ANN ARBOR—Returning to Spartan Stadium for the first time since a 28-14 defeat to Michigan State in 2011, Michigan coach Brady Hoke believes he has a better understanding of what his Wolverines are now, as opposed to then.
But heading into that hostile environment in East Lansing, for a young football team, the feeling is a whole new experience.
“That was our first year, I don’t know how well we knew each and every guy on that team,” Hoke said Wednesday. “Until you play in that game though and they can sit there and look me in the eyes and (say), ‘yeah I know’ -- you don’t know, because it’s one of those games you’re going to play through the whistle, the hits are going to be a little harder, there’s a physicality to it, and until you do it I don’t think you understand it.”
No players will be under the microscope more than the lower classmen on Michigan’s travel roster, and perhaps none greater of that group than true freshman left guard Kyle Bosch, set to make his first career start against the Spartans.
Hoke seems confident in No. 65.
“You grow up sometime,” he said. “Yeah, it’ll be intense. I know one thing about Bosch, Bosch is a pretty tough guy. He’s pretty tough.”
Hoke indicated redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson should get the start at right guard along the offensive line Saturday.
Given Michigan’s struggles no the road this season and in recent years, Hoke is hoping a few crucial areas tip in their favor at Michigan State.
“I think taking care of the football from an offensive perspective is always high up there,” Hoke said. “That’s something that is important and you just look at games during the year, you looks at NFL games, the turnover margin is critical.
“The transition, we’ve got to stop the run. Langford has had three very good weeks. I think overall, with him and the other backs they are about 100 something yards a game, might be closer to 150 the way they’ve been playing. Then transitioning from that, the play action pass game.”
Michigan senior wide receiver Drew Dileo continues to work his way back from an unknown injury suffered in the Wolverines 63-47 win over Indiana. Hoke didn’t indicate Dileo would or wouldn’t be ready for Saturday.
“He did some things yesterday,” Hoke said. “We’ll go through today, see how much more he progressed, same thing on Thursday. He’s doing some of the things we want him to do. I think he’s a viable guy for us.”