Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has been impressed with his team's efforts in winter conditioning, happy to be home from the recruiting trail for a while and able to see the gains for himself. He joined WBBL in Grand Rapids to talk about his '13 class and much more …
"I really like the character and integrity of guys we recruited - guys who understood the value of a Michigan degree, have a great passion to play the game of football," Hoke said. "It's a unique class how these guys had been committed to long, stayed together, their families got to know each other and visit with each other. It's like a big family coming in and having a great reunion.
"What we are - what you see is what you get. We want to be a program that first and foremost is going to have a high priority on academics, community, social and playing football. The message is clear to families who we are, what we're going to be, the great opportunities they have here at the University of Michigan."
Hoke is extremely pleased with how the Wolverines have recruited the lines on both sides.
"In the last two years, that's where we thought as we came in we needed to address depth, competitive nature to compete in game time," he said. "We had eight scholarship linemen when got here, and it's usually between 14 and 16. We had to make headway there. Both fronts, the front seven defensively, the offensive line is probably where we've made the biggest jump with the body types and needs we have."
Hoke likes what he's seen in five-star running back Derrick Green:
"We're going through a transition offensively from the spread though we'll still have some elements because of the quarterbacks we've recruited and Devin Gardner coming back, but we have a real need for some big backs, body types," Hoke said. "Guys who run downhill, run the lead and power play and let our guys up front do a nice job moving some bodies; big backs who can break tackles, at the same time have vision and balance to make shallow cuts and positive yards."
Hoke said he had high hopes for Gardner.
"Devin coming in during the Minnesota game, being a bit more under center the of the year is a plus for us and him," he said. "At the same time, we talked about how he's got to be a Michigan quarterback - winning big games, leading the team to win those big games. It was definitely helpful. You hate to see anybody get hurt, but it all transitioned pretty nicely for him."
Hoke was questioned again about his comments regarding 8-5 being a [crappy] season.
"That happens once in a while," he said, adding he expects to win every game. "This is Michigan. Our expectation is to graduate all the kids who come through this program and win Big Ten championships. You win that, you set yourself up for the possibility of a national championship.
"That's the expectation that's been here for many, many years. I'm proud of our seniors, how in the second year they kept moving the program forward. At the same time, it's not good enough. We've got to demand more and we expect more."
Hoke spoke more of left tackle Taylor Lewan's decision to return for a fifth year.
"That speaks volumes of playing in a great stadium, rich in tradition and legacies there," he said. "He really wants to be a guy who leads the team to a championship, can be a captain and from a personal standpoint, he'd like to be a two time All-American.
"We'll have a lot of young guys going to play with him up front. The three interior guys are all new. He's interested in being a big part of their development and tradition in building Michigan linemen."
Hoke said he was supporting John Beilein's program when he went to East Lansing for U-M's game at MSU Tuesday.
"We've great student athletes in all sports here. We want to support them all," he said. "Sometimes with time constraints on what we're doing in recruiting, we don't get that opportunity.
"John and Kathleen are such good people. It's a great group of young guys, reminds me of us a bit with the young, talented guys learning some lessons the hard way at times."