The Tale of Rodriguez and Hoke

By Jeff Beck on May 23, 2012 at 4:00p
89 Comments
Doomed from the start?Did he ever have a chance?

I have a confession to make…I have friends who are Michigan fans. I’m not talking casual observers of the sun maize and blue, I’m saying die-hard, terrible, awful, no good Michigan fans. To my credit, it’s not entirely my fault. They told me too late in the friending process for me to turn back. So, I had to grit my teeth, bear it and keep them around.

One friend in particular is a complete UM disciple. The guy lives and breathes Michigan Football. As you can imagine this has resulted in more OSU-UM related arguments, taunt-fests (by this I mean me taunting him for the majority of the past 10 years) and incoherent bar babbles than I can count. 

Fortunately, for a guy who could be so dumb when choosing a football team, he’s actually pretty smart. Our conversations (while riddled with creative insults and chest-thumping) are informative. We give one-another a glimpse behind enemy lines we wouldn’t have been afforded had I stuck to my strict rule of staunchly refusing the friendship of any UM fan, then egging their house for good measure.

One topic that’s come up recently is the difference between Hoke and Rich Rod. Specifically, how was Hoke able to enjoy a level of success in his first year that Rodriguez never came close to sniffing in three?

It’s an interesting question that only becomes more intriguing considering the players on the field are essentially the control group. Hoke was able to win with most of the same players Rodriguez had. So what happened?

After extensive conversation with my dumb friend and doing a little digging on my own I think Hoke’s success or Rich Rod’s lackthereof can be boiled down to three key factors:

1. Institutional Support: Hoke was Welcomed Rich Rod Wasn’t This point has been covered extensively by author John Bacon in his book Three and Out. Bacon, who was given unprecedented access to the team during Rodriguez’s tenure, arrived with the intention of writing a book on Rich Rod’s early career at Michigan. The piece ended up being a tell-all exposé on the demise of the Michigan program. 

While my top-level analysis won’t do the 400+ page piece justice, the essence of one of Bacon’s themes is: Rich Rod wasn’t welcomed by UM bigwigs from the beginning. Specifically, Associate AD Lloyd Carr did everything short of holding a press conference to voice his displeasure over the Rodriguez hire. 

MGoBlog does a nice job of summarizing Carr’s efforts to undermine Rodriguez including informing former players he would sign transfer papers, telling Ryan Mallett he “needed to leave” and refusing to stand-up for Rodriguez during the media firestorm following Michigan’s terrible 2008 3-9 season (Rich Rod’s first as head coach).

I Hate YouMichigan Man?...Gross

Carr’s displeasure with the hire, coupled with what some were calling a Rich Rod Jihad by Detroit Free Press Columnist Michael Rosenberg (over the excessive-exercising spat with the NCAA) seemingly doomed Rodriguez from the start.

In stark contrast, Hoke hasn’t had to deal with any of this backlash, largely because of the following factor.

2. Hoke is a “Michigan Man” Rodriguez Wasn’t The term “Michigan Man” is vague at best.  I always thought it meant you were ugly, but apparently it’s got a different meaning to those trolls up North. Definitions of Michigan Man vary, but from what I can gather it means being like Bo Schembechler: a hard-nosed, three yards and a cloud of dust kind of guy. It’s a revered phrase and one that UM takes seriously. So, when Rich Rod arrived in 2008 with his fancy WVU spread, it was seen as less than hard-nosed and anything but “Michigan-Mannish”.

Compounding the problem was the fact that Rich Rod didn’t understand the phrase and/or was not prepared by the Michigan Athletic Department to field questions on the topic. This ultimately coalesced in RR answering in a press conference with a, “Gosh, I hope not! They hired me!”, when asked if the Michigan coach had to be a Michigan Man. As you can imagine, that didn’t sit well.

A significant amount of Michigan Man reputation management occurred after that now infamous statement. But, the damage was already done. The aforementioned author Bacon, in an interview with MGoBlog, explains:

“At the “Victors’ Rally” held in February 2010, Rodriguez wanted to show that he’d gotten the message. So, he closed his speech by saying, “I’m Rich Rodriguez, and I am a Michigan Man.” This time, he was criticized for being presumptuous…"

Then during his last speech:

“Finally, with great humility, he told the crowd at his final speech at the Bust in December 2011, “I hope you realize, I truly want to be a Michigan Man.” But this time his critics said a true Michigan Man wouldn’t have to ask.”

Rodriguez wasn’t a Michigan Man, Hoke is. From calling Ohio State “Ohio” to his “This is Michigan FerGodSakes”, everything Hoke has done over the past year was seen as fitting the Michigan Man mold. Because of this, Hoke was allowed to operate free of much of the static Rich Rod had to work around. (It also helps that Hoke beat Ohio State….even though it was in a down year with an interim head coach…but I digress)

3. Defensive Coaching Staff: Hoke Has One…Did Rich Rod? Last and possibly most important, Hoke understands you can’t win in the Big Ten without defense. This is a concept Rich Rod failed to grasp during his three years at the helm of the program.

Despite what went down at UM, Rodriguez is still an offensive guru. The problem with being amazing at the X’s and O’s on the scoring side of the ball is that you generally aren’t great at scheming on the defensive end. This is why Rodriguez NEEDED a competent defensive coordinator. Instead he chose to hire Scott Shafer who engineered these gems in 2008: gave up 45 points to Illinois, 46 points to Penn State, 48 points to Purdue, and 42 points to OSU.

Shafer was promptly fired and replaced by Greg Robinson. At no one's behest, Robinson decided to follow in his predecessor's footsteps, managing brilliant 2009-2010 defensive campaigns. In 2009 the Wolverines gave up 35 points to Penn State, 38 points to Illinois, 38 points to Purdue and 45 points to Wisconsin (these were all back-to-back). In 2010 the good times kept on a rollin’ as Robinson’s Swiss cheese boys gave up 41 points to Penn State, 48 points to Wisconsin and 52 points to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Iron curtain they were not. At the end of the day I guess rubbing players’ faces with a stuffed beaver (I wish I was making this up) isn’t the best motivational tool.

On the other hand, Hoke has done his due diligence on the defensive end. To start, he’s already a defense guy. He played LB at Ball State and then went on to hold defensive coaching positions from 1981-2002. For good measure, he hired Greg Mattison, former DC for the Baltimore Ravens (who have an OK defense the last time I checked).

Ultimately this resulted in a two loss season, with both losses appearing respectable in comparison to the Rich Rod years (i.e. not giving up nearly half-a-hundred each week).

Hoke’s success and Rodriguez’s demise are in many ways linked. Hoke was given a level of institutional support that Rich Rod never received. This was largely because Hoke understood how to play nice with the brass i.e. exemplify qualities of a “Michigan Man”. Able to do his job free of outside noise (a nicety Rodriguez was never afforded) Hoke went on to do it well. Unlike Rich Rod, he understood you can’t expect to outscore opponents week-in and week-out in the Big Ten. Therefore, he put together a respectable defensive philosophy and staff to bolster an already explosive offense.

It’s hard to sum up all of this succinctly, but surprisingly my stupid friend does a decent job:

“All of this annoyed me at first, because I thought Hoke was a lackluster hire and still think Rodriguez is a great coach. But Hoke coached brilliantly in his first season…His staff adapted to the personnel on offense pretty damn well. The younger fans such as myself appreciate that, while the older guys like that he talks like Bo.”

Well there you have it. Have you ever hated Michigan more? Me neither. Keep calm and carry on.

 

 

89 Comments

Comments

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I must confess as well - I too have AACC friends! Ick - now I feel dirty and need a shower!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

tennbuckeye19's picture

Sadly, I too have several nice, good-hearted, yet misguided Michigan fan friends. 

Adambob's picture

the worst mich fans are the ones born and raised in Ohio. I tell them all the time they can't be true mich fans if they don't know any mich state fans (some of them don't even care about that rivalry)

tennbuckeye19's picture

Yeah, growing up in Ohio, I know many of my Michigan cheering friends were so inundated with Ohio State 24/7 that they rebelled against it and 'went blue'. 

Pam's picture

Isn't that what Hoke did to annoy his friends?

UFest57's picture

I think the biggest key was addressing the D. Too many times games come down to big stops rather than big plays. My scUM fans have agreed with that point for years.

CommandHead's picture

I think the other difference seems to be in actual coaching skill.  RichRod is an outstanding strategist... outstanding offensive mind... but when it comes to actually developing players and getting 110% out of the guys on the field, Hoke and his staff appear to be better, hands down.  As you said, the players are the control.

Matt20Buckeye's picture

I wouldnt say that . Look at what he did at WVU before he left. I would say he was doing a pretty good job of developing and getting effort.

cplunk's picture

I think much of his wvu success was recruiting. He simply out-talented the crappy Big East. He did a poor job of developing talent at WVU too, it just didn't show because the Big East was so bad.

pcon258's picture

this is an interesting take on it. personally, i like to think that hoke has been succesful because he stores lots of knowledge in his robust stomach. rich rod didn't have that advantage. 
but since it seems to be confession time here on 11w, i do have a single, solitary, friend who attends that dreadful school, and it has tainted my view of her drastically. 

nmaxwell's picture

Offensively, yes.  Rich Rod went up North and hoped he could simply outscore people.  The only problem with that was many of his skill players lacked durability, he had 2 kickers combine for some god awful made field goal percentage, and he assumed recruiting talented high schoolers on defense was enough.  I think if he had gotten his WVU DC Jeff Casteel to AA back in 2008, things could have been much different.  That was, I think, his biggest error.

ShadyBuckeye's picture

Why are we writing and reading articles about Mishigain?? The hell with them. I'd rather hear a story about our backup long snapper than this crap (no offense to the writer)

Jeff Beck's picture

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.”
-Sun Tzu

 

hodge's picture

It would seem that at least one of our staffers has been schooled in The Art of War...

biggy84's picture

"Choose better friends."
- Biggy 84

ShadyBuckeye's picture

know your enemy? oh sure, Im familiar with that, I love Green Day. anyways I dont think its you or I that needs to know the enemy, as long as Urban Meyer and co. do their homework and take care of business Im not gunna worry about Jabba the joke.

Nappy's picture

I have a cousin who was born and raised in Ohio and roots for Michigan.  Her brother is a ND fan.  I always tell them they're adopted. 
I really think Hoke's success last year was solely based on Mattison fielding a competent defense.  If Rich Rod had won consistently, or, better yet, fielded competitive teams, I think the first two points would have eventually disappeared.  Gotta give Hoke credit for the hire, though. 
 

Fan of bacon since 1981

OSUBias's picture

Long snappers are crazy people in my limited experience (sample size 2), I bet it would be a great article.

Shitter's full

painterlad's picture

I tolerate Michigan fans who were born there because both genetics and enviroment worked against them and they have no choice but to be uneducated dolts who sport sun and blue. But fans who were born in Ohio (especially central Ohio)...they are mutants and cretins who must be shunned by civil society. They are evil incarnate, lacking both a soul and a brain. They are sports rivals with the 1980 Soviet hockey team or the Miami Heat. They are slightly more educated than SEC fans with slightly more teeth.
As far as why Hoke did so well? Simple. OSU was as weak as any team during my lifetime, they didn't play Wisconsin and D Bag Rob cut his interceptions down to 27. When the Meyer train gets up to full speed, Hoke will bow, avert his eyes, and walk slowly backwards away from the Big Ten throne which is located forever in Columbus.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

klfeck's picture

^ +1000

Kevin

OH!!!!!

Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

kb1's picture

Well said. Cant believe the article doesn't mention favorable schedule, fluke plays(jump balls vs. ND), or weakest bucks team in decades. This year will be much more telling about Hokes et al. skills.

Idaho Helga's picture

^^^  Another +1000
My brother Tom didn't attend tOSU.  He is a UM fan I'm sure due to I'm one of 6 children and 4 of us hold OSU degrees.  When we went to the big 2006 UM-tOSU game my oldest brother got 2 extra tickets and called and invited me but said "If you go, you have to sit with the traitor.  I'm offering him a ticket so he can watch his team lose again in person this time." I flew back and went, had a ball. 
 
 
 

Conroy's picture

Michigan being too cheap to get Jeff Castell + No QB = Fail

BuckeyeSki's picture

No QB????

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Conroy's picture

I guess he got Denard for one year, but it was too late by then.

corveyer's picture

While everyone is admitting their secret friends I have some of my own. My childhood best friend in fact played for Michigan under Carr and then RichRod. Through that relationship I have befriended some of his friends who were teammates of his, some of whom played for all three coaches. Outside of what was mentioned in the article they all emphasized was that by and large the players didn't like RichRod, and had no drive to win for him. Things were great for the first 5-6 weeks of the seasons when they were winning, but once the losses started piling up many players just started counting down the weeks until the season was over. 

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Here's the thing about Michigan's improvement last season: you know how many teams they lost to in 2010 that they beat in 2011? One, and we know which one that is--and that was a 6-point win at home against a program that had spent the previous 12 months taking an historic hit. 
I won't claim they weren't better last season; obviously they were. The wins over Nebraska and Virginia Tech were legit. But UM had improved from 2008 to 2009, and again from 2009 to 2010 (the awful performances against the Buckeyes and in their bowl game can be seen as a sign that the team quit once the players knew RichRod was out). Last season was another step in the process that actually began in Rodriguez's second season.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I remember one of my friends telling me Tate Forcier was going to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play at Michigan. 

AltaBuck's picture

Hoke's success last year was largely due to their schedule. Certainly this year is tougher (even with PSU & Wisky off of the schedule) and will be a better indicator of the program's current status.
After this season...the biggest difference in determining the program's success between Hoke and RR will be recruiting. Hoke and his assistants are miles ahead versus RR and his past coaching staffs.

I have been known on occasion to howl at the moon. - Crash Davis

OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

I noticed a lot of talk on this thread about Michigan fans from Ohio (I'm looking at you Painterlad, Adambob, et al.) - so I figured I'm uniquely qualified on this board to weigh in.
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, where my father is a professor (and my mother was an academic advisor) at UC. My dad grew up in Mansfield - my mom in Toledo. We are an all-Ohio family, in terms of location.
I got my BA from Michigan in 2005. My entire life, I have bled maize and blue - but not because I wanted to be contrary. It was my school before I applied.
Painterlad, I have no idea where being "educated" comes in - seems more like you're talking about being "indoctrinated." You're kind of saying people *should* root for OSU because that's what you do if you're from Ohio. Frankly, I don't accept your premise.
I'll take the wrap for being evil incarnate, though. It's a good title.

-1 HS
Baroclinicity's picture

We all have our flaws... some are just bigger than others...

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

+1 HS
cplunk's picture

You should be aware that many folks on this board consider born and raised in Cincinnati as not growing up in Ohio.
I was born in Panama but raised in Cincy, and I've been Buckeye football through and through ever since. I can understand rooting for Mich if you went there, but while growing up? Ugh.

+1 HS
OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

Mother, father, sister, two sets of aunts and uncles are all Michigan grads. You might say I didn't stand a chance.

Jim's picture

And for that, you should say "thank God"
Having several generations of Michigan alums in my family, I didn't stand a chance either, nor did my sons.  My first grandson, born a month ago, wore a Michigan cap as his first garment ever.
I find that I have stooped so low as to include several OSU alums as friends, an admission I don't make too frequently as it definitely relfects negatiively on character.  Having said that, in actuallity, most of my OSU friends and I, once we get past the obligatory ball busting, really spend more time discussion the merits of the programs, recruits, game strategies, etc.
As for RR, he just didn't work on many levels, the most glaring of which was defense.  It will take a couple more years, but just in case Buckeye nation hasn't been watching, a fair amount of defensive talent is joining Michigan this year, and 2013 looks even better.
It is going to be a fun ride.
 

-1 HS
painterlad's picture

You are correct. I know lots of people who have little papers hanging on their walls yet are as dumb as a box of rocks. Intelligence isn't about education or vice versa. However I will stick by my accusation that people from anywhere near central Ohio that root for the sun and blue have something horribly, horribly wrong with them. I imagine they were cheering for Apollo Creed in Rocky or the aliens in Independence Day.
 

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

+1 HS
avail31678's picture

LOL Apollo and aliens. 

FortMeyer's picture

Alot of Ohio born fans of the wrong team were of the wagon jumping types from the 90's era. Can't imagine too many deciding what team to root for picking OSU while watching Coopers losing ways during that decade. They wanted to be fans of the winning team. That is other than tried and true root for the home team fans, win or lose.

ARMYBUCK's picture

@Corveyer,  I have no doubt that some of your UM playing friends told you that they didnt like RR or that they had no drive to win for him but I would say to them thats the biggest cop-out Ive ever heard.  I dont do anything, and I do mean ANYTHING, to be second best.  Sounds like they lack intestinal fortitude.  Nothing against them but I hope Michigan recruits more players like them if their effort hinges on their personal feelings of a coach.  Is it just me or does competitive nature trump feelings for a coach?

scUM's picture

I first knew that RichRod wasn't going to work out when he was asked about the rivalry with OSU. He called it something like "one of the greatest rivalries..."

rdubs's picture

I wouldn't say their defense was waaaaaay better.  A bit better maybe, but not way better.  They did however cause a lot more turnovers.  It's always hard to tell how much this is related to improved defense and coaching or just luck of the draw.  ND practically gifted that game.

avail31678's picture

Yes.  And not to insult my own Buckeyes here, but if you let last year's OSU team come into the Big House and put up 36 points or whatever we scored last year....then their D could not be that good.  Sorry Bucks, but your O was sorry last year.  But you still only lost to TTUN by 6 in their house!
 

Trig Lazer's picture

Horrible piece. Look, I don't get on this site to read about your relationships with the enemy. I don't get on this site to read about why UM's coaches succeed or fail. I certainly don't get on this site to see Rich Rod's face looking back at me (not unless you've farked him or something)
I don't want a warm and fuzzy reading experience about my enemy. They suck, you could have just written that and taken the rest of the day off and I would be much more impressed.

Baroclinicity's picture

Then don't read articles such as this.  You do have a choice.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Jeff Beck's picture

And I don't get on the site to write for you sir or lady. Have a great day! : )  :) : )

William's picture

If there were an Eleven Warriors weekly Not Top 10, Trig Lazer's comment might go undefeated for years. 

Poison nuts's picture

Come on man - really?

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

My wife is a michigan alum, I feel your pain.

 
BrewstersMillions's picture

See this is why I love 11W. I can adamantly disagree with a user on one thread and wish there was a favorite button for the same user's comment on another.
+11 William.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

William's picture

Definitely. We don't always agree, but I think you're easily one of the best commenters on this site. 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Biggest reason for Hoke's success last season? - He hired Greg Mattison as his DC. Urban respects his former DC at UF, who then went on to the Ravens. Hopefully Mattison has been consistent in his approach so that Meyer and Fickell will know what they are up against. The new OSU no- huddle power spread that the Meyer/Herman/Warriner offensive troika are installing should be different enough from the offense when Meyer and Mattison were together at UF - so the advantage will likely go to OSU when they play THE GAME.

biggy84's picture

Tsun fans seem to forget that Charlie Strong ran the defense at Florida.

FrankMurphy's picture

Strong was a Ron Zook holdover. When Meyer brought Mattison on to serve as co-DC, Florida's defense improved from 42nd to 9th. 

KSparkle's picture

This thread has reaffirmed my hatred of all this conference realignment crap. There is no way the Ohio State - Michigan rivalry would be half as good or intense if Ann Arbor wasn't just a ~ 3 hour drive away from Columbus. 
Now about this West Virginia - Texas rivalry that is about to form. Or Boise State - Rutgers. Sigh.....

Kurt's picture

Hoke is a moron.  That is to say he's the next Les Miles.  That's what terrifies me. 
Rich Rod was and is far and away a better offensive coach and innovator than Hoke.  Hoke inhereted a ton of burgeoning talent, and in his own backwards half pro-style, half spread-offense shit storm won a lot of games last year.  He will regress.  That is unless the B1G regresses even more...

OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

I think you're underestimating Hoke's intelligence. He may have a goofy way of talking, but he's a hell of a coach, and he's got a hell of a staff around him. The reason his "backwards half pro-style, half spread-offense shit storm" won a lot of games, is because Al Borges knows what he's doing.
The Michigan coaching staff is incredible. If anything, that's what should scare you.

Doc's picture

@Ohioborn:  If Flounder is such a great coach why is his overall record before going to AACC ~ .500?  I'm not saying he isn't a good coach, but great he is not.  He has put together an incredible staff.  Play a team or two with a pulse and see how things shake out for ya.

"Say my name."

OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

First of all - I think we'll have to wait and see how great Hoke is. This is his first big-time gig - I equate this to Meyer's time at Florida. That said, the sub-.500 record is a crap stat. Using it makes people look silly. He took Ball State to a 12-0 regular season after taking over a threadbare team and rebuilding it. He then took a  2-10 San Diego State team and turned them into a 9-4 team in 2 years. Just because Meyer did it faster (yes - Meyer is a great coach) doesn't diminish the accomplishment.
I have no idea if Hoke will be great at Michigan, but he's done damn near everything right so far.
 

hodge's picture

@OHIOBORNMICHIGANBRED - My sentiments exactly, +1.

FrankMurphy's picture

A little background on the Shafer/Robinson mess from a Michigan fan. Shafer was Rodriguez' second choice (at best) after he couldn't get Jeff Casteel to leave WVU. He was one of only two assistants Rodriguez hired who hadn't coached with him at WVU (LB coach Jay Hopson was the other). From the moment he arrived on campus, Shafer was locked in a power struggle with Rodriguez and his assistants. They differed over many issues, which poisoned the chemistry on the staff. Shafer preferred a traditional 3-4 defense while Rodriguez and his assistants wanted him to implement the 3-3-5 scheme they used at WVU. There are rumors that Shafer clashed with DB coach Tony Gibson in particular (who is the worst position coach in the history of humanity). Given that Gibson and Rodriguez go as far back as Glenville State and Gibson was Rodriguez' best man at his wedding, it's not hard to see why Shafer lost that struggle. Rodriguez basically forced Shafer to install the 3-3-5 for the ninth (!) game of the season against Purdue, despite the fact that neither he nor any of the players had any prior experience with it. The result: a third string walk-on QB (Justin Siller) gashed us for 522 yards and 48 points. 
After Shafer was forced out, Greg Robinson was brought in fresh off of his disastrous tenure as head coach of Syracuse. Unlike Shafer, Robinson was a yes-man who was just happy to have a job. Like Shafer though, he had no prior experience with the 3-3-5. Rodriguez let him run a 4-3 for most of '09, but he went back to a 3-3-5ish scheme towards the end of '10. The result was identical to '08, only the opponent was different: in the eighth game of the season against Penn State, a third string walk-on QB (Matt McGloin) gashed us for 435 yards and 41 points.
Meanwhile, ironically enough, Shafer became the defensive coordinator at Syracuse. He took a defense that had ranked 101st in the country in Robinson's last year and improved it to 37th and then 7th in '09 and '10, respectively. So Shafer was never a bad DC, Rodriguez just undermined him by giving his WVU cronies more power than his coordinator. 
I think the lesson is that Rodriguez has a specific forumla that needs a very precise combination of coaching and personnel to be successful. If he lacks even one element of what he needs, whether it's a particular type of player (mobile QB) or a particular type of assistant coach (a 3-3-5 guru as DC), things won't go well. 

zenshade's picture

Awesome info Frank.  Thanks for sharing that.  You can likely look to similar type coaching chemistry issues to understand why Ohio State fell apart last year without Tressel.  I suspect Fickell simply lacked the experience to overcome the in-bickering and philosophical differences that Tressel was adroitly skilled at turning to OSU's advantage. (And of course there's the small matter of having 5-7 of your best players not on the field for a good part of the season.)

california_buckeye's picture

Rich Rodriguez could never be a true "Michigan Man" because he wasn't born in Ohio.

painterlad's picture

^^^^^^ This + infinity. So very, very true.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

M Man's picture

Very nice summary, Jeff.  Good work.
One meta-comment, regarding 11W.  Is there another blog in the Conference (in the country?!) that would have done this sort of clear-eyed, fair, reasonable, informative appraisal of a rival's history?  I think not.  There is some very good content at MGoBlog; but none of it is as non-partisan as this is.

Jeff Beck's picture

Thank you, I really appreciate that!

Doc's picture

Jeff, nice article.  During the down time it is nice to read some sort of foozball related articles, even about AACC.  I think the definition of a "Meatchicken Man" is an arrogant prig of a human being.  They seem to exude it.

"Say my name."

Jeff Beck's picture

Thanks. Yeah it is really hard to stomach that phrase IMO.

MAVBuck's picture

I've always wondered what "that team up north" would have done had WVU beaten Pitt in the backyard brawl of 2007. My theory is had they beaten them, WVU wouldve played for the title that year and of course extending Rich Rod even longer and making him even Richer (no pun intended). This would have forced Michigan to go even farther down their list of candidates causing them to implode faster (if thats even possible). Thats the difference between Ohio State and Michigan that their fans dont understand. When Michigan has a coaching opening they got a guy in 2008 that no one wanted and a guy that no one had ever heard of or thought deserved the job last year with Hoke. When OSU has an opening we bring in a guy who is one of the top 5 coaches of our generation. So to all you UM fans, good luck with your "Michigan Man."

FrankMurphy's picture

If WVU had beaten Pitt in '07, then they would have bumped LSU out of the title game and Les Miles would probably have been our coach. Miles wanted the job (even after the Kirk Herbstreit fiasco), but he told Mary Sue Coleman and Bill Martin to wait until after the title game. Coleman and Martin were unwilling to wait that long, not just because it would have put us behind the 8 ball if Miles changed his mind or the deal went south, but because Martin was under intense pressure from Carr and others not to hire Miles (Carr hates Miles). Martin wanted Miles and could have staved off Carr if he didn't have to wait to hire him. From all indications, the reason that Miles was never a realistic option was a comibation of the timing with LSU's title chase, Martin's incompetence in handling the search, and bad blood between Miles and Carr.
As for Rich Rod being a guy that "no one wanted", you do realize that he was offered the Alabama job in '06 and turned it down, don't you? You do also realize that Michigan was one of three jobs that Meyer had a buyout exemption for in his contract at Utah, don't you?

OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

Were the other two ND and OSU?

FrankMurphy's picture

Yup. And of those three schools, Michigan was the only one that Meyer had no prior ties to.

FrankMurphy's picture

Also, as I recall, the reaction from your fanbase at Andy Geiger hiring a 1-AA coach in 2001 was less than enthusiastic (especially after Geiger was turned down by Mike Bellotti and Jon Gruden). USC fans went into full-on meltdown mode when Mike Garrett was turned down by his top three choices and had to settle for Pete Carroll. Jay Jacobs was heckled by Auburn fans at the airport when he hired Gene Chizik.
Remember your history before you poo-poo the Hoke hire.  

MAVBuck's picture

Im not at all poo-pooing the Hoke hire. In fact I think it's great for the rivalry. He is at the very least, someone who understands it. The "good luck with your michigan man" comment was merely a, "now you got the guy who meets your qualifications, lets see how that works." Also, hate to break it to you but USC in 2001 was NOT OSU! USC hadnt been relevant for at least a dozen years. So again, Im not saying the 3rd guy is always the wrong choice. It's just a matter of looking at who is doing the offering. And for the record.... Gruden turns down everyone!

MAVBuck's picture

As far as the Tress hiring goes, we're talking about a guy who won National championships at the 1-AA level, not a MAC West Division championship so please refrain from comparing him to Hoke.

FrankMurphy's picture

It doesn't change the fact that he was Ohio's third choice (at best) and that the reaction from your fanbase was lukewarm at best. 
I'll be honest, I was disappointed when we hired Hoke. Most of us wanted Harbaugh. But he's since proven me wrong and made me regret my earlier skepticism. And in hindsight, Harbaugh would not have been a long term solution. Even if Harbaugh had come, he would have left for the NFL in 5 years. Michigan is Hoke's dream job and he'll be there until he retires. 

Jugdish's picture

I am not to sure if that is exactly true. An administrator from OSU told me that a coach was already hired and his name was Jim Tressel. I was bummed out because I never heard of him and there were some big names that were to be interviewed. As it turned out, Tressel was named the coach after a week or so and the rest is history.

Remember to get your wolverine spade or neutered. TBDBITL

Pam's picture

In order to turn down a job you must have actually been offered the job. Neither Bellotti or Gruden were offered, only invited to Cols. to discuss the position.  Bellotti came to Cols., Gruden never did.

FrankMurphy's picture

They pulled out from consideration before a formal offer was ever extended, but either of them would have had the job if they really wanted it. Let's be honest. 

Pam's picture

Maybe. But, you can't "turn down" a job you weren't offered.  My dad was a trustee at that time and at no time did anyone consider the Tressel hire as having to settle for a third choice.  He was extremely impressive in his interviews and I remember dad saying he was the going to be a keeper.  

FrankMurphy's picture

That's all well and good. Obviously Tressel turned out to be a great hire. My comment is in response to Ohio fans who think Michigan settled for Hoke and are ridiculing Michigan for not hiring a bigger name.

tennbuckeye19's picture

I don't think Michigan settled for Hoke, I think it was a good hire. Hoke was probably the right guy at the right time for the program. But listen when Hoke was hired my Michigan fan friends liked it because he was a 'Michigan Man' who knew the program and had coached there, but to them it was also an underwhelming hire. They all wanted Jim Harbaugh. And then Les Miles. 

MAVBuck's picture

I agree 100% that Michigan didnt settle for Hoke. I never meant it to sound that way. Again, I think Hoke will turn out to be a pretty decent coach for UM. Living in Toledo however, and listening to sports talk radio it seemed the fan base was less than impressed with their selection. It appeared to them as a Harbaugh or bust type of signing.

Pam's picture

Wrong forum, no Bobcats here. On here it is The Ohio State University fan, Buckeye fans, OSU fans or tOSU fans.

NC_Buckeye's picture

You michigan people realize that the big difference between 11W and mgoblog is you can actually spout your filthy opinions on here. If we tried to do the same there, Brian would just set our IDs so that no one else sees our comments (or some other passive-aggressive bs).
So by all means, please enjoy this open forum in which you're partaking. And I hope you come back for the taunting on Nov. 24th after UFM runs up the score on you.
I'm setting the point-difference over/under at 42. What say you 11W?

painterlad's picture

I think 42 is a bit high. I'd go with the mid 30s.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

nickma71's picture

He failed because he opened up his offense to defenses with athletes. He didn't have to deal with it at WVU in the Big LEast. The spread only works if your athletes are much better than the competition. As good as the SEC defensive line is, (not really better than the best of the Tressel years) Meyer had super sprinters in Percy Harvin and Jeff Demps. That gives you a "Joey Galloway" deep threat because you have to give them a cushion, even in the backfield. You don't have to be noticably stronter and faster (although you want to be) to run a pro style offense. Which Tressel didn't really do. That offense protects you against Mean Joe Green, Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary and the like. It allows balance to keep the defense from cheating when you are strong up front. Meyer will win because his defense will dominate even more than in the past. I also do see positive in not having fat, slow, offensive lineman.

PeteM's picture

Greetings from a Michigan fan. This is my first time on this blog, and I think this story really summarized what happened, and I agree with prior commenters that I don't see this kind of nuanced analysis of OSU much on Michigan blogs. 
I think that RichRod is a good coach (his success as a coordinator at Tulane & Clemson, and as HC at W. Va, can't be a complete fluke IMO), but that he really had no idea what he was in for when he came to Michgian.  His failure was a combination of complete lack of support from the top combined with his own excesive loyalty to the guys he brought with him, some of whom weren't B10 caliber.
Had the transition been handled more like Bump to Bo (with mutual respect and support) he still might have failed, but we'll never know.  Had he had support that might have included suggestions about assistants, how to handle the media, and how to maintain relations with the fanbase.
I'm thrilled with the success that Hoke's had so far, but am also curious to see what happens at Arizona.

PeteM