608-pound duo Quinton Washington and Will Campbell now anchoring Michigan's defensive line
After insisting all offseason that he'd be inserting the rather svelte Jibreel Black into his three-technique defensive tackle spot, Hoke opted to go bigger just before the Wolverines suit up against No. 2 Alabama on Saturday (8 p.m., ABC).
Hoke's first depth chart of the season lists 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior Quinton Washington as the first-team nose tackle, with 6-foot-5, 308-pound senior Will Campbell sitting next to him as the first-team defensive tackle.
For those counting at home, that's a lot of beef -- 608 pounds, to be exact.
"(Washington) won (the job at nose tackle)," Hoke said Monday. "(And) we wanted a little bigger guy at the (three-technique), and moving Will over there because he's played a lot (there) over the last 18 months.
"So we wanted a little bigger body, and there's some things that they do that we think will be important to have a little more physicalness."
There's obvious question marks inside, as Campbell has yet to live up to his pre-college hype, and Washington has never made a start at defensive tackle after coming to Michigan as an offensive lineman in 2009.
But so far, teammates have been impressed.
"Those guys have been giving me headaches," Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said. "Those guys are working hard, and they had a good camp."
With Campbell's move to defensive tackle, and Washington's emergence in the starting lineup, the 6-foot-2, 279-pound Black moves back outside to his more natural habitat at weak-side defensive end.
At least for this week.
And after answering questions all offseason about how he would handle anchoring his defense with an extremely light front four, Hoke will enter the Alabama game with a defensive line that runs at an average of 6-foot-4, 292 pounds.
Part of his decision to change up his front four, something he finalized about a week ago, has to do with Alabama's offensive line -- a unit Hoke refers to as the best college offensive front he's ever seen on film.
"(Alabama's offensive line is) part of it, there's no doubt about it.
As for Black, Hoke says he's not concerned that his bulked-up frame will limit his pass-rushing ability on the outside. Quite the contrary.
Black added 19 pounds this offseason in preparation for a position-switch to defensive tackle, a spot Hoke still says he can play if need be. And with the added strength, Hoke believes Black's overall rush skills will only improve.
The odd man out in Hoke's current hefty look seems to be sophomore Brennen Beyer. Beyer was competing with the suspended Frank Clark at weak-side defensive end in the spring, and has continued to work at that position this fall. As of now, however, the 6-foot-3, 252-pound Beyer find himself third on the depth chart.
But, again, Hoke's not too worried about it.
"(Beyer's) had a good camp, he's a guy that we'll count on, especially I know during the course of the season you're going to need that added depth," Hoke said. "He's multiple where he could play the SAM, if you needed to play him there, or at the rush end spot. He's a smart guy, and he's got very good talent."
Hoke and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison pride themselves in having a strong front.
Five days from the season-opener, Michigan's defensive line still has questions.
But as of now, size isn't one of them.
"Our defensive line's going to be key," Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs said. "Having guys like Q or big Will or Jibreel (up front) ... you can't say enough about those guys.
"They've been doing a great job."