By Ashley Scoby
Hindsight is 20-20 – or 1-3, if you’re Brady Hoke.READ MORE: 133,000 People Remain Under Boil Water Advisory In Michigan, Could Take Weeks Before Water Is Safe To Drink
Hoke, the former Michigan head man, questioned current head coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision Saturday to punt with 10 seconds remaining. That punt, of course, led to Blake O’Neill fumbling, and Michigan State’s Jalen Watts-Jackson running back the return for a touchdown.
During his four seasons in Ann Arbor, Hoke went 1-3 against the Spartans. But that didn’t stop him from criticizing the team’s decision Saturday that led to the 27-23 Spartans win.
Hoke is now the co-host of a Sirius XM radio show, and on Tuesday night, according to the Detroit Free Press, said he would not have punted the ball.
“There’s too many mechanical parts to it,” he said, speaking about punts. “The one gunner to the field should have been in a little bit more. If you are going to be in, there’s ways to protect it a little better. … I, as a coach, you’ve got to play to your strength. And your strength is your defense. And if it’s a Hail Mary, and that’s all it would have been.”READ MORE: Salvation Army Collecting Supplies For Back To School Drive
After the game Saturday, Harbaugh said he had considered going for it on fourth-down, which would have given the Spartans field position befitting a Hail Mary, should Michigan not have converted the third down.
Coming into the matchup with Michigan State, the Wolverines were No. 1 in the country in several defensive categories. Against the pass, Michigan is sixth in the nation. Should the game have ended in a Hail Mary, Michigan’s chances were probably better than most teams’.
“You’ve got to have that confidence in your players to go make plays,” Hoke said. “With that defense, pressure on the quarterback, make him get the ball out. I’ve seen the (1994) Colorado-Michigan Hail Mary a thousand times. But your strength of your team’s your defense. Guys up front, go pressure during the whole game, play to your strength and that’s your defense.”
Harbaugh instead elected to have faith in his punt unit. Not only did the punter, O’Neill, fumble, but there weren’t enough Michigan blockers surrounding O’Neill to stop the wall of Spartans from getting to the ball once it came loose.MORE NEWS: Detroit Police Searching For Multiple Carjacking Suspects
The rest was history, as Watts-Jackson took it the rest of the way into the end zone.