With a new coach for Michigan for the 2011 season, so like any reasonable Michigan fan (who am I kidding; we all are unreasonable), I had to figure out my expectations for Hoke's first year. Although our situation is still fluid (might have some transfers and still don't know DC and some position coaches), I think there is enough data for us to build a benchmark for Hoke to reach in his first year. Looking at where we stand, I think the perfect benchmark for our 2011 season will be Notre Dame's 2010 season. Let's breakdown the comparisions:
1) New coaches with different offensive philosophies - ND in 2009 was a pro-style offense with Weis, and ND in 2010 switched to a spread offense with Kelley. Michigan in 2010 was a spread offense with Rod, and it looks we'll be switching to a West Coast offense with a power run game. So both teams within first year of new coach had/will have radical change in the offense and philosophy.
2) Different defensive philosphies - ND in 2009 ran a 4-3 defense under Tenuta, and ND in 2010 ran a 3-4 defense under Diaco. Michigan in 2010 ran a 3-3-5 defense under GERG, and it looks like we'll be switching to a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. This is an assumption, but with the style of play common in the Big 10, I doubt Hoke will have a 3-3-5 defense and most likely will run a 4-3 or 3-4 (my guess is 4-3 since our DL is much better than our LBs).
3) Returning number of starters. In 2009, ND had 17 returning starters. In 2010, they had 15 returning starters. The key loss for them was Jimmy Clausen; Dayne Christ had minimal experience while playing garbage time in 2008. In 2010, Michigan had 15 returning starters, and barring any attrition, Michigan will have 20 returning starters for 2011. Michigan won't have a key loss if Denard stays. Michigan should benefit with so many starters and experience returning.
So comparing the situations, both teams had/will have completely different offensive and defensive philosphies, and the number of returning starters decreased a little for ND but increased quite a bit for Michigan. So next I thought I'd look at stats.
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 32
Total Defense - 86
Scoring Defense - 63
Total Offense - 61
Scoring Offense - 67
Total Defense - 50
Scoring Defense - 23
Analyzing the situation, the offense clearly dropped quite a bit but the defense actually improved quite well. Kelly lost Crist for most of the season and had to play an assortment of freshmen QBs, and plus with a new offensive system, it was reasonable to see a drop off in offensive production. On the D side of the ball, the switch to the 3-4 really paid off for ND as they really improved over the course of the season. Let's look at Michigan this year and analyze from there:
Total Offense - 8
Scoring Offense - 25
Total Defense - 110
Scoring Defense - 108
With the offense, I'm sure everyone is expecting a drop since we'll be implementing a new system that's more conservative than the spread-n-shred. For the D (ouch it hurts looking at those numbers), Hoke is defense first coach and will be focusing the most here, and plus a switch to a more conventional 4-3 (or possible 3-4) defense should help but we're still 2 years away from being an above average defense. Aiming for 60-70s range is reasonable.
In 2009, ND finished 6-6 despite a highly prolific offense. The defense was beyond terrible and ended Weis' career at ND. In 2010, ND finished 8-5, beating a decent Miami team in the Sun Bowl. ND started slowly in 2010 but finished off very strong. The offense dropped off but within another year or two I expect Kelly to have the offense humming at a very high level. Diaco did a good job with ND's defense in 2010 and should do well in the future. Looking at ND's recruiting class, their first year under Kelly is pretty good. Rivals has them ranked #18 in the nation; ND has done well in addressing their needs, especially in the trenches (ND was ranked #14 by Rivals in 2009). They lost some good commitments during their mid season swoon but have recovered nicely.
Benchmark for 2011 for Michigan:
Record = 8-5
Recruiting class = Top 20
With the amount of starters and experience that we have coming back, a losing season will be a huge disappointment. Yes, there will be changes in offensive and defensive philosophy, but ND underwent similiar changes as us and produced a solid season in 2010. Kelly was also able to maintain good recruiting and I expect it to improve in the following years to come. Michigan's 2010 class is decimated and Hoke will have to work hard to maintain our current commits and add a few, but in 2011 the Midwest will have a very strong talent pool (especially in the trenches), and if Hoke is to live up to his billing of an excellent recruiter, he must pull in a top 20 class that addresses needs for QB, RBs, LBs, DL, and OL. ND 2010 set the mark for us in 2011, and it's upto to Hoke to reach this benchmark. If he fails to do so, I fear Michigan is going to be in bad shape for many years to come.
This is a call for calm. I’m not a writer, and a one-time-only-before-now diarist. I’m writing today to call for calm and patience. Sure, Hoke may not be what we all wanted, but we won’t know for a while. It’s been well documented that Rich never got the support he needed, and whether that’s his fault or the alumni/boosters/NFLer’s fault is up for debate, it could be 50-50% for all I know on everyone’s part. What’s important is not to make the same mistake. Just because Rich didn’t get a fair shake doesn’t mean we should set Hoke up for failure as well.
I was (am?) a Rich supporter. I thought we had the chance to be Oregon within a year or two. Since that train has sailed (thanks Austin), it’s time to get behind our coach and our program, and my reason for doing so is people who are a lot smarter than myself (and probably you). First off, Dave Brandon seems to have botched this royally. But just 6 months ago we were all celebrating the “Pimp Hand” and watching Dave dominate the B1G discussions, seal up the game at Jerryworld, the Big Chill, setting up the ND Night Game… Dave has done some good things. He also was tapped to run Domino’s – a giant corporation, and then hired by the University to be AD. Brady Hoke has been coaching football for years, and just might know what he’s doing. Mary Sue is a smart lady, and she’s done some pretty good things for the University too – including the largest fundraising campaign ever, netting (IIRC) > $2 Billion. With a B.
My point in mentioning this is I’m an alumnus, 2009 Mechanical Engineering. I consider myself decently smart, and as we’ve seen from MGoBlog, this is a place for smart people who know sports (especially football) to discuss sports (especially football.) We often say that this is the best place on the internet for a myriad of reasons. The analysis and discussion found here is ridiculous. When my Dad (who played high school football) asked me to explain the Zone Read and how to defend it, I showed him some MGoBlog diaries. We get amazing analysis of recruits, breaking Michigan news, etc. all right here. But we are not more qualified than Brandon, or Mary Sue, or Hoke when it comes to Michigan football. We are fans. Some of us live and die with the Maize and Blue. Some of us even coach football – and I often defer to you when I have football questions. But none of us are Athletic Directors at a D-I university, much less one as great as Michigan. None of us are college football head coaches. A few of us (Mainly Brian) make their living discussing and analyzing college football, but for the rest of us, this is a hobby. If we were such great decision makers, coaches, etc. we’d be doing it for a living.
This may blow up and be awful. This may work. I’m not saying we should blindly follow the leaders – we can question them and be supportive at the same time. But for the time being, until we hear from Hoke, hear from the current players, see the spring game, let’s not cry DOOM for Michigan Football. Make no mistake, I’m not thrilled with the hire either, but let’s support The Team and see what all of these people can do. Brandon was hired for many reasons. Hoke was too. They're better at running and coaching college football than I am (and probably you are too). Let’s give them our support and see what they can do.
So after they announced the hire yesterday, I too was a little peeved. I called my father (who lives and works in Ann Arbor) to get a good feel for what was going on. He made some excellent points which got me off the ledge and onto the Hoke bandwagon. Brian seems to be bent on shooting himself and renouncing everything Michigan, but some of you might find this helpful.
1. The Little Things - His best point IMO, was about the little things. Do you remember when you didn't have to worry about the little things? Do you remember ever worrying about the punt returner catching the ball? Do you remember every worrying about a 25 yard field goal? How about kick coverage stopping the other team before they advance past he 30? Do you ever (In your entire lifetime) remember Michigan turning the ball over the most in the Big Ten?
Hoke will fix the little things. This guy is a detail oriented coach who is tough, challenging, and endearing. He learned from the best, and went out into the coaching world to learn more from experience. Those of you saying that "all RR needed was a good defense" were simply not correct. His special teams were the worst in Michigan history. His turnovers were abundant and devastating in all three years. There are so many fundamental things wrong with this team that we desperatly need to get back to basics. Hoke is the perfect coach to do just that.
2. Where's the BEEF? - I grew up with Michigan football. It means everything to me, and it has given me much more joy than it will ever give me sadness. Going to the Big House is my favorite thing to do - PERIOD. Since I was a kid, I watched Michgan's smashmouth style with glee. I loved seeing the opposing team give up more and more yardage as the game went on. I loved to see us dominate the other team, even though they knew what we were doing. Try to stop us, I dare you.
Hoke will bring back the physicality that has been missing from this team. We had no killer attitude, and no dominating presence. With all the amazing weight training and strength building, we never got to see the Barwis effect on our physical nature. I read that he loves Michigan and might stay. That would be fantastic, and I think Hoke will quickly learn to appreciate his ability to shape and mold players. They won't be focusing on speed and quickness now, as much as raw power and explosion.
Sitting there on New Year's Day I watched in horror as my favorite team was demolished and embarassed. My Mom was remarking that our team just "didn't look like a Michigan team any more." When the Wisc/TCU game came on, she was like, " That! That is what Michigan used to look like!" And she's right. We used to be a team people were scared to play. Not just because of the threat of losing, or the intimidating stadium. We were big and scary - the kind of team that gets off the bus looking like hell is on it's way.
3. A Fanbase united, Finally. - This might seem like it's not such a big deal, but it certainly is. We need our former players to stop saying things like "Lloyd Carr's Michigan." We need all the boosters, facutly, and especially all of you to get behind our new coach 100%. We really, really need Brian to get behind this guy because he is probably one of the most influential Michigan fans in the history of our program. There are so many things out of whack about this team right now that we really need someone to get us back on track.
Hoke isn't a glamour pick. He's not the "hot name" whatever that is. He is simply what we need at this time. I think David Brandon was hired to come in and fix our football program. He is smarter than most of us, and I watched him really get to know the coaches and players on this team. When I went to the Purdue game this year, I sat and watched him, Rich and Rich's son talk for 30 minutes. Most AD's don't even travel with the team for away games. (Esecially not by bus) Hoke is a proven coach that has turned programs around who are perrenial losers. Ball St. quickly went back to a bad school soon after Brady left.
4. Defense wins championships - Michigan fans now know this better than most. The last three years, we have seen why having a great offense isn't really that great. If you have a great defense, you will be in every game you play. Hoke will concentrate on running the ball and stopping the run. This philosophy works today, worked yesterday, and will always work in football. I know that the spread is fun to watch, and that the two teams in the title game this year ran the spread. It's all over college football because it works. That doesn't mean smashmouth football doesn't work, though. Any offensive scheme can be run successfully. In fact I could point out several championship teams in this decade that were as good as any spread team. Bringing the core values of what we all know to be Michigan football back to the Big House is what David Brandon did. I applaud him, and can't wait to see this team next year. GO BLUE!!!
Most of you will say, "TL, DR" - or something like that. But I'm writing this for the few out there that will have a bit of an epiphany like I did yesterday. I'm really looking forward to smacking other teams in the mouth again. Look at BH's stats from previous schools, he's not all about running the ball every play. Hell, we used to turn out NFL QB's like we were growing them in petri dishes. It's all headed back to us now. And who's to say that we can't throw some option in there as we're driving defenses into the ground? Bo ran some option back in the day, peeps.
The genesis of an exasperated and exhausted fan base, as retold through the headlines found on MGoBlog. The bolded ones are front page headlines, the others are MGoBoard material.
Forcier article in the Freep............Includes the following quote: “you really have to try to flunk out here. All you have to do is go to class, it’s not that hard.” Ugh.
CC: Harbaugh to Maryland
Zettel to Penn St.
MSU: Best team ever?
OT: Harbaugh’s energy, intensity, and must win attitude
Pryor, other Bucks pledge to return next season
CC: Schefter says “buzz around the league is JH to UM”
The call on RR is so close, it all boils down to this bowl game
Mike Martin going pro
Breaking: Tate Forcier ineligible for Gator
CC: Rich Rod to Maryland
Michigan wins 14th GLI
OT: San Francisco 49ers Interested in Stanford HC Harbaugh
Dee and Haha
Tate’s future with the team undetermined
MSU (ntMSU) stomach bug
Betting line down to +3
CC: RR to Pitt Rumor
The question I may not want answered: "Can anyone win with this team?"
97.1 just dissed MGoBlog
Dee Hart still committed to Michigan?
JH: Harbaugh watch Day 1
CC: Rosenberg contradicts self, ref: "Harbaugh unlikely to bolt"
CC: Harbaugh undecided
Harbaugh Turns us down?
CC: Why not Tom Bradly if JH says no?
Fox 2 just tweets Rich Rod fired.
Hello: Brady Hoke?
RB/DB meeting nearing Hour 3
Gruden, Harbaugh favored for SF post
Is there any way Brandon hasn't screwed this up, barring getting Harbaugh?
John Harbaugh: Jim "done" with Michigan
Rodriquez: Not Dead Yet, Technically.....where Brian writes "if Brady Hoke is actually hired small children should not read the site for a week following because every other word will be swearing. This is in no way a joke."
Open Thread: Michigan Football's D-Day
Chegelis: RR Fired
Coaching Search: It has begun
Harbaugh-49ers meeting today
Nothing left to do but drink
Rodriquez: Dead, this time for certain
Non-Hoke options: Extant--- includes Peterson, Patterson, Wittingham, Strong, Mullen, Fitzgerald, and Hoke.
Rumor: Harbaugh, Dolphins reach deal in principle
Fitz staying at NU
Dolphins decide to keep Sparano
A World Held Hostage: Day 2 - - "Seriouosly people, the Jim Harbaugh boat has sailed........until it hasn't (which it probably has).
Thursday Recruiting is in the dark
Unverified Voracity Dips and Batters
A World Held Hostage: Day Thee point One
Schefter: Harbaugh to 49ers
A Brady Hoke Supporter
A couple questions about Les Miles
Bill Martin supports DBs decision
Integrity is worth more than Les Miles
Official University job posting
Rogel's M-themed jet spotted at Baton rouge airport
Bill Chill final count: 104.073 - - according to Guiness World Record.
Dungy on PTI
OT: Texas hires Boise State OC
Schad: Patterson receives new contract extension @ TCU
Les Miles Buzz: High, and conflicting.
Frost to Auburn
What about Mike Singletary?
Dan Mullen reported in Baton Rouge Friday.
Auburn doesn't have room from Frost.
Why Rich Rodriquez was fired
Les Miles hired?
CC Rumor: Gruden interviewing?
Dominoes jet to Dallas?
Schad: Miles to interview with Michigan
More dong punching: Frost to UNC?
Brandon is in Dallas interviewing Miles and someone else.....
OT: Stanford interested in Boise's Peterson
Well.. Why not consider Steve Sarkisian?
Show 'Em the Money, Dave
A World Held Hostage: Mailbag
A World Held Hostage: Miles Drumbeat Update
Hire Dan Mullen: Keep Denard
Our plane is heading to Baton Rouge
Who is our choice after Brady Hoke?
Why Les is not more.
Moral Victory for MBB
EDIT....FWIW.....IMO....Reports indicate Miles to stay at LSU
Rumeal Robinson sentenced to 6 1/2 years for financial fraud
No Interviews today
Stoops offered coaching job?
A. Chengalis: Michigan, Miles expected to meet Tuesday
Dave Brandon in Dallas
Monty Python and the Unholy Coaching Change
A World Held Hostage: Day 5
Where in the World is David Brandon
Dear Diary Re-cues the coping mechanisms
Rosie (Rosenberg) doesn't see Mile->Michigan happening
Scout: K Goudis now a soft commit
Rivals Rumor: Gut Feeling it's Hoke
Miles and Michigan will meet
Schad on Twitter: LSU willing to pay for part of Les' UM buyout
Tiger Droppings hearing Miles to Michigan
A World Held Hostage: Day 6
Miles on Michigan
The Planes: They Meet
Peterson staying at Boise St.
D-Day Morning Open Thread
D-Day Mid-Morning Open Thread
D-Day Thread 3.0
Welcome to F5 Day
F5D: Circumstantial Miles Evidence in Two Parts
Alleva: I am pleased to announce that Les Miles will remain the head coach at LSU"
Miles to Stay at LSU
San Diego Union Tribune Reports Hoke in talks for Michigan job
The Worst Part About All Of This Is Hoke Rhymes with "Joke" And "Choke," Thus Providing A Steady Stream Of Hur Hur Hur Posts From Teenage Fans of Rivals
O/U on days til MSC requests Brandon's resignation?
Official: Hoke head coach
The Official: Please Stay Denard Thread
RR Haters: RR < Hoke?
ADC: Time for a change at the top
Hoke React, No Swearing
...and there you have it. Bottoms up.
[Ed-M: Diary bump for usefulness.]
Interesting tidbits from David Brandon’s meeting with the team yesterday – this was conveyed to me by a contact of mine (can’t say who it is and can’t say whether it is a player/coach/manager) etc., but much of this was rehashed on the rivals forum yesterday.
I was always a Harbaugh or RichRod gets a 4th year guy, but hearing stuff like this is very encouraging. I’ll try to keep this concise:
- I refuse to believe that Dave Brandon let his ego get in the way of this coaching search.
He said he interviewed big names from every conference and found that some "big names" clearly have themselves as their first priority, not their players or the program. This made his search a little easier.
- He knows exactly what's been said on blogs and such. Said he wasn't on either plane that we were tracking (hahahaha.) He knows some will love the hire, others will hate it. It's his job not to care.
- He did interview Harbaugh and Miles. Harbaugh told him straight up that he was NFL bound and gave him advice. Didn't offer the job to Les Miles.
- Everyone he spoke to referred him to Brady Hoke. Opposing coaches, former players, former coaches all said he should consider Hoke.
Michigan alumni really supported Hoke (Steve Hutchinson called unsolicited to say that "Brady Hoke was the best coach I ever had")
- Only offered the job to one man -- Brady Hoke. Called Brady yesterday morning and offered, Brady accepted immediately. Didn't even ask about money.
- Money isn't an issue. We'll pour as much money as it takes into this program to win. Football is the heart of our athletic department. Whether it's $200 million to the stadium or new video boards.
- Brady is very familiar with our team and the special athletes we have at certain positions. "He knows you very well by number, and he'll learn your names starting tomorrow"
- The team was overwhelmingly happy when he announced it. I don't know that you could expect differently though. Morale is high.
- Even Denard looked happy. Especially when they were prepping them for interviews and mentioned that Hoke will incorporate spread aspects in his offense. At this point I don't think attrition will be high.
- Team started chanting "Nike" towards the end. Dave Brandon laughed and said he doesn't break contracts.
Sounds like Michigan is on its way back.
The Trials and Tribulations of the Michigan Coaching Search
January 5th, 2011
It has been a long strange trip and I doubt the surprises and pitfalls are over yet. The topic of changing the Michigan head coaching job has been popular since the last year of our retired poet coach, Lloyd Carr. After a disastrous showing against a spread offense I-AA school and a shellacking at the hands, or should I say webbed hands of the Oregon Ducks, people were fed up with Carr’s hackneyed style of pro offense. It seemed the underlying mantra to switching to Rich Rodriguez was that if we couldn’t beat a spread offense, we might as well become one. Become one we did. After Bill Martin’s sailing excursion in the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and some Bahama girls, he went out and got the architect of the damn thing.
The first year of the Rich Rod experiment went as well as a VIOXX addiction. With the changing of offensive systems, bare cupboards in way of players, and a new defensive scheme, a sub par year was expected. Then he finished 3-9, most recorded losses at Michigan for a season in its storied history and no bowl for the first time in over three decades. Seeing how the silver fox alumnus and Detroit Free Press Kool-Aid drinkers were not overly happy with the hire in the first place because he wasn’t a “Michigan Man”, a huge block of the fanbase was ready to throw him to the wolves after one year. Coupled with NCAA allegations and infractions that would make Erik Dickerson giggle a little bit, and a 5-7 season with no bowl again, he was not getting many Christmas cards in 2009. Come 2010, not even a super hero the likes of Flash Dilitium could save Rich Rod from a predestined outcome of being axed on January 5th, 2011. Another day that seemed like another chance to begin another fresh start.
Throughout the 2010 season a man occupying a coaching position on the west coast caught the attention of a lot of people ready to return to the “Michigan Man” was the only man for the job that was given to a country bumpkin that had no place here while spitting his tobacco juice all over Schembechler’s coffin. There was also a faction of revolutionaries ready to defend Rich Rodriguez to the very bitter end, including me. That was until the Gator Bowl episode, where I became open to a change. Not necessarily getting rid of RR, but at least a major overhaul of the defensive staff like they were some worthless hacks in a company merger ready to be cut loose and beg on the street like vagabonds. It is my general belief that if the Michigan fan base were armed to the teeth, the bloodshed after that game would have rivaled the death toll at Gettysburg. Change of some sorts would have had to happen, no doubt about it. Within two days of firing Rich Rod it seemed only two options were acceptable and likely. Either Jim Harbaugh would ride in on his white horse and raise the spirit of Bo to win at least six national championships in a row or the same result with Rich Rod and a revamped defense with General Tommy Franks as defensive coordinator. Then, BOOM, went the coaching change.
January 5th, 2011, a day not to celebrate a new start, but a day to commence panic and find the nearest lifeboat left as the Michtanic went down in the cold waters of Lake Huron as a string quartet played the final verse of Hail to the Victors. Dave Brandon, Chief Pizza Tosser, announced the firing and then announced he will begin the national search for a new head coach. Begin the search you say? As soon as that pepperoni eating fool uttered that sentence, the hounds of hell erupted into a fit of laughter and began feasting upon the souls of many people near and dear to our hearts.
Our fearless captain of the S.S. MGoBlog went into DEFCON 5 mode; the blog broke due to heavy traffic, and every two bit expert wanting to weigh in on the wasteland known as Michigan football. I consumed a near dangerous level of Ambien to wake up in 2013 since I could not evoke my disapproval through digital nuclear warfare upon the masses. The national blood pressure average spiked as many of the MGoBlog community and residents of Michigan fandom nationwide erupted into anger that made the drunken Mel Gibson rant look like a children’s bedtime story. The end of Michigan football, along with the announcement of the end of the world in May put very bad vibes in many innocent bystanders of this pitiful saga.
January 7th, 2011
The White Horse and the Other Candidates
“Michigan Man”, a term coined by the late Bo Schembechler. Many began to think it should have been buried along with our beloved coach. By measuring every football entity with the “Michigan Man” measuring stick, we have duped ourselves and placed a millstone around any future coach that would dare step within the city limits of Ann Arbor. There is nothing wrong with upholding an aurora of decency and model citizenry for a coach, but to only allow a coach to come in with ties to the original “Michigan Man” is foolish at best and self destructive at worst.
Obviously the “Michigan Man” guard thinks more of the damn term than the jackass that pulled the rug out from under them, Jim Harbaugh. He will be gold digging in the bay area of California while we piss and moan about him not being a true “Michigan Man.” After a years worth of lusting after him he left his obsessive water carriers looking like grafters and shameless dunces. It seems the chosen one chose elsewhere.
What were our options now? A name that wouldn’t seem to leave the psyche was Brady Hoke. Hoke was a “Michigan Man” and former coach on Lloyd Carr’s magical mystery team. It was clear that only a few felt positive about Hoke in this MGoBubble we live in. Although his die-hard supporters pushed his excellence to lofty and Yost like levels of comparisons, he was wanted by most as much as we would like to swap spit with a former Hutu warlord with leprosy that contracted the bubonic plague and took malaria baths.
Another candidate was Chris Peterson from Boise State. He was less toxic than that mutant Hoke, but it seemed as if Boise St. coaches forgot their winning ways when they left the Potato State. Our only choice would be to hire him and become the next Colorado NAIA team or paint the Big House metallic blue and raise it about 10,000 feet in the air to induce Boise State like winning.
Next on the ever lengthening list is Gary Patterson from TCU. Out of all the names mentioned so far, he was my favorite. He would be able to utilize Denard and install a defense similar to the one at TCU. The TCU defense brought purple rain and pain on the mouth breathing meatheads from Wisconsin, and I could only imagine the erotic feeling I would get if it became Maize Rain. He also has many entertaining superstitions like un-tying and re-tying his shoelaces if his team was winning. That would definitely be a bonding point to get Denard to stay. I was also exclusive to the fact from an unnamed source that he shat rainbows every blue moon and was a close cousin of Horatio from CSI Miami.
Another choice from the west is Kyle Wittingham, the head coach at Utah. This choice makes no sense to me if we just dumped a proven winner. Wittingham could still be riding the recruits brought in by the Urban Meyer experience and after a slight nose dive at the end of the season, my stomach feels about good on this choice as does the morning after downing a fifth of rot gut whisky. It was appealing the night I got drunk and dumped, but now it sucks feeling this way; waking up next to a one armed mustachioed heifer in some strange lacy red lingerie.
The MGoUniverse became the chorus of a trendy Spice Girls song as everybody was telling everyone else what they wanted. As the days went by, more names from all corners of the football universe popped into the MGoBoard orbit. Panic became a drink of choice as the hands on the clock rounded through the hours many times. The night after the Cotton Bowl almost became the accumulation of the gnashed teeth and ulcers that were eating their way towards our rectums.
Les Miles was all but certain to become the next coach at the University of Michigan. Book it. Done deal. Hell, even throw in some grass for him to munch on before we rolled out the red carpet in Ann Arbor for the soon to be anointed Jester-King. The LSU message boards were blowing up to the likes I haven’t seen since The Great Possum Snatching Scandal of 2002. I listened to Jim-Bob and Jimmy Sue’s radio broadcasting postgame show as caller after caller called in from Michigan and Louisiana to accept the fact that the trade was done and the universe could go back to focusing American Idol. Saturday came, no announcement. Sunday came, and again no announcement. Tom VH then came out with the depressing facts that our recruiting class mimicked a hemophiliac with no medicine.
What the fuck was going on? I told my doctor not to fill up my medicinal horse tranquilizer prescription any more. I was ready to whore myself out to the idea of waking up in the Mad Hatter’s tea house. Back to the veter…doctors I went. Double dose. I had to put up with more flight tracking maps that looked more like an updated version of the Atari game Pong, wild rumors of Hoke riding in on a snow leopard made of meatlovers pizza, and Jon Gruden would be popping out of Schembechler Hall frothing at the mouth while he held Tressell’s skull in a precarious position at waist level height.
On day six of this bat shit crazy wild ride things seemed to be falling in place. Planes were coming and going to Baton Rouge in the likely outcome of a Les Miles coaching contract. Even Les Miles put out a brief presser that sounded like he was announcing himself pope of the snake wielding, gibberish talking branch of the Appalachian Pentecostal movement. In other words, he was being himself. Eerily strange and vague it was though. It was no doubt however that the Les Tickler had a hankering for taste of Michigan.
January 10th, 2011
Time Travel vs War Eagle
At least to buy my time I was able to watch the BCS National Championship Game. In my perception I expected two versions of the spread offense square off. Would it be the blazing Oregon offense that was the first ever NCAA team to travel in the future to score? Or would it be the SEC powerhouse bruisers that ran downhill like rabid “war eagles” hell bent on the Scorched Earth policy as a game strategy? My hopes laid with Oregon. Auburn was a dirty thuggish team. I thought even a tad extreme for the SEC. Mostly at the hands of Nick Fairley. Obvious proof of his bully mentality lay across the internets. While we struggle with major problems of an uncertain and chaotic situation with the future of our program, Gene Chizik must grapple with such problems as the obvious character flaw in Mr. Fairley:
"It's real simple. You have a 315-pound defensive tackle and you can't block him, sometimes he's going to be very aggressive and people are going to get hurt," Chizik said. "We don't want that. We don't want to see anybody get hurt. But when you can't block a guy that's 315 pounds, that happens."
That must suck. Poor saps.
Unfortunately I missed the 2nd quarter due to an impromptu stop into a small Pennsylvanian town and was forced to swallow down the fact that I had to watch the hit long running series “The Bachelor”. The women in the house were serious that night and there was no way I was risking my life to change the channel. The vibes most likely would have shifted very wrong if I had. Finally leaving with the idea that it was a tight turnover prone game when I was last listening to it on the radio, I arrived ten miles to the north to watch the completion.
What I saw made me squeamish. The Tigers were up 19-11 in the third quarter. As the game progressed, one thing in my mind became clear. The Oregon offensive line was greatly overmatched by the behemoths breathing fire across the line from them. Auburn brutalized Oregon with force and blatant malice by Fairley again. Oregon made a last ditch come back scoring a TD and amazing 2pt conversion try. Oregon’s TE Jeff Maehl was their team last night.
Bummer for Oregon was that they left two minutes on the clock for Newton & Co. By this time in the game the Auburn o-line was eating up Oregon’s d-line. Oregon wasn’t tired, but they were out muscled. Auburn seemed to collect seven yards on every carry by Newton or Dyer. Auburn won in a close game that was really never that close. The final chapter on a year in college football was written, in which evil won.
January 11, 2011 (1/11/11)
The Day Before The Day After
Day Seven. It feels like we’ve been in a desert for eternity. No sign of water. We might have to Bear Grylls a snake and recycle our urine to survive. LSU athletic director Alleva announced that Les Miles will be staying at LSU. BOOM. ROASTED. I was just starting to think the Mad Hatter was crazy enough to handle this nuthouse we have created.
This coupled an article out of San Diego that Hoke was now going to meet with Dave Brandon for the University of Michigan Head Football Coaching position. This news can do bad things to one’s mind as a snowstorm rolls in from the west and trap you in alone. I expected to become destructive to society at any moment, but it never came. I had a feeling of numbness. If Hoke was hired, ok. Ok. Whatever. We have no other choice but support him and hope that Brandon saw something in his crystal Challis we couldn’t. He would be our coach and the fanbase faced two choices. Either stay on the boat and support our new head coach or load into a lifeboat and abandon ship. What would win out in an MGoCulture War? Michigan and unprecedented faith or a possible millstone necklace of tried tradition?
Lou Mannheim: “Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”
Two hours later, that decision came down the pipes from HQ. Hoke was our man, no joke. John Lennon once recorded a song titled “Instant Karma”. Then I thought about Jerry Kill.
The culture war ended that quick. What seemed like a never-ending all out nuclear war ended with in seven days, third in recorded history only to the Six Day War in 1967 that surprisingly only lasted six days and The Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 that lasted a tough 45 minutes. Regardless after a nuclear war, there will be fallout. How much is yet to be seen, but there will be a myriad of emotions for the ones that are left rooting for our beloved Michigan football team. It will only come down to two choices however. We can either band together and make a go of what we have and stand at having a better chance to survive or scatter like cockroaches into factions that continue to practice cannibalism ending in probable epic proportions of fail.
Is our reign as a once traditionally powerful and feared program over? I’ll let Brady Hoke tell you that:
Brady Hoke. Love him or leave him. He is here. I am down with being a Hokeamaniac.
credit: Tom Pickle...WLA^^^^^^^
“Buy the ticket, take the ride…”