11 Warriors Article on diff. between Hoke & RR

Submitted by StephenRKass on May 23rd, 2012 at 11:10 PM

There is a fairly long article over at the Ohio website 11 Warriors on The tale of Rodriguez and Hoke. There isn't much new there. In summary, the author speculates that the difference was in 3 things:

  1. Institutional support. Hoke:  yes.  RR:  no.
  2. Michigan Man culture. Hoke gets it, RR never did.
  3. Defense. Mattison:  good. Gerg:  beyond awful.

None of this is new to loyal mgoblog readers. However, I was struck by two things. First, it seemed odd that 11 Warriors would care that much. Whatever. Secondly, I found the following comment interesting, and one I have only heard rumored:

My childhood best friend in fact played for Michigan under Carr and then RichRod. Through that relationship I have befriended some of his friends who were teammates of his, some of whom played for all three coaches. Outside of what was mentioned in the article they all emphasized was that by and large the players didn't like RichRod, and had no drive to win for him. Things were great for the first 5-6 weeks of the seasons when they were winning, but once the losses started piling up many players just started counting down the weeks until the season was over. 

I had heard rumblings of this last Fall, but never this direct. To say "by and large the players didn't like RichRod" is a pretty strong statement. For all I know, this is still a rumor. There really isn't any substantiation on the facts.  I'd be interested to hear more on this. Actually, on second thought, I really don't care. RR is gone. Hoke is tremendous. Let sleeping dogs lie, and don't beat dead horses. But if any of you happen to know more, please put something up about it, if you can.



May 24th, 2012 at 10:42 AM ^

From talking with a former defensive player the shift from RR to Hoke was from "yelling" to "teaching."

Bo definitely yelled, but there was a lot of teaching going on, too. Obviously the RR coaches were trying to teach, but at least on the defensive side of the ball, it does not sound (nor did it look) like they were very good at it.

Section 1

May 24th, 2012 at 8:11 AM ^

I LOL hard when people like Section 1, who basically live in a fantasy world of their own, pretend Rich Rod was beloved by everyone but the Freep. The friggin team did not like him. There's not much else to say. 

Find a quote.  Show the Board where I was trying to "pretend [that] Rich Rod was beloved by everyone but the Freep."  Get to work, asshole.  Because I'll be waiting for the proof.

If you want a great big over-generalization of what I've written on this Board, it was mostly the same things that were later shown to have been true in Three and Out.  And it still isn't even all that clear; but there were many people who seemed to be less than supportive of Rodriguez.

The funny and really stupid thing about what you wrote is that far from being in any "fantasy world," I have done a lot less guessing about "factions" than some others, because the facts and the records haven't been so clear.  But because the Free Press put its story into print, and then the NCAA and Michigan put their findings on the record, the story of the Free Press' wrongdoing has been really clear.

Isn't it just hilarious?  The original Freep publisher's response dismissed all criticism of the Rosenberg-Snyder reporting as having come essentially from Michigan fanboys.  So who are the fanboys now?


May 24th, 2012 at 12:19 AM ^

It makes complete sense that 11 Warriors still has no clue in the article as to what makes a Michigan Man.  They still think it's three yards and a cloud of dust. 

Taking a step back the article is really about leadership.  What do great leaders do:

1)  (Institutional Support) Build and care for the institutional support around them.

2)  (Michigan Man)  Lead with integrity and character and are beyond reproach.

3)  (Defensive Coordinator)  Recruit great people (defensive coaches and players) to follow them.

Oh and 4, the best leaders truely care about the men and women they lead.


May 24th, 2012 at 12:29 AM ^

when you consider this:

Things were great for the first 5-6 weeks of the seasons when they were winning

As far as 3-9, even a commenter with an OSU avatar can see this from the banks of the Olentangy:

Michigan being too cheap to get Jeff Castell + No QB = Fail

This article doesn't seem like a huge amount of space to spend on a major rival. It is Spring, after all.

I thought at the time that we lucked out with RR because he actually turned out to be serious, even passionate, about creating a family atmosphere and with his focus on quality off-the-field behavior, emphasizing grades, sitting his #1 punter for OSU for disciplinary reasons, etc. I thought the lazy repetitions of the MSM meme about "sleazy" did a serious injustice to the truth about RR. I was/am also one of those who thinks three years is maybe one year too early to pull the plug on anybody who doesn't crash a motorbike with a mistress on board or something similar, maybe the opposite of giving Weiss five years, perhaps one too many. At any rate, all the coaches involved either way, and the schools that fired them, are going on with their lives.

I also think we lucked out with Hoke. I was covering my eyes when the talk was around Harbaugh and Miles; I had seen enough comments about Harbaugh from commenters over the years on this site to make me wonder how long it would be before something unpleasant happened with Harbaugh in charge, although he is very good at what he does. With the Hoke hire, UM continues an unbroken tradition of coaching with the highest ethics and concern with the welfare of the young ones under the coach's responsibility. (I'm not fooled by the Rosenberg/Snyder hit job for a minute, thanks to the detailed desconstructions we saw first on this site.)

It also turns out that Hoke is an aggressive but effective game-manager and an outstanding recruiter. And rather than cheap out on a DC for the sake of $10,000, our new AD decided to compete price-wise with the NFL to make sure the boys are ready to play.

A few breaks in scheduling helped us out last year. May the good times continue.


May 24th, 2012 at 12:32 AM ^

Re: the "Michigan Man Culture" -- this is, I believe, a more nuanced thing than I think many in the sports media understand. 

I've seen some accounts -- often mocking of the "Michigan Man" concept (spoken with the little finger quote gesture and an eye roll) -- that seemed to imply there's a set of codified beliefs that make someone a "Michigan Man."

To my eye it boils down to an appreciation and humble acknowledgement of one's role within a rich line of history and tradition.  That's where Hoke's now famous, "This is Michigan, for God's sake!" statement came from.

I don't think RR fully appreciated that when he first got here.  I'm not sure I would have had my life to that point been fully outside the Michigan tradition.  But I think RR left with a much better sense for it.  Too late, perhaps, but I do believe he did.

I live in Tucson and it's clear he learned his lesson.  He's exhibited a much greater sense of the Arizona Wildcat tradition -- such as it is -- since he arrived here.

I went to the Arizona spring game a few weeks back.  I can report the fans here are as excited about Rodriguez as the coach as Michigan was leading up to that first year.  I truly do think Rodriguez will do fine here at Arizona.  It won't be easy -- recruiting to Arizona is not like recruiting to Michigan; Arizona is not a really rich football state; and good recruits in CA and TX draw the attention of many schools (USC, Texas, Oregon, etc.).  Still, he has Casteel with him and Arizona fans are not quite as intense as Michigan fans.  He'll have a grace period.


May 24th, 2012 at 12:47 AM ^

A cursory glance at Arizona recruiting shows that Rodriguez isn't doing all that poorly so far.  He was able to hold onto a couple of 4ish star guys who commited to Stoops for the 2012 class, and he's got a couple of 4ish star guys in his 6 man 2013 class.  For lack of a better comparison, its Michigan Stateish.  The two years before they had 5 total 4ish guys, so it also seems comparable to what Stoops did there, obviously with time to improve that '13 class.


May 24th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

Yeah, I thought about that as I typed "Pat White."

But in the end I stuck with Pat White because I have a gut feel that Pat White is the ideal in RR's mind ... running, passing, etc.  Actually, I sense the success he had with White / Slaton created a kind of "blind spot" ... i.e., try to recreate that model even if other paths to success might exist with the talent on hand.

Just my musing ... and I confess I could be totally wrong about that.


May 24th, 2012 at 1:09 AM ^

His offense is going to struggle badly this year, but this time around he has his defensive coordinator. They just picked up a borderline 3/4* QB recruit who looks solid, and I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up finishing fairly high in the Pac 12 once he matures.

Here's to hoping that I'm not the only MGoBlogger pulling for Rodriguez in Arizona.


May 24th, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

Yes, but can he hold onto these 4 stars and players in general?

I love(d) RR, huge supporter of him during his time here and hopefully he will challenge USC in the coming years but damn man I believe it was the '09 class thats seen a near 50% attrition rate with a lot of those who were considered potential starters leaving and as such killing the depth chart. 


May 24th, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

to your post or an argument with it in any way, but your post reminds me that we further owe RR for his part in a really seamless and quiet transition to the Hoke era; particularly his advice to his most noteworthy recruit. I think we owe him good wishes (except against UM in the Rose Bowl) just for the contrast between the saga of Mallett and D-Rob.


May 24th, 2012 at 2:28 AM ^

I don't mind seeing this post especially since the site has been dreadfully boring the past couple days...even though some of the comments make me want to punch myself in the head to get rid of my deja vu of having talked about this 2 billion other times.

My biggest question about Rich Rod is whether he really learned from his mistakes or not. I remember him talking about how he wasn't surprised at all that Michigan was succeeding because most of the players were his and maturing but I really hope he realizes the benefit coaching had and how he failed those defensive players he considered an afterthought


May 24th, 2012 at 5:20 AM ^

Not that I disagree with an of he three points made by 11W, but it's somewhat irritating that a fourth reason that Hoke had more success than RR did isn't mentioned: he had better players - not "basically the same players."

Jr returning starter heirs an trophy candidate at QB
Actual returning starters on the OL including the Rimington award winner
Senior versions of Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen
Junior version of Jordan Kovacs
Depth at WR

Let's not forget who we had starting on offense in RR's first year.


May 24th, 2012 at 6:26 AM ^

11W should be making comparisons between Meyer and Rodriguez to see if there are any similarities because, ultimately, that is what they are afraid of...


May 24th, 2012 at 6:56 AM ^

Great Insight. Duh, of course. As Ohio considers and ponders what Meyer will bring, this is the great unknown for them: Will Meyer be like Rodriguez? For all their braggadocia, some Ohio fans are scared. Of course, Meyer has already achieved more than RR ever did. And Meyer recruited better than RR ever did, both last year and already in the current recruiting cycle.

But yes, I think you are on the right track. Meyer hasn't played a single game yet, and Ohio fans are a bit afraid about what this year will bring. I have two different thoughts on that.

  • First, I suspect Ohio will do better than Michigan did under RR in the first year (think:  Sheridan - Threet disaster, vs. Braxton Miller.)
  • Second, I also think the transition from Tressel ball to Meyer is going to be more difficult than Ohio anticipates. They're in for some rough sledding, especially against Michigan State, Michigan, and the other big boys.


May 24th, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

with both of your thoughts on this, Stephen.

Meyer is a good coach and good recruiter and my assumption is he will be successful, but I don't think Ohio will dominate as they had done under Tressel for a variety of reasons.

Given how much success Ohio has had over the past decade, and how great their expectactions are, I think it will be interesting to see what the fans do when they start to struggle.



May 24th, 2012 at 7:26 PM ^

my vote for the Nostradamus award goes to "Rick," writing here from the OSU point of view at the blog "Waiting for Next Year," for comments in a Feb. 4, 2008 intervew with Brian Cook, in which he saw things none of us wanted to see, including Brian, and wrote proleptically with acumen approaching hindsight:

Much of Michigan’s recent problems have been because of the defense in my opinion, how is that being addressed and will they be improved this year?

[BC] Uh… how recent? Despite a couple of rough games in ’05, that was still a lights-out unit statistically. This year it was considerably uglier.

[Rick]Well, looking at games against Ohio State and bowl opponents since 2003, Michigan is giving up 31.8 points per contest, including the 14 points that Ohio State got on a sloppy field this year.

It is dizzying to go back and read predictions, like Brian's, from that era in the harsh light of hindsight.

Smash Lampjaw

May 24th, 2012 at 8:26 AM ^

It seems to me that OHIO is in a very different boat than Michigan was. I would compare Meyer's success at Utah to RR's at West Virginia, but Meyer proved himself at a big-time program at Florida before taking over the OHIO program. That, combined with his previous experience at OHIO lowered the risk considerably for them. The shift from sometimes-spread to mostly-spread will not be a big deal.

The use of the unusual word "nonplussed" above is perfect for threads like this. It has two perfectly opposite meanings, and I have no clue which meaning the poster may have meant. I still churn with two perfectly opposite emotions inside about the RR era, and I suspect that they will never be resolved.




May 24th, 2012 at 7:50 AM ^

/Curtain rises on 11W Headquarters

11W Leader: Our efforts have proceeded brilliantly, and our dastardly plans are nearly ready to unleash. But how can we distract the MGoMods long enough to succeed?

Nameless 11W Flunky #1: We could call Hoke fat again. 

11W Leader: C'mon, that'll keep them busy for what, ten minutes? 

Nameless 11W Flunky #2: Uh... Bring up the whole Rich Rod thing again?

11W Leader: Good. Good. Now we're talking. COMMENCE TROLLING. 



May 24th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

So often people around here say "oh, 11 Warriors are the REASONABLE Ohio fans", which, yeah, sure, maybe on a curve. But it's still pretty awful writing.  


Section 1

May 24th, 2012 at 12:34 PM ^

and the MGoBoard as also one of the best.

The main page content here is wonderful, of course.  Brian & Co. do a great job.  The MGoBoard is highly useful, for fast-breaking events, serving as a gigantic aggregator of Twitter news and other social media breaks, particuarly for people like me who have neither the time nor the inclination to follow that stuff personally.

But I also like to think of the Board as a place for some above-average intelligent fan commentary; and comments like this one; "it's still pretty awful writing" just leave me feeling a little embarassed as to how outsiders might view the quality of this Board.  When in fact Eleven Warriors posts some really excellent writing and content, day after day.


May 24th, 2012 at 8:42 AM ^

Some of the comments are great on 11 warriors.  There are dozens of posters commenting about being friends with Michigan fans.  So, without further ado I also admit I have 2 friend's that are ohio grads and fans.  Both are great people that I enjoy talking B1G football and the rivalry with.


May 24th, 2012 at 9:16 AM ^

I know few here will like the comparison, but it has always struck me that there was a lot more similarities between RR and Weiss than most people care to admit.  This similarity is all the more apparent in the contrast between RR and Hoke.  We all remember the hubris of Weiss and his "decided schematic advantage."  It seems to me that RR was first and foremost a "scheme" guy.  

I remember the early days of RR how we salivated over the system.  We were going to finally have a modern offence here and with the calibre of athletes who will just line up to play at Michigan because its Michigan and we will destory all.  But one thing that became apparent over time, especially as the team faltered is that scheme came ahead of fundamentals.  In the RR era the teams were fundamentally bad.  To me the similarities between him and Weiss have always amused me, except that Weiss may be a better recruiter.  Neither man really teaches fundamentals.  Its all about "installing their offence." Both men think their scheme and offensive genius will eventually win the day. Both have yet to prove themselves on the biggest stages of college football as head coaches. 

The funny thing is that both Hoke and RR are "aww shucks" kind of guys.  But the biggest thing that stands out with Hoke and especially the defensive staff  is how they preach and teach fundamentals.  Also, they seem to sell the school ahead of themselves or the scheme.

coastal blue

May 24th, 2012 at 2:31 PM ^


From a season/recruiting/hype after first year standpoint, Hoke and Weiss are pretty much mirror image.

The difference being, Hoke is a great guy and Weiss is an asshole.

But people are so quick to annoint saviors and failures as fans, they fail (or choose not?) to acknowledge that Hoke and Weiss had seasons that were eerily similar. 

I actually contrasted this in another thread a while ago, wish I could find it. 



May 24th, 2012 at 10:01 AM ^

Oh Stockholm....

Your eponymous syndrome is such an ugly thing.

Very nice summary, Jeff. Good work.

One meta-comment, regarding 11W. Is there another blog in the Conference (in the country?!) that would have done this sort of clear-eyed, fair, reasonable, informative appraisal of a rival's history? I think not. There is some very good content at MGoBlog; but none of it is as non-partisan as this is




May 24th, 2012 at 10:10 AM ^

No offense intended to StephenR, but is anyone else as excited to read College Football 99 today as I am?  It can't be any worse than another destructive Rich Rodriguez discussion . . .



May 24th, 2012 at 10:18 AM ^

I was late to reading Three and Out, but one aspect of Rich Rodriguez's tenure as Michigan's Head Football Coach that I believe was significantly downplayed in the book was the one event that really might’ve marked the beginning of Rich Rodriguez’s downfall at Michigan.

Years from now, Rich Rodriguez’s trade of Michigan’s Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer to Syracuse in exchange for the worst head coach in Syracuse football history and the only one to have produced two seasons of double-digit losses, and then making that man Michigan’s Defensive Coordinator will be viewed far less favorably than the New York Mets trading Nolan Ryan to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.

At the time of the Ryan-Fregosi trade in December 1971, Fregosi had been an All-Star in 1964 and every year from 1966 through 1970. During the four seasons when Shafer’s replacement coached at Syracuse, the Orange were 10-37 (3-25 in the Big East.)

I suspect that Rich Rodriguez has nightmares of the day when he decided on Scott Shafer’s replacement. 


May 24th, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

We don't really need to hear what Ohio State fans have to say about our coaches, and that it's over, man. Only people like you are still fighting the war you lost. Defend myself from personal attacks? Sure. I mean, I can't stop you from being obsessed with ME. (Love how you negged every post). Now that, THAT'S sad. But don't ever change. Your tears are so...delicious.

coastal blue

May 24th, 2012 at 2:59 PM ^

Fighting what?

You are always on every RR thread.

And the only person I've ever seen emotionally break down on this site is you, after this year's Minnesota game. It was truly pathetic to see that on an internet forum.

Keep being pathetic. 


May 24th, 2012 at 8:42 PM ^

You only seem to see the Rich Rod ones...so who's obsessed?

But I know you're in the fetal position in front of your keyboard when you get down to the name calling.  Since you've lost everything that involves reason and argument, that's all you have left. Hopefully someday you'll become an adult like the rest of us.

coastal blue

May 24th, 2012 at 10:05 PM ^

Bahaha, please, you're probably twice my age and fling personal insults about on an internet message board.

You also can't let go of any little grudge on an internet message board.

So really, whose the immature one?

Its okay, you don't have to answer, but you will because you're pathetic and you need the last word.

Its okay bitter old man, you can have your little victory. 

I thought we banned you from the Michigan fanbase till the last of the RR guys were gone? You know since you considered them all failures and the tarnish on your precious view of Michigan football.