I was flooded over the weekend with text messages and tweets after my Brady Hoke column was quoted on ESPN's SportsCenter.
The worldwide leader liked one of my lines that said Hoke was a good father figure but not a good football coach. I wrote that if Hoke did not beat Ohio State and Michigan State this season, he must be fired. About 85 percent of the people who emailed me about the column agreed.
One fan did not agree, even after Michigan's 26-10 loss to Utah that shook Blue Nation again. Big Michigan booster and current Eastern Michigan University regent Jim Stapleton accused me of falling off a truck and bumping my head.
He said Hoke is the right man for the job and will win Big Ten titles if he is allowed to keep his job. That would be rare. Hoke has only won one conference title in 12 years as a head coach.
Stapleton claims Hoke was hired to not only change a program, but to change a culture that he claims strayed from its true Michigan roots under former coach Rich Rodriguez, who was fired after three seasons.
But Hoke seems over his head as Michigan coach. He might be a good fit for smaller programs like Ball State and San Diego State, but Michigan is a giant monster he doesn't know how to handle.
"Rodriguez's style of players and his commitment to the defensive side of the ball is not the kind of commitment or players required to be successful in the Big Ten," Stapleton said. "This is a league that requires an ability to have bigger players and have an ability to run the football and have a more traditional offense than coach Rodriguez had with his program. As a result, Brady has had to deal with starting from scratch."
The Wolverines finished 11-2 in Hoke's first season and beat an OK Virginia Tech team in the Sugar Bowl. Michigan is 17-13 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten since. And there was that embarrassing loss to Michigan State last season where the Wolverines' toughness was questioned. This year Notre Dame's 31-0 victory got the "Fire Hoke" talk rolling again.
"This is the fourth year and I understand the impatience of Michigan fans," Stapleton said. "I understand they want to win right away. What they don't understand is the 11-2 season was a mirage. It was not indicative of where Michigan football truly was. It was a great job by those kids but it set an unrealistic expectation for the uneducated."
Listen to what Stapleton said about Hoke:
"If the administration gives Brady Hoke the time to build this program, Brady Hoke will be a legendary Michigan coach. He knows the Michigan culture. He understands the Michigan culture, and if Michigan were smart they would give him more time to put his players in the mix."
Mark Dantonio will be a legendary coach at Michigan State. Nick Saban is already a legendary coach at Alabama. Hoke is not in that category.
"Michigan fans should take a deep breath and understand that the program operates with integrity, and at the end of the day they should compete and compete strong," Stapleton said. "If Michigan wins nine or 10 games a year and plays within the rules, Michigan fans should take a deep breath and accept that, and now and then they might get into the College Football Playoff."
The problem is Hoke is not even close to doing that. Michigan is just an OK football program now.
Change is needed.