Unverified Voracity, Here Till The End Or August Comment Count

Brian August 1st, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Events! Two preseason events are booked for yours truly:

  • I'll be in New York on August 15th with the Alumni Club of NYC. 7 PM, Professor Thom's.
  • I'll be a part of the UM Club of Greater Detroit's kickoff dinner panel with Angelique Chengelis of the News and Greg Dooley of MVictors. Details here.

Yes, lol. Here's Todd Graham's motivational tactic at Arizona State:


This is lol. It is even more lol when you bring last year's edition into play:


Yes: I AM HERE TO THE END. I get that Graham is Todd Graham. What I can't understand is what the hell Arizona State's athletic director was thinking when he decided to grab a guy who already had a reputation as a job-hopper after one 6-6 year in the Big East. That's like hiring Brady Hoke… if Brady Hoke had no connection with your university and was widely regarded as not the best dude ever.

Oh, right, that. The Devin Gardner cat was released from the bag but never mentioned in this space. Here is the cat:

How much will backup quarterback Devin Gardner play at receiver this fall?

"I'll think we'll have a chance to get Devin on the field some at receiver," Hoke said.

But, legitimately, how much?

"We'll see," Hoke said, smirking. "I'm being coy, but we'll see as fall camp goes through what he can handle, ball security after the catch, all kinds of things like that."

Go for broke, man.

Does a quarter of the MSU football team have an alibi? Star Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball was the victim of an "unprovoked attack" last night:

Ball suffered head injuries after being attacked by five men near Wisconsin's campus around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Witnesses told police the men knocked Ball to the ground and began kicking him. Ball, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, was taken to a hospital and released later Wednesday morning.

You'd think shouting "I RAN FOR 1,923 YARDS LAST YEAR" would be an excellent way to get people to stop kicking you in the head. Or "my best friends are 6'6", 320 pounds." But these guys are probably hopped up on PCP.

Bullet: dodged. Remember when Zeke Pike was probably going to be in Michigan's most recent recruiting class and was supposed to be really good at football? He's taken quite a dive since:

Freshman quarterback Zeke Pike is not expected to be part of the Auburn football team that opens preseason practice on Wednesday afternoon, but knowledgeable sources say the possibility remains that he could rejoin the team, perhaps after the 2012 season. …

Pike was sent home after his arrest on a public intoxication charge in June.

That's after a series of camp performances that saw his stock dip from top-100 type to generic three star.

New era: nevermind. UCF's athletic director got a show cause for working with a street agent, the NCAA concluded thusly

The NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled that Central Florida officials, including former athletics director Keith Tribble, had knowledge of the involvement of Ken Caldwell, a Chicago man with ties to a sports agency, and his associate Brandon Bender, to recruit players. The NCAA said both men used cash inducements in an effort to steer nearly a dozen football and men's basketball prospects to Central Florida.

…and the Golden Knights got a one-year postseason ban that they have the chutzpah to appeal. (Because they sucked at cheating.) Tentative conclusion: Penn State was an aberration and PSU fans should probably be mad and stuff.

I guess the UCF punishment had been in the works long before Penn State got the instant banhammer and the two things have little to do with each other. But… seriously, what does it take short of enabling a pedophile to get seriously hammered? Head coach knows stuff, does nothing: one year postseason ban and flimsy scholarship penalties. Athletic director pays street agent to acquire recruits: one year postseason ban and flimsy scholarship penalties. The equation seems heavily stacked in favor of rolling the dice.

And this is why Brady Hoke trolls you. As Heiko detailed, every question Taylor Lewan fielded was about Will Gholston (except the ones Ace asked):

Lewan was even asked if he was sad that Gholston wasn't part of the Michigan State contingent at the Big Ten's media days.

"I don't know," Lewan said bluntly. "That's kind of an odd question to ask."

Lewan repeatedly deflected specific questions about Gholston and Michigan State throughout his two hour roundtable session, but did admit to one thing.

Gholston is one heck of a player, and regardless of what happened last season, Lewan certainly respects his talent on the field.

"Will's a good player," Lewan said. "He's been very successful since he's been at Michigan State, and it's going to be exciting to play against him."

What's the point? Maybe the first question, sure, but once Lewan has revealed he is going to give you the boilerplate, move on.

Side note: Gholston hype is out of all proportion to reality, man. Marcus Rush is the better MSU DE, but Gholston and his five sacks are… uh, tall. And good when not blocked.

Air Force 1,000 foot view. Via Pre-Snap Read, a fine preview of the Falcons:

It could be worse: Air Force’s offense could have to replace nine starters, as on defense, instead of just eight starters. Then again, it’s probably fair to make one point in regards to the Falcons’ overwhelming lack of experience heading into September: Air Force is not like other programs in the country. Elsewhere, you see five returning starters and point towards a downturn; Air Force, like its fellow service academies, deals with roster overturn every season – perhaps not to this degree, but without redshirt seasons and with most teams very senior-heavy, this sort of retooling is not new to Calhoun and this staff.

The Falcons also return just two starters on defense; the "dream season" section still includes a loss in Ann Arbor.

Etc.: Merrill named Devils' top prospect by NHL.com. Burlon third after spending entirety of last year in AHL. Argh. Alabama concern-type substances. Online poker to return soon? Meinke compiles Will Campbell hype. Chengelis does the same for Kovacs. Restoring the Old Man.



August 1st, 2012 at 4:54 PM ^

Should note AF also has no limit on recruits (everyone is on scholarship) so they routinely bring in classes of 40 kids, half of whom were QBs in high school, so the high roster turnover doesn't ever leave them with a dearth of upperclassmen to choose from.


August 2nd, 2012 at 10:15 AM ^

That's not entirely true, about a third to one half of each recruiting class either quits the team or the academy, or gets cut after freshman year.  They also don't play many freshmen so the numbers tend to work out the same as a standard college program.  The difference lies in that most players have played in the same system for the prep school and JV teams and therefore have game experience in the academy systems.  So they can be considered something along the lines of a junior college transfer.  The turnover this year is troubling, but in this case some fresh blood may end up being a good thing.

Mr. Yost

August 2nd, 2012 at 10:40 PM ^

I haven't read through all the comments...

But UCF isn't the Golden Knights, they're the Knights. And Keith Tribble is not the AD's, he's the former AD who was fired last November.

Also, I never heard/read that Tribble was paying the street agent/runner. I believe he was given access to things, free tickets to events, but I didn't think money was exchanged.

From everything I understood, it sounded like the guy had a boner for being "the guy who brought you this kid..." or "the big man on campus" and Tribble let him and encouraged him to get players rather than stopping him.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

Best part of the Tom Harmon article:


...a brilliant career that included rushing for more than 2,100 years [!]...

Tom Harmon has more eligibility than Taco Pants.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:13 PM ^


What I can't understand is what the hell Arizona State's athletic director was thinking when he decided to grab a guy who already had a reputation as a job-hopper after one 6-6 year in the Big East. That's like hiring Brady Hoke… if Brady Hoke had no connection with your university and was widely regarded as not the best dude ever.


Arizona State would have done DAMN WELL to have hired Brady Hoke back when he was available, even though he had no connection to their university and even if he wasn't widely regarded as the greatest guy anywhere.

There should be sufficient shame attached to the Brady-Hoke-is-the-worst-hire-imaginable meme that once the appropriate mea culpas were issued it would never be mentioned or even alluded to ever again. But since it has been dragged out again, I'll say this: the lesson that should have been taken from that experience is not "Wow, how could we possibly have known that Hoke would turn out to be so great?" but  that, just possibly, football people with first-hand experience of a prospective hire might know things the rest of us don't and their opinions shouldn't be tossed aside under the rubrics of nepotism or cronyism.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:21 PM ^

First of all, Brian's comment was implying that Todd Graham is a dick.  Brady Hoke is not a dick.

Secondly, Arizona State wouldn't have done well to hire Hoke.  He would have likely left within 2 years for a better destination.

I don't think there is any "shame" in questioning a hire.  I love Brady Hoke and I hope he's the Michigan coach for the next 1,000,000 years.  But, anyone who claims they had absolutely no reservations about his hiring is lying.  And, the hiring process was a pretty big shitshow.  There were reasons to be skeptical of the process and the hire that can't all be thrown under the rug because of an 11-2 season.  One can be thrilled with Brady Hoke as a coach without recanting a previous opinion that the process and the hire weren't conducted at 100%.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:38 PM ^

If you believe Dave Brandon's version of events that Brady Hoke was the first and only man for the job from the beginning.  I don't buy that for a second.  There is no incentive for Brandon to say anything different from "he was my one and only".

If he was the one and only, Hoke could have been watching our team get demolished in the Gator Bowl from the skyboxes.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:59 PM ^

If Brandon had done that, he'd have taken a lot of grief from the faction that wanted RR to stay, and from the faction that wanted Harbaugh.  The former would have complained that it would be unfair to deny RR the chance to coach in the bowl, and the latter would insist that Harbaugh was ours if we'd just waited.  

The way he ultimately handled it, both factions were silenced.  The bowl debacle suggested that RR had lost his team, and destroyed what remained of his support.  Meanwhile, Harbaugh took himself out of the running by choosing the NFL.  Hoke took the job and the divisions in the fanbase quickly disappeared.  

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Brandon, but I don't think this is one of them.  The 2007 coaching transition, that was a shitstorm.  The 2011 transition was infinitely better-managed than that.  



August 1st, 2012 at 6:04 PM ^

I would have MUCH preferred that he get fired after the OSU game and before the bowl game, given that the result of the bowl game could not have saved his job (per the players referred to in "Three and Out").

That would have given RR the opportunity to coach during the 2011 season, which was effectively denied to him given the timing of the firing.  I cannot speak to the rest of the pro-RR faction, but that was my biggest issue with the process - RR was fired a month and a half after Brandon had decided had effectively zero chance of retaining his job.

Let me reiterate that I am thrilled with what Hoke has done as a coach, and in hindsight, my initial skepticism of his hire appears to be completely wrong.

But, the general consensus of the board seems to have changed from "the process was flawed, the hire is somewhat questionable, but Hoke clearly loves Michigan and hopefully he can restore what we've lost over the last three years" to something more similar to "Hoke went 11-2 and won a BCS game, so everything Brandon did in the firing/hiring process was flawless".

I know that winning solves everything, but just because Hoke has turned out to be an excellent hire thus far does not mean that Brandon's handling of the situation was excellent.


August 1st, 2012 at 6:39 PM ^

It's impossible to know when Brandon decided to fire RR.  Bacon can't know for sure - he never interviewed Brandon for the book.

It seems that the only apparent criticism you seem to have of Brandon's handling of the process is that it was inconvenient for RR.   I don't find that a very compelling argument that it was a "shitstorm".  David Brandon's job is to work for the well-being of Michigan athletics, not individual coaches who are on the verge of termination.  The way he handled the situation worked out very well for us.  



August 1st, 2012 at 7:12 PM ^

whether Hoke truly was Brandon's first and only choice.  But, the general consensus here is to believe him at his word.  Along those same lines, I am taking Bacon's conclusion at his word.  Regardless, It's not even Bacon saying that RR was gone - it's the exiting football players.  Assuming you don't believe that Bacon is making that shit up, I am going to believe those players.

The way he handled the situation worked out very well for us

Brandon's hiring of Hoke has worked out very well for us.  Brandon's contribution to the RR-to-Hoke transition has worked out very well for us.  The lead-up to the Hoke hiring was NOT handled well, nor can you say that because the end result was the hiring of Hoke, thatthe entire process went well.

It seems that the only apparent criticism you seem to have of Brandon's handling of the process is that it was inconvenient for RR.

The timing of the firing was not only inconvenient for RR, which I think is more harmful to Michigan athletics than you would allow, but also completely unfair to the exiting players and Michigan fans.  If RR didn't have the support of the administration, and more importantly, the players KNEW that he didn't have the support, how could they be a unified team on the field?  I'm not suggesting that a unified team around RR would have stomped Miss. St., and RR certainly deserves a great deal of blame for the showing in the Gator Bowl, but Brandon's inaction toward firing combined with his lack of a vote of confidence did nothing but hurt the team and program during those months.

If Brandon had concluded that RR was not going to work out, the correct solution was to move on from that scenario as quickly as possible - not sacrifice the program to division for 1.5 months.  The ONLY reason it unified the fanbase was because of how excellent Hoke has turned out - Brandon certainly deserves credit for that, but let's not pretend that the fan base would be unified if we went 5-7 last year, simply because Brandon was such a unifying force.


August 1st, 2012 at 9:21 PM ^

I think the delay was because Harbaugh gave Brandon indications that he was interested and told him to wait until after the Orange Bowl, then changed his mind later on. Otherwise, it makes no sense to wait until after a bowl game to fire a coach. I don't buy Brandon's explanation of wanting to let the players play under their coaches, and I don't think it was because he saved a measly $1.5 million off Rodriguez' buyout by firing him after January 1st. Bacon says that Harbaugh was essentially offered a $5 million deal to come back to Ann Arbor. You don't throw a number at someone, even informally, unless you have had some prior discussion with them and received indications that they're seriously interested. 

The whole Miles thing, on the other hand, was a dog-and-pony show. I don't think he was ever seriously considered this time around, nor do I think there was much interest from his end. 


August 1st, 2012 at 11:02 PM ^

is a lot easier for me to accept.  It makes more sense than the idea that Hoke was truly #1 all along, opens up Brandon to some criticism about the process, and simply seems more reasonable.

I just don't understand the desire to believe this pipe dream that Dave Brandon executed the whole process in a near-perfect manner.  I'm not even suggesting that Brandon deserves a failing grade on the coaching transition - I think it's pretty clear from my comments that with the firing, job search, hiring, and coaching transition combined, I believe Brandon gets a 6/10 at the lowest; but the consensus here is that Brandon was damn near a miracle-worker who bought into Brady Hoke, the man, the myth, and the legend from Day #1, Jim Harbaugh be damned.


August 2nd, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

What the hell do they have to do with the process?  And why do they matter? Sorry you felt like they should do it your way...but fans don't really matter when it comes to hire a coach.

And this the players said it...the players said what, exactly? And who was quoted?  The players may have said they felt like he was gone (and really, after that Football Bust, who DIDN'T feel that way?), but I don't think you'll find anyone stating by name that David Brandon told him that Rich was going to be fired.  What at that point would make you give a vote of confidence? So a month later you can say "sorry, just kidding."  Anyone who didn't have doubts on where the program was headed had their heads in the sand.  There's nothing wrong with giving a guy one more chance to prove himself....or prove he needed to go.

As jmblue has stated, he gave you many reasons why it made sense to not do anything declaratively during that month and a half. Just because it didn't fit your timetable doesn't make it "incorrect".  He confirmed his decision, kept factions happy that they weren't ignored, gave his coach one more chance to prove everyone wrong, and saved $1.5 million dollars. Making sure the guy you're firing and giving a big payday to for him to go away has a lot of new job prospects wasn't one on his table. (And how you could possibly say you think that's harmful to Michigan is silly. Not only did it save money, and possibly save face, it's not like they fought him on his buyout.  Frankly, they could have trumped up reasons not to pay him at all....but did the right thing and didn't).


August 1st, 2012 at 6:10 PM ^

I don't believe it is fair to give any credit to Brandon for silencing both factions by waiting - if you believe Bacon, we could have won the Gator Bowl handily and RR would have still been fired.  THAT would have certainly resulted in greater division among the fan base than it would have otherwise.

Just because RR shot himself in the foot in the Gator Bowl does not mean that Brandon gets credit - it's not as if he foresaw a complete blowout in the Gator Bowl and elected to retain Rodriguez just to shut the pro-RR camp up.

snarling wolverine

August 1st, 2012 at 7:17 PM ^

It seems to me like you're fishing for reasons to criticize Brandon here.  If you want to scrutinize any AD's hiring of a coach, you can find some little misteps, I'm sure.  For instance, everyone praises Don Canham for hiring Bo, but he offered Joe Paterno (!) the job first.  The final result is what matters.

Here's the bottom line:  Brandon fired an underperforming coach who was a very divisive figure, and within a week he hired a coach who has outperformed him in every way possible.  I would say that constitutes a job well done.  I think even John Bacon would agree with that by now.  (Remember, Bacon wrote the book immediately after the coaching change, and at the time, he disagreed with the firing.)





August 1st, 2012 at 11:09 PM ^

I was indeed nitpicking at Brandon's handling of the process.  Overall, considering the firing, search, hiring, and transition combined, I think Brandon should receive good marks.

The reason I started pointing out what I believe were flaws in the first place was Yeoman's suggestion that people who questioned Hoke and the process should be ASHAMED of themselves because we should place ultimate trust in the decision-makers.

I simply replied to state that I firmly believe that you can support Hoke 100% while still believing the process was flawed.  They are not mutually exclusive, Brandon is not beyond reproach simply because he is in charge, and there absolutely should not be any shame involved.


August 2nd, 2012 at 11:10 AM ^

Where did I ever say that?

I advocate putting heavy weight on the opinions of those who have worked with and played for a prospective hire. That doesn't imply blind faith in any particular decision maker's ability to evaluate that information correctly.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 2nd, 2012 at 8:14 AM ^

Have you ever heard the phrase "the ends don't justify the means"? It is very easy in hindsight to say DB did a great job hiring Hoke given what we have all seen over the past year and a half, but at the time that wasan't quite so obvious.

I am behind Hoke 110%, but then, I would be behind whoever got hired because they are the coach of my team. The bottom line here isn't what you stated it was because that is all based on hindsight and has nothing to do with what DB was doing or thinking at the time of the coaching search/hire/transition.

What is widely believed to be true is that DB had his eye on Jim H. for the coaching job and for whatever reason that didn't happen. That left DB scrambling because of the timeframe (that was likely forced upon him by Jim H) and he managed to put a rabbit out of his hat. At that time I don't think there was anyone that was particularly pumped about the choice. Many went with it because that is what was best at the time, but most were still a little skeptical. 

Fastforward a year and a half and everyone is happy, but that doesn't erase what went down a year and a half ago. Sure most fans have moved well past it, but the bottom line is it happened and it is entirely down to DB. 

Giving Brandon credit for hiring Hoke and pretending it is a big checkmark on his resume is a little silly. It's like pretending you made the right decision when you were buying a house. You go out and do all your research and look at alot of houses and finally settle on three house you think are best for what you need.

After this process and you have three homes that you really like (class above the rest in your eyes) you make an offer on the one you like the most but the owners are taking their time in getting back to you. There is a bit of back and forth about the price and in the meantime those other two homes have been purchased, so all your eggs are now in one basket. After a time the owners sell to a higher bidder and you are shit out of luck.

You've already sold your house so there's no turning back now, you need to live somewhere, so you go back to the drawing board. You look back on all your research and settle on the next best property that is still available. 

After a year and a half of living in your new house and finding out it was much better than you ever thought it was when initially looking, you're very satisfied with the purchase. In fact, in hindsight you would have picked this house over all three of the houses you initially  put in that "top three". You did a GREAT job.

Fast forward now 10 years. You are selling up again and looking for a new home. You look back on the process that you went through 10 years earlier and remember what a great success the previous purchase was. Do you think that the buyer will follow the same method just because the end result turned out so well the last time. Do you think he will screw around and wait for his top three choices to get snatched out from under his nose and take his fourth or fifth choise just because it worked the last time? Or is he going to admit that the previous time he made a mistake (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise) and learn from it? 


August 2nd, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

DB contacted Jim H beginning of November.  When Jim H was honest with him about thinking of making a move to the NFL, DB went to Hoke and the rest is history.  Jim Harbaugh was never in consideration after that point. 

On the other hand, Jim H. told David Brandon and Ross he would do whatever he needed to do to make the coaching transition smooth for his alma mater, hence the many meetings Jim H. had with Ross.   Ross viturally leveraged for Jim H. in order to get him the most favorable contract possible.  Jim. H. entertained Ross to please the Michigan fanbase and save face for D.B. to make it look like he tried to get the hottest coach on the market.  Everyone won.  It was done brilliantly.

Hoke was Michigan's next coach before Michgan even played ohio in 2010.  D.B. and Ross are two geniuses behind the hiring of Brady Hoke.  There was no rabbit out of the hat.  I made this clear as it was happening during RR's last year on another pay site.

Keep believing Bacon as if he had any clue what was going on at the time D.B. was searching for a coach.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 2nd, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

and who are you exactly? I mean, seriously I would like to know who out of the AD you are because you obviously must be DB right hand man to know this stuff. I haven't read JB's book, what I am using as a reference is how it actually unfolded. I'd be interested in hearing what fictional novel you got your information from.


August 2nd, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

I'm just a far more informed fan and message board poster than you are. 

I know this seems crazy, but David Brandon, Coach Hoke, Coach Carr and a handful of other people with ties to the ahtletic department are humans.  They have social lives.  They talk to their friends.  Word gets out on certain things.  I happen to have a family member in that circle of friends.



August 2nd, 2012 at 2:28 PM ^

And make it tough if he was for sure going to get rid of him? Why risk winning by 50 and making it hard to fire him?  

What no one seems to be able to answer is why it took two days to fire Rich, if this was all decided months before.  Should have taken 5 minutes, with the lawyers taking over. But they continued it to a second day. 

You sleep a lot better if you stopped believing everything you read.


August 1st, 2012 at 5:25 PM ^

The Brady Hoke hire went as planned.


And I had no reservations about his hiring.  I was pulling for him the entire time.  Anyone who knows Brady Hoke, was pulling for hm to get the job they just didn't expect him to get it.

snarling wolverine

August 1st, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

People who did their homework on Brady, who knew what kind of programs he inherited at BSU and SDSU and how well-respected he was at both schools (winning conference Coach of the Year awards at both), and who knew what kind of person he was were happy with the hire.  You can't find anyone familiar with the man's work who thinks he's a bad coach.

Given that he's now been voted Coach of the Year in three (count 'em) different conferences - all in the last four years, no less - the idea that he should be compared to any questionable hire is nuts.


August 1st, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

We don't have to go into the specifics (as we have hashed and re-hashed them here), but Brady Hoke's lackluster tangibles (i.e overall record, record against top-25, etc) were partially off-set by his intangibles, such as by the fact that he "turns" programs around (which is a stretch IMO), his love for Michigan, players love playing for him, etc.  I still think it was perfectly reasonable to say he was under-welming hire AT THAT TIME.

Still, though, are we really at the point where we can say he is a good hire?  He is only one year in, and while he did post a great record (not to mention his fantastic recruting), I think a portion of that record was "smoke and mirrors" (i.e. ND).  This includes our win against OSU.  Its certainly good that we did win, but it was against the worst OSU team in about 40 years.  In a vacuum, its not really an impressive win.  I would like to see how Hoke operates when the honeymoon is over - when he stops shitting gold.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that he has a long way to go to prove that he is not the next Charlie Weis.      


August 1st, 2012 at 7:29 PM ^

The Mattison hire and the borderline miraculous defensive turnaround it resulted in throws a monkey wrench in your argument. I agree that our 11-2 record was helped partly by a very favorable schedule and a few lucky breaks along the way, but you don't go from 110th to 17th in total defense (with largely the same personnel) without having some excellent coaching.

Borges is also one of the best offensive coordinators in the country and would be the star of this staff if it wasn't for Mattison. He was the architect of offenses that averaged 40+ and 30+ points a game in the Pac-10 and the SEC. He turned Cade McNown and Jason Campbell into first round draft picks. And for all the talk about square pegs and round holes, our offense in 2011 actually averaged more points per game than it did in 2010.   

Also, I'm not quite sure why you dismiss Hoke's accomplishments in having turned around Ball St and SDSU. Those are two historically downtrodden programs where wins are hard to come by. A 9-4 record with a bowl win and close losses to BCS schools is considered phenomenal at SDSU, particularly since the program was in a state of total disarray when Hoke got there.

Also, a win against Ohio is a win against Ohio. In each of Carr's 6 losses to Tressel, we were either favored going in, held late leads, or had late opportunities that we failed to capitalize on. In other words, our record against Ohio in the latter half of the Carr era was characterized by a tendency to choke. The '11 team showed none of that, either against Ohio or anyone else. That's a sign of good coaching.  

I don't dispute that most if not all of us had reservations abouot Hoke when he was hired. But in a year and a half on the job, he's done enough to have made those reservations evaporate.   


August 1st, 2012 at 9:34 PM ^

...or the rest of his staff.  But Borges and Mattison fall under that same premise as Hoke.  They have been coaching together for one year (and a great year at that).  And, like Hoke, I would like to see how they operate under less favorable circumstances than last year.

Just running some basic numbers.

The ranked offenses (by total yards) Mattison faced.  Best: 19-Western Michigan, Worst:110-Minnesota (Ohio was second worst at 107).  I wouldn't say our defense faced any real offensive juggernauts.  This is  "largely the same personnel" with an extra year of experience - so its not really the same personnel. 

The ranked defenses (by total yards) Borges faced: Best: 7-Illinois, Worst: Western Michigan-99.  Not bad.  You could say that Borges was the better performing of the 2 and should be considered the star coordinator.

As for the whole "turning a program around" meme.  I guess I have a different opinion of what that is. I think that turning a program around is something more sustainable than the one year ( or possibly 2 good years) that he had at BS or SDSU.  It could be a function that he didn't stay long enough to make it sustainable.  Or it could have been a flash in the pan.  I don't know.  Boise St and TCU might be good examples for this.

Lastly, the win against OSU.  Carr or Moeller or possibly Bo never faced an OSU team as bad as they were in 2011 and never an OSU team in such compliance disarray.  I agree, a win again OSU is a win against OSU and I won't trade it for anything, but I don't think even Carr's teams would have choked away this one.  Also, as bad as OSU was, we almost choked that one away as well.

Overall, I think my point stands.  A confluence of very favorable circumstances made us look a lot better than we were last year.  Thusly, Hoke has been almost deified.  I'm curious to see what happens when these circumstances are not as favorable and the associate reaction from Hoke before I determine whether he is a good hire or Charlie Weis.


August 2nd, 2012 at 8:10 AM ^

Not really true, at least insofar as the OSU team's on-the-field performance goes.

The 2011 OSU team went 6-6 in the reg season and lost their bowl to end up at 6-7.

1971 - Bo -OSU is 6-4 (including losses to MSU & NW); Michigan barely wins 10-7
1988 - Bo -OSU is 4-6-1; Michigan scores winning TD with 1:30 left
1999 - LC -OSU is 6-6; Michigan wins 24-17

True, none of these OSU teams had the NCAA-related turmoil that the 2011 team did, but the 1988 and 1999 teams were coached by John Cooper.


August 2nd, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

and the team was mind-bogglingly awful. They didn't just lose six games, they got humiliated week after week, getting absolutely thumped by Indiana for example. The two wins they got in conference were over teams that went a combined 3-17-2 for the season.

Indiana 41, Ohio State 7. Think about that for a minute....

1971, on the other hand, was a halfway-decent team that lost some close games.



August 1st, 2012 at 7:27 PM ^

Reasonable arguments? 

Not reasonable:  Using the overall record of a coach who took over and turned around two moribund programs is hardly a good measurement to use to predict that person's success at a new school. 

Even less reasonable than that:  Using a coach's record against the top-25 when they A) coach in non-BCS conferences and B) coach teams that have historically been at the bottom of those non-BCS conferences. 

If people want to be concerned about the future of Michigan with Brady at the helm, fine - just find better reasons to be concerned.    .  Whatfff


August 1st, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

...I'm not necessarily concerned about what Hoke will do at the helm, just curious to see what he does when things get bad.  I'm also not going to determine if Hoke was a good hire or not with an N=1. 

Also, there is a high correlation between being successful at a previous position and success a future position in the same field.  Football coaches specifically, the vast majority of the great coaches at big time programs were successful coaches at smaller less known schools.  They moved up this ladder because they demonstrated success.  A lot of times this success is measured by W&Ls (admittedly not the greatest indicator). 

One could ask, if Hoke was so good at "turning around" Ball St, then why did he leave to go to an equally moribund program?  Does he like turning progarms around?  Did he just want better weather? Why did bigger programs not lure him?  I don't know.

Hoke's climb to the head coach of the greatest football program ever is exception to the rule - truly unprecedented.  And because of this, its hard for me to determine what will happen next. 

snarling wolverine

August 2nd, 2012 at 12:03 AM ^

I'm not sure why you think he didn't demonstrate success.  He won the MAC Coach of the Year award in 2008 and the Mountain West Coach of the Year award in 2010.  His peers thought he was doing a great job.  Now he has a third CoY award.  How many coaches in the country can say they've won it in three different conferences?  Urban Meyer maybe?  I don't know if anyone else has done that.

As for why he left BSU for SDSU, it was probably because 1) he has ties to California, going back to his days at Oregon State and U-M (where he was our West Coast recruiter);  2) the MWC is a higher level of football than the MAC; and 3) San Diego vs. Muncie, IN isn't much of a contest.

People connected with the game knew Hoke was a rising star.  Auburn and Minnesota contacted him when he was at SDSU.  When we hired him, many analysts thought it was a home run right off the bat.  This website is about the only place that wrote him off.  Brian is usually well-informed, but on Hoke he simply didn't do his homework.  


August 2nd, 2012 at 9:49 AM ^

...before joining Michigan.  While winning COY in the MAC and MWC is good, these are non-BSC conferences (because have a poor overall record is mitigate by the fact they were earned in non-BSC conferences, right?).  The only people in recent history that have been a successful and elite coach that receieved either one of these awards are Urban Meyer (MAC & MWC), Frank Solich (MAC, but this was after his days at Nebraska), and Gary Patterson (maybe).  Not the greatest ilk.

"When we hired him, many analysts thought it was a home run right off the bat.  This website is about the only place that wrote him off. "  Um no. While he was certainly considered a good coach at lower levels, this hire was a head-scratcher to most analyst at the time of hire.  Not to mention rival websites that laughed their ass off at the hire.

I think Brian really did his homework and based his desision on what he knew at that time.  It really looked like an underwelming hire and that if he wasn't a Michigan Man he wouldn't even be considered.  And that's OK.  Its reasonable to be wrong about the hire and admit it (Brian) or be cautious about anointing Hoke based on one year (me).


August 2nd, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

Hurts your position that websites, even this one, were "in the know" of the situation. If you listened to people who actually know something about football, there was very little questioning. Most of the "underwhelming" was and is still coming from the butthurt over Rich Rod not succeeding here after spending years of saying how can't miss it all was.  But for peple who wanted to listen, there was a lot out there that was positive.  And pretty much by the time the press conference was done, sites like this were in the minority.


August 2nd, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

If you had you'd know that Ball State's administration was a mess, and they weren't prepared to do the things to sustain winning there.  So when a better opportunity arose, he took it, with the ultimate goal being to best place himself in a position to coach Michigan one day.  I think it worked.


August 2nd, 2012 at 9:14 PM ^

No. Just no. Your "research" may explain why he left his alma mater for a better conference, but it has little to do with why he had a sub-par record or any of the other factors that left many people upset by the hire. No Hoke-hater was saying, "why did we hire this guy?! I mean look...he left Ball St for SDSU fergodsakes!!"


August 3rd, 2012 at 2:27 PM ^

It's not research...it's just paying attention.  It wasn't any big secret.  It's just that you're commenting on things you really don't seem to know anything about.

And what you asked wasn't about why he had a sub-par record.  So, since you have a hard time following things, let's break it down for you, real slow:


Also, there is a high correlation between being successful at a previous position and success a future position in the same field. Football coaches specifically, the vast majority of the great coaches at big time programs were successful coaches at smaller less known schools. They moved up this ladder because they demonstrated success. A lot of times this success is measured by W&Ls (admittedly not the greatest indicator).

OK, this is just kinda dumb. Because everyone who's promoted has done well at a previous position, for the most part (I suppose a few example like Gene Chizik and Steve Mariucci could be given).  And those that succeed have probably done well at a previous position.  But so have pretty much everyone who's failed. They got the job because they had done a good job before. Yet that doesn't insure success. Peter Principal, whatever you want to account it to.  Those that fail at coaching jobs of a high level succeeded somewhere before; those that do well succeeded somewhere before. That tells you nothing.


One could ask, if Hoke was so good at "turning around" Ball St, then why did he leave to go to an equally moribund program? Does he like turning progarms around? Did he just want better weather? Why did bigger programs not lure him? I don't know.

Which is what you really asked, and was answered. Maybe not the last one exactly...but since it took all of two years at his last stop for "a bigger program to lure him", it's kinda silly.

As for your new question, I would think it's self evident. He was a brand new head coach taking over a historically bad program.  And he took it to heights it hasn't seen in many, many years. And then as an experienced coach he took over another historically bad program....and took it to new heights after two years. It's actually pretty easy to see the progression.  If you're still not stuck in the mindset of trying to justify how wrong you were for flying off the handle about the hire.  You weren't alone, but you weren't everybody. And if you were ever a majority, it didn't last very long.  Probably easier to admit you were wrong and move on.

Decatur Jack

August 3rd, 2012 at 3:25 AM ^


That's like hiring Brady Hoke… if Brady Hoke had no connection with your university and was widely regarded as not the best dude ever.


Sigh. Brian, you will never think the Hoke hire was a good one, will you?

This calls for a meme:

Brian Cook pines for RR

On the plus side, I am happy to see people defending Hoke for a change. I am 100% glad that he is OUR COACH!

Though I still can't understand why people still think he didn't deserve the Michigan job when he was offered it. He DID deserve it, people!


August 1st, 2012 at 6:05 PM ^

Speaking of poker, has anyone gone to the Poker Room in the Heidelberg?  I've been thinking about checking it out, but am skeptical.

(I'm also a super rich idiot that has never played poker).