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.


Feat of Clay

January 18th, 2011 at 9:39 AM ^

That was extremely interesting.  It's different version of events. I find myself wanting to believe it's all true (hoping it is).  It makes sense. 

I appreciate your labeling it as a scenario.  Some of this board's readership has a chronic habit of assuming they have perfect knowledge of conversations, circumstances, and timelines about which they actually know very little.  I understand the urge to speculate--that generates all kind of interesting content.  But there are too many assertions that claim to be more than they are.

I have a hard time understanding why that kind of thing gets so much play here, on a board where people seem to crave accuracy, knowledge, and actual datapoints.

There was one controversial event during RR's tenure about which I had some insider knowledge (it was happenstance; I'm unlikely to ever be in that position again) and I was taken aback by the falsehoods espoused as fact on here.


January 17th, 2011 at 10:27 PM ^

It seemed like there were so many of us.  So many friends, commenters, casual conversations.  So many on board...

Then we turned around to get some more chips and dip, and somehow the room just emptied out.  Where is everybody?  What happened?  Where did y'all go?




January 18th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^


Agreed. I was in folk’s basement watching the game with my dad and older brother sparring back and forth about why we need to keep RR. First drive I was confident in my statements of" How could you want another offense" and then the defense took the field. RR is a great offense guy and I do not have any doubt about him being successful but it was time for us to part ways.


Hokeamania baby! Pass the Dixie cup of  Kool aid. Heck I'll take the whole punch bowl.


January 17th, 2011 at 11:12 PM ^

is an underestimated factor here.  He loved the idea of coaching Michigan football more than the other top candidates.  That's why he's the head coach today.  And it may be a big plus going forward - in his chances for success and longevity here.

I would love to have had Harbaugh here.  He's a phenomenal coach.  My uncle was one of his junior high teachers and my family has some other connections to him.  Apparently he has always loved a challenge and I think he sees the NFL as the next logical challenge.  I think Brandon realized that and that's why he offered the opinion that Harbaugh was headed to the NFL.  I did have a chance to talk to Harbaugh for a short time in September, reminiscing a little bit about Ann Arbor.  He seemed like a good guy but also very driven.  He didn't have the same emotion about Ann Arbor that Brady Hoke seems to have when he talks about Michigan football.  I think he loves Michigan but not enough, at least for now, to turn down the 49ers job.  I am not surprised by his choice.

Hoke, with his passion for Michigan football and prior success at turning around programs with far fewer resources, has more upside than most here realize.  Let's hope that's enough to win some championships.  If not, maybe Jimmy will be tired of the NFL in a couple years.


January 18th, 2011 at 12:42 AM ^

I'm glad Miles decided to stay at LSU. We have a great leader and someone who cares about Michigan football with a deep passion, which is something that will speak loudly in recruiting and in results on the football field.


January 18th, 2011 at 8:16 AM ^

Another concern [now] with AD Brandon [for me]

Auburn apparently had a star player [Newton] with alleged serious violations---no sanction

Ohio State had a number of players with alleged serious violations---sanctions to be imposed next year [so plenty of time for at least a substantial reduction]

So was Michigan better off taking the NCAA seriously, imposing sanctions in advance, spending lots of money to investigate the charges, etc.??

If the NCAA was following its alleged usual course of punishing the small schools, and giving the big schools a free pass, then it could be argued that Brandon had to do what he did, since Michigan is no longer one of the "big boys".

If, on the other hand, the Auburn and OSU cases suggest that the NCAA is a paper tiger, then perhaps cooperation and public humilation was a mistake.

I thought this was relevant here as this post generally questions the AD's effectiveness





January 18th, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

… for one reason more than any other, and as long as he can keep it up he'll have my support:

So far, he's been very good at not being Bill Martin.


January 18th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

While we can easily cast stones right now the fact of the matter is we'll get our answer in a few years. Sure, Dave Brandon seems like someone that believes he's smarter than anyone tied to Michigan athletics, but I understand his panting to make the fanbase believe Brady Hoke was his number one guy. Support to the program from all factions is crucial and the focus needs to move to the field where the only thing that matters is wins and losses.

With that said, Brady Hoke is beginning to terrify me for one reason. In his mind, Michigan is THE program to be at. The problem is I'm not so sure high school kids have the awareness to not associate Notre Dame and Michigan as being one in the same. They hear a lot about those programs, but don't see the talk translate onto the field. Brady Hoke can't just walk into a house and say "This is MICHIGAN" we're talking about. It may impress mom and dad, but that kid is looking at a team that hasn't done anything in the 3 years they've been recruited. Note the fact that Hoke is calling players that have committed to other universities months ago as his possible Michigan bravado and pitch are aimed at as if Michigan is more special than any place in the country.

In a time when Michigan needs innovation and reinvention I can't help but wonder the fate of the program, and the attitude of the "factions", had Brady Hoke been hired to replace Lloyd Carr and Rich Rod brought in to lead the program now.


January 18th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

First, David Brandon should not have been a part of that press conference introducing Hoke. Of course he had to be there, but he was sleep deprived, punchy and in no shape to handle the media.  He came accross badly.  That said, I think folks are reading way too much into what he said and what LSU has been saying.  If you are discussing a potential job with someone, the question of payment may or may not come up.  If it does, you have to be willing to discuss those numbers.  Les Miles asks "what would you pay me if I came"...David Brandon throws out "4 million".  Sorry folks, THATS NOT A JOB OFFER!  That is a discussion.  Regarding Harbaugh: Maybe Brandon was referring to him when he said "All that glitters is not gold"  Ya'll remember when Harbaugh made a comment a few years back about academics and student athletes at Michigan?  I recall the Wolverine Nation wanted to hang him.  They were saying he should never come back given his attitude.  Now the same jerks are pissed he didn't come.  Brandon was right from the beginning.  Harbaugh had his eyes on the NFL.  He wasn't offered because he wasn't interested.  I'd put myself somewhere between cotton pickin' blues and fierce pragmatist.  Good luck Hoke!

Blue Bill

January 18th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

  Dave Brandon was spinning.  That's what happens at press conferences.  Do you think it would have been preferable had DB said, "Well, he wasn't our first choice... really, not even our second or third choice, but I think Hoke is a fine coach and Michigan will do well with him."  No, of course not.  Brandon knows that one of the most important determinents of success going forward will be the degree to which everyone is united and on the same page (especially after the last three years).  He HAD to come out in full-throated support of his new coach; he HAD to do his best to squash any rumblings about how Michigan had to "settle" or how Hoke wasn't a great hire.

Of course, Brian knows this.  I think the real problem here is that Brian doesn't like the hire of Brady Hoke.  He has made it abundantly clear for the past several years that he doesn't think Brady Hoke should have ever even received consideration for the job.  If Brandon had hired Gary Patterson or been able to snag Harbaugh, I doubt Brian would be complaining about Brandon's spin job in the aftermath.

Of course, criticisms about the timing are valid, but I tend to think it's not quite as disasterous as others seem to.