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Published: Friday, 3/30/2012

UM's Hoke to look for consistency in practice

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke Michigan head coach Brady Hoke
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ANN ARBOR -- Brady Hoke admits he's no scientist.

He says this much: There's a certain science that goes into designing practices for three consecutive days, something that's not of the norm for the Michigan football team during spring drills.

"There's no question there's a method to the madness, if you want to call it that, and how you want to improve guys," said UM's second-year coach on Thursday at Schembechler Hall.

Michigan spreads out the bulk of its scheduled spring practices over the course of four weeks, but this week the Wolverines will hold three practices on three consecutive days to accommodate the three-day Michigan Coaches Football Clinic, which began Thursday afternoon in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines held their seventh spring practice Thursday (of 15 practices from March 17 to April 12, prior to the annual spring scrimmage April 14 at Michigan Stadium) and practiced in pads.

"You start finding out a little more about your team, and any time you get into pads, it's a plus," Hoke said. "We'll find out a little more as we go through it. It's kind of a busy weekend because of our coaches clinic. We'll probably have over 500 coaches here.

"It'll be busy, it will be good, and we'll get a lot done, from our perspective."

Michigan will practice Friday in helmets but without pads. Hoke explained Saturday's practice will be "a pretty heavy padded practice," from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at Michigan Stadium, on the final day of the coaches clinic.

"Part of what high school coaches like is seeing drill work and fundamentals and all those things, so that's a big part of it," Hoke said. "The other part is, it gives us an opportunity to go pretty heavy (Thursday), to back it off a little bit (Friday) but at the same time, with fundamentals and techniques, trying to re-emphasize those things that we believe in here."

The goal in three straight days of practices? Finding the necessary consistency.

"I like the energy of how we've come in, in a meeting atmosphere, and out there on the field," Hoke said.

Hoke also admitted this much when it comes to developing and maintaining consistency -- a necessary trait in all situations.

"We've talked about 'finish' since a year ago January, since I've been here," he said. "Finishing games, finishing the fourth quarter, finishing November.

"That's always something we've always talked about. But you're not going to finish the others if you don't finish a practice."

NOTES: John Hoke, Brady Hoke's father died Monday at 80; the media assembled at Schembechler Hall was asked not to inquire about John Hoke's death. "John loved football, he loved life, and he loved his family even more. Life was special when all three of his loves converged," athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement on Michigan's Web site. "John taught both Brady and his brother, Jon, the game of football. The family's love for this game started with, and came from, their father's passion for it." … Hoke also entertained another idea for spring practices: a scrimmage against another opponent. The idea was proposed by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and written about Wednesday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The NCAA currently does not permit spring scrimmages between Division I football programs.

"I think that'd be kind of cool," Hoke said of the idea. "I thought of it before, whether we do like the NFL, different teams going to different places." … Michigan Stadium will host two events April 14. The Wolverines will play their annual spring football game at noon, and the Michigan men's lacrosse team will host Ohio State at 2:30 p.m., a rivalry game dubbed "The Battle at The Big House."

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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