Hoke React, No Swearing

Submitted by Brian on January 11th, 2011 at 6:42 PM


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?


  • 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.



January 11th, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

on being a national power.". That I agree with and that bothers me. What is worse is the wholesale back to the future turnaround this hire represents. We needed change in the program and this hire says "whoops, that didn't work, let's do what we did before." Which is entirely the wrong thing to conclude.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:12 PM ^

They have to bring in an all star staff to make this work. Should have saved a ton of cash on the hoke hire, now splurge on the staff. I know Brandon will only fuck this up as well so at least I am not getting my hopes up. What a fucking stooge. If denard transfers I am kicking his ass at mid field for the home opener.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:42 PM ^

What All-Star staff members are we going to be able to hire in mid-freaking-January?
<br>While I agree in principle that waiting for a staff to be assembled is the right thing to do, I can't possibly ignore that at this stage of the game there aren't any available coaches worth > $1M per year.
<br>As Brian points out, there's Randy Shannon - who'd be awesome - but he's on the same side of the ball as Hoke.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:14 PM ^

That is what bothers me the most about this hire. Hike will win some games, but the program won't grow and compete. I thought this team had a chance to be the next Oregon under RR; now we are hoping tto be the next Iowa-occasionally relevant but never a power. ugh


January 11th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

I don't know how you can write that Michigan has thrown in the towel on being a national power when we've just had two awful losing seasons followed by a third where we were destroyed by anyone with a pulse. It's not like we were on the verge of greatness with Rodriguez. I'm not over the moon about Hoke, but isn't it possible that everyone that knows him and says the guy is a good coach who was able to win at his alma mater with absolutely zero support is right, and the people who don't know anything about him other than that he coached under Lloyd are wrong?


January 11th, 2011 at 7:39 PM ^

Never earn their reputation and always know what they're talking about, amirite?
<br>I mean, I for one just enjoyed the National Championship we just won last night, after winning the Big Ten last year, after a year of bumpy transition. That's what all the fans were predicting when you merged modern spread with Michigan recruiting...it happened, right?
<br>Just like we'll be doomed in three years by this. Because the media is always wrong and the fans are always right. They NEVER get stuck on meme's repeated over and over till reality slaps them in the face....and then sometimes even after....


January 11th, 2011 at 9:01 PM ^

But sometimes people can see a bad situation and call it for what it is. People said RR wasn't going to work at UM because he tan a different offense and didn't bring along a good DC, and they were right. But to say that the team wasn't making some strides and could have been dynamite in another or two, so no loss is just as myopic as you characterize Brian. Hole wants to run a more traditional offense and defense, which may very well work. But what we've seen is that you win with either a dangerous offense or a dominant defense. RR gave the potential forth former and Hoke gives for the latter. I am a bit skeptical of both, though with RR I saw more potential


January 11th, 2011 at 9:35 PM ^

Just that it's as futile to predict Hoke will fail as it was it was that Rich would succeed, just as it would be to predict whether we'd turn it around if Rich had stayed. Half the team was going in the right direction, half was crashing and burning. Which was going to turn?
<br>But what I'm doing is waiting till we see some football to predict anything. Just like I didn't predict failure for Rich before he had 3 years under his belt. However, there were a lot of people predicting glorious heights for Rich; mostly the same people who are predicting doom and gloom. Excuse me if I doubt their prognostication skills.
<br>I'll tell you what I saw this bowl season - even average defenses can slow down any style of offense, given time to prepare. Those same offenses can disappear. Defense still wins. Is Hoke the guy to make a dominate D? Don't know. But we've progressives failed harder and harder on defense. And what you're asking is "3rd time's the charm". Which could happen, but the track record isn't that good. So I don't see how one is THAT more likely than the other that we can condemn one (that we haven't even seen) while believing in the other (where there's been a lot of negative evidence).
<br>Not saying anyone should give Hoke any more of a chance than they gave Rich. And no, if it's a disaster, he doesn't deserve any more than 3 years either.


January 11th, 2011 at 10:02 PM ^

I'll agree to an extent, but the bowl season is a clusterfrick and can't really be used to judge the quality of an offense or defense ( except the UM's defense still sucked). I'm not hoping that Hoke fails, but I also have me doubts that this was the best possible outcome for UM given how DB talked and the state of recruiting. This feels panicked and forced, and will likely end with a couple more wins next year but some real depth issues unless Hoke kills as a recruiter.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:38 PM ^

1. There was more evidence the future would be more of the same than there was that we were on track for the multiple national championships many have posted about.
<br>2. You don't know enough about Hoke's offense to really criticize it. But just so you know, SDSU scored more points than ours. Against weaker competition, you say? Yes, but with lesser players and without Denard Robinson. We'll be ok.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:57 PM ^

1. The people who said multiple MNCs were either trying to be funny ornate loony, but this team was moving forward. This was a very good offense with some experience finally returning. As for the defense, a new DC could have easily stepped in and made it average. This was a team that was poised to be better than what RR started with.
<br>2. I watched a couple of sdsu games this year, and the offense was fine but nothing spectacular. But that was with a team set up for his system, not one built for the spread option like the one he inherits. My guess is the offense will regress regardless of whether Denard reinforce, and he would be q miracle worker if the defense imposed enough to compensate.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:22 PM ^

What did you want DB to do Brian? I don't think this program is stable enough to hire a nice coordinator with no head coaching experience.
<br>Just cuz hoke trained under Lloyd doesn't mean hoke=Lloyd


January 11th, 2011 at 7:34 PM ^

Hoke wasn't my first choice either. Far from it he was my last and judging by media reports he was Brandon's too. But how about waiting until he puts together a staff before calling it a stupid hire. Heck how about waiting until he actually makes his first pressu as coach. If you continue to call it stupid and say recruits are turning away guess what? It may be a self fulfilling prophecy. Most of us didn't want him either but we got him. Give the guy a break and let him do his thing (how about anything before you rip him.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

After bring wrong for 3 years, have to lash out against somebody. And since after the paragraph "It's Not Brady Hoke's Fault" he writes a multitude of paragraphs on how it will all be Brady Hoke's fault, it has to be going somewhere. But he's doing a good job of cultivating an audience to believe what he believes, then playing to them.


January 12th, 2011 at 2:38 AM ^

I think Brian has reason to be upset.

This is a different situation than the one we found ourselves in three years ago when we hired RichRod. The future is tough to predict, but going off of history in most cases one is able to predict accurately off trends. RichRod had a successful head coaching career in a BCS conference. Brady Hoke, while somewhat successful, hasn't proven as much during his tenure.

I think this is just an emotionally laced post. We know Brian to have his outbursts and I expect that he will do his analysis on the subject and come to be all in for Michigan once again. He will give Brady Hoke a chance, else do what? He's not in a position of power.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:42 AM ^

The hypocrisy in these parts is dripping right now (the blog's, not yours).


The best way to make sure someone fails is to actively assume that they will before they even set foot on campus, and convince the minions that this is a fact. If the "Fire RR" people were bad for never giving him a chance, this whole "Brady Hoke Sucks, We Are Doomed" crowd isn't all that different.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

This is a bad hire.  That doesn't mean it won't work out. But, with all the information up to this point and all the other candidates available this was a bad hire.

I support Brady Hoke 100% and "hope" he brings michigan back to being a national contender.  However, I don't think he was the #1 choice on many lists.  Not even David Brandon's.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:41 PM ^

...Kelvin Grady just tweeted that "everyone (EVERYONE) is returning."
<br>Apparently this doesn't include Tate who rumor has it didn't enroll, but would include some other QBs we are a little concerned with.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:49 PM ^

Everyone said Denard is transferring, what does HE know?
<br>(Though if EVERYONE does return, or nearly everyone, and there isn't mass transfer like, happens EVERY time coaches change...because it happened to Rich...does that go under they maybe all weren't that happy with Rich...or as a credit to Hoke...?)


January 11th, 2011 at 8:14 PM ^

Just that players don't like losing either, and want guidance. They're not stupid. And everything a fan might have complained about, they see too. And particularly on defense, they couldn't have been wild about the coaching they were getting (when the head coach has to step in left and right). Martin probably not thrilled getting double teamed every play, or guys stuck in cover who should be rushing.
<br>Most programs don't have the attrition we had over the last three years. And one thing players at SDS universally praised Hoke for was that he accepted them, and treated him like his own. Not "his guys", and "those guys" I inherited. I'm guessing we won't hear "after what I was left with" from the new guy.


January 11th, 2011 at 8:53 PM ^

Let's be fair with the characterization of RR here. Yes, he failed to produce a competent defense, and for that he deserves blame. But the reason you probably won't hear the "not my guys" from Hoke is because he is inheriting the B1G offense POY, some good WRs, a veteran offensive line, and a number of returning starters on defense. RR had Threet, sheridan, a porous line, Greg Mathews, and a couple of players on defense that outside of Graham didnt really pan out.
<br>I will give Hoke a chance, something i don't think everyone gave RR, but don't act like everyone who agrees with Brian that this might not be a great hire is a robot.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:45 PM ^

I keep hearing how everyone is going to transfer, like it happened to Rich. If that's the case, then what? And if not, does it say Rich might have Bren better to try and keep everybody?
<br>I think he's being left with a little more, but not a lot. If Denard leaves, it won't be as bad as Mallett leaving, because at least Devin will likely be there. But I'm not sure how much of the remaining offense is THAT much better than the defense Rich inherited. Lewan and Molk are very good, and there are some other fine linemen, but the skill positions aren't great. There's not apricot tailback on the roster, the receivers are small, but not that fast, and seem to have cases of the dropsies. Still probably better than the 08 defense, but that one had Graham, defensive backs (some in the NFL) and linebackers who played better then than now. And the current defense is pretty much as big a black hole as the O was then. There are a few serviceable older guys, and freshmen and sophomores, and Martin/Molk line talent.


January 11th, 2011 at 7:58 PM ^

In my opinion, you've got to expect some regression from the offense if the scheme changes are going to be as drastic as Hoke's prior comments would lead us to believe.
<br>Open questions on offense:
<br>(1) Role of the QB: Even if Denard stays (please do!), is his role going to allow him to provide the value he did this past season? This seems likely to be a source of *HUGE* scheme-based regression.
<br>(2) Slot receivers: What is Hoke going to do with all these slot ninjas? Is Roundtree going to be effective if he has to play outside, on the LOS?
<br>(3) Interior OL: How effective are Molk, Omameh et al. going to be if they're asked to man-block instead of zone-block in a scheme that perfectly fits their skills?
<br>(4) Is one of our RBs going to step up and be an impact player in whatever system Hoke runs? Vincent Smith was the one guy healthy enough to carry the ball all year last year, but I'm skeptical his skills will translate to a Hoke-endorsed system. We've got numbers here, and some talent, but it's a huge question mark.
<br>So ... at this point, the only positions that I'm comfortable will provide the same value in 2011 as 2010 are: the outside WRs (Stonum, Hemingway), the OTs, and the TEs (although I'm optimistic about the RBs).
<br>Pardon the super-long comment...the point is, there are a lot of reasons to expect some regression on offense this coming year.


January 11th, 2011 at 8:11 PM ^

I hope Hoke will amend his schemes to fit his players, then recruit his "type" of player. I think that was what's his name's biggest mistake.
<br>If the players like him, that is good enough for me.


January 11th, 2011 at 8:12 PM ^

One of the big criticisms about RichRod was his apparent unwillingness to tailor his offense around the players he inherited. It will be interesting to see whether Hoke runs an offensive system amenable to the talents of Denard (please stay!) and a cadre of slot ninjas.
<br>If he does *not* do this, it will be interesting to see whether he's criticized by the media and alums. This would provide a great natural experiment to test the hypothesis that these groups didn't give RichRod a fair shake ... not that we necessarily *needed* further proof for this hypothesis.
<br>FYI: iPad users can install the iPhone app in order to log in and comment while the site is restricted.


January 12th, 2011 at 6:10 AM ^

Brian's a fan just like the rest of us. His job isn't to carry water for the program whether or not he agrees with its decisions. He has legitimate reservations about the hire, and the reason why he's been worth reading all this time is that he's a fan with opinions who can offer support for them. This post comes on the day of (for a significant number of us) a let-down of a hire, so it's understandable that a fan who feels let down by it would react that way that Brian did. Outside of Rosenberg, WoJo, and M-Wolverine, not many people considered Hoke their dream candidate at the outset of this search. He's the settling candidate, which sounds like this:


January 12th, 2011 at 8:17 AM ^

Yes Brian is a fan and allowed to have his opinions.  Yes Brian can use his blog to prop up or tear down whatever or whoever he wants...he just has to accept the responsibility that comes with the site as well.  That's right...there is a responsibility  here.  Didn't read all the posts but the majority and have for some time.  Unfortunately too many people are influenced by what they read and don't take the time to research and evaluate themselves..... blogs are easy.

This is the worst posting by Brian I have read....tempted to delete the site and not return as I'm sure many have considered.  But it is a great site...just hoping it doesn't go the way it seems to be hading. 

Give the man a chance.  Hell, before he even set foot on campus as head coach he was doomed to fail by the majority on here...bullshit! ...and everyone ready to lynch DB...give it a rest.  You have no idea what transpired.  Guessing doesn't make it so

I for one am glad to see Hoke come in and think he will be a great hire.  Go Blue


January 11th, 2011 at 9:35 PM ^

Brian may be a little less measured in this post than usual but he's not doing so to drive a dishonest agenda. The fact that we fired RR only to replace him with a remnant of the Carr era is indeed disappointing and does nothing to suggest that Michigan is willing to progress as a football program. Instead we remain fruitlessly wallowing in the shadows of a bygone era. I hope we turn the corner with Hoke but he seems like an unlikely candidate to bring us (back) to the national stage.