For your files.
COACH HOKE: Obviously, we didn’t play Michigan football, and that is something that bothers our team, bothers the coaches. I don’t think we played tackle well enough on defense. Didn’t control the line of scrimmage enough offensively, penalties. I mean, we had a lot of penalties, and that’s usually not like us, so that is bothersome and we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of things to correct.
Q. Throughout fall camp, you said that this game would be a measuring stick for how your team has progressed throughout fall camp and since you took over as coach. Where’s that measuring stick?
COACH HOKE: I would think we’re on the short end of the measuring stick right now. I mean, we’ve got a lot of things that I know we can do better. I’ve seen us do it better, and we’ve got to go back to work.
Q. It seems like you guys didn’t run to Denard as much. Was that the game plan tonight? How were you planning to use him?
COACH HOKE: Like we did. I mean, there are some that we’re going to run him a little more. There are some replays in there that maybe he could have kept it. I’m sure he kept it once or twice. But we couldn’t establish line of scrimmage, so when you can’t do that, that doesn’t do you very well.
Q. Lewan and Countess, I know Lewan got hurt late, but what is their status?
COACH HOKE: I don’t know.
Q. What disappoints you the most how they did handle the line of scrimmage and how you couldn’t get anything established there at all?
COACH HOKE: On both sides of the ball. It was bad on both sides of the ball.
Q. Coach, what was the message at halftime?
COACH HOKE: We had 30 minutes that we had to play Michigan football because the first 30, I don’t think we did. It will be interesting, you know, you look and see who is playing hard and all that kind of stuff, but I think for the most part there was an effort and an intensity. But until you watch the film, you learn a little more.
Q. What went into the decision to play Elliott at center and flip-flop with Ricky. And when did you make that decision?
COACH HOKE: They had been both playing a lot of center, a lot of guard. Just felt some of the shotgun stuff Elliott was a little better.
Q. How much of that line of scrimmage advantage is the fact that they have a lot of great athletes up there, and how much of it is your capacity to improve your own guys up there?
COACH HOKE: Well, I think that’s always part of it, John. We’ve got some guys and these kids that are working their tails off and doing a good job. They’ll get better as we go. They’re a seasoned front, which is something that you want to play against at least I do and coach against. But we’ll make our strides.
Q. This is obviously a very difficult loss for your team, how do you get them to refocus and not to let this one serve as a hangover going forward here?
COACH HOKE: Well, win or lose, we always try and go to the next team pretty quickly. I think our seniors, our guys are pretty resilient and I think they’ll move forward.
Q. You mentioned the line of scrimmage. But 69 rushing yards, how much did you miss Fitz?
COACH HOKE: I can’t guess if we miss Fitz or not. You’ve got to block them.
Q. Are you surprised you didn’t have an answer for the running game?
COACH HOKE: I thought we blocked them a little better?
Q. What was your take at Devin’s first crack at receiver. What was the playing going forward and what brought the performance?
COACH HOKE: I think Devin’s a pretty special athlete. To get another athlete on the field helps us.
Q. Is Alabama that good at the line of scrimmage or did you find out how far you guys have to go?
COACH HOKE: I think it’s always probably a little bit of both.
Q. Did that make this game particularly tough because Alabama was so sharp and you had so many problems which is what you focused on, because you said you didn’t play Michigan football?
COACH HOKE: Ask that question one more time.
Q. Is it hard because Alabama was so sharp early on to see if it was them or if it was you.
COACH HOKE: It’s probably a little bit more of a combination of both, but at the same time, you know, we didn’t get our blocks very well from the defensive standpoint, and then we didn’t take the run very well, and we had an opportunity to tackle and we didn’t tackle very well.
Q. You had starters in late in the game when it looked like it was fairly well decided. What went into the decision, especially on the line? What went into the decision to leave some of those guys in?
COACH HOKE: The defensive line, most of those guys were out. Offensively, number one, we’ve got the ball at midfield, and we’re trying to score and trying to compete. Denard’s in the game at one point, and there are some guys that need a lot of work still.
Q. Do you feel you were ready to play tonight?
COACH HOKE: I think so.
Q. Secondly, Josh Furman didn’t make the trip down, is there something you can say about that?
COACH HOKE: He didn’t make the trip.
Q. You knew this was going to be a challenge playing the number two defending national champions, and do you still feel the Big Ten Championship is out there in your grasp? What can you use this game as?
COACH HOKE: I think you learn a lot. You win or lose your first game, you learn a lot. We obviously need to be a little more disciplined when it comes to blocking in the back. We did that three times on return teams. Two of them were young guys, freshmen out there who are trying to make the play, the other one was a fifth year senior. You know not what you expect from a senior.
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