We all view the past in Rose Bowl colored glasses. Why don't we honestly reflect on the past, while we debate our current coaching situation.
My first memory of Michigan football: watching Raghib Ismail run up and down the field at will. My first memory of Bo was the following joke: "Why can't Bo eat Cheerios? Because he always chokes at the bowl."
Bo's national championships: 0
Bo's bowl record: 5-12
Bo's Rose bowl record: 2-8
Lloyd Carr national championships: 1 (4th & 5th-yr players were Moeller recruits)
Lloyd Carr's Bowl record: 6-7
Lloyd's Rose Bowl record: 1-3
Lloyd Carr record vs FCS (I-AA) opponents: 0-1
In 2005, we went 7-5 with a team full of seniors in a program that was virtually unchanged for 35 years.
This is not to disparage anything in the past, it's just to point out that all those who think that anything less than national championship contention is a failure, apparently have never been happy being Michigan fans. We have been pretty good for a long time, but rarely great.
For those who are up in arms because we have lost 3 straight to Jim Tressel, how about the following facts:
Jim Tressel Big Ten losses since RR took over: 3
Jim Tressel Big Ten losses in last 6 years: 5
Big Teams to beat Tressel in consecutive seasons: 1
Michigan record versus OSU in 4 years prior to RR: 0-4
How can people be upset that RR has lost three in a row to OSU, when the great Lloyd Carr lost four straight, with the likes of LaMarr Woodley, Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long, just to name a few? It is preposterous.
JT has had an amazing tenure at OSU. This level of success is unmatched by anyone north of the Mason-Dixon line. Even when we beat OSU on an annual basis, in the modern era, they have been a more important figure in the national picture. They have consistently out recruited us. This year's OSU team had 24 seniors and three more potential seniors left early to play in the NFL as juniors. We only had three drafted last year, and one was a punter. They have more seniors than they can even start.
Our program was going to be in a major rebuilding process before RR took the job, combine that with a massive exodus of players who didn't want to work, couldn't make the grade, didn't really attend high school, or were criminals, and you have what we've seen for the past three seasons. How much better would our secondary have been with Donovan Warren, Boubacar Cissoko, and Troy Woolfolk?
What has RR done that's so terrible aside from 1. practice too much (and trivially so), 2. lose games against good opponents with an inexperienced skeleton crew, 3. had the number 2 kicking prospect unable to make a 30-yd chip shot, and 4. invite the media into the program only to be stabbed in the back by that self-hating POS Rosenberg.
RR has done a lot to turn this program around. Our D has stuck together and made improvement each game this season. Our offense is awesome, with a kicker and a slightly better defense, yesterday would have been a low scoring slug fest like those we all remember. The team had a winning record. The team is in excellent physical shape and can maintain their speed right down to the last snap.
This season Michigan has beaten the teams they were expected to beat and lost to the teams they were expected to lose to. We all would have loved an upset or two but it simply wasn't in the cards. Michigan caught no breaks from the football gods. Did anyone honestly think we'd beat OSU back in August? Did anyone think we'd beat anyone when we found out about T-woolf's ankle?
A coach can only do so much. He can prepare the people to be in the position to make a play, but he can't do it for them. He can't take back a fumble, ha can't make a catch, can't even make a tackle anymore. RR can take this program to places it has rarely been. He himself is a walk-on type who has forged his success with his own blood, sweat and tears. He didn't come from a pedigree. Daddy didn't get him a spot on the roster. He has excelled because he understands the game and because he has busted his nuts. The man turns 3 star recruits into 1st round picks. He needs time. Most of all he needs your support.
Support your coach.
I've been doing alot of soul searching the past 3 years. I was not a fan of the Rich Rod hire from the beginning, and it got me to thinking about the new lights. Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr didn't need to play under the lights to win big10 championships...just another gimmick in Rich Frauds arsenal.
I remember LC not being a big fan of the guy. I guess he was on to something.
Watching the VaTech-Boise State game last night, the eerily chilling reminders of Mike Debord and LC were brutal.
How many 1st and goals from the 7-8-9 yard line were runs between the tackles? 2nd and goals went for 0 or negative yards? 3rd and goals went sailing out of the end zone, on overthrown crossing routes instead of nice fades to the corners? Just a terrible gameplan and strategy throughout. Not saying that there weren't other mistakes made, just that the scheme from the coaches seemed to minimize the opportunity to be aggressive and win, instead, biding their time so they could launch bombs with 69 seconds left, down by 3.
Debord has hit his upper limit as tight ends coach for the Seahawks, coaching a single player position. Why he was our OC will forever remain a mystery. One of my all-time favorite knuckleheaded quotes from Debord in The Wolverine season 2007 preview. Asked about the philosophy of the offense, he replied "establish the run." The next years preview, Calvin Magee responded with "score touchdowns."
I'm glad we've left Beamer-ball in the past, where it belongs...
Last week I found a tape of games from college. To my delight it was 2003 MSU (Perry's 50-carry game) and OSU (exposure by two touchdowns) on the same tape!
I noticed something. Near the end of the MSU game, Michigan called a naked bootleg pass. Navarre fumbled and it was returned for a score, getting Sparty back in the game. Afterwards, ABC's Jack Arute tries to get Lloyd in a "gotcha" moment, asking him who called the pass that became the infamous fumble. Lloyd paused, looked bothered, and said "I did." This was a really dumb and/or unprofessional exchange for an experienced guy like Arute.
Fast forward to the iconic moment of the OSU game. After kneeling the ball to go in up 14 points, Lloyd had to hear it from Todd Harris who wanted an explanation about not driving down the field and using timeouts. Lloyd gave him the famous "why would you ask a stupid question like that?" refused to answer another question and walked off the field.
For the first time, I realized the two are almost undoubtedly related. It doesn't take many bad experiences to get on the wrong side of a football coach. I bet Lloyd was ready to brush off any more of this sideline reporter silliness, especially from the sport's top media outfit. (He apologized the next day on Michigan Replay.)
The worst part was we had to hear from John Saunders and Craig James about how it was "uncalled for" and Lloyd should have "answered the question." This after ABC's sideline guys had second-guessed Carr twice in one season.
The only time I've ever respected Terry Bowden as an announcer was then - he stood up for the coach and said "it's totally reasonable to down the ball there."
Parenthetical: am I the only one who thinks the 2001 loss to Ohio State was one of the biggest blown shoulda-wons in recent Michigan memory? Looking back I see that game, a laydown performance against a poorer team, as the one inflecting a clear program decline. Then again, we stole one the week before at Wisconsin, so maybe things were just evening out.
As I was looking at our past recruiting classes I noticed just how bad the 2005 class turned out to be. I am not usually a downer about the football program but one has to wonder (and I'm not sure if I'm beating a dead horse with this subject) if Lloyd Carr did not dig Michigan football in a deep deep hole.
Any opinions if you think the 2005 recruiting class which screams of attrition affected the lack of success in the first year under the Rich Rodriguez regime?
This is the link to the 2005 recruiting class if people are interested: http://michigan.scout.com/a.z?s=162&p=9&c=8&yr=2005