While I realize I can believe nothing being speculated, the abrupt turn of the messaging regarding our #1 coaching target is at the very least somewhat troubling considering the desire for a smooth transition whatever direction we go. However, I don’t see JH as dead in the water for a few reasons if you look at DB’s previous actions/experience and including the concept that people typically do not act irrationally.
First, as a Regent, booster and former player, I assume he witnessed the Martin coaching search disaster up close. I can’t possibility believe that he watched the Miles-to-UM debacle unfold in the media only to repeat that very scenario. Granted, he has never said JH was a coaching candidate, but everybody else had without a denial from DB. Hence, his silence is acceptance of the message that he his replacement in mind so this puts us back to “Miles and a boat” by default.
Second, DB has shown a propensity to float an idea, get the fan base off their ass/into a frenzy and already have everyone’s first choice secured. He did this with the UM/OSU game, effectively creating fire storm to pressure his other ADs in the conference, and could be doing this with JH to secure broad support across the base for the guy. Adding some drama at the end will have everyone clamoring for JH, essentially clearing the deck for him. This sucks us into the decision more closely and ensures buy in. This is a tactic used in business and politics, remember DB has considered politics for his second career.
Third, DB fancies himself as a marketer. While I have has this debate regarding my stance that I don’t necessarily feel “any publicity is good publicity”, the drama has put Michigan in more TV segments, analyst discussions, twitter feeds, blogs, newspaper articles, etc than winning any bowl game could have. This talk is dominating the bowl season at this point which gets the Michigan name out there. HOWEVER, this is very risky if he does not deliver JH since there is too much light on the situation IMHO and DB + Michigan comes out on the bad end of this.
Fourth, DB has not fired his current coach. For this reason, I actually believe speculation today that JH has not been “offered the job” on paper since there is no official job opening. That does not mean terms have been already discussed, but not having it on paper actually would not be surprising. I don’t see this as the terrible sign that others are interpreting it to be.
Fifth, by not backing his current coach and not landing the consensus #1 guy, DB would have immortalized himself in FAIL lore by sticking to some principled evaluation period while every other school moved around you securing coaches as you stood still. I would assume this would be known as a “Pulling a Brandon” and I can’t imagine that DB would knowing allow that to be his legacy after just accepting the job.
Again, there are just my dumbass opinions. Maybe they make sense, maybe they don’t. I still have a feeling JH is coming home and this is just an exercise in chumming the water since I don’t for a minute believe that DB has entrusted any real information to persona non gratta types like Rosenberg.