Left: via Eric DeBoer. Right: ICE ICE BABY TOO COLD
It seems very clear that Hoke is gone at this point. Is there a scenario in which we could fire Hoke, but keep Mattison at DC? This is a top 25 team with a competent offense. I actually like Nuss too as I believe the playcalling has been good and Gardner just isn't executing, but he also seems as good as gone right?
It's rare for assistant coaches to be kept on after a head coaching change. OSU kept Luke Fickell, but they've devolved his responsibility repeatedly and their defense is not up to par with their offense. You get the sense he's mostly around for recruiting. Other than that I can't recall a coordinator-level assistant who survived their head man getting axed.
Making an exception for Mattison depends on a lot of things. For one, is he pissed off enough that he just retires? Mattison's pressers have been feisty, full-throated defenses of Brady Hoke over the last couple months. It's clear Hoke commands seriously loyalty from him, and it was expected he'd be retiring in the somewhat near future anyway. He would take some convincing to stay, and making that pitch is a delicate thing I'm not sure certain targets *cough*HARBAUGH*cough* would be good at.
Meanwhile, there's the question of how good this defense actually is. Yeah, they're seventh nationally in yards per game and 12th in yards per play. They've also faced a selection of completely horrible offenses. Yards per play rankings of Michigan power 5 opponents, out of 128:
- NORTHWESTERN: 125th
- PENN STATE: 121st
- UTAH: 89th
- MINNESOTA: 68th
- INDIANA: 57th, but most of that is w/ Sudfeld
- RUTGERS: 50th
- NOTRE DAME: 38th
- MICHIGAN STATE: 12th
There are two teams in there that are better than average and if you take Indiana's QB situation into account (Indiana has averaged barely 200 yards a game since Diamont took over) there are three of the very worst teams in the country. #91 Maryland and… uh… #11 Ohio State are pending.
That plus Michigan's notoriously slow tempo means the advanced stats have a very different perspective on Michigan than raw ones. FEI has Michigan 35th(!) in the country, which is barely average in a schedule adjusted system. Michigan is 31st in S&P.
It's not hard to see why. They gave up 400 yards to Gary Nova, got plastered by David Cobb, and folded on the second drive in East Lansing against the one legitimately good offense they faced. The man press misstep was costly, and I don't have a lot of hope Michigan is going to throttle Ohio State.
So. Given that and the likelihood Mattison's going to call it quits sooner rather than later anyway, I wouldn't put a high priority on retaining him. It might be different if there was a guy on staff that looked like an heir apparent, but Mark Smith keeps getting bounced to other roles, Roy Manning is probably still too young, and Kurt Mallory was interviewing at I-AA schools last summer.
I don't see anyone sticking around after the transition except Manning, who's established himself a great recruiter and can go back to his natural LB spot. I still think Nussmeier's track record is an excellent one, especially in QB development, but it's going to be a hard sell to retain him after this year's performance.
[After the JUMP: AD hiring stuff, prez stuff.]
Hackett long term?
I understand that the university needs to complete its due diligence in hiring the right person for our next AD, but how about considering Jim Hackett long-term? ESPN morning links included a great article about him and he seems like he might be a good fit. Any chance he isn't just our interim guy?
If he isn't our guy, how likely is it that we hire Jim Harbaugh and let Jim have input in the AD selection process? I know that this is backwards, but if we aren't putting together an AD selection committee for another week, it seems to me that we'll have to 1) hire a coach without the new AD, which is tough, or 2) the process will take so long the new AD and coach will miss the recruiting boat this year.
I would be leery of keeping him long term because of the parallels between Hackett and Brandon. Both come to the AD spot after a term as a corporate CEO; neither has been in an athletic department before. Both were hand-selected after minimal search based on relationships with people close to the throne—in Brandon's case in fact the person on the throne. That's fine for now in Hackett's case. He was installed out of immediate necessity and so that's the way that "search" had to go.
For a long term hire it's not. The likelihood that Hackett is the best guy for the job when you have a very well-liked Brad Bates at BC and Jeff Long, the head of the CoFoPoff committee,—both with deep links to the program—is very low. He's undoubtedly a nicer guy than Brandon. He's not an AD, and for pants sake it is time to hire a real damned AD for the first time in a million years.
What if people like him and he interviews well? I don't have to tell Michigan fans that, but being well-liked and having a two-hour face to face to determine whether this gold does in fact glitter are completely useless for predicting performance. Go get the guy who is doing the thing you want him to do, and well. Only way to be sure.
I do not have enough evidence to answer the last question.
This Braxton Miller question you people keep asking.
I had an interesting thought. With the #quarterbackcontroversy in Ohio, could Braxton Miller transfer? Could a hire of Herman make that happen? Did I just fart?
The graduate transfer exception comes with the same requirements that the regular one-time exception does and adds a couple on top. Since the normal way of transferring requires a release, this also requires a release. And while transfers have become a hot-button issue to the point where Bo Ryan was forced to allow Jarrod Uthoff to transfer within the conference just for the PR, there is no freakin' way OSU releases Braxton Miller to Michigan.
Yes, I know Michigan released Justin Boren to OSU. That is because Michigan was incredibly dysfunctional at the time. OSU will laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh if 1) Miller even wants to transfer and 2) he wants to transfer to Michigan. The PR they will not care about because that looks so bad on the part of Miller/Michigan that they won't take a hit.
Forget about this.
Hiring a coach first?
The conventional wisdom is that Michigan shouldn't hire a new coach until it has hired its AD, on the theory that the new AD should get to have "his guy." It makes sense that if you're hiring someone to run a company, that guy (or gal) needs the opportunity to surround himself with people who agree with and are capable of implementing his plan. But an AD is not a CEO. A CEO gets to tell his employees not only what the goal is, but exactly how they are required to go about trying to accomplish it.
ADs don't have that kind of relationship with their coaches (thinking that he does would be disqualifying, I hope). Every AD wants the same thing from his coaches: win as soon and as often as possible with the best citizens you can find, graduate those citizens, don't cheat. Whether the coach accomplishes that with a pistol formation, a 3-3-5 defense, or amazing special teams play should not be the concern of any sane athletic director.
I just can't imagine a new AD showing up and thinking, "Wow, I'm really glad they waited for me to get started on this urgent task that they've known needed to be done since at least mid-October. Especially since I have a completely different opinion from everyone else about who the best candidates are." I suppose top-tier coaching candidates might want to know who their boss is going to be before making a commitment, but it might be helpful to get their opinions on what they would consider to be a deal-breaker.
Besides, if you were an AD candidate, would you want your first task to be firing a nice guy from his dream job and making the most momentous decision you're going to make in your entire tenure, all under extreme time pressure? Or would you rather walk into a situation where you're either going to be a primary beneficiary of the warm feelings from a job well done or be able to disassociate yourself from it if it's another disaster (I know... it can't be another disaster)? Let's do the next guy a favor and get this done. A side benefit is that Schlissel would get to do the slow, careful AD search that I think he really wants to do.
I left all of this in because it makes the points I would otherwise make.
This is what's going to happen. Schlissel clearly doesn't know much about Big Time Athletics and is settling in for a long education period that culminates in an athletic director hire that he can be comfortable with, and we can be comfortable with. This was overlooked in the whole SACUA hubbub, but there is no way this:
“That’s why I’m taking a bit of time with the search for Dave’s successor,” Schlissel said. “Some folks wanted me to hire an athletic director (earlier) so he could fire the current football coach and hire the next coach but I want to take the time to make sure we get someone who is not only technically adept, but can ensure that the program has financial and academic integrity, and also someone who shares the value system of realizing our mission.
… “I’ve really learned that this whole athletic sphere and the usual way you approach things just doesn’t work. It’s just a crazed or irrational approach that the world and the media takes to athletics decisions.
“It’s a time sink,” he added.
Schlissel said he hasn’t formally looked for anyone to permanently fill the athletic director position.
Turns into a hire in the near future. Similarly, there is no way Michigan can look at the performance of the football team and the financial implications arising from it and retain Hoke. So: Hackett is going to fire him and hire the new guy.
Whether this is a good idea or not, it's happening. Michigan again finds itself stuck with bad timing. Meanwhile, OSU lucks into Urban Meyer. Hooray.
I don't think having Hackett make the hire is going to have much impact on the available coaches. If Harbaugh's coming he's still coming; if Mullen's coming he's still coming; established guys like Patterson/Gundy/Stoops were almost certainly not coming anyway; anyone below that is coming. So, fine.
How concerned should you be?
My question is simple: Can you tell me why I should not be at least moderately concerned by what we’ve heard in the last 72 hours [from Schlissel]?
I think you should be a little concerned. It's concerning when the president of the U describes sports as a "time sink" and needs to find someone out there who can reshape the department. It's concerning that Schlissel got thrown in the deep end here thanks to Dave Brandon's toxicity.
I think there's some upside to Schlissel's approach, though. One of the first things he zeroed in on was the five dollar water; one of Brandon's final attempts to bring students flowers and say he's changed was to offer people coming in the student entrance free bottles of the stuff.
As long as the next guy isn't a textbook example of what not to do in the realm of public relations, it's the creeping, shitty incremental revenue extraction that is the lowest-hanging fruit. The amount of goodwill you get by hacking prices down to reasonable levels—it is 40% more expensive to get a coke at Yost than it is at Joe Louis—more than offsets the tiny drop in revenue, and Schlissel seems to feel as put off by all that as a normal human does.
That's the upside here. Schlissel is a normal human who says "I don't know" when he doesn't know and says what he thinks even if that is not 1000% pablum. This may go a bad way, but if it's going to go a good way he's the kind of person who needs to be in charge.