In Hoke I Trust

Submitted by Webber's Pimp on November 8th, 2013 at 11:37 AM

We are still transitioning into the program we will ultimately become under Hoke. We are a Manball team. That is the underlying philosophy and once we get some contiunuity going and the kids are in the program for 2 or 3 years you wil see a big difference on the field. The big take away from last night is that Stanford' s version of Manball (i.e. controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and imposing shear physicality) worked very well against an explsoive and nationally heralded spread offense. Going into this game Oregon had probably staked its claim as the #1 offense in the country. Standford showed everyone what good a O-Line and D-Line can do against the elite spread teams. 



November 8th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

As you are new here, just be aware that we try - we try - to be a little more civil to our fellow MGoBloggers than this. If you feel that all you can offer are personal insults, then MLive has numerous forums which might be of interest. In other words, best keep these thoughts to yourself. 

yossarians tree

November 8th, 2013 at 4:11 PM ^

While it was a bit hostile, and I could have used my expansive vocabulary to find a better word, if I'm the first guy to use the "F" word on here I'll eat my hat. LSA2000 has a good point about tone and I'll respect that.

But the guy literally did just join yesterday and comes in firing Brady Hoke. He should go over to the "B" thread at MLive and practice a bit before coming on here.


November 8th, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^

in the coach that consistently wins games for us, regardless of philosophy.  If it's Hoke - great.  If it's someone else - great.  All I know is that right now the program is underperforming relative to its talent level.  I don't want to hear about how young the O-Line is.  That explains why we're not a Top 5/10 team and likely won't be next year either.  Cool, I'm good with that - I'm not one of these people who thinks it's Michigan's birthright to go 12-0 without looking at the actual talent and experience of the team that's being fielded in a given year.  It does NOT explain, however,  why the previously unheralded defensive lines of Akron, UCONN and Penn State were able to look downright NFL-esque when playing against Michigan, yet look like complete dog shit against every other opponent. 

I've been watching Michigan football for over 30 years.  This is not the first time we've had to replace 3 starters on the O-Line or use a couple of younger guys in order to do so.  In those previous instances, while the O-Line was far from dominant, it was not inept to this degree.  You could literally make a case this year that based on execution, Michigan's O-Line has been one of the 10-15 worst in Division 1 (or whatever acronym is used to describe Division 1 these days).  Worse, they haven't improved over the course of the year. 

In fact, that's the real sticking point for me.  They looked better at the beginning of the season than in Oct/Nov.  This was the same complaint I had with RichRod's defenses and was, in hindsight, what ultimately caused me to lose confidence in him as the HC at Michigan.  Hopefully history will not repeat itself, but in Year 3 of the Hoke program, I am not thrilled with what I'm seeing.  At this point, I don't trust him and I don't distrust him if that makes any sense. 

I know the coaches on that staff are capable of coaching up mediocre players - we saw plenty of examples of this in 2011 and 2012.  But for the life of me, I just can't understand why the O-Line seems to be flailing so miersably in 2013 relative to their talent level.  If they were simply mediocre/average, this team would be 7-1 right now with a legitimate shot of upsetting OSU at home and running the table (I'm assuming a mediocre/average O-Line would still have lost the game at MSU, but the optics of the game would certainly have been much less horrifying).  But given the current state of affairs, the best we can probably hope for down the stretch is 2-2 and a "close but no cigar" loss vs. OSU. 

To me, this outcome is the sports equivalent of being constipated.  It's not the end of the world, but it pretty much makes you feel terrible and you can't wait for it to be over so you can just forget the whole thing ever happened. 


November 8th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

The only thing worse than constipation is when you can't stop shitting yourself.  The MSU game was more of the latter than the former.  Hopefully we can stop shitting ourselves and at least get back to being constipated in time for the OSU game. 

(Constipation:  THAT'S the Michigan difference!)



November 8th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

its been a tough year with how young M is and how bad the play-calling has been...i still feel good about the offense's capabilities for this weekend (given how bad Neb has been of late)...but @ Iowa and v. Ohio might indeed end up with M shitting our pants uncontrollably like an infant with diarrhea


November 8th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

if we lose to Nebraska.  They're a soft team with poor coaching and they play much worse on the road than at home.  They are the exact opponent we've had no problem beating at home in the Hoke era.  I don't have the warm and fuzzies about Iowa at all and I have to be realistic about OSU - even if we don't shit the bed in that one, we're still going to lose.  I did not think that would be the case coming into the season (especially on the heels of last year's game in Columbus) but when you look at how the two teams are playing at the moment, it's kind of obvious what the ultimate outcome of that game will be. 

Our only hope is that Brady Hoke is able to build a time machine that takes both teams back to 1993, 1995, 1996, or 1997 and can recreate history for the Good Guys.  In fact, if he does that, I'll totally trust him going forward and will upvote the OP of this thread.



Sten Carlson

November 8th, 2013 at 12:47 PM ^

"But for the life of me, I just can't understand why the O-Line seems to be flailing so miersably in 2013 relative to their talent level."

I've been thinking about this a lot, and aside from them being young, I am wondering if the blocking schemes that Michigan uses are complex and require exquisit technique.

I ask this because I remember reading that Hoke & Co. emphasize technique above all else.  Maybe Hoke & Co. are pushing technique development with these young kids and what we're seeing is gap between the time where they become technically proficient, and when they're thinking too much about technique.

I think anyone whose played competitive sports has been in this situation.  You're trying to learn new skills, trying to take your game to the next level against better competition.  But, when you try to take the new skills into a live game, you're unable to apply them as well as necessary as you're thinking about them too much, and are a step off in relation to your competition.

Unfortunately for many fans who are losing their patience, I think this coaching strategy has more of a long-term perspective.  In time, when the OL is experienced and has their technique down to an instinctive level, the coaching staff feels they're going to be unstoppable. 

I remember reading that Bo demanded perfect execution based upon perfect technique from his players.  I am not saying, necessarily that this is right, but it seems to me that Hoke & Co. are demanding a great deal from the players.  It might seem to the outsiders that they're not improving, or that they're not coaching them up.  But some of that might be that gap, and in time we'll see the payoff of this approach.


MI Expat NY

November 8th, 2013 at 12:01 PM ^

The problem is that Stanford's offense hasn't been all that good this year.  Without an outstanding, senior-laden defense, they'd have 3 or 4 loses where they haven't been able to move the ball efficiently (check out the box scores of the Washington and Oregon St. games). 

Even last night, their lack of explosiveness gave them an extremely thin margin of error.  They were outstanding on third down last night.  A lot of it was because they were able to get to short yardage, but they also were very good at converting third and medium.  Oregon's line contains Hogan scrambles a little bit better and they get off the field on a couple of those epic Stanford drives.  

And how different would the game have looked had Oregon not gone 0-3 on its first three red zone trips and had the extremely iffy pass interference call not been called?  What if Mariota doesn't miss the wide open Huff for the first TD of the game?   There was a potential 20-30 point swing on those big plays that all went Stanford's way for the first three quarters of the game and had very little to do with Stanford's dominating Oline and Dline.  The first TD alone could have drastically shifted the game.  That's football, these things happen regardless of style.

Stanford's an excellent team, I'm just a little hesitant to read too much into one game.  Just like I'd be hesitant to say Stanford wasn't any good because they lost to a 4-4 Utah team.  


November 8th, 2013 at 12:29 PM ^

Did we watch the same game? Stanford ran Tyler Gaffney 45 times, and only one of those carries resulted in negative yardage. When your O-line is so good that you can run the same play over and over again because you know your opponent can't stop it, you don't need a versatile offense.

MI Expat NY

November 8th, 2013 at 12:48 PM ^

Actually I said they weren't explosive.  They were fairly versatile and threw in a lot of great wrinkles to set themselves up for those nice short third downs.  It doesn't change the fact that despite their best offensive performance of the season (they really haven't looked that great this year outside of the Arizona St. first half) and a ton of breaks through three quarters, they needed to collect an onside kick with two minutes left to secure the game.  

They operate with a system that has a very low margin of error.  That's really my point.  


November 8th, 2013 at 1:06 PM ^

They needed to collect that onside kick because they fell asleep in the 4th quarter. They had dominated so well to that point that they put it on cruise control. And honestly, had that FG not been blocked, Stanford wins by at least two touchdowns. Their margin of error was actually quite large to be able to practically mail it in for the 4th quarter and still win. Oregon needed a blocked kick td and an onside kick recovery to get 13 of the points that it got.

MI Expat NY

November 8th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

When you "dominate" so thoroughly, even a blocked FG shouldn't result in a one score game.  

Stanford got a ton of lucky breaks in the first three quarters.  Mariota (who is apparently injured, thus negating about a third of the Oregon offense) missed Huff on a wide open TD;  De'Anthony Thomas' fumble on a would be TD drive; A very iffy PI call saved a sure interception resulting in a Stanford TD; Mariota fumbles on a potential scoring drive; Stanford recovered their own fumbles.  All the breaks went Stanford's way and Stanford played their offensive style just about as perfectly as it could be played.  Stanford won by 6 points.  Yes, Oregon got a FG block returned for a touchdown and recovered 1 of 3 onside kicks, but still, when you add up the whole game, that's operating with a low margin for error.


November 8th, 2013 at 2:47 PM ^

Mariota missed Huff because of the pass rush, and Thomas' fumble was forced (and recovered) by Skov. Those "lucky breaks" came about because the Stanford defense did its job.

Really, you're grasping for straws here. I'd say that any team who shuts out the country's #1 offense through 3 quarters and builds up a 26-point cushion en route to victory has played a pretty impressive game.

MI Expat NY

November 8th, 2013 at 3:30 PM ^

I disagree on both of those.  Skov did do a great job to force the fumble, but I don't know how Thomas doesn't do more to recover it when he was literally laying on top of the ball.  But that's besides the point.  Lets say you count all the breaks as being equal, blocking a FG/recovering an onside kick = three failed red zone trips/PI penalty negating an interception/Mariota missing Huff.  Stanford won the game by 6 points!  In a game everyone says they dominated!  They did play a pretty impressive game.  There's no denying that.  The only problem I have is that the end result of them playing essentially "three yards and a cloud of dust" football is a very narrow margin of error.  It's why, despite being one of if not the best teams across both lines for the last two seasons they've dropped games to 7-6 Washington and 4-4 Utah.  


November 8th, 2013 at 4:20 PM ^

Because the blocked field goal - a 9 point swing, mind you - resulted in Oregon still being down by 13 points.

And by the way, when you are winning 26-0 with one quarter left in the game, yes you do have a large margin of error to winning. Stanford almost exhausted it, but it would have taken 2 successful onside kicks to do it. Admittedly, I thought they were going to because Oregon's kicker seems to have figured out a perfect way of getting the random jump on the ball. Such a funky way to kick it.

Let me add that until that blocked field goal, Stanford had driven down the field so regularly that they scored on 6 consecutive drives and killed like 30 minutes of clock. Had just one of those field goals been a touchdown instead, Oregon has even less of a shot than they did (which, I don't care how good you are, comeing back from down 26 points in one quarter is damn near impossible).In fact, one of their last field goals they only kicked because they got caught on the rarest of rare "offensive encroachment" penalties. 


PB-J Time

November 8th, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

This has been brought up often (usually talking about a headset as well, thank you for the restraint) but Hoke knows what's going on & helps manage things while trusting his coordinators to call the plays. He has made very few in game errors (end of reg vs. PSU being most memorable to me)

There is a great diary above that discusses that basically, U-M beats who they are expected to, but hasn't been able to pull off "the big win", especially not at the big house


November 8th, 2013 at 12:10 PM ^

It's not even a transition period.


It's a "survive the horrible recruiting of Rich Rodriguez from 2010 and 2011" period.


It's been said to death, but anyone wanting to question the coaches, go look at the depth chart by class page.  Pretty horrible we'll have ZERO seniors on the offensive line, 2 juniors, and 1 senior on the DL.


November 8th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

Rant time.

We are looking at the big time costs of transferring our offensive philosophy from Super Spread and Shred Ball -> Hybrid Spread Pro -> Pure West Coast Offense. This year, 2013, Borges said "I'm pulling out the full playbook for good".  That's about as difficult and philosophically different as a transition you'll find in football.

That means we're taking a team that doesn't know much of the West Coast offense and forcing them to run it in games, where opposing DCs see all our little flaws on film. No more zone reads, slot receivers, speading the field. 

WCO requires playing ball in a phone booth, like Stanford did last night. TEs. Extra OL. Push off the line of scrimmage. Chewing clock like gum. 5 yards a carry, bitches. That requires experience and coordination in a S-Y-S-T-E-M. You cannot just say "our S&C coaches aren't doing enough!!!" because there's a ton more to it than all that.

The defense has already more or less arrived. Mattison has pushed these athletes as far as possible. We just have to wait for them to grow up. I promise you when Taco hits his junior year no one will be bitching about the pass rush.

The offense needs time too. RR had his 3-9 season. This is the equivalent. Wait for the Leap in 2014.


November 8th, 2013 at 3:55 PM ^

I have to disagree with the "Defense has arrived" comment. I was sorting through team schedules the other day. Here are the facts:

Michigan's defense has allowed the following:

ND: 30 points. 5th best scoring day out of 9 games. Only Navy, Air Force, Purdue, Arizone State gave up more.

Akron: 24 points. 3rd best scoring day out of 10 games. Only James Madison & LA-Lafayette gave up more

UConn: 21 points. Best scoring day out of 7 games. To be fair, Maryland game up 21 as well.

Penn State: 43 points. Second best scoring day out of 8 games. Only Eastern Michigan gave up more (Sorry Ron English)

Indiana: 47 points. Second best scoring day out of 8 games. Only Indiana State gave up more.

MSU: 29 points (all by the offense). 3rd best scoring day out of 9 games. Only Youngstown St, Indiana, and Illinois gave up more.

Look at that list. In 6 out of 8 Michigan games, the defense has allowed the opposing team to have one of it's best scoring days of the season. When you look at the teams who did comapritively worse than Michigan, it's pretty sad. That's barely MAC level quality defense being played. People can throw up all the "stats" and "Mattison ubber allies" they want, that's just consistently bad defense right there. The only two teams Michigan did play good defense against were Central and Minnesota.


Monocle Smile

November 8th, 2013 at 4:04 PM ^

Points don't ever tell the whole story, especially if you're careless enough to ignore defensive touchdowns and overtimes. This is easy. C'mon son.

The turnover issues are just as important. If all or most of those points came from 75-yard TD drives from everyone, that would be one thing. This is far from the case.

Monocle Smile

November 8th, 2013 at 5:34 PM ^

Ignoring defensive touchdowns and turnovers deep in your own territory is one thing.

Claiming that they don't matter for reasons outside of perceivable reality is nihilism. You're making claims about points scored by the other team's OFFENSE when in three(!) of those games, the DEFENSE has been responsible for some of them. This is borderline 2+2=green territory and that's without getting into turnovers in our own territory or overtime.


November 8th, 2013 at 5:51 PM ^

Since I find it a waste of my time to evaluate numbers to prove someone else's ignorance, I am not going to do so. But if you are ever bored, look up the game drive charts, track Michigan's turnovers, track how many direct points came from those turnovers, divide by the total number of points scored, and see what a small percentage of this seasons points given up actually come directly from turnovers. To make this more academic, feel free to track this as a percentage within each game.
Or you can keep on spouting off how turnovers are the only thing preventing this defense from being the great wrecking crew you apparently believe it to be without any reality to back it up. Either way, believe what you want and enjoy the great defense this weekend.


November 8th, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

Congrats, you devolved to the most basic of male human responses after it took only one exchange for you to realize your argument didn't hold much water. Most idiots keep going before they reach your measured response. Yay! You saved me a lot of time today.


November 8th, 2013 at 12:16 PM ^

if you were impressed by Stanford's football team on both sides of the ball last night?

[ most people raise hands ]

Raise your hand if what you have seen in the last 3 years convinces you that Brady Hoke can turn Michigan into last nights Stanford within the next 2 years?

[ probably less hands ]

pointless thread continues.


November 8th, 2013 at 12:46 PM ^

Harbaugh inherited a 1-11 tean.  After 2 mediocre years of "rebuildng" he had a 8-5 season which included two wins over top 10 teams, Oregon and USC.  The next year he was 12-1 before bolting to the NFL.    So you claim Shaw is doing this because of his cupboard.  What about Harbaugh?  He had somethingf ar worse than an aborted transition and I'd bet you any of RR's classes were ranked ahead of anything Harbaugh had in his first 3 years.


November 8th, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

I'll bet you the roster inherited by Harbaugh was far more prepared for his style of play than what RR left here.

Not to mention that Brady Hoke's worst season so far has been 8-5.

Finally, Harbaugh is literally one of the top 5 coaches in the NFL already. He's godamned good. Try and accept that few college coaches were capable of such a massive leap. I mean Stanford has pretty much sucked for their entire existence.


November 8th, 2013 at 7:30 PM ^

"I'll bet you the roster inherited by Harbaugh was far more prepared for his style of play than what RR left here"



They were fucking 1-11.  I am sure they were "prepared" for manball.  Just needed a few tweaks and some coaching and all was well.  Because they were the right kind of (awful) players.

Some of the delusion here is beyond the pale.  As if all of RR's recruits were horrid and would not succeed in a manball system.  If you put Molk into a pro style system - no way could that guy do well.  Neither could Roundtree, neither could Hemingway, neither could any fo these dozens of defensive players.  They were only suited for the 3-3-5 and their top 100-top 250 recruiting rankings clearly stated "cannot play anything but spread or 3-3-5, will not excel otherwise"