Bear with me guys....I've wanted to write this for awhile.
A lot of the TTUN fans are wringing their hands this week about Hoax and the huge cracks that have "just" shown up in the performance of the team. Some preach patience as the ghosts of RRod recruits are exorcized from the team, while others are starting to tumble to the fact that Hoax is just this as a football coach; a hoax. My view is that all of TTUN's problems have been there all along covered by a thick veneer of Bullsh*t. Why? Here is my theory.
Recruiting is critical to success, but only if a coach can turn those recruits into elite players. Hoax has recruited some of the best and failed miserably to develop them. Kalis hasn't done squat, Pipkins was touted as a great young player but is unimpressive on film, Bellomy is terrible so now Morris must be the savior at QB, etc. etc.. The reality is that the old RRod recruits such as Gardner, Ryan, Lewan, etc are still carrying TTUN. Hoax has failed to develop his younger guys thus far. Other than UFM, the guy that I have to give props to as far as development goes is Dantonio...the guy may look like he is terminally sucking on a lemon, but he consistently takes the 2 and 3 star "scraps" and makes Sparty competitive with them. Mucho Respect to Dantonio, and mark my words, he is going to kick Hoax's a** in a few weeks.
Most people didn't realize that Carr routinely out recruited Tressel, yet JT owned TTUN over that period...even with the freakin' walrus around. JT was a better coach: period.
My sense is that Hoke has taken this huggy, squishy "we're all a big family of Michigan Men" thing to imply entitlement to playing time and results to recruits and his team alike. This is an absolutely fatal flaw. Some recruits will love this idea because it resonates with the "you are soooooo special message of entitlement" that they have been receiving their entire lives. It takes a very tough and mature young man to face up to the fact that the only thing that will get him to the league is intense, relentless competition that he may very well lose, and for him to embrace that concept and win.
UFM is a different beast altogether. He is a great recruiter AND a superb coach. The real secret to tOSU under Meyer is the constant, fierce competition for everything. Marotti is far more important to this strategy than most fans believe because in UFM's world, competitive focus starts with him in the weight room, and follows these kids everywhere on campus. There is no escape from competition in UFM's world. Want to live away from the Neil Ave Building? Prove to me that you can get on top of your classes, stay in control in social settings, and maintain your focus and performance on the field. This is the way of the cold cruel world, and especially the League.
I think Meyer has taken this to a level beyond UF here at tOSU because he learned that in addition to bringing out the best in his kids, it enables him to deal with discipline problems. "want to screw up in a bar at 2AM.....there are 3 guys damn near as good as you waiting to take your playing time." Coaches can never really be the cops on the team. They cannot be everywhere all the time. When players know that they have to compete, they become the best than they can be and the coaches can use that energy to keep discipline problems from killing the team. I can just imagine what UFM said to the guys the past week. "Have a great few days off...you've earned it...but remember this...screw up, lose your discipline and you will lose your spot on this team." Will our kids continue to make mistakes on and off the field? Of course...they're 18-23. God knows I did at that age.
UFM: The Best Damn Coach In The Land