this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Last week, there was a thread about an alleged “MGoBubble” (thread ref)- and that led to a side discussion about the perceived level of support for Rich Rodriguez among various groups of people. In my quest to find some real data (rather than forum posts or polls on Detnews), I came across an organization called Public Policy Polling that conducts state-level polls about voter perceptions of political candidates. In May of 2010, they included questions about Rich Rodriguez for their Michigan poll. They repeated those questions in their Michigan poll this past week. The results, both from May and from December, are very interesting and may be surprising to some.
First of all, the usual caveats:
- I am not affiliated in any way with Public Policy Polling (site)
- I am not advocating one way or another anything about “CC” - I am trying to bring some accurate data (and new information) into the discussion
- The survey does not go very deep - it simply asks some basic questions about favorable or unfavorable opinions about RR, and about allowing RR to continue or having him replaced
- The survey does not claim to be representative of any particular subgroup other than the categories it specifically asks about. In other words, this poll is not representative of the UofM student body, nor of alumni. nor of former players, etc. It is representative of registered voters in Michigan who identify themselves as UofM fans, and of those fans as broken down by political ideology, party affiliation, age, ethnicity, and gender.
- The May Michigan survey was conducted May 25-27, polled 890 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% (source)
- The December Michigan survey was conducted December 3-6, polled 1224 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8% (source)
- One of the questions specifically asks whether the respondent is a fan of UofM, MSU, or neither. The questions about RR were only asked to those who identified themselves as UofM fans. This also means that the margin of error for questions about RR is higher, because the sample size is smaller.
May 2010 Results
First of all, let’s look at the May results, after a 3-9 and 5-7 season, and concurrent with the announcement by Michigan of the self-imposed penalties for the NCAA violations (UofM announced those penalties on May 25).
1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Rich Rodriguez? Based on the May results, it appears that there is a small group of people (20%) who had a favorable view of RR, and a slightly larger but still fairly small group of people (26%) who had an unfavorable view of RR. The majority (54%) were unsure.
The polling organization noted that this is a low favorable rating for one’s own coach. They compared it to the favorable rating that North Carolina fans have for their arch-rival Duke’s basketball coach (46%). For RR to have such a low favorable rating from his own fan base is “exceptionally bad,” according to the polling organization. (source)
2. Would you like to see Rich Rodriguez continue to be Michigan’s football coach this season or would you like to see him replaced? This is a very interesting result - a majority (51%) of people wanted RR to continue for the 2010 season, which implies that a majority of Michigan fans who were “Not sure” of their opinion on RR still wanted him to be the coach. In fact, there was a smaller percentage of fans who wanted him replaced (20%) than who had an unfavorable opinion of him (26%), which implies that even some of his detractors either wanted him to continue as coach this year or were unsure.
Digging a little bit deeper, although this poll doesn’t say anything specifically about UofM students, alumni, current players, or former players, it is possible to address whether age has anything to do with one’s positions on RR. A claim that I have heard on this blog is that RR’s detractors are probably older fans who are more comfortable with traditional power football, and not inclined to support a coach who brings a modern offensive philosophy to the table. In fact, this data appears to show just the opposite - the older the fan, the stronger the support for RR in May. It is the group of fans in the youngest category (18-29) who are the most polarized and who have the strongest negative views on RR.
Why is that? One possible explanation is that the idea of keeping something the same or making a change may be related to one’s political ideology - and that as of May 2010, having RR as the coach was already seen as the status quo. Assuming (the polling organization didn’t publish this specific data) that older fans tend to be conservative, and further assuming that conservatives prefer to keep the status quo, that might partially explain why older fans preferred to keep RR as coach back in May. In that sense, one could argue (although the data doesn’t necessarily say this) that RR was already accepted by those older fans as “a Michigan man” in the sense that his status as football coach was seen as the status quo.
One final interesting result from the May survey. There does appear to be a significant divide in support for RR based on ethnicity. The polling organization didn’t put forward any possible explanation for this ethnicity gap, and I honestly can’t come up with a rationale myself. It is what it is.
A lot has happened in Michigan since May, both in football and in politics. Michigan elected a Republican governor by a large majority, and the UofM football team experienced a winning season under Coach Rodriguez, but suffered double-digit losses to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and OSU.
So how did the events of the past 6 months affect RR’s favorable rating among UofM fans?
There remains a small core of people (20%, just as in May) who continue to have a favorable opinion of RR, while the group that has an unfavorable opinion has increased (from 26% in May to 38% in December), apparently almost completely from the “Not sure” camp in May (down from 54% in May to 42% in December). The surprising result, for me, is that the largest group (42%) is still “Not sure” about their opinion of RR.
Given that many “Not sure” fans in May still wanted RR to continue, and even some of the fans who viewed RR unfavorably in May didn't necessarily want him replaced, do fans want RR to continue as they look forward to 2011?
Again, there has been a shift in opinion away from a majority of people who wanted RR to continue back in May, to a statistically even split among those who want him to continue (32%), those who want him replaced (35%), and those who are unsure (33%). As in May, there may be some people who have an unfavorable view of RR but do not necessarily want him replaced (38% v. 35%).
Attempting to tease out where those unsure of their opinion of RR stand with respect to having him keep his job, I made a couple of admittedly invalid assumptions:
- All those who want RR to continue have a favorable opinion of him
- The difference between the larger group of those who want RR to continue v. the smaller group of those who have a favorable opinion of him consist completely of those who are unsure of their opinion of him. In other words, if 20% have a favorable opinion, but 32% want him to continue being the coach, that extra 12% of people who want to keep RR is coming from those who are unsure of their opinion of him.
Not sure of their opinion of RR but want him to continue
Again, this is probably a stretch in terms of interpreting the published data, but it appears that RR’s support for keeping his job among “neutral” UofM fans has eroded significantly.
Digging a little deeper, the May results suggested that the youngest fans (18-29) were the most strongly divided and had the highest percentage of people wanting to replace RR. By contrast, the oldest fans (65+) wanted to keep RR back in May, by a large margin. Has this age profile of support for RR changed in December?
This is a significant change. Not only has RR’s overall support eroded, his support among the “blue hairs” has completely flipped, where more of the oldest respondents (65+) want him replaced than want to keep him.
Respondents age 65+
What about the youngest respondents, who were the most divided back in May? It appears that they are now very unsure of whether they want RR to continue being Michigan's coach.
Respondents age 18-29
What about political ideology? Do even conservative fans, who theoretically would prefer to keep the status quo, still want to keep RR in his position?
Again, this shows almost a complete inversion of the results in May. Back in May, liberals tended to want to replace RR while conservatives tended to want to keep him; now in December, it’s the opposite.
And for the sake of completion, do we still see a dramatic gap in support for RR based on ethnicity?
Although there is still an ethnicity gap, it has narrowed significantly to the point where it appears that one either wants RR to continue, to be replaced, or is unsure - regardless of one’s ethnicity.
Finally, one additional question was asked in the December poll, about who the respondents would like to see as a replacement. No surprise about who leads the pack, but I should point out that Brady Hoke is running a distant third, behind even an “unnamed” candidate.
I’ll be the first to say that it is dangerous, even maliciously deceptive, to extrapolate into the future using data that is not intended to be used that way. So I believe it would be inappropriate to say anything like, “if current trends continue...”, or “another season like this one would probably result in favorable ratings of...”, or “if we lose to MSU and OSU again next year, the percentage of fans who would want to keep RR would probably be...” The data makes no claim to predict the future - it is simply 2 snapshots in time that reveal how opinions have changed since May.
I hope this diary qualifies as “bringing new information” to the table, and also brings forward some reasonably accurate opinion survey data that we can talk about, rather than statements made in a vacuum claiming that “98% of former M football players still alive despise RR” or the idea that “players that played 40-70 years ago...are not a fan of the spread offense...” (thread ref)
Game 2: Random Notes:
- #4 Safety looks like he doesn't get off blocks well, could be some opportunity there. not a lot of speed for a safety.
- Relf doesn't like to pitch when running the option left.
- concerted effort to get bumphis the ball in a variety of ways, doesn't matter much since he's injured, but it shows the OC's thinking and willingness to adjust plays to players.
- funky punt formation, left tackle was split out to the wide side, extra linemen was on the boundary side.?? looks like they're setting up some kind of fake. the kicker doesn't seem to be kicking it to the right, so there's something else going on.
- Auburn's #90 DT looks real good, beating double teams. hopefully a healthy mike martin can replicate those kinds of plays.
- Their option series of plays looks deadly. especially PA off of it.
- down 17-7, get a TD to open the 3rd quarter to trail by 17-14 and execute the perfect surprise onside kick. Absolutely the correct game theory call. at that point in the game, coaches are crunching data and thinking about adjustments. great call.
- but then they go 3 and out on 3 inaccurate passes.
- ugh, this does not help my confidence about this game.
It's been a couple months. Time for another off-season lacrosse update, right?
The Wolverines played in a pair of Fall Ball scrimmages this year, one against MCLA D2 squad Grand Valley State, and one against NCAA D3 Denison. The Wolverines beat GVSU 16-10 in the first scrimmage (pictured at right, with your humble blogger lurking in the background). They jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Grand Valley got on the board, and led by as many as seven goals in the contest. Coach Paul was not pleased:
“You go into a fall-ball scrimmage just wanting to get a clear sense of where you really stand on things and I think we got that tonight. We’re in a horrible place right now, but that’s a combination of a lot of things.
One of the bigger stories from the game was Grand Valley's Cam Holding, who scored 5 goals and assisted on 3 more. It's unclear whether he'll be eligible to play for the Lakers in the spring, but if so, MCLA's second division had better watch out.
In the second scrimmage, against varsity D3 squad Denison, the Wolverines fell by a 15-7 count in six informal quarters. Coach Paul's post-game comments seem to indicate that the Wolverines are lacking in chemistry with the departures from last year's squad:
“I think we’re behind where we’ve been in the past couple of years, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re playing so many different guys this year, especially at midfield. We’ve switched coaching spots, and we’re having the guys do a lot of different stuff in terms of technique, so I think it’s just a matter of time. Right now, we just don’t have that sort of chemistry yet.
It's a much younger team than it has been the past couple years, but hopefully they'll be able to iron everything out by the time the regular season kicks off in February.
In the final action of the fall, the West squad prevailed over the East 11-10 as junior Austin Swaney tallied the winning goal with no time left on the clock. Alas, I was unable to attend the game, so I can't provide any analysis of the result.
The team will return to practice after New Year's, and kick off the season with a scrimmage against Bellarmine on January 29th.
The Varsity Push
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon was recently interviewed in Crain's Detroit Business, talking about what he plans to do in his time as the leader of the AD. This snippet in particular doesn't sound very encouraging:
He has no plans to add sports or new facilities... but instead will look at things such as value-added ticketing and improved concessions.
No means no, right? Well something else happened to catch my eye:
Branding is just one aspect of Brandon's overhaul of the $105 million athletics program that has 749 student-athletes in 27 sports and about 250 employees.
I could have sworn that Michigan currently only offers 25 varsity sports... and a rudimentary check of MGoBlue.com seems to confirm that. So what does it mean? Well...
Director of Operations Joe Hennessey and Coach Paul have started podcasting, and the first two episodes are available on Lacrosse-Radio.com. Podcast 1 talks at length about the ongoing varsity push from the program. Relevant portion 1:
Our other goal this year is to put us in position to be the next varsity team at Michigan. And we're really excited that we think we have a pretty strong opportunity to make that happen, and this is kind of the pivotal year right now. Our Athletic Director has made clear that he's in support of that agenda and wants to see this team do certain things that he's asked them to do.
When Hennessey asks Coach Paul if going varsity has always been the goal for the program, the answer has another interesting snippet:
I think it's always been in the back of our minds, we just had to have the perfect storm of things come together. And you know knock wood, we think those things are coming together right now. We hope they are.
MgoReader seniorbearcat reports that Brandon said D-1 lacrosse is on the way for men and women, which seems to confirm all the circumstantial evidence. Inside Lacrosse even picked up the post, and Brandon gave a bunch of non-commital quotes, including that he's "very interested" in adding lacrosse. He also says the AD is in "investigation mode," but the numbers were crunched by the time a formal proposal was presented to him, so that sounds like a delay tactic.
Altogether, it sounds like varsity lacrosse is on the way. As far as timeline, I would guess a spring/summer announcement is most likely, with the squad first suiting up for the 2013 season in a couple years. I don't want to spend too much time on one section of the update, so I'll end here, but there's a lot more to talk about if true, so I'll devote a post to it in the near future. Feel free to discuss in the comments, of course.
MCLAMag.com released their All-Decade team, and one former Wolverine made the cut, along with a current member of the team. Brekan Kohlitz (pictured at right), Michigan's faceoff specialist from 2005-08 and the first-ever MCLA player to be drafted by Major League Lacrosse, was one of the honored players. He'll play for the National Lacrosse League's Washington Stealth this winter.
The other honoree hasn't even finished his career in maize-and-blue yet, as Harrison Freid's 3 All-American seasons were enough to land him on the All-Decade squad. The team captain will look to earn his third-straight First-Team All-American honor this spring, after being a third-teamer as a freshman.
Elsewhere in honors, All-MCLA preseason teams haven't come out yet (that I'm aware of), but expect them to be littered with Wolverines. Freid and attackman Trevor Yealy were first-team All-American postseason selections last year, with long-stick midfielder Matt Asperheim and goalie Mark Stone getting third-team and honorable mention distinction, respectively. Expect even more guys on the All-Conference teams, as the postseason list last year was even more heavily Michigan-focused.
The official site breaks down the 2011 schedule in slightly more depth than I have so far. A more comprehensive preview forthcoming in this space as the season approaches, of course.
Podcast 2 breaks down the current roster with Coach Paul, and is required listening for anyone who wants to be primed for what they should be watching for once the team hits the field again. The third edition features defensive coordinator Ken Broschart (formerly the offensive coordinator) discussing the personnel under his charge.
First-year Wolverine Pat Stansik (a transfer who played Division-1 lacrosse at Bucknell for a couple years) blogs for Inside Lacrosse, and also let me know he has been posting Michigan Lacrosse video blogs on his Youtube channel:
This will be the home of the list of visitors for the Big Chill this weekend. As always, it will grow and shrink as I confirm some names. Here's who I have so far.
- IL OL Chris Bryant - Likely won't make a decision on this trip, although it's not out of the question. He has a few concerns with the coaching situation, and isn't sure when he wants to make his final decision.
- MI DE Anthony Zettel - He will wait to make his decision likely until after Michigan makes theirs about the coaching situation.
- MI LB Desmond Morgan - This may be his final visit before he decides. He has interest in Northwestern too, so they could get another visit. I wouldn't be surprised to see him make his decision shortly after this visit.
- Commit OH OL Jack Miller
- Commit MI OL Jake Fisher
- Commit OH DL Chris Rock
- 2012 MI DT Danny O'Brien
- 2012 MI DL Matt Godin
Names have been moving on and off this list, so I'll keep updating as I hear more. If you have heard any names you would like me to confirm go ahead and throw them out there. I will try to confirm or deny them as fast as I can. This should be a pretty cool event for the recruits to attend, and I know they're all excited for it.
Sorry, no pics yet.
My plan is to watch all the games available in order and put up a post with notes on each game, and then do a big picture pages summary of their offensive and defensive systems.
So this post will just be some random notes from the game as I think of them. But since this is the first diary on them, I'll also include some general first impressions.
- #14 Relf is the starter at QB and looks like a DE. Doesn't quite have the running skill of Cam Newton, but he has the same size and a pretty decent arm. Not the strongest arm, but he puts good touch on mid range seams. He likes to roll to his right and will hold the ball longer than he should. Can run the option.
- #17 Russell. QB More of a pocket passer, much smaller, but he "looks like a QB". Excellent at throwing PA post.
- #27 Perkins RB Likes to bounce it outside. Good acceleration, not world class top end speed.
- #28 Ballard RB, More of a straight ahead runner. Looked real good on iso and dive plays.
- #50 MLB. White, Not the most athletic guy but looks smart in the middle.
- #15 DB, got a nice interception on an agressive cut on the comeback route. Might be susceptible to double moves.
- Mostly ran 3 down linemen on D.
- Linebackers like to fake blitz on passing downs by aligning between the DL and bailing out.
- Ran out to a 21-0 halftime lead that coulda been 35-0 if not for first game miscues, but Memphis was 1-11 so take it with a grain of salt.
- I previously said that their offense looks like ours, but actually they run a much more diverse variety of formations and personell. They like to go 5 wide in long passing downs, can run basic I formation and have a whole series of plays from that. Most of the game was in shotgun, but I've seen them run some single wing (can't remember if it was this game or another).
- The cowbells are loud and obnoxious and definitely do not stop at the snap of the ball. memphis was really affected by the noise. Think vuvuzela loud.
- #1 Bumphis is their speed threat, but I heard he's not playing in the bowl game.
- ESPN U coverage sucked and Tony Dungy might have been a great coach but he's not much of an announcer.
- Isn't the Georgia mascot a bulldog? hurrah for original mascots. /sarcasm.
- Oh, didn't know that Mullen was florida's OC with Tim (I touch filipino boys' penises) Tebow. That explains a lot, like the shotgun power QB iso on the goaline.
- #93, DL looks like a good wide body guy. looks like he's got some talent in short yardage situations.
- 49-0 with 11 minutes to go and the backups are coming in. But Memphis got blown out by any team with a pulse. Like 56-0 against Louisville and 50-14 to Tennessee, both those teams finished 6-6.
- Now I know why I think Gerg should be fired. He's just not young and firey. D-coordinators at the college level usually have a lot of fire and brimstone. Miss. State's DC has the look of a guy on the rise. I think Gerg is a liability in recruiting just because of his age and personality. JMHO.
- One thing that I think a lot of people miss is that when the scrubs come in, you really get to see what the "Base" plays are. Simply because they're not very good or don't know the entire playbook. Although sometimes they run stuff they picked up from being the scout team for the week.
- #10 Looks a bit thin for an OLB but looks like a solid tackler.
CALLING ALL MGOCITIZENS:
Donate and Sustain MGoBlog
(Disclaimer: This thread was invented and created by profitgoblue alone, with no prompting from Brian, Tim, Tom, or any other "officer" of MGoBlog. I post this thread as a concerned member of the MGoCommunity, one MGoPerson wanting to preserve the content that I hold so dear. Again, no one "put" me up to posting this thread and I am not affiliated in any way with Brian and/or Tim, other than being a faithful follower of his work product.)
Imagine a blustery winter night, deep in an evergreen wood somewhere in Northern Michigan. The wind is whipping through the trees, blowing snow against the walls of a small log cabin. The temperature dropped well below freezing hours ago, yet a dim light emanates from one of the small cabin windows.
Inside, an unkempt (no offense!) young man sits in a far corner of the one-room cabin. The only light comes from a small kerosene lamp hanging from a rafter and the glow from the monitor of an outdated laptop computer. The man's wife twitters around the room in her worn slippers, tidying up and preparing for sleep while the man types and types on his laptop until his fingers can type no more.
It didn't used to be like this. The young man once lived in a nice apartment with his then-fiancée. He was the talk of the blogosphere and adored by thousands of Michigan fans. But alas, just as all good things come to an end, so too did this existence. The man, unable to sustain his trade without outside help, was forced to cut back and cut back until there was nothing left to cut. Defaults on rent payments, credit card obligations, student loans, and utility bills forced him into seclusion and a life of solitude, removed from society. On the brink of complete collapse, the man is moments away from agreeing to sign his one last prize away . . . The man is about to sell the rights to his website to the Detroit Media Partnership - the agency that oversees the operations of the Detroit Free Press - in order to avoid losing his log cabin and the rest of his life as he knows it . . . NO!!
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO END LIKE THIS!
JOIN ME IN THE FIGHT TO PREVENT THIS OUTCOME!
How many of you have thought to yourselves, "self, if I ever meet Brian or Tim or Tom, I'm going to buy them a drink"? How many of you have decided that if you ever run into either you'll buy them two drinks? Three drinks? A keg? That thought has crossed my mind several times recently, most often while reading UFRs and learning something new about the Denard-led spread offense. But, alas, I resigned myself to accepting that I will likely never be in their physical presence. But that does not mean I cannot have a personal impact on Brian, Tim, Tom, and MGoBlog!
Yesterday, while sitting here at my desk, avoiding work to the best of my abilities, I had an epiphany in the form of a post by VideoTom. See http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/tomvh-quick-chris-bryant-update#comment-821293). And I said to myself, "EUREKA! That's it! I'll buy Brian, Tim, Tom, and MGoBlog.com a virtual drink and donate to the MGoHumanFund!"
One click on the "Beveled Guilt - Make a Donation" button (located in the upper right of MGoBlog.com) . . .
a few more clicks in PayPal . . .
and it was done. Imagine my immense feeling of satisfaction? It can be yours too!
Join me in the good fight to keep our beloved Brian, Tim, and Tom in our employ for the foreseeable future! Below is a guide for those who might not be sure how to proceed:
- High schoolers: You're too young to drink. (Damn kids.)
- Undergrad students: Buy Brian/Tim one drink ($5).
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Because, really, how can you say no to a needy face like this???