long way to go — I’m pretty sure every coach says that at this time of year, especially if they’re implementing a new system, so anyone expecting a statement to the contrary needs a severe readjustment of their expectations.
You know, we’re really fortunate at Michigan. We have a national rivalry. We play Notre Dame. We have an in-state rivalry with Michigan State, obviously. Then the rivalry with Ohio is as big a rivalry as there is in sport. It never has been who the coach is. It’s always about those two great institutions.
We have an utmost respect. It’s fun. I mean, if you can’t get geared up for that and get goosebumps and all those things for that game, then you may not be human.
Good, I pass the Brady Hoke Human Test, which has got to count for something. Also, his continued insistence on never saying the words “Ohio” and “State” consecutively is, as Hoke himself would say, tremendous.
That’s a tremendous program with tremendous tradition, just like we have. We have 42 championships in the Big Ten. When you have schools that have that quality about them, have those legacies, I don’t see anybody as wounded.
Hoke provides the standard party line about the Buckeyes and their issues with the NCAA, and also utters the word “tremendous” twice in a four-word span. Get used to this, if you haven’t already.
ON DENARD ROBINSON AND THE NEW OFFENSE
He’s done a tremendous job. I can tell you, he ran the same offense in high school, which is a plus. One of the big differences is the mechanics of taking the snap from center, the footwork, the run game, the foot patterns, the play-action game. He was ahead of the curve a little bit. I think Al Borges has done a tremendous job with him.
We are smart enough, which I would — people usually don’t say that about me — but we’re smart enough to have elements he does well from what he did in the past in the spread in our offense.
This falls in line with what Al Borges has been saying all offseason about adjusting the offense to fit personnel, especially Robinson, but it’s always nice to hear it straight from the head coach. The fact that Shoelace has some experience in the drop-back passing game is a definite plus as well.
There’s two sides of the ball in the game of football. I can tell you, and I’m a defensive coach, that when your defense plays against a pro-style offense all spring long, they play against a pro-style offense all fall camp, you build a toughness and an edge because the schemes themselves are different.
This is a physical football league, physical offenses, people that run the football. We think we can play better defense by the fact of how we do things on the offensive side of the ball because they feed off each other.
This was his answer to a question asking why the team would change what was such a prolific offense. I’m sure this quote will be picked apart up, down, and sideways, but this is clear coach-speak in place of an obvious answer to a kinda dumb question: You run what you know, period. Al Borges is not Rich Rodriguez. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but it is going to bring change.
ON GREG MATTISON
Greg, he brings so much to the table. I can tell you, it’s not what he brings just in the X’s and O’s and schemes of football. His relationship with our players, the knowledge and the fundamentals and teaching that all the guys have on our staff, that’s first and foremost. The fundamentals and techniques to how you play are really going to determine where you’re at at the end of the year and the improvement you make each week.
Obviously there’s a scheme knowledge that we feel very comfortable with we like. But I think his relationships that he builds with kids, 18- to 23-year-olds, motivation skills, are tremendous.
Tremendous. And he didn’t even mention the recruiting.
ON REBUILDING AFTER THE RICHROD ERA
Well, I don’t think we’re rebuilding, period. I mean, we’re Michigan. We’ve got kids who understand that they’re Michigan. I don’t put any stock into that.
On a scale of one to tremendous, I’d have to put that answer at “tremendous”.
ON DARRYL STONUM’S STATUS WITH THE TEAM
I really haven’t made that decision yet, where he’s going to end up. That’s something I’ll work through with Darryl.
So no news on that front yet. Hoke did have nice things to say about Junior Hemingway, Martavious Odoms, and Jerald Robinson when talking about the receiving corps, and that’s without mentioning the team’s leading returning receiver in Roy Roundtree. No matter what direction this goes — and I hope Stonum can earn his way back onto the team, provided that he handles his off-field issuess — Denard Robinson should have no shortage of capable targets.
ON HIS SUCCESS ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL
Prepare for the greatest quote ever [emphasis mine]:
This might sound arrogant, and if it is, it is. We’re Michigan. We have a global education. We’re the winningest program in the history of college football. We have a tremendous staff of guys. The lifeblood for all of us, no doubt, is the guys you bring in your program. We’ve really tried to focus on the guys that fit the mold of Michigan with the integrity and character that we want to have. We want guys who will play with a toughness, play with an accountability and on a team for each other.
Those guys out on the road, they work it and they do a tremendous job. But first and foremost, it’s Michigan.
F*** yes. If Hoke’s recruiting pitch is half that good, I can see why he’s currently pulling in a top-two class in the country. We’re arrogant, and damn proud of it.
For the record, the final “tremendous” count for Hoke’s presser: A solid 11, plus one uttered by a media member when describing Denard Robinson. Nice.