somehow we're only 124th
Hoops season starts soon and we're all very excited about that. John Beilein is a genius! We're ranked #7! We're coming off a Final Four! OMG Shirtless Sophomores! We have good reason to be upset about yesterday, and the overall play of our 6-2 team but I personally believe in the big picture. "Fire Hoke" and drawing negative conclusions about his regime's trajectory is unwise at this juncture. Allow me to describe -- using parallels to our current hoops coach who is figuratively walking on water in AA these days.
Beilein was hired in 2007 to replace a "sexy" name who didn't get the job done. Nobody was really excited about the hire because we struck out on Pitino [EDIT: Pitino was 2001. In any case, Beilein wasn't a super exciting hire with his "White Guy" reputation and preverbial "ceiling"]. Hoke, 2011, and Harbaugh and it's the same. Beilein had to re-recruit Harris and Sims and we struggled to a 10-22 record. His second year was charmed and we overacheived to an NCAA Tournament win. Hoke had to re-recruit Denard and others and we overachieved to a Sugar Bowl win. At this juncture, Hoke is ahead of schedule. Both coaches/teams fell back down to earth in the following season and fans are rightfully disappointed.
In Beilein's following season (2010-11), we started 1-6 in Big Ten play before the light went on and we upset MSU in East Lansing. It's been a consistent increase in production ever since. This isn't Hollywood so the parallels aren't perfect (we got smoked yesterday and Lewan didn't have an anueysm of leadership), but we're 6-2 and have some opportunities to wake up. In any case, we're still a year ahead of schedule according to the "Blueprint to BUILDING a Program" by John Beilein.
Now, Beilein made some coaching changes (Hello: Jordan, Meyer, and Alexander) that helped him out. I'm not saying Hoke does or doesn't need to make a few changes, but we're still figuratively playing with a couple Novak's and Douglass' at some skill positions, but while others (like the guards) have Darius Morris talent before the transformation.
The worst thing Hoke could have done was apparently expidite expectations with the Sugar Bowl. Have some perspective; remember Beilein's long road. We're recruiting better than ever. He's united the alumni and we love how he does things the "Michigan way". We've enjoyed some success on the field and I promise we'll get to play MSU (1-2 isn't ideal, but better than 0-3), OSU (1-1), and ND (2-1) again.
My opinion is that we should continue to support Michigan. We're obviously not where we want to be, but these things take some time. Tough to coach ourselves to a win when the interior O-Line literally gets crushed within 1 second on every play.
Should this be a diary? Is this too long? Are my paragraphs not up to the "MGoBlog Pulitzer standard?" Who cares. Step away from the cliff, anxious Michigan fans. The last time we gathered our pitchforks coaches negative recruited the hell out of our coaching stability and we got a Josh Groban appearance we'd all like to forget.
In the updated bowl projections, ESPN has Michigan playing Texas in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe by one guy. And in the Outback Bowl in Tampa against Georgia.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has Michigan in the Outback Bowl against Georgia as well.
A game against Texas would be cool but that would mean Michigan would have an even worse record than they do now.
First, let's get this out of the way. This is NOT a thread about getting rid of a coach. I hope most of you are not like that idiot who called for firing DL coaches (think about that one). I hope Mattison stays as long as possible and enjoys good health. So, if you want to spew about who should be replaced with who, go elsewhere, there are plenty of threads about that.
What I want to talk about is why Mattison is so averse to pressuring bad QB's.
Is it because of the time he spent in NFL where there are many quarterbacks who will carve up the blitzes? Rushing four is definitely the main tools of the best D's in NFL (Seattle, Baltimore, etc.). But is it really necessary in college?
College QB's are not like NFL QB's. Even very good college QB's do not handle pressure well (see Devin), let alone poor ones like Hackenberg (still a freshman) and Cook. But it seems like we are determined to give them as much time as possible and let them be comfortable in the pocket with ever increasing percentage of completions as the game goes on and they gain confidence.
I just don't get it. You can see how much havoc pressure can cause (see MSU). We are very effective when we blitz (I have numbers). I understand rushing only four is preferred, but why keep doing it when it is not working?
I'll just leave this at statistics alone:
|Coach||Seasons||Games with no TD||vs MSU/osu|
|Schembechler||21||6 of 247 (2.4%)||.667 (28-13-1)|
|Moeller||5||1 of 60 (1.7%)||.600 (6-3-1)|
|Carr||13||4 of 162 (2.5%)||.615 (16-10)|
|Rodriguez||3||0 of 37 (0.0%)||.000 (0-6)|
|Hoke||2+||4 of 34 (11.7%)||.400 (2-3)|
This actually doesn't paint the full picture, as Hoke's team scored a TD in his first 16 games.
They've failed to score a TD in 4 of their past 18 games (2012 ND, MSU, NEB, 2013 MSU)
There's been much talk about the game plan yesterday, how poor the offensive line is, lack of development of young players, and general wailing and gnashing of teeth. But as I think about things this morning, those concerns, while legitimate, don't strike me as being as concerning as this: Brady Hoke came here and laid out his mission for the team many times, which was to be as "physical" as possible, and to restore that tough Michigan standard of play. This is what the entire "manball" theme is about.
When he arrived three years ago, no one expected Hoke to out-scheme people offensively. I don't think anyone expected we would out-scheme anyone at all. We all knew that the offensive system would be a hybrid, and everyone that read Borges' resume three years ago wouldn't have been iunder any impression that we would have a dynamic offense. So my expectations for Hoke are tempered by IMO his lack of knowledge of offensive football, which is why he delegates so much to his OC.
But one thing that Hoke has entirely under his control is the physical nature of the team. That is a culture that is set by the head coach, and can often be affected before talent even develops or arrives--it is not dependent on talent. And his self described mission is to have Michigan be the most physical team out there. Yet we got beat up yesterday, just as we did two years ago, and that was not the first or second time that has happened. Three years in now, and do we see progress in getting to the core of what Brady Hoke wants this team to be? Perhaps I'm wrong, but that to me seems the largest concern about the head coach this morning.