New Michigan Football Coach Brady Hoke Continues to Make Strong Early Impression with His Plans and Visions for the FutureJanuary 14, 2011 – 10:15 am by Michael Bean
The University of Michigan feels they got the right guy when they announced on Tuesday that Brady Hoke would be the 19th head coach in the program’s rich 131 year history. Hoke, a former Michigan assistant during the 1997 championship season, had spent the last eight years building up two lesser programs – Ball State (’03-’08) and San Diego State (’09-’10). He’ll face a much tougher task resurrecting a Wolverines program that carries sky-high expectations into every year despite the reality that there’s some tough disadvantages the program faces in today’s college football landscape.
Hoke joined WDFN in Detroit to talk about how this new chapter in Michigan football is about the kids as opposed to him achieving his personal goal of being the coach in Ann Arbor, what he plans to do to change the culture of toughness, something that’s been missing in recent years, how he doesn’t think Denard Robinson will opt to leave the program, how he wants to make sure that everybody that is there wants to be a part of the Michigan program and tradition, and what the plan is to land better recruits in the future.
Whether he’s gotten accustomed to hearing his name as the new head coach at a storied program like Michigan:
“Well you know that’s not what this program is about. It’s about those kids that wear that winged helmet and this legacy and that tradition that goes with. So we’re just excited to be here, excited to hit the ground running, and obviously we’ve been pretty busy doing a lot of different things to help Michigan win.”
On what he plans to do to quickly change the culture of toughness at Michigan:
“Well it’s all going to start with what we do in the winter and our winter conditioning program and the competitions that we like to do, and just how you handle it. I think there’s a lot to do with just the mental things, having your shirt tucked in, the little things like taking care of the locker room, the little things that emphasize all the things that you need to do. It’s a mentality, and it’s a demeanor that we want to have as a football program.”
On what his first steps have been in terms with meeting with players:
“Well I’m trying to meet with the seniors first and foremost, because we’re going to coach for the seniors, and we’re going to play for the seniors. Those guys understand the struggles of being through spring football for four seasons, or fall camp for four falls, or understand the winter conditioning, and are guys that pay the price. At the same time, there’s a higher expectation for our seniors in this program in how they lead, how they influence, and how they play the game. With Denard we’ve had great conversations, he’s excited about Michigan and leading Michigan and being a big part of the program.”
Whether it might be best for all involved if Denard Robinson leaves if he’s convinced himself that he’s no longer a good fit:
“You never want a guy that doesn’t want to be in a program. I mean that’s obviously not what you want. But I don’t think that will be the case. I think we’ve had a tremendous two days together in our conversations, and he wants to earn a degree from the University of Michigan and be a part of this program and this tradition.”
On how he’s focused on talking about this specific team rather than the ‘family’ of Michigan football that’s largely based on the past:
“Well there’s no question. And the team is part of that family though. The team is what this is about. This is not about a coach, this is not about an individual, this isn’t about a scheme, this is about a football team and a band of brothers or whatever you want to call it, being together, being accountable to each other, working for each other, respecting each other and going out there and competing every day with one another.”
On what his plans are to get more talented recruits to Michigan:
“Well obviously we need to assure those guys who have committed and who love the University and have committed to the University of Michigan, staying with those guys arm in arm. The other thing is as we look at where we’re at, and where our depth is, and the different positional needs that we may have or feel we may have, making sure that we’re doing a great job of the evaluation of the character of the young men we want in this program, the evaluation of their understanding of getting a degree, and understanding of the passion it takes and the representation that it takes to be a Michigan football player.”