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Brady Hoke has been deservedly praised for his turnaround of the Michigan Wolverines this past season, but his short-term results do not indicate long-term gains, especially on offense.
Hoke wanted to implement a pro-style system, and through the first game, he did. Michigan rode a couple of poorly-timed turnovers to a rain-shortened win over Western Michigan.
It looked like Hoke's system was taking root in Week 1, but when Notre Dame brought the Wolverines offense to a halt in the first half of Week 2, the future didn't look so bright.
At that point, Hoke gave up. He dropped his pro-style system and let his best player, Denard Robinson, dictate the offensive flow.
With winning now as the ultimate goal, you can't argue with the results. Robinson turned in a spectacular performance and led Michigan to a comeback win. That win earned him to keys to the offense, and he responded by leading Michigan all the way to the Sugar Bowl.
With Robinson back, the Wolverines will be good again next season, but once he's gone, Hoke will be back at square one. Right now, he doesn't have an offense, he has one transcendent player. When Robinson graduates, Hoke will be all the way back at square one. He'll not only have to bring in a new quarterback, but also re-teach his offense to his entire team.
Michigan might return to the BCS next season, but we won't have a true reading on Brady Hoke's future success until 2013.
The approach that is most successful right away is not always the best approach for the long term, and that is absolutely the case for Notre Dame in 2012. The Irish don't have a player that Robinson that might distract them from sticking to its long-term plan, but even so, Kelly and his coaching staff need to keep their collective eye on the ball.
Uptempo offense isn't as simple as flipping a switch. It requires complete commitment from every aspect of the team. It's not something that just happens in games—it's rooted in an attitude that must permeate every team meeting and practice session.
This speed of offense only works if every single player buys on the practice field and on game day.
The advantage rides on getting the play off quickly, but obviously, the ball can't be snapped until everybody is set. It's easy for receivers to hustle up to the line after making a catch, but if the offensive line doesn't sprint downfield after every big play, the wideouts' effort is wasted.
Bringing in a new offense and a new quarterback will be difficult. Things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But no matter what the early returns, Kelly needs to stay the course.
Trust the process, not the results.