The first question lobbed at Brady Hoke after he finished his opening statement at Big Ten media days was about a player who had yet to play a down at Michigan.
Given a tumultuous offseason that saw the hiring of offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, the arrest of offensive lineman Graham Glasgow and a potential quarterback controversy, the question might have surprised Hoke if he hadn’t been fielding questions about top recruit Jabrill Peppers since signing day.
The history and tradition that come with playing at Michigan can either motivate or stagger those who play in the shadow of past greats. Quarterbacks face a special burden—being to compared to arguably one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
On one side is athletic director David Brandon, who has been nationally lauded for his business acumen and overseeing the transformation of the University of Michigan’s athletic department.
On the other is the Michigan Board of Regents, who thus far have been willing accomplices to Brandon’s dramatic reinvention of Michigan football tradition.
The most exciting games on Michigan’s schedule this season won’t be played in Ann Arbor, raising the possibility that the team’s streak of 100,000-plus attendees might be broken.
Last season’s 7-6 record along with a home schedule consisting of submarquee opponents such as Appalachian State and Maryland has put a serious dent in student season-ticket sales.
Brady Hoke enters his fourth season with a roster finally stocked with his own recruits. Looking to erase last season’s 7-6 finish, Hoke can eagerly expect a defense that is deep, talented and about to get better with the addition of top recruit Jabrill Peppers.
The offense is another story—graduation has taken a heavy toll, and key players need to be replaced as Doug Nussmeier looks to install his new system.