By Ashley Dunkak
ANN ARBOR (CBS DETROIT) – Painfully hoarse after Michigan throttled Central Michigan 59-9 in the season opener Saturday, head coach Brady Hoke summarized the high points of the game quickly. On the problems, he lingered a little longer.
“There’s a lot of things, probably, in the negative side,” Hoke began.
Winning? Good. Defense responding well when the offense turned the ball over twice and gave Central Michigan super-short fields? Also good. Getting the ball to a variety of players, particularly young guys? Okay, sure.
Scoring 59 points and holding the other team to nine hardly qualifies as a horrible day at the office, but Hoke did not seem particularly pleased, and it was not because the total offense and total defense numbers came against Central Michigan, a team clearly not at the level of Michigan. In fact, Hoke said he was impressed by the day’s opponent, particularly for its four-game win streak last season that vaulted the team to unprecedented bowl eligibility.
“I’m a defensive line coach, so I watch offensive linemen a lot – but to see the pad level they played with, their footwork, their mechanics,” Hoke said. “Defensively, how hard they play, and you see that on tape. Their receivers and the routes and the timing, all those things. I told [Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos] before the game, he’s got the thing going in a really good direction.”
Hoke was not as happy with his own team.
“We were sloppy, and some of it’s body posture, demeanor, getting in the huddle, getting out of the huddle, penalties,” Hoke said. “Those things drive me crazy, and so that’s a negative.
“The other negative,” Hoke continued, “I didn’t think we tackled as well, and in the second quarter they had first down, run the ball, first down, run the ball, first down, run the ball, and some of that’s tackling, some of it’s getting off blocks and fitting the defense.”
While it seems unlikely that any amount of sloppiness could get Michigan beat by Central Michigan, the Wolverines will not have so much wiggle room when Notre Dame comes to town Saturday. With the Michigan ranked 17th in the nation and the Fighting Irish ranked 14th, the game will be one of the more high-pressure, high-profiles contests of the season – and only in week two.
Michigan had a pretty decent start, but in Hoke’s mind, the team has plenty to work on this week.