By: Jeff Riger
Friday morning the media gathered at the Junge Center on the University of Michigan campus to attend a press conference to announce the hiring of new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
Since when do schools of Michigan’s caliber hold press conferences for offensive coordinators? Don’t worry, I’ll get to that.
Nussmeier comes to the Wolverines from Alabama where he was the OC under college coaching legend Nick Saban. He has won national titles, he has changed quarterbacks for the better and he chooses the Big Ten over the SEC. Hell, he chooses Michigan over Alabama. What a win for the Michigan football program!
Well, that’s what they want you to believe despite the fact that Saban may have actually forced Nussmeier out…
See, Friday might have been about Michigan’s promise for a better offense, but to me it was a chance for some much needed clarification about some Wolverine questions that have not been answered.
After Brady Hoke announced Nussmeier and the new OC took about 15 minutes of questions, the room cleared out rather quickly. Nussmeier was gone, Hoke was gone, Greg Mattison, the defensive coordinator was gone and even Devin Gardner left, the Michigan QB that showed up to the presser on crutches and a walking boot. Everybody had left with the exception of Athletic Director David Brandon.
To Brandon’s credit, he did answer some questions, but in the process he might have made Maize and Blue followers even angrier at him.
Let’s start with the basics…
Brandon was asked if he demanded the firing of Al Borges, speculation was and still remains to be that Hoke didn’t want to fire his good friend and that Brandon made him.
Reporter: “Fair or not, speculation is that this is a change that you demanded and that Brady didn’t want to make. Is that unfair?”
Brandon: “That’s nonsense! I mean who says that.”
Reporter: “Everybody on talk radio.”
Brandon: “Everybody on talk radio that has never talked to me, that’s just nonsense.”
Brandon seemed to get a little too upset with that question, a simple yes or no would have been sufficient. But that doesn’t seem to be Brandon’s way. Over the course of the 8 minutes that he spoke, he seemed to not only dismiss the opinions of others but seemed disgusted while doing so. It was like, the fans, the public, the media or anybody else are simply not smart enough to comprehend what’s going on with Michigan’s football program.
Let’s move on…
Earlier in this blog I promised you an answer as to why a major university like Michigan felt the need to call a press conference to announce a coordinator?
Well here it is, I guess.
Reporter: “It’s not often that a program calls a presser to introduce an offensive coordinator. Is this part of U of M trying to get back some of the public attention that MSU has taken from them?”
Brandon: “Well you tell me why you’re here? You didn’t have to come.”
Reporter: “I needed something to write for tomorrow!”
Brandon did eventually answer the question, saying something about how important coordinators are and such, but the reporter is right. Michigan called this presser to try and wow their fans about “stealing” a guy from the SEC. It’s amazing how far this program has fallen. Nobody cares that Nussmeier used to call plays for Nick Saban, instead they just want wins. There has been way too much talk, and Brandon has been at the forefront of most of it. The football team is in disarray while their in-state rivals have stolen the spotlight. This rivalry is all about trying to one-up the other fan base and the fact that Michigan got a “Bama” guy is hardly enough.
Can you imagine how a conversation might go between a Michigan and MSU fan these days?
MSU fan: “We won the conference, the Rose Bowl, crushed you in the process and have beaten you the last 5 of 6 years!”
Michigan fan: “Well you wait! We got an offensive coordinator from Alabama now!”
MSU fan: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
The fact that Michigan called a presser to announce Nussmeier is insulting to their fans and alumni and it helps wreck the fading image that Michigan still is a program to be feared.
What about Hoke?
Why didn’t he talk at the presser? Apparently he had to get Nussmeier to the airport, so he didn’t have time. Nice to know that Hoke not only coaches football, but he also runs the schools transportation business. You think he wears a blue tooth in the car? Or does it remind him too much of an actual headset? Sorry couldn’t resist
Since Hoke didn’t talk, it was up to Brandon to answer questions about the head coaches gig. He’s got to be on the hot seat after last season. Right?
So I asked…
“This has nothing to do with Brady keeping his job,” Brandon said. “Brady is the coach of the University of Michigan football team. He was national coach of the year, his first year here. None of us are happy and that parade is led by Brady Hoke with this last season. Being close isn’t good enough, you got to win those games and you got to be in a position where you have to win those games. Brady is making the changes that he thinks will allow us not to lose by two points but figure out a way better to win by two points. Because we’re Michigan.”
Just a quick reader poll? How sick are you of the comment “because we’re Michigan.” That’s not an answer! Brandon and the rest of the Michigan people think that any question can be answered with “We’re Michigan” and that, that will be the only explanation necessary. Talk about insulting!
Does Brandon use that answer in his non-football life?
Anybody: Hey David, did you pay the cable bill?
Brandon: “That’s Michigan!”
Anybody: So is that a yes or no?
Brandon: “That’s Michigan”
So did he pay the cable bill?
Moving on, there was a follow-up to the Hoke on the hot seat chatter.
Reporter: “So Dave, when people on the outside say this looks like a coach on a hot seat move, your response would be what?
Brandon: “Those people don’t know what they’re talking about!”
Yeah, how could people, even think for a second, that Hoke could be fired if the team stinks again?
Hoke continued throughout his 8 plus minute meeting with the media to talk glowingly of Hoke and the team, so much that I’m not even sure he believed what he was saying. I had the honor of the last question to the AD, and it was a simple one.
Me: What gives you so much confidence that Hoke and the regime you have here will change from 7-6 to where you want to be?
Brandon: “We’re Michigan!”
To be fair he did continue with some answer about being able to recruit terrific kids, but I had already mentally checked out by that point.
I guess the “We’re Michigan” line worked. Neither I, nor anybody else there had any other questions after that point. I mean, what was the point?
I’m a firm believer that Hoke is not the right man for the job at Michigan and after this morning, I’m now convinced that Brandon isn’t either.
Why do I feel that way?
Here let me see if this works…
Any other questions?