Mike’s Musings– Lions fire Schwartz, Hoke should be next

January 3, 2014

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

Okay, I confess. I am a self-proclaimed football nut. I was literally in heaven this past week with a dozen bowl games including the big one- MSU’s Rose Bowl appearance, and several NFL  games.  Because I played the game as a quarterback at the high school and college level, I’m going to bore you with my two cents when it comes to our local teams.

First off, I completely agree with the decision to fire Lion’s head coach, Jim Schwartz. The man over five years had an 11-30 last half of the season record, and was ranked 145 out of 150 when it came to the won-loss records of coaches who had been at the helm for at least five years.

Statistics aside, however, he failed at a lot of rudimentary fundamentals. He failed to develop Matt Stafford, one of the most physically talented quarterbacks to come from the college ranks. Stafford had a dismal last half of the season, and it appears his confidence has been destroyed. Insiders blame it on the coaches, including Schwartz, continually coddling the top notch quarterback with the flawed mechanics.

Schwartz’s teams always appeared undisciplined. Again this year they ranked close to the top in penalty yardage incurred. Ditto the takeaway-turnover ratio. You can’t win football games if this ratio leans towards many more turnovers than takeaways.

Stafford, alone through 19 interceptions and fumbled the ball away six more times. Those are pathetic stats for a QB who is suppose to be a budding superstar.

And for all those bleeding hearts, let’s not forget, Schwartz walks away with a golden parachute worth $12 million. Get fired from your job and I bet you don’t get 12 cents. Schwartz and other professional coaches- heck they are set for the rest of their lives.

Now that Schwartz is gone, I’d like to see Dave Brandon, University of Michigan’s athletic director, admit he made a mistake, and fire the Wolverine Head Coach, Brady Hoke. Plucked from San Diego State- yup you heard me right- that perennial football powerhouse- NOT, Hoke has proven he is not up to the challenge of coaching an elite college program.

Don’t get me wrong, he and his staff, have proven to be terrific recruiters, bringing in a number of 4 and 5 star recruits the last couple of years. The problem is they can’t coach them. Hoke, much like Schwartz, is clueless when it comes to halftime adjustments and his antiquated assistants- Al Borges, offensive coordinator, and Greg Mattison, defensive coordinator are no help.

Michigan’s number one problem was the inability to run the football. Bo Schembechler’s smash mouth football has exited the fabled halls of Michigan Stadium. The softies, that now occupy the spaces of the Dierdorfs and Brannstatters, couldn’t provide a hole against an intramural team, let alone Top 25 squads. To me, that’s the fault of the coaching staff. Where’s the teaching of techniques? Where’s the creative play calling. It’s not at Michigan.

One only has to look up the road, where effective coaching has bred success. Michigan State, with only one loss this season, made it to the Rose Bowl and is ranked as one of the top ten football teams in the country.

State doesn’t get the 4 and 5 star recruits. They might be able to pluck a few mediocre recruits out of Florida, but most of their players come from Ohio and the Detroit area.

The MSU coaching staff, led by Mark Dantonio, has done a remarkable job teaching these mediocre recruits the nuances of the college game. Their mantra, toughness in the trenches, has paid huge dividends. No one likes to play Michigan State, particularly U of M, because they come away beat to shreds with more nagging injuries and bruises suffered than against any other opponent.

Dantonio has turned MSU in to a physically dominating opponent, that is now an elite Big 10 team, if there is such a thing, in a few short years.

Hoke, on the other hand, has done the opposite at Michigan. His team lacks physical and mental toughness. His team had to pray to the football Gods, to slip by Akron and Connecticut, two teams that have a hard time fielding a football team let alone a winning one. U of M recorded 2 wins in their last 8 games and that is simply unacceptable.

Hoke needs to go. He’s had plenty of time to return Michigan to greatness. He has failed.

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