"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
I assume that this means that Derrick Green will start at RB again this week:
Also Hoke refuses to say whether he will wear long sleeves.
Thilling, I know... but it's news nonetheless. (I mean the former more so than the latter).
- Defense kept M in the game
- Offense needs to work on finishing better in the redzone
- Need to improve on 3rd down
- Derrick and Deveon did a nice job
- Gallon jumping on the ball on the punt to save time was a smart football play
- FG at the end of regulation: Dileo made a great effort, Gibby did well, Glanda's snap was good, team did a "tremendous job"
- On Fitz starting next week: "We'll see."
EDIT: extras via Twitter:
Hoke said Toussaint had "a little bit of a concussion"..practiced during week but didn't practice enough...expects him to practice this week— angelique (@chengelis) November 18, 2013
Hoke, on the development of Shane Morris, "Probably has about 75-80% of a grasp on the offense (now), in September it was probably 45-50%."— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 18, 2013
Hoke said at one point Gardner had to use a timeout because "he couldn't feel his left arm." — Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) November 18, 2013
Lewan says he's aware of heat on Funk but praised him. Says best position coach he's had— angelique (@chengelis) November 18, 2013
After Saturday’s embarrassment in East Lansing, we’re all asking: Is this merely the inevitable rough patch for any coach digging out of the hole left by late-era Carr and Rodriguez? Or was the MSU game Hoke’s “turning point game,” as MGrowOld asked yesterday – a sign that under Hoke, a CEO-style coach with no reputation as an X’s and O’s innovator, Michigan is doomed to perpetual 8-4 mediocrity no matter how well he recruits?
I sure as hell don’t know the answers, but perhaps it might be useful to look at the criteria set forth by the man who’s paid big bucks to ultimately answer these questions: Dave Brandon. When he fired Rich Rodriguez, Brandon laid out his reasons for that decision, and what his expectations would be for the next Michigan coach. So let’s revisit his comments:
Brandon said Michigan’s coach
“has to be able to compete at the highest level. The expectations here are extraordinarily high … That puts a coach in a position where they have to have the ability to stand up to that pressure and perform against it. We play difficult schedules. The Big Ten is a challenging conference. It’s a smash-mouth conference with big teams … you saw how difficult it has been [under Rich Rodriguez] for us to go nose-to-nose with the big guys in this conference.
We have what I call the "benchmark competitors" as part of my review here at Michigan. It’s important that we win all our games; and it’s important that we are competitive for all of our games. But I look at Notre Dame, Michigan State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, and any bowl opponents – as my coach [i.e., Bo] used to call those, "red-letter games." If you want to be successful at Michigan, you better win more than your share of those red-letter games. And those red-letter games over the last three seasons, we’ve been 3 and 15. And we have to have a coach who’s able to come in and put us in a position where we can compete with those programs, because they’re good.
Later at that press conference, Brandon said that “first and foremost,” winning the Big Ten Championship and going to the Rose Bowl “every year” is the goal of the Michigan football program. He said if you do that,
all kinds of good things are gonna happen nationally [...] If you defeat the people you need to do to do that – and I would say with the advent of Nebraska starting next year, the high bar has just been raised – if you can effectively win the Big Ten Championship and win that trip to the Rose Bowl, in my opinion, if you’re the coach you’re doing a great job, if you’re the fans you’re happy…”
Three years in, we’re still without a Big Ten Championship or Rose Bowl, and Michigan fans are … not happy. But let’s take a closer look at Michigan’s results in these “red-letter games” under Brady Hoke, and see things through Dave Brandon’s eyes. I’m including all the teams he mentioned above, and given his comment about Nebraska, it seems safe to add them to his list of “benchmark competitors”:
Notre Dame (home) – W
Michigan St. (road) – L
Iowa (road) – L
Nebraska (home) – W
Ohio St. (home) – W
Virginia Tech (bowl – neutral site) – W
Total in “red-letter games”: 4-2
Alabama (neutral) – L
Notre Dame (road) – L
Michigan St. (home) – W
Nebraska (road) – L
Iowa (home) – W
Ohio St. (road) – L
S. Carolina (bowl - neutral) – L
Total in “red-letter games”: 2-5
Notre Dame (home) – W
Penn St. (road) – L
Michigan St. (road) – L
Nebraska (home) – TBD
Iowa (road) – TBD
Ohio St. (home) – TBD
Bowl – TBD
Total in “red-letter games”: 1-2, with four such games remaining
Brady Hoke in “red-letter” games to date:
Neutral site: 1-2
Of course lots of factors affect these results, from home vs. road, to luck, both good (Tressel’s resignation; the Glanda catch in the 2012 Sugar Bowl) and bad (scheduling Alabama; the non-call on Iowa’s end-zone pass interference in 2011; Denard’s boo-boo at Nebraska). But while 7-9 (with a chance to at least even things up before the end of year 3) is certainly better than Rodriguez’s 3-15, by any fair measure Brady Hoke has yet to win “more than his fair share of red-letter games” -- and the utter failure to win any of them on the road is really disturbing. The four such games left on this year’s schedule (assuming a bowl game) will tell us, and Dave Brandon, a lot. (Finishing year three at 11-9 w/a win over OSU looks a lot better than 7-13 or 8-12.)
Brandon also said his evaluation and decision to fire Rodriguez was based on six fundamental “performance measures”: “Performance in competition; recruiting and retention; academic performance; leadership; university image as it relates to our players; university image as it relates to our coaches.”
No one can complain about Hoke’s recruiting and retention, or the kids’ academic performance. He’s bringing in top-notch recruiting classes full of solid kids who are unlikely to flame out because of academics or character issues. Regarding “University image as it relates to players/ coaches” – presumably Brandon means things like how off-field incidents are handled, how Michigan players and coaches represent the program “in the community” etc. Again, no one can fault Hoke here – he’s disciplined guys the right way when they’ve made mistakes (e.g., Frank Clark, Fitz Toussaint), and sent packing the ones who couldn’t get their act together after multiple chances to shape up (Darryl Stonum, possibly Will Hagerup).
So if you’re Dave Brandon, Hoke is meeting a lot of his benchmarks quite well. Now your evaluation gets down to “performance in competition” and “leadership.”
Saturday was, to put it mildly, a significant data point in the negative column for Brady Hoke, and as shown above, his record so far in “red-letter games” is not anything you can describe as winning “more than his fair share.”
Finally, “leadership.” Brandon never explained this, but I assume he meant things like: Does this guy seem to have the program going in the right direction? Do the players respond to him? Does he inspire confidence? Does he make good personnel decisions re: his staff? Do his words match his actions?
One can’t read Brandon’s mind, but today we hear that after watching MSU film with the coaches on Sunday, Brandon says Hoke is still “the right guy” to lead the program.
When a head coach is under fire, you can only play the “this is my guy, and he’s the right guy” card once. Given Hoke’s recruiting success and the positive vibe he’s built around the program since 2011, there’s little doubt Brandon gives Hoke at least four years, and probably five – heck, maybe even his entire six-year contract – before definitively deciding whether he is the long-term answer as Michigan’s head coach. But judging by Dave Brandon’s own criteria, especially that of “red-letter games” against “benchmark competitors,” I’m far less confident than I was three months ago that Brady Hoke is the coach who will get Michigan back to the standard everyone (Brandon and Hoke included) expects.
Anyway, as we all sift through Saturday's wreckage and judge Coach Hoke's performance, it's useful to remember the criteria being used by the only guy whose opinion really matters -- his boss.
I have been trying to put my finger on the pulse of this team for the past few days, ever since I realized that, after the Indiana game, that this season was something of a not-entierly-lost-but-still-kinda-lost cause. In a year or two, these games will either be described as the building blocks of a top ten team— or as the first bricks in Hoke's mausoleum.
My frame of reference is the situation here in Knoxville, where I currently reside. I see so many similarities between Butch Jones and Brady Hoke's first year (except the record). I can sense a very similar positive attitude shift, where "how can we mess up this time" is replaced with "we have a fighting chance." This is, of course the honeymoon period for most Tennessee fans, with the Georgia game promising what the South Carolina game delivered. Most fans (well, at least the rational ones) are even willing to accept 7-5 or even 6/6 next year as something of an inevitability, since their quality O-line will be lost to graduation, their QB situation will either be "mediocrity" or "young prospect x," and even some of the senior leadership will be lost from the defense.
I recognize the hopeful feeling since we all here just experienced it. I can see the calm rationality which they have now, feeling that they somehow found a real coach, a sense that a blunder has been replaced with a process, that Real Coaching ™ is here, that it will only get better. This fan base is the honeymooner's of college football. We, however, are the "In-Betweener's" (and no, not that over-rated British television show... well, kind of, actually).
Michigan fans, fresh off this feeling, see a promise that has not been realized— a team which 2012 would beat by 10 and 2011 would beat by 21. The play calling appears at times to be an exercise in ideological fatalism, like trying to turn Texas into a socialist commune. Even the defensive coaching is being called into question.
At the other end of the spectrum— well, we all know what a program clearly spiraling out of control looks like. This is what bothers me about the team recently. I don't know if I am just out of touch, but it seems to me like what ever is going on, it isn't a program spinning out of control— just one that has made a decision which, in hindsight, feels sacrificial and a bit fatalistic (though I suppose that, if this is the end, I would say that it would be more slow and subtle rather than some dramatic death spiral). It feels like a team which is dedicated to a certain identity, one they have been wanting to convert to for the past few years and, with Robinson gone, they felt they could wholly commit to. Once it became apparent that that wasn't viable, they seem to have chosen to stick with it, believing not only will this be better for the future but also, I'd like to think, believing that a consistent dedication makes more sense— i.e., that changing the game plan will be detrimental. The reason I think this is the case is for a few particulars: mainly, that coaching staff might see a turnstile starting at all three positions between the tackles PLUS a QB which doesn't seem to respond well to confusion on the O-line, and conclude that changing the game plan significantly would be exacerbating and not fixing these problems.
The hope is, of course, that this faith will be rewarded (though, clearly, the odds of that happening this season are diminishing by the week), that someday we will read a puff piece by Tom Rinaldi talking about "keeping the faith", "weathering the storm",and the like. Perhaps someone will write a book and tell the story about how this was the beginning of the end for an overmatched coaching staff which eventually ran out of steam. For the record, I don't see the latter being the case. I think next year will be better than this and the year afterwards will be even better.
This perspective gives me hope and grave concern: one the one hand, this belief might turn out to be justified, and we might enter an Carr-like, NFL-factory age where top recruiting classes and top-level bowl games are the norm-but with a coach willing to roll the dice when it counts. The fear which is driving trolls to troll, the faithful to have a Kiergegaardian struggle, and many reasoned people to "leave" the board by posting about doing so regularly is painfully obvious: in maintaining the premise that the system will work, the coaching staff just might sacrifice too much to ever realize the fruits of their labor.
Brady Hoke discusses about the match this weekend with MSU on ESPN College Gameday radio show with Ivan Maisel.
It seems Matt Barrie, the host for this show who was missing yesterday is a UM alum/fan. He talked about not stopping the interview ( every other coach interviewed this season has lost their following game. Also wanted to ask Hoke about why he does not wear a headset.
After week 7, Michigan total offense is ranked 8th in the league (396 yards/game) and 8th in rushing (1,039 yards). Michigan's rushing performance is not quite 100 yards better than pass-happy Indiana. Let that idea detonate in your brain for an hour.
What? Hurray! The three best total defenses are yet to play on the schedule!!! (MSU, Iowa and Ohio State)