In support of Brady Hoke - three years and a positive direction

Submitted by Cold War on December 29th, 2013 at 9:40 PM

With the tide of negativity right now about Hoke and the program, hopefully we can allow a thread with the alternative point of view - the first three years of the Hoke era have been a success.

Hoke inherited a program that was fractured. Many alums, former coaches and players, boosters, high school coaches, and others felt alienated. In short order, Hoke restored many of these relationships.

The team was a wreck. In the last three games of the 2010 season, we had been embarrassed by Wisconsin, OSU, and Mississippi State by a combined score of 137-49.

Immediately, the program on the field was transformed into something we could take pride in by Hoke. The team went 11-2 with a win over OSU and a BCS bowl victory. We were praising the very coaches many demonize now. Hoke's first full recruiting class was top drawer  - a trend that has continued throughout his tenure.

But Hoke's initial success depended largely on the recruits of Lloyd Carr still populating the upper classes. As those players graduated and the remnants of Rich Rod's classes moved into the upper ranks, there was a growing void of talent at the top - exactly where the strength of the team should be in terms of quality and quantity. In this regard, we bottomed out in the 2013 season. The very upper classes were from the RichRod era. We can argue the merits  of RichRod as a coach, but what's left in those classes clearly wasn't what we need to compete at the  highest levels. In fact, given the void in the upper half of our roster, being competitive and bowl eligible is an accomplishment of sorts.

Depth takes time to build, and the elite classes we continue to bring in will provide that. The trend now will be upward, as the depleted classes graduate and are back filled with new players of the quality and type we need. Replacing the staff now would likely derail the direction toward the type of team to which we are accustomed.






December 29th, 2013 at 9:44 PM ^

You have to allow him another year to prove himself. If he doesn't do anything then he's canned. Both Dantonio and Belein took longer than 3 years to turn their programs around so you give him one more year.


December 29th, 2013 at 10:24 PM ^

I would have liked to see RR get one more year, but it was clear he lost the team. I felt that was the main difference between RR an Hoke. Though the team struggled the past two years, Hoke had not lost control.

But then I see the quotes from Frank Clark, and I just don't know.

I Wrote a 4 Wo…

December 29th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

I thought RichRod got the shaft (haha) by only getting 3 years, simply for the fact of not having your guys as established players. I'd now shit so many bricks if Hoke was fired after 3. I agree with the posters fearful of us becoming Notre Dame.

We're asking Hoke to build a house but bitching about him working on the foundation. What if we'd fired Beilein after 3? Give guys time.


December 30th, 2013 at 8:21 AM ^

We fire him without waiting to see if he's a good coach or not?

Truthfully. At this point. I'm afraid he's not. Here's why.

He's a hands off head coach who tells his guys what he's looking for but then lets them providethe product. What he should be responsible for as a head coach should be game management. Michigan's 2 minute offense is slower than most teams normal offense. There is a complete lack of tempo or urgency to this team in the worst of situations. Taking timeouts because 45 seconds isn't enough time to get set for a play in the middle of a drive? Not good. 

His game management is terrible and that's what he's there for. Since he's not calling the plays and not directing the style, he needs to do a better job on game managemnt and he just isn't. I like him. Think he may turn out ok. He recruits well and the players seem to like him.  But this team is just a disaster, not just from win-loss point of view. 

 He still needs another year or two and it's what RR should have gotten. RR's downfall was his refusal to let a DC come in and do the job and without his best friends. If he had been willing to hire a new DC and let him hire the assisstants and pick the scheme, I would have been good with RR staying. I suppose if Brandon would have allowed him $1M for a DC, we wouldn't have been having these conversations.



December 30th, 2013 at 1:03 AM ^

Belein took his team to the tournament in year 2 after a long drought and Dantonio's teams were competitive from his first year there on.  I guess it depends on how you define turnaround.  I guess around these parts some coaches deserve more than three years, nay, are entitled to more than three years while the previous coach is the source of everything evil despite the pinnacle of his talent ending up in the Sugar Bowl under a different staff, and that staff has proceeded to do worse each year.  I will be shocked if Michigan exceeds their win total next year since the head man is unwilling and unable to take responsibility and make the right changes.


December 30th, 2013 at 1:20 AM ^

You can make a case for the rest of your post, but to be fair, Hoke's teams so far have been just as competitive as Dantonio's were when he first started coaching at State. I wouldn't be too upset if Borges and Funk were gone, but I don't think it's fair to assess Hoke yet when comparing him to the beginning of Dantonio's tenure at MSU. Hoke and co. had to be doing something right to get RR recruits to the Sugar Bowl one year after being dismantled at the end of the previous season and the biggest reason for that was the complete turnaround of the defense.


December 30th, 2013 at 9:28 AM ^

Hoke and company were extremely lucky that year.  That was not a typical 11-2 team.  ND gave away the game. OSU did not have a head coach.  VT dominated us and only two lucky catches by Junior bailed us out.  We played well against Neb and should have won in Iowa. The schedule was a joke.

There was another thread on this board about the number of close wins and losses.  I think we take into account totally random wins (ND in 2011) and losses (PSU in 2013), this coaching staff's record is about 7-8 wins a year.  

So, let's not put too much weight on the record. Rather let's look at how each team improved or did not improve throughout the year.  In this regard, this is a below average coach staff.

King Douche Ornery

December 30th, 2013 at 11:00 AM ^

I also agree with the posts about Hoax's game management. It's terrible. This season was an abomination in terms of being able to manage the clock, use time outs wisely, get the correct plays in, correct alignments, etc. The whole staff should be held accountable for it, and they should all be put on notice.

I think, though, that I'm like most--torn. Should we move on, or try some continuity? There are so many on this staff that people are questioning right now--Borges, Wellman, Funk, Mattison, I'd throw in the new LB coach as well--that it seems as though the thing is lost.

I think you give Hoax five years; I think you give any guy five years unless it's a Gerry Faust thing. I'd say when the dust settles in my brain, after trying to assess these last two years--Hoax should get a full recruiting/development cycle of five years.

On a side note--the whole "BCS Bowl" thing is over rated. MSU should have gone that year, as they kicked Hoax's arse, but UM went because of "marketability"--that's not exactly something to hang your hat on. It's a sham. The BCS means nothing unless you are in the Biggie.


December 29th, 2013 at 10:09 PM ^

Within the context of the Big Ten, and even if you want to include 2011 (which really isn't fair, in my estimation), this isn't exactly a supported statement. We have, for the last few years, had the second or third ranked class in the conference consistently (including the very much in progress 2014 class). I suppose I am not sure exactly what you are referencing here. We can argue about coaching and development perhaps, but from most other perspectives, we have certainly been competitive and have attracted some top shelf talent. Regardless, and especially with 2012 and 2013, it's way too early to say what you're saying. You've no data, I suspect. 


December 30th, 2013 at 7:18 AM ^

A) few of them were very good freshmen, when comparing to other teams' excellent freshmen.

B) that the Heiniger Certainty Principle doesn't apply to these high-rated classes. After 4-5 years, the high-end of these '12-'13 classes should be better than serviceable against people of equal or lesser experience and weight room time. That should be like the minimum and not satisfying anyone that our 4-5* eventually play like 3*.

C) 12-24 starts or chances to start (which all of Hoke' s classes have now) is more than many teams' (teams with depth) juniors have. Got to base thoughts on some kind of data.


December 30th, 2013 at 11:39 AM ^

Speaking of "12-24 chances to start" is pretty silly.  This isn't basketball, where you can expect guys to step in and make an instant impact.  Four-star football recruits aren't guaranteed to be ready to go right away.  Their ranking is based more on a projection of where they'll be a couple of years down the line.  In any event, I would argue that we've had a fair number of underclassmen show promise this season.  

It's too early to evaluate those classes.  Saying that they haven't panned out because they aren't superstars as freshmen or sophomores is just venting.  You ultimately can't evaluate a class until it's finished.




His Dudeness

December 29th, 2013 at 9:51 PM ^

We should sign Hoke to a 10 year extension.
Awesome results. Awesome entertainment. Awesome experience. Awesome brand. Awesome curly fries. Awesome football.

King Douche Ornery

December 30th, 2013 at 11:04 AM ^

Ah, the old ANOMALY of Nick Saban. Nick might have had a few rough games at Alabama, but he did have a lil ol'd NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP under his belt and a very solid turnaround at MSU under his belt.

Sometimes the comparisons streccth the bounds of even Message Board Guy's desire to rati0nalize.


December 29th, 2013 at 9:52 PM ^

Right on. People on this board would fire folks after one bad game. Is anyone happy with 7-6? No, most of all being Hoke. We have a program full of young men we can all be proud of and a solid list of recruits coming into their own.

Absolute faith in Hoke.


December 30th, 2013 at 4:02 AM ^

Though everyone is quite understandably freaked out with the defense after the bowl, I think it's safe to say everyone on this board has at least an ounce of hope that the defensive staff knows what it's doing.

But the offense, on the other hand... that's where it gets messy. Has Gardner improved? No, not really. In fact it seemed like he did better at QB when he spent the last 3 months practicting as a WR. He was widly inconsistent this year and suffers from the same mistakes that Denard did. The common denominator there is coaching. Morris? The guy was an extremely highly touted recruit and has played one game... might wanna hold off on that one.

It's pretty clear there has been absolutely zero improvement in the running game so I won't even bother to cover that one.

As for the wide receivers, they've been good... but really, is that on the coaches? Let's go through the rounds... Gallon? The guy is a RR recruit and a spread-offense prototype. How is this supposed to make me feel good about Borges's offense going forward? Funchess? It took our staff a year and a half to realize the guy is a mini-Megatron, and even then, the overwhelming consensus on this board is that the guy has been underutilized.

What about the TEs? Jake Butt had a decent performance against OSU but again, it's very hard to say the guy is an awesome success story based on basically one game. Overall, the TEs were just as bad at blocking as the interior O-line this year.

Blue Mike

December 30th, 2013 at 8:00 AM ^

Why do we give the defensive staff a pass?  Who has gotten markedly better on defense over the past two years?  Frank Clark?  Countess?  Just because we like Mattison more than Borges doesn't mean the defense has been any better than the offense.

I'd say Gardner has improved from last year.  Could it be the inconsistency is born from Borges having an offseason to prepare Gardner, and so he is running more than just the bare bones of the offense like they gave Gardner last year?

If you don't think Gallon has improved from where he was in 2010, then you're really just seeing what you want to see.  Gallon couldn't even catch a punt to save his life, let alone get on the field as a receiver.  He just broke the record for most receiving yards in a season.  

There has been improvement from a lot of players individually on both sides of the ball, they just need to start playing as a team.  That comes from experience.