Non-MGoBlog Perception of Hoke / Michigan

Submitted by michgoblue on September 9th, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Reading this blog, one can get a skewed sense of how (1) more casual Michigan fans, and (2) college football fans, generally, perceive our program.  Sure, we all know about the great recruiting classes brought in, the youth of the O-Line, the "empty cupboard" that both RR and Hoke inherited, but sometimes we forget that non-MGoBlog fans don't know any of this.  I relate below two recent interactions that I have had in the past 24 hours:

1.  The first was at a neighborhood party (live in suburban NY), at which there were a good number of college football fans, including 5-6 who root for other Big Ten teams, as well as one other Michigan fan.  When the discussion drifted to college football, the comments about Hoke / Michigan were somewhat eye-opening (paraghrased below despite use of quotation marks):

"you guys got smoked again - have you guys beaten anyone good since Lloyd Carr retired"

"saw your coach on sportscenter - he looked totally lost and confused.  What's his deal?  Why did they hire that guy?"

"I remember when Michigan was really good - they really have sucked for a while now"

"seems like you guys get worse every year."

"can't you guys find a decent coach?  Between Richrod and this buffoon, you guys pick shitty coaches."

2.  At a deposition yesterday (I am a lawyer), there were four lawyers.  Aside from me, there was a Va Tech fan, an ND fan and a Wisconsin fan.  At lunch, we were discussing the demise of the Big Ten and the Va Tech fan was going off about how our coach comes off as clueless and over his head.  ND guy, who is actually a decent guy, agreed and was saying how shocked he and his Domer friends were at how poorly Michigan played.  He was saying that the consensus amongst ND fans was that given our talent, they expected more.  They were particularly shocked at how minimally we used to Funch.  Wisco guy agreed about Hoke, but chalked up the Michigan decline to the general decline of the conference and RichRod allowing State to raid to in-state talent in from 2008-2010.

Obviously, we here are way more informed about our team than these more casual / non-Michigan fans.  But, sometimes it is easy to lose the forest for the trees.  So, while all of us can probably recite the depth chart by heart, and know all of the reasons for optimism / pessimism, perhaps we are missing the 10,000 foot view of these fans, which is that Michigan is in a real decline and our coach is perceived to be way over his head. 

Going forward, if we don't start to win, I think that Brandon has to take into account the real decline in the perception of Michigan in the cfb world.  Even if Hoke is a great guy and the excuses are valid (I know, strong if w/r/t excuses), if we don't start to win this year, Brandon may have to consider making a change to prevent the slide in public perception of Michigan.




September 9th, 2014 at 4:04 PM ^

- Schlissel's small-school Ivy leauge ivroy tower background
- Brandon's brash big-company CEO approach
- Schlissel's comments about athletics not being a priority, not part of the actual mission of UM
- Brandon's need to be the Alpha dog
- various other commnets both have made.
I'm just piecing things together.  They have two very different views on what the AD of a top academic university should be.  Who knows, they could become fast friends.  But I would not put money on it.


September 9th, 2014 at 4:36 PM ^

Aside from the implied political differences between the two if Schlissel is so focued on the academic mission of UM why would he meddle in the Athletic realm?  So long as the Athletic Department cuts the check to the administration building each year what does he care about how DB runs south campus?  If you fire somebody then you are accountable for the person you hire to replace them and their performance.  Advice DB could have used circa Jan 2011.


September 10th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

Nobody has rights to donors so how can they be poached? 


Any AD worth his salt will look a list of people who have donated to the University (in any capacity) and shoot them an email or phone call inquiring if they are interested in donating to the athletic department.  And those who donated more might get a personal contact from the AD him/herself or invited to join him in the booth for a game.


It should be the same way with the President for academic donations.  Compile a list of all donors (athletic included) and get in touch to see if they have ever considered donating to academics or endowing a scholarship for [insert group here] students.  Those who have donated more might get a personal tour of research facilities or labs etc. to see the work being done first hand.


Drawing lines in the sand about donors seems petty to me.  


September 11th, 2014 at 8:19 AM ^

Story is that the AD has actually talked people into giving money they were going to give to the academic side to the AD INSTEAD.


Basically - they knew the donor was only going to donate $X, they were planning on donating it to academics, and athletics talked them into giving the whole donation to athletics - thus depriving academics of the money.


Sure, they have no right to it - but the academic side is more powerful.


September 9th, 2014 at 4:08 PM ^

I've heard from someone closer to the situation than I, that Mark Schlissel doesn't care about sports at all and "probably doesn't know the difference between football and baseball". The speculation on that person's part is that the regents will want Brandon out so that they can have more control over the AD, although he didn't give any reasoning and that part may be unfounded.

I have also heard that when Brandon forces extra donations from the alumni, those donations are coming out of what would normally be donated to the school. So, I could see an academic like Schlissel not being too fond of that.


September 9th, 2014 at 4:39 PM ^

That is my take on it too and frankly I think it makes more sense than Ivy Leaguer vs CEO.  Schlissel doesn't care about sports. 

Now if the regents want more control that could be troubling for DB.  He was a regent from 1998-2006 so I imagine any allies he had on the Board of Regents are probably gone. 

Ben v2

September 9th, 2014 at 8:10 PM ^

...Imagine Ron English interviewing with Mark Schlissel.

For all the Dave Brandon critics out there, Lloyd Carr may be a candidate to replace him.  Lloyd can spin academia with Schlissel, and he has plenty of relationships with the regents and deep pocket alums.  Most importantly, he may be seen as a less heavy-handed executive than DB when it comes to revenue and control.

Monocle Smile

September 9th, 2014 at 3:04 PM ^

Even in 2011, most people I knew outside the Michigan base thought Hoke was laughable. Of course, you could just say "scoreboard" then and even most of 2012, but now it's a bit grating. I haven't encountered a single non-Michigan fan who thinks highly of Hoke, and I've been out of Michigan for a year and a half.


September 9th, 2014 at 3:08 PM ^

Outside of our rivals, I haven't heard too much negative about Hoke. I'm pretty active on Reddit's college football sub-reddit which has fans from every program, and most people are generally positive. There's definitely more of the "admire him as a person" than the "he's a X's and O's guru" type of views, but just the same, it's not like people don't respect him.


September 9th, 2014 at 3:37 PM ^

"There's definitely more of the "admire him as a person" than the "he's a X's and O's guru" type of views, but just the same, it's not like people don't respect him."

EXACTLY. That's the problem, they're talking about him the way women talk about guys they would never actually date. That's what people are saying about Hoke, he's a "nice guy" but if you'd ask any of them if they'd hire him for their program, it'd be a loud HELL NO. 


"Admire him as a person" is the equivalent of saying that the UM program has a "nice personality". We're not going to reach the top with nice guys who arent good coaches. 


September 9th, 2014 at 3:10 PM ^

I hear a lot of people say how they like Hoke as a person -- comes across as down to earth and really invested in the players he oversees -- but the consensus almost to a person is that, despite his likeability, he has absolutely no clue what he is doing. 

 I think part of this is the old George W. Bush syndrome. Lots of people didn't like him because of the way he talked i.e. perceived to be either arrogant or stupid or both. I am not making a judgement on Hoke or ex-President Bush, but if perception is reality...

Here's hoping this staff can get their shit figured out.


September 10th, 2014 at 6:13 AM ^

next to Bush, besides the way Bush talked didn't bother me. It was the way I payed 186,000 to buy my house and after he left office it was worth 95,000. What the hell do I care that he sounded like a fifth grader when he talked. Also Brady has that "umitis" he doesn,t have a poor vocabulary, he just says um on average at least after every fifth word from my count.


September 10th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

To SalingerUofMfan: I think a better comparison would have been to a certain #48. Gerald Ford played football, earned a degree from Michigan, and became President of the United States. However, due to the infamous slip on the airplane steps he was portrayed as a bufoon to the point people started to believe it. 


September 9th, 2014 at 8:19 PM ^

David Brandon knew that the personnel was in place for a glorious season in 2011.  He fired Rich Rod because he knew it would be a lot tougher to fire him and bring in "his guy" if Rich Rod was allowed to coach his senior class like Hoke is being allowed to do.  He also knew that Michigan would have enough horses in 2011 to give "his" coach a great start.  

The only thing he didn't anticipate was that everyone in the coaching profession saw how Rich Rod was treated and nobody with legitimate options wanted to come to Ann Arbor and work for sucn an asshole.

Dave Brandon may say he's concerned about enhancing the Michigan "brand," but the only brand he cares about is his own.  

In other words, as long as he stays, we are fucked.


September 9th, 2014 at 3:25 PM ^

I attended UM during the era of the sweatshirt, acid washed jeans, Vuarnet t-shirts, shoulderpads and eggshell  round nerd glasses, from 86-90 and law school from 91-94 and thus consumed some serious glory years  for both UM bbal and basketball, including bball national championships, endless Big Ten titles, and beautiful win ratios vs Ohio.  We were always ranked top 5 in football and frequently #1.  

They say frustration = expecation/reality, well for those of us who were there back then, spoiled is really the only word for it.  The expectation was set as far higher than it should ever be, because we were/are "Michigan" and really just flat out thought we were better than everyone else around us both athletically and academically.

Humility is good for circulation.  We've dined on it now for 8 years.  I'm personally done learning my lesson, and with a healthier, more respectful attitude toward the competition, and MIchigan's place in it, it's not too much to ask that by year 4 of this coach's  regime we not get blown out 31-0 by Notre Dame.  Get me to 9-3 with winning 2 out of 3 vs MSU and 1 out of 3 vs Ohio and I'll be OK for a while.  Hoke needs to win one of those two games, period.


September 9th, 2014 at 4:31 PM ^

I really dont get this attitude. I just dont. I grew up watching Michigan have the talent to win a national title every year and think "okay this is the year" and we'd lose a couple games to take us out of national title contention but we'd share the big ten title and go play in the citrus bowl. Then it became losing to Tressel every year and going to a shitty bowl while his teams played in the national title game.

I just dont get it. Why people think the second most profitable (for now) football program in the country is only limited to 9-3 I just don't get. When will we hire en elite coach that will take us to similar heights as OSU, USC, Oklahoma etc? When will we get a coach that gets the most out of his players?

You've all heard the former Wisconsin player's confession: "OSU and Michigan both have lots of all americans, but OSU guys just hit you harder."