at least something good happened this week
Congrats! You're the new head coach at the University of Michigan! It's a wonderful university with a rich academic and athletic history. The product on the field was a tire-fire in 2014, but you know that. Hopefully you're good enough at "coaching football" even if you don't know "The Victors" yet.
You should know that there are 2 parts to coaching Michigan - being a good football coach and knowing how to bullshit/placate your base. I'm hoping you're proficient at the former and that's why you're here. In terms of the latter:
You'll get asked about being a "Michigan Man". Here's how you should answer that: 'When Coach Schembechler said that "A Michigan Man should coach Michigan" he was referring to a basketball coach shopping his services. Why anyone would want to leave this great university is beyond me. I'm here because I want to be here. I'm here to help make this the greatest football program in the country and I'll put 100% into that every day. I don't know the words to The Victors yet, but I know I'll hear them after every Touchdown and Turnover, so I'll be hearing it often. My staff will start every meeting with it and we will embody everything that this great university stands for.' (If you've got a tie to Michigan history, use it here. Say you're from the same area of WV as Yost... sigh... or if you coached at Miami like Bo, or something)
You'll get asked about former players. There are some high profile ones who are varying levels of happy with the program. To them you should say: "Any former player is welcome to my office any time I'm not with the team or preparing for a game. I'm creating an "Alumni Day" every fall when we welcome back any and every former football letterman during a game, in addition to the flag football game as part of our spring game. If any former letterman wants to attend a game, give me a call. Between myself and the AD we'll get you to the games that you need to go to. If you have a legacy recruit - a son, younger brother, cousin - no questions asked they will be offered a preferred walk-on spot here at Michigan. We have to make decisions that are best for the program and if we, as a staff, have scholarships available we'd love to offer them to your legacy.
You'll get asked about wearing a headset/coaches in the booth/on the field. Say that you have to balance communicating with your players and your staff and if you ever have an issue with either you'll change your behavior.
You'll get asked if this is an elite job. Answer "Yes. Winningest program (hopefully still :-( ), The Big House, glorious history and the best damn uniforms in sports. Michigan has all the tools to be an elite program and I'll to my best to win every single game we play every year."
You'll get asked about the B1G being Big tehhhhhnnnn "The B1G has a glorious history in football, but as a conference we need to do better in our non conference slate. There's no reason why every program in this conference can't commit the resources and personnel to be the best conference in the country. We are doing that at Michigan and hope everyone else does as well."
You'll get asked about Michigan State - say that you've got all the respect in the world for them, they've been doing great recently, and that you want to beat them by 20 every year.
You'll get asked about Ohio State - say that you've got all the respect in theworld for them, they've been doing great recently, and that you want to beat them by 50 every year.
You'll get asked a bunch of other bullshit. Realize that you could go 14-0 and win every game by 20. There will be Michigan fans who are upset because you didn't win by 30, or didn't score a point-a-minute, or your QB didn't "look" right, or you weren't as angry as they remember Bo being, or you yelled to much, or because you said that Zingermans is delicious but overpriced.
Don't worry about these people.
Worry about coaching the team, keeping them healthy, punting not-like-a-dinosaur, and winning some games. I hear that fixes everything.
I am sure we can come up with more
Just wrapping up right now, but MT is absolutely trashing UM and how they treated him. Also, did defend Rich Rodriguez, but is hoping Hoke gets the same treatment (based on big games).
Anyone else hear it? Thoughts?
Phil Steele Bowl Prediction (Week 3)....wait for it....Michigan vs. Arizona in San Francisco Bowl! :)
Right. And since when is Phil Steele correct in predicting anything?
Okay, I know, I know.
But today he really did day this is gonna happen and so I just think that....
And at Levi's Stadium! Woo Hoo! Thanks Phil!
A couple of days ago I compiled Hoke's win-loss record, looking specifically at road v. home v. neutral site and the differences between the Vegas line and the actual win differential. I was curious, though -- and maybe this was prompted by a comment I saw somewhere -- how other successful coaches at our rivals had fared recently. That is, was Hoke's downward trend normal? Abnormal? Is there, in fact, a normal?
Here are the results (click to embiggen):
- Hoke is most like Meyer: a string of victories at the start with a slow (inevitable) decline, although Meyer was able to string together an amazing 24-0 start at Ohio State.
- Kelly and Dantonio are more similar: a difficult first year followed by a fairly consistent improvement in overall record.
- Rodriguez is a real outlier: he never really got about .500, so never showed the overall improvement that Kelly and Dantonio did.
Hoke's downward slide looks ominous. What if we look on the brighter side, however, and project a 9-3 season, with losses to Michigan State and Ohio State but victories against the rest of the schedule? We get something like this (I'm not projecting the other coaches' records here):
That looks significantly better: essentially Hoke would be neck-and-neck with Kelly at the end of his year four, with a better overall record than Danotio's first four years. That's not bad.
Even if we project an 8-4 season this year -- say we lose to Penn State under the lights -- the overall record ain't too shabby:
The question, then, may be: is Hoke better than a .700 career coach? The difference between .700 and .750 is pretty palpable. Lloyd's career record was .753, Moeller's was .758, Bo's was .796 (at Michigan only for the latter two coaches). The scene of college football is significantly different now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s, but it's probably fair to say that Michigan fans and alumni reasonably expect to win 3 out of every 4 games, even if we were never happy with Lloyd or Moeller's tendency to drop the occasional game to undermatched opponents (a loss at home to an unranked Illinois in 1993, my first year at Michigan, still stings a bit).
There's no doubt that the end of last year and this year is a bit of a trough for Michigan football: we're rebuliding, not reloading, despite the addition of Peppers. At least that has to be the positive take, anyway; the negative take would be that in the coming years the slide continues, and Hoke's line on the graph above will cross Dantonio's in 2015.
My overall take is more positive than I thought it would be when I started: if Hoke can hold serve this year with a 9-3 record and continue to bring in top talent, then there is a good case to be made that things will rebound. If those things happen, then on paper Hoke and Kelly look awfully similar, and I think that we probably think that whatever Kelly's many faults, he's got Notre Dame football on the right track in terms of the on-the-field performance.
Yet as I type those sentences about Michigan they seem awfully optimistic... far more optimistic than I currently feel.
EDIT: Per the suggestion by LandonC in the comments below, here is Hoke's ten
year game rolling win percentage vs. Kelly's, Dantonio's, and RR's:
Single leg squats
No RR, no Barwis. No Barwis, and the tweet below might not have happened. Some things transcend football.
@HayONU is Brock's wife, for those of you who don't follow him on twitter.
Today @brockmealer and I held hands while walking together for the first time ever ♡— Haley Mealer (@HayONU) May 19, 2014