I Learned How To Put Myself In A Box A Long Time Ago

Submitted by Brian on September 8th, 2014 at 12:18 PM

9/6/2014 – Michigan 0, Notre Dame 31 – 1-1

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[Bryan Fuller]

I set a new record for earliest departure from a Michigan game Saturday: 10 minutes and change, besting the 2007 Oregon game that I left with about six minutes left. And I feel… okay, I guess.

Ace and I did the podcast Sunday and it's actually kind of good. This is a far cry from previous podcasts in the aftermath of doom. The Alabama one was barely worth recording, and we knew it at the time. This one runs down the suck but there's a jaunty air and no one seems like they're taking the bar exam after a 72-hour bender.

We are used to it. And hey, man, Michigan outgained Notre Dame. I know we lost 31-0 but that was nowhere near as emasculating as that aforementioned Oregon game or the 2008 Ohio State game in which Brandon Minor was the only Michigan player who looked like he was in college instead of high school or last year's Michigan State game in which Michigan acquired –48 rushing yards. Or maybe it was but we can't tell because our football testicles have been ground away by the sandpaper of the last seven years and all we feel is increasing smoothness.

Yeah.

Yeah man.

Oh man. This feels really smooth.

I can't even remember why I didn't want this bit between my legs to be so flat you could try to set a land speed record over it.

-----------------------------

I don't know, man. You only have one thing to base predictions of the future on: the past. And the past suggested that Blake Countess was a pretty good cornerback who couldn't cope with Tyler Lockett. It didn't look like that on Saturday night. It looked like Tony Gibson was in town again.

Notre Dame built its unassailable lead on a series of man press-type coverages on which ND would break to the inside unmolested without a Michigan cornerback even there to tackle on the catch. That is a recipe for disaster. With Raymon Taylor knocked out and Channing Stribling burned just like Countess was on his first play, Michigan had no choice but to throw Countess out there again. He promptly ended up yards away from Will Fuller on the fade all the inside stuff had set Michigan up for.

Countess had six interceptions as part of a pretty good pass defense a year ago and while that was a passive zone thing you kind of figure that guys capable of doing that will be capable at man coverage.

That was emphatically disproven on Saturday, throwing the entire offseason into question. The deck chair shuffling of defensive coaches touted as the path forward now looks ludicrous.

If

  1. you're going to give your defense an extreme makeover based on pressure and man-to-man coverage and
  2. you rearrange your coaching staff so that your new cornerbacks coach is a guy who has never played or coached the position before and
  3. then your corners are a complete fiasco in their first real test, then

people are going to think that's a bad idea man.

By all accounts Roy Manning is a terrific recruiter and enthusiastic, dedicated coach. He's just not a secondary coach. That kind of random insertion at position X is something lower-level (like, DII) schools do because of limited resources. Michigan found itself in that position because…

I don't actually know. That was not a rhetorical pause.

Best as I can figure, Hoke loathes firing anyone. For most of last year it was expected that Borges would return because those were the vibes the program was emanating, and the about-face there still has conspiracy theorists asserting that Brandon made him make the switch. Approximately 80% of emails to me this offseason were some variant of FIRE DARRELL FUNK FERGODSAKES, and it's hard to imagine many programs sticking with the offensive line coach after that.

Meanwhile Hoke's standoffishness with everyone outside the program is increasing daily. Everyone inside the velvet rope is golden. Everyone on the outside is garbage. The bunker mentality is suddenly warranted, at least.

-------------------------------

Getting blown out 31-0 by Notre Dame is a gamechanging event. You can feel it in the nonsense decisions Hoke made in the second half. Michigan played turtle ball that saw Michigan run 35 seconds off the clock between snaps in the middle of the third quarter; they left Funchess and Gardner in the game deep into the fourth quarter. Let's look like we're trying without actually doing so. Make it look good for the boss.

Gardner ended up taking a lethal cheap shot on the final snap, and no one in a winged helmet seemed to notice or care. That was eerily reminiscent of the hockey team a couple years ago when Mac Bennett was the recipient of a dirty hit at the end of a 5-1 blowout at the hands of lowly BGSU. No one responded, and it was obvious they were cooked.

Hoke talks about toughness constantly, but when asked to defend their quarterback they walked away, to a man. Maybe that's Taylor Lewan's fault too.

This program has a real knack for blaming the people who aren't around anymore for its current failings. Let's detail those real quick: Michigan is 3-7 in their last ten games with wins over Indiana, Northwestern in three overtimes, and Appalachian State. Brady Hoke was 16-4 with Denard Robinson as his starting quarterback and is 11-9 since, excluding the Nebraska game he went out of. Michigan has one road win over a team with a winning record, that over 7-6 Illinois in 2011. The trajectory is not good.

This is a breaking point. Either Michigan comes to Jesus, or they break. It was at this moment that Michigan hockey turned to Andrew Copp, a freshman, because it was clear no one else had any of that leadership stuff, and charged towards respectability. They ended up short, but it was better than that BGSU game in which they couldn't muster a third-period shot until 15 minutes in.

There's time yet to salvage something, Lloyd Carr-style, but little reason to believe such a thing is possible. One thing's certain: we are running out of people to blame other than the ones in charge.

Highlights

From the ND perspective, not that there's any other possible:

MGoVideo has the Michigan version of events.

Awards

brady-hoke-epic-double-point_thumb_31[2]Brady Hoke Epic Double Points Of The Week. Devin Funchess (#1) was real good at catching the ball, especially that one time they targeted him downfield at the end of the third quarter.

#2 Willie Henry was a key component of a run defense that held Notre Dame to 72 yards, sacks and whatnot excluded.

#3 Ryan Glasgow was also a key component of that run D.

Honorable mention:

Epic Double Point Standings.

6: Devin Funchess (#1, APP, #1 ND)
2: Devin Gardner (#2, APP), Willie Henry (#2 ND)
1: Ryan Glasgow (#3, ND)
0.5: Kyle Kalis (T3, APP), Ben Braden (T3, APP)

Brady Hoke Epic Double Fist-Pump Of The Week.

For the single individual best moment.

Nothing.

Honorable mention: Nothing.

Epic Double Fist-Pumps Past.

AppSt: Derrick Green rumbles for 60 yards.
ND: Nothing.

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK. Other than everything it has to be the fourth-and-three conversion on which Countess was nowhere to be found. That led to an ND touchdown that opened the margin to two touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Matt Wile misses two field goals to end longish drives and put Michigan in a hole. Gardner has Chesson wide open 20 yards downfield in front of his face, holds the ball, and gets annihilated, fumbling. Countess torched on a fade.

PREVIOUS EPBs

AppSt: Devin Gardner dares to throw an incomplete pass.
ND: Countess nowhere to be found on fourth and three.

[After the JUMP: things. probably!]

Offense

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[Fuller]

My perceptions of things are going to be warped. I have old-timey seats for home games and watch a lot of road games on TV, so I'm not used to the all-22-ish view endzone seats high up provide and don't feel particularly confident about evaluating anything line-related.

The thing about sitting there is that the field seems so unbelievably enormous and uncoverable, especially when there are two spreads going at each other.

Yup, spread. Michigan spent probably 80% of its night in a shotgun and with three wide or thereabouts. The personnel was often 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB; the tight ends acted as WRs maybe 40% of the time. And that seemed like the best option.

I'm still not sure how Michigan rushed for like two yards a carry; it felt like the line was actually opening up some holes. Speaking of…

Offensive line stuff. It also didn't feel like Gardner was under siege that much. There were a couple of inexplicable events where Sheldon Day (of all people) was left alone, but when they actually blocked guys the kind of pressure they were allowing was gentle pocket pushing that should have given Gardner enough time to get something done. He did not.

From my vantage point he looked confused; even aside from the turnovers—the fumble was truly boggling—he just did not get rid of the ball in a timely fashion. And the fumble was boggling. That pocket was fine; he had to move around a little but then had all day and a wide open Chesson right down the pipe. He ignored him.

TEMPO, TEMPO, TEMPO. I give up. IIRC, Gardner's first interception came on a play where Michigan got to the line late and had to snap or die, giving him little time to look at what the defense was providing and no time for the OL to identify a blitz off the corner that caused him to throw a ball to no one in a winged helmet. Then they were getting the play off with four seconds left on the clock in the third quarter. Michigan managed the clock worse than a team that burned all its first half timeouts in the first 12 minutes of the game.

This is not an offensive coordinator thing. This is a program thing. It is never going to be any better with Hoke in Ann Arbor.

Honeymoon: over. Despite the overall sensible shape of the offense, the swing away from Borges-ball was so severe that Michigan's first downfield shot at a 5'9" corner with Devin Funchess happened 45 minutes in. I'm flabbergasted by that. This wasn't throwing deep balls at Junior Hemingway in a trash tornado with Denard Robinson as your QB. It was an obviously good matchup for you featuring a height difference of at least a half-foot. It should have been tried on just about every drive.

Maybe I'll see a ton more pressure on Gardner that I thought existed watching the game live.

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so unbelievably tiny [Fuller]

Norfleet: extant. Dennis Norfleet was an unexpected focus of the offense in the first half; on the play above he caught up to a looping ball from Gardner for the world's shortest over-the-shoulder catch. Aside from one bubble screen he had no shot on, he was effective and productive. He even took a handoff for about ten yards. Hooray.

Speaking of that bubble: that kind of overplay is ripe for a riposte; Michigan never went back to it for the bubble-fake-to-slant-or-post thing.

Defense

The recovery. Jourdan Lewis was forced into a lot of playing time and suffered for it early. On ND's first touchdown drive he was the recipient of a couple of pass interference calls. This was one:

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[Bryan Fuller]

That was unnecessary panic. Check the sideline: the wide receiver is leaping into it. Lewis played that route about perfectly and freaked out when he'd already defeated the route.

But the run defense was great! Seriously, it was great. ND rushed for about 75 yards, sacks and whatnot excluded. ND's tailbacks each had a long of six yards and they only got as far as that because it felt like the linebackers were missing tackles on Cam McDaniel. On any other planet on any other day that is a foundation for victory. That is a win against a veteran offensive line and some good backs—Bryant in particular looked hard to bring down in ways that Michigan's backs are not.

No Peppers was bad. Delonte Hollowell got worked over in the slot, incapable of sticking with the slot receivers either inside or out. I wholeheartedly reject any idea that Michigan doesn't have enough talent or that injuries played a major factor when Notre Dame is down four starters, including their top WR; at this spot the dropoff was severe and understandable. Probably anyway, we haven't exactly seen Peppers play much.

Clark did have some impact. He was spinning around the left tackle with regularity, but Golson was mobile enough to get out of the way. Michigan didn't get enough contribution from a second guy to get Golson on the ground, and the guy is great on the move. They had one third and long conversion where he was flushed and put it on a guy's numbers 20 yards downfield and the coverage was actually tight. That one was just a tip of the hat.

Miscellaneous

Firing guy stuff. For the record, firing someone before the end of the regular season is a pointless exercise in self-immolation. I shouldn't have to say that, you're probably thinking, but I got a lot of emails and tweets about shoving Hoke out of the airplane on the way home. And, hey, Michigan could rip off a bunch of wins in a crappy conference and then this game is just a weird ND stadium juju thing. Information is good and we're about to get a lot more of it.

I do think this game changes the way an 8-4 season might be looked at, especially if it's followed by hamblastings at Michigan State (likely) and Ohio State (maybe not so likely). I don't know about everyone's dimestore psychological readings of Dave Brandon, a man who says "I could care less." Most assert that he won't admit he was wrong and will hold on to Hoke, but soft ticket demand threatens to undermine the only thing Brandon defenders have in their pocket: the annual budget's revenue line. Since Brandon defenders include Brandon, a move might happen as the guy attempts to save himself.

Of course, the prospect of another Brandon-led coaching search terrifies. You can deep-six an athletic director whenever you want. That would be the canary in the coal mine here.

The nicest thing about South Bend: going to a rivalry game without feeling like you may be assaulted at any time for wearing the wrong colors. I have been to Notre Dame five times and literally the worst thing that's happened to me is that a small child said "good game, mister" after Michigan lost 25-23 during the Navarre era. That will be the all-time record. I've gone to games that have nothing to do with Michigan wearing M gear and gotten more guff than I have in South Bend.

Weird that the same fanbase has the worst internet fans in the world, but you have to keep in mind that anyone talking about something on the internet is by definition part of the fringe—IIRC stats say 90% of people just read.

Here

Inside The Box Score:

Both teams had 8 TFLs. Notre Dame was able to overcome theirs. That may be because our defense only picked up 31 yards on our 8 TFLs, while they gained 52 yards.
* Only three of our 8 TFLs given up occurred in the first half, so I don't think you can blame them for the 21-0 deficit. That's a positive, right?
* Of the 8, only 2 were accrued by the running backs. For all the complaining about the offensive line, at least we're getting a stalemate or better in the running game. The problem is in the passing game where blockers are inexplicably leaving interior defensive lineman free to get to the QB, and the QB is not utilizing his pressure relief valves, i.e., the running backs. Joe Kerridge had 1 reception for 4 yards, and that's it for the RBs. When a team is blitzing consistently, the screen game or the quick dumpoff must be utilized. Joe Kerridge had 1 reception for 4 yards, and that's it for the RBs. Yes, that merits repeating because I thought we were done with that crap when Borges left.

Best And Worst:

Meh:  Pressure?

Honestly, I'm not sure what happened out there in terms of pressure from the defensive line.  You look at the box score and see some TFLs, 1 sack and a couple of QB hits and it looks like another disappointing outing for a unit that just can't seem to get to the QB against quality offensive lines.  And yet, ND was held to around 2.5 yards a carry on 28 non-QB runs, and Golson was definitely getting the ball out quickly to slow down the rush.  It still seems like it's a line of good players without a true playmaker, and in this scheme you need a line that can create havoc so that your corners and LBs are being forced to keep up with receivers for extended periods of time.  I know people want to treat this as another sign of hype being exposed, but I'm just not sure yet.

Elsewhere

Nussmeier gets the worst nut from the HSR:

nm0[1]

Might have to figure out what –1 is for State. Touch The Banner:

This offensive line isn't as bad as last year. Center Jack Miller was repeatedly shoved back into Devin Gardner's grill, and that's a problem. But not every team has a Jarron Jones. Mason Cole and Erik Magnuson had several communication issues on the left side, but that comes with the territory of starting a true freshman left tackle. Regardless of the numbers, I thought the offensive line looked closer to the one that opened up huge holes against Appalachian State than the one that soured the taste in our mouths in 2013. Michigan is not a team that can wear teams down by running the ball, but they should be able to run the ball enough to keep most defenses off balance.

The shutout streak is over. Sap issues no decals. The Mood:

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Comments

Ron Utah

September 8th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

Is this a clueless coaching staff?  We will know soon.

This game was a game-changer.  Losing to ND in a hard-fought contest would have been palatable, and even acceptable.  But getting hammered in that fashion indicates deep, troubling problems.

That said, we are still in the first year of a new offense and defense.  If these guys can coach, we'll be much better at playing pressure defense and the IZ/spread hybrid offense by the time we travel to MSU and OSU.  We must show well in both games; we need to win one.

Nussmeier and Mattison are accomplished coaches.  Hoke can recruit, his players love him, and seems to be a genuinely good man that is teaching his players life lessons.  With two good coordinators and some good talent, even a few boneheaded decisions by the head coach shouldn't be able to tank the team.

I really don't know what's going on.  Maybe Notre Dame is really good.  Maybe we are on our way to being really good in the new schemes.  Maybe Mattison, Nuss, and Hoke are all overrated.

Whatever the truth is, it will be clear by this season's end.  Like it or not, Brandon will have a big decision to make if things don't go well.

I am and have been a Hoke supporter, but I am also a believer in accountability.  If this boat doesn't get turned around to the tune of competing for the B1G championship game, it's time to consider a replacement.

Space Coyote

September 8th, 2014 at 2:34 PM ^

Honestly, I do. As someone who has had some influential coaches, who had dreams of being that type of coach, and has seen and understood the power of sports and what a great coach can do for many individuals that need that sort of thing, I really, really do give a shit.

Now, that's obviously only one part of it. I want Hoke and Michigan to win as much as anything else. But I do give a shit that I think he's a good guy. I do give a shit that I believe he genuinely cares about each and everyone one of his football players. Winning is the end all be all, but I'll tell you there are some coaches that would make winning feel hollow in a hurry. There are some coaches I could deal with either way. And there are some coaches that I want to win because I think they give a shit about being good people.

aiglick

September 8th, 2014 at 2:49 PM ^

I do agree with you that being a nice guy is amazing and I'm glad Hoke is our coach for that reason. However, as you said winning is of paramount importance and Hoke needs to show he can do that especially on the road in big rivalry games. I agree with Brian also that there are a lot more data points this year and if we win at MSU and or OSU I'll be pretty happy as that will show massive improvement.

We are one of the blue blood programs of college football and one of the bigger programs in an area of the country that is also pretty obsessed with college football. There's almost no reason for our program not to be a Top 10 program on average.

bighouse22

September 8th, 2014 at 3:02 PM ^

I do want to caution against judging a win at OSU or MSU as massive improvement, until we know if they are good teams or not.  I would rate a victory at MSU above one over OSU at this point based on the limited sample size.  OSU did not look very good to me against VT.  I want to reserve judgment on that game until we see where the teams are at the end of the year.

My biggest fear is a win against a very down OSU team creating a false impression of massive improvement and resulting in a contract extension.  I will grant you that such a victory would probably result in affording Hoke another year to prove himself, but I wouldn't take it too far.  That also assumes the rest of the season does not have a significant number bad losses.

RobSk

September 8th, 2014 at 3:19 PM ^

I really do. I'm not saying it's making what happened Saturday ok. It's not ok. It was awful. But I REALLY care whether he's a good man.

FWIW, I care in a similar (not the same) way I care about my pastor being a good man, despite the fact that our parish is dying a horrible financial death. I would not trade him in for a complete jerk who was an amazing speaker that drew people from miles around. 

Again, that said, I really hope we can put good guy and successful coach together at some point.

Soon.

Not asking for anybody to be fired, but Saturday hurt real bad.

     Rob

TreyBurkeHeroMode

September 8th, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

"His job isn't to be a good man, its to coach and win football games."

I dunno, man. That way lies Nick Saban, Jim Tressel, Lane Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, Brian Kelly, Barry Switzer, Dennis Erickson, Jimmy Johnson, etc. I really don't want to be cheering for a man I'd be uncomfortable having coach my son.

Do I want a guy who wins? Yeah, of course. But a "good man" who wins in a revenue sport isn't a unicorn -- Michigan's got one right next door at Crisler. I don't know if Hoke can win at Michigan but I'd rather be embarrassed on the field and proud off it than the other way around.

massblue

September 8th, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

This coaching staff and the foundation of the footballprogram has to be demolished and rebuilt. There are so many things to dislike about the way this program is run 
 
1. The legend number business.  It creates a star system -- something that Bo hated and said that it is the quickest way to demoralizing a team.  Players are more worried about their Jersey numbers than their passing or rushing numbers.
 
2. Our HC has zero reputation as a defensive or offensive guru
 
3. Our HC appoints someone with no coaching or playing experience in the secondary to work with our DBs
 
4. Our 5th year QB loses confidence the moment he is hit
 
5. Our OL has not developed. Mark my word, Cole is going to be a worse OT three years from now under Funk
 

stephenrjking

September 8th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

I don't think 8-4 can be tolerated. I see regular board folks suggest that 8-4 is both likely and reasonably acceptable. Brian is right that this blowout changes how it would be viewed, but...

It wouldn't be viewed well anyway. Because 8-4 means Michigan loses on the road to a team it is way better than (say, Rutgers or Northwestern) or at home to a team compared to which they have both more talent and Hoke's vital home field advantage. 

Michigan is more talented than nine teams on its schedule. It should beat all nine. Failure to do so would result in... meltdown.

Seriously, Saturday was a pretty major meltdown. Penn State last year, on the road, in a close game, the first loss of the season, was an all-time board meltdown and bad elsewhere too.

Regular fans, not just the ones that post on message boards, will not take kindly to losing to teams that Michigan should beat. If it happens at home, the boos will come fast and hard. Frankly, if Michigan doesn't score a TD on at least one of the first two possessions Saturday, they'll start then. If Michigan struggles against Minnesota, the boos will be there. If they look bad at night against Penn State, the boos will be there.

Hoke has to win 9.

Now, it's possible it could happen--the OL is rebuilding, and the defense is learning, and for all we know all this teaching will finally catch in the last half of the year and the team will look good. But the pressure is on.

Reader71

September 8th, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

Brady Hoke will not be the only head coach on the field against Utah.

The Utes were 1-4 on the road last season. The season prior, they went 1-5. The year before, they went 4-2.

Unless Hoke is the only guy who's road record counts, Utah ought not to be a major threat. Any given Saturday, of course. And we don't want to take them lightly. But they have stunk on the road, and a lot of us believe that is an immutable fact that can never change.

robpollard

September 8th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

We went through this a bit over the spring/summer, with many, many posters asserting Hoke was not on the "hot seat" or merely had to have a decent season to surivive ("the OL is young!" "2015 is the year"). That might be "fair", but in today's college football, that couldn't be more wrong. You can't be below average (and well below "elite"), typically losing to your main rivals (often badly) 3 years in a row. And never sniffing a B1G title or Rose Bowl in 4 years. I think it's pretty simple for the regular season:

- 7 wins or less: fired
- 8 wins: only survives if he beats both MSU and OSU (possible -- but highly unlikely)
- 9 wins: only survives if he beats MSU or OSU (or obviously, both)
- 10 wins: no problems, even with this 31-0 loss, b/c by definition he will have beaten at least MSU or OSU, and UM will be in contention for the B1G title.

That's it. I don't think it gets more complicated than that.

robpollard

September 8th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

I realize I'm not the AD. But I can still recognize the reality of the situation. If you think Brandon keeps Hoke in any situation beyond what I mentioned above (e.g., 8-4 with losses to ND, MSU, and let's say Penn State and Utah), well then I guess we'll just have to wait a couple months and find out.

Hopefully, we'll go 10-2 and this will all be moot. But my guess is that's not the case.

CLord

September 8th, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

Disagree.  Brandon won't be making a move unless he has some reasonable assurance as to who the replacement will be in advance.  I think Hoke keeps his job even with 7 wins this season again, pending some strong candidate becoming viable.  Hoke showed he can make a change with canning Borges, and I bet after this year he gets new secondary and O-line coaches, and it's business as usual.

I suspect that, even though we lost this game, the team will actually perform better vs State (hard to do worse) and might beat Ohio.  

We are better than this game showed.  ND is under-ranked because of Gholston.  QB is by far the most impactful position on the field and he just may be the best QB in the country this year.  He took ND undefeated to the NC game two years ago - he's a stud.  ND's schedule is brutal but if they were in the BIG they would be the favorites in my book.

stephenrjking

September 8th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

So, they lose to MSU and OSU yet again (some of us hate losing to them ever), PLUS two other losses? Who are they going to lose to that is going to be acceptable to the paying customers? Utah and Penn State? Minnesota and Northwestern? Which one of these losses will fans just shrug off and say, "oh well?"

None of them. This is RichRod total fanbase rebellion territory. 7 wins will result in an outcry from fans and donors and will result in a sharp drop in ticket sales.

People really are prejudiced against Brandon. He does stuff we don't like, but he is a businessman and if Hoke is destroying his most important product, Brandon will not retain him.

robpollard

September 8th, 2014 at 1:29 PM ^

" I think Hoke keeps his job even with 7 wins this season again..." I can not see that happening. At all.

That would likely mean losses to ND (a historic blowout), to MSU (likely a blowout), OSU (who knows) and two other teams from the worst "major" conference in America (or Utah, which isn't much better). All the people who matter -- fans, donors, alum players, recruits -- will not be OK with that.

A change would be made, even if we don't have assurance who the replacement would be. Because the sentiment (quite understanably, I think, if we go 7-5 again) would be, "I don't know who the next coach of UM will be, But he can't be worse than Hoke."

Blue in Yarmouth

September 9th, 2014 at 10:38 AM ^

but only because he is currently the coach. I didn't like the hire and have questioned lots of things he's done since his arrival (probably as much as anyone), but I have to agree with this stance. As much as I would love to have an upgrade at the head coaching posiition, if that isn't possible I wouldn't pull the trigger at the end of the season regardless what the record is. 

Honestly, I just don't know where we go from here. You fire Hoke without knowing you're upgrading at the HC position and not only are you rolling the dice on the next regime but you're also going to torpedo the recruiting class, not to mention having some current players transfer. Now if the guy is a clear upgrade (by some fluke a Harbaugh come available or some other proven commodity) that's a risk many would take, but for someone who may not be the answer and necessitate us going through the same thing a couple of years down the road...I don't think so.

Again, I'd like nothing more than to get a clear upgrade at the HC position, but if that isn't there we would be putting this program at significant risk on a wing and a prayer. I wouldn't do it personally. 

bronxblue

September 8th, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

Sounds about right, but I doubt that was different before the season.  I mean, if by some crazy situation Hoke beats MSU and OSU and blows games against, I don't know, Rutgers and Indiana, then I could see a combination of 7 wins plus a bowl game being acceptable.  But yeah, he needs to beat good teams, and that isn't really news.

davidhm

September 8th, 2014 at 1:35 PM ^

"We went through this a bit over the spring/summer, with many, many posters asserting Hoke was not on the "hot seat" or merely had to have a decent season to surivive ("the OL is young!" "2015 is the year"). "

 

/\ This is what I am talking about.  Hoke's "seat" went from comfortably cool to unbearably hot in one Saturday - albeit the 2nd Saturday of the season!  Going in to this game, I was one of many that felt 5-years was a guarantee. This game changes everything.  And I'm not the only one.  I've talked to and heard countless others move from Hoke supporter to getting in line at   "Ann Arbor Fire and Pitchfork".

The negative recruiting will reach fever pitch - if it hasn't already.  Hell, Mike and Mike have aleady made the "Harbaugh losing his lockeroom + Michigan got waxed = Harbaugh to Michigan" leap.  

I think we all are getting what we feared back in 2011 - the pain of another rebuilding, but this time with a Michigan Man whom, it appears, isn't fit to do the rebuilding. 

Reader71

September 8th, 2014 at 4:04 PM ^

What if they win 8 in the regular season and win the conference? Or the division? It's never that cut and dry.

Unless it changed Saturday night (that loss could have changed it), Brady Hoke was not on the hot seat before the season began. Everyone I've talked to that is close to the program has confirmed that. I have to believe Saturday hurt, but most people involved with football will put a lot more weight into the rest of the season than 4 bad quarters on the road. Sorry man, that's just how it is. It's totally independent of your sense of reality.

Reader71

September 8th, 2014 at 7:48 PM ^

I've never heard anything like that. I have heard that the first thing they looked at was the makeup of the roster and they were kind if shocked that there was missing classes of OL and DL. That's not a surprise, though. Hoke went after both lines very hard as soon as he got here.

For the record, I haven't kept in touch with guys currently in the building. But I have friends that do. My opinion is my own, most players don't talk about it with outsiders because people really don't understand. I read the blog for 4-5 years before I became a regular commenter.

markusr2007

September 8th, 2014 at 1:56 PM ^

I could be wrong. But I just can't visualize 8 wins anymore.

At 1-1, Michigan has 4 more away games to play this fall:

  • at Rutgers  (potential close loss, I'm thinking 2013 UConn game at Rentschler Field, but with less happy result, also night road game which UM sucks at right now)
  • at Northwestern (likely win, because they are just more horrible)
  • at Michigan State (likely loss, hard to believe last win in EL was under Carr 2007)
  • at Ohio (potential win, but at Horseshoe, where UM has had nothing since 2000).

The only slam dunk win left is Miami (Ohio) this coming weekend. 

That's sad.

While all other UM home games seem like potential wins, but it's not like home losses would shock anyone anymore following the 0-31 road shellacking to a undermanned ND squad. Suddenly what we liked to call an "undermanned" Indiana squad with 4 of 5 returning OL and TB Tevin Coleman looks pretty godammned terrifying yet again. Same for Utah, PSU and Maryland.  I can visualize Michigan losing these football games.

I thought 8-4 was reasonable and likely before last weekend.

Not anymore.

7-5 looks more and more like best case for Hoke in 2014. I'm aware that another 7-5 or 7-6   would go down like a fart in church.

klctlc

September 8th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

Being at the game and then watching on TV were totally different. Brian's comments about the gardner getting hit and nobody doing anything are spot on. I mentioned an ND's fan's comments to me and that is exactly what I am talking about.  MI just had nothing.  

Who knows what would happen if Wile didn't have the yips. But the team had no energy.

Erik_in_Dayton

September 8th, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

This game has me thinking of the following from Morrissey:

When you try to break my spirit

it just won't happen

Because there's nothing left to break anymore...

I fully intend to keep watching the team and rooting for the team.  But I do not have it in me to get worked up over anything that happens anymore so long as we're talking about on-the-field stuff.  Something in my fan-mind broke. 

evenyoubrutus

September 8th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

It really felt like there were only two aspects of the game that were truly bad: the corners in coverage and Gardner not seeing the field.  We don't know for sure whether Nussmeier had wanted to go deep to Funchess and maybe Gardner screwed up his reads?  Gardner had plenty of time all day and he just couldn't find anyone downfield.  Somehow it was a perfect storm that ND took perfect advantage of and leveraged it into a scoreboard blowout.

bluebyyou

September 8th, 2014 at 1:31 PM ^

Maybe it will take some time, but I wonder if Devin will become comfortable in the pocket.  He also seems to still hone in on one receiver.  Last year, Gallon, and now Funchess.

A couple of Brian's point were spot on.  One in particular was that we have changed the style of play of our DB's to press coverage and our DB coach has never coached the position? WTF?  The Jake Ryan experiment?  Jury is still out, but hmmmmm.........

Funk - why is he still there?  If you look at his history, he never had much in the way of stats to suggest stellar performance.  

Even Nuss, and he gets somewhat of a pass because he is still new, but why is he calling bunches of running plays when we are behind by three TD's in the second half?

Although this game was horrible, it was not one bad game.  It was another in a streak of bad performances going back to the beginning of last year.  In 2012, although our record didn't reflect it, there was enthusiasm on the team, probably because it was impossible not to have enthusiasm with one Denard Robinson's desire to win.

Hoke is a good man, but the wrong man for the job.  Not everyone can be the CEO of a big company, and that's OK, but he needs to be replaced by someone with a better set of skills.

meddler

September 8th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

Hoke is losing Brian, it would seem:

"One thing's certain: we are running out of people to blame other than the ones in charge."

"It is never going to be any better with Hoke in Ann Arbor."