Brady Hoke: Michigan Fans Meet Your Next Head Coach
First things first. This is a prediction, not inside information received within the Michigan Athletic department or close to Brady Hoke.
Okay, I admit I was wrong. If you have been following the Bleacher Report, you might have come across my recent argument arguing that Les Miles would end up accepting the Michigan offer. I was wrong; for some reason, Miles has decided to stay with the venomous and sometimes openly spiteful fan base of Death valley. Apparently “The Mad Hatter” didn't read my article or he would have known to jump ship (I'm being sarcastic).
On to our next candidate: Brady Hoke. Now, with Brady, I don't need him to read this article to accept the position. While interviewing with San Diego State, Hoke openly admitted that ideally the arch of his career will end at Michigan. This man bleeds Blue and Maize. That is what being a true Michigan man is all about, and that is also why Hoke is now the best man for the job.
He is young, for a head coach, committed, and has been working towards this his whole career. Hoke will not take this opportunity for granted and having already coached the offensive line at Michigan, he is well aware of the pressures, campus environment, and recruiting expectations.
For the last ten years, the Aztecs have been wallowing in ineptitude; Chuck Long, the coach preceding Hoke, won only 25% of his games. Hoke managed to turn the Aztecs around in his second year, posting a 9-4 record in a very tough Mountain West Conference.
Should Michigan Hire Hoke?
His Aztecs fought a surging Missouri team and lost by only three points. Outside of the Big Ten juggernaut Wisconsin, his Aztecs gave TCU their toughest game in a 35-40 loss for the Aztecs. The team likewise dropped a game to a solid Pac-10 bound Utah by four points (34-38). He also beat tough Air Force and Navy teams.
While certainly his resume would look better if those close games had been wins, the fact that Hoke took a bottom feeder team and worked them into a team that could contend with tough foes like TCU, Utah, and Missouri, all of whom were ranked in the top ten at various points in the season, is commendable.
This is no fluke either. Hoke pulled a similar turn around at Ball State, a MAC bottom feeder at the time and led the Ball State Cardinals their first ever top 25 ranking. Hoke knows how to turn around a program and right now the Michigan program needs to be turned around.
Importantly, Hoke is currently running the so-called “Gulf Coast Offense” developed and employed by SDSU Offensive Coordinator Al Borges. The most important aspect of this offense is that it is an adaptive style of offense. The key emphasis is not on establishing either the run or the pass, but instead figuring out what the opponent's weakness is and exploiting it.
Big Ten teams have become to reliant on classic ideologies, attempting to go into a game, establish a certain aspect of the game, and win. Take the Michigan State vs. Alabama Capital One bowl fiasco, for example. Mark Dantonio was determined to try and establish the run, often seeming to believe that doing so is the only way to win the game. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Alabama's defensive line and line backing corps were arguably the best in the country and immediately shut down the Spartans' offense.
With the Gulf Coast offense, Michigan will be able to move away from the traditional Big Ten mindset and develop evolving and potent attacks. If you go up against a team like Alabama with a strong D-Line and Linebacking corps but weak secondary, then exploit the secondary. The coaches will also be able to adapt their offensive schemes to fit the personnel, which will be important for Hoke, given the small, speedy spread-specialized offense personnel left by Rich Rod.
On paper, Brady Hoke may not look like the best candidate. However, when you examine his achievements and take into account his commitment, there is no better man for leading the Wolverines back to greatness. He has mid-western roots, and knows the recruiting trails from his time coaching Ball State. He has turned around two programs over the last couple of years and has lead both teams to success. Most importantly for the Wolverines, Hoke is a true Michigan man and will remain committed to the Maize and Blue for a long time to come.
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