When your family is attacked, the instinct is to attack back. On Tuesday afternoon that’s exactly what the Michigan Wolverines did amidst the pressure on head coach Brady Hoke.
The public talk around the water cooler is Hoke has to go, and the national media is already choosing between which Harbaugh brother will be replacing him at the end of the season.
Michigan wide receiver Dennis Norfleet didn’t mince his words when speaking to the media about the speculation around Hoke’s job status, according to Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News.
Dennis Norfleet on Hoke:"Right now we’re real frustrated about how people are trying to treat our coaches & putting it all on our coaches.."
— angelique (@chengelis) September 23, 2014
Here is the full video of Norfleet’s remarks courtesy of MLive.com:
It’s nice to see players responding to a coach under public pressure, but the problem is they’ve had plenty of time to right the ship and haven’t done it.
A 4-8 record in the last 12 games is bad enough, but in those eight loses the Wolverines are averaging just 18.1 points per game. It all points to a team that struggles with consistency on the offensive end of the ball, which brings us to the guy doing all the talking.
Norfleet doing the talking is especially rich, considering the junior hasn’t exactly shown up over his first two-plus years of his career. In 30 career games, Norfleet has amassed a grand total of 14 receptions for 100 yards and zero touchdowns.
On the flip side, at least he has begun to show up more this season, tallying eight catches for 54 yards in the first four games.
However, the worst part of his rant was his taking on of the fans — the ones that pay thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure he gets a free education and every perk that comes with donning the Maize ‘N Blue.
“Even if we lose. If we lose, if you’re a Michigan fan you’re supposed to be with us 100 percent to pick us up,” said Norfleet. “We need our fans just as much as we need a win. So, yes, it hurts. It hurts a lot.”
There’s no doubt that losing sucks for everyone, and rallying around your coach and your teammates is to be expected. However, this is the second time in three weeks that Michigan fans have been the brunt of the frustration expressed publicly by those with the power to change what happens every Saturday.
It’s also a bit rich about talking about being 100 percent behind a team. It’s all that Michigan fan cares about, it’s all they are passionate about — seeing Michigan football be the best it can be at all times.
The moment the fans stop caring about winning football and start to just accept losing is the moment you’ve lost them as true fans.
When you, as players and coaches are losing every big football game you play its time to start looking internally and stop lashing out at the outside world.
At this point, the time for talking is over and for seniors like Norfleet actions are going to speak far louder than words.