Micihigan head coach Brady Hoke's interview with Bonnie Brillstein was probably intended to be a cute little promo piece. Instead it stirred the already jittery nerves of many faithful Wolverine fans.
In the video snippet attached to this article, Hoke is sitting in a chair in what must be his summer work uniform - a block-M, blue short-sleeved shirt and gray shorts - opposite Bonnie Brillstein of CampusInsider. It is an "all smiles" set as Brillstein reads the following tweet and question from Chad Lee: "How can he (Hoke) know what to watch/exploit w/o knowing play call cuz he's not wearing headset/?"
The likable Hoke hesitates and then proceeds to say: "Well. e.i.. the one thing I will tell you is and this is always . ." Brillstein interrupts with a smile and reminds the coach that this is a big deal to Wolverine fans. And he agrees and then Hoke proceeds to explain how he can function "pretty well" without the headsets. He has an assistant with him to relay the calls to him. He talks strategy with his coordinators between series. It all sounds so nice until you think about what Hoke has said and wonder if Michigan's head coach and his team are a step behind the elite in college football.
Last year was a fiasco. Michigan finished the season with a 7–6 record, including a 3–5 record in Big Ten play, and ended the year with a 31-14 loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
The offensive line had trouble staying ahead of their running backs and blocking opponents. The Wolverine defense had trouble stopping opposing offenses. And Hoke was suddenly perceived as an ineffective head coach who couldn't win a road game. (His road record is 5-9 at Michigan.)
During the off-season, a new offensive coordinator was hired. Doug Nussmeier, who spent the last two seasons as Alabama's offensive coordinator, will serve the same role at Michigan and apparently will stand next to Hoke on the sidelines of this season's games.
No one knows if Nussmeier will be a maize-and-blue genie who brought with him the good fortunes that the Crimson Tide football team has enjoyed this decade. Wolverine fans are just hoping that the 2014 team can be quicker afoot, competitive and especially victorious against the dreaded States - Penn, Michigan and Ohio.