Brady Hoke transcript from Big Ten Media Day
Written by Matt Pargoff   

Big Ten Media Day kicked off on Thursday with all 12 conference coaches speaking to the press on matters concerning their respective teams. See the complete transcript below of the Wolverines leader, Brady Hoke, as he discussed the progress and expectations of the Maize and Blue.

Opening Statement:

“Number one, thanks to everybody here from coming, travelling and supporting the Big Ten conference. I can’t tell you how excited we are as a team to be represented in such a great league. And to represent the University of Michigan is something that’s very special to all of us. We’re excited about the upcoming year. We’re excited because of the hard work that our kids have put through since the end of the Sugar Bowl and the things that they’ve done as a team.

“I think the leadership is really what’s important for us. Last year we had a group of seniors that came together and did a tremendous job of leading the football team. I think at the same time, those guys that were juniors, or those guys that had played a lot of football understand now that the expectation is in their hands. We’re excited about that.

“We had a disappointing year a year ago - when you do not win the Big Ten Championship and at Michigan we have not won that championship since 2004. So we have direct goals ahead of us in what we want to do and we’re excited about that.

“Our schedule is one that is a great opportunity and a great challenge for us. We play 10 out of 12 teams are bowl teams. We play five of those teams on the road. So for us, it’s going to be a great challenge and a great opportunity. Our focus in how we approach each day and how we as a team have the work ethic and commitment, and accountability and respect, and the trust for each other – that’s what will make us successful.

“We’re glad to be here. Glad to see you [in the media] – kind of – we’re glad you’re here. Thanks.”

On what he thinks of being considered the favorite in the conference:

“Not much, to be honest with you. We were picked fifth in our division a year ago. I know the 1997 team, in the preseason, was picked right inside the top 25 by a lot of people. And that ended up being a pretty good football team. We don’t put much stock in that. It’s like anything else, and life is the same way, it’s not where we start, it’s where we finish.”

On who has stepped up as a leader on the team:

“As a staff, we don’t have the opportunity to be with those guys all summer, because of the NCAA rules and those kind of things. I think you can see the three guys that we brought are part of that, with Denard [Robinson] and his development. Jordan Kovacs is an amazing story, number one, but how his leadership has grown. Then Taylor Lewan, who’s going to be a junior for us. I think he’s really taken a lot of responsibility.”

 On if there is a competitive balance issue in the conference:

“I think the only thing I can tell you is, this is such unbelievable circumstances. Commissioner [Jim] Delany and everyone else – you wouldn’t see this coming. At the same time, life’s not fair. Whether it’s fair or not, it doesn’t matter. We have a schedule to play. Our focus is on the University of Michigan and that’s what we’re going to keep focused on. “

On how he and his staff have reacted to the availability of Penn State players:

“To be honest with you, we kind of made a decision – I’d be lying if I said we didn’t look at the roster to some degree – but we’ve kind of made a decision that we’re going to stay and recruit the guys and keep our business our business.”

On what he expects of Kovacs this season:

“He’s a guy that had to walk on twice to play at Michigan. I think because of his love for his teammate and because of his love for the game of football, his intensity and how he approaches every day from a work ethic standpoint to being a great teammate. That’s what we talk about every day. He is truly one of those guys that is a terrific teammate. His development as a player – his development as a player – we’re very fortunate that he’s a very instinctive guy and a very smart football player. I think his teammate see that.”

On if he has made a determination on if Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark will play against Alabama:

“No. Both of those young men. Obviously there’s a standard of performance we expect at Michigan from an academic standpoint to a community standpoint, and to an athletic competition standpoint. They are right now indefinitely suspended. They’re going to pay the price for poor judgments, which a lot of 18-23 kids make, and then we’ll make a decision down the road.”

On what he expects to see out of Denard Robinson this year:

“I think when you look at it, and going through spring, his overall conceptswise when you look at the offense, I think that’s much better. From the point of our terminology and what we call things. I think he’s had an opportunity for Al Borges to maybe grow a little bit more within the offense. From that point of it, and probably more specifically is how he has really has become a guy that you can count on when it comes to leadership. How his work ethic is and those things that he’s done.”

On taking his players to train with the Navy Seals:

“Everybody wants to focus on that one four-day period. Or three-day period. That started in January. We do leadership seminars with our seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshman. The seniors are a little more encompassing to some degree. We did it at Ball State. Our strength coach Aaron Wellman came to this after two years of being at Ball State in trying to really grow our leadership. It’s just part of that seminar or whatever you want to call it. With our guys, it was something that they learned a lot about themselves individually, which is important. And secondly they learned about themselves as a senior class. When you talk about the team and the commitment to each other, and the accountability, when they did the different things that the Seals put them through.”

On the speed in the conference compared to top SEC teams:

“I think it’s a hard question really to even answer. Because I think everybody’s different. When people make the mistake of lumping a conference into not having speed or whatever it might be … obviously we’re playing the reigning national champions. They’re a terrific football team. They’ve done terrific things. We’re excited about the opportunity to go into a great venue, a different venue obviously, and go line up and see what happens.”

On the non-conference schedule:

“Obviously Sept. 1st is a day that most people in this room understand that great game that we’ll play down there. It’s a real privilege to have Troy Calhoun and the Air Force Academy come in to Ann Arbor. The significance for those kids that are out there for Air Force and their duty to country. UMass is a moving up program with a new head coach. And then obviously the national rivalry we have with Notre Dame, playing them down in South Bend at night. So we’re excited about the non-conference schedule.”

On how he would feel if he was in MSU’s situation last year not getting to play in a BCS Bowl:

“Probably not very good, but it was out of our control. We don’t control that part of it. I wouldn’t feel very good about it.”


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