ANN ARBOR -- While the game wasn't perfect, the final outcome was a Michigan 41-30 victory over Notre Dame Saturday night in the much anticipated “Under the Lights II.”
But a win is a win – and now the Wolverines have to regroup and continue to improve moving forward, said Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
“I liked how our team stuck together,” Hoke said. “I don’t think we are perfect by any means. There is a lot from offense, defense, kicking game that we can go back to work on. And that’s what we have to do.
“But it was great to win the football game.”
This week No. 11 Michigan (2-0) will stay at home and must refocus for Akron (1-1) this Saturday for their first noon kickoff of the season.
“It’s a glazed doughnut game,” Hoke said. “It’s starts at noon. We like those games. I think our team has always been focused on ourselves and we need to do.”
While Michigan is career 21-1 versus the MAC conference – U-M lost to Toledo 13-10 in 2008 – Hoke isnt’ take the Zips lightly and pointed out that talented transfer from BCS programs Florida State, Pittsburgh, Ohio State and Colorado.
“When I look at Akron – I see a team that has 22 transfers and coaches very well,” Hoke said. “And 13 of those transfer are playing significant snaps. …They got plenty of players and I think (Akron coach Terry Bowden) has done a nice job with that program.”
It’s been stressed all spring and summer that Michigan would like to get pressure on the quarterback just using four down lineman.
But with only one sack versus the Irish, Hoke said the defensive front will have to do a better job at the point of attack.
“We tried to play and did for most of the game play with a seven man front,” Hoke said. “And we got to fit to run a little better in the seven man front. And at the same time Coach Mattison talks about changing the math. That means getting off a block and making a tackle. And we got to do that a lot better.”
And a big part of doing better job on the defensive line is winning the one-on-one matchups said Hoke.
“I don’t think were OK,” Hoke said on his defensive line play. “Because we had some one-on-ones, you’re going to have some one-on-ones in there somewhere. And the expectation is you got to do better job of beating them on the one-on-ones.
“We satisfied? No. Not even close to it. And this week they are
a wide open attack four receivers. And so it’s critical that we get better in the pass rush individually but also in the games we want to run with them.”
Interior Blocking on the Offensive front
“We got to pick up some of the interior blitzes better,” Hoke said. “I know (offensive line coach Darrell Funk) was disappointed, because he thought they had enough looks at it to do a better job of it and that phase of it.
“I think it was consistent. There was some good things, but a hit or miss with a couple other things. You know that’s what Darrell was talking about when we met yesterday and talked about the game all of that. We just got to be a little more consistent in things that we know we’ve seen.”
Gardner taking hits
Michigan duel-threat quarterback Devin Gardner is off to hot start running the ball this season. He has 148-yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns through two games.
But one hit can be one hit too many, according to Hoke.
“I think one shot can get you,” Hoke said. “I thought he was maybe smarter and protective himself. The one going in on the north end he took some shots there. he was trying to get in the end zone. Do I worry about that? Yes.”
While Gardner’s aggressive play will always have Hoke worried about a possible injury, Hoke said he never expects his star quarterback to avoid a collision by sliding.
“He didn’t want to slide. He won’t slide,” Hoke said. “Cause he is a competitor. I don’t think that’s in his D.N.A.”
When asked if Gardner had a Superman complex on the field?
Hoke relpied: “I think that’s part of it. Superman has to be smart too. He doesn’t eat kryptonite.”
-Hoke said sophomore safety Jarrod Wilson played “ok” and needed to wrap up better on some of his tackles. He said the competition between Wilson and senior Courtney Avery is ongoing. “I think that battle continues,” Hoke said, and also mentioned Avery is still recovery from his minor knee surgery from two weeks ago.
- Hoke said they were willing to give up the seven yard hitch to the Notre Dame defense. He said the Irish threw six hitches altogether in the game and Wolverines only gave up four yards after catch the ND hitch catches. He said he was really pleased with the tackling of cornerbacks Delonte Hallowell, Blake Countess and Raymon Taylor.
-Hoke said freshman TE Jake Butt has been a quick learner. He said they are very comfortable with Butt , “We think he has bright future.”
-When asked if future matchups with MAC opponents were possibly coming to an end due to the upcoming playoff format? Hoke replied: “Yeah, if the playoffs are truly going to take strength of schedule or perceived strength of schedule into the equation. I think we need to do that.”
-Hoke said there is possibility of some freshman playing this season. But form the sounds of it – not likely.
Junior OLB Jake Ryan is still recoverying from his ACL injury. Sophomore TE A.J. Williams seems day-to-day, Hoke said “Will see how he goes along.” He said there were no other major injuries to report.