After splitting its first four games of the 2012 season, the Wolverines have been afforded a well timed bye week as they prepare for an eight game gauntlet in the chase for their first Big Ten championship since the 2004 season. But as head coach Brady Hoke warned Monday, when it comes to how much the time away will benefit Michigan moving forward, the answer isn’t so cut and dried.
“I think this one could be timed well,” said Hoke. “But we’ll know eight weeks from now.”
“I think it was good,” added Hoke, “because of the productivity that we got from having a bye week—and I hope we’d have that productivity anytime the bye week was, but I think we got to really reevaluate where we’re at and what we want to do.”
Harkening back to the first four games and the public evaluations that have been so prevalent throughout September, it’s difficult to look at non-conference play as a success or building block in what was hoped to be an exhilarating, win-filled season.
What the Wolverines can rally around is the fact that the ultimate goal of a conference title is still in front of them, and after seeing division foe Michigan State drop their opener to Ohio State as well as Nebraska struggle with an underwhelming Wisconsin team, the outlook in a ‘down’ Big Ten still appears to be hopeful.
“We got to grind,” said Hoke. “And we’ve got to play Michigan football and prepare for Michigan football.”
For the first year Wolverines, the grind has already been about the length of a normal high school football season, just over three months of being away from home and integrating themselves into the college lifestyle. Physically the bye week was vital for everyone; and for the freshmen, mentally the bye week was essential.
“The other part which was big was the guys who are traveling who are freshmen have not been home since June 25th,” said Hoke. “We have a lot of those guys from the state. We’ve got a lot of those guys within driving distance in Ohio and Chicago, and it was good to give them about 36 hours to be a human being—go home, maybe watch their high school play, see mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncles, whoever. I thought that was positive. And then from the academic side also, it’s always a help.”
Hoke updated all of the Wolverines injuries heading into the Big Ten opener at Purdue on Saturday:
Brennen Beyer- “Beyer will be back,” said Hoke.
Brandon Moore- “Brandon Moore will be close,” said Hoke. “He’s getting better.”
Richard Ash- “Richard is better,” said Hoke.
Stephen Hopkins- “Hop’s fine,” said Hoke.
Devin Gardner- “Devin’s fine,” said Hoke.
Ricky Barnum- “Ricky Barnum was a little sore, shoulder,” said Hoke. “He was fine last night.”
Marvin Robinson- “He was better,” said Hoke. “He ran around last night and he feels much better.”
To watch video from Hoke’s press conference Monday, press play below.