13 January 2011

Michigan Finds New Coach

Brady Hoke to Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI- It was the firing heard 'round the NCAA.  A high profile coach from a high profile school suddenly fired after mediocre results.  A week is all it took.  The University of Michigan football program went without a coach for a week, after firing Rich Rodriguez.  Apparently three seasons was a couple too many, and the Wolverines were wanting to find someone a little more...productive.  Rodriguez had been a breath of fresh air coming after Lloyd Carr's 1-7 record against Jim Tressel of Ohio State, and after introducing the spread offense to the Big House, the fresh air was quickly turning stale.  Rich Rod's three years were disappointing at best, going just 3-9, 5-7, 8-5 in each season, respectfully, as well as being clouded in scandals.  Practice and recruiting violations smeared the once proud program.  Michigan's AD Dave Brandon was looking to do some house cleaning after having a defense that was ranked 117th out of 120 schools, and coming off of a gutwrenching 52-14 loss to Mississippi State, the timing seemed perfect.  Rich Rod didn't only lose his first bowl game as the Wolverine head coach, but he led the team to their first losing season since 1966, first ever back-back losing seasons and the worst of all:  an 0-3 start against Ohio State.  So Rich Rodriguez was fired toward the end of the first week of 2011, along with his entire staff.
Brady Hoke from his coordinator days
Dave Brandon had been meeting with multiple coaches throughout the week, including Michigan alumni Jim Harbaugh of Stanford and Les Miles of LSU.  Les Miles, who the university had targeted three years earlier, was a prime candidate, according to Brandon, as Harbaugh seemed to be NFL-bound.  A third and unlikely candidate for the job was a former coordinator for the Wolverines, Brady Hoke.  Hoke, who led the San Diego State Aztecs to a great season, gave traditional powerhouses and newcomer powerhouses the thrill of a lifetime.  SDSU came to Columbia and it took a 68-yard pass play known as the "Moe Miracle" to beat them.  The Aztecs also lost by 5 to the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs, 40-35.
Hoke at SDSU.
Earlier this week there had been a meeting of the minds between Brandon and Miles, and after the goodbyes were said, Miles announced he was remaining at LSU for a little bit longer.  Michigan goes 0-2 trying to get him out of Baton Rouge and up to Ann Arbor.  So, it falls on the shoulders of the unlikely candidate, Brady Hoke, and the question is not whether or not Hoke and the boosters get along, it's will Hoke and star quarterback Denard Robinson get along?  Rumors are speculating around the campus that the two may not see eye-to-eye on how to effectively run an offense, and with backup QB Tate Forcier no longer enrolled, Hoke has some recruiting to do on his own for a QB to fit into his style, which is reportedly going back to traditional Big Ten smashmouth: run between the tackles until you stop us, then we'll air it out to get past you.

Elsewhere: Florida coach Urban Meyer has resigned and former Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator Will Muschamp.  Muschamp, coming off of a disappointing 5-7 season with the Longhorns (a year after being national runner-up and the school's first loss to Iowa State), is taking over a Gator team that has struggled in their first year without Tim Tebow, going 8-5 overall.

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