Knowing the Enemy: Hoke, the Wolverines and What Michigan Fans are Thinking

By Michael Citro on May 11, 2014 at 8:00a

We’ve still got three months and just shy of three weeks remaining before the Buckeyes kick off against Navy and all is right with the world again.

That seems like a long time — and it is. It will seem even longer now that all pseudo football events (the Spring Game, the NFL Draft) have come and gone. Soon the NBA and NHL playoffs will be over and we’ll be in the darkest timeline, in a world where Community has been cancelled by NBC and there’s nothing to watch except mid-season baseball.

Seems like a good time to start thinking ahead.

This site does a good job of making sure all things Buckeye reach your hungry eyeballs in a timely manner.  So maybe the time has come to check in with the enemy.

Friend of the Eleven Dubcast and Michigan-fan-for-some-reason Ace Anbender, staff writer for MGoBlog graciously agreed to answer a few questions about That Team Up North and where things stand north of the civilization line.

This is what he had to say:

11W: Michigan is now 1-2 against Ohio State under Brady Hoke, the overall record has dipped each year, and his poor road record has been well publicized. (1) Is patience starting to run a little thin with the masses and (2) how warm do you honestly think his seat is?

Ace Anbender: Patience is certainly wearing thin, though I think Hoke bought himself a little time by getting rid of Al Borges, praise be to all of the deities. While a good deal of the responsibility doesn't fall on Hoke, the lack of success against non-Notre Dame rivals over the past several years has a lot of fans at their wit's end, and the fact that—outside of last year's Ohio State game—the team has been downright brutal to watch on a weekly basis isn't helping matters. (RichRod may have been a failed experiment, but at least the 2010 offense was a damn pleasure to witness. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a serious twinge of jealously every time I watch Urban's offense in action.)

Would I say he's on the hot seat? Not yet, barring a major collapse this season on par with the team falling apart at the end of 2010. Hoke's highly ranked recruits are just starting to reach the point when they can make a serious, team-wide impact; the program has two coordinators in place with excellent track records; perhaps most importantly, this team is still feeling the impact from a turbulent coaching change three years prior. While RichRod's one-OL recruiting class of 2010 gets most of the focus, the hybrid RR/Hoke class of 2011—in which they lost a commitment from starting Oregon tackle Jake Fisher during the transition, then saw the other two OL in the class wash out due to injury—had a similarly terrible effect on the talent and depth of the O-line, the single biggest area holding this program back at the moment. 

I think both Dave Brandon and the fans can agree* that another major coaching transition should be avoided if at all possible. That may not be the case if the offense is a complete disaster, so here's hoping (from this end of the rivalry, at least) that Doug Nussmeier is the home-run hire he's advertised to be.

*Mark this one down, as you won't hear me agree with the esteemed Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics on much.

11W: With the emphasis Hoke has put on offensive line, is it all on Borges that the line play has been such a problem? With Taylor Lewan gone, how will things improve up front in 2014?

Ace: Going for the jugular early, I see. I'm not happy about it, but I respect it, Michael.

The line is a complicated issue, as I touched on in the first question. It is not Al Borges' fault that RichRod recruited just one offensive lineman in the 2010 — a 260-pound center-only prospect who washed out due to injury — and the RichRod/Hoke transition class landed one tackle who was too out of shape to make it though his first fall camp and a behemoth guard who dealt with injury after injury before going on medical scholarship with a year of eligibility left. Two classes, zero real contributors on the O-line. Those two groups would make up the RS-seniors/seniors/RS-juniors this season; this fall's projected line features four sophomores and a junior former walk-on. That's...not ideal.

This wasn't called. #B1Grefs
Michigan form tackling.

That said, Borges could've done a whole lot more with what he had. Last year's line had two NFL-level tackles and the guards cycling through were all hyped recruits. What the interior line lacked was experience, but instead of simplifying his offense, Borges constantly switched schemes; instead of getting decent at one thing—like, say, inside zone — they were terrible at many things. The adjustments Borges made, like the tackle over formation that screamed "WE'RE RUNNING IT RIGHT HERE," tended to be so predictable that Michigan fans were calling out their own failed plays before they occurred with disturbing consistency. It was time for him to go.

As for this year, I'm frankly terrified. The good news is it'd be difficult for the line to be any worse. The bad news is it's hard to foresee massive improvement when having to replace Lewan and the oft-overlooked Michael Schofield at the two tackle spots. If the line is going to take a serious step forward—there's a joke in there somewhere—it's going to come from...

Q: What is expected out of the new offense under Nussmeier?

Ace: Simplicity, at least in the run game. Yes, every new offensive coordinator since the dawn of time has promised to bring a simplified, more effective offense to their new home; when comparing Nussmeier to Borges, though, the platitude rings true. This team is going to run mostly inside zone, and if they don't run inside zone very well, they're going to keep at it until they do. (Thankfully, the non-conference schedule outside of Notre Dame is, let's say, well-suited for trial-and-error.)

How much they look to spread the field in Nussmeier's one-back offense—which can feature anything from four wideouts to three tight ends/H-backs—is the bigger question. Michigan's only proven true tight end, Jake Butt, is out until midseason with a torn ACL; the rest of the position group has combined for one career reception, and none are real receiving threats. Michigan's much deeper on the outside. In the spring game-ish thing, Nussmeier mostly trotted out sets with an inline TE and an H-back; I expect Michigan to be relatively conservative, but I think they'll look to spread the field a little more in actual games given the available personnel.

11W: The defense still hasn't been what Michigan fans are used to (pre-RichRod, anyway). Is this the year the Wolverines start playing old fashioned, physical defense?

Ace: That's the intention behind Michigan's switch from a base 4-3 under to a 4-3 over, and in doing so they've moved around the linebackers; Jake Ryan is now the starting MIKE after previously playing on the strong side, Desmond Morgan shifts from the middle to the weak side, and James Ross goes from WLB to SLB, where he'll get more protection from the D-line. 

With Ryan in the middle, I'd expect more—and more elaborate—blitzing from what was a very vanilla defense last year, and more aggression in general. Greg Mattison had his corners playing a lot more press coverage this spring—Jourdan Lewis, in particular, excelled in this regard—and also showed a lot more one-high looks with a safety creeping into the box.

There are still a lot of questions to be answered. The DTs are relatively unseasoned, nobody's sure who's going to start across from Jarrod Wilson at safety, moving Ryan to the middle seems like a panic move considering he's at his best in space ... I could go on, but suffice it to say there's creeping concern that Mattison is still trying to figure out how best to deal with increasingly spread-happy offenses.

This turned into a long way of saying your guess is as good as mine. Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill Peppers. Okay, I feel better now.

11W: Who are the new faces we'll be seeing as contributors on both sides of the ball in 2014?


Okay, I'll calm down. Peppers is going to see the field this year; few defensive prospects in the last decade have been as college-ready. The big question is where he'll play. Blake Countess and Raymon Taylor were solid, albeit not lockdown guys, at cornerback last year, and they're getting a serious push for playing time by Lewis, who's adapted well to the greater emphasis on press coverage. 

It's possible Peppers steps into the open-for-competition safety spot, which would allow him to roam the field and make plays in space. The most likely scenario, in my opinion, is he gets worked in at the nickel spot—where he can make an impact in run support, coverage, and as a blitzer—while he gets acclimated to the college game, and perhaps sticks there for the year before taking on a bigger role in 2015. I don't expect the coaches to ask him to play both ways (yet), but I'd be surprised if he doesn't factor into the return game, as well. Having that guy available and not getting the ball in his hands would be criminally negligent.

Meanwhile, one freshman has already worked his way into a starting job: early enrollee WR Freddy Canteen, a speedy route-running technician capable of playing out wide or in the slot. Canteen started and starred in the spring exhibition (I can't call whatever that was a "game"), passing Jehu Chesson on the depth chart even after Chesson turned in a promising freshman campaign last season. Even if Amara Darboh, a former four-star recruit who sat out last season and was limited this spring due to a foot injury, returns and grabs a starting role on the outside, Canteen is going to get plenty of time working out of the slot. With Devin Funchess drawing lots of attention, he could be in for a truly impressive debut.

The good news is that, aside from those two, there isn't an obvious need for a freshman to play — a stark contrast to the last couple years. Another early enrollee, Bryan Mone, may work into the rotation at nose tackle. That's about it. For the most part, this is the same Michigan team as last year, just a year older and with some (welcome) change in scheme.

There are, of course, the two new starting tackles, though one — left tackle Erik Magnuson — played all 12 games last season and started seven at guard. The right tackle should be massive redshirt sophomore Ben Braden, with redshirt freshman David Dawson and true freshman (yeah, I lied a little) Mason Cole also competing for time.

11W: What is the mindset of a Michigan football fan at this point, compared to say, 10-12 years ago, and has the image of the program soured in light of not only on the field performance but those nagging off-field things (which all programs seem to face and we won't go into here)?

Ace: I think the fact that the athletic department is really, really struggling to sell both student and regular season tickets says a lot about the growing disillusionment among the fanbase. The fan expectation, one fed to us by the athletic department and coaches, is to compete for Big Ten titles and be a nationally relevant program. Aside from a pretty fluky 2011 season, that hasn't been the case since 2007. As someone brought up in an era in which nine-win seasons constituted a disappointment, this hasn't been a fun ride.

Even so, ticket prices are still going up, this year's home schedule is the worst in recent and not-so-recent memory, and the lack of on-field success—both in general and against their chief on-field and recruiting rivals—is beginning to affect recruiting. The premier program in the state currently resides in East Lansing, which is perhaps the most alarming development of them all. (Say this to the average Michigan fan and the torrent of denial tells you all you need to know.)

So, how's the mindset?

Perhaps the fanbase should consider opening a West Coast office.

11W: Do you have a way-too-early prediction for The Game?

Ace: If I'm being reasonable, I can't possibly predict a Michigan win given the matchup between the Wolverine offensive line and Ohio State's defensive line. Until I witness them neutralize Bennett, Bosa, Spence, Washington, et al, I have a hard time believing this group can pull it off.

If I'm being unreasonable...damn, I come up with the same thing. I think it takes another exceptional performance from Devin Gardner for Michigan to keep this one close. Here's hoping he doesn't break his foot this time around, and that our offensive coordinator doesn't save his mad genius, unstoppable two-point conversion play for when Michigan is down 17 points in the final two minutes of a December bowl game. Al Borges couldn't have trolled any harder on his way out the door.


Comments Show All Comments

BoFuquel's picture

The problem in Whoreville is DEFENSE. Had they not given up so many points..................... GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

-4 HS
ChicagoBuckMD's picture

To be fair, we gave up one less point to them than they gave to us

"Why be around average?" - UFM

+16 HS
Buckeye419er's picture

Honesty is the best policy. 

There can be only one

+1 HS
cajunbuckeye's picture

The second best college team from the state up north, reminds me of a steaming pile of crap left in your front yard by the neighbors dog. You know it's out there and you have to remain diligent. The chance is always there that you step in it, and once you do, it's a formidable adversary. It's disgusting, smells bad, and makes you hate your neighbor.

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

+4 HS
BHT's picture

It is 9:56 and TTUN still sucks.

About Peppers: Last year, wasn't there a highly ranked recruit for TTUN who rarely saw the field? He obviously was not very good, so I don't see the hype for Peppers. Then again, it's TTUN.

703Buckeye's picture

Peppers has a lot of hype and deservedly so... go look at his highlight tape. As long as Peppers gets the proper coaching in AA, he will be a pain in our backside for the next 3-4 years.

That being said, Hoke's overall recruiting does not scare me. The talent level in AA will never rival that of OSU's and it will show on the field pretty much every year.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+2 HS
Rjpfish2's picture

Good read, but I still hate Michigan.

+5 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

Michigan desperately needs a 10-11 win season, and at least one win vs MSU or us. Do I see it happening? No. 

They're slipping into the next Nebraska... Losing their national significance and becoming just another decent team in a mediocre conference. 

With Dantonio and crew rolling, James Franklin beginning to build a monster in Happy Valley, and the always solid OSU in the same conference, I see UM having a lot of trouble competing for B1G East titles, let alone B1G titles and National Championships.



+2 HS
New alum's picture

Amazing how fast the narrative related to PSU has changed. A couple of years ago they seemed buried for years to come. Now they are becoming the darlings of the message boards.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

+1 HS
OfficerRabbit's picture

Believe me I would much rather watch PSU wallow in mediocrity for a few more years, but I just don't see that happening. I don't think they're anyone's "darling", I think people (and the media) see a new talented coach with great recruiting skills at a nationally relevant program with a tradition of success.

Of course anything can happen down the road, but all signs point to a likelihood of future success. 



-1 HS
Horvath22's picture

Great read, Mike and Ace. Good, honest insight by Ace.

+4 HS
Dirty330Buckeye's picture

I believe that if they ran that 2 point conversion against us, we would not have stopped it.

+7 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Soon the NBA and NHL playoffs will be over and we’ll be in the darkest timeline, in a world where Community has been cancelledby NBC and there’s nothing to watch except mid-season baseball.

Doh! I momentarily forgot about the World Cup. So there is some hope for the summer after all.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

I dig a good convo with an educated and reasonable matter what school. Good to hear some honest behind the enemy lines thoughts. 

The one thing I still think that speaks volumes is that the average TTUN fan has been beaten down to accept mediocrity. They keep making excuses that Hokes guys are still young and their time is coming. Conversely, here at OSU, you're expected to be good and contribute now.  Doesn't always happen right away but there are no systematic blanket excuses. I think an identity on offense will help their cause...however, HOKES MAJOR PROBLEM NOW IS THAT HIS GOOD FORTUNE IN HIS FIRST YEAR HAS NOW INVERTED IN THE SENSE THAT - EVEN AS scUM IMPROVES, ITS MAJOR RIVALS OSU AND MSU ARE STACKED. Hoke is going to flounder in comparison (see what I did there). 

+5 HS
Oyster's picture

It's not just the fans making excuses, it's the writers too.  Look how many times Ace blamed Rich Rod for the failures.  I'm sorry, he has been gone for 4 years now, it's time to find another scapegoat.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

otrain2416's picture

Ace Thanks for stopping by and giving us your insight. Honesty as nervous as I am for our O-Line I can't even imagine how TSUN fans feel. I expect Funchess to have a big year for them offensively, but they still need to figure out the other WRs and RB situation. Peppers is going to be a stud for them on D and they needed that. The only thing that's going to set him back is he didn't early enroll. Its definitely going to be interesting to see our D-Line (if we remain healthy) go up against their young inexperienced O-line this year in Columbus. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

+6 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

I'm an old guy who went to OSU when Woody was coaching and The Rivalry is a big deal to me.  That "said" Ace seems like a pretty good guy who knows his football and has a sense of humor about their situation.  We buckeye fans should not underestimate this team, and as we once again witnessed last season the cliche "throw out the W-L record and previous results for The Game" is so true.  Sadly, both teams are looking at the possibility of lagging behind TOTUN.  I do like the direction the buckeyes are going compared to TTUN of course, and over the long run I look for the bucks to continue to dominate.  My only real concern at this point is who our future QB is going to be.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+8 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Have to pay respect to Ace here.

It's not a year by year thing with with them any longer...the program has slipped, plain and simple.

+7 HS
BME_Buckeye's picture

Chief hits it on the nail with Michigan fans accepting mediocrity.  All you have to do is spend a few hours reading Mgoblog and you'll see it. Their fans are beaten down so bad many of them have lowered expectations to accept 2014 as a rebuilding year and 2015 to be the year when Michigan will be good. That with Franklin potentially recruting well he can make PSU a power in the East further wiping Michigan existence away in the B1G East. Ohio State has a gap in talent (many will argue against this) that they won't catch soon us any time soon and the results on the field will show it. In order to beat MSU regularly,  they hope that Izzo and Narduzzi get hired away. Lurking on their boards tell you all need to know about the heart of thier fanbase.

When Ace says this ride for Michigan hasn't been fun, he's not lying but it's been fun watching them fall on the way down that all they have is the integrity and honor of thier program along with living in the past.


Adam Rittenburg sums up Michigan fans well when he says, "Instead of talking about history, how bout Michigan start making history".         

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see.


+2 HS
Hello_Heisman's picture

As a UM fan, I can't really argue with anything that Ace said, other than the fact that I wasn't a huge fan of the 2010 offense (it crapped out against the really good teams on the schedule).  I don't know that I've accepted mediocrity so much as I simply acknowledge the fact that it's clearly present in the UM football program and has been for the better part of the last decade.  I don't have high expectations for 2014 primarily because of the disaster I witnessed last year, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it or have any good excuses for it.  If I had to make an argument for why Michigan might improve significantly in 2014 vs. 2013, I'd hang my hat on 3 things:

1.  A generally more experienced team throughout the roster than last year with less reliance on true freshmen

2.  A roster that has good talent overall.  The recruitniks on here can argue about exactly how overrated past Michigan recruiting classes were, but I think it's fair to say that on paper there's more than enough talent on the roster to field a much better team than last year's 7-6 tire fire group.  That was some serious underachievement in my opinion.

3.  An improved defense that can hopefully help offset the inevitable rough patches the offense will hit as the O-Line tries to turn into something better than "complete dogshit".  The secondary, in particular, has the potential to be much improved this year (more so because of Jordan Lewis and Channing Stribling than Peppers).

Do I think these things will happen?  Probably not, but I also didn't think that Auburn would be anywhere near the NC game last year and I didn't think that MSU would go 12-1 after a middling 7-6 season the year prior.  At this point, I'm just going to sit back and see what happens rather than constantly obsess over it in the offseason.  If they suck again, then I'll know it's probably time for a new head coach.




60% of the time it works.....every time


Thanks to ACE for visiting our boards and giving us something to ponder.  Deep down, I feel his pain because of the scar that Cooper left on many of us, but I am also glad that they are getting a taste of what suffering means.  

At some point, they better start waking up because as Hove stated, they are only declining and our rich rivalry will only turn into a historic footnote.




"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+2 HS
Crumb's picture

Yeah we'd do well to remember what goes around comes around. I for one however wouldn't mind a bit if the rivalry became a footnote because of continued dominance by the Buckeyes. I hate them that much.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+6 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

Yea I wouldn't want them to be any better then the team it took a intercepted 2pt. conversion to beat by 1pt last season.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

+3 HS
Whoa Nellie's picture

[this post has been removed]


Ed. Note: You're better than this. Or at least you should be. Name calling a guest contributor? Really?

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

-4 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

They could have 4 Jabril Peckers I mean Peppers and we're still gonna stomp their ass!

sharks's picture

Michael, do you and Ace do similar Q&A sessions on Mgo?    I check in there like once a month or so, but so many of their main articles are longform screeds by the guy who runs the site (Brian) that are impenetrable to those who don't care about UM football and only visit for the schadenfreude.   Ace is a good writer though.

A man got to have a code...

+2 HS
Michael Citro's picture

I have agreed to sit in the comfy chair and be interrogated by Ace in exchange for his very insightful comments here re: Michigan fans' mindsets and how the team shapes up for 2014. It hasn't happened yet, but I expect it soon, so be on the lookout for it.

New alum's picture

Though I was not yet born, looking strictly at records I think UM had a somewhat similar time period in the 50s, early 60s. That was certainly the last time MSU had the upper - hand for the state. UM came back from that, but no guarantee now. Somebody mentioned Nebraska; Notre Dame comparisons seem to fit, too.

Proud Michigander, OSU grad. Life is complicated.

+1 HS
PeteM's picture

I wasn't born back then either but one thing I'd say is that my sense was in the 1950s and 1960s the stakes weren't quite as high.  Maybe I'm looking for another excuse to be hopeful as a Michigan fan, but with the University having spent $250 million on luxury boxes and having to sell 110,000 seats I don't think that Hoke or Brandon believes their jobs are secure if Michigan isn't competing for Big Ten titles again soon.


CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Thanks Ace for giving us some insight into what Wolverine fans are thinking about the upcoming season.  TTUN is one of those teams that can bring in very highly talented players.  Obviously there were a couple of lean years there in recruiting and some players didn't happen to pan out as mentioned above.  I do think the next few years it will be hard for TTUN to challenge for a B1G championship with all of the other teams rising in the conference (MSU and Penn St).  They are still a dangerous team.  You can always throw the records out when it comes to "the Game."  It was a close one last year.  I do see us winning in the Shoe this year, but the team needs to expect a battle each time they strap it up to play them. 

Go Bucks!!! 

+2 HS
gwalther's picture

I'm taking a poop right now. Seems like a fitting thing to do when reading about the Michig@n football program.

Class of 2008

+5 HS
TheTeam16's picture

I will tell you what UM fans with their heads not buried in the dirt are thinking, "Thank god this will be his last year here."

Was and always will be a stopgap hire.

CowCat's picture

Never, ever, ever, ever take The Game lightly. TTUN feeds on being a spoiler to us.

For us to beat both MSU and TTUN next year we will need to play like an angry underdog - a difficult thing to maintain as a team keeps winning.

Both of Urban's national titles happened in one-loss seasons, when there was a rallying cry.

I'm optimistic about this season though. MSU is the test. If we pass that, we'll need to fight our way into the playoffs.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

+2 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I like the comment someone made about TTUN being the next Nebraska.  That's where it seems to be heading.  Since I started college at OSU in 2005, nine seasons have happened, and only two of those seasons for TTUN could be considered good seasons - 2006 and 2011.  And even those two good seasons didn't result in Big Ten titles, let alone the seven bad ones.  I know if OSU went through a stretch of years like this, I'd be dying for something positive to hang my hat on.  2011 was that something positive for their fans, and even if some of us made fun of them over how some of their fans acted about it, I understand where it comes from.  And I'd be incredibly frustrated about them only going backwards since then.

However, one good season up there and who knows, maybe things turn back around.  Then again, they had a good season in 2011 and failed to follow up on that.  With the way they're recruiting, you'd think that eventually, you'd see it on the field.  Maybe that will happen this year, maybe it won't.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

If you lived through the Cooper years, you remember why the phrase "that's why they play the game" has so much meaning. Never take a rival as big as TTUN lightly, no matter how much of a talent and coaching gap exists. That said, thanks for the insight Ace, I like our chances this year (a lot).


+1 HS
Calvinist Buck's picture

First, I always appreciate insight regarding the enemy from Ace (and Brian) from MGoBlog.  During this painful, dark period waiting for football to resume, this article is quite welcome.  Another angle to consider is how the enemy views us.  Not that we should ever lose sleep over how others regard us, but it's interesting to evaluate outside analysis in light of the fact that we often view our own team through scarlet colored glasses.

Second, we do not need TTUN to be good in order to validate our team and our legacy.  I hope TTUN remains in a pit of mediocrity and that we mercilessly beat them every year until the end of time.  Nebraska comparisons are too kind.  Minnesota was real good about 70 years ago.  I'd like TTUN to be about as relevant as Minnesota is now.

Third, as has been mentioned, TTUN should not be taken lightly.  (We witnessed that up close last season in that poorly designed stadium last November.)  But this is not merely "throw the record books out" sentiment.  The fact is that Hoke doesn't have to be a great coach (he's not); rather, he needs to be a decent manager.  Greg Mattison and Doug Nussmeier are both competent coordinators.  Mattison is a proven winner who worked for Coach Meyer at Florida and Nussmeier was an excellent QB in college and won a national title just two years ago as Alabama's OC and QB coach.  (That said, I hope Mattison retires soon, Nussmeier turns out to be a bust, and TTUN never again qualifies for a bowl game.)

+1 HS
Flyermike's picture

Looking at TTUN's schedule, I see them winning 9-10 games this year.  They play at the Shoe, at Sparty, and at Notre Dame.  Other than those three, their schedule is a whole lot of mediocrity.  I know a lot of people say they hope scUM loses every game for eternity, but a better scUM is better for us (when OSU beats them), and makes for more entertaining football.  

Even if Hoke never puts his headset on, those two coordinators have been around a lot of winning, and crystal footballs.  With the recruits they have brought in and a coherent offensive game plan, I think they are going to be very competitive this fall.

DUMP the chUMps's picture

Funny. After MSU demolished the chUMps last year all we heard was how young the offensive was. Now they lament the loss of two NFL draftees to graduation. 

The Michigan Difference is a marketed illusion. They are not who they say they are. You can't spell chUMp without UM.

1MechEng's picture

Jordan and Ace -

What is the average Michigan fans current mindset regarding Hoke's (in)ability to coach up his players to get their maximum potential. And is this significantly affecting the ability to recruit/retain high-profile prospects?

As many have said, thanks to Ace for coming onto our site and sharing his candid thoughts on the state of UM football.

Jim's picture

This Michigan fan is thinking that this year, not 2015, could well be the do or die year for Hoke. In 2012 and 2013, some very good recruits signed on the dotted line.  Sure, not everyone turns out to match their press clippings, but by now, at least some of the kids recruited for the O-line, although often the slowest to develop, should be showing more than they have to date.  I'm not sure you can blame everything on Borges, although he was a dud.  I'm scratching my head as to why Darrel Funk, the O-line coach is still there.

As Ace pointed out, ticket sales are going in a negative direction, and it's not all schedule.  If this year is another seven or eight win year, It wouldn't surprise me if Hoke were gone, as he should be.

Hello_Heisman's picture

I think the recruiting momentum slowed down because of last year's shitty 2nd half of the season, along with the fact that the 2015 class for Michigan will be very small (projection is a total class size of only 15-17).   I think the negative vibes are more about Michigan's on-field performance and subsequent concerns that this coaching staff may not make it another 4 years rather than anything about Hoke's specific coaching abilities.

I wasn't too concerned about the coaching quality until last year.  Felt like the coaching staff as a whole really underachieved and made me seriously question if they'll be able to make Michigan anything more than a 9-win team at best going forward.  I thought they were pretty good in 2011 and 2012, especially on the defensive side of the ball and special teams compared to 2008-2010. Last year it seemed like things spiraled out of control and there was no coherent game plan on offense or defense in the latter stages of the season.



60% of the time it works.....every time

Michael Citro's picture

The reciprocal interview of mine is now available over at MGoBlog if anyone is interested in reading my responses to Ace's questions.


GVerrilli92's picture

*ichigan's previous couple of recruiting classes will show some flashes this year, but it would be unrealistic to expect that much youth to get them to the playoffs. I think the most telling part of this article is the general acceptance amongst their fans that Jabril is the only hope. Yeah, we wanted Vonn Bell to step in and contribute more last year (like Raekwon this year). But I don't think any Buckeye thought our success depended on any one freshman's development, last year or this year.

There's always the chance that he does get there and bust out of the gates as an impact freshman. The fact that the fanbase has invested so much hope in the kid though kind of tells you where they are depth/talent-wise. 

I got a gray kitty, white kitty, tabby too, and a little orange guy who puts snakes in my shoes. Got mad MC skills, that leave ya struck, and I roll with my kitties and I'm hard as f*ck.