Loading…
Friday, August 01, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Hoke stays steadfast ahead of UM’s clash with ‘Ohio’

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gives instructions against Iowa Saturday, 11/17/12, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gives instructions against Iowa Saturday, 11/17/12, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

ANN ARBOR — Brady Hoke won’t im­me­di­ately show his hand.

When it comes to the emo­tion — or the height­ened emo­tion — of be­ing a coach in the Ohio State-Mich­i­gan foot­ball ri­valry, the sec­ond-year Wol­v­er­ines coach won’t perk up at the men­tion of the up­com­ing game.

His voice doesn’t take on a higher oc­tave.

In­stead, his jaw stays firm.

For a coach from Ohio, who is about to face the pro­gram he calls “Ohio,” Hoke isn’t giv­ing much away when it comes to his ex­cite­ment — if there is any — for play­ing in one of the na­tion’s more sto­ried ri­val­ries.

Or, as quar­ter­back Devin Gard­ner la­beled the yearly Ohio State-Mich­i­gan show­down, “the great­est ri­valry in sports.”

At first glance, Hoke seems un­moved by the pros­pect of fac­ing Ohio State for the sec­ond time as a UM coach. And the na­tive of Ket­ter­ing, Ohio, seems un­moved by the fact that his team, ranked 20th in the As­so­ci­ated Press, will face an un­de­feated Buck­eyes squad.

“We’re play­ing for a cham­pi­on­ship, still,” Hoke said, re­fer­ring to Mich­i­gan’s pur­suit of a Big Ten ti­tle. “If you need any­thing to get amped up more, or what­ever, for this foot­ball game, then you don’t know col­lege foot­ball. And you don’t un­der­stand the im­por­tance of this great ri­valry.”

In two sea­sons of play­ing un­der Hoke, of­fen­sive guard Patrick Oma­meh spoke to Hoke’s fer­vor as a coach and in re­la­tion to the Ohio State-Mich­i­gan ri­valry.

“He’s an in­tense guy,” said Oma­meh, a fifth-year se­nior from Co­lum­bus. “Al­ways fo­cused on the task at hand, who­ever the op­po­nent may be. He’s also a guy who’s from Ohio, who un­der­stands this ri­valry and what it means. You can tell that it’s some­thing that’s im­por­tant to him — as it is to ev­ery­body else as­so­ci­ated with this pro­gram.”

In nearly 30 years of coach­ing, Hoke has spent 10 sea­sons at Mich­i­gan. Of all the games that Hoke has been in­volved in against Ohio State, one game sticks out the most — and not last year’s 40-34 win over the Buck­eyes in Ann Ar­bor. Nor the few games he watched grow­ing up in south­west­ern Ohio. Be­cause in a foot­ball-heavy Hoke fam­ily, who had time to sit down and watch when there were games to be coached and played?

Hoke was an as­so­ci­ate head coach who over­saw the de­fen­sive line at Mich­i­gan un­der Lloyd Carr in 2002, when Mich­i­gan lost 14-9 af­ter a come-from-be­hind ef­fort by Ohio State — and Hoke re­called de­tails from that game.

But, he added quickly, “I can’t speak to win­ning down there or los­ing down there, be­cause I’ve done both.”

Yet when he came to Mich­i­gan in 2011, Hoke made it a point to make a few whole­sale changes in the pro­gram. In­clud­ing an ob­vi­ous change in the pro­gram’s lex­i­con.

Play­ers said Hoke for­bade any­body as­so­ci­ated with the pro­gram to call Ohio State by its proper ti­tle, in­stead re­fer­ring to the school as sim­ply, and maybe even de­ri­sively, “Ohio.”

“And,” Gard­ner said, “that’s just how it is.”

Yet be­fore he ended his Mon­day me­dia avail­abil­ity, Hoke gave an inch, maybe two, when it came to his feel­ings on the ri­valry week.

“It’s just such a great game,” Hoke said. “From the stand­point of the ri­valry, and the ex­cite­ment about it. I wouldn’t say it ei­ther way. It’s a fun week.”

TOUSSAINT UPDATE: Hoke said run­ning back Fitz­ger­ald Tous­saint was ex­pected to be re­leased from the hos­pi­tal Mon­day, two days af­ter un­der­go­ing sur­gery on his left leg fol­low­ing a grue­some in­jury he sus­tained dur­ing the win over Iowa.

“It went well,” Hoke said of the sur­gery. “He should have a full re­cov­ery. We’ll move for­ward, and he’ll move for­ward.”

Hoke did not elab­o­rate on Tous­saint’s in­jury or the sub­se­quent sur­gery, but he said he ex­pects the red­shirt ju­nior to re­turn for the 2013 sea­son.

BIG TEN HONORS: The Big Ten named Mich­i­gan quar­ter­back Devin Gard­ner its co-of­fen­sive player of the week, shar­ing the hon­ors with Penn State quar­ter­back Matt McGloin. Gard­ner ac­counted for six touch­downs (three rush­ing, three pass­ing) and passed for 314 yards in Satur­day’s 42-17 win over Iowa.

Mich­i­gan line­backer James Ross was named the Big Ten fresh­man player of the week. Ross led Mich­i­gan with 12 tack­les.

Con­tact Rachel Lenzi at:

rlenzi@the­blade.com,

419-724-6510 or on

Twit­ter @RLen­ziBlade.

Slug: SPT UMfb17  The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth  Caption:  Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gives instructions against Iowa Saturday, 11/17/12, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Slug: SPT UMfb17 The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth Caption: Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gives instructions against Iowa Saturday, 11/17/12, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories