Friday, December 5, 2014

The All-Hoke Team: Offense

Denard Robinson
You may or may not remember when I put together an all-star team for Rich Rodriguez's tenure (OFFENSE, DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS). Well, here's the Brady Hoke version. I patched together a pretty good team from the four seasons that Hoke was the head man in Ann Arbor.

QB: Devin Gardner (2013)
208-for-345 passing, 60.3%, 2960 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions
165 carries for 483 yards, 2.9 yards/carry, 11 touchdowns
This may be an unpopular choice, but Gardner had some brilliant games (Notre Dame, Indiana, Ohio State) during the 2013 campaign. He ended the year as Michigan's second-leading rusher and showed some great potential. The Notre Dame victory was exhilarating, he threw for 503 yards (a Michigan record) against Indiana, and played great against Ohio State despite a broken foot for part of the game.

RB: Denard Robinson (2012)
177 carries, 1266 yards, 7.2 yards/carry, 7 touchdowns
I'm cheating a bit here by putting Robinson at running back, but he did start a few games at the position after he returned from the elbow injury suffered against Nebraska. He broke 100 yards twice in his three games at running back. Even so, he showed enough running skills at the quarterback position to make this essentially a no-brainer. Imagine the running ability of a team with Gardner at QB and Robinson lined up behind him or next to him.

FB: Joe Kerridge (2014)
3 carries, 56 yards, 18.7 yards/carry
6 catches, 53 yards, 8.8 yards/catch
Hoke employed a fullback quite a bit, but his fullbacks didn't touch the ball a lot. Kerridge set a record for the Hoke era by getting 9 touches, including some critical first downs and a 52-yard run on a fake punt against Maryland.

WR: Jeremy Gallon (2013)
89 catches, 1373 yards, 15.4 yards/catch, 9 touchdowns
Gallon and Gardner had a symbiotic relationship. Gallon didn't produce a ton before Gardner became the quarterback, and Gardner was unproductive once Gallon graduated. Regardless, Gallon was a record-setter at Michigan with 1,373 yards that season and had 369 yards in a game against Indiana, the highest Big Ten total in history.

WR: Junior Hemingway (2011)
34 catches, 699 yards, 20.6 yards/catch, 4 touchdowns
Hemingway may not have had higher catch or yardage totals than other candidates for this spot, but he made lots of clutch plays and was Denard Robinson's go-to guy like Gallon was Gardner's. Hemingway had some huge catches in wins against Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech

TE: Kevin Koger (2011)
23 catches, 244 yards, 10.6 yards/catch, 4 touchdowns
Jake Butt might have more upside, but Koger had better production in 2011 and had the best combination of skills that Hoke had available at the tight end position. Koger could block, catch, and run a little bit. Plus he was named a captain and liked well enough to be asked to be a graduate assistant on the staff.

LT: Taylor Lewan (2012)
13 starts, 1 touchdown
Lewan peaked in 2012 when he was a First Team All-American and dominant all year, including a great showing against eventual #1 pick Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. He also fell on a fumble in the endzone, notching a touchdown against UMass.

LG: Michael Schofield (2011)
10 starts
Schofield, a tackle by trade, earned the starting left guard job when Ricky Barnum was injured. Somewhat surprisingly, he performed very well for a young guy playing an unfamiliar position. He would eventually turn into a 3rd round pick by the Denver Broncos.

C: David Molk (2011)
12 starts
Molk started the first twelve games of the year and sat out the first series of the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech with an injury he suffered in pre-game warmups. When backup Rocko Khoury struggled with two bad snaps on three plays, Molk entered the game and helped lead the team to a victory. Molk was a First Team All-American and won the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's best center.

RG: Patrick Omameh (2011)
13 starts
Omameh seemed to have a better season in 2011 than 2012, even though he was named First Team All-Big Ten by the coaches in the latter season and not the former. The offensive line protected quarterback Denard Robinson pretty well in 2011 (#34 in sacks allowed), and Omameh helped pave the way for two 1,000-yard rushers (Robinson, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint).

RT: Mark Huyge (2011)
13 starts
With Schofield slotted at left guard, Huyge is really the only choice here. He wasn't spectacular, but he was solid and never stood out as being a weakness. He, too, was part of the unit that protected the quarterback and helped Toussaint and Robinson run for 1,000 yards each.


  1. I don't have much conflict with your choice of Gardner over Robinson at QB. But the premise is the Gardner you're putting on the field here is the "good Gardner" ... the one who keeps mistakes to a minimum. If you have to take the good with the bad, then the scale might tip a bit more back to Robinson.

    I wonder how much different things would have been had we a center each year of Molk's caliber? It just seems some of our offensive line problems of late started at the C position and went out from there.

    1. The thing with Gardner/Robinson is that if you have a run game, then Gardner probably isn't as bad. They couldn't run the ball (for the most part) in 2013, so there was a lot of pressure on Gardner. Robinson would have been just as bad - or worse - because he was not really a scrambler. If Robinson was supposed to pass on a play, he did - good or not. There are a lot of things Gardner did poorly, but one of the things he did well was pull the ball down and run (at least when he was healthy).

      It would always help to have a Rimington Trophy winner on your team. I think Jack Miller was decent this season. I thought the problems in 2014 were more about the tackles.

    2. It's no coincidence that Gardner looked a lot better in 2012 when the OL was better. I think that matters more than having a threat at RB, but they are both good things.

  2. All Rich Rod or Lloyd Carr guys. Smh.

    1. Yep, and hoke was their coach.

      Seriously, how is this used against a coach? So what if they were recruited by another coach. Hoke was their coach too. If anything, it should be a good thing that a new coach can come in and win with another coaches recruits... If not I'm sure this guy would be trying to dog Hoke for not winning with those guys.

      Some people will never be saitisfied, jeez. "Smdh"

    2. Yes...and if I make a list in another three to five years, it will be mainly Hoke guys. Everyone on the list was a senior, redshirt junior, or redshirt sophomore. Players are generally not stars when they are young, which is why experience (and added size/muscle/speed) is so valued.

  3. QB - I would put Denard here. He beat all of Michigan's rivals!
    RB - 2011 Toussaint > 2012 Robinson. Look at his 2011 highlights, they were amazing!
    FB - no comment... sigh... this was one position that I thought was underutilized. I love FB's, but you have to feed them the ball to keep the defense honest.
    TE/WR - Have to include Funchess or Dileo (both had amazing moments).
    C - Molk is a beast.
    RT - Schofield. I never worried about that side when he started.
    LG/RG - 2014 Glasgow pulled better than Omameh. Omameh did not play up to his potential under Hoke.

    1. Denard Robinson is a better runner than Toussaint, period. I love me some Fitzgerald Toussaint, but let's be honest here.

      Funchess was not as clutch as Hemingway, and there's no way Dileo belongs on an "all-star team" with only two receivers. He never had more than 20 catches, 331 yards, or 2 touchdowns.

  4. Can we see Magnus' All-Bo, All-Mo, and All-Lloyd teams as well?

    1. I started an All-Carr team, but I never posted it, for some reason. I didn't think about going back farther than that, but maybe I will...

    2. I want to see an all-Kipke team!

  5. Fun exercise and I think these are mostly no-brainers.

    I do question the positions included. Most plays, even under Hoke, have not had a FB. It would be more useful to add a 3rd WR or blocking TE (AJ Williams makes the team!) or 3rd down RB.

    The way I see it is you have 4 "specialist" spots:

    FB: Kerridge
    TE(blocking): Kwiatkowski
    RB (3rd down): Smith
    3rd WR: Funchess

    If that's too nuanced, I'd just drop Kerridge and add Funchess as a flex WR/TE. I'd consider adding Dileo but if Hemingway and Gallon are on the field already, Funchess brings more to the table IMO.