Dave Brandon congratulates Brady Hoke after Michigan's win over Connecticut during the 2013 season. (John T. Greilick / Detroit News)
Ann Arbor – Michigan coach Brady Hoke has heard the talk that athletic director Dave Brandon has significant control over Michigan football, including the hiring and firing of assistant coaches.
Hoke said Monday, while meeting with a handful of reporters, that isn’t the case.
“Everybody’s got an opinion,” Hoke said. “I’m not going to change opinions.”
He made it clear that he runs the football program.
“(I make) every day-to-day decision, how we recruit, who we recruit, what we eat in pregame meal, when we practice, how long we practice, all of it,” Hoke said.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges was fired early last month and Doug Nussmeier was hired from Alabama as his replacement. Hoke said he made the firing and the hiring.
“You’ve got to take some time and evaluate,” Hoke said of Borges. “I didn’t want to make any rash decisions. I wanted to go all the way through the bowl game. It (was an) extremely tough decision because you’re dealing with a guy I have a lot of respect for, you’re dealing with a guy who I think is a really good coordinator, and you’re dealing with a family. That is hard.
“I took a week, eight, nine days after the bowl game -- I may be wrong, it may be six days -- to make a decision. I wanted to make one that was best for the University of Michigan and this football program and this school.”
He said he has been familiar with Nussmeier, a former Idaho quarterback who early in his career coached quarterbacks at Michigan State, for a while. Hoke almost hired him to Ball State during his first head coaching job.
“Dave didn’t know Doug Nussmeier,” Hoke said of Brandon. “I knew of Doug when he won the Walter Payton Award (while at Idaho). He was a guy I had a lot of interest in and knew well enough, had tracked him well enough that when I made a change, I wanted it to be the best.”
Hoke believes the offensive staff will remain intact unless someone leaves for another job. He said Nussmeier would not make changes to the staff.
“He did not discuss that,” Hoke said. “That was not up for discussion.”
Of course, one staff change will not suddenly make Michigan a national contender.
“But I do think the intensity that you coach with and how you attack things and take the Xs and Os out of it -- the details you need to have every day, those are critical,” Hoke said. “That’s one thing Doug brings to the table.”
Borges was not the only coach evaluated after the season. Hoke said he took a good look at every coach on his staff, including himself.
He said he did not have an angry postseason meeting with the coaches, but he made clear there was plenty lacking in a 7-6 year.
“Every position. Staff. Me,” Hoke said. “We need to do a better job. I didn’t think we, starting with me, did a good job developing this team. I don’t know if it was a challenge (to the coaches). It was how I felt, being honest.”