Goodbye: Jay Hopson

Submitted by Brian on December 23rd, 2009 at 1:55 PM

This qualifies as big enough news.


The twitters are reporting that linebackers coach Jay Hopson is expected to get the defensive coordinator job at Memphis. Dienhart:

Michigan LB coach Jay Hopson has been tabbed to be Memphis defensive coordinator.

Bruce Feldman is also reporting it.

Instant reaction: good luck with that, Memphis. This site's patience with Hopson ran out two plays into the Notre Dame game this year when Obi Ezeh failed to diagnose a screen and Armando Allen ran for 20 yards. That was Notre Dame's longest run of the year by 20 yards. (ZING!)

After that game I laid out a bunch of facts that pointed to a post-season exit:

Mouton and Ezeh belong to Jay Hopson, and the inside backers are the only guys who belong to Jay Hopson, and they're playing terribly. As far as recruiting goes, Hopson got shut out of Mississippi last year and was the guy responsible for recruiting both defensive tackles who bolted on Signing Day. …I don't recall any recruit mentioning Hopson this year. This blog's even got a tag about Mississippi because of it, and Michigan has shifted its focus away from all the places Hopson has connections. The number of kids they're recruiting in Mississippi is zero, and I can't recall anyone they're seriously involved with who's in the deep south.

Unless the two inside guys get radically better over the rest of the season, I wouldn't be surprised if Hopson was replaced.

After the Wisconsin debacle:

Wisconsin's passing game was almost exclusively zingers over the middle to incredibly open receivers 20 or even 30 yards downfield. On every damn one both MLBs were vastly out of position and the throws were easy. The pair was also very poor in run support: Graham and Martin combined for 21 tackles. They [Ezeh and Mouton] combined for eight!

These are returning starters and redshirt juniors. They have gotten so much worse this year, and it's obvious to everyone from Bret Bielema to stupid bloggers with charts. There is not quite enough data to outright support the ouster of a coach but I find it hard to believe that Jay Hopson could be any good. Maybe he just got stuck with mugs, but Jesus these guys can't even scrape to the right hole when Wisconsin is literally running the same play to different sides of the line four times in a row. Is this a defensive scheme change? I don't think so. Run to the damn hole.

Now that he's actually gone, it's no sugarcoat time: Hopson failed at all aspects of his job at Michigan. At least Tony Gibson can point to the walk-ons and whatnot when attempting to explain what went wrong with his section of the defense; Hopson had two redshirt juniors with three years of starting experience between them. They went backwards, and the big-time recruit backing them up also proved unready.

Meanwhile, a—possibly the—primary reason Michigan lacks depth on the defensive line and might have to turn down a couple of recruits who want to come was Hopson getting "commitments" from two defensive tackles who eventually went to Arkansas and Texas Tech on signing day. Arkansas and Texas Tech! It's not like Florida or Oklahoma or LSU swooped in on these guys.

When Michigan pulled out of any area Hopson had recruiting connections in and the linebackers imploded, this was a matter of time. Hopefully Michigan takes the opportunity to pick up a coach with serious experience or established recruiting chops. Michigan fans will immediately turn their eyes to Corwin Brown, who killed Michigan as Notre Dame's DB coach/DC, but he's an awkward fit because neither he nor Tony Gibson has ever coached linebackers. If Michigan hands the linebackers to Greg Robinson they might be able to use Gibson and Brown as ninja recruiters who split the secondary. I have no idea if that's possible; Robinson's last job as a position coach was a stretch as a DL coach for the Jets from 1990 to 1993. Since then it's been coordinator or head coach.

This makes Rodriguez 0/2 on his new hires since coming to Michigan, with Greg Robinson currently sporting an incomplete. If Rodriguez doesn't make it at Michigan the guys he picked to run his defense will be a primary factor.


turbo cool

December 23rd, 2009 at 3:09 PM ^

No, I meant Dews. Gibson is a much better recruiter than Dews (TG was brought on as our quasi lead-recruiter fwiw). Between Gibson and Rod Smith there is almost half of our class. But with regards to Dews, i've heard from guys in the program that the drop-off from Soup to him was incredible. Many feel he hasn't taught them anything. So, I'm going off of that right now. Hopefully they're wrong though and the younger guys take to him.


December 23rd, 2009 at 3:32 PM ^

I agree that Michigan's WRs don't seem very well coached. Dews did however have an EPIC recruiting haul in his first year.

But he followed that up with none(?!) in his second year.

The good thing is that Dews isn't a guy with a long history with Rodriguez; in fact, he only has a single year of experience at UNLV. I share your hope that he moves on and is replaced with a guy of Campbell's ability.


December 23rd, 2009 at 7:10 PM ^

... a few potential reasons

1) Tone -- Next up Dews. We should not be thirsting for the blood of scapegoats. Even if your sources are accurate, the tone turns people off.

2) Firing of coaches, even less apt coaches, is not something we should be doing every year. Just as important as coaching skills is stability and familiarity.

3) People just disagree. And when they disagree, they sometimes neg. I don't think this is the best use of the tool, but with the good comes the bad.


December 23rd, 2009 at 3:00 PM ^

Why is Gibson "getting close?"

You do realize that after the fourth game of the season, Gibson had this:

Warren, Woolfolk, JT Floyd, M. Williams, Jordan Kovacs, Vladimir Emilien, Teric Jones, Floyd Simmons, Jared Van Slyke.

to work with in the defensive secondary? 9 players, 3 walk-ons, 3 freshmen, one switched positions in fall camp.

I think he did a pretty good job considering the manpower available to him.


December 23rd, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

Hopson: Coach I have been offered...
Hopson: But Memphis is a much smaller...
RR: You need boxes, I have boxes.
Hopson: So you think this is a good move for me and my...
RR: Mike take the other end of Hopsons desk and on the count of three...


December 23rd, 2009 at 2:47 PM ^

he actually has a very good track record as a DC. Read up on his bio. It's actually fairly impressive. There was no indication he would be completely unable to help solve the issues that have appeared.
Or indication that he caused some of them (not saying he did, but it looks like a possibility).

Crime Reporter

December 23rd, 2009 at 2:05 PM ^

And have the happ-happ happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kay.

Seriously, thank God. Hopefully we can get someone who actually gets recruits to sign with us.

West Texas Blue

December 23rd, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

Great news to see Hopson gone. Bad recruiter and terrible LB coach. Worst LB play I've ever seen in these last 2 years at Michigan. We need to hire a good LB coach who is very technical so he can fix our Linebacker's bad techniques. As others has pointed out, perhaps it will be good if Robinson has alot of input in this hire.


December 23rd, 2009 at 3:17 PM ^

I just hope we get a LB coach this time. You know - someone who has focused on the position for all of his career. Not some DB coach moonlighting as a LB coach (what a joke).

I'd also take a former Michigan LB who either has limited experience or none at all. Can't be worse than Hopson in terms of coaching and recruiting...

Any former Michigan players make sense? I see Victor Hobson is currently unemployed but that is probably such a huge reach...


December 23rd, 2009 at 4:54 PM ^

One of use needs to remember to keep an eye on that site and revisit it midway through next season to surf around for "Fire Hopson" threads.

I almost spit out my drink when I got the post about how he was a strong recruiter for us.

I wish Hopson the best of luck and I'm glad he was able to get a job in his comfort zone. I kind of figured he'd be the sacrifice offered up to the angry alums, so him getting a job back in CUSA is a solid gig for him and a great way for all parties to politely walk away.

Blue in Seattle

December 23rd, 2009 at 5:34 PM ^

I think it says more about blog readers psychology than on true information on the internet reading the reaction. I mean does anyone put all the stuff they screwed up on their resume/bio?

would a school point out all the negatives on their coach/former coach?

so of course these guys are happy!

last year it seemed like Brian sniffed something out that Hopson wasn't happy with Michigan, climate maybe? conflicts with Shafer but Shafer hit the road so he stayed?

I'm thinking that while he had experienced guys, he did not have talented guys. I think Lloyd had been covering for his middle LB's with safeties for a while.

I think Hopson mostly lost his desire for the job and was looking for a new one all year.

being a coach at Michigan is a tough gig.

Not that I'm sad to see him go, if he can't even pull in recruits, then he's not an asset.

But I think he could perform well enough at Memphis to hit the Memphis expectations.

what are the Memphis expectations??!?

Poster Nutbag

December 23rd, 2009 at 2:22 PM ^

What an excellent early xmas present!! Now can we get someone good! Corwin Brown? He's a great recruiter and could have better luck in Mississippi than hobson ;) Any other possibilities?


December 23rd, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

Hopson has proven to be more than a competent DC, but as a position coach his players have been weak links. His Michigan bio states:

"Hopson's defensive units led Conference USA in scoring defense each of his three seasons as defensive coordinator. In 2006, the Golden Eagles led C-USA in third down defense and red zone defense. The 2005 defense led the league in turnovers forced per game and led the nation in fumbles gained."

Since GERG is the DC, the head honcho, numero uno, the big cheese, etc., I want him to be able to get 'his guy'and not have to learn a new coaches quirks or have RR choose one for him. With all his experience I'm sure he knows somebody out there who knows how to coach a god damn linebacker. Give your DC some colleagues that he's compatible with.