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.
Last year. #75 offense, #25 defense (both national rankings in terms of yds/game and excluding bowl peformance)
This year. #89 offense, #97 defense
Last year. 5 NFL Players -- #1 Overall draft pick Jake Long, senior, record-breaking, 4 years starter QB Henne, heisman candidate Mike Hart, one of the most talented receivers in UM history in Manningham and of course Arrington. Senior-laden team.
This year. 5 freshmen starters(Threet, Stonum, Odoms, Koger, McGuffie - prior to injury), wildly inexperienced offensive line. New coaches, new offensive system.
Sure, we were #25 on defense last year. How? I don't know. We gave up 32 to App. St, 39 to Oregon, 22 to EMU, 37 to Wisco, 32 to Florida (acceptable I suppose). We also had 2007 ND to pad our stats. We didn't exactly have the best defense. We were slow, got torched by every running QB, and suffered from general incompetence. If on the 1st or 2nd play of last season Stevie Brown takes a bad angle, misses a tackle and gives up a long touchdown then (armanti edwards to dexter jackson i think), how is Scott Shafer supposed to turn him into Ed Reed and our unit into some amazing defense?
Look at last year's offense. #75!! This with the aforementioned talent. As Brian said, this wasn't exactly the greatest show on turf.
Am I disappointed with this season? Incredibly. But we were at a peak last year in terms of the talent cycle with most of our key players being seniors and we weren't that good. Let's keep the talent and circumstance we currently have in perspective, and cut the coaches and players some slack please.
I'm not really sure what kind of people write on these boards, but as a UM student it is somewhat disappointing to see so many people getting on the players and coaches in such a disgusting way. Sure there is whining among the students but it seems to be a lot worse among the rest of the fan base.
True fans empathize with their teams, not cheer them during the good times and throw em under the bus in the bad times. If you had a child that does something stupid, you scold him. But if your child disappoints you in a deep way, you feel sadness, not a burning desire to beat the shit out of him. That's how I feel about Michigan football. So next time we lose, take a deep breath and have a drink. It will get better.
This loss is probably even worse than Toledo. I've gotta believe that the players are now totally crushed.
The only good thing for me is that I was at work and couldn't watch it. Not that listening on the radio was a lot of fun. If I had a dollar for everytime Frank Beckman said "broken tackle", "missed tackle", or "wide open for a first down", then I could buy a beachfront mansion in Hawaii and put a Ferrari in the garage.
Eight starters returned from a defense that was second in the conference in pass defense, and that did a great job against Tebow & Co, and right now they don't look like they could stop an 8th grade team. A guy that wasn't even a QB two weeks ago totally torched the D. He probably had a tougher time against the scout team in practice. Playing against the Wolverines is an almost virtual guarantee for a QB to be Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Granted, it would've helped if the offense could convert some 3rd downs, but they DID put 42 on the scoreboard (35 minus Odoms punt return). That should be a win.
The defensive numbers are horrific. 38 points a game in conference . . . THIRTY EIGHT!!!
Are we not better than this? Complaining and finger pointing? Mobs, torches and pitchforks? Is this the definition of a Michigan Man?
My apologies for invoking the “Michigan Man”, but honestly doesn’t this program, this team deserve a little more from us? As a fan base we’ve been spoiled. Think about the streaks that just ended. No, this time take a breath, sit back and really think about it. Now compare that to any other program in the nation. Now again I ask you, wouldn’t a little support be warranted here?
Look I’m as frustrated a fan as anyone else after last season and so far this season. And I know the easy thing is to complain and shake your fist in anger, but is that leadership? I think not. A good leader motivates. A good leader inspires. A good leader sees what is in front of him and gets more. As a fan how exactly do we lead by complaining or booing or carrying pitchforks and torches to stadium and main?
Personally, I saw some good things yesterday. I saw a young QB throw with confidence for the first time all season. He had zip on the ball. Perfect? No. Better. Yes. I also saw the maturation of a RB. Maturing into someone who can lead with his actions on the field. Sound like the character of someone else in the same position we know and love? I saw a special teams touchdown, a punt return to be exact. I saw our 111th ranked offense score 35 points. Did you think that would have been possible two weeks ago? I’ve seen a defense week in and week out with its back against the wall, tired and battered play their hearts out.
Leadership is defined as the capacity or ability to give guidance and direction. We as fans can’t make the big locker room speech to lead the team. We can’t fire up the huddle to lead the team. We can’t throw or reel in the big pass to lead the team. We can’t come up with the key sack to lead the team. What we can do is raise our voices to lead the team. For me, I’d rather do my best to direct this team in the right direction. We demand the best out of the team, shouldn't we atleast give them our best.
I’m going to do my best to lead, like a Michigan Man should.
I don't care about the record books to the point were its crushed me that these streaks ended. Its the way they ended thats really been depressing as a Michigan fan. I mean I get that we have alot of young, inexperienced talent on this roster but even our offense has been able to put up some points in a few of these games. What happened to this defense?? Whats up with the motivation for most of these guys game to game & am I wrong by saying that we might have won another 2 or 3 games if they had showed up? I have to say I see enough talent on here that I HAVE to blame the coaching now that enough games have passed.
I mean c'mon, Purdue basically just put 50 on us. WHAT??! The offense showed up and thats what we got from our veterans? I just don't get it. Maybe for some of you it happened way before todays game but today wasn't just the low point of the season for me, it was the low of all time for me as a michigan football fan. I just didn't want to see it end like this. I figured after all we lost last year and with all the drastic changes that we might have a horrible year before this season ever even started. I was prepared for alot of losses. I just wasn't prepared to see this. I really hope this way of losing isn't something i have to get used to because losing is not acceptable to watch when players don't leave it all on the field. When everyone doesn't give 100%. I feel bad for some of these kids out there who are really doing everything they can when so many right next to them aren't. Maybe I just need some perspective but I seriously think i've heard it all and I am really starting to think for the first time that the hire was a mistake. Not that Rich Rodriguez is a bad coach, but a bad coach for us. I really hope I am wrong.