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Hoke hoping Michigan establishes tough identity

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 10, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: August 10, 2014

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan hired Brady Hoke to turn its program around, and the coach is still trying to get it back on track heading into his fourth season.

"The identity of this team is still one that we're developing and trying to develop," Hoke said Sunday during his news conference at media day.

And Hoke is anxious to see some improved results on the field after two straight lackluster seasons.

"There were a lot of depth issues that we've had," he said. "That's not an excuse because here are no excuses. No. 1, we've got to do a better job at what we're doing."

The Wolverines lost five of their last six games last year, prompting Hoke to fire offensive coordinator Al Borges, hire Doug Nussmeier and shuffle his staff on defense.

Michigan maintains its goal is to win a Big Ten championship, a trophy the school has not earned in a decade.

"The expectations never change," Hoke said. "If you lower the bar, ever, I think you're making a mistake."

Hoke's boss, athletic director Dave Brandon, said it would be a mistake to say it's a make or break year for a coach with three years left on his six-year contract.

"I don't think it is a pivotal year," Brandon said Sunday in an interview with The Associated Press. "It is another year to make progress and show growth with more recruits who are the type of athletes he wants for his style of play."

Hoke had 11 victories in 2011, went 8-5 the next year and 7-6 last season, but Brandon said Hoke is having success in other ways as the Wolverines' leader.

"Sadly, there are people who only care about wins and losses," Brandon said. "Part of Brady's job description is to teach life lessons that help young men become successful in life, and he's doing a great job at that."

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