The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 275

36 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW THROWING THE SWITCH Head Coach Brady Hoke Changes Several Roles To Upgrade The Wolverines BY JOHN BORTON W hen the cake burns in the oven, the temperature or time setting changes before the next baking session. When the truck wheel starts to wobble, the lug nuts get a good crank or two. When a Michigan football team finishes 7-6, with a stumble to the finish line, it's not business as usual. Head coach Brady Hoke insists that no one connected with the Wolverines can be satisfied at this point — not him, not his coaches, not his players. So he took dramatic, and sometimes painful, steps toward fixing what appeared to be broken. Following Michigan's disheartening loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Hoke made several changes. • He let go offensive coordinator Al Borges, a friend and someone he respects as a creative, knowledgeable mind in the college game. In his place, Hoke hired Doug Nussmeier, fresh off guiding the Alabama offense, including during a national championship season in 2012. • Hoke dramatically rearranged Michigan's coaching lineup on defense. He put former linebackers coach Mark Smith into a familiar position of coaching U-M's defensive linemen. He installed defensive coordinator Greg Mattison as linebackers coach, adjusted secondary coach Curt Mallory's focus to the safeties and moved Roy Manning from coaching outside linebackers to guiding the cornerbacks. • Hoke gave up some of the moment-to-moment work with the defensive line, to give himself more time to oversee the entire practice operation and spend more energy with the offense. • He restructured Michigan's accountability system, forming a leadership group consisting of four players from each class, voted on by teammates. Michigan's seniors will always play a huge role, but others will have more input in the process. It's all geared toward improvement beyond just waiting for the young talent Michigan has recruited to mature. It's recognizing the need to be proactive and right a ship that hit some turbulent waters toward the end of Hoke's third season at the helm. "Now is a critical time for how we come together as a team," Hoke stressed. "We can't accept where we are right now. They can't accept where they are individually as players, and we can't as coaches." He's certainly seen plenty of positive signs along the way. Hoke points to Michigan's vastly upgraded recruiting of defensive and offensive linemen, linebackers and running backs, and the depth finally in place at quarterback. "You base everything off the competition that's there," Hoke said. "The competition at ev- ery position has improved. You look at the secondary. There is tremendous competition. You look at the front, the linebackers. "There are guys who have played some who had better be practicing and preparing every day, or they can get beaten out. That's important." It's vitally important to stop the bleeding from a 2013 season in which the Wolverines couldn't finish — not individual games, and not the season. Hoke noted his roster, consisting 36-41.Brady Hoke.indd 36 6/18/14 3:32 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - 2014 Michigan Football Preview