Blog Entry

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 7:38 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

He's not the man Michigan may have wanted with its first choice, but as things stand, Brady Hoke is the new head coach in Ann Arbor.  He's the 19th coach in the school's history, and though some members of the Michigan fan base may respond with "Who?" upon hearing his name, he's not simply an afterthought.

Of course Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh would be Dave Brandon's first choice.  They are the quintessential "Michigan Men" that seems to be so important in Ann Arbor.  They've played at the school. Miles coached at the school, and he even has a national championship under his belt. Jim Harbaugh hasn't done either, but he was the coach du jour this winter.  And one with Michigan roots at that. Hoke isn't the definition of a "Michigan Man," as he played his college ball at Ball State, but he did spend eight seasons coaching Michigan's defensive line.  Including the 1997 season, the last time Michigan won a national championship. So he knows what it takes to win in Ann Arbor, as he's done it before. 

There's another difference between Les Miles, Jim Harbaugh and Brady Hoke other than their "Michigan Man" credentials, and it is probably something that is a lot more important than where either played college football.

Brady Hoke wants to be at Michigan.  It's clear that after two failed attempts to land him that Les Miles doesn't.  He may say he does, as he doesn't want to denigrate where he came from, but Miles is happy at LSU. He knows he can win there, and he's not sure that he can do the same at Michigan.  Harbaugh always had his sight set on the NFL, and now he's got his dream job.

Michigan is Brady Hoke's dream job.

Brady Hoke seems to believe he can win in Ann Arbor, and what reason do we really have to doubt him?  He took over his alma mater in 2003 and turned the program around in six seasons, leading the team to a 12-1 campaign in 2008.  Hoke then left for San Diego State, and Ball State hasn't won 12 games since.  Hell, they haven't won seven games since.

Hoke then took over a San Diego State program that had been dormant since Marshall Faulk was tearing apart defenses, and in two seasons turned the program around and led the Aztecs to a 9-4 mark in 2010.  Including a win over Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Do you notice a trend here?  Hoke has gone to programs that were trending downward and built them back up.  Sure, there's a difference between the Big Ten and the MAC and Mountain West.  There's no denying this, but there's also a difference in building a program up when there's that block "M" on your hat and not the Ball State or San Diego State logo.

As long as Michigan gives Hoke some time, and I know it will be tough considering the down times of the Rich Rodriguez era, he will get this program on the right track.  Will he lead them to a national championship?  Only time will tell, but here's something else that Michigan fans should remember before dumping all over the Hoke hire.

Jim Tressel wasn't Ohio State's first choice after it fired John Cooper. He was just some coach from tiny Youngstown State. How's that worked out for them?

Since: Apr 30, 2010
Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:04 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

I think the biggest reason Michigan AD made the move was that Michigan needed to return to its roots. I'm not saying "3 yards and a cloud of dust," back to a pro-style offense, one that put every starting quarterback and even many backups in the NFL from the 90's and 2000's. Here is that list:

Elvis Grbac 1990-1992,
Todd Collins 1993-1994,
Scott Dreisbach/Brian Griese 1995-1997 (Griese and Dreisbach alternated as starter in 1995 and 1996; Dreisbach mostly a backup in 1997.),
Tom Brady 1998-1999,
Drew Henson 2000,
John Navarrre 2001-2003,
Chad Henne 2004-2007

Since Henne has left we have had Threet, Forcier, Robinson. Although Forcier and Robinson have shown potential, they probably won't play QB at the next level. That's not even mentioning, the Offensive Lineman, Backs, Receivers and Tight Ends that have played at the next level. Rich Rod's system doesn't give that option to ALL positions.

Defensively, the NFL players is huge too. I remember when Carr had Branch and Woodley, experimenting with the 3-4 just to adapt to his personnel (Woodley).

RichRod wouldn't get off his 3-3-5 for anything! USC and Michgan are two old-school but still very relevant powers that need to keep (or get back to) their pro-style systems. This by itself will get MIchigan the kind of recruits that will get Michigan back on top. Let's hope that Coach Hoke can bring back a "Michigan" system.

Since: Feb 17, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2011 10:54 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Great post on Tressel's coaching past.  As a Michigan fan, I'm not embarassed to say that I didn't care who we hired.  I trust the people with the inside information to make the correct decisions.  The coach I most want Michigan's new coach to emulate - Jim Tressel.  Recruits well, focuses equally on all 3 aspects of the game, is well spoken and articulate, and shows deference and respect to all opponents.  He loves his school and college football.  It pained me to hear about OSU players selling memorabilia that commemorates their experiences and success at OSU.  I hope those players are appreciative of the unbelievable success that Tressel and OSU have made possible for them, because it will be difficult for them to ever surpass that in their professional careers (in football or otherwise.)

Since: Feb 17, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2011 10:42 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

This post is humorous.  First, although Michigan is not Stanford when it comes to academics, it has higher standards than any other Big 10 school, except Northwestern, and it has higher standards than any school in the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10 (excluding the aforementioned Cardinal) and the Big East.  In the ACC, UVa and Duke would top Michigan, academically.  Considering the high number of offensive lineman, QBs and wide receivers Michigan has placed in the NFL, it is simply asinine to argue that Michigan, of all places, lacks offensive players with the intellectual firepower to run a pro-style offense. 

There is no reason to respond to predictions about how Brady Hoke will do.  No one knows, not even the "Superstar" lovinMSU.  And I suppose if you judge success simply by national championships, then Michigan hasn't done much since 1950.  Personally, I think 22 Big 10 championships is satisfactory performance.  If Michigan regularly competes for and happens to win the Big 10 one out of every three years for the next 60 years, I for one, will be satisfied.  That's the kind of demise I'm looking for.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:29 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Frank, that's a good point, but I think as far as offense goes, a WR or a RB is adaptable to just about any system and not limited to the spread option.  Our QBs, Denard and Tate, are not classic drop back pocket passers, so unfortunately this transition will be a problem for them unless Hoke uses some of that, which is unlikely. 

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2011 9:15 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

I will say this much - Hoke arrives with some kids in place.  RR did not leave the cabinet empty, that's for sure.  He's had two straight excellent recruiting classes, so there is no excuse for Hoke not to do something with some of these kids, even if Denard splits.

But are they the right fit for the schemes that Brady Hoke wants to run?  While Hoke might keep some of the current playbook to take advantage of the players he inherits it will still take some time to transition and recruit the type of players that fit Coach Hoke's plans.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2011 7:44 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Yes it took him 2 years to build up his San Diego St. team but why does it take 6 years to build up Ball State--building a program up to me means 3-4 years at the most, not 6. Listen, I hope the heck he does well but the media is overplaying him as a re-builder of programs.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2011 5:51 am

Poke and Hoke

"Miles is happy at LSU. He knows he can win there, and he's not sure that he can do the same at Michigan."
So, you're saying that Miles was askeered to take the Michigan job.

Since: May 15, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2011 4:23 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

I feel very bad for RR and what he gave up to come to Michigan only to be vilified beyond recognition. 

 Reading through all these comments this is the one line that got to me. How can you feel bad for a guy who ran for the money when he already had his dream job. He did have everything at WVU, but still decided to bolt on them leaving them high and dry. It might speak to what kind of person he is. Don't feel sorry for RR, because he knew what he was getting into.

 Now please carry on arguing amongst yourselves "Michigan men".

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2011 1:24 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

lovinMSU, again I don't understand your premise that Michigan players can't understand 300 plays.  You posted that before and it's a strange premise.  If Harbaugh came to Michigan and found that the players couldn't understand 300 plays, then I guess he goes with 250 plays.  I'd also guess if he went to MSU, he'd have to scale that down further to maybe about 30 plays. hahahhaha

Otherwise, excellent post on Hoke.  Hoke has 3 years to not just win, but to excel.  He has 3 years not to be competitive v. OSU, but to kick OSU's ass.  He has 3 years to win a B10 championship.  RR most certainly would have accomplished all of that within the next 3 years.  I will say this much - Hoke arrives with some kids in place.  RR did not leave the cabinet empty, that's for sure.  He's had two straight excellent recruiting classes, so there is no excuse for Hoke not to do something with some of these kids, even if Denard splits.  Still, anything less than excellence within 3 years and the prehistoric Michigan fans and the national media will be calling for Hoke and Brandon to do down together, which I will applaud, and then NO ONE of any consequence will touch the Michigan football program due to the 3 year rule.  After Hoke, we will see a long line of Division 2 coaches marching through Schembechler Hall like wind up toys as we suffer through our "Lost Decade."  But, at least for now, we have our "Michigan Man" (who looks more like the Michelin Man).  I expect by the time Hoke and Brandon are discarded, all those shiny new seats in Michigan Stadium will have pigeons sitting in them, crapping all over them.

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2011 12:54 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

RedWings1969 Michigan Wanted Harbaugh and Les Miles 3 years ago.  They SETTLED for Rich Rod because he was the only one willing to take the job then.

Fast forward to 3 years later and neither of those 2 want the job now.  SO they are going to settle for Brady Hoke.

I recall the media making speculation about Jim Harbaugh being asked about the head coaching job and he flat out said he had no interest in coaching at Michigan.  Then he took a shot at the athletic department stating they have ways of getting guys in.  Truth be told Michigan and its typical player isnt smart enough to run his entensive offense.  350+ plays?  Really?  Thats a lot.  It works perfect at Stanford because while yes they might lower their standards a little for a football player they dont go to the extent Michigan will.  Stanford wont let in a 2.0 student because hes good at football.  They have morals and know what honor is.  Stanford might let a 3.0 in for sports, but nothing less. 

You can say Hoke has turned 2 programs around.  #1 neither school was a big ten institution.  #2 there are 5 major teams within a 5 hour radius of Michigan that he has to fight for the top recruits with.  Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Purdue, and Illinois.  The way Fitzgerald is going you could even put Northwestern on the list and raise it to 6.  #3 in his whole coaching career he still has a losing record.  #4 It took him over 5 years to get Ball State up.  He wont get 5 years at Michigan.  He has 3 years to show progress and I believe he has a different offensive scheme than Rich Rod which means he wont be playing with his guys till year #3 and most of those players will only be sophomores at best.  Hard to win games when your guys are only 2 years in college ball. 

Michigan fans just need to face it this is the demise of Michigan football.  The program has lived off its early 1900s success but in all reality and truth Michigan football hasnt been much since 1950.  Only a miracle will change that and Hoke isnt a miracle. 

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