Mason Cole got beat for one sack Saturday, but the true freshman otherwise graded out well in his Michigan debut. (Tony Ding / Associated Press)
Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Brady Hoke certainly had a plan when he arrived at his weekly news conference on Monday.
Hoke was skillfully evasive when he answered multiple questions about the complexion of the offensive line for the upcoming game at Notre Dame. He maintained a steady stream of stock, “we’ve got a plan” replies to questions about the lineup.
And he made clear he had no intention of divulging that plan.
Graham Glasgow, a starter last season, was held out of the opener against Appalachian State because of disciplinary reasons. Glasgow’s name is absent from the depth chart issued Monday, but Hoke said he will be at Notre Dame for the Saturday night game.
Hoke, however, wouldn’t say how Glasgow fits into the lineup and offered no details about how the line will look against the Irish. Glasgow started the final nine games last season at center, but Jack Miller made the start against the Mountaineers.
Ben Braden started at right tackle and Erik Magnuson was at left guard. Mason Cole, a true freshman who enrolled early, started at left tackle and graded out well despite giving up a sack.
“I think that was the only thing that stood out,” Hoke said. “For a first start we thought he did pretty well.”
Kyle Kalis, who was limited during the final few weeks of camp with a back problem, did not start the game at right guard. But he entered the game in the second quarter.
“He’s fine. His back is fine,” Hoke said. “He held up great during the game.”
Joey Burzynski is still listed as the starter at right guard this week. Could Kalis start?
“We’ve got a plan,” Hoke said, avoiding the question. “It will be a good one.”
What about Glasgow?
“We have a plan,” Hoke said.
Will we see Glasgow on the field?
“He’ll be there at the game, yes,” Hoke.
Big game with the Irish
Quarterback Devin Gardner grew up understanding Michigan-Notre Dame is a big rivalry game for the Wolverines.
The two teams will meet Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium for what is the final meeting in the series for the foreseeable future. Both teams won their season openers.
“I feel like it’s a great rivalry,” Gardner said Monday at Michigan’s weekly news conference. “I feel like you don’t really have to talk about what kind of rivalry it is. Everyone knows what type of impact it has on college football and the type of implications it has around the country.
“It (stinks) it has to go. It’s not appreciated by everybody, but I really appreciated it growing up here and seeing all the great games -- and being able to participate in it was amazing to me, and I get another opportunity to do it.”
Greg Mattison, Michigan’s defensive coordinator, left the Wolverines after the 1996 season to coach at Notre Dame from 1997 through 2004. He said he and his family had a wonderful experience in South Bend.
“It always is a huge game, because forever it’s been Michigan and Notre Dame, in my mind,” Mattison said. “I know there’s a team in Ohio, too, I understand that, and there’s one over there in Lansing, I understand that, but growing up, (Michigan-Notre Dame) was football.
“It’s really disappointing we don’t keep that rivalry. I know in all my years of coaching and being around football, there’s always that game. It’s a big one. Having been a part of it from both sides makes it special. I’m really excited for our guys, I’m excited for us taking this team and taking the next step.”
Starters on special teams
Starting receiver Devin Funchess and defensive lineman Frank Clark were among those participating on special teams in the opener.
Hoke understands that means putting key contributors at additional risk.
“There is always risk,” Hoke said. “They could get hurt on any play. A guy could come down the street, step off the curb and get hurt. We made a decision that if you’re not good enough to start on offense and defense, you’re not good enough to start on special teams. A lot of the starters are on there. It’s an important phase of the football game. We played a lot of different guys through the game. We’ll stay with what we want to do, but we also have some guys who are coming along and competing well.”
The players, Hoke said, want to be contributors in that phase of the game.
“Devin Funchess, I took him off the punt return, because I thought, ‘Well, he’s doing enough,’” Hoke said. “He got mad at me, so I put him back on.”
Sophomore defensive back Delano Hill, who has been recovering from a broken jaw suffered late in summer conditioning, will be available for the Notre Dame game. Hill did not play against Appalachian State.