During the summers of 2012 and 2013, Michigan head coach Brady Hoke gathered his rising seniors for a short trip to San Diego, where they met with a group of Navy SEALs to learn leadership tactics and bond with one another.
During the summer of 2014, Hoke will do away with that tradition, because he does not like how it's affected his previous two classes.
"To me, it was just something (that) had run its course a little bit, and maybe (created) some entitlement (for the older players)," said Hoke, according to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com. "We need to stay here, and stay together.
"I think guys just thought that was part of being a senior. They've got to earn it."
Hoke is hoping the focus on team—not class—leadership and bonding will help do away with the slog of the past two seasons.
After going 11-2 and winning the Sugar Bowl in his first year with the Wolverines, Hoke lost 11 games in 2012 and 2013. No Michigan coach besides Rich Rodriguez has had such poor back-to-back seasons since Bump Elliott in in the mid-1960s.
After former offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, a senior in 2013, questioned Devin Gardner's leadership skills on the radio Tuesday morning, Baumgardner reminded us that Hoke thinks last year's team suffered from veteran entitlement issues:
Should be noted of course, RE: Lewan's comments, that Brady Hoke has said numerous times the '13 team had vet entitlement issues.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 10, 2014
Lewan's claim that the team "got comfortable" after beating Notre Dame in Week 2, per Baumgardner, helps validate that notion.
That is why Hoke's decision to cancel the retreat makes sense. His attempts to foster cohesion and leadership the past two years have resulted in entitlement, which many would argue is the opposite of leadership. And he is not too proud to admit when he's erred.
Whether things will improve is a different story. Plenty of ideas look good on paper but don't pan out on the field.
This change will send minor shockwaves down the Michigan program and humble the seniors and embolden the younger players, but only time will tell if those things will result in victories.
Hoke cannot afford for them not to.