By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Sky-high expectations of Michigan football teams are nothing new. True to form, back in June quarterback Devin Gardner called the 2013 Wolverines “a championship-caliber football team that will win in the Big House against Ohio State.” To the surprise of many, Michigan ended up 7-5 and 3-5 in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines got slaughtered by in-state rival Michigan State. They lost again to even more despised Ohio State. They nearly got upset by Akron and Connecticut. They needed three overtimes to beat Northwestern.
In short, Michigan looked average, and fans are not happy. Many want changes in leadership. Offensive coordinator Al Borges received much of the criticism after vanilla play-calling that persisted until the team’s final game.
According to CBSSports.com, head coach Brady Hoke said no alterations to the coaching staff are forthcoming.
“I anticipate the staff (returning),” Hoke said after a Ford Field event Monday.
He later added, “”There’s a lot of things we didn’t do as well as we could have, all through the program.”
Hoke also expects Gardner to return, a scenario not all fans favor.
In the first six games, Gardner threw 10 interceptions. The last six games, he threw just two picks – one not listed as an interception because it occurred on a two-point conversion. However, as Gardner tried to be more careful with his throws later in the season, he took seven sacks against the Spartans and seven again against Nebraska. Two weeks later, at Iowa, Gardner committed a game-ending fumble.
He looked solid in Michigan’s games against Notre Dame and Ohio State, but over the course of the season he struggled.
Michigan entered the year’s end unranked, a 16.5-point underdog when the Buckeyes came to town Nov. 30. The team’s passing offense is 43rd in the FBS, the rushing offense 99th. Where rival Michigan State’s rush defense is statistically the best in the country, Michigan’s surrendered 393 rushing yards to Ohio State.
Hoke’s assertion that the coaching staff will remain unchanged came on the heels of a lengthy statement issued by athletic director Dave Brandon in support of Hoke several days before the Ohio State game.
“Brady Hoke is our coach and will be leading our football program well into the future,” Brandon’s blog on the Michigan football website begins. “There is no question about it. Brady has done a great job rebuilding the program and reshaping the culture to the level it was under coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr.
“Anyone making efforts to stir up a coaching controversy at Michigan is ill-informed and is likely promoting a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of Michigan Football,” Brandon added.
Brandon has not spoken on whether that confidence extends to the staff.