- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- A paddleboat ride, curfew and for Michigan's players and its head coach, Brady Hoke, a night so close to New Orleans' party center on New Year's Eve, Bourbon Street, was something none could see.
"They always have curfew," Hoke said. "(I) didn't go out on Bourbon Street. They went out on a paddleboat ride, did that."
Senior tight end Kevin Koger said the team had a 9:30 p.m. curfew on New Year's Eve, and keeping his team out of trouble was just one of the many things Hoke hit on during his first news conference of 2012.
Hoke said he isn't concerned about the lighting in the Mercedes Benz Superdome and that his returners and receivers didn't have any issues with it.
Besides quarterback Denard Robinson, cornerback J.T. Floyd also put his name in to get an evaluation for the NFL Draft. Hoke, however, expects both Robinson and Floyd back for next season. Hoke doesn't mind when his players do this after their junior years so they can get a gauge of where they are in terms of the pros. He said the players will get "a range" of where they might be selected.
Hoke said he had a conversation with his team about balancing fun and football while in New Orleans and senior defensive tackle Mike Martin admitted it was something he was initially concerned about. However, both Hoke and Martin seemed pleased with the way Michigan handled that balance.
On dealing with the height of Virginia Tech's wide receivers, who range from 6-foot to 6-foot-4: "It's always good to get pressure on the quarterback and we just have to play with our fundamentals and technique and be competitive. That's the biggest thing for corners and DBs and nickels and whatever."
Hoke called Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas "a big dude." The 6-6 redshirt sophomore concerns Hoke because he can throw over defenders and can run over them as well. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,799 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushed for 416 yards and 10 scores.
Part of the focus for Michigan this week has been to be one of the few teams to win 11 games in a season at the school. It has happened four other times in modern history (2006, 1997, 1986, 1971) and eight times overall (those four plus 1901, 1902, 1903 and 1905 under Fielding Yost).
Kicker Brendan Gibbons will still handle shorter field goals and Matt Wile, who hasn't attempted a field goal this season, will attempt longer ones. Gibbons is 10 of 14 this season, including 2 of 4 in the 40-49 range, with a long of 43 yards.
4hMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
1dDan Murphy and Mitch Sherman