Wednesday night I posted video of new Michigan football coach Brady Hoke referring to UM’s Buckeye rivals as “Ohio” over and over and over again.
At the time I posted the footage, I wasn’t completely sure that Hoke had deliberately enacted an abbreviation-based embargo on Michigan’s interstate neighbors.
Now I am.
Today I was sent a photo of a rather unique clock currently on prominent display in the Michigan football team’s weight room that rules out Hoke’s halfway characterization of the Buckeyes as anything other than gamesmanship. The Wolverines coach has installed a reverse countdown clock in the UM conditioning facility that tracks the exact time ’til Michigan takes the field against Ohio State on Nov. 26, 2011. Under the clock’s display is a Buckeye football helmet and the words, “BEAT OHIO.”
But “Ohio” isn’t the only UM rival assigned such in-house hokum by the Wolverines coach.
Hoke also has a backwards-running clock for Michigan’s Oct. 15, 2011, East Lansing engagement with Michigan State.
A supposed quote by Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio - apparently uttered at a recent gathering of Ohio high school football coaches in Columbus - is also noted by a sign erected in the same UM training area:
“I’m from Ohio, that’s why beating Michigan is such a kick for me. … We’ll continue to do it, I promise you that!”
Dantonio’s boastful, UM-centric missive, credited as taking place on Feb. 4, 2011, doesn’t appear to have made it into print. (Which may or may not be a coincidence.) Though Dantonio was scheduled for a speech to the OHSFCA between Feb. 3-5, so there’s at least some basis to suggest that Dantonio indeed said what was duly Hoke-noted.
If you’re unfamiliar with the eternal, off-field battle of wits between Michigan and Ohio State, this all might seem a little juvenile.
Having covered the Ohio State side for several years as a Columbus media member, I can also confirm that the never-ending needling can sometimes grow tiresome.
But considering the current, lopsided state of the series, along with the mercenary taste RichRod left with the Ann Arbor faithful, Hoke’s symbolic embrace of a legacy of (usually) good-natured hatred between the schools couldn’t come at a better time.