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November 7, 2012Michigan head coach Brady Hoke might have an idea which quarterback will start Saturday against Northwestern, but he's not in any mood to discuss it with the media.
"With Denard [Robinson] and Russell [Bellomy], I'm not going to talk about it as far as what's going on with those kids," he said. "I don't think it's fair to give day to day updates.
Both are nursing injuries, though specifics on Bellomy are unknown.
Hoke wouldn't say how much Devin Gardner, who stepped up big in his first start to lead a 35-13 win at Minnesota, was practicing at quarterback this week vs. receiver. The offense wouldn't change a lot either way, he insisted.
"We're a little more under center with Devin, play action," he said. "We have more run schemes out of the I-back set we like. But there's really not anything different.
"Devin's got a sense of humor to him, which is okay, but there's always a time and a place for that. I old him part of the message is there are 10 other guys out there. You don't have to do it all. That's always an important message to every guy on the team."
"It's been like that most of the year," he asid. "We've had really good energy. We had good tempo. I know our team understands we're playing an awfully good team this week. They're very difficult in some ways to defend from an offensive perspective with their playmakers on that side of the ball.
"On defense, Mike Hankwitz, who played here, does a tremendous job with them. They are sound, disciplined, run to the ball, all the things you want to see a defense do. We've got our work cut out for us."
"It's consistency," he said. "Game-wise, we need to have consistency week to week and it has to start day to day. If we can stack another good one together with physical-ness, execution and technique we need to play with, that's a good thing.
"I thought yesterday they were very consistent and physical. You've heard me say the term 'hearing football.' I heard a lot of football yesterday, which is a good thing. They've practiced hard. We've got to make sure we're consistently stacking them together."
Hoke added he wished he had a "magic pill" to apply that to games. Jack Miller and Joey Burzynski each got snaps with the ones this week to push the starters, but Hoke said he wouldn't know of any changes in the lineup until Thursday.
Sophomore cornerback Blake Countess is one who has been particularly upbeat despite a knee injury.
"He tells me every day he's doing good," Hoke said. "They all miss being out there. It's always hard for them and you as a coach because you know how disappointed they are. The more they are involved in meetings and everything, the better their mindset. Blake is doing his part coaching up guys and being supportive. "
Of those who are injured but not out for the year, freshman end Mario Ojemudia is doing some things in practice but not yet 100 percent, while redshirt junior receiver Jeremy Gallon is good to go.
"We've been competing all week," Hoke said. "In Will's defense a little, he was worried a little about the rush. One thing you can't do is worry about he rush. You worry about what you can control. That's probably a lesson learned, to some degree.
"Was it aggressive? Yes, because they overload on one said. It was picked up, but sometimes when guys closer to what you're normally feeling, you have the tendency to rush a little bit."
"I've known him so long, coached with him for eight or nine years now," Hoke said. "He's a great teacher of the game, a guy who preparation wise is second to none, in my opinion, in how he looks at an opposing offense, takes those breakdowns and has the ability to communicate it to the players so they understand it. It's not what we know; it's what they know. He does a tremendous job of that."