Michigan's Hoke knows improvement needed

No sugarcoating it: This is a big season for Michigan and Brady Hoke, who has seen his win total drop each of his three seasons in Ann Arbor. Last year ended in a heap, as the Wolverines saw a 5-0 start melt into a 7-5 finish. The offense was an abomination, as Michigan struggled to get a push up front and run. As a consequence, coordinator Al Borges lost his job and Doug Nussmeier was hired from Alabama. Will it help? Stay tuned.

Is there pressure on Hoke, who is 1-2 vs. Ohio State and 1-2 Michigan State?

“Why do you coach?” said Hoke. “If we are doing everything we can … the only pressure is preparing those guys for life after football. Socially, academically, that’s important.”

That all may be true, but most would agree that on-field results need to improve in 2014. And, no doubt, the potential is there with 16 starters back stoking the sense of urgency.

[MORE: Read more Media Day coverage right here. ]

“This is most competitive team I’ve been around,” said Hoke, whose team has games at Notre Dame, at Michigan State and at Ohio State. “That is exactly what Michigan, as the leaders and the best, we should have.”

The offensive line will be under fire, as the group struggled all season for an attack that ranked 11tth in the Big Ten in rushing (125.7 ypg). If the unit develops, the offense should be able to maximize the ample skill talent on the roster, headed by WR Devin Funchess, QB Devin Gardner and RB Derrick Green, among others. But the hill to climb in the new Big Ten East will be steep.


About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
DaHook on 7/28/2014 @ 12:49pm EDT Said:

Up North needs to get its bite back!!!! As a fan of “Ohio” in which Hoke was born and raised as many of their great players, The B1G need them to return to the Bullies they have always been to make the conference whole again. Many people put the conference in 4th place behind the SEC,PAC-12, and ACC, due to the fact that “Up North” has been down for several years. They need to man up this season and stop regressing or Brady will lose his job and that is just the truth. I believe that in 2015 they will have the talent as well as experience in place to have a chance for a national championship, but until they believe it and make it happen on the field, we are going to see a once proud program struggle to find it self for some time to come. Go Bucks!!!

Doug on 7/28/2014 @ 4:24pm EDT Said:

Totally disagree DaHook, it’s a whole new Era. MSU and Wisconsin have more than made up for Michigan being down. Michigan in the national title game in 2015? Wow, pass some of that around ! Bring back Rich Rod !

GoBlue1972 on 7/28/2014 @ 11:02pm EDT Said:

DaHook and Doug, you both bring up good points. DaHook, I agree with you that Michigan needs to get it’s bite back. Regardless of the strides MSU and Wisconsin have made in representing the B1G, Ohio and UM are the traditions of the conference and need to set the stage for the rest of the conference. When Hoke was first hired, I said 2015 would be our year and I stand by that. They will have the talent, depth, and experience to compete with anyone in the nation. Doug, I’m sorry but let Rich Rod stay where he’s at, we’ve tried that experiment and it just doesn’t work in the B1G. It was exciting watching the offense against non-conference and weaker B1G teams but they were out-matched against the better teams in the conference. Being a UM fan for many years now, it’s been hard watching us scratch and claw again mediocre teams. It’s time for us to get back to dominating the teams we should and being competitive (and winning) against most of the tougher teams.

Doug on 7/30/2014 @ 2:56am EDT Said:

Morris can’t even beat out Gardner, yet he’s supposed to guide Michigan to great things next year? Just don’t see it !

patrick hoxie on 8/5/2014 @ 12:25am EDT Said:

MSU really? yah they had a good season , but who knows how good they really are? They beat michigan pretty badly but Akron and UCONN almost did too. THey beat Ohio, but Michigan (the team that almost got beat by Akron and Uconn) ALMOST beat them! And Stanford? thats not the same Stanford it was 2 years ago. Its not the 2004 USC or 2005 Texas team. Its not even the 97 washington state team! And its gonna take more than 1 Fluke season of easy schedules to put MSU on the map. Even after 2013 season, you know what people ask me when im outta state? They ask about Michigan. They dont know anything about State and they dont care. Until last January, most people didnt even know that team even existed. And if they have anything less then a perfect record this season, people will forget by January. When people think big ten they think about the winged helmets and roses. They think about woodson and howard and Heismans. They are not even close to thinking about Sparty. Yah its been a rough 6 years, but those bad six years were like normal years for Sparty. Michigan will be back. And Unlike Sparty, when they come back, they intend to stay! It might not be next year but when it comes, its gonna be another 40 years of being the little brother!