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


[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 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.


  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.


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

MGoVideo has the Michigan version of events.


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.


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.


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

[After the JUMP: things. probably!]




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.


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.


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:


[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.


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.


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.


Nussmeier gets the worst nut from the HSR:


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:




September 8th, 2014 at 2:58 PM ^

I suspect he is pushing for a faster tempo in practice; all reports from players and observers is that they do seem to run a bit faster.  But come gametime, perhaps Nussmeier and/or Hoke noticed guys were messing up and figured they should take more time pre-snap to get everyone on the right page.  I'm not sure.  But I still contend Brian is made at the same result but perhaps a different cause than he thinks.  But again, I'm not sure.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

I want to reserve judgment.  It's just one game, right?  It's early in the season, right?  But no, this game is the sum of all the doubts that have crept into my brain over the last couple seasons.  The inability to win on the road. Suspect playcalling.  Terrible clock management.  Hoke clapping, slapping backs, and not getting in the refs' faces when they made several questionable calls. This team needs a hard ass, not Wayne Fontes II. If they beat Utah, great, but it doesn't change anything.  Beat MSU in EL and I'll perk up a little.  Otherwise, get FlightAware.com bookmarked in time for December.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

" For the record, firing someone before the end of the regular season is a pointless exercise in self-immolation."

USC was worlds better after firing Kiffin mid-season and having Ed Orgeron take over as interim coach. They then went out and hired the guy they targeted from the start. That mid-deason firing is an example of when it works.

I'm actually in favor of mid-season firings at a big time program. You send signals to the market that you are looking for a coach and have more time to hire one (presumably being able to preserve the recruiting class).


September 8th, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

Kiffin is a special case - he's a massive headache in the press and (it sounds) behind the scenes.  Also, USC still basically lost to the good teams on their schedule after they replaced Kiffin - they lost badly to UCLA and looked like crap against a mediocre ND team.  They did have a nice win against Stanford, but who's to say that wouldn't have happened under Kiffin.

A mid-season change, at best, maybe gets UM one more win if everything goes right.  But they'll still need to do the coaching search in the winter, and I doubt anyone who is available after the bowl season wouldn't be available if they fired Hoke a week later.


September 8th, 2014 at 2:09 PM ^

A major point of Haden's argument is that recruits were bailing, which may have been true. It also may become a problem here.

For me, the main reason not to change early is that the key games are in November and I think it's fair to give Hoke a chance to win them, barring total meltdown before then. And I think there's a chance he could do it. We are speculating on an end-of-season decision without the evidence of most of the season here.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

1.  Some drunk guy walking the opposite way of us headed to the car as yelling expletives and invinting all Michigan fans to go home and/or do unnatural stuff.  So, there's one a-hole in the crowd, but the Domers next to us apologized.  Otherwise, fans were fine.  There were a lot of mixed groups, which might help keep a lid on things.

2.  Gardner went over towards the sideline to get a call.  Nuss would walk almost to the hash marks before getting sent back by the linesman.  This game played out often, as least when Michigan was in the half away from ND students.

3.  Otherwise, I couldn't see a darn thing, so beats me what happened.

4.  That said, I'll defer to wiser people, but it didn't feel to me like the line was doing as well as it least it seems like is being implied.  Eh, what do I know.  I'd point out, however, that I heard Jarron Jones's name a lot, and nothing other than stale recruiting rankings in advance of the game suggested that this would happen.  Maybe he put it together.  I dunno.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:29 PM ^

"This program has a real knack for blaming the people who aren't around anymore for its current failings."

Umm, no offense, but so does this blog.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:39 PM ^

Please be the bad notre dame ju ju thing. Life is just way more fun when your favorite team dominates.
Now then....re-commence Appalachian state type whoopings the rest of the season!

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


September 8th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

That's kinda what I've been saying all long.  This game was terrible, but it was:

1) Penalties spooking the defense and extending ND's drives

2) Wile (kickers are weird)

3) Gardner (rattled or injured or both)

4) ND getting lucky in stringing to together plays while Michigan sputtered

Michigan was getting first downs (when they weren't insta-turnover) on almost every drive.  I reviewed every drive and counted exactly one three-and-out.  The offense went for almost 300 yards and got nothing.  That's hard to do!  The defense allowed no big plays and completely shut down ND in the second half.  It's staggering just how much progress got pissed away in this game.  31-0 is 31-0, Michigan did a ton of awful things to deserve to get blown out, and I do wonder why they kept Countess playing man or didn't send Funchess on a go route every play, but this wasn't 2013 Iowa (Michigan got 158 yards TOTAL offense that game and still scored 2 offensive TDs).  If anything that's what made this game so goddamn frustrating.

Now, does that mean Michigan is fine for the rest of the season?  Hell no.  They gotta figure out what's wrong with Gardner, Wile and Countess and fix 'em fast.  If they can't fix it the coaches should be fired, but if sloppy play and bad luck and bad officiating turned a two-score defeat into a 30-point blowout then the rest is just regression to the mean.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:41 PM ^

I was at the game as well.  It was brutal.  I do feel bad for Devin Gardner as he wasn't given much time by the offensive line.  That said, his carelessness with the ball when scrambling is alarming.  I'm not sure what the O-Line coach does but getting 4 star recruits to play well isn't one.  The d-backs also are not showing any improvement.  Nussmeier's playing calling was questionable at best.  The lack of developed wide receivers (Funchess aside) is alarming.  With no other receivers, Funchess was getting mugged.  Michigan has no one who can beat a DB deep with speed.  Unless the O-Line shows marked pocket protection and the DB's tighten their coverage, this could be a long year.  Perhaps Jim Harbaugh will now come back?

Ty Butterfield

September 8th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

I gave up on Hoke after last season. Nothing this season has changed my mind. He looks lost and so does the team. The hiring of Hoke probably set this program back at least 10 years. I don't see this team turning things around. I also don't want DB hiring another football coach. This "Michigan Man" bullshit has got to stop. That is why the football program is in shambles. There is no point in trying to hire a new coach until someone at Michigan sees the light and gives DB the boot.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

The actual (not paid) attendance at this Saturday's game ought to be very, very telling about what the fanbase thinks of Hoke's job performance.

3-7 in the past 10 (with one of those the miracle FG, and another the joke Indiana game), one road victory over a .500+ team in 4 years? Shamone.


September 8th, 2014 at 1:56 PM ^

It's too early to declare the season lost and hit eject button on Hoke. Let's see how they respond to this.   I expect improvement each week.  Mid season firing would destroy recruiting drop perceptions of Michigan to near all time lows.

If a new coach is indeed needed - and it may well be - the next hire is a mortally important one for Michigan.  It had better be a slam dunk both in terms of x's and o's, recruiting and fit with Michigan culture/program.  A third straight coaching miss resulting from a reactiionary and speculative hire would nuke the program in perhaps permanent ways. {shudder}







One Inch Woody…

September 8th, 2014 at 2:16 PM ^

I know it's hard to stomach and admit, but ND played perfect football and took advantage of every opportunity. Gholson was deadly accurate on every pass... Even on the run. They had one false start penalty that didn't even matter. They were properly equipped to defend all short type routes and Jaylon Smith is an insanely fast heat seeking missile. At least we got to experience an SEC style beating before the bowl game.


September 8th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

FWIW, our backs averaged just shy of 4 YPC.

I agree completely about the firing guys stuff section

It's folly to fire Hoke now, but the bar is raised for this season after that. Before this game, I thought all he needed to do was show progress and stay above .500. Now the ND game shifted perception so far the other way, that Hoke will need to show something more to offset it. I'm still not going to say 9-3 or bust, but how we play against MSU and OSU suddenly matter a lot more. One more humiliating losses, let alone two, may be just a bridge too far to come back from.



September 8th, 2014 at 2:50 PM ^

I left the game with four minutes left after Hoke and Nuss elected to run a draw on 3rd and 9 and then went for it on 4th down. The 4th down when Gardner got sacked by new fewer than five Domer's. Most of my section was already gone and the "Fire Dave Brandon" chants had started.

Also, like Brian said, the ND fans were incredibly welcoming. Here's the worst thing that anyone said:

"Welcome to Notre Dame"


"Go Irish!"




September 8th, 2014 at 3:05 PM ^

They often sum up my thoughts exactly.  I rarely post comments, but wanted to make a record of this one.  I believe this was a one game thing for this season.  I don't think we will go to MSU and beat them, but I also believe we will have a >50% chance of beating OSU.  I expect we will win all the other games on our schedule.  We knew two things about this team going into the year - the O-line was the big question mark and would take some time to season, and Hoke teams haven't played well on the road.  I feel better about the O-line, but also agree with Brian and others that RB Smith should see the majority of the carries bc he seems to be the more physical runner.  The road games are very winnable outside of MSU, and who knows how this team will react...  Remaining road games are 10/04 at Rutgers (night game), 10/25 at MSU, 11/08 at NW, 11/29 at OSU.  After watching the rest of the bigtenish in action, we match up just fine (Utah and Maryland could get a little tricky) and I predict this team is going to be laser-focused on winning the conference.

One last prediction, we will be the winningest team in history, by win percentage and total wins, by the end of this season.


September 8th, 2014 at 3:18 PM ^

This is the one team that I think Hoke really, really wants to beat.  I know he wants to win all the games, but the coaching staff seems to do a little extra for The Game and OSU looks like a mess right now too.  If the rest of the season goes as I think it will, we will be 9-2 and playing for a possible right to go to the Big 10 championship game (depending on what MSU does this year).


September 8th, 2014 at 3:10 PM ^

It's obvious to pretty much every non-UM fan I know that Brady Hoke will never win a National Title. That should tell UM fans all they need to know about whether to keep him or not.

Can Brady go 9-3 or 8-4 this year? Sure. Is that good enough for Michigan in year 4 of a coach's tenure?


September 8th, 2014 at 4:06 PM ^

I am already done with Hoke.  It doesnt matter what happens the rest of the year.  We will get destroyed at MSU which is the only team at this point left on the schedule that is in a spot UM should be. OSU is not good this year.  It will be like beating Fickell's OSU.  Frankly I was done with him last year because I saw no moments of brilliance an elite coach will do even if his team is outmanned early in his career.  UM has not upset anyone better than them in 3 years other than VaTech I guess and that was a mystery how we won.

Tell me an instance in 3+ years Hoke has outcoached anyone of merit.  We have won on occassion versus teams with fatal flaws (MSU's awful OL and QB in 2012, Fickell OSU) but other than having the FG squad ready to kick a FG as time expired in 2013 v NW I cannot think of one game or one moment Coach Hoke has outschemed, outcoached, outprepared our team versus a good opponent.  Sorry we just haven't.   Devin went ham on ND 2013 for us to win - that was one guy having the night of his life - not a well coached team IMO, Denard went crazy in the last 1:30 vs ND 3 years ago - we were outplayed in that one.  Virginia Tech we got lucky as hell to win that game.... to this day I dont understand how we won it.

Tell me any premier coach you feel more comfortable facing with Hoke on the sideline versus.  Tell me one premier coach you would not trade with Hoke immediately forgetting about "how nice of a guy he is".  Hoke has not shown it in 3 years 2 games he is among the top 25 coaches in America.  He will not show it in the next 10 games.  You guys are waiting for a miracle that  is not coming.  The clapping down 28-0, and 31-0 was pure buffoonery as was putting Funchess back in down 28. 


September 8th, 2014 at 4:40 PM ^

Michigan has never beat anyone with Xs and Os since Coach Hoke has been on board - at least not to my untrained eye.  But my hope for him has always been that he could be a Les Miles or Boddy Bowden type: a guy who sets a certain tone for the program and who recruits really well and who lets his coordinators handle the details. 

So, the Xs and Os thing doesn't worry me too much, because there are different ways to be a good HC in college.  What worries me is simply the losses (and the manner of some of those losses). 

Long story short: I want to see how the rest of the season goes, and I'm not too worried about the Xs and Os as such, but I would be for firing Hoke if the season ended today. 


September 8th, 2014 at 4:24 PM ^

When Hoke was hired, I thought it was a good choice because he was a no hype guy that the fan base would have no huge expectations with, giving him some more space to turn around what was unquestionably a clusterfuck situation. He initially out performed that expectation, maybe to his own detriment, when we went 11-2. The clusterfuck loomed still and started to creep in again after that.

It's a little more clear now that Hoke is not going to be a NC caliber coach as you say. Considering my initial reaction to him, I'm ok with that. He's the right guy to stablize the ship and dig out from the RR years. He restocks the cupboard, keeps the program clean, improves APR, etc and gets us back to respectable. After that, if the 9-3 duldrums of Lloyd Carr returns after that, I think he gets a firm handshake and a job well done for restoring the program and we replace him with a big name hire as that becomes available.

Pending the outcome of the rest of this season, I still think he's the right guy for the situation Michigan finds itself in. But, I'm a lot more patient than most Michigan fans.


September 8th, 2014 at 3:29 PM ^

and I think the pressure got to the coaches, too.  No real fire from anyone.  A consumate team choke.  No one made a play when they had to.  Bo's teams were known to do this on ocassion.  (Pick your favorite frustrating Rose Bowl loss)

So, if you are doing press coverage on 4th and 3, then you best hit the guy at the line of scrimmage and knock him off his route to screw up the timing.  Countess wasn't popping the guy square in his chest to slow him down.  That works for a slant or an out.  On that play, he looked like he tried to push a shoulder.  Turned out to be the wrong one to push given the guy was cutting to his right on a slant, not his left.  I would think that this is being taught, right?

So, they created some adversity for themselves.  Let's hope they get up, dust themselves off, and keep it together from here going forward.  Or...change will be inevitable.  Dave B. knows it.



September 8th, 2014 at 3:30 PM ^

When Hoke was hired he set out one goal "to win Big Ten Championships" he is now in year 4, anything short of an appearance in that game and he should be let go. 

If I worked at a job for 4 years and did not meet my goals, pretty sure my employer would have something to say to me.


September 8th, 2014 at 3:47 PM ^

1. Losing the fanbase, in the concrete forms of ticket sales and donations.
2. Losing the team, to the point where they simply go through the motions for him and his staff.
3. Losing the recruits, in the form of decommits and attrition.

The first is our ADs bottom line - if the HC looks to be a problem on that front, he's gone.
The second is the teams bottom line - if he won't play for them, he's gone.
The third is the programs bottom line - if he can't lay the foundation for future teams, he's gone.

I don't have data for the first point, and the schedule makes it a poor year to judge; these things take time to play out. I did not see the team quit on Hoke last year or last Saturday, and I haven't seen the recruiting impact yet. If we do, then a mid-season firing might be considered, but I don't think it is, or should be, right now.


September 8th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

Devin simply cannot handle adversity 9 out of 10 times.  Yes you will give me the OSU game as an exception.  Exceptions are not the rule.  I think Devin's heart is in the right spot.  I didnt see any progress from 2013 Devin in the spring game or the scrimmage.  He did look great vs App State throwing to Funchess who no one on App State could cover.  But he still mostly ignored his secondary targets there  so it sort of fools gold as will this week be.

He simply has not progressed.  Look at what Kelly has done with Golson.  Golson missed an entire year so doesnt have the game experience that Devin has now.  Look at what we've done with Devin and compare to Golson.  One looked headed to the NFL and that is not Devin.  I thought have Nuss on the sideline would shake Devin up from these issues but it seems adversity really breaks Devin's spirit and he turns to panic.  It's not once or twice, we have a lot of this now.  It's a pattern and it doesnt bode well the rest of the year as he will be facing a lot of adversity.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:21 PM ^

Isnt in incredible,  how a guy like Navarre, who, you know, actually won big games for us, was universally ripped on and called terrible.....  yet Gardner, is given Harmon's jersey, and has won nothing... nothing...and not a peep by fans, despite going 3-7 the last ten games....  its just incredible......  


September 8th, 2014 at 5:19 PM ^

Navarre was underappreciated.  You look at the history books and his production was off the chart especially in an era where spread concepts were only being born and UM's team speed was lacking.  I dont recall if Navarre played vs FSU or who our QB was but I was at that game and it was like watching a pro team out there versus a MAC team.  So I think when we played elite teams we suffered but it wasnt a Navarre thing.

As for Devin, there is no good alternative.  Shane does not look ready for prime time so I dont know what to say.  QB is the most important position in all sports and Devin has immense highs and lows.  His has no consistency and stability - we can get 1 week of Vince Young followed by 3 weeks of "Hi Coach I just showed up on campus, where do the QBs practice?"

My personal opinion is he is completely shell shocked from what happened last year.  So his body is constantly reacting to a rush that may or may not be there.  I don't blame him for that.  I think Matt Stafford has the same issues after 2 major injuries early in his career- he gets rid of the ball early so as to not take hits.  Devin panics (and unfortunately still takes hits a lot).  Combined with a guy who from all accounts is not a "water off my back" mentality - he seems to internalize things and let it linger, its not a good combination.   Going back to the NFL comparison I think he just came to a bad situation - it is like if Tom Brady was drafted by the Lions rather than the Patriots I doubt he would be 1 of the best QBs of all time despite any natural mental or physical traits Tom has.   You need to be in the right environment too and the combination of coaches, and OL disaster, and his makeup are just not working.  Seeing how far Golson has come without the benefit of 12-13 games last year in 18 month and watching Devin versus 18 months ago; one player looks like the same player he was back then while the other looks light years ahead of where he was late 2012.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:16 PM ^

As a long time Lions fan I can tell you this is how it feels to be a Lions fan.  You change the faces, you change the names, you get the same results.  Every so often you get that year (2011) where things fall in place and your W-L works out due to some quirks in schedule or breaks in certain games - you get hopeful and then Lucy pulls the football the next year and you are back to the swirl.

You get thousands of  message board posters - some defending the regime, some wanting firings, some blame management, some blame coaching, some blame players, etc.  It's all the same just at the college level.  Its toxic - you get numb to it.  Most eventually watch more for amusment rather than have their heart to it because eventually your heart is broken too often.  Yes you still 'care' and are still 'invested' but not like the old days or when you were young and hopefuly.  Reading this board the past few years reminds me of Lions message boards for 20 years.  The last 7 years of UM football is the last 50 years of Lions football.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

Right.. what needs to change is to bench Gardner....he has earned it... Incredible how little this has been discussed..... his skittishness has already gotten Borges fired, and soon its gonna be Hoke...  Gardner has had his chance many times over.....     put in Morris and give him his chance.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

For my first post let me say this. Realize that when the inevitable firing takes place and the coaching search begins, there are certian issues that have to be addressed.

Remember (if you read Bacons "Three and Out") the "factions" at M have to be addressed. There was the "anti Miles" camp, the "anti Harbughs" and even the "Bump Elliot" factions plus of course the Bo & Carr groups that ALL had their agendas.

Its just too fracticious (is that a word?). Do you think its changed. Any coach you bring in doomed to fail unless he gets the full support of the admin and the AD. The AD has to corral the fractions and tell them THIS is our coach. Get on board or get out. Thats what Canham did when people were questioning the hiring of Bo.

As a fan since the early 60's you can draw a parallel today with the last years of the Bump Elliot years before Canham came in and hired Bo. Sparty and OSU were the dominate teams in the Big 10. M was a middle of the road program. Sound like today?

We need that kind of leadership that got us out of that hole. Sadly Hoke & Brandon aren't in the same league as Bo & Canham.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

For my first post let me say this. Realize that when the inevitable firing takes place and the coaching search begins, there are certian issues that have to be addressed.

Remember (if you read Bacons "Three and Out") the "factions" at M have to be addressed. There was the "anti Miles" camp, the "anti Harbughs" and even the "Bump Elliot" factions plus of course the Bo & Carr groups that ALL had their agendas.

Its just too fracticious (is that a word?). Do you think its changed. Any coach you bring in doomed to fail unless he gets the full support of the admin and the AD. The AD has to corral the fractions and tell them THIS is our coach. Get on board or get out. Thats what Canham did when people were questioning the hiring of Bo.

As a fan since the early 60's you can draw a parallel today with the last years of the Bump Elliot years before Canham came in and hired Bo. Sparty and OSU were the dominate teams in the Big 10. M was a middle of the road program. Sound like today?

We need that kind of leadership that got us out of that hole. Sadly Hoke & Brandon aren't in the same league as Bo & Canham.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

For my first post let me say this. Realize that when the inevitable firing takes place and the coaching search begins, there are certian issues that have to be addressed.

Remember (if you read Bacons "Three and Out") the "factions" at M have to be addressed. There was the "anti Miles" camp, the "anti Harbughs" and even the "Bump Elliot" factions plus of course the Bo & Carr groups that ALL had their agendas.

Its just too fracticious (is that a word?). Do you think its changed. Any coach you bring in doomed to fail unless he gets the full support of the admin and the AD. The AD has to corral the fractions and tell them THIS is our coach. Get on board or get out. Thats what Canham did when people were questioning the hiring of Bo.

As a fan since the early 60's you can draw a parallel today with the last years of the Bump Elliot years before Canham came in and hired Bo. Sparty and OSU were the dominate teams in the Big 10. M was a middle of the road program. Sound like today?

We need that kind of leadership that got us out of that hole. Sadly Hoke & Brandon aren't in the same league as Bo & Canham.


September 8th, 2014 at 10:42 PM ^

He just never had the talent as HC to run a major football program. If he had some management skills he would have put together a complete and competent coaching staff and probably would have done well here, getting the 9 or 10 wins per year to keep everyone happy. I thought Mattison was going to be a great coach but I'm not sure if the fire is there plus I think he is unhappy that he did not get to pick his own defensive coaches. Brady had the final decision who was going to coach the defensive positions. Brady did a poor job as a position coach at DL. May be he was good back in the mid and late 90s when that was his only concern.

If Michigan wants to be a top program they will have to pay a lot of money for the top college coach or lure Jim from the 49ers. If they are going to pick another mediocre coach, they might as well keep Hoke and enjoy the 4 to 5 loss seasons.


September 8th, 2014 at 4:26 PM ^

Anyone have a clip of the cheapshot at the end on Gardner?  I obviously turned off the TV before the final whistle and deleted my DVR of the game as soon as I woke up on Sunday - after realizing it was not all just a bad dream.


September 8th, 2014 at 5:03 PM ^

DAE think that getting outrecruited by OSU every single year, almost by default, is not necessarily a strength?

If recruiting "decently well" is Hoke's selling point, then I'd say he should be gone yesterday.


September 8th, 2014 at 6:48 PM ^

then I watch them play and see 7

I can't fathom why the first time we went downfield to Funchess was the 3rd quarter. It's not like he was covered. He had probably 5-6 receptions at that point already. You've got a 5th year returning starter QB, a future 1st rounder at WR, a bunch of good role-player WRs (who block like madmen) and a not terrible(?) O-line and manage nothing

Perhaps the strangest part was the fact that ND really didn't shred us like GERG defenses used to get shredded. It was just 5 yards, 7 yards, 4 yards, 7 yards, 6 yards.... all the way down field. And on the flip side, our offense felt like it was moving the ball at times but it would just stall out, stall out, stall out. Weird game. Didn't feel like 31-0. Felt like 21-14


September 8th, 2014 at 9:11 PM ^

It didn't look or feel like a 31-0 thumping to me. 4 turnovers, two missed field goals & that's all she wrote more like. Last week v app state, on the converse, didn't look like great O-line play to me. They gashed or some big chunks, but when they tried to run right at me or short yardage at goal line, they couldn't do it. So not near as good as it looked week 1 or near as bad as it looked week 2. That's what I see. But what do I know. When do hockey & basketball start?


September 8th, 2014 at 9:31 PM ^

The "I have sympathy for RR" and "none"

For Hoke with the

gibbons thing...

I admit. That whole thing is like a lemon to me for Hoke... But to dismiss RR?!?!?! He was the HC at the time if the incident!!!

To me

This is a systemic concern. Involving both coaches and the higher ups. I feel for RR. I hope Hoke does well. But more than my sympathy for both I want the team to so well. I don't care if it runs a spread or a veer.

Sometimes I think there is a higher bar set by (some) fans for non spread guys because of a scheme

Orthodoxy. RR was a

Decent guy whom I hope does well (outside of olaying Michigan). I

Hope Hoke does well, though I doubt him now, just cuz I want the team to win.

But if there is blame in the Gibbons incident RR has as much as Hoke, and deserves just as little sympathy. No matter what his football issues.


September 8th, 2014 at 10:31 PM ^

He will be lucky to win 6 games. His coaching ship has sunk! If he loses to UT and PSU, I hope he resigns and Nuss can be interim coach. For Hoke to stay, he will need to win 9 games and win one of the road games against MSU or OSU!