"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
This seems relevant now. The first time Brady Hoke appeared on MGoBlog's main page was back in December of 2007, during the first coaching search to replace Lloyd Carr. It would seem that first impressions are usually correct.
Here's the best part:
Even in the realm of people who Michigan would approach after getting turned down by everyone -- EVERYONE -- there are vastly preferable candidates: Ron English. Mike Trgovic. Glen Mason. Jon Chait. Me. The Golden Retriever from "Air Bud: Golden Receiver." Mussolini, who is dead. Dick Vitale. Sigourney Weaver. Richard Nixon's penis. Sigourney Weaver's penis. All of these people and organs don't have a track record that suggests they are a below average MAC coach. It is in this way they are superior to Brady Hoke.
This is also prophetic:
Overall Attractiveness: Awful. Awful, awful, awful. The worst possible candidate. The mere idea this guy -- who's never even been a coordinator anywhere and has his MAC team performing at a level well below the program's historical baseline -- could get the job is infuriating. Only at Michigan could this happen, and if it does I guarantee you that Bo is going to haunt the mofo that signs the contract.
Its only going to get worse before it gets better... Now the Michigan Daily Football beat writers are calling for his head.
I thought for a while that Brady Hoke's treatment of Shane Morris was without parallel, and then I remembered Lane Kiffin's treatment of Robert Woods against Utah in 2012. And here is the silver lining: there is no record, at least so far as I can find on the internet, of USC fans demanding Kiffin's head for the dangerously poor judgment.
The Michigan Difference is just this: this community actually cares. We care about the safety of our players and the integrity of our coaches. When a coach does not live up to the standard of integrity at Michigan, we demand change. When an athletic director runs a program that does not put the well-being of student-athletes first, we demand change. And when a football player's future is endangered by the incompetence or callousness of a coaching staff entrusted with his development and protection but blinded to the realities of medical science by the mantra of toughness, we demand change. Let there be change. Ensuring that the job not only gets done, but gets done right--that's the Michigan Difference. This time, at least, it has to be.
Sub-snowflake addendum: the main reason I don't like Dave Brandon is that he is the only person I have ever met in the administration at Michigan--and maybe Brady Hoke will turn out to be this kind of person, too--who does not respond to criticism from their Wolverine brethren with an honest attempt to learn from the feedback to do the job at a level that reflects well on an institution that's bigger than all of us. Dave Brandon is the only one who reacts to criticism with sarcastic dismissal, the only one who won't listen to his fellow Wolverine, and the only one who does not do everything he can to do the job at a level Michigan deserves.
In the wake of yesterday's fiasco, we've obviously heard from Coach Hoke. However, we've not heard from Dave Brandon. I didn't expect him to necessarily hold a press conference, but I did expect him to release a statement.
While most are calling for a press conference to announce the firing of Hoke on Monday - which I would not be against - what are the chances we get a statement/release from Brandon on Monday to address the issue with Morris' playing while visibly injured?
I personally do not expect anything on Monday, but I do expect the silence to reach "deafening" proportions by weeks end and Brandon will have to take to the podium or at least grant an interview with a loal journalist. Especially as more local journalists criticize Hoke's player management and safety.
After a game where just so incredibly many things went wrong, it is a bit of a tall order to sit down and write something coherent about the student experience. The student experience, after all, isn’t so fundamentally different than the experience of most of the rest of the stadium, except perhaps that the viewing angle is increased ever so slightly. Oh and louder, definitely louder. The articles and write-ups note the students growing increasingly upset and starting to chant “Fire Brandon” (not “Brady” as some have noted; at least not from the student section) in the third quarter. This misses something markedly different from this game. In the previous games the students, like the rest of the fans, held their fire until some opportune moment. Last week it was attendance numbers that no one believed. The first notable “boos” came after timeout and clock mismanagement. This week, the students didn’t waste any time. Before the game even started, before anything had actually gone wrong, before we ran out of tires to throw on what little remains of the dumpster/tire hybrid fire, the students started chanting to fire Brandon. It reminds me of the scene from “Network”:
The students, the current
20,000 12,000 member block, and future 89,901 75,000 member block of the stadium are as mad as hell and they’re not going to take this anymore. With the “Fire Brandon” chants audible over TV, never mind to everyone in attendance at the game, and, by the third quarter, continuing every time the band stopped playing, it seemed hard to see how this once proud, once great, and once principled program could sink any deeper. But then it did.
For the last two weeks the student section has had the perspective to see the more frightening aspects of the game. Last week, many in my row were convinced we had just watched Utah’s starting quarterback die, or at least become paralyzed, about 20 yards in front of us. It was so shocking that the students immediately stopped celebrating the stop and became deathly silent, at least those close enough to see clearly what had happened. This week we again were witness to one of the more frightening, more horrifying, moments of the game. The students could see immediately after the leg injury that Shane was in no position to continue. We watched, aghast, as he nevertheless did. Then came the late hit and we watched Shane stumble into a lineman, and we watched in horror as a clearly concussed Morris remained on the field. We yelled; we booed; we screamed for him to come out, trying desperately to get someone to hear us and make the only sensible decision. It didn’t work. To leave Shane in like that was reprehensible, irresponsible, and showed such wanton disregard for player safety that it left many of the students angry, confused, and sickened. Whether or not Hoke was being honest when he said that he did not know that Shane looked wobbly is entirely irrelevant. As the head coach, it is his responsibility to know. If he doesn’t or if he can’t, it’s time to move on. Michigan has always been about the players, developing them into young men of class and character, and, if we’re lucky, perhaps some noteworthy football talent as well. What happened today was inexcusable for any team, let alone one that prides itself on what it does for the players.
The game then wound down. The anger and frustration of the last 10 minutes still palpable, but no longer being viscerally screamed at anyone on the field who might hear. Gardner’s solid playing in his time in the game, while helping reduce the ire at the outcome, did nothing to change the conviction that had been burned into those watching. To make matters worse, toward the end of the game two things happened on the sidelines near the student section:
- A dramatic increase in police and event staff presence.
- A rope being held along the sideline and end zone, presumably to prevent a field rush (??).
Did either of these things directly impact my, or really any other students’ lives? Not really. Nevertheless, the symbolism remains. One needs look little further than this to get a good grasp on why the students are so upset with the athletic department. Is the department so distrustful of the students that they want to keep them in line by show of force? Are they so delusional to think that the students would rush the field after a loss? After even a win over Minnesota? over Utah? over literally any home game this season? They’ve taken our water bottles so that they can sell water for $5; they’ve prohibited numerous innocuous items from entering the stadium; three separate event staff members tried to tell me I wouldn’t be allowed to bring a cowbell into the stadium; you can’t bring bags; you can’t bring food. And yet after all of this, they expect us to keep paying such exorbitant prices for tickets? To keep showing up? Don’t get me wrong, I love Michigan Football, I love the Michigan Stadium experience; it’s just that, under Dave Brandon I have yet to really experience either at the Big House.
Some comments on the locker room issues thread got me thinking. Or datamining, anyway, I don't know how much thinking was involved.
RockinLoud and Johnvand suggested Hoke might be forcing Nussmeier to play a style he didn't necessarily want to play, the offensive problems now being "eerily reminiscent" of the defense under RR.
Of course with RR we had clear evidence that this was happening because they were running a 3-3-5 that neither of the coordinators ever ran before or since. I didn't see anything similar happening now but Gobgoblue pointed out that Alabama had more of a vertical passing game last year than Michigan has now.
Well, that's something that might leave a tangible mark in the box score, so I pulled some stats from Nussmeier's offenses since he became an OC: the percentage of play calls that are runs (sacks are included here of course but they don't impact the percentages all that much), and yards per completion, which might serve as a measure of route depth. Anything over 13 is a pretty big number; over 15 is mad-bomber territory unless you're running a triple option and only throwing a few times per game.
|2008 Fresno St.||56.3%||12.1|
The run/pass mix hasn't changed, but yards per completion are definitely down.
The problem is, YPC only measures the ones you catch. Are we not throwing the ball downfield, or are we just not completing the downfield balls we throw? That's impossible to tell from the box scores, we'd need charts of Alabama's offense to know.
The next chart's more interesting. Here's Al Borges's career:
When Borges and Hoke first hooked up, Al passed more than he ever had before. Even the second year when they had Ronnie Hillman running rampant the run/pass mix was still at the low end of Borges's career numbers.
And then they came to Michigan and it turned upside down.
Yes. Denard. True. But in 2013 when Denard was gone and the run game had collapsed they were still running the ball more than they had with Hillman.
Something happened between 2010 and 2011 and it wasn't Brady Hoke because, thankfully, the experiment was constructed so that variable was held constant.
What changed was the move from San Diego to Ann Arbor, not the coaches. And my unfounded suspicion is that a decision was taken to rebrand Michigan football.
We can change coaches all we want. As long as the brand is more important than the product, this isn't going to get fixed.
Continuity, establishing an identity, that I understand. These 180-degree turnarounds in philosophy are damaging; you want the players you recruit to get to play in a system that works for them. But if the managing of public perceptions starts influencing coaching decisions, it's a problem.