this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Friend and fellow alum passed this along. Since many have speculated about what really happened and Brandon isn't going to talk about, I thought I'd share.
Edit: embed fail. If someone could do the honors, much appreciated.
I love the work of Brian Cook. MGoBlog is something that has filled my life with joy and wonder, bringing my level of Michigan fandom to a level that is both wholly satisfying and terribly unhealthy at the same time. But right now I can't support Brian's views in regard to the coaching search and eventual hire of one Brady Hoke. This is no way to begin the era of a new coach, regardless of what Brian's personal feelings on the matter are.
I get that many fans, especially those who frequent MGoBlog, are less than pleased with how the coaching search went. Brady Hoke wasn't my favorite candidate either. I do respect David Brandon for how he conducted the search though. I think Brandon showed that he is a man of integrity in several ways, many of which were frustrating to fans:
- He gave Rich Rod every opportunity to show progress that would warrant keeping him on as head coach. I think the results of the bowl game really illustrated how much that game mattered in the evaluation of Rich Rod. Without that data point, Michigan fans are even more divided about the need for a new coach. The Gator Bowl embarrassment cleared things up, and thus had value. Had Rich Rod managed to win and get Michigan to 8-5 with a bowl win over a ranked opponent (would have only been RR's second in 13 tries), I think it would have strengthened the case for keeping him almost as much as the embarrassing loss killed it.
- He didn't interfere with the season of any other program. I think this is one of the most glaring differences between this coaching search and last, it felt more respectful towards others and therefore more Michigan. No coach considered was interfered with before his teams' bowl game, including Mr. Hoke. Considering the outcome, would it have been better for the program to have had Hoke sign up and come over a month ago? Of course. But I am glad that SDSU and Hoke got to get that bowl victory, and that their players got to have proper closure to their impressive season. Pulling Rich Rod before WV's BCS game always seemed a little shady to me.
- He stuck to his guns throughout the process. I never got the feeling that he was out of touch with the search, despite the lack of leaked info. He wasn't off sailing his boat, and if I believe that he was pretty busy following possibilities. Harbaugh wanted the NFL; I don't consider this DB's fault. Miles decided to stay at LSU; this may be for the best as Les had a bit of baggage anyways. Michigan couldn't afford to wait much longer to sign a coach and whether we like it or not, DB had a set of criteria in mind and Hoke met the requirements.
The bottom line is that none of us know how things went down. Also none of us is any more qualified to judge the coaching search than we are to judge the decisions of our football coach. There is a reason David Brandon was hired to be Michigan's AD, and we will have to wait and see if his decision is a good one. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. The pudding has not been served yet.
I am excited for a new era of Michigan Football to begin and I am 100% behind Coach Hoke. People keep bringing up Hoke's record of 47-50 as a head coach as if just under .500 football has been his consistent result throughout his career. Reality paints a different picture though: a progression from Head-Coach-That-Never-Was-A-Coordinator (HCTNWAC) learning on the job at a loser program, to Head-Coach-That-Turns-Shit-Around (HCTTSA) that wins conference Coach of the Year honors.
What I see:
Ball State 2003 (HCTNWAC)
Goes 4-8 (3-5) in first year with Bill Lynch's players (6-6 in 2002). Does not look competitive if the scores are any indication. Ended season on a 4 game losing streak.
Ball State 2004 (HCTNWAC)
Bottoms out, going 2-9 (2-6) in his second year. Whether because of personel, or lack of HC experience, Hoke appears in over his head at this point. 2 wins come against teams with a combined 1-21 record.
Ball State 2005 (HCTNWAC?)
In his third year things start to show improvement. Record improves to 4-7 (4-4) with three wins against teams that would finish with winning records. Won three of final four games and took final game against CMU to OT.
Ball State 2006 (HCTTSA?)
More improvement, going 5-7 (5-3), his first winning record in conference. Didn’t beat anybody of note, but put a scare into a very good Michigan team.
Ball State 2007 (HCTTSA)
Continues to build the Ball St program, going 7-6 (6-2) for his first winning season and bowl bid. Beats talented Navy team in overtime. Comes within 51 seconds of knocking off Nebraska, losing by 1 point on a long touchdown in the final minute.
Ball State 2008 (HCTTSA!!!)
Undefeated regular season, including a second straight win against Navy and a victory over Indiana. Peaks at #12 in the polls before faltering in the conference championship game, finishes 12-1. Ball State would fall off a cliff in 2009 after Hoke's departure, going 2-10.
SDSU 2009 (HCTTSA?)
Takes the reigns of a program that hadn't had a winning season in a decade. Takes his lumps, going 4-8 (2-6) with victories coming against the dregs of the MWC.
SDSU 2010 (HCTTSA!!!)
Has an outstanding season, ending at 9-4 (5-3) and taking Coach of the Year honors for the MWC. Closer inspection of his season reveals that the 4 losses were all to teams with winning records and a cumulative record of 40-12. The 4 losses were by an average of < 4 points per game as well, with the worst a 5 point defeat @ undefeated TCU. 3/4 losses were away games. This season is easily better than the final record indicates. Hoke gets his first bowl victory, stomping Navy 35-14.
This is not the same as merely spouting 37-40 implies.
The bottom line is that Brady Hoke deserves our full support as a fan base. He seems like a class act and served Michigan in the past, producing NFL quality D-Linemen and helping to form the 1997 defense. He remembers what it is like to coach a winning team against that team down south. He legitimately has turned 2 smaller programs around and is walking into a Michigan program that is on the rebound. I expect that he will have a good/great season next year and be a great representative of the University of Michigan.
This is Brian Cook's blog and he will post what he sees fit. MGoBlog and its community will continue to be a cornerstone of my passion and obsession as a fan regardless. I just urge that Brian, and all those that frequent this corner of the interwebs, realize how MGoBlog influences public opinion. Comments about the coaching hire being "stupid" and calling our new coach "average" before the new coach is even formally introduced will have a very real effect on how many people view Michigan Football. Recruits and current players, all of which we are trying to retain, no doubt read these statements and form opinions based on them. Positive thoughts and comments lead to positive opinions and the feeling that the fans have Michigan players' backs (and their new coach's back as well).
If MGoBlog is going to be so obviously anti-Hoke, how is it any better for Michigan Football than the Freep?
This is the graph Brian posted on the front page. I take no credit.
To me, I see exactly one time where Borges coached an offense that was ranked higher than 69th (ugh) that also wasn't stacked with highly performing future professional players. Auburn of '04 featured Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell, and Marcus McNeil - that runs the gamut of "really important offensive players who would do very well in the NFL," as that would be the two running backs, the quarterback, and the left tackle respectively. Auburn of '05 wasn't as stacked, but still featured Kenny Irons (a pro washout allegedly due to attitude issues but a stud in college and a high draft pick), McNeil again, and Ben Obomanu, who is a decent NFL wideout in Seattle.
The "outlier" - that is, the time when a Borges offense was better than average without obvious pro talent, was the most recent SDSU team. While I suppose this might be comforting because of the fact that the great season is in recent memory, it also is complicated because we haven't seen how NFL teams evaluate the talent level of the current SDSU team to provide a rough approximation of "objective player quality," but I have a hard time giving Borges much credit for deciding to hand off to Ronnie Hillman or throw to Vincent Brown a lot - those are two of the most dominating non-AQ skill position stars in college football right now.
This is my point: I hate to be pessimistic this early in Hoke's tenure, but when I see a coordinator whose performance is average to terrible except when he's coaching a stacked team, I think precisely of Robinson. The analogy is deepened when you consider the fact that Borges is going to be pressured to run an offense that isn't truly his own. A straight, dyed-in-the-wool west coast like Borges seems to favor featuring dominant running backs and quick-decision, accurate (albeit mobile!) quarterbacks is pretty much THE system I think we're least suited for at this moment. That leaves him with two options - Borges can run a system that doesn't fit our personell at all, or he can be forced to coach something he doesn't prefer to run. Either way seems bad.
I want to be positive. I'm all in. I didn't like the Hoke hire initially, but I'm coming around to the man himself and I will support him with everything I have. But I can't see it going well if Michigan's offense is going to be run by Borges.
Can you reassure me?
EDITED because Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers are two different people, evidently.
We've already seen and talked about this but let's watch and talk about it again. Has Drew Sharp always had a speech impediment or does the Hokester just intimidate him? Either way, I'm calling round 1 for Hoke.
This is my first board I have posted, and I know a lot of people out there know this topic better than I do, but I felt like it should be put in one place, because I was amazed at these numbers. I owe Undefeated Dream Season of 1992 and his "Michigan's appetite for a big name coach" post for the inspiration for this.
With the hiring of Brady Hoke, Michigan has had twelve coaches since Yost was hired in 1901. Of these, eight would fit the "Michigan Man" meme (having either played at Michigan or served as an assistant before becoming head coach). The four outliers are Yost, Crisler, Bo, and RR.
Yost and his coaching tree, plus a former player (Little, Wieman and Kipke) coached Michigan from the turn of the 20th Century into the Great Depression. Following Crisler's hire from the outside in 1938, Crisler and his tree lasted 30 years, when Bo was brought in from the outside. As we are familiar with, the Bo tree has now been in place for (at least part of) every presidential administration since Lyndon Johnson; we are quite familiar with the outlier from 2008-2010.
Four outside coaches have been hired in the last 110 years, and those four coaches were at the helm for a combined 59 years. In the same time period, eight "insiders" have been hired and have coached for a total of 61 years.
Per jmblue's edit, there have been 34 years of "outsiders" since 1926 when Yost retired after his second stint as head coach.
Not knocking either type of coach, but I had never gone through and thought about the past Michigan coaches in this light. Not sure that it means anything in context of the last few weeks other than Michigan is a very conservative place that historically resists change from the outside. Take from this whatever you like, but I found it interesting as hell to see the numbers together.
Realize this may be old news for many, but: After the past three years, and watching today's presser, it dawned on me -- the so-called 'Michigan Man' mythology means a man who is subservient to the program he coaches. When Bo said a "Michigan Man will coach Michigan", he wasn't saying anything about the ancestry of the coach; he was saying he'd only have a coach who didn't think he was bigger than the program. Bill Frieder, by looking outside of Michigan, committed that sin.
Taken in that light, Rodriguez was in deep trouble when he started, precisely because he was incredibly successful outside of the Michigan program. Yes, Michigan has had great coaches -- but they all were great within the context of Michigan. They did not have a 'greatness' outside of Michigan.
Rodriguez, by coming here already successful, disrupted the Michigan space-time continuum. And yes, if he had won more/faster he'd most likely still be here. But when Brandon spoke of the players being first, not the coach, when he spoke of a love of Michigan football above all else, he was speaking about having a coach that was a servant to, but not greater than, the program. The resentment of Rodriguez that many found to be irrational can be traced, in part, to this.
I think Hoke was Brandon's #1 target all along. Harbaugh, pedigreed as he was, had become larger than the Michigan program. Same with Miles. Brandon wanted a servant to the program, and that man is Brady Hoke.
I don't post this to denigrate either Rodriguez or Hoke; it is just the way it is. I'm a fan of Hoke, but I understand completely the frustration of many, and why they think Michigan may never be able to evolve into something else if they only hire 'servants'. I'd argue that a servant of the program does not necessarily need to be a slave to the past; he can innovate -- just as long as the program is always bigger than he is.
EDIT for clarity, stolen from a post below: I'm not saying the "Michigan Man" of myth must have prior ties to Michigan. He just must be subservient to the program. Michigan could have hired a hot coordinator, or somebody from a smaller/less prestigious school. The point is that the Michigan ethos is for Michigan to make the coach famous, and the coach to make Michigan famous. A symbiosis, if you will. If a coach is already famous, the symbiosis is damaged, and that's a partial cause of all this strife in the past few years. Rodriguez was, for better or for worse, bigger than the program, and many people resented it.
Ridiculous? I can certainly see that side. A sign of Michigan's arrogance? For sure. It is what it is; it's part of the Michigan 'tradition'.