Michigan Football is less than a week away from their annual spring game and head coach Brady Hoke isn’t hiding behind the fact that his team has a lot of work left to do before taking the field against Appalachian State in the season opener.
“Competition has been good, the attitude of our team is good,” Hoke said before practice on Thursday. “We got a long way to go but I like how we are approaching it daily.”
This is an attitude that Michigan fans should inherit as well. This isn’t a cop-out, this isn’t an excuse, this is the reality of this football program.
From the philosophy to the personnel, this team has gone through a lot of changes in 2014. It’s spring practice people, this is not a time to talk championships, this is the time to get things right in order to prepare these young players for success in the fall.
Taking things slowly isn’t an indicator that Hoke doesn’t expect his team to do well in the fall, it’s an indicator that the way these players will be coached and the way this team will play will be the driving force behind a successful 2014 season.
The bottom line is this; Michigan is coming off a 7-6 season. I would be terrified if the head coach was speaking about anything other than learning and growth, which are two positives.
“Right now, they’re doing a good job… I like the work ethic and the attitude,” Hoke said of his players. “There’s some learning curve to everything and consistent toughness that you have to show, mental and physical.”
The attitude of the players that Hoke commends is much like his own attitude of, in my own words, “our play as a whole last year wasn’t any good. Were there some good moments? Yes, but the overall play was not acceptable. We know where we (as in the team) want to be and we know that there’s a lot of work between this point and the season opener that has to be done.”
Has the word “transition” been overused since Lloyd Carr retired? Absolutely. Is patience running thin among the Michigan fan base? One could make that assumption, however, spring practice is the time for transitions and patience. Games are won (and lost) during the fall, hold off on the frustration until then.
Week-to-week, this team is making incremental improvements.
“Our fundamentals are much better, at all positions,” Hoke noted.
He later added that they have already been into situational football and the players are going through as many teachable moments as possible, two things that will likely extend into the spring game.