Now that the regular season is through, I've been looking back at MGoBlog circa January 2011, "Hoke React, No Swearing". Given Brian's previous distaste for the idea of hiring Hoke, I was surprised to see that he actually projected a lot of good things would happen this upcoming season: "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....This hypothetical 9-3 will cause the media to fall all over themselves declaring Brady Hoke the polar opposite of Rich Rodriguez". This has actually all happened, except Michigan is 10-2 but in a weaker-than anticipated Big Ten, and one of those wins was miraculously stolen from Notre Dame in an incredibly improbable fashion. The BCS computers all still seem to treat us like we're 9-3 anyway, so we only did a little better than Brian predicted. So here we are, in the not-very-nightmarish situation that Brian curiously predicted at a time when he was predisposed to be pessimistic.
What Brian seemed most worried about were future years, not this next year. He said, "Michigan's just thrown in the towel on being a national power". I think Brian and a lot of MGoBlog people felt like although Hoke might have this kind of season from time to time, this was his ceiling. Do we still think this? Is Brady Hoke's tremendous first year success more the product of returning starters, experience, talent, and media support that he walked into, than any of Brady Hoke's doing?
Brady Hoke isn't an offensive guru. The offensive coordinator that he hired does not have an elite resume. However, the offense this year has still been good, and next year, it may well be one of the best in the nation, if the last two games are any indication. Hoke has inherited a tremendous amount of talent recruited by Rich Rod on the offensive side of the ball: mountain goat slot ninjas, a dilithium quarterback, a running back who is like Mike Hart but with speed, donkey-hating, freshman-headbutting offensive linemen, and a bunch of short guys from Pahokee who block like they're twice their size because they've got something to prove. Borges has figured out how to use these guys; but one wonders if the offense will ever be even close to what it was once they graduate and Hoke's recruits move in.
Anyway, I'm just wondering, what do you think Brady Hoke's ceiling is? Do you still think he represents a return to late-era Carr, going 9-3 every year and beating OSU 30% of the time, occasionally going to the Rose Bowl sometimes but invariably losing by trying to out-execute USC? How does Brady compare to Carr, and what might make him more or less successful than Carr was?