Wednesday’s Morning Links
Michigan Finally Finds their Coach: After a week since officially firing Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines now officially have their new football coach, Brady Hoke. While Hoke might be the right man for the job, the way in which this was handled was pretty strange. Michigan insists that Hoke was their first choice, despite the fact of their very obvious pursuits of Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. Although it is understandable why Michigan would pursue the two big name coaches, it was also pretty apparent that they weren’t going to land either coach. Harbaugh had his heart set on the NFL, and even if there wasn’t a good fit this season, he likely would have just taken a raise, stayed at Stanford with his elite quarterback, and go NFL job hunting next season. There was little reason to make the jump to Michigan, making their attempt a waste of time. Miles should have been even more obvious of a pipe dream. Sure he is a Michigan man, but he spurned the Wolverines 3 years ago when they were a pro style team, why would he go now when their personnel don’t fit his strategy. He simply used the job as leverage for a new deal from LSU (again), leaving Michigan with egg on their face.
Now I don’t know when exactly the Wolverines decided to fire Rodriguez, if it was solely because of their bowl game or not. But if they knew before hand, and knew that Hoke was their man, they could have landed him back in December and be much further along in the recruiting process. You might have had to wait for a coach like Harbaugh or Miles, but you could have had Hoke at any time. This waiting period hurt the Wolverines slightly and it could be a long season next year. Particularly if Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson decides to transfer. Hoke might be the man for the job, but he has his work cut out for him.
Panthers Have Their New Head Coach: The Panthers announced the hiring of former Bears and Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera to be their new head coach. Rivera a former player as well, has long been rumored as a head coaching candidate and has shown the ability to employ both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses. Rivera has already announced that the 4-3 will be his main defense, but they will have 3-4 packages, and will be an aggressive overall unit. Defense though was the least of the Panthers issues, as their offense was worst in the league. The expectation is that Rivera will bring in a top offensive coordinator, that should help balance his defensive tendencies. I do expect a big improvement from the Carolina defense, as well an overall improvement as they should be more disciplined going forward. It won’t be an easy task, as top running back DeAngelo Williams is a free agent, and the Panthers are without a 2nd round pick. I don’t see any ‘worst to first’ stories coming out of Carolina this year, but I could see 6 or 7 wins, and a more competitive team overall.