Hoke Opening Statement: Practice 10 today, the competition has been great in a lot of different areas. The tempo of the practices has been outstanding and we have to build on that. There’s a lot of teaching going on, a lot of new terminology. We are making mistakes at times and our communication has to be better and that’s a big part of it. When we are identifying the line of scrimmage and the MIKE and all that stuff. One of the big things today is the communication. We are going at a high tempo trying to get as many reps for the guys that are actively out there. We need to have a lot of reps because there’s a lot of young guys out there in our two-deep so that’s important for them to learn. It’s been a busy week with our clinic going on. We’re excited about that, we will have between 500-600 coaches in the next couple of days. Two guys I want to mention are Al Fracassa and Jim Reynolds, we are honoring those two gentleman for what they’ve done throughout their long and successful careers. Just not in the amount of wins, but what they’ve done to mentor young men. That’s going to be exciting and we will do that on Friday night. Competition has been good. The attitude of our team is good. We’re not any good yet but we’ve got a long way to go. I like how we’re approaching it daily.
Question: Now that you’ve had some time to look at the new linebacking structure, how do you like how that’s shaping up?
Hoke: That’s been really good. I think Biggs moving more in the perimeter with hiss athleticism when people get in the slot or go 3x1, you can see that. I think the identification of plays I think for him coming from one side, basically. Instead of in the middle when you’re getting it from all over, I think that’s a help. I think Royce Jenkins-Stone moving out there, and he’s had a really good spring, so I think it’s been a plus for him. Inside, we have a bunch of guys who have played a bunch of football who are competing like heck and I think they’re all doing a really nice job.
Question: At the SAM, is it the same position a year ago or have things changed?
Hoke: It changes a little bit because there’s a little bit of over-front instead of under-front so with him not being on the line of scrimmage is much. Even though we’ll play some field defense being on a tight end. The beautiful thing is because of leveraging, how you want to leverage, you just want to move him a little wider. As far as change, has it changed? Yeah, a little bit. But there is definite crossover from before.
Question: It seems that Jake will be pretty comfortable in the middle?
Hoke: Oh yeah, I’ve said that you’re always pretty instinctive. He’s unorthodox at times but he’s pretty instinctive. Given him being on the inside helps.
Question: Now that you’ve seen them for a few weeks, what is your perspective on the early enrollees and is there anyone you think has a chance to contribute early?
Hoke: I think they’ve all really registered and adjusted pretty well to what we’re doing. I think that’s a plus. The only guy who has missed a little more is Ferns with a hamstring. He’s missed some time in there. But the others are doing a good job. Freddy (Canteen) is a guy who our kids have talked to you guys a little bit about him. I think he’s had a good spring. Mason Cole has had a good spring, he’s come in and done a nice job. Mone (Bryan) defensively, he’s a load and plays with good leverage. I think they’ve all done a good job. Drake Harris is a little beat up, he’s got a little bit of a hamstring right now. So he may not do much today, hopefully more on Saturday.
Question: Is that carry over from last season?
Hoke: No, he was going full and everything was good. I think we’re probably being a little more safe with it. Until practice eight he’s been doing everything.
Question: So he’s being held out right now?
Hoke: Yeah, we won’t do much with him today.
Question: Are you looking at it as a chronic thing?
Hoke: No, I think he’s gotten stronger since he’s been here and with the reps and everything that he’s done, I think it’s been held in there longer because of that. As he continues to get bigger and stronger, and whatever else you do with it, I think he’ll be fine.
Question: Before he suffered the injury, what did you see from him?
Hoke: I think he’s a guy who is learning how to run routes in a way we want them run. He’s a guy that gets downfield well, he really can stretch the defense.
Question: You were talking about uptempo running, the offensive lineman were talking about a little bit of a slower install for them so they can grasp it. Is that something you’re doing?
Hoke: I think with uptempo practice and slower install are two different things. I think the slower install thing is making sure when you look at block schemes, play schemes, how you’re going to block the different fronts and all those kinds of things. Has it slowed down a little bit? Yeah. That part has.
Question: But that maybe makes everything uptempo...
Hoke: Well, it helps. There’s no doubt the better and the more you know, the better and faster you’re going to play. That’s one thing, Angelique, I thought last Tuesday. I didn’t like how we initially started, but I liked how we finished. That intensity and the communication where everyone trusts each other and you can play within the scheme as fast as you can.
Question: How has Heitzman made the transition to tight end?
Hoke: Heitzman? He’s done great, he’s been awesome. He’s a guy, from a teammate perspective, who cares about winning and cares about the team. But, from a tight end perspective, I think he’s a real plus for us offensively on the line of scrimmage.
Question: I know it’s been three days since the announcement but has Graham Glasgow’s status changed?
Hoke: He’s back. He is back. There’s internal discipline that he’s going through and life lessons that he’s learning.
Question: When was his first practice back?
Question: With talk of the Alabama kid, would you entertain that possibility of a transfer?
Hoke: We’ll investigate all those guys , we always do. Just to see where we are at. So, is that entertaining? You look at those guys.
Question: On Tuesday, a lot of the offensive and defensive lineman mentioned that Mason Cole is doing typically well. I know freshman don’t exactly play their first year but do you think he could contribute?
Hoke: Possibly, yeah. He’s a pretty mature guy. Physically, probably a little ahead than other freshman offensive lineman. I think his knowledge of the game and his high school program really lends to him being a little more ready. Coming in January helps.
Question: As far as wide receiver competition, are guys starting to emerge with the new offensive scheme?
Hoke: Yeah, I think to some degree. When you look at formations and personnel groups, how they’re going about the learning process. I think that’s a tough position, when you’re identifying from an offensive perspective, the center and the quarterback are the MIKE, plus-one or whoever. I think that changes things in the run game and also the passing game. I think Jehu (Chesson), Canteen, Funchess, Norfleet all those guys are having an impact and getting better. Csont’e (York) and Da’Mario (Jones) are getting better. It’s maybe a little harder for them because there are some nuances that are new to the offense.
Question: How’s the quarterback race going?
Hoke: Good, good. If we played today, Devin (Gardner) would be the starter. I think they are, honestly, their work ethic that they are putting in and guys have good plays and guys have bad plays here and there but the overall competition is really good.
Question: The better question probably is who the back-up is right now, would you say. Shane?
Hoke: Probably Shane (Morris), yeah. Wilton is doing a good job and Russel is doing pretty good. We’ll scrimmage pretty good on Saturday and put them in those uncomfortable situations to see who can handle it.
Question: The offensive lineman yesterday were talking about there being fewer formations which is allowing them to get a better grasp of things, does that carryover to a guy like Shane or Wilton as well..
Hoke: Does that help them? Yeah, it’s like anything else in life the more you do something and the more you understand something you’re going to do better at it. I think all those things are a part of what they’re doing, so when you say offensive lineman there’s only two tackles, two guards and a center so their formations are pretty basic most of the time.
Question: In terms of Taylor Lewan and his legal situation, have you ever dealt with anything like that before where the process took long enough where the guy wasn’t charged right away?
Hoke: I’m not going to talk about that. That’s something that he’ll go through and he’ll go through that process.
Question: Is your philosophy been that you’d let the legal system do its thing first before making a decision?
Hoke: I wouldn’t say that.
Question: What would you say? A case-by-case basis?
Hoke: I say every situation is different, they’re all different.
Question: Do you have an opinion on the Northwestern and the case yesterday?
Hoke: I think college football continues its track of evolving. I think its way complicated for anybody, for me at least I’ll say that, I think trying to educate yourself on what it means and what it doesn’t mean. The political process that’s part of it. I think for our kids, we encourage them to educate themselves and we will educate them on what we know. We’ve talked to them about it once before spring started to try and let them know what’s out there and be fair to them. Personally, I was a student athlete and I got a degree because of it. As this thing tracks along, we will find out more about it and how will it affect Michigan? I have no idea.
Question: Back to personnel, running backs De’Veon and Derrick I would imagine have to be the guys…
Hoke: I think this: I think De’Veon has had a good spring and I think Derrick has a better spring than fall. I think Justice Hayes has done some really good things and I am really proud of him. Some carrying the ball and some in protection, I think he’s had a good spring. It would be nice to get Drake (Johnson) back and put him in the mix. Wyatt is staying towards the H-back/Fullback kind of guy. The guy Ross Douglas is in there doing some nice things.
Question: Now Derrick is having a better year due to weight loss?
Hoke: I think he’s in shape, it’s experience and understanding the expectations maybe a little more with clarity. I think that’s part of it.
Question: I know you mentioned Justice in pass protection but is Derrick and De’veon improving?
Hoke: Much better, much better.
Question: Have you decided on what the format is going to be for the spring game?
Hoke: Yeah, it won’t be a game. It will be more like a practice. Because we need reps. If you go through our roster we need as many reps and teachable moments like situational football, redzone stuff, third down stuff. It will be like for us what we do on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the most part.
Question: Last time you spoke about everything being taught right as far as fundamentals go, where are you with that?
Hoke: I think our fundamentals are much better at all positions. You look at some of the leverage we’re playing with and I’m real pleased with that. I think, and this is an offensive line/defensive line thing more than anything, but I think the leverage part of it with the footwork and combination blocks I think are a lot better.
Question: So you’re pretty deep into situational football at this point?
Hoke: Yeah, we’ll do a couple different situations today at the end and throughout practice.
Question: Back to the quarterback situation, do you feel with Shane that you’ll be able to pull the trigger a little sooner if Devin starts to struggle?
Hoke: I would say this and I don’t know if I like the pulling trigger part of it, I think we have more competition and more guys who will be along in the system from a mental standpoint. Shane will now have a fall, spring and another fall camp. Wilton (Speight) will have a spring and a fall camp and Russell coming back. Do you have more options? Yeah, you do.
Question: Do you feel more comfortable with that?
Hoke: Oh yeah, sure. No question, I am much more comfortable because of the depth and the quality of depth.
Question: So, generally speaking in terms of the offense, are you going into this fall feeling more comfortable with depth? You have more depth now since you’ve been here.
Hoke: At every position. It’s a lot of young depth, but it’s good quality depth. I don’t know if you ever feel comfortable but I guess right now they’re doing a good job. I don’t think we’re nearly as good as we need to be, but I like the work ethic and attitude.
Question: You mentioned last year about "liking" this team, what about this team this year?
Hoke: Do I like them? Probably not as much just yet, I am fickle. They’re doing a good job and giving effort, those two things are probably as important. There’s some learning curve to everything and consistent toughness that you have to show.
Question: Who is emerging this year as leaders? Obviously last year Jake was captain…
Hoke: Yeah, Jake (Ryan), Frank (Clark) and Devin have done a good job. Jake Butt is a tremendous leader. There are a lot of guys.
Question: How is Jake’s (Butt) progress?
Hoke: Good, I mean it’s early, but good.
Hoke: Thank you.
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