So, if it is indeed true that Hank Hughes is headed for Lincoln land the obvious question becomes why. I staked a very advanced position on Hank Hughes in the wake of the Ohio State game. In retrospect some of that article was spot on, but many of the problems UC had early in the year that I placed squarely on Hughes are now more clearly diffused. There is only so much you can do when you don't have defensive linemen capable of disrupting blocking schemes. UC had a few, but clearly not nearly enough. That's not on Hughes directly, and its a problem he inherited and not one that he created for himself.
I stand by the assertion that Hughes early approach with the Bearcats was all wrong. Please allow myself to quote myself from the article linked above.
It is in that last way that Hughes really reminds me of Haig. Hughes spends a great deal of time coming up with his gameplans and approach for each and every game. I don't think the problem is that Hughes is lazy or doesn't want to do the prep work. Most of these guys have been doing this for so long that they become addicted to it. The grind in the film and meeting rooms because its expected yes, but also because that's just what they do. I don't think that Hank Hughes gameplans are any less meticulous than anyone else. He has to formulate an approach, and think through how the offense will adjust to what the defense shows. I have no reason to think that Hughes is deficient in any of that. Where Hughes is deficient is adjusting when things stop going to plan. Adjusting in real time is the other part of the job, and it is the part of the job where Hughes fails.
Round about the SMU game the Bearcats's approach started getting radically simpler. The Bearcats stopped keeping light boxes against teams that wanted to run. They didn't really change personnel, it was still a defacto 4-2-5 being listed as a 4-3. But they were more willing to match strength with strength and to leave the corners on an island as the season went on.
I was halfway through writing a piece about how Bearcat fans should be willing to give Hughes a chance in year two when phone started vibrating off the table that is my desk. All of them were about this rumor. I still have not heard definitive word on any of this. But I have heard enough to put it in public.