The Snowflake Thread: Dave Brandon

Submitted by htownwolverine on November 9th, 2013 at 7:03 PM
Many of us, myself included, think Dave has a lot of blame in this debacle of a coaching staff. Is he going to do what needs to be done if his coach won't at year end?
Am I off base?
Thoughts, suggestions?


snarling wolverine

November 9th, 2013 at 7:57 PM ^

He turned around two programs.   He's not a bad coach because of this one game/season.  But he needs to make changes.

I would definitely prefer a guy who had success as a HC, even at a smaller school, over an assistant with no experience.  Being a HC is very different, and it's hard to tell how a guy will make that transition.  Muschamp may have been a good DC but he doesn't seem too hot as a HC.

snarling wolverine

November 9th, 2013 at 9:13 PM ^

Not sure what your confusion is.  BSU went 2-9 in his second year - they were horrible.  After that they got better each year.  They went 5-7 (5-3 in conference) in 2006, 7-6 in 2007 and 12-1 in 2008.   How is that not a turnaround?  

At SDSU, he inherited a 2-10 team, went 4-8 in year one and 9-4 in year two.  More than quadrupling the win total in two years is a pretty good turnaround.

I'm as upset about the game as anyone else, but let's keep a level head.  Hoke was not a bad hire, and he's not incapable of succeeding here.  He may need to follow the Beilein playbook of re-evaluating his assistants and letting a few go, though.




November 11th, 2013 at 3:22 AM ^

2000 5-6 (Coached by Bill Lynch)

2001 6-6 (Coached by Bill Lynch)

2002 6-6 (Coached by Bill Lynch)

2003 4-8 (Coached by Brady Hoke)

2004 2-9 (Coached by Brady Hoke)

2005 4-7 (Coached by Brady Hoke)

2006 5-7 (Coached by Brady Hoke)

2007 7-6 (Coached by Brady Hoke)

He inherited a .500 team from Bill Lynch.  For the next four years, Hoke could not get them to .500.  In his fifth year, he went 7-6.  He had one fluke season in his sixth year.  

If, after the 7 win 2010 Michigan season under RR, Hoke had gone 4-8, 2-10, 4-8, 5-7, and 8-5 in five seasons at Michigan, would you consider that a "turnaround"?  I do not think that the term "turnaround" can apply to what happened at Ball State under Hoke.    

snarling wolverine

November 9th, 2013 at 9:15 PM ^

Hoke's initial salary was just over $2M.  Harbaugh is making $7M a season.  And there is no particular reason to believe Harbaugh would have come here even if we paid $7M a year - his wife reportedly didn't want to leave California.




November 9th, 2013 at 11:26 PM ^

I think Brandon still offered him the job and Harbaugh turned him down. 

No facts to back that up, just a feeling from the way things went down at the time and comments made from people around the stiuation.  I think Harbaugh was at least in the loop on the decision and told Brandon how much money it was going to take and Brandon balked (rightfully so--he couldn't possibly pay that much).

snarling wolverine

November 9th, 2013 at 7:25 PM ^

Calm down.  Hoke turned around two programs before he got here.  There were a hell of a lot of worse options.  There were people advocating Mike DeBord and Ron English, or assistants with zero experience.  

BTW, "The guy at Stanford," David Shaw, went there.  Good luck prying him from his alma mater.  And Holgerson has a career record of 21-14, four games worse than Hoke.  


November 9th, 2013 at 8:41 PM ^

Let's be fair: there was no reason for him to make changes before this year.  It's not like we could know in advance that we were going to have back-to-back negative rush yard games in November 2013.

Hoke should make changes after this season.  I think he will.  I'm not sure why people assume otherwise.  My understanding is that he let a lot of his original BSU assistants go after he struggled out of the gate.



November 9th, 2013 at 7:26 PM ^

This comment is typical of the vacuous, empty-minded reasoning frequently found in complaints about Brandon.

The reasoning goes like this: Brandon is making decisions that make some money, and he has made some decisions that we don't like. He's a businessman--so he's probably just like those evil, soulless CEOs I see in movies. He hates regular fans like me and only cares about the almighty dollar. So naturally he won't do anything to improve the football program, which is what I care most about.

This reasoning is silly. Here's why:

1. DB is indeed concerned about money. That's a big part of his job in running the athletic department. A big reason for this, though, is because revenues fund the programs and proper use of them (say, a nice renovation of Crisler Center) leads to success on the playing field. He's also willing (to a fault, I don't like a lot of the decisions either) to think outside the box to raise revenues and keep the athletic department in the black.

2. A financially successful athletic department is an athletic department that is prepared for an uncertain future in college athletics, where stipends or even salaries for players may become a new reality.

3. The football team is the engine that drives the money machine. If it starts seriously flailing, people stop buying tickets, corporations stop investing in suites, donations go down, and advertising takes a hit.

4. The landscape of football is changing rapidly. Pictures of pathetic crowds in usually robust places like Florida were going viral on twitter this morning. There is a lot of talk on this board and in other places that attendance could be a serious issue with next year's lousy home schedule, even if the team is good.

5. For this reason, anticipating serious competitive trouble is a priority. I believe that this was the driving reason in DB's firing of RR; not just that the program was losing it, but that with the renovation of the stadium almost complete, Michigan needed to turn things around in a hurry.

6. Brandon heard the boos. He sees what's going on. He knows that money produces success on the field, and success on the field produces money. He knows that people have serious doubts about the football team next year. And he must surely know that season ticket sales (and their accompanying donations) could take a serious hit next year.

Conclusion: Brandon will not let the program disintegrate just because today's game is sold out. He is, surely, looking closely at the quality of the product. And, for financial reasons as much as anything, he will be very interested in the quality of Hoke's staff.

Expect changes, unless there's a major turnaround in the next two weeks.


November 9th, 2013 at 7:46 PM ^

"Expect changes, unless there's a major turnaround in the next two weeks."

Pretty much this. I've had several conversations with people in the last couple weeks about this staff's openness to changes, but I think we do sometimes forget that who ultimately reads / signs evaluations in the department. I still believe that, if changes occurs, they might be a little more specific and strategic than Borges-level change. I think that's probably more likely with the dpeartment as it is. 

General observation RE: this thread - it isn't really all that good overall. We'll see about this one. 



November 9th, 2013 at 8:11 PM ^

Brandon may not make moves quickly,There are some things which may make him cautious: 1. buyout clauses 2. if the replacements for the fired coaches are also bad it makes Brandon look even more incompetant. Right now the blame is on Hoke, the more Brandon hires or intervenes, the more the blame can shift to him. Brandon wants to fix this marriage-  not get a divorce. I expect the main actors will still be in place next year- Brandon can deflect criticism that he is giving Hoke a fair chance (Hoke only has 2 recruit classes on the field).


November 10th, 2013 at 12:04 AM ^

Sort of. Hoke has already achieved a whole lot more than RR ever did--we will probably lose to both MSU and OSU this season, but he has beaten them and that is important. And he has taken Michigan to a BCS bowl game and won it. And, unlike RichRod, he is a lights-out recruiter who even if he loses some prizes at the end of this recruiting push will still draw a solid class. 

In fact, certain parts of the team have shown growth. The defense is improving, more help is on the way, and the offense has turned some so-so recruits into extremely capable receivers, a position group I was worried about. 

The problem is the offensive line, and the offensive philosophy that is around it. Fix the line, reboot the philosophy, and Michigan's talented skill players will start really humming, won't they? We know they can, we've seen it happen. So why not give Hoke a chance to do that? Contrast this with GERG's defense that wasn't ever competent and, with an exception or two, appeared to have few competent players and few players coming that would improve it.

Hoke deserves a chance to right the ship with the right OC.



November 10th, 2013 at 1:49 AM ^

What Hoke has acomplished, in my view, is largely a result of what RR did in terms of turning around the team after inheriting a smoking crater. If RR had been allowed to coach in 2011, he would have done the things you cite Hoke for. (I think he would have beaten MSU that year since he didn't feel the need to prove he could beat them by passing in a wind storm).

In any case, it would be suicidal to fire Hoke now. After the way UM treated Rodriguez (waiting to fire him until it was too late for him to land another job and refusing to give him a bowl ring), I think it will be extremely difficult to find a good replacement. I think we were all surprised at how difficult it was to fill the position the last two times. Would you have guessed that someone like Schianno would turn us down?

We're stuck with Hoke. If Brandon fired him now it would be time to sing "We are Notre Dame."


November 9th, 2013 at 10:05 PM ^

I believe that this was the driving reason in DB's firing of RR; not just that the program was losing it, but that with the renovation of the stadium almost complete, Michigan needed to turn things around in a hurry.

This is interesting.  I agree with most of what you're saying but if DB was interested in turning things around in a hurry the hiring of Hoke with an entirely new system is questionable.  That was all about perception - he just completely through RR under the bus and said "look, here is a totally different guy, a guy like us, now we're back to being Michigan".

Things looked great after year one at 11-2 and a bowl win.  Now if you're playing devil's advocate you suggest that maybe that was with RR's guys?  I don't necessarily buy that but you sure have a major PR problem as of today and this is going to be a very tense week.


November 10th, 2013 at 12:09 AM ^

The PR is bad, no question. It makes things worse than they actually are--the fact is, get the right coaching and the existing recruits coming in and the OL will improve significantly over the next few years. 

I think Brandon justifiably felt that the football team was not going to improve significantly under RR. Maybe he could get a new DC and see that side improve a bit, but fan confidence was already shaken and if RR had produced anything other than the type of season Hoke did produce (unlikely with that defense) he would either have to fire him anyway or commit the program to mediocrity until RR stunk enough to fire. 

I don't think things are the same kind of train wreck now. Fans are pretty upset, but that's because we suppress bad memories and live in the now, and the now is kind of depressing. Get the right OC and the right OL coach in, though, and September will dawn with real promise of improvement in key areas of weakness and the possibility of actually fielding a shut-down defense on the other side of the ball. And our current angst will fade.