Michigan coach Brady Hoke gave out plenty of votes of confidence Monday, coming to the defense of Devin Gardner, his offensive line and offensive coordinator following Saturday’s four-overtime loss to Penn State.
Gardner completed 15 of 28 passes for 240 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, and rushed 24 times for 121 yards with two fumbles (one lost). But Fitzgerald Toussaint gained just 27 yards on as many carries, a damning indication of an interior offensive line that hasn’t been up to par. Losing star tackle Taylor Lewan to an injury for the second half of Saturday’s game similarly muted Michigan’s effectiveness.
With 50 seconds left and the ball on Penn State’s 35, Michigan elected to punt and force Penn State to drive 80 yards to tie the game — which the Nittany Lions did, and ultimately won 43-40 in the fourth overtime period.
Michigan fell to 5-1 on the season, but hasn’t looked like a top 25 team since beating Notre Dame on Sept. 7 in Ann Arbor. Gardner, after beginning the season on such a high note, has thrown 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, although Hoke said Monday he has no plans to switch quarterbacks.
“If I didn’t have confidence in our quarterback, with our interceptions that we’ve had, he wouldn’t be our quarterback,” Hoke said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Devin Gardner. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in our offensive linemen getting better. I have a ton of confidence in Devin.”
Virginia Tech has been playing just about the whole season without starting quarterback Michael Brewer after the Hokies signal-caller broke his collarbone in the first game of the season. Now, Brewer is on his way back to the field. Brewer has been medically cleared to return to practice in Blacksburg. It may still be another few weeks until he gets back in a game for Virginia Tech.
Brewer broke his collarbone in Virginia Tech’s season-opening loss to Ohio State. Once he left the game, it seemed the Hokies were unable to give the defending national champions much of a fight for a second straight season. He was originally expected to miss eight to 10 weeks of action, which would have meant a return for a Halloween game against Boston College as the earliest likely date. Virginia Tech has a bye week after the Boston College game, meaning Brewer could then be available for a Thursday night division game against Georgia Tech on November 12. Considering all of that, the chance Brewer might be available to play this Friday night against N.C. State is quite a pleasant surprise for a Virginia Tech team in need of some help after dropping to 2-3 after a second straight loss last weekend. Andy Bitter of The Roanoke Times says Brewer could be a gametime decision for Frank Beamer.
The outlook is not quite as possible for Hokies running back Marshawn Williams. Williams will be out for the rest of the season after reinjuring his left knee in practice in late September. It is the same knee that was surgically repaired last December. Williams can use this season as his redshirt season as he has not played in a game this season. He will still have three years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the team next fall.
wherever and whenever Washington State head coach Mike Leach opens his mouth, we will be listening. In a recent radio interview with John Canzano, Leach shared his thoughts on the presidential races heating up, the need to remove political correctness and the superior athletics facilities at Washington State compared to what is offered at Oregon.
Leach offered his take on the current status of the GOP race, saying if Donald Trump continues to rise that some other candidates will soon back out and others will “kiss the ring and hope for cabinet positions.”
I think honestly the single biggest issue in this election and country for quite some time is you have to eradicate political correctness. Unless it’s eradicated, you know, we can’t move forward.”
On the topic of football, Leach was asked what has held Washington State back from becoming a winning program. Leach reflected on the steps the program has taken to improve the program, which has seen improvements with facilities that have helped through recruiting, although Leach said it’s been tough because acquiring the talent has been a slow process. He was quite proud of Washington State’s facilities though.
“We have the best facilities in America, certainly within the conference, including Oregon,” Leach said. “We’ve had those for a year that helped accelerate the recruiting effort.”
Given a chance to back peddle from that statement, Leach, as you might expect, did not rescind or amend his previous comments.
You can listen to the full interview here. It is a good listen. He also wants to know where the best pizza place in Portland, Oregon is. You will learn he likes New York style pizza.