One of the favorite questions from the media that coaches field during spring practices is how far along the team is compared to the last season based on starters returning and experience they have.
Typically, the more experience that is returning, the further along coaches feel like teams are in their overall scheme and development.
For Brady Hoke, who is entering his second season (and second stint) leading the San Diego State program, he learned a lesson that coaches can relate to that goes well beyond the stock that the media puts in the returning experience.
As Hoke explains, the experience returning or going into year two under his leadership doesn’t change their approach to spring ball, and that’s based on a tough lesson he learned back in 1998 when he was coaching the defensive line at Michigan, fresh off a national title the season before.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re at. I learned a hard lesson in 1998, when we had just won the national championship at Michigan in 1997. We had three out of the four starters back on the defensive line, and the one thing that I did poorly, and I learned from it, is that I assumed that those guys knew the expectations and the standards.”
“I had three guys that were all redshirt sophomores that all started on a national championship team, and I really didn’t do a good enough job as a coach. We lost our first two, and we ended up winning ten in a row. I really learned a lesson from that.”
“You always go back to the fundamentals and the basics of how we want to play and make sure everyone understands those standards and expectations as a program for our football team, ” Hoke explained, to circle back to the reporter’s question to being “ahead” this time around in spring.
Hear the full answer in the clip.