You're right, I shouldn't have generalized as much as I did. The two Florida teams were underachievers though.
1/11/2011 – Brady Hoke 1, Internet 0 – 0-0
I follow a blog called "Fund My Mutual Fund." The title should be taken literally: the guy running the blog wants you to pledge money so that he can get a mutual fund based on his stock picking method off the ground. He's done amazingly well on a publicly-tracked simulator, has sufficient pledges to break even, and is in the process of getting SEC approval after establishing a years-long track record. He's good.
He struggles when his method (technical analysis) is battered by external events that cause the stock market to veer from a well-established logical way of doing things, which is happening a lot lately thanks to Ben Bernanke. He responds to these events by publicly reminding himself the underlying fundamentals have changed, that logic means one thing when you're talking about five years and another when you're talking about five days and that even if the market goes up for stupid reasons it's going up. Here's one from this morning. He also lacerates the country's financial honchos in sarcasm-laden posts that get a little tiresome the tenth time you read essentially the same thing. He went to Michigan, too. He might be my Tyler Durden, or maybe I'm his.
A couple weeks ago I proclaimed there was a "zero point zero" percent chance that Brady Hoke was named Michigan's head coach because I assumed Hoke's flimsy resume was only acceptable to people who really truly believe that Michigan Men are Michigan Men who make other Michigan Men, who in turn create more Michigan Men until you enter a warehouse and it's like that terrible Will Smith movie with winged helmets.
My underlying assumption was that David Brandon was a cold-hearted corporatist who would tell someone to assemble a powerpoint about head coaching candidates and take the Michigan Man stuff as merely a relevant bullet point. I was wrong. Brandon is king of the Michigan Men, and my predictive performance has lagged the market.
Not much of consequence was said at yesterday's press conference to introduce Brady Hoke—that is the way of things—but at the very end Dave Brandon started pointing and became emphatic and the world rearranged itself:
That's the athletic director version of Kurt Wermers saying "not my kind of crowd." Rich Rodriguez never had a chance after the Ohio State game. Why David Brandon decided to go on with a dog and pony show even he admits was pointless should be a frustrating mystery, but it's not. People had to be placated. This program will eat itself alive if given half a chance.
So maybe Brady Hoke is the best choice. This organ transplant will not be rejected. Given time and an upperclass quarterback or two and a defensive staff that's not utterly clueless, Brady Hoke will quickly prove himself to be the one true Notriguez. He'll quickly improve the program and get Michigan back to being Michigan.
But I think the way this went down proves that all the things rivals say about Michigan are true. This is an unbelievably arrogant program convinced its past glories are greater and more recent than they are, certain outsiders have nothing to teach it. We will enter bowl games against opponents that say "boy, that Michigan just lines up and comes after you," and we probably won't win many of them. We never have, and trying to out-execute Alabama or Oregon seems like a tall order these days.
I hoped we could be block-M Michigan without that, that we could have an exciting, modern offense that pumped out Michigan Men and maybe shredded Oklahoma for 48 points in a BCS game. I hoped we could reboot the program, keeping the things we treasure about it but maybe leaving the dismal bowl record and recent inability to compete with Ohio State behind. For a lot of reasons we can't. We are who we are.
So, no, I'm not super happy. On the field I was done with Lloyd Carr, done with punting from the 34 and running the same damn zone stretch thirty times a game, done with the premise that it's only the players who have to execute on gameday. To me, getting back to being Michigan means going 9-3 and losing to Jim Tressel. I remember thinking "this is the year" every year growing up, expecting great things literally every season until Rodriguez showed up and Mallett transferred. I don't think that now, and I can't imagine feeling like that in the future. Sometimes having an identity feels like having a ceiling.
That said and true, this also. On the other hand, the past is not destiny. Jon Chait provides the best possible perspective:
Selecting a coach is a lot like selecting a recruit. The resume is the equivalent of a recruiting ranking. With recruits, a high ranking correlates with success, but a correlation is only probability, not certainty. Sometimes high-ranking recruits flame out, and sometimes sleeper recruits turn into stars.
While I'm down on the hire except insofar as it appears to be the only one that would get institutional support, Hoke could surprise people. He's in a great spot to immediately improve a team that returns damn near everyone and should profit from that momentum. Rich Rodriguez was always pushing uphill; Hoke has a much easier path to positive attention.
I didn't want to say this during the many fire-Rodriguez discussions because it seemed like the most cynical thing imaginable, but cutting Rodriguez loose right now sets the new guy up to look like 2006 Ron English after he replaced Jim Herrmann and inherited Woodley/Branch/Hall/Harris: a freaking genius. We'd find out during The Horror that he was not, but for a year the guy was untouchable. Hoke is going to get all the rope left over from the Rodriguez era and then some.
So, yes, the internet has overreacted.
I will swear now. The inbox is overflowing with pleas of varying levels of politeness to get behind Hoke, stop being so negative, etc. If you phrased it nicely, I appreciate the sentiment and the too-generous belief that I have any influence over the success or failure of Michigan's head coach. I'm not going to change my opinion overnight, however, and this remains a No Sugarcoat zone. No sugarcoat. I can promise that I'll go into the Hoke era looking for reasons he'll work out (you know, on-field reasons, not "Brady Hoke is the best human" stuff), if only because of human nature. His flexibility with Nate Davis and successful deployment of Rocky Long as a 3-3-5 DC gives me hope he's not a stick in the mud, and I'm sure Craig Ross is mailing him the Romer paper as we speak.
If you called me a hypocrite for not liking the hire when I didn't like the three years of shit Rich Rodriguez had to wade through when I haven't said one negative thing about Hoke that does not boil down to "does not have a thrilling resume," please fuck off and die. Especially people complaining about how constantly negative I am when I spent the last three years as the last guy on to die on Rodriguez Hill, as a commenter whose name I can't remember aptly put it. Double especially for people complaining like that a week after calling Rodriguez a "hillbilly" because "only hillbillies leave their alma mater."
What I am negative about is the Carr-era players—like the hillbilly guy above—whose loyalty to the program stops at the water's edge. Aside from one recent Harlan Huckleby outburst, the Bo guys either shut their traps or tried in vain to support the head coach at the University of Michigan. But I've made that point over and over again. (Mike "I support the head coach x1000" Hart is an obvious exception to this and should have been the model for his teammates.) The culture that made the last three years happen is petty and arrogant and utterly fails to live up to the Michigan Man ideal it pretends to espouse, and though I'm about a day from shutting up about it because even I'm tired of it I'm not backing off.
This will be fun. I hope everyone loves Jason Whitlock columns, because we're about to get a boatload of them. As Over The Pylon points out:
In a panicked desperate move, the administration at BSU freaked out and hired an in house coordinator to quiet the fans and hopefully maintain the momentum that was building. Michigan did much the same, only the “in house” became “Michigan experience” and the “maintain momentum” became “rebuild the program”. In BSU’s case, the failsafe went 6-18. Let’s hope for UM’s, Brady’s and everyone associated with the Wolverines’ sanity that the performance isn’t also duplicated, lest they become the target of one particular columnist with a national audience, a significantly close connection to the head coach, and a nicely sized ax that could always use some grinding.
Guh. Win, Brady, or we'll all suffer. Meanwhile, if you'd like a condescending lecture Dan Wetzel has you covered.
Carty on the dude. You can hate on Carty if you want but this is probably more interesting than anything that's been written about him so far:
The thing that separated Brady Hoke from most assistant coaches under Lloyd Carr was the confidence to be the same guy in a media interview as he was when the cameras were off. Michigan assistants never talked much in those days, and when they did, most of them were obviously concerned about saying something that would be met with disapproval by their boss.
Hoke wasn't very polished or made-for-television, something he poked fun at himself. He laughed a lot more than the other assistants did, at least in public. When he did do interviews, he asked more questions than most assistants and seemed genuinely interested in how reporters did their jobs. When a sensitive topic came up, he'd simply chuckle and say, "You know I'm not going to talk about that." He didn't shy away from criticizing players or performances when he had to. I don't ever remember him asking to go off the record or take back something he said, both common practices with assistant coaches at Michigan and elsewhere.
There are a couple more paragraphs to go along with the Ann Arbor News's entire republished archive of Hokemania.
Search fiasco: somehow still growing. I still think Jim Harbaugh was supposed to be Michigan's next head coach before he backed out sometime after it became clear the NFL wanted him badly, thus resulting in the month-long post-OSU limbo and panicked search, but seriously if Dave Brandon means what he says about not offering Miles the job he traded the opportunity to not obliterate Michigan's chances with a few key recruits for some PR. If this was going to be the result Hoke should have been hired two seconds after Rodriguez went out the door—there were no serious overtures made towards anyone else except maybe Pat Fitzgerald.
My verdict on the Hoke hire depends somewhat on my view of the Lloyd Carr era. I liked Carr as a coach and as a representative of the University, but I wasn’t upset when he retired in large part because he had not done a good job of surrounding himself with top-notch coaches. It’s in this respect that he is no Bo. Bo Schembechler created modern Michigan football and one aspect of his greatness was that his coaching tree was excellent. Carr, on the other hand, doesn’t have a coaching tree to speak of. Thus, the two obvious candidates for Michigan’s head coaching position were Jim Harbaugh – a Bo quarterback whom Carr declined to hire when he was looking for a quarterback coach – and Les Miles – a Bo lineman/assistant whom Carr reputedly did not want as his replacement in 2007. If Dave Brandon’s much-discussed Process was designed to bring back a Michigan Man from Bo’s lineage, then that would have been fine because hiring a Bo protege can be done on merit. The fact that the Process produced the one sickly branch from the Carr tree is the reason why Hoke’s hire has been greeted by articles with titles like "Advice for the Despondent."
This team spent the last three years building something, and I spent the last three years not simply waiting for future glory but anticipating it. Times were certainly tough, but I could still see the payoff at the end. The top ten offense paired with what I still believe could have been a fast, havoc wreaking defense with a couple more years of experience and depth--and probably a new coordinator. It wasn't always easy to watch the games, and the losing streaks against rivals always hurt, but I could take the taunts and laughter from other teams fans because I believed. That belief wasn't ever there under Lloyd. It was always just an ominous feeling that the other shoe was about to drop.
Another bit was not happy after the hire, either, focusing mostly on the Les Miles discussion that does not and never will end up being an offer.
You know it‘s a bad decision when one’s first reaction to the news is to draw easy comparisons between Michigan football and the Big 3 Automakers decline and to scramble to the Wikipedia page for the Romanovs to confirm that yes, this moment fits perfectly within the arc of a decaying empire. The emptiness that follows, however, is a bitch.
For its part, Straight Bangin' is "paralyzed." That's probably for the best.
Touch the Banner surveys the team and attempts to find out who fits. Slot receivers have to be saying "WTF" to themselves. HSR wants Michigan Replay back, but I don't think that had anything to do with Rodriguez. IIRC the producer lost his job with the IMG switchover and owned the rights to the name and possibly the music. This totally happened 110 years ago.
You're right, I shouldn't have generalized as much as I did. The two Florida teams were underachievers though.
We lost to some really good teams.
isn't that sort of the point? is it too much to ask that we're one of those 'really good teams'?
don't be afraid to dominate.
I agree. But we played some of the best teams money could bye. :)
06: Lost a close one to the defending national champs, USC, with 2 Heisman trophy winners on the team.
You're off a year on USC. They lost the national title to Texas the previous year, and both Leinart and Bush were already gone. John David Booty was their QB and CJ Gable their primary RB. The game also wasn't close.
You are delusional if you thought either of our games against USC were close. They were blowouts- Michigan was not competitive.
Perhaps you will understand if I say it again. We were not in their league.
It was a 3-3 tie at halftime. We then came out and played 1 bad quarter and ended up losing by 13 points. I would consider that competitive. Especially when it's in thier backyard.
If you called me a hypocrite for not liking the hire when I didn't like the three years of shit Rich Rodriguez had to wade through when I haven't said one negative thing about Hoke that does not boil down to "does not have a thrilling resume," please fuck off and die
Really? I guess I was imagining when you took an innocuous comment from Hoke - his line that teams probably shouldn't use zone schemes exclusively (a sentiment RR himself appears to share, given that we used some man blocking now and then) - and turned it into a "Hoke hates the spread" rant. Or the whole "Denard is totally gone if Hoke's hired" speculation. Or you know, the banner that mocks the guy.
Hey, you vented a little, which is normal. But don't act like you were being some benign voice of reason here.
Really? I find that hard to believe.
Ummm...I'm sure Brian has his reasons to be bummed about Hoke (which I think really boil down to "he's not RichRod" or "he isn't a "read option coach"), but if the "resume" was the reason to be negative about Hoke, why was there a second of love for Pat Fitzgerald??? Fitz is 33-29 without NW playing the sacrifical creampuff out-of-conference. Hoke is 47-50 with his program often in that role. Those are fairly similar numbers (53% v 48%).
I think it's fine to have concerns about a coach (if you didn't previously rip others for "not giving RR a chance"), but "fuck off and die"? really?
p.s. jmblue, you forgot that we "threw in the towel" with this hire...
After the well over 500 times I have seen it written, I am still waiting for 1 person to correlate immediate dissatisfaction with Rich's hire and cotinued dislike for him, to the product he put on the field. Auburn recruited and won in the face of heavy dissatisfaction for their new coach by it's fan base. Hell USC is recruiting very well in the face of fan dislike and the loss of 10 scholarships a season for 3 years. What about Mac Brown when he took over Texas? Everyone down there thought he was a light weight. Even the shower teacher at Tennessee rattled off a big winning streak and made a bowl in a tough league at a school where no one wanted him.
Rodriguez didn't get support because he lost, not the other way around. The same crowd can't argue that off the field stuff doesn't matter and that Hoke needs to prove it on the field, then argue that Rodriguez "never had a chance" because of the off-field climate he endured. Either it is a big deal or it isn't. It most likely isn't and history supports that. Winners have foresight about the job they select, then they get the job done and build support.
This site is the greatest Michigan sports resource by a long shot. Still, the two areas that this blog falls flat are the the excuse that "Rich got screwed by Michigan people" and the attacks on people who spent last fall questioning where the hell he was taking us. Suddenly when those topics come up, people who claim to be all about "data" and "numbers" become reliant on tales of boogeymen and nefarious ex-coaches and their supporters for torpedoing their guy.
If we expanded our point of reference to other schools, we'd likely find Rich Rodriguez didn't take that much more shit that any other coach who was underperforming at a place with high expectations. And if he did, a great counter-attack would be to go recruit a defense and coach an effective special teams. That will shut everyone up. He would have received all the glory and more that comes with success at a place like this too.
Hoke going home a widely popular figure tonight or next month, translates to nothing of substance if he can't apply his knowledge and skill set to create a winner. He'll just eat his crap sandwhich from the fans and Michigan men later in his tenure if he loses. He has the same opportunity that Rich Rodriguez had in terms of resources and the Michigan name.
This isn't even exploring the topic of what Rich Rodriguez could have done differently in his approach and preparation to adapt to this University and project a persona that would have won him, rather than cost him support. Mac Brown came to Texas and was ready with an extensive understanding of a fan base that is even more parochial than ours. Bob Stoops same thing at Oklahoma. They knew they had to win first and foremost, but they weren't arrogant enough to the think that they could worry only about that. They covered all the bases off the field and satisfied the people that could make their lives easy or hard.
Another topic for another time. But we really need to get over making excuses for Rich Rodriguez performance as coach. He didn't strike me as the type of guy that spent a lot of time falling back on them.
Honestly, how many have argued that Rodriguez's win-loss record wasn't the main reason he was fired, or that his win-loss record would have been materially different if only the fan base had supported him? Clearly, if the win-loss record hadn't continued to turn around and head in the right direction (as it had begun to do), he was gone at some point. The only real debate was, when do you make that call? If you mean to contend that the degree of support (or lack thereof) didn't influence the outcome of that debate, we'll have to agree to disagree. IMHE, without all of the "Michigan Man"/"bad fit" noise, Rodriguez likely would have gotten another year to show what he could do -- and, by the way, gain more support from the fan base if he succeeded.
Look, I was not a blind RR supporter. In fact, when he was hired I had some great misgivings, all focused on the character issues. But over time I came to believe he was a genuine good guy working his ass off for M. I believe he made a LOT of BIG mistakes here. The D, the special teams, even the crap about not embracing the tradition and culture enough. But my overall opinion of the guy was that he was a good guy who was actually doing the stuff that we all want to say is "Michigan Man" material: being humble, working your ass off, focusing on the academics, representing the institution with integrity, blah blah effing blah.
The difference between what you cite above with Mack Brown and Gene Chizik, etc., is that here at Michigan there was a group of powerful people on the inside who were *actively* working to torpedo RichRod. That's not anywhere near the same as having a fan base upset because you've got a different accent or even because you aren't winning enough. Of course I can't prove this, but I firmly believe someone on the inside was behind the damn Freep BS investigation. Someone tipped off Rosenberg and Snyder about the CARA form crap. And I don't know if you can overestimate how much that BS set back all of RR's work.
February 2008, Crisler. Rodriguez introduces his family.
I have only tried three times to write how I feel about Brian's thoughts on Hoke, but everytime I end up zig zagging in every direction on my thoughts, that no one would understand what the hell I was saying. I summerize:
1) Brian has every right to be frustrated about the Hoke hire. We've all seen this show before, it's very safe. This is a settle move for Brian, it says 8-4 is ok to him.
2) Michigan IS Michigan and it's different. It takes a "Michigan Man" to understand this. RR never really got this. RR didn't have to be from here to get it, but for some reason he never understood what Michigan is about. It's more than x's and o's, and w's and l's.
3) I didn't like the RR firing, but I love the Hoke hiring. I think Hoke "get's it" and where I think he will be different, is that he WILL go for it on 4th and 3 from the 35. He WILL try to win instead of trying not to lose. He WILL trust his offense to get the first down, and if not, he WILL trust the defense to stop them.
4) Hoke may not be the most qualified coach, but he was the most qualified coach for Michigan.
5) "This is Michigan for Godsakes"
I'm still all over the place, and could go on forever. There is a lot of emotion when it comes to Michigan and what it stands for, and it is difficult to think clearly when emotions are controlling your thoughts.
A fourth re-write may have been in order here. This time, drop the "Michigan Man" meme and the "This is Michigan for Godsakes" meme.
What is wrong with "Michigan Man"?
"This is Michigan for godsakes" was a quote from Brady Hoke in the press conference.
I think the reaction to Brians reaction says a lot about how far this blog has come in three years. Brians response to this means a lot to a lot of people on both sides of the aisle. At the risk of bringing in the politics, didn't Obama just talk last might about the importance of tolerance and humility in our public debate?
Seems like a good idea for mgoblog now too.
Go Brian and Go Blue
I've never questioned Brian's or anyone else's right to have an opinion that Hoke is a questionable hire. It's certainly not a sure thing. But then again, most of us, myself included, though RR was a sure thing.
My main contention with the Brian and the "RR-is-God" faction is how anyone can see watch what was on the field this year and think that we were somehow on the road to being a national power. It wasn't happening, at least not anytime soon.
I guess the question is, assuming you were right and we were on the right track, how long were you willing to wait for it to happen?
My main contention with the Brian and the "RR-is-God" faction is how anyone can see watch what was on the field this year and think that we were somehow on the road to being a national power. It wasn't happening, at least not anytime soon.
This is exactly how I feel. I was a Rodriguez supporter, die hard even until October 31, 2009. That was when the first doubts really sneaked in. I knew we were in serious trouble at other points, two massive collapses to Purdue, the UMass disaster this year, Bowling Green being in the game at half time, the whole end of the year. Still, I never flat out convinced myself he had to go until Mississippi State.
I step away from the keyboard and think, well, shit, Rodriguez is a great coach, great person, and he gave us some very enjoyable players. But the man had an abysmal conference record, gave far too much fodder to the national media, and really, at the end of the day, wasn't improving. That defense and that offense really weren't that good against good teams.
I guess the question is, assuming you were right and we were on the right track, how long were you willing to wait for it to happen?
One more season and if it's still not happening (7-8 wins and getting trucked in the losses), then send Rich on his way and I think nobody has room to complain.....and Brady Hoke would've still been available to take over.
Fitzgerald as coach would have been like kissing your sister.
I think there are 2 main issues here when it comes to Lloyd Carr..
a) His conservative in-game management that many (including me) feel made us consistently underachieve, despite having great talent
b) His deterioration as coach in the 2nd half of his tenure
SO I guess my questions on Hoke are...
1) Can he bring in equivalent talent/do a similar job to Lloyd?
2) Do we have any idea what Hoke is going to be like in a game scenario? Just because he will run a style similar to Lloyd doesn't mean he can't run it more aggressively, or play more to win versus not to lose.
I really don't know much about Hoke's in game coaching, but I think that Carr really set the standard for conservative coaching, and I really doubt that Hoke would be at the same level, no matter what system he runs.
(Mgrad92 deleted post)
I agree with many of Brian's points. It's weird, I liked the analogy about the ceiling. I sometimes feel like Michigan may in fact be the room with the lower ceiling. Not a bad thing in and of itself. And it's alright that we don't know any better because that's the home we've always known and it's comfortable to us physically and mentally.
Rodriguez's approach at Michigan was very new and possibly full of arrogance on some level itself. He failed in his charge and deserved to be fired, but I still find it unfortunate that RR, a decent, good man who was a successful football coach and obviously cared tons about his players and their families, was not afforded the same kind of welcome, support and inclusion by former players and the media that we are all seeing on display this week for Brady Hoke. Maybe I'm different from others, but that's probably going to stay on my hard drive for a while. With RR in the rear view mirror, I'm sure one day soon we'll learn from Rich Rodriguez and his staff about their personal perspectives and experience at Michigan. I hope MIchigan invites Rodriguez back to future events, anniversaries, fund raisers and keeps him part of the Michigan family in some respects. I wonder about this.
By hiring Hoke, Brandon wanted a Michigan football program closely resembling that of Lloyd Carr: 9-3 regular season on average, bowl game invites, pro-style offense churning out NFL draftees, tough defense, competitive team performances vs. rivals, a few B10 championship games in Indianapolis combined intermittently with one Top 5 finish every 4 or 5 years - Sometimes very good. Often disappointing. Never dominant. That's what Michigan football has been (pre-Rodriguez) and probably where it's headed again under Hoke.
In other words, familiar territory for most UM fans. Maybe that's good and OK.
...but I still find it unfortunate that RR, a decent, good man who was a successful football coach and obviously cared tons about his players and their families, was not afforded the same kind of welcome, support and inclusion by former players and the media that we are all seeing on display this week for Brady Hoke.
Agreed. Honestly, when the search started, I was hoping for another year of Rodriguez with a different DC if we couldn't get Harbaugh. RichRod's offense with even an AVERAGE defense? That sounded pretty good. But the more I hear about Hoke & the level of acceptance he's already receiving here, the more I think this might not be so bad. Rodriguez, even if he'd won, wouldn't have been "one of the guys," which proved cancerous from the beginning. Hoke's hire has already seemed to bring everyone back together somewhat -- shifting the team from "us against the world (past players included)" to being a big Michigan family again.
RichRod may have had a higher ceiling (now we'll never know), but a little stability across the program feels pretty nice for a change.
I love RR and have many times written and said that I hate how he was treated. But it seems to me that how he acted when he arrived probably soured a lot of people. In other words, the choices he made early on probably had more than a little to do with the level of support he had as time went on.
I also have a few friends and acquaintances who were "Bo's Boys." What is clearly in evidence is how much pride they have for the reputation he built, at least as much as the winning. RR not only didn't take stock of that reputation, and realize how important it was to all of us who cheer for the Maize and Blue, he really didn't seem to care all that much. At the root of alumni players' disdain for RR is probably more than just a little of that attitude.
Go back and watch the presser where RR was introduced to the media. Afterward, he was met in the hall and asked more questions. His tone, body language, and choice of words suggest a guy who thought he was coming into some back water burg, and he was really going to show these hicks how they do things in the big city, boy. When asked specifically about Ohio State, he all but shrugged his shoulders and said, "we have a lot of rivalries." My first thought was, "I understand the desire to not minimize anyone, but, c'mon. Do your f-cking homework, man. You're becoming the steward of the winningest program in college football and are charged with getting it to the next level, not trying to make it relevant in the first place."
I enjoy this blog immensely but Brian, you seem way off base in a couple of respects:
1. Repeatedly criticizing Brandon. The firing of Rodriguez was appropriately timed and the coaching search was thorough and as timely as possible. Rodriguez was only fired when it became evident after the bowl game that he had not made significant improvement this year. Moreover, the timing did allow a MUCH lower buyout. In addition, an earlier firing would have left Michigan without a head coach for some time since the two most high profile candidates would not be available until after their bowl games. As for the timing of the hire, again I don't see how things could have been done differently. He made an effort to pursue the two other most prominent candidates and he ultimately hired the best man available - only 6 days after Rodriguez's firing.
2. Constantly knocking Hoke. Your first mistake was making the ridiculous assertion that Hoke had no chance at the job. Your second mistake has been to overlook Hoke's considerable qualifications and accomplishments, even calling his impressive resume "flimsy." I wouldn't call turning around 2 totally crappy football programs, being named MAC coach of the year and then MWC coach of the year and building a SDSU team into one that would literally have kicked Michigan's butt a "flimsy" record. And you can add in his extensive assistant coaching record including a stint on Michigan's National Championship team and the strong endorsement of essentially all his former players, including the very best (Brady, Woodson, etc.) In what alternate universe is this a "flimsy" record??
Every coaching hire is a gamble but objectively, Hoke looks like a good, if not great, hire. I would have preferred Harbaugh but he had his heart set on the NFL. Miles, as we all know, has major baggage. Other available options appear to have been coordinators without ANY head coaching experience. Keeping Rodriguez did not appear to be a better option. His three year record was absolutely horrible. He set all the wrong Michigan records and his defense was getting worse every year.
Brian, I ask that you make the appropriate mea culpas and try to be more objective. I look forward to a bright future for Michigan football - beating Ohio State and competing for national championships. I also look forward to reading your interesting blog.
1. Repeatedly criticizing Brandon.
Until this week Brian has been president of the Brandon fan club. He is not anti-Brandon. He was disappointed by the execution of this firing/hiring.
The firing of Rodriguez was appropriately timed and the coaching search was thorough and as timely as possible.
Timing of the firing was fine, but just announce Hoke that same day if you're not offering Harbaugh or Miles (I'll take Brandon at his word).
2. Constantly knocking Hoke...In what alternate universe is [Hoke's] a "flimsy" record??
ESPN inhabits the same alternate universe. When they handicapped the coaching search they questioned whether Hoke had Michigan-worthy credentials. I think we're all hoping Hoke proves his doubters wrong, but doubt is not irrational, and not a failure to be "objective."
Just pointing out a few facts.
My response to your response:
1. Brian has repeatedly criticized Brandon regarding the coaching search - and without an adequate rationale or suggesting a better approach in my humble opinion. Brandon couldn't announce the Hoke hiring the same day as the Rodriguez firing since he was still pursuing and evaluating multiple candidates. Maybe he could have saved a few days but since none of us knows what went on behind the scenes, it's impossible to reach that conclusion.
2. So now ESPN is the gold standard, the experts on coaching searches? Gee I never realized that. I wonder what their credentials are. We are all equally capable of analyzing the records of various candidates. And I doubt their credentials are as noteworthy as those of Brady or Woodson. I listed a tremendous amount of evidence in Hoke's favor - and against the idea of a "flimsy" record - and I hear absolutely nothing to support the assertion of a "flimsy" record. Hoke's been a success EVERYWHERE he has been. Not middling, not just so-so, not "flimsy" but a success. He's turned crap into gold - not overnight but eventually. I rest my case.
It is not "objective" to ignore all the evidence and call a record "flimsy" without ANY reasonable rationale. It defies all logic.
As an aside, did you have a better candidate in mind? Does Brian have a better candidate in mind? A candidate with a better college head coaching record (a "flimsy" record of turning around two programs and earning coach of the year honors in two conferences) who wants the job and who doesn't bring serious ethical baggage with him?
Please enlighten me.
Lloyd Carr is that you?
Brian, I ask that you make the appropriate mea culpas and try to be more objective.
Who are you to ask Brian for anything? Are you paying him for his content?
7 of his 9 wins this year were against teams with losing records in a crappy conference with one great team, and one team that seemed good until it got run out of the stadium two straight weeks. Run that around your head for a couple of minutes. His record is flimsy. 12-1 at Ball State... woopdee doo. What was his follow-up. How did he do the next year? Hmmm. He left while the leaving was good. We have no idea what he'll do with success.
That's not to say that he won't be successful. But as Brandon should know from running a large corporation, you don't take a flyer with a man with no upside. What's the great upside to Brady Hoke? That he has passion. If I hear one more time he has passion I think my head will asplode! Lot's of people have passion. Now if you take a flyer on someone who is a well known co-ordiantor, sometimes it can work out and the risk is there.
This was a basically riskless decision, made so late as to kill Hoke's chances at having a decent recruiting class. Hell Brandon screwed Hoke. Let's count the people Brandon screwed by waiting. Isn't it wonderful that Brandon knows AD'ing so well as to do it completely differently than the rest of college football.
Finally as to the Michigan man thing... How many who are applauding the "Michigan Man" return are actually Michigan Men themselves. I hate the term walmart wolverine, but my guess is there's lots of 'em who are really glad a Michigan Man is back at the helm.
At the end like Brian noted, let's hope it works, cuz we all love Michigan. If it doesn't, let's pray that before Hoke is let go, Brandon is canned and we actually have a good search for an AD. One who actually has been an AD elsewhere and who has a good network of relationships built up in college athletics. Something tells me if we spent more time on developing the Athletic Department administration, we'd have less problems with coaches!
Am I the only one who caught the sly Ke$ha reference? Yes? Ok, I'll go back to watching everyone argue some more.
Brady Hoke is NOT Lloyd Carr.
A decent kicker would've saved RR's job
does this mean that brian thinks 9-3 is "UNACcEPTABle!!!!11!3!##!"
Time to get to work.
Brian doesn't appear to see it, and Maize n' Brew doesn't, and neither do some of the other people who are utterly heartbroken about Rodriguez's demise, but all these people are mourning a fantasy and an expectation, not the failure of a regime. Take this quote from Maize n' Brew:
It wasn't always easy to watch the games, and the losing streaks against rivals always hurt, but I could take the taunts and laughter from other teams fans because I believed. That belief wasn't ever there under Lloyd. It was always just an ominous feeling that the other shoe was about to drop.
To me, this is so entirely delusional it's hard for me to understand it. You always maintained your belief with Rodriguez, even after he found lightning in a botttle in Denard Robinson, racked up 500 yards a game, and still left us utterly embarrased by OSU for three years in a row, yet you always felt dread regarding Lloyd Carr and his career average of over nine wins a year? I know that Lloyd was owned by Tressel, and I know he wasn't quite the same coach by the end of his career, but if you had more belief in Rodriguez than in Carr you somehow managed to keep the vision of White and Slaton in your head even when it was obvious that that wasn't happening in Ann Arbor.
You know what happened to me the last three years? I got tired, I got used to Michigan losing. No matter how bad the season was under Lloyd, I never went into a big game without thinking that UM would definitely find a way to pull things out. Sometimes I'd end up crushed - more often than not once Tressel came into town. I was crushed because it didn't seem right. I wasn't crushed when UM lost to MSU the last couple years, wasn't heartbroken and shaking my fist at an uncaring universe when we were utterly demolished by OSU, let alone by Wisconsin and Iowa, under Rodriguez. I'd come to expect it. I no longer have the notion that Michigan should win and at the very least has a fucking chance to. It's immensely sad for me to admit that.
You experienced levels of belief and optimism with Rodriguez, even after three years, that you never knew under Carr? For the life of me, I simply can't understand that.
Finally, as to Brian's bitterness toward the way Rodriguez was treated here - I think there's something to this. But I also think Rodriguez likely bears some responsibility, and it's somewhat naive to treat him as a blameless, saintly soul who came with his heart in his hand only to have it thrown on the ground and kicked by the minions of Lloyd Carr. Rodriguez did not come here to share his wisdom and teach the old guard something - he came here to remake the program entirely, to make it utterly his own. From the start, Rodriguez had the attitude, and perhaps the mandate from Bill Martin, that this was a radical readjustment that was not beholden to the past at all. From day one and through his entire three years. there were frequently intimations in Rodriguez's press conferences that he inherited a toxic product, that the players simply weren't up to the challenge, that the methods he encountered when he got here were outdated and futile. And you know what, there was a lot of truth to those statements, and any intelligent follower of the program could see it. But it's not his fucking place as the coach to point those things out. It's up to him to take the responsibility and try to protect his team and the program even when there's little more he could do as a coach. Finally, though I'm no insider and don't know exactly what happened in Schembechler Hall when Rodriguez was here, reading things such as Greg Harden being marginalized for the past three years makes you wonder how much Rodriguez may have unnecessariy swept out the old in an attempt to remake the program in his own image.
Now, I think that overall Rodriguez is a good man who cares about his players, as well as a brilliant offensive coach who will find success again in college football. But I think it's ridiculous to pretend that he was utterly blameless in his three years in Ann Arbor from a political standpoint (it's even sillier to pretend that "factions" as opposed to "defensive staff" are the reason that he's no longer with the team.) But to act like he was the high point of the Michigan program is to twist fantasy and reality to the point that I cant even begin to understand the sentiment.
A very smart historian once wrote something along the lines of "people live their lives, process their experiences, through stories" as a way of explaining why facts are not enough to explain what has occurred in the past, you also have to understand the stories that people at the time told about the facts that surrounded them.
I think what you're seeing here are lamentations for the collapse of stories that people have used to organize their thoughts about M football for the past three years. A story that the stuggles before us are merely prelude, that greatness is sure to come. That's certainly not the only story out there about the last three years, as we all know, but the RR regime would be an excellent case study of how people can witness many of the same events and understand them in completely different ways because of the stories within which they embed them.
I definitely think it would be a very interesting study and would happily submit as a patient to be studied. What my point has been since Hoke has been hired is that people need to give the Rodriguez supporters (like myself) some time to "heal" and switch mental gears. And posts like Brabbs's post do not help us do it. They use personally offensive words like "silly" and "ridiculous" and "dumb" and "delusional" etc. to argue their points. All that does is further alienate people, having the exact opposite effect of what I presume to be an attempt to rally the fanbase.
Very well stated. This is the most trenchant and resonant point and something that I agree with wholeheartedly:
it's even sillier to pretend that "factions" as opposed to "defensive staff" are the reason that he's no longer with the team.
If wanting to "suffer" through 9 - 3 seasons and being competitive in all our games is wrong I don't want to be right!
Put this post in bronze.
I'm not debating you on most of those points, but I don't think DB was channeling Wermers when he gave the "this is about the players" speech, but his old coach Bo. What I mean is that this wasn't meant as a dig against Rodriguez, but a glimpse into the ultimate reason for hiring Hoke.
Watch his facial expressions as compared to the "Next Governor of Michigan" persona Brandon normally conveys. This is Brandon repeating what Bo said. This is evidence of your "he is the ultimate 'Michigan Man' man" comment, but not that he's a "Notriguez" on the Maize-to-Blue spectrum that divided this fanbase.
So much of this press conference was pomp, which I guess it has to be. Much of the pomp was staged not for the RR supporters but the crowd that was begging for "Notriguez." Since we weren't with the majority, it's going to be up to us to recognize a bone thrown from a policy shift. But that end statement wasn't a bone. That was a guy repeating something a father figure taught him, and I know this because I'm known to open my mouth from time to time and say something very un-Seth because Dad said it, and when I do that I have that same look of "I don't have any way to back this up but I'm not going to argue it so I'd better be emphatic." Some guys do that kind of arguing all the time because they can't conceptualize themselves ever being wrong, but we all do it a little and when smart guys do it it's because something is hard-wired.
This is a part of Brandon that we underestimated: he believes that Michigan's program is based on this being the place that serves its players, and that being that kind of program will draw the right players here. This isn't something one side or the other owns. When you break it down, Michigan is Block M MICHIGAN because we can offer Michigan degrees, and only a few other schools in the country will have the top facilities and top competitive atmosphere and big stadium AND offer one of those degrees.
My point is this isn't Brandon being snarky, but Brandon being sincere. This is why he really picked Hoke, and we should at least be relieved that this decision came from some conceptual basis for the program that he finds important, not partisanship. Wermers, on the other hand, was all partisan. It doesn't make it right, but it's something we can respect.
... I may not agree with Brian, but even when I don't his points are scarily well-written and thought provoking.
And one other thing:
So those who don't agree, or complain about the servers, or who offer their one sentence "Fire Brandon" stuff, I have two thoughts:
1. Contribute to Beveled Guilt you cheap bastard.
2. Set up your own blog you lazy prick.
And when you do, you will hear the following:
Well said, Brian.
I feel exactly the same way about Rodriguez and the way his tenure played out, so thanks for not backing down. I think the quote from "Maize and Brew" is perfect. Those were my thoughts everytime we began another season with Lloyd Carr, probably the same way Penn State fans feel every season they start with Paterno. One day I will stop thinking about what might have been had Denard and Rodriguez had another year or two together, but today won't be that day.
To everyone who says to "stop whining", I say "no". As a fan and alumni of the school, I have a right to express my thoughts and feelings when I believe our school has not been represented appropriately by its administration. This is one of those times.
I hope Hoke is his own man, and not some reincarnated version of Carr. I wish him the best and hope he lives up to everyone's expectations, and proves me wrong.
If Rich Rodriguez was still our football coach, I would've been counting the days to kickoff 2011 with great anticipation. With Hoke, it seems like there is no point in getting excited, the future appears set.
Hoke's overall W-L record, for me, matters less than his records in the years before he "stepped up" to different programs. He (1) started with lesser teams/talent, (2) built them up, (3) got noticed & (4) moved on. But at UM, if logic serves, he's (1) inheriting talent that he could only dream about at BSU/SDSU, (2) should be able to improve the D (build the team), (3) get noticed, and then (4) NOT GO ANYWHERE. If it works out, that sounds pretty good, no?
With Harbaugh, it would've been 1-3 and then GTFO.
...is listening to Mike Valenti and realizing he has a valid point, which ultimately is the same thing Brian is getting at. We may be getting ourselves stuck in a nice happy rut.
I've stated on another thread my reasons why I thought a change in guard was in order after Carr (Carr did not fully utilize the talent we had) and what I hoped for with Rodriguez (leverage the brand to turn us into what we could be). We took a risk and it backfired. I had hoped that we would take a risk again.
I think this is where the comparison between Hoke and Tressell becomes null. Tressell was a tremendous risk for TSIO. Yeah he had I-AA titles bursting out of his little sweatervest but no one was sure it would translate, especially the Big Ten. Then, he comes out at that basketball game and makes what, at least many of the Michigan people I know feel, was a ridiculous claim that they would come into Ann Arbor and win in his first crack at us. Then, he came in and delivered. The common theme here is risk taking.
If there is one thing Brady Hoke has been labeled consistently is "safe". And this is ulitmately where I fear we will stall. I want so badly to be wrong. I want so badly for this to turn into our Tressell. The man who turns us into the prominent power we should be. However, when considering the pedigree, it doesn't seem likely. And forgive those of us who are supportive but skeptical but history is all we have to go on right now.
We took our one and apparently only risk and threw up our arms and said "Well, that sucked. I'd rather go back to Lloyd's days than this", something I personally said after the 1st year of Rich Rod. As we navigated this season and it became more and more apparent that RRod probably wouldn't survive, my tone actually began to change because as I looked forward I realized that Lloyd was not what I wanted. We were Michigan dammit. We were sure as hell should be capable of better than what Rich Rod was giving us and we should be capable of more than Lloyd gave us in his waning years. It is why I publicly proclaimed my manlove for the idea of Jon Gruden on this board. I was thinking of what he could do with us.
So, that's where I stand: Supportive but skeptical.
Go Hoke and as always Go Blue!