200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke

200 Days: Rich Rod vs. Hoke Comment Count

Seth July 26th, 2011 at 6:11 PM

 Venting  108007682_crop_358x243

xkcd / Hoke pointing at xkcd / EDIT: which means you should click on it dammit so you will get the point!

This morning His Dudeness posted a throwaway discussion topic for the board comparing Rodriguez's 2009 recruiting to Hoke's 2012. This was taken by some as an attempt to reopen 2008-'10 wounds but really it's another "how many ways can we talk about how awesome our 2012 recruiting is going?" (So so awesome). Anyway this started as a reply to fisk of that thread and ended up at 2,000 words plus charts. Hi, I'm Misopogon, have we met?

It's been almost 200 days since Hoke took the job. That's not much to go on when trying to judge a coach. Basically there's 1) his previous resume, 2) the process of how he was hired, 3) how he built his staff, 4) how he integrates into the program, and then 5) a few months of recruiting. I literally wrote up the first four then figured what the hell would we want to go over that again, so let's skip right to recruiting.

Finishing the Class of…

RRvHokeRecruiting2

Rodriguez additions to Class of '08:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Michael Shaw RB OH 4 stars 5.9 7 NR 6  
Taylor Hill LB OH 4 stars 5.8 21 NR 16  
Terrence Robinson RB TX 4 stars 5.8 9 NR 34  
Ricky Barnum OL FL 4 stars 5.8 5 NR 37  
Roy Roundtree WR OH 4 stars 5.8 44 NR 17 Bruce Tall
Justin Feagin ATH FL 3 stars 5.7 41 NR 71  
Martavious Odoms WR FL 3 stars 5.7 71 NR 77 Rod Smith
Patrick Omameh DE OH 2 stars 5.1 NR NR NR Bruce Tall

Hoke additions to Class of '11:

Name Pos State Stars RR Pos Rk Nat Rk State Rk Rec'd By
Chris Barnett TE TX 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 32 Jeff Hecklinski
Raymon Taylor ATH MI 4 stars 5.8 14 NR 6  
Antonio Poole LB OH 3 stars 5.7 26 NR 20 Mark Smith
Frank Clark LB OH 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 52  
Thomas Rawls RB MI 3 stars 5.6 NR NR 19 Fred Jackson
Russell Bellomy QB TX 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR  
Tamani Carter DB OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR 60 Mark Smith
Keith Heitzman DE OH 3 stars 5.5 NR NR NR Greg Mattison, Mark Smith
Matt Wile K CA 2 stars 5.3 NR NR NR  

This is unfair to judge the coaches against each other. Rodriguez was hired in November and was taking over a Citrus-bound program with a retiring Hall of Fame coach, while Hoke was hired in the middle of January after a blowout Gator loss and following a fired guy. Rodriguez had less time than would have been optimal given the breadth of his transition, but it was no more of a transition than Hoke faces, and RR got a good two months, including the all-important December period, to bring the current class home.

The recruiting is reflected in that. Other than bringing Hill from W.Va., Rodriguez mostly grabbed guys to fit his offensive system. Shaw's a speed-back, T-Rob, Roundtree and Odoms were slot receivers, Barnum and Omameh were the kind of agile offensive linemen who fit best in zone blocking, and Feagin was a last-minute consolation prize when Pryor decided he'd get more out of attending Ohio State. Hoke on the other hand found a handful of Michigan and Ohio State Sad Joshes (Clark, Carter, Heitzman, Rawls, Poole, Bellomy and Taylor), at positions of great need, replaced the kicker lost in the transition, yanked the requisite Purdue recruit (Bellomy) to ensure Danny Hope stays petty, and pulled in a last-minute coup on a national tight end.

Both did okay, not fantastic. Hoke got a kicker back, which was a big deal, but needed to flip someone's 5.9+ OT and pick up another good-to-great linebacker to avoid scary depths at that positions starting in 2012; RR's failure to get more help at defensive back (Carr had Brandon Smith, J.T. Floyd, and Cissoko) would haunt him the rest of his Michigan career (nobody planned on losing 2/4 LBs by next summer). Oh, and, ahem, quarterback.

Recruiting the Class of…

RRvHokeRecruitingall

Rodriguez 2009 recruits as of July 26, 2008:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By:
William Campbell DT MI 5 stars 6.1 Oct. 2007 5 26 1 (Carr's staff)
Justin Turner DB OH 4 stars 6.0 Mar 28 3 35 1 Bruce Tall
Bryce McNeal WR MN 4 stars 6.0 May 1 10 75 1 Tony Dews
Kevin Newsome QB VA 4 stars 5.9 Apr 24 4 163 9 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Gallon ATH FL 4 stars 5.9 Jun 05 11 NR 31 Rod Smith
DeQuinta Jones DT LA 4 stars 5.8 Jul 21 NR NR 10 Jay Hopson
Shavodrick Beaver QB TX 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 8 206 24 Rod Smith
Fitz Toussaint RB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 18 8 NR 14 Tony Gibson
Michael Schofield OL IL 4 stars 5.8 Jun 16 18 NR 6 Scott Shafer
Teric Jones RB MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 29 37 NR 12 Tony Dews
Isaiah Bell LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 31 26 NR 27 Tony Gibson

Hoke 2012 recruits as of July 26, 2011:

Name Pos State Stars RR Commit'd Pos Nat State Rec'd By
Kyle Kalis OL OH 4 stars 6.0 Jul 10 4 18 1 Greg Mattison
Royce Jenkins-Stone LB MI 4 stars 5.9 Apr 16 7 87 1 Fred Jackson
Erik Magnuson OL CA 4 stars 5.9 Jun 10 8 34 6 Dan Ferrigno
Blake Bars OL TN 4 stars 5.8 Jun 26 34 NR 6 Mark Smith
Joe Bolden LB OH 4 stars 5.8 Apr 29 16 NR 11 Greg Mattison
Pharaoh Brown DE OH 4 stars 5.8 May 07 20 NR 17 Greg Mattison
Terry Richardson DB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 19 18 NR 4 Greg Mattison
James Ross LB MI 4 stars 5.8 May 2 4 NR 3 Fred Jackson
Tom Strobel DE OH 4 stars 5.8 Jun 10 18 NR 14 Greg Mattison
Jarrod Wilson DB OH 4 stars 5.8 Jul 8 NR NR NR Greg Mattison
Ben Braden OL MI 3 stars 5.7 Mar 24 59 NR 9 Greg Mattison
Devin Funchess TE MI 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 17 NR 6 Fred Jackson
Allen Gant DB OH 3 stars 5.7 May 31 22 NR 29 Al Borges
Matthew Godin DT MI 3 stars 5.7 May 12 27 NR 7 Fred Jackson
Kaleb Ringer LB OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 12 11 NR 25 Mark Smith
Caleb Stacey OL OH 3 stars 5.7 Mar 26 12 NR 22 Mark Smith
Anthony Standifer DB IL 3 stars 5.7 Jun 01 37 NR 14 Jeff Hecklinski
A.J. Williams TE OH 3 stars 5.7 Apr 22 16 NR 28 Mark Smith
Mario Ojemudia DE MI 3 stars 5.6 May 7 NR NR 14 Fred Jackson
Jeremy Clark# DB KY 3 stars 5.5 Jun 24 NR NR 6 (Camp offer)
Sione Houma RB UT 0 stars NR Jul 25 NR NR NR Dan Ferrigno

# = entering as grayshirt

By the way those are end-of-cycle rankings so it's not an exact match, e.g. Newsome was at one point rated the 20th player in the country by Rivals and was around 40-something by mid-summer. For our purposes it gets the point across: RR had some great gifts for the tree had they hung on, but still needed a lot of stocking stuffers.

Both coaches worked quickly to over-address positions of the greatest whiffs in years previous. Rodriguez got two of the top QBs in the country signed on, and had 5-stars or near enough at cornerback and DT. To the groans of smurf-haters everywhere, RR also had secured two more scat-backs and another (highly rated) slot receiver. Schofield was considered a good system OT; Isaiah Bell was a S/LB sleeper adored by one Ohio site but not the national scouts. Hoke meanwhile has killed, already havingzrtn_011n1fb05fc4_tn secured five OL commitments, three of whom are already past the "just a 4-star" threshold, and also swept the region in LB recruits, faring almost as well in DEs. Hoke's clearly got the advantage.

You'll note a lot of the 2008 haul never made it to campus. The 3-9 year was partly to blame of course, however as of late July 2008 many of RR's guys were soft. Will Campbell (right) committed to Carr in the middle of his junior (2007) year and remained a softie; he eventually de-committed in September only to re-up after a long and pulmonarily destructive flirtation with SEC schools. Bryce committed but looking around; he lost interest in October, presumably after many sleepless nights spent thinking of Nick Sheridan passing to him. Newsome was entertaining a camp visit at Virginia Tech this time three years ago, but turned it down and sounded like he was rock. He and Beaver gave up around the same time (right after you mentally gave up on the 2008 offense) and were immediately replaced by Tate and the hard pursuit of some supersonic kid in Florida who Urban wanted badly and nobody thought was a QB.

And then there's DeQuinta Jones, a 4-star DT from Louisiana who just kind of randomly pretended to commit to M without visiting, kind of the way that my buddy once announced that he was in love with the hottest girl in camp, whom we will call L.H.*, so that other girls in camp would take him more seriously. If this seems at all weird to you welcome to the wild and wacky world of Louisiana recruiting; bring a funny hat. The DeQuinta/LH gambit worked surprisingly well in both cases, except not for the faux commit-ee.

If you take away the guys who de-committed from RR's 2009 class it looks more like this…

RRvHokeRecruiting

…and it's Hoke like whoa. A bad year in 2011 and maybe his class starts falling apart as well, but it is important to note that nobody on that list above is considered soft except the grayshirted Jeremy Clark** if he gets something better than high-ish MAC offers, whereas that label applied to half of RR's first full class by July.

Stick their late additions to the hybrid class with their first-year recruiting by July and you get:

RRvHokeRecruiting3

Not hugely dissimilar except that Hoke's got a lot more 3-stars and is missing four blue chips. In a worst case scenario the 2011 team starts losing a la 2008, while Ohio State's dancing along having gotten off virtually scot-free from the most obvious case of Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control I've ever witnessed in 20 years of college football fandom, and Hoke's Goodwill Ride of 2011 comes to a crashing, sudden stop, and then entire position groups are destroyed, and the 2012 guys start decomitting and the university hires Freakbass to rebrand us. If all those things don't happen, well, this probably turns out better than the last time.

Brian penned a State of Recruiting article in early August '08 that's worth a look-back so you can remember your comparable state of mind. How does that compare to now? And I didn't even make you compare "Denard: The Upperclassman Years" to "gee I hope this Sheridan guy really is a Basanez."

--Summer Glau

P.S. Don't miss the next exciting episode of 'Alphas' on Sci-Fi!

---------------------------------------------

* Fellow period Tamakwans will agree that this wasn't debatable. Maaaybe a few votes for E.C. or L.C. (EDIT: L.B.!!! HT Schram, Schram, Schneider, & Luria)

** He'll get a YMRMFSPA Charles Stewart if he makes it, but the Phillip Brackins comparison is so go, unless we decide you can all remember Eric Rosel.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Wishes To Be A Fierce Pragmatist

Unverified Voracity Wishes To Be A Fierce Pragmatist Comment Count

Brian January 17th, 2011 at 4:04 PM

The Clans. This is an awesome post that you must rush to read right now drop everything. Look:

factions

You want to know where you fit. Everyone does. Everyone thinks they're a fierce pragmatist. Seriously, check the comments.

Mike Hart is the master. If Mike Hart is serious about going into coaching after his NFL career is done and eventually returning to Michigan, he's already got the bit about expertly defusing tricky questions down pat. Via a recent radio appearance:

"I think that any Michigan man that would've came in would be hard to be mad at because I think people have been complaining so bad these last three years that – 'Hey, we want a Michigan guy here. We need a Michigan guy. Rich-Rod doesn't respect the traditions.' (For) guys that have been saying those things, Coach Hoke was the perfect hire because he brings back that Michigan legacy."

I eagerly await the day he's cut. No offense, Mr. Hart, it's just… you know.

and the hoke-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee

Needs moar tremendous.

Not much of substance, but I'm not a big fan of the Vick comparison. When Vick got to the NFL he was shepherded in a run-heavy, simple system that wasn't very good. It takes time, and while Denard will progress I think it'll take more than a year. There will be a larger post on this later.

Calling Brandon a liar. Is what LSU's doing:

"He was offered more than 4 million to become the Michigan coach," LSU Board of Supervisors member Stanley Jacobs said Friday. "When he said no, they came back and offered him more. And he said no again."

Miles is apparently set to sign an extension that does not raise his salary. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the buyout. Miles has made a lot of money already but seemed to be lacking in job security early this year when LSU was surviving by the skin of its teeth. He may not have leveraged the Michigan job into more money, but he may have leveraged it into making it very difficult to get rid of him if LSU fails to live up to expectations next year, which is totally going to happen because LSU fans are expecting a national title.

I can see Miles doing this because he's 57—a primary reason he should never have been considered for the job in the first place—and knows this is his last head coaching job at a premiere school. He's probably eyeing retirement in the not too distant future and would like to make sure he chooses the "when."

As for the Michigan side of things, I'm not sure what to believe. It would be stupid for Brandon to waste time playing footsie with Miles when he had no intention of tabling a serious offer, but it would be stupid to table a serious offer. So I guess it doesn't matter. The LSU guys think this game of semantics is silly:

"Well, if Hoke was his first choice, he could've signed him up prior to ever talking to Les or Harbaugh," LSU chancellor Mike Martin said. "Don't you think?"

One way or the other, they're right.

You are heartfelt but uninformed, LSU chancellor. Brandon, meanwhile, set to compounding his arrogant father-knows-best press conference by putting this out later in the day:

"I got inundated with advice," he admits on WDFN-AM 1130. "A lot of people with very good hearts, and who care a lot, and with a lot of passion, came at me with their point of view. And I respect that, and I certainly tried to show them a courteous reply whenever I could because those passionate people are what make Michigan football special.

"However, most of them are very uninformed, and in most cases, they were recommending people they had never met. Or been in the same room with. Or ever had a conversation with. And interviewing a candidate for an important job like this is about sitting down and talking about specific issues, and getting to know them at a completely different level than blogs and statistics and images that, in many cases, are shaped by PR more than reality. [ed: the noise you heard was my irony meter exploding.]

"So, I didn't pay a lot of attention to those recommendations – even though they came from people with good hearts, they just weren't all that helpful."

This falls in line with Brandon's comments during the press conference that "all that glitters is not gold" when it comes to some coaches and that "the hype or the PR doesn't match the real person." To me, that came off really, really poorly. I was pretty sure everyone was in the same boat—I especially liked the bit at the end that signaled the program's return to barely tolerating its fans—but apparently not. The Wolverine Blog says to give credit to Brandon for "putting himself on the line," which he's certainly done by making his decision on explicitly faith-based grounds. I'm not so much with the crediting bit.

One, attempting to paint the internet's problem with Brady Hoke as a matter of "statistics" is… well, the main statistics people have problems with are "record: 47-50" and "age: 52," neither of which is a particularly advanced metric. 

Two: does this relate in any way to Brandon's passive-aggressive comments about Jim Harbaugh when Rodriguez was fired? It doesn't seem very leader-y to take shots at the people you interviewed and didn't hire. It implies everyone other than Brady Hoke is not fit to coach Michigan, and attempts to dismiss an awful lot of evidence that suggests Hoke is kind of a desperate hire by saying "you have not sat across the room from this man."

It's not reassuring to envision Brandon's interview process. Braves and Birds blows up this line of reasoning from Brandon real good; suffice it to say that Brady Hoke would have to be vastly worse than expected to sink to the level of Brandon's performance over the last two months. It looks like we'll have tangible evidence of that in two weeks.

EXPLICIT SECTION: Here's the tedious section in which I explain this is not a criticism of Brady Hoke but the athletic director that hired him at a terrible time for not particularly good reasons and told anyone who said words to that effect that they were "uninformed."

I expect Hoke will have enough success at Michigan to stick around a while; when he retires whether he was a good idea is likely to be a matter of heated and interminable debate. I hope I am wrong and am willing to give Hoke the proverbial "chance." I hope that Dave Brandon sets the world record for smug pats on the back when Hoke retires. For the record.

BONUS: Expect to read this disclaimer dozens of times!

Etc.: Brabbs gets good news re: cancer. Indiana: ugh. Rodriguez stuff goes for ridiculous sums.

Comments

The Coaching Search Banners, For Posterity

The Coaching Search Banners, For Posterity Comment Count

Brian January 17th, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Way back in the paleolithic era I swapped my blogger theme out for a pink, kitten-centric one and never had the sense to screencap it. Someone else did but I can't recall where and now I think that may be lost to the mists of time. In an effort to prevent any further hysterics from falling down the memory hole, here's a compilation of Six Zero's banners from the last week or so of our lives.

First Rodriguez got the axe and it was Harbaugh to the rescue:

cc-banner

Then Harbaugh exploded a la Scanners and rumors got weirdly gumbo-shaped:

cc-banner-2

Then Miles fell through and the only options were Brady Hoke and the ghost of John Gruden:

cc-banner-3

And this is the current banner, complete with the cheesy pun because if we've learned anything in the past ten days it's good lord Brady Hoke has the most wince-generating last name in the history of newspaper headlines:

cc-hoke

May we all return to this post and laugh when Hoke goes 5-1 against Ohio State and the blog puts together a Brady Hoke statue drive.

Comments

Hoke To The Suture

Hoke To The Suture Comment Count

Brian January 14th, 2011 at 11:24 AM

bradyhokewolverine

All in favor of having him actually grow those sideburns say aye. That's everyone.

Yay yay yay OMG… for now. Brady Hoke told the radio Denard Robinson would not transfer. So he'll go through spring at least. Also, Tate Forcier is going to try to stick it out:

"Tate wants to stay (at U-M)," Mike Forcier told TheWolverine. "I didn't come with a moving van. Our intent is to do whatever is necessary for him to rejoin the team and become a student-athlete again. We haven't talked to any other schools and we won't until we've exhausted every resource here. But Tate wants to stay and we want him to stay."

This is the greatest hire in the history of college football. This reminds me of when Vince Lombardi hired Jimmy Johnson, except faster:

Fred Jackson will return for his 20th season at Michigan and will coach running backs under Hoke, a source said Thursday night.

This is flantabulous. It reminds me of when you take some sugar and some eggs and some caramel and combine them in a delicious combination that's like custard except faster. It's Hokediculous. It's like that except faster. This is amazing. This coach is like the Heisman in a body, except it's like the Heisman in a body in one of those movies with a virus—he infects everyone with the Heisman. Word. Flan. Flan is the word, except faster.

But seriously folks. The inability of nuclear war to eradicate Fred Jackson probably pushes that Heckulinsiksinaski guy to WR coach and kills the idea that Eric "Obvious Nickname" Campbell would depart from the hard-partying Iowa WRs. Either that or it kills the idea that Scot Loeffler would enter at QB coach. Not like any of this matters, anyway. If you're not an OL or QB coach offensive assistants don't really matter.

Defensive coordinator search now even more bleedingly obvious. Jon Hoke, brother of Brady Hoke and a key aspect of Michigan's strategy to make their coaching staff literally as much of a family as possible, says he hasn't talked to Brady about the Michigan DC job and is "unlikely" to end up in Ann Arbor. That's fine by me since he's spent the last decade as a position coach in the NFL and would be something of a wildcard if he returned to college.

So. Michigan has a lot of money left over since they're paying Hoke twenty dollars and some donuts and is competing with San Diego State for the bulk of its staff. There is a guy out there with crazy recent college credentials that also comes with a reputation as a fierce recruiter. He runs the Big Ten default defense, a basic 4-3 cover two. He turned Miami—Miami!—into an APR-obliterating, arrest-avoiding team. That's Randy Shannon, kids, and we know two things:

  1. If David Brandon was serious about getting assistant pay up into the area of Michigan's peer group he's the guy who Michigan should be going after with an oversized novelty check.
  2. The chance Randy Shannon comes to Michigan is extraordinarily slim.

File on the ominous side of the ledger. So… uh… you know how Brady Hoke is a tough defensive-minded coach whose teams will run the ball and stop the run, boy won't they? Um… so… the thing is.

In eight seasons as a head coach Hoke oversaw one defense—this year's—that ranked above 84th nationally. Even during the miracle year at Ball State his team was sixth in the MAC. In fact, if you click that link and squint your eyes you might think the table of Hoke's defenses is the table of Greg Robinson's defenses. So… yeah. Um. Not to be a downer or anything. Also please don't bring up that the Graham/Malzahn combo obliterated Hoke's best team 45-13 and now Graham is at Pitt and has hired a couple Rodriguez assistants and I just feel kind of ominous about this whole section.

File on the happy side of the ledger. After nuking Navy the Aztecs rose to #12 nationally in the offensive FEI rankings. Michigan is still #2 even after the grim output against Mississippi State.

NOT ME. Probably. Look, so I might have had a bit to drink the past couple days but I can state with at least 60% confidence that this was not me:

image

I can recite pi to 54 digits, bitch. I'm Rick James.

The Process, conference edition. After consideration the Big Ten has declared that Legends and Leaders are awesome division names, thank you very much. This is emblematic of why the conference imploded on NYD: it is a league of ninnies. This space is going to stick to calling the divisions East and West even though North and South make more sense so Michigan can be Champions of the West.

Not so good. Tristin Llewellyn and Jacob Fallon are gone for the year for "violating team expectations." That ends Llewellyn's Michigan career; Fallon has an opportunity to return next year.

As far as impact goes, Fallon was only playing about half the time anyway and didn't stand out when he did. Llewellyn's loss will be more prominent. While it's impossible for anyone to replace his penalty acquisition skills with quite so much gusto, alternatives on the back line are Moffie and Clare. Moffie's been pretty bad this year—a turnover machine—and Clare has been on the back burner most of the season as Michigan tries to juggle eight defensemen. He'll probably benefit from the increased availability of playing time more than Moffie.

Etc.: Pat Fitzgerald's agent would like you to know that Michigan was probably going to offer Fitzgerald three million a year as part of their sham effort to make it look like other people were being considered. Brady Hoke buyout blah blah.

Comments

Hoke React, No Swearing

Hoke React, No Swearing Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2011 at 6:42 PM

ON THIS DAY MY HAIR IS VERY APROPOS

So this isn't two thousand words of swearing as promised. That requires some level of verve to pull off and I'm out of that. I'm depressed and waiting for the other shoe to drop and far too sober. A few things:

"This is not Brady Hoke's fault." Repeat 1000x. This is not Brady Hoke's fault. He seems like a nice enough dude. It seems unlikely he actively participated in the submarining of Rich Rodriguez. Unlike everyone else ever associated with the Michigan program with even the most thinly plausible of resumes, he actually wants to be the head coach here. So that's nice.

This is a stupid hire. It will always be as stupid hire and David Brandon just led the worst coaching search in the history of Michigan football. He managed to chase off half of an already iffy recruiting class, hired a Plan C coach on January 11th, probably ensured the transfer of the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and restricted his "national search" to people who'd spent at least five years in Ann Arbor. Michigan just gave themselves a year of USC-level scholarship reduction voluntarily.

What are the chances that the best available coach is a 52-year-old with a 47-50 career record and no experience as a coordinator? Why weren't a half-dozen coordinators with time and results on their side given the opportunity to interview? Why did Brandon waste time with Les Miles, a guy on the downside who may not have even gotten a serious offer? After learning a hard lesson about program continuity with the last hire why did Michigan hire a guy who professes to hate the spread 'n' shred a day after two spread teams played for the national title?

I'd rather have Rich Rodriguez entering year four with a new defensive staff than this, a total capitulation. Does anyone remember Tressel's record against Lloyd Carr? 5-1. Change was necessary. It didn't work, but that doesn't mean you go back to the stuff that required change.

Michigan should still be better next year. It depends on what goes on with the offense. Calvin Magee has already been hired at Pitt, so don't get your hopes up about tempting Denard by keeping the offensive staff that matters (QB coach and OC) unchanged.* The defense should be much better simply by virtue of returning approximately ten starters if you throw in Troy Woolfolk and not dragging the devilishly handsome corpse of Greg Robinson around. At the very least Hoke should have a quarterback, even if it's redshirt freshman Devin Gardner.

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. That's good, because that's probably what we hired. If Denard's out the door all bets are off except "will Brian cut down or across?"

*[Tony Gibson immediately found work at Pitt, too, which is amazing: the most maligned position coach on RR's staff is unemployed for ten days while most of Carr's coordinators fled to the NFL to be an assistant (to the) position coach. The exceptions are Stan Parrish, who is on a quest to rack up the worst winning percentage as a head coach in CFB history, Greg Mattison, who left voluntarily for an equivalent job at Notre Dame and shouldn't count as a pro, and Ron English, who got hired by Kragthorpe.]

Prepare for the media 180. This hypothetical 9-3 will cause the media to fall all over themselves declaring Brady Hoke the polar opposite of Rich Rodriguez (lazy media meme #1 is already underway) and whipsaw Michigan back to the positive side of the media ledger, whereupon that period where Michigan State could literally have 20% of their football team descend upon innocent bystanders in back to back years while Michigan gets painted as the Program Out Of Control will end with authoritah. Sportswriters—even the good ones—love nothing better than holding themselves above the outraged plebes, arguing that whatever they think is foolish.

We're unhappy, so they'll defend Brady Hoke to their dying single-sentence paragraph. This would have been a fascinating dynamic to watch if Miles was the guy. Seeing Rosenberg paper over Miles's oversigning hijinks would have been hilarious/infuriating. Since it's Hoke it will just be generic "why can't you be happy going 9-3 every year and beating OSU 30% of the time, I mean look at Rodriguez!"

Prepare for the program alum 180. Judging from twitter, Michigan guys in the NFL are happy, so there's that. At least we won't have Mark Bihl advising recruits to go to Michigan State and Dhani Jones walking into David Brandon's office and demanding a firing. Thanks for your support, guys! Your loyalty in this tough time is appreciated.

This is actually Hoke's main asset relative to non-Michigan candidates: the program won't be actively hoping he fails. This is not an insignificant bonus relative to Rodriguez.

The Gene Chizik plan is dodgy, temporary, and requires a bucket of money and amenable prospects. All right, so maybe we can hire the next Gus Malzahn and the next Ted Roof and import JUCOs like Nick Fairley and Cam Newton. This is lazy media meme #2, because lol those crazy fans, amirite?

Problems:

  • Who is Gus Malzahn? Texas just blew their coaching staff up and hired Manny Diaz and the Boise State OC, so they're off the table. It is January 11th. Next up is… I have no idea. Honestly, if you were going to poach an up-and-coming coordinator your best option on defense is none other than Scott Shafer, and on offense there isn't anyone, really. I'll believe Michigan has hired Randy Shannon as a DC six months after it's announced, but that's what this plan requires: hiring Randy goddamn Shannon as DC at a million a year.
  • JUCOs are not available, and I'm not sure anyone can wave a towel like Trooper Taylor anyway.
  • We hired a manball advocate unlikely to stick with the bits of Michigan's team that kind of worked, and his defensive coordinator is going to be the head coach at SDSU.
  • To date Michigan's pay packages for assistants have been pathetic. Brandon promised that would change. He also promised a national search and hired a guy who will probably be one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big Ten.
  • The figurehead approach leaves you vulnerable to having your quasi-HC poached, as West Virginia found out when Doc Holliday was hired by Marshall and Auburn will find out soon enough. If you can plug and play Cam Newton that might work, but Michigan can't.

Also, Chizik was an established ass-kicking BCS coordinator who led the nation's #1 scoring D at Auburn, was 5th in yardage allowed in back to back years, won the Broyles award, and then went to Texas to win a national title opposite Vince Young. He didn't really need Roof. He had Gene Chizik. He did not immediately turn Iowa State into a team of ninjas but Chizik was a better hire than Hoke even absent the ludicrous money that went into his staff. Hoke's never even been a coordinator, and his results as a head coach are less than a slam dunk.

I am all in for being wrong. Or not really so much wrong as properly skeptical in an environment where success turns on a blade of grass and real games are few and far between and randomness is so important. Kenpom just put up a great post today about +/- and its general lack of usefulness as a stat because of its immense noise—college football has a lot of noise. It is possible that Brady Hoke was just unlucky or unprepared and that his last three years are more representative of his talent than his first five. I won't become what I hate, Emperor Palpatine.

With the dual boosts of a pliant media and cooperative network of former players plus a program that should find itself on an upward trajectory instead of a downward one, everything's set up for him to look like the white knight who "saved" the program and ride that to something approximating success. Michigan's just thrown in the towel on being a national power but this could be Nebraska after Callahan instead of Notre Dame after Davie.

Comments

It's Hoke

It's Hoke Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Official Release:

Hoke Named Michigan Football Coach

ANN ARBOR – University of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon announced today (Tuesday, Jan. 11) the hiring of Brady Hoke as the 19th coach in the 131-year history of Michigan football. Hoke arrives in Ann Arbor after spending the past eight seasons as a head coach at Ball State (2003-08) and San Diego State (2009-10).

“We are pleased to announce the hiring of Brady,” said Brandon. “He is a terrific coach and will be a great ambassador and leader for our football program. We look forward to having him build a championship program on the field and in the classroom.”

I cut the blah blah blah bits since the second paragraph details Michigan's accomplishments when he was a position coach on the staff.

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The Worst Part About All Of This Is Hoke Rhymes With "Joke" And "Choke," Thus Providing A Steady Stream Of Hur Hur Hur Posts From Teenage Fans Of Rivals

The Worst Part About All Of This Is Hoke Rhymes With "Joke" And "Choke," Thus Providing A Steady Stream Of Hur Hur Hur Posts From Teenage Fans Of Rivals Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2011 at 1:22 PM

NOTE: Logins are disabled due to crushing levels of traffic.

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Next stop for the Dominos plane is an airport approximately 90 miles from San Diego. Touchdown is scheduled for about 6 PM.

UPDATE: Local paper has picked up on this and put some meat on the bones, at least sort of:

The agent for San Diego State head football coach Brady Hoke has been in discussions for Hoke to possibly become the next head coach at the University of Michigan, a source close to the situation said.

Trace Armstrong, Hoke's agent, has declined comment. Hoke and other SDSU officials have not returned messages for several days.

Hoke was in the Los Angeles area Tuesday recruiting for SDSU. Meanwhile, Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon has planned to fly to nearby Orange County for a meeting Tuesday.

So… he's in LA, where Brandon is apparently meeting him. It's unclear how much of this is solid, but… yeah. Probably solid. This "national" search is national in the sense that people who played or coached at Michigan comprise a nation, which they do not.

UPDATE II: Despite the newspaper article above I have two sources saying that the Domino's plane is now being used by, you know, Domino's, and is no longer ferrying Dave Brandon around. There is a conference called ICR going on that starts tomorrow in Dana Point, California and features a presentation by Domino's at 8:25 AM, so the above newspaper article may be speculation or wrong or this is false hope and Dave Brandon is in some other jet.

UPDATE III: Our respite was brief:

SDSU Coach Brady Hoke recently visited with Michigan, source says

If we're seriously talking to him he's all but announced since he'll take twenty dollars and donuts twice a week to coach at M.

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F5D: Circumstantial Miles Evidence In Two Parts

F5D: Circumstantial Miles Evidence In Two Parts Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Part one: LSU officials "reacting quickly" to Les Miles meeting with Michigan officials apparently did not so much happen:

First, there was no late-night meeting with Miles and LSU AD Joe Alleva or other high-ranking university officials in an effort to convince the coach to stay. After Miles’ meeting with Michigan AD Dave Brandon, Miles went home.

Part two: Adam Rittenberg reports via his Big 12 compatriot that Les Miles is not in Dallas despite being scheduled to speak at 3 PM. If he is taking the job, he would be at Michigan's scheduled meeting with the players at 4.

UPDATE: Flight tracking suggests that Miles isn't in Dallas yet but probably will be. This flight leaves essentially now:

For what it is worth, a twin prop is scheduled to go from Baton Rouge to Love field in Dallas at 11:12 CST. The plane is owned by a Med transport company, but is most likely chartered by LSU for the trip. Plane is making a 11 minute flight from Lafayette to Baton Rouge prior to the Dallas trip.

Either that or Les is flying American Eagle to DFW. Yeah right.

[HT to Kirk Fauri.] So… if the meeting gets moved that's a good sign. If it doesn't, not so much.

UPDATE II: LSU sources at their Rivals site and some local radio station are reporting Miles will stay at LSU. Radio is whatever but usually Rivals guys are plugged in. The Rivals stuff is currently paywalled, however, so its unclear how definitive that information is.

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Welcome To F5 Day

Welcome To F5 Day Comment Count

Brian January 11th, 2011 at 9:28 AM

biffplane4

The love boat is not actually the Brandon plane but I can't help what people photoshop and send me

Dave Brandon's plane visited Baton Rouge last night and returned to Ann Arbor. Les Miles has a speaking engagement in Dallas at the AFCA convention. There's a players' meeting scheduled for 4 PM. The athletic department is pushing a contest where you—yes, you—can attend the historic press conference when Michigan's 19th head coach is named, something which will no doubt thrill and delight the assembled throng when you ask "how long is 35 seconds, Les? Is it 35 seconds? Please say it's 35 seconds."

What I'm saying is that today is the day we find out whether or not Les Miles is Michigan's head coach and then either get busy living with it or get busy dying as Dave Brandon flies to San Diego or Auburn or somewhere. As of about 9:30 AM on F5 day, I believe but can't confirm it will be the former. Les Miles will probably be Michigan's coach by the end of the day.

While it's possible this is all a rumor storm built from the obvious plane movement and obvious candidacy of Miles, there are many, many people saying it's a done deal ranging from Tiger Droppings posters to serious-seeming but not confirmed people in the inbox. Circumstantially, if Brandon met with Miles and didn't immediately return to Dallas—the place with more football coaches per capita than anywhere else in the world right now—or headed to some other place containing a coach of interest he's probably got his man. I can't imagine an athletic director not working around the clock on January 11th when he's got an open head coaching job and little time to fill it. A return to Ann Arbor should mean something is done.

While that could be Miles not working out and Brandon agreeing to a fallback plan with someone he met with in Dallas, I think it's Miles.

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