ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As Michigan went through its scare with freshman defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins’ neck injury Friday morning, the Wolverines’ head coach couldn’t help but think back to his past, to another player he had hospitalized after a severe on-field injury at Ball State.
“Yeah, Dante Love,” Hoke said. “It does [bring back memories]. I was there [Friday] and you didn’t think it was going to be real bad. But you’re not sure.”
Love, one of the best receivers in Ball State history, had a career-ending neck injury -- a cervical spine fracture and spinal cord injury -- during his senior season with the Cardinals when Hoke was the head coach. While Pipkins’ injury wasn’t nearly as bad -- the Kansas City, Mo., native was released at attending practice but not participating Friday afternoon -- it still provided a scare. The extent of Pipkins’ injury was not made public.
Hoke said Pipkins’ injury came during a drill he was running, a simple one-on-one drill.
“Our medical staff here did a phenomenal job of taking the right precautions and all that,” Hoke said. “He’s back, full pads, practicing and doing everything.”
Hoke said Pipkins is also progressing well. He has worked in at nose tackle behind senior Will Campbell as well as next to Campbell in situations when Michigan is looking to add more size to the defensive line when the Wolverines slide Campbell over to the other defensive tackle slot.