The future is bright

Submitted by Dark Blue on February 1st, 2011 at 10:18 AM

After the last 3 years (aside from our hoops team run to the tourney in 2008) things have looked bleak to say the least. Hope is on the horizon though. 

Lets start with hoops, we are coming off beating MSU in the Breslin Center, which is the first time that has happened since 1997. This is a team filled with so much youth, and from what I've been able to tell, guys like Hardaway Jr., Evan Smotrycz , and Jordan Morgan look like they are going to become very good players. Go up one class and you have Darius Morris  making a case to some day being the best PG in the Big Ten. Vogrich while he may be a defensive liability has a sweet stroke from beyond the arc. Then You have the "gritty" Zack Novak. This guy imhe has turned into the leader on this team. With Beilein bringing in a great recruiting class next year, the future is extremely bright. I except an NIT birth this year, and netxt year a tourney birth and possible competing for a Big Ten title .


Then we have football. A lot of folks were upset at the hiring of Hoke, but he has come in and turned what look liked an abysmal recruiting class, into something very respectable. We return nearly every offensive starter and now have a DC who is not only a very good recruiter, but he is also a guy who has coached Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. We've had tons of true freshman playing on defense this year, and those kids are all going to improve. I'm not going to say that MICH will run the table next year, but will any kind of defensive competence this team should be very good. 


The bottom line mgobrethern is we are on an upward spiral, MICH is about to take the world by storm, things really are bright, just remember stay optimistic and GO BLUE


Dark Blue

February 1st, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

I will say that as good as Darius Morris is, I don't think he's our best player. I think that honor goes to Zack Novak, He's a leader on and off the court, his performance against MSU let me know that Novak is this teams leader. Sure he wont put up stats like Morris or even Hardaway, but he does all of the little things. So much GRIT

Braylon 5 Hour…

February 1st, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

Without Morris Novak wouldn't be able to get nearly the number of quality looks he gets...not to take away from Novak, he's really been the heart and soul of the team and has a great deal of value from an intangible perspective, but Morris at this stage is the guy who enables us to even be remotely functional on offense


February 1st, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

for saying this, but jason whitlock may be right....that hoke is the better hire than harbaugh.... why? because hoke will be here for the long haul, and harbaugh would have nfl in his mind after four years.  that fact is quite significant.


February 1st, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

Couldn't agree with this more.  The one benefit of Harbaugh (aside from him possibly being a better coach) is that he would have created instant buzz.  The only way that this instant buzz helps the team is with recruiting, so the belief was that Harbaugh would have allowed us to fill the class with decent recruits, whereas with Hoke, we were screwed with a dead recruiting year.  This did not happen.  One could argue that by bringing in Mattison, Hoke and his staff may have done a better job recruiting than Harbaugh would have.  

As for the "Harbaugh is a better coach" thing - let's see how that plays out.  Harbaugh's only great season in the big leagues was this past season where he had, you know, the best player in the country as his QB.  I am not trying to take away from JH's success, but give Brady Hoke, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, Les Miles (Russel), Urban Meyer (Tebow) or any other good coach the best QB in the land, along with a team made up of mostly upper-classmen, and you are going to have success.  And, let's not forget that Hoke also had an 11-1 season.  

So yes, I strongly agree with Witcock that Hoke was the man for the job.  Barring anything unexpected, I suspect he will be on the M sidelines for at least a decade.


February 1st, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

As two posters I read and often agree with this is a rare instance I have to call some bullshit here.  DB you expect an NIT bid this year?  Sure the win against MSU is awesome and taking out last place Iowa to get the 3rd B1G win is a nice follow up but NIT expectations-come on man.

michgoblue-As much as I like the Hoke hire it seems very southbenderND of you to rip on the coaching job Harbaugh did at Stanford.  If JH were Michigan's coach today you could tell me what JH had for lunch yesterday because your tongue would be so far in his ass you could taste it...Don't get me wrong I would also be excited...just a little less then yourself :- )


Just keep it real boys.


February 1st, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

I wasn't really trying to rip JH - I think that he is a great coach, and that he would have been the obvious hire had he wanted to come here.  But, in the long run, given JH's NFL aspirations (not criticizing those aspirations, just stating that they obviously existed), Hoke may end up being looked back on as the better hire.  

My real point is that Hoke may end up being just as good as Harbaugh.  Both have had 11-1 seasons once, and both coach teams that play hard-nosed, pro-style football.  Right now, Harbaugh is the flavor of the week, because he is coming off of his best season.  


February 1st, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

...But RR would have actually had to have a great season before the MSM wrote "upward swing" stories.  Really, the program was already on an upward swing; it just wasn't fast enough for an "outsider" in the eyes of those who write the paychecks.  

I see no reason for RR to not have won at least nine games and probably ten this year.  If Hoke can come up with a way to use the current personnel in a manner remotely consistent with their talents and win at least nine this year, I will consider it a decent season, but nothing that wouldn't have happened anyway.  

So far, though, I am impressed that Hoke has almost rescued the recruiting class.   He walked into a very negative situation created by DB and has done OK.  The class actually has one more four-star than it did at the beginning of December, and you never know what will happen on NSD.  If Hoke's on-field performance is as good as what he has managed the last ten days on the road, the transition may be a lot smoother than it originally appeared.

I'm all for surprises: as long as they're good ones.



February 1st, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

While I agree with the second half of your post, I don't necessarily agree with the first half.

1.  "the program was already on an upward swing; it just wasn't fast enough for an "outsider" in the eyes of those who write the paychecks."

I am not sure that you can really say this after the last few weeks of the season.  Our blowout loss to OSU was worse than the prior two blowout losses to OSU.  The bowl game - where the team was healthier, especially the offense - was a debacle.  While we had success early in the season, by beating up on crappy teams, we - again - fell apart in the B10.  Our top-flight, quick-strike offense was completely shut down by Wisco, OSU, MSU (yes, that MSU), MSU (not that MSU) and, to some extent, PSU (while the game was in contention).

If RR returned, we were looking at: (a) another off season filled with talk about coaching hot seats and minimum # of wins required to keep RR's job, (b) an almost certain change - the third - in DC, (c) potentially having to revamp the entire D coaching staff, (d) continued difficulty in recruiting D talent, given the negativity, uncertainty, change in D coaching, (e) continued recruiting struggles against rivals, given the uncertainty in our overall coaching, and (f) a continued blow to our brand, as a result of (a) - (e).

We were not on the upswing in any appreciable manner.


2.  "I see no reason for RR to not have won at least nine games and probably ten this year."

If OSU / Neb are probable losses, you don't think that we lost more than 1 other game?  ND will be much improved.  That could be a loss.  We lost pretty handily to MSU this past year.  While they lose some talent, they have been recruiting nicely, so there is new talent there.  We could lose that one.  Iowa beat us pretty badly.  This could be a loss.  PSUkilled us with their third string and scout squad.  The PSU team that we will face will actually be better than that which we faced this year.  Potential loss.

Not saying that we WILL lose these games, but I don't think that it was anything close to certain that RR would have won 9-10 games this past year.  During his time, RR lost many games that most of us thought were likely 

Monocle Smile

February 1st, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

Sorry, but Tater's right on this.




Combine this with a considerable increase in the strength of schedule between the last two years and you have an aggregate upswing in the program in general.

Iowa didn't really beat us that badly. If you actually watched the game, you would see a major comeback come within one score followed by a missed tackle on 3rd and long with a couple of minutes left. That was actually a competitive game, in my mind.

MSU will be next year's Iowa. This isn't sustainable.

Wisconsin never backed off on defense, yet we were able to put up 28 despite being blanked in the first half. That's not getting totally shut down.

I honestly don't see how improvement could not have been expected purely due to the number of returning starters. I'm okay with legitimate criticism if analysis is involved, but I feel your argument is extremely shallow.


February 1st, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

Is it bad form to call bullshit on your call of bullshit?

While I definitely don't want to go down the road of re-hashing the arguments dominated the whole pre-CC time period, a few points of disagreement:

(1) 3 wins, 5 wins, 7 wins, strength of schedule does not necessarily equal improvement.

While the numbers point to an upswing, it is only because the bar was set so low in 2008/9.  At the end of the day, can you point to a single win over a good team in 2010?  In anticipation of the response, when we beat UConn, they were terrible (they lost to Temple, Rutgets and Loisville before starting to improve mid-season).  Ditto ND (losses to NAvy and Tulsa), who was playing with its 3rd string QB for much of the game (and still almost beat us).

Even in year 3, we couldn't hang with the decent teams, and the really good teams destroyed us.  This is not improvement.  

(2)  Iowa was not a competitive game for most of the game.  After our usual first-drive TD, Iowathe standard adjustments that every decent team made to our offense and completely shut us down on offense for the next 40 MINUTES of play.  40 minutes.  During which time, Iowa ran off 28 unanswered points and opened up a 3 score lead.  At that point in the game - in the 4th - they went into a prevent defense, and yes, we clawed our way back into the game. But, a 4th quarter comeback (let by Tate who was not running the option, I should add) does not equate to a close game.  Anyone watching would admit that we were significantly outplayed for most of the game.  

(3)  Wisconsin - First, they shut us out in the entire first half.  In the second half - by which time Wisco had built a massive 4 score lead, our offense started to come back.  But make no mistakes - this was NOT a close game at ANY point.  We got our asses handed to us.

(4) If we are going to talk about improvement, here is what I would have expected.  I would have expected a team that is admittedly young, and filled with first year starters and underclassmen to have improved significantly from week 1 through week 12.  Much like ND did, this season.  This did not happen.  I would have expected that the number of turnovers would go down from one year to the next.  This did not happen.  (Note, our offense is not that young, so youth is not the excuse here).  I would have expected us to at least win 1 or 2 games against the middle-to-upper part of the B10 (Iowa, Wisco, MSU, even PSU).  This did not happen.   I would have expected us to at peast play OSU somewhat close for 2-3 quarters.  This did not happen.  I would have expected, after a long lay-off to get healthy, us to play MSU (bowl game) close - both are young teams with newer coaches.  This did not happen.  

Again, I don't mean to re-hash old arguments, and we will likely not end up agreeing on this, but by my view, we did not improve. 


February 1st, 2011 at 10:44 AM ^

I think that is more a function of where we are right now in terms of a low point rather than we are about to embark onto a great new plain of achievement.  First, we have to get back to contending for Big 10 titles again after the past few years of both football and basketball frustration.  

I hope we are able to look back in 5 years and say that 2010 was the low point for us in both sports and that we turned a corner and began our climb back to where the Leaders and Best belong in terms of both Big Ten and national prominence and achievement and recognition.

I like our start, but the proof is in the results yet to come!




February 1st, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

As a Cleveland Browns, Indians, Cavs and Michigan fan, I have not had a whole lot to be excited about lately. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but things do seem headed in the right direction, how long will it take to get there, that is another question.