Time running out on Michigan's athletic regime
JAN 10, 2014 9:52a ET
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke is a loyal guy who doesn't take himself too seriously. In short, Hoke is everyman.
That's why Hoke's abrupt dismissal of former offensive coordinator Al Borges on Wednesday and the can't-get-it-out-fast-enough announcement of his replacement, Doug Nussmeier, is puzzling. It's not Hoke's style.
If Hoke really wanted to let Borges go, he would have done it long before Wednesday afternoon. Hoke had been adamant that his entire staff would be back in 2014. He truly believed that coaching wasn't Michigan's problem; it was lack of execution.
So what happened?
It's pretty simple: Hoke was pressured to make the change.
Many assume that AD Dave Brandon urged Hoke to make some significant changes to his staff because Wolverines fans have become restless.
A lack of faith in the direction of Michigan's football program has begun to creep into the conversation with fans openly casting doubt on Brandon's leadership and Hoke's coaching ability.
At this point, Michigan fans are burned out. They just want Michigan to be Michigan again.
No more alternate or legacy jerseys, no more talk about having the most victories in college football, and no more bells and whistles during every stoppage of play during games at the Big House.
Cut the hyperbole and fix Michigan football -- "NOW!" is the plea.
Brandon gets it. He's aware that there's a growing perception that he's a micro manager who finds it difficult to relinquish any type of control, even to his football coach.
Whether that's true or not, Brandon is shrewd enough to know that his legacy as Michigan's AD will be tied directly to the fortunes of the football team.
Despite all the money he's raised and the slick marketing of Michigan athletics, if football doesn't become relevant again, Brandon's watch will be deemed an unmitigated failure.
Borges is gone because the clock is ticking on Brandon and Hoke.
With a new president on Michigan's horizon, speculation is, that person might want to have more oversight of Michigan's athletic department, which could have a profound effect on Brandon's and Hoke's job security.
Time is running out on Michigan's current athletic regime. Change is beckoning. On the surface, the university staff might appear to be on the same page, but just scratch the surface and you'll discover that Ann Arbor isn't a happy place right now.
For Brandon's sake, for Hoke's sake and especially for the sake of Michigan football, you have to hope that Nussmeier is a heck of a coach.
If he's not, it could get a lot worse at Michigan before there's even a hint of it getting better.