Wojo On Hoke and Wolverines; Time Running Out for Seniors

Submitted by M-Wolverine on August 30th, 2011 at 8:01 AM


Not sure it adds any super insight that readers of this site don't already have, but as the one Detroit columnist that doesn't reflexively make Michigan fans cringe, he's worth a read.

They're not new quotes, but it's good to see the players seem to be dealing with the transition.

I asked Hoke if Robinson truly wanted to be known as a passer, even though he ran for an NCAA-record 1,702 yards last season.

"Oh, yeah, he wants to be one of the great Michigan quarterbacks," he said. "And so does (backup) Devin Gardner. They're both doing a tremendous job of learning and understanding what a Michigan quarterback is, the tradition and what you represent."

"Sometimes coaches are standoffish and hard to approach," senior center David Molk said. "Coach Hoke is not like that at all. He's just a great guy that you can put your arm around and say, 'Hey, how you doing?'"


Also related, but not worthy of a 2nd post-


"I came here under Lloyd (and) that first season we beat Florida (in the Capital One Bowl), but still that wasn't a great hurrah season because we should have been better," Molk said recently. "And then Coach Rod came in and we had three of maybe the poorest seasons in the last decade, two decades.

"So (we're) stepping through that, realizing, it's time."



August 30th, 2011 at 8:22 AM ^

It's a team full of upperclassmen now.  They should perform.  What was their biggest drawback, their age, is now going to be an asset.  They will be old enough not to get pushed around in the Big Ten.  It means a lot to look around and know that the players who you trust to have your back are old enough and big enough to actually have it.


August 30th, 2011 at 11:44 AM ^

By my count, this would also be his first team in which:

1. He wasn't starting a 1st year starter at QB and
2. There weren't any freshmen in the starting lineup on either side of the ball.

Just sayin.

Section 1

August 30th, 2011 at 10:35 AM ^

And I have never said that.  And, I am not the one constantly reopening this wound.  The large number of my reactive comments on this unfortunate topic are an indication of how many times people like gordie bell do reopen that wound.  I am not making comparisions, and criticizing one regime in favor of another.

I am not "hoping that we go 6-6," and I won't hope for that, because I am not at all certain that scenario would prove any point that I may be interested in.  The Rodriguez haters would only use it as another opportunity to smear him; i.e., "recruiting and coaching have been bad for the last three years..."  That meme was on display in yesterday's Free Press, as a matter of fact.  A W-L record alone won't do much to prove anything.  A good record will be used to prove that Hoke is such an improvement.  Alternatively, a bad record will be used to prove that the program has been tipped into temporary ruin by the previous staff.

My point all along has been that Coach Rodriguez was treated badly while he was here, and that Michigan football was very poorly served by the Rodriguez critics.  That's a narrative that is pretty much beyond dispute as far as I am concerned.



August 30th, 2011 at 10:46 AM ^

Bell wasn't even harshly attacking anyone. Just refuting that age was the only (or even main) problem of this team. You don't seem to have any problem with people making excuses "for a coaching staff that's no longer here", but if someone says something was wrong with them (I mean, isn't beyond dispute the defense and parts of the special teams WERE coached horribly?) you fly off the handle.  He wasn't attacking anyone. Just stating fact. Rich being treated badly by some doesn't make it any less true than him treating some others badly, or dismissively makes it fair to say he did nothing right...because he did do some things right.

I don't have much sympathy for "we win it's because of Hoke, we lose it's because of Rich" whines, because we had just the same thing going on when Rich took over, with multiple treatises on how everything to blame in the program was Lloyd's "bare cupboard", and Rich would fix it. And 3 years later...still.  And considering there are just as many ready to say "this team would have been good anyway, this was the year it was going to break out under Rich...and if it doesn't, Brady screwed it up", I'm not sure the other view is any more objectionable, or accurate.

You may have never flat out said "I hope we lose", but you have said "I hope Rich plays us and beats us", which shows you'd rather Rich looks good (for whatever reason) by making us look bad. I don't think it's too far a leap to think that us looking bad without Rich would also be in your desires. Whether you have the courage to come out and say it or not.

Section 1

August 30th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

I never, ever said:  "I hope Rich plays us and beats us."  Never said it.  Look it up.  Search.  Try to track it down.  I didn't say it, and you're lying when you claim that I did.

What I did say, that you now appear to be badly misstating, was an oft-misquoted line of mine from the raw-emotive days immediately following Rodriguez's dismissal.  And someone else (not me) was writing about the completely hypothetical possibility that a Michigan team might someday face a Rodriguez-coached team.  And I commented at that time that I wasn't sure which team I might root for, in that hypothetical matchup.  Which is a far cry from "hoping that Rich plays us and beats us."  Rich's playing days are pretty much over anyway, I think.

You certainly haven't seen me campaigning for a Michigan-Rodriguez matchup, or rooting for any other Michigan opponent.  And if I did get any pleasure at all, out of seeing a Rodriguez team defeat a Michigan team, it would only be to prove Rodriguez's worth, to Rodriguez's Michigan detractors, which is a kind of a stretch anyway, in presuming that the quality of the coaches (and not the players, or individual performances, or motivation, or pure luck) are the one determinant quality of winning or losing. 

Lastly: don't blame me for the "multiple treatises on how everything to blame in the program was Lloyd's 'bare cupboard'..."  That wasn't me.  I was always very supportive of Carr, way back when, when people were routinely calling for his firing, too.  I don't understand Carr at all in the Rodriguez era, and Carr's vague association with Rosenberg gives me the creeps.  But what you are complaining of, has nothing to do with anything I've written.


August 30th, 2011 at 1:56 PM ^

It's you, to yourself. I don't know if January 27th still counts as "immediately following", but then, you carry your emotions a lot longer than normal people, so maybe for you it is, but it wasn't someone else who brought it up, but it was, in fact you-


But I won't place loyalty to Michigan above basic fairness to Rich Rodriguez. My enthusiasm for Michigan's Athletic Department is at an all-time low ebb. I am about to write a large check to the Athletic Department for my PSD. I've never had such misgivings about doing that, as I do right now. Don't ask me who I'd be rooting for if, purely hypothetically, a Rodriguez-coached Clemson team played Michigan in a bowl game in a few years.


Not in reaction to someone else saing it, as you claim, but in a post you started. A snide "don't ask me who I'd be rooting for" doesn't connotate "boy, I'd be really torn" but "don't ask me, because you won't like the answer".   And when pointed out that your favorite team could then play Michigan later (because I don't think Rich was going to challenge Brady to a Quiz Bowl...his team would PLAY the other), you didn't deny it. You can play innocent, but time and time again you've shown that you favor Rich, "cause he was done wrong" over Michigan itself.  Don't play nice after the fact and say "I didn't mean it".

And I didn't blame you for "decimated defense" excuses pointing blame at Lloyd for Rich's problems. I just called you out for the hypocrisy of never getting bent out of shape when the same M.O. worked in Rich's favor, but calling people names now when it's not.  I don't know what of the problems we'll certainly have can be tributed to the past staff or current staff till we actually see what those problems are. Some will blame Rich for a lot, and that really should only carry a little water for year 1, if at all, just like Lloyd shouldn't be blamed for Rich's program in year 3. It's Hoke's program now. And no matter how good or bad Rich did, if Hoke's team stinks after 3 years, it's not going to be Rich getting fired over it.  I think Hoke knows he needs to win, and the "blame Rich for it" excuses probably won't save him any more than the "blame Lloyd for it" excuses saved Rich.

Section 1

August 30th, 2011 at 3:34 PM ^

There was some sort of weird bugginess on the Board, as others noted.  I could not Reply; I could only serially "Edit" the original post.  Which I did sort of painstakingly, noting each edit in order.

I stand by what I wrote, back then.  It wasn't -- repeat, WASN'T -- the way you falsely quoted me.

As for choosing Rodriugez over Michigan, anybody who reads the rest of that post in context will get it, I hope, and I still stand by all of it.  Even back then, I was not making any grand technical presumptions about Carr Or Rodriguez or anybody else.  I was complaining purely about the unfair treatment that I thought had been accorded to Rodriguez.  Just like what I've written today.

But I'll be plain for you -- if (and it is a BIG if -- it would make every editorial head at the Free Press explode, I'd be quite happy to see a Rodriguez-coached Clemson team defeat Michigan in a bowl game, 65-64.  (Or 65-0, or 10-0; I'm not quite sure what might be best.  Whatever it takes.)  I'd be happy, that is, if such an eventuality proved any sort of a point.  But I am afraid it wouldn't.  Which is why I've never made such a big deal about it, and why people like you might like to use such a statement against me.  I don't think that my point gets proven one way or another with one game, or one season.  I would very much like to see Rosenberg eating his words.  If one college football game could do that, then I'd be all for it.  I think we all know better.

As you might expect, I'm not predicting that Hoke will fail and get fired in three years.  I'm not hoping that Hoke will fail and get fired in three years.  I'd predict that Hoke will NOT get fired in three years, no matter what his record, because absent an awful lot of extraneous issues, that is just not enough time to appraise a program.  I think that Rodriguez was let go after three years NOT purely because of his record, but because of the entirety of everything including the poisonous extraneous environment. 

And this:

And I didn't blame you for "decimated defense" excuses pointing blame at Lloyd for Rich's problems. I just called you out for the hypocrisy of never getting bent out of shape when the same M.O. worked in Rich's favor, but calling people names now when it's not.

That's not what was happening in this case.  In this case, I got "bent out of shape" when someone attacked Rodriguez directly.  I'm not being vague, or passive-aggressive, or hypocritical.  I'm making the singular point:  Rich Rodriguez was treated unfairly by Michigan.


August 30th, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

Was your reaction to this-


Age wasn't their biggest drawback it was their biggest crutch. Their biggest drawback was an unprepared defense and special teams, that falls on coaching.

If that's a direct "attack" on RR, rather than a factual assessment, that is yes, negative (and one that says it was their biggest drawback, but not even their only one...which could include some of the other outside factors you're preaching about), and you think your reaction was a measured response to that "horrible attack", then you're either way too thin skinned about all things Rich, or you have a different definition of what is harsh, cruel, and unnecessary than the rest of us.  It wasn't kind, but it was hardly a vicious attack; just a response to another claim of problems.  Which could fairly be debated either way.  Childish name calling isn't an effective way to do it, especially in response to something that was in no way outright trolling.  Balance.

Blue boy johnson

August 30th, 2011 at 5:48 PM ^

Well a heartfelt thank you for admiting you're wrong and resting your case. I knew you would come around sooner or later.
Now let's E-hug and get ready for Team 132 to hit the field!!
Just emagine if the had hired Coach Hoke 7 years ago like they should have.


August 30th, 2011 at 7:24 PM ^

And you've claimed your support to Carr many a time, and have in fact, shown it here too. But you've shown what I'd consider the opposite of support too. The most recent example is being one of the leaders in calling for the App State game be "Lloyd Carr Day". If that's what you consider always supporting, I'd hate to see what you do to those you don't like. Oh wait, I get to see it over and over, in great length, all...the....time.

Benoit Balls

August 30th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

Imagine if the CEO of Google were to switch jobs and become the CEO of IBM one day. At Google there were game rooms for the employees, break rooms with beds for employees to nap, a Frisbee Golf Course on the grounds for general amusement.

The IBM corporate campus has armed guards at the gate. Everyone must wear a suit every day (not a blazer and khakis, a SUIT). Lunch is at noon, every...day

Now say the Google CEO comes in and tries to change the way things are done at IBM. Say he institutes a mandatory employee "relaxation period" every day where people are forced to leave what they are doing, once a day, whenever they like, to spend a half hour playing video games, or mini golf or MGoBlogging...essentially whatever they wish to do for fun.

Now, some people may love this idea. They may admire it for its progressiveness and hail it as a signal that stodgy boring old IBM is finally moing into the 21st centruy, treating employees more like people than cogs in a wheel.  

However, I'd be willing to be that if the stock price dipped to historic lows then the stockholders would be none too pleased. There may be negative write ups in the financial pages. People on the street may decry the new guys progressive ways, and shout from the rooftops that that is not how things are done at IBM.  

When that CEO gets booted, does anyone sit around and say, "Wow, he got millions of dollars and a raw deal. Even though IBM had done things their way very, very succesfully for 100 years, they really should have been more receptive to change, stock prices be damned?"



August 30th, 2011 at 11:57 AM ^

When one aspect of special teams isn't good, that doesn't mean all special teams are bad. That would completely ignore a drafted punter and a return man that set records at Michigan.

Also, I don't really know how you can blame RichRod for one of the best kickers in high school not being able to hit a 20 yarder in a game. Although maybe he did recruit him knowing that he would suck in college.


August 30th, 2011 at 9:19 AM ^

the questions had to do with becoming a better passer and the answer turned out to be nonsense about the vagaries of what "Michigan means". i dont think he is saying that the way Denard played last year is not the proper way to represent Michigan and its traditions, but he has to know it reads that way. and dont tell me he doesnt care about how he is perceived or he wouldnt be pounding the blue-hair-buzzwords to death every time he opens his mouh.


August 30th, 2011 at 9:27 AM ^

That Michigan had a long streak of great QBs who all got to see some time in the NFL.  And they mostly did it by passing. Because Brady/Navarre/Henne weren't beating you with their feet.  But guys like Drew Henson, who could, are in the lineage.

He could go back to Rick Leach and the days that great Michigan QBs ran as much as passed, but that wasn't the NFL streak time we had; it was more the "Michigan has never had a QB start an NFL game" era, before Harbaugh.  The fact is, unless Denard has already resigned himself to a position change, if he wants to be a QB, he's going to have to pass as well as run, and be more Mike Vick than Vince Young.


August 30th, 2011 at 10:36 AM ^

It's "does he want to be?"  And I think (don't know) that Hoke probably sold a lot of the change to Denard by saying he could be the next in a line of great Michigan passers...and oh yeah, you can run and move better than any of them too. The way he chose us to play QB, and has said he wants to stay there, I would think that's very appealing for someone who at least wants to try to play that position at the next level, rather than someone who's resigned themselves to running for ridiculous amounts of yards in college, then immediately getting switched to another position in the pros.  (I'm not sure that's realistic...but after seeing Denard year 1 to year 2, I won't doubt him).  Is Denard open to being a guy who is pass first, destroy with feet second? I think he's answering yes, he wants to be that guy starts as a QB in the NFL, like so many other guys before him.  Not how good his technique has gotten and if that's likely or not.  I mean, if you wanted, you could say how much he's progressed on footwork, timing, accuracy, and think it's a shot saying "all the previous guys did was tell him to run, and couldn't teach him to throw" if you were looking to be offended by it.  Which wouldn't be what they were saying in that case either, because it wasn't true.


August 30th, 2011 at 10:49 AM ^

and i wasnt "offended" i just didnt understand why he answered that question that way.  

if he had said, "oh yeah.  he's been working on footwork, accuracy and progressing through reads all summer."  that is a faiirly clear illustration that he's trying to become a better passer.  

i guess i just dont like hearing the head coach sound like the media troglodytes of 2009


August 30th, 2011 at 11:01 AM ^

Just that someone looking to be could find fault with anything said...much like those who didn't like Rich found fault with everything he said too.

I think what you may be missing is when media trog says "This is Michigan" it's a generic meme that just really means "this other stuff isn't Michigan...though I can't reasonably say why".  Where as when Hoke speaks of it, he's speaking of it meaning something, and being special to be at Michigan, because he's experienced it. Not what style you play, but how you do things.  It was that they were slow, or threw a lot that made those other Michigan QBs great. (because lets face it if we could have run all day and never had them throw some would have loved it)  It's how they composed themselves.

Six Zero

August 30th, 2011 at 9:29 AM ^

Regardless of whatever he's writing about, he pairs an unashamed love of the Wolverines with the wisdom of a fatherly figure.  He's got nothing to prove to his readers, no reason to jump for the shock value that so many others depend on.  And of course, if nothing else, he also gave us one of the greatest quotes about the maize and blue:


"You see it on the helmets, hear it in the song, smell it in the big old stadium.

It's the winged stripe and the high-stepping band and the mingled scents of old cigars and fresh cider.

It's Michigan tradition.  You don't exactly know when it starts or when it ends, but you know it when you see it, feel it, smell it."


Amen, Bob.  Go Blue.


August 30th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I hope not but I think the last three years should have shown the Seniors now that its not a perfect world.   Carr had one hell of a team on paper, and we lose to App st.  come on?  He leaves after beating Florida, (TIM TEBOW)  who cares?  He left the cupboard bare.  Not saying RR helped himself, with his decisions.  The cupboard is not bare right NOW!