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:


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.



January 17th, 2011 at 10:04 PM ^

Of course he's in a high position and there's a threshold he shouldn't cross in terms of publicly insulting his critics. And whether he crossed that threshold is a subjective criteria, and I'm not sure I'd say he did, either.

But his job, at this important inflection point in Michigan athletics, is not to avoid crossing the line. His job is to build support for his coach, and the decision to hire him. His job is, at least in part, to help convince those of us who are skeptical that 47-50 is not the important statistic that defines Brady Hoke, that Hoke possesses many important qualities of a winning football coach beyond the ability to give Marinelli-like pressers. I actually don't think that is a particularly difficult task for a competent executive - I could write most of the damn script myself.

So if you look at the comments on this thread, and objectively assess the content of Brandon's messages since the Hoke hire, you'd have to say he hasn't done a very good job of supporting his coach. Almost all of the support for Hoke has been generated by his impressive first presser, and the very natural desire to be "all in" now and not be hung out in maybe-land for another year. OTOH, "Trust me, I'm Dave Brandon, former CEO of a pizza empire" is not a message that works for most of this audience.

So, either Brandon isn't doing a very good job of being convincing to this community, or (very possibly) he's decided "f**k them, they don't matter." Either way, criticism of him is perfectly warranted, IMO.


January 17th, 2011 at 11:10 PM ^

...and I'm starting to feel like this is going in circles. Again, my original point was simply, if you're going to dole out harsh essentially public criticism to someone who knows all the details of what happened when you don't, it isn't unreasonable to get some heat back in return, i.e. be told that you are "uninformed."  Whether Brandon deserves criticism for failing to garner support for Hoke from the community is a different question that I never set out to take on, and I'm not sure I'm capable of answering. This could be the worst hire of all time, DB might actually be the angry Noid in disguise, and Brian could be right. I happen to be more optimistic, but who knows how this will turn out?  Bottom line, it'll fix itself when the focus gets back to the games, and Brandon fades back into the background.  Go Blue


January 17th, 2011 at 9:12 PM ^

Apologies re the presser timing. Point stands:

I don't think Brandon would ever have dared condescend to his Domino's customer base the way he condescended to the M fan base - which is why I found it surprising. And Brandon is not in a position like Brian's. He's in a executive position where he is expected to show discipline and judgment in his representation of the University. It is completely human to be angry under criticism, but one of the absolute requirements of a leadership position like Brandon's is to rise above the urge to respond petulantly. I have been there, done that, and seen many more do it better, and I expected more from DB, and continue to expect more.


January 17th, 2011 at 9:36 PM ^

I made a poor choice of words with "outsider," I didn't mean to marginalize anyone.  The bottom line is none of us know all the details of the last 2 weeks, DB and perhaps a few others within the athletic dept are the only people who do.  We aren't "outsiders" but many of us are coming to conclusions without all the facts.  I have no problem with the way DB has responded to very harsh criticism, but I also understand your higher expectations for someone in his position. 


January 17th, 2011 at 9:59 PM ^

Many of us are coming to conclusions without knowing the facts - absolutely agree. I also believe it's Brandon's job to present the facts as he sees them rather than telling us to trust him, because I think that is better for him, the University, the fans, and the football program. But see my comment below, and tell me how much we agree or disagree.


January 17th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

What I find both funny and sad, is that since the Hoke hire, this and other so-called UM blogs have been mostly trashing Brandon and Hoke non-stop while the Free Press (yes, the f****** Free Press, and especially Rosenberg) has been writing almost non-stop positive stories on Hoke and UM.  I feel like I am suddenly living in a reverse world.

I will be glad when we can put this topic behind us.  I pledge to write no more about this topic until we actually see some on the field results.  The spring game would be an acceptable starting point.


January 17th, 2011 at 6:21 PM ^

toward Brandon.  You may not agree with the hire -- that's fine.  Maybe you wanted the guy who coaches purple and gold-- why I'll never understand, but that's fine, too. 

Bottom line is that Brandon probably would have preferred to keep Rodriguez on for another year.  Change the defense.  Give Rodriguez the chance to get a coordinator who could coach defense.  That opportunity was blown away when Michigan got blown out vs. Wisconsin, Ohio State and then Mississippi State.  At that point, there was no longer an option.

From January 2nd on Brandon acted professionally to find a coach.  Likely the foremost criteria is someone who would use the talent we now have, and unite the fanbase.  If there were four candidates:  Hoke, Harbaugh, Miles, Fitzgerald, why bitch?  Harbaugh went pro.  Miles a repeat (whatever that was) from 3 years ago, and no interest by Fitzgerald. 

If you look at things cynically, maybe you think Hoke was the only guy all along, and the glitters to gold comment was made regarding Harbaugh and the PR comments about Miles.  I believe the comments regarding Miles, and believed them three years ago.  Personlly,  I don't think anyone now at UM having influence over the hire would forgive his past  isseus at UM, on the recruiting trail, etc. etc.   He is not someone we wanted as "the face of the university". 

I think Brandon had genuine interest in Harbaugh, Fitzgerald and Hoke.  Under the circumstances I  think he had a list, did his homework and made a decision.  I don't understand why this blog keeps beating him up about it.   Would you really rather we'd offer millions to Peterson or someone else with no connections to Michigan, the midwest,or big 10?  How'd that go last time?


January 17th, 2011 at 10:27 PM ^

The constant beating up of Dave Brandon remains a mystery to me.  I have no doubt he talked to all the principals involved that have been metioned.  He found out that JH had NFL fever, and had to look elsewhere.  Les was, most likely, never a serious candidate, for a multitude of reasons.  A number of other higher profile names were likely contacted, and DB was most likely told "Thanks, but no thanks."  End of story. Open the checkbook? Sure, if that what it takes, but Hoke is not commanding THAT kind of money.  There seems a faction of M followers out there are genuinely upset that DB did not find a candidate he could pay $4 mil/year.  IF those big name/big money candidates were available and acceptable for the position, I have no doubt Brandon would have cut the check.

Huntington Wolverine

January 18th, 2011 at 10:42 AM ^

Bottom line is that Brandon probably would have preferred to keep Rodriguez on for another year.  Change the defense.  Give Rodriguez the chance to get a coordinator who could coach defense.  That opportunity was blown away when Michigan got blown out vs. Wisconsin, Ohio State and then Mississippi State.  At that point, there was no longer an option.

This much should be clear- no one forced DB's hand on this.  He will do, and did do, what he wants to do.  And even with 1000s of alumni screaming in his ears, he didn't need to do what they were asking him to do because they were still selling out the stadium and buying the latest Adidas gear.  I think he wanted to get rid of RR (and he had plenty of ammo to do it) and while I disagree with that decision and the methods and processes that have followed, he did it and now we all get to bear the fruit of that decision together.


January 17th, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

I love the Clan Chart. I count myself a member of the Bo clan having met him in in 1969 when I was 8 years old.  I was introduced to Bo by my Aunt who would have been a member of the 2nd Estate. Which begs the question - why the hell didn't I get a signed hat? This Bo clan member is pragmatist enough to have supported Rich Rod but after the banquet was certain that he had to go.


January 17th, 2011 at 6:33 PM ^

I am extremely annoyed with the recent comments of both Brian Cook and David Brandon. I believe this makes me close to achieving fierce pragmatism.


January 17th, 2011 at 6:34 PM ^

About never talking to a guy and getting to know him blah blah blah.  Because from all Brandon's accounts he never really got into touch with Brady Hoke until the day before he hired him.  So why did he get into touch with him if he had never met him, never been in the same room blah blah blah.


In sum DB=DB


January 17th, 2011 at 7:00 PM ^

I think were going to see a system similar to what that school from Ohio has employed with Pryor. I think it will be more unpredictable then Rich Rods system was.


January 17th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

The people who are on here hatin' on Brian are many of the same who were hatin' on RRod. It seems many of them are simply unable to understand things like reason and objectivity. You are either with them or against them and there is no room for complexity or nuance


January 17th, 2011 at 8:28 PM ^

I see parts of me in 2 or 3 factions.  Went to school when Bo was coach.  Was annoyed by overly conservative nature of play calling under Moeller and Carr.  Was all-in for RR and the spread, but was mortified by the lack of defense.  I'm an engineer and make data-driven decisions every day.  I've hired people and the interview was used to confirm reputation, recommendations, and track record.  Maybe I decent balance in my viewpoint of DB, BH, and the hiring process.

So where does that leave me regarding DB's attitude in the Hoke presser?  I think he was frustrated by factions, all of them, including the press who was his immediate audience. 

So where does that leave me relative to the process?  The man did play for Bo, and was looking for someone like Bo.  Hoke seems a lot like Bo, qualitiatively.  If he liked Hoke from the start, and since Hoke doesn't have a great track record regarding overall wins and losses, talking to coaches with better resumes was prudent.  DB always said he needed to be sure in this hire.  When he talked to other coaches, he admits it was not just to see what they were like, but to get their perspective on other candidates, as well.  All of this seems wise to me.  Work quickly, but still be thorough.  That's the impression I get of what went on.  And maybe "all that glitters is not gold" was referring more to some others he interviewed, not so much Miles or Harbaugh.


January 17th, 2011 at 10:49 PM ^

"Was annoyed by overly conservative nature of play calling under Moeller and Carr."


Don't lump Mo in with Lloyd.  This is a guy who, while ahead by 3 in the 4th quarter,  threw a pass to the endzone on 4th and 1 on Notre Dame's 25 yard line.   His playbook might have been very similar to Lloyd's, but you could easily tell which of them was the OC and which was the DC under Bo just by the plays they each ran out of it.


Speaking of which... why no "Mo Clan"?  Because I'd be all up in that sexy thing.


January 18th, 2011 at 1:31 AM ^

For heaven's sake, Mo brought the no-huddle offense to Ann Arbor 18 years before Rich Rod! I've always felt he deserved more credit for modernizing our offense; in those days, I often thought what held us back the most were our passive defensive schemes devised by some guy named Carr (who fortunately made a better HC than DC). Count me a huge Mo fan.


January 18th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

With a big lead against Colorado, Mo ran the ball up the middle 9 times and punted 3 times.  That was it in the 4th quarter.  He GAVE the game back to Colorado.  This is the most glaring example and the point at which I lost faith in Mo, but I know there were times before this and after that I felt strongly he played too conservatively.

So his conservatism, and Lloyd's, isn't about scheme in my mind (e.g. Lloyd's use in his last year of the shotgun, which didn't bear fruit until the bowl game due to injuries), it's about not keeping the foot on the gas and burying teams when we had leads late.


January 18th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

Colorado 1994 definitely unraveled thanks to Mo's conservative playcalling when we got the lead (though he might still hae had it if not for the false start on 3rd & 2 of our last possession!).  I think it's accurate to say that while Mo was schematically more aggressive than Lloyd, they were similarly conservative in some important strategic respects.

As an aside, this sure makes me pine for the days when you thought a completely gut-ripping loss in a high-profile intersectional game was about the worst thing that could happen.


January 17th, 2011 at 8:44 PM ^

When I suggested the "fierce pragmatist" clan to Greg, one of the things that struck me was that it was a small number because it required belief in all of the following:

1). That you liked/believed in Coach Rodriguez, in spite of everything that had happened.  If he "lost" you after the bowl game, that was understandable too.

2). You understood that head football coach has both the Xs and Os side of things and the CEO side of things.  For whatever you believed about Coach Rodriguez as an Xs and Os coach, you could wholly understand why Dave Brandon felt the pressure to fire him, even if the thought he was a good football coach.

3). You are skeptical about Coach Hoke, because you do understand the numbers, but not so skeptical as to be pessimistic, because you have absolutely nothing on the field until September that will allow you to change your mind.  Player retention, recruiting, staff hires, media and alumni relations, and other factors will alter your perception.  By the way, this is no different that how you felt about Rodriguez in 2008. 

All of these things combined, the reason the number is so low, is do you realize how much thought you have to put in to your college football head coach to reach that point.  Which is why the Cotton Pickin' Blues number is so high, because most casual fans aren't thinking too much about this.

As mentioned in the original thread (and my thanks to MGoShoe for getting the discussion started), there were two things I think Greg and I missed, and I regret it.  The very small but vocal "UNACCEPTABLE" clan, which hates everything, and the Blutarski clan, wherein Michigan football is a means to provide them an outlet for their social drinking.  And I do agree, there is a lot of Venn overlap in there.

But thank you for your discussion, feedback, and interest.


January 17th, 2011 at 9:01 PM ^

If we are so concerned that Hoke is merely Lloyd 2.0, why don't we check that hypothisis out emperically.

How about some of you wizards out there that scouted Miss State to within an inch of its life (you guys were awesome), scout SDSU under Hoke.  What Hoke/Borges did at SDSU will give us some kind of indication of what they will at least try to do at Michigan.

What kind of offenese did he actually run at SDSU?  What kind of plays did he call and in what situations did he call them?  What was his mix of plays on first down, second down, etc.  Does he punt from his own 35 or does he go for it on fourth and two?

This kind of analysis is MGoBlog's calling.  It may even provide the faithful with some peace of mind.


January 18th, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

be preferrable.

In my mind there were 2 Llloyds - Lloyd 1.0 from 1995 to the early 2000's, and Lloyd 1.5 during the mid 2000's.

Lloyd 1.0 kicked ass . . . Big 10 ass, OSU ass, SEC ass, BCS ass.  I would welcome anything that looks remotely like Lloyd 1.0.

Lloyd 1.5 is when Lloyd started to check out a little bit, by his own admittance. 

I don't know why, but when people "panic" about a return to Lloyd-ball, they always seem to mean Lloyd 1.5.  They forget how good Lloyd 1.0 was.

Desmonlon Edwoodson

January 17th, 2011 at 9:27 PM ^

You all love to roll out Brady Hoke's 47-50 record as evidence that Rodriguez should have been retained instead of hiring Hoke.  What you are missing is context.  You are missing the baseline success of each program BEFORE the coaches were hired.  Hoke won 34 of 73 games at ball state (47%).  In the 4 years before Hoke, ball state went 16/45(36%).  Assuming a twelve game season, that is an improvement of 1.32 games per season over his predecessors.  Not too bad.  Hoke won 13/25(52%) of his games at San Diego State.  In the four years before Hoke, San Diego State won 14/48(29%).  Assuming a 12 game season, that is an improvement of 2.76 game per season.  Not bad at all.  Then you look at Rich Rodriguez.  He won 15/37(41%) of his games at Michigan, as compared to Lloyd's record of 36/50(72%) the previous 4 years.  Assuming a 12 game season, that is a drop of 3.72 games per season.  Yes, even counting Hoke's first few years finding his way at ball state, he still managed a better winning percentage than Rich Rodriguez.  Do your homework folks. 


January 17th, 2011 at 10:14 PM ^

Statistics can be massaged in many ways to prove any point.  You're using Hoke's pre-Michigan statistics against Rich Rod's Michigan statistics to prove what? 

That being said, Rich Rod is gone.  He had to go after the Gator Bowl.  There was no way his position was tenable after that fiasco. 

But I think what people are unhappy about is the process.  Not Brady Hoke is a bad guy or even a bad coach.  It's that the whole process was just, for a lack of a better term, a cluster*$&k.

If you were going to choose between a pre-UM Rich Rod or a pre-UM Brady Hoke, just according to the statistics, who would you pick?  Prior to Michigan, Rich Rod was 105-62-2, versus Hoke's record of 47-50.  Rich Rod's teams won the Gator, the Sugar, and the Fiesta Bowls in 2005-2007. 

So at the end of 2007, we hired a coach that seemed to be, statistically, by a side-by-side comparison, much more of an accomplished coach than Brady Hoke.  And yet he turned into a disaster. 

So instead of hiring someone with a better track record than Rich Rod and a better record of success at the upper levels of college football, we hired someone with a worse record of accomplishment?  Where's the logic in that?

Do you see why some people are unhappy with the process?

That being said, I support the team, because as a Michigan fan and alumnus, I don't have a lot of choice. 


January 17th, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

any rationale for calling the coaching search a clust*$&k? Or do you just repeat Brian's mantra?

Did you have an alternative approach in mind?  Should he have fired RRod before the bowl game before all the evidence was in, before the top candidates were likely available, before the buyout dropped $1.5 million?  Should have just hired Hoke without taking 6 days for a reasonably thorough search and evaluation of all candidates?  Did you have a better candidate in mind, perhaps one with a better record as a college head coach?

RRod's overall record was much better than Hoke's but at an institution with much better resources than Ball State and SDSU.  Moreover, Hoke's overall record is deceiving since  he took over crappy programs and ultimately turned them around but it didn't happen overnight.

Every coaching hire is a gamble - RRod is proof of that.  But Hoke has an impressive resume and may have been the best candidate available.

Ann Arbor Cardinal

January 17th, 2011 at 10:18 PM ^

Calling someone "folks" has to be one of the most condescending labels. Yes, there are arguments why Hoke may ultimately not be a bad hire. But throwing out a bunch of numbers and calling your opponents "folks" doesn't mean the issue is closed and everyone would agree with you if only we all did our homework.

Desmonlon Edwoodson

January 18th, 2011 at 6:29 AM ^




n. pl. folk or folks


a. The common people of a society or region considered as the representatives of a traditional way of life and especially as the originators or carriers of the customs, beliefs, and arts that make up a distinctive culture: a leader who came from the folk.
b. Archaic A nation; a people.
2. Informal People in general. Often used in the plural: Folks around here are very friendly.
3. People of a specified group or kind. Often used in the plural: city folks; rich folk.
4. folks Informal

a. The members of one's family or childhood household; one's relatives.
b. One's parents: My folks are coming for a visit.

Of, occurring in, or originating among the common people: folk culture; a folk hero.


just folks Informal

Down-to-earth, open-hearted
Sorry...couldn't find much negative there...its not like I called you spartans or something...
Is it a gang thing?  Are you a Latin King or a Vicelord?

Feat of Clay

January 18th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

Maybe it's my midwestern upbringing, but when I hear "folks" it's generally meant kindly, perhaps to soften a criticism, not add to it. 

I can say "we've got to get this work done, folks" and come off less scolding than "we've got to get this work done, you guys."  But that might be my folksy corn-fed accent working for me.


January 17th, 2011 at 10:37 PM ^

I think you are conflating two separate things here.  You are discussing Rodriguez and Hoke as the only two options--one can be opposed to the hiring of Hoke (or the process that led to his hiring) without disagreeing with the firing of Rodriguez.  There is no point in comparing their records:  they are not competing with each other.

Rodriguez' position at Michigan had become untenable.  He had to go, for better or worse, because imagine what the next 8 months would have been like for him and for Michigan if he were still coach.

The fact that Rodriguez shouldn't be coaching Michigan next year doesn't prove that Hoke should.  Maybe it's the right hire, but comparing Hoke's record over the last few years with Rodriguez' record certainly doesn't prove whether it is right or wrong.

I know, I know--no sense in arguing about it now.  Just don't make the mistake of comparing Hoke with Rodriguez.  That's not our standard for success. 

Nard Dogg

January 17th, 2011 at 11:42 PM ^

I thought the In Rod We Trust and The Rebellion were my two camps, but I can certainly see aspects of the Fierce Pragmatist (thought RR deserved one more year, but rooting for Hoke to succeed) and Decatur Clan (loved RR, rooting for Hoke, but had him about 5th on my list). Those four, in some respects, kind of blend together a bit.

Feat of Clay

January 18th, 2011 at 9:40 AM ^

I'm Decatur clan, I guess, but I'd have a hard time being "all in" for a coach I thought was a legitimately bad guy.  I was going to have a hard time with Miles the Oversigner if he came here; it would take an extra strong dose of koolaid.


January 17th, 2011 at 9:45 PM ^

Dave Brandon : Hubris :: Denard Robinson : Speed

DB officially lost me as a supporter when he assured us he was open to changing UM's "middle of the road" compensation packages, then hired a staff that would serve as an archetypal answer to the question "what would the Michigan AD's hiring process look like if saving a few lousy bucks was the only concern?"  He could assuage that complaint easily enough, but that would require stepping away from his carefully contrived, utterly implausible, sub-moronic "Hoke was my first choice" fairy tale.

I will support Hoke, and I wont even rule out the possibility that he could have MNC level success here, but when Brandon wants to say that "all that glitters is not gold" he should stop to consider that even more of what doesn't glitter is also not gold.

D.C. Dave

January 17th, 2011 at 10:13 PM ^

I don't personally know Stanley Jacobs of the LSU supervisors, but I did work in New Orleans for a number of years and I do know about the Tiger Athletic Foundation, the giant fundraising arm formed as a private nonprofit so it can basically do whatever it wants for LSU football, so I want to offer a sane scenario of why Brandon's visit to Baton Rouge was not necessarily to land Les Miles.

1. If Brandon had really wanted to land Les Miles, Miles would be at Michigan.

2. The people saying Miles was twice offered the job are Lousiana politicians. They certainly aren't going to say they got snookered, because a lot of LSU fans don't even like Miles. He has to be portrayed as being wanted elsewhere because he is substantially unloved by LSU fans.

3. Brandon's plan was indeed to fire Rodriguez and hire Harbaugh, who definitely would be the coach if he had wanted it. But by Brandon saying he didn't offer the job to Harbaugh, whenever everyone knows he would have, it gives Miles cover to secure a contract extension at LSU, which is all he really asked for out of the deal from Brandon, his teammate at Michigan. And Harbaugh was just one of those things: The NFL got in a feeding frenzy over him, and he was gone. And it was an itch he was bound to scratch, so better than dealing with those rumors every offseason even if he had come to Michigan.

4. The reason most LSU fans were ready to fire Miles during the 2010 season is because he is a wacky coach, but he's a consistently fortunate coach if that's the case. He wins, but somehow you don't end up sold on him. Ultimately, Brandon wasn't sold on him. And he met with Miles after he'd already spent a lot of time with Hoke, and was wowed by his interview. Miles was not the right fit and Brandon knew it, but a faction of Michigan faithful wanted him to get a look. It was a four-hour deal, period.

5. Michigan would've had to break the bank to hire LSU and his very highly paid assistants, which is fine if you're getting a coach you are super excited about. But what if you aren't excited? What if, at the end of it all, you kind of liked Hoke, the guy you had just spent the weekend with? Why unload all that cash for a staff you don't really want?

6. Brandon flew in to Baton Rouge for a pit stop. He didn't even stay overnight. He wasn't there to hire a coach, he was there to have dinner with an old teammate, tell him it was going to be Hoke and discuss how to handle it.

7. A lot of NFL players and a lot of former Michigan players who didn't make the league but are doing well in life called Brandon to recommend Hoke, with many saying he was an influence on players on both sides of the ball even then. Do not underestimate the cumulative impact of this display of loyalty. Also don't underestimate its value to Michigan going forward.

8. With more momentum than the public realized rolling behind Hoke, Brandon was never locked in on Miles. After Harbaugh, it was open, and as soon as Brandon got to know Hoke, he was the new favorite.

9. Brandon is not modeling himself after Bill Martin's pursuit of a big name. Brandon would more like to emulate the Michigan Godfather, Don Canham. Canham didn't set out to hire big names, he set out to hire promising coaches who were about to become big names once they got to Michigan, with all its resources. Hoke is an excellent recruiter -- just iike he was at Michigan -- and the two turnarounds he just pulled off did not happen at quality programs suffering a down period. We're talking Ball State and San Diego State, and his impact on those programs is impressive. The overall record is meaningless. You're getting a great coach for Michigan with almost 100 college games of head coaching experience. Hiring purely off stats is just stupid. And we also should look back and think about the defenses we had in the eight seasons when Hoke was previously on the staff. I think he will be fine.

10. So I can definitely see why Brandon did it the way he did it. He was a CEO. You check out all the candidates, then you make a decision. You don't hire in midstream, ever. Hoke is a very sincere guy, a hard-working coach who knows defense and knows to turn the offense over to a guy like Al Borges. He's also beloved by his players, the classic father figure, a guy who really can coach and also happens to love the place. Think about this: As I am writing this, you can rest assured Hoke is working for Michigan tonight and well into the night. That's the guy Brandon was spending time with before he met Miles, and that's why the Michigan plane wasn't on the ground in Louisiana for very long.

11. No matter what your view of the process, ultimately you have to judge the AD by whether he got the right guy. I am confident Brandon did get the right guy and I think Hoke will have success because of how he does things and because he's going to be a lights-out recruiter at Michigan, if not this year definitely after his first season. I'm really not worried that Hoke won't win. He's got the knack, the evidence is there and know one can sell Michigan any better than he can.

12. LSU was still smart to extend Miles and they are nuts if they ever get rid of him. He has enough talent returning to win a national title this year, and he knows it. I wish him the best and I'm glad we have Brady Hoke instead.