Michigan vs. Ohio State football at night? Not a bright idea, football coach Brady Hoke says
CHICAGO — As Big Ten Conference athletic directors add more night games to football schedules, there’s one game Michigan football coach Brady Hoke says should only be played under the sun.
Michigan vs. Ohio State.
While it is unlikely the league will drop its long-standing policy of no November night games, Hoke made it clear the Wolverines’ biggest rivalry game will remain an afternoon affair.
“No,” Hoke said of moving Michigan-Ohio State to a prime-time evening slot. “Not that one.”
The Wolverines will play the first night game at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10 when they play host to Notre Dame in an 8 p.m. game (ESPN).
Michigan Stadium now has permanent lights, and it’s likely there will be more night games in the future, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said last week. Hoke has coached in several night games.
“I think this game is a special one, obviously, when you play a national rival like Notre Dame,” Hoke said. “I think our last year at Ball State we played eight night games because of the connection with ESPN. And at San Diego State we played a lot of night games.”
Hoke, like many coaches, isn’t a fan of night games.
When a team is on the road, the players often have to kill an entire day in the hotel. Under former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, Michigan players would often go on long walks and mill around the hotel to pass time and to keep their legs moving instead of watching games on television all day.
Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration Mark Rudner said the league is going to have more night games in 2011 in September and October than ever before. However, he said it is unlikely the conference would go to November night games.
“The networks would love to have more night games, but our institutions would like to keep it where it’s at,” Rudner said. “Their appetite for prime-time football is pretty much tapped out right now.”
Hoke, though, views night games as something coaches just have to deal with.
“As a coach, I think you always like to kick the ball off at 12:05 and let’s go,” Hoke said. “But with television today, the positiveness that you can get for your league, that’s where it starts. It is something you deal with, and you have a template of how you’re going to do it, day of the game and all those things.
“I hope not to play a bunch of them, but you’re going to play them, so you adjust.”