It’s quite common to see a team make a significant jump in Year 2 under a coach. Michigan will be challenged to build on its 11-2 record under Brady Hoke in 2012, while both Minnesota (3-9) and Indiana (1-11) certainly can improve this fall.
Colleague Ryan McGee takes a look at 10 of the second-year coaches in the FBS, grades them on Year 1 and explores what they need to do in Year 2. Not surprisingly, Hoke receives an A from McGee after guiding Michigan to a Sugar Bowl championship and four more victories than it had in 2010. The next step: to get quarterback Denard Robinson more comfortable and add more reliable weapons around him.
I’d add that replenishing the defensive line will be key after losing Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen.
McGee gives Kill a D in his first year, and that’s after Minnesota won its final game against Illinois. As with Michigan, McGee wants to see Minnesota develop some help for its own athletically gifted quarterback, MarQueis Gray. The Gophers undoubtedly need help at wide receiver and running back, but they also need much more from the defensive line after three consecutive down seasons there.
Indiana doesn’t make McGee's rundown, but it’s hard not to give the Hoosiers an F for 2011. Kevin Wilson will have the offense humming soon enough, but the defense remains the biggest issue in Bloomington. Perhaps the arrival of several junior college players will accelerate the turnaround.