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 8:54 PM ^

@LarryLage Michigan AD Brandon insisted Harbaugh & Miles http://aptp25.pl/hI6n9L weren't offered job in AP interview before he hired Hoke
<br>"Brandon insisted Hoke was always Plan A. What about Miles or Jim Harbaugh, who left Stanford for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers?
<br>"The job was never offered to them," Brandon said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We did have different discussions with them that were helpful and positive." "
<br>So Brandon maybe was spending all this time discussing coordinators with them? Let's hold out hope that he will have laid out some high powered assistant hiring plans for Hoke and has his checkbook ready.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:04 AM ^

it may be true that harbaugh and miles weren't "formerly" offered, but don't hand us the line that Hoke was Plan A all along.

at a minimum that is disingenuous and at most an downright lie.  else, he would have fired RR after OSU and begun the process for long-term success vs maintaining stabiltiy for one second-rate bowl game.


January 11th, 2011 at 8:54 PM ^

Brian's transformation into Rosenberg or at least President Pessimist was quick and thorough... That's disappointing. Michigan certainly hasn't thrown in the towel when it comes to being a national power. That's hilariously Sparty-esque to say.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:10 PM ^

Rosenberg was negative because he didn't like RR being an outsider and rubbing people in the media the wrong way. Saying you question a coach who is 47-50 as the best option for a team on the mend is something completely different. I think Hoke could surprise people and be a good coach - his focus on defense is a positive - but I don't see this as a major step forward for the program. He is 5 years older than RR, has never coached a BCS team, and outside of one good Ball St season hasn't really "built" a team.
<br>People questioned RR and now look like geniuses, and that is a little sad. I want to look like an idiot and have Hoke kick butt, but stop with the "haterz" crap because I'm not uber-excited.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:40 PM ^

I never saw this gestapo treatment some people talk about around here. Yeah, people who posted stuff like coach X would have won 10 games everywhere instead of RR were begged, but I agree RR underwhelmed and was horrible with his DCs. But the level of "you guys are haters and only follow Brian" because we underwhelmed with Hoke right now is a nonstarter when it comes to intelligent debate. Why is Hoke such a good coach? I honestly want to know, and have yet to see many legit reasons here or anywhere beyond "he's not RR."


January 12th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

their are almost no reasons which support Hoke as a good coach based on his record.  he may be good.  but michigan deserves better.

in a sense we hired a coach similar to purdue's.  we hired "Hope" instead of optimism, promise or destiny.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:43 PM ^

Nobody is shitting on Hoke. By all accounts he seems like a decent, upright fellow. What Brian and others are criticizing and most critical of is the hiring of Hoke as head coach. We will all support Hoke and the team next year. But beyond his personal connections to old-timers in the UM community I don't see what makes Hoke a smart or exciting hire. The fact that DB waited a month longer than he needed to make the offer has only exacerbated this dissent.


January 12th, 2011 at 10:21 AM ^

That's nonsense.  "We are ND"?  "Throwing in the towel"?  Ripping the new coach to no end?  That isn't "blaming the process".  I wasn't happy that DB wanted 7 extra weeks to name the coach instead of doing so after we got thumped by OSU.  Not fond of that process at all.  That's also 100% different from the crying here about Hoke.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:02 PM ^

It's sad that this blog (the unofficial RR defense agency) is vocally opposed to the new coach. It wasn't long ago that fans were blamed for RR's record because they 'never gave him a chance'. Oh the hypocrisy.
<br>Even worse, brian is setting the table to undercut any potential success of Hoke. How about folks find some intellectual consistency and either act as they demanded of others or apologize for being so sanctimonious in the past. In short - practice what you preach.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:43 PM ^

So do we call the Freep, espn, local news, etc that attack force? Because I don't remember a whole bunch of people rushing to RR's side with Sheridan at qb. I get that you like Hoke, and I want him to succeed, but give me real reasons why he is going to win here and be better than RR.


January 11th, 2011 at 9:57 PM ^

Have you been introduced to Section 1? And this "I get you support Hoke stuff" is just demeaning. Like, I get you support Rich at every turn. Why will he be better than Rich? The easy answer is it would be almost impossible to do worse.
<br>But a more legitimate one is in coaching circles Hoke is thought of a lot more highly than on the blogosphere. And he'd have to make epically bad decisions to mismanage the defense as badly as it has been handled the last couple of years. And players might actually stay and develop, rather than transfer out. And recruiting will hopefully get better, because it's been sub-par for years.


January 11th, 2011 at 11:02 PM ^

everyone has to read our bullshit
<br>This is a questionable hire, and "the process" fundamentally harmed the Michigan brand. We've officially become unglamorous, and folks are getting their LOL on.
<br>But RR didn't work out, and this is our guy. Have to hope DB and all those former players are right y'all


January 11th, 2011 at 11:33 PM ^

With the people who thought Rich was going to fail before he coached a game. Which was practically non-existent on this site (or really most places). You can't equate people who saw 3 years of failure and had had enough to those who are screaming FAIL before we've assembled a staff no more played a game.


January 12th, 2011 at 12:05 AM ^

Wrong. I was happy with the RR hire and didn't change my tune until I saw his actual results on the field. I was angrily attacked here by RR supporters as 'not a fan' or 'not all in' and much worse. I was told RRs record was the fans' fault because they didn't support RR from the start. Now, those same people are attacking hoke just as they complained people attacked RR. It's unreal.
<br>If hoke performs poorly, I will critique him as well. Why? Because I'm not a hypocrite and value intellectual consistency.


January 11th, 2011 at 10:21 PM ^

I was trying to be demeaning, and I feel the same way when post all cumbaya about Hoke when they pulled the same defense-then-attack game with RR.
<br>Everything you said about Hoke is couched in statements that implicitly knock RR like "Hoke is respected in coaching circles" and "player development should improve.". Denard went from meh to POY on offense, Roundtree is a stud, Martin looks good and Graham became a first rounder. There have been misses, especially on defense, but don't just infer Hoke will be any better.
<br>And to your greater point, my issue is that everyone likes to bag on the old guy and talk up the new guy, but again I ask for proof that my reservations about Hoke and how DB handled this process are unfounded. I do want Hoke be succeed because UM deserves to be an elite program again; I just am not sold yet and there's nothing wrong with that.


January 11th, 2011 at 11:41 PM ^

Hoke may succeed, then take them all as knocks against Rich speak of your own insecurities about your belief in him. Saying Hoke is respected by coaches doesn't mean Rich isn't. But the respect of Rich isn't in doubt by the masses (at least around here). Hoke's is. Any of the rest stand out as criticisms probably because it was somewhere Rich was oddly lacking. Things that you wouldn't expect from a good coach, but uncharacteristically happened while he was here. Half of Hoke's job in succeeding here is just not make the mistakes Rich did, which if he had avoided, he'd still be here. (Or even if he had just made some of them once, instead of more than once. Brandon didn't feel confident enough to put faith in "third time's the charm").


January 11th, 2011 at 9:06 PM ^

How many people are dissing Brian for this post. I thought it was a pretty balanced assessment of the situation. There is no way you can argue that this was a slam dunk win for the program. There is nothing - nothing - in Hoke's CV to suggest that he's the next Urban Meyer, or Nick Saban, or Jim Harbaugh or Dan Mullen. And those are the kind of guys you must have as head coach to be a national power these days. And spare me the comparisons to Tressel, who was far more successful over an extended period of time at Youngstown than Hoke has been in his relatively short HC career.
<br>At the same time, you can see that the upside for Hoke might be Dantonio, or even Bielema - guys who can get their talent base to achieve at a significant percentage of potential, and have a shot at a conference championship when the stars align. That's the best case scenario, and definitely what I'm hoping for. But there's no way around it: this was a deeply conservative hire by Brandon, and the timing was unnecessarily poor.
<br>On the downside, I give you the example of a recent local coaching hire. Dynamic, enthusiastic, terrific person, absolutely loved by former and current players. Exuded tough-guy image, loved to preach about physical football. Hadn't coached at the top level, but was seen as a rising star. Got lots of positive feedback from local and national media. His name was Rod Marinelli, and he was in over his head from the day he put ink to contract. I liked him as a person, but he just wasn't up to the job, and the toxic environment around him didn't help him develop.
<br>Marinelli represents Hoke's downside risk - not necessarily in terms of record, but in terms of being ready in all aspects for the job at hand. Let's hope the downside doesn't come to pass.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:34 AM ^

My understanding is that Marinelli essentially was a DL coach pretending to be the HC in Detroit ... Hoke is less likely to emulate that given that he has HC experience already, but for comparison's sake, I'd say the equivalent would be touching only what he knows and leaving everything else to his assistants, giving the program a lack of direction. (This would presumably be different from RR in that Rodriguez didn't leave the defense to his assistants, much to everyone's chagrin.)

Another difference is that he served under arguably the worst GM in the history of professional sports: Millen did a demolition job in Detroit that made Rodriguez look like a master architect. The equivalent here ... well, I don't know that there would be one. The HC at this level makes personnel decisions the GM typically makes in the NFL. I'm not sure what the equivalent for Hoke would be ... maybe if Brandon or MSC decided that he needed to recruit players well above the Big Ten standard (and above UM's previous requirements) to show that Michigan is really turning things around.

At this specific point in time, we could do worse than to emulate those schools (in success level only, please: no dickish behavior and certainly no tolerance for off-field thuggery): playing in the Rose Bowl isn't such a bad thing.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:06 AM ^

Many people are jumping on Brian for this post but I am pretty sure that it's the very folks who hated RichRod from the beginning or who have trouble handling logical arguments.

Brian, for all his wonderful passion, is one of the best at laying it down like it is and not providing hypocritical or contradictory arguments. He opposed the *process* of the Rich Rod hiring and he opposed the *process* of the Hoke hiring. In both cases he argued that the process was not one that was likely to have produced the best possible candidate for the job. In both cases, in my opinion, he was absolutely right. Martin screwed up the first one and DB screwed up the second one. That having been said, the process itself does not dictate the outcome of the coach's tenure. RichRod's didn't turn out that great, but Brian defended RR's possible return even though Brian opposed the *process* that hired him. Likewise, Brian has many reasons on paper, logical, well-argued reasons, to suspect that Hoke was far from a great hire. That does not mean Brian has somehow become a RichRod apologist or hypocrite and I will bet $100 it does not mean he will be biased in assessing Hoke's actual performance once he gets on board. If you hear someone arguing that Brian has become a RichRod slappy, then that person probably failed logic in school and tends to make up their mind via blind faith and emotion.

I'm getting tired of all the haterade out there. The Civil War between UM factions appears to have begun escalating, but I think we all need to drop our weapons and start doing what we always do: dissect every action of Hoke and the Gang in minute detail to see if they are bringing us closer to the Holy Land or not. RichRod is now irrelevant, as is (for now) the process by which Hoke was hired. Time will tell if Hoke was the right guy, not more b*tching and moaning.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:39 AM ^

In this process, Brandon has largely exposed himself as a toady for the Carr faction of the fan base.  He went with the anti-Rodriguez just to prove a point, to the detriment of the program.  Rather than seeking a process and a hire that would heal wounds and bring the factions back together, he's just reopened and rubbed salt in old wounds.

I wish Brady Hoke well, but I see a lot of dark times ahead for the program as we get all this sorted out.


January 12th, 2011 at 9:13 AM ^

Harbaugh was offered the job....did not take it.

Miles was either offered the job and/or turned it down or maybe was not offered the job at all...what ever... and otherwise is still not here.

Hoke wanted his "dream job" and got it.

Now we have divided fractions.....

Someone tell me.  We did not get Plan A or B so who would have been better? 

Who would have"united" the masses?   Who would have satisfied everyone if not at least a greater majority of us?   No matter who was picked after Harbaugh or Miles....a negative reaction was inevitable. Get on board or shut up.  Beyond Harbaugh and Miles no one would be good enough for some of you.  Give me names!  Who would have been better and NOT create and equal amount of debating.  There are always going to be people who are never or unable to be satisfied.  

I personally think if A and B don't want to be here and C really really does. Then screw A and B and take C.   The choice is a no brainer.    Get behind this coach and support him on theses posts and others... BTW just sent in to renew my tickets to get behind and support our new coach.  I'm not saying Hoke is going to win or be successful, but I'm going to support my school and my team like all true Michigan Men should.

Go Blue 


January 12th, 2011 at 10:15 AM ^

"I'm not saying Hoke is going to win or be successful, but I'm going to support my school and my team like all true Michigan Men should."

Really, after his 4th 7 win season you are just going to blindly support him like all "Michigan Men" should?

I hate the way "Michigan Man" is being thrown around.  It used to mean something, now it's just a national joke. 

"Is Hoke the best candidate?... well at least he's a Michigan Man".

                                                                  -Random national media person


It has boiled down to the fact that "Michigan Man" = WINS. If Rich Rod would have had multiple 11 win seasons he would have definitely been a Michigan Man.



January 11th, 2011 at 9:17 PM ^

Hoke was definitely not my first choice for the program, but I have to believe that the decision makers for UM know what they are doing and know what to look for in a coach, so I will unconditionally support coach hoke and our players.
<br>The more I think about it, the more I think he could be a truly successful coach (he will need some kickass coordinators though). It just seems he is in such a Lloyd Carr mold that he is destined for success here, so here's hoping for a great season. Go blue and good luck coach hoke!


January 11th, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

I absolutely can not simply "get behind" this hiring. We would have been better off keeping RR (I've said this all along). Seriously we should picket outside Brandon's office. Welcome to more losing and mediocrity.

KC Wolve

January 11th, 2011 at 9:52 PM ^

I think the hire is a disaster for the most part. The program is a disaster and at first glance I see Dantonio/Beleima type success for Hoke. Not the type of hire to bring UM back.
<br>On the brightside, Hoke is the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet. The only possible way he should have gotten this job is that he had 3 wishes and used them all. Maybe his luck will rub off on the program and then baaam, we are back. But, more than likely I see 7-5 seasons in our future.


January 12th, 2011 at 3:44 AM ^

hahaha WHAT? Bielema and Dantonio = a bad thing in your mind? Jesus Christ, some of you fuckers are even more insane than I thought. I would be insanely happy with a 5 year stretch like Wisconsin's. Bielema has a winning percentage identical to Lloyd Carr's through 5 years. Hell, even Dantonio level production looks pretty effing good right now.

If you think being a national power means something better than Bret Bielema, than we haven't been a national power since the effing 20's.

Swayze Howell Sheen

January 11th, 2011 at 10:47 PM ^

Good post (not sure who all the dudes are who are saying otherwise)
<br>But beg to differ - you can blame Hoke. He took the job after all. If he's as unready for it as some of us think, it's pure Hubris, and that does fall on his shoulders too.

Swayze Howell Sheen

January 12th, 2011 at 7:46 AM ^

Just because I think that perhaps Hoke could also share the "blame" in his hiring doesn't mean I am defending RichRod. I liked RR, and do wish he had another year, but the firing also made sense, and is largely on RR's shoulders (if not completely). 

More generally, Brodie, I have no problem with anything you do, because I don't know who the fuck you are. You seem to look like Nick Sheridan though, who was a nice guy.



January 11th, 2011 at 10:49 PM ^

The thing about the media is false. Coaches in the Lloyd Carr tree are famously unwelcoming to the media. Carr was. As Rosenberg notes, Hoke also shuts out the media.


January 12th, 2011 at 7:54 AM ^

It would appear that Fort Schembechler is a better place for our team to live then out in the open. I have no intrinsic problem with openness, but the Detroit media and all of their irresponsible reporting does....seems but a small price to pay to keep the blood thirsty rosenwolves elsewhere.

Sac Fly

January 12th, 2011 at 2:34 AM ^

... everyone's afraid that denards going to leave now because brady hoke is not a spread guy, but than i started thinking. I remember when he said he wanted to play at the next level, what gives denard the best chance of playing at the next level than playing a in a pro style system right now? We saw how much he improved in one offseason because of his own hard work, why couldn't he do it again?