Michigan Football: Brady Hoke's Silent Act with Injuries Is Wearing Thin

Adam Jacobi@Adam_JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterNovember 8, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 20:  Head coach Brady Hoke of the Michigan Wolverines watches the action during the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans 12-10. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Denard Robinson will start at quarterback, Brady Hoke announced to the Detroit Free Press. Robinson had missed the second half of the Nebraska game with an ulnar nerve injury, but he is not expected to miss a start.

Not expected to miss a start? Oh ho ho, wait, that was the report from last week, when Denard Robinson was supposedly going to get the start against Minnesota. That charade lasted all the way up until game time, when Michigan went so far as to have Robinson take snaps in pregame warmups before declaring him out with that elbow injury.

No, wait, they didn't even do that. Here's what Michigan's actual official injury announcement was, minutes before kickoff.

Injury Update - Denard Robinson (undisclosed injury) is out today. Devin Gardner will start at QB.

— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 3, 2012

Right, an "undisclosed injury." As if nobody saw him hurt his elbow the week prior or heard Brady Hoke talk about how Robinson was having trouble gripping the ball. Could have been anything. Maybe he was hit by an ice cream truck or something.

The thing of it was, though, Hoke probably didn't fool anyone on the Minnesota sideline with that announcement. He didn't fool us. We flat-out called it in our Week 10 predictions:

We don't know who's starting this game at quarterback for the Wolverines. It could—nay, should—be normal starter and putative team MVP Denard Robinson, but he left last week's game with an injured ulnar nerve that affects his ability to throw the football. He has practiced some this week, but despite Brady Hoke saying Robinson is expected to start (per the Detroit Free Press), we'll believe it when Shoelace is actually out there.

Hoke's just plain lacking for credibility and has been for a while now. He decided to string out the Fitz Toussaint suspension decision before the Alabama game long after Toussaint had been arrested, apparently not stopping to consider that Nick Saban might use the months of preparation time to get a contingency plan in place for whether or not Toussaint would play. Alabama would go on to win that game 41-14. 

It's to the point where Russell Bellomy apparently suffered an injury before the Minnesota game, which is why walk-on Jack Kennedy saw the garbage time action at quarterback instead of Bellomy. We say "apparently" because we have no information on it from Hoke whatsoever.

Here's more from AnnArbor.com:

Michigan coach Brady Hoke opened his Wednesday news conference by saying he would not address Robinson, who has missed the past six quarters with an injured nerve in his elbow, nor backup Russell Bellomy, who Hoke says is battling an undisclosed injury.

Hoke isn't scheduled to address the media again this week.

"Regarding our two quarterbacks, I'm not going to talk about it, as far as what's going on with Russell and Denard," Hoke said. "It's day to day, and in fairness to those kids, I'm not going to give day to day updates. So, that's where that's at."

Asked who would start at quarterback if Michigan played today, Hoke said, "I'm not giving a day to day update on it."

Hey, thanks, Coach. Surely the Michigan fanbase—the people who want to follow their team closely and engage with each other about the team—isn't going to care that you won't discuss personnel issues. Here's a fun, exciting conversation two Wolverine fans can now have at their water cooler during the week:

Person 1: "Hey, what do you think about Russell Bellomy's injury?"
Person 2: "I literally have no idea."
Person 1: "Me either."
Both: (staring blankly at wall) 

How bad does it get with Hoke? Here's what the Michigan Daily football beat writer tweeted about Hoke's characterization of DE Mario Ojemudia's injury situation:

Whereas Mario Ojemudia previously had injured his "things" and "stuff," he now has a "boo-boo." Is that an upgrade or a downgrade?

— Ben Estes (@benestes91) November 5, 2012

Those are direct quotes. That's how Hoke described Ojemudia's status. That this grown man, this 231-pound defensive end who has earned his way onto the field as a true freshman has a "boo-boo," and apparently it's a serious enough "boo-boo" that he didn't travel to Minnesota. That's quite the "boo-boo."

We're done with this. We're done being reduced to talking like babies when it comes to discussing Michigan football. This is a flat-out adversarial relationship Brady Hoke has adopted with the press, and as such it's an adversarial relationship with the fanbase which depends on the press to follow along with the team. It's juvenile, it's disrespectful and it demonstrates an innate lack of trust in one's ability to succeed by playing by the same rules as everyone else.

Put it like this: If this is what being a "Michigan Man" is actually all about, perhaps the rest of us had that term pegged all wrong to begin with. Here we thought it was a good thing.


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