Michigan AD: Hoke is the right man for the job

Michigan AD: Hoke is the right man for the job

Michigan’s loss at Penn State on Oct. 12 frustrated fans, but Saturday’s 29-6 thumping at the hands of Michigan State was something else entirely.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke (Photo: AP)Not only was it Michigan’s most lopsided defeat in the series since 1967, the Wolverines yielded seven sacks of quarterback Devin Gardner  and totaled a school-record minus-48 yards rushing.

What’s worse, Brady Hoke’s staff had two weeks to come up with the game plan.

After winning 11 games in his first season, Hoke’s team slid to 8-5 in 2012. Michigan has now lost two of its last three, and sits at 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

Still, athletic director Dave Brandon believes in his head coach.

“He’s absolutely the right guy to lead the Michigan football program,” Brandon told the AP on Monday. “We were all disappointed in the outcome of Saturday’s game. No one more than Brady, his coaches and the team. But we still have important games to play before the season is over, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

On Sunday, Brandon watched the Michigan State game film with Hoke and coordinator Al Borges and the defense plays with coordinator Greg Mattison.

“It was tough,” Brandon said. “We didn’t play well and give Michigan State a lot of credit for that. They had a great defensive game plan that got a lot of our young guys out of sync to disrupt our quarterback.

“It isn’t about making or finding excuses. It’s about developing our young players so we can be more consistent.”

Michigan’s remaining schedule includes Nebraska at home, followed by road games against Northwestern and Iowa. The season finale against Ohio State is at home on Nov. 30.

A conference championship is now a pipe dream, but how the Wolverines finish out 2013 will set an important tone for Hoke’s fourth season in Ann Arbor and beyond.

It’s certainly possible that Michigan wins out and looks back on the recent defeats as a mid-season blip. The most likely scenario — three wins and a loss to Ohio State to finish 9-3 — is probably enough to keep most of the grumbling quiet, too.

Losing two or more to finish 8-4 (or worse) would leave a sour taste in lots of mouths.

Hoke needs a win Saturday against Nebraska and another coach who needs to win badly. His first two Michigan teams have beaten Northwestern, but Hoke’s Wolverines lost to Iowa when they visited Kinnick Stadium in 2011.

If Hoke wants to remain on comfortable ground with Brandon (not to mention Wolverines fans), Michigan needs to get right the ship righted quickly.

Photo: AP

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