With an all-time record of 910-321-36 (.732), Michigan has the most wins out of any program in the history of college football. Seeing that, it is not difficult to imagine that Michigan fans are incredibly frustrated with the lack-luster performance put forth by the team this year. A 5-7 record and a season ended before the bowls start is a disappointment at any program throughout the country, let alone at, historically, one of the best in the nation.
When looking at Michigan, or really any team that performs this poorly, there can be seen a multitude of problems: lack of chemistry, lack of development, and overall poor game planning. One thing that Michigan does not lack, however, is talent. Many programs struggle with bringing in high-end talent, but that is not the case with Michigan, as it has brought in some of the top-ranked recruiting classes over the last few years. So while the talent to win is there, it must be concluded that something is going wrong in regards to developing and motivating players as well as developing proper game plans, and that falls directly on Brady Hoke and his coaching staff. For this reason, I believe that Brady Hoke and his staff need to go, and a new era of Michigan football must begin.
Now, some may argue that this would be too radical of a change and that Brady Hoke deserves more opportunities before this can be properly decided. This view coincides with what Edmund Burke writes of in his work Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke talks in a classically Republican way in his work as he states his opinion that the French revolution is bad because radical change is bad. In this instance, firing Brady Hoke and replacing Hoke entirely would be the radical change that Burke would caution against. Burke would most-likely exemplify the problems that Michigan’s program went through with the radical change that was made in hiring Brady Hoke’s predecessor, Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez held the job for three years, and in implementing his new form of play style and having off-field issues, greatly deviated from Michigan teams in the past and left a team with horde of problems.
While this is a risk, I believe that this situation differs from the past, as now the team is actually struggling mightily, as compared to when Rodriguez was hired when the program was in good shape. What is currently going on is not working, and something must be done. With this change, however, there does not even need to be some great upheaval in the program as there was with the hiring of Rodriguez. Hiring a new coach would ignite a fire under a team, and the next coach hired could be similar to Hoke in style, but just with some other redeeming qualities that would help heal this program and put it in the right direction.
Another work related to the predicament of whether or not to fire Hoke is Marc Tracy’s article, “NFL Rules Changes: When Is Football No Longer Football?” In his article, Tracy talks of how radical change within the NFL is taking away from what the sport truly is. With Hoke, Michigan fans like that he is a “Michigan Man” who had previous ties to the program. Some believe that putting a non-Michigan Man at the helm (such as was the case with Rodriguez, who had no previous ties to the program) would cause a change that would take away from what Michigan football truly is. In my opinion, what Michigan football truly is is the winningest program in all of college football, and whoever can bring the team back to the state that it once was is the right person for the job. Michigan Man or not, winning is what Michigan needs at the moment. Also, it is possible that Hoke could be replaced with another person with previous ties to the program, such as the very successful Les Miles, so it is still possible for Michigan to stick to their roots even with a new coach.
In conclusion, Brady Hoke needs to go and change needs to be made at Michigan. While some may share Burke’s views and have doubts about doing something drastic, the state that Michigan is currently in is not good, and something needs to be done. Also, those wanting a Michigan Man need to be a tad more open-minded and look into the possibility that it might indeed be a new and different Michigan Man coaching the team next year. Michigan is not the type of program where losing seasons, as well as continuous disappointing seasons, are acceptable. While Hoke is a good person and brings a good Michigan vibe with him, he is not doing the job in the best way that it can be done, and for this purpose he must be replaced.