First and foremost, I support Brady Hoke, but I also reserve the right to be violently pissed off about this whole situation. As was one of the memes that undid Rich Rodriguez, this fanbase needs to be unified in its support of its head coach. Rodriguez was a martyr to this cause and Hoke will reap the benefits. Regardless, I will support Hoke from the moment he gets on campus and hope that he succeeds. I do however, hold serious reservations about the success of the program under the David Brandon reign. I don't really know how to quantify the FAIL of this coaching searching, but I've made my feelings on Brandon abundantly clear here.
To that end, Hashiell Dammit is pitch perfect:
This was a decision made out of fear. Fear that the thing you love is dying. Bo left a legacy that defined the second half of the 20th century for the Michigan program. It no longer exists, of course, but it was a damn beautiful thing. Rather than accepting its passage or sending it off with a grand farewell a la HST, the men and women of Schembechler Hall are puttering around an empty house making sure that the coasters are on the coffee table just how Bo liked it and that every Thursday pot roast is served just how Bo wanted it. When there are dozens of coordinators and assistants available that are of vastly greater quality (I mean, I just randomly thought of Clemson’s D-Coord Kevin Steele and checked, and yup, he’s loads better than Hoke) and you choose to go with the distant relative, you are a craven organization.I suggest you read the entire post. He's right, though: Brandon, and more broadly the entire fanbase, was afraid of never returning to Schembechler-like glory and as such, acted rashly and without reason. Now Hoke is the head coach at Michigan.
Hoke had to be the head coach, though. He was always Brandon's choice, and in retrospect, it was obvious. Brandon's criteria (a defense-first coach with head coaching experience and ties to the Midwest) wasn't so much a way to slim the field of candidates as it was to justify his decision. His candidates--Hoke, Miles, and Harbaugh--were all coaches that would appease the masses on the outset, but only one of them was really a reasonable option. Brandon knew this and played to the fear of the masses. After the last three years, few people balked at Brandon's description that was clearly outlining Hoke; or at least a Carr clone, something that the fan base could probably agree that Michigan doesn't need again.
The concern surrounding Hoke is that he appears to have fallen directly below the coaching tree from which he grew. It's difficult to see the upside for Hoke. He doesn't appear to do either offense or defense exceptionally well, settling instead for base formations and hoping to out perform the opposition. This is what doomed the end of the Carr era and why he always lost the big games. Like we saw in the National Championship game a few days ago, a brilliant tactician is supremely important. With Hoke flatly refusing the spread offense and arguing that it can't work long-term in college football, it's clear that Hoke is not such a tactician. As such, it's difficult to see the team ever eclipsing the late Carr years. But for now, this will be enough to appease the masses until a time comes when Hoke has lost enough to Tressel and people demand his replacement.
In the coming days, I'll be reviewing the performance of Hoke's teams through the years. The early returns are fairly promising, but a closer inspection of just how everything breaks down is necessary.