Okay Michigan fans, you missed out on Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, even Gary Patterson of TCU and Gary Pinkel of Missouri. So, if you feel that Brady Hoke was a last resort and that you're STUCK with him, then you're not giving AD Steven Brandon or, more importantly, Brady Hoke a fair shake.
Hoke has the offense, desire, and background to win at Michigan, but some other personnel issues, recruiting issues, and coaching record issues could be the difference in Hoke bringing glory back to Michigan, or Michigan alums begging Les Miles in three to four years.
Good For: Defensive Linemen
The offensive transition may be a bit different for this Michigan program with Brady Hoke, but the defensive transition will likely be much smoother. Hoke ran a 3-3-5 defense while at San Diego State, one that worked very well with his personnel.
Michigan ran the 3-4 defense with program-ruiner Greg Robinson at the helm of the defense. Hoke ran a 3-3-5 defense which isn't much different from the 3-4 except for the fact that you take away one rusher off the edge and plug in a safety. The defensive lineman for Michigan were very impressive and have NFL potential, and the easy transition could really aid in their development.
Bad For: Starting Running Backs
Michigan's top two running backs this season were 181 pounds and 169 pounds. While Hoke doesn't run necessarily a power rushing attack, his running back at San Diego State last year was freshman Ronnie Hillman at 185, who played much bigger than that.
This offense won't be a spread option attack, so those outside runners and speedy-in-space backs won't get getting the bulk of these carries. Hoke will have to look deep down this roster to find a more powerful back, or he'll have to go out and recruit a freshman, Mike Hart-type of rusher.
Undecided: Denard Robinson
Most people are quick to assume Robinson's reign as quarterback at Michigan is over despite him winning Big Ten offensive player of the year. Not so fast, my friend. Robinson developed as a passer this year, and Hoke has utilized quicker running backs in the past. With Nate Davis as his quarterback at Ball State, he had Davis rush 144 times in his sophomore and junior year for over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Robinson may have to look over his back, however, with highly touted quarterback Devin Gardner at 6'4, 203 likely being the number two guy going into camp next year. Gardner is a great athlete, but also has the arm strength and passing ability to execute Hoke's spread passing offense with some pro-style concepts.
Good For: Well Sized Freshman
While Rich Rodriguez recruited heavily his type of players (smaller, quicker receivers and rushers, more agile offensive lineman, quicker quarterbacks, and coverage linebackers), he was also able to bring in quite a few freshman that are built for more pro-style offenses.
For example, Devin Gardner has the size at 6'4 that Hoke likes. Some other freshman that have the size to compete for a starting job next year are running back Stephen Hopkins (6'0, 236), receiver Jeremy Jackson (6'3, 193), and current left tackle starter Taylor Lewan (6'8, 283).
Bad For: Undersized Upperclassmen
As is the opposite of the more well-built freshman and underclassmen, the sophomores and juniors this year that will be juniors and seniors next year are going to have to find a way to either bulk up, find a niche in this offense, or find another position or team to play for.
A few guys who made big impacts this year that could be in trouble are two receivers, Roy Roundtree (6'0, 169) and Martavious Odoms (5'8, 173). Only one is likely to be a slot, deep threat type of receiver for this team next year. Also, outside linebacker Craig Roh (6'5, 249) is too tall to be a 3-3-5 linebacker, and he's undersized to be a defensive lineman.
Undecided: Home Field Advantage
It's the Big House. One of the most prestigious places to play in the country. It's the Big House. The House that Bo Schembechler built. When you think of Michigan, it's one of the first things you think of, "The Big House".
But how did Rich Rodriguez perform in "The Big House". Despite playing in one of the "toughest" places to play in the country at home, Rodriguez finished with an 11-11 record. So now Brady Hoke steps in, and maybe more important that beating Ohio State or Michigan State is first and foremost winning at home.
Since 2006, Hoke is 20-10 at home including both Ball State and at San Diego State. However, four of those wins were against non-FBS schools (one of the loses was as well), so that puts his record at home since 2006 at 16-10. He wasn't at Michigan and didn't have the Big House to support him, but that has to worry some Michigan followers..
Good For: "Michigan Man" Men
There was far too much talk about "reuniting the Michigan family" and "finding a way to restore the tradition" and everyone's favorite "get a Michigan Man". In short, I don't think having a major tie to the school means all that much. Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, and Mack Brown didn't play at Ohio State, Florida, and Texas. Tressel coached at Ohio State for three years. Urban Meyer coached in a BCS conference for two years. Mack Brown had NO ties at all to Texas. But they all went on to do well.
However, some people feel that Michigan needed to get back to their roots, and the only way to do that was to look at Michigan alumni and former coaches. Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, and Hoke were the only major candidates, therefore, and when Harbaugh went the to the NFL and Miles said no thanks, Michigan still got a "Michigan Man".
Bad For: Early Recruiting
Maybe the most telling part of this hire and the real reason why skeptics should be upset. Say what you want about Rich Rodriguez, but he was one hell of a recruiter. To get the talent he did from the southern part of the country where his quicker, faster athletes played in high school to come up to Michigan was remarkable.
Brady Hoke on the other hand, does not have that type of recruiting pedigree. The highest rated recruiting class he's ever had, according to Rivals.com, is 77th. He's never finished higher than 3rd in his conference (was 3rd one season at Ball State) in his conference. And total, he's only gotten six 3-star recruits to play for him. Say what you want about recruiting and national recruiting services, but that's a very scary number for a coach who's been a head coach for eight years.
Undecided: Michigan Program
Michigan fans, Michigan Alum, Michigan beat writers, and many current players are generally not happy initially with the decision. Maybe not as hostile and angry over the Rich Rodriguez hire when he came over from West Virginia, but far too many are not optimistic that he can turn things around.
For Michigan fans, put it this way. Your top two guys said no in Harbaugh and Miles. Gary Pinkel of Missouri didn't even interview. You wouldn't have been happy with another true spread guy. So who were you holding out for. I think Gus Malzahn and maybe an NFL guy or two should have gotten a call, but they probably wouldn't have bitten.
Michigan fans have to decide: Are you going to pout and expect the worst for another head coach, or are you ready to rally around the best guy you could get and try to restore this program back to the Rose Bowl level?
My Vote: Good Hire
I've said for weeks now that Hoke could be the best candidate for this 2011-2012 Michigan team next year based on how flexible of a personnel guy he is. While Harbaugh and Miles would have brought more sizzle and a better recruiting class, Hoke can win now with this team as well as slowly go back to more profound offense that the Big Ten is known for.
Give Hoke a chance, Michigan. He's got the offense, the desire, and the history to be a perfect fit. Or don't give him a chance, and waste three more years, a ton of money, and even more prestige.