Ann Arbor — Things have gotten ugly with Michigan's football program, and some UM students believe coach Brady Hoke should be fired … right after athletic director Dave Brandon is relieved of his duties.
Hoke's future is in doubt after the Wolverines lost three games before October for the first time in the 135-year history of the program.
In the most recent setback, a 30-14 loss to Minnesota at the Big House on Saturday, Hoke sent quarterback Shane Morris back into the game after he had earlier took a helmet-to-helmet hit, leaving him dazed.
On Monday, Hoke said Morris had not suffered a concussion — a fact that was revealed in a statement released by Brandon around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.
Michigan has lost eight of its last nine games against opponents from the Power Five conferences. Students are finding the Wolverines hard to watch, including 18-year-old freshman Andrew Wallen from Stamford, Conn.
"I think it's completely in turmoil right now," said Wallen, who traveled to South Bend, Ind., with 18-year-old freshman Taiwo Dosunmu of Washington, D.C., to watch the Wolverines lose 31-0 loss to Notre Dame on Sept. 6. "There so much miscommunication going on in the athletic department and they clearly have to get things sorted out to get back to their ways of before.
"After this Shane Morris incident, maybe it's time for both of them (Hoke and Brandon) to go. I think Brady had a couple of good first years with the program, but the fact that we're not performing with this amount of talent on the team kind of reflects poorly on him. It's tough to watch them play. It's pretty shameful right now the way they're performing, especially when you have all these four- and five-star recruits."
Talking specifically of Brandon, Wallen added: "He has kind of miscommunicated a lot of the whole thing, especially with the Shane Morris incident. There's clearly no correlation between Hoke and Brandon on the whole thing, so he's clearly not really running it with a strong fist. We'll see how the year finishes out, but at this point they should both be fired."
Dosunmu said Michigan should be improving instead of going in the opposite direction.
"I'm new to being a Michigan fan, so I don't have the historical perspective as others do, but when you're losing this way, kind of an embarrassing way, to teams that you shouldn't be losing to, that does reflect on the coaching," Dosunmu said. "When, over time, you're constantly declining instead of moving up, that's a coaching problem. If they end the way they're playing now, yes he should be fired."
Michigan grad student Andrew Kraemer grew up in Ann Arbor, learning to sing "Hail to the Victors" as a third grader.
"In my opinion I think they should fire both of them," Kraemer said. "Ultimately, I think Hoke was not the best hire and I think he wasn't a good fit for our school, for the quality of our football team, and I think Brandon has to take responsibility for that. I think they should fire Brandon now and let the next athletic director deal with the Hoke situation.
"When Hoke put Shane Morris back in that game when (Devin) Gardner lost his helmet (that) was reprehensible and that alone should get him fired. I wasn't a huge fan of his hiring to begin with, but regardless of the performance of the team, his handling of that injury situation and not owning up to it and admitting responsibility for it is pretty reprehensible. I don't see how any parent would want their kid to play here as long as he's the head coach.
"I think there's been a lack of player development. We keep getting these vaunted recruiting classes and none of the players really seem to be developing, and that falls on the head coach. But the handling of the injury is the major factor here. I think he was probably already on the way out at the end of the year."
Shawn Farshchi, a 21-year-old junior from Chicago, is a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. He thinks the problems start at the top of the athletic department with Brandon.
"I just think Michigan is one of the premier programs in college football and there's so much history, so much tradition, and we deserve the best of the best for how much funding that goes into the program," Farshchi said.
Regarding Hoke, Farshchi said, "I think he's a good football coach, and he's definitely a good recruiter, but I just think it's too much for him. He's gotten good recruiting classes and those recruiting classes just haven't performed up to expectations. The biggest problem is our offensive line.
"The recruiting classes in terms of rankings almost correlate directly between that and success and Michigan's pumping out top-15 classes every season. We should not be losing to Minnesota and we should not be losing to Utah since they don't have the resources or the prestige of a program like Michigan."
Bill Stolberg has owned and operated State Street Barber Shop the last 40 years, giving haircuts to current students and Michigan alum from decades ago.
"I've been watching them for 40 years and this is probably the worst year I've ever seen them," said Stolberg. "Even Rich (Rodriguez) wasn't that bad.
"The kids like him (Hoke) and he's a hell of a nice guy, but there's something missing, something not there. I don't know him personally, but he's trying, and I'd like to see him make it and turn things around."
Stolberg said his customers aren't happy with Brandon.
"There's not much love for that guy here and it starts with the students right to the alumni," Stolberg said. "At the shop here I'm hearing it all day long. They're not happy campers. He came in here and changed everything, and you really can't raise the prices of stuff if you don't have the quality, and the old-timers are getting ticked off. I know they're losing ticket sales. A lot of people think he should go before Brady.
"Seniors aren't happy and that's your donations, that's you're contributions, three or four years down the road. Talking to those kids, they're saying 'The hell with them. What did you do for me?'"
Farshchi agrees: "I think the problems originate with the athletic department, just the way they're running the organization. Starting from the top is really where the issues are."