"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Today's "snow armageddon" in the southeast got me to thinking . . .
For those of you that live in the south, y'all know what kind of reaction there is to a predicted snow storm. For those in the north, a snow storm is an everyday occurrence and you probably laugh hysterically at the reaction of southerners. (Yes, all of the bread and toilet paper in the local Target here was gone by early evening yesterday in preparation for the 4-8 inches of snow predicted).
On my enjoyable drive into work this morning, with the roads to myself, I started comparing the physical and emotional reactions of people to approaching wintry weather compared to the reaction to coaching changes across the country. As the analysis evolved, it became pretty entertaining and I wanted to share in case you are entertained as well. What I've tried to do is match the reactions to snow storms based on geographic location to the reactions of a fan base to a coaching change at a particular school. Here's some categories I've created - please feel free to add more that you believe are pertinent, especially for schools/locations that are less extreme examples that the ones I chose:
Snow in Georgia = Coaching Change at Michigan: I think this fits. Those of you in Georgia (Atlanta, in particular) that deal with approaching snow storms know how drastically people freak out when even a hint of snow is forecasted. I think this is how the coaching change/search has gone with Michigan fans:
Everyone that freaked out about a change are analogous to southerners living in Georgia that are not used to the snow. Those that did not want a coaching change were aware that a change could occur but were emotionally unprepared and started freaking out when it became a foregone conclusion (equivalent to southerners flocking to the grocery store to get milk and bread).
Everyone that welcomed the change are analogous to northerners living in Georgia that feel comfortable in anticipation of a snow storm. Those that welcomed the coaching change believed it would be "all good" and did not worry. However, once the change came they quickly realized that they were not prepared for the fallout and became extremely nervous and began expressing their reservations. For example, Atlanteans (?) realized that getting to work from the suburbs was almost an impossible exercise, just as the coaching change at Michigan has frustrated many to the point of trying to remove themselves emotionally.
[You could probably substitute several schools here including, but not limited to, Florida(?) and USC(?)]
Snow in Michigan = Coaching Change at Eastern Michigan: You could substitute a number of schools here but I thought Eastern was the most fun. Everyone that lives in or has driven regularly in Michigan knows that snow in that state is a regular occurrence and almost all but disregarded. (As an aside, I can remember being in school up there in 1993, probably the worst winter I've experienced, and classes went on as usual. I remember walking to the Frieze Building in a -60 degree wind-chill for my 8am calculus class. And I also remember commuting to work on roads covered in ice with people driving at least the speed limit, seemingly oblivious to the ice.)
I imagine this to be the same for die-hard fans of Eastern Michigan football (are there any???). They basically expect a coaching change every 2-3 years as part of the game. Just as players graduate and new players must be recruited, so do coaches at schools like Eastern.
[Other analogous schools = Minnesota(?), Washington(?)]
Snow in Florida = Coaching Change at Penn State: This one is the most enjoyable to discuss . . . Everyone in Florida knows that it could, one day, snow there. Every Penn State fan understands that, some day, Joe Paterno will retire, be fired, or pass away on the job. Nevertheless, each year that goes by where neither happens leaves Florida residents less prepared just as it leaves Penn State fans unprepared for a change. In particular, every year, Penn State's coveted assistants get wooed by other schools (e.g. Bradley) and Penn State fans freak out that their coach-in-waiting is going to be gone. When the time actually comes, if ever, its going to be very entertaining to watch.
Snow in Canada = Coaching Change at Notre Dame: Per jHackney. Self-explanatory.
First thing's first, I think I did a pretty thorough job, but if you think any of my numbers need to be corrected, just say so in the comments. This can be a group effort.
One of the most common objections heard from Michigan fans with respect to the potential hiring of Les Miles is that he's demonstrated a penchant for oversigning. ESPN's Outside the Lines produced a segment about a month ago widely linked to on this board highlighting LSU's use of this practice under Miles. If it matters to you my take is that it's abhorrent that a head coach making a multimillion dollar salary and with tremendous institutional backing could go into some poor kid's home and sell the promise of a college degree and then spit the kid out when he becomes expendable. I would hate seeing someone who'd do that become the head coach at my alma mater both for the sake of the kids he'd recruit and for the fact that he'd be the most public face of my school. Game theory be damned.
I got into an argument with psychomatt earlier about whether LSU was set to oversign again this year. I cited http://www.oversigning.com which says LSU currently has 8 more commits than it will have a place for. Psychomatt disputed these numbers. So, fair enough. Let's take a closer look.
As chronicled by the OTL report LSU trimmed down right before fall camp to get down to 85 scholarship players to start the year. Since, one player was dismissed from the team and none have transferred. The player dismissed was fullback Dominique Allen. He had a scholarship, was dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and Miles noted interestingly at the press conference that walk on James Stampley was clearly the number 1 fullback anyway.
That gets us down to 84.
Now, to the roster analysis:
There are 9 outgoing scholarship seniors. They are: Terrence Tolliver, Lezerius Levingston, Josh Jasper, Derek Helton, Richard Murphy, Jai Eugene, Joseph Barksdale, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis.
All other seniors on LSUs website are either expressly denoted as walk ons or have completely blank bio pages and no varsity letters. Exception: Dan Graff, listed as a player-coach (?!) who joined the team as a sophomore walk on. I'm confident in counting on him still being a walk on.
Potential 5th year candidates
- Josh Dworaczyk- has started every game for them at left guard this year. Will almost certainly return.
- Will Blackwell- was the starter at the beginning of the year at right guard before injuring his ankle. He recovered to play in the final 3 games. Probably back.
- T-Bob Hebert- took over Blackwell's starting job when he went down and spent the previous year starting at center. As a multi year starter he'll be welcomed back.
- Stevan Ridley- LSU's top back this year getting 249 carries and 1,147 yards. If he wants to come back he can. And he probably will come back at least according to where he's currently projected to go in the draft and to general message board scuttlebutt.
- Stefoin Francois- Started every game at linebacker, will be welcomed back. Not thought to be a draft risk.
- Ron Brooks- backup cornerback/strong safety and contributor on special teams. Played all 12 games, but started none. Put up decent numbers, though, 28 tackles 5 tfls and 3 PBUs. With Peterson leaving on the one hand and the number crunch on the other let's give him a 50-50 chance of being back.
- Jarrett Lee- 2nd string qb. It might be conceivable they'd let him go, but because Miles in his infinite wisdom, put Russell Shepard at wide receiver (seriously if he comes RIP Dilithium), their current 3rd string option is a freshman walk on. Zac Mettenberger (highly touted Georgia castoff) is about to come aboard though. But still, who likes having a redshirt freshman walk on as your 3rd string? Lee's getting invited back.
- Jordan Jefferson- Starting qb. He's welcome back.
- Patrick Peterson- Thorpe winner. All world cb. NFL. Gone.
- Alex Russian- Cone like tight end turned backup snapper. It's a wonder he isn't gone already.
- Mitch Joseph- in LSU's 3 man tight end rotation. Started 4 games this year. Let's say it's 50-50.
Only case with any ambiguity is Dennis Johnson, but after going through message board stuff I'm 90% sure he's a walk on.
So giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves let's count the maybes as both out. So in total we'll say that's 4 RS juniors not coming back. Obviously that +9 seniors +1 free schollie = 14.
Potential 3rd year draft entrants
I couldn't find any 3rd year guys LSU fans seem worried about losing early to the draft. Correct me if I'm wrong.
As Brian explained here , outside Alabama, medical hardships aren't very common. In fact, between 2008 and 2010 SEC schools that don't love houndstooth on average gave out slightly more than one each.
Recruits who fail to enroll
LSU currently has 21 commitments and is still in on some prospects. Let's hypothesize they don't gain or lose any commits between now and signing day, although it's probably more likely they gain. From 2005-2010 (Les' tenure) LSU has signed 144 players of whom 135 qualified academically and enrolled.* That makes for a 93.75% matriculation rate. Obviously using this rate to project into the future has its limitations, Miles might have changed his recruiting philosophy and taken on more high risk kids this year, but given how much he oversigned by last year and that 28 of the 29 in that class enrolled, I doubt a huge variation is likely this year. Anyway, using that figure we can project that 1 player not qualifying is the most likely outcome, having 2 not qualify is the second most likely outcome and having none fail to qualify the 3rd most likely outcome. Let's go with taking one out since it's the most likely statistically and they might end up with more commitments anyway.
You don't really need me for this, it's simple math. But giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves this is what we get 84 - 9 - 4 + 20 = 91. Miles is looking at being 6 above the limit right now.
Is this really a big deal?
I can hear people say it now: But, but, that's not accounting for players who choose to transfer voluntarily or make boneheaded decisions in the offseason and get kicked out justifiably!
To reply: Yes
Any oversigning analysis shouldn't account for that. For a coach to take a kid's signature, or even a commitment, when he doesn't have a spot for him is fundamentally wrong. Even if he thinks it's more likely than not that the spot he needs will free up in time, he promised a player much younger than him, usually much poorer and less powerful the opportunity to get a degree and play the sport he loves and by accepting that signature or commitment he doesn't have a spot for he's putting that at risk. It's grossly reckless and highly irresponsible. No institution of higher learning should be associated with it. And really, if a football program ends up a few scholarship players short is it the worst thing in the world? Those scholarships would instead go to deserving walk ons. And what's wrong with that?
This is the man I want as our next football coach:
Or maybe even this guy:
Now don't get me wrong, in no way am I advocating genocide, the atocities they caused, or the innocent people they killed. I'm just saying that I want the next head coach to be crazy. Like completely batshit crazy. I want a paranoid schizophrenic that thinks the alumni and fans are out to get them from day one. Because, simply put, for whoever coaches here that isn't named Jim Harbaugh, they will be. I want someone that has their finger on the button and doesn't give two shits what the rest of the world thinks, they'll start WWIII just for kicks. The uncertainty as to their next move will keep opponents afraid and on their heels, and we will move in and attack the jugular.
If that kind of crazy comes in the form of the Mad Hatter, grass eating, voodoo practicing Les Miles, so be it. Do what you have to do, and bring the witch doctor with you from the Bayou. But man that voodoo better be strong when he shows up in Ann Arbor. If it comes in the form of the Mad Scientist, lock players in dark enclosed spaces and lose your job Mike Leach, I'm fine with that too. If it comes in the form of practicing at unheard tempos to DJ'd music and other distractions so that you melt the brains of opposing teams come game time a'la Chip Kelly, even better.
I want someone who doesn't give a damn about the possibility of losing their job. I want someone who will pull out all the stops, throw in trick plays out to wazoo, like lining up offensive linemen as WR, fake punts, going for it on 4th and 3, statue of libery plays, and anything their wild minds can devise. I want someone with nothing to lose.
(Insert cheap cliche' line about dog in backed into corner being dangerous) I don't want that dog simply to be dangerous. I want that dog to be fucking rabid. I want to strike fear into the hearts of teams that oppose us. Uncertainty will be the weapon we use from here on out. Fear will keep the Big Ten in line, fear of our football program.
We have come to the winter of our discontent. We are headless as a program, in shambles by means of personnel, and facing a mass recruiting exodus the likes of which haven't been seen before, and looking a decade of straight losses to those-who-must-not-be-named to the south.
Alas, yet we are Michigan. We survived The Horror to defeat the defending National Champions and their golden boy Heisman trophy winner. We overcame a 19 point deficit at halftime to then-ranked number 9 Wisconsin to emerge victorious in the 500th game in the Big House. We retained the Brown Jug. We are Michigan, and we will rise once again. The only ones who can defeat us is ourselves. Perhaps a scene from one of the greatest movies of all time says it best:
"What, over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!"
"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"
-"Germans?" -"Forget it he's rolling"
"And it ain't over now!"
'Cause when the going gets tough...
(Patriotic instrumental music)
the tough get going! Who's with me?
Let's go! Come on!
(Tense instrumental music)
What the fuck happened to the Michigan l used to know?
Where's the spirit?
Where's the guts?
This could be the greatest night of our lives...
but you're gonna let it be the worst.
"We're afraid to go with you, DB. We might get in trouble."
(Shouting) Just kiss my ass from now on.
Not me! l won't take this! Tressel is a dead man!
-Dantonio: dead! Paterno---Dead.
DB's right. Psychotic...but absolutely right.
We got to take these bastards.
We could fight them with conventional weapons.
That could take years...cost millions of lives.
In this case...
I think we have to go all out.
I think this situation absolutely requires...
a really futile and stupid gesture...
be done on somebody's part.
We're just the guys to do it.
Let's do it.
Let's do it!
Go! Go! Go!
We all need to run screaming out of that house, build our death machine behind whoever steps up to lead this really futile and stupid gesture, and take the fight back to the field. We are Michigan. HAIL
Well, here we are: Day 5 of the national Coaching Search and nary a coach in site. Emotions have run high, beer and liquor supplies have run low, and livers have become cirrhosised (no, that’s not a real word, but whatever). However, I feel that as a fanbase we have been fairly cool, calm, and collect…okay, I’m just kidding. We’ve been acting like starving hyenas snapping at any and every scrap of information that comes our way like it’s a piece of meat.
Regardless, we all have opinions and we need to respect those opinions, even if we don’t necessarily support or agree with them. We are all in this tight spot together as fans, and while we’re all hoping that our own “Coach X” gets hired, we all need to understand something: we are all Michigan fans, and we NEED to support this team, this program, especially whomever the new coach happens to be [yes, even if it’s Brady Hoke].
Now, since everyone and their grandma’s gardener has an opinion about how Brandon is doing with this Coach Search or whatever (and it was requested by bklein09), I conducted a quick survey to gauge the feelings and opinions of the average MGoBlogger (which, I’m sure we’ll all agree, is FAR from average). Please to be enjoying the results!
[NOTE: There were a total of 263 responses for this survey, and no demographics were taken. Also, the chance that this survey is accurately representative of…ANYHTING are slimmer than our chances of getting Jim Harbaugh. Too soon?]
Question 1: Who is your current top coaching candidate for the University of Michigan?
Now it appears that the majority of the board wants Chuckie to be our coach, but everybody’s favorite Horned Frog, Gary Patterson is a not-too-distant second place. Les Miles’ sleaziness and potential propensity for rapin’ e’erbody out here may have held him back to a respectable (?) third. I will admit that I regret not being able to represent more potential coordinator candidates, but I didn’t want this pie to look like it was being shared at the Duggar’s house…
Anyway, there was an "Other" category and write-ins were welcome. A few weren't very realistic (Jim Harbaugh, Lloyd Carr), and a few were some guy named Rich Rodrigues. Others included Bo Pelini, Bo Schembechler (frowny face) and Mayor McCheese (that was me). That's about it. Take it FWIW.
Question 2: With Harbaugh off the board, should DB have fired RR?
Okay, I’m not gonna lie: I was shocked to see that 50% of MGoBloggers were opposed to firing RR with Harbaugh off the board, especially given the possibilities we may or may not probably have (or don’t) with LesGrudenHoke. However, it seems that the vast majority of people will be extremely pissed about the RR firing should we fail to land a “Big Name” coach, and since the definition of “Big Name” differs from person to person, this means jack-squat. Regardless, it appears that the majority of folks had this as their short list before the firing [in no particular order]:
1) Jim Harbaugh
2) RichRod with a new DC
Ladies and gentlemen, this is just another confirmation that life isn’t fair. Still, a quarter of you were not pleased at all with RR and wanted him gone no matter what, and if I’m correct in remembering, that number decreased from the December survey posted in December (redundant). However, that could be due to the meteoric crater known as the Coach Search. #takeitwithagrainofsalt
Question 3: Before the Coach Search, were you in favor of a RR firing?
Well, after seeing Q2, these results shouldn’t be too shocking. They’re pretty self-explanatory, and it’s interesting to note the changes from the almost 33/33/33 split seen in the December survey. It looks like those “Undecided” folks shifted camps, mostly to the “No” side of the fence. Again, Coach Search is a powerful force. Moving on!
Question 4: When should RR have been fired?
I’ll just state the obvious: NOBODY thought that RR should have been fired later than it was done by Brandon. Also, it should be noted that about 83% of bloggers feel that they would have chosen a different time to fire RR than Brandon. Maybe we should all band together and fill out a collective application when the next AD is being hired. As seen in the last 2 questions, people were not ready to let RR go (either at all or only if we couldn’t get JH), so the fact that 46% of respondents thought that RR shouldn’t have been fired this year is no shocker.
There is also a strong contingency that thought RR should have been fired after the regular season, which is understandable given the current Coach Search, if not wholly influenced by hindsight. Still, it would be interesting to see how things would be now had we fired RR after the OSU game and hired a new guy in December. Where’s that damn crystal ball?
Question 5: Should DB have fired RR without a replacement lined up?
Obvious results are obvious. Staring at them longer won’t make them change, just like how dwelling on the “what-if’s” and the “what-could-have-been’s” won’t change the spot we’re in (sorry, not trying to be preachy; I also have to tell myself this from time to time just to keep sane). Let's just agree to disagree with DB and keep chugging along.
Question 6: If you had known about the current Coach Search beforehand, would your opinion about firing RR have changed?
Okay, so the questions have gotten longer and the results have gotten..well, predictable. Still a third of the people would have preferred RR being fired despite the Coach Search, and about 44% of people would have still preferred to keep RR as the coach despite the Coach Search (very similar to 46% of people who weren’t in favor of a RR firing).
The interesting part is that the Coach Search seems to have swayed people more into the “Don’t Fire RR” camp from the “Fire” camp. Those that were Undecided before the DOOM-Kitty-Coaching-Apocalypse seem to have been pissed off so much (or saddened beyond belief) by recent events that they would have preferred to have avoided the whole thing altogether. Oh, and there was actually ONE person who changed their opinion from “Don’t Fire” to “Fire”, so if you see that person, kindly ask them “What’s your DEAL?!”
[NOTE: 8% of you need to get an opinion, seriously. These are scary times in which to be complacent.]
Question 7: How do you feel about DB's handling of the current Coach Search?
Being a GSI, I get this kind of question answered about me all the times, so I figured it was Dave Brandon’s turn. You’re all smart and I don’t need to spell it out for you, but then again, that would make for a boring diary. Sadly[?], only 20% of MGoFans approve of DB’s handling of the Coaching Circus, whereas more than double of you feel that DB is not handling this whole situation in a favorable manner. Seeing that, I wish I would have asked a short answer question as to what you would have done to improve the situation (I keed, I keed!). Oh, and we have more than a third of you who are spineless and have no opinion (I’m taking “Neutral” to mean “No Opinion”, “Not Sure” and/or “Undecided”). Seriously, these are the times where it’s okay to have an opinion.
[Okay, maybe I’m being too harsh on our Swiss fans here. I guess I could see how “Neutral” could also mean “Wait and See” or “I Couldn’t Have Done A Better Job So I’ll STFU”. My apologies to our Neutral friends. If I’ve offended you, there will be an application you can fill out for reparations in the form of one of my MGoPoints.]
Question 8: Assuming we return all the players we would have had RR not been fired (not counting recruits), what do you anticipate our win total being in 2011?
And now we come to the longest and obligatory question based solely on gut feelings, maize-and-blue tinted glasses and the reading of entrails: projected win totals for next year. I tried my best to break the wins into fair categories. I personally feel that this team has a 100% chance of being .500 at least, so I decided to give a wider range to the lower half of possible win totals. After we got past the “bowl-eligible” threshold, I decided to go by two wins, just to give a little wiggle room. I also felt that we should consider a bowl game since, given all too real and recent events, those count…BIG! I personally don’t like to guess an actual number until AT LEAST 6 months before kickoff (or we have a coach…whichever comes first, I guess), so I also included the “Won’t Guess” option for those like me.
A significant amount of you (14%) prefer not to guess just yet, making you the most rational people in the Michigan fanbase (which is like being the least insane person in a mental ward, so…yea). The majority of you (54%) said that you expect 8-9 wins next year, which to me says that we’re expecting improvement but we aren’t ready to make that leap into OMGBIGTENCHAMPIONS win totals just yet (either that, or we’re assuming that a coachless team run by a junior Denard can get ‘er done, which would be interesting to see). Interestingly, 24% of you felt that the team would either not improve, or worsen in wins next year. I would be willing to bet money that the majority of that faction says 7 wins, but pessimism can be contagious.
Just to clarify on this question, people were obviously/hopefully assuming that everyone who was expected to return actually does return (Martin, Roundtree, Smith, Denard, Roh, Koger, GERG…wait, scratch that!), and there were no assumptions on recruits, so this data is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine (which, ironically, we all probably feel like we’re riding right about now). Still, it was fun to guess, and we need to show our Magic 8 Ball some love from time to time.
Well, there you have it folks. I hope you enjoyed taking the survey and viewing these results as much as I had making it and writing this Diary (it was awesome to have a weekend without homework, but that won't last long). Please don't take these results seriously because: a) it was made by me, b) it was made on the interwebz, and c) Michigan football fans took it, and we're more unstable than Sybil.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, try not to break your F5 button, and here's to a potential coach being announced in the coming week [PLEASE GOD!]. Go Blue!
I made sure I had the latest rankings from al three sites, so some numbers have moved a bit. Action since last rankings:
11-8-10 Penn State gains commitment from Shyquan Pullium.
1-2-11 Michigan loses commitment from Demetrius Hart. Purdue gains commitment from Marcus Caffey.
1-5-11 Minnesota gains commitment from Drew Goodger. Ohio State gains commitment from Doran Grant. Penn State gains commitment from Ryan Nowicki.
1-7-11 Illinois gains commitment from Donavonn Young. Minnesota loses commitment from Samuel Oyenuga.
1-8-10 Penn State gains commitments from Donovan Smith and Sam Ficken.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings are on the "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn 1 star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45, except JuCo players, who aren't included in the average).
The rankings now have more emphasis on number of commits in the class, as Signing Day is approaching. This means the overall rankings can change quite a bit week-to-week.
|#1 Ohio State - 20 Commits|
Buckeyes get long-awaited commit from Doran Grant.
|#2 Notre Dame - 19 Commits|
|George Atkinson III||S||CA||5.8||4||79|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Nebraska - 16 Commits|
No change for the Huskers.
|#4 Michigan State - 16 Commits|
No change for Sparty.
|#5 Wisconsin - 20 Commits|
|#6 Iowa - 19 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#7 Illinois - 26 Commits|
Illini grab Donavonn Young.
The class takes a huge hit with Demetrius Hart headed to 'Bama, and the bad news won't stop there unless the coaching situation is settled - and soon. Indications are also that Antonio Kinard will not be in this class, so I've removed him.
|#9 Penn State - 13 Commits|
Shyquan Pullium now has a full offer instead of a greyshirt, meaning he counts as a commit. Nittany Lions also pick up lineman Ryan Nowicki, kicker Sam Ficken and Army All-American lineman Donovan Smith. The national nightmare is over, as PSU now has a normal-ish number of commits.
|#10 Indiana - 16 Commits|
At least one site considers Cody Latimer and Bernard Taylor to be decommits, so I've reflected that in the Hoosiers' table (along with Raymon Taylor). All have taken other visits, but may end up recommitting to the Hoosiers.
|#11 Minnesota - 21 Commits|
Samuel Oyenuga will head to New Mexico State instead of the Gophers.
|#12 Northwestern - 13 Commits|
Wildcats pick up a pair of Indiana decommits in OH DB Nick VanHoose and IL DE CJ Robbins.
|#13 Purdue - 13 Commits|
Marcus Caffey joins up and immediately becomes the highest-rated Boilermaker.