Scott Farkus Rules Everything Around Me

Submitted by Brian on October 27th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

10/25/2014 – Michigan 11, Michigan State 35 – 3-5, 1-3 Big Ten

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[Eric Upchurch]

Mark Dantonio is a crazy mofo. This is his great power: he can be offended at anything, forever. Mark Dantonio free-solos Mount Outrage every year. Michigan tried their damndest to not give him anything he could latch onto this time around, repeating the same praise over and over again until even the perpetually bored media noticed that this week's pablum was even more insipid than the usual business.

Then they put a thing in a field.

Fueling Dantonio's never-ending rage at the concept of Michigan is unwise but probably irrelevant. If hate moved spaceships Dantonio would be scowling at little green men circling Alpha Centauri instead of East Lansing. Dantonio is still pissed off at something Mike Hart said seven years ago; a dumb stunt with a railroad spike is a power mushroom when you're already big and skrong.

On the other hand, apologizing after is a pretty good summation of where both programs are. Michigan got the pounding everyone expected and then said "sorry for spoiling for field sir" as they slinked back home. Scott Farkus threw a snowball in our face and we apologized to him for being in the way.

Putting a thing in a field and then woofing about it isn't poor sportsmanship. We should know what poor sportsmanship is: punchin' people. Trying to hurt people.  This series has seen plenty of that of late, on both sides. No one apologized after.

Apparently the standard for self-abasement has plummeted, though. So we get another statement. The latest in a never-ending series of PR gaffes. The chance anyone brings the spike thing up after the first round of LOL Michigan articles is zero, unless Michigan brings it up again. They of course do because Michigan refuses to learn Don Canham's first maxim—don't make a one-day story into a two-day story.

Thus more public emasculation for Brady Hoke. Dave Brandon seems to be deliberately trying to make his football coach look like the nation's most clueless goober. By the Maryland game he'll be wearing a beanie and a KICK ME sign. The crowning glory will be an Ohio Stadium weeping piteously at his imminent departure; Hoke will be dressed in nothing but a barrel and suspenders. The press conference afterwards will take place over a dunk tank.

I dunno man, I know this is some feelingsball right here but I can't help but think this is a big part of the problem. Hoke's response to the bullies asking him why he keeps hitting himself is "it's all in the statement." The team responds like their head coach. The man refuses to defend himself, either from his incompetent athletic director or his rivals laughing at him. The team gets plowed by the hint of adversity. Fight is almost totally absent.

When someone gets mad at your spike stunt, the correct answer is F--- YO COUCH. That is Dantonio's answer to everything. Would you like some baklava, Mark? F--- YO COUCH.

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

Michigan likes to talk about being a Big Boy. Before last year's Ohio State game Brandon said Michigan is "going back to hard-nosed, big-boy football." Whenever a journalist asks Hoke about the internet hordes clamoring for his head he says "it's a big-boy business."

You know who doesn't talk about being a big boy? Big boys*. People who talk about being a Big Boy wear short pants and ask their moms for a quarter so they can buy candy. Big boys don't look at yet another plate of crap and eat it with a sigh of disgust. At some point, big boys stand up for their dignity.

I don't see anything like that. I see the same mealy-mouthed coachspeak week after week, the same covering for his inept boss. Of course Dave Brandon's watching film with him. 

Maybe that makes him a "great guy," as per the last possible defense of Hoke. I don't see it. He may be a nice guy; "great" at least requires you to have as much backbone as Ralphie in A Christmas Story.

*[Except Big Boi, who is contractually obligated to say his name several times per minute as per the Rappist Identification Act Of 1985.]

[After THE JUMP: not much, honestly.]

OTHER STUFF

There's not much point to talking about other stuff. It's pointless to talk about the performance of player X and how not good it is relative to expectations. This team is going nowhere and doing nothing and the only thing that'll fix it is a new year with new coaches.

THE END. When it's all over, this is the one sentence summation of the Hoke era:

"I think I was aware that something happened, but I'm not fully aware."

Deceptive or dumb. Your two options. Yes, you can pick both.

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[Upchurch]

On yelling at specific players. Or rather: on yelling at me about not thinking Devin Gardner was… this Devin Gardner.

Sorry, I guess? We'd seen enough from Gardner in trying circumstances to suggest that he was probably pretty good in a situation where the people around him were competent. Instead: nope.

Still, focusing your bile on him is beside the point. He threw a bunch of passes that his receivers dropped; he ate sacks when both of his tackles provided minimal obstruction to Michigan State players; the run defense was painfully eviscerated from the second drive. Gardner is no more disappointing than the WRs who can't catch, the RBs who can't find the hole, the OL who can't block, the defense that can't disguise coverages, the coverage that is a neon invitation to 20 yards on any returnable punt.

The only difference is that Gardner touches the ball on every offensive snap, so his shortcomings are more frequently exposed. In terms of underperforming expectations he has a ton of company. So don't bother. Maybe if he'd been coached since Hoke arrived he'd be better. Same goes for the rest of the team.

On "class." Arguments about whether Michigan State is too mean to us don't interest me. For one, Dantonio did us a favor by punching in that last touchdown. Once Michigan was clearly going to lose it's in the sane Michigan fan's interest to have them lose by a million so that there can be no question about what needs to happen after the season.

If there weren't persistent claims by connected people that Hoke wasn't completely done yet I wouldn't feel this way. There are, so I do. Hoke 2015 can't happen.

If you want to complain about something, complain about yet another cheap shot delivered in the waning moments of a game:

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[Upchurch]

Willie Henry took the brunt of a Michigan State OL to the side of his knee, just like Denard took late hits and Mike Martin took a dirty chop block long after things had been decided. As per usual, Michigan shrugged at it.

Quittin' part VIII. Michigan's wave of the white flag was especially laughable in this game, as it was a fourth and three—fourth and three!—down 25 with nine minutes left. They of course went for two after scoring their meaningless touchdown at the end of the game, and then onside kicked, because it is important to give the impression you are trying without actually trying.

Coaching malpractice part infinity. Michigan took all its timeouts to halftime when they could have had about 90 seconds to try and get some points. I retweeted a guy saying this on twitter and got a lot of responses along the lines of "lol this team couldn't go 75 yards in 90 seconds"; while that may be the case if you truly believe that Michigan shouldn't even try there's no point in even playing the second half.

Which I guess there wasn't. That's still no way to operate a football team.

What now? If not for our current situation with the athletic director Hoke wouldn't be the coach today. Unfortunately, the hopefully imminent firing of said AD means he is a powerless figurehead incapable of axing the head coach without 1) making it look like he's try to save his own ass and 2) putting the University in a bind about whether they will let the current AD run a coaching search or just do nothing for however long it takes to find the next guy. So the move is to just sit tight until that decision is made.

Yeah, a decision should have already been made but these things take time, people continually say. Buyouts have to be negotiated, supporters placated, etc.

The good news is that it doesn't matter much. The only school currently hunting is Kansas. The only peer school likely to be hunting this year is Florida. (Seriously: the only other power 5 school with any history that might fire its coach is financially-strapped Miami. I'm not worried about competing with UNC or UVA.) Michigan may have gotten unlucky with the relative paucity of candidates this year but they are fortunate that there aren't a lot of major jobs likely to come open.

The timing issues are not bad. If Michigan does end up installing an AD in December or early January, that would be right around the time Harbaugh and Mullen hypothetically become available. Harbaugh may have the 49ers in the playoffs, and Mullen would almost certainly see a Mississippi State Cofopoff appearance through.

The recruiting class tops out at 16 and if Michigan does lock down a sexy coach they are likely to have 8-10 solid prospects still in it. A late switch is much less disastrous than it was when Hoke was hired—they could have gone to 25 in that class, only got 20, and had significant numbers of washouts thanks to Rodriguez's death spiral and the late cram-job by Hoke.

I know it would be satisfying to axe Hoke immediately. It does not make sense to do so. Michigan will be in limbo until the AD situation is resolved.

Is there any hope we could be okay next year? Yeah, there's some hope. The team will get a ton older, what with the small recruiting class and even smaller group of exiting seniors. Michigan returns literally everyone on offense save Gardner and probably Funchess. They lose both starting ends, Ryan, Taylor, and Hollowell on defense but they should get Desmond Morgan back—at this point playing him would be nuts.

In that event your D looks like:

  • Charlton/Glasgow/Henry/Ojemudia—three juniors and a senior, plus some quality depth. Pass rush questionable.
  • Ross/Bolden/Morgan—all seniors, probably pretty good.
  • Peppers/Lewis/Countess/Wilson/Clark—safety needs some work but that looks pretty good.

The main problems are the same ones Michigan has this year: quarterback and OL. The OL returns literally everyone so they should get better (he said for the millionth consecutive time despite being wrong all 999,999 previous times); QB is… a problem. Michigan should look to pick off a grad transfer and have a four-way battle between Morris, Speight, Malzone, and New Guy; it's not likely to be an inspiring setup, and that'll put a hard ceiling on their ability to compete with MSU/OSU.

But the personnel looks like it could be an 8-4 team easy.

HERE

Best and Worst:

Worst:  So Close

razorfail[1]

This is Michigan's gameplan in a single gif.  They had halfway-decent field position on a couple of drives, and moved the ball in fits and spurts.  But every time they had the hint of momentum, they'd go for an ill-fated flea-flicker, or fail to execute a simple bubble screen, or just run the damn ball on 2nd-and-9 for 1 yard and waste any opportunity to keep the game close.  It was infuriating, it was depressing, it was par the course for the year.

Inside the Box Score:

Last week, Brian included a photo of the Michigan Football 2014 Team Goals in an Unverified Voracity post. Let's see how the team did this weekend:

Win? No.
Turnovers? No.
4th Quarter? Yes, but just barely.
Kicking Game? I have no idea how they judge this, but Wile made his FG and Sparty missed theirs. So, yes?
Time of Poss.? No.

Let's look at that last goal in the context of this game. In the third quarter, Michigan won the time of possession battle, 10:08 to 4:52. If that's one of the top five goals for the team, that must mean we did well in the third quarter, right? Let's check the drive chart in the play by play. Hmmm... State had one drive that consumed 0 plays, 0 yards, and 0:00 time of possession and resulted in 7 points. Of course, that's the pick six. State had another drive that consumed 1 play, 70 yards, and a whole 11 seconds. That drive also ended in a touchdown. 14 points in 11 seconds.

Ron Utah says goodbye to a great man, which I obviously disagree with but hey you might not.

ELSEWHERE

A guy has bought 2000 FIRE BRANDON shirts for the Indiana game. This person is not me, even if it gets mentioned on the message board.

Man I cannot read a Hoke quote anymore without immediately thinking of six different varieties of shade to throw at it.

"We have 11 guys out there, they have 11 guys out there," Hoke said. "We're trying to compete. They're trying to compete. That's what athletics is and that's what competition is, so no, not (surprised) in one bit."

Sometimes you have 11 guys out there.

Michigan State fans on Hoke:

They want to show their appreciation for Hoke any way they can. Late in the fourth quarter, freshman Amari Ellsworth yelled toward Hoke, offering to bake him cookies.

“I’d give him a hug if I could,” Ellsworth said. “He hates us, but he still needs a hug sometimes.”

Baumgardner:

The scene and the moment just made sense.

After his 11th loss in the past 12 months, Brady Hoke sat at a table inside Spartan Stadium squinting to make out the faces of the people standing in front of him.

"These lights are killing me," Hoke said in between questions after a 35-11 loss at Michigan State.

You can say that again.

Hoover Street Rag. Sap's Decals. Niyo:

"Well, you want to win more," Hoke said, after Michigan's most-lopsided loss in the series since 1967. "So is that frustrating? Yeah, you want to win more."

And no, he said, he didn't hear the "Keep Brady!" chants from the partisan Michigan State crowd, or see the 13 shirtless fans spelling it out — last name included — in the front row of the student section.

Comments

AZ-Blue

October 27th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

Dantonio's personality is actually a good fit with Izzo.   He seems to be taking on that persona that annoys - dominates the field, but then breaks out the little boi bitching when something doesn't go his way rather than taking on the "act as if you've been there, done that" confident swagger.   Unfortunately it seems to be working with the players and the team.   Izzo on grass is not what UM needs at this point.

dougdutch

October 27th, 2014 at 12:48 PM ^

What I found the strangest about the stake stunt was who was involved. Why were Joe Bolden, Sione Houma, Mo Ways, and Allen Gant leading the charge? If it was a team decision, where were the senior leaders like Gardner and Ryan? And if not, why didn't the seniors put a stop to it?

Yostbound and Down

October 27th, 2014 at 12:36 PM ^

I went to the game with my dad, grandfather and cousin. Of the three I am definitely the most intense about cheering for Michigan. About the end of the 1st quarter, the game already seemed pretty much out of reach...there was no flow on offense, heck most of our opportunities came off of penalties. So I pretty much tried to accept the situation and just make a stupid face or grin everytime something dumb happened. By the time Gardner threw an interception on a shovel pass, I had a face like the Richard D James album cover. 

 Hoke should have been going for it on fourth down anytime it was past our 40 yard line. I don't care if it didn't make statistical sense or gave them a short field. There was no way we could not try to take advantage of decent field position with as many shots as we could take and by trusting the defense. The defense wasn't great but considering they forced two turnovers and did a pretty good job against a good quarterback, they did ok. If we'd had any semblence of offense, it would have been...well, maybe still a two touchdown game, but it wouldn't have felt over so quickly. Funchess couldn't catch (as Braylon pointed out haha), Smith couldn't hit holes, Gardner couldn't read the defense, the line couldn't hold on nearly enough plays, the playcalling in general was awful. Everything sucked. Well, Wile at least had a good kick.

I'm optimistic, if the AD problem can be solved (ie removed) that the coaching search can go well. There aren't a bunch of great guys available but at the same time there aren't oodles of jobs and Florida is probably the only one theoretically more attractive than M.

True Blue Grit

October 27th, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

may have been the most baffling, incomprehensible play I've seen Gardner make, and that's saying something.  It's like his brain turned to jelly and just told his body to do something random with the ball.  There wasn't a Michigan receiver anywhere in the area.  Poor guy.  Well, he only has to endure 4 more games and the nightmare will be over. 

Yostbound and Down

October 27th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

Yeah, and this is where I tend to take Gardner's side a little bit. This game last year was like David Carr's rookie season in a microcosm...it's clear he still is pretty passionate about this team, we see that in his leadership and fire during the PSU game. But mentally he just has had the tar beaten out of him over and over...good luck to him, two degrees from UM should serve him well.

late night BTB

October 27th, 2014 at 12:36 PM ^

This team is as soft as their HC's gut and puffy cheeks.

At some point will someone on the team throw down and fight after a cheap shot? The attitude difference between MSU and UofM is extraordinary.  An MSU player gets ejected (on a weak call) and is walking out, firing everyone up, looking like a wildman from the hills.

I've said before, MSU was nice to us after halftime. They only passed on 3rd and long. They ran the most vanilla run plays, at time back to back, and just manhandled us. 

Atlanta_Blue

October 27th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

I'd prefer our coach tell Dantonio to go shove that spike where the sun don't shine.  Sure it's not classy but it's a lot better than a damn apology.  However, I'd be perfectly happy with a "What's your deal?" at the postgame handshake instead of a hug and sweet whispers in MD's ear.

Gob Wilson

October 27th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

If we beat our rivals 7/10 times we are the "bully". When we get toasted at that rate we are the "bullied". I watch every week to support the kids but can't stand to see our coach not train them to be tough.

Lord please intervene and get us a new AD and a coach who is a competitor and not a "nice man". Please.

Louie C

October 27th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

Your comparison to Scut Farkus is dead on. I just hope he doesn't high tail it out of EL before the team goes Ralphie on his punk ass, because it WILL happen. Remember that bullshit about pride coming before the fall Mark. This run is nothing more than Daugherty 2.0.

jippolito

October 27th, 2014 at 12:40 PM ^

Don't forget the part about the manufactured crisis where MSU players claim it was disrespectful to drive that steak into Sparty's head I mean the 40 yard line.

Ty Butterfield

October 27th, 2014 at 12:40 PM ^

"These things take time and supporters need to be placated?!" That is the problem with Michigan right there. Good Lord. Reading this sentence gives me no hope that Michigan will be able to hire a good football coach. DB will cackle with knowing glee when he hires another yes man as the next football coach.

Everyone Murders

October 27th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

I agree that Hoke's continued job status (i.e., employed) indicates that Brandon does not get to pick Hoke's successor - that will be the new AD's job.  Here's a question.  How does Michigan go about preliminary negotiations with a new AD?  It seems that Schlissel would have to take charge of that process, but he does not seem to be the guy for the job.

My sense is that Schissel would engage an intermediary to explore options and gauge interest.  Does he have the power to do this, and if so, is it something he can do without disclosure?  My sense is that this would all be allowable, but how do you keep something like this under wraps in the real world (esp. with the spectre of FOIA)?

I Like Burgers

October 27th, 2014 at 2:04 PM ^

FOIA isn't really a concern because we have the most draconian FOIA process in the country.  You can't FOIA shit at Michigan without a massive hassle or budget for requests.  If Michigan hires a top notch coach, what editorial department is really going to open the budget for a bunch of wild goose chase FOIA requests that at the end of the day may or may not reveal what every coaching search in the world does -- there were some back channel negotiations.

MGlobules

October 27th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

to make his football coach look like the nation's most clueless goober."

Oy, that sweatshirt. I'd swear I saw it on one of the two stock coaches in the Marx Brothers' movie Horse Feathers. I mean, that giant M ain't slimming, but it helps if the thing fits you in the first place.

carlos spicywiener

October 27th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

 

Arguments about whether Michigan State is too mean to us don't interest me. For one, Dantonio did us a favor by punching in that last touchdown. Once Michigan was clearly going to lose it's in the sane Michigan fan's interest to have them lose by a million so that there can be no question about what needs to happen after the season.
If there weren't persistent claims by connected people that Hoke wasn't completely done yet I wouldn't feel this way. There are, so I do. Hoke 2015 can't happen.

 

Oh god...

Its me Dave

October 27th, 2014 at 1:24 PM ^

Throw Schlissel into the equation and it could easily happen.  He'll want to move carefully and reassess often - like some sort of 3 dimensional chess match.  He'll replace DB only and wait another year for the dust to settle before letting the new AD start a coaching search.

Forget about timing or meeting any limited windows of opportunity in the process.  The next 2-3 years are going to march Schlissel's slow, deliberate drumbeat.

BTW, he's PhD MD, with extensive research experience.  I'm betting that heavily informs his decision-making style: make 1 change at a time to prevent confounding variables, reassess, repeat.

AnthonyThomas

October 27th, 2014 at 1:35 PM ^

Schlissel doesn't want to be a part of a football coaching search. He'll want the AD to take care of that. 

If these people want to keep Hoke then they will destroy the program. No one will show up to games, they will all become the most inept at their jobs in the country. It will go down in history as the quickest evisceration of 100+ years of tradition. They aren't that dumb. 

pearlw

October 27th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

Another concern with a new coach and recruiting is that alot of the current recruits had planned on enrolling early. If there is still no clarity on Jan. 1, you cant expect them to come to Michigan. In that case, even guys who would still like to come to Michigan with a new coach may be forced to enroll elsewhere to be safe.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

User -not THAT user

October 27th, 2014 at 1:20 PM ^

Which is why I hope they don't throw a hissy fit if the coach they're after says that his first line of business is "winning a championship with (his) damn strong football team" before he's able to discuss contract terms.

As ecstatic I was over the RichRod hire, they REALLY screwed up w/ Miles in 2007.  Needlessly so, IMO.

samdrussBLUE

October 27th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

If you were/are upset about Bolden and the spike/stake, I suggest you take some time to really evaluate where your anger lies.  This was not unsportsmanlike at all.  Tell Sparty to go to hell if they try to play this hand.  Do not apologize for this or feel upset.  There are many other things we should be legitimately angry about.

caup

October 27th, 2014 at 2:05 PM ^

after his coach throws him under the bus.  Hoke could have supported his "son" by downplaying it publicly, telling everyone this whole uproar is overbown and silly (and then probably chastise Joe privately). 

 

Instead the goddamn buffoon shames his own kid in a written public apology.

 

What a fucking turd.

BlueLikeJazz

October 27th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

I think I was aware that something happened, but I'm not fully aware

 

Because this is how I'm going to remember the Hoke era.  For me, the RR era is summed up by a stuffed beaver and Josh Groban, and this quote is how I'm going to remember Hoke.  It so perfectly sums up this entire past 4 years.

bsand2053

October 27th, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

What a fucking obnoxious quote and it really exemplifies the probem with Hoke/Brandon.  They see anything other than manball as sissy football run by people who probably never get laid.  I'll be glad when this program is run by people who are actually interested in what does work, rather than what should work according to their narrow worldview.  

snowcrash

October 27th, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

I think the OL will be at least average assuming Magnuson is healthy and can replace Braden. We haven't been able to say "we have everyone back" the last 2 years.

Last year, we returned the tackles but lost the whole interior. The tackles were good, but the interior was a black hole.

This year, we returned the interior but lost both tackles. The interior has been mostly serviceable, but the tackles have struggled.

Ray

October 27th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

I hadn't noticed you'd changed the header until now.  What a fitting metaphor for a somnambulant coach and a program now out of his control.  You can't make this stuff up.   

BlueHills

October 27th, 2014 at 12:57 PM ^

The entire premise of universities playing a sport where students' concussions, torn ligaments and broken bones are the norm is theater of the absurd.

Add to this the number of students admitted who would never in a million years be accepted as part of the student body if not for football.

Football coaches are the highest paid members of the universities, and the highest paid public employees in most states.

Football players get a free education while most students pay through the nose.

Please tell me why anything related to this enterprise remotely makes sense in the context of the purpose of a higher education. It's all a mishmash of crazy traditions and priorities.

And here we are arguing over whether it makes sense to retain Dave Brandon, or Brady Hoke? None of this makes sense! So why should Michigan's Athletic Department make sense, ever? It's all madness. Now we're just joining in the fun that most of the schools in the country have to endure season after season.

 

dnak438

October 27th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

All games (social, athletic, economic, etc.) have crazy arbitrary rules that make no sense and are accidents of history, but if you're going to play the game you have to accept the rules. Either we go Chicago and drop all varsity sports or we play the game like the rest of them.

matty blue

October 27th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

brady hoke IS bobby williams:

  1. good guy, whatever that means.
  2. good-to-very good recruiter.
  3. players love him
  4. never would have gotten anywhere near this job had he not been an assistant under a very good coach.
  5. fundamentally unqualified to run a power-5 football program.

he sealed the comparison with the "i think i was aware that something happened, but i'm not fully aware" comment.  someone please tell me how this is any different than bobby williams' famous "i don't know" comment.  i submit that it's exactly the same, only more mealymouthed.

also, i could watch the scooter fail gif all day.  i just might.

ST3

October 27th, 2014 at 1:03 PM ^

I really hope we look back at this game as being Dantonio's pride coming before the fall moment. Aaawww, someone stuck a stake in your field and disrespected you? Poor coach Farkus.

For this to occur, we'll need an upgrade on our sideline.

bronxblue

October 27th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

I absolutely expect a game like this to be a turning point.  To listen to MSU fans is to believe no football was played between the two schools before 2006.  Luckily, history shows that Michigan will be great again and MSU is due to be mediocre as well.