"We've had unbelievable leadership throughout the team,” Hoke said at Monday’s press conference. “We talked about that if you're good enough, you're old enough. We will have captains, but they'll be voted on after the Ohio (State) game. The next question will be, 'What do you do game by game?' We have, I think, 18 fourth- and fifth-year guys that we will have represent the team at the coin toss."
This will be the first season Hoke will try this approach, previously the team had voted on team captains prior to the first game of the season. Coming off an 7-6 season, Hoke is clearly trying a new approach to get more leadership out his team as he enters his fourth year on the job.
"We've got great leadership in our senior class,” Hoke said. “We really do, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I also think Devin [Gardner] has been absolutely fantastic. But at the same time, we've talked about leadership throughout the team, throughout every class. We have a representative group that's a big part of what we do. Our seniors are always, and I met with them when we talked about this, they are always going to be the guys that we try to play for, coach for. That's not changing. Their influence is important. But I think every team is different. This team is a little unique in a lot of ways."
Gardner, who has 10-7 record as the starting quarterback at Michigan, says he was okay with the decision and already considers himself a captain already without having the title.
“I feel like I am going to be looked at as a captain just because of the position I play,” Gardner said. “Even some of the young guys call me ‘Captain Gardner.’ Which is weird, I told them not to do that. That’s not a big deal. We just want to go win football games. I don’t feel like that’s something that is going to hold us back. I think coach Hoke made that decision because he thinks it’s going to help the team.”
While Hoke let the public know today on his captains decision, he admitted he made the decision earlier this year.
"I made this decision that we were going to go this way last February,” Hoke said.
Michigan opens its season at home this Saturday versus Appalachian State.