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November 21, 2012

Hoke: More buzz in Schembechler Hall this week

Thanksgiving week is now also Michigan - Ohio State week, and the Wolverines are preparing for both. Many families will arrive in the next day or so to celebrate Thanksgiving with their kids on the team and the coaching staff, but it will be business as usual before and after.

U-M will practice Thursday morning and arrive in Columbus Friday in time for a walkthrough at Ohio Stadium. They've gone back and forth on that - normally they practice in Ann Arbor before arriving late Friday for road games. This week, though, they want to do some things in the stadium.

Practices have been as focused as expected, Hoke said.

"Our intensity level is what it should be when you pay Ohio," Hoke praised. "The way our guys went to work was very industrious, a physical day like Tuesdays and Wednesdays are, and I thought our guys did a nice job.

"There always is more of a buzz this week. This is the 109th time we've faced each other, the rivalry, the excitement that follows with it, the passion people have - I think it spills over."

It's also on display each time U-M goes to Columbus. There hasn't been the same vitriol in recent years due to Michigan's lack of success under Rich Rodriguez, but that should change going forward.

"When you go to any of those great institutions that have great passion, passionate fans - I remember being at Oregon State and going down to Eugene for the Civil War, that rivalry," Hoke said. "Obviously going to East Lansing, and you get the same thing when you go to Notre Dame. They're just passionate about their team. They don't like you and that's okay - they're not supposed to."

Because Nebraska and Iowa play Friday, Michigan will know whether it still has a shot at a Big Ten title well before kickoff. That won't factor into how well or how poorly they play Saturday.

"I mentioned it once to them - we can control only one thing, and that's the important thing," Hoke said. "We are going to play our hearts out for our seniors and for Michigan on Saturday at 12:01.

"They've got to be focused because this is a big task, a good football team with good football players. There's a lot we have to do to prepare for what they do and make sure we're giving great execution."


  • Senior quarterback Denard Robinson has been doing "great" in practice, Hoke said. His role Saturday remains to be seen, but he's healthier than he's been. Sophomore running back Thomas Rawls could get more carries in Fitz Toussaint's absence following Toussaint's leg injury suffered last Saturday.

    "He's great. He's done a nice job," Hoke said. "I don't know if Thomas has a choice [but to be ready]. He seems fine. He's pretty confident. Most guys who have ability at this level, they're pretty confident in their abilities."

  • There's not much they'll take from last year's film, a 40-34 win, Hoke said.

    "Not really from a defensive standpoint, besides you know the elusiveness their quarterback has," he said. "[Running back] Carlos Hyde played a couple plays maybe, not much - Boom Herron was back. You try and look at the guys who are all a year older, the ones who played. The offense is obviously a different scheme, so last year's film is really irrelevant."

  • Hoke plans to have a number of family and friends in the stands Saturday in his first game as Michigan's head coach in Ohio Stadium, in his home state.

    "I'm not in the ticket business - Mrs. Hoke handles all those things," Hoke quipped. "She'll tell me sometime Thursday night over pizza who is coming, but we'll be represented."

  • Hoke said sophomore linebacker Desmond Morgan, who sat out last week's game with Iowa due to an undisclosed injury, would play against Ohio State. He's battling with freshman James Ross for the right to start.

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