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: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: January 12, 2011 12:31 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Yeah, I was willing to give Rich Rod another year at Michigan, but only after he fires that whats-his-name
defensive coordinator.

Maybe Brandon does tell RR the defense really sucks, we need a new DC.  Maybe RR disagrees, says whats-his-name is a GREAT DC, we just need to recruit more players or maybe they'll be much better in 2011.  Yeah, says Brandon, but your defense is much worse now than it was your first year.  RR says it's not the DC's fault, I'm not firing him.

How do you know this isn't what happened?

One thing I realized in 2010...  The MSU, OSU, Wisky players were noticably bigger than U-M players.  All other things being equal, the bigger/stronger kids will prevail.  The players on that other MSU team from down south were also bigger.  When I saw that, I knew U-M would lose, but had no idea they'd get blown out.

U-M cannot win with Smurfs, especially on defense.  No way can you expect skinny <200-pound corners and safeties to come up and tackle a 230-pounder with a full head of steam.

Cam Newton is one big quarterback!  And so is Terrelle Pryor.  They're not as fast as Denard, but they're fast enough.

Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2011 12:15 am

Hoke great hire, but Tressel was the first choice

Hoke is a great hire, and Michigan's D will be back to Big Ten and National standards again. great hire. its great they didnt go for Harbaugh or Les Miles, even though a Sweater Vest vs Mad Hatter rivalry would be more colorful than even woody vs bo, or any other rivalry coaching matchup in history.

one correction. ohio state did get slammed for not landing, or even being able to interview many big names, but it was assumed that is what they wanted.

I was near the program at that time and saw Archie's face the day they hired him but before the big announcements - he was beaming bigger smiles than when Eddie and Troy won the Heismans.

A student/faculty/atheltic staff special council was part of the hiring and interviewing process for Ohio State - something they have not gotten credit for and most schools dont do. Ohio State took its time - DID IT RIGHT - and the only unanimous and overwhelming vote for hiring a candidate came from this hiring advisory council - for Jim Tressel.

and Tressel didnt win a national title at Youngstown State. He PLAYED in SEVEN of national title games. SEVEN before even coming to Ohio State. And won 4 of them. He had 4 national titles. He's played in 3 at Ohio State. no wonder they wanted him - that standard of excellence was clear before he was hired and thats why he was the first choice - go look up the ohio state articles - not the "we know better press" like Fornelli or Dodd 10 years ago.

Maybe Tressel doesnt get credit because the title games and titles were at Youngstown State. he DOMINATED that level of football. Maybe if he gets to anothe title game or wins one his full record (unmatched by anyone in the history of college coaching - argue it please), will get the credit he deserves.

Until then Fornelli - there was no second choice - and this is why.

in Tressel's career he has led his teams to play in 10 NATIONAL TITLE GAMES. and won 5 National Championships!!!!!!!

clearly was not the first choice - whatever.

Since: Nov 2, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:26 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

does anyone else thinks thats this a step back from Rich Rod???
if this who they were going to hire, I would have stuck with RichRod for another season.
Its a hire that doesn't strike fear into the rest of the big ten...especially Ohio State(who are all laughing )

Since: Jan 11, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:24 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Michigan is very, very, very lucky to get Hoke.  He is a stud.  He did in 2 years what others couldn't do in 20+ years at SDSU.  He is a no-nonsense, no excuses type of coach.  You do things his way or find another place to play.  He turned a week, finesse team into a shove down your throat type of team.  Once he gets his type of player into the program you will be competing for titles again.  SDSU fans are very sad to see him go but he always said his dream job was to coach Michigan and we wish him great success.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:00 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Once again Fornelli gets it wrong. At one time Jim Harbaugh did want to be Michigan's football coach, but the university never even bothered to interview him for the job before they hired the great Rich Rodriguez. To make matters worse the Michigan bureaucrats had a "small war of words" with Harbaugh which lead to hurt feelings. I had said that although many experts thought that Jim Harbaugh would come running to Michigan because "it was his dream job" those same experts must also have no heart or emotion. Because any normal person would be hurt at being scorned by someone and to say that "all is well and forgotten" is wishful thinking and delusional. Harbaugh never considered going to Michigan. Remember...he did not even interview with them. However, he did listen to the Dolphins. That act alone speaks volumes. He would rather coach for a bad team than coach his once beloved alma mater. Michigan should not have disrespected him a few years ago. Brad Hoke will make a fine Michigan coach as long as he is given a chance. But how long will he get? 3 years? 5 years? 8 years? Brad Hoke also needs to be able to recruit blue chip players. We all know that even a great coach can't coach mediocre talent to greatness...or can he? Looks like Bill Belichick is doing just that with Tom Brady. If you put Brady in a different system I doubt he would be able to duplicate what he has done with the mighty Patriots (who will win the Super Bowl next month after they shut out the Ravens in the AFC title game).

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2011 10:24 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

No rake.  Hoke was not a must have but he was the one that said yes.  I hate the losing.  Lets just hope he can turn things around for us.  You are right the D-cord for sure needed to go.  Our O looked good against the little guys but really who did we beat that was worth talking about.

Since: Nov 26, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2011 9:30 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Defense does not necessarily win football games but it sure keeps you in the game.  If Hoke can rebuild the defense and bring the right offensive scheme (aka power running to setup the pass) he'll have a chance.  The flip side is that it's all about recruiting and recruiting for UM has got to be different than the other schools he was successful with.  Good luck to him.  As an SDSU fan, I'm sorry to see him go.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2011 9:16 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Half of you Wolverine fans are clowns on these boards.  You should all go to work with clown suits on and a big red nose.  The guy helped turn around 2 other schools in the recent past, how do you know he's not capable of doing the same for Michigan??  Answer: you don't.

You guys pretend to be college football guru's when in reality you know very little.  The bottom line is everything Hoke has done in his career so far is positive.  He won as a defensive line coach in Michigan back in the day and he coached 2 schools since and took them to places and records they rarely go to or went to before he got there.

NONE OF YOU wanted Harbaugh 3 years ago... you wanted the experienced Rich Rod.... and if you didn't want him, you wanted somebody else... don't tell me you wanted the inexperienced Harbaugh back then because if you say you did, you're a liar.

Harbaugh turns around Stanford and suddenly he's the ONLY answer.... ??????

Since: Dec 27, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2011 9:09 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Yes, but at the same time, it doesn't mean he won't.  You mentioned Terry Allen, but I can also mention Gary Pinkel, who went to Mizzou from Toledo.  It took him about 6 years to turn around Mizzou and when he did, they went to six straight bowl games.  The point of this article is not whether Hoke will turn around Michigan or not.  It is merely saying that building a program takes time and Michigan fans should be patient. 

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:36 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Just because he turned around losing programs doesn't mean he'll do the same. Look at Kansas. They brought in Terry Allen, who was a success at Northern Iowa, and he ran the KU football team into the ground. And now they've brought in Turner Gill, a longtime assistant at Nebraska and the man who turned around Buffalo and whom the all-knowing Charles Barkley thought deserved to be at Auburn, and what happened? We're the Big 12's doormat again. It's like the Mark Mangino era never happened!

Point is, just because he has had success at lesser levels of college football doesn't mean he'll be a success at the BCS level. Michigan may be in for more years of mediocrity. I hope Coach Hoke proves me wrong, though.

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