Michigan Can't Take Next Step as Long as Brady Hoke Is Coaching Scared

Adam Biggers@@AdamBiggers81Senior Analyst IINovember 3, 2013

A "Michigan Man" is supposed to take calculated risks in the name of glory. 

A "Michigan Man" doesn't back down to the opposition. 

Hail to the victors, right? Go Blue. All of that history; the winningest team in college football; the largest stadium that goes by "The Big House" rather than its given name and makes other fields look like playgrounds...

The pride and power.

Where was all of that passion during Saturday's 29-6 ousting in East Lansing?

Why did Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke seem like a deer caught in the headlights during a postgame interview with the Big Ten Network instead of an angry, motivated leader of a program? 

The following is from Pete Roussell's postgame piece on CoachingSearch.com:

Hoke said, “I think we didn’t execute as well as they did.”

It’s as simple as that?

Hoke said, “Pretty much.”

According to Chris Balas of TheWolverine.com (subscription required to view), Hoke said the following after the loss:

There were a lot of negative yardage plays. There were some pretty good runs once in a while in there. But you snap the ball for a 20-yard loss, you get sacked I don't know how many times (seven) and your yardage part of it isn't very good. You put yourself behind the eight ball a little bit, not executing. Then, you're forced into doing some things you don't want to do the whole time.

It's not just the line. There are backs involved, routes involved, timing, all those issues are part of it. What do we have to do? Get better.

If you wanted fire, you were grossly disappointed.


What fire?

Hoke's tone was that of a man who thought losing to Michigan State was just a run-of-the-mill occurrence. Perhaps, he needs to channel his inner-Mark Dantonio in order to resurrect the Wolverines. 

"It's not over," Dantonio said about the Spartans' now-iconic 28-24 loss in 2007. Former Michigan running back Mike Hart sealed the deal when he called Michigan State "little brother."

Dantonio's "pride comes before the fall" comment lit a fire under his team, which has won five of the past six; its only loss was a 12-10 defeat in 2012. 

The four-year run was fire. Making a statement this season was fire. 

Where was Hoke's on Saturday? 

It's not all about his failure to take a shot toward the end zone prior to halftime Saturday. It's not about his reluctant moves against Akron, Penn State and even UConn. 

No, the issues are far deeper than that. Hoke is a great recruiter and good coach. But his apparent timid nature isn't going to get Michigan over the hump and into the national spotlight.


Hoke Can Learn From Dantonio

Taking chances has been the name of the game for Dantonio, who took over Michigan State in 2007, and he has won 32 league games since. 

Dantonio's calculated risks boosted Michigan State from the unknown realms of the Big Ten to a legitimate conference force. His 7-6 record in 2012 left something to be desired, as did Hoke's 8-5 mark, and his team wasn't expected to make a whole lot of noise this fall. 

Michigan was. 

The Spartans (8-1, 5-0) exceed expectations. The Wolverines (6-2, 2-2) have not. 

Hoke doesn't have to "Mouse Trap" or "Little Giants" his way to wins. But it wouldn't hurt to test the waters with a gutsy call every so often.


Personnel Placement?

Hoke used Fitz Toussaint, a senior running back, as the first line of defense—other than the offensive line, of course—for quarterback Devin Gardner, who was sacked seven times (four times in first quarter). 

Surely, he realizes that Toussaint can't tangle with the likes of Shilique Calhoun, Max Bullough and, say, oh, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier. There's a much longer list, but those are the names that immediately come to mind. 

Did defensive coordinator Greg Mattison do an accurate scouting report on Spartans quarterback Connor Cook? Well, he's no Denard Robinson, put it that way. A strong pass-rushing stampede would have kept Cook at bay.

The use—or misuse, in this case—of talent is alarming. How will Michigan develop it if it won't use it? At 5'11" and roughly 240 pounds, freshman Derrick Green could have helped block in the backfield, perhaps giving Gardner more time. 

Thomas Rawls, a 5'10", 218-pound bruiser, could have done the same. DeVeon Smith? He's about the same size as Rawls.

Help was needed Saturday. But Hoke didn't plug in pieces. Instead, he watched his ship sink to the murky depths. 


What Does Future Hold For UM?

When a team holds a 68-33-5 series lead, expectations run high. Beating the Spartans shouldn't be such a tall order for the Wolverines, who have had top-10 recruiting classes under Hoke.

The time for excuses has passed. Losing five of the past six is treading into the Land of the Historically Bad. 

Michigan has a 58-45-6 edge over Ohio State. But beating the Buckeyes on a consistent basis seems more like a dream than reality. 

Hoke is 1-1 against his bitter rival. He could fall to 1-2 come Nov. 30. 

That's not acceptable for Wolverines football. Guts have to be shown. Passion must be ignited. 

Moving forward with or without Hoke depends on it. 


Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81 


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