March 25th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

I think what has happened - and Magnus has helped perpetuate this problem - is that people are conflating the arguments over our new offense. Brian NEVER said he's opposed to a pro-style offense, but that he wants to see it use Denard's talents intelligently.

He's simply pointing out that, even without a talented running back, this was the best Michigan run offense in a generation. There is no disputing that. Nor should there be a dispute over the fact that given a talented running back, a kicker of any kind, and a Denard with some experience, the hypothetical would-be 2011 Michigan offense would have been one of the best ever. Those mega-yards would finally start translating into mega-points.

If this offense is merely average, that is a coaching FAIL, because it has the talent, if properly utilized, to be unstoppable. We should expect AT LEAST above average, even with the scheme change, because of who we're returning. We can have a great offense running a "pro style" attack, but only if we do it the right way. I think Borges is probably a smart coach, so I'm cautiously optimistic.

Mitch Cumstein

March 26th, 2011 at 9:10 AM ^

Brian has also clearly stated on Sam Webb's radio program that he thinks we must run the spread for a tactical advantage of having the QB as one of the primary rushers in order to make up for recruiting. As he thinks we can't recruit at the level to be a national power without a tactical advantage on offense. It has been pretty clear that this is Brian's opinion after the Hoke hiring.


March 25th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

This amazes me every time.  Magnus is responding to things Brian didn't say.  The key words are "if".

Brian is saying that if Hoke decided to use fullbacks and the power play exclusively like he is saying on this tour of his and abandon the spread because it is a gimmick than we are screwed and Hoke is a meathead. 

HE WILL NOT DO THIS.   Why do I know so much?.   Magnus just linked to it. He ran a bunch of it at SDS with less talent to even do it.   He doesn't believe what he is saying he is selling suites to old fuck s with money for Brandon.   You guys both agree.   Hoke will install his offense(really Borges offense) and then they will see what plays will work best. 

They will determine that 3 WR's and Denard in the shotgun work best. 


March 25th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

"Brian is saying that if Hoke decided to use fullbacks and the power play exclusively like he is saying on this tour of his and abandon the spread because it is a gimmick than we are screwed and Hoke is a meathead."

Nowhere did Brian OR Hoke suggest that the power play would be run exclusively.  Hoke said that the kids need to learn how to run the power first, and Brian knows that.

Speaking of reading comprehension failures...


March 25th, 2011 at 1:03 PM ^

Obviously that was an exaggeration no team is going to run the same play over again.  I'll go line by line as to not confuse.

1.  Hoke has made fun of the spread.   

2. If he believes this than he won't run any spread and he's dumb.(Oregon, Auburn, Florida duh) It may not be better but you would have to be pretty dense to not recognize it works.

3. If he hates the spread then Denard will be behind center and the threat of his running game will be reduced.

4. If the threat of his run is reduced it diminishes the effectiveness of the whole offense.

5. Reducing the effectiveness of the offense is bad.

Hoke won't be doing any of this, because he is not that stupid.  You already showed this on your blog.  There is no point in arguing it anymore.   It is all talk for the old blue crowd.


steve sharik

March 25th, 2011 at 11:26 AM ^

...Denard could easily be a better player this year than last year, and the offense this year could be better than last year, but (if this does happen) we'll never know if 2011 O-under-Hoke/Borges would be better than 2011 O-under RR/Magee. 

If our offense this year isn't as good as last year, well, the defense better make one hell of a jump.  If we don't win at least 9 games and make Cap One Bowl or better, the firing of RR was a bad move. 

If Brandon forced a defensive staff makeover (which isn't a given since RR may have resigned due to coaching staff autonomy being in the contract, iirc) then imo M wins 10+ games and goes to the BCS b/c our offense (again imo) would've been Oregon-like.

If this didn't happen, then Brandon could've easily hired Hoke one year later.  Hoke (as we all know) himself said he would've walked across the country to have this job.

st barth

March 25th, 2011 at 1:07 PM ^

We might never know but I wonder how much of a role the question of D staff played in the termination of Rodriguez.  Since the coaching change, the comments by Mattison that he wouldn't have come back for anybody except Brady make me wonder if Brandon (and/or Rodirguez) had previously tried reaching out to him or others.  

blue in dc

March 25th, 2011 at 2:49 PM ^

I just don't see how fixing our defensive problems under RR is as easy as waving a magic wand and remaking the defensive coaching staff. I have seen nothing in the way he has worked with the defensive side of the ball that makes it a given that Rich Rod could do this well and plenty that suggests he can't.
<br>IMO we will have a much better defensive staff under Hoke then we could have with some hoped for defensive staff makeover.
<br>I understand the fear of an offensive dropoff, but after our bowl game, my faith in the offensive genius of Rich Rod is just not as strong as some others on the board. Denard had time to heal, he had a full year of starting under his belt, so the first year starter mistakes excuse is not as strong in my mind. The offense we ran in that game didn't seem to be run by a genius. I just don't see the delta on the offense between RR and Hoke being as big as some on this board.
<br>Another way to look at this is, how many coaches could we have hired that would have one at least three games in year one, five years in year two, seven in three and be on a trajectory to do more in year four, IMO many coaches other than RR could have done this, so IMO, his offensive genius is not enough to compensate for his other coaching weaknesses


March 26th, 2011 at 4:28 PM ^

While I agree with most of everything in this post, I just don't think that Brandon could even entertain keeping RR around for another season as a viable option after our bowl game performance.  There was just no way to possibly spin it – a relatively healthy 7-5 team being drubbed so soundly.  I didn't like seeing RR get fired, but that is due mostly to his failings as a coach rather than my shattered whimsical day dreams.

oriental andrew

March 25th, 2011 at 11:42 AM ^

Brian Cook, he of the biggest Michigan blog out there, has an opinion and someone disagrees!!!!   Stop the presses!!!   

Big deal.  I don't get the whole, "Yeah, Brian is so lame with his arrogant Hoke haterade blah blah blah so <guy who disagrees with him> is my new hero!" crap.  Brian has an opinion which you may or may not agree with, and other people - shocker! - have different opinions.  Get over it, people.  

I liked reading Brian's take just as much as I enjoyed reading Magnus's take, and I happen to agree with one more than the other.  However, I don't see why this means one has to be torn down in order to build the other up.  


March 25th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

They were both really well written and solidly based. Ultimately we're fortunate to have these resources. I follow Southern Cal a little as my west coast team and their resources are so inferior to what we have online, it is laughable.


March 25th, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

I am not expert on player positioning, executing plays and all that jazz...but if I'm on 'D' the thought of Denard in shotgun scares me a heck of a lot more then under center (regardless of offense type).

I was at the OSU game in 2009 and the thing i vividly remember (besides Tate imploding) was the fact that I was sooooo relieved when Pryor went under center.  When he was in shotgun I was much more concerned.  Just seemed like a different player.  I could see similar things with Denard.


March 25th, 2011 at 12:31 PM ^

how about denard may just be an EXTREMELY coachable talented QB who will blow us away with his ability to pick up a well coached pro style offense and throw for 3500 yards and 35 tds this season.  He may just end up being a fucking prodigy at throwing the football


March 25th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

I understand Magnus' main point (in regards to footbaw), and while he is 100% entitled to it, there's one thing about his post I don't understand. He spent half a paragraph discussing Brian's blogging habits, comment formats, syntaxual conventions etc, which are completely beyond the scope of his original argument. For example, his comment "[Brian] thinks his blog is superior to others" is borderline rude. Which, okay, it's a blog, he's entitled to speak on whatever he wants, but it seemed like an unecessary shot at Brian. I mean no disrespect to Magnus, I'm a frequenter of touchthebanner, but I feel like those few sentences went beyond the realm of gentlemenly blogger disagreement.


March 25th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I truly did not intend it that way.

My point is simply that Hoke thinks his offense is better than (PICK ONE: triple option, spread, run-n-shoot, single wing, zone read option, etc.).  If he didn't think his offense was superior, then he would run something else.  And that's why Hoke goes around touting the power run and poopooing zone blocking.

It's just like Brian (or any business owner or boss).  Brian thinks his formatting, comments, content, etc. are better than other sports blogs/Michigan blogs/whatever.  If he thought that another blog did it better, then he would do it THAT way instead of HIS way.  So when he talks to people about blogging, he's going to speak positively about the things he does while criticizing the things that other bloggers do.  For example, he might look at my blog and complain about the black background/white text.  It's not any different than Hoke saying "Power good, zone bad."


March 25th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

As a wrestling coach there are some situations in which I teach thing A instead of thing B just as a matter of personal preference.  Either will work, I like A better, I teach A.  I bear no ill will toward B, and don't think less of coaches who implement B instead of A. 

Sometimes I teach thing A instead of thing C because I think thing C is poor technique.  It might be lazy, sloppy, overly old-fashioned, or just situationally ignorant.  I think less of coaches who teach thing C.

Background/font discussions, syntax, and the like seem to me like an A/B discussion.

Manbaw v. That girly spreadish crap seems like an A/C discussion.  Unless it is merely coachspeak, the supporters of these positions seem to bear some level of animosity at the very least toward the other system and possibly toward coaches who use that system.


March 25th, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

This. It's one think for Hoke to say "My system will be better for this team than the spread". It's another to say "The spread is stupid, ineffective, basketball on grass played by people who are not tough". The first is fine. The second is willfully ignorant. Because Hoke has said disparaging things about the spread in the spirit of the latter statement, it makes people who thought the O looked pretty good last year justifiably suspicious even when he just says the former statement.


March 26th, 2011 at 8:56 AM ^

Since there are so many ways to effectively skin a cat, one would be wise to avoid saying things along the lines of "only criminally retarded idiots would run that offense"; coach-speak about "best fit for our personnel" and "gives us the best chance to win" would be vastly preferable.

st barth

March 25th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

...Mgoblog is correct in their analysis.  Cowhoke™ is a beefheaded loser of coach who will (in all liklihood) drive the program straight into the ground.  And worst of all, the cronyism that got him here is paraded around with an in-your-face, rah-rah Michigan Man gender nostaglia that is despicable and clearly neither appropriate in 2011 nor sympathetic to cherished University traditions.  Is it any wonder that good players Vinopal are now fleeing the team?

Unfortunately, failure cannot come quickly enough for Cowhoke™.  Must we really wait until September to see his first M loss?


March 25th, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

You actually trademarked "Cowhoke." 

Your arrogance is reaching higher levels everyday.  You have a serious hatred for Coach Hoke and I doubt it is based on anything tangible.  You may need some professional help. 

Space Coyote

March 25th, 2011 at 3:05 PM ^

But if this post doesn't give credence to the fact that he still sounds bitter about RR and that he is still angry about Hoke, then I don't know what does.  This is the impression that Brian gives off (though not to this guys extent, but to an extent nonetheless), and I really wish it would end.


March 25th, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

I have to believe that what you wrote was a (very bad) satire. If not, then wow. Last I checked the program had already been ran into the ground by Hoke's predecessor. My guess is Hoke's record will look significantly better than 15-22 after three years, though, admittedly, his offense will most likely look much less flashy. Oh no!!


March 25th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

Here's what I don't get - if Brian and others hate the idea of this team focusing on power running, why were they so gung ho about hiring Harbaugh?


March 25th, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

one of two things can happen.  hoke can fail and U of M will lose and one faction will get to say I told you so, or hoke will succeed and U of M will win and the other faction will get to say I told you so.  Those are literally the only two outcomes.  anything written before either of those happen is only filler for blogs


March 25th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

and I'm breaking a statement just made in my previous post about staying away from RR topics.

But...many statements have implied that Hoke should have a better record for whatever reasons and that he shouldn't receive credit for it when he does.

Here's to hoping our mutual respect for Michigan outweighs our differences.

Space Coyote

March 25th, 2011 at 3:00 PM ^

And if I had my own blog probably would have made the same remarks.  I thought about writing something in the comments refuting Brian the other day, but I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately so I decided to let it go.

I'm glad Magnus said something though, and I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that it irks.  

This all goes back to the "the 3-3-5 sucks" meme.  All these schemes that are run, work.  On defense, the 4-3, 3-4, 3-3-5, 4-2-5, etc, work.  On offense, Pro, spread-option, spread-pass, power play, etc, they all work too.  The concepts may be different, maybe the yards won't be as high, but they are different philosophies.  Not every offense needs to run at 1000 mph to be maximized in efficiency.  The power run play works, and the plays run off of it work great too.  Ask USC, ask Texas why they want to go back to it, ask OSU, etc.  As far as the spread, ask Florida, Auburn, and Oregon if they work.  All these systems work.

As far as Hoke teaching the Power play, I remember Brian specifically arguing with people who wanted RR to wait to install the read option.  The coach needs to teach what he knows and be who he is.  If he's fake, especially to the players, he's doomed.  If he plans on running the power play, he needs to install it now.

I think the big thing with Brian is that he invested a lot of himself into learning the spread, he committed a lot of himself to trying to prove why Michigan would be better with the spread and not doomed when all the nay-sayers were saying the spread is just a gimmick.  I think for Michigan to go back to a non-spread (or backwards in football philosophy as he hints), bugs him, because he invested so much of himself into the other thing.  To be a bit bitter makes sense.  But in my mind, he should drop it.  I don't mind him giving his opinion, but he needs to open up his mind here.  I'm still going to read this site, it is my favorite site, but weeding through his opinion about how "MANBALL" is doom gets a bit tiring.  And while I'm still going to visit the site, it may not be as often, and I probably won't post as often, because as I said above, it's tough to always be nit-picking as someone and being devil's advocate, especially when that person is the person whose blog your reading.

steve sharik

March 25th, 2011 at 3:13 PM ^

....when you say things like:

"As far as Hoke teaching the Power play, I remember Brian specifically arguing with people who wanted RR to wait to install the read option.  The coach needs to teach what he knows and be who he is.  If he's fake, especially to the players, he's doomed.  If he plans on running the power play, he needs to install it now."

Hoke is taking over an offense with 9 returning starters, including all skill position starters.  RR was starting essentially from scratch.  Returning O starters in '08: 1 OL, 1ish WR.

I agree that a coach needs to coach what he knows and know what he coaches, but there's a lot more transitional work to be done now as opposed to '08.

Space Coyote

March 25th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

I still think you can run those plays.  I still think RR could have run a bit out of the I-form, etc.  But as far as what he's coaching, he needed to implement the read-option, he needed to run it in games, because his offense was based around it.  If he mixed it up between what he knew and what his players were best at (which is what I hope Hoke does), I think the transistion is better.

This goes more so in the case you mentioned.  You have 9 returning starters.  You have to get them to execute the power, because that's what a lot of your offense is based around.  But you should also mold your offense a bit to adjust to them because they are comfortable with something else.  It's a delicate mix, but I think both need to be done. 


March 25th, 2011 at 4:44 PM ^

"...there's a lot more transitional work to be done now as opposed to '08."

I just don't see it that way.  It doesn't make any sense to me.

Why is it MORE of a transition to teach established, good players to run an offense...

...than it is to teach not-yet-established, mediocre players to run an offense?

In 2008, Rodriguez was teaching guys like Ortmann, Schilling, Threet, Minor, Moundros, Massey, Savoy, etc. how to go from a pro-style offense to the spread.  Some of those guys (Savoy, Massey, etc.) just weren't very good football players, whether they ran spread or pro systems.

In 2011, Hoke is teaching guys like Lewan, Denard, Koger, Stonum, Molk, etc. how to go from a spread offense to a pro-style offense.  Many of those guys are good football players and will be able to adjust.  Good football players can fit in many systems.