Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Brady Hoke? No Thanks.

Three months ago, after Tim Brewster was fired mid-season, the Daily Gopher had this to say about Brady Hoke, a then candidate to be his replacement:

He has a Big Ten attitude but there just isn't enough on the resume to get me on the Hoke bandwagon. Hoke might be that guy, he might not be. Anyone feel confident that the person making this hire is going to be capable of determining if Hoke is the right fit or not? I don't, but I'm getting off on a tangent.

Yes, that is a University of Minnesota blog questioning the idea of hiring Brady Hoke, who for all intents and purposes seems to be the top candidate to replace Rich Rodriguez, whenever he may be fired. The Hoosier blogosphere was more apt to the idea, but this is Minnesota and Indiana we're talking about. They are easily the two most irrelevant football programs in the conference. If Hoke was even questionable as a Minnesota candidate he doesn't belong in the Michigan discussion. Instead, we might be seeing him named head coach as soon as tomorrow.

How does this come about? One rumor that seems to have credence on a logical level is that Brandon is enamored with Hoke while the boosters are ready to pony up the dough to bring Harbaugh home. That being said, Harbaugh's brother says NO WAI. The tea leaves seem to be pointing away from Harbaugh although one could argue that there is a lot of "public" negotiating to drive up Michigan's price. I'm skeptical of this and wonder if SI's Peter King is right in saying that the interest is overrated on Harbaugh's part. With all the options he has and the bad blood Harbaugh seems to have had with Michigan in the past, this makes a certain amount of sense.

My take? Brandon is taking a huge risk by moving on from Rodriguez WITHOUT Harbaugh being the guy to replace him. This is a young team. Yes, the defense is atrocious, but it returns every starter (provided Martin returns) and will likely be under the leadership of a competent coordinator next year who (more importantly) will be in full control. The offense is already explosive and has arguably the pre-season Heisman favorite coming into next year. The recruiting class coming in will be solid provided Rodriguez stays. Hoke has never coached at a school important enough to have any idea of his recruiting ability. He's basically a .500 coach who has had two solid seasons. That is good enough to be a candidate at Minnesota and Indiana. Not Michigan. Not when the team still has a ton of potential under Rodriguez. All the pressure in the world will be on Brandon if he doesn't reel Harbaugh in and I don't believe hiring Hoke will do much to quell the constant noise coming from a fickle fan base.

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