Mailbag: Not Quite All About Firing Everyone Comment Count

Brian September 23rd, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I got a pile of email, so this is really long and still leaves out a number of missives. Apologies if yours wasn't selected.

A fairly comprehensive coaching-firing email.

I got a lot, obviously. This one touches all of the bases.

Brian,

I'm currently operating under the following two assumptions:

1) Brady Hoke is done unless Michigan at least wins at least the Big Ten East with wins over both rivals on the road, which currently seems about as likely as two nuclear missiles turning into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias and one of them telling our coaching staff how to coach offensive football before they plummet to earth.

I don't think it is that cut and dried yet. If Michigan goes 7-1 in the Big Ten with a loss to MSU and ends up 9-3 and going to the Citrus Bowl or something, that is a weird way to get to what people expected before the season. I think any 8-4 record is a hard sell that might induce a decision that we all hate and 7-5 is 100% dumped. (This is not what I'd do; unless he runs the table before the OSU game I would give him the Earl Bruce pre-Game firm handshake. This is what I'm guessing the athletic director would do.)

But yeah, going 7-1 in the Big Ten seems about as likely as the bowl of petunias thing. I am thinking "oh no, not again," tho—we solved it! The bowl of petunias is a Michigan fan.

2) That Dave Brandon will make a comically inept hire of either a warmed over retread with a tenuous connection to the past (Cam Cameron!), a mediocre young coordinator with a tenuous connection to the past (Scott Loeffler!), or a flashy idiot who must be great in interviews even though he's a moron coaching a football team (Lane Kiffin!)

Given that, how long would it take to set up and execute a reasonable search committee for a new athletic director?  And is there any chance at all the university leadership acts decisively to remove the fundamental problem?  It seems like the answer to those questions are too long and no at the moment.

The timing is bad. Schlissel just got in and has no frame of reference, so is he going to make a serious move? Does he even care about it, or is it something that's 11d on the agenda at a random meeting? And is he going to do it now-now-now, like he'd probably have to?

The answers to these questions are probably no. I think we're stuck with Brandon. If Michigan did make a move now there are a number of obvious candidates: Jeff Long is Arkansas's AD, Brad Bates is Boston College's, Warde Manuel is UConn's.

Long hired Bobby Petrino when Petrino bugged out on the Falcons, and then replaced him with Bret Bielema. Both are impressive hires from a football perspective and odious from a "you want me to root for THIS guy?" perspective. Manuel hired Turner Gill at Buffalo, was handed interim basketball coach Kevin Ollie (who then hired himself by winning a lot), and executed a logical search when UConn replaced Paul Pasqualoni, first trying to grab Pat Narduzzi and then going with Notre Dame DC Bob Diaco.

And while we're contemplating the fundamental horror of being Notre Dame, is Hoke Davie, Willingham, or Weis?  Seems to me he recruits like Weis and coaches like Willingham, which is somehow worse than either of those guys.  Or at least more frustrating.

Davie. His recruiting is better than Willingham and he's not a deliberately offensive, off-putting goon. Davie was an amiable man who couldn't organize a footbaw team.

Of course the real problem is that there really doesn't seem to be an upwardly mobile candidate at the right level to actually go after.  I mean obviously you'd take a shot at Sumlin, but no way A&M doesn't match that offer.  Which sort of leaves you hoping the Ravens' front office semi-criminal dickishness makes John Harbaugh quit and then you hope you can outbid like 15 NFL teams who would immediately jump at the shot to hire him.  Not a great situations.  Only name I can maybe come up with at a realistic level is Craig Bohl, who is unfortunately 56 and in the first year of his new job at Wyoming.  That juggernaut he built on North Dakota State is impressive though.

Basically I think we're doomed.  Are we doomed?

Andrew

It looks fairly doomy, but we were all laughing about Ohio State's coaching search when they settled on the previously-obscure Jim Tressel. There are guys out there. You mention Bohl, who I have also wikipedia-stalked to my disappointment. Michigan may as well take a run at Sumlin types, but realistically any SEC school is going to match the money, and if you're crushing it in the SEC what is the motivation to move?

There is a name out there that I think might work: Dan Mullen. He made a previously awful team competitive in the brutal SEC. Nobody's been able to win much of anything at Mississippi State in 20 years—Jackie Sherrill had one ten-win season in 1999 and was otherwise bouncing between 8 and 3 wins. The Bulldogs have gone from winning a quarter of their SEC games under Sylvester Croom to winning 42%, and they've gone to four straight bowls for the first time ever. That's a James Franklin-like resume.

Mullen grew up in Pennsylvania, so he'll have some useful recruiting contact, he's 42—good long term upside if he works out—and he was Urban Meyer's OC for Florida's run of dominance there. He just beat LSU on the road. If Mississippi State goes 9-3 or better this year he'll be a very attractive candidate.

The problem is that Florida is going to be looking as well and I have bad feels about competing with them given our current situation and Florida's proximity to bounteous talent.

[After THE JUMP: more stuff like this, and an Ondre Pipkins Q.]

Transition costs?

Jake-Fisher[1]

Jake Fisher would have been nice.

Brian,

Just read your dispirited post.  Yeah, when you get older you don't mope for weeks on end (as I did forty years ago).

My biggest concern if there's a change is that the one thing Brady has done well is recruit.  I'm surprised you haven't talked yet about the effect of DMW on that.  Who would decommit?  Who would transfer?

Just wondering.

Best,
Jeff

Transitions have costs. The severity depends on how different the incoming regime is from the outgoing one, and especially just how bad it had gotten under the last guy. Charlie Strong is booting half his team because they aren't meeting expectations. That's because Mack Brown hung on so long he was the weird uncle instead of a font of authority. A combination of something similar with Carr and the abrasiveness of a few guys on Rodriguez's staff made that transition similarly painful.

There are better transitions out there, though. There's a lot of momentum towards continuing your career instead of bugging out. For one, you have to sit out most of the time. Roster attrition would likely be a few guys who don't fit in the new coach's plans and a few guys who were going to leave anyway because they can't find the field.

Recruiting is trickier, but even there the momentum towards a school is usually enough to hold things together. When Carr retired Michigan only lost one commit, that a pocket QB who ended up at Iowa. Rodriguez's dismissal was worse as Michigan not only lost a couple kids they had committed but whiffed on various touted Southerners they were reputed to lead for. (How much that would have mattered when Clemson came calling I don't know.) Worse yet for Michigan during the second transition was the struggles Rodriguez had; Hoke had to fill ten spots in about three weeks, with poor results, and the guys  already in the class were dodgy.

Michigan's situation this year is different. They have a small class entirely comprised of four star kids and a kicker that's three or four guys from being full. If Michigan does make a change at the end of the regular season they'll probably lose a couple guys, retain most of the existing class, and fill in the remainder with okay prospects they've actually had time to vet. It'll be a hit. This is a good year to make a transition from a roster standpoint, at least.

TRUST NO ONE

Hey Brian,

I know you'll be getting alot of "next coach" questions for the rest of the year, but I have a little different angle on the issue. As I'm sure you know, Travis Haney reported that there are big changes coming for the top guys at M. Gregg Henson also speculated on the same.

My question to you is how do some of these program outsiders get their sources? My general rule is to wait until MGoBlog or Sam Webb confirms something before I get excited, but the Haney thing at least sounds legit. Are your/Webb's sources different or better than the national writer sources? I want to know whose reports to take seriously.

Thanks, Brian.

The Haney thing doesn't read like reporting to me. It reads like a guy drawing obvious-seeming conclusions from the outside:

Quarterback Devin Gardner will be the first change for the Michigan Wolverines.

Coach Brady Hoke will be the second, and probably by December.

Athletic director Dave Brandon will be the next, and probably shortly after Hoke.

It's far from certain that Gardner is replaced, he doesn't say he's talked to anyone, he uses one canned presser quote later in the piece. File that under bloviation.

Henson does say he's got sources that claim the whole enterprise is about to get fired, so that's more interesting. I am still leery of it because as I've mentioned before I've heard the same thing—discontent, Brandon gone within a year—for a couple years now without actually seeing something come to fruition. I've heard that the Regents are against him (not that there's much question about that after the fireworks vote), I've heard that he's a hurdle to getting a true A-list guy, heard that Harbaugh loathes him,

The thing about sources is sometimes they're not right, and minds can and will change as we go along here. The key facts are the thoughts inside someone's head, and sources do not know that.

As for my process for dealing with information: it is mostly a combination of internet spidey-sense and guys who have emailed me a few times, have been correct in the past, and offer things up that they believe to be true. It is not Journalist Level Sourcing, but I try to tell you the context whenever I relay something so you can judge the information on its own merits.

In most things you should listen to Sam, because Sam is plugged in to the point where he can't say half of what he knows. You have to read between the lines sometimes because he is in a spot where his access depends on his discretion, but if you get a vibe from him there is a reason for that vibe. In this specific situation I don't know how much is going to get to him because, again, the only things to know are the ones in the murky depths of someone's brain. A lot easier to know that Desmond Morgan's hand is in a cast than what might be going on inside Brandon's head.

Regard any other sports talk radio information-type substance with extreme dubiousness. Outside of the friendly confines of WTKA, radio is worthless for news. That goes triple for some yob in East Lansing asserting that Greg Schiano is the next guy. Because he's the dude who will get the news first. Okay buddy.

Trust me because I don't ask you to trust me, and trust Sam because he's connected, and ignore all radio reports.

Why care?

Hey Brian,

Here's a question for you: Why should we - the fans - care?

My fiancé and I are both alums. We have fandom endurance badges from Northwestern @ Michigan in 2009, and Michigan @ Northwestern last year. Her family has had season tickets forever. We're getting married in the Michigan Union. Last night we were talking about our plans for Saturday and I mentioned that we should figure out what time the game is. She asked me "Do we care?" Well, at this point - why should we?

The players don't seem to (just show the clip of DG getting pummeled and no one running over, contrasted with the Eagles defense of their QB) the coaches don't seem to (How about Brady's "Were a good football team" vs. Pat Fitzgerald's "No Shit") and we know the AD doesn't care about the actual product on the field or the fans ourselves - how about the announced 103,000 - not capacity. For all the talk about leadership the most fired up we've seen anyone in the two losses is Mattison and Hoke yelling at each other. We know leaders like Molk wouldn't have let DG pick himself up after a hit like that... is there any chance that this team/coaching staff/program show a sign of life? Do THEY care? Should we anymore?

When's basketball season?

JeepinBen

I can't tell you that you should right now. It's a struggle for me to open up the video file and spreadsheet this week, let me tell you. I'm finding it hard to find the thing that Michigan stands for that I'd care about anymore, it's all buried under athletic department gaffe after athletic department gaffe and the team losing like it does. I'm not going to wave a flag for graduating kids and being a positive force in their lives for all the Chris Rock reasons you can imagine.

All I can say is that this is a community still and that membership means putting your eyes on the thing even if you don't particularly want to. It's more about your interaction with the guys you know who share your disease. It's the us, not the them. That's all I've got.

Wither Pipkins?

i'm sure you have and endless array of FIRE HOKE questions and HARBAUGH!!!! questions, and the like, but here's one totally unrelated and about the defense, which actually is performing quite well:

why doesn't pipkins play more?  he plays well every snap he's on the field.  he takes on doubles very effectively and gets good push.  i can't understand why he's playing behind Mone.

thanks.

Evan

He's probably not as good as Glasgow. We are talking about a team that just gave up 3.3 YPC to a rush offense that was quite good a year ago, that crushed Notre Dame's ground game, that is currently ninth in the country in YPC allowed. Glasgow's been excellent in the three games I've reviewed. Pipkins has not been as consistently impactful. He just got beat out.

Toughness deficit inherent?

Brian,

We've all witnessed a severe lack of toughness, both physical and mental during the Hoke era. There's also a visible lack of passion, energy, and aggressiveness on both sides of the ball.  Do you feel the recruiting profile has played a part in this?  Is Michigan just not recruiting aggressive, hungry, and competitive athletes?  Yeah, they're high academic kids with high talent rankings, but do the majority of them have passive personalities that show up on the field?  Does Michigan's low-key, laid back family atmosphere attract kids that maybe aren't as competitive and focused on football?  We've heard stories of Urban's competitive environment, and we know Franklin and Narduzzi are near maniacs. Peppers may be an exception as far as competitiveness and being a leader, but I just feel like most of our guys are "nice kids" who are more comfortable being passive in a laid back environment.

Thanks,
Dave

You know me: I'm more likely to cite someone for stupidity than a lack of toughness. I only bring up the toughness thing when gathering up for a super-sick burn in re: Michigan's total lack of the primary quality Hoke wants to instill.

If I believe in toughness it's an ability to keep your head on straight when put in a bad situation, which is related to intelligence and organization, two qualities Michigan is also sorely lacking. What's especially galling about Michigan throwing ten guys out for a punt and running the clock down in their "hurry-up" is that this should be a position of advantage for Michigan, what with recruiting only guys with real course work and making intelligence a priority. Instead Michigan feels like a dumb team comprised of smart guys, and that goes back to the cat-herder in chief.

All these guys are driven. You don't get to a college football field, let alone stay on one, without going through a severe winnowing process. I find it unlikely Michigan's getting only the soft kids that everyone in the country is offering.

Meanwhile, what is the stereotypically toughest program in America right now? Stanford. It's not fate that Michigan will be flouncing through daisies as long as they recruit guys who have the ability to play football and take tests.

Well…

Are you also getting the idea that Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison spend most of the practice week playing euchre?

Maybe shots at the DC that hasn't seen a team pick up three hundred yards on his defense yet are not so warranted.

Brian-Is it too late for John Bacon to write "Four and No More!" before the season is finished?

Lin

Bacon says his working title is "fourth and twelve play action," and that he's running it by Dave. (This is the least true sentence ever.)

Comments

skegemogpoint

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

mucho gracias to my Plan C approach in the absence of Harbro Plan A and B.  Dan Mullen or Kevin Wilson are realistic options for UM, though I suspect Jeremy Foley will move post-haste in dismissing Muschamp and hiring Mullen while Brandon conducts a 2 month long search for his head while not realizing it is firmly planted in his ass.

FreddieMercuryHayes

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

Is John Harbaugh even a seriously viable candidate?  He hasn't coached in college since '97, and has never been a college coordinator or HC.  Coaching pros are totally different than college kids, and the game is vastly different in each.  And yeah, UF looking for a head coach as well is going to mess us UM's search.  Is the answer in a high level coordinator and not a current HC?  I feel like there's more risk there, but what other choices are there?  What about trying to lure Narduzzi away from MSU? 

But in reality it's going to be a guy like 61 year old Les Miles, Cameron, or Loeffler because that's Brandon at this point.

Mpfnfu Ford

September 23rd, 2014 at 5:49 PM ^

Rutgers is in the Big 10 because he built something sturdy enough that it not only was able to succeed at a historical doormat like Rutgers, but also survive with a mediocre coach like Kyle Flood following him. He's a dynamo recruiter.

But he's also a deeply, deeply unpleasant person and a control freak with a real low level of sportsmanship. And his personality (not his football acumen) caused him to completely lose the Tampa Bay locker room in a breathtakingly quick period of time. There's a really good chance he'll do something utterly shameful and embarrassing that won't be able to be swept under the rug like Rutgers has made a habit of doing the past few years.

 

EDIT: I think I'd put Schiano and Todd Graham in the same boat. They're philosophically X's and O's opposites, but they're both excellent coaches who put good teams out there. They're also deeply unpleasant odious snakes who lack basic human characteristics. 

justingoblue

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:19 PM ^

Fifteen threads on the sidebar and in the aftermath of the Utah game there were probably 3-4 at any given time speculating who the next coach should be. At some point there needs to be some balance and some room to talk about the Utah game and talk about the AD and the late night games and whatever other gameday topics come up regularly.

Threads don't stay or go based on how closely they align with Brian's views (and LSA isn't in lockstep with Brian's views, either), it's about space on the sideboard and keeping both OP and comment quality high. One poster's opinion on one coach the day after that Utah game just isn't going to stay up nine times out of ten.

Any time you're looking to make a thread when the site is that busy you're better off being as broad as possible or bringing new information to the discussion.

You Only Live Twice

September 23rd, 2014 at 7:18 PM ^

So glad you said that, Justin.  I get that it's the man-cave here and some venting is understandable - I used to supervise a workgroup that was almost uniformly all men.  They tended to vent, too, so I was accustomed to that, but then they'd move on.  Here, countless threads full of venom and hate saying the same stuff over and over doesn't contribute to the board quality, as you pointed out.

blueuphoria

September 23rd, 2014 at 3:32 PM ^

candidate?  He's not yet proven himself at Tennessee, but has a good track record elsewhere.  Tennessee is NOT the equivalent of some of the big boys in the SEC, so assuming Brandon would write the check, do we think he'd be a possible fit?

los barcos

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

He was also something like 2-21 against teams ranked in the top 25 before saturday night.  And Miss St. blogs were openly debating whether or not he should be fired after last year. The fact that his name is cropping up as a possible replacement seems to be overexcitement to the fact that his team just beat LSU

ak47

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

He has also taken mississippi state to four straight bowl games for the first time ever and the ranked teams he has been losing to are alabama and texas a&m.  He had one year of 4 loses and all 4 were ranked in the top 12 at the end of the year.  Mississippi state fans must be suffering from amnesia since they have a history of suck and any coach that gets them above that is a win.

603_GoBlue

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

Comments like this piss me off. What was Alabama before saban got there? They were a pile of shit that's what. Michigan has the tradition and resources to make the right hire and be national contenders in 2-3 years. Is that wishful thinking? Yes, but guess what its happened before. We've been on a bad run but I won't ever be content with just winning 8 games and being bowl eligible every season.

Yeoman

September 23rd, 2014 at 3:19 PM ^

...that was changing its coaches every 3-4 years, with every big new thing either being worse than the guy before, or getting them stuck on yet another probation, or both.

Until they hit gold with Saban.

Would a decade or two of crap until we get lucky be OK? That's not a rhetorical question.

The alternative is OSU, which hasn't made a hasty coaching change in the better part of a century (Fickell doesn't count). A decade of Bruce/Cooper/Tressel (luck of the draw, which of those you get), or 10-30 years of ever-changing garbage followed by Saban if you're lucky and turning into Minnesota if you aren't? Which is better?

Yeoman

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:34 PM ^

Yes, of course.

Their fans were up in arms over Curry and Perkins, too, sort of like Michigan fans were with Carr (who cares if he's 10-2, we lost to Auburn again etc,). They were both offered extensions but turned the school down. I'd probably extend the "crap" all the way back to the beginning of Curry, with the on-field success under Stallings offset by the probation and vacated wins. Maybe Michigan fans wouldn't mind all that but I'm guessing the school would want nothing of it.

Ali G Bomaye

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

In the eight seasons before Mullen was hired, Mississippi State went 29-65, won more than four games once, and had one bowl appearance.  In the 5+ seasons Mullen has been at Mississippi State, he has gone 40-28, with four bowl appearances and three bowl wins.  They went from winning 31% of their games to winning 59% of their games.  In B1G terms, that's roughly equivalent to taking pre-Kevin Wilson Indiana and turning them into Penn State.

Regarding his record against top 25 teams, 16 of those losses came against top-10 teams.  This speaks to the recent history of the SEC West, and there's no shame in losing most of your games to top-10 teams at a school as perpetually outmanned as Mississippi State.  And speaking of being outmanned, Mullen has improved his school's average recruiting ranking from about 45th in the seven classes before he arrived to about 30th.

NittanyFan

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:40 PM ^

their "ceiling for success" is a lot lower vs. other schools --- you're the 2nd most popular school in a very poor and unpopulated state, competing directly against LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M --- just within your own division!

All things considered, he's done a fine job at Mississippi State IMO.

Honestly, as a Penn State fan I much preferred Mullen to Franklin --- for whatever reason we never even went after Mullen (who has PA roots).  A couple other points I would like about Mullen:

(1)  He's still very young.  Only 42.  Honestly, ask most people and I think they would guess he is 50.  Not so.

(2)  His offensive coordinator pedigree at both Utah and Florida.  Helping develop one of Alex Smith (a damn good college QB if not a very good NFL QB) and Tim Tebow is a nice thing to have on the resume.  Mullen helped develop both.

MGoManDown

September 23rd, 2014 at 2:38 PM ^

A ceiling is a ceiling. Nobody is going to respect Mullen simply because the SEC is "hard". Especially when you have A&M and Mizzou who just entered the SEC 3 years ago having the success that they've had. People aren't going to respect the level of difficulty as opposed to success against the level of difficulty. Dan Mullen is average at the end of the day. That doesn't mean he'll always be. He's still rather young for a HC. But him being in the SEC is no excuse.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

gbdub

September 23rd, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

That's insane. That's like expecting a MAC school to dominate the B1G. You don't have Mullen's level of success at a place like Miss. St. unless you're a plus level coach. That's not making excuses, that's acknowledging reality. Put it this way: I doubt Hoke would go to 4 straight bowls at Miss St. Now it's no guarantee that Mullen can translate that to being a championship coach at a non-underdog institution. But it's probably more impressive than having one great season at a MAC school, which is how a lot of B1G schools seem to hire their coaches.

MGoManDown

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:20 PM ^

Negative. Mullen's success in the SEC is against inferior talent every year. I would know. I live right in the middle of SEC country. I'm not saying I know everything about the SEC and I wont pretend to. I'm also not saying that Mullen is a terrible coach. But to think Mullen is an above average coach because of his success at Miss St is off base. He has no history of beating top level competition at Miss St. Yet other teams have come in the SEC and done that and more. I agree that Hoke most likely couldn't do what Mullen is doing in the SEC. But that speaks more so to the negatives of Hoke than the positives of Mullen. The truth is Mullen is mediocre at best. Its just easy to see everybody else's lawn as green grass when you're living on dirt. 

alum96

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

He is a very difficult candidate to evaluate IMO. 

  • He loses to very good teams - which he should. 
  • He beats bad teams - which he should. 
  • He doesnt play a lot of mid tier teams

MSU's schedule seems to be full of either top 25 teams (SEC West) or nobodies for 10 of the 12 games every year.

alum96

September 23rd, 2014 at 2:55 PM ^

I think Gundy is one of the more underrated coaches in the country.  He lost a massive amount of his team this year and rather than make excuses about youth, hosted FSU and gave them a whale of a game ... along with his track record the past 7-8 years.  He is also a man.

Gundy is an OK State lifer - it would be like pulling Fitzgerald from Northwestern if Northwestern was a top 3 team in the Big 10.   Also OK State has a guy like Stephen Ross/Phil Knight named T Boone Pickens who is funnelling massive amounts of money into that program ($165M in 2005 to the AD, $500M total to the school) - anyone came after Gundy I am sure he'd be making $6M immediately.

ak47

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

Yeah but they didn't and that is the best 4 year stretch they have ever had in starkville and finishing 4th in the sec west usually means being behind 3 top 20 teams.  Everything is in context, people were amazed by Franklin despite his doing less in a weaker division of the sec.  Dan mullen is as proven a guy as you are going to get in less les miles decides he wants to retire at michigan which probably isn't a great situation for us.

Hannibal.

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

I'm with ya mostly.  I like Mullen, but I don't love him.  His resume is -- okay?  He has piled up lots of wins against awful teams and has very few decent wins.  His success so far has been based on getting four wins against the likes of Troy and Memphis and then getting three more wins in SEC play before maybe getting a win in a shit bowl game against RichRod or Wake Forest.  His bowl loss to NW in 2012 was a pathetic effort reminiscent of some of Hoke's recent losses.  Definitely not a bad resume but it doesn't blow me away.

I want a guy who blows me away.  There is only one guy that would do that, and we all know who that is.

funkywolve

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:32 PM ^

Here's the teams Mullen has beaten every year:

2013: Alcorn St, Troy, BGSU, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ol' Miss, Rice

2012: Jackson St, Auburn (went 3-9), Troy, South Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, Arkansas

2011: Memphis, Louisiana Tech, UAB, Kentucky, Tennessee-Martin, Ol' Miss, Wake Forest

2010: Memphis, Georgia (went 6-7), Alcorn St, Houston, Florida (went 8-5), UAB, Kentucky, Ol' Miss, Michigan

2009: Jackson St, Vandy, Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Ol' Miss

 

He beats up on an extremely weak non-conference schedule and picks up wins against the other cellar dwellars in the SEC for the most part.

alum96

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

Thank you for breaking it out season by season like that.  This is what I found in my research on him as well, just did not make notes of the actual team names by year - I just saw a lot o bad teams.  He has had 2-3 big wins in his career down there, and by big I mean 8-5 Florida, not 10-2 Florida.

That is exactly the problem with evaluating him - all he has shown is he can beat up on cellar dwellers and baby seals ...with talent from the south that is not first rate but at this point 2nd rate southern talent is probably better than much of what is coming out of the midwest.

That does not mean he is not a good coach - it just means we can tell almost nothing based on W-L with him.

alum96

September 23rd, 2014 at 1:43 PM ^

I agree. I wrote about Mullen lower on the page but since most dont go that far I'd ask people go year by year thru his records and look at MSU's (NTMSU) wins.  I grant you he is in a bad position - no one is going to get better than 5th in a division full of Bama, Auburn, A&M, and LSU.  But when he pulls 7-5 years the wins are something like this

  • Baby seal 1
  • Baby seal 2
  • Baby seal 3
  • Vanderbilt
  • Tennessee which is currently UM South
  • Auburn in years it is 3-9
  • Ole Miss

Look for all I know he is an excellent coach in a horrid situation.  Coaching in that division is a horror.  I'd like to see him at a mid level SEC East team or in another conference altogether to get a better judge of what he can do.  But beating up on the bad SEC teams and baby seals does not inspire me as a great choice on the surface.  But who knows.

On a tangent, Duke is currently 4-0 and unforunately they dont play Clemson or FSU but looking at Duke's schedule they could be a 10-2/9-3 type team this year.  Duke!  Then play Clemson or FSU in the ACC championship game.   So maybe Cutcliffe is legit if he puts 2 years back to back like that at that sort of program.  The last coach to make Duke relevant was Spurrier.  Now Cutcliffe turned down Tennessee a few years ago so maybe he has no interest in leaving.  But it is a guy who did coach in the SEC and had Mullen like success I guess and now is showing he can take a dreadful program and make them respectful in a conference just as bad as the Big 10.

Mpfnfu Ford

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:03 PM ^

were debating whether he should be fired tells you about how delusional Starkville people are about their place in the college football firmament. He has consistently gone to bowl games at a school that was winning 1-2 ball games a year in the toughest division in college football before he got there.

There's not a long list of more qualified candidates who are hirable than Dan Mullen. John Harbaugh has shown zero interest in college football and has a Super Bowl ring, NFL teams will not let him get away. Jim Harbaugh is an extreme long shot but more plausible I guess than John. Les Miles is 60 and has never head coached at a college that requires you to be able to read to play sportsball.

You turn up your nose at Dan Mullen and you're left with, I dunno, PJ Fleck and Scot Loeffler.

 

goblue20861

September 23rd, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

Hey Brian, this is off topic but I noticed you still need to add Rutgers and Maryland blogs to the Big Ten Blogs section. Unless you're like most people and want to pretend their additions never happened...