ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Brady Hoke is familiar with Air Force, having faced the Falcons and their option-style offense during his time in the Mountain West.
And the biggest key to it, from a defensive standpoint, is making sure to stay on assignments and sure tackling. This is something the Wolverines struggled with mightily against Alabama on Saturday.
“It’s always a challenge any time you get into a midline series offense,” Hoke said. “It’s a fun challenge because it really speaks of playing assignment football. We gameplanned way back, did very little this fall camp but we’ll start tonight.
“You can’t do too much because their personnel and what Troy [Calhoun] is doing, they’ve changed a little bit with going no-huddle right now.”
That’s a bit of a change than when Hoke faced him in the Mountain West, when the Falcons didn’t run out of no-huddle.
Hoke said the defensive line will be paramount this week in order to give linebackers clear angles to jump into the rushing lanes with the pitch. The offense has been effective, as the Falcons gained 484 yards rushing on Saturday.
“It will take us a little bit of time to get used to the speed,” Hoke said. “You don’t have a quarterback who can run like theirs besides our quarterback, but he’s not going to run scout team this week.”
The one time Michigan faced an option-based attack last season was against Nebraska and the Wolverines did well. However, this year’s team has a still-developing defensive line, which could prove to be an issue if players overrun their assignments.
Injury update: Besides Blake Countess being out for the season, Michigan had some other injuries against Alabama.
Fifth-year senior tight end Brandon Moore will be out this week with an injury to his MCL.
“Not torn or anything,” Hoke said. “Just stretched. We’ll see how his goes.”
“He got more hit in the back that one time,” Hoke said. “He’s sore like most guys are when you play. But he was good yesterday.”
As for Countess, Hoke said he will have surgery sometime in the next two weeks and that junior Courtney Avery will replace him in the starting lineup against Air Force.
Changing of the number: Someone will be wearing a different number on Saturday against Air Force. The question is who.
Michigan is beginning to unretire its jerseys this weekend, starting with the No. 47 of Bennie Oosterbaan. And the No. 47 will be worn, but don’t expect it to be unveiled until close to game time, much like the Legends Patch was for Desmond Howard last season.