Coach Hoke Diffuses Criticism from Aztec Alum

Submitted by rederik on September 22nd, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Warning: If anyone is still boycotting the Freep after the Jihad of 2009, do not click the following. It's a Snyder piece, although it's short and thus lacks room for much opinion.

For everyone else, the piece demonstrates Hoke's continued ability to prove himself a Jedi Master of all things coaching, including completely supporting the passion of a former SDSU player who didn't mince words in criticizing Hoke (EDIT: the link to the remarks themselves is included in the text of the piece).

“When you look at him as an offensive lineman, how he would finish and all those things. Kyle is passionate about his alma mater, which he should be. That doesn’t bother me one bit. He was passionate about the Aztecs when we were, and he’s still passionate. That doesn’t bother me.” It’s simply part of the excitement of college football. “That’s a guy who’s passionate about his school,” Hoke said.

Can the man do no wrong?*|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p


*Half-serious: From where I stand, he's pretty much batting 1.000 so far.


Section 1

September 22nd, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

I thought there might be more mention of the fact that Hoke never had a team meeting to say goodbye to his SDSU Aztecs.

There's a good reason, of course; San Diego State University was on break when Hoke took the Michigan job.  It's hard to have a team meeting when the kids aren't around.

Of course, there being good reasons to explain things never stopped the press from attacking Rodriguez.

Section 1

September 22nd, 2011 at 1:25 PM ^

But since you didn't, and since you made the point about Rodriguez creating problems of his own, let's just focus on the criticism of Rodriguez for making a call on his "WVU-paid" cellphone to Pryor, before meeting with the Mountaineer players.  At least he met with the Mountaineer players might be one retort.  And if Rodriguez had finished his meeting with Bill Martin and Mary Sue, and scheduled a WVU team meeting to happen within the next 12 hours after that, why wouldn't he use his own cellphone to talk to Pryor, who he had already been recruiting for WVU?  Waiting for a plane in an airport in Toledo?  Why not call Pryor?  That's what I would have done.  I'd be amazed, if Brady Hoke was not talking to some of the SDSU West Coast and Arizona recruits within hours of taking the Michigan job.  Why wouldn't he?

Brady Hoke deserves fair treatment, and he has gotten it.

Rich Rodriguez deserved fair treatment and never got it.


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:00 PM ^

It is about winning.  We all would have forgotten about the WV stuff if he had just won more and loss less.  If Brady Hoke loses he will lose all good will and everyone will say he was a second or third choice.  Outside of NCAA violations the only thing that matters is winning.  Start with a 3 win season and you will never be accepted.


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

It's not about winning so much as it is showing that you are capable of adapting and true success is on the horizon.  If this year's team loses games down the stretch and their final record isn't sensational, I don't think most fans will turn on him UNLESS 1) we get blown against good conference opponents in a similar fashion to RR's teams and 2) the adjustments we're seeing from Mattison, et. al., somehow cease and the defense shows the same ineffective looks for 4 quarters. 

In time, it will be about winning.  This year, in my opinion, it is not.  It is about the things I mentioned above. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:26 PM ^

I agree with you, but with some exceptions, RR did things to warrant that criticism, unlike what Hoke has done.  Just the way he discussed transfers/attrition (e.g. I only talk about players who are at Michigan) compared to the way Brady discusses transfers/attrition (e.g. Wishes them well, hope it works out, etc.) shows they are two totally different people in terms of likeability. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

I heard a rumor that any time a coach takes another job, it always goes smoothly and there are never lawsuits.

And we wonder why someone outside the Michigan coaching tree will never want to coach here. We hated RichRod for fighting a buyout that the university probably wanted him to pursue (as I don't think it is purely coincidence that we decided to pay them at the exact time MSC and Bill Martin were going to testify).


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

If RichRod would have wished the kids well and hoped everything worked out for them, people would have just complained that he cared too much about kids not on the team and the Freep would have run a story about RichRod dwelling too much on past players and how he didn't care enough about the kids who stayed on the team. RichRod wasn't liked for the most ridiculous shit, like playing score-o at a hockey game. If you don't like him because he doesn't want to talk about kids who transferred, you are obviously just looking for reasons to dislike him.


September 22nd, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

Personality and likeability plays well in the media.  Hoke is overflowing with these qualities, he is like your friendly neighbor who truly cares about how your family is doing, congratulates you on your promotion, and even mows your lawn without you asking, etc.  RR didn't (and does not) have these qualities about him, and because of that, his comments came off as flippant at best and downright rude at worst.  I said in my post not all the criticism was warranted, but his inability to be a "people person" who people could relate to made all of the valid criticisms that much more venemous.  And when RR tried to become this people person and save the sinking ship it was already too late and he failed in spectacular, Grobanesque fashion. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

I disagree. Rich Rodriguez has an aw shucks persona. When he said he would only comment about players who play for Michigan, it was a way of saying "no comment". Personally, I thought it professional as opposed to "now why would ask a stupid thing like that" or whatever.

Throw all the bumpkin comments you like, but in many ways they are similar speakers. Rich did not speak in a polished way. Neither does Brady Hoke.

The one thing I did not like, was when Rich would pass the blame, sometimes onto the players. But overall, Rich spoke from the same simplicity. The press and many fans saw it in a different light because he wasn't from around here.

Yes, his own miscues made matters worse, but Section 1 is right. Hoke has enjoyed a press and fan love fest from day one, with a more questionable prior coaching record than Rich Rodriguez had when he came to Michigan. Rich Rodriguez was criticized from the get go. Then the loosing added fuel to an already started fire.



September 22nd, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

To say RR was criticized from the media from the very beginning of his tenure is a flat out lie.  Pull up the freep archives from the days and weeks after his hire and you'll see the local reaction to the hire was unanimously positive.  His mistakes doomed him.  Not some conspiratorial plot by the freep, even though some around here continue to beat that dead horse. 

Section 1

September 22nd, 2011 at 6:09 PM ^

You can argue about when Rosenberg and the Free Press declared war on Rodriguez.*  But the latest date that anyone could imagine would be July of 2009, when Rosenberg went to work in secret on Stretchgate.

*Indeed, that has been argued about in print.  Here: 

Wherein Tommy Craggs of Deadspin plays Wingman to Michael Rosenberg, and defends him from one selected charge made by Jon Chait, namely that Rosenberg hated Rodriguez from day one.  Personally, I think Tommy Craggs was long on snark and short on basis in that bit of Deadspin fun and games.  Anyway, on the tiny little issue of exactly when Rosenberg decided to assassinate the character of Rich Rodriguez, there might be room for argument.  That is, at that moment in time, back in the stormy and confusing fall of 2009.

But no matter what one might have thought at the time, now that we know, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight what acutally happened with Rosenberg and Snyder, and the ensuing NCAA investigation, and now -- I expect -- with Bacon's book, we really do know conclusively how, and when, Rosenberg went about constructing his attack on Rodriguez.  And now, Tommy Craggs clearly looks to be the same sort of ass-faced douchebag that Rosenberg is.


September 22nd, 2011 at 8:49 PM ^

First off, the local reaction to the hire was not unanimously positive. Even when we got a story about how we got a winner in RichRod, we would get 2 more stories about Desmond Howard wanted a Michigan Man and how another former player was pissed that English didn't get the job. The sheer number of articles regarding issues that no one should really give two shits about is what everyone is talking about. Those include:

The WVU buyout (and to the same mindset, the shredding of documents at WVU)

A single recruit chosing OSU over Michigan (Pryor)

The Boren comments

And these are just a couple of the negative headlines that RichRod had very little control over. The freep ran stories constantly about this ridiculous crap that not only were none of them Rodriguez mistakes, but were all before he had even practiced with his team. This horse is not dead at all and quite accurate. Can you name a single college buyout situation, which happen all the time, that got as much press as RR's? They printed the recorded testimony in the case for fucks sake. Can you name a time when a recruit, who wasn't even considering Michigan until RR became the coach might I add, had numerous articles written about how he chose OSU over Michigan? But you are right, I hear these type of stories all the time in college football.



September 22nd, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

The press began their assault on Rodriguez before he ever coached a single game at Michigan.

This is a popular meme here, but it isn't very true, at least if you're referring to the in-state media. The coverage of RR during the 2008 offseason was heavily positive. Even Rosenberg, of all people, wrote a few glowing columns about RR that offseason. The West Virginia press may have been nasty, but that's pretty much to be expected from a place that loses its coach.

Things changed when we went 3-9 that year and our DC had a messy exit. After that fingers began to be pointed, and the media coverage became much more unforgiving.

Section 1

September 22nd, 2011 at 3:52 PM ^

Before Rodriguez ever put one of "his" teams on the field, in 2009 -- before going 5-7 and then 7-6 -- and before any crappy Greg Robinson defense ever took the field, Rosenberg effectively declared all-out war on Rodriguez and the Michigan program.  In a way that was not merely angry press, but rather in a way that provoked an NCAA investigation; substantively distracting and hamstringing the program for the next 14 months.

If you can link to a Rosenberg column in which he was "glowing" about Rodriguez, I'd take a look at it.  I don't think there is such a column.


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^



  He brought the worst defense ever to Michigan.  He brought the first ever NCAA sanctions to our football program.  Could he have been treated more "fairly" from the very beginning, sure. Probably better to let it slide though, because there are too many negatives people will bring up.


  Let's all move on.  I would gander RR gave it his best effort.  Let's take that for what it's worth, and support our current team and coach.  

ND Sux

September 23rd, 2011 at 7:28 AM ^

but His Dudeness and Section 1 will have something like "Lloyd Carr's Fault" or "RR Wasn't Treated Fairly" on their tombstones.  Arguments like "worst defense and special teams ever" and "NCAA violations" only work for fans without RR blinders.  .

I agree with you that RR gave it his I'm on the Hoke express.       

Space Coyote

September 22nd, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

It really needs to stop.  I'm getting a little tired of opening threads and having to scroll over 10 posts that go over the same RR/Hoke/Michigan fans comparison/criticism.  It is annoying because it has been talked about at length.  Until something more closely related comes along lets not make crazy tangents to get every thread to go that direction.

Seriously, just stop


September 22nd, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

It would be more relevant to simply quote Rich Rodriguez himself: "There's an old movie called The Lion King. There's a scene in the movie where a monkey hits the lion over the head, and the lion says, 'What'd you do that for?' and the monkey says, 'It doesn't matter, it's in the past.' "

Of course, Rodriguez's biggest supporters around here will never forget the past--or, I should say, get over the past--and nothing will stop them from continuing to make these inane, irrelevant comparisons between Hoke and Rodriguez.


September 22nd, 2011 at 3:25 PM ^

True, but that meme is starting to wear out and I think you're now finding true "conversion" over to the new regime.  There are still some hard feelings and scars, but the pendulum is starting to settle back to center, I think.  Its a slippery slope - comparison between past and present is natural but, in this case, usually ends up doing more harm than good (i.e. creating negative arguments).


Section 1

September 22nd, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

Pretty much exactly as I said.  Had school been in session and/or had the Aztecs been in a regular practice/workout schedule, I'd expect that Hoke would have met with them, and said all the right things.

Nobody, least of all me, is using this occasion to attack Hoke. 


September 22nd, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

“When you eat crow, if you put barbecue on it, it’s not bad,” Hoke joked.

“He’s a really good guy, he’s really passionate about San Diego State, and I had reached out to him early when I had taken the job there because I loved the way he played football,” Hoke said. “When you look at him as an offensive lineman, how he would finish and all those things. Kyle is passionate about his alma mater, which he should be. That doesn’t bother me one bit. He was passionate about the Aztecs when we were, and he’s still passionate. That doesn’t bother me.” It’s simply part of the excitement of college football.

“That’s a guy who’s passionate about his school,” Hoke said. “Everyone’s got an opinion, and he’s allowed to have his.”


September 22nd, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

I think one of Turley's problems is that Hoke left so soon after he arrived (the SDSU link on says as much). I don't blame them for being mad. He left after just two years, when the program was on the upswing. He also left rather quickly and didn't even meet with his players. I don't blame him ("This is Michigan!" and all that). I do see where the SDSU fans are coming from though. I'd want to kick Michigan's butt too, if I were a SDSU fan.

That being said, I'm not an SDSU fan, and I hope we embarrass them and have to put Gardner in in the 3rd quarter for non-Denard-injury type reasons.

Overall, though, I disagree with the OP about Hoke batting 1.000. He's done well so far, but we seem to have been at least somewhat fortunate against ND, it made no sense to turn away a good WR last year, and I'm less than pleased with the offense so far. That still means he's batting about .900 to this point, but lets wait to see how the rest of the season shakes out before we get too excited.


September 22nd, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

Hoke was upfront about his desire to coach at Michigan all along.  It's not like he pledged to be there forever and then blindsided them.  He made it clear that there was one job in the country he'd leave SDSU for.  Unfortunately for them, that job came open earlier than expected.


September 22nd, 2011 at 1:12 PM ^

What everyone, including you, fails to realizes is that Turley suffers from CTE, which has an umbrella of symptoms including: migraines, seizures, blackouts, memory loss, and severe mood swings.

Nobody should be holding this guy accountable for a thing he says.


September 22nd, 2011 at 1:33 PM ^

He was kind of a flaming jackhole who said stupid stuff at the begining of his football career, too.  Maybe he had a really rough high school run, but it's nearly impossible to tell what's some mental deficiency, and what's just him being him.  If Barry Sanders or Peyton Manning was going on weird rants, they'd probably get the benefit of the doubt. Turley? He didn't set up a track record that makes his problems now sound like anything but an excuse.  Acting out of character due to football injury? See Corwin Brown. Saying wild, stupid things before you got hit in the head, and after you got hit in the head? See Turley.


September 22nd, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

You said he said stupid stuff. What kind of stupid stuff? The fact that Damien Robinson yanked Aaron Brooks' entire body backwards by twisting his facemask here is well established. The absurd degree of flagrance and danger on Robinson's part is clear on the replay. I'm not saying Turley was right to respond as he did, but this was a pretty exceptional situation.


September 22nd, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

Has him melting down on his head coach, and maybe/maybe not threatening his life. Those were just the two biggest, easiest examples.

In the video case, if he just goes after the guy who went after his QB, he probably would have been lauded.  The flinging helmet dance and, uh, arm gestures (the penalties of which actually hurt his team in the game) show not a toughness, but an immaturity. I'm sure he's a sick guy. I'm just saying it doesn't necessarily mean he was the most polished guy in the world beforehand, and that every thing he does should be excused because of it.  Because it's not a sudden, out of character transformation.


September 22nd, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

Well, I guess it depends if you want to be charitable and give a guy the benefit of the doubt. Turley is proven to be an irrational person regardless of CTE - I'm sure the condition doesn't aid it. I just don't see the point in posting an 8th thread about the ramblings of a guy who isn't all there.