A longtime Michigan assistant under Lloyd Carr who made no secret of the fact the Wolverine head coach position was his dream job, it’s no surprise Brady Hoke doesn’t care for Ohio State.
Given Michigan’s epic struggles against the Buckeyes under Jim Tressel, it’s maybe even less surprising Hoke has emphasized and re-emphasized that lack of care since his hire, even to the point of the Wolverines’ breaking their spring game huddles with “BEAT OHIO.” When your new maize-and-blue constituency want nothing more than a win over Ohio State, publicly making that win priority No. 1 is doubtless the right political move.
But then again, Hoke’s hatred for the Buckeyes apparently runs deep enough that he doesn’t have to exaggerate it for the Big House masses. Speaking to Adam Rittenberg this week, Hoke explained that because of its association with Ohio State, he refused to wear red while serving as head coach at Ball State and San Diego State –despite the fact that the Cardinals use (you guessed it) cardinal as their primary school color, and the Aztecs scarlet as a secondary color.
If that sounds like exaggeration, it did to Michigan blog MGoBlog as well, until its thorough search of the Internet turned up nothing more than a red tie at an introductory press conference and a handful of red accents on his BSU gear.
It’s a little too much to be coincidence, right? Brady Hoke, it would appear, legitimately hates Ohio State so much he’s hated a color entirely out of his wardrobe.
How much that hate will actually help him against the Buckeyes is open to debate, and no doubt will earn Hoke plenty of scoffing from across the Ohio border. But optimistic Michigan fans can — ironically — point to the appraoch taken by Mark Dantonio when he arrived at their archrivals at Michigan State. He installed a countdown clock to the Spartans’ annual grudge match in the MSU locker room, a move that drew its own scoffing from Michigan partisans and players alike. But now Michigan State has taken three in a row from the Wolverines, and Hoke has his own countdown clocks installed–for both MSU and, of course, Ohio State.
So if Hoke’s single-minded focus on the Buckeyes can result in anything near the turnaround Dantonio’s on Michigan has produced in that rivalry, forget Hoke not wearing red; the color might wind up outlawed across the entire state.