Did We Just Watch the Turning Point Game of the Hoke Era?

Submitted by mGrowOld on November 3rd, 2013 at 8:37 AM

In retrospect turning points are always easy to see.  Looking back through history we can clearly mark the 1969 Ohio State game as the turning point in Bo's career and that victory as the marker that the Michigan program was changing for the better under his leadership.  But I don't know that too many people back in 1969 could predict just how good things would go over the next 20 years with Bo.

Rich Rod also had a turning point game and the similarities to yesterday's debacle are striking IMO.  Year three of his tenure and on October 30th, 2010, Michigan went to Penn State with two weeks to prepare and got beat soundly on national TV.  It was the game that virtually everyone points to as "the beginning of the end" of the RR regime as it became painfully obvious that we had a defense incapable of stopping anyone (even a true Freshman QB like Matt McGloin).  As everyone remembers, that season sputtered to a 7-6 finish despite our 5-0 start with the wheels coming completely off the wagon at the end.

Brady Hoke, in year three of his tenure, with two weeks to prepare, took his team to East Lansing yesterday and got drilled just like we did in Happy Valley in 2010 - albeit with a different side of the ball falling apart completely.  This team also started 5-0 but can anyone look at the remaining schedule and not say that a 7-6 finish this for this team is possible if not probable?   And would a steadily declining W-L record over three years be considered acceptable by the fan base or Dave Brandon?

To be clear I am NOT calling for Hoke to be fired here.  But I wonder, again with the benefit of hindsight, what would've happened in 2010 if Rich had fired Tony Gibson immediately after the PSU game and told Brandon the next day he needed to get a new Defensive Coordinator in next year?  Because that IS what I believe should happen with this year's team - Funk should be let go immediately and Hoke should tell Brandon today to start the search process for a new OC.  But because I don't forsee either of those events occurring I wonder if we'll look back at yesterday's game sometime in the future as the "beginning of the end" of the Hoke era.




November 3rd, 2013 at 8:41 AM ^

that changes will occur. Having said that, Hoke is a clone of LLLLC and as a result there will be none and mediocrity will reign supreme. If you stop and take the time to think about it, Michigan football has been mediocre for the past 15 years


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:40 AM ^

But not the overall point. When was the last time we won an outright B1G championship, or even tied? Our last trip to the Rose Bowl was a consolation prize because we'd lost to the Buckeyes.

For 10 years, we have been the Union Army in need of its General Grant and have been floundering with one McClellan after another. At some point, Dave Brandon may make a surprise hire and borrow from Lincoln by saying, "I cannot spare this man. He wins (games)."


November 3rd, 2013 at 10:07 AM ^

I know Civil War history pretty well, so borrowing the Lincoln line was intended more in the spirit of the phrase used than drawing a close parallel to the circumstances....

On the other hand, we have a number of people on this board suggesting we replace Hoke immediately after the debacle in East Lansing, so perhaps the quote isn't altogether unjustified.



November 3rd, 2013 at 6:13 PM ^

Lloyd was definitely McClellan - unwilling to unleash or simply unaware of the full might of the force at his disposal. Rodriguez was Hooker - not as blustering, but offense-oriented and certainly thought to be the "hot hand" coming in and then just completely fell apart. In Hoke I too am starting to see a lot of Burnside - unheralded guy who was competent on the "administrative" side, but when it came time to execute...

Unfortunately, our greatest enemy has Lee and our second-greatest has gotten Grant to defect. Like Grant, Dantonio's not too flashy, but knows what must be done to win, and he goes out and does it. 


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

Mediocre has in fact been the standard since 1998.  I don't need to go on and on to explain this, I will sum this up very easy.  Look at what  Ohio State has done the last 15 years.  They have dominated the Big Ten, multiple BCS title apperances, and a Championship. Hell, they could have done more but I look at Ohio State and say WTF?  That should be what Michigan is doing, but they're not.  Michigan State is quickly taking over in this state in just about everything with the exception of recruiting and even that is starting to mean very little.  You cannot be considered a top 10-12 program and settle for this.

gustave ferbert

November 3rd, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

i never thought I would see MSU beat us 4 in a row and 5 out of 6.  I never thought I would see one win in 10 years against Ohio (a Luke Fickell coached team that we beat).  A loss to Appalachian State.  A loss to Toledo.  Back to back losing seasons for the first time since the Lyndon Johnson administration . . .we are the secular Notre Dame right now.  Believing we're more relevant than we really are. . . . Face facts people. . .Ever since Bo died, we've lost our identity and we're trying to regain it. . .

gustave ferbert

November 3rd, 2013 at 4:34 PM ^

when Michigan was up by two scores in the fourth quarter in Ann Arbor against OSU?  They scored and then they stop us, and then they march down the field and score the winning touchdown without ever getting to first down????  

That was Troy Smith's coming out party. . . Yeah, it's been pretty much nine years of mediocrity. 


rob f

November 4th, 2013 at 8:22 AM ^

disagree with your view of what's mediocre, then. 

Full-blown mediocrity set in with the start of the 2007 season.  The groundwork for it started to creep in over the previous few seasons, but mediocre for 15 seasons cannot be defined by whether or not we win or even go to the MNC game.

The 2011 season, by W/L standards, doesn't even fit what I would call "mediocre", but in reality, Hoke &Co. pulled that off somewhat with smoke and mirrors---we really weren't that good, but I refuse to take anything away from what those gallant Michigan players/team were able to pull off that season.  They worked their asses off to accomplish something they have every right to be proud of.  But as far as the Michigan program is concerned, that  one season isn't enough to reverse or end the general level of mediocrity as it currently stands.  2011 was a abberation.  Mediocrity still reigns.

snarling wolverine

November 3rd, 2013 at 8:52 AM ^

This idea that Carr never changed his staff is nonsense.  He had five different OCs (Jackson, DeBord, Parrish, Malone, DeBord) and three different DCs (Mattison, Herrmann, English) in his 13 years.  A couple of those guys left for other jobs but Jackson, Parrish, Malone and Herrmann simply lost their coordinator positions - and in Herrmann's case, it was after we'd won 5 B1G titles and a national title in his eight years.   A lot of head coaches would have probably let Herrmann stay on to the end.




November 3rd, 2013 at 9:04 AM ^

Agree about hoke staying- this is about dollars- not pride-its about  putting butts in seats. Brandon sold a boring but cheap Pizza and knows the bottom line. Hoke won't be asking for raises with his record- good for the bottom line. Brandon knows that while many will bellyache about the lack of wins- butts will still be in seats. Get over the dreams of any changes- Hoke is your coach for the next decade at least. Get used to mediocrity for the next 10 years- this is your fate. Hoke is the worst nightmare of UM fans that care about high standards because he will be around forever. Sell that crappy pizza- butts in seats.


November 3rd, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

You are absolutely right. As long as he keeps that stadium packed, and we keep buying season tickets, nothing will change. We need to stop supporting this mediocrity until he fields a coaching staff that is as amazing as the facilities we have financed. I have pledged not to donate or buy anymore ticket/memorabilia until I feel that I am getting what I pay for. Our ticket prices are the second highest in the country, yet we have not fielded a top five football team in a while. I think the test for a quality coach is to ask if another program, given the opportunity, would try to hire our coach. I don't know any top 50 program that would hire hoke and company.


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:11 AM ^

This is so true, michigan has been mediocre for a long time.  I think the most prominent moments in our program history is our inability to hire proper Head coach since Gary Moeller.  This is the problem here with this program for a long time.  This program continues to fall in the national ranking, and we are becoming more and more regional program.  I disagree with the post, as the turning point in Hoke’s era is the penn state game.  That clearly show us his ceiling (a 2 loss team from the late lloyd carr years).  If Brandon is okay with this, then we need to stop saying this crap about this is Michigan because what I saw in penn state game and michigan state game is not michigan footall.  Stop talking about physicality hoke and start implementing what you have been preaching to us for 3 years and we don’t see any resemblance of that on the field.


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:28 AM ^

is Michigan" implies more than wins and losses.  You want to know my biggest problem with yesterday's game, it was Lewan twisting a facemask.  This fan base, and to a certain extent this team, are beginning to abandon what has always drawn me to Michigan.  Michigan is maize and blue, it is the best pagentry in the land, it is the best stadium in the land, it is a team that is humble in defeat and does its talking on the field.  We have taken ass beatings in the past, lord knows Lloyd Carr took his fair share.  But right now I look at this team its fans (myself included) as the guy that gets super drunk at a party, makes an ass of himself, and wakes up like "shit, I can't believe I did that, how many people saw it."  Between luxury suites, RAWK, uniformz, student section hopping over wins against Indiana, "we won't get bullied" talk, and facemask twisting, I am unsure if I am a fan of this team.  I will always be a fan of Michigan, but I don't know what to think about what Michigan has become.  Maybe it is bigger, maybe I don't know about what college football has become.  2012-2013 Michigan basketball, that was Michigan.  I am not sure what this is right now.  I don't know if I like it and I am not sure I like the way that I am a "fan" of it.  I feel like I am kind of hate-watching at this point.  That is no good.


November 3rd, 2013 at 10:17 AM ^

This. This so hard.

I think I've decided that if Hoke doesn't suspend Lewan for a game for the total lack of class he showed yesterday that I won't be watching another game this season. Lots of things need to change with this program but that garbage should be considered unacceptablee.

Unfortunately, I'm sure Lewan will play next week and I won't be watching football on Saturdays for the next few weeks. That sucks. Last night sucked.


November 3rd, 2013 at 10:57 AM ^

I might accept a half game, but it needs to be something and it needs to be public. I was furious with what ghoalston did 2 years ago and I thought msu was classless for not suspending him. I would like to think better of U of M. But, like I said, I doubt he misses any time and I think he showed zero class yesterday. That may have been just the rivalry and bad blood getting to a young guy, but it's still wrong and he is supposed to be a leader. I don't want this program being led that way.


November 3rd, 2013 at 9:40 AM ^

a different era with different assumptions.  Carr had some very good teams, but he acheived a large percentage of those rankings with the benefit of pre-season top 5 and top 10 rankings and the underlying national perception that Michigan was legit.  We no longer have the benefit of that assumption.  Michigan has been delegitimized at this point and the climb back is going to be a long and painful one.

snarling wolverine

November 3rd, 2013 at 9:51 AM ^

You can't finish in the top 10 without having had a good season.  It doesn't matter what your preaseason ranking was at that point.  

Lloyd won 75% of his games over 13 seasons, and brought home five championships and a national title.  That's a good record.  I don't understand why people constantly want to tear him down.  He hasn't been our coach since January 2008.


snarling wolverine

November 3rd, 2013 at 11:35 AM ^

RichRod should have kept more of Carr's assistants.  I think that was a major missed opportunity.  Having a staff that was half from WVU and half from Carr's staff could have made for a much easier transition and probably would have gotten Lloyd more on board.  On the defensive side, especially, RichRod could have used Lloyd's guys.


November 3rd, 2013 at 11:33 PM ^

Beyond Mallett (left after 1 year) and Warren (left after 3), the class produced only Molk, Hemmingway, RVB, and Woolfolk as contributors.  Between that and the RR mismatch, it wasn't too surprising that 2008-2010 were down years.       

Somehow, Hoke, Mattison, and Borges-with-Denard's help worked some magic in 2011. But now we're paying for the 2010-2011 recruiting gap.  From 2010 we've got Gardner, Black, and diamond-in-the-rough Jake Ryan contributing at top-line levels, with Dileo and Avery playing nice supporting roles.  From Hoke's 3 weeks in Jan 2011, we've got Clark, Taylor, and injury-prone Bryant plus supporting role Heitzman. RR gave us Countess, Morgan, and Beyer in the 2011 class. Those classes should be in their prime contributing years.       

The breadth of Hoke's classes will just be beginning to hit their prime contribution years next year.  (Thank you for weak 2011 class, Brandon.  At least RR had a fully cooperative Carr for the 2008 class.)


November 3rd, 2013 at 5:04 PM ^

Routinely underperforming against our biggest rival OSU (under Tressel) and getting clobbered in the Rose Bowl will do that to perception.  Carr was certainly better than the last 2 staffs.  It didn't help that he played not to lose and lost far too many games by playing overly conservative.  His last year was the perfect example of his teams (loaded with NFL players), lose to App State, then beat Florida.  I always felt like his teams underachieved, when you consider the type of talent he had.

I believe people can live with losing if you are playing to win.  This fan base is starving for that type of coach.  I was really critical of Dantonio for years, because his personality rubs me the wrong way, but I have really gained an appreciation for his coaching style.  


November 3rd, 2013 at 5:12 PM ^

It is not an either/or conversation.  Neither are acceptable.  The disappointment with Carr is what lead to a radical direction change to RR.  I know it is not a popular opinion, but Miles would have been a really good bridge in style.  More aggressive, but with Bo's roots.  I guess there were some issues behind the scenes, but seemed like a good fit.  Hindsight is 20/20.


November 3rd, 2013 at 7:05 PM ^

Les Miles has a 92-23 record at LSU. That's good for 80%. He also took over a program that was 2 years removed from a National Championship. He is a good coach. Maybe a great one.

Brady Hoke has a 25-9 record at Michigan. That's good for 73.5%. He also took over a program that was two years removed from 3-9, by far the worst team in Michigan history. He is a good coach. Maybe a great one.

Also, Les Miles will never coach at Michigan. He is unliked by many powerful people in the program. He also (allegedly) is too comfortable with bending the rules for Michigan's taste.


November 3rd, 2013 at 10:07 PM ^

(See what I did there? 'miles'?)

Les Miles' teams have won one natl championship and played for another. In eight seasons at LSU, he's finished in the Top 5 four times, and the Top 10 another time. Hoke (at the end of this year) will be 0 for 3 on top ten finishes in the AP poll, and never mind the natl championships.

To put that in perspective, to get to the last four Top 5 finishes for Michigan, you have to go to: 1988,1992, 1997 and 1999 (i.e., last century).

As said, Miles walked into a far better situation. But Miles is now in year 9, and is far removed from Saban to be riding his coat tails. Miles may be crazy, and his ethics are questionable (as shown by the Ok State SI expose, and having more law breakers on his team than typical), but he's literally a hall of famer, based on his results on the field. Hoke has a WAYS to go to even come close to matching Miles' production. As does Michigan, over the last decade and a half.