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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Headset or no headset, Brady Hoke coaches Michigan football

The conversation started Game 1 against Western Michigan: "Hey, did you notice Brady Hoke wasn't wearing a headset?"
Yeah, we did. Thanks Mike Rosenberg.
It was more of an interesting factoid about a new coach in is first game at that point, but the discussion has been raised again recently. This time with more weight being put on it.
Wednesday, 97.1 FM The Ticket radio host Mike Valenti pointed to Hoke's lack of headgear as evidence that he doesn't actually coach the Wolverines on game day. Valenti insinuated Hoke was nothing more than a motivator and PR guy for Michigan. That the coordinators Greg Mattison and Al Borges actually do the coaching.
Good fodder for talk radio. Yet, it's a very inaccurate accusation.
(Note: Hoke occasionally does put on a headset during games. See photographic evidence to the right)
True, Mattison sets up and calls in the defensive formations and Borges calls the plays. That's no different than virtually every other pro and major college football program. In fact, when a head coach actually does take over play calling -- Andy Reid in Philadelphia comes to mind -- it makes news.
Sure, most head coaches do wear headsets. Not sure exactly why Hoke doesn't and haven't asked him after any game. It's a non-issue.
All you need to do is watch one Michigan practice, or observe Hoke intently on game day to see that he no doubt coaches the Wolverines. Whether it's him lining up across from a defensive lineman on the practice field and going through drills or pulling aside Devin Gardner after one of his JaMarcus Russell-esque overthrows on third down. Or getting in the ear of Denard Robinson after one of his jackpot interception tosses. He's just as active, if not more so, than any other head football coach.
Michigan is 8-2 playing with the same players that struggled to finish 7-6 last season. That's coaching.
Yes, Mattison and Borges deserve a ton of credit for what they've done -- particularly Mattison with that defense -- but Hoke does as well.
He's not a figurehead. He's not a "football CEO." He's not a glorified defensive line coach like Rod Marinelli, which many threw out there on Twitter yesterday. He's a college head football coach to his core.
If you want to point to Joe Paterno (past tense) not wearing a headset or Birmingham Brother Rice's ancient Al Fracassa and say they're figureheads who's assistants handle game day coaching duties, fine. Brady Hoke's not in that same boat.

Here's some more Michigan news from around the web as the Wolverines prepare for Nebraska on Saturday:

Communication key to Michigan's defensive turnaround -- The Detroit Free Press

Kicker Brandon Gibbons opens up about struggles --

Michigan's Five Most Likely Bowl Opponents --

Robinson's fumbling issues addressed, Hoke plays quarterback -- The Michigan Daily


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