possible future employment?
The message boards have a good deal of speculation about Hoke's job security. At what point will Dave Brandon's job security come into question? A while back you outlined a number of failures during Brandon's tenure. To me, the fact that ticket sales are so slow, that even the students seem to have had enough of this BS, has to raise some eyebrows with people in power. Or is Brandon firmly entrenched as long as wants to be here?
As Brady said, "This is Michigan, fergodsakes." It's not feeling much like Michigan lately.
Class of '93
I don't think Brandon is particularly entrenched.
I've heard chatter that certain people in positions of power would be happy to see a change… a lot of chatter. But I've heard that chatter for over a year now, and predictions that Brandon would be replaced have come and gone. At this point I'm skeptical that the people are inclined to do much, or have the power to do so.
That said, Brandon's now in the same situation Rich Rodriguez (and big swathes of the department he replaced) was: his boss did not hire him, and his performance is in the range where replacing him wouldn't raise eyebrows. It's quite a trick to get the entire student body to hate you.
Gents of MGoBlog -
In these recent times of hardship for the football program, Dave Brandon has taken a lot of heat for his cardboard cutout marketing/branding efforts when it comes to the team and other University athletic programs. There seems to be a large and growing consensus of fans (at least on the MGoBoard) that point out every misstep they believe he makes - there have been quite a few dud ploys he and the AD have rolled out.
However, i'm curious to know if there are any decisions or moves he's made as AD that the MGoPolitburo or wider UofM community have received positively. Have any of the AD's ideas under his leadership had a direct positive impact on any or even one of the school's athletic programs? Whatever the case may be, who are some Athletic Directors who "get it" at their respective institution who you would like to see in charge at Michigan?
The main thing people point to in Brandon's favor is the pile of cash. I'm not that impressed, because you or I could have been appointed AD and sat there wibble-wobbling our lips and Michigan would have seen an enormous uptick in revenue. Brandon's first official day on the job was the UConn game when the luxury boxes opened. The Big Ten Network and the expiration of the Big Ten rights deal provided another large bump.
What revenue that is attributable to Brandon comes from piling a bunch of rights together and selling them in a pile to IMG and testing the outer limits of what people will pay for Michigan football tickets. That's good if you're running a public company and your stock options are about to vest, but there are indicators everywhere that the fanbase has finally been worn down. Brandon is chipping away at fan goodwill constantly, and I worry about the long term impact of the clear divide between big chunks of the fanbase (and all of the students) and Brandon.
Meanwhile, what do I care about the amount of money flowing into Michigan's pockets? It does me no good. It doesn't seem to do anyone any good. The Big Ten has been the nation's best money extraction device for some years now and they still end up hiring Tim Beckmann. Meanwhile, every athletic department in the Big Ten is trying to find ways to launder their piles of cash by plowing it into minor sports that hold the same interest for me no matter how well they're supported.
I do like the legends patches (if only they'd stop screwing with people's numbers), but the rest of the changes he's made to the Michigan gameday experience have been negative.
As for potential replacements, there are a couple of Michigan alums at prominent schools: Jeff Long is at Arkansas and Warde Manuel at UConn. Long got handed a poop sandwich when Bobby Petrino had his motorcycle sexytime accident, but recovered impressively by pirating Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin. Whatever your personal opinion of Bielema, that is a coup of a hire for a school like Arkansas. He was just named the chair of the CoFoPoff's selection committee, as well, so he's respected within the AD community.
Manuel hired Turner Gill at Buffalo, who briefly made Buffalo not the worst team in D-I, and then ended up hiring Kevin Ollie at UConn, though that was not much of a decision. Paul Pasqualoni was already in place when he was hired at UConn; he fired him and replaced him with ND DC Bob Diaco after taking a swing at MSU DC Pat Narduzzi. That may or may not work out but that process seems pretty sensible to me.
Importantly, both of these guys have experience in the job they'd have at Michigan.
Could you give odds/estimates on the likelihood of all six freshmen redshirting next year? At the end of the regular season we expected Doyle and probably Wilson to redshirt. Now they're both potentially heavy rotation players while two unheralded wing players signed up that may play key roles or may redshirt. Help us sort out the situation.
Doyle, Wilson, and Chatman are all going to play. I don't expect Hatch to. MAAR/Dawkins is where it gets interesting. Michigan has tried to redshirt guys who are young and need some polishing, but both MAAR and Dawkins are older than average freshmen. For MAAR that's just because he's older; for Dawkins it's because he took a prep year.
It would make sense for one to redshirt with Michigan looking at a small (one member?) 2015 class, but with the NBA attrition these days you might want to play both in an effort to see which guy can help you more down the stretch and prepare both to take over for LeVert and possibly Irvin. I'm guessing everyone plays.
There have been three high level recruits who have decommitted this recruiting season. My question relates to the bagman article mgoblog referred to a couple months back: is there a possibility that there are Michigan bagmen who disapprove Brady Hoke and have pulled their resources from high level recruits in an effort to more quickly dump Hoke? I realize there are many factors that play in, I just can't help but wonder after reading the bagman article.
No. While I imagine bagmen play into the recruitment of one of the guys who has decommitted, the situation there was more local guys getting involved with family members than anything Michigan did or did not do.
I don't know if Michigan actually has bagmen per se. It doesn't seem like their style, and it doesn't really seem like their style to remove support even if they do exist.
Occam's Razor suggests that the guys who have decommitted have done so because they saw last season's football team and are a little leery of signing on with a program that might be seeing a coaching change in the near future.
[After the JUMP: some soccer stuff.]
Reading your pieces regarding the World Cup run by the USMNT as well as following the O'Bannon trial stuff has left me with an interesting question. Do you think that significant change with the NCAA would lead to significant changes in sports like soccer?
College soccer in this country has a history of sending players to the USMNT (Dempsey, Zusi, Omar, etc) but it seems like MLS is now pushing more towards developing young players and getting them into a professional environment sooner (Yedlin, Luis Gil). Klinsmann has talked in the past about the benefits of a professional environment opposed to playing college soccer.
If changes came down the pipe regarding likeness rights or paying players, how would you foresee schools utilizing the new rules? Are they going to continue to focus on revenue sports or will the non-revenue stuff see the changes as well? What about if the power conferences break off to form their own division away from the NCAA? Just curious as to your thoughts of how NCAA changes would affect other non-major sports.
Des Moines, IA
College soccer has been flogged as a hindrance to the USMNT for far too long. Soccer's like reading: if you can't do it by 18 there ain't nothing a college can do to help you. The NCAA's practice and game restrictions are an increasingly small issue since a lot of top-flight prospects either skip college entirely or leave after a year or two.
They can do this now because there are people willing to pay them to play. NCAA structure is less of a problem than the fact that there were few (or no) alternatives. MLS is gradually changing this. They keep adding teams, and now there's a push towards having USL PRO affiliate reserve teams.
So, yeah, in a world where a small number of schools can go do something innovative without having to get it past Indiana State, there is the possibility of revamping a portion of college soccer to make more sense in the larger context. One way to do this is to ignore the NCAA altogether. BYU's team plays in the PDL, which is roughly the fourth tier of soccer in the country. They have to go to class and keep on track to graduate; they are otherwise completely free to do whatever they want to soccer their best soccer.
Zoom out a bit. Chicago's currently playing a kid named Harrison Shipp, who was a homegrown signing for them. (MLS now has a rule that kids you developed in your academy for at least a year can be signed without going through the draft.) He spent a year at ND before signing for MLS. There's a kid at Stanford everyone's hype about who the Sounders will scoop up in another year.
It would make sense to formalize these relations, to take a number of colleges who are open to the idea and make them extensions of these MLS teams' academies. The NCAA could allow this; if they don't the colleges can just go do it on their own, like BYU. This will help fix the current problem with college soccer: it's got the brands but it doesn't have the level of play to make it attractive. You might have something if Washington and Ohio State and Northwestern were local affiliates for MLS teams.
This is probably too weird to fit in the NCAA even in the upcoming autonomy era, but there's no reason every sport has to be sanctioned by Mark Emmert. Sometimes NCAA sports are just dumb. Don't get me started on baseball.
General Comment - I think a lot of the country got caught up in the World Cup and while we don't want MGoBlog to turn into MGoUSMNT, I think it would be welcomed to build a little on your recent coverage before fall.
With hindsight being 20-20, what decisions (with tactics or personnel) would you have made differently, building off of your game columns?
In hindsight? I would have replaced Davis with Donovan, Johannsson with Eddie Johnson, and Green with Mo Edu. Davis was nonentity in the Germany game, the US had no replacement for Altidore, and they had no defensive midfield backup once they decided that Beckerman and Jones were playing together.
If I had Klinsmann's roster, though, I don't think I would have done that much different other than roll with Beckerman against Belgium. Removing him turned out to be a major error that left Belgium pile and piles of space. I would have started Diskerud against Germany instead of Davis, with Mix at the tip of the diamond and Bradley/Jones as the "shuttlers" beside, but that hypothetical change wasn't likely to do much about the result.
There wasn't much else to do. Klinsmann was repeatedly, literally hamstrung with forced substitutions. The logical assumption after Johannsson went in for surgery as soon as the WC was over was that he was not available for selection, or at least that picking him would be a big gamble. Then you're down to Wondolowski as your one true striker. That's some bad luck.
I don't think most casual fans realize that we never got to see Bradley or Dempsey play their actual positions/roles in this tournament with Altidore's injury. How would the product on the field looked if those three players were in their natural spots/roles? Do you think it would have affected any outcomes?
Oh, I don't know, man. We saw how Germany's back line got stretched over and over again by Algeria's Islam Slimani. That kind of thing is definitely in Altidore's wheelhouse and would have given the US a pressure outlet, allowing them to have more of the game. And then we saw a major uptick in USA possession once Wondolowski came in, as Dempsey finally got to drop back into the midfield and combine with Bradley.
That's the part that really hurts. With Altidore up top there was a clear link pattern: defenders get it to Bradley—Bradley, Dempsey, and Altidore interchange. Cutting out Altidore and replacing him with either Zusi, Bedoya, or Davis was a huge downgrade.
I do think the US would have had more possession and found more balanced games. They may not have turned that extra possession into goals, but it's hard to judge Klinsmann for not delivering the pretty possession soccer he promised once an admittedly irreplaceable chunk of the team goes out.