Most notably, the rushing game, Hoke says, after the Wolverines struggled to get any movement up front in their 18-13 win over Penn State, only gaining 64 total yards on the ground.
“We didn’t run the ball very well, obviously, the other night,” Hoke said. “So that’s something that we got to continue to make improvements on. Some of it you got to give the front of Penn State some credit. They were leading the league in rush defense. They’re one of the better fronts, but in the same time some of the fundamental things we got to do a better job finishing. Particularly on the perimeter of the line of scrimmage.”
While Michigan had one of its better defensive perofomences of the season, Hoke still would like to tighten things up in the secondary moving forward.
“You still look at coverage,” Hoke said. “We did some really good things in man coverage the other night. Not as well in some of the zone coverage’s we ran. I think part what help us obviously was the six sacks and pressure on the quarterback. I will say, because some of the man stuff, he had to hold the ball a little bit, orhe held the ball a little bit – and that helped.”
“I would think those two areas as much as anything,” Hoke said. However, with U-M totaling 256 yards of total offense versus PSU, Hoke was adamant his offense could use more big plays in their final five games.
“Another thing, we got to create more big plays,” Hoke said. “And we haven’t had big chucks of big plays the last couple weeks. We’ve had some opportunities and haven’t executed all the way. And at the same time, those change the moral of the game and the moral of the team.”
Devin Gardner has been seen wearing a walking boot, however, Hoke made it clear Gardner is expected to play at MSU.
“Yeah, I would,” Hoke said. “But having Shane [Morris] back healthy also is a big part of it. As much as we’re going to talk about injuries, yeah, we expect Devin to be there.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Kyle Bosch left the team in early September, and should be back in the football program next semester, Hoke says.
“Kyle [Bosch] will join us in January,” Hoke said.
Willie Henry, who was dressed for the Penn State, could have played and was a coach’s decision against PSU.
All-purpose returner Dennis Norfleet has routinely danced before his returns. Hoke has no problem with it.
“I think he was inspired, I don’t hink any of us could do the dance that he did,” Hoke said. “You probably think you could. But he brings a lot of energy. He’s like that every day. And when the whistle blows, he’s as focused as anybody at getting out and competing at a high level.” Senior linebacker Desmond Morgan has been out since week one. Hoke says there is a possibility of a redshirt, but wouldn’t comment further.