Wanting to be here - Hoke vs. RR.

Submitted by bronxblue on January 13th, 2011 at 11:29 AM

This actually spawned from a response to one of the earlier posts, but I wanted to give it a little more space to breathe.  Up front, I'm an RR supporter who felt he was shafted, but I'm cautiously optimistic about Hoke being a decent guy down the line.  Also, I will admit to disagreeing with people who attacked RR in years past, though only if their comments lacked substance and were merely seeking a reaction.

For all the people complaining about how Brian's take is going to "alienate" visitors to this site because of his negativity toward the Hoke signing, I counter that the blind devotion I'm seeing about Hoke from everyone is turning me off a bit.  The guy was a meh choice that may very well work out, but saying all this "but he loves UM" crap doesn't hide the fact that he is a risky hire and brings into question Brandon's handling of this situation.

And for all the people trumpetting Hoke wanting to be here as some major point in his favor, do you honestly think RR didn't want to be here as well?  The guy has been busting his ass for 3 years here under near-constant scrutiny from local and national media personalities, from a faction of the fanbase that hated him from the moment he was hired, and who had to revamp a team that was dangerously shallow in depth at various positions.  He suffered through the same losing streaks everyone else did, and this is from a guy who won over 100 CFB before he came to UM.  He recruited reasonably well, brought an innovative offense to the school, groomed the B1G offensive POY, and honestly was making strides on offense.  Sure his defenses sucked and he made some dumb mistakes, but every coach in America has his flaws, and RR just kept plugging along and tried to fix them.  Whether or not you agree with the measures he took to address them, the guy is a good coach and was doing the best he could.

He wanted to be here as much as anyone, but Brandon decided he needed to go so the change was made.  He didn't leave UM - UM kicked him out.  So stop it with the argument that RR didn't care about being here - I'm certain he wanted it to work out, and is probably pretty beat up that it didn't.  He deserved better than this, even if it meant being let go weeks ago. 

As for Hoke, I'm very happy that he is excited to be here - after Harbaugh and Miles thumbed their noses at the school, it is reassuring to know that somebody out there wanted to coach this team.  But wanting something really, really bad doesn't mean this was a great hire on paper, or promises future success down the line.  When RR was hired, people questioned whether or not a guy with a somewhat-limited coaching resume at smaller schools (and yes, people crapped on the BE since it was created) could step in and succeed at a competitive school like UM in the B1G.  But now with Hoke, a guy with even less experience and a less impressive record at "worse" programs than RR, any comments about how this is a risky choice are labelled as flippant and caustic because the guy really cares about the school and "since he's the head coach, you have to support him."  It is this hypocrisy that drives me crazy, even if it is human nature (and something I'm as guilty of as anyone else).

Listen, there are many reasons to be happy with Hoke:  the guy has coached in the B1G before, he seems more offensively adventurous compared to other Carr disciples, his most recent track record shows a coach on the rise (even though the Ball St. season was definitely a fluke), he sounds like a good recruiter who has connections in talent-rich California, and he will bring a focus on defense that has been missing the past few years.  But implicitly devaluaing RR's dedication by saying Hoke is dedicated to the program isn't fair to either them or the discourse that needs to happen.



January 13th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

I think they both wanted to be here. RR left his alma mater for Michigan. Hoke obviously does too though.

You're right about not making a difference with future success, but it's nice to know people want this job just because, in the words of our new coach "THIS IS MICHIGAN."


January 13th, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

I agree with most of the OP.  I too was a RR man, but I don't take the "Hoke loves UM" as a slam against RR.  I think RR loved UM and worked his ass off to make it work.

Hoke's love for UM isn't in itself going to make him a success, but it can't hurt.  And it is nice to know that we got a coach that wants to be here.  I'm all in.

Steve Lorenz

January 13th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

The reason it's such a risky hire is because we've essentially become prisoners of our own ways. If Hoke fails, we'll struggle to find somebody outside of the program because of the way RR was treated and we will therefore have to stay within the program again until things get turned around. 


January 13th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

I am not so sure of how much a struggle it will be for the right person being paid the right amount of money.  If nothing else, you are playing before the largest crowd in America at a great and storied academic institution.

As far as RR goes, he left WVU because he was unhappy with the way he and his assistants had been treated, broken promises, etc.  It wasn't just the lure of Michigan that was why he was interested in the job.

At this juncture, Hoke is the man.  I hope to hell he succeeds beyond all expectations.  After watching the presser, I became a fan.  It was no accident that a few rather well known NFL players are so high on the hire.

Go Blue!


January 13th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

Every possible candidate UM considered carried a risk factor. JH couldve bolted for the nfl after 1 year here. LM could have brought more NCAA violations/greyshirting. Hoke brings a mediocre record along w/ not being a big name coach. I think when you look and assess risk, you look and assess opportunity as well. Aquaman says this was a high risk hire. Others will look and say its low risk, but the opportunity/reward of a NC (national program) might be a little bit lower.

Brings to mind George Constanza's studies of risk management.


January 13th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

Hiring Brady Hoke because you think he's the best guy you can get is fine (especially if you think he is a stronger option than his record indicates).  The problem is that Brandon appears to only to have considered three guys who have spent a few years in Ann Arbor rather than, you know, conduct the national coaching search he promised he would.  When you limit the applicant pool like that you are fucking up the process, no matter the end results.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:03 PM ^

... for that. A national search, please. The only thing that made it national was that the former M coaches lived in different states. As far as all the recommendations go, what was the question. Was it, who would you like as coach or what former M coach would you like as coach? I'm guessing #2. It's not Brady Hoke's fault at all but the process was a total joke!


January 13th, 2011 at 12:31 PM ^

Hoke seems like a great guy and I'm hoping for the best even though there are plenty of reasons to remain skeptical.  Luckily for him I think he's set up for immediate success and that should silence the noise for at least a year or two.

On the other hand, if Dave Brandon were to get eaten by dinosaurs I would just laugh.  I'm looking at you, Michigan dinosaur DNA scientists.


January 13th, 2011 at 11:35 AM ^

I supported RR as much as anyone when he was here, but its time to move on. I'm getting sick of people pulling yea Hoke said/did yada yada but so did RR so Hoke isn't any better. RR was a good guy but it didn't work out, the days of explaining reasons for his failures and how he was mistreated need to end. Hoke is our coach now and hopefully for another 15 years. Let's embrace him as much as we can. What's really wrong with finding positives in the guy as much as we can? 


January 13th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

I disagree - the amount of gushing, salute the block M flag, he is so wonderful-ness that is out there is sickening.

He's a risk hire. He may recruit better in the Midwest and Cali. Without the right set assistants he probably won't in Florida.

I support the team, and Brady Hoke - but I am not fawning at his feet. He has to prove himself, just like the last guy, and the guy before that.

That said, I think the "he want's to be here" comments may be more aimed at Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

You assume everyone supporting Hoke is "fawning at his feet." It's not any better than saying Brian can't have any negative opinions about the situation. They're both extreme positions, and I disllike both of them.

Brian has a right to write his feelings, and he has some facts to supports his negative conclusions (tho I mentioned in another thread that maybe he should tone it down a little, because he seems to be dwelling waaaay more on the negative and ignoring/dismissing the positive). 

I think anyone supporting Hoke is more coming from the stance of "well, he's our guy now, I'm no expert on coaching, so I will show my support" If it is truly fawning at his feet, then those of our fanbase are delusional. But that's not the impression that I get out of it.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:31 PM ^

I am more "you have to earn it" in my approach to support than "I am ready to run through a brick wall" when a new coach says "I want to be here". Everybody approaches things differently.

But the "brick wall" types who want everyone to be (for lack of a milder term) blind followers, and cannot accept that many of us have a dissenting view [that we haven't been able to voice unless we had an iPhone for the past week], or at least a critical view bothers me. Especially since I suspect many were vehemently anti Rich Rod previously.

What disgusts me more (but was more expected), are the viewpoints in the press. Every article is "some may not agree, but this is wonderful". Not one critical opinion in line with the thinking of many (that this is an unproven, high risk hire from the good-ole-boy network).


January 13th, 2011 at 7:51 PM ^

Considering Brandon has basically said Hoke will be bringing us back to Michigan football, that means he will be completely changing the offense and defense. If a coach with way more wins, more bowl wins, a higher winning percentage, more BCS bowls, More BCS bow wins, etc....can't succeed at changing everything about the football team, what makes you think Hoke can? That is why it is more of a risk.

Bando Calrissian

January 13th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Why do we have to compare RR and BH?  Why not just be a little more optimistic based on the excellent job Brady Hoke did yesterday in almost every respect?  

I don't care whether or not RR really wanted to be here or not, because he's not here anymore.  I'm excited about BH's enthusiasm for Michigan, his enthusiasm for this job, and I'm interested to see how he rises to the challenge.

MI Expat NY

January 13th, 2011 at 11:39 AM ^

I'm fine with this sentiment, generally.  But everyone, please stop using yesterday as an example of why Hoke will succeed.  His passion for Michigan and his desire to be here aren't going to win football games.  His coaching and recruiting ability will.  I hope he works out, and he has my support, but all this talk of loving him because of how great he did yesterday just makes us look foolish.  


January 13th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

I'm sorry if I'm not deeply moved by what he said at the press conference. The presser is all about PR, not about what is going to happen on the field. He wants to be here, great. Rich Rodriguez wanted to be here too. As previous posters have said, didn't he prove that at the banquet. The difference is Hoke is wanted here and Rich wasn't. I don't care how many times he bangs the podium or refers to Ohio State or talks about his love for M. What I do care about is what happens on Signing Day and what happens come September.   


January 13th, 2011 at 12:07 PM ^

is all we have with coach Hoke. So if coach Hoke's passion for Michigan and his desire to be here are any indication of his coaching and recruiting ability.  Then Im very optimistic about his future here. Of course, this based only on the time we have had with him, which is yesterday. Go Blue.


January 13th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

I agree that Hoke has been solid in press situations, but all of this "enthusiasm" stuff sounds like what coaches and scouts define as "intangibles" when they are trying to explain away some very real flaws.  Yes, sometimes intangibles lead to Drew Brees and Tom Brady, but sometimes they also point to Vince Young (in the pros) or Matt Leinart (again, in the pros).  I reserve judgment on the hire until I see what he does on the field and on the recruiting trail.

Bando Calrissian

January 13th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

Well of course they're intangibles.

But let's look at the two big "tangibles," the things that Brian was railing on before Hoke was even on the plane to Ann Arbor.

-Denard-will-transfer meme.  Busted.

-Won't adjust to personnel.  Busted.

At what point do we stop complaining about intangibles and acknowledge the tangibles seem to be pointing in the right direction?

MI Expat NY

January 13th, 2011 at 12:04 PM ^

What exactly has been shown that leads you to believe an offense will be in place to utilize Denard's skill set?  Hoke, very recently, professed hatred of the scheme Denard excelled in and then brought in an OC that has never utilized a mobile quarterback.  Keeping Denard and then turning him into a bad pro-style QB isn't exactly adjusting to personnel, and that's still a realistic outcome.  

I will say that Borges does seem at least flexible in style, so hopefully he can utilize Denard's special abilities.  But there's a long way to go in showing that our offense next year will be close to what would have been expected in a spread scheme similar to what we've been running. 


January 13th, 2011 at 12:14 PM ^

He did say he doesn't like the spread. What's to say he can't adopt a west coast type offense to Denards skills? I think he would do fine under center with alot of roll out and naked boot leg type pass plays. If you watch the SDSU films you will see alot of 3 wide shotgun formations. Being the athlete Denard is I don't think he will have a hard time learning how to take a 5 step drop from under center, if you watch him from this year it never seemed like he was uncomfortable in the pocket. The 49ers did a great job using Steve Youngs ability without running the option. I don't see why people seem to think running the QB iso and zone read are the only way to utilize Denards skills. Yea he was great at running both plays, but he can be great doing other things with his speed to.

MI Expat NY

January 13th, 2011 at 12:29 PM ^

I'm not saying it's the only way to utilize Denard.  I'm just using the offense that he excelled in as a baseline.  In all likelihood, the closest he could get to replicating what we expected to be a monster junior year would be in a spread based rushing attack.  

Denard's passing stats were bloated because he served as his own play action.  That's not easy to incorporate into a system.  For Denard to have as effective of a year as a passer out of a west coast style offense, he's going to have to improve significantly.  Otherwise, he's going to be more like Tyrod Taylor as a sophomore or Junior than the Denard we saw last season.  And if that's the case, we're not going to be very good.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

I see what you're saying and I mostly agree. Although he wont be his own play action as much, we will most likley have a good traditional running game, which will give us a "old school" play action. The threat of him running will always be there, especially on roll out pass plays. I think Denard rolling will serve almost as much as a one man play action as the fake QB iso pass did this year. I hate to compare him to this bum, but the way pryor drops back then runs when the D follows his recivers or throws to guys winning one on one battles when they try to keep him in the pocket is the blueprint for Denards success this season imo.


January 13th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

1) Denard-will-transfer meme.  Busted.

2) Won't adjust to personnel.  Busted.


You sure about both of those.  #1 still hasn't been remedied - all the talk I've heard is a former HS coach.  Denard can change his mind, especially if Hoke comes in and tells him to be a wildcat or an RB.

#2, again we have no idea.  The guy's been on the job for 2 days, and outside of keeping his OC and swearing off the spread option, we have no idea how he'll handle the current personnel. 

I know people want to believe that Hoke was A #1 option and is a great hire - and count me in that group - but ducking your head into the sand and ignoring the red flags is ludicrous.

Section 1

January 13th, 2011 at 11:37 AM ^

I have nothing against Brady Hoke. I'm not a Hoke-hater. 

But the meme we heard from all of Coach Rodriguez's detractors, particularly on this blog, was that they were "For Michigan" above all.  And that they wanted Rodriguez to be fired for what they thought was service to the best interest of the University.

And my point is that while the Hoke hiring might be good, or bad, or meh, the Rodriguez firing was by any objective measure one that was premature, and that the firing, by itself, will hurt our program in the short term.  None of us know about the long term.

We are going to be badly hurt by the Rodriguez firing, now and through the time when OSU's tremendous 2011 recruiting class is kicking ass in the B1G.

Blue Mind and Heart

January 13th, 2011 at 1:08 PM ^

The program is moving in the right direction BECAUSE DB fired RR.  RR simply didn't have the coaching ability to turn it around.  BH biggest advantage is that he is not RR.  I was a big RR fan three years ago but after this year, a change was needed.  His performance with this team caused his ouster.  


January 13th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

 RR simply didn't have the coaching ability to turn it around.

This is not true, and you know it.  RR made mistakes in finding a DC, dealing with the media, and some other aspects of being an HC, but to say he lacked the coaching ability to win is just foolish.  Guy had over 100 wins in CFB before he came to UM, and will collect even more at his next stop.  RR was fired because people are impatient and he lost to his rivals; let's see what Hoke does before we crown him an improvement.

Section 1

January 13th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

I get your point, but I'm not so sure that it is even accurate to say that Rodriguez "made mistakes in finding a DC..."

Rodriguez asked for Jeff Casteel from the start, and again after Shafer.  I am awaiting the real, low-down story on why Michigan never got Jeff Casteel as DC.

Section 1

January 13th, 2011 at 2:35 PM ^

We are not "immediately better" due to the firing of Rich Rodriguez.  We are immediately worse.  Our 2011 recruiting class is fucked.

We might recover. We might be better in the future.  Years into the future, you might be right.  But we are not "immediately better."  We are immediately diminished as a program.

Hoke has 37 games, by the Rodriguez clock.  He better use the time wisely.  Actually, I'd personally expect Hoke to be given more time than that.  And the reason that I'd expect Hoke to be given more time is because that is the decent thing to do.  I think Rodriguez would have been given more time, too, if he had had not been maligned by the press in connection with Stretchgate and had he enjoyed a Brady Hoke-level of support within the University.

Blue Mind and Heart

January 13th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

Two years ago I would have been stunned to post this, last year I would have been unsure whether to post this, but after the 2010 Big10 season and the MSU bowl game, I am certain when I post this:   RR did not have to capability to raise the performance of the MICHIGAN football team.  There are many reasons for this, both RR's failings and outsider issues, but he was not going to succeed at AA.  I believe he will learn from his failures and be successful elsewhere.  Likely very successful but it was not going to work at Michigan for RR.  Time to move on.  So we are immediately better and I greatly look forward to the 2011 season.

Section 1

January 13th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

You keep saying, we are immediately better, because someday that's how it will all look.

So it's you who are judging Hoke, and you are predicting success.  I am not predicting anything.  I am not so sure that there is much real basis to predict anything better than what would have been realisitically predicted for a Rodriguez-led team next year.  And I am not predicting failure for Hoke, either.  I am certainly not predicting success as you are.  I'll wait and see.  If we don't go 5-0 to start next year, with the all-home-mostly-cupcake scehdule that we've got, I'll start criticizing Hoke.  And if, at the end of Hoke's third season, we're not in a much better place than we are now, with about 20 returning starters, I'll remind you about this thread.

Undefeated dre…

January 13th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

Agree with most of what you say -- Rodriguez valued the job, wanted to be here, tried his best. The whole Groban Bust thing is a testament to that.

But I think to Rodriguez the Michigan job was 'a' job -- a really really good job, but just 'a' job. What many Michigan faithful wanted was a coach who thought Michigan was 'the' job -- the only job you can really ever want. Which is why they love Hoke.

If folks want to blame Brandon for anything now, please make sure you take time to blame Bill Martin -- not for bringing Rodriguez in, but for doing so little to make the transition to Rodriguez go smoothly.

Beyond being quicker with the axe, I think Brandon and the AD (not the broader 'community') treated RR fairly. They defended him like nobody's business to the NCAA, they honored his buyout (never threatening to invoke the violations caluse), and they didn't leak anything negative about him.


January 13th, 2011 at 11:47 AM ^

By all indications, all Hoke ever wanted after he left Michigan was to get back to Michigan.  As a kid, he was a huge fan of Michigan.

I have never heard that RR was a Michigan fan growing up (not that this is any sort of a requirement to coach here), and he wanted to come to Michigan because it is an elite coaching job where he could work his spread magic with even better players and win a National Championship.  I truly believe he wanted to be at Michigan, but I believe it was for wholly different reasons than Brady Hoke.

I also believe that RR's motivations changed after 3 years and have no doubt he became a Michigan Man.


January 13th, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

I am a huge Michigan fan, and would dearly love to be the head coach at Michigan, but that doesn't qualify me for the job above many, many other people with much more demonstrated success.

All it does is maybe smooth the bad times over in the next few years as we dig out of the recruiting hole, and transition issues with the inner circle, and maybe the local media.

Bad times that we may not have encountered (or at least for as long) if we had hired a more proven head coach.