Dave Brandon is going away?

Tag: David Brandon

11Jan 2011
Uncategorized 39 comments

Brady Hoke, Wolverine (again)

Tony Siragusa Brady Hoke will be the new Michigan football coach

Athletic director David Brandon released a statement on Tuesday announcing that Brady Hoke, the San Diego State head coach, will replace Rich Rodriguez as the head coach at the University of Michigan.  Hoke was a defensive line coach at Michigan from 1995-2002 and has since spent eight seasons as an FBS head coach at Ball State and SDSU.  He’s married with one daughter.

Hoke’s results at Ball State . . .
2003: 4-8, 3-5
2004: 2-9, 2-6
2005: 4-7, 4-4
2006: 5-7, 5-3
2007: 7-6, 5-2
2008: 12-1, 8-0

Hoke’s results at SDSU . . .
2009: 4-8, 2-6
2010: 9-4, 5-3

Totals . . .
47-50 overall
34-30 in conference
1-1 in bowl games (Hoke did not coach in Ball State’s 2008 bowl game)

The 2010 version of San Diego State finished 16th in total offense, 19th in scoring offense, 43rd in total defense, and 36th in scoring defense.

I am not a fan of this hire.  At all.  The all-time winningest program in college football history just hired a guy with a 47-50 career record, a .484 winning percentage.  The all-time winningest program in college football history just hired a guy who has three winning seasons in his career, or 37.5% of the time.  The all-time winningest program in college football history just hired a guy who was probably Michigan’s third choice – at best – behind Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles.

I said after the 2010 Ohio State game that I thought Michigan’s coaching ranking should be:

1. Jim Harbaugh
2. Rich Rodriguez

If David Brandon was going to wait until after the Orange Bowl to make a firing/hiring, then he should have sewn up Harbaugh immediately or retained Rodriguez (and forced him to fire Greg Robinson).  There shouldn’t have been a third option, like Miles or Hoke.

I don’t care if Brady Hoke is a Michigan Man.  He’s not a proven coach.  He loses more than he wins.  It took him five seasons to get the exact same record (7-6) at a MAC school as Rich Rodriguez earned in his third season at Michigan.

Meanwhile, Hoke runs a pro-style offense whose two quarterbacks in 2010 were 6’4″-6’5″ and between 210 and 215 pounds; Denard Robinson will probably either agree to change positions or transfer to Pitt.  Meanwhile, Hoke had better hope that sophomore/redshirt freshman Devin Gardner can play quarterback fairly well, because . . . well . . . choices are slim.  Well, “choice” is probably too broad of a term there.  I know David Brandon can’t make a decision about a program based on one player or one position, but when you go with a losing coach who also probably plans to totally revamp the offensive and defensive systems, that’s kind of a double blow.

Hoke isn’t all bad.  He had two 1,000 yard receivers in 2010.  He also had the 10th leading rusher in the country.  He went 9-4 and won a bowl game.  By all accounts he’s a nice guy, a solid recruiter, and a fiery leader. 

By the way, I’m keeping my Rivals account to follow recruiting, but not for the inside information.  Chris Balas, the “insider” over there charged with following the coaching situation, originally implied that Harbaugh would be hired, then he switched his pick to Hoke, then Miles, then Hoke again.  I said after the bowl game that I expected Harbaugh to be the next coach, but after that, I quit guessing.  You get one chance to be right.  If you screw it up, you just throw up your hands and say “I don’t know what the hell is going on.”  Not Balas, though.  I guess you’re bound to be right if, once you’re wrong, you get to change your answer a bunch of times.  I wish the ACT had been like that back when I was in high school.

5Jan 2011
Uncategorized 43 comments

Rich Rodriguez, ex-Wolverine

Rich Rodriguez was fired from Michigan on Wednesday

After a Tuesday rife with rumors that head coach Rich Rodriguez had been fired, the real thing actually happened on Wednesday.  According to athletic director David Brandon, who met with Rodriguez on Tuesday afternoon, the AD promised to “sleep on it” before making a final decision.  When Brandon woke up, he obviously hadn’t changed his mind – Rodriguez and his assistants were relieved of their duties Wednesday morning.

Back on November 30th, I wrote a post in which I projected that Rodriguez would be fired.  I have to say, going back to December 2007, I was not a fan of the Rich Rodriguez hiring.  I rooted for Rodriguez to succeed because I love the University of Michigan and its football program, but he was not the best fit for Michigan.  That’s obvious now.  Michigan alumni weren’t exactly fair to Rodriguez when he was hired, but regardless, the two parties didn’t mesh well.  Personally, the reason I didn’t like Rich Rodriguez was because of his attitude.  By all accounts he was a hardworking individual and welcomed players into his home.  He created a family atmosphere.  He ran a pretty tight ship with regard to player behavior, unlike that coach down in Columbus or up the road in East Lansing.

But it irks me when coaches make faces on the sideline.  It irks me when they complain about things in the media.  As a head coach, I think one has to know how to roll with the punches.  Maybe it’s because I grew up watching legendary stoics like Lloyd Carr roam the sidelines.  It’s not that Carr didn’t get a little fiery once in awhile, but he didn’t grit his teeth or roll his eyes or put his head in his hands or sag his head or droop his shoulders. 

None of this is to say that Rich Rodriguez’s system can’t or couldn’t work at Michigan.  That’s a load of uneducated bulls***.  The spread offense can work in the Big Ten.  It works everywhere, including the vaunted SEC, the Pac-10, the Big 12, the Big East, etc.  The 3-3-5 defense can work anywhere, too; there are fewer examples of it being used, but the proper coaching and deployment of personnel can make any defense work in any locale.  I grow tired of fending off arguments that “The spread just can’t work in the Big Ten” from my co-workers or people at the gym.  I just smile and nod, because really, Joe Schmoe at the gym doesn’t care about the specifics of the zone read option or the 3-3-5 stack.  He reads the headlines, jumps to conclusions, and makes up his mind permanently.  And he is a fool.

I am not begging for the reincarnation of Carr.  I know he’s not coming back, and very few coaches are like him in the sense of being a curmudgeonly grandfather who happens to know a thing or two about football.  But the discrepancy between Carr and Rodriguez was extremely apparent, and it was a culture shock for Michigan fans, even those who fully supported the Rodriguez hiring.

I appreciate the things Rich Rodriguez did at the University of Michigan.  He was a good ambassador for the program at Mott Children’s Hospital.  He embraced the Mealer family after their tragic car accident.  His players did an excellent job in the classroom.  He recruited quality student-athletes.  One of his players, Denard Robinson, was thrust into Heisman contention in 2010.  Rodriguez’s accomplishments were numerous.

Unfortunately, those accomplishments were mostly limited to developments off the field.  On the field in three seasons, Rodriguez was 15-22.  His defenses gave up 405 yards and 30+ points per game.  He had the worst winning percentage of any coach in Michigan football history.  His defense gave up more points than any Michigan defense in history.  He was at the helm for Michigan’s most lopsided bowl loss, this year’s Gator Bowl defeat at the hands of Mississippi State, a mediocre SEC team.

I won’t speculate much about who Michigan’s next coach will be.  The guys at The Wolverine (Michigan’s Rivals site) have been way, way off during this entire “search.”  Brian at MGoBlog has stated several times before that Brady Hoke wouldn’t be considered for the coaching gig, but now Hoke is the seeming front-runner.  However, a few days ago, that title belonged to Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh.  Bloggers and message board posters have tossed out names like Les Miles (LSU), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Gary Patterson (TCU), Kyle Whittingham (Utah), Tommy Tuberville (Texas A&M), Jon Gruden (former Raiders and Buccaneers coach), Tony Dungy (former Buccaneers and Colts coach), and Mike Trgovac (Packers defensive line coach and former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator).  And keep in mind that Rodriguez himself was a surprise choice back in December 2007, when everybody thought the new Michigan coach would be Ron English, Mike Debord, Kirk Ferentz, Greg Schiano, or Les Miles. 

Nobody knows what will happen next except, perhaps, David Brandon.  So I will save my reaction until something definitive happens.

But in the meantime, I would like to thank Rich Rodriguez for his efforts at the University of Michigan.  As much as I disliked his attitude, I know that he poured his heart and soul into the program.  I would have liked to have seen him succeed at Michigan, but unfortunately for the players, the university, the fans, and himself, it just wasn’t meant to be.  I wish Rodriguez well wherever he ends up next.

Go Blue!

30Nov 2010
Uncategorized 43 comments

Mailbag: Will Rich Rodriguez return in 2011?


Dear Magnus,

I’m a long time reader, first time writer.

I’d like to know if a) you think Rodriguez will be fired and b) you think he should be fired.  Please keep your response to 10,000 words or less.



Thanks for the e-mail, Matt.

These are difficult questions to answer, but I’m just a blogger, so my opinion really doesn’t matter.  So what the hell, let’s go for it.

Do I think that Rodriguez will be fired?  To put it bluntly, yes.  I think the din of disapproval has grown too loud.  People expected more when he was hired, and they expected it faster.  To the vast majority, THIS IS MICHIGAN, and Lloyd Carr couldn’t possibly have left the cupboard this bare.  And to an extent, they’re right.  I have a hard time believing that a Lloyd Carr-coached team would have wandered through a season with as little of a clue about how to play defense as this 2010 squad has, and the mind boggling amount of attrition over the past few years probably could have been stemmed in some way.  How?  I don’t know.  But other programs have gone through coaching changes without losing 17 players in their first three recruiting classes (2008-2010) like Rodriguez has, and that’s not counting the droves who were already in Ann Arbor and were subsequently driven off by Rodriguez’s rules, conditioning, or attitude.

Athletic director David Brandon has been publicly supportive for the most part, and I think he’s done a good job of standing by Rodriguez.  I don’t think Brandon had his mind made up when he was hired that Rodriguez would be gone after 2010, but he has probably reached that conclusion over the past few months.  The 0-9 record against Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State might have been the nail in the coffin for Rodriguez, who lost all of those games handily in 2010.  As I said in my post the other day, the 7-5 record this season was what I expected.  But just because Michigan people expected that season doesn’t mean that they’ll accept it.

Do I think Rodriguez should be fired?  The answer to that is a little murkier.  With even a halfway decent defense, this team could have been 9-3 or 10-2.  Wisconsin and Ohio State were tanks this year; Penn State, Iowa, and Michigan State were all fairly beatable, in my opinion.  If David Brandon sat down Rodriguez and said, “Look, we’re going to hire this particular guy to run a 4-3 (or 3-4 or 4-2-5 or even 3-3-5) defense, and you will leave him alone to do his own thing,” then that might be the difference.  But should an athletic director really have to do that?  If Brandon has to tell Rodriguez what defense to run, then Brandon might as well trade in his suit and tie for a whistle and a headset.  The defense was bound to be bad because of all the youth, but you can’t tell me that it had to be this bad.  Not 109th in total defense and 102nd in scoring defense.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s Harbaugh or bust.  I don’t want Brady Hoke just because “He’s a Michigan man.”  Les Miles’ road to Ann Arbor has essentially been blocked.  I don’t want a first-time head coach like Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator from Auburn (who would likely face some of the same resistance Rodriguez has).  Michigan shouldn’t hire some guy just because that guy’s name happens to not be Rich Rodriguez.

If Harbaugh balks, I think Michigan ought to keep Rodriguez and go after a proven defensive coordinator.  I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of bringing in West Virginia’s Jeff Casteel, who might be out of a job if WVU head coach Bill Stewart’s rumored retirement comes to fruition.  But whoever the new coordinator would be, he would have to be given some autonomy over the defense.

I know that’s not an extremely definitive answer, but without knowing Harbaugh’s intentions or the future of Casteel (among other moving parts), it’s difficult to make a decision right this moment.