The last three years have been incredibly stressful for fans of the Michigan Wolverines. Head coach Brady Hoke began his tenure by posting an impressive 11-2 record and beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. However, since that 2011 season, it has not been anything at which to marvel.
If you take away Hoke’s inaugural season, his Wolverines are a shameful 15-11 with two bowl losses. That warrants the “hot seat” tag for this Michigan man.
One of the most frustrating parts about Hoke’s time at Michigan is the seemingly endless struggle against rivals Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. The Wolverines stand at 1-2 against the Buckeyes and Spartans and 2-1 against the Irish. Do the math — that’s 4-5 against Michigan’s three biggest rivals. The salt to the wound is those losses against Michigan State and Ohio State. Not being able to clear the hurdle against your in-state rival and national rival is endlessly infuriating.
Player development has also been an issue. It is beyond pointless to bring in some of the nation’s top recruits if they will not be developed to meet their potential. Specifically, I think it’s a bigger problem on the offensive line than anywhere else. Had it not been for Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield, I’d fear for the life of anyone relying on protection in the backfield.
I understand injuries are sporadic, but also common, on the offensive line. But to be disappointed to that magnitude up front was just a plain embarrassment for this team.
I also want to look at the development of the defensive secondary. One of Michigan’s problem on defense was giving up the big play. Granted, as a whole, Michigan did fairly well on that side of the ball, but there were head-shaking mistaking every game in the secondary.
Brady Hoke just brought in one of the nation’s top targets in Jabrill Peppers, who has the potential to be one of the best safeties in the country with some time. If this coaching can’t see him to full development, it will truly be a testament to one of the most prevalent themes of this program for the last few years.
Hoke has recently taken some strides in the right direction by dropping offensive coordinator Al Borges from his staff and snagging Doug Nussmeier from Alabama. He also recently left the defensive line coaching responsibilities to defensive coordinator Greg Mattison; Hoke previously filled that role.
I am a huge fan of Hoke, and I don’t think the last couple seasons at Michigan accurately reflect his ability as a coach. It’s about results though, and the negative is outweighing the positive right now.
I give him one more year to prove he’s the man for the job in Ann Arbor. If the current trend continues, it may be time to start the search for a new head coach.