Hoke To The Suture Comment Count

Brian January 14th, 2011 at 11:24 AM


All in favor of having him actually grow those sideburns say aye. That's everyone.

Yay yay yay OMG… for now. Brady Hoke told the radio Denard Robinson would not transfer. So he'll go through spring at least. Also, Tate Forcier is going to try to stick it out:

"Tate wants to stay (at U-M)," Mike Forcier told TheWolverine. "I didn't come with a moving van. Our intent is to do whatever is necessary for him to rejoin the team and become a student-athlete again. We haven't talked to any other schools and we won't until we've exhausted every resource here. But Tate wants to stay and we want him to stay."

This is the greatest hire in the history of college football. This reminds me of when Vince Lombardi hired Jimmy Johnson, except faster:

Fred Jackson will return for his 20th season at Michigan and will coach running backs under Hoke, a source said Thursday night.

This is flantabulous. It reminds me of when you take some sugar and some eggs and some caramel and combine them in a delicious combination that's like custard except faster. It's Hokediculous. It's like that except faster. This is amazing. This coach is like the Heisman in a body, except it's like the Heisman in a body in one of those movies with a virus—he infects everyone with the Heisman. Word. Flan. Flan is the word, except faster.

But seriously folks. The inability of nuclear war to eradicate Fred Jackson probably pushes that Heckulinsiksinaski guy to WR coach and kills the idea that Eric "Obvious Nickname" Campbell would depart from the hard-partying Iowa WRs. Either that or it kills the idea that Scot Loeffler would enter at QB coach. Not like any of this matters, anyway. If you're not an OL or QB coach offensive assistants don't really matter.

Defensive coordinator search now even more bleedingly obvious. Jon Hoke, brother of Brady Hoke and a key aspect of Michigan's strategy to make their coaching staff literally as much of a family as possible, says he hasn't talked to Brady about the Michigan DC job and is "unlikely" to end up in Ann Arbor. That's fine by me since he's spent the last decade as a position coach in the NFL and would be something of a wildcard if he returned to college.

So. Michigan has a lot of money left over since they're paying Hoke twenty dollars and some donuts and is competing with San Diego State for the bulk of its staff. There is a guy out there with crazy recent college credentials that also comes with a reputation as a fierce recruiter. He runs the Big Ten default defense, a basic 4-3 cover two. He turned Miami—Miami!—into an APR-obliterating, arrest-avoiding team. That's Randy Shannon, kids, and we know two things:

  1. If David Brandon was serious about getting assistant pay up into the area of Michigan's peer group he's the guy who Michigan should be going after with an oversized novelty check.
  2. The chance Randy Shannon comes to Michigan is extraordinarily slim.

File on the ominous side of the ledger. So… uh… you know how Brady Hoke is a tough defensive-minded coach whose teams will run the ball and stop the run, boy won't they? Um… so… the thing is.

In eight seasons as a head coach Hoke oversaw one defense—this year's—that ranked above 84th nationally. Even during the miracle year at Ball State his team was sixth in the MAC. In fact, if you click that link and squint your eyes you might think the table of Hoke's defenses is the table of Greg Robinson's defenses. So… yeah. Um. Not to be a downer or anything. Also please don't bring up that the Graham/Malzahn combo obliterated Hoke's best team 45-13 and now Graham is at Pitt and has hired a couple Rodriguez assistants and I just feel kind of ominous about this whole section.

File on the happy side of the ledger. After nuking Navy the Aztecs rose to #12 nationally in the offensive FEI rankings. Michigan is still #2 even after the grim output against Mississippi State.

NOT ME. Probably. Look, so I might have had a bit to drink the past couple days but I can state with at least 60% confidence that this was not me:


I can recite pi to 54 digits, bitch. I'm Rick James.

The Process, conference edition. After consideration the Big Ten has declared that Legends and Leaders are awesome division names, thank you very much. This is emblematic of why the conference imploded on NYD: it is a league of ninnies. This space is going to stick to calling the divisions East and West even though North and South make more sense so Michigan can be Champions of the West.

Not so good. Tristin Llewellyn and Jacob Fallon are gone for the year for "violating team expectations." That ends Llewellyn's Michigan career; Fallon has an opportunity to return next year.

As far as impact goes, Fallon was only playing about half the time anyway and didn't stand out when he did. Llewellyn's loss will be more prominent. While it's impossible for anyone to replace his penalty acquisition skills with quite so much gusto, alternatives on the back line are Moffie and Clare. Moffie's been pretty bad this year—a turnover machine—and Clare has been on the back burner most of the season as Michigan tries to juggle eight defensemen. He'll probably benefit from the increased availability of playing time more than Moffie.

Etc.: Pat Fitzgerald's agent would like you to know that Michigan was probably going to offer Fitzgerald three million a year as part of their sham effort to make it look like other people were being considered. Brady Hoke buyout blah blah.



January 14th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Is a very important position to have filled before recruiting is over.  Dallas Crawford's coach mentioned that as a reason why Dallas dropped Michigan.  They have no idea what scheme they will run or the personnel the run that scheme.  Hopefully it will be filled inteh enxt week or so.  And I agree Brian, Randy Shannon should be option #1.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

I should say that, while I was not in favor of firing RichRod for Hoke, the big guy is growing on me and I have a lot of hope and enthusiasm going forward.

But that said, the idea of Randy Shannon working for Brady Hoke seems off.  Very off.


January 14th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

The impression i get from miami fans is not good regarding shannon.  Even as DC he had mediocre results considering the talent, and is apparently allergic to blitzes


January 14th, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

Yes, he did a good job as HC of recruiting kids from miami HSs to come to coral gables.  I'm not sure how much that would help him as DC in ann arbor.

Yes, they went to plenty of games.  Which is a much better way to evaluate a team's performance than simply looking at statistics IMO.

Again, miami talent in the ACC, and they were never in the CCG.  He is not very aggressive at all.  He's a competent coach and I would be fine with the hire, especially on character grounds.  I just wouldnt put him at the top of the list


January 14th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

I think it would help a lot. He has good releationships with coaches in the area. Charlie Strong sure is capitalizing on his Florida ties at Louisville. Louisville currently has 11 commits from the state of Florida, including a lot of guys with Miami offers. Shannon would have success recruiting Florida players to Michigan.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:26 PM ^

Strong is HC, at a place that is a little closer to the southeast than ann arbor, for a team that plays in florida more often than we do.  That said, yes, Shannon would help somewhat with FLA recruiting.  But right now he would not have anywhere near the talent he has had, and I doubt he ever would match it.  And I'm not sure his conservative style would be as effective without the incredible advantage he had over his peers at miami.

Again, I'd be happy with the hire.  I just don't see it as a home run, especially if you are looking for Tenuta style aggressiveness.  His strategy and the way he reacted to the late UF field goal indicate he may not have that killer instinct that I think we are trying to return to.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

when left alone behind the shadows. He is notoriously bad with the media. I do not know his intentions, as he has been AWOL since his firing. But Michigan could definitely do a lot worse than hiring Shannon.

As for him creating a pipeline from Liberty City to Ann Arbor? I'm not so sure about that. What I would be more excited about as a Michigan fan would be his potential ability to lock down the DPL that Michigan State has capitalized upon lately. His background really resonates with the inner city kids.


January 14th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

They play in Florida once every other year in Tampa against USF. That doesn't do much for exposure - especially not to pull 11 recruits out of the state. Yeah, I guess they are "closer" to Miami, but they aren't close. They are closer to Michigan then they are to Florida.

I don't know why you would find it so incredulous that players from Florida would want to come to Michigan after the success Rodriguez had recruiting there. Louisville may be the State of Ohio closer to Florida than Michigan is but Michigan is Michigan. The university has many advantages over Louisville. If Louisville can recruit there becuase of their coach's ties to the area, there is no reason Michigan couldn't with a DC that has strong ties to the area. He would have much more to sell than UL.


January 14th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

Just because you win with talent doesn't mean that you aren't a good coach. He had a top 10 defense 5 out of 6 years. Gotta give him credit for that. Many coaches don't get the best out of good players. Having less talent doesn't mean that he won't get the most out of the talent he does have.


January 14th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

Right.  I keep saying, he is a good, competent coach, and I would be happy with the hire.  But the fact is he has never coached a defense even close to as devoid of talent as ours currently is.  That combined with his conservative nature gives me pause - you can get away with that when you have way more talent.

According to Scout:

2002 - Miami #4, next highest BE team Pitt #25

2003 - Miami #6, next highest BE team VT #21

2004 - Miami #3, FSU #4, next highest ACC team MD #16

I'm pretty sure if you go back further its even more lopsided


January 14th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

Again, I'm talking about the less delusional miami fans.

What elite ACC offenses did he do well against?  This is a guy who got outcoached by patrick nix and brian stinespring, and beat by a reggie ball led offense repeatedly

Numbers never speak for themselves


January 14th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

If we have to get into this pissing match I guess that's fine.  As DC of the Miami Hurricanes (2001-2006) Randy Shannon won a National Championship his first season and played for a second NC his second season against tOSU.  I think we all remember that game.  Including bowl appearences, Shannon's defenses gave up more than 21pts:

2006 - 3x's

2005 - 2x's

2004 - 2x's

2003 - 1x

2002 - 4x's

2001 - 2x's

Here are the links if you still don't think this guy is a great DC


enhanced by


January 14th, 2011 at 1:18 PM ^

Thats kind of a weird response considering the question i asked.  If anything it helps demonstrate my point that the offenses he was facing sucked.

I'm going to say this one more time.  i think it would be a good, not great hire, which is fine for now, especially given his character.  I also think that playing with miami talent against crappy ACC offenses is going to inflate your statistics substantially.  You have completely failed to address this, except to suggest that somehow he will bring that talent with him, which i think is not likely.  Context dude - close the box score and watch the actual game.

Did you think shannon's defenses were particularly aggressive?  Perhaps you could give an example of a few games he coached that appeared to you to be particularly impressive.  Losing to an ohio state team that was severely outclassed in terms of talent isnt doing much for me.  I have given you a couple of glaring failures.

I'm also curious why you only included his years as DC.  He was still coaching the defense as HC.


January 14th, 2011 at 1:29 PM ^

those teams were unbelievably stacked on defense. Perhaps the best collection of talent on one side of the ball in the new scholarship era.

In addition, Shannon came to Miami in 2001, so he didn't recruit any of those players until later in his run as DC.

And not to be extra Debbie Downer, but his defense relies extremely on having a ball hawking safety able to shut down half the field and cover deep passes (Reed, Taylor, Meriweather, Phillips). The one year they weren't in the top 10 was the only year without a stud safety. With Michigan's Safety Hating God or whatever the running joke is with Brian that is definitely a position that would need to be address wholeheartedly.

Thurman Merman

January 14th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

Randy Shannon is a glamorous hire but what about the possibility of Teryl Austin?  For better or worse, he's got those all important Michigan ties and has been a DC in the almighty ESS EEE CEE.


January 14th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

One frustrating aspect of the debate over the Rod/Hoke Switcheroo is the secrecy. I can't quite figure out how pissed to be at whom if I can't get a handle on what Brandon knew and did. When did he know he was going to fire RR? What did he do then? Which coaches were actually on his list of potentials other than Hoke? Were there any? At this point the evidentiary trail is so thin that we are left mostly guessing. This reminds me of the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the principals all claim they did a great job until you find out thirty years later they make secret deals and nothing was actually as it seemed. Only in this case, I'm already sure they're hiding something.

I just don't know what.


January 14th, 2011 at 11:43 AM ^

article Brian linked, it seems Hoke knew he was headed for Michigan sometime around late November - shortly after the Ohio State game.  I think everything since then has been theater.

I get the distinct impression that Brandon was hired with explicit instructions to get rid of Rodriguez ASAP, with Hoke as a strong candidate for his replacement.  Hoke having a good year at SDSU cemented the deal.

Just the way the dots seem to connect to me.

st barth

January 14th, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

If Brandon was hired to get rid of Rodriguez ASAP then why didn't the axe fall on account of the NCAA investigation?  

I'm still on the fence between thinking Brandon was relatively sincere about giving Rodriguez a chance to succeed this year and build momentum for 2011 versus Brandon was a lying bastard whom seemed to sadistically enjoy giving Rodriguez a  torturously long and painful death. 


January 14th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I strongly suspect that with strong showings on the final three games, RichRod stays. That would have been an indication of progress and the main consideration is, "Do we really want to go through a serious hot seat do or die year?" And then I believe Brandon would have had the brass balls to say, Yeah, fuck the media and their hot seat."


January 14th, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

I strongly suspect that if we didn't shit the bed on New Years Day, Rich Rod stays.   I truely believe Brandon wanted to keep him but was scared of the uproar should he have given him a vote of confidence after the OSU game and we go ahead and tank the bowl game.   in my opinion thats why he waited until after the bowl game, to see if he could get away with keeping him another year.  Since that abortion of a performance, there is no possible way he could've kept him around.


January 14th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

ESNY, I think you are correct, although I would say the OSU game MAY have been the coffin nail.  Any time Sweater Vest takes his foot off the gas against UM in the second half will have nothing but bad ramifications. We don't need their pity--we need to start kicking their asses.

Blue in Seattle

January 14th, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

as a fan I expected to lose to Wisconsin and Ohio State and was happy to see progress in the Win-Loss column and finally a bowl game.  I confidence was a little dented on the fact that we only scored 7 against OSU, but I assigned it to Denard being a sophomore and everyone trying to hard to win instead of just playing.

Watching the analysis on this blog of Mississippi State, I expected an Illinois style game.  After anticipating a game of unleashed offense that never materialized, I turned off my TV absolutely stunned.  I still expected we would give it one last try next year, especially since Harbaugh was clearly going to the NFL after the opening in the 49ers.  I didn't really want Harbaugh, or change at all, but I found that it was very hard to convince myself that Rodriguez was going to fix anything next year.

As the post bowl review dragged out, I was hoping for an announcement of the complete firing of the defensive staff, and saying "we need to attend to the problem area, but we don't need to start from scratch".  And who knows, maybe that was even an option discussed, and as Brian has speculated here on this blog, Rich Rodriguez is unwilling to fire off his loyal defensive staff to fix the issue.  Maybe that is why Jeff Casteel chose to stay at WVU?

I'm not so naive as to believe people don't lie, fib or distort the truth, but without evidence to the contrary I am willing to take people at face value and accept the spirit of their statements as truth.

Brandon did state he had thought about replacement plans, and gave the context that as a leader he always thinks about that since in addition to firing someone, you have to be prepared for them to quit or "get run over by a bus".  Asking someone if they would like to coach at Michigan someday is different than offering them a job.  Having that conversation when there is no opening dramatically alters the context, and I don't believe Brandon started the question with, "I'm going to fire Rich Rodriguez".

Brandon stated that the best advantage to waiting was to let the team play the bowl game with their coach.  He stated he hadn't made a decision.  Now you can complain that this added pressure and made the bowl game important, but then again, was returning to a bowl game after three years pretty damn important already?  Is there ever a game that a true coach doesn't want to win?

We'll never know what went on in that conversation between Brandon and Rodriguez, but I do believe that Brandon did not make his final decision until the next morning.

You can criticize Brandon for his decision on Hoke, but I don't see anything in what he's said or done that would make him a liar.



January 14th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

they defended him to the NCAA and he was exonerated, so they can't argue to the NCAA that he wasn't responsible, then turn around and say he was and fire him for it. If they didn't defend him, M could have been looking at tougher sanctions.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

firing RR with cause (NCAA major violations) and (1) saved the UM $2.5 million (2) start looking for a new coach right away (or actually hire one and (3) help preserve the recruiting class.  I think this could have been done after the final appeal.  Of course, there would have been an impact on this year's season.  Just wondering.  


January 14th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

Assuming everything else is true, perhaps Brandon didn't go this route because he knew the NCAA allegations were total bullshit and he didn't want to besmirch the integrity of either Rich Rod or the University by suggesting that there was some legitimacy to them. 

I'm of the opinion after the coaching search that Brandon is a smarmy and arrogant asshole, but firing RR for cause based upon those nonsensical allegations is beyond low, and I don't think Brandon is THAT bad. 


January 14th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

"Brandon, your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is to get rid of RichRod at all costs, but don't use major NCAA violations as an excuse to do it. Just sit back to wait and see if his team doesn't flame out spectacularly in the final three games of the season. And be sure to spend a good month or two appearing to hem and haw about it."

Sure, that seems totally plausible.


January 14th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

There is no guarantee that, at some point, the information will be de-classified, and all of our questions will be answered. We may never know.

Incidentally, Hoke’s failure to sign a contract extension does not tell me that he knew he was coming to Michigan. All it means is that he knew there was a pretty good chance of the job being open (he was hardly the only one to have figured that out).


January 14th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

I think it ranges from a small amount of lying and bs to a great bunch. 

Part of me wonders if DB only took the AD job to blow out RR and put a "Bo/Mo/Lloyd" guy back in charge.  He never seemed that supportive of RR from the beginning - making comments like "I will be evaluating him closely", etc.

Hoke seems like a good guy and time will tell if he is a good coach for us.  But however it turns out, I am not a fan of Brandon.  I would like to see him step away from the limelight as well.  Seems like after Denard, he is the most associated person with the team.



January 14th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

the job to anyone else to be extremely disingenuous and his entire potrayal of the search and the process to be condescending, at best. Perhaps he technically did not offer the job to anyone else, but it is highly likely that this is because no one wanted to discuss it with him. The link to the Chicago Trib article that tells about M laying out salary params to Fitzgerald is a clear indication that BH was not the first choice slam dunk hire that DB portrays it as. More likely DB had a list and the further down he got on that list where people didn't want to talk to him about it (Pinkel, Harbaugh, Fitzgerald, Patterson, etc.), the more people told him to go with Hoke and he is spinning that into 'everyone told me Hoke was the best', which is fine, spinning is is job.

Brandon knows his audience. The same 40-50-80% of the fans that were rubes to the Free Press jihad are the same ones buying into this massive 'Hoke is the Messiah' PR campaign and supporting the hire without any skepticism or critical thought. Most people are sheep and M fans are no different. They don't want to and won't go into the details or look with any depth into what occurred and are much happier to read a bunch of headlines stating 'We got Our Guy' and will therefore go about their daily lives and think 'We got Our Guy' and Brandon is playing to that audience. I'm not saying we didn't 'Get Our guy', however to anyone that looks at the hire objectively, it isn't beyond analysis or reproach. DB has done a very good job so far of keeping the vast majority of people from looking at the hire objectively, but then again, that is his job and like it or not, he is doing it well.


January 14th, 2011 at 2:19 PM ^

don't you want your AD to do that? I wouldn't want my AD as the new presser hire to spout on about how this guy wasn't the real choice, we'd rather have so and so. People can believe them or not, but public statements vs. private ones are differentiated by the fact one of them always counts more, even if the insiders know the truth.

Kirby Hocutt, Miami's AD, did the same thing after hiring Al Golden. Said he was the only guy he offered the job to, his first choice, etc. After the Gruden fiasco, rumors of Bo Pelini, I mean, come on. Yet it's easy to assume perhaps Golden was the only guy Hocutt officially offered the job to. This is all semantics to the public.


January 14th, 2011 at 3:29 PM ^

but I don't want him to lie to do that, or it erodes any confidence I might have in his process or his hire.

I he says 'Hoke was our first choice' and it becomes clear that he wasn't, doesn't that cast Hoke in a pretty negative light, like you have to lie to prop him up becuase he was a disappointing hire?

If you have to lie about it, doesn't that tell you something about how Brandon feels about the hire?


January 14th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, Vince Wilfork, Jon Vilma, Antrel Rolle, D.J. Williams, Kenny Phillips, etc., etc., etc. His base 4-3 only works with top tier talent. Short of that, and you'll love their inability to get teams off the field late in games.

Not that it's anything close to being worse than the past three years.