Big Ten Football Teleconference: Updates from Michigan's Brady Hoke and DE Frank Clark
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Big Ten held their annual spring football teleconference for the B1G East on Thursday. Michigan's Brady Hoke spoke to the media, as did defensive end Frank Clark. Here is what they had to say.
Brady Hoke Updates
+ Michigan finished spring practice on Saturday. He said they were guarded in everything they did on both sides of the ball as they are going through a learning process offensively with new coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
+ Hoke liked the competitive aspect of the spring and saw improvements, but still needs to see more. He said they need the first practice of fall camp to not be "practice #1" , but rather practice #16, which would be an extension of spring practice.
+ He said they have focused on improving players individually this spring because that's how championships are won. The chemistry comes from practice, but also in non-organized football activities.
+ Hoke said the quarterback competition will continue. He said Devin Gardner has played well this spring, but didn't play well in the spring game. He said it's a three-man race right now with Gardner, Shane Morris and freshman Wilton Speight, who he said has had a good spring.
+ He was asked about opening the season against Appalachian State. He said they will approach it like any other game.
+ Hoke said Devin Gardner needs to be more consistent to overtake the quarterback job from the other two candidates completely. He said Gardner would be the starter if they played tomorrow.
+ Sophomore safety Dymonte Thomas has had a very good spring. There has been some solid safety competition and everybody has improved back there.
Frank Clark Updates
+ Clark said that spring ball went well, but they stumbled a bit early on. He said they fixed things and ended on the proper path.
+ He said they now have veteran depth who are experienced and have been on the field for years defensively. They aren't young anymore, which provides confidence in each guy next to them.
+ Clark said even if they had beaten Ohio State last year, people would have still looked at the season as a failure because they didn't make it to the Big Ten Championship Game.
+ Clark said he remembers watching the first Appalachian State game like it was yesterday. He said it was shocking. He said he had never heard of Appalachian State prior to that game. He said he expects Appalachian State to have a lot of pride and confidence coming into Ann Arbor.
+ He said that Taylor Lewan is the best player he has ever gone against, and he misses that because it made him a better player.
+ Clark said he focused on becoming a dominant pass rusher. He said he wants to be the best pass rusher on the field in every game he plays. He said he was thinking too much and has now tried to "let it flow naturally", and it's working for him.
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