Wednesday, February 2, 2011

National Signing Day: Michigan's Brady Hoke Surprises Everyone

A first year coach isn't supposed to be this good. He's not supposed to come in to a new job, hit the ground running, and surprise everyone on one of the biggest days in a coach's life.

For Brady Hoke, that's exactly what he did. For those that doubted the man that was hired by the University of Michigan from San Diego State may not be doubting him much longer.

When a first year coach, especially one that most would say isn't proven in big time college football, signs 20 high school recruits to letters of intent people tend to stand up and take notice. If you haven't, shame on you.

During his first press conference after being named the new head coach, he said all the right things and responded in all the right ways to get fans believing in this program again. After that, it was up to him to show that he was up to the challenge. So far, he's responded just fine.

He turned around an Aztec football program that had been a joke since Marshall Faulk left the red and black. In 2010, Hoke led them to their best record in quite some time. Not only that, but he had one of the best running backs not only in the conference but some might argue he's one of the best in the nation, Ronnie Hillman.

The Aztecs became a team to be respected. They were a team that everyone in the Mountain West took seriously and a team that should have knocked out Missouri who was ranked in the top 15 at the time. Though, thanks to poor defense, the game slipped away in the final minutes.

Though Hoke had a short tenure at San Diego State, he left a legacy that new head coach Rocky Long will have to live up to. Where Hoke goes from here at Michigan will be up to the players that were left behind with the firing of Rich Rodriguez and those brought in on National Signing Day in February of 2011.

There's still lots to do with the Wolverine football program, that much is for sure. But if today is any indication on just how good this new head coach can be, the fans and alumni will have a lot to celebrate next season.

Don't ever count out a first year coach unless he proves otherwise. Hoke hit the ground running and he's proving that he's ready for whatever challenges might be thrown his way.

Look out Big Ten, there's a new sheriff in town.

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