Dear Diary is the Problem With Michigan Comment Count

Seth October 3rd, 2014 at 12:50 PM


I'm taking down the office now. [Fuller]

Open letters to people who don't read them isn't exactly productive, but it's useful in a snowflakey kind of way. The MGoPostal service delivered a few of note: JeepinBen gives the next coach the correct answers to the Michigan questions. A guy emailed Schlissel our complaint list about Dave Brandon. A wealthy alum says to Schlissel or whoever that hubris is the problem.

You can read a form reply from the president's office here. Brandon at least had the courtesy to provide a personal response to a lady canceling her long-held season tickets [UPDATED: this was apparently sent last December].

How to have a happy life. A few diarists looked a the qualities that seem to lead to success in a head coaching change. That first is a look at the coaching histories of Michigan, OSU, Bama, ND and USC with particular attention paid to whether guys with connections to the university had more success (they didn't).

The second starts by making a comparison of Bo to Stoops and goes on to sort out some common threads in other coaching changes. He came upon the same thing I did when trying to identify common threads in successful transitions: whatever side of the ball you don't know, just keep the coordinator from the old regime.

I would have been dead set against it at the time but in retrospect RR perhaps could have saved himself a lot of problems with the old guard by retaining Ron English. Or that could have led to an even bigger explosion when he fired English instead of Shafer for not running a 3-3-5 or getting along with Gibson. But imagine Michigan right now if Hoke had retained Calvin Magee, which we were VERY MUCH hoping for.

[After the jump, profiles of guys for Hoke's job; why head trauma is a thing and wasn't before]


Profiles in just-a-guy-ism. There's an air of inevitability this week, as several readers decided to start putting head coach possibilities out there. Most are by alum96 who's been researching them since the ND game. Candidates:

  • NC State head coach Dan Doeren (profiled by alum96) was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin under Bielema, then head coach of NIU for three seasons of 11, 11, and 12 wins.
  • Tennessee head coach Butch Jones (alum96) has Michigan roots and coached wherever Brian Kelly last left, kept them good.
  • LA-Lafayette head coach Mark Hudspeth (by MGoVoldemort) was a D-II coach who's on track to run an SEC program one day.
  • Someone's head coach Todd Graham (alum96), might be convinced Michigan is his last stop.
  • It feels lke Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen was the internet's favorite coordinator when we hired Rich Rod; I think most of the hype on him is residual from that plus not disappointing at MSU since.
  • Dan Quinn (by EGD) is Pete Carroll's DC and on track to be an NFL HC next year, though hasn't been one on any level before.
  • Eastern Washington (FCS) HC Beau Baldwin (by markusr2007) plays an up-tempo offense on red turf in the part of Washington people from Washington think of as Idaho. Basically Joe Tiller before Purdue, minus the mustache.

Also: a few paragraphs dedicated to the defensive coordinator Georgia poached from FSU. They also reviewed how James Franklin and Charlie Strong looked before their hiring to set a baseline for a hire that at least matches those in quality.

The doctor is serious about the monkeys jumping on the bed: I would hazard the biggest disconnect between the fans and football people is our understandings of concussions. Football guys have told me all week that they didn't see anything untoward from Morris staying in after a head-whallop because it happens all the time at all levels.

This comes from football guys not being party to the new information:

Second Impact Syndrome

Second Impact Syndrome is a condition in which the brain swells rapidly and potentially fatally after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier one have subsided. It is often times fatal, and if not fatal then it leaves the person permanently disabled. It is caused by blood vessels in the brain losing the ability to regulate their own diameter and results in massive overload of blood to the brain causing rapid swelling as the skull is a fixed space. This usually leads to brain herniation and then death.

In just a few years we've learned a lot about this stuff. "Shake off the cobwebs and get back in there" might have been standard treatment for a century and a half, but today it makes as much sense as bloodletting. The NCAA settled a $75 million lawsuit on head injuries just this past July, part of which mandates players who sustained a concussion can't play the rest of the day, period.

Erik_in_Dayton found a bunch of examples of guys staying in after getting hit in the head. He also points out that unfortunately, being safe isn't a matter of better helmets and better sideline protocols. Those help; the medical consensus is the only way to establish even a reasonable level of safety is to not play. This is one of those things we just have to accept and try to do the best we can to mitigate it.

Takeaway here is the Morris incident shouldn't be (and isn't at all) the number one complaint about Hoke in particular. For Michigan fans it was a moment of dangerous incompetence that frustrates in context of a day when Hoke's general incompetence was completely on display. For all of college football fans, it was a scary reminder that attitudes still need to change along with our knowledge.

This week in students are not fans of Dave Brandon. The "Fire Brandon" cheers in the stadium were met by the university by a "dramatic increase in police and event staff presence," and a rope to prevent a field rush. SaddestTailgateEver wrote a second this week for the Fire Brandon Rally, and to make it clear that the students are upset over long term issues with the athletic director that only came to a head because his dishonest handling of the Morris incident made Michigan a national embarrassment.

How are we feeling Dr. Gonzo? Jhackney:

"As the game went on and all hope was lost, I was enraged with Hoke and Brandon for letting such an athletically talented group of young men fall into a gaggle of squawking pile of hog shit. Development of the line has not improved. Development of a 5th year grad student QB has not come to fruition. Development of clock management and special teams remained stagnant."

Though he squawked at Gardner for apparently smoldering on the sideline rather than get behind Morris, the OP made it clear his loathing does not extend to the players. He's determined he'd rather not boycott any games because it'll bother the players more than the AD, and he'd rather keep Hoke on the rest of the year rather than set the program on fire.

Etc. Best and Worst and Inside the Box Score were handled in the postgame.

Best of the Board

Why? Why would you want to venture here this week? Fine.


EotT asked what song captures your feelings about the direction of the program? Weirdly people have answers other than "You're So Vain" and this:


Brian claimed the thunking in the background while Dakich was making false equations was his washing machine, no matter how much it sounded like a forehead hitting a table.

ETC. Okay Mr. Freeze maybe we shall. Blimpy's is reopening, and right next door to Fleetwood because if we're gonna burn down everything it's best to start with a giant grease fire. DB photoshop thread yields little. Say it, man.

Your Moment of Zen:



October 3rd, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

As to the "Fire Brandon" chants (which is what I heard, and all of my friends in various sections heard) last Saturday...what's the deal with media outlets reporting them as being "Fire Brady" chants?  I didn't hear anyone, who was at the game, thinking that to be the case.   [not that people don't want Hoke fired as well]

Anyway, I guess Dave really takes these things personally, but at least the "Fire Brandon" chants led to the actual Michigan Marching Band playing.  Maybe the iPod didn't have "Sweet Caroline" cued up yet.


October 3rd, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Problems. Boy, do we ever have problems.

We have Schlissel, who is new, and is obviously too weak because of that, or is otherwise disinclined to fire Brandon at this point, despite the fact that it is a glaring need. The Regents are saying nothing publicly; who knows what they're up to privately? They're certainly not going to fire Schlissel for his lack of action.

So we have Brandon for the forseeable future. 

Even Brandon will see the need to fire Hoke after the season. If we lose badly enough tomorrow, maybe he'll do it sooner, but it's unlikely because that's not who his public persona is. But Brandon will not make a good hire because he's proven himself incapable of doing anything right.

Rutgers will clobber us on Saturday, because they look a lot faster than we do, and they have a sembalnce of an offense.

Instead of taking the student protest the other day seriously, Brandon's reaction was, "I'm butthurt over it." But in that interview he did, not once did he acknowledge his tone deafness or his money agenda as being problems. Instead he admitted the Coke and skywriting things were mistakes.

One of my friends is a Trustee at another Michigan university. I am planning to pump him for info as to whether he's heard anything, because these things tend to travel in certain circles. I'll report if I hear anything concrete.

But I am really sad over what's happened to Michigan's reputation, both on and off the field.


October 3rd, 2014 at 2:18 PM ^

Why are several people mentioning the possibilty that the Regents would fire Dr. Schissel if he doesn't fire Brandon?  He just started his term in January. In what world would this happen?  The Regents would never do business like that. Firing an elite university's president less than a year into his tenure because our football is bad and we don't like the AD would make the whole University an absolute joke.  I doubt it's even possible.  The fact this idea is even mentioned reveals how much of the discourse on the topic of coach/AD change is divorced reality.






October 3rd, 2014 at 1:38 PM ^

Who wouldn't want Hokes job?  Make lot's O' Money, not accountable for anything and all one needs to do is clap (don't laugh, it's a skill) and blame the medical staff.  Sign me up.

Actually sounds a lot like the AD job.  This is sad.

By the way, should our medical staff be suspended for a game?


October 3rd, 2014 at 3:35 PM ^

head trauma nowadays is really hard to believe it exists particularly among people running a sport that is known for inflicting lots of head trauma.  You dont have to work in a medical capacity to be aware of it either.  Also the response to what happened as has been greatly discussed all week long is unusual.  A kid wobbling around after a monster hit looking like he just took a left hook from Mike Tyson is kind of hard to miss.  Oh yeah they didnt see it, huh I think the guy sitting the farthest away in the corner of the stadium heard and then saw the replay.  Hard to excuse this, I'd say its grounds for firing based on incompetence for both the HC and AD.  Its so obvious to everyone but those that make the decisions.


October 3rd, 2014 at 4:27 PM ^

Even though I'm 30 years out, still feeling anxiety over Blimpy's setting up shop so far from campus. That's a tough trek for a Daily dinner break. I feel for the current students.

Bando Calrissian

October 4th, 2014 at 1:38 AM ^

I'll never forget the dark and snowy night in the midst of my freshman year finals, when I trudged through the snow from East Quad wanting nothing more than a well-deserved study break of a quad with cheese and some onion rings. Maybe a root beer, too. Only to get all the fucking way to Blimpy and discover the place was closed for a private party.

I've still never gotten over that night and the intense disappointment as I trudged over to the Union and settled for spending Entree Plus on some Wendy's instead.

Long story short: The kids will walk. And they will understand.