ANN ARBOR—Michigan coach Brady Hoke knew what he wanted to see out of his Wolverines in Saturday’s season opener and after dismantling Central Michigan by 50-points, the game played out as well as hoped with Notre Dame up next.
“We really wanted to go out and the first impression of this football team, making a really good impression,” Hoke said afterward. “And, at the same time, there’s so much to teach from this film and so many mistakes.
“It’s a game that we were fortunate enough to play well enough to get enough guys in so they’ve got real tape in a game situation and we can correct from that,” Hoke added.
Outgaining Central Michigan 463 to 210 in total yards, Hoke found several things he liked and didn’t like outside of the lopsided final score.
“Winning was good and the defense responding in some sudden change situations was good,” Hoke said. “I think running the football was something that we wanted to do, obviously, getting a lot touches to a lot of different guys was a good thing.
“On the negative side of it I thought we were sloppy and some of it is body posture, demeanor, getting in the huddle, getting out of the huddle, penalties -- those things drive me crazy.
“The other negative, I didn’t think we tackled as well. In the second quarter they had first down running the ball, first down running the ball, first down running the ball, and some of that’s tackling and some of that’s getting off blocks and fitting the defense.”
Attacking the Chips with nearly a fully balanced equation in passing (221 yards) and rushing (242 yards), as well as punching in six total rushing touchdowns to go with junior quarterback Devin Gardner’s lone touchdown through the air, Hoke says the split offensively revolves around two things – establishing the run game and Gardner’s versatile skill set.
“To the offense itself I think it’s really important,” he said. “To have balance and when you have balance and can run the ball. I don’t know, I think the tail back position had probably about 150 or 160 yards and then Devin had I think the rest of it.
“It just opens up so much of the play action game and that’s the one thing that Devin, more than a lot of quarterbacks, does such a great job of just ball handling and play action that, it’s a big part of our offense.”
True freshman running back Derrick Green lead the Wolverines with 11 carries for 58 yards and a score, followed by senior Fitz Toussaint who tallied 12 carries for 57 yards, finding the end zone twice in his first game action since breaking his leg at home against Iowa in 2012.
Quickly shifting their attention to Notre Dame next Saturday night, a game ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ plans to be in Ann Arbor for as they were in 2011, having 11 freshmen get their feet wet, along with several other first time players serves the Wolverines well heading into week two.
“I didn’t really think about it until we were done in the locker room,” Hoke said. “I think it gets you ready because the young kids have played in front of 112,000 people. And I think there’ll be a few more thousand next week and the atmosphere on campus, the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, I would think, would be electric.
“It’s the last time Notre Dame’s going to come to Michigan for a while so I would think that’s got a significance to it on both parts.”
Hoke briefly commented on the injuries of running back Drake Johnson, wide receiver Joe Reynolds, and star tight end Devin Funchess, uncertain of Johnson and Reynolds’ status moving forward.
“Drake and Reynolds both, we’ll find out a little more,” Hoke said. “I don’t know. Funchess has a cramp and that’s what it was. That’s what he told me.”
To watch video of Hoke after the win over CMU, press play below.