Mike Lantry, 1972
Im not a coach, i have never played football but i watch it all the time.
Would that statement make it easier for me to make my point. The past couple of weeks, while still trying to be a calming force around these parts, i have been critized for being a coach, who has lived football his entire life, who runs shafers schemes,and likes to help fellow michigan fans get a different perspective.I dont ever claim to be anything other than what i am. When someone asks me a football question i answer it, could there be another answer? sure, but as a football coach you know what you know, and you do what you do. There are 20 ways to skin a cat, and i just happend to be good a skinning it the way i do. Doesnt mean im smarter than anyone, doesnt mean i know more about michigan than anyone, but i would think at the very least, it would be at least feasable that i know a little about football.
There, have at it, give me the "anyone can see that" and "i dont have to be a coach to know_____" and "if you think _____ you must not be a very good coach" and all that crap.
The one thing i will admit, is that i will always give the benefit of doubt to a coach first, becasue thats what i do for a living, just like former baseball umpires dont yell at umps as bad, usually. Or former policeman are less crtical about the pigs. etc etc. So sure i may overly defend coaching sometimes, but that is what it is. If you dont like it dot read my stuff. I think im pretty open with everyone about who i am, what i do, and all that stuff. I could very easliy make stuff up to look more knowledgeable, or demand to know everyone elses exerience with college football, and post resumes to make my point. But i dont really care about that, i know i set myself up for people to be able to attack, but thats just kind of my personality, i dont really give a crap about anyone elses feelings about me.
Now about the coverage stuff. Shafer isnt a stack guy, but the stack was used this week, as a way of trying to stop what was assumed to be a fast qb, who problaby couldnt throw,and a farily good run game. It has been stated before, by numerous people, the 3-3 stack is a run stopping odd front. and for the most part it did its job. The 3-3 stack is a good defense against a spread formation, as it keeps 6 in the box, while still putting people on the perimeter for contain purposes. You are limited in coverage though when you run the stack,l which is why i dont like to run it very often. Obvioulsy this isnt the way shafer likes to attack spreads, he is a two safety guy. But MICHIGAN SAFETIES ARE NOT GOOD. and lb's are not good at coverage, and when michigan played press man a majority of the time the other week, they still lost. So shafer tries what RR and his staff wants him to try, why not try it now? why not try it against the one team that you might be able to win agaisnt and find a way to keep big plays from happening with a new scheme? them maybe you have found something that you can pull out agin against OSU, or at least give OSU something else to think about. I truely believe that shafer and RR both are feeling the pressure to show that they can try new things, and not be stagnit. Its almost impossible to get better fundametnally during the season, becasue of constantly having to put so much time into installation, and game prep for the upcomming team. When you hear a coach talk about "returning to basics" thats when they have basically given up trying to win, and instead are more interested in making the team better fundamentally, for the future. Im sure RR and his staff would like to do this, but as you can see, the michigan fan base, and the michgian family is not interested in seeing imporvement, they are interested in results. So i see Shafer and RR as being a product of the problem with an impatient fan base, and an impatient comunity that is demanding wins NOW. therefore they are trying to schematiclly overcome the obvious fundamental problems that michigan defesive football has had for the past several years.
Has he blitzed a ton? yes, has he playd a lot of press man? yes Has he played a lot fire zone coverage? yes.. has he taken away fades by playing an outsidee shade, only to see seams exploited time and time again for big plays, which created easier opportunites to score, than having to complete 20 short outs? yes.. has he tried to play inside shades, only for corners to be beaten time and time again on fade routes? yes...
the one guy on the field that throws int's is the qb. therefore eyes on qb if you are a corner playing zone coverage, sure trent is lined up on an inside shade a bit, to discourage a easy vertcal realease. Also the Qb at the snap of the ball sdoesnt knwo weather you are playing off man, or bail technique, of course knowing how BAD michigan corners are right now in playing man, i would assume he knows its cover three, but if its not, then that corner will be able to make a play on yoru out call, and it might be a pic six. but once the reciever goes vertcal he should be working to get "on top" and trying to squeeze him to the sideline... his main problem on that screen was opening the door, and not getting on top of the reciever, as far as "no way he can turn all the way around and make a play on that out" way of talking about the zone turn to the QB, corners every day work on zone turns, and t-step drives, its exactly what you are suppose to do, 1 guess as to who teaches the t-step drive step as good as anyone? The back foot is planted at a 90 degree angle directly back, then the outside foot serves as the "drive step" at the direction of the cut, We use terms like "get your foot in the biucket" and "drive off the T" to talk exactly about how we want it to be executed, its very easy for a corner with good fluid hips, but trent (like i have said a million times) does not have fluid hips. trent isnt very good, and isnt going to make a play on that. AND HE IS NOT USUING HTE TECHNIQUE THAT HE IS BEING TAUGHT, to try to make that play. BUt id rather it be like that, then to give up an an easy hit to a vertical seam. An out route, is a lot harder ball to throw for an unproven QB, than an easy slant or skinny post.... first throw a combine coach asks a young qb to throw, is an out accross the field.
The other issue is that trent has no safety help, therefore he cant be over agressive on the out, but that is the price you pay for running a 3 deep look... but its not designed to stop that throw its designed to stop the big play, which michigan has given up far too much this year. I know it doesnt explain everything, but i felt like i needed to defend a bit that i see a lot of bad techiniqe, and knowing how shafer teaches, i know its not what they are being taught to do. Is it mistrust? is it players not trying, or players not beleive in shafer? or is it just a bunch of guys who are feeling a lot of presure to succed, not being able to call on muslce memory to play the techniqes becAuse they have only been taught it for less then a year? i think its problaby more the latter.
You are also inthe picture pages, seeing the difference between a well exectued out route pass and catch, and a poorly run, poorly thrown hitch route... Trent would have been in much better position to play the hitch route, expicallly if he had threet throwing it at him.
Brian you need to stop the picture pages segment. Much like my belief in Santa Claus when I was 6 I need to believe that these coaches are the smartest men on the planet and that when their genius schemes that are so much better than anyone else are fully comprehended by the Barwis trained Ninja Bots we will regain our place at the top of the College Football World and break Oklahomas 58 game unbeaten streak.
These picture pages are creating doubt like when I started to think "how is it possible for this fat ass to reach everyone on 1 night and deliver presents"? . Despite the fact Morgan Trent is 1 of the fastest players in college football and (see Percy Harvin tackle I hate fake 40 times)been trained for 5 years at an elite college program, I have let Gsimms convince me it is impossible for him to play press coverage aginst 2 star receivers from Pur, Tol, Miami etcc.. because the old coaches ordered pizza and read poems but somehow kept going to BCS bowls every 3rd year and yet never taught him how to play man to man coverage or how to squeeze gaps in a zone.
Logic in trying to figure out this year has gone beyond comprehension and I am just calling a 3rd down punt and hope to wake up next August with hope. Thru much of your good work on the coaches profiles on Mgoblog and my 2 eyes I have to believe that these coaches are very good to get to this level and thru continued development and learning I have to believe that they are aware of various defensive techniques and how to teach them.
I have always wished I could sit in a Sunday film session with just the coaches to understand what they were thinking with the call and what went wrong. Many of your points, Brian, I have agreed with and they seem to go against basic football logic, which again I have to believe the coaches know more than us so this is what I suggest.....Have Gsimms escort you to the Michigan Football Coaches Clinic and pound these guys with as many questions as humanly possible about how illogical this defense has looked this year. I believe in Schafer based on his track record, I believe that this defense has decent talent, but I also believe I could take my flag football teams secondary comprised of guys in their mid 30's clinging to youth by their fingernails and stop a 3rd and 18 with about 5 minutes of prep..... trying to reconcile those 3 items in my head all year have me to the point my head may go "Scanners" at any point. Please help....the coaches have to know right?? right ?? please be right???
2010 Big Ten Champs is my call.....still(that's down from 2010 Nat Champs)
To prove it is possible, here's a school which brought in a new head coach this season with a totally foreign offense, in this case Navy's triple option. He made due with leftover QB's, except for Steven Threet, who fell into Michigan's lap. He lost his defensive coordinator, a guy who's now at Notre Dame named John Tenuta. But he inherited a decent defense - all the D-linemen are considered NFL prospects. He's coaching at a school with high academic standards and a previous head coach who might not be a Crisler but is a Heisman.
Despite a young team which experienced injuries, he's reached # 20 in the rankings with a 7-2 (4-2 in the ACC) record. The losses were to Va. Tech and Va. By now you've figured out it's Paul Johnson of Georgia Tech.
Without the benefit of hindsight, who would you have taken back in December? The choices are Paul Johnson of Navy's boring, smallish offense or Rich Rodriguez of West Va's sexy, cutting edge spread. Not even close.
The similarities between the two situations are eerie, with Michigan possibly getting the nod for better looking brianiac, liberal arts vs. math and science coeds. With what you've seen so far, who would you take now, being a doormat for at least a year and maybe more but with the vision of dreams to come (us) or the certainty of a winning season and a decent (although sometimes the Humanitarian in Boise) bowl game, but probably never being better than 9-3 (them)?
An election day special from Tom VanHaaren.
Change we can believe in. Hope for the future.
This isn’t a cheesy political statement, but rather a description of Ricardo Miller. With the season going the way it is, Michigan needs a big time playmaker, and Miller is that player. If you haven’t watched video of the highly touted junior, take a look at his highlights from this year in the video provided:
With two spread friendly quarterbacks in this year’s class, Rich Rodriguez has got to be licking his chops with this commit.
“They use me where ever I can get a mismatch in high school, whether it’s in the slot, on the linebacker, tight end, or the outside,” Miller told me. Miller plays big, fast, and competitive. Along with his competitiveness he brings the kind of character and personality expected from a Michigan Man. Only a junior in high school, Ricardo told me he already thinks about earning the coveted number one jersey. Take a look at what else he had to say.
TOM: Tell me about your visit, all I've heard is good things from you.
RICARDO: I really liked the atmosphere, and the whole stadium. I felt like a part of the team already, and I can’t wait to prove myself. I want to show everybody I’m not just the Ricardo Miller in high school; I can help Michigan turn it around.
TOM: Did this visit really put the cap on the recruiting process for you?
RICARDO: I feel like that visit, it made my commitment stronger. Besides the loss, it was great. I’ll fit in Michigan real well, with my personality and my character. It really made me feel my decision was the right one. It was cool, all the coaches showed me love, and I knew I made the right move.
TOM: When did you really know that Michigan was it?
RICARDO: When I saw Braylon Edwards go for over 3,000 receiving yards, I said that is going to be me. I want to work for that number 1 jersey like he did.
TOM: Have other schools still been trying to recruit you?
RICARDO: I still get Florida calling, Stanford, and Rutgers. But, it’s all straightforward, I don’t really pay attention.
TOM: You're kind of like the spokesman for Michigan in Florida right now, what are you trying to tell other recruits?
RICARDO: I just tell them that no matter what decision you make, make sure it’s a good one. From what I’ve seen, I feel like Michigan has all the tools you need to be that great football player. All this talent going to one team, it’s going to be unstoppable. The SEC, ACC, we’re going beat them all. It will also help you in the process to get to the next level.
TOM: What recruits have you really be working hard on?
RICARDO: I’ve been working on Lo Wood, a cornerback from Apopka. Marvin Robinson, Michigan is still on top for him, but hasn’t made a decision. A future 5 star, Demetrius Hart, he plays running back and corner back. Whoever I can get in contact with that will go to Michigan. Demetrius Hart is excited about Michigan, and Lo Wood after being up there he thinks that Michigan is something special.
TOM: With your team right now, you are used all over on offense, have the coaches told you how they want to use you at Michigan?
RICARDO: They use me where ever I can get a mismatch in high school, whether it’s in the slot, on the linebacker, tight end, or the outside. The Michigan coaches told me that they want me mostly at WR, x and z. But if they want that mismatch, they’ll put me at tight end too.
TOM: Are you excited for that creativity that Rich Rodriguez brings? Being able to make plays specifically for you?
RICARDO: Yea, and just being around guys like that. Someone with that much ability to make a program good is exciting. The spread that he runs, he’ll make plays for me, and they’ll be big time plays, it will be crazy. To be able to make something big happen, it’s stunning. Being the kind of wide receiver I am, playing for Rich Rodriguez is going to be a dream.
TOM: Have you started to build a friendship with Shavodrick Beaver or Tate Forcier?
RICARDO: Yea, Tate I haven’t talked to yet. Beav we talked for a couple months now, just trying to get used to see how his personality is, him as a quarterback and me as a wide receiver. Beav is a cool guy.
TOM: Your Mom is a UM grad, how much did she weigh in on your decision?
RICARDO: I won’t lie; my mom was in my ear about Michigan ever since I can remember. I messed with her when I was younger, and would say I’m going to a different school, and she would say, oh no you’re not. But she’s sacrificed a lot for me, so I feel that I’m gaining another bond with her by going to Michigan.
TOM: How do you think your commitment to Michigan will have an effect on Michigan’s efforts in Florida and the south for your class?
RICARDO: By me committing and being from Florida, you don’t see too many wide receivers leaving the state. So I hope I show kids they can go anywhere, I have a positive influence on other recruits. They’ll start to think, if he’s going there maybe I should check it out, there must be something good about it.
TOM: You are miles ahead of most recruits your age, is almost a relief to know that you can focus on your senior year?
RICARDO: You don’t know how many letters and phone calls I got before I committed. My High School coach gave me the keys to the mailbox at school, and told me to go get the mail. It’s down now, and I get a lot more time to myself. I don’t worry about this coach calling, and that coach wanting to talk to me. Coming from where I come from, this is the greatest opportunity I’ll ever get. People used to tell me I was an average player, and I didn’t listen, and I feel like I can be an outstanding player.
TOM: Is there anything you want to really focus on getting better at? Since college is a big jump, what have the coaches told you to work on?
RICARDO: They feel like I basically have the essentials, but just stay focused. It’s a big step and transitioning to Michigan and a college atmosphere, I just need to stay focused on the task at hand. There are thousands of people screaming your name, and you have to be ready for whatever is thrown at you. My focus level has to be high; there will be a lot of obstacles. With my character and personality I should be fine. You can always improve, and I just want to keep improving.
TOM: Is there any possibility anyone could get you away from Michigan?
RICARDO: No, no, no. Honestly people asked me that after the visit, and I told them after seeing that atmosphere, there’s no way I’ll give up that opportunity. Rich Rodriguez said as much as you’re committed to me I’m as committed to you.
I am now an official member to the magnificent site, MGoBlog.com. I have been a frequent visitor ever since the nation-wide coaching search in December of '07 after Lloyd Carr resigned his position. I finally got off my rear and signed up after watching the collapse at Purdue. Enough pleasentries, it is time to delve into the meat.
First off, I want to point out that I am a huge supporter of RichRod. I think what he is trying to do at Michigan will pay off in the long run, and everything will fit into place within the next couple of years. But, there are some minor suggestions I want to bring up, some things I have been wondering for awhile now.
Rodriguez knew in December when he decided to accept the HC position at UM, that he was not going to have nearly the skill-players that he left at WVU, or the players he wanted to have to run his "spread offense." So, I'll ask you this. He knew very well that Threet and Sheridan both were incapable of running this offense the way he wanted it to be run; he should have realized that the first practice that the QBs would just not work. So why try? Why not bite the bullet, and for his inaugural season, run Michigan's power offense with the players he had. Utilize Minor and Grady in the backfield, and get some tosses out to Mathews and Hemingway and run Michigan's old fashioned offense. I don't think we would have seen much of an improvement, but with the way Minor has been playing the last few games, why hasn't he been seeing more action since the beginning? McGuffie is a good player, I'll give him that, but he cannot take the ball up the middle and expect to gain a whole lot of yards. He is a back that needs to get outside and use his explosiveness to beat the defenses. I think with Minor starting from the get-go, UM could have beaten Notre Dame, Toledo and maybe even Utah. But who knows.
Another quick question. Why would UM sign Rodriguez to a 6 year deal? Six years seems awfully long, especially the way this season has gone. 2 wins? And look at who we beat: Miami (OH) by 10 and Wisconsin, who is not nearly as good as anybody thought they'd be. This could easily have been an 0-9 season right now, if we wouldn't have pulled in out late in the game. My opinion (though probably wrong) is sign him for 3 years and see how he does, then if it doesn't work, go see what Les Miles is up to down in cajun country, and beg for him to return UM to glory. On the flip side, if he does fantastic after 3 years, then extend his contract. I have a hard time seeing the logic in this move, but that's why I don't hold Bill Martin's position.
Those are a few things I wanted to bring up, whether or not they have been mentioned on here before, I think they are some things that are deserved to be addressed. You may think I am a complete fool, but that is okay. I hope this can spark some discussions on here and find out what everyone else is thinking.
Don't you all miss John Cooper? I know I do. Beat OSU! In Rod I Trust.
Its natural to question the man’s job security given worst defense in school history, etc. But to hear RR come right out and say that they’ve switched to the 3-3-5 stack for the rest of the year, I think you have to put the odds at Shafer returning at 25-30%. Shaf was questioned repeatedly about running that defense in the off season, and he consistently maintained that it would be incorporated because his defense would be multiple, but that he was a 4-3 base defense guy. RR handed the defense over to Shaf, but its obvious from the changing schemes and now RR’s comments, he has felt the need to step in an exert control.
To steal a point from Steve Deace who posted this at GBW, while RR hired Shaf from the outside and gave him a ton of autonomy, Shaf didn’t make a single hire for his own staff. He concludes that the result is that the defensive performance has widened the rifts between philosophical differences in the staff. He further concludes that Shaf has made concessions to those coaches calling for change by incorporating more of their ideas, but this has turned the defense into a grab bag as opposed to one with an identity which goes multiple to keep offenses on their toes.
I personally believe that the basis for the Shafer hire was sound, and one horrific season doesn’t make him a bad coach. His track record as laid out in detail by Brian is that yr 2 under Shaf brings the results he is looking for (more sacks, more Tos). IMO his resume should buy him another season, one in which RR and the other defensive coaches fully commit to his system or are replaced (the assistants, not RR).
But based on RR’s comments I don’t think that is happening. I’m not a coach, but I don’t think anyone would argue that our best defensive players go Graham, Jamison, Taylor in some order, with Johnson and Martin filling in two of spaces in the top 7. Based on offensive personal, the defense is probably going to need to play 5 defensive backs at least half the time. (Que broken record) would you rather take out one of our 5 defensive lineman to get Bobo or Williams on the field, or do you take out a Thompson or even Ezeh? On the surface it appears that going with the 3-3-5 stack from here on out is a build for the future concession, not something that is going to help us now.
A future I think its safe to assume would not include Shafer. Which brings me to this question, what effect does the scheme change move have on recruiting? I don’t think Shaf was any sort of a gangbusters recruiter, but if you’re a DL or DE, wouldn’t you much prefer to play the 4-3? There is one extra position so more PT. And is a guy Campbell going to want to play the nose in a 3-4, and play behind Martin? Or would he rather line up next to Martin and go after the QB while the OL tries to figure out who to double? Ditto for Jones who was already shaky. How are Roh and Lolota going to feel about fighting through more consistent doubles, while fleet Lbs race around them to pick up sacks?
And what about the Lbs and Dbs we’re going to need? Right now most of our LB recruits look to be playing somewhere between 225-235 in college. Not that our starters now are having a lot of success with this, but how many of those guys are ever going to be ready to stand up MSU pulling guards or Wisky Fbs in the hole? Now we’re going to need more Dbs. M isn’t exactly lighting it up with Turner, Gordon, and maybe Peace in the fold.
If Shaf goes it is yet another hit and negative pub against M. Maybe that doesn’t matter in the blizzard of bad pub already out there, who knows. I think it is safe to say that the move will hurt recruiting because everyone is being sold on one system, and now we’re changing. And even if it doesn’t, based on current players/recruits I don’t think UM is suited for the 3-3-5 scheme.