ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Brady Hoke was about 10 minutes into a preseason news conference when the question was finally asked.
It’s been a while since Michigan last won the Big Ten, and now Ohio State – that biggest of rivals – enters this season as the favorite. Does that leave the Wolverines with a little more to prove?
”Our goal is to win the championship, and we haven’t done it,” Hoke said. ”I think you’re always motivated when you talk about Ohio, no matter what’s being said, you’re motivated so that the last Saturday in November you play your best football.”
And yes, Ohio would be Ohio State in Hoke’s parlance.
Michigan may have recovered from its slide under Rich Rodriguez, but now the Buckeyes are upping the ante. They went undefeated last year, when they weren’t eligible for a bowl. Now, Ohio State is expected to win a Big Ten title, something the Wolverines haven’t done since 2004.
Hoke took Michigan to the Sugar Bowl in his first year as the Wolverines’ coach, but the team slipped to an 8-5 mark last season, and there’s still work to be done in Ann Arbor.
”This is Michigan,” quarterback Devin Gardner said. ”We win Big Ten championships. We compete for national championships. That’s a big goal for us and we can’t wait to get the opportunity to do that.”
Michigan must now move on without Denard Robinson, who was such a big part of the offense. Last year, Robinson was limited by elbow trouble, which allowed Gardner to get a jump on quarterbacking the Wolverines. Gardner started the final five games at quarterback last season, and he’ll take over full time in 2013.
Continue Reading: Shoelace gone, Michigan turns to Gardner at QB