Spock And A Hoke Place

Submitted by Brian on January 14th, 2011 at 3:16 PM

In a van down by the river. Yes, okay, in a van down by the river. You can stop emailing me this.

In a van down by the river. Hoke's talked to Adam Rittenberg. Here's yet another image of Brady Hoke pointing at stuff:


This is good. This makes him basically Urban Meyer.

As far as the actual WORDS Brady Hoke was SAYING, I get the feeling that in six months we're going to be able to do this in our sleep:

I want to make sure we're crystal clear on the direction we want to go. They have to understand the goal of the program and how we're going to go about achieving that goal, the accountability to each other, the toughness that we want to play the game with, the mentality we want to play the game with and the demeanor that you play the game with.

He also says Denard is definitely staying and will be "the lead part of our offense." In part two he says "represent Michigan," "represent the University of Michigan," and "play Michigan football." This man is on message.

Dollarz. Michigan's buying out the remainder of Hoke's contract for a million dollars, which you knew. They're also going to be paying out an extremely precise sum for next fall's game against the Aztecs:

Michigan agreed to pay $1,016,800 for SDSU to play the game in Ann Arbor. “That will be a fun one,” Sterk said.

The tomato cans are getting expensive these days. Actually, with SDSU sporting a senior quarterback in 2011 and Michigan's secondary still trying to figure out which way "left, left, LEFT GODDAMN LEFT AAAARGH" is dubbing SDSU a "tomato can" might be getting ahead of ourselves. The last time they came to town it took a who-dat freshman tailback named Mike Hart to pull Michigan's ass out of the fire in a too-narrow 24-21 win.

Also from that article: SDSU's 22 verbals are not wavering according to their new coach. Just in case you were wondering if we could pick off players from the fifth-ranked class in the MWC.

A (the?) defensive coordinator candidate. The name being thrown around at the moment for Michigan's open defensive coordinator spot is former Michigan assistant Vance Bedford, who was the DBs coach from 95-98. After that stint he had a six year tenure as a DB coach with the Bears, was hired by Oklahoma State to be DC, was fired after two years, returned to Michigan for Carr's final season, left for Florida to be DBs coach, and was named Louisville DC when Charlie Strong got that job.

Louisville put up some nice numbers this year but when the head coach is Charlie Strong it's questionable how much impact you're having. Also, playing in the Big East had an impact on that—they're a good-not-great 40th in FEI, one slot behind UConn. Bedford's previous tenure as a DC did not end well. Just a few games into his second season as AD he unleashed this

Monday, after OSU's defense surrendered 509 yards in a loss at Houston, Bedford said: "People are saying, ‘Well, same 'ol Oklahoma State.' Go tell those people that told that same 'ol lie to go ahead and jump off the ship like a bunch of roaches. That's OK because that's what they are, a bunch of roaches.

…and then refused to back off of it later. This probably did not help his case to keep his job; neither did finishing 95th and 89th in total defense in his two years. Oklahoma State got worse after he left, FWIW.

Hiring Bedford would be another shrug-your-shoulders moment. There's no reason to expect he's awesome but he's not Greg Robinson.

Campbell spins like a top. According to ESPN—weird source for this obscure news—Will Campbell will move back to defensive line. That might be an indication Hoke is planning a 4-3, where Campbell might fit better as a planetoid-sized NT whose job is to be the unmovable object.

The problem with this is that Campbell was very moveable in his brief stints on the field and people generally thought Bruce Tall was the one defensive assistant who could find his ass in three tries. Since Michigan has a couple of quality candidates to replace Steve Schilling they might as well try Campbell out in a scheme that fits him better than the 3-3-5 did. I'm still doubtful he's going to suddenly figure things out.

The Hoke file. Your long fluff piece on new coach X fell to Lynn Henning and reveals a strange opinion about vegetables:

"He didn't like vegetables. His favorites were two of the dumbest: cooked spinach and Brussels sprouts."

What's your problem with spinach and brussels sprouts, Mother Hoke?

BONUS: Phrases deployed include "crackerjack recruiter," "sublime hire," "astonishingly pure love for Michigan," and "the fun, the glory."

Etc.: Headlines you'll see. MVictors has handy sound clips you can embed whenever a thing Brady Hoke said in his introductory press conference aligns with your thoughts and feelings. Podcast appearance on Bucknuts, though you still have to login to hear it. San Diego is slightly more laid back than West Virginia about football.



January 14th, 2011 at 10:26 PM ^

the beating a 5-7 Northwestern team 23-6, a 7-5 ND team 21-14, and to be honest, a 24-3 score against a 3-9 Minnesota.   That 15th ranked MSU team finished 7-5 and was crushed in their bowl game.  There was no sexy that season.  At all.  Well, except for Charles.



Maybe you're right.  But in my opinion, it would be harder for a team like that to win the title these days.


Oh, and when I said "beating everybody 21-10", obviously I was generalizing.  My point was that even against terrible teams and with a defense that forced 3 and outs constantly, the offense was extremely sluggish.  That team won 100% with their defense.  When is the last time the NC didn't have an extremely potent offense?


January 15th, 2011 at 8:50 AM ^

The 2006 Florida Gators with Chris Leak at quarterback only scored more than 28 points 5 times - only three times during the regular season and those were against Southern Miss, UCF, and Western Carolina. They scored 17 points twice - once in a loss and once in a win.They didin't score more than 28 points against a team from an AQ conference until the SEC championship game.

They had wins of: 21-20;  26-7; . 28-13;   23-10;  21-14;  25-19;  17-16;  21-14; and 38-28.

That is much less "sexy" than Michigan's 1997 team; especially considering that they had a 17-16 loss on their schedule.


January 15th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

Wasn't PSU the #3 team at the time?

The game was in Happy Valley.

We DESTROYED them. Utterly DESTROYED them.

THAT was "sexy" in my book.

Daydrion Taylor's hit was "sexy" in my book.

As Cris Carter says, "C'mon, man!"


January 14th, 2011 at 6:10 PM ^

I'm very happy for Brady Hoke.  Clearly he wanted this job very much and I have no doubt he will put everything he has into making Michigan football successful.  I'm rooting like hell for the guy, but I am a little skeptical because he is underqualified.  However, if Brandon really thinks he's the best man for the job I'll put my faith in him. He certainly knows more than I do, and the scene at the OSU basketball game was great.  I've been wrong about pretty much everything regarding Michigan football over the last four years so who knows.  Go Blue and go Brady!


January 14th, 2011 at 7:31 PM ^

Did you all know that of the 11 players who started most of the games on the defensive side of the ball in 1997, 10 of them made an NFL roster?  And the one who didn't became a cage fighter.


I don't know that this has anything at all to do with the story here, but I had to tell somebody who might actually believe me.


January 14th, 2011 at 10:25 PM ^

...brussels sprouts, then I saw Jacques Pepin prepare them differently than I thought was possible, and now I love them.

Stop equating Hoke with Lloyd ball. He's evolved as the game has evolved while still retaining his essential Hokey-ness. Kind of like those braised brussels sprouts that are so damn yummy.

I've always loved spinach, though.


January 15th, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

No, I'm more stupider. 

I just find the change in tone to be a little drastic… I think most of us would have liked an option that was less Hokey. We didn't get it. Let's trust that the powers that be have Michigan's best interest in mind, and things will work out… just like they did with that last guy.


January 15th, 2011 at 1:14 AM ^

I am in an odd position where I completely agree with everything Brian writes about Hoke, but at the same time I'm excited by what Hoke says. I'm mad about everything with RR, scared about Hoke, and excited about Hoke's rhetoric. Football season needs to be here NOW.


January 15th, 2011 at 8:08 AM ^

it's easy to be sarcastic at a time like this. Maybe even bitter might not be too strong, but I do think he portrays the sense of disappointment many of us felt how everything went down. First of all, even most of the naysayers know Coach Rod needed/deserved that fourth year to finally get the ball of wax going, especially in terms of youth. Of course, after his release the 'National Search' turned out to be less national then advertised. I'm happy for Coach Hoke, I will support his program, but it's going to take some time for me to jump on the bandwagon with the huzzah I did when Coach Rod was introduced; I was 'All in' for Coach Rod and the emotional investment has left me a little worn out. Perhaps Brian feels the same way and given time will be 'All in' for Coach Hoke as well. Wins cure a lot of ills, after all.

Elno Lewis

January 15th, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

over an opinion he expresses just because it doesn't agree with my own.


If Hoke succeeds, the brain cook will prolly grow to support the man.


If Hoke fails, the brain cook will be vindicated.


I don't think the brain cook wants Hoke to fail.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

He's not wrong:

Michigan's secondary still trying to figure out which way "left, left, LEFT GODDAMN LEFT AAAARGH"

Hiring Bedford would be another shrug-your-shoulders moment. There's no reason to expect he's awesome but he's not Greg Robinson.

I'm still doubtful he's [Campbell] going to suddenly figure things out.

Brian's take on this hire and situation is spot on.  It's underwhelming, especially when juxtaposed with having Harbaugh in the driver's seat right now.  Brian has always measured his opinions by analyzing the numbers - nothing has changed here.  Brady Hoke's resumé is ho-hum at best.  The coordinators he's hired are not big splash.  The media fawning over Hoke on the merits of politically correct coaching clichés at press conferences and interviews is both predictable and nauseating, especially when compared to what Rodriguez faced.

It's not about whether RR should've been kept at this point.  Brian is simply collecting the relevant data surrounding the situation and dealing with it reasonably.  He's not supposed to be a cheerleader and never has been.

If you don't like that the numbers, relative resumés, coordinators and recent events (sans Denard staying news) are less than stellar and not big splashes, that's your problem.  Quit whining about Brian being consistent.


January 17th, 2011 at 7:57 AM ^

Reading back on some of the RR stuff, he was an enthusiast. He could be critical, but  it seems he was far more forgiving of RR even when things went sour than he is of Hoke when Hoke hasn't done anything bad yet.


"Brian's take on this hire and situation is spot on.  It's underwhelming, especially when juxtaposed with having Harbaugh in the driver's seat right now."


Remember when there was a question of firing RR and hiring Harbaugh, I believe he said his reaction would be 'Meh'.


Which, along with the silly photos of Hoke, gives the impression that it was more enthusiastic for RR than truly balanced.  


January 17th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

His enthusiasm for Rodriguez and lack of enthusiasm for Hoke is justified. Rodriguez had a more substantial resume and Michigan had to get someone to replace Carr. This time around, Rodriguez didn't need to go anywhere, yet they fired him to appease some of the fans.

Our offense looked great and is only losing essentially 1 player on offense and 1 player on defense. Rodriguez had the #1 all purpose running back  all but locked up.

The only way Hoke works out better than Rodriguez is if his resume is misleading and he is able to keep the offense on its currrent trajectory without Dee Hart, a disappointing 2011 recruiting class and a different system. Then, he has to improve the defense more than just hiring a new defensive coordinator would have and I don't see how that can happen.

I am hoping Brady Hoke does well. And I think he will because Rodriguez left this team in a better position now than it was when Carr left. But it is hard to envision a scenario where Hoke does better than Rodriguez would have, at least in 2011 and 2012. Now a few years from now if Hoke recruits well, survives the years when this recruiting class really hurt us and develops a great defense and special teams without the offense suffering too much then we could postulate that hiring Hoke was the right choice. But we'll never know for sure.

Maybe Hoke was Brandon's dream hire. Getting rid of Rodriguez only made sense to me if we could get that dream hire. I was pissed off after the bowl game, but looking at it now, I wish we still had Rodriguez. But that being said, it doesn't mean Brady Hoke can't do a great job. I support him and Michigan, along with Brian and his decision to finally change the banner.

Go Blue!


January 17th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

Coming in, yes. But that enthusiasm seemed undimmed compared to the treatment Hoke got early on even after it got ugly. 

We can agree to disagree about the offense (yes, it looked fantastic vs. poor teams. Against MSU (1) less so, Wisconsin and OSU, even worse, and MSU (2) UGH) or the state of the program left by Carr compared to RR. 

The point is that for awhile It seemed verboten to criticise RR when he was here despite the badness that was happening that all can agree on. The attitude I read seemed to be 'We don't want to rip on the guy and hurt the program now, do we?' And if that is someone's stance, okay. But then it should follow that you don't take cheap shots at Hoke before the guy has done anything; because it will hurt the program. 

Had RR stayed, I would have hoped like hell he would have put together an awesome year next year and things would have started to click fundamentals wise. 

Now that he is gone, I hope the same for Hoke. It does seem that Brian has become more balanced in the recent posts; so maybe he was just pi$$ed over the search and the way it went. 


Agree with 'Go Blue' entirely. 




January 15th, 2011 at 11:31 AM ^

Something that a good number of people around here seem to be forgetting. That's a primary reason why Brian has turned down the opportunity to receive official UM press credentials—he wants absolute freedom to be as critical or as laudatory as his analysis take him. I certainly don't agree with everything he's said in the past or is saying now, but:

It's. his. fucking. blog.

Those of us who post and comment don't own the site. Brian Cook does. Those who can't stand his opinions are very free to go elsewhere. That's the beauty of the internet, at least until net neutrality is finally killed in its crib.


January 15th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Agree or (often) disagree, Brian is a smart, insightful, independent-minded guy with an engaging writing style and a wicked sense of humor. That's what keeps me coming back to the site, because such people are not all that easy to find. I can get party-line cheerleading many places. (There are even sites where I could get the privilege of paying for it if I chose to.)  


January 15th, 2011 at 12:04 PM ^

Here's a newsflash for all of you waiting for Brian to post pictures of Hoke riding unicorns and jumping over rainbows:  I don't know if you've noticed, but the writing on MGoBlog tends to have just a bit of an edge to it.  Let's go way back to, say, two days ago, when Brian told those who accused him of hypocrisy and negativity to "please fuck off and die"  -- but hey, at least he said "please."  If you're waiting for him to suddenly become a gushing fanboy of Hoke:  The Toughness, you might have to wait a bit longer.  Especially since we're, like, three whole days past the conclusion of a "national coaching search" and a "process" of which Brian and many others have been justly critical.  Just a hunch, but repeated calls to change the banner, tone down the sarcasm, etc., just might produce the opposite result -- nah, come to think of it, I've never seen Brian with any sort of chip on his shoulder . . .

Heinous Wagner

January 15th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

I have always seen Brian and this blog as serving the function of "loyal dissent," which is one of the highest values imaginable for a society, let alone a college football fanbase. I think Hoke has played all the cards right in his first days, but it still all comes down to winning often and honestly. I will reserve judgment on the new regime and keep returning here as a counterweight to invitations to drink the Kool-Aid.


January 15th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

As pointed out this is Brian's blog so freedom of speech does not apply.

However, I give Brian a lot of credit for allowing all opinions, whether agreeing with him or criticizing him, to find a place here. Hearing many points of view is one of the reasons I enjoy this blog.

Sparkle Motion

January 15th, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^


That the search was performed in a manner that would be expected from someone from the business world.  

You consider the politics of the organization, who this person needs support from to succeed, who could sabotage this persons success, who understands your corporate culture, etc. 

You talk to experts in the field, you do background checks, run financial optimization programs, Monte Carlo simulation,  what-if heuristics, and multi-level constraint based availability checks…

Then one day, late at night, you just say  to yourself “f*ck it – does the guy have jowls?”



January 16th, 2011 at 12:15 AM ^

Yes, RR made many mistakes here and probably misread the topography of the athletic department landscape, but I'm just pissed at the school more than RR for the last 3 years.  The school and media bear more responsibility for the lack of his success than he does.

-FREEP lies to set him up for NCAA investigation

-lack of support from the establishment and political infighting, whatever that was.

-Brandon coming out saying that we've been underpaying the coaching staff all along, but we're not going to get a better qualified DC for RR, we're going to get rid of him along with GERG.  We'll spend more $$ this time around.

-Brandon letting him and the rest of the staff just hang out there in the wind for too long.  Bad for RR and bad for upcoming season.

I hope Hoke is successful, but it's going to take a long time to forget how sucky UM behaved during all of this.  We think we're better than this, but we don't behave as if we are.