- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports15 hrs ago
Brady Hoke is paid over $4 million annually to run the University of Michigan football program, and as these modern, high-paid coaches are quick to note, it's always a "program," not just a team.
The program brings in about $85 million to $90 million in revenue, a number that grows every year thanks to expanding television fees from its conference-owned cable network. It employs dozens of people and trains scores of players.
It's a big operation. Real big.
Hoke, 55, has coached college football since 1981, including head stints at Ball State and San Diego State before coming to Michigan in 2011. He has proven to be overmatched in Ann Arbor when it comes to winning games, but there is no indication he doesn't care about his players' well being, specifically their long-term physical health.
His players, current and former, swear by him – "Coach Hoke is a great guy … we're all behind him," said defensive end Frank Clark.
His coworkers, assistants and bosses through the years praise him – "anyone who attacks his character doesn't know what they're talking about," assistant Greg Mattison said.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
In May 2011, just four months after Brady Hoke was named Michigan’s head coach, he secured a verbal commitment from a high school sophomore named Shane Morris, a five-star quarterback recruit from the blue-collar suburbs of Detroit.
This was to be the perfect old-school Wolverine marriage, a coach who understood the culture – “It’s Michigan for God’s sake” – and the return of the great pro-style passer that drove the program for decades. The spread was going to be dead.
By the time Morris was a senior at Warren De La Salle, things began to fade. He missed much of the season with mononucleosis and the bloom began to fade with scouts. By signing day, Rivals.com had downgraded him from five stars to four.
Then Morris reported for duty and within days, sources say, the Michigan staff was concerned. This wasn’t a five-star, sure-bet NFLer, the next in the line of Jim Harbaugh, Chad Henne, Elvis Grbac or Tom Brady.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
The head coach of the Hogs in Arkansas grew up on a hog farm in Illinois, which is an oft-repeated note about Bret Bielema.
Truth is, the hog farm was about as fun as it sounds. Chores began before dawn and continued until it was time to leave for school, which was taken oh-so seriously. There was more work when he returned home: farming, building, feeding, cleaning, whatever. It was never-ending with 2,500 animals around. That was the hard stuff. What Bret Bielema actually dreaded the most was physically easy.
"Mowing," he said Wednesday, noting they didn't have iPods or cell phones or anything else to distract from the monotony. "To sit on a tractor three, four hours a day was not a lot of fun for me, just doing loops around the yard."
Through it all Bielema, now 44, learned a simple lesson: There's a way to do things on a farm (or anywhere), and if you take care of the process, the results will come. It sounds simple. It isn't often carried out.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports5 days ago
In case you didn't think Jameis Winston (or his advisers) could self-inflict any more damage while creating unnecessary negative headlines for the player or Florida State, here's Wednesday's latest:
Either an attorney of the woman who accused him of rape in 2013 – the incident that didn't result in charges possibly because the Tallahassee police investigation was so pathetic even the local prosecutor called it "a cluster" – tried to demand $7 million from Winston in exchange for the victim/accuser's silence…
Or an attorney advising Winston actually started the process by flying down to Tampa and offering that sum, or some sum, to the victim/accuser as a way to buy her off…
Dan Wetzel's College Football Podcast: Dissecting the sport's biggest villain and worst fan base (so far)Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports6 days ago
It’s the time of the college football calendar when in certain places, the excitement and promise of the start of the season has worn off. Some teams just look bad. Some coaches are going to get fired. Some conferences are going to get bashed. Some teams are going to boot away victory the same way they always did.
And Jameis Winston is going to be Jameis Winston.
So who better to welcome to the Podcast than Dan Wolken of USA Today, author of the Misery Index, which ranks the ten most miserable fan bases in America each week. Not the worst teams, just the ones whose fans are most miserable at what just happened and/or what appears inevitable.
The Index is just four weeks into the season and already the University of Michigan tops it for the second time. That’s how miserable things are in Ann Arbor. This time they earned it for a bottoming-out loss to Utah in a rainstorm, and then things got worse when it came out that Coca-Cola was essentially giving away free tickets to this Saturday’s game.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports10 days ago
Twenty years ago this week, Peyton Manning’s Tennessee Volunteers took on rival Florida and wound up on the wrong side of a 31-0 beatdown. Manning was just a highly touted freshman back in 1994 and just one of three UT QBs who could do nothing that day.
It was the first frustrating, lopsided defeat of Manning’s career on the national stage, something that tends to happen when you’ve been playing in big, attention-grabbing games for going on two decades.
It was also the first time Manning was challenged with the riddle of coming back the following season and beating a rival that had his number, a circumstance that continues this week in a rare Super Bowl rematch with Manning trying to reverse what the Seattle Seahawks did to him in February.
Manning never did solve Steve Spurrier’s Gators, going 0-4 – although UF’s ability to score an average of 40.3 points in those games was a major reason.
Later, as a professional, Manning bounced back from all sorts of humbling defeats, most notably an early string to Bill Belichick’s Patriots. It’s evened out of late, including Manning and the Broncos decisively defeating New England in last season’s AFC title game.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports12 days ago
The Minnesota Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson again … or is it re-deactivate … or de-reactivate … or …
Officially Peterson is on something called the “Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list," which, according to a team press release, the Vikings didn’t seem to know was even an option (or existed, if it even did) until they called the NFL offices again about “revisiting” the Peterson decision.
“The League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved,” Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said in the statement. “After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.”
This all was announced about 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, a middle-of-the-night posting on the team’s website that spoke to the franchise’s embarrassment for the flip-flop.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
Placing a case in front of a grand jury has been criticized as a completely one-sided and self-fulfilling process.
So much so that Solomon Wachtler, a former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, once claimed that should a district attorney so choose, he could get a grand jury "to indict a ham sandwich."
This is how the potential legal case of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart got both unpredictable and very real Tuesday.
Stewart, 43, fatally struck and killed another driver, Kevin Ward Jr., at a minor league dirt track in Ontario County, N.Y., in early August. Since then a quiet, and presumably exhaustive, Sherriff's Department investigation into the incident yielded little news as Stewart eventually returned to racing on the major Sprint Cup circuit.
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
Chris Vernon of ESPN Radio Memphis joins the College Football Podcast this week, ostensibly to discuss how outrageously good the SEC West is – 19-1 overall, five teams in the AP top 10, all seven teams receiving votes.
The discussion, however, runs off the rails almost immediately.
• After attending a Michigan game as a fan, and hearing everyone else grumble about the state of the Wolverine program, Dan wonders if Saturday’s game against Utah isn’t an unexpected make-or-break contest for Brady Hoke.
• The guys try to figure out how exactly Hoke commands a $4.1 million salary, including a $500,000 retention bonus when no one would hire him away?
• Could Bret Beileima’s new team, Arkansas, win his old league, the Big Ten, despite being the likely seventh-best team in the SEC West?
• Kansas State fits all sorts of gambling trends this week: weeknight home dog (plus-9) and Bill Snyder coached. So why is Vernon so convinced Auburn will roll the Wildcats?
- Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports14 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS – Darren Sproles was at his home in California last April when the news broke he'd been traded from New Orleans, where his career had flourished across three seasons. Out of nowhere, he was headed to Philadelphia.
"The stuff [you] find out on Twitter," he tweeted that day, although not that he was overly emotional.
The Saints needed to find cap space and Sproles was expendable, but that's how his career in the NFL always seemed to be. He was too short, too small, too whatever to be considered a featured back. He was a fun toy for an offense, but he always had a deferential role. He was always a support player, never a star.
Of course, he'd find out his fate on Twitter. He was cool with it.
"That's just part of the business," Sproles said. "You don't take nothing personal. It is what it is."
Besides, no matter Sproles' fondness for the Saints, his first thought wasn't of what he was leaving. It was what – and whom – he was coming to: Chip Kelly's Eagles.