Monday, November 17, 2014

Frank Clark dismissed from football program

Frank Clark
After an arrest for domestic violence over the weekend, senior defensive end Frank Clark was booted out of the football program. Clark was an unheralded recruit out of Cleveland (OH) Glenville who garnered some interest from Michigan when head coach Brady Hoke was hired in January 2011. He was Second Team All-Big Ten in 2013, and he was perhaps Michigan's top NFL prospect for the upcoming draft. He finishes his college career with 120 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 4 fumble recoveries, and 6 pass breakups.

Junior Mario Ojemudia will likely replace Clark in the starting lineup for the remainder of the season.


  1. For the few remaining Hoke defenders out there, this is another nail in the coffin. Clark was the best example of a Hoke-recruited player developing significantly from their arrival on campus and playing at something approaching an all-conference level.

    Hoke's had 3.5 recruiting classes and the best guys he's brought in and developed have had character questions (Clark - Crime, Funchess - Work Ethic). Other than maybe Bolden, there's not another upperclassmen who looks like he's in that conversation for being an all-conference player, which is obviously pretty horrible player development.

    There's a lot of people out there who think the Michigan job is a goldmine - a pile of talent just waiting to be molded by a good coaching staff. Maybe it's true, but it's hard to make that case when your only real argument is recruiting rankings.

    Pipkins, Kalis, Magnuson, Bars, Darboh, RJS, Richardson, Norfleet, Ross -- all highly ranked players in the '12 class, and none of them look like memorable players. Kids recruited by USC, Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State who have shown very little through 3 seasons.

    So - are these just wasted talents because they weren't developed properly? Or are they just bad players?

    I'd love to pin it all on horrible player development, but I suspect there's more to it than that.

    1. I don't think this is "another nail in the coffin" at all. In fact, I don't think it says much about Hoke at all. He took a flyer on Clark, and Clark turned into a pretty good football player. He had some personal issues, and Hoke gave him a second chance after the laptop-stealing incident. He frittered that chance away, and Hoke booted him out of the program almost immediately. End of story.

      Every coach has some bad apples. Jadeveon Clowney had all kinds of run-ins with the law for speeding excessively. Does that mean Steve Spurrier is somehow less deserving of his head coaching job at South Carolina?

      As for that list of highly ranked players in the 2012 class, I think you're reaching a bit. Pipkins tore his ACL, and we all said "It's tough for a big guy to come back quickly from a torn ACL." He's struggling, and you act surprised. That doesn't make sense. Kyle Kalis has shown marked improvement this season as a redshirt sophomore. Magnuson had off-season shoulder surgery, which may or may not be hampering him. Darboh has turned into a poor quarterback's favorite target. Etc.

      Obviously, not every highly regarded target is going to pan out, and some of them are going to take a few years. If you're in the mood to dismiss redshirt sophomore offensive linemen, then you seem to have your mind made up already.

    2. The point is Clark was one of the few "success stories" that Hoke could point to. Yeah, he was a flyer, but Hoke took a lot of those kids in 2011 and none of them seem to be panning out.

      I'm not knocking Hoke for taking questionable characters at all, I'm knocking him for a lack of producing quality players (on and off the field.) Rodriguez was criticized for off-field stuff, Hoke should be too, when appropriate.

      Pipkins did not look like a 5-star recruit his freshman year. Yeah, he got hurt, and yeah he showed some flashes. But, unless he is getting a red-shirt I don't know about he has one year left to live up to his potential and he's behind 2 or 3 guys younger than him. This is trending towards a bust.

      Kalis is SUPPOSED to show improvement. He's a junior (RS Soph eligibility) and a 5-star recruit. He has been a disappointment and slow to develop. If fans are comfortable dismissing AJ Williams (I am) I don't see why they can't be comfortable dismissing his classmates.

      Even if these guys eventually round into form they have taken a long time to get there compared to many of their peer recruits. Lewan, Omameh, Schilling, Molk, and many more have played very well by their 3rd year on campus. You can make excuses if you want but it's just reality.

      The rate of success if very low and it just got even lower with Clark's off-field problems.

    3. So what you're saying is that Hoke can't develop football players because Frank Clark made a bad choice ten games into his senior year? That seems like a stretch.

      EVERY player is supposed to show improvement as they get older. That's a natural assumption. The point is that everybody was hating on Kalis for his performance as a redshirt freshman offensive lineman. Is it supposed to surprise us that redshirt freshman offensive linemen aren't very good at football? Now he's doing better as a redshirt sophomore. The presumption is that he will be even better as a redshirt junior and then, perhaps, as a fifth year senior. Is he supposed to be playing as well as a fifth year senior when he's a redshirt sophomore? Don't you think that's an unreasonable expectation?

    4. Not sure if you saw the tape of a Harbaugh speech honoring Bo from about a decade ago but it touched on how you judge the success of a team. Jerry Hanlon said you couldn't decide it until many years later - it was based on the character and quality of the players on the team.

      In that sense, Clark is a failure, no matter what he did on the field.

      Michigan and it's coach absolutely SHOULD take chances on some kids, and lift them above what their background would otherwise make likely. It's not always going to work, but when it does it's a great thing.

      The Michigan difference (IMO) is that we don't have a team full of risky kids, but we have a lot of 'good' kids who are low-risk/highly-likely to succeed and these types of kids help the high-risk kids see a better path. It requires a balance and I think Hoke, Rodriguez, and Carr all did it pretty well. They each had some bad eggs now and again but in balance most of the kids (given coaching continuity) would have came, contributed, and graduated.

    5. Not taking either side here, but I think we all can agree that player development has been relatively poor under Hoke. There are always flops and pleasant surprises. Given the recruiting, however, I think we all can agree that our player development just isn't at par with, let's say, MSU or OSU's.

      Harbaugh can't get here fast enough. I am just hoping like hell people like Gregg Henson is right about Harbaugh coming here after Hoke gets canned. Henson was right about the 2011 hire, and I hope he's right again.

    6. To turn a recruit into a success you have to develop him into a quality person AND a contributing football player. If you fail to be either, you are not a success. No one expects every recruit to be successful, but it is fair to measure a coach by his overall success rate.

      Clark was a success story, until last week. One of the few good players Hoke has developed does not look like a very good person right now. Maybe he can still turn it around, but it doesn't look good for him, Hoke, or the program.

    7. RE: Kalis. It should surprise us that a RS Freshman struggles. It should surprise us that when you see an obvious need for OLmen you can't find them. Michigan has produced a whole lot of NFL OLmen who were ready to go by their second year on campus. Mason Cole looks alright as a freshman, for example.

      The problem was that in the '12 and '13 classes NONE of these guys look like they are going to be quality NFL players right now. Some might end up there, and given the numbers and talent, some probably will. But if you take 10 guys or whatever it shouldn't take ALL of them 3 years to round into playable form.

      It's not about one guy -- it's about a lack of player development across the board. QBs look bad. RBs look solid, but slow. WR look like possesion guys. TEs haven't gotten better. Scholarship FBs and H-backs aren't making an impact. OL issues are well chronicled and the writing was on the wall here since Jake Fisher defected to Oregon.

    8. Sorry, to clarify -- it should NOT surprise us when an individual RS freshman struggles. However, it SHOULD surprise us when a bunch of them do, when it was a position you knew needed to be addressed. And, it SHOULD surprise us when you're talking about a 5-star recruit in his 3rd year on campus.

      They won't all pan out, but some should.

  2. I will wait for Clark to get due process. Having said that, if the allegations are true, this is very disturbing.

    If this is true, he just threw away his career, and he needs to immediately be put into therapy.

  3. My recollection is that Clark was recruited at the end of his first recruiting class since he was hired very late. Would Hoke have recruited Clark in a normal class time frame?

    I don't think we need to pile on Hoke. Hoke has proven he is a mediocre coach with wins and losses. Nothing left to say.

    1. I don't know if Hoke would have recruited Clark in a normal class, but there's at least a decent chance he would have. Hoke has taken flyers on a few kids who were borderline Michigan recruits (Willie Henry, Jeremy Clark, Brady Pallante, etc.), so he's not a star-gazer.

    2. A lot of people still think he has a chance to keep his job, so apparently there is still something to be discussed.

      Clark didn't work out but he was a worthwhile flyer to take. So were Tamani Carter and Chris Barnett, IMO. Desmond Morgan and Jake Ryan were fliers too. You have to take these guys when Plan A falls through - sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

    3. Clark was def. a flyer. We can't really blame Hoke for 2011 class -- he had just 2~3 weeks to assemble it. Hoke prob didn't have a long-term relationship with Clark.

  4. Lank, holy crap thats an asinine statement there! Another nail in the coffin, because of that!? Nothing to do with hoke, at all! The development meme is getting pretty tired too, and just plain not true.
    But, no worries lank! Hoke will be gone soon, then we can remeber how we chased off one of the best coaches in the country right now, rich rod, we will fail to hire a big coach, harbaugh, because why would they come here to deal with fans and an administration like this? People like you, and many other bloggers, make State fans seem tame. And honestly, M fans are worse in turmoil than state fans have been in success! I'd like to see some michigan fans develop some balls, too bad I can't bitch about it and get them fired, bring in some quality fans.

    1. Way to go anon at 3:39! Totally agree! Now we have to sit through more rebuilding years. If you don't keep a coach for more than 3 or 4 years then it's always rebuilding! Michigan fans are hurting their team. Period

    2. I agree with you. Fans overreact to everything and have no patience. I see improvement in many areas and I am still supporting coach Hoke because I think continuity (stability) will start delivering results next year. No reason to fight with me, I will support the team in any case.

    3. I agree that Michigan handled Rich Rod thing terribly, but Rich Rod made plenty of mistakes of his own. Had he fixed the defense fast, he would've won big at 2011 (at least 9 wins) and might still be here. Both are at fault.

      As for Hoke, any major school would can a coach whose record gets worse every year. M fans are not overreacting. We just have to hire the right coach this time around.

    4. Thanks for agreeing fellas! And I'm not at all suggesting that Hoke has/had all the answers.

      My big issue has and always will be fans thinking that they have all the answers, and or thinking that they should have a say in how things operate. If that were the case, apply for the job and then we can all rip you for doing poorly, and take shots at your personal life.

      I'm under the belief that unanimous support breeds championship teams. Look at bama, USC(not so much now), Floridia State, and OSU. Those fans live and die for their team, same for the administrations. Top to bottom, those universities want to win, and support their teams through anything. Unlike here, were at the first sign or trouble people start pointing fingers and demanding for people to lose their jobs!

    5. Not really sure why you're taking shots at me, when I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. I was firmly against firing Rodriguez for just these reasons. Transitions are costly and Michigan is on the precipice of irrelevance right now. And many of my posts here boil down to "lets just wait and see".

      That said, Hoke's been here for 4 seasons now and every year the team gets worse. He hasn't produced players. That can't be emphasized enough because it is a massive failing.

      Saying Clark has "nothing to do with Hoke" is simply not true. Coaches are responsible for the players they recruit. Obviously not every kid is going to end up an angel and not every kid is going to be a good football player, but the success rate of producing good people and good players has to be a lot better than what it has been.

      Hoke has been very bad at coaching Michigan football. His best case for keeping his job was the off the field of play, and that takes a serious hit when Frank Clarks fails when given a second chance. I'm not here to bad mouth Clark, I'm here to point out that he represents yet another failing by our head coach.

      It sucks for Michigan to fire a head coach. It sucks more to keep a guy who has had 4 years and shown us time and time again that he is not up for the task of running this program to be at a level we want them to be.

    6. I could be wrong, because there are so many anonymous posts on here, but in general I've observed that a lot of people who could not wait to run Rodriguez out of town are the ones who are defending Hoke. It's bordering on a philosophical/political debate that is superficially about a lot of things.

      So, I'm wondering if the "patience and transition costs" crowd was saying the same stuff 4 years ago (when the team was showing improvement each year "too slow!" -- they said, whereas now we get worse every year).

  5. Hoke is done in 2 weeks. He is not a good HC and anyone that thinks he deserves another year knows nothing about football.

  6. I also hope Coach Hoke stays. I don't want to go through another transition. Some of these so called Michigan fans are such babies. They think the football program owes them. Fans should not have a say in who is fired or retained. Go Blue!!

  7. I was unaware that the coaches needed to hold the hands of their players during their personal free time. Do they do a head check at night too, tuck them in, kiss em on the forehead and tell them everything will be alright too?

  8. That has been me lank. But seriously, if it's Hokes fault. Then, him stealing that laptop was Hokes fault. Gibbons, Hokes fault? Hagerup, Hokes fault? Morgan, Hokes fault? Mealer, Hokes fault? If you are going to say that he has to be the watchful eye, then blame him for everything right. Peppers knee, blame hoke. Or how about this, if it's his fault for all the bad things, why not the good? Mealer walking again, thank Hoke? See where I'm going, Clark getting in trouble has literally nothing to do with Hoke.

    1. I wonder if you said the same thing when all the heat came on Rodriguez for the "character" of his recruits.

      Jim Harbaugh would disagree with you and so would Bo and so would Brady. They view their job as turning men into boys and instilling character.

      I'm not critical of Hoke for this BTW, but when a guy like Clark goes down it is a failing, just like it is a failing when a guy gets hurt or a guy transfers or a guy isn't the 5-star he was cracked up to be. Sure, some of it is luck, but ultimately the coach is responsible for the end result, the totality of it -- this goes for the product on the field and the character of the men off it.

    2. Yeah, I actually did. Because unlike yourself no doubt, I don't try to change my opinions based on usless facts. Hoke and Rodriguez are/were coaches of M football, therefore I cheered for their successes just the same. I doubt you can say that.

      You seem like the traditional M fan, you bounce back and forth with your support based on various results or happenings within the program. Leading back to my point on how unbiased support top to bottom breeds championship caliber teams. Michigan isnt the only team loaded with star potential that isn't living up to it. And those programs no doubt have doubters, or fans willing to throw the program, and hell, even the institution under the bus at signs of turmoil.

      You know who else views it as a job to turn kids into high character men? Parents! You could raise your kid to be a certain way, but at some point it falls onto an individual to make the right decisions. Clark is now paying for what HE did, nothing to do with Hoke. Hoke already gave him a second chance, and instead of booting him initially, tried to turn him around. I also don't expect any of the coaches you mentioned, would agree with you, at all! I'm a coach myself, I coach 16yo travel hockey, so it's certainly competitive. I expect my players to act as mature men, on and off the ice, always! But if a kid decides to, on his own time do something that dumb, he failed the team, I didn't fail him, and it's none of my business. The kid is done on the team and that's it. Of course i care about the kids, but I'm not their parent, I'm not there 98% of their lives.

      Also if coaches were 100% responsible for what kids did away from the classroom and the field(which is all they are responsible for) there wouldn't be many left! Actually think about that one.

    3. You are right - when I am confronted with facts I am willing to change my opinion. I didn't know that was a bad thing.

      I cheered for Hoke, because what was the benefit of not? I wish it would have worked out. It hasn't. I was, and still am, bitter about RR getting run out of town, but that was on Brandon, not Hoke.

      I agree with you about unbiased support being beneficial. Fan negativity benefits no one. Everybody has their tipping point where failure and incompetence is too much. Would you still support Hoke if he went 0-11 for the next 5 years? Of course not.

      I don't think I'm going to change your mind here, but I think you are living in fantasyland if you think Clark doesn't reflect on the University and you don't think a big part of Hoke's job is recruiting high character productive football players. Leaders are responsible for the people they lead.

      Nobody said Hoke is 100% responsible for Clark. This is a strawman argument.But Hoke is responsible for the football team - which is composed of individuals that he has to, as a group, guide. When one fails it's an incremental loss for the program and it's Hoke responsibility. Nobody expects 100% success. But we have come to expect more than what we've seen from Brady Hoke's Michigan. Clark is just another drop in the bucket, the straw that broke the camels back, etc.

    4. Unfortunately, the "facts" you are using are nothing more than your personal opinion. If you are going to bash Hoke for anything, make it over wins and losses. Not off field player trouble (which it seems like we have less here than most), alleged lack of any development, or just some random shit you decided to pull out of nowhere because it supports your claims. Because, that's all it boils down to, wins and losses. Again, i'm not suggesting that Hoke was going to be our savior, but just like RR i will fully support the coach, the team, and any decisions they make, because that is their job, not mine. I think you would agree that the phrase The Team, The Team, The Team didn't include the fans. And i trust that the institution will make any changes if they need to, again, this is their job, not mine, yours, or the loud mouthed entitled fans.

      If Hoke went o-11 the next five years, i wouldn't be pissed at him at all!, obviously he'd not be the right coach. I'd be upset the administration didn't do its job to replace him.

      No you wont, especially when you just changed your mind on how it now reflects poorly on Hoke, to the University, which, yes national news about a player and domestic violence would reflect poorly on the University. Which is it? Because, Brady Hoke and The University of Michigan are not synonymous. I'm sure that people who saw that article, didn't read it and think what kind of inmates are they keeping on that team.

      And you suggested that Hoke was responsible, I didn't realize that there were varying degrees of responsibility you could be held to. Being responsible generally means you are 100% responsible. Hoke is responsible for coaching these kids, and making sure they get the education they deserve. What the kids do on their personal time, is on them, bottom line! So once again, your comments on this being the final straw, another drop...etc. are still asinine.


    5. If Hoke had kept Clark on the team, then I might have seen that as the last straw. But this, not at all, good try though.

    6. @"BLOG"

      Hoke IS being bashed for wins and losses. First and foremost. But he's still relying on Rodriguez's players. As they've disappeared the offense has stagnated. So, player development is a concern. Player development means on-field and off. So Clark is included. He's just as small part of the big picture, as I've said many times.

      Nobody here, certainly not me, is claiming to have power in this situation. I think people are entitled to their opinion. We are fans having a conversation on a blog - nobody is doing anything productive or consequential here.

      Your view seems to be that Hoke has zero % responsibility of his players. All or nothing, world of absolutes...

      I'm going to move on. There's no point in having a discussion with some people -- on that we can at probably agree.

    7. My god your reading comprehension skills are garbage! I hope for your sake you bust you ass in school! Idk if it was purposely, but you ignored just about every point I was trying to make. If you don't get it by now, you never will, and I feel sorry for you.

  9. Rich rod won 15 games in 3 years.he got blown out by Ohio and Michigan st. He got blown out by a sub par Mississippi st team. He padded his non conference schedule with easy teams. He ran off the best qb in his class. He had talent when he came in. He didn't when he left. He is the cause of some of the problems we are having now do to not recruiting any offensive lineman. He upsets Oregon and Lank falls in love with him. Upsets happen every week. So what if rich rod wins a game every year that he shouldn't. He also loses a few every year that he shouldn't. Whatever coach comes in now will inherit an offensive line that is red shirt juniors. And a lot more talented than what Hoke inherited. And a lot deeper also. I am also one who agrees to keep Hoke and not rebuild again.

    1. This is just wrong on so many levels.

      Rodriguez inherited a team that lost to App State, was blown out by Oregon, and scored all of 3 points against OSU. That team then proceeded to lose Henne, Hart, Manningham, Arrington, Long and many more. He inherited Sheridan, Matthews, and Mike Williams as a starting safety. Compare 2011 talent to 2008 -- it's not even close which was better.

      He left Brady Hoke with Denard Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, Tyler Lewan, Devin Gardner, Michael Schofield, David Molk, Jake Ryan, and many more. Despite having everybody back the offense took a massive step back (though that was overcome by the defense taking a massive step forward thanks to health, maturity, and no GERG).

      In his 3rd year at Michigan he won as many games as Hoke did in his 3rd year at Michigan. In his 3rd year at Arizona he won more than Hoke won his 4th year at Michigan.

      Rodriguez absolutely killed OL recruiting and deserves none of the blame for Hoke's failure to address an obvious problem in his FOURTH FRICKIN SEASON. Rodriguez was even more bereft of OL talent than Hoke in 2008 -- you know what he did? He fixed it himself by recruiting 6 OLmen followed by another OL class, and he made those guys into starters straight away without some weird excuse about 7 on 7 football (or whatever other nonsense it was Hoke whined about).

      Rodriguez didn't just upset Oregon, he upset Oregon in consecutive seasons. Something, Lloyd Carr couldn't do. I also like that he took Carr's leftovers and turned them into a top 10 offense within 3 seasons. I think he learned from his mistakes on defense at Michigan and he got better. Now, he has a defense in year 3 that is better than Hoke's in year 4.

      Rodriguez did lose a game he shouldn't have this year (USC) thanks to a bunch of missed FGs - bad coaching I guess. He'd be 8-1 if he won that game. Luck or no luck (and he's had plenty this year to offset all the horrible luck he had at Michigan) -- he's making progress with that program, just like he made progress at Clemson, Tulane, WVU, and yes Michigan.

      There is very little offensive talent to inherit right now. The skill position guys are slow and the QB situation is a trainwreck. Hoke/Mattison are a solid defense football coaching duo, and they have emphasized defensive recruiting, so yeah - the D looks pretty strong. Hopefully whoever the next coach is can make better use of all that ability.

      I am extremely sympathetic to the argument that we should avoid transitions and value continuity very much. But Hoke has made this team worse every single year. I don't know how bad it has to get before people move on. You saw what this offense looks like when helmed by Shane Morris. Do you really want a full season of 3 and out after 3 and out? Apparently you do.

      Luckily fans like this don't get to choose.

  10. Rich rods defense is not as good as ours is now. There your wrong. I am from wv so I know rich rod well. If I'm not mistaken he lost to Washington st either last year or the year before. He left us with Devin Gardner? That's horrible. Denard couldn't complete a pass to a barn. There was no good lineman behind the ones you named. He had never addressed the defense. He sucked and took Michigan football a step back. Period.

    1. We're about to get a common opponent to compare Arizona and Michigan against. That will add to the data we have, which so far says Arizona is better. Don't let the facts get in the way though...

      I'm from Michigan, so I know RR well.