Brady Hoke welcomes his team to fall camp this weekend. Michigan is looking to forget last season’s 7-6 finish that forced Hoke to shuffle his defensive staff and hire a new offensive coordinator. The changes have stopped the grumbling in Ann Arbor for now, but pressure is mounting for Hoke to deliver a Big Ten title.
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.
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.
Since 1969, Michigan has dominated its in-state nemesis Michigan State by a margin of two-to-one. But in recent seasons Michigan State has turned the tide. Now with the Wolverines slated to face the Spartans in East Lansing for the second consecutive season, Brady Hoke’s squad will need a victory to compete for the Big Ten title and stop a six-year slide that began under previous coach Rich Rodriguez.