Nov. 27, 2013
University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.
Brady Hoke is our coach and will be leading our football program well into the future. There is no question about it. Brady has done a great job rebuilding the program and reshaping the culture to the level it was under coaches Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr. Anyone making efforts to stir up a coaching controversy at Michigan is ill-informed and is likely promoting a personal agenda that is not in the best interest of Michigan Football.
We don't make excuses at Michigan when we fail to reach our goals, and we never will. We recognize areas we need to address and improve -- and we will. We also know how to hold people accountable for the roles and responsibilities they have as part of the privilege for being a part of Michigan Football -- and we will. However, it is valuable to occasionally step back from the disappointment and frustration that occurs when things don't go as well as expected and consider a few facts that may help put things into proper perspective.
Is our program where we want to be? No. We want to consistently compete for championships. That is the expectation at Michigan and that has been Brady's stated expectation from day one. When we don't meet those expectations there's disappointment -- and that starts with Brady, the coaches, players and everyone else that represents our football program. If you saw how hard everyone inside Schembechler Hall works every day, you would understand why they are disappointed. They pour their lives into developing these young people to prepare them to compete at the highest level and consistently win.
Many don't remember that Alabama finished fourth in its division during Nick Saban's fourth year with the Crimson Tide. At present, Alabama seems to be doing pretty well!! Stanford had 4-8, 5-7 and 8-5 records under Jim Harbaugh before reaching its current string of consecutive BCS appearances. This shows that it takes time for the right leader to build a consistent winner. We have the right leader, and despite the fact we have lost three very close games (and WE ARE ALL feeling the pain that comes from it!) the consistency will come. There have been speed bumps along the way and unforeseen obstacles that have hindered our progress this season, but the resiliency of this team has been remarkable.
Our coaches are recruiting nationally from New Jersey to California, from Michigan to Florida, and continue to bring in the type of young men that can compete on the field and in the classroom at the University of Michigan. The depth that this program needs to be a consistent winner is coming, but it doesn't happen overnight or in one or two recruiting classes. It takes time and probably a little more time than we all anticipated. However, the only threat to our continued success in recruiting is the same old, tired tactic being used by some who wish to see us fail -- to try and scare young recruits into believing that our coach "is on the hot seat" -- which simply isn't true. In fact, this is the same guy that was Big Ten and national coach of the year two seasons ago.
Brady inherited a team during his first season that had many juniors and seniors who played key roles in previous years. The senior class was recruited by Coach Carr and had some terrific talent that had simply been underperforming. We only had one freshman crack the depth chart on the offensive and defensive lines during that Sugar Bowl winning season. Right now, this year's team is counting on 11 freshmen or redshirt freshmen in the trenches. Not to make excuses, but to point out the obvious, this shows how much we are investing in young talent that will make huge contributions to our future success.
I'm really proud of how the players have bought into the new direction. Our coaches are changing schemes, and that requires a different recruiting philosophy and asking current student-athletes to adapt to a different style than previous years. The transformation and improvement of our defense under the leadership of coach Greg Mattison has been outstanding. Our coaches have worked hard to blend and develop schemes that bridge the gap between what was previously done and what they ultimately hope to run on both sides of the ball.
I have seen firsthand what Brady and his coaching staff are doing to make this program better. It takes time and sometimes patience by all of us before we can build the consistent winner that meets our expectations. I can assure you that our student-athletes are working hard every day to get better on the field, in the classroom and in the community. That hasn't changed at any point during the season; this group is fighting through obstacles. I know and see the drive that Brady, his coaches and players have to win -- and win for Michigan.
We recognize what makes Michigan so special is the passion and enthusiasm that our fans have for the team. However, those individuals who are spreading inaccurate rumors and saying inappropriate things about our coaches, players and recruits don't know what's happening inside Schembechler Hall or on that practice field. They are only trying to hurt the program and the progress our coaches and student-athletes are fighting to make on Saturdays. Sometimes that progress takes a little bit longer than we all like, but we know the long-term success that it's going to bring.
The 2013 season is far from over! We have two more big games to play, and we should all be looking forward to the opportunities they represent for our program. It is important and exciting for our young team to have the opportunity to experience an additional 15 practices, heal up some injuries, and compete in a bowl game at this stage in their career. And, for our seniors, these last two opportunities to play for Michigan are very special.
I know that Brady Hoke will finish his career at Michigan as one of the most successful coaches in our program's storied history. And, thanks to our many loyal fans and supporters who will be along for the ride because they care so much about Michigan Football for all of the right reasons!
Happy Thanksgiving and Go Blue!