Unverified Voracity Wishes To Be A Fierce Pragmatist

Submitted by Brian on January 17th, 2011 at 4:04 PM

The Clans. This is an awesome post that you must rush to read right now drop everything. Look:

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You want to know where you fit. Everyone does. Everyone thinks they're a fierce pragmatist. Seriously, check the comments.

Mike Hart is the master. If Mike Hart is serious about going into coaching after his NFL career is done and eventually returning to Michigan, he's already got the bit about expertly defusing tricky questions down pat. Via a recent radio appearance:

"I think that any Michigan man that would've came in would be hard to be mad at because I think people have been complaining so bad these last three years that – 'Hey, we want a Michigan guy here. We need a Michigan guy. Rich-Rod doesn't respect the traditions.' (For) guys that have been saying those things, Coach Hoke was the perfect hire because he brings back that Michigan legacy."

I eagerly await the day he's cut. No offense, Mr. Hart, it's just… you know.

and the hoke-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee

Needs moar tremendous.

Not much of substance, but I'm not a big fan of the Vick comparison. When Vick got to the NFL he was shepherded in a run-heavy, simple system that wasn't very good. It takes time, and while Denard will progress I think it'll take more than a year. There will be a larger post on this later.

Calling Brandon a liar. Is what LSU's doing:

"He was offered more than 4 million to become the Michigan coach," LSU Board of Supervisors member Stanley Jacobs said Friday. "When he said no, they came back and offered him more. And he said no again."

Miles is apparently set to sign an extension that does not raise his salary. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the buyout. Miles has made a lot of money already but seemed to be lacking in job security early this year when LSU was surviving by the skin of its teeth. He may not have leveraged the Michigan job into more money, but he may have leveraged it into making it very difficult to get rid of him if LSU fails to live up to expectations next year, which is totally going to happen because LSU fans are expecting a national title.

I can see Miles doing this because he's 57—a primary reason he should never have been considered for the job in the first place—and knows this is his last head coaching job at a premiere school. He's probably eyeing retirement in the not too distant future and would like to make sure he chooses the "when."

As for the Michigan side of things, I'm not sure what to believe. It would be stupid for Brandon to waste time playing footsie with Miles when he had no intention of tabling a serious offer, but it would be stupid to table a serious offer. So I guess it doesn't matter. The LSU guys think this game of semantics is silly:

"Well, if Hoke was his first choice, he could've signed him up prior to ever talking to Les or Harbaugh," LSU chancellor Mike Martin said. "Don't you think?"

One way or the other, they're right.

You are heartfelt but uninformed, LSU chancellor. Brandon, meanwhile, set to compounding his arrogant father-knows-best press conference by putting this out later in the day:

"I got inundated with advice," he admits on WDFN-AM 1130. "A lot of people with very good hearts, and who care a lot, and with a lot of passion, came at me with their point of view. And I respect that, and I certainly tried to show them a courteous reply whenever I could because those passionate people are what make Michigan football special.

"However, most of them are very uninformed, and in most cases, they were recommending people they had never met. Or been in the same room with. Or ever had a conversation with. And interviewing a candidate for an important job like this is about sitting down and talking about specific issues, and getting to know them at a completely different level than blogs and statistics and images that, in many cases, are shaped by PR more than reality. [ed: the noise you heard was my irony meter exploding.]

"So, I didn't pay a lot of attention to those recommendations – even though they came from people with good hearts, they just weren't all that helpful."

This falls in line with Brandon's comments during the press conference that "all that glitters is not gold" when it comes to some coaches and that "the hype or the PR doesn't match the real person." To me, that came off really, really poorly. I was pretty sure everyone was in the same boat—I especially liked the bit at the end that signaled the program's return to barely tolerating its fans—but apparently not. The Wolverine Blog says to give credit to Brandon for "putting himself on the line," which he's certainly done by making his decision on explicitly faith-based grounds. I'm not so much with the crediting bit.

One, attempting to paint the internet's problem with Brady Hoke as a matter of "statistics" is… well, the main statistics people have problems with are "record: 47-50" and "age: 52," neither of which is a particularly advanced metric. 

Two: does this relate in any way to Brandon's passive-aggressive comments about Jim Harbaugh when Rodriguez was fired? It doesn't seem very leader-y to take shots at the people you interviewed and didn't hire. It implies everyone other than Brady Hoke is not fit to coach Michigan, and attempts to dismiss an awful lot of evidence that suggests Hoke is kind of a desperate hire by saying "you have not sat across the room from this man."

It's not reassuring to envision Brandon's interview process. Braves and Birds blows up this line of reasoning from Brandon real good; suffice it to say that Brady Hoke would have to be vastly worse than expected to sink to the level of Brandon's performance over the last two months. It looks like we'll have tangible evidence of that in two weeks.

EXPLICIT SECTION: Here's the tedious section in which I explain this is not a criticism of Brady Hoke but the athletic director that hired him at a terrible time for not particularly good reasons and told anyone who said words to that effect that they were "uninformed."

I expect Hoke will have enough success at Michigan to stick around a while; when he retires whether he was a good idea is likely to be a matter of heated and interminable debate. I hope I am wrong and am willing to give Hoke the proverbial "chance." I hope that Dave Brandon sets the world record for smug pats on the back when Hoke retires. For the record.

BONUS: Expect to read this disclaimer dozens of times!

Etc.: Brabbs gets good news re: cancer. Indiana: ugh. Rodriguez stuff goes for ridiculous sums.

Comments

HoldTheRope

January 17th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Probably a good call...people will still be up in arms whenever he says anything vaguely non-positive and I doubt this is the last time he'll have to explain himself in such a ridiculously blunt way. Hopefully people start to learn how to read because this is already starting to get old. 

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

January 17th, 2011 at 4:24 PM ^

There's some value in Brandon's approach of insisting that you can't make a decision without sitting down with someone, but I don't like how that's the overarching factor.  Getting to know people and being familiar with them and "getting to know them at a completely different level" is how you end up with Dominic Raiola playing center for the Lions and people thinking he's actually good at it.  Sometimes the cold, objective approach trumps the subjective one, and the one should never come without the other.

FreddieMercuryHayes

January 17th, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

While the NFL comparison may not be as valid, what about Vick at VT? They ran pro-style, and while his stats weren't eye popping, he was put in positions to make plays when needed. Enough for then to make the NC game is first year starting and finish 3rd in the Heisman as a frosh. Also, what about a Troy Smith comparison? Although both those comparions are on teams that had really good defenses to help the O out...

Furblue

January 17th, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^

Thought he was very condescending in the PC and especially derisive of the fans.  "The program's for the players blah, blah, blah."  Can't see there'd be much need for a team at all if no one were in the stadium to watch.  And I know he was exhausted.  Doesn't matter.  He still should have dug down a little deeper and maintained his professionalism.  So far, I am very unimpressed with him, FWIW.  As for Hoke, I am taking the same "wait and see" attitude I took with RR.  I thought RR would get one more year . . . until that bowl game.  

jerseyblue

January 17th, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

DB just comes off as being so full of himself. I don't like the signs he's given in the early part of his tenure. Put the debacle of a coaching search aside for a second. Even the twitter thing is a put off. Plus the fact that he watches game tape with the coaches on Sundays bothers me. The Jerry Jones alarm goes off in my head. I'm waiting for the day that he walks up to Hoke with plays drawn on a paper and says "Just some ideas I had. I think they might work."

Louie C

January 17th, 2011 at 6:46 PM ^

The Jerry Jones alarm goes off in my head.

That's funny because before I even got to that part, the was the first thing I thought. I'm am starting to worry about the state of the football team with him at the helm.

TennBlue

January 17th, 2011 at 8:06 PM ^

The actual head coach of the team is Dave Brandon.  Brady Hoke is the Assistant Head Coach. 

Something else to watch for, then - how independent does Hoke become?  Is he his own man in decision-making, or is he doing his master's bidding?

God, I hate that I'm even thinking these thoughts about Michigan football.  *sigh*

wolverine1987

January 17th, 2011 at 7:21 PM ^

Couldn't agree more--i was horrified when I heard he watched tape with RR--I am hoping that was only because by then perhaps he didn't trust him, particularly defensively. But if he does it with BH, watch out.

namaste

January 17th, 2011 at 4:30 PM ^

"However, most of them are very uninformed, and in most cases, they were recommending people they had never met. Or been in the same room with. Or ever had a conversation with."

After playing football for a significant ammount of time, I can assure everyone that even successful coaches at every level can be crazy mother%#*ers.

 

Example:

NateVolk

January 17th, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

The list of deified coaches, retired or soon to be, who brought national championships to schools after middling above or below .500 at smaller school gigs, is long and impressive: See Don James, Ara Parseghian, Gene Chizik, Jimmie Johnson, Les Miles, Gary Moeller (no national championship but would anyone dispute the guy was a fabulous coach?) Gene Stallings, Mack Brown, Pete Carroll  (middling NFL, 4th choice for USC),

Since we are longing to be a national player, (leap frogging that boring old regional power status), we should keep our breathing at a normal pace because it has been done hiring  guys with similar resumes to Hoke. 

Claiming that record and age are akin to sabermetrics proving anything, is not a position befitting the greatness of Brian Cook.  No problem people being dissatisfied that Hoke was the best qualified candidate.  But wait and see is the order of the day because there isn't a lot that can be accurately predicted here.

Hannibal.

January 17th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

I would dispute Moeller.  Once Bo's players graduated, he ended up with two disappointing mediocre 8-4 seasons.  He got fired before we could see whether that was an anomaly but I would argue that it probably wasn't.  He was a great playcaller, recruiter, and developer of talent, but his last two teams frequently played flat and emotionless. 

mjv

January 17th, 2011 at 4:39 PM ^

You list two coaches in your successful category that shoudl not be included: Gary Moeller and Pete Carroll.

Gary stood on the shoulders of greatness and each year the program got further from Bo, the worse it performed.  Add to it that player attrition was high during his tenure and he was losing the support of the fans and alumni quickly.  

Pete Carroll won a lot of games, but leaving your program on probation and left with the worst sanctions since SMU does not qualify as successful.  Under those guidelines, Steve Fisher was a fantastic basketball coach at Michigan.

Blue2000

January 18th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

No Steve Fisher was not a good coach at UM.  He captured lightning in a bottle with the Fab Five.  In the mid-to-late 90s, when he had other talented teams with players not nearly asmotivated (read: Maurice Taylor, Louis Bullock, Robert Traylor) his performance as a coach was woefully underwhelming.

BraveWolverine730

January 17th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

Here's the issue with your assertion. None of those guys you mentioned had their middling .500 records in the MAC/MWC. All of them either had them at a major conference school or the NFL(and Carroll won a division title too if I remember correctly). I have seen months upon months of people claiming that your record is what is says you are and Hoke's record indicates a mediocre head coaching career so far. I love the Blackjack analogy from Braves and Birds about taking a hit with 15 and the dealer showing a 6. This move might work out and I will be overjoyed if it does,  it just doesn't seem to be the high probability move and that is what makes it a poor choice.  

CWoodson

January 17th, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

I don't understand how the RECORD of a head coach is a "yawn" argument.  That's the ultimate thing the head coach is responsible for.  Even the 10 remaining RR loyalists admit that.

People are dissatisfied not because, as you claim, Hoke was the best qualified candidate, but because by any measure that doesn't involve "coached here already" or "seems nice" he was not a particularly qualified candidate.  That doesn't make him a terrible coach, or anything other than a great guy.  But when DB sits there and calls me stupid for thinking a process that ended this way was conducted in an inappropriate manner, it makes me think he's a cocky and irrational douche.  That's not unreasonable or, apparently even worse here lately, EMO.

robpollard

January 17th, 2011 at 10:51 PM ^

Did you randomly go through and pull out coach names for this list?

- Mack Brown was 69-46 at Carolina and coming of two Top 10 finishes before going to Texas

- Les Miles was 28-21 before going to LSU; put another way, if you take Les' 4 year record and double it to be 8 years, he was 17 games better than Brady Hoke

- Gene Chizik (who the jury is still out on) had only two years as a HC

- Ara Parseghian was at freaking Northwestern, a school w/ serious recruiting disadvantages in the 50s, when he went .500. Before that, he went 39-6 at Miami (Ohio).

- Pete Carroll had coached two of his three previous NFL teams to the playoffs, not an easy thing to do

- Don James is actually kind of close, in terms of record.  But even he had a) won a MAC title (and it was the only MAC title Kent State has EVER won and b) he was 42 years old.

I wish Hoke success too, but I've failed to come up with someone with his profile who has gone on to be wildly (i.e., frequent Top 10 or so finishes) successful. You're just grasping at straws.

Don

January 17th, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

But one of the reasons RR was a lousy coach that he was arrogant. My irony meter's lying in little pieces right now too, but I'm done fighting the battle of Rodriguez Hill.

caup

January 17th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

Hopefully everyone around here can recognize that criticism of Brandon is separate and distinct from any criticism of Hoke.

I'm irritated by Brandon's mishandling of the coaching change.

But when he then cops an incredibly arrogant, condescending attitude about it that's what infuriates me.

I know a handful of alumni and ex-players who have spoken with Brandon and every one of them say "Wow, that guy's ego is off the charts.  And he is incredibly condescending."

Let's give Hoke a fair shake.

But I'm all for burying Brandon until he drops that fucking attitude.

bryemye

January 17th, 2011 at 4:45 PM ^

Dave Brandon is an arrogant son of a bitch who I would wish failure on if the success of his decision didn't impact my happiness so directly. His condescending tone with people and likely flat out lying make him strike me as a guy you'd love to beat up at a house party or a bar... or otherwise crush in more civilized realms.

I'd love for him to explain to me how complicated statistics like win/loss record and age, as Brian mentioned, are shaped by PR. Actually I wouldn't because that would mean I have to be in the room with him and suppress the urge to start destroying things/objects/entities with my good heart (ok not so much), caring, and passion. And obviously my brutishly uninformed opinion on matters of the world.

The guy is one big bullshit PR machine. Shit I hope he was at least right about this. That way I don't have to hear from him and will generally have a rage factor several degrees of magnitude lower than I've been operating at for the past few months/years.

Greasy Breeze

January 17th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

Mixing truth with lies, claiming to unite Wolverine Nation while also insulting them and encouraging factions, and completely blowing the hiring process altogether?  He's a plant.

He nearly ran Domino's into the ground for years.  Then, just when Michigan is hiring an AD, he says, 'hey, let's make less horrible pizza!' and is heralded as a corporate genius, making him a viable candidate.

His plan is to destroy our program from the inside, whereupon Dave 'Bucky' Brandon can return to Columbus a hero, and receive his life-sized pair of gold pants (which I hear are being sculpted as we speak).

Well played, Buckeyes.  Well played.  Getting even for that whole John Cooper thing, I reckon.

MGoShtoink

January 17th, 2011 at 8:55 PM ^

it doesn't deserve a response, but I want to explain why you're getting negged.

He nearly ran Domino's into the ground for years.

Ran it into the ground?  He was CEO for 10 years and oversaw a massive expansion of the company both domestically and internationally. 

The company won Chain of the Year in 2003 and again in 2010.

He oversaw the complete reinvention of pizza and brand and saw an unprecidented 14% jump in sales.

Saying he ran it into the ground is just plain stupid.

His plan is to destroy our program from the inside, whereupon Dave 'Bucky' Brandon can return to Columbus a hero, and receive his life-sized pair of gold pants (which I hear are being sculpted as we speak).

The notion of this is so completely ridiculous, it makes me think you are an obvious troll.

I mean, wow.  His process was flawed, but calling him a Buckeye?

You sir, are a troll and need to GTFO.

Unless, of course you were being completely sarcastic, but even then it's still ridiculous.

nicknick

January 17th, 2011 at 4:48 PM ^

Thank you for the EXPLICIT SECTION. Anything that helps people avoid making it brutally clear that they lack even primitive reading comprehension skills is very, very welcome.

blueheron

January 17th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

I agree with this and Erik_t's banner suggestion.  By adding that in the post the author put up the deflector shields in anticipation of the members who would say "UGG!  LLOYD CARR AND JANSEN AND SHEA AND RAY AND ... BLAH BLAH BLAH KNOW MORE ABOUT FOOTBALL IN SMALL APPENDAGE THAN ANY OF US WILL EVER AARRGGGHHHH!!!"

Clarence Beeks

January 17th, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

"Well, if Hoke was his first choice, he could've signed him up prior to ever talking to Les or Harbaugh," LSU chancellor Mike Martin said. "Don't you think?"

I don't appreciate Martin essentially calling Brandon a liar.  Brandon made it quite clear that he didn't make a hire right away because he felt compelled to interview several candidates to placate certain segments of the fanbase.  If that's true, the simple "he could have done it sooner" line of argument doesn't hold much water.  Now, you can disagree with whether that's what Brandon did, but at the end of the day, without evidence to the contrary, that's just your opinion.

iawolve

January 17th, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

I can't even process the concept appropriately since I can't bend my mind enough to accept that alter reality of DeBord taking over. Maybe he is a better HC than OC, but wow.

CRex

January 17th, 2011 at 5:06 PM ^

Brandon really needs to come down a peg or two.  About the time he starting talking about how he'd presided over billion dollar IPOs I found myself thinking "Dave, I don't give a fuck about your ability to make money off shitty pizza, I do however give a fuck over the fact we have more decommits than we have people on the coaching staff."  

zlionsfan

January 17th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

is paved with CEOs who waltzed into the sporting world thinking "I made $X million/billion/trillion succeeding in some other field, so it can't be that hard to do the same in sports."

Sadly, some of those jerks ran teams that were both highly profitable and highly unsuccessful, and given that they tended to care more about the former than the latter, the fans were really the only ones who saw it this way.

Here's hoping that Brandon doesn't blow up the football program learning that lesson. I don't really care whether the team wins despite his incompetence or wins because he learns how to build a winner, as long as it wins and does so the right way.

jlvanals

January 17th, 2011 at 6:11 PM ^

He presided over a great decade of Michigan football.  If those losses against Ohio State had been spread out evenly people would be calling him Bo with a national championship.  Bo was 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes, Carr was 6-7.  Bo had 13 Big ten titles in 20 seasons, Lloyd had 5 Big ten Titles in 13 seasons in a much deeper big ten.   The 2006 team was one of our best in the last 30 years, possibly better than 1997, they just happened to run into a buckeyes team that was similarly excellent.  Lloyd had a great run here, he wasn't just some unworthy placeholder.

Michigan4Life

January 17th, 2011 at 8:12 PM ^

off-field incident has cost him a coaching job.  He may run a pro-style offense but he was aggressive, innovative coach.  He was ahead of his time IMO.  He sure can recruit and brought in a lot of great athletes.  It's a shame that he had an big off-field incident because he still would have led Michigan to a NC IMO and an even greater height.

Wolvmarine

January 17th, 2011 at 5:09 PM ^

The question is not what clans do you identify with..............its, What clans does David Brandon Identify with.  My only hope since he hired Hoke and conducted his "National Coaching Search," is that he atleast understands the perspective of The Rebellion, Fierce Pragmatists, and even In Rich Rod We Trusted. 

Oh and is there a, "If Only Gary Moeller Hadn't Done Something Bad & Gotten Fired" group?