Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Holy cliche! It's Hoke (presser notes)

So the unflappably sweaty Brady Hoke just had his introduction press conference. Below are some highlights of the event:

Dave Brandon:
  • I traveled to five cities in six days. I interviewed several coaches face to face and several more via telephone.
  • I learned that all that glitters is not gold when it comes to some coaches. A two or three hour interview can reveal much more than you can get off the internet.
  • If I met him when he was a coach here, I don't remember.
  • The first time I met him was this summer at a charity event. Contrary to some folks' belief, I didn't know Brady Hoke very well until the several hours we spent together during this process.
  • There were 12 criteria that I established.
  • #1 is his love for this football program and intense desire to compete for this job. #2 his reputation as a coach.
  • He is clearly a players coach. It's not about him.
  • As the search process progressed, I started to become more and more interested in Brady.
  • "He's also a guy that knows how to coach defense." (Simply not true, about which more tomorrow)
Brady Hoke:
  • I want to thank coach Rodriguez and his staff. Coaching profession is a tough job. Coach Rodriguez and his staff gave three years of their lives and commitment to Michigan football. That's not to be forgotten.
  • We've had a love for Michigan for a number of years.
  • We understand what Michigan football means and what Michigan football is. We will always be about the team at Michigan.
  • The foundation is going to be our character.
  • Character wins in life and character wins on the football field.
  • We're going to have a foundation of toughness. You have to be mentally tough and physically tough.
  • We are going to be a team that competes with a high degree of effort every time we take the field.
  • (Breaks down in tears when talking about past players.)

Q: Reaction of new players?
  • I went through a transition when I played in college
  • I can tell you that that has always stuck with me. You understand there is a transition process.
  • I thought the guys were enthusiastic. We talked about what our path is.
Q: What can you do to stop divisions in the program?
  • It's sad that this great university has divisions. I can promise you that this is about the guys that play in this program. It's about them become husbands and fathers and great community leaders when they graduate.
Q: What offense do you see immediately?
  • We understand one thing: we've got a special guy in Denard. He is a guy that can do an awful lot for your football program.
  • When you have talented players, it's your job as a coach to mold that into what's best for your football team. Most of the time, it's what's best for that player.
Q: Rivalries?
  • You want to win them. You want to prepare to win them.
  •  Lifeblood of your recruiting has to be in the Midwest and has to be in Michigan.
Q: Challenges of finishing recruiting class and securing existing players?
  • We've been in both situations before.
  • I plan to meet with all of the seniors and as many of the other guys as well.
  • I will be on the phone as soon as we are done here to the guys that have committed.
  • You're never going to please everybody and that's something I don't care about. We're going to do what is best for the program and what is best for these kids.
Q: Shouldn't you aim for National Championships?
  • Nope. If you win your conference, you should have a chance at national championships.
  • Our goal is to win the Big Ten championship. Multipally [sic].
Other questions:
  • I coach with a linebackers' mentality.
[ED. If you haven't already yelled at me in the comments, you probably don't need to. After much rabble rabbling, I've come around to the idea that this press conference probably doesn't mean as much as I thought it did an hour ago. You can disregard most of the below.]

One word: AAAHHHHHHHHH. If I was terrified about Hoke before this press conference, I'm barricading my bedroom and stocking up on ammunition. Aside from his general demeanor as bumbling, jolly oaf and fan favorite, Hoke just seems unprepared. Saying things like you're not preparing for national championships because, if you win the Big Ten you might have a chance at the national championship, is insane. Hoke is going to recruit the shit out of Michigan, which is going to make local papers happy but reduce Michigan to the bare minimum of talent.

He pumped the crowd full of coachspeak cliches: character wins, doing what's best for the players, preparing players for life and making them good husbands and fathers. None of this is what I want from a football coach. I want someone that knows what the hell he's doing on the field. Brady Hoke is, more clearly than ever, not that man.

To all of the reporters that mocked Rodriguez for his southern stylings, is this what you wanted? Hoke could barely put sentences together coherently (and even made up words as he went along) and seemed completely out of touch with modern football. This was terrifying and his existing resume doesn't comfort any fears about his public persona. We're in for a long haul.


Anonymous said...

you are a giant d-bag. the guy had more life in his first press conference than rich had in 3 years. fuck off dick.

Andrew Kahn said...

That's how these press conferences typically go. Did you expect him to have a white board next to the podium to diagram plays?

Anonymous said...

The press conference was a win and he absolutely slaughtered Drew Sharp. You do not jump the gun to national championship first you win the Big Ten. You sound quite terrible and this is what is wrong with Mich right now. Back the coach and deal with it dude.

Chris Gaerig said...

Jesus, is this what we've been reduced to? Supporting coachspeak press conferences? Not aiming for national championships? He was pressed on the matter and repeated that, no, he wasn't aiming to win national championships.

Just because he can smile in front of a room of reporters that are throwing him softballs about all the support he's gotten from former players doesn't mean we should be encouraged. If my coach is going to stumble over his words and have a hard time putting sentences together, I'd like that he have a resume or a reputation as some sort of guru.

Randy said...

I just deleted my bookmark for your blog. I have been a obbsesive reader of yours and have generally agreed with you and your views on how Rich was treated but you obviously have problems letting go. I want to read blogs that are critical but fair and you have lost your touch, my friend.

Chris Gaerig said...

Sorry to hear it. I suggest you check back in tomorrow when I break down the performances of Hoke's past teams and then you'll see why I'm so down on him. Hey, maybe my opinion will even change as I really parse the information. But the content I pulled yesterday is really discouraging. This press conference offered little or no consolation.

Nick said...

There was nothing substantive in this press conference, nothing to get excited about one way or the other.

What's really going to matter is what happens on the field. So far, the score is 47-50... so, I think Wolverine fans have a right to be concerned.

DJB said...

Hahahaha: "you are a giant d-bag."

Hang in there Chris.

For those of you disagreeing with Chris, you really ruin your argument when you start calling him names. He is maybe the most intelligent UM football writer on this Interweb.

His record for being right about this team is waayyyy better than 47-50. So just keep reading.

Chris Gaerig said...

My biggest concerns were his answer to the national championship question and where his recruiting will be focused. Otherwise, yeah, senseless coachspeak. But those are two really important factors.

Anonymous said...

"For those of you disagreeing with Chris, you really ruin your argument when you start calling him names. He is maybe the most intelligent UM football writer on this Interweb."

Wow. If this is the best you've got... I suppose he should have guaranteed a national championship in two years??? I have no idea who you are or what your qualifications are in regard to evaluating this hire. It is quite obvious, however, that you have never met Brady Hoke. UM is very lucky indeed to have a man of his caliber coming back to head up the program. My son played for him at Ball State, so I am somewhat familiar with Brady and his past coaching accomplishments. To a man, his players (present and past) and anyone associated with him will tell you that he is more than capable of being successful at Michigan. If you wanted "pretty", go find him and then take your chances with whatever you get.

Chris Gaerig said...

I'd love to hear some of your (or your son's) accounts of Hoke's time coaching in the past. I look at his results and they have been, across the board, pretty middling. Hoke seems like a fine, jovial guy and for the record, I do support him as Michigan's head coach. But I don't want Michigan to return to the late-era Carr swoon. I want to see them return to a true national power. Hoke's resume doesn't indicate he can get the team there. If he does, wonderful, and I will be behind him 100% from the moment his team hits the field. But I reserve the right to be skeptical.

Nick said...

"My son played for him at Ball State, so I am somewhat familiar with Brady and his past coaching accomplishments."

And you're so confident in your point of view that you:
- offer no evidence of these "accomplishments"
- post your comments anonymously

So far, 99% of the support I've seen for Hoke has been in the MSM and they (like you Mr. Anonymous) offer no tangibles, only statements like "he's more than capable". He may be. But it's just as convincing to tell you that I can coach better than Brady Hoke because I'm also "capable".

Actually, I've a better record than Brady Hoke. I'm 0-0 as a head coach, which is at least .500.

Unknown said...

Hey DJB, Why are you so defensive? Is this guy your personal friend?

DJB said...

No, he's a d-bag. And he knows it.

Lankownia said...


I'm glad you're sticking to your view and going into it in more detail. This is infinitely better then the "he's our coach now, get in line" mentality that I'm reading/hearing from most.

That said, your use of "Simply not true" needs work. I've noticed this before. Hoke CAN coach football, he just might not do it well. Theres a better way of saying this than "not true" when you're talking about your subjective opinion...even if you feel real strongly.

The B10 vs national champ thing...this is exactly what Lloyd and Bo said. No surprise. I'm not moved by this view. Both sides have a point but again, its subjective. Its certainly not "insane" to focus on winning your conference. Misguided, perhaps, but not insane. Your blog man, but I'd tone down the blasts and focus on what youre good at: analyzing football in more depth than the casual fan.

All the best. Looking forward to reading tomorrow.

rinmia77 said...

I don't think there needs to be any worry about the Big Ten over National Championships response. The question was asked by Drew Sharp (the grand poobah of Detroit-based idiot/asshole MSM-types). It was a dick of a question trying to corner Brady, and Brady wanted to shove it down his throat. Of course Brady wants to win a national championships, but RRod (and Bo, Moeller and Carr) answered that exact question with the exact same response...the stated goal is to win the Big Ten championships. And for recruiting, he said the line about Michigan because that's what the head coach needs to say to build bridges. Remember, this was a guy who was in charge of WEST COAST recruiting during his last stay in A2.

Not saying that Hoke is a slam dunk to actually get Michigan back to the point where finishing at/near the top of the Big Ten was a given -- his past coaching data doesn't inspire unshakable confidence -- but I thought he hit all his necessary points at his press conference and overall it was a win. (Especially if he keeps Denard!)

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

I really enjoy reading Chris' arguments, but I have to agree with some of the critizism levied his way.

For 3 years we've had factions that undermined RR. The problem was that they did it from Day 1 BEFORE the team even played a game and results could be measured. I'm afraid Chris has put himself into that same group, different coach.

All of us reading this had NO CONTROL over this decision and we should live with that. We should also live with the fact that the matter is over, done, finito, ended. If we want Brady to have success, the last thing he needs is the constant undermining that RR rec'd from Day 1.

Let's all step back and breath. Time will tell if Chris is full of hot air or if he's greatest judge of coaching talent to come along since Bill Martin.....ok, bad example. But, point being, let's give the man a chance and stop critisizing him for taking a job that all of us would love to have!

Chris Gaerig said...

Lankownia, my personal ombudsman.

The Bo/Carr comparison re: Big Ten championship is valid but those guys coached at a different time when winning the Big Ten meant more nationally. When pressed on the topic Hoke didn't correct himself and say, "Well yes, we'd like to win national championships", which is what Carr certainly would have said. He stuck with his Big Ten = highest accomplishment stance. This is not what I want from a head coach.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

A comment on the National Championship vs. Big Ten focus.

We all know that wining a NC is the ultimate. But, as we see from poll after poll, year after year, a team has no control over that portion of the BCS equation. Several things have to happen to even get a shot at the Big Dance and other people/computers make that decision. The only a coach can control is their OWN actions, which in this case is winning the Big Ten. I agree with BR that if that happens the rest should come (if the writers/coaches/comtuers don't screw ya).

So, I think the debate is a pretty minor thing in the grand scheme.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

Besides, I'll take a Big Ten title to start things off!

Chris Gaerig said...

Believe that I'm behind Hoke. I'm unnerved by this whole experience and unsettled about our coaching situation, though. I want Michigan to succeed, whoever the coach is, and as such, Hoke is my guy. But I also have a lot of qualms about it. We'll see how those shake out and I'm probably not giving him his fair shake right now.

Anonymous said...

I understand the skeptism associated with this hire; it is only natural to feel that way as a truly passionate Michigan fan.

However, to that point if you are truly a Michigan fan and you do "support him as Michigan's head coach", then perhaps you should give the guy a chance to show what he's got rather than just blather on about how he doesnt know "what the hell he's doing on the field".

Last time I checked guys like Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, Jon Jansen, etc. etc. knew a lot more about what he does or does not know on the football field than some internet blogger; and they all support the hire whole heartedly. (see )

Also his record of 47-50 that all of you love to rag on so much probably has something to do with him taking over two horrible football programs, lets take a look at his history shall we:

2009-10: San Diego State.

2010 9-4 .690
2009 4-8 .333
Total 13-12 .520

2003-08: Ball State.

2008 12-1 .923
2007 7-6 .538
2006 5-7 .417
2005 4-7 .364
2004 2-9 .182
2003 4-8 .333
Total 34-38 .472

hmm.. do we sense a pattern? For all of you non-math majors (specifically you Chris Gaerig), he improved his teams' winning percentage each and every year.

Let me guess that your rebuttal will be that the Mountain West or the MAC conferences "are not the Big10". Well that is a good point, they're not, however (and I know this examples been used at nauseum) Bo Schembechler came from Miami of Ohio; and the widely hailed potential Michigan Savior Jim Harbaugh came from Uni of San Diego before rising to fame at Stanford. Long story short is everyone has to come from SOMEwhere. Just because this is not a huge name hire does not mean it is not the correct one.

As far as I can tell, all the signs point to Brady Hoke is a very qualified coach who could very well be a smashing success at Michigan; however rather than just sitting in your computer chair blasting a guy you've never met, maybe you should give the guy the benefit of the doubt. After all he is a Michigan Man with a whole truckload of upside.

and PS - I dont have a blogger account so I HAVE to post anonymously.


GOBlue_Vinnie said...

I agree Chris and am equally upset with DB for the way this was handled. Like you, Brady's my guy so GO BLUE!

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

More info. Hoke expected to bring Aaron Wellman from SDSU as teh Strength coach. Barwis status uncertain.

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

To refresh my memory, I looked up Bo's coaching record prior to Michigan and below is what I found. I find column 4 of particular interest. So, I'm gonna start believing that this will all work out ok and I'm "All in" for Mr. Hoke!

Year School Record Postseason
1963 Miami (Ohio) 5-3-2 None
1964 Miami (Ohio) 6-3-1 None
1965 Miami (Ohio) 7-3-0 None
1966 Miami (Ohio) 9-1-0 None
1967 Miami (Ohio) 6-4-0 None
1968 Miami (Ohio) 7-3-0 None

GOBlue_Vinnie said...

I also came across this:

"Schembechler became Michigan's 15th head coach after the 1968 season, succeeding Bump Elliott. He was hired in 15 minutes. It took athletic director Don Canham that long "to sense the intensity, the enthusiasm of a man destined to be a winner."

It may sound funny, but I got the same sense of intensity out of today's press conference. Let's hope BR has teh same destiny!

Chris Gaerig said...

BR? Brady Rodriguez? Freudian slip?

If Hoke is the Bo reincarnate, I will tattoo his face on my chest. This isn't an expectation of failure. That's just how happy I'll be. I encourage all of you to make the same pledge.

Randy said...

I'm in for the tattoo, write it down!

Unknown said...

Having heard the Brady Hoke introduction, I'm amazed. Is anyone really confident handing control of a multi-million dollar program to someone who seems so intellectually challenged? Passion is great...for players. I don't know how helpful it is for the coach to be so passionate that he's nearly incomprehensible when speaking. I'd hoped that Michigan would come up with someone a bit more impressive for such a formerly impressive program.

Chris Gaerig said...

Matt, sorry your comment didn't get published right away. It was marked as spam (probably because the Freep link is so long) and I missed it on the back end.

I don't put much stock in what former players say about their coaches. Basically all Rodriguez's former players talk about what a wonderful coach he was and what a great job he did. This is how players treat their former coaches.

I've largely come around on Hoke and am going to give him a fair shot, but four years of sub-.500 football as the head coach of a program is really disturbing. It took Rodriguez two years to get above .500 at Michigan and the fanbase nearly exploded. As I wrote today, those early Ball State years don't inspire confidence, even if he took over an awful program. By the time he got his team to .500, he had four recruiting classes and all of his own players. That's explicitly doing a bad job. But the turnaround at SDSU looks legit and happened quickly. Let's see how he does.

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