Mike Lantry, 1972
...is that Ron English's departure is not a sure sign that Jim Herrmann is going to remain the Michigan defensive coordinator. Mutterings are taking place here there and everywhere. Most suggest that Herrmann will end up with the J-E-T-S jetsjetsjets (and Victor Hobson) as the linebackers coach.
In his stead? Well, three names are being tossed around (warning: what follows is total wild-ass speculation, voracity at its most unverified, literally a list of names nutballs on message boards have thrown out):
- Carolina Panthers DC Mike Trgovac. The least likely candidate comes with the most verification in the form of a Detroit News article that tosses his name out. I doubt this happens without a wink-wink nudge-nudge agreement that Trgovac will be the head coach when Carr retires, a la Bret Bielema at Wisconsin. Trgovac, a player under Bo, would be taking a pay/prestige cut to return to college. As someone who is beginning to build head coach buzz in the NFL, Michigan would probably have to knock socks off to get him back in Ann Arbor.
- Seattle Seahawks DB coach Teryl Austin, who served in the same capacity at Michigan from 1999 to 2002. Austin was an ace recruiter who really opened up talent-rich Pennsylvania, dragging Tim Massaquoi, Steve Breaston, Marlin Jackson, and Scott McClintock out of the state (plus a few others who didn't pan out), but he never could get Todd Howard to look for the freaking ball. I'd be somewhat leery of bringing back the guy who presided over 2000's notoriously dumbtarded defensive secondary, which was nicknamed the "Suspects" for good reason--by the end of the year they should have been named the "Convicts." Also, he just got pwned by Antwaan Randle-El. I'm just sayin'.
- Georgia Tech DC Jon Tenuta, who has been defensive coordinator at a bevy of D-I schools including Ohio State. Tenuta--OSU's DB coach from '96 to '99 and DC in 2000--got the boot when Cooper did, was immediately hired by UNC in the same capacity, and got poached the next year by the Jackets. Tenuta's D has kicked enough ass to get a team quarterbacked by Reggie Ball to the 7-5 heights that represent the AD-approved theoretical maximum for the Georgia Tech program.
Of those three, Tenuta represents the best combination of plausibility and palatability. His defense was 12th in total yardage in 2004 and 22nd in 2005. That's all the more impressive when you consider the Georgia Tech offense, a craptacular thing that ended up about 80th overall both years. He's been a college coordinator for going on a decade now, has recruiting experience in the south and Ohio (he's from Columbus), and going from Georgia Tech to Michigan would be a step forward in his career and possibly a stepping stone to a head coaching job.
Austin would be okay--he's the Pied Piper of Pennsylvania--but I still have night terrors thinking about that Todd Howard-led secondary. If "led" is the right term for it. I'm unthrilled by Seattle's pass defense over the past few years, too (Stats from Football Outsiders; low is good for defense):
- 2005 Pass Defense DVOA: 10.0%, 25th in the league.
- 2004: 0.7%, 17th in the league.
- 2003: 6.9%, 22nd in the league.
Is this the result of a crappy defensive line giving opponents time to throw? Uh... no. In '05 the line was #1 in defensive line yards and #6 in sack percentage. Strangely, the line was terrible in 2004, when the Seahawks had their best pass defense under Austin. Go figure.
Wither certified Boy Genius Scot Loeffler?
WTKA's WXYT's Doug Karsch declared him to be staying yesterday--yes, after WTKA declared him gone the day before. Whatever. There's also a Detroit News article with a direct quote from Loeffler:
"I am not leaving the University of Michigan," Loeffler said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "I am happy and perfectly content here."
Ryan Mallet, come on down.
Remember: all this speculation is guaranteed to be just as accurate as all that English-to-DC talk. See your bookie today!
Being Ron English-ovich. Ah, my favorite part of collegiate coaching switches: the government mandate that all such positions be posted on the Internet for a given length of time. I applied to be the head coach of Clarkson hockey a couple years back (and aren't they regretting their decision now). Well, now you can apply to fill the shoes of Terry Malone or Ron English:
DUTIES: As Assistant Football Coach: Recruit, condition, train, and monitor performance of football team members within a facet of the sport and assist in the intercollegiate athletic competition of the team. Recruit and participate in the selection of athletes for the football team; coach team members individually or in groups, demonstrating techniques of a game. Observe team members and determine the need for individual or team improvement; determine the position assignments of team members within a facet of the sport; recommend contest strategy for a facet of the sport; insure adherence to all association and conference rules by athletes and supporting staff; assist in the monitoring of academic progress and status of team members.
A word of warning, though... this bit is, er, not so accurate:
Want to get hired? Have no idea how? Never fear! MGoBlog is here, with...
MGoBlog's Guide To Being Hired As An Assistant Coach:
- Try to be good friends with Lloyd Carr.
- When asked what to do on fourth and medium with the game in the balance, say "punt."
- When asked what to do on first and ten from the opponent's 16, say "punt."
- When given the brain teaser about the missionaries and the cannibals, say "punt."
- In fact, you might just want to say "punt" as frequently as possible. Changing your name to "Punty McPunterson" might be a good idea.
- When asked what a blitz is, scream "don't mention the war!"
- Remember: silly mustache == job security.
No doubt I expose myself...
to charges of being a "typical Michigan whiner" by saying this, but I must object to EDSBS's placement of Lloyd Carr in the "Meatnormous" division of their Coaches Death Match tournament. I will provide you some handy pictures; you tell me which of these things does not belong:
Hint: it's the one that looks vaguely human. In any case, if you'd like to vote, follow the link above. I would caution against the comments section, which turned out exactly like you would expect it to.
Coaching stuff is official, by the way. The News done verified that voracity. English and Malone out, DeBord OC. Chengelis claims that Loeffler is not interviewing with any NFL teams, but I think the message board insiders are closer to the situation than she is. If Loeffler stays and the coaches who are brought in are agreeable, I think this whole thing will be remembered as one of the more uselessly hysterical episodes of Michigan Internet fandom.
An intermittent observation on the probable postseason fates of the hockey and basketball teams.
We now resume your regularly scheduled sports blogging, sans meta-, with a look at Michigan's March Madness prospects. Pleasantly, this year "none" is not an option.
Garrett Rivas clapclapclap
If The Season Ended Today...
Everyone would be very surprised. Also, Michigan would be a middling seed. Joe Lundardi has them #7 against Colorado, ex-home of both Chauncey Billups and, er, me. A seven seed seems harsh to me for a 16-4 team with a fairly good SOS (#70) and an RPI that would have them a #5 if it was the sole basis for seeding (#18). Template-beridden but long-in-the- tooth blog Bracketology 101 has Michigan a #5 in their latest projection. Bracketography.com splits the difference, placing Michigan #6 and setting up a titanic storyline game that may see me rush the court and beat an elderly man about the head: Michigan versus Steve "I Ruined The Program" Fisher's San Diego State Aztecs.
...But Since It Doesn't
Michigan would be well served to win some additional games. The schedule breaks down like so:
- Tomato Cans*: @ Purdue, Minnesota
- Swing Games:Ohio State, @ Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois
- Er... Um: @ Michigan State
(*Obviously, that whole Penn State-beating-Illinois-at-Illinois thing means there is no such thing as a gimme in the Big Ten. Nonetheless, there are two teams on the schedule that inspire far less panic than the others.)
The good news is that there's only two games left in hostile environments against non-tomato cans. The bad news is that there are only two games left against the Big Ten's Four Horsemen of Incompetence.
Michigan could probably squeeze into the tournament by beating Purdue and Minnesota and winning one game against one of the bottom four in the Big Ten tournament, but they'd be one of the last teams in if they made it. Win a couple of the swing games and Michigan looks very solid at 10-6 in the conference anointed by the RPI as the nation's toughest with three or four of the committee-coveted good wins. They would be in no question and would likely recieve a seed in the #5-6 range.
The tough closing stretch provides a major opportunity if Abram gets healthy and Michigan's threes keep falling. Getting hot and going on a tear at the end of the season--while extremely difficult--could see them shoot up the fake brackets of projectioneers around the country. I don't think that'll happen, but college basketball is weird.
So, You're Telling Me...
Barring total collapse, Michigan is in. They probably need three more wins the rest of the season (Big Ten tournament included) to be assured of a bid. In a scenario where Michigan's bid is in question they would get to play one of the FHOI in the first round of the BTT. They would really, really have to blow it to show up in the NIT now. (No whammies.)
To maintain their current seed projections (anywhere from #5 to #7), Michigan has to go 10-6 or 9-7 in conference (#5-ish for the former, #7-ish for the latter). If they do something stupid like go nuts and streak towards 11-5 or 12-4 with a strong showing in the BTT, they will get a sweet sixteen seed and possibly home games at the Palace. (<-- that depends on how MSU does down the stretch.)
And you think?
Beat Purdue and Minnesota; split with OSU; lose @ MSU; beat one of Indiana/Illinois at home; 10-6 in conference; out in BTT semis; #6 seed. If we play Steve Fisher I strap myself to a chair to stop myself from pulling a reverse Artest.
It was a bad weekend, what with the coach shuffling, basketball getting the woodshed treatment from Iowa, and the hockey team splitting yet again. So instead of talking about sports I'm just going to be meta-mean. Enjoy. PS: this gets a Unsuitable for Children, The Elderly, And Those With Heart Conditions Swearing Alarm.
I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.
This was mildly funny for two weeks in the middle of 2003. Now it is grounds for a visit from the cock-punching robot.
Provenance: Internet message boards.
Category: I think I'm funny... I'm not.
...also: "just a hunch."
I realize it's the size of Volkswagen, but shut the fuck up about it, okay? Your gut is not particularly well informed about the outcome of sporting events. The reason you reference your gut is to absolve yourself from any responsibility to back up your statement with those funny things called "reasons." Therefore, by definition, your statement is useless. You are wasting the lives of everyone who scans your subject line and should have a starving squirrel taped to your scrotum.
Please do us all a favor: the next time your gut decides to get chatty, punch it.
Provenance: Internet message boards, Aaron Taylor
Category: Maybe if I tell you this post is useless it's okay... it isn't.
... which probably exists on some level, but is referenced eighty times a game whenever two colleges meet in any competitive endeavor, even if there are no seniors present. A way to fill two hours of airtime when you have no ability to watch the game in front of you and provide interesting commentary on it. I know Daniel Horton is a senior. I know he's playing much better. Your job, Mr. D-List Color Guy, is to tell me things I don't know.
Provenance: Mr. D-List Color Guy
Category: Oh God, oh God, oh God... I have to say something.
When the moon is gibbous, Team X is 12-3
... or any random statistic provided without any context.
Is that good? Is that bad? Tell me what the average winning percentage is! And stop scouting for nonsensical low-sample statistics (record when TE Jeb Putzier scores a touchdown: 8-0) that tell us nothing in the larger context of the game. I like stats. I just think they should be used to tell us something about the sport instead of how TV people like any shiny bauble they come across. The frequency with which these little anomalies are discovered--a dozen per game, it seems like--indicates that they aren't meaningful.
Provenance: Television announcers.
Category: We have a database and we're damn well going to use it.
Playing with Heart/Pride/Intensity/Etc.
Another in the long line of "things ex-jocks say." Asserting that a team cares more may have some validity in certain circumstances (say, a regular season NBA game against Atlanta) but has ballooned into a monster that cannot be stopped. Especially egregious is postgame analysis that boils down to "I don't know what the hell I'm talking about, but they looked like crap." Sometimes teams get beaten for tangible reasons, too.
Provenance: Everywhere that loses.
Category: I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I'm really, really mad.
I'm about as easily offended as the Antichrist, but this particular noun drives me up the wall. It gets employed whenever some mouth-breather who wants Coach X FIIIIIIRED decides to fight the good fight against his opposition, be they real or imagined. The mouth-breather will launch into a tirade about the "Lloyd Apologists," to use an example particularly relevant to the current zeitgeist, while giving no thought to how the term leaked into the sports lexicon and from where.
Kids, "apologist" is a political word used by horribly dull people to describe other horribly dull people. The ADL labels Holocaust revisionists "apologists." Muslim activist groups label the ADL "Israeli apologists." George Orwell busts it out irregularly:
In our age, the idea of intellectual liberty is under attack from two directions. On the one side are its theoretical enemies, the apologists of totalitarianism, and on the other its immediate, practical enemies, monopoly and bureaucracy.
If you use the word apologist in regards to people who think football coaches should not be fired you pick up all those overheated political connotations and you sound like an idiot, probably because you are. This may seem strange coming from a man who has an sports blog, but here goes: it's just not that important.
Provenance: Internet message boards.
Category: I think impressive words mask the shallowness of my argument... they don't.
Drinking the Koolaid
The #1 reason Jim Rome's body should be chopped into thousands of pieces, burned, and hidden away in catacombs at the seven corners of the world lest he return and inflict a new dark age of sports talk radio upon us. Rome uses it to dismiss the arguments of those who disagree with him by comparing them Jim Jones' cult. The assertion is that the person being accused of said drinking has been brainwashed to the point of madness by his team allegiance; ironically, the scores of his fucking clones who have spread out across the globe parroting their dark lord's most annoying gift to the world are more akin to Peoples' Church members than those they accuse.
If I ever get around to chiseling the Ten Sports Commandments on hunks of granite, I will come down from the mountain to find the Israelites gathered around a golden radio, listening to "Rome is Burning." I shall smite them and then scribble in the Eleventh Sports Commandment: thou shall not suffer a clone to live.
Category: I need a bullet in my head. Now.
MGoBlog does not endorse the wild panic spreading through the Michigan internets, which is reaching truly epic levels. I'll see what happens with Loeffler and who replaces English and Malone before deciding whether or not to join the paramilitary organizations forming across Michigan at this very moment.
This... this bothers me, though:
Bears coach Lovie Smith offered English the job Thursday. English spent Friday gauging his chances of becoming defensive coordinator at Michigan. One source said that when Michigan offered only the chance of becoming co-defensive coordinator, he told Bears officials he would take the job.
As Yoda might say: either do, or do not. There is no "co-." This combines with the so-widespread-it-must-be-true scuttlebutt that Jim Herrmann was scouting around for positional coaching jobs in the NFL to form an image of the head man that is not flattering. Carr obviously believes there is a need for change but does not have the stones to cut Herrmann loose unless he has a soft landing somewhere. Thus the milquetoasty half-measure of telling English he can share responsibility. English figured that promotion was one in name only and bolted. Thus the Herrmann era continues unabated.
Meanwhile, Terry Malone--who operated an offense crippled by the players it couldn't field instead of the ones it could--joins the ever-growing ranks of discarded offensive coordinators. And discarded he was, unless you think that being the tight ends coach of a team that may or may not be in the NFL in a city that may or may not exist is better than being the offensive coordinator at Michigan. When it comes to offensive coordinators, Carr is One Angry Man. Compare that to the kid gloves treatment given to a man who even Carr has tacitly acknowledged needs to go.
Look, I don't know what goes on in Schembechler Hall. I have heard that Herrmann is well regarded by a few NFL teams. The fact that he's sticking around is not the end of the world, but Carr's inability to finish the job he set out to do is a continuation of the story we saw for the entirety of 2005. It's fourth and four on the thirty-four.
Update: I have no idea what happened to the "Analogy Time" post. Blogger ate it. The comments can be found here.
Right, coaching shuffle after a disastrous 7-5 season. This is not what we had in mind... per WDFN:
- Terry Malone has taken a job with the Saints.
- Ron English will be the Bears' DB coach.
- Mike DeBord will be the new offensive coordinator.
Per a reliable source:
- Scot Loeffler is interviewing with the Patriots next week.
Remember that stock tip about Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork? Yeah.
We'll see exactly what happens when the dust settles--sports talk radio is prone to error, after all and Loeffler doesn't even have a job offer yet--but suffice it to say that if you told me to name four coaches I didn't want Michigan to lose, the list would have been Loeffler, English, Malone, and Steve Stripling. How Herrmann remains bulletproof in all of this is a mystery. Carr has no problem guillotining any offensive coordinator who looks at him funny, but anyone on the staff with a ridiculous mustache is off limits, Gittleson and Herrmann most prominently.
For now: goddammit. Hockey. Must go. Will inform when I know more. Send hot tips here.