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Hoke impressed with resiliency of Michigan players

The Detroit News
Defensive end Brennen Beyer of Plymouth High is among the Michigan seniors who will be playing their final home game Saturday.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke, making his regular Thursday morning radio appearance on the "Stoney and Bill Show" on 97.1-FM, was asked to sum up the Wolverines' season in one word.

The Wolverines are 5-5 and preparing to face Maryland in the final home game of the season on Saturday. Michigan needs to win one of its final two games to become bowl-eligible.

"I don't know if you can do it in one word," Hoke said. "It's been disappointing in the respects of in the early part how we didn't execute the way we'd like to, but I've seen a lot of growth in our team. Early in the year, we've got to take care of the football better, and we didn't create enough opportunities.

"But I tell you, the resiliency of this group of kids has really made it a year you have a lot of respect for them, how they've stayed together. I know I've said this 100 times, this is truly one of the hardest-working teams I've been around every day when they come into Schembechler Hall or the weight room or whatever it might be. The youth of this team and their maturity and the way they've grinded together, and the senior leadership we've had has been really better than we've had in other years."

Here are a few of the radio interview highlights:

On the dismissal of senior Frank Clark, who was charged Monday with domestic violence and assault following an alleged violent incident with his girlfriend in Sandusky, Ohio: "I got into coaching to help kids grow and mentor and teach them how to be young men. Domestic abuse, sexual abuse, that's not going to be tolerated in this program. When you get those calls where a guy has made a bad decision, it breaks your heart a little bit, and you feel like you've failed in what you want to do as a coach. That's what hurts you as much as anything."

On whether Hoke feels let down personally: "You feel like you've let them down. That's how I'm wired and how I've always looked at it, whether as a position coach or a head coach. A guy gets a bad grade in a class, you feel like you've let them down because, what could you have done in your messaging to make sure those situations don't arise?"

On whether he agrees with MSU coach Mark Dantonio saying it would be a positive to have a Big Ten team (Ohio State) in the playoff: "I'll be honest with you, we're focused on Maryland. That's kind of where this group has stayed. They haven't been distracted. They've done a nice job and it would be wrong for their coach to get distracted. Let's take care of what our business is first this week -- for our seniors."