“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
"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."
There's a David Foster Wallace story from Oblivion in which a main character has an incredibly talented sphincter. He becomes renowned for pooping out beautiful works of art and it's all very confusing and revolting and weird and sad because that's the overall thrust of Oblivion. It's called "The Suffering Channel." You should check it out if you've always wanted to read a 90-page story about poop art*.
What I am saying to you is this: Brady Hoke is not entirely dissimilar from the talented Brint Moltke. The man poops magic. In this he is the exact opposite of the star-crossed Rich Rodriguez. Because we are (largely) not clinically depressed people trying to grapple with 9/11 we can leave out the existential dread. The man poops magic. Yay!
When Hoke took the job he brought some dudes with him and no one was that impressed since no one had ever heard of them, and then he asked Greg Mattison if he'd like to come back to college a year after he'd flirted with Florida and his defensive backs coach was going to be hired away. If you listen to Peter King, they really liked the defensive backs coach and didn't necessarily love the idea that their DC would constantly be flirting with a return to college. So they said "okay, you should probably go" instead of backing up the dump truck of money at his house. So now Michigan has a veteran defensive coordinator Urban Meyer says is "the best recruiter in the country" who can say "you == Ray Lewis."
When Hoke took the job Michigan State had barely had to fight for the top player in the state the past couple years because his coach had him ready to pick Michigan State a year before he signed. The guys responsible for that are no longer at those high schools and four of the top five players in the state are either from Cass Tech, best friends with the guys from Cass Tech, or Michigan fans. Michigan got all those guys.
When Hoke took the job Ohio State was the omnipresent Big Ten Death Star, scandal free since the arrival of Darth Tressel and merrily blowing Michigan's seasons to bits. There was no reason to believe it would change until Tressel entered his JoePa phase about ten years from now, which is when Hoke would be getting ready to retire himself. Then a lawyer inadvertently sent a photon torpedo down the exhaust hatch.
So. When Brady Hoke was hired I put up "We Are ND" which wait why link when you can embed:
This was both an opportunity to post "We Are ND" again and an editorial commentary on hiring an old guy with an indifferent career record instead of a young one who can plausibly be declared up and coming. At the time I thought Hoke was good to beat OSU maybe three times in a ten year career and then would give way to the next guy because he'd be 65 by then, and while this would be an improvement on the last decade there are several Southeast Asian prisons that would qualify as an improvement on the last decade vis a vis OSU.
A few months after Hoke's hire the two low-probability events above have transpired. Michigan's ceiling in this brave new world is now unknown. Or more unknown than "probably not as good as Ohio State," which wasn't exactly an axiom in the first place.
It's likely Ohio State will be searching for a new head coach soon, and the addition of Mattison not only promises defenses better than not only the Rodriguez-GERG debacles but those of the last half-decade of the Carr era when punt-and-strangle became punt-and-strangle-the-DC. Even if Tressel manages to survive he will take a heavy hit from the NCAA. His reputation is already in tatters. Michigan State's renaissance will be brief and quickly ended if in-state recruiting continues on the path it has this year, and Michigan already has the top guy in 2013 whispering in his classmates' ears about where they should go.
Meanwhile, Hoke has done a tremendous job to not screw it up. This is not a backhanded compliment. Not screwing it up is really hard. Greg Robinson: QED. Hoke knew and acquired Mattison; even if the Ravens weren't fighting hard having the temerity to ask or the knowledge he could get him is something. He has not lost any of the in-state locks to Penn State or Ohio State or Notre Dame or Michigan State and along the way he flipped two of the three guys Michigan State fans were banking on and probably the third if he can get his grades up. A wave of media and program adulation was waiting for anyone who could say "hi, I'm not Rich Rodriguez"; Hoke has turned large sections of Southeastern Michigan into lovesick tweens by saying "you're not Rich Rodriguez either!" He hasn't blown his layups, which is more than Michigan's head coach has been able to say for a while.
The prognosis now is much better than it was in January. Hoke will be able to shovel early missteps onto Rodriguez's grave—already the tallest mountain east of the Rockies—and ride out the awkward transition from the spread, at which point he'll have a roster full of guys who are qualified, a career record worlds better than Rodriguez's, and a talent advantage over his division opponents. From there it's a matter of grabbing that goddamn win over Ohio State and seeing what happens. It's hard for me to think we'll be as good as spread terror du jour in any particular year, but let's whine about that bridge when we get to it.
I agree that some super fortuitous occurrences have put Hoke further down the road than many expected, but I think you're selling him short on Mattison. Sure the Ravens might have said "see ya" once he got offered by Hoke, but it wasn't like they fired him. He's also been quoted many times saying he wouldn't have come back to college for anyone else but Hoke. While the answer probably lies somewhere in between, I don't think your post gives him enough due on that hire.
I think I would classify landing Mattison as a lot more than "not screwing up". Letting the media tickle his belly and feed him berries while providing no fodder to change their tune is not screwing up.
Also dahblue and his like-minded-friends need to move on just like it appears Brian is actually doing. Things looked pretty bleak for awhile and it was easy to get overly dramatic. But as already pointed out, Hoke's story at Michigan is only about 5% written, so to expect Brian to come out and say he was completely wrong doesn't make sense. There is still unfortunately a reasonable chance that Hoke/Borges will screw up an offense featuring perhaps the most dynamic player in college football. We shall see.
Except that Mattison seemed pretty willing to make the jump back to Michigan to work with a personal friend. That's more "who Hoke is" than "what he did". So it's a great result for Michigan, but an easy shot for Hoke. Plus, as Brian says, the Ravens could have made things much harder than they did. While hiring Mattison was a great result that we didn't see coming, it doesn't seem like it took a real stroke of genius or masterful moves on the part of DB or Hoke to land him.
I don't think Hoke, by himself, is that great of a coach or a coaching genius. His record / C.V. just doesn't scream anything special. What I am hoping for, is a CEO type of coach. His strategy is this:
From all accounts of Hokes past coaching, he seems to get his players to buy into the system and the team. If I recall an earlier post in this thread (which seems so far back) someone stated that the players at SDSU seemed well coached and made few mistakes during the Navy game. I do think that the other parts of your 4 point list about Hoke, is an accurate assesment thus far.
"I know that they know that I know who they are." - Fred Jackson
Why do people fixate on Hoke's career record without noticing that he his early record was quite bad, but he significantly improved more recently? Why don't they notice that RR hasn't been able to score points against good teams, hire a defensive coordinator, find a running back or two thirds of a special team. When I look at the evidence of the last three years, there is much more doubt that RR could succeed here than there is that Hoke can.
Because it's apples to oranges. Hoke's last three seasons are much more analagous to RR's last three years at WVU than to coaching at Michigan. And over that span, I'd have to give the edge to RR, with great seasons in an autobid conference (albeit a lousy one). Winning at Ball State / SDSU != winning at Michigan. And as RR so clearly proved, winning at one place doesn't guarantee success at another. So it's reasonable to be a bit nervous.
But how is is your example less apples to oranges than the one you're comparing it to? Sure, Ball State could be compared to WV. But SDS? That's much more analogous to Michigan.
If you really want to make a fair comparison, you'd compare the last year at Ball State and WV (teams at their peak), and then the first two years at Michigan and SDS. Because even if Michigan was down, it was any more down respectively than SDS was.
But you're right, it's kind of a pointless exercise. Rich putting up good records at WV didn't help him at Michigan, and he early bad records at his head coaching stints didn't hurt his Michigan record. And likewise, Hoke's previous wins or losses aren't going to save him or hurt him now. What he does at Michigan will.
Well played. Wits like these are what makes mgoblog a compelling place to sift for nuggets.
Anyway, while I find your appeal to authority particularly thoughtful, appropriate and efficient, I completely disagree with your conclusion. You seem to think that the duplicity that Pope calls attention to in these verses highlight a character flaw whereas I take it as an asset, especially within the context of blogging. Very few things are wholly good or wholly bad yet the modern media landscape, both mainstream and otherwise, would have us believe that there are only two diametrically opposed ways of thinking about a given subject. Maybe it's an Uhmerican thing -- "take a stand or forever be a pussy" -- but it doesn't really matter to me; it's bullshit.
I wish that more participants in the landscape of modern media would be vulnerable to this "criticism".
With regard to Brian Cook and Brady Hoke, I see continuing put-downs and indirect mockery coloring what is otherwise objective critical judgment at work. Cook disdained the hire (anybody but Hoke), seemed to retreat in high dudgeon after the hire, returned with a couple of not very clever puns--In Hoke we Trust, Hoke Springs Eternal--and continues to mock Hoke indirectly. Here, he's like an artist who produces shit, or, perhaps he's full of shit, or, he's a lucky shit. But in any case, he is inextricably, rhetorically linked to shit, in a blog posting that rather thoughtfully comments on his great good fortune.
So, yes. Pope's couplets seemed an appropriate and germane way to respond, although Swift or Dryden might have driven the same point home with a bit more of an edge.
I'll belive it's not a settled, unchangeable dislike when Cook drops the sneering rhetorical baggage when he writes about Hoke and simply treats him with respect, as he treated Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez.
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.
Yeah, that's one perspective. As someone who agrees with Brian that we could have hired someone with a more proven track record, I don't have objection to anything he has said. Frankly, I respect the fact that he has stuck to his guns to a certain extent without being a derisive jerk like many people were toward Coach Rodriguez.
The difference between Brian and myself in this particular area is that I have the option of just not saying anything. Brian can't really do that since he makes his living by making his opinions public.
You're right that he made his opinion about the selection of Hoke over all other candidates clear and that will always be with him. But rather than be a weather vane for popular opinion like so many other columnists do these days, it seems to me that Brian is attempting to acknowledge Hoke's and Michigan's successes regardless of origin while still maintaining a cautious view of the progress, especially when we haven't even played a game yet and the spring game left much to be concerned about.You have every right to be cynical toward Brian's intention, just bear in mind that there is probably a gap between what you think Brian thinks and what it is he actually thinks.
The fact is that Coach Hoke has been a pleasant surprise to me in regards to his ability to recruit both players and Mattison. It is also undeniable that he has indeed benefitted from some good fortune especially when juxtaposed vis-a-vis the Rich Rodriguez experience.
How can Brian point those things out without drawing your ire? Furthermore, why should he comprimise his editorial style and preferences simply to appease those who, apparently, wish he'd be more of a homer?
It appeared to me that the DB faction just wanted one of their old cronies at the helm. Worse than that, it appeared that this was the decision all along and that "search" stuff was just more PR spin to pat us dumb fans on the head. I felt that if this is your guy, then man-up and declare it in December. Don't do in January what you were going to do in November and then turn around and insult me.
But none of that kept me from hoping for the best for Brady Hoke. I said at the time "You may not think much of the pilot that's about to fly the plane you are on, but when that door closes and the thing takes off, you've got to root for him with all your heart."
So I've been rooting for him with all my heart, and I can say for the record that I was wrong. Brady Hoke was a good hire for Michigan, process be damned.
I also don't think it is fair to try and save face by implying that he's just magically Forrest Gumped his way into a lucky situation. He knows what he is doing and will be successful whether Tressel, Dantonio, etc. implode or not,
But this is the biggest Brian post on the whole front page list in the App. If I was more cynical, I'd say he just throws in a CC article one every couple of weeks for hits when he needs to make a downpayment on something. "This Flatscreen was provided by the Hoke post of 5/13/11". But I'm not that cynical. Though it is fun to imagine. (Though a few hundred page hits for one post probably isn't good enough for lunch at Wendy's).
there were a TON of op-ed pieces in the Diaries. Some days the entire 'New' list would refresh because everyone had some sort of ideological take on RR, college FB, M hockey and basketball, and a host of other stuff. It seemed like there were almost more diaries that used 'pathos' instead of 'logos' to convince the reader.
2009 was a great year for The Mathlete, and that was the year Misopogon's Decimated Diaries were published. After the technical standards for writing diaries was raised in the long offseason, the op-ed form was published less and less.
When (if?) BH wins his first 5 games, a lot of folks will be slobbering all over themselves - forgettting that RR did the very same thing two years in a row.
Me? Well, this may sound harsh, but even 9-3 with losses to MSU, OSU, and UN (Nebraska) would be a disappointing year.
Life should not be a journey to the grave to arrive safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What A Ride!" HST
Part of what makes a good leader a good leader is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. Hoke appears to know what he knows and knows what he is good at, and what he is not good at. That is a great stength for a man who is, in essence, the CEO of Michigan football.....
Did ANYONE think Hoke would be this aggressive in recruiting? Did ANYONE imagine he'd basically wrap up the state and produce a "best-in-conference" class this early? When was the last time we had the best class in the big 10 at any point of any recruiting cycle?
I was open-minded and willing to give the guy a chance, and even I had no idea he'd do this much, this quickly.
Of course, he DOES have to coach games to really show us what he's got. We are still 0-0 under Hoke. But if anyone is honest with themselves, they'll admit the offseason has gone far better than anticipated, and that Hoke's determined, aggressive and single-minded approach bodes well for his coaching career here.
When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing. -Bo
Dave didn't Fire RichRod in December for 2 reasons as he stated: 1 due process. Giving RichRod (and his family) his fair chance at finally "turning the corner someday, maybe" with a healthy QB for a big game and plenty of prep. He probably wanted to fire RR personally but had to take the proper steps and I consider that pretty commendable. 2 fairness to the players/ Seeing as how Dave Brandon is a fromer Wolverine football player he understands very well what it means to be a senior on the team. He said in a news conference that it wouldn't give the team a better shot a winning the bowl game by bringing a new guy in for a week and quickly learning half of the teams names and trying to coach someone elses system or teach 100 kids or so a brand new one in short order, and it wouldn't be fair to all the seniors who'd played under one coach to suddenly play thier last game as a Wolverine under some new guy they just met.
On a side note how good a shot would DB have had at stealing away Harbaugh or Miles befoer they coached their own Bowl Games at LSU? That would've stunk as classless to interview them in December while they still had games to coach. It wouldn't have given Michigan any tangeable advantage at the 2011 recruiting class either. Now in hindsight 1 extra month of recruiting wasn't necessary and how good a job would they have done recruiting now if Hoke came in for the Bowl Game and they lost anyways? Hoke would've been 0-1 as Head Coach on primetime. Hiring before the Bowl Game makes absolutely no sense on any level. Cheers to Dave Brandon for knowing that in advance..