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Posted on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke not worried about losing 6 players or depth at safety

By Kyle Meinke

For an analysis of the Carvin Johnson departure, click here.

The Michigan football program announced late Tuesday that sophomore safety Carvin Johnson no longer is with the team.

He is the sixth player to leave the Wolverines since July, and the second defensive back in the past week.

Coach Brady Hoke is not worried about the attrition.

"Happens in football," Hoke said this afternoon.

Thumbnail image for Johnson_Carvin_11.jpg

Carvin Johnson

Johnson's departure follows freshman cornerback Gregg Brown, who left the team last week. Others to have left the program include junior receiver Je'Ron Stokes and freshmen tight end Chris Barnett, offensive lineman Tony Posada and linebacker Kellen Jones.

A reason for Johnson's exit, much like the others, was not given.

Johnson played in every game this season, six at safety. He had 14 tackles, and played an important reserve role at a position of tenuous depth.

Starting junior safety Jordan Kovacs did not play last week against Purdue, and his status is unknown for Saturday's game against Iowa (Noon, ESPN). Hoke said he practiced Tuesday and is "day to day."

The emergence of true freshman Blake Countess at cornerback has helped mitigate the depth issues at safety, as it allowed Michigan to move senior starting cornerback Troy Woolfolk to safety. He is listed as the backup at both the free and strong safety positions behind Thomas Gordon and Kovacs, respectively.

"When we started, (safety was) probably one of the deepest slots we were at," Hoke said. "With the progress Blake has made, that's helped, because we're able to put Troy over there."

Hoke also was asked whether safety Marvin Robinson, who hasn't played since the Notre Dame game and has battled an undisclosed injury, is available to play at Iowa.

"You've got to be healthy to play," he said.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Most of these players leaving are looking for playing time and unfortunately they where not going to see any. The only player leaving of any significance was posada. Next year whole new group of Coach Hoke's type of player is coming in and many look outstanding. In my opinion these defections are good for program. So goodbye


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 5:30 a.m.

It's all good. Johnson wasn't getting a lot of playing time, and now with Woolfolk moving to safety he was going to get even less. That's the case with all the guys who left, they weren't getting playing time and the saw the writing on the wall. Other guys on the team are better players and with lots of top recruits coming in they were discouraged; so they quite- hoping to go to a program were they stand a better chance of success. This is good, more scholarships to give next year. There are guys red and gray shirted this year who can play safety and several top incoming freshman next year. Michigan still can give a minimum 3 more scholarships. The need for incoming wide receivers and Defensive tackles is greater.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

I thought Hoke is a great coach and leader, not sure why these players don't like his coaching style but I'm sure Dave Brandon will give us insight on why these student athletes left. They must not be Michigan Men because they're leaving. Oh wait, both Hoke and Matteson also left the school for better opportunities in the past.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

And then both came back realizing there is nothing better, not even the NFL. UM is the best.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:02 a.m.

I can see Hoke on the recruiting trail now, " If you come to me Michigan you will be part of the family, unless you turn out to be the red headed step child, then we will send you packing".


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

Or, "If you come to Michigan you'll be given the opportunity to compete for your position. It won't be easy. The competition will be hard. Nothing is guaranteed. The coaches will expect a lot from you ... perhaps more than you think you can give. We're shaping men of character at Michigan. Do you want to be a part of that?"


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

Usually, these bail outs are explained... well after they're an issue. It's legitimate for coaches & universities to RESPECT the privacy of their students & student athletes. I think there's even a legal requirement for them to do so. These players are student athletes and that means they may have issues in any number of areas. We, as fans, are not entitled to any explanations because of these factors. One thing I am sure of: anyone who has overcome the pile of challenges Michigan's football program has suffered under (as of only 10 months ago), is certainly capable of knowing what he can say publicly and what he cannot say publicly. IMO: I'd rather have six players leave "at an odd time" w/o comment than have that many players leaving while making negative comments about the coach - OR - talking to Free Press reporters about abuses which later become NCAAF penalties. Lets be grateful for what we have now - versus what we had LAST YEAR.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 4:21 a.m.

and the post of the day goes to Tru2Blu


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.


David Frederick Baldner

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:47 p.m.

We are having a very good season; probably our best year since 2006. Everyone should be happy. ...but, when you're talking about the winningest program ever, you know 'best...since 2006' isn't saying a whole lot! Wonder if it's a Univeristy thang keeping the lid on it or a Hoke thang... go green!

jeff blue

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

If something id going on, does anyone have a clue as what?? Seems strange to me as well. Sounds totally voluntary, but it makes us wonder. We are having a very good season; probably our best year since 2006. Everyone should be happy. BEAT IOWA!


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

This departure does concern me. This is a young man who was getting a lot of field time. He had passed through the rigors of training camp, etc. And he is leaving mid-way through what is so far seeming to be a better than expected season? I have to concur with Lorain. There is something we are not hearing about.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

Hmmmm... Okay. I was neither implying a problem with the current direction of the team, nor a dissatisfaction with the changes made by the coaching staff nor the performance of the team. Nor was I trying to say that I felt UM Football was obligated in any way to give us more information than they have. I was merely stating a fact: "There is something we are not hearing about." I do wish Carvin Johnson and the other young men who have left much success in their football careers (just not as much as Michigan! ;^) ).

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

I can see a lot of kids going 'over the side' in the early days of Spring practice, or fall camp, when you get a new coaching staff, but to lose 6 kids at this point in the season is a bit strange. Something is going on, and we are NOT getting at the real story.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 4:19 a.m.

Yea man.. is all a big conspiracy.. Or, maybe not everyone RR brought in can hack it under Hoke? Or maybe since there all bench players, they want to go somewhere where they can compete? Those who stay...


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Of course we are not getting the real story, amazing how everybody thinks they should be privy to all information. "But to lose 6 kids at this point in the season is a bit strange",,,,, Why is this so strange, why cry conspiracy? these were RR's players, right? RR is not here, right? you don't know how these players are progressing in practice, right? isn't Woolfolk being moved to safety? maybe that had something to do with this knee jerk reaction from Johnson , who knows? Point being , wait, the real story sometimes takes more than a day.