The definition of insanity is “something that is very foolish or unreasonable,” according to the Miriam-Webster dictionary.
Following an embarrassing 31-14 loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to end 2013, it appears as if things will remain as they were in 2013 going forward, with Brady Hoke and his entire staff remaining intact.
That is pure insanity.
Nothing has been said from David Brandon and the University of Michigan since the bowl game loss, leading many to believe that no changes will be made.
The Wolverines finished the season 7-6 after a 5-0 start. The team got worse as the season went on, and the fact that everyone gets a free pass should be unacceptable to supporters of the program.
Let me start by saying this: Brady Hoke should not be fired. College head coaches should be given four years to build their programs, barring a total disaster. (See: Rodriguez, Rich)
Hoke has done a fine job of bringing in talent and developing guys like Jake Ryan, Frank Clark, etc, but that any coordinators or assistants on this staff are safe after this disaster of a season is, quite frankly, laughable.
The problems from this season were mostly on the offensive side of the ball, and it would be a waste of time to document them all because we are all aware of what happened. The offensive line regressed as the year went on, the run game was inconsistent, and they were unable to find a consistent option outside of Jeremy Gallon.
All of the above issues fall on offensive coordinator Al Borges and offensive line coach Darrell Funk. Borges’ playcalling with the personnel available to him was awful and nobody besides Devin Gardner developed, as if that even mattered towards the end of the season.
Which brings us to Funk. Yes, the offensive line outside of the tackle position was inexperienced, but that was a group that regressed as the year went on and were unable to open up any holes for the running backs. It is one thing to be inexperienced, but it is entirely different to show up not ready to play, and that falls on coaching.
Both of these guys should have been fired weeks ago, but it has not happened yet and likely won’t this year. Players did not perform like they were expected to, and while there may have been something deeper there, the staff has to be held accountable for that.
Speaking of accountability, what exactly has defensive coordinator Greg Mattison done to keep his job? His defense was a young unit, but they were torched far too often this season. The defensive line, outside of Frank Clark, did nothing of note this year, the linebackers were far too inconsistent, and the secondary surrendered big plays often this year.
Mattison’s defense played well enough to keep the Wolverines in games this year, but it was far from what a Michigan defense should be. They were not physical. They were not feared. Teams made plays when they wanted to against them.
Brady Hoke was not brought in to be some X’s and O’s guru. That’s not who he is. He was brought in to sell the Michigan brand and unify a fan base in the wake of the Rich Rodriguez era, which is something he has done very well. He has been a great ambassador for the university and his efforts to sell the program have paid off on the recruiting trail, but his staff to this point has failed to develop that and bring it all together.
A BCS bowl victory three seasons ago does not justify what is going on in Ann Arbor right now. This team has lost 11 games in the last two years, and it is disappointing that David Brandon is not forcing Hoke to make any changes.
Brandon is probably distracted by the fact that The Big House just packed 105,000 people in for the Winter Classic. “Dollar Sign Dave” will not force any changes to be made until it stops making him money.
2014 was always going to be the defining year for Brady Hoke and this staff, even before the disappointment that was this past season. If the current staff remains entirely in place, there is almost an insurmountable amount of developments that need to be made in order to right this sinking ship, but 15-12 the last two years speaks for itself.
The lack of accountability coming from the University of Michigan is troubling right now, and it does not seem like many in the program care. Anything less than an at least an appearance in the Big Ten title game next season is unacceptable.
A lot of looking in the mirror needs to be done before then.