Brady Hoke Says There is No Decision Yet on Fitz Toussaint or Frank Clark
2011 was Brady Hoke’s first year as head coach at Michigan. Not a bad debut either. Hoke came to Michigan brimming with confidence. When he was first introduced, he made sure to let everyone around college football know that his goal was not only to bring the program back to prominence, but to also renew the rivalry between Ohio State and Michigan. In his first year with the Wolverines, Hoke accomplished both of those things. With an 11-2 record, Hoke led Michigan to its first 10-win season since 2006. Then a win against Ohio State late in the season gave the Wolverines its first win over the Buckeyes since 2003. And the cherry on top of the sundae was a Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech, which was Michigan’s first BCS bowl win since 2000.
After such a successful first season in Ann Arbor, Hoke will have his hands full as he tries to sustain that success. Even though it looks like it could be a down year in the Big Ten with the issues that Penn State and Ohio State will be dealing with, the Wolverines will still be tested right out of the gate. The preseason top-ten team will start the season against the defending National Champions and may have to do it without last year’s second leading rusher, Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is suspended indefinitely after an off-season DUI as well as defensive end Frank Clark, who also ran into trouble off the field.
Brady Hoke joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with Dan Dakich to talk about how the summer went for his team, how he can tell what players improved in the offseason, what areas Denard Robinson needed to improve on, what he thinks about starting the season against Alabama and when the team expects to have running back Fitzgerald Toussaint back.
How the summer went for his team:
“I think we had a good summer. We can’t be involved as much, not like basketball these days, but I think our seniors did a nice job. They really accepted the leadership and did a nice job with our underclassmen, did a nice job of monitoring the guys in the weight room and all the competitive runs and those kinds of things. From what I can tell I like the way we look as a team, we’re starting, this is our fourth day in camp and so we got out of the shorts and now we have some pads on so it’s kind of fun to watch.”
How he can tell what players improved in the offseason:
“I think fundamentals and techniques because we do a lot with O-Line and D-Line school and all the different various positions fundamentally and working on drills that are going to enhance your skill level whether it’s a movement up front for a defensive lineman or hand placements and those things. Also your drops and play action game as a quarterback and your route running. I think you always get a chance to really see those guys who have honed their skills and made themselves better.”
What areas Denard Robinson needed to grow in this offseason:
“There’s a couple of things. Number one I think the maturity and everything that goes along with being the quarterback at Michigan. He really became more of a leader for our football team. There’s an urgency that he has for this team and that’s an important part we think and then from a fundamentals standpoint is mechanics and throwing the football. If he will play like he did against Nebraska and Ohio (State) at the end of the year then he is going to have a tremendous year because he was decisive on his throws, he was decisive when he was going to drop back and then run the football and everything he did in those two games. I think he has learned from that and progressed even further.”
How he feels about opening the season against Alabama:
“It was something that our Athletic Director and then ESPN had called and asked if we would be interested. I think the first time around Dave Brandon said ‘no’ from a financial standpoint and then they called back and when I had taken the job Dave said ‘we have Alabama. Does that bother you?’ I said ‘no.’ That’s why these kids come to Michigan. They come to play in those games. They get to play at Cowboy Stadium and they come to play in those venues. For us, it’s going to be a great challenge, they’re the reigning National Champs and it’s a great opportunity so we will learn a lot about us as a football team and we’ll get better from that game to the next.”
What he thinks about the Big Ten Championship game and the potential college football playoff:
“I love the championship game. I think there is a little imbalance this year because two of the teams in the Leaders division, two of the top two seeded teams in that division obviously they’re going to not be eligible to play in a playoff or the championship game. As far as the playoff goes, the only thing that I think it’s probably the best we can do at this point in time. I’m not a big proponent of adding more games and more teams for the simple reason that we have to think about our kids and think about our families and the kids’ families and you think about them being student athletes so I think what we have is probably about what we need.”
When the team expects to have Fitzgerald Toussaint back after an off-season DUI:
“Not yet. They have made bad decisions and there’s consequences for those bad decisions. They’re paying those consequences right now and we will see what happens in the near future.”
Listen to Brady Hoke on 1070 the Fan in Indy here