Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brady Hoke and Michigan Are a Perfect Pair

When the news broke yesterday that now former San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke would be the new head coach at Michigan, I saw more negative reaction than I expected to see. I then realized that the anger or frustration was not because he couldn't move this program in the right direction, it was because Hoke wasn't the Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles that a lot of them wanted.

Not only did reaction come from all over the country about the hiring but reaction was coming out of San Diego as well because it was the Aztecs Hoke was leaving in a lurch. The one thing I didn't see any of the Aztec fans, at least the ones I saw on my Twitter timeline on Tuesday, was the fact that Hoke had warned that this day was coming. So now that it was here, why were they surprised?

When he was hired back in 2008, Hoke made a reference to the fact that Michigan was his dream job. So here we were two years later and he did exactly what he set out to do. Land his dream job.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines held a press conference to announce the hiring of their new head coach. For those who were naysayers about the hiring might have changed their minds after they stopped to listen to a very well spoken and very fired up coach.

When it came to Ohio State he did something that other Michigan coaches have not done. He said they were THE most important game on their schedule. Finally, someone willing to speak the truth about that rivalry. Speaking of Ohio State, Hoke never mentioned the Buckeyes by name but called them "that school in Ohio." A few hours on the job and he's already throwing jabs.

The question around the social media scene on Wednesday was, "is Hoke the right guy for the job?" The answer to that question, in my humble opinion, is a resounding YES.

This is not a guy who's unfamiliar with Michigan and the pressures that come with being a coach on the Wolverines' staff. Hoke was a lineman coach under Lloyd Carr from 1995-2001 and was then named Associate Head Coach in 2002. That would be his last year at Michigan before becoming the head coach at Ball State in 2003.

He returns to his old stomping grounds but this time it's as the head man of the program. He did a tremendous job turning around San Diego State and making them a respectable football program for the first time since Marshall Faulk donned the red and black.

He now moves on to Michigan where he'll have a talented quarterback in Denard Robinson along with a host of other talent up and down this roster. There's no question he can turn things around in a single season. This is a man that has that kind of capability.

Say what you want about his 34-38 record at Ball State or his 13-12 record at San Diego State, this is a whole new job description with endless possibilities. This is not some mid-major program playing in a mediocre sports town. This is the University of Michigan, the maize and blue, and this is a team that is ripe to do big things in the Big Ten.

You can be skeptical if you want, you have that right, but at least give Brady Hoke the benefit of the doubt. Wait and see what he does during his first season before you start making up your mind about what he can and can't do with this program.

While you may not think he's earned that right, you should still hang on to that bandwagon pass. Once you jump off it, Wolverine fans don't want to hear how "you knew it all along."

Brady Hoke is going to be just fine. In fact, he'll be better than fine.

If I were a Michigan fan, I would get ready for the 2011 season. This might just be one for the books.

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