Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Hoke seeks more competitiveness for UM

By Brian Bennett

Michigan's spring practice begins on Saturday, and Brady Hoke is hoping to see one thing as the Wolverines get ready for a new season: more competitiveness.

Hoke told ESPN.com on Tuesday that he likes the way his players have worked this winter. But for the program to get back to the level it desires, he wants to see more fire.

"Our message has been, we haven't met the expectations at Michigan," he said. "We really feel that we have to do a much better job in all areas, from the coaching aspect of it, from playing with the competitiveness we want to have, from every player at every position playing with the intensity we want to play with."

Michigan has gone 19-7 in Hoke's first two seasons, with all seven of those losses coming away from Ann Arbor. That includes last year's 8-5 campaign which saw the Wolverines lose to four top-10 teams. Winning big games away from home comes down to that competitive attitude, Hoke said.

"I think there's some competitiveness that we need to keep pushing as a program," he said. "We've played pretty well at home but we've got to do better on the road. And that's a mindset, a mentality that we have to compete through everything, on every down."

Hoke is hoping that mindset begins to take hold with a team that will be young in key spots, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

"We make no excuses, but at the same time we know we have a lot we can do to play better football," he said.

The Wolverines coach also said that running back Fitz Touissant, who suffered a broken leg late last season, is recovering very well. He expects Touissant to participate in many non-contact drills this spring.

Look for a full Q&A with Hoke on the blog Wednesday.