Video/transcript: Brady Hoke fall camp presser
Written by Matt Pargoff   

Just two practices into fall camp, the big news on Wednesday was the injury to sophomore safety Delano Hill, which will restrict his ability to practice for the month ahead. See video of Hoke of discussing the state of the safety position and a variety of other matters at his first press conference of the fall.

Opening Statement:

“I think we’ve all enjoyed the first three days of camp as coaches and I think as players. The hard work the guys put in during the course of the summer has been carried over; from the spring to the summer. So far, the last three days have been very productive.

“The carryover, the learning, the hard work that they all put in, I think was really – you could tell. You could really obviously tell what they did during the summer. The mentality of how they’ve come in, whether it be meetings, or if it’s out on the field in practices, they’ve all been really positive.

“We’ll be without a couple guys, as you know one of them (Csont’e York) was one that didn’t uphold what we believe to be the Michigan football player [standards]. We put a statement out and that’s all I’m going to get into.

“The other guy, Delano Hill, broke his jaw the last two weeks of summer. He’ll be out. He could be ready for Appalachian State, we’ll just see. He’s doing some alternate conditioning right now. It’s too early to determine where he’ll be.

“I’m excited about something we’re going to try new this camp. On the 16th [of August], we’re going to have an open scrimmage in the Big House. It will be part practice, but a lot of scrimmage, at 8 o’clock at night. We’re getting ready for a night game, and also I think it’s good an health for our guys to get in front of people. We’re excited about that.

“There will be more to come as far as all those arrangements from our communications department, but it’s going to be a good thing for our players and the guys in this program, and hopefully the Michigan faithful.”

On if Hill is able to do anything physical:

“He’s running, he’s lifting, he’s doing all that. We’re just not going to put him in there where he has chance of having a contact or collision.”

On what happened to him:

“He just bumped into another guy.”

On what that means for the safety position:

“He still is [one of the main candidates for the job] to a degree, but Brandon Watson has more opportunity now. Dymonte [Thomas] and Jeremy Clark, and Jarrod Wilson, and Brandon are taking most of the reps right now. A.J. Pearson is a guy who walked on from Atlanta and is a pretty good football player. So he’s getting some looks in there.

On if the two safety spots are interchangeable:

“I think there’s a couple guys who can do both. I think Jarrod can do both for sure. I think Dymonte Thomas could for sure. But we’re trying to be more specific with the strong and the free, or the open and the closed, however you look at it.”

On where they are at in game planning for Appalachian State:

“We broke every opponent down through the summer. We will start game planning – and believe me, there’s some game planning going in daily. It’s refreshing because on both sides of the ball, there’s little tidbits that Appalachian State does that our offense does or our defense does. Whether it be an odd front in situation defense, or some of the gun stuff, some of those things with four wide receivers, empty backfield sets.

“There’s some things that we’ve already started working on, but it will be about eight days from now when we really focus in, start trading scout teams and all that kind of things.”

On when padded practices start:

“Well, we were in shoulder pads today. It’ll be shoulder pads tomorrow, and then on Friday is full pads.”

On who the open scrimmage is open to:

“It’s open. You can come. That’s why I was doing it was for you guys.”

On if it’s open to the public:

“And the public – yeah. That’s what I said – there will be more details to come out from our communications staff.”

On if there was something lacking in previous openers that made him want to have the open practice:

“Not really. We open with Central [Michigan] the one year and we played pretty well. I don’t think so. I think really it’s that they want to play in front of people, so let’s have them play in front of people. I think with the mindset they can have and how they’ll go in, a little bit of it is also for night game purposes. You want to at least be in the stadium a little bit before then.”

On if they were able to pick up right where they left off in the spring:

“Pretty much. I know we took advantage of the time we could spend with them in the summer, which was new for football. Basketball has been doing it for years it seems like. But it was good for us that way. I also believe our older guys; I think they’ve done a nice job of really being demanding. I don’t know if that’s the right word, but there’s a nice bond with this team.”

On if he expects to have a clear-cut top running back by the opener:

“We’ll have a guy who will start the football game for sure. We’ve got 24 or something like that [days] where we’ll keep evaluating and all that kind of stuff. We like the backs we have. We like how all of them have been playing. I like how all of them passed conditioning. I think all those things are real positive for us.”

On if it is difficult to assign snaps with the Ty Isaac decision unresolved:

“Not really. We’re glad Ty’s here. He’s been going through it. We still have no idea when that hardship [waiver] will get decided on, but we’re glad he’s here.

On the health status of injured players:

“Drake Johnson is full [go]. Ondre Pipkins is full. Jake Butt would like to say that he’s full, but he’s coming along really well. Joey [Burzynski] is doing really good. He’s full.”

On if he’s getting a sense of where the offensive line is at:

“It is early, but at the same time, Erik Magnuson is fully recovered, and he looks like he’s doing a nice job. [Kyle] Kalis has looked good. I think Jack Miller has had a good – we’re only three days into it, but you can see he’s put good time and effort into it. Ben Braden, Kyle Bosch is coming along. Graham [Glasgow] will miss the first game, but you can see the improvements that he’s made.”

On if any player has stood out as having made dramatic physical changes that surprised him:

“The good thing is, I’ve seen a lot of them, and then those guys like to post a before and after [photos]. Mine is a before and a before. But I think they really have done a nice job. When you look at the weights, I think we’re real excited about where the weight were. Excited about how they finished all the conditioning before the week off before we started camp. I think you can definitely tell the physicalness that they all have.”

On the biggest difference from the start of last year and the start of this year:

“Part of it is personnel. Part of it is what we were able to do, and what they did, throughout the summer. That’s important. Them as a team and what they’ve done from a standpoint of the work, from the standpoint of the closeness that I think they have. I think the leadership – we’re heavy on the defensive side of the ball, but there’s some other guys who have played a lot of snaps. Not just Devin on the offense. And they’re responding.”

On if the Hill being out opens the door for Jabrill Peppers to play safety:

“Right now it’s just strictly keeping him at nickel. That’s a unique position. I think the positive thing is he’s a pretty good athlete. He’s got good recovery skills, so he may take a step the wrong way, but he’s got makeup speed. He’s physical and he’s instinctive. So those things all help. But that position, if you’re in slot, if you’re blitzing him, or is it going to be just man coverage, or are you going to tweak Cover-6 a little bit, quarter, quarter half, three-by-ones – there’s enough there that’s on his plate. And you have to remember that those guys [in the freshmen class] are also finishing a semester, so that’s a lot on their plate.”

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