“I think we are more capable since our first year with the amount depth we have, the competition we have at every position,” Hoke said, in a interview that aired on ESPN’s Sportscenter earlier today. “We have a quarterback who is experienced and has been through some struggles and learned from them. Defensively we have a lot of good leadership. Some guys who have played a lot football for us.”
If the Wolverines are going to compete for a championship, major improvements need to be addressed on the offensive line. A unit that finished 102nd nationally in rushing yards last season.
Michigan addressed that issue by hiring former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who Hoke’s says brings a “downhill” approach to the run game.
“I think Doug [Nussmeier’s] pedigree he brings in as a coach and as a former player, the verticalness that we want to go downhill running the football,” Hoke said on Nussmeier. “The toughness at the line of scrimmage. He’s brought all those things and those elements to us.”
Michigan opens its season not ranked in the Amway Coaches poll top-25. And the conference didn’t have a team ranked in the top-four, with Ohio State ranked at No. 6 and Michigan State at No. 8 respectively. However, despite the league not having a team ranked in the top-four, Hoke says he expects a Big Ten team to be there in the four-team playoff to end the regular season.
“I think definitely one of our teams, we’re hoping it’s the University of Michigan,” Hoke said. “We’ve got a great league. We’ve got a very competitive league. We got a league that is truly is an academic league also. And I like how our teams play.”
Super freshman Jabrill Peppers was also a hot topic on ESPN, as Hoke was asked about his budding young cornerback.
“He is No. 1 a very gifted athlete,” Hoke said of Peppers. “He’s a humble guy. He brings everything you want to your university. I think that we will find out early as we get through fall camp how much he will be involved. But we’re excited that he is at Michigan.”