By Ashley Dunkak
With two straight losses by Michigan, criticism has been flowing freely in the direction of head coach Brady Hoke, his staff and the team in general. The crowd even booed during Saturday’s 17-13 loss to Nebraska.
Hoke said he did not mind the show of displeasure if it was simply directed at him or the staff, but because the college players, many of whom are still teenagers, hear it too, Hoke does not appreciate it.
“You can boo coaches, but the problem is the players don’t know when that happens,” Hoke said. “They don’t go out there saying, ‘I’m going to miss this block so we can get our quarterback hit.’ That’s not the intent.”
“These are college student-athletes,” Hoke added. “I think that’s unwarranted, but I guess you pay for a ticket, you can do what you want.”
In addition to booing, the coach also gets negative feedback in the old-fashioned form. He does not have Twitter, and he does not use email, but he does get letters. Sometimes, he will send letters back.
“I’ll write the ones back that I think, and I thank them for their passion,” Hoke said. “You get those things because people love Michigan … The one thing is how do you have time in the day to write something like that? That’s the thing that amazes me. Maybe I need to find some more time.”
Michigan’s young offensive line gets as much derision as any other unit, with quarterback Devin Gardner getting sacked seven times Saturday and seven times the previous Saturday. Some of that has to do with the youth at those positions, but Hoke does not want to use that as an excuse, and it does not bother him that fans expect great play even from such inexperienced players.
“That’s just part of it,” Hoke said. “Believe me, we don’t back down from the expectations that we have here. The fan base is the fan base, but also that fan base put 115,000 people in Michigan Stadium, so there’s a lot more positives than negatives.”