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Michigan taps Hoke to resurrect the program

January 12, 2011

       Michigan has landed on Brady Hoke to be their head football coach. They were turned down by Jim Harbaugh, which is not a slap in the face to Michigan at all since he took what turns out to be a great opportunity to coach the 49ers, he can stay in the house he lives in now and coach at the NFL level for $5,000,000 a year. On Monday Michigan AD David Brandon met with Les Miles. Depending on what media outlet you listen too, it is up in the air as to whether or not the job was offered to Miles. The Detroit Free Press and the LSU’s sports website Tigerbait.com are reporting Miles did indeed turn down an offer, but I can’t find the source for their information. Naturally LSU’s sports information department would report an offer was made, it makes them look good to report that their head coach turned down overtures to return to his alma mater.  However it came to pass, Michigan’s apparent first two choices turned them down. That may not turn out to be a bad thing in the long run. 

      The real question of whether or not Brady Hoke is the man to lead Michigan back to national prominence lies in a couple of key areas. First and foremost, he will need to be able to recruit on the highest level. Make no mistake, the Michigan fan base will not be happy with 9-3, 10-2 seasons. Consistently beating Ohio State, winning Big10 championships, and winning BCS bowls/championships is the stated goal. To do that, he is going to need top 10 recruiting classes, and fast. While the recruiting ranking system is pretty flawed(probably a good topic for another post!), there is no doubt a correlation between recruiting class rankings and teams success. The BCS teams with the most wins since 2005 are Ohio St, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and LSU. From 2003-2008(the years the recruits would be juniors starting in 2005)their average finish in national recruiting rankings(which I got from combining the rankings from Rivals.com and Scout.com)are:

Ohio St 12

Florida 5

Texas 10

Oklahoma 11

LSU 7

  As I stated earlier, recruiting rankings are skewed by biases of the entities that put them together, but if you are in the top 10 area, you are getting NFL type talent. The key to a successful program is how you develop your 3 star players and recruiting players that fit your system, not necessarily how many 4/5 star players you get, but as you can see the teams that are winning the most are also getting the best talent. Can Hoke recruit with the other big time coaches? 

  The next thing that will be crucial to Hoke’s success is out of his control. Will the alumni/administration give him the time necessary to turn the program around. Is Michigan AD Brandon realistic about where his program is now and how long it will take to get it to where they want to be? There is speculation that he has an unrealistic perception about how long a turnaround should take and that is what scared of Miles.  In the cases of Auburn with Gene Chizik and Jim Tressel with Ohio St, their predecessors(Tommy Tuberville and John Cooper)left them a good deal of talent to work with. The cupboard is pretty bare in Ann Arbor. Jonas Mouton is the highest rated Michigan draft prospect, and he is likely a third rounder. Will the Michigan faithful give Hoke 4 years to get them where they want to be? I think the hope is that Hoke being a “Michigan Man” will buy him more time with he alumni.  Michigan will be undergoing not only a change in staff, but a change in philosophy. They will be moving back to the pro set offense Michigan was known for before Rodriguez, and they will also be moving away from that ridiculous 3-3-5 defense and back to more pro based schemes. This will take time. Add in that Michigan screwed themselves royally by waiting until a month before national signing day for high school recruits to change coaches, meaning the will lose most of the top players from their recruiting class, and this transition could be even rougher.  Will Michigan give him the time needed? Is he up to the challenge? Time will tell.

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