BC guys evaluate Bates's tenure positively.
Nick Baumgardner reporting three commits wishing to look elsewhere.
I posted this in the UTL III boycott thread below but think we need to take a step back and think about the impact of the rage movement:
If you truly love Michigan you are going to show the fuck up to games and root on the team. At this point, It’s a foregone conclusion Brady Hoke is out of a job at the end of the year and Brandon is holding on for dear life. Both have done irreparable damage to their careers regardless of attendance / boos. I promise you guys, we will have blood. Be patient.
What is totally unacceptable in my book is abandoning the team.
Ya they suck, ya they have shitty coaches, ya it’s not a lot of fun watching them but these young men have worked their entire lives for the opportunity to win football games for Michigan. The seniors especially deserve our respect and attendance. These young men may never play again, and deserve to be sent out with dignity (not to empty stadiums and red Ohio colored fucking t shirts).
I would hope that more people on this blog can start to have a little bit of empathy for some of the guys whose careers are winding down and didn’t turn out like they, or we, had hoped (don’t even get me started on the young men with NFL potential who may never get a shot due to coaching indignities).
Do what’s right and support the young men
Perhaps even more troubling, or indicative of how Michigan athletics is operating, is that on Monday afternoon, nearly 48 hours after this incident, Hoke said he still hadn't discussed it with his boss, athletic director Dave Brandon.
Not at all? How is that possible?
Like many of you, I'm done wasting my time for 3-4 hours every Saturday. What are you doing instead of watching the game on Saturday?
Myself? I'm going to a ballet on Saturday. My best friend is performing and I'll only get to see her perform once, maybe twice more, so I'm going to take this opportunity and enjoy it, knowing that come Monday, we'll be hearing about a lack of execution from Hoke, no matter what we do.
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've been looking at quite a few candidates for 2015 HC the past few weeks as it had become increasingly clear the Hoke is not the answer; something I think the masses have finally agreed upon after Saturday. I will post a few profiles this week in diaries on what I have found on candidates outside the normal cabal regurgitated over and over. Some candidates I have done a ton of work on - some I have done less on. All are current head coaches as I don't believe we can take a chance on someone who does not have HC experience at the NCAA level unless their name is John Harbaugh.
Normal caveats apply:
- I am not an AD nor do I have a full time staff to focus on one of of the most important decisions over the next decade. These are superficial reports based on raw data. If I were an AD I'd be doing a lot of on the ground work on each of these people's backgrounds starting from their playing days on forward to every coaching stop.
- Past results do not guarantee a damn thing. But that is all we can go on.
- These are not necessarily my top candidates (read: Jim Harbaugh) but people we could get and are interesting and not "Sumlin, Shaw, Gundy redux"
- I believe an elite level coach gets results within 2-3 years, by results I don't mean 11-2 but improving a bad program or maintaining a good program
- W/L record is not the be all and end all - what Gary Barnett did for Northwestern is more impressive than what a lot of coaches have done at USC or Bama or Texas over the years. Spurrier went and won at Duke for example early in his career. Or just see John Beilein.
- Adjust everything for conference, level of competition, and ability to get recruits
- I don't care about systems - a good coach will coach up players. It's about the Jimmy and Joes not the X's and O's.
Next candidate.... Todd Graham, age: 49
Summary: Let me begin this piece by saying I have done more homework on Todd Graham than any other candidate. It is just one man's opinion but I think Graham is the most "sure thing" candidate of the group of guys that are realistically available to UM. By that I don't mean sure thing to the upside - i.e. he will get us to a playoff game in 2 years, but I mean to the downside - he will return us at minimum to the Lloyd Carr era. With potential upside from there. He can turn around a down in the dumps program, and he can sustain winning. He has multiple 10 win seasons in his HC career. Very few other candidates have shown the ability to do both on their HC resume.
Graham is seen as an offensive coach due to some crazy offensive numbers but the reality is he came up as a defensive coach. What he has been excellent at (which is a major plus for me) is finding top notch offensive minds to be his offensive coordinator. Identifying high level coordinator talent is a MAJOR help to a successful HC. Todd Graham brought in Guz Malzahn AND Chad Morris at Tulsa as OCs. One is the head coach of Auburn, the other is the OC at Clemson - both lauded for forward offensive thinking. His current man is Mike Norvell which is likewise putting up video game like numbers out at Arizona State.
There are some UM fans who dislike Graham due to his departures from earlier coaching stops. I get that and while not a "great thing" this negative is far less damning than alleged violations at Oklahoma State that Les Miles had. The same Les Miles almost everyone at UM wants if a Harbaugh is not available. He did not handle his departure from Pittsburgh well, so that's a negative. Also how he left Rice after 1 year was not ideal. Does he job hop? To a degree - so did Urban Meyer (2 years at Bowling Green, 2 years at Utah). Saban left Toledo after 1 year to go to the NFL. Young driven NCAA coaches leave jobs quickly for the next step up - I don't understand why Graham is penalized for this other than how he let his players know about it. Further he has been at one place (Tulsa) for 6 of the last 11 years
I will also show in this piece that on paper Todd Graham has just as impressive of a HC resume as everyone's hottest candidate in the country - Kevin Sumlin. Kevin Sumlin is nearly impossible to get and might be the Dallas Cowboys coach at this time next year. Meanwhile a very reasonable facsimile to Kevin Sumlin is sitting at Arizona State at a reasonable price ($2.4M) and has shown a propensity to move when a better program calls. As my caveats say you need to do a whole different level of background check on every candidate but on paper he seems like he should be a finalist for the 2015 job.
Recent (10 years) coaching background
- 2003-2005: DC at Tulsa
- 2006: HC at Rice
- 2007-2010: HC at Tulsa
- 2011: HC at Pitt
- 2012-2014: HC at Arizona State
Analysis: This is the one negative against Graham, he had 2 one year stints. The Rice one makes a lot of sense. He had honed his coaching skills at Tulsa, left the school to get his first HC job and then the HC job opened at Tulsa. So he went back there after being gone a year. I don't penalize someone for doing that. He had a ton of success at Tulsa in 3 of his 4 years and accepted a job at Pittsburgh. Up to that point everything was fine in his career path. He had spent 6 of the previous 7 years at 1 spot - Tulsa. For whatever reason (there are a lot of published reasons but we'll never know the truth) he decided Pitt was not for him and ASU came calling and he left. He didnt get to address his players and let them know via text message. That didn't sit well. I agree with that - not cool.
Should he not be the UM coach because he left Pitt after 1 year? That would be a stupid reason.
Next question - "if he job hops so much why would he stay at UM?" Well frankly there are not many more places to go. Once you get to UM level the only jobs you really are leaving UM for are places like Alabama or Texas. And if he is doing good enough for us to leave for Alabama in 5 years - well that probably means 1-2 playoff appearances and multiple Big 10 championships. I'll live with it. Could he go to the NFL? Sure - but he has zero NFL background. He was a successful H.S. coach before his stops at West Virginia (pre Tulsa) and Tulsa. The only guy of recent note to jump to the NFL with no contacts / playing history / position coach experience is Chip Kelly. And I'd take a 4-5 year run of Chip Kelly success if that meant losing him to the NFL.
Is he a "mercenary"? I don't see it that way - ASU is a better job than Pitt IMO. He stayed at Tulsa for 6 of 7 years - far longer than many "hot coaches" stay anywhere nowadays. These are my views - I am sure others disagree. Personally I don't care if he is a mercenary - he has never been accussed of anything worse than job hopping.
Caveat for results ----> (a) nothing exists in a vacuum (b) as a coordinator you can benefit or be penalized if your HC is good or bad or average (c) injuries or graduation can change your results dramatically in any 1 year. This is the type of stuff you'd research as an AD staff on every potential candidate.
Usually I break down each coach's results in a vacuum but I am going to do something different for Graham. Both he and Sumlin coached in the Conference USA West division, overlapping 3 of the 4 years they were there - Graham at Tulsa, Sumlin at Houston. Both took over 8-5 programs. I am going to show you how their 4 year stints compared side by side - W/L, total offense, total defense. Please keep in mind Texas A&M hired Sumlin DIRECTLY after his stint at Houston. With Graham not only do you have his Tulsa resume but now we have 3 more years of data points with his background at ASU. So you have even more of a resume than Sumlin had when A&M hired him if UM goes after Graham.
Please compare these 2 charts for the 2 coaches. Please note the first row in italics of each chart is what the coach prior to Graham/Sumlin did.
Coach 1: 36-17 W/L. Three 10+ win seasons and 1 down year. Total offense ranked as Top 5 in the country 3 of the 4 years he was there. Defense was not good 2 of the 4 years, but in this type of conference anything in the 60s-70s is considered "decent".
|Tot Off||Tot Def|
Coach 2: 36-17 W/L. Two 10+ win seasons and 1 down year. Total offense ranked as Top 5 in the country 3 of the 4 years he was there. Defense was not good for 3 of the 4 years, but in this type of conference anything in the 60s-70s is considered "decent".
|Tot Off||Tot Def|
Can you tell which is which? Does it matter? They are nearly identical resumes for those 4 years in the Conference USA West division. I guess one is a lot more cuddly and cool.
For those who do care Coach 1 was Graham and Coach 2 was Sumlin.
Now let's look closer at Graham's career
(1) HC at Rice
After being the DC at Tulsa for 3 years, Graham left to go take over a horrid 1-10 Rice team. He only stayed 1 year because the HC job opened up at Tulsa. But he turned around the program in 1 year by 6 games. They went 7-5 and went to a bowl (where they lost) This was the FIRST BOWL for Rice since 1960. The offense improved quite dramatically while the defense was the same.
|Tot Off||Tot Def|
Now he did leave Rice in "not great circumstances" either - he had signed a contract extension with Rice after 2006 and then bolted for Tulsa. Is that "great"? No. In fact I think this is less cool than what he did at Pittsburgh due to the timing of it all. But again he went back to the school he had been with for the prior 3 years. Some may take great exception to this - understandable. But it is what it is.
(2) HC at Tulsa
As the chart above showed - he, like Sumlin, took over a solid 8-5 program. Tulsa was not a tire fire like Rice was. In these type of non Big 5 conferences you dont get great defensive talent, it is very difficult to build great defenses. But via innovation and scheme you CAN build great offenses - as both Houston and Tulsa did in that era. Sumlin took over for Art Briles at Houston and somehow got tagged as an offensive genius. Graham meanwhile is seen as "just a guy at Tulsa". Yet somehow "just a guy" identified both Gu Malzahn and Chad Morris to be OC or co-OCs in is tenure. By the way Graham beat Art Briles Houston 56-7 in his first year at Tulsa. But I digress.
I am not going to break out all 4 years of Tulsa since this post is already very long but you can see as a whole Graham had lights out offenses, 2 years of "ok" defense and 2 years of "quite bad" defense. Which in Conference USA is enough to get you double digit wins.
Key games for Tulsa during Graham's 4 yr stint:
- Year 1: beat eventual #14 11-2 BYU 55-47
- Year 1: beat Art Briles 8-5 Houston 56-7
- Year 1: beat 8-5 Bowling Green in a bowl 63-7
- Year 1 losses were to eventual #8 Oklahoma, 10-4 conference champion UCF (twice), and a loss to a bad UTEP team
- Year 2: no lights out wins but losses were to Arkansas, Sumlin's Houston and 9-5 East Carolina
- Year 2 fun stat: Scored 35+ in all 11 wins. Scored over 45 pts in 9 of the 11 wins.
- Year 3 was a struggle - maybe a QB graduation, who knows but still only lost to Sumlin's 10-4 Houstin 46-45. Lost to eventual #4 undefeated Boise State 28-21.
- Year 4: beat Brian Kelly's 8-5 ND in South Bend 28-27
- Year 4: beat Kevin Sumlin's down year Houston 28-25
- Year 4: beat 10-4 Hawaii in a bowl 62-35
- Year 4: Lost 51-49 to East Carolina, lost 65-28 to eventual #13 Oklahoma State, lost 21-18 to June Jones 7-7 SMU. So 5 pts away from a 13-1 season.
(3) HC at Pitt
So at this point, 4 years at Tulsa, you have done all you can do and had a ream of success. It was at this point in his HC career that A&M came calling for Sumlin. Pitt came calling for Graham. So it's a logical time to move on.
Things at Pitt never worked out - there was no big turnaround at Pitt in 2011. The losses were by and large not horrid - 4 pts to Iowa, 3 pts to Notre Dame, 1 pt to West Virginia, 3 pts to Butch Jones's Cincinnati. So if 2 or 3 of those game swing another way the W/L wouldve been fine. The offense and defense stats both fell back from the prior regime. All in all a meh season; 1st years can be like that.
Won't rehash how he left. It was not a great thing and he was scorned nationally. Off to ASU he went.
(4) HC at ASU
ASU had been lingering in malaise after a half decade under Dennis Erickson. Erickson did well in year 1, then turned very mediocre the following 4 years: 5-7, 4-8, 6-6 type of stuff. Here are the metrics of Graham's first 2 seasons versus Erickson's last. Unlike Pitt this turned out pretty darn well - and fast. Retained good offense stats with a big improvement in defensive stats. And of course the record improved.
|Tot Off||Tot Def|
Quick overview of both years:
2012 - the wins were against teams that made sense - average to bad teams. Beat a couple of 8-5 teams like Rich Rod's Arizona, and Navy. There were 5 losses but again first year transition and the teams he lost to by and large to "made sense". He lost 24-20 to a meh Missouri (@Missouri) in game 3 of his regime. Lost to eventual #2 Oregon, eventual #19 Oregon State, Jim Mora's 9-5 UCLA, Lane Kiffin's 7-5 USC. This was a very "Rich Rod" 2010 type of record IMO but with a way better defense.
2013 - the 4 losses were again legit. Lost to eventual #11 Stanford (the team MSU beat in the Rose) twice, lost to eventual #20 ND on neutral site by 3 pts, and lost to an ok Texas Tech team in a bowl. Wins came versus ranked teams such as #20 Wisconsin, #19 USC (the loss that cost Kiffin his job), #25 Washinton (Sark), #16 UCLA. That is 4 wins versus teams that were ranked in the top 25 by the end of the year - not bad. Crushed Rich Rod's Arizona along with the average to bad Pac 12 teams - Utah, Washington State, Oregon State, etc
2014 - a word about this year before we move on. This is where the homework has to be done. I think 2014 will be a tough year for ASU. They lost 9 of their 11 starters from the 2013 defense to graduation. Versus UCLA last week they STARTED 3 true freshmen. They dont recruit Jabrill Peppers players, or even Bryan Mone. It would be like throwing our three of our 3/4 star type players and installing them in our starting defense. Nevermind the 2 deep - so imagine Ferns, Lawrence Marshall and Brandon Watson starting - along with 6 other new starters. That is the ASU defense this year - they are doomed.
ASU will need to outgun teams to win any games this year versus quality opponents. Graham developed a 2 star QB (whose only other offer was Nevada) named Taylor Kelly into one of the Pac 12s best QBs. But then he got hurt. Graham put in his backup, and they still got OVER 600 yards of total offense vs UCLA. Imagine that. Unfortunately they also had 4 turnovers and gave up a 80 yard kickoff return for a TD. So it was a junky game and I think this year will be a struggle for ASU, especially on defense.
One last comparison versus Sumlin. Sumlin now has A&M talent. He inherited Manziel who was a solid recruit with offers from places like Oregon. Graham inherited a 2 star nobody. A&M's average class ranking from 2008-2012 was 19, Arizona State's is 37. Which is below where Wisconsin normally recruits to put it in Big 10 perspective. So Graham taking that talent and competing with Oregon, Stanford, USC, and UCLA is pretty darn good. Here is how Sumlin has done in his first 2 years at A&M versus the prior coach - again with Johnny Manziel as his QB.
|Tot Off||Tot Def|
The offense is off the charts under Sumlin but it WAS offf the charts in 2011 as well before he got there. And the defense did not improve ...it stayed flat in 2012 and then fell off a clifff in 2013.
This comparison is not here to say Sumlin sucks. It is to compare and contrast the metrics versus Graham. Graham compares favorably at both peer groups (Tulsa v Houston) and (ASU v A&M). It is more difficult to compare ASU and A&M obviously since A&M is in a tougher division and has better recruits. But adjusting for these factors I see 2 very good coaches - one nationally lauded as one of the hottest coaches in America, the other doing a good job at ASU but not getting nearly the credit.
I really like what Todd Graham does from a football perspective. He just wins. And it doesnt take him 4 years to do it. He doesnt have any sanctions or dirty laundry behind him - his fault is he does leave jobs in a bad manner. But I dont see many other stops for him left to go after UM (if hired) other than the NFL, which again he has zero background in. His recruiting footprint is an issue but he has deep Texas ties (fertile ground) and as I've said for other candidates who are not from the Midwest, you hire 1 coordinator and 2-3 position coaches who know the HS coaches of Ohio, Illinois, Michigan. He does have some tiny exposure to the Midwest with his Pitt stop. And how has some West coast exposure - obviously CA is another hotbed.
To me you can get a Brian Kelly/Kevin Sumlin type coach at a reasonable cost - Graham makes $2.4M. For Graham $4M would be a huge jump and he'd have access to the type of recruits he has never had. ASU recruiting ranking is near 40, while UM's has been around 14 for the past 5-6 years. I also think with the issues ASU is going to have on defense this year he won't be a "hot commodity" by the end of this year for those who only look at superficial records - ASU might be a 7-5 team this year for specific reasons related to defense. But you can see when he is not breaking in 9 new starters, including 3 true freshmen on defense he had solid defenses at ASU. I believe I read he sent 4 players to the NFL off the defense last year. Anyone doing a serious coaching search should be able to identify those reasons and look at the bigger picture.
In terms of availability, price, track record and "putting a floor under UM football" (i.e. I don't think we'd do worse than 8-4 seasons with this coach), Graham shold be one of the leading candidates.