The final word on the future of Michigan headman Brady Hoke may only be a week or so away from being rendered. Interim athletic director Jim Hackett met with the media Saturday to shed a little light on an evaluation process that he says will conclude after the season. After last weekend’s loss to Maryland it’s a season that likely won’t include a bowl game (the Wolverines are 20-point underdogs at Ohio State).
Hackett may have made his decision after Michigan’s latest defeat, but whether he has or not there will be a formal meeting with Hoke during which Hackett will put all of his cards on the table. We won’t be privy to the specifics of that meeting, we can certainly speculate about what it would entail. That’s exactly what former Michigan All-American and current Big Ten Network analyst Marcus Ray did when I sat down with him last Friday.
Ray, playing the role of athletic director, laid out how he would approach Hoke in the meeting.
Said Ray, “number one I’m going to ask, “Brady Hoke do you honestly believe you’re the man for this job and if so why?” Then I would take his answer and whatever he would say and I would think about it because I’d already have my mind made up, but I want to know what Brady Hoke thinks more so than what I think as an athletic director. Also, do you have everything you need to be successful? Do you have the right assistant coaches and are they making enough money or do we need to up the salaries for you to bring in some better position coaches and guys who can recruit?’”
“The other thing Brady would have to explain to me is why (his) teams have (regressed) each of the past three seasons, on and off the field. This is year four for Brady, and if I’m an athletic director, I tell Brady Hoke, ‘listen… if you’ve been here four years, how do you allow a culture to develop where you don’t find it suitable to name a captain… to break tradition? To me that knock on you Brady. You’re not a first year coach. This is year four under your tutelage and your development. Why haven't you developed a leader in this program? You’ve been here four years, you don’t have captains and it shows.’”
“I would then ask Brady, ‘if you were me, why should I keep you and are you going to truly be able to compete and beat our rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State? Do you have everything you need? … Why is it that you can’t win a game on the road that matters? What is it? Do you prepare differently? Do we not travel right? Do you want the band to go with you? What is it that you need to win on the road?’”
Hoke’s answer may simply be time, but that’s a response that Ray would challenge as A.D., and he believe Hackett would too. It wouldn’t be an attack, but it would be direct.
I’m going to find out what he’s doing (and) what does he need. I’m going to let him spill everything out then I’m going to tell him what I think as the new AD. Then I would tell Brady Hoke, ‘Michigan says we’re the leaders and the best. This program is far from where it needs to be. What are you going to do? What are you going to change aside from firing an offensive coordinator that was your best chance to win last year? That was not a good move the way it played out.’
‘Brady, you started off 5-0 last year and finished up 7-6. This team came out and openly came out and said they weren’t a team. That’s a reflection of you. So if you’re players probably are not responding to you then they’re not responding to your coaches either. You had a terrible offensive line last year and you have one this year. Are you more loyal to your friends as your coaches than you are to University of Michigan and why didn’t you go get better assistant coaches when you first got the job.’”
‘What are you going to change to ensure that this program academically and athletically is going to be who we say we are? We’re the leaders and best. That’s what we brag about. I don’t see a leader and I don’t see the best.’”
To listen to the interview in its entirety, press play below.