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Posted on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

Brady Hoke says Wolverines need to become better finishers and more notes

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan coach Brady Hoke, sporting a new goatee at Tuesday's practice, said afterward that his Wolverines need to become more consistent before the season starts Sept. 3 against Western Michigan.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke says his team has made progress over the first 20 practices of camp, but the club still has work to do when it comes to finishing.

Hoke said Tuesday that the Wolverines ran through roughly 120 plays during Saturday’s scrimmage, and at about the midway point, things started to become sluggish.

“Overall, the physicalness that we played with over about 120 plays was pretty good,” said Hoke, whose club will scrimmage again Friday before voting on captains Sunday. “One of the things we have to become is a finishing team.

“We had a little bit of a letdown after play 65. It just seems like it wasn’t as crisp, (didn’t have the same tempo), wasn’t as physical.”

Hoke added that the team was able to pick up the pace during a short goal line drill, and again during a two-minute offense period, but that the general consistency day in and day out still isn’t quite where it needs to be.

The Wolverines’ first-year coach explained that there are still days where one side of the football will look impressive, but may be outdone by the other side the next day.

“I think we’ve made some progress, I think we moved the dial in every area,” he said. “The thing we have to do is become more consistent as a team. When we do some competitions as a team where we define winners and losers, the defense will be good one day. And the next day the offense is good.

“As a head coach, you’re neutral to all of that -- but there has to be more consistency when you look at both sides of the ball.”

Kicking race still tight
Hoke said Tuesday that the competition for two of the three kicking spots is still going strong between true freshman Matt Wile and redshirt sophomores Seth Broekhuizen and Brendan Gibbons.

Wile is currently slated to handle the kickoffs, Hoke said, but the race for punter and placekicker is still up for grabs - with Wile and Broekhuizen fighting for the punting spot, and Wile and Gibbons competing for the kicking position. Starting punter Will Hagerup was suspended for the first four games of the season.

Hoke added that all kicking spots could be finalized Sunday.

“We chart every kick, everything they do,” he said. “Right now, Brendan is probably kicking the best overall -- when you get some distance, though, Matt’s a pretty good weapon to have.”

Hoke mum on attrition
When asked Tuesday if he was concerned about the departures of freshman offensive lineman Tony Posada and junior receiver Je’Ron Stokes earlier this week becoming a growing issue, Hoke said that, no, he was not.

“To be honest with you, it was the right thing for them and how they felt,” he said. “We wish them the best and they’re great kids. But, sometimes kids move on for different reasons -- homesick or whatever it might be. I’m not going to get into that, but it usually works out for everybody.”

Hoke also said that he has not yet thought about the impact the recent departures may have on the size of next season’s recruiting class.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about that. If there’s more scholarships that we can give, then we’re going to try and fill them. But I haven’t thought about it yet.”

Odds and ends
Hoke said he has not yet discussed with the coaching staff the possibility of getting sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner snaps during the season opener against Western Michigan. ... Michigan will begin installing WMU packages at practice Wednesday in preparation for the season opener, which is Sept. 3. ... Hoke added that Michigan will likely go into next week with a two-deep depth chart in order, but that it could still change prior to kickoff against WMU. “We’re committed to playing the guys who represent Michigan the way Michigan should be represented,” Hoke said. “They’re evaluated every day.”

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Blu n Tpa

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

hbM You will find trying to explain how successful Coach Carr was at Michigan to the MCC a total waste of time. Although Coach Carr spent most of his adult life working to make the University of Michigan a better place, with values the players and fans found unblemished for over 3 decades, there are those who find fault with the Hall of Fame Coach. Even now when the record shows that Michigan lost to programs that used ineligible players in big games, some still hold him to an unacceptable harsh standard. How do I respond to those attacks against Coach Carr by the MCC. I just let them ramble. They just send posts back and forth supporting the unsupportable, slapping each other on the back figuratively, and defend the indefensible, the WCiMFH. With judgement like that I'm sure Coach Carr welcomes their lack of support. I know I do. TiM Go Blue!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

"We had a little bit of a letdown after play 65."-- It looks like Coach is preparing these guys as well and thoroughly as he's done everything else so far. I will love to see these guys on the field: sustaining after that many plays. It's getting near that time: Tuesday evening around 9:20 PM, I was riding my bike on Packard when I heard --- the Michigan Band practicing down on Elbel Field. From the amount of practices they take, that band has got to be as fit as the football team. Ten days: I can hardly believe the season is upon us. Go Blue!


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

it takes a Troll to know a Troll Vande Bunte

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

I like the fact that Hoke has gone on record saying that the coaches feel they will have 'failed these kids', if they do not win the big ten championship. .......I Agree. We have not had a coach here this 'direct' since Bo Schembechler & Gary Moeller. It is refreshing! No appologies..and NO EXCUSES. Teams win titles, not individuals, and I think Hoke understand that. And although, I supported RR when he was here, I also believe that defense wins league titles. But to win a NC Michigan must play BOTH offense AND defense. Time will tell. I think we have the kids to win number 43...IF....we can stay relativley injury free.

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 3:02 p.m.

I didn't make any comment about Carr. Why do you Carr appologists always have to bring everything back to LC? Can't you move on? I have supported every coach here, from Bump Elliott to Bo, to Mo, to Carr, to Rodriguez. I suggest that you get behind Hoke.


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 1:37 a.m.

I don't know what you have against Carr, Lorain, but your continued posts seem to always include a dig against Carr. Your point about "no excuses" surely should not indict Carr. He looked in the mirror on any number of occasions and blamed his own coaching for the failures (except when Spartan Bob jobbed the 2001 Michigan team). He was and is a stand up guy who is as admirable as Bo and Mo.


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

I agree that there is a very sober undertone when Brady sand Mattison talk about the D. Let's hope with better technique they can start making some solo tackles and getting off blocks. I quickly grew tired of watching the ball carrier run past 7 Michigan defenders who could neither tackle nor get off a block. I'm not expecting great things on D but do expect we will see some improvement.

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

Given what we witnessed last year on special teams, the fact that Gibbons and Broekhuizen are competing with Wile at all indicates that a lot of their troubles stemmed from a lack of confidence from RichRod's staff. Everything we have read about Wile indicates that the kid is GOOD. If Gibbons and Broekhuizen are still the race, it means they must be performing at a much higher level than they did last year, otherwise it wouldn't even be close to a competition. Good coaching matters. I mentioned this in a previous thread a few weeks ago, that if you can be coached up to play at a level beyond your talent level, you can also be coached down to a level far below your talent level. I think with RichRod's lackadaisical (for you OSU and MSU trolls reading who aren't used to such big words, that means lazy/uninterested) attitude towards special teams, Gibbons and Broekhuizen certainly weren't being coached up, were they?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

OK, tbf, what would be YOUR explanation for their performance last year and the fact that they are competitive THIS year. Because we KNOW that, in YOUR world, the WCiMFH NEVER did anything wrong. Good Night and Good Luck

Blu n Tpa

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

If either of last year's kickers show a consistent pattern of making their kicks, given the field hasn't changed, the goal posts are the same, and they didn't have a brain transplant there can be only one reason. And we are all glad you "Got it" finally. Coaching is the answer this year and not coaching was the answer last year. We like Coach Hoke. TiM Go Blue!


Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

"the fact that Gibbons and Broekhuizen are competing with Wile at all indicates that a lot of their troubles stemmed from a lack of confidence from RichRod's staff." "I think with RichRod's lackadaisical (for you OSU and MSU trolls reading who aren't used to such big words, that means lazy/uninterested) attitude towards special teams, Gibbons and Broekhuizen certainly weren't being coached up, were they?" Oh boy. Here we go again. Yes, obviously the reason Gibbons and Seth couldn't kick it through the uprights is because they had no confidence under Rich and they weren't "coached up". Got it.


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

Love Hoke and his staff and I think in due time, he will bring Michigan back to greatness, but until the fall practices have begun, I honestly don't think he realized how bad that defence actually was 7-5 with one rivalry win is a reasonable expectation, for this year, anything less will be disappointing, and anything more will be great to build on for 2012

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Good observation and as tough as it would be to live with, 7-5, with a win over MSU, Neb, or tsopio, would be an acceptable start. And, the loses would have to competitive games where lack of depth or a bad bounce played a major role in the defeat. I don't like losing, but if the team can take something away from it, it hurts less and doesn't linger as long. TiM Go Blue!


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

A lot of the articles don't talk at all about Craig Roh. What is going on with him? He was great as a frosh but not so much since then. Anybody know what is the story?


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

Thanks for those updates. I hope that we see roh just become a dominator. I think he has it in him.

Nick Baumgardner

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

One thing to point out from Tuesday was that Hoke said the team would have a two-deep going into next week, but that it could be 'lost' rather quickly. So, as we all know, this stuff will continue to be fluid basically day in and day out. Also, you're going to have your starting four up front – but in a perfect world, the staff will want to roll over several bodies throughout games to keep things fresh. Also, as far as Roh, Kyle Meinke mentioned him in a story about defensive line taken from Tuesday's availability. <a href=""></a>

1st Down

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Our new DL coach Montgomery raved about Craig in a recent interview on mgoblue.comm countdown to kickoff... go there and check it out heartbreak... i think Craig will do well this year..he finally has been put in a position to utilize his talents as a rush DE... lookout Big Ten, Craig Roh is comin....multiple TFLs this year for Roh is my prediction. Go Blue.

1st Down

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

Nice article. 3 of the things I like about Coach Hoke: He is analytical and decisive and tells it like it is. He notices things that others may not *perhaps his position coaching is the basis for this... and he uses those little things that he notices as the basis for motivation for his team... finally, he directs criticism towards his team to the media in a way that is more far more motivating, than it is discrediting... and that is hugely important when you have a young team that needs to build its confidence.


Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 10:35 a.m.

I just love Coach Hoke's persona, his demeanor and the goals he sets for the team. The man is in charge and commands respect from his players, you can just tell. As far as guys leaving the program, honestly, I'm glad that guys who aren't going to play that much or get home sick at the drop of a hat are guys I don't want on the team I root for anyway. Stokes was supposedly a 4 star receiver in high school, can you say over rated? I watched a game with Posada's Plant High School team last year and he was getting worked IMHO and I thought to myself at that time that he wasn't as good as his billing. I'm really happy about the way Hoke and Staff are recruiting and the intelligence and quality character of the young men they're bringing in. Guys like that don't quit and are tough and smart enough to stick with something and not be quitters.