Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there was a time before Jim Harbaugh was the coach at Michigan. Right before Harbaugh showed up, the team’s coach was Brady Hoke, who led the Wolverines to an 11-2 record during his first year in Ann Arbor and a worse record in each of the next three years. Hoke was fired after last season, when the Wolverines went 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 2010.
Nowadays, Hoke has his own show on SiriusXM, and on Wednesday’s episode he discussed the heartbreaking way that the Wolverines lost to Michigan State last Saturday. In Hoke’s eyes, Harbaugh’s decision to punt was the wrong one, because if Michigan went for it on 4th-and-2 and failed, then the team could rely on its defense, which is its strength.
Here’s what Hoke had to say, via MLive:
“Your playbook’s open then, it doesn’t matter if you throw the ball the clock’s going to stop anyway because it’s a fourth down. You have an ability to get De’Veon Smith the ball, challenge your offensive line or play-action pass because Michigan State’s going to be aggressive. You take some time off the clock, four or five seconds, 60-yard field goal,” Hoke said. “I’m just commenting. I know it’s easy from where we sit right now. … I went for two against Ohio two years ago because Devin Gardner had a broken foot and I didn’t think the defense was playing as good as we could’ve played … Personally, if we have the No. 1 defense in the nation, I’m going to test those guys.
“Your strength of your team is your defense. Play to your strength. That’s your defense.”
In retrospect, it’s pretty easy to question Harbaugh’s decision to punt due to the fact that it didn’t work out. It’s probably even easier to question Hoke’s judgement, seeing as how his tenure at Michigan ended in controversy and he is no longer coaching, but to each their own.
If you’d like to listen to the rest of Hoke’s thoughts on the situation, you can do that right here.