I had the chance to attend the Michigan football presser held after practice yesterday afternoon. Coach Brady Hoke, along with captains Taylor Lewan and Courtney Avery, as well as players Desmond Morgan and Jibreel Black met with the media. I didn’t get the sense that anyone was feeling frustrated. To me everyone seemed determined to use the bye week as a chance to regroup and work on fundamentals. Let’s hear what each member of Team 134 had to say.
On the Bye Week:
Coach Brady Hoke said that he thought it was a good time for a bye week. He plans to get back to the basics of football. He was very pleased with the intensity and focus the team brought to practice on Tuesday. The coaches plan to balance physicality and rest this week.
Desmond Morgan thought it was a good time for a bye week as well. He’s excited to refine his technique but also acknowledged that this week will be important to rest up. He also said that he thinks it’s a good to get an extra week to prepare for the Big 10 season.
Lewan thinks that the bye week is very important. It gives the guys a chance to rest, but he also stressed that this week is not a break. Lewan said that the last two weeks the team did not play “Michigan football.”
Avery said that he will be getting back to the fundamentals this week. He also went on to say that the secondary needs to work on cleaning up and reading their keys and this week will give them the chance to do that. As for what position he will be personally practicing at, Avery said that the scheme for a particular game dictates what he does in practice, but since there is no game Saturday he is working at both corner and safety.
Mood and thoughts of the team after the UCONN game
Brady said that he had “no doubt” that the team got better from week 3 to week 4.
Desmond said that he could see that the team got better from week 3 to week 4 when he watched film. He thought that their preparation and focus was a lot better for UCONN than it was for Akron. He also went on to say that he considers the UCONN game to
be a great road win for the game.
Lewan wasn’t nearly as frustrated as he was right after the Akron game. He didn’t feel as though the team “survived” against Akron and went on to say that he considers the game last Saturday to be a good road win since it was such a huge game for UCONN. He said that he likes the way that they fought through adversity as a team, and that he felt the team played “Michigan football” in the second half.
Jibreel said on Tuesday that he doesn’t put much stock into “winning ugly.” He feels that the media downplays opponents like UCONN. He was quick to point out that Michigan is 4-0 and doing what they need to do, but acknowledged that they have to work just like every other team.
Hoke pointed out that mobile quarterbacks have a lot of success playing “sandlot” football, but that doesn’t work against good teams. He didn’t put the fumble against UCONN on Gardner, and instead cited the fact that a lineman was being blown back by the defense which caused the fumble. He said that being Superman is in Gardner’s DNA and didn’t think Gardner’s tendency to try to do too much was due to a lack of trust in his teammates.
Desmond was asked about his thoughts when the opposing defense scores a touchdown, and he responded saying that he doesn’t think about it and it’s the defenses job to have the back of the offense, and vice versa.
Lewan was adamant that turnovers are a huge issue for the team right now, and that the goal of winning the Big 10 Championship isn’t realistic if the turnovers continue. He did say however that the turnovers aren’t on one guy, and it is a team issue.
On what the media and fans are saying
Hoke said that he is not worried about panicking fans, and that they are welcome to their opinions.
Desmond insisted that he doesn’t pay any attention to the polls. He knows what the team can do and they keep their thoughts in house.
Taylor realizes that fans are upset, and he understands since the last two weeks weren’t great. He said that the team’s job is to perform like a Michigan team.
Courtney also said that he doesn’t look at polls, and he’s just concentrating on improving.
-Hoke said that they will be using the bye week to open up competition, specifically on the interior line. He also mentioned that they would like to get guys like Pipkins and Willie Henry more reps. He went on to mention Deveon Smith, Derrick Green, and Justice Hayes as running backs that could earn more playing time with a good week of practice.
-Hoke has stayed consistent with his timetable for the return of Jake Ryan. He more or less ruled out a possible return against Minnesota, but said “sometime in October.”
-Desmond Morgan said that when he watched the film of his interception against UCONN he was most impressed with the guys running to get blocks for him. That may have been before his teammates started making fun of his vertical, which he said is what happened in the film room.
-Lewan said that he doesn’t care who plays on the inside of the offensive line, and that his job is to help whoever plays there.
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