Sunday morning Brady Hoke announced that suspended wide receiver Darryl Stonum is being redshirted for the 2011 season, and won't play again until next season. Stonum, as you will recall, has had a bit of a troubling off-season. Stonum picked up his second DUI at Michigan this summer and spent a couple of days in jail as a result. There had been significant speculation as to Stonum's fate heading into fall camp, with the consensus being that Stonum would miss a handful of games and be back in the line-up come the conference season. Not so, according to coach Hoke:
"While it would be great to have Darryl on the field this season, we feel it is in his best interest and the best interest of our program for him to redshirt," Hoke said in the statement. "Darryl will continue to be an important part of our team and family. He has done everything we have asked him to do, but our number one priority is to help Darryl grow as a person."
Allow me to gather myself for a second and come up with a proper response.
Honestly this reminds me of the Michigan Illinois game last season when Denard Robinson got his bell rung and did the right thing, with his coaching tenure hanging by a string, and sat him down in a must win game. The right thing isn't easy. It can punish players who did nothing simply by association. It can hamper a season. It can cost you games. But doing the right thing ultimately pays off in the long run for the player and players involved.
Hoke has spoken at length about building a program where everyone is accountable for their actions. To the team. To each other. He's hammered "accountability" into our Michigan loving skulls almost as much as he's hammered "TREMENDOUS" into our ears. He made us believe it. But let's also be clear, had Hoke simply brushed it all aside and inserted his best receiver back into the line up (yes, Stonum is Michigan's best receiver, better than Roundtree by miles, and I don't care what the stats say), he would've lost every ounce of credibility he'd built up over the off-season. And it wouldn't have been just with the fans, it would've been with the players too. You can't preach discipline to a squad then turn your head and play the forgiving dumb-ass when your stars breach the code of conduct. Do that and you lose the respect of your players.
Hoke will probably be praised or lambasted for making a "difficult" choice on Stonum. And it's sad that this decision will be called difficult. Maybe in the sense that removing a good player from the field makes it more difficult to win, people would be right. But in the grand scheme of being a teacher, a man entrusted by parents to care for and discipline their children, it's not. This is what has to happen for Michigan to return to it's former pedestal. Rules must be honored, the right thing must be done, and accountability must mean something.
more after the jump.......
Moving on, Hoke also announced the suspensions of punter Will Hagerup and Terrence Robinson for unspecified violations of team rules. Robinson's suspension will last only a game, and the wide receiver will be eligible to play again against Notre Dame. The Hagerup suspension is a little more troubling.
As you may recall, Will Hagerup was Michigan's booming freshman punter. The kid's got a leg and a half. But he's also got a penchant for getting himself in trouble. Hagerup got himself suspended for the Ohio State game for unspecified violations of team rules last November. This is the second time in less than a year that the youngster has gotten himself in sufficient enough trouble to get suspended. And this time it's serious. Hagerup will miss the first four games of the season for another set of unspecified violations.
This will make things a little more difficult come the start of the season, but lessons need to be taught. We'll see how the team responds, but I'm betting they rise to the challenge.