Northwestern Presser Bullets

The general feel after the game wasn't what you may have expected. The players and coach Hoke all seemed to be calm, and all of them reiterated the point that they never once believed they were going to lose the contest. Individual bullets:

Coach Hoke

  • Hoke started the conference with something along the lines of "Let me ask them a question first. Who started writing their article before the game was over?" (Many members of the media were forced to totally redo their articles after the game flipped so quickly)
  • Need to rush for more yards via running backs, and this also means the offensive line needs to improve.
  • Never a doubt that they weren't going to win the game.
  • On how offensive sets change with Gardner in: more two-back sets and power running, but still use zone reads and things from the shotgun.
  • Defense needs to defend the seam route better.
  • When asked if Denard would have played if Gardner went down: "Maybe?" (laughs across the room)
  • Can't worry about how other B1G teams perform in regards to conference race. Only focused on Michigan football every week.
  • Maturity and growth were expected from Gardner.

Jordan Kovacs

  • Always be #32 but honored to wear the #11 jersey. No hesitation when asked to switch. Knew about the switch a week ago.
  • Defense didn't get off of blocks well enough.

Devin Gardner

  • Offense practiced that exact play many times before (the final offensive play to Roundtree).
  • Had a good idea of how Northwestern would approach him based on film study.
  • This has always been Denard's team, and will still be Denard's team until he graduates.
  • Saw Fitz's numbers on the play where he was nearly brought down for a safety, and tried to drill Fitz in the back. After the play told the defender "You almost got me".
  • Knew his time at QB would come, although he didn't expect it to be this early. He wanted to perform better than he has in the past because he knows he's a better QB than that. It wasn't an "in your face" moment for Gardner in terms of the media; he understood why people questioned him.

Taylor Lewan

  • The offense always practices two and four-minute drills.
  • DG is always calm, "...keeping the confidence in the huddle."

Roy Roundtree

  • Knew his time would come and that he would rise up when the team needed him to. His teammates recognize the fact that he's remained positive despite a drop in production.
  • On the catch: "No reviews, so I'm good!" (media laughs)

--

What's the biggest thing that jumped out to me during the press conference? Devin Gardner's personality. He's an extremely intelligent and witty young man, and you can tell that he's a leader just from listening to him speak. Michigan is in good hands for 2013.

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