Various Hoke Items Comment Count

Brian January 12th, 2011 at 3:18 PM

hokeObligatory @ right via HSR.

Coaching bits. Rocky Long is officially the new head coach at SDSU, so Michigan will need a new DC. He will bring his strength coach Aaron Wellman, so kiss Barwis goodbye. ETA before he's hired at Pitt: six seconds.

Who did what who with what and the when. I have a request in for a rundown of the Borges years at Auburn with a good friend who is the world's #1 Auburn fan, but they sort of just won a national championship so that might take a little bit. Over at Maize 'n' Brew they have a breakdown of Hoke's years at Ball State from a BSU alum. On offense they started off with a "disaster" of a pro-style offense that got the first coordinator canned, whereupon Stan Parrish was brought in:

Coach Parrish junked the previous offensive scheme almost completely. He still employed two tight ends due to Steinhaus and Darius Hill being two of the biggest weapons on the offense, but also used a lot more three and four wide out formations and the fullback ceased to exist in the offense. Ball State ran a balanced, one back attack with Joey Lynch and the Nate Davis excelling at quarterback, MiQuale Lewis at running back, and Dante Love at wide receiver/running back/quarterback.

So Hoke has some flexibility when it's clear that whatever you want to do isn't actually working, but… yeah, seems like the default impulse is to line 'em up and waggle them three times a game.

On defense, Hoke kept the same guy through his six years but "was the defacto defensive coordinator" by the end of his tenure because Smith was kind of not so good. They moved from the 4-3 under that Greg Robinson actually knows how to run to a Big Ten default 4-3:

For the first four years of Coach Hoke's tenure, Ball State ran a defense that the media mostly called a 3-4 defense, but I think would be more accurately described as a 4-3 under defense. The last two seasons, when Coach Hoke was basically running the defense, Ball State mostly used the 4-3 defense, although the 4-3 under defense was also still used.

Hoke grabbed Long at SDSU, obviously. Depending on who you talk to Long invented the 3-3-5, which is what the Aztecs ran. Flexibility there, though not a whole lot of success. Even in the epic Ball State year that got him out of the MAC, the Cardinals got bombed for 45 points in their two year-ending losses. This year's SDSU team was better on offense by every metric than defense. For a "defensive-minded" coach his success seems based on having a couple quarterbacks that were pretty good.

Fluffwar 3000. Anyone doubting the media 180 should have listened to the press conference, wherein questions were gently peeled by the assembled masses and placed in the most pleasing spot on Hoke's tongue, whereupon they dissolved in a haze of gruff footbaw talk. I think I heard someone say "he's dreamy" at one point. This will be annoying for people irritated at the way Rodriguez was treated but is an asset for the program. Everything is black or white, you see.

We should hold a competition for most Charmin-soft headline over the next six months. Candidates so far:

And a candidate for most least correct:

These are all exactly what you'd expect, so there's no need to read any of them. Our brief period as a rogue program has ended, and the worst-case outcome of the next few years in the media is a bunch of clucking at fans who aren't satisfied with how much better Brady Hoke's record is than Rich Rodriguez.

Save Drew Sharp, of course. He was the lone guy to fire off a negative question amongst the general fawning, that directed at Michigan's aspiration to win conference championships instead of national ones. I wonder if he asks his wife why she didn't aspire to marry a human being instead of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

The truth. Michigan's situation is odd. They are a 7-6 team with pretty good yardage numbers that has an easier schedule next year and a boatload of returning starters, so they should be better, possibly a good bit better. But they're transitioning coaches and if Denard stays are probably going to make an awkward transition in offense exactly at the point where this year's crater of a recruiting class will start hurting them badly. So Lamarr Woodley's right:

“I mean, hopefully they’ll look good next year, but it will probably take a while for them to be adjusted,” he said. “I don’t want to go into that Michigan State situation, where they’re hiring and firing.

“We have to stick behind coach Hoke and give him time to bring in the guys he needs for his formula."

Michigan will have to be patient, because a tenure much like Charlie Weis's is a strong possibility: good results early, falloff once this class and the last one come home to roost, many grumbles about early success being vapor. Michigan will (should?) have an upperclass Devin Gardner instead of freshman Jimmah and some semblance of an offensive line, so the rough patch might not be awful. It's likely to come.

(Yes, exactly zero players said things like this for Rodriguez.)

The upside. I think this is both praise and condemnation:

Spoke to a bunch of coaches here in Dallas at AFCA who think Brady Hoke will do well at Michigan. They kept using the word "solid" a lot.

Calling a coach "solid" is like calling a girl cute. Also, this

@mgoblog You may have gotten your Dantonio, for whatever that's worth.

…is the exact same thing. It's hard to envision Hoke not having the same sort of dismal record against the USCs of the world if he's going to rely on recruiting nowhere near as well and out-executing, as Michigan State found out the hard way against Alabama.

Meet the Drew Sharp of San Diego. Brady Hoke had been so openly coveting the Michigan job that even San Diego State's athletic director was all like "he gone," but there is a lone wacko out there willing to point and scream "Rodriguez":

Hoke never purchased a home in San Diego. He rented in La Jolla. He wasn’t staying here forever, and even he no doubt is surprised by how fast this happened. He hadn’t done much of anything, which he admits.

But in the end, it wasn’t so much betrayal as it was deception. It’s hard to say San Diego State is better off today, but if Brady Hoke couldn’t be stand-up about this thing, sneaking around in college football’s increasing shadows, maybe the school’s better off.

A witch! Burn her!

At least there's that. The Mathlete's PAN metrics are pretty easy to understand ratings that go into more detail than wins and losses and as the coaching search progressed he threw up numbers for most of Michigan's candidates. The Hoke graphs are the single most encouraging thing I've seen about the hire, as it does show almost constant improvement across eight years. Ball State, with Hoke in blue:


San Diego State, with Hoke in maize:


Arguing about how fast the improvement happened at Ball State is secondary to the fact that it did improve consistently, though I tend to hold the post-Hoke implosion against him since I'd rather see a smoother glide path to incompetence as the program you put together gradually falls apart. That looks like "Nate Davis graduated so let's GTFO."

This goes here.

Etc.: Guy who won right to attend press conference is a Michigan engineer who wrote a script to enter him millions of times. Michigan engineers: good. Guys who program not Michigan engineers. DocSat: "After three years of attempting to transition out of that mindset into something smaller, faster, sleeker and newer, Hoke is a sign that the Wolverines have declared defeat and decided to turn back home. That will make a lot people happy, but only if the wins eventually follow."



January 12th, 2011 at 3:29 PM ^

A week ago Dave Brandon made noise about how it was wrong that the coaching pay at Michigan wasn't among the leaders; he then proceeded to hire a head coach whose pay should be relatively low, and that head coach is bringing over an OC whose pay should be relatively low. It will be interesting to see if Hoke is willing to bring in a big-time guy at DC. To be fair, it appears he did so at San Diego State by hiring Rocky Long, so hopefully that bodes well.

If you believe that Brandon was going to hire Hoke all along, you pretty much have to believe his comments last week about the pay scale for Michigan's football coaches was, well, baloney. (See me after class and I'll use another word). At this point we have zero evidence that this will happen anywhere on the staff.


January 12th, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

If Hoke doesn't succeed we should use the big money he was prepared to spend to replace Brandon and the coach.

Every time I see Brandon the Kanye West song "Me and My Ego" comes to mind.  Seemed like he was self reflecting when he said that all the other coaches he interviewed were interested in themselves.  His web posting on 1/10/2011 was all about him.

Go Blue Eyes

January 12th, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

This is not a good sign from the student who won the seat at the presser:

MVictors: So how long did it take to write the script that entered your name in the contest six million times?
Lilly: [Laughs].  I actually only entered it once.   I was sitting in class and entered it on my phone, really not paying too much attention to Reinforced Concrete Design. [laughs]

Hope that part of the class he missed wasn't too important regarding "Reinforced Concrete Design."


January 12th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

Solid is like the perfect coachspeak work.  Solid is not too much praise, but not bad.  It's not damning with faint praise, but it's also not glowing. 

When I saw Feldman's tweet this morning, the whole thing reminded me of the NewsRadio episode where Dave is upset because the New York Radio review magazine refers to the station as reliable and Bill is THRILLED that he is called "adequate"

grand river fi…

January 12th, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

A lot of players seem to really love Barwis, hope no one leaves with him.  I'm pretty meh on this hire, I really hope everything goes well and am willing to give it time, but I'm definetly not excited.

Huntington Wolverine

January 12th, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

I don't even know what to say at this point.  I'm underwhelmed by the hire, disgusted by the media and alum response to this (aka The 180, setting low bar for success, calling for patience), and feeling dirty about not giving RR a fourth year.  I support the team and will be rooting for Coach Hoke but this is not one of Michigan's finest hours imhe.  It seems like cronyism at its worst at first whiff.

A friend pointed out that all of the players commenting talk about how "good" a guy he is, similar to the "solid" comments from coaches - "She's cute and she's got a great personality, you're going to love her... The laugh can be annoying but it distracts you from her mustache."


January 12th, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

The media and alum response seems to be, "we're willing to be patient and take our lumps and possibly be mediocre because at least we'll be mediocre doing something familiar".

I know the whole search has been hashed and rehashed, but I'm still frustrated by the "Michigan man" fixation. Of the last six national champions five have been coached by men with no prior ties to the University.


January 12th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

How quickly you forget the shredding accusations (which srsly?) or the buyout lawsuit (likely mandated by the university) or the 'athletes take easy classes' meme (again, srsly?  this surprises you?) or the grossly overestimated practice overages (CARA definition of stretching.)  Yeah, the media had nothing against RRod.


January 12th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

Of COURSE the media skewered RR.

But almost all of those things you listed were brought up AFTER the 3-9 season.

That was my whole point. They were negative AFTER the losing.

If Hoke starts losing, you just watch. The media will skewer him, too.

Huntington Wolverine

January 12th, 2011 at 4:40 PM ^

Yeah, "the media wasn't out to get him until he started losing" meme is an odd bit of revisionist history.  Here's Brian fisking Rosenberg's first anti-RR pieces:…

Note the date: July 10th, 2008.  Well before we took the field against Utah.  I don't know why their tone shifted so quickly though, this was Rosenberg's first reaction to the hire: "Michigan hired a great football coach Sunday. Not a good one, like Greg Schiano. Not a very good one, like Les Miles. A great one." (Dec. 16th, 2007).  From a "great coach" to the anti-Christ in the space of several months.  I really think they thought they were doing the program a favor in all of this.


January 12th, 2011 at 3:43 PM ^

I good guy who runs a clean program who had a nice run once or twice at his crappy school.  


Unfortunately, it also seems like this is the guy that cleans up the mess then passes it onto someone who can hopefully not destroy everything and instead take us to the next level...again.

Gustavo Fring

January 12th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

NCAA basketball is WAY different from football.  These days, it's all about how many 5-stars you can get.  Period.  The one-year rule has changed everything. 

Can you imagine if Lebron or Dwight Howard was forced to go to college?  It would have been ridiculously unfair for any other team to try to beat them. 

In football, one player does not have as much of an impact, and what you do as a coach IN COLLEGE is as important as how talented the player was coming out of college. 


January 12th, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^

CJ Lilly says he entered once. The script thing was clearly a joke. Guy who program same guys who program but more laid back when it comes to uptime.


January 12th, 2011 at 3:44 PM ^


You are rapidly turning into the Hoke equivalent of the anti-Rich Rod people who wouldn't give him a chance from day 1, and derailed his program. I know you don't like the hire, but please stop.




January 12th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

He's giving Hoke a chance, he's just skeptical of how well and fast this is going to work. On top of that, he's annoyed with how hypocritical the anti-RR people are being by overly accepting of Hoke. I happen to agree with him, but I think everyone will be happy if we just win.


January 12th, 2011 at 4:04 PM ^

I'd like to see him be more aloof as well, but I think these points are interesting:

* "For a "defensive-minded" coach his success seems based on having a couple quarterbacks that were pretty good."

Yes, people could say the same about RichRod (shifting to offense) with Pat White and Denard.  It's still a bit of a red flag IMO.

* "Yes, exactly zero players said things like this for Rodriguez."

It's true -- the contrast is jarring.

* "Arguing about how fast the improvement happened at Ball State is secondary to the fact that it did improve consistently, though I tend to hold the post-Hoke implosion against him since I'd rather see a smoother glide path to incompetence as the program you put together gradually falls apart. That looks like "Nate Davis graduated so let's GTFO." "

Indeed -- it seems to me that a "rebuilt" team would take more than a few months to collapse.  I think that 12-win season is more of an outlier than people realize.


January 12th, 2011 at 4:51 PM ^

There are plenty of factual points (overall record, post-Hoke BGSU asplosion, PR from former players or lack thereof) that are apparently verboten because it counts as "not supporting the new coach". It's a curious position to take. I don't agree with it.


January 12th, 2011 at 3:45 PM ^

"But the culture clash and the probation never really rated among the list of charges against Rodriguez compared to his record – he lost, too often and by too much, and more than anyone could remember Michigan ever losing before."


January 12th, 2011 at 4:26 PM ^

Ball State and San Diego State should factor into that record. You're talking about two absolutely garbage programs that he took, albeit briefly, to historic heights. Winning the first bowl game since the sixties at SDSU is pretty impressive when you consider they had Marshall F'ing Faulk for a decent period of time and still couldn't pull that feat off.

I don't buy that this isn't better than hiring some hot shot coordinator with no head coaching experience. He would have to learn on the job in an unrealistic pressure cooker with little support and no connections. Now the program, aside from those who understandably harbor a smouldering resentment left over from the mistreatment of Rodriguez, is looking galvanized and excited, and I for one, am willing to get carried away with it and enjoy it before we lose a game in 2011. To hell with negativity at this point.


January 12th, 2011 at 4:54 PM ^

It is worthy of note that there were 19 bowl games in Marshall Faulk's last season, rather than the 35 of today.


I mean this as no statement regarding Hoke, but this is like complaining that Glen Mason shouldn't have been fired because he took Minnesota to something like 1/3 of their total historical bowl games. Well yeah, but there were years that Minnesota was top-ten but didn't get the (Rose) bowl slot. Historical differences must always be kept in mind.


January 12th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

Been looking over some other resumes around the NCAA and here is what I see...

Coach 1:   Pos'n coach for BCS AQ conf* team - 5yrs; HC @ Div 1, non AQ BCS conf team - 14 yrs; HC BCS AQ conf team

Coach 2: Pos'n coach for BCS AQ conf team - 5yrs; HC @ Div 1, non AQ BCS conf team - 4yrs; HC BCS AQ conf team

Coach 3: Pos'n coach for BCS AQ conf team - 13 yrs; HC @ Div 1, non AQ BCS conf team - 7yrs; HC BCS AQ conf team

Coach 4: Asst coach for BCS AQ conf team - 7yrs; HC @ Div 1, non AQ conf team - 6yrs; HC BCS AQ conf team

*or equivalent

Which one is Hoke? Not a ton of variation.

Seems to me like he's taken all of the necessary career steps to be in the place he finds himself today. I understand this doesn't necessarily get at the level of performance at each stop. But, consider this... Sweater-vest (Coach #1) was 23-24 in his first 4 years at Youngstown St. I imagine if HC is like any other job in the world, when one is promoted into that role, there is a learning curve... takes a while to get one's feet planted and start producing results. Seems like that is what happened with Hoke (Coach #3) at Ball State.

Justsayin - we don't know what the result will be. He's got a solid pedigree and deserves a shot just as much as Tressel did, Urban Meyer (Coach #2) did and Bo (Coach #4) did.

Please... after a few days here of getting our frustration out... can we all try to support Hoke? After all, if many of you are right about his lack of ability, he's going to need it! 

st barth

January 12th, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^'s the thing that's really puzzling me now, if the Lloyd Carrtel is really so powerful (i.e., controlling former players, media perception, popular opinion, etc) then how they hell did they not get their guy last time?  Did Bill Martin have kryptonite in his office or something?


January 12th, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

Outgoing AD, wanted to take the program in a different direction.  Who knows what he was thinking?  I can't say I blame him for hiring RR in the first place but things were a snafu almost from day one.

st barth

January 13th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

I don't know who was Carr's choice as replacement.  Maybe he didn't make one.  If I remember correctly, Martin did interview both coordinators (Debord & English) yet somehow he resisted hiring either one.  

Maybe Carr should have suggested Hoke then.  Or maybe he should've brought Hoke on staff for a year or two as his chosen replacement and stuck around for another season or two.