The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, January13, 2011- 5A
Michigan coaching situation into
a Michigan coaching debacle.
But after Hoke stepped to the
podium and spoke to the media
" for about 40 minutes, the sup-
port he garnered from the Tom
Brady's, the Charles Woodson's
and the Desmond Howard's was
By yesterday afternoon when
the introductory press confer-
ence ended, the statuses made
the smooth and sudden transition
from "Hoke who?" to "In Hoke
That's because in Act I, he
absolutely killed it. With every
single answer to every single load-
ed question at the press confer-
ence, he articulated the qualities
that command the respect of all
his past players.
Rodriguez never earned that
respect, regardless of whether
he deserved it. And Brandon did
everything in his power not to
allow the media to perceive Hoke
the way they perceived Rich Rod.
Hoke doesn't need a map
to travel Ann Arbor, Brandon
claimed. He has spent 25 summer
football camps in Ann Arbor, he
boasted. Hoke blindly accepted
the offer without knowing a dollar
amount just like Bo did. And, oh
yeah, he can coach a defense.
But Brandon's concerted effort
at winning over the Michigan
community by separating Hoke
from Rodriguez was just the tip of
the iceberg. Hoke accomplished
much of that himself by saying all
the right things.
Based on personal experience
growing up, he understands the
importance of a coach in a young
man's life - a perspective that
stands in opposition to the accu-
sations that Rodriguez failed to
uphold the family values of Michi-
Hoke elaborated on the sig-
nificance of the Wolverines'
three major rivalries and the
significance of the football pro-
From Page 1A
Denard," Hoke said. "He is a guy
that can do an awful lot for your
football program; and I know he
loves tle University of Michigan.
"I think ,that- when you have
talented layers, it's your joh as a
coa N Idt into w itt st
for your football team, and most
the time when you do that, it's
what is best for that player."
Michigan Athletic Director
Dave Brandon said at the press
conference that Robinson came
up in every conversation he had
with Hoke prior to his hiring. He
explained that Hoke's ability to
adjust his offense to the team's
personnel was one of the deciding
factors in hiring the former Wol-
verine defensive line coach.
"You can't have a conversation
about Michigan football without
talking about Denard Robinson,"
When asked about his status
with the football team at tonight's
basketball game against Ohio State,
Robinson said, "No comment."
For much of his head-coach-
ing career, Hoke has employed a
pro-style offense, working with
big-armed quarterbacks like San
Diego State's Ryan Lindley and
Ball State's Nate Davis. Last year,
Lindley accounted for almost
4,000 yards through the air, but
finished with -33 yards on the
ground. Davis, meanwhile, fin-
ished the 2007 and 2008 seasons
with more than 3,500 yards pass-
ing and around 300 yards rushing
in each. He also contributed five
touchdowns on the ground in both
Borges also has kept a pro-style,
west-coast-like offense and is most
known for his work as Auburn's
offensive coordinator when the
Tigers finished undefeated and
boasted future NFL players like
running backs Ronnie Brown and
Cadillac Williams and quarter-
back Jason Campbell.
Neither Hoke nor Borges, how-
ever, have ever had a quarterback
at their disposal with Robinson's
caliber of mobility. Hoke knows
that and was able to meet with
Robinson for about 15 minutes this
morning at a players' meeting to
introduce the coach. According
to Robinson's former high school
football coach Art Taylor, the two
met again individually to discuss
Robinson's fit in the offense.
Taylor said in an interview with
the The Michigan Daily yesterday
that, with the uncertainty of Hoke
and Borges's offense, the possibil-
ity of a transfer is definitely still
gram within the University. Many
times duringthe Rich Rod era, we
were left wondering if Rodriguez
embraced that significance.
Maybe Hoke has never expe-
rienced the pressure that accom-
panies the position - but we now
know he's got perspective. He
brushed off questions about the
obstacles facing the program.
"I don't know ifI look at any of
it as challenging ... That's football,
and it's fun to do it and it's fun to
be around those kids."
Throughout Rodriguez's time
in Ann Arbor, "fun" wasn't a word
being tossed around too often.
Hoke recognizes that he needs
to coach to his talent, something
Rodriguez did not do on offense
during his first season and on
defense during any of the three
seasons. When asked about the
offense, he immediately spoke,
unprompted, about sophomore
quarterback Denard Robinson's
And Hoke embraces the impor-
tance of conference play. He even
made it clear that winning Big
Ten championships was the goal,
because only then could the team
vie for a national title. With a 6-18
record in conference, Big Ten play
was not exactly Rodriguez's forte.
Granted, you don't win Big Ten
games at an introductory press
conference. And maybe the sub-
.500 mark is a sign of things to
come. Maybe the resurrection of
two substandard programs wasn't
preparation enough for this behe-
moth of a task.
But it's safe to say the man that
can't address the scarlet and gray
team from Ohio by name is a bit
different from Rodriguez.
"That man's walking around
with a diamond National Cham-
pionship ring on his finger, and
several, several Big Ten champi-
onship rings in his jewelry case,"
Brandon said at the press confer-
ence. "And those players know it."
Maybe the way he was fiddling
with the ring on his finger was
just a nervous tick. But it's also a
subtle reminder that he's got what
Brandon, the fans, the alumni and
the players all want.
"S think he is considering (a
transfer) in some way in the back
of his mind," Taylor said. "It's
always going to be an option."
Taylor spoke with Robinson on
the phone this morning before the
playrs' meeting andsaid that the
sensational sophomore quarter-
back sounded tired. In that phone
call;,'aylor calff ned R bhinsot'to
ask good questions when the quar-
terback meets with Hoke to ensure
that his role in the offense is one
that he feels like he could succeed
Robinson's coach remained
steadfast, however, in saying that
Robinson could succeed in any
offense, including a pro-style
one. But limiting a weapon like
Robinson with a handoff-based,
drop-back offense isn't something
"Denard can play straight,
drop-back quarterback," Taylor
said. "He's got the arm. But why
would you want to do that? Why
would you take his legs away?"
Hoke remained mum on most
questions regarding his offen-
sive schemes, but he continued
to maintain, even after his press
conference, that keeping Robinson
would be an important goal in the
"He has to understand that your
best interest is for him, and that's
truthfully what it will be," Hoke
told the media after the press con-
ference. "We started a relation-
ship a little bit, and we're going
to get deeper into that and talk
to him about the vision and the
goals we have for him. There's no
reason why he isn't going to be or
shouldn't be the quarterback at the
University of Michigan."
Taylor says if Robinson can't
be the quarterback or doesn't fit
into Hoke's new scheme, there
are plenty of other suitors that
have contacted him about tailor-
ing their offense to Robinson's
starpower. Three phone batteries
worth, at least.
"I can't tell you how many col-
leges have called me and said
they want Denard to start at
quarterback right now," Taylor
said. "We're talking big-time D-1
According to Taylor, the pros-
pect of sitting out a year may keep
Robinson from transferring, but as
of now, Michigan fans may have to
sit tight before anything definite
is known about their star quarter-
"He's always said how much he
loves Michigan," Taylor said. "So,
well, I guess we'll just have to wait
Robotics program sparks interest
in engineering for Detroit students
robots to make
For the Daily
A group of Engineering stu-
dents are taking a creative
approach to encourage education
- by employing robots.
Through the Detroit-based
Michigan Engineering Zone, 15
students in the University's Col-
lege of Engineering are expos-
ing the high school students in
12 Detroit Public High Schools to
engineeringstudies and hands-on
experiences through the national
FIRST Robotics Competition.
The College of Engineering
began working with the Michi-
gan Engineering Zone, or MEZ,
in January 2010 to provide a col-
laborative workspace in Detroit
where high school students can
work with University students
and professional engineers to
build robots for the non-profit
High school students across the
country compete in the robot con-
struction competition. Participat-
ing students also have the chance
to receive a range of scholarships
- 60 percent of which are for sci-
ence, technology, engineering and
math majors, according to the
Jeanne Murabito, executive
director for student affairs at the
College of Engineering, said the
MEZ offers an array of resources
like a computer lab and machine
and electrical shop, that help stu-
dents construct their robots.
"It's amazing for these high
school students to be able to
spend time with the University
of Michigan students and profes-
sional engineers," Murabito said.
"They learn not only about robot-
ANNA SCH ULTE/
FIRST Robotics Team 396, from Finney High School in Detroit, learn techniques from program mentors Tito Huffman and
Mark Kramarczyk before beginning construction on their robot on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011.
its skills, but also what it's like to
be a top engineer and what it's like
to get into a university."
Murabito said the MEZ does
much more than assist in the con-
struction of robots for competi-
tion. ' %
"We're -trying to give the stu-
dents information ... on how to
get into Michigan (and) how to
get into college," Murabito said.
"We're helping some of these stu-
dents with admissions applica-
tions and financial aid."
Tito Huffman, a professional
engineer and mentor for the high
school students, said the men-
toring program extends beyond
helping students prepare for the
"It ultimately ends up being
more than that," Huffman said.
"We're a coach for basic life
skills. We end up explaining our
experiences as ... guidelines for
Engineering sophomore Jona-
than Meed said his experience
competing in FIRST as a high
school student compelled him to
participate in the mentorship pro-
gram when he became a Universi-
ty student. Meed said his positive
experience working with thehigh
school students during last year's
competition prompted him to
return as a mentor for a second
Meed said he believes the
future of the work force in the
country lies in engineering.
"Technology is the only way
that the U.S. can stay competitive
in terms of education and jobs,"
Meed said. "Getting the high
school students to study as early
as they possibly can is the only
way to get people involved who
normally would never be involved
with science or engineering."
According to a Brandeis Uni-
versity study from 2005, students
who participated in the FIRST
competition are more than three
times as likely to study engineer-
ing than their peers who didn't
On Saturday, Meed joined other
mentors and high school stu-
dents in Detroit to commemorate
the kickoff of this year's FIRST
Robotics Competition season.
"The room was buzzing," Meed
said. "The new students were
kind of awestruck and didn't even
know what to think. The return-
ing students were itching to get
started and were ready to go for
the new year."
From Page 1A
knowing how much he would be
compensated - only coach Bo
Schemhbechlef had' done some-
thing similar, according to Bran-
In fact, Hoke said he would've
walked to Ann Arbor if he had to,
joking that the Rocky Mountains
might've been an issue.
Before Hoke addressed his new
team for the first time in the club
level of Michigan Stadium, Bran-
don asked if Hoke had prepared
anything for the 15-minute talk.
"I'm talking to the team, I don't
need any notes," he responded to
Brandon, as if it was an odd ques-
"(Hoke) walked around and
spoke from the heart, it was a wow
moment," Brandon said.
Hoke was candid and funny
with the media during his intro-
ductory press conference this
afternoon. He was just being
himself - comfortable in his own
"This is not a guy you're ever
going to program or polish some
image, it's not what he's about,"
Brandon said. "He's just Brady
Hoke. And he said it, 'I am who I
am.' He's a genuine guy and that's
what Michigan football needs
Coaching the Michigan football
team was Hoke's dream job. Hoke
recalled when Schembechler used
to give him grief about how his
defensive linemen should play
with more toughness, when he
coached the position from 1995-
Hoke let the Michigan commu-
nity know early on what to expect.
"The traditions, the legacies,
(are) in high regard," Hoke said.
"We understand what Michigan
football means and what Michi-
gan football is ... The things that
we believe in, the foundation, is
Come to our mass
at 7:30 p.m.
going to be our character. The
character of the guys on the staff.
The character of the kids in the
pr grap. , -
His voice began to rise.
"Because character wins in life
nd character wina oh fe fotall
field," he said. "We're going to be a
program that's accountable."
Booming with every statement.
"We're going to have a founda-
tion of toughness, because I don't
care what position you play, this is
a tough man's game. Doesn't mat-
ter if you're the holder on the field
goal - you have to be mentally
tough, you have to be physically
Hoke preached respect. He
wants his players to be held to high
standards - that includes respect-
This was the man who, accord-
ing to his wife, refused to wear red
clothes when he was the coach at
Ball State because of his hatred
of Ohio State - that was difficult
because the Cardinals' primary
colors are red and black.
"It is the most important game
on that schedule," he said, pound-
ing the podium.
And when the prestige of the
Michigan job was questioned, he
"This is an elite job and. will
continue to be an elite job, Hoke
said. "This is Michigan for God's
sakes. It's what this is all about."
The Wolverines' 15-22 record
under former coach Rich Rodri-
guez may have the public opinion
thinking otherwise, and Hoke will
face pressure from a deprived fan
He said he always applies pres-
sure on himself to achive great-
ness. He wants his players to earn
the Big Ten Championship
rings he won as a coach of the
This whole job is not about
him. As he puts it, he's working
for his players.
"Everyone who is going
The new Line
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to touch this program and deal
with these kids are going to have
a fanatical love for the University
ojyichigan,, or they won't w rk
in the football office. Ican tell you
that," Hoke said.
, Former Michigan % offensive.
lineman Jon Jansen, who was in
attendance yesterday, remem-
bered Hoke as a coach who cared.
Hoke would jab at Jansen about
how one of Hoke's players got the
better of Jansen in order to moti-
"(Hoke) understands that
you have to have a relationship
with every player," Jansen said.
"(Where) the rubber meets the
road, . every guy in that locker
room is going to love Brady Hoke,
but they're going to know he's the
He may have been raising his
voice to the level of yelling to
make his point yesterday, but he
also poked fun at himself - after
he made up a word answering a
question - he said he was good at
And the Michigan commu-
nity seems to be rallying around
Hoke - Jansen agreed that the
press conference felt like a fam-
ily reunion, with the football staff
"(The last three years) when I
saw the guys, it felt like it was still
family," Jansen said. "(But) it was
just a different feeling from the
The connection between the
vast base of alumni and the Michi-
gan coaching staff was in ques-
tion during Rodriguez's tenure.
And several questions still hang
over Hoke's head as he starts his
own: Will sophomore quarterback
Denard Robinson stay? How much
will the defense improve? What
For now, at least, the players
were impressed with their new
coach's demeanor. Even through
the rocky changes, Hoke is saying
all the right thingsto staru _
As Hoke prepared to be inter-
viewed bythe Big Ten Network, he
saw former Michigan coach Gary
Moeller standing off to the side
and approached him.
"Are you tough enough for all
of this?" Moeller asked through a
After the two exchanged words,
Hoke had a message for the fellow
Michigan Man. "You're always
welcome (here)," he said.
It's Hoke's family now.
He agreed to a six-year deal
after Brandon's coaching search
concluded on Tuesday. And
though Brandon declined to talk
about specific candidates after he
visited five cities in six days, in his
eyes, Hoke was the right person to
bring Michigan back.
Brandon admitted this was the
most important decision of his
*term as Athletic Director.
"Those people out there who
love this place, and care about this
place and understand this place,
they're going to love this football
coach and they're going to love
the way this team plays," Bran-
don said. "This is about bringing
leadership in here who makes a
difference"in the lives of young
men. And they leave here with a
championship ring and an educa-
tion and they go out and do great
things in life - that's Michigan.
Michigan Men do that, they create
other Michigan Men.
"The guy you just met is all
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