ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Notre Dame might be moving to the ACC for almost all of its sports and its future rivalry with Michigan might be in some question, but Wolverines coach Brady Hoke played both sides when asked about it Monday.
“I don’t know, they are going to the ACC and they have to do what they need to do for them,” Hoke said. “If it continues, that’s great. If it doesn’t, then we’ll move forward.”
Michigan and Notre Dame have played fairly continuously over the past two decades and are slated to play yearly until 2018, when the contract calls for a two-year hiatus.
It is a rivalry, too, that has had its share of excitement. The teams usually would be the first early season barometer of where they might end up finishing the season. It is one of three main rivalries for the Wolverines, along with Michigan State and Ohio State.
Michigan is one of the few teams with a winning record against Notre Dame -- 23-15-1 -- and in South Bend, Ind., where the Wolverines are 9-8-1. The last three games of the series have all been decided by four points, with Michigan winning each one in the final minute.
“This is one of the oldest, fiercest rivalries in college football,” defensive end Craig Roh said. “You don’t treat this game like just another game. It’s Notre Dame. This is the peak of college football right here, Notre Dame versus Michigan.”
Splitting time at linebacker
While Hoke wouldn’t say freshman Joe Bolden and fifth-year senior Kenny Demens were essentially splitting time at middle linebacker, evidence would show otherwise. Against Air Force, Bolden played the entire second half. Against UMass, both Bolden and Demens saw fairly similar amounts of snaps.
Hoke did say how they divvy up snaps has nothing to do with different packages Michigan uses but is all about the performance of the two players.
“They’re both going to play,” Hoke said.
Bolden and Demens are both tied for fifth on Michigan in tackles with 12.
Michigan looks like it will have some of its multitude of injured players back this week for the Irish.
Hoke said tight end Brandon Moore (knee) would “probably not” be ready for Saturday, but linebacker Desmond Morgan (head) and defensive lineman Richard Ash (body) “should be” ready. He wasn’t sure about the status of fullback Stephen Hopkins, who missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury, or defensive end Brennen Beyer, who has a knee injury.