Make the case for retaining Hoke

Submitted by JeepinBen on November 10th, 2014 at 11:30 AM

We've got a lot of Lawyers on the board, and while there is a huge amount of group-think on the board and most poeple assume Hoke is gone there is chatter that if he wins out he could keep his job. I think that's ridiculously short-sighted (as do most of you probably).

So - be devil's advocate. How can someone (anyone!) justify retaining Hoke after that 60 minutes of Yakety Sax followed by a team with 4 new OL starters, a freshman QB and RB putting up more points in East Lansing than Hoke's teams have scored against MSU during his tenure? Why is OSU so much better with their brand new pieces? Is it anything but coaching?


Cold War

November 10th, 2014 at 3:57 PM ^

Recruiting and retaining stellar classes. Graduates kids. Does things the right way Well liked by Michigan people who matter, and many of those who don't.

He had a massive roster rebuild to undertake, and has done so. The holes were enormous and are largely being filled. Still, his recruiting span doesn't reach the fourth and fifth year players. Something like 20 of Sparty's 22 starters against us were fourth and fifth year players. And we have the second fewest in the B1G.

The D is now quality enough to contend in the B1G. The o-line has made big strides and there will be a large stable of talented running backs to go with a third year Shanne Morris. There's a good chance the offense comes together well enough, along with an excellent D, to truly contend in the B1G.


November 10th, 2014 at 12:21 PM ^

He did exactly what the Mgoblog intelligenstsia wanted and hired a guy to whom the intelligentsia gave their whole hearted approval.  Many (most?) thought so highly of Nussmeier they refused to give Hoke credit for firing Borges and landing Nussmeier.  Now, with an offense that is beyond horrible, that same intelligentsia simply ignores their own culpability with running 32 points per game out of town and blames the abrupt drop off of the offense, not to Nussmeier, but to Hoke.  How does that work? 

That said, if it were my decision, I'd fire Hoke for making the single worst coaching decision of his career.  Your career should not survive a 33% reduction of performance based upon your decision, no matter who and how much pressure was brought to bear.



November 10th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

Space Coyote probably has more class than to say "I told you so", even though he did.  The only reason he, SC, finally came around to saying Borges had to go had nothing do with performance and everything to do with perception.  I also believe his endorsement of Nussmeier was at best, tepid.  

I think it quite telling that's he's been all but absent this season.  Maybe he's busy, but quite possibly he has nothing to say that the "smarter" people can understand.

Not SC, he writes far better than I, and I don't recall any bitterness seeping through his writings.


November 10th, 2014 at 5:12 PM ^

Let's be fair here Nussmeier and Borges have completely different records. Borges has been a journeymen and was despised by Auburn fans who were glad for him to leave. Nussmeier has had success at multiple programs and is a known QB whisperer. He had success at the Rams, Washington, MSU, and Bama so he seemed like a slam dunk. Granted it was extremely odd how Saban let him go so easily and was said to have pushed him out. Would be interesting to see how Alabama's offense did last year compared to this year although they do have a new QB and not a senior like McCarron so not apples to apples.

Frankly I think he should be able to get a second year but unfortunately Hoke's biggest problem is some of the positional coaches which is why this staff will not be retained.

I also think Hoke could have saved himself by doing something drastic. You love this program so much put your money where your mouth is. Do what some CEOs have done and reduce your salary to a dollar because the buck stops with you. Most people could not do this but he's a millionaire who has lost all credibility as the guy who will lead this program so from his perspective drastic steps would need to be taken. Alternatively, he could have donated his salary to take responsibility for the results which are not the results of a top 10 paid coach. I can only speak for myself but I would be far happier if Hoke had truly taken action and not just spoken about taking responsibility.

When you sarcastically refer to the bloggers of MgoBlog as the intelligentsia know that ultimately it is Hoke and not us that is responsible for his ultimate loss of his dream job.


November 10th, 2014 at 9:49 PM ^

I don't want to put words in SC's mouth, but I think Brian doing what he did to him has a lot to do with why he doesn't post much anymore. Go look at his blog he has a whole page on this topic. Also space is an X's and O's kind of guy and I have tried to get him to post non X's and O's stuff and he doesn't want his blog to go that route. The way this season has gone I don't think people would be as receptive to actual reasons why our O sucks.


November 10th, 2014 at 12:59 PM ^

They see him trolling!

So the reason you would fire Brady Hoke is that he fired Al Borges. Al Borges who regressed every year he was here and regressed everywhere else he coached. The only time Al Borges didn't regress was at SDSU, when he had a wealth of talent relative to his conference. 

Now, we're supposed to believe that Al Borges would have this offense humming despite the fact it got worse each year he was here and lost two NFL tackles, Fitz, Dileo and one of Michigan's all time great receivers. 


The single best thing Brady Hoke could have done was get rid of the guy who was getting worse and bring in someone who had a better track record. He did that. He should be gone for a lot of reasons but the sane rationale behind firing Borges and bringing in Nussmeier is not one of them. 

Keep it going though man. Its hilarious. 


November 10th, 2014 at 1:14 PM ^

2011 Michigan scored 33.3 points per game

2012 Michigan scored 29.8 points per game

2013 Michigan scored 32.2 points per game

In the land I'm from that isn't regression, that is stability.

Now, plummeting from a three year average of 31.7 points per game to 20 points per game, is, to put it kindly, regression.  Your loyalty to mediocrity is laudable, I guess, but it isn't scoring points and it isn't winning games.  Oh, yeah, you can talk about Akron and UConn but do you know what they were?  They were victories, victories that the current offense couldn't have secured.  


November 10th, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

PPG isn't the only mark of an offense (though I know you want it to be so you can desperately be right about this). 

When you score in OT (didn't happen in 2012) or play an Indiana team that you have to keep scoring on with your first team or play better teams (as they did in 2012), that's going to make things look better for you. Not to mention the defense scored more in 2013 than they did in 2012. 

The 2012 D/ST scored zero touchdowns. They also got no OT points. 

The 2013 offense got 24 points out of OT and 28 points out of D/ST. That's 4 ppg right there. Couple that with an easier schedule and you can see why you're wrong. 

But like I said, its hilarious to watch you go at this so hard. Its such an odd defense. 



November 10th, 2014 at 2:09 PM ^

Okay cool. 

So Michigan's actual offense regressed each year in points scored under Al Borges when you don't count overtime (gimmick that starts at the opponents 25) and the defense. 

So last year Michigan, on offense, actually averaged 28.2 pts a game, down from 29.8 the year before (remember, no D/ST tds and no OT). 

They also played a better bowl opponent in 2012, a better ND and a better OSU. Also, Denard got hurt in the Nebraska game, which basically turned that into a lost cause. Not to mention Alabama was on the schedule. 

So guess what? Al Borges regressed each year he was here. Doesn't matter if its yards or points. 

So how was he going to improve things this year after losing Gallon, Dileo, Lewan, Schofield and Fitz? Look at the games Michigan put up big numbers on offense last year. 

Gallon put up huge numbers. He was key in every offensive explosion Michigan had last year. He's gone. 

Dileo was essential in the ND/OSU games. He's gone. 

Devin's legs are no longer an option according to Brady Hoke. Again, if that's Nuss' call, then he's an idiot, but Hoke was the one who stated in a press conference that they were not running the QB to "save" him. 

So with that gone, what about Al Borges was going to make this offense better? I'm at a loss. 


November 10th, 2014 at 4:18 PM ^

Call me crazy, but if Borges had gotten this pass protection last season, I think Michigan wins 2-3 more games and Borges is still here. And maybe Hoke is hated but not fired.

Say what you will, but Borges ran a pretty nice passing scheme. With any protection at all, we probably beat PSU, Iowa, and Nebraska, all one score games in which Gardner fumbled while being sacked (at least once). Nebraska sacked him 7 times, for Pete's sake.


November 10th, 2014 at 7:33 PM ^

I mean its possible. But that would have required them to handle the offensive line correctly, which they didn't. 

I just don't see how Borges being here makes this team any different. Last year did happen. And this year, I don't see Devin doing anything right, whereas last year he had flashes of greatness. I don't think that comes down to coaching, it seems more like thats who Devin Gardner is once you get him on film. And when you take away his legs, take away Gallon and Dileo and you add a season of getting pounded (partly down to the OC's gameplan), you're left with a mediocre passer who makes a half dozen terrible decisions each game. And, because Borges is an awful QB recruiter, there's no one to replace him. 

Nussmeier has done some dumb shit this year, but I don't think he's done anything worse than Borges last year. He just has no one to play the most important position on the field (and that's on Hoke/Borges). 


November 10th, 2014 at 2:07 PM ^

this is hard to make sense of. And while I was readly to see Borges go myself--after defending him against what looked like the usual mob here--that IS relative stability, and what we've had IS a miserable drop-off, one hell of a lot bigger than we had through the Borges years.

Further, the o line might have progressed this much had Borges stayed. By almost any standard other than a two-yard-per-carry growth, the offense has been execrable this year.


November 10th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

So you are defending Borges by pointing to the lack of success by his replacement?  Thats not how it works. 

He was fired because our offense was a mess. 

Remember 6 pts against MSU? 

Remember 13 against Nebraska? 

Remember 14 points against Iowa (although you probably want to give Borges credit for the TD scored by Beyer)

Remember running for -47 yds against MSU or -28 (i think) against a terrible run D of Nebraska?  

Who cares if his offense could put up 63 vs Indiana or 59 vs Central Michigan.   We barely beat Akron and UCONN with this 32 pts per game offense (oh wait, they only scored 28 vs Akron and 24 vs. UCONN). 


November 10th, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

Nussmeier is doing a much better job than Borges.  This year, there has been steady improvement in OL play, in RB performance and in trying to make players do what they are capable of doing.  You cannot blame Nussmeier for Funchess suddenly dropping half the passes thrown to him, to Gardner's incredible regression (pushed by the fact that Funchess drops half the passes thrown to him) and the other hard to fathom things that have happened to the offense.  We have had a lot of skill position injuries, as well.

With Borges, what we saw was a relentless effort to fit a square peg into a round hole.  This year, for the most part, when things don't work for our offense, you can see what is causing the problem, and it is rarely the idiotic play design that we saw every other week with Borges.


November 10th, 2014 at 1:58 PM ^

Nussmeier wasn't hired to destroy the offense by jamming a square peg into a round hole.  Ostensibly he was hired to clean up and simplify the offense so that they could score points.  You know, like what Borges more less accomplished in 2011.

Remarkable, isn't it?  Borges took a system, and the type of players, to which he wasn't accustomed and managed to score more points during his first season than the creators of that system did in their best year.  So 32 points per game wasn't good enough, and the D was giving up late game losing drives, so you fire Borges and hire Nussmeier.  Here's the thing, the much "superior" Nussmeier should at least have matched Borges' worst year, right?  But far from matching it, he scuttled it and here you are defending that move.


November 10th, 2014 at 2:25 PM ^

Sir, Borges' success in 2011 was largely due to the meteoric rise of a once-in-a-generation talent:  Denard Robinson. 

I'm no SEC sycophant, but I'd have to agree with them on this point:  You cannot coach speed of the DRob sort.  It is conferred at birth.

The aforementioned once-in-a-generation talent was not recruited or cultivated by Borges.  It simply struck the NCAA like a lightning bolt. 

This, sir, is how "Borges took a system, and the type of players, to which he wasn't accustomed and managed to score more points during his first season than the creators of that system did in their best year." 

The lightning bolt simply struck Borges between the eyes, too. 

Vengeful Barbarian

November 10th, 2014 at 2:56 PM ^

"You cannot coach speed of the DRob sort.  It is conferred at birth."

So I guess all of the hard work that Denard put in, and all of the football coaching he's received to date have nothing to do with it? A lot of people are fast, but do not play football as well as Denardo Robinson.


Look, Borges took an NFL running back and managed to win a lot of games with him as quarterback in his first 2 years. Lets give him some credit where credit is due.


November 10th, 2014 at 2:28 PM ^

Right, he got to reap the benefits of the offense that Rodriguez built (returned nearly every starter, JR QB, etc.). He nearly blew it after the Iowa game, but realized what he had to do to make Michigan's offense work. Credit to him, though it may have cost us a division title. 

And then, every year afterward as it became more Borges and less Rodriguez, things got worse. And now, with pretty much all of Rodriguez's influence gone except for a probably injured, clearly broken Devin Gardner, the offense is terrible when made up of Borges/Hoke recruits. 



November 10th, 2014 at 2:39 PM ^

Does it make you feel like a real man to anonymously swear at people on a blog?  Are you one of those people with whom one cannot disagree without being sworn at?  There would be more civility on these boards if the conversations were face-to-face instead of thousands of miles apart and totally anonymous.  And your "Fucking please" does not make me believe you to be any less dim.  It merely confirms it.

You are making up numbers to help your case.  In his last 6 games as OC, the Borges run offense averaged 17.5 ppg, including the 41 put up against OSU (but not the 18 in 3 OTs v Northwestern; if you include those, he is up to 20.3).  He delivered back to back games where we had negative rushing yards.  In short, as the season wore on, except for the game against OSU, his offense was getting worse, week by week.  His O-line was looking worse, week by week.

This year, with Nussmeier, there is improvement as time goes on (except for Gardner), even with injuries and with the same O-line coach.  Because of what Nussmeier is doing in his first year (last year was Borges's third year), the offense, except for obvious regression (or perhaps injury) with Gardner, the play is improving.  The line play is getting steadily better.  The running game is getting steadily better.  If our receivers could hang onto the ball, even that side would be approaching decent.

Borges did okay his first year, but he did it with Denard Robinson and a team that RR had ready to blossom, at least on the offensive side of the ball.

Mr Miggle

November 10th, 2014 at 2:59 PM ^

He's also the QB coach. It's not a minor part of his job. He has more to do with our QB performance than he does with the RBs, WRs and OL. How would you rate his results as QB coach?

Gardner has regressed in more ways than one. More than can be explained by injury. His throwing ability is there, but his decision making is much worse. Nussmeer got trumpeted for having Gardner learn to read the MLB. It might just be that trying to change the way a 5th year senior plays presnap was more difficult than he realized. Either that, or he needed to do a lot more work on it. At the time it was used as an example of Borges' incompetence.…

Any improvements in Morris' development have not been evident. Surely, he should be progressing between his freshman and sophomore years. Bellomy isn't even able to enter the game when called upon. The Minnesota game was the worst job of handling QBs we've ever seen at Michigan. The list of blunders and questionable decisions in that game is a long one. We're not privy to all the details, but I find it hard not to ascribe much of the blame to Nussmeier.





November 10th, 2014 at 5:31 PM ^

of a team for specific games, at the cost of long-term development.  Nuss is going for long term development, perhaps at the cost of specific games.  The challenge that Hoke has failed at is succeeding during transition.  We probably won't know whether he would succeed at building a team over the long run, because he will probably be fired.  I am not sure if that is unfair, because several losses can be attributed to him and perceptions matter.  However, I do think Hoke is a good football coach and he will succeed somewhere.


November 10th, 2014 at 3:58 PM ^

really think Hoke had anything to do with firing Borges?  Like, when he sat through the entire Nussmeier press conference seething in restrained anger, you thought that was Hoke's stamp of approval to ditching Borges and hiring Nuss.  What more did you want from him, to storm out and yell "Damnit, this was not my idea!!"

Here, I will make the case for retaining Hoke.  If the option other than retaining Hoke is to hire  a guy that you kind of feel the same way about as you felt about Hoke when he was hired.  If you find yourself going "meh, I guess," Hoke should be retained.  He should not be fired just because, he should be fired if we have a tangible upgrade lined up. 

Or perhaps just Nussmeier should be fired because the defense looks pretty damn good.


November 10th, 2014 at 11:42 PM ^

It was a move for the long run of the program. Unfortunately, if a change was to be made at OC, it should be done in year two, or at a time when Hoke's job status wasn't imminently an issue. As Nussmeier said earlier this year, the offense is in its infancy. The decision to fire Borgess was initiated by Brandon. Hoke went along with it because as he stated at the time, whatever it takes for the best interests of Michigan football to succeed. All the TFL's,Gardner sacks, and inability to run the ball was totally unacceptable. I mean, DG got pulverized last year, particularly in the MSU game. One thing this current offense doesn't have that last year's team had was a healthy Funchess and Gallon. They really miss Gallon. He was a game breaker .

Jim Harbaugh

November 10th, 2014 at 11:36 AM ^

 Now-a-days everybody wanna talk like they got somethin' to say

But nothin' comes out when they move their lips

Just a bunch'a gibberish

And MF'ers act like they forgot about Jim..................