The End Is Near for Brady Hoke
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According to Bovada, Michigan is a 2-point underdog at Rutgers today.
It's further confirmation that as the sun set last Saturday on the Michigan-Minnesota game, it may have ushered in the twilight of Brady Hoke's career in Ann Arbor.
The Gophers, who were just stomped by TCU a week earlier, smashed the Wolverines, 30-14. It not only returned the Little Brown Jug to Minneapolis, it marked the first time in over 100 years that Michigan has lost three games in the month of September.
Bo Schembechler said that the Michigan program should be run by a Michigan man, because he believed only a Michigan man would totally buy in to the Michigan way.
Still, Bo should've qualified that the program should be led by the right Michigan man.
It's more than clear that this Michigan man is in deep trouble. When Hoke was brought in from a successful stint at San Diego State, he was supposed to be everything that former head coach Rich Rodriguez wasn't. He was supposed to be a better recruiter, knew the program, and knew how to win.
Since going 11-2 his first year as head coach -- with Rich Rod's players -- Hoke has gone from hero to zero. His record since then: 8-5, 7-6, and right now, 2-3.
What is it with Michigan football? Rodriguez -- not a Michigan man -- was hired to inject new ideas into the Wolverines' culture. He just found out the hard way that the culture there is ingrained in ways both significant and subtle. His record at West Virginia beforehand and Arizona afterward makes his time with the Maize & Blue puzzling; could it be the effects of that culture are at odds within the way the game is played today?
Whatever the reason, Hoke's issue is more simply seen. Dude's been a flat-out poor coach there. Some around the program say that he's got no idea what he's doing. Still, politics and personal networks count, and Hoke has those within his web of Michigan men.
|Michigan has had down times and down games, but that happens. Any institution of higher learning or football is going to have times when they're down. It's about what they do when they're down and out and how quickly they recover.|
Wonder how he feels after Minnestoa re-claimed the Little Brown Jug?
Former Michigan Heisman winner and ESPN analyst Desmond Howard is on the opposite end of the perspective. He feels like not enough players are motivated to do their best to get better.
|I can go to a practice and point somebody out -- that guy right there, he wants to be great -- I think the only guy who I saw [at Michigan] who had that kind of swagger about him, may have been Jabrill Peppers.|
It's possible -- not probable, but possible -- the Wolverines could run the table and Hoke could claim he's turning things around. However, he's going to have a hard time getting past the Shane Morris concussion, and justifiably so:
Hoke's explanation after the hit on Morris? Injuries are part of the game.
|Guys play beat up every day … Guys also has knicks and bumps and bruises and everything else.|
A university with the stature of Michigan may indeed have ups and downs on the field, but when its sports administration and coaching staff becomes so self-interested it disregards the well-being of its players, those dudes gotta go.
It will probably take until the end of the season, but Michigan's president needs to do the right thing.