Associated Press

If he were in Jim Harbaugh’s khakis, Brady Hoke wouldn’t have punted

24 Comments

Oh boy.

The second-guessing when it comes to the end of the dramatic Michigan State-Michigan game Saturday has been incessant and seemingly non-stop.  With 10 seconds left and up by two at 23-21, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh opted to punt the ball back to MSU on fourth-and-two from his own 48-yard line.  Punter Blake O’Neill, of course, botched the snap and could do nothing but watch as the Spartans’ Jalen Watts-Jackson returned it 38 yards for the game-winning score with no time left on the clock.

Some thought Harbaugh should’ve gone for the first down.  The line of thinking goes that, even if the Wolverines wouldn’t have converted, the Spartans, without any timeouts would’ve had anywhere from four to six seconds left seconds to convert what would’ve been a Hail Mary from around midfield.

One of those who espoused that after-the-fact tack?  Harbaugh’s predecessor in Ann Arbor.

“Personally, if we have the No. 1 defense in the nation I’m going to test those guys,” Brady Hoke, now a SiriusXM College Sports host, said on his radio show Wednesday. “You’ve got to play to the strength of your football team and the strength of the Michigan football team all year-long has been their defense. …

Your playbook’s open then, it doesn’t matter if you throw the ball the clock’s going to stop anyway because it’s a fourth down. You have an ability to get De'Veon Smith the ball, challenge your offensive line or play-action pass because Michigan State’s going to be aggressive. You take some time off the clock, four or five seconds. …

“Look, I know it’s easy from where we sit right now. I’ve been on the sideline and had to make decisions.”

Of course, Hoke was fired from those very same sidelines following a mediocre tenure, so many (most?) will see his point of view as nothing more than sour grapes from a dismissed former Wolverines head coach.  It is, though, fair to at least bring up the point that Harbaugh could’ve rolled the dice by going for it on fourth instead of taking the chance on a bad snap from the long-snapper or, what ultimately happened, a muffed snap by the punter.

Harbaugh wouldn’t acknowledge that he made a tactical mistake, but earlier in the week he did allow that he would’ve punted from a different formation if he had to do it over.

“It’s been my experience, you would’ve done it a different way,” Harbaugh said after his radio show Monday night. “You’d certainly like an attempt to try it a different way.”

“The strength of the pocket was to catch it, take a step to the right and punt the ball. That’s where the protection (was supposed to be).”

Hawaii removes WR Melquise Stovall from program

Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich has announced the removal of wide receiver Melquise Stovall from the program, effective immediately. While no details about the removal from the program were given, Rolovich noted all players are held to certain standards that, apparently, Stovall was unable to meet.

“There are certain expectations required of a football student-athlete here at the University of Hawai’i,” Rolovich said in a released statement. “We hold all of our student-athletes to these standards and expect them to represent our football program to the highest degree. We wish Melquise the best as he moves forward.”

Stovall appeared in five games for Hawaii this season. In those five games, Stovall caught 18 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. During his freshman year at Cal, Stovall caught 42 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2016.

Miami’s N’Kosi Perry suffers shoulder injury after returning to starting lineup to replace injured Williams

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
2 Comments

Well, this has to sting for the Miami Hurricanes. N’Kosi Perry, who recently was temporarily named the starting quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury in Miami’s loss over the weekend to Georgia Tech. The injury to Perry, a separated shoulder, was revealed to the media Monday by Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos during a press conference according to The Miami Herald.

The shoulder injured is Perry’s left shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder. It is currently unknown how this injury may impact Perry’s availability for Miami’s road game this weekend at Pittsburgh.

“That’s up to our doctors and medical team to establish that,” Enos said.

Perry has started the last two games for Miami while starter Jarren Williams works his way back from his own shoulder injury. Williams did enter last weekend’s game in place of the injured Perry, but it is still unknown just when Williams will be ready to return to the starting role. With Perry’s status also now floating up in the air a bit, Miami could have a tough quarterback situation coming up this weekend against the Panthers. Third-string quarterback Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State after Justin Fields joined the Buckeyes from Georgia, would be the next in line for the Hurricanes if needed. But head coach Manny Diaz doesn’t seem to be thinking that will be necessary.

“We still have a package for Tate,” Diaz said. “But when I look at what we’re doing offensively now, and I look at our numbers … when Jarren has played and what N’Kosi has done over the last couple weeks have absolutely given us a chance to win all those games. And that’s nothing against Tate, but those guys are playing well.”

Whoever plays quarterback for Miami against the Panthers this week, it looks as though it will be either Perry or Williams.

Michigan safety J’Marick Woods enters transfer portal, looking to grad transfer

Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

While the Michigan Wolverines try to regroup and find a way to topple Notre Dame this week after a tough loss at Penn State, safety J’Marick Woods is the early stages of weighing his potential transfer options. Woods has reportedly entered the transfer portal.

As noted by Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic, Woods will be a graduate transfer, which will allow him to be eligible to play for any other FBS program next season. He has one final year of eligibility to use, so wherever he ends up will be for a one-year term.

Woods, a junior, has appeared in four games this season, in which he has recorded four tackles. Woods played in 11 games for Michigan last season and 12 games in 2017. The Alabama native may be better suited to finding a new opportunity as the Wolverines are in solid shape with depth in the secondary, and he was already playing a minimal role in the defense.

By entering the transfer portal, Woods is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him to their program. Woods also has the option of pulling his name from the portal to remain at Michigan if he decides to stay put.

Injured Minnesota linebacker a game-time decision vs. Maryland

Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
2 Comments

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since winning the national championship in 1941 with an 8-0 record. When Minnesota returns home to face Maryland, a decision on whether or not linebacker Kamal Martin will be made.

Martin injured his right knee in last weekend’s road game at Rutgers, but head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters on Monday there is a chance the injury was not too serious. Fleck said Martin will be a game-time decision after monitoring his progress throughout the week and checking with trainers and medical staff to evaluate his availability.

“I don’t have a specific answer yet,” Fleck said on Monday, according to The Star Tribune. “He’s still got a few more tests. But we got some really good news, and that’s where we’re at.”

It’s possible Minnesota may not need their leading tackler to take care of Maryland at home this week, but having Martin healthy and ready to go for their following game may be essential. Minnesota hosts No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 9. The Gophers will have a bye week after playing Maryland to provide more possible rest for Martin if needed. even if Martin is ruled out for Maryland, it sounds as though Fleck is optimistic Martin will get to play against the Nittany Lions. If things work out, it could be a clash of undefeated Big Ten teams few expected could happen before the start of the season.