Hoke, players react to Kelly's comments
September, 2, 2013
By Chantel Jennings | ESPN.com
Saturday’s game between No. 17 Michigan and No. 14 Notre Dame is garnering more and more hype as shots continue to fly between the two old rivals.
Sunday, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he didn’t see the game “as one of those historic, traditional Notre Dame rivalries," which is why the team is opting out of the series as it makes its moves to the ACC.
Monday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke responded, saying that for Michigan it is a traditional rivalry, but he didn’t comment directly on what Kelly said because, “Everybody looks at everything differently.”
Some thought Kelly’s comments might’ve been directed toward comments Hoke made last May, saying Notre Dame was “chickening out” of the rivalry, which will see its final scheduled game in Michigan Stadium this Saturday. On whether he still stands by those comments, Hoke replied flatly, “I said it.”
Hoke said he will miss the game, because it always has stood as a benchmark for Wolverines teams.
“I think it was always a game that really, it kind of gave you a little bit of a true north of what type of football team you’re going to have,” Hoke said. “You’ve got two traditional, national powers playing each other, and it kind of gave you an indication. I remember coach [Bo] Schembechler all the time talking about how that game, you can kind of get an idea of where you were as a team.”
Michigan leads the series 23-16-1, including a 9-6 advantage at Michigan Stadium. The teams have split the two games since Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor before the 2011 season, but Hoke has yet to lose a game to Notre Dame in the Big House during his tenure.
As for the players, it seems as though they aren’t putting much stock into what Kelly has said about the game or history of the rivalry.
“I don’t have anything to say about that,” left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “I’m playing football on Saturday. My coach can say what he wants. Coach Kelly can say what he wants. Devin Gardner can say what he wants. I’m playing ball. So it doesn’t matter to me.”
Gardner said he doesn’t pay much attention, either.
“I love football, and I love to compete, so I’m going to be fired up regardless,” Gardner said. “It doesn’t take anyone saying anything bad about our team or anything like that to get me fired up. I’m ready to play at all times. Sometimes the bulletin board material is a little bit extra for others. It gives them a chance to get a little extra fire.”
Top Returning Players: Big Ten East
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35