After serving as defensive line coach and later associate head coach during his seven year tenure at the University of Michigan, Brady Hoke left after the 2002 season to accept the head coaching job at his alma mater, Ball State. At his press conference on Monday, Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr took time to share his thoughts on Hoke.
“Brady was hired here in 1995, and he's a tremendous guy that loves the game, “said Carr. “I think his players enjoyed him because he has a great enthusiasm. He's upbeat. He is always a positive guy. He did a great job here recruiting. I think he really opened the doors into California for us.”
Despite a tough few years at BSU, Carr still feels Hoke is on his way to building a strong MAC program.
“I think he understood when he went there it was not a job that was going to be done overnight. I think he’s done a great job, he’s built a foundation and that’s the first thing you have to do. His teams, when I look at them, they are fundamentally sound, they play hard and I think he is on his way and I think he‘ll be very successful.”
Much like his friend, mentor, and former boss, Hoke had nothing but good things to say about Carr as well.
"Coach Carr is a great man who I admire more than anybody in football,” said Hoke. “He is an outstanding football coach, but even more important he is a better man. We’ve talked about once a week, or once every two weeks about the progress of the season and those things. If we don’t talk directly, then there are phone messages. Lloyd (Carr) was a great mentor to me, a guy I have the utmost respect for as a football coach and as a person, so it’s a good relationship.”
Though the many might think the two would be excited to play one another, Carr indicated that it is something he doesn’t take pleasure in.
"As far as this game goes, I really was not excited about it,” said Carr. We played against Mike DeBord when was at Central (Michigan). I didn't enjoy it very much. And I just think it's one of those deals where I'd rather have played somebody else.”
Carr's apprehension to play this contest may not have been as great if Ball State wasn't so woefully overmatched. When the two teams step between the white lines, though, the personal feelings will be put aside.
“We have responsibilities and jobs to do, and certainly those come first," said Carr. "Your concentration is on doing the things that you can do to help your team be successful."
Coach Hoke shared those same sentiments. “This is Ball State playing
Michigan," he said. "We had some great years up there and it’s
a very special place to us, but we have a football game to prepare for against
an awfully good football team. They are extremely well coached, they are very
physical, and they are very very talented. They are playing great football
right now because those very talented players are executing game plans put
together by outstanding coaches. You look at them offensively and they're doing
it by running the football and controlling the football. Their defense gives
them the ball back effectively for their offense. They're a big, strong,
physical Michigan football team. They have a lot of depth and a lot of speed
that’s on the field. I think they are playing the way they want to play
the game. Obviously we have a tough challenge ahead of us.