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Posted on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

'Beat Ohio:' Michigan football coach Brady Hoke sticks with pet name for Buckeyes

By Rich Rezler


No red? Check. Referring to the Buckeyes simply as "Ohio?" Check. Brady Hoke faces his biggest rival for the first time as Michigan's head football coach on Saturday.

Angela J. Cesere |

It started quickly, just 151 seconds into his introductory press conference.

After thanking Michigan officials for the new job and his family for their support, new Michigan football coach Brady Hoke set the tone for the next 10 months.

“Growing up in the state of Ohio, I had a lot of respect for Coach (Woody) Hayes and loved Coach Hayes,” Hoke said. “But I was not a fan of that university in Ohio because my buddies were, so I had to be different. I became a Michigan fan, fanatical about the University of Michigan.”

For the next 40 minutes of that Jan. 12 press conference, Hoke refused to say the words Ohio State, referring to the university as simply Ohio or “that university in Ohio” or “that school in Ohio.”

It wasn’t designed to get a quick rise from fans or provide an early sound bite for television cameras. Hoke has adamantly refused to say the words ever since, and much of the program — from players to staffers to fans — have followed suit.

Thumbnail image for VanBergen_Ryan_11.jpg

Ryan Van Bergen on Brady Hoke and "Ohio:" "I actually have no idea why he calls them that. To be honest, it doesn’t matter. We know what school he’s talking about."

Take, for instance, the chant that filled Michigan Stadium with six minutes remaining in the Wolverines’ 45-17 win against Nebraska last Saturday.

“Beat O-hi-o!”

Every year prior to the Brady Hoke era, that chant has been “Beat the Buckeyes.”

“Always have,” Hoke said with a shrug Monday, when he was asked why he says Ohio rather than Ohio State.

Since when? “Always. So whenever always is.”

Michigan players have been saying it since the day Hoke was hired. Or maybe it was the next day. Senior captain Kevin Koger couldn’t remember for sure.

But Koger says it was their first or second meeting that Hoke introduced the way they would start every team gathering. It includes Hoke saying “Beat,” and the team replying, “Ohio.”

“He came in January, and we’ve been saying it ever since, and now we’re finally here,” Koger said. “There’s definitely a little more emotion when we do say it this week.”

Senior defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen says he calls this week’s opponent Ohio for a simple reason.

“That’s what Coach Hoke says, that’s what I say,” Van Bergen said. “He’s my leader. He’s my coach.”

Koger and Van Bergen both said they’re not sure why Hoke won’t say Ohio State.

“I actually have no idea why he calls them that. To be honest, it doesn’t matter,” Van Bergen said. “We know what school he’s talking about. There are more important things to try to decipher than to figure out why he calls them that.”

It’s just one of numerous superfluous steps Hoke has taken to place a focus on the rivalry game. There’s a clock counting down the time until kickoff and a sign counting up the days since Michigan has beat the Buckeyes.

Hoke also says he won’t wear red — he never did when he coached at Ball State or San Diego State, two schools that include red in their color scheme — and won’t allow players to wear red in Schembechler Hall.

It all goes back to that introductory press conference. At about the 31-minute mark, Hoke was asked specifically about the Ohio State rivalry. He answered the question with podium-pounding intensity.

“I think that rivalry is special, it’s like none other in football,” he said. “It is the most important game on that schedule. Not that the others aren’t important, but it is the … Most. (Pound.) Important. (Pound.) Game. (Pound.) On. (Pound.) That. (Pound.) Schedule.

“It’s very important to me. It’s almost personal.”


Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

The osu : You've noticed that its' tuesday already, and no one, is posting football comments yet. So yep, I'll play. My take is that OSU will feature a stronger passing game this week, now that Posey is back! That puts major pressure on the UM DB's, and I'm just not sure thay can handle Posey. Plus OSU will turn the other receivers into pickers, eh, blockers so that Posey's YAC goes up. That in turn should help the run game some. I think Mattison comes after Miller, under the assumption he's too young to handle the pressure. If Mattison can squeeze him, he'll cough the ball up, trying to do more than he should. Herron has had good games against UM, but this '11 defense can flat out crush this kid. Mattison will attempt to eliminate his big runs, and turn him into a grinder. OSU'll try to knock DRob out of the game, in the same manner that Dantonio did, in the msu game. We'll see a lot of cheap shots, by osu, knowing that they can disrupt his comfort level. And if they land a few shots, UM may be playing with Gardner, and while a good athlete, he has little experience. Robinson will need to relie on the talent around him. If he does, it'll be a LONG day for THEosu. So as usual, this game wil be won or lost, by the UM Oline. This group has been playing in the shadows of the defense all year. Frankly, I expect a MUCH stiffer challenge from the buckeye defense, than from the Huskers. I felt the Huskers were a bit slow, overall, and except for Devonte David, were not that impressive. The osu DB's historicaly are very quick, and that will test DRob's passing acuracy, as they 'close on the ball' so quickly. Not sure he comprehends what is in store for him. osu's only hope, will be to keep the score down. If this gets into a track meet, the buckeyes are toast. UM wins this one..31 - 14. So, what's your take?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 4:18 a.m.

"This game wil be won or lost, by the UM Oline" -- yep. If they can move the OSU Dline this turns into a long day for OSU. If they allow penetration then we'll see a lot of those frustrating 3 yard losses by Denard or Toussaint. Michigan doesn't really have an answer for a defensive line that gets penetration on our O-line. Frankly, I'm not sure any team does ... I'm starting to wonder if defensive penetration really is the key indicator for a game's outcome. Unless the QB is exceptionally gifted at handling that pressure and has a quick and accurate release. The coin has two sides ... if Michigan's D-line gets penetration then OSU offense will struggle. If BOTH team's D gets penetration ... well, then we have a 9-7 ballgame. :-)

Jeffy Sklarinsky

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

Check out these amazing pics from the Nebraska game <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> . Bring on ohio this weekend. GO BLUE!


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

Hey a2com. staff, Check this one out from the Columbus Dispatch that revealed who was behind that Victoria Secrets' infamous &quot;hail to the victors on a state shirt&quot; caper: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

UM&gt;O-hi-o There, we have stated our airtight case. TiM


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

This just in from DetNews that obviously didn't get the memo from Hoke. Incorrect Headline: Ohio State will play in bowl game if permitted From The Detroit News: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The correct headline should be this: &quot;O-hi-o tries to finagle the NCAA again&quot; A vocabulary lesson for the buckeyes: fi·na·gle [fi-ney-guhl] v. fi·na·gled, fi·na·gling, fi·na·gles Informal 1. To obtain or achieve by indirect, usually deceitful methods: finagle a day off from work. 2. To cheat; swindle: shady stockbrokers who finagle their clients out of fortunes. 3. To con the NCAA into granting whatever O-hi-o wants. v.intr. To use crafty, deceitful methods.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.

Steelmen: Good point. The issue isn't the verbage &quot;Ohio&quot; vs. &quot;Ohio State.&quot; However, you're surprisingly quiet about the game. I've posted my prediction, 23-14 Buckeyes. And how I see the game. Why won't Blue fans state their case?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

My opinion has shifted due to your amazing and most magnificent words. Michigan will only win by 14 points (NOT 51) like I originally predicted. I humbly apologize for NOT showing enough respect to those unbearable cheaters down in O-Lie-O. The almost Tressel-less tusslers (Dick Tressel is still around If memory serves me correct), will play hard to try and save their less than stellar season. They will moo like cows and feed well from the grass in the Big House. But in the end, Michigan will milk them and drain them of all hope. I will be happy if former coach Jim Tressel watches the game from close by and suffers many fits of rage as he does (He deserves to suffer).


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:37 a.m.

And another thing, so you think ohio will score 23 on us when you barely got 14 at home against PSU? Really? No TD's for you in this game, 3 measly FG's, enjoy the game.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

UH, well I've predicted M 27 ohio 9 on many of my comments over the last couple of days. There you go, you ain't movin' the ball on us, this is what happens your team has to play with eligible players.

1st Down

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

Michigan 31 Ohio 13 there you have it, since you aksed


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

The NCAA offers O-hi-o with two choices of the 5-5-5 plan: Full restituition of their 2010 football revenues (55 millions) to be divided amongst the BIG teams with the exception of Penn State and Nebraska and the next 5 games against UM at A2 Or a 5 year bowl ban with a loss of 5 scholarships per season for the next 5 years


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

Lets win this one for Rich Rodriguez, I hope he beats USC every year because we never can

Elton in Atlanta

Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

I wish Arizona was a stock so I could short it.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:19 a.m.

Hey Mr. 57-44-6, Without your boy (the WCIMFH) that record is 57-41-6. I hope this lends some perspective for you, not to mention that in 2 of those games were some of the most lopsided losses in the history of that rivalry. So what do you think about that, huh?


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

USC is going to beat RR twice per year -- once in the recruiting battle, then again on the field.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:16 p.m.

Still pining, eh? LMBO! Perhaps you should just move to Arizona...? We'll try not to miss you too much. ;^)


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

His humor is well underappreciated. &quot;always. So whenever always is.&quot;


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

&quot;almost&quot; personal. LOL.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

This is the kind of pointless reporting that fills the 'ohio week' press releases. More to the point, lets discuss the buckeye defense, and/or lack of offense. Who will actually play, and what about special teams How has their kicking game been? Whats' going on with their O-line? Will buckeye fans outnumber michigan supporters again this year? Will UM students be selling their tickets to buckeye fans for cash for the holidays?


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

Let's see, Thanksgiving is on Thursday and the game is on Saturday, so what's the problem? You can do both, many M students live in Michigan anyway or don't go home for the Holiday. I don't want excuses, go to the darn game!!!

David Vande Bunte

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

Thanksgiving with family or Michigan/Ohio State? No brainer. Get KFC, pretend its turkey, and go to the game!

Larry Weisenthal

Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

&gt;&gt;Will UM students be selling their tickets to buckeye fans for cash for the holidays?&lt;&lt; That's what I don't get. Probably the 2nd most important event on the University calendar (after graduation), and the kids are forced to choose between missing Thanksgiving with their families and missing The Game. On the other hand, it's nice that there is one less week layoff between the end of the season and the bowl game. That was always a huge disadvantage for the Big 10 - ending the season two weeks before the rest of the best of the BCS programs.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 7:19 p.m.

Lorraine, Don't fall off the wagon since you were doing so great last week, what happened? :) TiM


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

Almost as pointless as the claim that Michigan had no talent from 2002-2007.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

I listened to that interview this morning. What a hoot! He does indeed, get it.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

Even if U-M loses to &quot;Ohio&quot;, the Wolverines are on the rise and have a bright future ahead of them so the whole season shouldn't be considered a failure if they lose this one game, but I sure hope U-M can end the 7-year drought and beat the Buckeyes. It would be very nice indeed and be the icing on the cake of a very nice season.


Wed, Nov 23, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

It's always nice when a new coach can come in and have a strong core group of guys that the previous coach recruited...


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

He. Gets. It.


Tue, Nov 22, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

Thank God He does!