Have you ever gotten that feeling that either someone or something just rubs you the wrong way? Wait, I’m sorry, that’s a ridiculous question. Of course you have. Every human being with a pulse has felt that multiple times in their existence. Well lately, I have come to realize something that I maybe had been a tad unsure of for a while, but was confirmed to me this week.
Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke gives me that feeling. I’m mainly a bit irked by the fact that I believe Hoke may slowly be letting his ego get the best of him.
Now, the funny part is that I think Hoke is a fantastic football coach. I know that sounds weird, but I do. He seems to command discipline from his players, is organized, and in his short career in Ann Arbor has shown that he is a more than passable game manager. The one specific qualm that I have about Hoke is, well–Hoke himself.
Don’t get me wrong, Hoke stepped in as the head man at Michigan when it seemed that former coach Rich Rodriguez had set the program back about 20 years, which was pressure enough for Hoke to start off. Then the unthinkable happened, as Hoke guided his new Wolverines squad to a victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2012 Sugar Bowl.
I know that I’m no psychologist, other than trying to figure out why my dog has to sniff nine different spots before she finally picks one to go do her business on, but this is around the period of time where my concerns about Hoke as a person begin to arise.
It was unquestionably a remarkable feat for Hoke to walk away with that Sugar Bowl trophy, but was it really that impressive when you begin to look at it? They beat a Virginia Tech team whom, outside of VT supporters and computers, no one really believed in their heart of hearts deserved to be there in the first place. While not a BCS game, that same bowl season, their intra-state Big Ten rivals, the Michigan State Spartans, shocked the world by knocking off the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Bowl. You know, those same Georgia Bulldogs who are consistently in the top-tier of that conference of which we do not speak that has won seven straight national championships. Now, which was the more impressive victory?
I understand that things were so bad under Rodriguez that Hoke doing what he did had Michigan fans, as well as experts across the country, treating the coach as if he were the savior of the Big Blue masses–and this is to be expected at such a prominent university that just a year earlier was wondering if it was ever going to be back on top.
Yes, if you were wondering, this is all stemming from Hoke’s recent jab, playful or not, at Notre Dame “chickening out” of their rivalry. I’m starting to wonder if Hoke is getting a little too ‘big for his britches’, so to speak. I ponder whether or not that one little taste of success maybe made that head of his a little big.
I’d imagine that it can be very easy, especially being the coach of the Michigan Wolverines and doing what he did in ’11, to lift yourself up on that imaginary pedestal.
Again, I think the world of Hoke as a coach and have always expected him to do well, However, if my small assessment of his character is correct, Hoke could end up bringing himself down, regardless of how much coaching talent he has running through his veins.
Well, it will either be his ego or constant thrashings from his counterpart in Ohio, Urban Meyer.
It’s just my belief that Hoke hasn’t earned the right to take jabs at anyone yet, much less a team that–while beaten severely–played for a national championship a mere four months ago.