Brady Hoke: Michigan football team's lines 'not very good right now'
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke has said his chief objective for spring camp is to replenish his offensive and defensive lines.
With only two practices left before Saturday's spring game, he's not happy with what he's seen.
"On either side, it's not very good right now, I can tell you that," Hoke said Tuesday afternoon on a teleconference with reporters. "I think the kids are working, I think they're coming in here with energy and all those things, but I think the expectation level, how physical we want to be as a football team, I would say we're not where we need to be."
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The Wolverines return 15 starters next year, but five of their seven losses come along the trenches. A sixth loss, tight end Kevin Koger, was an extension of the offensive line, which also is losing Rimington Award-winning center David Molk and right tackle Mark Huyge.
Senior Ricky Barnum is the earlier favorite to take over at center, but a dropoff is expected. Molk played the position for his whole life, eventually becoming college football's best last year, and Barnum hasn't played it since he was a high school freshman.
Junior Michael Schofield is expected to take over for Huyge at right tackle. Each of his 10 career starts came at guard last year, although he originally joined the Wolverines as a tackle.
Michigan loses 71 career starts from its offensive line, and replaces them with 16 (zero at their new positions).
That's a significant downgrade in experience -- matched only by the turnover on the defensive line.
Starting tackles Mike Martin and Will Heininger, as well as end Ryan Van Bergen, have graduated. The only returner, senior Craig Roh, is switching from weak- to strong-side end.
Michigan has jumbled its line a bit to accommodate for the losses, sliding junior Jibreel Black from end to tackle and moving sophomore Brennen Beyer from linebacker to end.
Without naming anyone, Hoke said he's particularly concerned about that group.
"I think the guys are really trying to play with the demeanor and the mentality we want to play with, and I see some improvements in that, but from a defensive standpoint, I know we're not near where we need to be," Hoke said.
The massive losses up front also prevent Hoke from holding an intrasquad spring game, as he would like. The Wolverines instead are expected to run drills and some situational plays for their public unveiling Saturday at Michigan Stadium. Kickoff is at noon.
"If we had the choice, I think we'd really like to draft and split up the teams and go at it that way, but we really don't have that luxury because of our depth at our offensive line, our defensive line, a little bit at the receiver position, and it just isn't going to work out that way," Hoke said.
"We'll formulate some ways to make this as game-like as possible."
Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.
Thu, Apr 12, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.
I read Hoke's comments and I hear Bo!!! Go Blue...get better, dig deeper,get physical! There is always something to work on.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.
US Grant once told his generals to stop worrying about what "Bobby" Lee is going to do and let him worry about what they were going to do. Let's stop worrying about the other teams we play and what they might do. They must be worried about Michigan because so many are posting here trying to tell us that Michigan and its coaches are no good. They see the handwriting on the wall and are trying to get in our heads. So what. It only matters what happens on the field, not on some blog or internet site. Let them trash talk all they want. It won't effect what happens on the field on bit.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.
Well said 58! The only thing is people like to get on here and chat about M football. It's the scared trolls who get a rise out of trying to get under our skin. But I've found it's kind of fun as well : ) At the end of the day you're right though. The outcome of the games will be decided by those on the field. I think most understand that.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.
I like Hoke... he seems to talk honestly and without sugar-coating his words. That's a good coach.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.
I guess we will have another 4 1/2 months of looking at Alabama ads on annarbor.com pages. Well, I guess their money is better spent up here than down there!
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.
Evidentially, Brady never saw the movie - Bad News Bears. I believe, coaching was the main theme and answer to the team success.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.
LOL! And "evidentially" YOU'VE never picked up a dictionary. Wonder what Hoke would say abt your vocabulary??? Hmmm...... "Overall I'd give it two thumbs down. But I'm pleased with the kid's energy. But here at U of M I expect us to speak better than that. This is Michigan for God sake!"
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.
Typical UofM coach arrogance. Bad mouth your chosen talent and hand selected team players. If I were his team members, I would expect a public apology. Maybe his players are not pleased with his coaching, teaching, etc.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.
RR Basically said the same things and he got blasted for it.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.
Is this a joke? Do you really expect any coach to say that the team looks great during spring practice?
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:49 p.m.
Brady loves his players. He didnt say they suck, he's just saying theyre not playing with the physicality that's expected of them. would you rather he take the "try harder next time guys! good effort!" approach? or would you rather Hoke set the bar high for players he believes can get the job done? pump the breaks on the arrogance accusation.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.
What did you really expect, " we're doing so well this spring, everything is falling in place, no worries".....seriously ? Brady is a smart man, you know he really wants to tell the truth - we're looking' good; bama, nd, state, and ohio don't have a prayer (wouldn't want to be them). MgoBlueForTiM......meyer on sick leave yet....
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.
I like that he's pointing at something in this photo.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.
"Well, you know..."
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.
If they want people to show up to this spring game they are going to have to offer a lot more. I would think they would want as many people there as possible to generate excitement for recruits and fans. And also to raise money for charity. Ohio State and Alabama fill up their stadiums at their spring game. it is important that Michigan also does this.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 4:14 a.m.
Ted! Ted! I know times are tough in Columbus, but someone must be hiring! Please GET A JOB! Leave us Michigan fans to our team and we'll see you in November!
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.
Michigan just grabbed a 4 star LB from Ohio who will one day smash this TE into the dirt. But thanks for the heads up teddy bear
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:41 a.m.
The spring game is important ! However I do have some more bad news on the recruiting front. Today Ohio St signed a 5.9 4 star recruit. He is a TE and fits the mold for what Meyer is looking for at that position. I know it's hard for my fellow Wolverines to be confronted by certain news critical to the program, but we must know thy enemy ! And it does not look good for us when I look south of the state line.
Wed, Apr 11, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.
The spring game is a huge weekend for visitors. Many important planned visitors will probably making their decisions on this weekend. A full stadium can be a clincher.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.
Ted's right. if we don't sell out the spring game we won't get recruits and the season will be a bust. Gloom despair excessive misery. If it weren't for bad thoughts, Ted'd have no thoughts at all. Gloom despair and agony on Ted.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.
Ted your still the best ! Keep it coming..LOL
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.
Latavis...that's not true. its free admission and as I have already pointed out other schools sell out for their spring games. It's very important Michigan does also.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.
I think its kind of hard to fill up 114,000 seats for a spring game...
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.
Hi All, I really like Brady, as he is as honest as the day is long. You can't get better until you admit your weakness. Then you focus and improve. This does take time, but we are doing it. Have to give Dantonio credit there as well; in 2007 he had a defense that could not stop anyone. After a few years, MSU has one of the B10's top defenses, due to focus and hard work. Good programs, such as Michigan's are built with time and great effort. The important thing is that we continue to improve. THANK YOU BRADY! JEFF GO BLUE!!
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:19 p.m.
If they have to start two freshman that won't arrive on campus until august, they are in bigtime trouble. Alabama, MSU, ND, OSU all have beasts on their defensive line. Denard won't make it through that gauntlet.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.
It's unlikely there will be a freshman starting on the oline.. so I don't really see what Denard has to do with anything. Denard survived last year with no significant injuries. He was plenty effective in the final game of the regular season when he had his way with your buckeyes.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.
Is today April 1st........?
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.
Sometimes I think coach Hoke downplays the progression of this football team at times because he hates complacency. So I truly believe the lines are doing better than publicly credited for. Especially with the notion from Mattison that this defense could be even better than last year's. And where does the strength and success of the D starts??? Yes, the Line. Now, its been said that the offense thus far in practice has been very crisp. And where does it start from??? Yes, again the Line. I think the "expectations" of both Lines of a traditional Mich team is so high and beyond the previous coaching helm, that anything outside of that is percieved as "not good ". Remember, Hoke coached a National Championship defense, so he only recognizes greatness and perfection. We're obviously not there yet, but I do believe we're good at this point and time. With all that said, I'm still driving 11 plus hours to see my Wolverines Sat. Traditional scrimmage or not! GO BLUE!!!
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.
@DB; very good comment. I am sure the truth lies in the middle.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 9 p.m.
DB....you got it ! Just shows how frightened these little spartys, buckeyes and others are....very frightened....
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.
I'm just baffled by the fact that there are non-Mich ppl on this board. U will NEVER catch me on a spartan, irish, crimson tide, nor buckeye site! Oh No!
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.
rightmind. . . iam sure you know all about incompetence in a college football program. after 10/years of tressel ball your football program was dripping with incompetence from the AD to the COACH all the way down to the PLAYERS, good times!!! GO BLUE!!!!!!
David Vande Bunte
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.
No, that only happens in Columbus...
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.
It could just be incompetence competing with incompetence.
Tue, Apr 10, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.
new headline of this article "Kyle Kalis/Ondre Pipkins poised to start as true freshmen