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Posted on Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 10:12 a.m.

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke's latest attempt to motivate his players: Personalized tridents

By Kyle Meinke

First-year Michigan football coach Brady Hoke brought several assistants with him from San Diego State. He brought the West Coast offense.

Now, he’s bringing tridents.

Hoke last weekend presented each player with a maize and blue trident that featured their names. The three-pronged spears are an important token for U.S. Navy SEALs, and appear on the group’s insignia.

"We've been studying them a lot," fifth-year senior defensive end Will Heininger said of the Navy SEALs after Tuesday’s practice. "Coach Hoke has a great respect for them, as do we as a team.


Michigan coach Brady Hoke, shown during Tuesday's practice, is motivating his team with tridents inspired by the Navy SEALs and boosted the mood around Schembechler Hall on Tuesday by blasting 'The Victors' from his office for an hour.

Melanie Maxwell |

“Of course, we don't want to compare what we do to what they do, but there are some lessons we can learn from what they do, and teamwork."

Hoke picked up on the tridents during his time at San Diego State, which is near a naval base.

Heininger said players hung them from the ceiling of the team’s conference room. Starting receiver Junior Hemingway said he likes them there because they offer a daily reminder of what the team is striving for: discipline, hard work, accountability.

"Every day, we come in the meeting room, it's the first thing you see," said Hemingway, a fifth-year senior. "You hang it up there for a reason, you just don't hang it up there for nothing. Everybody who comes in knows they have something to work for.”

Added Heininger: “It’s just a reminder, every day, that we can’t do it without each other.”

Tailback could be gameday call

Offensive coordinator Al Borges said Michigan likely will not settle on a running back until game day.


Come back to at noon Thursday to join Kyle Meinke for a live chat. He’ll discuss the latest Wolverines’ news and preview Saturday’s game against Western Michigan. Graham Couch, who covers the Broncos for the Kalamazoo Gazette, will stop by and answer some questions, too.
Hoke and Borges said last week senior Michael Shaw led the competition for Michigan’s tailback job, but sophomore Fitz Toussaint was named co-starter at that spot when the initial depth chart was released Monday.

Shaw is listed first on the two-deep, but only an “or” separates him from Toussaint, who received the first carry of Tuesday's practice and turned it into a touchdown.

The competition could continue into the season -- even lasting multiple games.

“Sometimes, you don't know until you play, lights go on, guys are tested," Borges said. "Are they going to hold onto the ball? Are they going to beat people in the open field, break tackles?

“Sometimes, you get a different animal when it's game time. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad."

Junior Vincent Smith and sophomore Stephen Hopkins could receive occasional carries, but Borges said Shaw and Toussaint will be his primary ballcarriers to begin the season.

Cranking up the tunes

Hoke created a buzz Tuesday when he blasted the Michigan fight song from his office at Schembechler Hall.

For one hour.

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison could only shake his head at Hoke, whom he calls his “best friend in the whole world.”

“We knew we had to come in and have a really, really high energy practice,” Mattison said, “and there we’ve got the fight song going upstairs for an hour, from 1:30 to 2:30 (p.m.), and I’m just bouncing in my office.

"That's how I know Brady is the right guy for this job."


Junior Hemingway

Hemingway feels for Stonum

Hemingway, who has battled injury and sickness throughout his Wolverines career, knows what it's like not to be able to run through the Michigan Stadium tunnel with his teammates.

It puts him in a unique position to offer sage advice to his roommate, Darryl Stonum, who will feel similar emotions Saturday.

"I just have to be basically a brother to him,” Hemingway said of Stonum, a senior starting receiver who is being redshirted this year after he was charged this summer with the second DUI of his career. “Just keep his head on straight and let him know he’ll be all right. We’ve got his back.

“The good thing is that he’s still on this team. That’s the good thing.”

Jones makes strong-side impression

While junior middle linebacker Kenny Demens and sophomore weak-side linebacker Cam Gordon locked up their jobs early, sophomore Mike Jones had to fend off senior Brandon Herron and junior Brandin Hawthorne until the final days of camp to win the job at strong-side linebacker.

He was one of the few underclassmen to beat out an upperclassman for a job.

What set him apart?

“He’s consistently come out every day trying to do what he’s supposed to do,” Mattison said. “I got a feeling Mike Jones came from a program where he probably … just played sic ‘em football. Now all the sudden, he’s getting coached every single second.

“I see signs of him, ‘OK, you did it right, you stayed back, you didn’t run past the hole,’ that kind of thing.”

Odds and ends

Hoke said during his Big Ten coaches teleconference his defensive attention — which, self-admittedly, is most of his attention — will be paid to Michigan's rush defense, even though Western Michigan ranked 16th last year in passing offense. … Schembechler Hall now is filled with “Game Week” fliers that feature various Western Michigan logos. One that is prominently displayed outside the main doors includes what appears to be a feminine Bronco in women’s clothing.

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



Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:47 a.m.

What does Dantonio use as motivation.....Parole and Pardons?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 6:05 a.m.

This California man brings some much needed tradition to aa, haha. What's worse? Not getting your wings or getting a trident? Maybe Hoke will change from Wolves to Seals? Plays the fight song for one hour to motivate them? And you thought RR yelled a lot on the side lines? This guy is right from Pop Warner. Enjoy!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

Oh Boy, I gotta chime in on this one! Inevitable, I totally disagree with you. Somehow you made the mental leap of Coach Hoke's motivational tool as disrespect for Navy Seal Mike Mansour. That is a tactic to reinforce a weak argument. You passed right over the most important statements that "Coach Hoke has great respect for them, (the Navy Seals) as do we as a team." Blue Gator pointed out the other statement from Will Henniger. Add to that "It's just a reminder, that everyday, we can't do it without each other". Those statements show no disrespect, rather an understanding of team-work that the Navy Seals embrace. The Navy Seal Insignia is called the Trident. It is made up of an Eagle, an Anchor, a black powder pistol and a Trident. By the article, Coach Hoke used only the trident piece as a motivational tool. I, like Blue gator, am a combat Marine from the VietNam era. I've known a couple of Navy Seals and they wear their pride in their hearts, not on their sleeves. I'm sure if you asked a real Navy seal they would be flattered that they were regarded in this manor, along with all the other wonderful ways we Americans regard them. Heck if Hoke wants to use the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, he won't get any crap from this old marine! Sometimes some people just have to find anything to pick at. Semper Fi!

Terry Star21

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:47 a.m.

Good post. I mean no personal attack, but by reading that post by inevitable - one has to consider that maybe it was made up, in an attempt to slight the Wolverines. With all respect to the writer - it has been done before.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

By gum, Elaine is right. A picture would have been great, and also prevented reading too much of the article.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Having viewed [and cried] the tribute to Navy Seal Mike Mansour, I only hope that Coach Hoke is able to impart that measure of proper conduct AT ALL TIMES so evident in the Seals code of conduct. Otherwise, he is trivializing some rare and wonderful instead.

Elaine F. Owsley

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 8:33 p.m.

Could we see a picture? What do they look like? Where are they worn? carried? tattooed?


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

The Tridents are so much BS and very Hoke(y). The players all want to play hard and smart. That is why they are at Michigan. All the players need is a good coach and leader. They k now in their hearts right now if Brady Hoke is that leader.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Now there is a statement I would describe as a real ball of fire.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

Way to go Coach you are the man. Prediction: U of M 31 - Western Michigan 10.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

Way to go Coach Hoke. Passing out tridents is much better than trying to sing Josh Groben songs to try to motivate your players. Go Blue !

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

LOLOLOLOL. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Completely ridiculous. I hope we see something worth watching on Saturday.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

The tridents and blasting Hail to the Victors for an hour the other day puts an exclamtion point that "This is Michigan". I think he wants the players to firmly believe it should be an honor and a privilege to play for the Maize and Blue. Not only would Bo be proud but so would the Great Bob Ufer, the Ultimate Michigan Man. A Michigan Man is about "The Team, The Team, The Team!" More on that later. Coach Hoke has me more reved by the day. Let all of the skeptics roll their eyes.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

MRunner......Just a thought, the skeptics that 'roll their eyes' often wind up on fourth string. No buy in, means no effort, means no PT. That problem will take care of itself.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

"The Victors"


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

I emailed this article to a friend that is a Naval officer. He was not pleased to see any comparison made between what the elite of the military does and some college football team. Handing out a mockery of one of the hardest pieces of regalia that any serviceman could earn? Whats next? Purple Hearts painted Maize and Blue for medical redshirts? Embarrassing move, especially after 30 seals just lost their lives in line of duty. These men never speak or boast about their great sacrifice and service to this country. They earn their trident through the most grueling training process known to man, none of which should ever be used as some shtick to motivate a football team. These men go unknown, they conduct their duty with honor and pay the ultimate price. Here, educate yourself. Pay attention to what fellow seals stamp onto the casket of their fallen comrade. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

Well, I was incensed too with Inevitable apparent inability to conceive a compliment. Its all been said, so Inevitable, put yer tail between your legs and head back to columbus. Stay out of our blogs.

Terry Star21

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 12:18 a.m.

It's inevitable that you will feel very bad about what you just posted. You not only slighted the heroic navel seals but attempted the same on the mighty Wolverines. Shame on you.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

Very sorry that even this has to be politically correct. It is good to know that you are in the minority on this one. Making the Purple Heart comments is dumb. No, that is not next. Bo ran a very military type program. Many other student athletes see their various program tailered to a military model. It is a code: disipline, the team and strive to be your best. No, we don't pay the ultimate price, most of us get that, understood?


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

Don't worry Lorain, it won't kill you, and it will probably pass.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.


Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

Wow...I agree with Missiion brazil on this one. (I better sit down until it passes..just kidding!) But I also think Hoke is HONORING the seals. ..and whatever happened to, 'imitation is the most sincere form of flattery'. maybe I AM getting old, but I think this is a brilliant move by Coach Hoke, and yes...I think the kids WILL buy in. TiM


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I'm a Vietnam USMC vet. I truly respect all the men and women who protect us in the service of their country. All of them, regardless of how &quot;elite&quot; the perception of their various units. Will Heininger said it clearly above: "Of course, we don't want to compare what we do to what they do, but there are some lessons we can learn from what they do, and teamwork.&quot; Obviously, your navy buddy missed that. While I do believe in respecting the various services, none should be deified for their efforts. Hitler and Himmler tried that with the SS, and look where that got their country. Lighten up, Popeye.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Hey Inevitable, ask your Navy buddy what team he roots for, that might shed some light on his comment, I mean you know, it could be inevitable.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

Geez. I wear camouflage when I hunt. I hope I don't piss off any Army Rangers. I shared this article and comment with my brother, a former marine and Michigan fan. He thought is was great and saw it as a tribute, not a &quot;mockery.&quot; His comment was to &quot;tell your swabbie friend to relax.&quot;


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

I do believe Coach Hoke is HONORING the seals by doing this.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Embarrassing move, or embarrassing post? Nothing about is derogatory or undermining of the navy seals.....


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

Its a joy to read this stuff,and what Hoke is doing to motivate his players !! mean while I was reading some trash from Cleveland osu has put up a Tribute wall in the Woody Hayes center for tressell and all the good things he's brought osu football,can't hardly believe it, but it went up yesterday I guess,and here is a little tidbit written by the Columbus dispatch about ticket prices.. &quot; Thanks to months of scandal talk, a relatively ho-hum home schedule and a weak economy, the demand for tickets is way down. Prices are so low that local brokers are offering tickets for below face value. According to StubHub, an online ticket broker, the cheapest ticket to the season opener Saturday against Akron is $45, which is below the face value of $75. Season tickets are available online for as low as $675, about the same as you might pay to buy a ticket to a big Michigan game in the past. "It's the worst that I've seen it in my 15 years of selling tickets," said Ryan Forgacs, president of Main Event Ticket Service. "In 2002, when Tressel took us to the national championship, it took Ohio State tickets to new levels. I remember saying, 'Man, I can't believe we're paying that much.' "Now we've taken a total swing backward and fallen off the cliff," Forgacs said. "Even we, as ticket brokers, have tickets for the first game below face value. I can't remember on a Monday before a home opener ever selling below face value&quot; I'm proud to be a Michigan Fan... TiM GO BLUE..


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

Tri-tackling indeed. Admire Hoke's love of the school and program, but on that whistle Saturday none of the cute stuff matters a whit. Coverage, getting off blocks, making a solo tackle, only the gritty things matter on the field and medals won't help. I think this was behind his statement about being nervous, who wouldn't be? It's been well established that MAC schools are a threat to beat B1G schools now, and many MACs have accomplished offenses that if nothing else pose serious headaches for B1G schools, and the Broncos are certainly experienced and accomplished enough to make it a long day.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

Hmmmm... Now that Coach Hoke is paying them in gum, is this going to raise any red flags for the NCAA? ;^)

Terry Star21

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I gotta love coach Hoke for blasting that fight song for an hour. This is the #1 college fight song in America, and very inspirational. Every time I hear it I want to got out and hit some one very hard, sprint away from a crowd and slam soft drink down on the ground by some poles - then do a little dance. Good choice on the tridents, two things in American that everyone loves and respects - the Navy Seals and the Michigan Football team. I hope coach doesn't burn all his energy up this week - CAN&quot;T WAIT to see him burst out of that tunnel and high five that banner - it's going to bring tears to my eyes. MgoBlueForTiM....&quot;catching the ball, tackling, and scoring some touchdowns&quot;. Too good !


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Motivational techniques like this can be taken to heart, or dismissed with a roll of the eyes. A lot depends on the character and integrity of the man who's using the employing the techniques. My very strong sense is that the players are convinced of Hoke's character and intergrity ... and are convinced of Hoke's desire to develop them into young men of character and integrity. So this trident thing is probably received not as some hokey ploy, but as a sincere gesture from a sincere head coach. I'm convinced these players are ready to walk through walls for Hoke.

Terry Star21

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

Hey buddy, at least he didn't play a Josh Groban song. (sorry, I know that's bad, couldn't help myself).

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Tridents!...Good for Coach Hoke! Here's a thought. Brady just left SanDiego, which is a 'home base' for the Seals. I'm sure he understands and respects that group and their mission. Suggestion to Coach...'discovery channel' has recently filmed 2 or 3, hour long shows, regarding the seals. Have someone view and crop segments of those programs for viewing by the is an incredible story, and one which makes us all proud! 2. Dispite the fact that I am not a big supporter of former coach Carr, perhaps one of his finest coaching techniques occurred in 1997, when he gave each teammate a mountain climbing pick for each game. His montra that year was the long, ever more demanding assent, to the summet of the mountain. Carr based his team buidling exercise, on a then recently published book, and film about an attempt at Mt Everest....'Into Thin Air', (I believe). I suspect that Coach Hoke may be using that as a model here. If so, I think it is a great idea, and one I wish Carr would have stayed with, in later years. Good luck to this 2011 squad as they start their quest for title number 43! Go Blue....beat Western!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Townie, Krakauer made it but the guy from Bloomfield Hills (Lou Kasischke) who was on the same team as K turned around short of the summit. Coach Carr invited Kasischke to speak to the team about his experience. Agree--it is a great book about a really tragic and horrific story. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

It's wasn't an attempt - Jon Krakauer (the author) summitted. Good read, get a copy and read it.

Terry Star21

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Good intentions Lorain and appreciated. I think all the players need though is that token from their leader - they know what to do ! Carr was and will always be a hero to the Michigan faithful. Thanks.....


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

Instead of focusing on tri-dents, on Saturday they should tri- catching the ball, tri- tackling, and tri- scoring some touchdowns.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Rizzle, I get your point, but humor timing is not good. This is true motivation. The Navy SEALS are the most elite and disciplined force in the world. These guys train in and out of the water, running with telephone polls, etc. They represent true honor and belief in our country. Brady used an insignia that represents this...our players deserve to feel that pride. This is Michigan!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

Excuse me Mr. Rizzle, but if you knew Michigan football, you might know that prior to the 1997 season, Coach Carr put a mountain climbing pick in each players locker. That was an inspiration from the story of a blind mountain climber who defeated Everest. We, that is we who all know Michigan football, know how that season turned out. I do, and I know exactly what Coach Hoke is doing and I wish you did too. To present the insignia of the Navy Seals to our Wolverines is a challenge equal to defeating Everest. Go forth and sin no more!

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

&quot;Hoke created a buzz Tuesday when he blasted the Michigan fight song from his office at Schembechler Hall. For one hour.&quot; Awesome. Bo would have been proud. There is absolutely nothing better than having a football coach who loves the team he is coaching as much as we the fans do. I absolutely love the amount of pride Brady Hoke has in being the Michigan head coach.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 10:26 p.m.

Love it!! Good Night and Good Luck

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Well, if there is one thing I can do as well, other than being a loyal Wolverine supporter, it's pulling out pop culture references outta nowhere. Not a diehard movie buff, but I do okay.


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

Uh-oh DVB, looks like you're in line to join the movie clip/quote pointer outers that includes Ghost, Blu n Tpa, 1st Down and myself. Welcome to the crew mate, I enjoy reading your comments very much too. Go Blue and Go Movies!!!

David Vande Bunte

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

Yeah...but barring that, I wouldn't have minded being a fly on the wall in his office, when he started blaring it. You know he sat back in his reclining chair, kicked his feet up on his desk, and had a BIG OL grin on his face. I am thinking Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption kind of imagery...


Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

Amen. I'm telling you what ... I wish I was a fly on the wall in the pre-game speech Hoke delivers this Saturday. My guess is Hoke is going to speak of history and tradition and hard work and character. Probably won't raise his voice much if at all. Probably a few misty eyes in the room during it. Then he's going to ask that team to honor that history and tradition. And then they are going to march into that stadium and take care of business.

lindsay erin

Wed, Aug 31, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

I hope that the members of the team decide to carry these tridents around campus with them.