Michigan Coaching: Using AD David Brandon's Comments to Narrow U of M Candidates

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Michigan Coaching: Using AD David Brandon's Comments to Narrow U of M Candidates
David Brandon has a tough decision to make in the coming days.

One of the hottest topics in all of sports right now is Rich Rodriguez's firing and the subsequent search for a coach of the winningest program in college football history.

Though Michigan AD Dave Brandon would not say who his candidates for the newly vacant Michigan Head Coaching positions were, he did give a list of preferred requirements for the job.

We can only speculate at this point, so I figured why not try to  his comments on the head coaching position.

Looking around, it seems that the following 21 coaches are the names most thrown around for the position (in no particular order)... Jim Harbaugh, Brady Hoke, Les Miles, Ralph Friedgen, Greg Mattison, Mike Leach, Jon Gruden, Rob Broadway, Chuck Heater, Chris Petersen, Bud Foster, Gary Patterson, Mike Trgovac, Gus Malzhan, Mike Belotti, Gary Pinkel, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, Dan Mullen, and Jeff Fisher 

Comment #1: "This person is a very high profile person who becomes, to a large degree, a name and face"

Eliminated: None. Every person on this list is fairly well known in some aspect. Though some (Harbaugh) are a higher profile than others (Trgovac), they are all high enough to hire for the job... They could all more than likely carry the face of the team as well.

Remaining (21): Jim Harbaugh, Brady Hoke, Les Miles, Ralph Friedgen, Greg Mattison, Mike Leach, Jon Gruden, Rob Broadway, Chuck Heater, Chris Petersen, Bud Foster, Gary Patterson, Mike Trgovac, Gus Malzhan, Mike Belotti, Gary Pinkel, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, Dan Mullen, and Jeff Fisher

Which is most important for Michigan's new coach

Submit Vote vote to see results

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Comment #2: "This individual has to be able to compete at the highest level. The expectations here are extraordinarily high ... (and) that puts a coach in a position where they have to have the ability to stand up to that pressure and perform against it."

Eliminated: Brady Hoke and Rob Broadway... Though some may disagree, I think that when you ignore the 'Michigan Man' angle, this will eliminate Brady Hoke. I consider "the highest level" to be the NFL, an automatic qualifier conference, or a mid-major BCS buster school (such as Boise State). With San Diego State in the MWC and Ball State in the MAC, he has not achieved either yet.

Rob Broadway is a Division 2 coach at Grambling State, which definitely eliminates him.

Remaining (19): Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Ralph Friedgen, Greg Mattison, Mike Leach, Jon Gruden, Chuck Heater, Chris Petersen, Bud Foster, Gary Patterson, Mike Trgovac, Gus Malzhan, Mike Belotti, Gary Pinkel, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, Dan Mullen, and Jeff Fisher.

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Comment #3: "One of the things I look for is a coach who can modify their approach and their attack based on the personnel they have. We know who our players are, and we know what we have, and we know what they're used to, and we know what their experience has been."

Eliminated: Gary Pinkel... It is close, but when Pinkel went to the Toledo Rockets, their record went from 9-2 to 5-5-1. When he went to the Missouri Tigers, it took him two years to get a winning record. This probably won't cut it when it comes to the Michigan head coaching job.

Remaining (18): Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Ralph Friedgen, Greg Mattison, Mike Leach, Jon Gruden, Chuck Heater, Chris Petersen, Bud Foster, Gary Patterson, Mike Trgovac, Gus Malzhan, Mike Belotti, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, Dan Mullen, and Jeff Fisher.

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Comment #4: "Is there a thought of getting a defensive-minded head coach? There's a thought of getting a defensive-minded everything. I want the ball boys to be defensive-minded."

Eliminated: Ralph Friedgen, Mike Leach, Jon Gruden, Gus Malzahn, Mike Belotti, and Dan Mullen. For this one, I looked at who had offensive backgrounds and system, and kicked them out. The exceptions are the coaches with great offenses and defenses.

Remaining (12): Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Greg Mattison, Chuck Heater, Chris Petersen, Bud Foster, Gary Patterson, Mike Trgovac, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, and Jeff Fisher.

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Comment #5: "My personal belief is that the requirements of this job really lend themselves to someone who's led a team"

Eliminated: Greg Mattison, Chuck Heater, Bud Foster, and Mike Trgovac. This elimination was simple. Any coordinators and assistant's who haven't been a head coach were kicked out.

Remaining (8): Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson, Herm Edwards, Pat Fitzgerald, Kyle Whittingham, and Jeff Fisher.

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Comment #6:  (Continued from last comment) "...And who has head coaching experience and who has recruiting experience and recruiting roots."

Eliminated: Herm Edwards and Jeff Fisher. Both are NFL coaches without recruiting experience.

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That is all David Brandon had to say, which leaves us with the following coaching possibilities...

Michigan Men are noted with an *. It is a bonus, NOT an elimination tactic.

  • Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach of Stanford Cardinals*
  • Les Miles, Head Coach of LSU Tigers*
  • Chris Petersen, Head Coach of Boise State Broncos
  • Gary Patterson, Head Coach of TCU Horned Frogs
  • Pat Fitzgerald, Head Coach of Northwestern Wildcats
  • Kyle Whittingham, Head Coach of Utah Utes

Who is most likely to be the next Michigan coach?

Submit Vote vote to see results

 

I would immediately eliminate both Harbaugh and Fitzgerald. Harbaugh seems NFL bound and Fitzgerald has been very recently quoted as saying he was not leaving Northwestern.

That leaves us with what I believe are the top 4 candidates, in order of what I believe to be the likelihood...

  1. Les Miles: Being a 'Michigan Man' helps him, but besides that overused statement, it is time for him to return to Ann Arbor. He has constantly been on the hot seat in the Bayou, and this is almost certainly his last chance to come back. He would help with recruiting immensely, and though he would drive UM fans nuts with his tactics, he is a great coach.
  2. Kyle Whittingham: The most likely non-AQ coach to jump. He has been at Utah since 2005 and strongly considered leaving when Tennessee gave him an offer. With the loss to TCU and Boise state this year, as well as Boise's entering the conference, he may decided that now is the right time.
  3. Gary Patterson: I highly doubt he would leave right after a Rose Bowl win, but as of yet he has not been contacted by a major school with any offer.
  4. Chris Petersen: He seems very happy at Boise, and probably won't leave anytime soon.

Wildcards

  •  If push comes to shove and problems arise with the 4 above, Chuck Heater would be a great fit. Though he has no previous head coaching experience, he has coached Florida to be one of the best defenses in college football. He is also a 'free agent' so to say with Florida no retrieving him after Urban Meyer's retirement.
  • A good fall back will definitely be Brady Hoke. He is considered the favorite, and though I wouldn't like it, Brandon will do if all else fails.

 

I've been wrong before, but I believe that one of the previous 8 coaches (starting after comment #6) will be the next Michigan coach. 

The comments used can be seen here: http://www.michigandaily.com/content/dave-brandon-talks-requirements-new-head-coach

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