So this isn't two thousand words of swearing as promised. That requires some level of verve to pull off and I'm out of that. I'm depressed and waiting for the other shoe to drop and far too sober. A few things:
"This is not Brady Hoke's fault." Repeat 1000x. This is not Brady Hoke's fault. He seems like a nice enough dude. It seems unlikely he actively participated in the submarining of Rich Rodriguez. Unlike everyone else ever associated with the Michigan program with even the most thinly plausible of resumes, he actually wants to be the head coach here. So that's nice.
This is a stupid hire. It will always be as stupid hire and David Brandon just led the worst coaching search in the history of Michigan football. He managed to chase off half of an already iffy recruiting class, hired a Plan C coach on January 11th, probably ensured the transfer of the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and restricted his "national search" to people who'd spent at least five years in Ann Arbor. Michigan just gave themselves a year of USC-level scholarship reduction voluntarily.
What are the chances that the best available coach is a 52-year-old with a 47-50 career record and no experience as a coordinator? Why weren't a half-dozen coordinators with time and results on their side given the opportunity to interview? Why did Brandon waste time with Les Miles, a guy on the downside who may not have even gotten a serious offer? After learning a hard lesson about program continuity with the last hire why did Michigan hire a guy who professes to hate the spread 'n' shred a day after two spread teams played for the national title?
I'd rather have Rich Rodriguez entering year four with a new defensive staff than this, a total capitulation. Does anyone remember Tressel's record against Lloyd Carr? 5-1. Change was necessary. It didn't work, but that doesn't mean you go back to the stuff that required change.
Michigan should still be better next year. It depends on what goes on with the offense. Calvin Magee has already been hired at Pitt, so don't get your hopes up about tempting Denard by keeping the offensive staff that matters (QB coach and OC) unchanged.* The defense should be much better simply by virtue of returning approximately ten starters if you throw in Troy Woolfolk and not dragging the devilishly handsome corpse of Greg Robinson around. At the very least Hoke should have a quarterback, even if it's redshirt freshman Devin Gardner.
A completely average coach should be able to take 20 returning starters on a 7-6 team that sees the schedule ease considerably and get to 9-3. That's good, because that's probably what we hired. If Denard's out the door all bets are off except "will Brian cut down or across?"
*[Tony Gibson immediately found work at Pitt, too, which is amazing: the most maligned position coach on RR's staff is unemployed for ten days while most of Carr's coordinators fled to the NFL to be an assistant (to the) position coach. The exceptions are Stan Parrish, who is on a quest to rack up the worst winning percentage as a head coach in CFB history, Greg Mattison, who left voluntarily for an equivalent job at Notre Dame and shouldn't count as a pro, and Ron English, who got hired by Kragthorpe.]
Prepare for the media 180. This hypothetical 9-3 will cause the media to fall all over themselves declaring Brady Hoke the polar opposite of Rich Rodriguez (lazy media meme #1 is already underway) and whipsaw Michigan back to the positive side of the media ledger, whereupon that period where Michigan State could literally have 20% of their football team descend upon innocent bystanders in back to back years while Michigan gets painted as the Program Out Of Control will end with authoritah. Sportswriters—even the good ones—love nothing better than holding themselves above the outraged plebes, arguing that whatever they think is foolish.
We're unhappy, so they'll defend Brady Hoke to their dying single-sentence paragraph. This would have been a fascinating dynamic to watch if Miles was the guy. Seeing Rosenberg paper over Miles's oversigning hijinks would have been hilarious/infuriating. Since it's Hoke it will just be generic "why can't you be happy going 9-3 every year and beating OSU 30% of the time, I mean look at Rodriguez!"
Prepare for the program alum 180. Judging from twitter, Michigan guys in the NFL are happy, so there's that. At least we won't have Mark Bihl advising recruits to go to Michigan State and Dhani Jones walking into David Brandon's office and demanding a firing. Thanks for your support, guys! Your loyalty in this tough time is appreciated.
This is actually Hoke's main asset relative to non-Michigan candidates: the program won't be actively hoping he fails. This is not an insignificant bonus relative to Rodriguez.
The Gene Chizik plan is dodgy, temporary, and requires a bucket of money and amenable prospects. All right, so maybe we can hire the next Gus Malzahn and the next Ted Roof and import JUCOs like Nick Fairley and Cam Newton. This is lazy media meme #2, because lol those crazy fans, amirite?
Who is Gus Malzahn? Texas just blew their coaching staff up and hired Manny Diaz and the Boise State OC, so they're off the table. It is January 11th. Next up is… I have no idea. Honestly, if you were going to poach an up-and-coming coordinator your best option on defense is none other than Scott Shafer, and on offense there isn't anyone, really. I'll believe Michigan has hired Randy Shannon as a DC six months after it's announced, but that's what this plan requires: hiring Randy goddamn Shannon as DC at a million a year.
JUCOs are not available, and I'm not sure anyone can wave a towel like Trooper Taylor anyway.
We hired a manball advocate unlikely to stick with the bits of Michigan's team that kind of worked, and his defensive coordinator is going to be the head coach at SDSU.
To date Michigan's pay packages for assistants have been pathetic. Brandon promised that would change. He also promised a national search and hired a guy who will probably be one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big Ten.
The figurehead approach leaves you vulnerable to having your quasi-HC poached, as West Virginia found out when Doc Holliday was hired by Marshall and Auburn will find out soon enough. If you can plug and play Cam Newton that might work, but Michigan can't.
Also, Chizik was an established ass-kicking BCS coordinator who led the nation's #1 scoring D at Auburn, was 5th in yardage allowed in back to back years, won the Broyles award, and then went to Texas to win a national title opposite Vince Young. He didn't really need Roof. He had Gene Chizik. He did not immediately turn Iowa State into a team of ninjas but Chizik was a better hire than Hoke even absent the ludicrous money that went into his staff. Hoke's never even been a coordinator, and his results as a head coach are less than a slam dunk.
I am all in for being wrong. Or not really so much wrong as properly skeptical in an environment where success turns on a blade of grass and real games are few and far between and randomness is so important. Kenpom just put up a great post today about +/- and its general lack of usefulness as a stat because of its immense noise—college football has a lot of noise. It is possible that Brady Hoke was just unlucky or unprepared and that his last three years are more representative of his talent than his first five. I won't become what I hate, Emperor Palpatine.
With the dual boosts of a pliant media and cooperative network of former players plus a program that should find itself on an upward trajectory instead of a downward one, everything's set up for him to look like the white knight who "saved" the program and ride that to something approximating success. Michigan's just thrown in the towel on being a national power but this could be Nebraska after Callahan instead of Notre Dame after Davie.
Brady Hoke is our new coach. You might not think he's a good fit. If you don't, you're ignoring a lot of what he has done in the last 4 years.
I don't care who you blame - this division needs to end right now. MGoBloggers, and especially the big names, should not crave a pity party with other fans because "Boohoo, we didn't get the coach we wanted." Yeah, neither did M football fans in 1969. Or 2008. Do you know how this Hoke saga will end? I don't. None of us do. So stop pretending this is "doom" and actually support the man who was hired without questioning his ability or leadership. In that way, you would be just as bad as all the Rich Rod opposition. Part of the reason he failed. Gonna do it to Hoke, too?
Twenty-two Michigan Wolverines
put on the gloves of gray.
And as Revelli played The Victors,
they laid Woody Hayes away.
There are (conservatively) a few hundred people just like you (with a handful of points apiece) who have created accounts recently for the sole apparent purpose of pimping Brady Hoke. I find that interesting.
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To the main point, I've seen far better work from Brian. Oh, well -- we can't expect him to hold it together all the time.
As well, I plan on supporting Hoke because he seems like a good guy. I still think the search process itself and the outcome were huge jokes.
A lot of us really liked Rich Rodriguez, and felt that he wasn't given a fair shake. Some of the Rich Rod supporters had their faith waver, saw Jim Harbaugh as an acceptable replacement, and went along with the idea of cutting the RR experiment short contingent on his replacement being old #4 that all Michigan Fans remember. The division isn't coming and didn't come from those of us that supported Rich Rod, quite the opposite. The opposition had 3 years to close the gap, didn't do it, and then expect us to capitulate less than a week after the coach that we were all-in with got fired?
I think Rich Rod definitely had some flaws, but everyone who threw around the term "Michigan Man" while trying to run him out of town doesn't know the meaning of the term. A "Michigan Man" is someone who loves the University, who conducts themselves with integrity and honor, who is hard-working and committed to making those young men in his charge into better people. Rich Rodriguez was absolutely a "Michigan Man". With some support from a united fan-base, I think he could have done great things here, and I think he still will somewhere else. I thought from the beginning that he (or anyone) should get at least 4 years - one NCAA epoch - before any judgment should be made, but with at least half of the fans/alumni/former players actively trying to bring him down, he was fired too quickly.
I love Michigan football. I agree 100% that all the fans need to stop this bickering and get behind a coach. I will get behind Hoke and probably support him long after everyone else has stopped. But you've got to at least give us time to get Rich Rod's body in the ground. I promise I'll be there soon, and I bet Brian will be too. We've already seen him go through Bargaining ("What about if we got a Coordinator from somewhere? Anything but Hoke") and this post looks a little like Depression; Acceptance isn't that far away.
You're right about one thing, Brian--your hair is apropos considering you're (and many others in the threads are) reacting to the whole situation like a little girl. Comparing us to Notre Dame? Really? For firing one unsuccessful coach and hiring one current and former players (i.e., people who know about football, having played it) agree is a great choice? Fortunately some around here are ignoring the ignorance being spouted about how we should have hired someone sooner (as if it mattered, and who was actually available and interested, anyway?), how Hoke's immediately going to run off Denard, and how Brandon is an egotistical jackass with his pants on fire (did he or did he not do everything exactly as he said he would?). I'm glad some people around here are forming their own opinions based on actual thought instead of whining, childish gut reactions. I'm very disappointed in the reporting this blog has offered on the coaching search in particular, and the declining quality of analysis on main-page articles about the football team (other than TomVH, of course), which display a lot of opinion but not much football sense. Comparing us to Notre Dame is not only a melodramatic, incorrect spin on the situation, it's also the last straw for me, and I gladly resign my account and my MGoPoints as I look for a blog that supports this team instead of mocking it for what appears to be a good football decision. Good riddance.
If you do not like what was posted here a hint DON'T READ THIS BLOG! I agree with how the coaching search was done made the University look like a JOKE! If you cannot see that then you need to get a clue.
but "The Process" could have nabbed Hoke on Dec 1., given the guy a chance to finish out a solid recruiting class and saved all of us untold hours of lost productivity.
Brian, I hope you've gotten it out of your system now because Hoke is the guy, like it or not, and its time to rally behind him. Yeah, I am all about blind patriotism when it comes to Michigan football.
I was hugely in favor of giving RichRod one more year, and was very disappointed he was let go. That being said, my silver lining was that at least we could "unify the clans". In short: let's not do to Hoke what we did to RichRod.
Yes, we are the winningest program in history, but reality is that Les Miles, Pat Fitzgerald, Jim Harbaugh, and Urban Meyer all declined interest... and they are just the ones we know about. Does Brady Hoke have an elite resume? No. But has turned some bad teams around, and he has never been shy about loving Ann Arbor. If we care about Michigan, it's time to get over ourselves, stop hurting our own university, and give the new guy a chance.
I agree with your criticisms of the search process itself, but not your criticisms of Hoke and the choice to hire him. Of course if it was Hoke after Harbaugh, it should have been done a week ago. But can we please be substantive in our examination of this man's coaching skills?
First, everyone please stop citing his overall 47-50 record as evidence of his mediocrity. *That's the kind of overall record you end up with, when you turn around a crappy program, leave for another gig after a big year, and then turn around another crappy program.
Before assuming he will run off Denard, can we look at exactly what kind of offensive schemes he and Borges have used in the past? How successful has he been offensively when playing against tougher competition (like TCU this year)?
Before assuming the defense "should" be better because of returning starters--let's picture GERG on the sidelines again and realize that, no, it could easily have stayed the same if the same coaches were in place. If the defense is noticeably better, tackles well, knows how to keep contain, knows what gaps to play in, etc. the coaches will deserve credit for that.
We're all frustrated with how this whole thing went down, but on the subject of Brady Hoke...substance please.
because there isn't a lot of evidence that Hoke actually turned around either program. The estimable Bill Lynch left Ball State as roughly a .500 program; Hoke took 5 seasons to improve on that. The 12-2 season they enjoyed during his final year in Muncie could simply be the result of capitalizing on an easy schedule in the second-weakest conference in I-A football. I don't think there's any way to tell how much of the subsequent collapse is due to Parrish's lack of ability and how much was from 2008 being more of a mirage than anything else.
It's unlikely we'll know whether or not he was turning around SDSU. One season doesn't necessarily indicate a change, and subsequent results can be blamed on or credited to the new coach as much as (or more so than) to the old coach. It's likely that he was doing a much better job than Long was doing, but he didn't stay long enough for us to be sure.
As mentioned before, the TCU example is probably not what you think it is. Hoke's offense put up 14 points when the result was in doubt ... not at all unlike what Rodriguez' offense was doing against tougher competition. The schedules he faced in the Mountain West are nothing like what he'll see here: they're a few steps up from MAC-level competition (well, outside of the New Mexico schools), but that's about it.
None of that means that Hoke will not succeed here (after all, Moeller did squat for three years at Illinois), and I don't think any of us want him to fail. It's simply not the sort of resume that we would hope to see from the new coach.
No matter your position regarding Hoke's hire (and as an MSU fan, I have to say I'm not a bit scared by Hoke's hiring, though I would have been troubled by the Mad Hatter and terrified by Harbaugh), I think we can all agree that the process of the hire has been troubling. Would it have really been so bad to say after the OSU game, "I've seen enough" and fired Rodriguez? No one would have been surprised by that. Put in an interim coach and give yourself time to woo some guys. I mean, how do you put out all kinds of noise about having a 'national search' and not even OFFER Harbaugh the job? Even if that guy tells me to my face that he's signed a contract and going to the NFL, if I'm the UM AD I'm still offering. If you have one guy that you know will win for you- and make no mistake, Harbaugh was that guy- you find a way to hire him, or die trying.
What's bugging me is the mismatch between the stated goals of the search and the results. National search, riiiiggghhhtttt. Not that I'm complaining, mind you- I'm perfectly willing to assume MSU will continue its recent dominance over UM, and if Hoke proves me wrong, so be it. As it stands now, there's maybe a 50-50 chance DRob transfers (he's going to need to hear the perfect words to stay, really- remember the "I came here to play for Coach Rod, who was like the only guy to recruit me as a quarterback" comment?) and then UM is left with the Force and Devin Gardner, who may or may not be ready to play in whatever system Hoke implements.
All is not lost, though- let's say Hoke brings in an OC who uses enough spread concepts to keep Shoelace on board, and Hoke focuses on the defense, as he should. In that case, things are set up for a good year- in the words of Marcellus Wallace, "You happy now, motherf****r?"
the rant is not about Hoke. Brian, as all fans of Michigan should, will support Hoke. But this situation is totally different than last time for one simple reason.
We didn't have to hire a new coach. Rodriguez, while achieving a sub-par record, showed continuous improvement on offense and had a pretty good excuse for the defense with few seniors and injury problems. (special teams I see no excuse) Last time, Carr retired, so we had to find someone to coach Michigan.
This time we fired a guy who has arguably the best offense in the last ten years with the obvious potential to be the best ever next year, with a lot of returning experience of defense in order to get a guy who doesn't like the offense we have, isn't brining a big name and has a weaker resume than the guy we are firing.
I really hope Hoke does well and understand why Rodriguez was let go, but this situation and the previous ones are not the same. Therefor, I see no hypocrisy from Brian.
and I would like to believe that's why Brandon didn't fire Rodriguez in November, although perhaps he felt committed to his statement about reviewing the program after the season was over. I would like to think that the shellacking by a sub-par offense was the proverbial straw.
I do agree with the rest of what you said. I think there are some people who don't understand that the criticism is of Hoke as a candidate, not of Hoke as Michigan's head coach. He's not done anything yet, and there's no way to tell whether he'll turn out like Tressel in Columbus (without the repeated NCAA violations) or like Lou Holtz in New York, or maybe somewhere in between.
I think we're just all tired of losing to OSU and struggling overall, and there may have been other candidates that would have inspired more confidence off the bat. We'll find out in October, I guess ...