Per all the twitters, Mattison apparently gave a pretty passionate defense of Hoke in his presser:
I have always thought highly of GMAT, but I personally find these comments to be over the top, and a blatant attempt to appeal to Schlissel's stated academic concerns. Now I do think that graduation rates and the like are very important. But, at the same time, so is actually playing good football. If we only care about graduation rates, then we don't need to pay Hoke $4 million and Mattison and Nuss almost $1 million each. We can have a staff of professors and guidance counsellors who know enough about football to coach, and treat it like a club sport. to quote Brian, "cumong, man!!"
side note: If we are going to talk about all of the molding of men that Hoke is doing, we should at a minimum mention Frank Clark I, Frank Clark II, C'sonte York, the handling of Gibbons, Lewan's fight, Hagurup's issues, Stonum's 2nd DUI and a host of other off the field crap relating to this team. Not saying that this is all Hoke's fault or that it is uncommon, but if you want to take credit for the good, then you need to share in the negatives, as well.
Also, there's this:
Mattison: "Why should [Hoke] be here? Because he's a winner. He's won everywhere he's been. What's the timetable?"
Not sure if Mattison knows this but prior to coming to Michigan, Hoke had a sub-.500 winning percentage. Also, there are a lot of people who have won at other, lower-tiered levels of competition (many of whom could also focus on graduating their players), but that doesn't make them qualified to coach at Michigan.
By the way, I know of another coach who "won everywhere he's been" before coming to Michigan (and apparently since) and that standard - coupled with a record that improved each year - didn't exactly save him.
I know that GMAT is Hoke's close friend, and that he is supposed to defend him, but this is just crap.
After the OSU game one of the many questions that will be asked will be about Funchess's future. Obviously he's gotten a ton of attention from NFL scouts for being a 6-5 230 pound matchup nightmare. He's got the frame to be a great receiver as well as pretty good speed for a guy his size. But after watching this team all year long, Funchess has to be one of the most disappointing storylines about this past season. His stats for this year are:
55 receptions (5.5/game), 625 yards (11.4/catch), 4 TDs.
Overall this isn't a bad stat line, but from watching every game this year any Michigan fan knows he has been plagued by drops all year long (I couldn't find the exact total) and in key situations, he has failed in making key plays to help our team win. For a 6-5 athletic receiver who's supposed to be a "matchup nightmare", 11.4 yards per catch is pretty measly, even if that includes all the screen passes thrown at him this year (which btw, I'm not sure why you'd throw screens to a TE sized guy as opposed to a shifty Norfleet who's 5'7"). 3 of his 4 receiving touchdowns came in the very first game against FBS newcomer App. State. For a guy with his combination of size and speed, he should be absolutely tearing it up this year. However, we've seen him struggle to get free in press coverage against college corners and really hasn't been able to get open in many instances.
Now obviously this isn't all his fault. Gardner has had as bad a year as any Michigan quarterback in recent memory and I know the OL is still young. They're in year 1 under Nuss and Hoke has never impressed me as an offensive coach... But still, the guy has the physical tools that are extremely rare at the college level and has undoubtedly not reached his full potential.
My questions to the board: 1.) Should he stay 1 more year or go to the NFL? and 2.) What do you think he'll choose?
I know the answer to this question depends a lot on what happens with the coaching situation. If Hoke is fired (probable, if not definite) and we don't get a Harbaugh/Miles level coach, I think he's gone. However I think if we make a big hire it definitely helps his chance of staying. I assume NFL scouts & GMs have gotten increasingly weary of drafting him due to his struggles this year, so I think if he did come back and has the type of year we believe he's capable of, I think he's a no-question 1st round, possible top 10 pick. Another thing to consider is that the 2015 NFL draft is pretty loaded with talent at WR, including Cooper (Bama), White (WVU), Strong (ASU), Coates (Auburn), Green-Beckham (Mizzou/Oklahoma), Green (FSU), and Lockett (KSU) to name a few.
Thoughts? BTW this is my first post to the board so I'd appreciate any feedback on how to make it better for next time.
TL;DR - Michigan has 6 quite tough games in 2015. Please keep it in mind as your project a 9-10 win season with generic 2015 coach that might rhyme with Tarbaugh.
Long form -
With 1 game to go (mercifully) barring miracle all eyes turn to
Jim Harbaugh's hiring the coaching search and 2015. Obviously a lot can change in 4 months - my thesis back then was a now seasoned Shane Morris would be able to give us a great chance in a tough venue in Utah before settling in for his junior year where he should be the 3rd to 4th best QB in a league sadly lacking in QB talent. A very favorable schedule with both OSU and MSU at home would lead to a Hoke led team challenging for the Big 10 title. Well, it's a different narrative now. Let's take an early look at the "easy" 2015 schedule with opponents ranked by quality / location of game / and when in the schedule.
With UM avoiding Wisconsin yet again and no big name non conf opponent and the 2 rivals at home, I still think this is one of the easiest schedules they will face over the next decade but the fact it poses some serious challenges speaks to our situation.
Tier 1 - very challenging games
- OSU - Like Michigan OSU is young this year, especially on offense. Somehow they have taken a QB from the same 2013 class as Shane with no first team reps until deep in August, and a bevy of newbie OL and built a pretty damn daunting offense. That will only be better next year - they also have what looks to be a special RB in Elliott and Jalin Marshall is the type of X factor massive ceiling player we dream of having. At least they have that meh defense. Ex monster child Bosa.
- MSU - Much like UM basketball is not going anywhere until Beilein retires, neither is MSU football. They won't all be championship level years but you will get a team that has an identity and doesn't implode mentally like they did for 45 years. The wildcard here is early entries - Cook, Calhoun, and Waynes. Losing all 3 would push MSU down the ranking as that is the #1 QB, #1 CB, and #1 DE. The gut feel is Waynes is gone as he will be the 1st or 2nd ranked CB in the draft, Cook returns, and Calhoun is on the fence as his play has dropped him from top 10 in drafts to late in the 1st. Until UM develops a competent passing attack the MSU defense won't be solved - Oregon and OSU have shown the way, but UM needs to field a reliable passing QB to replicate it.
- @Utah - Kyle Whittingham has taken a bunch of 3 stars and built them into a quality product ready to be respectable in the Pac 12, after a few years of conversion from Mountain West to Pac 12. They do lose the fantastic Nate Orchard (dear Lions, please choose him in the 3rd) but was able to beat UM with a 90th type ranked offense this year. It will be at home for Utah, in a new coach's first game with a QB who either will be brand new or game 1 of the Shane Morris reclamation project.
- @Minnesota - Bravo to Jerry Kill. He is building a very nice program (not team) at Minnesota. It is no longer a foregone conclusion we win the Brown Jug. Minnesota gave OSU - a much better team than UM - all it could handle at home, and destroyed Iowa and Michigan this year. They do lose Cobb so we'll see if Kill has Minnesota in "plug and play" mode next year in terms of ability to throw any damn dude into that offense and go for mega yards on the ground. The defense is solid.
- BYU - remember this name: Taysom Hill. He is the breed of QB that has created nightmares for UM fan for 20+ years. BYU lost Hill to season ending injury in the first week of October and promptly went on a long losing streak. This dynamic dual threat QB returns in 2015 and BYU is a well coached team that often plays in tough venues as an independent. We will know what to expect with BYU by game 4 as they will play @Nebraska and @UCLA (and host Boise State) before showing up for game 4 in Michigan Stadium. This has "Utah 2014" - with a much more dynamic playmaker at the helm - written all over it.
- @PSU - Much like UM's OL the 2015 PSU OL should move up from bad to some form of not bad. The open question of 2015 will be the state of Hackenberg. Is he permanently damaged in a Devin Gardner post 2013 way? Or will he have a major junior bounce after the sophomore blues? It really comes down to that for PSU as they have an excellent DC and will bring a solid D to the game.
Tier 2 - everyone else
- @Maryland - CJ Brown ends his 6 year reign. We won't have to face Stefon Diggs and his massive talent again. Wait - what's that? Oh... uhh.... ok then. Well whatever the case Maryland's offense loses its starting QB although they do have a backup who has played some this year, and their one true offense threat. But it's a road game vs a team that is functionally Michigan's 2014 equivalent so they get spot 1 in this tier.
- @Indiana - Indiana will return no defense but should rebound offensively as Sudfeld returns to actually pose the ability to throw the ball, something lacking the past 5 games for Indiana. Tevin Coleman goes on to the NFL (dear Detroit Lions, 2nd round for this guy please). Indiana does return its HS level defense so thankfully some things never change. But the ability for that offense to put up big #s 5-6x a year poses an issue.
- Northwestern - for most teams I'd have ranked Northwestern a few spots higher but even Brady Hoke went 4-0 against Northwestern. Michigan has some form of rabbit's foot against this squad.
- Rutgers - Gary Nova, who statistically is the 3rd best QB in the Big 10 this year, departs. For most teams on Rutgers schedule that would be irrelevent but for UM that is a major sigh of relief. Talented RB Paul James returns from ACL and will pose a threat. Leonte Carroo does return for his senior campaign as WR - but who will throw it to him? The defense for Rutgers is mostly mediocre.
- Oregon State - OSU west would have posed more of a problem in 2014 than 2015 as NFL prospect Sean Mannion graduates. This is a very mediocre Pac 12 team even with Mannion on it, in current state.
- UNLV - they bad. Real bad.
One of my favorite traditions and I can never remember if it is on Tuesday or Wednesday night since The Game moved until after Thanksgiving.
For those that are wondering what the hell I'm referencing, it's not about walking on Hoke's figurative grave, but it is about the real graves of the greats of Michigan past. Every year Superfan leads a group of people through Forest Hill Cemetery to visit the gravesites of Bo, Yost, and Ufer. Singing of The Victors, recordings of Bo or Ufer, and the ceremonial cracking of buckeyes have all been done in the past.
If you have never been, and this is still occurring, I recommend the experience.
Anyone know if Superfan is leading the walk again this year?
Keeping in mind that I tend to skew optimistic when it comes to all of my favorite sports teams, I believe the Michigan Football team can be quickly turned around, assuming an effective coaching staff can be secured.
Looking first at the offense...
The team will return nine or ten (depending on what Funchess does) of its offensive starters. A quick review of the current depth chart also reveals that there is only one senior back-up (Joey B). So, we are returning 19 or 20 of the 22 players on the two-deep. Plus we get Ty Isaac on the field.
Has this team underperformed offensively? Yes. But, has there been improvement in certain areas (i.e., the line and the rushing game)? Yes. The reality is that next year's two-deep is going to be stocked with juniors and seniors who were 4* and 5* players coming out of high school. It is difficult to believe that these players, who were highly coveted by other top programs, are all busts.
With the right coaching and scheme, the offense should be able to put points on the board. QB is a major question mark, of course...
Turning to the defensive side of the line, the story is similar.
The team loses three starters...Beyer, Ryan and Taylor. Plus Hollowell off of the two-deep. So, including a fifth DB as part of the depth chart, the team loses four of 24 players on the entire two-deep. And we get Peppers and Morgan back from injury.
In summary, the team loses the following starters, with the replacements indicated...
Gardner (?), Beyer (Poggi or Charlton), Ryan (Morgan or Ross or McCray) and Taylor (Peppers or Stribling or Countess).
Other than Gardner, there are easily identifiable replacements for each of the four.
The entire 46-player two-deep will be packed with 4* and 5* players going in to their 3rd, 4th and 5th years. It is true that stars don't always translate in to success. But it just seems impossible that this staff missed the mark on so many players. With the dozens of highly ranked players who will be on the roster next year, there has to be 35 of them who can excel on gameday. There is talent there. It has to be an issue of coaching.
Plus, there will not have to be the type of roster rebuild that was necessary in 2011 and 2012.
With the right coaching, schemes, and motivation,I believe this can be a very successful (10-2 or so) team in the first year of the new regime.