Hoke thinks seniors set good example to team

Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint and the senior class have struggled to find victories over their careers.
Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint and the senior class have struggled to find victories over their careers.

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl wasn’t just a chance for Michigan to put its five-star freshman quarterback to the test. It also became the swan song for Michigan’s seniors, including running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan — all of whom left without winning a Big Ten Conference championship.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke, however, considered the big picture when talking about his senior class.

“You know, they've meant a lot,” Hoke said Friday. “I think they've struggled a little more than we'd like for them to. But I think they've persevered a lot at the same time. They've set some good examples and they've set some lessons up that I believe will be built on by the other classes.”

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, however, also provided a glimpse of the future for the Wolverines and their quarterback situation.

“We wanted to make sure when we recruited a quarterback, we wanted a guy who was athletic and could step up in the pocket and do all those things,” Hoke said. “[Shane Morris] is that guy. He's a guy that can get the perimeter for you. We're very excited about what he brings to the table.”

STILL BOOTED: While quarterback Devin Gardner was not available for Saturday’s game against Kansas State, the redshirt junior was on the field during Michigan’s pregame warmups in his road jersey and sweatpants, and lingered near the end zone on crutches and in a walking boot.

Gardner did not play Saturday because of turf toe, an injury to his left foot that he sustained in Michigan’s final regular-season game. CBSSports.com reported this week that Gardner has a broken bone in his left foot, but Hoke reiterated Friday that Gardner has “a turf toe issue.”

Gardner told Michigan’s radio network broadcasters that he was injured during the second series in the third quarter of Michigan’s 42-41 loss to No. 7 Ohio State.

THE BRAND: The Portland Business Journal reported this week that Michigan’s contract with Adidas stipulates that it will remain the No. 1 school in the athletic apparel company’s portfolio.

Per the Portland Business Journal, there is a clause in Michigan’s contract with the company that says if Adidas extends a more lucrative contract to another college or university, "then Adidas agrees to make a written offer to grant [Michigan] that same more favorable" deal. Michigan received a $6.5 million bonus when it signed with Adidas in 2008, receives $3.8 million each year and receives more than $4 million each year in apparel and equipment.

END OF THE LINE: Frank Beckmann called his final game as Michigan football’s play-by-play announcer Saturday in Arizona.

Beckmann has broadcasted Michigan football games since 1981, and was also a broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Lions. Beckmann called his last game at Michigan on Nov. 30 against Ohio State.

END OF AN ERA: Saturday’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl — previously known as the Insight.com Bowl and the Copper Bowl — was the final game with the Big Ten bowl tie-in, as the Pac-12 and the Big 12 will have the bowl tie-ins beginning in 2014. Both Kansas State and Michigan will split a payout of $6.65 million.

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