Space Coyote

February 4th, 2016 at 2:12 PM ^

They run a little power, but at least they are vast majority zone, which is what Funk was known for prior to being at Michigan.

Still, not sure it's a great hire for dying coaching staff.


February 4th, 2016 at 11:21 PM ^

"Still, not sure it's a great hire for dying coaching staff."

This is the self fulfilling prophecy of a dying coaching staff.  If the head coach is likely to get fired within 12 months, what quality assistant coach is going to willingly take that position?  

The only viable candidates for an assistant position on a dying coaching staff are individuals who have no better options.

On the other end of the spectrum, Harbaugh googles who is the DC for the best defense in the country, and with no known connection, hires him.  


February 4th, 2016 at 2:19 PM ^

Prior to Akron, Funk spent four seasons as the offensive line coach at Michigan (2011-14). The Wolverines had three 1,000 yard rushes during his tenure in Ann Arbor, including Denard Robinson and Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011, the Wolverines’ first pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season since 1975. The Wolverines ranked second in the Big Ten in rushing (221.8 yards per game) and third in total offense (404.7 ypg) in 2011. While at UM, Funk’s line ranked third in the conference in fewest sacks allowed in 2011, and helped the Wolverines average 383.1 yards and 29.8 points per game in 2012 and 373.5 yards and 32.2 points per game in 2013.

In Funk's first three seasons at Michigan, his lines produced the Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year. Center David Molk won the award in 2011, while Taylor Lewan earned the honor in 2012 and 2013. Molk, who in 2011 received consensus All-America recognition, also earned Rimington Trophy honors as the nation's top center, while Lewan became Michigan’s first two-time All-American since Jake Long in 2006 and 2007 while also being named a semifinalist for the Rotary-Lombardi Award.


February 4th, 2016 at 2:37 PM ^

Kinda feel bad for Funk. Brian has mentioned that he's attended Funk lectures and that Funk knows his stuff, so he's not a buffoon. He spent four years under an under qualified Brady Hoke, three of them working under mad scientist Al Borges. All of them were saddled with a system that their players were unsuited to run and perhaps that they were unsuited to coach.

But results matter, and the biggest on-field issue in the Hoke regime was the OL. And that's Funk.

And now he's hitching on with a Hazel regime that should have been fired already, in a MAC-level program competing against B1G level teams, with serious talent AND development problems. A downward spiral. Basically, no hope of a second year or a better opportunity or even the chance to field real players.

Worst of all worlds for everybody there.


February 4th, 2016 at 2:52 PM ^

Yeah, I'm not going to pretend that he bears no responsibility; I've stated before that the OL was Hoke's defining failure, and I stand by that, and Michigan recruited it pretty well. Funk obviously bears some blame. How much of it? We'll probably never know who bears the most responsibility, because the Funk-Borges combination was a symbiotic relationship of failure.

Maybe if Funk is consistently teaching zone blocking for predictable schemes for four years, the OL is functional. And maybe (almost certainly IME) Borges doesn't look quite so awful if he has an OL that can consistently block for conventional running plays.

They didn't get it done.

Given that it took Funk a year to find a job and that job is Purdue, it seems clear that other coaches have opinions about where responsibility lies.


February 4th, 2016 at 3:00 PM ^

I think his inability to get even acceptable play out of the line doomed Borges and Hoke, far more than the other way around. It was far more that the playcalling was extremely limited and there were large parts of the playbook they couldn't call because the OL couldn't hold up long enough to have a prayer of executing the play successfully. Or they needed to bring 8-9 guys to the LOS just to keep the QB from getting killed, leaving just a couple routes for the defense to blanket.

Hoke was essentially hands off, so it's not like he really affected what Funk was doing one way or the other. You can't really say it was Borges either since the OL was still awful even when Nuss came to town and ran the style Funk was used to. 

Not to mention the issues on OL were of the very basic technique variety that transcend offensive scheme. People have hitched a lot of weight to Brian saying he was impressed, or Kugler's dad letting his son play for him, but that's circumstantial at best. He had 4 years of on the field track record to evaluate his coaching directly and 3 of 4 can only be described as a failure. Also, there have been numerous comments from HS level coaching types re: practice videos where they were appauled by the sloppiness in technique that he didn't bother correcting. 


February 4th, 2016 at 3:01 PM ^

Haven't heard those comments, but I wouldn't be surprised.

I agree about the play calling. Borges wanted to include heavy doses of plausible play-action, and in games of any significance it just wasn't possible. I thought he needed to be fired, but it seemed clear to me even at the time that there wasn't much that would work if you couldn't block. And Michigan couldn't.

My sympathy for Funk is not to say that I think he deserves a bigger job.

Space Coyote

February 4th, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

They aren't buffoons. So excuse me if I don't put much credence into "guy who never played or coached football was impressed by how much guy who coached football for 20 years knew".

A lot of people around here do act like these guys are buffoons, and that they know better. It is exceedingly rare that anyone on here knows more than any of the coaches on any of Michigan's staffs know. That absolutely includes me. But that's not the issue, the issue is how they are relative to their counterparts, and that's where I think Funk failed.

Now, I think inexperience on the line did hurt Funk. I don't believe Molk or Lewan progressed a ton under Funk - they were already good - but they did improve a bit. So did other guys. I think Funk's biggest issue was teaching the fundamentals, and that showed. He didn't coach in a way to get across to inexperienced guys. He couldn't get guys from a 0 or a 3 to a 5. But he could get a guy from a 8 to a 9. When Michigan got really inexperienced on the OL, he didn't communicate effectively with them, and the OL failed.

So I agree with the poster above me, it was far less Hoke or Borges failing Funk than the other way around. Now, it's Hoke's fault he stuck with him, but the OL play was absolutely an issue first and foremost, and while youth and inexperience is a legit excuse, it only goes so far (and unfortunately for Funk, not far enough).

rob f

February 5th, 2016 at 2:00 AM ^

of Purdue recruiting.  Fact is, though, Purdue's Scout 2016 recruiting class ranked 83rd in the country among 129 'Division I' teams,  last in the B1G and a full 25 spots lower than the MAC's Western Michigan, which finished in the 48th spot.  Things are so bad for Purdue that even Miami (NNTM) ranked a spot higher than the Boilers.  

With little of no hope of things turning around in time for Hazell to save his own job, it would be wise of Funk to rent rather than buy in West Lafayette