I did not make this headline up
This Schiano thing bothers for two reasons. One, he turned it down. Dammit. Two, Martin met with Schiano for like five hours yesterday and immediately offered him the job. Or something of that nature:
Schiano called the team to the Hale Center at 7 a.m. and told them he "still had work to do" at Rutgers. Schiano looked physically exhausted and said "this was a hard decision," according to a member of the football staff who was in the meeting.
The member of the football staff requested anonymity because of the private nature of the team meeting, but said Schiano looked "tired, beaten up and physically exhausted." He said the Michigan job was Schiano's if he wanted it, but the job was never officially offered.
Is this an offer? Technically not, but functionally yes. (I wonder if this is what happened with Ferentz, too.) In a few hours with a guy Martin knows way less about than Miles he managed to offer an obviously good candidate the Michigan job. A week ago he couldn't manage to offer an obviously good candidate the Michigan job... and lost the one guy who was all but certain to take it.
So now what? Schiano's out, Ferentz is out twice, Miles is (probably) out, and Brian Kelly is allergic to cats and Carr is demanding his pet Siamese Wuffles be appointed offensive coordinator. Or something. Jeff Tedford would probably say "thanks, but no" and Michigan is looking at... who? Brady Hoke or an interim Ron English? Someone shoot me. If it comes down to that, there's one clear choice: make a run at Miles. If that requires firing Martin, then fire Martin.
What about that contract he just signed? Well:
Beyond that, publicly released details about the contract have not changed much. He will be compensated for winning the SEC championship last weekend, a victory that will push his base salary to the top three in the league, about $2.8 million.
And his salary will move into the top three nationally â€” between $3.2 million and $3.5 million â€” if LSU wins the BCS national title on Jan. 7 against Ohio State.
The buyout to leave for Michigan, $1.25 million, reportedly remains unchanged.
It would be a considerable outlay to get Miles, but not prohibitive. But who's left? Michigan has prissily narrowed the field of acceptable candidates considerably, alienated the most natural fit, and is left without options. The fanbase and football alumni are outraged. And it's because Sailboat Bill is either totally incompetent or duplicitous. Does it matter which?
Schiano is being talked to:
Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano met with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin "for quite a while" Wednesday in New York City to discuss the Big Ten school's coaching vacancy, according to a person who speaks regularly with Schiano. Though no official offer has been made, according to the person, one could be forthcoming. The person requested anonymity because he is not at liberty to speak for Schiano.
Some numbers on his situation:
A year ago, Schiano turned down a reported $2.2 million annual offer from Miami, where he served as the school's defensive coordinator prior to coming to Rutgers seven years ago. Schiano then signed a four-year extension through 2016 that will pay him $1.7 million annually.
Though Rutgers recently saw its ambitious $100 million stadium expansion plans stall, only to be jump-started slightly by Gov. Corzine's personal pledge of $1 million, the setback isn't believed to be the driving force in Schiano willingly listening to another major school's offer for the second straight December. It's the lure of Michigan.
That Miami offer from last year is higher than I expected, which bodes unwell for Michigan, so unwell that Pat Forde says the courtship is already over:
Two days after flirting with the Michigan job, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has decided he will stay in New Jersey.
Jason Baum, Rutgers' assistant athletic director for football media and public relations, said the school would release a formal announcement later on Friday.
ESPN's Joe Schad reports that Schiano told athletic director Robert Mulcahy he will remain at Rutgers, a source close to Schiano said Friday morning. Schiano spurned a chance to go to the University of Miami after last season.
|Head Coach, Rutgers|
|DC @ Miami||1999-2000|
|DB coach with Chicago||1996-1998|
|DB coach @ Penn State||1991-1995|
|Linebacker at Bucknell from 85-88.|
It's a testament to the Rutgers program that Greg Schiano is going to be the only guy with a losing record profiled in this series or considered for major jobs across the country. Previously, Rutgers was known for two things: winning the first ever college football game 6-4 against Princeton in 1869 and losing every game since.
Stassen data for the ten-year stretch before Schiano's hiring:
Schiano, like Ferentz, walked into a nightmare situation and suffered greatly his first two years. In 2001 and 2002, RU was 3-20 and no one thought much of hiring a guy who had been defensive coordinator at Miami for all of two years, but things began to turn around in 2003. Rutgers went 5-7 that year; the next year they struggled to 4-7 but managed to down Michigan State along the way, providing endless schadenfreude to Michigan fans. So thanks for that.
Things got seriously turned around the next year, when Rutgers went 7-5 and got to a bowl game for the first time since the Richard The Lionheart administration, losing a tight game to Arizona State. 2006 was the 11-2 year with the Louisville upset that saw Rutgers seriously enter the national championship discussion before clunking an ugly game away to Cincinnati and coming up short against West Virginia in an overtime game that would have sent them to the BCS. Schiano won no fewer than five coach of the year awards. In 2007. When Wake Forest won the ACC.
This year, the question was "can he do it again?" The answer was "no, not really." Rutgers slipped to 7-5. Their destination this offseason: Toronto.
Xs and Os Proficiency: Schiano's brief tenure as an defensive coordinator was successful, but at the time Miami was busy being a juggernaut with first round picks everywhere. The "2000" at left was a mark Schiano put up as the Miami defensive coordinator.
At Rutgers, things have been different. Obviously. Until the 2006 breakthrough, Schiano's defenses had been between mediocre and wretched. Again: Rutgers. Even during the past two years, the Scarlet Knights have been light on the surefire NFL beasts. Last year's Loiusville game was my first real exposure to the idea of Rutgers as a real program, and it was relevatory. It looked like all eleven guys on RU's defense were about the same size, like a high school team was going up against one of the best offenses in the country, but a lot of slashing through gaps and cleverly disguised blitzes held Louisville down long enough for Ray Rice to pound forward for the winning yards. It's anecdotal, but when all you have is a seven-year-old monster D and a lot of talentless chaff in between, anecdotes are all you've got.
It's not a sure thing, but I believe Schiano defenses at Michigan would be consistently very good to great.
Recruiting: Recruiting at Rutgers was largely a matter of begging MAC leftovers to consider a "BCS" team, if only in the most technical sense, for most of its existence and well into Schiano's tenure. Aside from the occasional local guy who likes mom's cooking, it's been a parade of two-star recruits for Rutgers. Even now, things are a little bleak: the bounce you would expect after a program-establishing 11-2 season consists of Rivals 250 OT Art Forst and another four-star defensive tackle from New York among just eight commitments, all of them from New Jersey or New York.
But there is a perceptual shift. Michigan's pursuing three recruits from Rutgers' neck of the woods this year and each has named the Scarlet Knights to be Michigan's primary competition. Michigan won the battle with Marcus Witherspoon and JB Fitzgerald and leads (or at least did lead before Carr's retirement) for Brandon Smith, but Rutgers is a real player for the New Jersey kids who usually flee the state en masse. And, man, Schiano's following Fitzgerald around in a helicopter.
Recruiting's mostly about energy, not personality -- do Ron Zook and Charlie Weis seem like guys you want to spend four years around? -- and Schiano has that.
Potential Catches: The very idea of having a head coach from New Jersey conjures up images of the Great White Fail at Notre Dame; other than that Schiano seems pretty clean. The major concern is that Schiano's had one year that could be considered even slightly successful by Michigan standards, that being 2006 and hasn't proven he can operate a program on an elite level, but there's exactly one candidate out there you can't say that about and Les Miles is quite the longshot at this point.
Relative Compensation: Rutgers made a major outlay to Schiano after 2006's 11-2 campaign and has invested in facilities upgrades with an eye towards making the program a consistent p
ower, but Schiano remains relatively cheap. Rutgers reworked his contract in February, bumping his salary up to $1.5 million a year; Michigan can afford far more than that and Martin continually makes noises that Michigan will be offering in the mid-twos. Can Rutgers afford that? Maybe. They're under fire for investing in the football program at the same time the university faces a major budget crunch, so they'd be faced with increasing their outlay even more or potentially watching their investment to date go belly up. 50-50 they would find the money to hold onto him.
Would He Take The Job? Maybe? It's hard to imagine the coach at Rutgers turning down... well... anyone, but Miami made a run at Schiano last offseason and got shot down. That could have been a money thing, though. Miami's pathetic fanbase can't sell out the Orange Bowl even against big names like Virginia Tech and the 'Canes ended up settling on defensive coordinator Randy Shannon, a guy no one was pursuing and came cheap.
Another reason Schiano might have stayed: he had no particular affiliation with the Miami program. Schiano was raised in New Jersey and has spent most of his life in and around the Midwest and Northeast. Check the table above: Schiano was DC at Miami for two years. This ends his career south of Chicago. Or maybe State College. I don't have longitudes handy. So it's possible he looked at Miami's offer skeptically. A petulant, disloyal fanbase that expects national titles or bust, a mediocre contract offer, and a move thousands of miles away from home? No thanks.
Michigan's fanbase is marginally less petulant and vastly more loyal, the school is closer to home, and the money will be better. So there's a chance. But the persistent rumor out there is that Schiano's content at Rutgers and dreams of being a Bowden or Paterno-esque program patriarch; the other rumor out there is that he's waiting for JoePa to beam home so he can take the Penn State job. It might be a tough sell.
Overall Attractiveness: Schiano would be one of the few guys out there Martin could plausibly hire in the wake of the Miles fiasco without enraging the Michigan fanbase. You can't even call his job at Rutgers a "resurrection" or a "rebuild," since both those terms envision a Rutgers program that, you know, existed before Schiano's arrival. It did not; Schiano created one out of whole cloth. If you believe the program desperately needs a breath of fresh air, Schiano is a good bet to bring it in.
He's also enticingly young. Michigan's looking for a guy with extensive head coaching experience, which mostly constricts the search to guys in their early to mid fifties; Schiano is just 41. If he works out Michigan gets 20 years instead of 10.
What doubts exist are because of the Rutgers thing. Yes, he has seven years as a head coach. But how much data can we glean from the first four? Not much. So we're left with one shining example of the poor rising up and some decent-for-Rutgers seasons around it. But to get a guy like Schiano you have to move now, before he has that second season or that third season that proves to both him and the university that this is not a fluke and he becomes even tougher to pry out of New Jersey. He's a risk, yes, but he's also a guy with huge upside; he would be an A- pick.
Better that Debord? YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES
(Ferentz? Nein, apparently (sidebar).
Kirk Ferentz will not be the next head coach at Michigan.
Ferentz, who has been the Iowa coach since 1999, is no longer being considered by Michigan's seven-person search committee to replace Lloyd Carr , multiple sources said Wednesday.
Given that the only guys who have interviewed are Brady Hoke and the two coordinators, I'm not sure whether to be pleased by this development or not.)
Oh, there's a process? Sailboat Bill Martin:
"We established a process and I am following that process, and from my perspective it is working," Martin said Wednesday night. "It's been tougher than I thought, but it's not that the process is flawed. It's the degree of commentary and spin. Some of the stuff that people are saying is just totally off the wall. But the plan is working fine."
Well, thank God for that. Thank God there's a process. I mean, sure, it's a completely insane process that managed to not have a credible list of candidates ready to go as soon as Carr retired despite Michigan having four months to prepare one, but whatever. As long as there is a delineated list of steps that's followed strictly, I'm good.
This entire fiasco hinges on the fact Michigan did not know whether it wanted to offer Les Miles the job or not. Because Martin didn't know he should call Miles agent and say "yes, the past four months of research have proven to us that you should be Michigan's next coach," he is not Michigan's next coach. There is no excuse for not being ready.
"There's a campaign out there," he said. "But there are times you've got to stand tall and follow your process, and that's what I'm doing."
- Sail on sailboat.
- Head coach!
"There's no question you can continue doing your work whether you're in Florida or New York City or Ann Arbor," he said. "But I was not going to call back Les' agent until after that game. Trust me, I can understand why people can see it the way they're seeing it. But my job is to bring the best candidate to Michigan."
I am not going to throw this vase sitting next to me. The flowers in it are dead and the water is gross and the cleanup would dwarf the pleasure of watching it shatter against the wall. The first highlighted sentence and the second highlighted sentence are diametrically opposed to each other. Martin has no idea who the "best candidate" is for the Michigan job despite having all the time in the world to come up with an answer to that, and he failed utterly. Not calling Les' agent when LSU's AD specifically offered that avenue of contact and Miles was frantically attempting to figure out what was going on is ludicrous.
For one, it's completely disrespectful to a guy who's made his love for Michigan known time and again. For two, it relies on some sort of Queensbury rules: "Dear LSU, I will be talking to your coach after the game. I plan to offer him sixteen quid a week, which is a considerable sum! West End brothels won't know what hit them! Thanks, good chaps, I trust you won't interfere. -- Sailboat Bill."
For Martin to simultaneously go "well, I never!" when LSU made their dastardly offer before the agreed-upon speaking-time and claim he's being "very aggressive" is ridiculous. It's ludicrously ridiculous and many other words that end in "ous" and generally indicate something improbable.
There is a process. There was also a process that resulted in -- don't Godwin yourself, and don't reference "Gigli" -- Hitler making "Gigli".
The point: processes are neither good nor bad, and sticking to your process when said process ends up with you not knowing whether or not to offer a coach in the national championship game the job just means you're doubly stupid. No plan survives contact with the enemy.
ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU TELL THEM YOUR PLAN.
Right, so the "sailing" rumor went from hilariously improbable to likely to confirmed. The only thing more remarkable than that is that Martin deigns to defend himself:
"I did (call), Sunday morning," Martin said. "Why Sunday morning? I committed not to talk to Les Miles, directly or indirectly before the championship game on Saturday. That's the way this process is done, or at least the way I'm honoring the process."
Indeed, you committed not to talk to Miles "directly or indirectly." Setting aside that hopelessly Pollyanna view of the way things go -- too much "Leave it to Beaver" growing up, no doubt, here's LSU AD Skip Bertman in the Detroit News article about Michigan receiving permission to contact miles:
"I don't think anyone would try to speak to Les before the SEC title game, but that doesn't mean they couldn't speak to his agent (George Bass) before the game or at any time," Bertman said by telephone from his home. "There's no reason Bill or anyone else can't use headhunters to speak to Les' agent, but I would not assume that Bill would speak to Les himself without our permission. That doesn't mean he can't speak to other people."
This, of course, is all about Miles' agent trying frantically to get in touch with Michigan so they can respond to the situation he's facing. Do they not get the Detroit News on the virgin sea?
Oops. Let's punt.
|Head Coach, Iowa|
|Assistant HC & OL Coach w/ Baltimore||1993-1999|
|HC @ Maine||1990-1992|
|OL Coach @ Iowa||1981-1989|
|"academic all-Yankee Conference linebacker" at then lower-division UConn.|
Three years ago, Kirk Ferentz was a folk hero in Iowa, NFL teams were stabbing each other just to get an interview with the guy, and if you had told a Michigan fan he would be the man to take over from Lloyd Carr, he would laugh gleefully then punch you for getting his hopes up. Ferentz had just completed a remarkable turnaround, taking a moribund Iowa program that went 1-10 in his first year to the BCS and finishing #8 three consecutive years.
Iowa promptly made Ferentz one of the highest-paid coaches in the land; Ferentz returned the favor by going one game over .500 the next three years. Michigan fans still want to punch people at the idea of Ferentz as the new coach, but for entirely different reasons.
The de rigueur Stassen comparison is not as flattering to Ferentz -- the decade before his arrival saw Iowa win at a 57% clip, good for around 40th nationally -- because he had the misfortune to directly succeed Hayden Fry, a Hall of Fame coach who was Iowa's version of Bo. Most of the other guys this series has considered were preceded by literal losers; that's why they got the job.
Ferentz walked into an unusual situation at Iowa, directing a program with a history of success that had fallen on hard times as the previous coach held on too long. This may sound familiar. (Michigan's situation is far less of a disaster -- Fry went 3-8 his last season.) How should we judge his tenure? It's hard to assign blame for either of his first two years, in which Iowa bottomed out at 1-10 and 3-9, but going 7-5 in your third year is not a huge accomplishment at a place like Iowa, even if the previous two years were ugly. Iowa's a 7-5 kind of program, long term, and that's an average performance.
No one questions the next three years, when Brad Banks and Drew Tate built Iowa into a burgeoning Big Ten power as Penn State fell off the radar; everyone questions the most recent three. Ferentz does have some good excuses: the last two years Iowa was injury- and discipline-wracked on the same level Michigan safeties were during the Year of Infinite Pain. Check this midseason assessment out from Black Heart, Gold Pants:
Anyway, this weekend, Iowa is without the following elements of the team, all of whom were '07-eligible on campus the middle of the spring semester:
- Starting WR Dominique Douglas
- Starting WR Andy Brodell
- Starting TE Tony Moeaki
- Starting LT Dace Richardson
- Second-string OL Alex Kanellis
- Second-string OL Rob Bruggeman
- Second-string WR Anthony Bowman
- Third-string TB Shonn Greene
- Third-string OL Clint Huntrods
- Starting FS Devan Moylan
- Starting MLB Mike Klinkenborg
- Second-string FS Marcus Wilson
- Second-string CB Justin Edwards
- Second-string DT Ryan Bain
- Third-string CB Amari Spievey
All but three (Moeaki, Moylan, Col. Klink) are gone for at least the rest of the season. Most will never play another snap for Iowa.
At this point three other as-of-yet unnamed players were being held out despite Iowa's severe need because of an ongoing sexual assault investigation, so that's a total of 18 kids Iowa did not have at its disposal. Throw in a new starting quarterback and it's pretty obvious why Iowa's offense was 117th in the country.
Digression: midway through the first quarter of the Oregon-Arizona game I thought to myself "Chip Kelly is a genius." Then Dennis Dixon, apparently already playing on a torn ACL, took the wrong step and exited from the season. Oregon since: negative seventy points, negative six trillion yards.* Sometimes it really is out of your hands as a coach. Sometimes you've just got Brady Leaf and... like... damn, dude, what do you do?
But to go 6-6 when you have 4 nonconference gimmes and no Michigan or Ohio State is beyond explanation. And in 2006 a senior Drew Tate finally had a healthy Albert Young and the Hawkeyes still went 2-6 in the Big Ten. Yes, the receivers were young and the offensive line spotty and the defense banged up, but can we submit that anyone in is 8th year at a decent program like Iowa who is a great coach should not go 2-6 in the Big Ten?
Frustration is building at Iowa; when Ferentz' name first came up I quoted some BHGP frustration that sounded eerily familiar:
I mean, seriously, change some names and this BHGP passage could have been lifted verbatim from the comments of this blog during the Ohio State game:
We wasted the best front seven since 2004 on an offensive line which flat out refused to block anyone. We wasted the best running back tandem since Russell/Lewis on a quarterback who couldn't hit an open receiver and receivers who didn't catch the ball when he did. We wasted a tough, classy, downright professional group of seniors on a team filled with convicts and thugs and a coaching staff that was too f---ing stubborn to even attempt to fix the all-too-obvious problems.
Oh, oh, and this one:
Defenders of this coaching staff have repeatedly said, "the coaches put players in position to win, and it's the players' fault for not performing." Assuming (I think incorrectly) that this system would actually lead to success, it's the job of the coaches to prepare these players both schematically and technically. If the players are unable to perform effectively in otherwise correct schemes, the players must be more technically sound, the players must be replaced by those who can perform, or the schemes must be adjusted to account for a lack of talent/knowledge.
Initial promise, disappointing recent results, an epic swath of disciplinary and injury problems, outdated strategy, and a prim propriety in public? Lloyd Carr clone, come on down.
Xs and Os Proficiency: Ferentz has never been a coordinator on any level, leaping from offensive line coach to head coach twice without any intermediate stops along the way. So this is mostly a "not applicable."
Anyone who's watched Iowa can see the philosophical similarities between the two programs: run the ball, play tough D, punt a lot, and for God's sake never take any risks whatsoever. The zone/waggle game had been a staple -- the staple -- of Iowa's offense for years when Michigan decided to implement it, though Iowa tends to go
with guys with actual mobility.
Recruiting: Iowa, aside from the secret government lab where they breed the next generation of Inexplicably Great White Wide Receivers, is decidedly unfertile recruiting territory, and Iowa does not have the sort of national pull a Michigan or Nebraska -- which did shockingly well with recruits from all over in the Callahan here -- does. And it shows in the recruiting rankings (all from Rivals):
- 2002: 51st
- 2003: 43rd
- 2004: 38th
- 2005: 11th(!)
- 2006: 40th
- 2007: 28th.
I wouldn't put much weight in these, as recruiting rankings begin to have very low fidelity as you get down into the three stars, of which there are a million of differing abilities. The general trend is mediocre save for that anomalous 2005 class, which was gathered at the height of Ferentz mania. Ty Willingham was abdicating Notre Dame's class, the Zooker was yet to land at Illinois, and there was a bumper crop of highly rated Chicagoland recruits. Most of them ended up at Iowa. It was a perfect storm of circumstance that the subsequent years have proven does not reveal any particular skill on Ferentz' part. He's done okay considering Iowa's circumstances, but is unlikely to improve on Carr's recruiting at Michigan. (Not that Carr was bad at recruiting; he was pretty good. But this is not a particular asset for Ferentz.)
Potential Catches: There are many. From the perspective of the fan: he's one damn game above .500 the last three years and has a severe case of Lloydballs. Not as severe as the man himself -- let's all remember the Brad Banks era -- but he has many of the same flaws Lloyd does: stubborn loyalty to failing coordinators who happen to be friends, a tendency towards extreme predictability, a team-harming aversion to risk.
From the perspective of an athletic department that evidently thinks very little of its fans and wants a "Lloyd Carr clone": 10% of Ferentz's team was arrested for Serious Business this year. Since 2003, Iowa has suffered a 42% attrition rate. Ferentz' son availed himself of taxpayer subsidized housing for the poor; Ferentz refused to speak about it publicly.
For every rumor out there about Les Miles' supposed lack of morals, there's a kid who's left Iowa's team for being a hooligan. But Miles is the guy with "character issues" because said something mean or wrong or impolite about Carr. Our athletic department's priorities are awesome.
Relative Compensation: This has been discussed ad nauseam: Ferentz makes somewhere between 2.6 and 3.4 million a year depending on how you figure the bonuses. He's insanely expensive.
Would He Take The Job? This was extremely doubtful earlier in the year but as the rumors persist it begins to seem more plausible. It's still doubtful, though. First Michigan would have to match his steep pay package, numbers which would make it possible to hire Les Miles and undoubtedly outrage fans, alumni, and the big-baller donors Michigan is banking on to fill the luxury suites currently under construction. Then Ferentz would have to leave Iowa, a place he likes very much, on the verge of his son's commitment there.
It still appears doubtful.
Overall Attractiveness: Ferentz would not be a disaster of a hire, but he would be a disappointing one. He's no more moral than dozens of coaches across the country. He's increasingly incapable of keeping the kids he recruits under control. He lost to Iowa State and Western Michigan this year. He represents the closest thing to an extension of the Carr era available out there, something which may be attractive to Sailboat Bill Martin but is an anathema to anyone who actually remembers the Appalachian State game earlier this year.
The opportunity represented by the Carr retirement is to take the program in a different direction. Michigan has stagnated, allowing Ohio State to pass it both off the field and on. Ohio State has better facilities, has won six of seven against Michigan, and has fewer disciplinary problems. The Horror was supposed to be a wakeup call inside the department and amongst the heavy movers; Ferentz represents the snooze button, especially if his hiring is contingent upon retaining certain key assistants who have done nothing to suggest they are capable of coaching out of a wet paper bag.
As an insanely expensive backup plan, Ferentz is fine. The program is unlikely to fall apart under his watch. At Michigan he'll have the talent and depth to beat Western; he won't put up with Michigan's stone age strength and conditioning program, and he's likely to have a level of success comparable to Carr over the long haul. And that's not bad.
As a primary option, Ferentz is indicative of a diseased thought process that hasn't watched the past three years. Lloyd Carr was a very good coach, but the emphasis is on was. It's over. "Eff you, try to stop us, oops you did let's punt" is over. Ohio State has raised. Picking Ferentz is, essentially, folding.
Better than Debord? YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES