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: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:31 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

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Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2011 2:42 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Good article, facerake.  I disagree about canning Rich-Rod though.  RR never had a strong D at WVU, and that clearly was a massive flaw at UM.  As past this season evolved, RR clearly looked to be a beaten man.  The team played that way too.  There was no spark.  No heart, no fight.  It is a shame that he was embattled from the start, and never truly had the full support of the UM alumni and supporters. But in the end, it was obvious that a change was in order.

As for Brady Hoke, I don't doubt that he will restore a more traditional look to UM's program.  He is clearly a very good program building coach.  I believe he will bring strength back to the Wolverines.  I believe he will be a better fit in Ann Arbor from a social standpoint.  As to whether Hoke can restore UM to elite status?  Well, that part is a crapshoot.  But that is true with almost any hire.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 13, 2011 10:53 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

This, to me, is the definitive article on the Hoke hiring and captures my own feelings almost perfectly.  Honest, forthright, and refreshing - no spin:



Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: January 13, 2011 8:26 am

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Wow Tigertown84...nothing like losing all credibility in the first paragraph of your post.  MSU was "supposed to win" their bowl game against Alabama?


Not according to the oddsmakers or anyone who say Alabama play the last 3 years.  MSU was a double digit underdog in that game. Check your facts.

And by the way, whether you choose to admit it or not, this is the second time UM has "settled" in a coaching search (if you can call contacting only people with Michigan ties a "search"). Richard was plan C and so is Hoke.  It may work out, and it may not, but your arrogance is completely unfounded.  It is scary how much UM fans are starting to act like Notre Dame fans.  Two programs that think they are WAY more relevant than they are, and two fan bases who like to tell you how good their team used to be.

***And as a side note, making fun of other Big Ten teams for losing bowl games while your team is getting it's tail kicked around in that very same league (and by that very same team) also makes you sound a bit silly.  

Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:18 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

why does fornelli assume harbaugh and miles were brandon's first two choices?  he never said that, nor will he ever say that.  neither were offered the job, that we do know.  i think harbaugh would have been a great choice and probably was number one.  as to les, i don't believe brandon was as enthused as many would have you believe, but no doubt it makes sense to inquire about a coach that has had that much success and fits many of the necessary criteria for the job

Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: January 12, 2011 10:38 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

I don't think that Brady Hoke is a bad hire.  He certainly has shown he wants to take over Michigan. I think it is certainly a good omen that he was part of the 1997 National Championship team. When I heard he was the head coach for that Ball State team that was on the verge of being the first MAC BCS buster I knew that was another good sign for Michigan. Granted Ball State didn't go to a BCS bowl and MAC (or Mountain West) is not the Big 10. But I hope for Michigan's sake that Hoke is turns out to be the right hire. I would like to see him to make the Wolverines worthy opponents again for "the vest" and the Buckeyes, Rich Rod was not doing that rivalry any favors. It pains me to see that experts say the rivalry is losing it's quality since the Buckeyes have been dominating it.

Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2011 8:26 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Let's look at a story in a different sport that mirror's this situation:   college basketball.  A long time ago, Michigan had a basketball coach named Bill Frieder.  Oh, he was an amazing recruiter and brought a collection of some of the greatest college basketball talent the game had seen.  Yet he could never win the big games or even get to the final four.  After taking the ASU job at the end of the season, AD Bo Schembechler fired him and appointed "Michigan Man" Steve Fisher to the helm.  Of course we know the ending to the story, Fisher took the team to a romp through the tournament led by Glen Rice and won the 1989 NCAA Championship.  However, Fisher not being a solid recruiter, within two years his talent cupboard was bare leading to the boosters paying the Fab Five to attend UM and Fisher subsequently being fired.  Fast forward to 2011, and Fisher is now at San Diego State (irony anyone?) leading a team ranked #6 in the nation.  As one poster correctly pointed out, RRod is and was a great recruiter, and was beginning to assemble a team full of great athletes at Michigan.  But coaching always trumps recruiting in the end, ladies and gentlemen, and while it is wonderfully exciting to see the likes of Pat While, Steve Slaton, Denard Robinson and others run up tons of yards, it is the lack of coaching that led to RRod's miserable record in big games at WVU and miserable overall record at UM.  I would rather have a great coach who needs to hire a recruiter, than a great recruiter who tries to coach.

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2011 8:07 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

lovinMSU...Wolverine fans are so touched that you care enough to read this article about MICHIGAN and respond. But don't you worry about us little brother, we will back to owning you again soon. It's funny how after a couple wins in a row the green and white have come out of the proverbial woodwork to get their shots in. Even after getting scorched in a bowl game that you were supposed to win.

No, Hoke isn't Tressel, and I don't think the author's intention was to say he was. It was a valid point though that sometimes when you don't land the big time name(someone above brought up Gene Czecik at Auburn, GREAT EXAMPLE) you end up with a diamond in the rough. To that point, the analogy is totally valid. Try taking a logic course, or any educational course, if they offer anything besides Alfalfa Sprouts 101 in East Lansing, sometime and you will be ready for intelligent conversation, ok?

Now that I've put the Sparty gremlin to bed, I think this hire makes sense for Michigan for a couple reasons. Last time we chased the big name coach and tried to put a square peg in a round hole. How did that work out for the team? We all know that answer. So this time while Hoke's name isn't going to sell tickets or anything, he is the right man for the job. He has a proven resume of taking programs in the dump and turning them around. Last time I checked that was the situation in Ann Arbor. He wanted this job and he has been on a Michigan staff that won many Big Ten titles and a NC. That qualifies him in my book.

Haters keep on hatin', but there's no use crying over spilled milk(Harbaugh and Miles), like many have said here earlier it's time for the Michigan family to unite behind this guy. Something that was NOT done the entire time Rich Rod was in Ann Arbor. Go Blue.

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2011 7:06 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Chipnole, Carr and RR split the 2008 class, which was ranked as a good class, but after the smoke cleared, RR had just 23 scholarship D players in the pipeline and a roster severely lacking in blue chip skill players, which partly explains why Michigan's offense was stuck in neutral that first  year (it didn't help that RR was trying to run the spread option with the Threet/Sheridan combo) and why he recruited offense so hard the first two years at the expense of the D.  Assuming RR's kids stick around, Hoke's table is set offensively, even if he turns Denard into a split end or a RB, and especially if he can somehow get Hart back, which is a longshot now.  They're saying Turnover Tate is already gone.  On D, Hoke has some work to do, but it's good sign that Martin is coming back.  We'll need some senior leadership. 

Since: Jan 3, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2011 6:22 pm

Michigan must give Hoke a chance to succeed

Agler, I see a lot of emotion and anger out there with all of us Michigan fans over the terrible defense, the blowouts, etc. so I can understand the knee-jerk hatred for RR - that was unfamiliar territory for Michigan football.  We definitely hit some big speed bumps, but I expected it inside of 3 years, and I'm surprised that so many others did not.  Along with the hatred, I have noticed a lot of ignorance and misinformation out there too, so I have been trying to set the record straight where I can.  Personally, I'm a big fan of the spread option and the smaller, faster philosophy so RR's style was intriguing to me.  His recruiting success was exciting.  I think one more year would have told a much better story on the status of the program.  Regardless, RR leaves Hoke with the jump start on talent that RR himself did not enjoy when he took over.  In the end, I believe RR had us on the path he was hired to put us on.  Was it the right path?  We'll never know for sure, but I feel strongly right now that RR for Hoke is not a fair trade.  Let's pray that I'm wrong.

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