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 3, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:32 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Agler, yes, that was one of my concerns about RR - that he only cared about offense.  His rep certainly was not as a defensive mastermind, but we knew that coming in.  He needed a strong D-coordinator, which he never had and that's his own fault.  If anything got him fired, it was his decision to hire Greg Robinson.  Still, by the end of the season, they were starting 7 freshman on D or something insane like that, so what could they do with that?  What really happened here?  I think D can be "coached up" whereas O you really need top skill players, so maybe that's why RR spent more energy on O the first couple of years.  Let's face it - Lloyd didn't leave much on either side of the ball when he left.  Anyway, there are some damn fine defenses in college football that don't get top D recruits but have great coaches running the show.  Look at TCU - they just shut down a Wisconsin offensive juggernaut.  They were outsized, outmuscled, but not outhustled.  Patterson and his D coaches coached them up and got a very big win for the program.  How many NFL prospects are on that TCU defense?  Brandon needed to look at RR and say "The defense stinks.  We need a whole new approach.  We need a top D-coordinator to turn this thing around quickly, a top recruiter."

Instead, he erased the board.  Did we really have to rip it all up for the Brady Hoke era?  Was Hoke a must-have?  I just don't see it.

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:25 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

O.k., I love Les and his family and glad he stayed in Baton Rouge.....AND I hate Rich Rod, but comparing the Michigan situation to the LSU situation isn't EVEN close......Miles took over a National Championship program and has run it & recruited like a dream. Michigan sucked and still sucks.

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:02 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Rake you know as well as I that RR only cared about the offense.  He never tried to make the defense better.  For three straight years the defense has been awful.  As far as offense goes there is no doubt he has an eye for talent.  But he arrogance lost him a bunch of games because he wouldnt adjust his system to fit the players he had.  They say he is an offensive genius.  How can that be when he never understood the defense.  You cant know one without the other.  RR got himself fired. 

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:00 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

proteadis, actually, I don't know if RR was the right guy.  As you can see, I liked quite a few things he was doing.  There were some things I didn't like.  Obviously, he had to do better in the B10.  He had to show us a defensive strategy that worked.  Certainly, the offense was almost there.  Denard was a superman and even Turnover Tate stepped in and performed superbly.  For the first time in a long time I believed that if Michigan had the ball and needed a TD to win, they were going to get it.  That was exciting.  So my gripe is RR didn't get a fair shake from the Michigan neanderthal fans, alumni, and the media.  My gripe is I waited patiently for three years and looked forward to a fourth and didn't get a chance to make up my mind.  I think Brandon was way too quick to pull the trigger on RR because he didn't have Harbaugh locked up before he did it.  He buckled to media pressure and pressure from Lloyd Carr and others such that his "careful coaching search" played out according to published instructions - Harbaugh, Miles, Hoke, in order.  In reality, Hoke should have been the 50th choice, not the 3rd choice.  Is Carr a Svengali?  Is Brandon under his trance?  Anyway, you can see the title of the post "Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed" which implies the obvious - they did not give RR a fair chance to succeed.  Hoke is not the answer and he now ushers in a long era of mediocre coaches.  Michigan's "Lost Decade" begins now.

Since: Nov 19, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:36 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

A Rich Rod suppoter? Seriously? Did not think they existed. 0-6 against rivals. Worst bowl lose ever. 3-4 years to turn a program around? Miles did it sooner at LSU, Harbaugh did it sooner at Stanford, and Hoke did it sooner at Ball State and San Diego State. Rich Rod SUCKED! There's 3 years of my life I won't get back.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:34 pm

embarrassed to be from Michigan

First things first: Brady Hoke seems like a great guy.  I'd like to personally wish him the best.

- - -

With me so far?

This looks like a disaster for UMich.  I believe it is highly unlikely that Mr. Hoke, despite his credentials as a Michigan Man (whatever TF that is), will ever get Michigan to National Power status.  I'll be pleasantly surprised if he does better than Joe Tiller (without Drew Brees, that is).

It appears that Lloyd Carr got his way with this one.  Good for Lloyd and all his followers that carpet-bombed various UMich message boards in the last couple of weeks.

Things I find downright hilarious:

* "Brady Hoke rebuilt Ball State!!!"  His 12-win season there looks like lightning in a bottle.  How many "rebuilt" programs sink to two wins the year after the "rebuilder" departs?

* "Brady Hoke rebuilt San Diego State!!!"  This is far less of a reach, because his work there looks pretty good.  Still, Charlie Weis looked pretty good after two years, too.

* "He knows Midwestern football!!!" Does that mean he knows how to get his caboose kicked in bowl games by teams from superior conferences?  No?  What TF _does_ it mean, then!

* "We need to support the coach!!!"  Um, sure ... just as we supported Rodriguez ... right?  Right?

- - -

Side note: Aaron Shea and Marcus Ray, if you're reading this, I'd like to thank you for your contributions to the late '90s national championship team.  (Further aside: Whine all you want, Cornhuskers.  Michigan had better players that year.)  I'd like to scold you for your contribution to this debacle.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:24 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

sabotage, c'mon man you're just another hater.  What was the violation again?  Practicing too much?  If that's all you got on RR, then you got nothing.  One unnamed AD said that RR "wasn't doing anything any other top program doesn't do."  Disgruntled ex-players threw him under the bus and Michigan had to self-police it and there you go.  Even Brandon admitted that it was nothing serious.  Still, we came through that foolishness.  RR was building the program without paying players like some other schools do.  RR wasn't "creating an atmosphere of non-compliance" like some other schools do.  RR wasn't seeking out transfers from other programs that were considered to be "great prospects with legal troubles" like LSU just did.  There was no such nonsense.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:10 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

FACT:  Michgan never had a NCAA violation in football until Coach Rod came along...  he is gone more for that than he is for the teams performance.  He would still be here if that never happened...  he dug his own grave.

I love the new choice for coach and look forward to him being here for the next 15 years...

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 7:06 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Chico, go to and check the facts - RR was second in the B10 in 2009 (Ohio St #1) and 8th in the country!  In 2010, he was second in the B10 to Penn St.  RR had the program on the move.  It takes 3-4 years for recruiting results to really start to show up, which means this should have been a big year for RR's Wolverines, but he was chop-blocked and cold-cocked before we got a chance to see what we really had.  Hoke is not an upgrade to RR by any measure as you will soon see.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 11, 2011 6:58 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed is our job as Wolverine fans to rally behind him and give him the support he deserves.

Agler, it was also our job to give RR a chance!  Michigan gave RR just two full recruiting classes and expected him to produce a champion team with freshman and sophomores.  Even Bo said it takes 4 years!  I feel very bad for RR and what he gave up to come to Michigan only to be vilified beyond recognition.  I also feel bad for Hoke because he will not out-recruit other top B10 programs like RR was.  He is a second-rate recruiter and we are hosed.  Minnesota knew this which is why they rejected him.

As a diehard Michigan fan, I will support Hoke, but this is a poor choice for a program of this stature.  I fear we can expect a lot more losing in the next few years.  This time, both Hoke and Brandon will be gone in 3 years.  By that time, Brandon will have ruined two coaches and one premier college football program and his departure will be celebrated.

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