Looking back at the coaching search, I am ever more convinced that Dave Brandon knew what he was doing, and that he knew what he was doing for quite some time. I believe he had been in touch with Jim Harbaugh over many months. He said as much at the RR firing press conference – and that he was fairly certain Harbaugh had his eyes set on the NFL. Such was the case.
The same goes for Les Miles, Brandon’s former teammate. Brandon probably had numerous discussions with The Hat over time. In those discussions the two men got clear as to whether there was a match. Did Miles really want to stay at LSU? Or, was Miles too much of a wild card for Brandon and Michigan? We may never know. In the end, there was a peaceful ending, and that’s what Michigan Football needed.
That said, Hoke was probably the number one candidate from the beginning. This too was alluded to in the Hoke press conference yesterday. Brandon and Hoke met within a day or two of the RR firing – before Harbaugh took the 49ers job and before Brandon went to see Miles. As I mentioned the other day, the Brandon Rouge trip was scripted – before the eyes of the world – while the Hoke visit the week before was completely under the radar.
My only question to Brandon: Why didn't you make the switch in the days/weeks after the ohio state game?
I believe Hoke will do just fine at UM. Magic can happen with a Michigan man at the helm and a united fan base. Hoke is widely regarded as a great recruiter and he's turned around two programs as well. Forget the 47-50 record, here's what's important:
1. Ball State as 6-6 in 2002. Hoke took over in 2003 and they won the MAC in 2008, going undefeated in the regular season.
2. SDSU was 2-10 in 2008. Hoke took over in 2009 and they were 9-4 last year, with losses to Mizzou, BYU, TCU, and Utah.
Michigan is not as far away from seriously contending in the Big Ten as Ball State and San Diego State were in their respective conferences. When there is chemistry with the coach and the team, turnarounds don't have to be as dire as the common perception. If (when) Hoke unites the team, I think we can expect to see good/great things on the field.