Those are all good points, but you also have to be a coach who understands X's & O's and can coach in a game. Yes, recruiting and motivating players are very important, but a good X's & O's coach can win with inferior players and when you win, the rest falls into place. Luckily, I think Hoke and his staff have both. But 'getting it' in order to recruit and motivate isn't sufficient.
The benefit of coaches who "get it"
A lot of Michigan fans like to throw around the tired phrase that Hoke and his coaches get it. They really understand "it", and what "it's" all about. We know the word "it" is ambiguous; MGoBloggers like to throw around the phrase sarcastically so as to make fun of those who think that a coach who gets it is somehow better than a coach who doesn't "get it," whatever that means.
"It" being loosely defined as tradition, then by and large, I think the Michigan fanbase popularly believes that having a coach familiar with the traditions of the program is a good thing. But why? Other than vain aesthetics, what does a coach familiar with the program do for our team beyond what an "outsider" might do?
I think many MGoBloggers have found themselves asking the above question. I'd contend that there are actually many positives to having coaches familiar with traditions than having coaches who aren't familiar with traditions. Things it benefits include (but are not limited to):
- It helps the players understand the program. It helps them to understand that they are not just playing football, but they are playing football for a cause. It increases their motivation. They are not just playing anywhere: they are playing at Michigan, one of the greatest college football powers of the past 132 years.
- It helps the coaches and the fan base find common ground. We've talked before about how a coach's job is not really PR, but PR is still a big part in our media-centric world. Fans have to like the coach. Tradition is a huge selling point for liking a coach. Someone who understands the tradition likes to listen to other people who understand it.
- It carries on the legacy of greatness. Rather than just trying to be a great school for football, Michigan has to be its own great school for football. We are more likely to sell ourselves to recruits well if we have an established "brand," as DB might call it. We have to protect the brand: to maintain the academic integrity, the clean record, the traditions, the alumni connections, the in-state connections and relationships...which brings me to #4.
- It attracts a certain type of recruit: namely, those in-state and in the state down south. It's good to recruit elsewhere nationally, of course, but winning in-state recruiting battles can make a huge difference. These are kids who have grown up watching Michigan football more than anyone else. Maybe their mom or dad or aunt or uncle went to UM. They will have a dedication to the program that a kid who comes just to play at a good school and a usual BCS contender will have. The motivations of the kids the tradition attracts are not selfish; they really want to serve the program rather than just rack up W after W and yard after yard. The great thing is: those who want to serve the program want to do that too. But it's more about honor and sacrifice to make it great.
None of this is to say that an "outsider" can't do the same as all the above points, but I think the odds are better with a coach familiar with the traditions and program, one who "gets it" rather than one who doesn't. There may also be drawbacks about keeping the coaching succession "in the family," as well, of course. But that doesn't mean it's without its benefits.
Frankly, I think it's best to have, in general, someone who has coached or grown up in the Big Ten area as our coach. I think Hoke's appreciation for tradition is not only a PR response to the tenure he follows, but something he actually does feel pretty genuine about as he coaches. After all, he grew up in Ohio and his family is closely connected to Bo and Woody. The question is: can he coach at the requisite level? Well...that's a topic for a different diary.
I think you missed or perhaps misunderstood my last line. I asked "Can he coach?" but concluded it's a topic for a different diary.
I think you're right and I tried to reflect your thoughts in my write-up; I'm just trying to point out that there are upsides to having a coach that "gets it." I also think, as a side note, that a coach who truly "gets" Michigan football will have the requisite coaching ability to win. That does not, however, mean that all necessarily will. Hence my closing remark. It remains to be seen, but for now, this is mostly what we have to go on for judging Hoke's Michigan tenure, and I think it's something we can rest easy about that has been a bit more tumultuous for us in the past.
I did miss that last line, or at least didn't comprehend it when I read it b/c I was already thinking about the 3rd part of coaching. Glad we're on the same page.
I'll wait patiently for the other diary after the season to talk about the great coaching ability of our whole staff!
When Coach Ferrigno was coaching Tony Gonzales he was the best TE coach in America, the year after Tony was drafted he joked he was the worst. Mike Brown won COTY in the NBA yet Lebron was the coach of that team. (No knock on Mike Brown, Lebron is uncoachable.) Eric Spoelstra wouldn't be in the running this year if he were coaching the T'Wolves or the Bucks. Not to say that coaching doesnt matter at all, it's essential, but having the best players with the best positive mindset can make up for alot. Team USA was way more talented than Ghana in the World Cup but Ghana spanked our guys because they weren't game ready, they were too distracted and had a slow start. For Michigan Mattison will run the defense, Borges will run the offense, and Hoke is doing the hard part getting all the good players and motivating them and nurturing their talent. Gerg Robinson could coach X's and O's (he coached in the NFL) but they couldn't mentor worth a damn. Basic form tackling went out the window but he knew scheme.
When I say X's & O's, I'm including fundamentals and technique in that as well. Not just positioning and scheme. Maybe that's not technically correct, but I think X's & O's is all the day to day stuff a coach drills home in practice and film sessions. You need to have all your great recruits motivated and with fundamentals, technique, scheme, and in game adjustments.
Dantonio got "it"
RR did not get "it"
Not sure I believe it...or is it "it"?
Either way, I agree with most of what you said...especially the PR bit.
On the topic of newspapers, I think it also helps to have media outlets that are favorable toward coaches, since media plays such a huge role in public opinion. A coach that "gets it" will be more favorably reviewed, if I were to guess, than a coach that doesn't. It helps toward program cohesion, which I believe I alluded to in the PR bit.
Everything you read in the paper, hear on radio or see on TV is true . . . except for those things you have personal knowledge of.
is a coach that wins games. If Rodriguez had magically gone 9-3 in Year 1 and played in a BCS Bowl the next two years, he'd still be the coach here and everyone would be saying he "got it" or "understands Michigan," even if he had personally burned the #1 jersey at midfield.
If you're going to come in and change the culture of a program you better win football games because ultimately that is all that matters.
He would have NEEDED to get "it" and therefore he would have got "it"
Do not dismiss the so-called aesthetics (or "asthetics" as our diarist spells out) of Michigan
It is ok to harbor an irrational love for Michigan in the deepest depths of your heart. Hoke does. Many of us do. It's not a con or an act, or something superficial. It's true.
Our traditions and our pageantry are our identity. And our identity is unique.
In fact, it is even ok to have a rational, emotional belief that Michigan is indeed the best school in the world.
Stop overthinking things. Embrace your inner Hoke. Let him touch you.
-_- typo. My b.
I think "getting it" typically means "winning a lot of games."
If Michigan has a losing record over the next three years, lots of people won't think Hoke had it figured out either.
I don't think this is necessarily true. They might not want him anymore, but I don't think we will ever want to say Hoke doesn't understand tradition. And in terms of "getting it," I'm weighting the frequency the term has been applied to Hoke already over what Hoke might eventually do on the field. That lends itself to the definition I based my diary on.
Michigan has competitive advantages that should in and of themselves create a winning edge. Commitment to excellence is one them in our academics, facilities and coaching. If Hoke can't get it done...the UM will move on. If he can - he can build his own tradition like Bo did in many ways.
Agree that communication of tradition is important...sometimes it gets warped in transmission...but it helps a ton given the last ten years and more...especially when you haven't taken the field as HC.
B1G athletes are working harder than ever to win. It's a different environment than Bo played in. The traditions are important but the commitment to the program is what is going to make or break Michigan's attempt to comeback to promenience. Tradition helps this happen like you said. Go Blue.
We may have a new record for platitudes in one diary.
Get a reading from the head shed and circle back.
for the stilted language that looks like it came directly from a high school junior's AP English essay.
Maybe a point, but a little harsh
I'm not looking to put this on my resume. It took me about 10 minutes. Just wanted to make a point and get out. Not a pinnacle of achievement. Don't care.
fathom that you would so flippantly eschew my well-intentioned criticism and carry on in such a manner!
Broken down, my argument comes to: 1) motivating players, 2) good PR with fans and media, 3) being able to continue using legacy and tradition as a reference point, 4) maintains in-state relationships.
The objective of the post was to take those "platitudes" and bring them into some kind of meaning, relative to what we're seeing with the program presently. If you missed that point, I unfortunately don't think I can help you right now. I'll keep it in mind though, if I ever make future posts.
But the whole "getting it" thing is the very definition of a post hoc ergo prompter hoc rationale. RichRod didn't 'get the rivalries' because he lost them, not the other way around.
I don't know if you've ever seen Kung Fu Panda, but to quote Po, "there is no secret ingredient." There is no "it" to get. Every coach blends the ways of the past with the demands of the present. That's why we're playing a night game this year, and we won't be running the Single Wing offense when we do.
I think Hoke is gonna win a lot of games... But right now, Mattison's history with the Ravens has a hell of a lot more to do with Michigan's recruiting success than Hoke's knowledge of Michigan history.
When I opened the diary, I wanted to approach it in part from the perspective of a player under the transition. What differences between coaching staffs will have an effect? I think Hoke's re-emphasized focus on tradition brings into point #1 that I mentioned. Then I thought of fans and media and came up with #2 and #3. Then I thought of recruits which also had a lot to do with #3 and of course #4.
You and other posters should note the very conspicuous absence of "winning" from my post. It has a lot more to do with comfort with where the program is, and why people are so delighted that Hoke "gets it." I don't think it necessarily follows that we will return to dominance because Hoke "gets it," but I do think that it cultivates an environment in which he is more likely to be successful, in particular with respect to point #4.
As far as "RR didn't 'get rivalries' because he lost them, not the other way around," I don't know if I'd agree. I think RR understood rivalries to a certain degree, but not to the degree that someone like Bo did. I also think that rivalries are not all ther eis to "get." Hoke is showing a broad appreciation for tradition, including rivalries, which again I think cultivates a great environment for the team to succeed, hopefully excel, and (please) eventually dominate the conference and nation. There are other factors like I tried to hint at in my closing, but the tradition is something Michigan has that few other places have, and I think it will almost always help us rather than hurt us if used properly.
The record for number of platitudes in one post is broken.
In addition i would add that we need not fear the coach leaving for greener pastures if/when he encounters great success. The coach has a better shot at utilizing alumni/NFL talent to highlight the program.
Yes and Bill Belecheck did not get it as the Browns head coach. When Henry Ford began the Ford Motor company he must not have "GOTTON ITT" in his first two failures. I like how when someone fails we must assume it was because of a failure of the individual and he did not get it. Sometimes the cosmic cow poops on you and it was not in the cards to work. Sometimes everything rolls into place and we consider the inbecile of Man for all Seasons a genius. Life is not fair.
Now regarding is it good to get an insider, I think such an attitude borders on catastrophee. When you limit your sample space and put high marks to an inside man being the primary point, then you run into what happened to GM. We forget that Bo was an outsider. Tradition is nice except when it gets in the way. If you depend on insiders you will only know how to do something the way things have always been done. In WWI it was charge into the machine gun nests, for Michigan football it was no clue how to stop a spread QB. McNabb and Northwestern with any number of QB's has been cleaning UM clock long before Carr's staff forgot how to recuit.
Yes, it could all work out when an insider takes over. However, the statistics are not in your favor. Just ask GM. I only give a buisess case as it takes the emotion out of discussing football.
12(b)(6) the entire thing.
This issue has already been extensively litigated, and we have a final judgment.
Don't forget DC Greg Mattison. He gets it. Big time.
"Get it" is just a meme; it has nothing to do with performance. It is used as a generic and nebulous vehicle for praise or criticism when there is no actual supporting data. What it really means is, "I really like this guy," or in its negative form, "I really don't like this guy."
That being said, if "Hoke gets it" brings more great recruits to Ann Arbor, I'm all in favor of it. I would just prefer not to see its opposite form used against RR.
"It" is something that cannot be boiled down to a set of labels, bullet points or items on a list. "It" is that nebulous "something" in a relationship that says this person gets where I am coming from, he understands me, he is on the same page as I am. It is connection that cannot be put into words. It is that unspoken part of a conversation where you look someone in the eye and realize that nothing more needs to be said, he understands. Brady Hoke has that wordless connection with the fan base. They feel like he understands them. They never felt that same thing with Rich Rodriguez. He would have grown on them if he won. He would have become "their man" and would have embraced him if he won. But make no mistake, they never felt as if he "got them." He never had that wordless connection with the Michigan fan base. Hoke has that and he has it in spades. If...when...he wins, he will only cement their undying love for him because not only does he win, but he gets "it."