Scott Farkus Rules Everything Around Me Comment Count

Brian October 27th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

10/25/2014 – Michigan 11, Michigan State 35 – 3-5, 1-3 Big Ten


[Eric Upchurch]

Mark Dantonio is a crazy mofo. This is his great power: he can be offended at anything, forever. Mark Dantonio free-solos Mount Outrage every year. Michigan tried their damndest to not give him anything he could latch onto this time around, repeating the same praise over and over again until even the perpetually bored media noticed that this week's pablum was even more insipid than the usual business.

Then they put a thing in a field.

Fueling Dantonio's never-ending rage at the concept of Michigan is unwise but probably irrelevant. If hate moved spaceships Dantonio would be scowling at little green men circling Alpha Centauri instead of East Lansing. Dantonio is still pissed off at something Mike Hart said seven years ago; a dumb stunt with a railroad spike is a power mushroom when you're already big and skrong.

On the other hand, apologizing after is a pretty good summation of where both programs are. Michigan got the pounding everyone expected and then said "sorry for spoiling for field sir" as they slinked back home. Scott Farkus threw a snowball in our face and we apologized to him for being in the way.

Putting a thing in a field and then woofing about it isn't poor sportsmanship. We should know what poor sportsmanship is: punchin' people. Trying to hurt people.  This series has seen plenty of that of late, on both sides. No one apologized after.

Apparently the standard for self-abasement has plummeted, though. So we get another statement. The latest in a never-ending series of PR gaffes. The chance anyone brings the spike thing up after the first round of LOL Michigan articles is zero, unless Michigan brings it up again. They of course do because Michigan refuses to learn Don Canham's first maxim—don't make a one-day story into a two-day story.

Thus more public emasculation for Brady Hoke. Dave Brandon seems to be deliberately trying to make his football coach look like the nation's most clueless goober. By the Maryland game he'll be wearing a beanie and a KICK ME sign. The crowning glory will be an Ohio Stadium weeping piteously at his imminent departure; Hoke will be dressed in nothing but a barrel and suspenders. The press conference afterwards will take place over a dunk tank.

I dunno man, I know this is some feelingsball right here but I can't help but think this is a big part of the problem. Hoke's response to the bullies asking him why he keeps hitting himself is "it's all in the statement." The team responds like their head coach. The man refuses to defend himself, either from his incompetent athletic director or his rivals laughing at him. The team gets plowed by the hint of adversity. Fight is almost totally absent.

When someone gets mad at your spike stunt, the correct answer is F--- YO COUCH. That is Dantonio's answer to everything. Would you like some baklava, Mark? F--- YO COUCH.


Michigan likes to talk about being a Big Boy. Before last year's Ohio State game Brandon said Michigan is "going back to hard-nosed, big-boy football." Whenever a journalist asks Hoke about the internet hordes clamoring for his head he says "it's a big-boy business."

You know who doesn't talk about being a big boy? Big boys*. People who talk about being a Big Boy wear short pants and ask their moms for a quarter so they can buy candy. Big boys don't look at yet another plate of crap and eat it with a sigh of disgust. At some point, big boys stand up for their dignity.

I don't see anything like that. I see the same mealy-mouthed coachspeak week after week, the same covering for his inept boss. Of course Dave Brandon's watching film with him. 

Maybe that makes him a "great guy," as per the last possible defense of Hoke. I don't see it. He may be a nice guy; "great" at least requires you to have as much backbone as Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

*[Except Big Boi, who is contractually obligated to say his name several times per minute as per the Rappist Identification Act Of 1985.]

[After THE JUMP: not much, honestly.]


There's not much point to talking about other stuff. It's pointless to talk about the performance of player X and how not good it is relative to expectations. This team is going nowhere and doing nothing and the only thing that'll fix it is a new year with new coaches.

THE END. When it's all over, this is the one sentence summation of the Hoke era:

"I think I was aware that something happened, but I'm not fully aware."

Deceptive or dumb. Your two options. Yes, you can pick both.



On yelling at specific players. Or rather: on yelling at me about not thinking Devin Gardner was… this Devin Gardner.

Sorry, I guess? We'd seen enough from Gardner in trying circumstances to suggest that he was probably pretty good in a situation where the people around him were competent. Instead: nope.

Still, focusing your bile on him is beside the point. He threw a bunch of passes that his receivers dropped; he ate sacks when both of his tackles provided minimal obstruction to Michigan State players; the run defense was painfully eviscerated from the second drive. Gardner is no more disappointing than the WRs who can't catch, the RBs who can't find the hole, the OL who can't block, the defense that can't disguise coverages, the coverage that is a neon invitation to 20 yards on any returnable punt.

The only difference is that Gardner touches the ball on every offensive snap, so his shortcomings are more frequently exposed. In terms of underperforming expectations he has a ton of company. So don't bother. Maybe if he'd been coached since Hoke arrived he'd be better. Same goes for the rest of the team.

On "class." Arguments about whether Michigan State is too mean to us don't interest me. For one, Dantonio did us a favor by punching in that last touchdown. Once Michigan was clearly going to lose it's in the sane Michigan fan's interest to have them lose by a million so that there can be no question about what needs to happen after the season.

If there weren't persistent claims by connected people that Hoke wasn't completely done yet I wouldn't feel this way. There are, so I do. Hoke 2015 can't happen.

If you want to complain about something, complain about yet another cheap shot delivered in the waning moments of a game:



Willie Henry took the brunt of a Michigan State OL to the side of his knee, just like Denard took late hits and Mike Martin took a dirty chop block long after things had been decided. As per usual, Michigan shrugged at it.

Quittin' part VIII. Michigan's wave of the white flag was especially laughable in this game, as it was a fourth and three—fourth and three!—down 25 with nine minutes left. They of course went for two after scoring their meaningless touchdown at the end of the game, and then onside kicked, because it is important to give the impression you are trying without actually trying.

Coaching malpractice part infinity. Michigan took all its timeouts to halftime when they could have had about 90 seconds to try and get some points. I retweeted a guy saying this on twitter and got a lot of responses along the lines of "lol this team couldn't go 75 yards in 90 seconds"; while that may be the case if you truly believe that Michigan shouldn't even try there's no point in even playing the second half.

Which I guess there wasn't. That's still no way to operate a football team.

What now? If not for our current situation with the athletic director Hoke wouldn't be the coach today. Unfortunately, the hopefully imminent firing of said AD means he is a powerless figurehead incapable of axing the head coach without 1) making it look like he's try to save his own ass and 2) putting the University in a bind about whether they will let the current AD run a coaching search or just do nothing for however long it takes to find the next guy. So the move is to just sit tight until that decision is made.

Yeah, a decision should have already been made but these things take time, people continually say. Buyouts have to be negotiated, supporters placated, etc.

The good news is that it doesn't matter much. The only school currently hunting is Kansas. The only peer school likely to be hunting this year is Florida. (Seriously: the only other power 5 school with any history that might fire its coach is financially-strapped Miami. I'm not worried about competing with UNC or UVA.) Michigan may have gotten unlucky with the relative paucity of candidates this year but they are fortunate that there aren't a lot of major jobs likely to come open.

The timing issues are not bad. If Michigan does end up installing an AD in December or early January, that would be right around the time Harbaugh and Mullen hypothetically become available. Harbaugh may have the 49ers in the playoffs, and Mullen would almost certainly see a Mississippi State Cofopoff appearance through.

The recruiting class tops out at 16 and if Michigan does lock down a sexy coach they are likely to have 8-10 solid prospects still in it. A late switch is much less disastrous than it was when Hoke was hired—they could have gone to 25 in that class, only got 20, and had significant numbers of washouts thanks to Rodriguez's death spiral and the late cram-job by Hoke.

I know it would be satisfying to axe Hoke immediately. It does not make sense to do so. Michigan will be in limbo until the AD situation is resolved.

Is there any hope we could be okay next year? Yeah, there's some hope. The team will get a ton older, what with the small recruiting class and even smaller group of exiting seniors. Michigan returns literally everyone on offense save Gardner and probably Funchess. They lose both starting ends, Ryan, Taylor, and Hollowell on defense but they should get Desmond Morgan back—at this point playing him would be nuts.

In that event your D looks like:

  • Charlton/Glasgow/Henry/Ojemudia—three juniors and a senior, plus some quality depth. Pass rush questionable.
  • Ross/Bolden/Morgan—all seniors, probably pretty good.
  • Peppers/Lewis/Countess/Wilson/Clark—safety needs some work but that looks pretty good.

The main problems are the same ones Michigan has this year: quarterback and OL. The OL returns literally everyone so they should get better (he said for the millionth consecutive time despite being wrong all 999,999 previous times); QB is… a problem. Michigan should look to pick off a grad transfer and have a four-way battle between Morris, Speight, Malzone, and New Guy; it's not likely to be an inspiring setup, and that'll put a hard ceiling on their ability to compete with MSU/OSU.

But the personnel looks like it could be an 8-4 team easy.


Best and Worst:

Worst:  So Close


This is Michigan's gameplan in a single gif.  They had halfway-decent field position on a couple of drives, and moved the ball in fits and spurts.  But every time they had the hint of momentum, they'd go for an ill-fated flea-flicker, or fail to execute a simple bubble screen, or just run the damn ball on 2nd-and-9 for 1 yard and waste any opportunity to keep the game close.  It was infuriating, it was depressing, it was par the course for the year.

Inside the Box Score:

Last week, Brian included a photo of the Michigan Football 2014 Team Goals in an Unverified Voracity post. Let's see how the team did this weekend:

Win? No.
Turnovers? No.
4th Quarter? Yes, but just barely.
Kicking Game? I have no idea how they judge this, but Wile made his FG and Sparty missed theirs. So, yes?
Time of Poss.? No.

Let's look at that last goal in the context of this game. In the third quarter, Michigan won the time of possession battle, 10:08 to 4:52. If that's one of the top five goals for the team, that must mean we did well in the third quarter, right? Let's check the drive chart in the play by play. Hmmm... State had one drive that consumed 0 plays, 0 yards, and 0:00 time of possession and resulted in 7 points. Of course, that's the pick six. State had another drive that consumed 1 play, 70 yards, and a whole 11 seconds. That drive also ended in a touchdown. 14 points in 11 seconds.

Ron Utah says goodbye to a great man, which I obviously disagree with but hey you might not.


A guy has bought 2000 FIRE BRANDON shirts for the Indiana game. This person is not me, even if it gets mentioned on the message board.

Man I cannot read a Hoke quote anymore without immediately thinking of six different varieties of shade to throw at it.

"We have 11 guys out there, they have 11 guys out there," Hoke said. "We're trying to compete. They're trying to compete. That's what athletics is and that's what competition is, so no, not (surprised) in one bit."

Sometimes you have 11 guys out there.

Michigan State fans on Hoke:

They want to show their appreciation for Hoke any way they can. Late in the fourth quarter, freshman Amari Ellsworth yelled toward Hoke, offering to bake him cookies.

“I’d give him a hug if I could,” Ellsworth said. “He hates us, but he still needs a hug sometimes.”


The scene and the moment just made sense.

After his 11th loss in the past 12 months, Brady Hoke sat at a table inside Spartan Stadium squinting to make out the faces of the people standing in front of him.

"These lights are killing me," Hoke said in between questions after a 35-11 loss at Michigan State.

You can say that again.

Hoover Street Rag. Sap's Decals. Niyo:

"Well, you want to win more," Hoke said, after Michigan's most-lopsided loss in the series since 1967. "So is that frustrating? Yeah, you want to win more."

And no, he said, he didn't hear the "Keep Brady!" chants from the partisan Michigan State crowd, or see the 13 shirtless fans spelling it out — last name included — in the front row of the student section.



October 27th, 2014 at 12:13 PM ^

RJ Williamson after game: UM players saying this is "just another game" was a sign of disrespect.

So yes, no matter what it said or not said - there is no getting around it.  Dantonio is a PhD in making anything a sign of disrespect. 

But none of this matters.  When both teams have equal coaches (bball) the "lack of respect" or "Michigan arrogance" doesnt mean a damn thing.  In fact Beilein is something like 6-3 in the last 9 v Izzo once he got his program up at full speed and that is with Izzo having a lot more HS All Americans littering his roster.  When the coaching is imbalanced suddenly all this anger and respect card "matter".  No it doesn't.

What happened in 2012?  MSU had a bad OL and buffoon QB and was just as 'disrespected' and 'angry'.  UM won. 

All this is a just a haze around a poorly coached team.  If UM can ever get a coach, then it's just going to be another Izzo v Beilein situation and all this nonsense goes out the door.


October 27th, 2014 at 1:27 PM ^

Don't be so married to the "talent" per rivals.  Mississippi State recruits at the same level as MSU and is #1 in the country.  MSU was #3 last year and if it beats OSU will probably be top 5 again this year.  They have a very good coach/staff and is not going anywhere and as we see with Beilein - the right coach with the right system does not require a top 5 class every year.

MSU recruits in the mid 20s to late 30s most years.  In a weak conference that is good enough to go 6-2 or 7-1 in conference nearly every year and with 3 cupcakes in non conf that is going to lead to a lot of double digit win seasons.  UM should be feasting in this era of the conference - it is very bad.

Do I enjoy Dantonio? No.  But to consider him not one of the top 10-12 coaches in the country at this point is silly.  Same with Urban and Kelly - they just find ways to win. So yes it will be a lot more like Izzo v Beilein if and when we ever get a coach.  I dont give a damn what Rivals says.  Kansas State is winning with classes in the 60s.


October 27th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

But to consider him not one of the top 10-12 coaches in the country at this point is silly. Same with Urban and Kelly - they just find ways to win.

The difference between a coach like Meyer and a coach like Dantonio being that when major programs are looking to make a coaching change, Urban gets a phone call. It's true that Mississippi State and MSU are fairly equivalent programs in terms of profile and recruiting power, but it's Dan Mullen who is the hot prospect right now, and there is no buzz around Dantonio for the Florida job....or the Texas job, or the Washington job, or the Arkansas job...

You can dismiss that if you want, but I think it's a huge indictment on the perception of his coaching ability that other programs never seem interested in trying to poach him away from East Lansing. The truth is that while Dantonio is doing a great job and has taken MSU to heights they've never imagined, a lot of it has to do with their having to compete in a conference that is an absolute tire fire. The fact that he's never on anyones short list to take over at a bigger program seems to confirm this perception.


October 27th, 2014 at 1:35 PM ^

How motivated do you have to be to beat UM football over the last seven years? The list of programs that have done so, a few consistently, is quite long. Whether we did/did not show proper respect to Utah, Toledo, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Miss State etc etc -- is not a story or relevant because the main point is numbingly the same -- we are generally not good at football.

But when the MSU game comes along, it can be spiced up in the telling, b/c re-hashing the same story is boring. Thus, taking umbrage at every perceived slight is a contributing reason for MSU winning and UM losing. Unfortunately, it actually isn't. Stake or no stake, UM typically loses in football to MSU. Because that's what we do these days against *any* halfway decent football team.

Ron Utah

October 27th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

Great post.  While we may agree on the quality of Hoke's character, there is no disagreement on the quality of his performance.

The program is a mess; Bradon and Hoke need to be excused.


October 27th, 2014 at 12:17 PM ^

Well said. Dantonio does the Dantonio-dick thing - not content to simply smush us, he takes every opportunity to take more gratuitous shots at the program - and Hoke apologizes. What a chump. As bad as the on field performance was, THIS was the most embarrassing aspect of the weekend.


October 27th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

sorry, Dantonio didn't do or say anything wrong.  He has not been particularly demeaning to our program despite plenty of oppoprtunity to be the last few years. It was pure jackassery for Michigan to drive a stake into the ground in a stadium where they haven't won in 8 years before the game in a game where the only chance they had was to keep it close and hope for a couple of flukish things to happen.  That is not exactly a "driving a stake in the ground" type gameplan. 


October 27th, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

Just about everyone on this blog smirked when Hart made the little brother comment, myself included.  Dantonio is a master of motivation, and continuing to use that comment is a very smart move on his part.  He'll use the spike next year.  As much as I hate to admit this, he's backing up his "pride comes before the fall" comment.  The way to defeat this narrative is to start winning ballgames. 


October 27th, 2014 at 12:18 PM ^

As for the "apology", I did not agree with Bolden's move - I did not agree with Dantonio making it seem like a personal attack - and I did not agree with Hoke apologizing for it.  At that point own it, and move on.  No matter what Hoke said Dantonio will use it as a slight for the next 10 years.  

Hoke apologizing is akin to slapping oneself across the face in a news conference.  He basically neutered himself.  Hoke might as well have sliced his balls off and FedEx'd them to Dantonio along with the stupid PR. 

But yes it's a great parallel for the state of affairs.  Here is my lunch money, will you be beating me up at 2 PM or 4 PM today? Ok then.  See you at 4.


October 27th, 2014 at 12:45 PM ^

apologize for it was completely absurd.  Are we going to apologize for every personal foul we commit from now on?  Have we lost the right to have any desire of any kind because Shane Morris was left in for one play with a concussion?  Neutering himself is perfectly put.  I don't think Dantonio said anything wrong by taking it personally, it was meant to be personal.  But for Hoke to apologize, and not even apologize, but issue a "statement" of apology.  Just resign man.

Mr Miggle

October 27th, 2014 at 12:57 PM ^

It's the most ridiculous statement I can remember a Michigan coach making. If he wants to apologize to Dantonio personally after the game, fine, but leave at that. 

If Hoke's in a mood to make public apologies, I can think of many he could make. He should start with punting on 4th and 3 in the 4th Q. Giving up at that point has to demoralize the team.


October 27th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

put a competitive stake in the ground. Of course he was on defense. If the offense had backed that up with competitive play - and we had won, I would have loved it.

The embarassment here is in not being able to back up the statement, and then appologizing for the stake rather than the poor play to back it up.

At last, someone on this team with a competitive pulse.


October 27th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

If the people who run Ohio State were in charge, Brandon would be gone, someone like Jeff Long, Brad Bates et al would be negotiating a contract by now, and People Up Top would already be in talks with Jim Harbaugh.  But no, we are Michigan so we have to try and be the smartest guy in the room.  Sometimes the obvious answer is the right answer.  

For OSU, Urban Meyer was the obvious answer.  Maybe not the cleanest guy, maybe not the nicest guy, but he wins.  And ND took the same approach.  They said "enough with the bullshit" and they went and got a guy who knows how to win.  People stopped whining about "unnnnh he isn't a good FIT here!" They made the obvious decision and now it's paying off.

Sometimes I really think, organizationally, we are turning into the Detroit Lions when Matt Millen was in charge.


October 27th, 2014 at 1:03 PM ^

I agree, but in the department's defense, we did "go out and get a guy who knows how to win" in Rodriguez.  There are almost no hires that are more of a sure thing than he was.  Problem is, he didn't win.  The Hoke hire was an obvious (and foreseeable mistake) but everyone forgets that the hire before him was a great hire, and his utter failure was nearly impossible to predict.


October 27th, 2014 at 2:20 PM ^

His utter failure seems to be more and more a "Michigan" issue than a "RR" issue with every Arizona win and every embarrassing Michigan obliteration. 

At some point, everyone here has to come to grips with the fact that we fucked it up, not RR. Maybe if he wins an MNC people will finally believe he isn't a shitty coach and realize the infighting and a weak AD was the downfall to our program.

STW P. Brabbs

October 27th, 2014 at 2:46 PM ^

Doesn't make any fucking sense. I've yet to hear anything that convincingly links people being sorta mean to Rodriguez and the failures of his teams on the field. Maybe not letting him back up the Brinks truck to get Casteel, but that's not such a sure thing as people like to think, IMO. But certainly other than that, blaming Rodriguez's failed tenure on vague bad juju in the AD is the squishy epitome of feelingsball silliness.

Michigan Arrogance

October 27th, 2014 at 5:15 PM ^

see, this is something I'm surprized at, given the immediate turnaround in the feelingsball-ness of the program in Jan 2011 when Hoke came on. Here's the convincing link:

Program alums (the letterman network, so to speak) can produce tangible benefits in recruiting. Alumni contacts in high schools all across the midwest (& beyond) were not "All in" for RR's Michigan. There are many former lettermen who are HS coaches who likely didn't contact RR to let him in on a 'Diamond in the rough" type kid: a character kid worthy of Michigan extending an offer to, who may not have been the 5* blue chip kid everyone was after. Sometimes, if there was a 5* kid, the alums wouldn't contact them either b/c they didn't like RR (illegitmately of course) or they just weren't sold on RR's ability to be successful (legitimate concern, of course) and didn't give a hard sell or didn't volunteer to contact the recruit to talk about Michgan.

Braylon is the best example- how many Detroit kids do you think Mr. "Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan" voluteered to contact on behalf of RR's Michigan program? What do you think he said if he did talk to a recruit? Maybe not badmouthing explicitly, but probably not being too excited about the program and RR's ability either.

IMO, this was a big part of why I thought Brian was underselling Hoke back in Jan 2011: Hoke had the ability to "ralley the alums" that RR NEVER had, and indeed should have been given from day one. Now, that's not to say RR would have gone 11-1 every year if only the lettermen would have supported him 110%, but that plus the general media bullshit, the pennypinching of staff salary and the Rosenberg witch hunt specifically, certainly all contrbuted to the failure of the program under RR.

In a perfect world, hindsight being 20/20, Martin and the existing AD works their balls off to get RR up to speed and get the whole M program alum network, every booster, etc, to meet RR and have him develop those relationships and begin a dialog of who RR sees the program going forward from Dec 2007. Help RR build a bridge to the past players and make it certain to the players that it's their duty to support M and therefore support RR with 100% of the energy they would under Carr/Moeller/Bo. It seemed to me, that was done for Hoke, but not for RR.


October 27th, 2014 at 6:12 PM ^

No, you're right. There were big problems of his own making but you discount the effect the AD issues had on him not getting a 4th year like he should have. His first year was essentially a lost year because ALL of our talent on O graduated the year before he took over leaving him with nothing. He essentially had 2 years to try to prove himself without any support of the AD or the rich blue hair community or jihadist newspaper reporters.

The bigger question is how in the hell COULD he have succeded with those issues? But he never figured out the D or ST (even today) which are rightful knocks against him. Not reason to fire him, in my opinion.