Mike Lantry, 1972
Last night at the bar, I got dragged into a debate with my friend (not a Rich Rodriguez fan BTW) over the recent MSM meme of Michigan adopting a "lower standard" for football players by bring in the likes of Demar Dorsey and Justin Feagin. Exasperated, I made the case that Dorsey, while maybe somewhat risky, seems to be a kid who wants to make a fresh start and that there were no real warning signs around Feagin before he got on campus.
Further, I made the argument that Rich Rodriguez is not the first Michigan football coach who has brought in a player with a sketchy past, although I was challenged to come up with a name. The list of Michigan players under Lloyd Carr who had problems during their time at Michigan is pretty well-documented, but did Lloyd ever bring on a recruit that already had some red flags in his past and how did those players turn out?
Right now I am watching the 2008 Capital One Bowl on demand. I am going to try my best to pretend I never watched it and hope for the best. Go Blue!!!!
[EDIT: my bad double post. Discuss anyways if you so desire. or ignore. or neg. whatever floats your boat.]
I apologize if this has been linked already. If it has, I didn't see it.
Basically, I wished Zoltan could punt Gregg Doyel into the sun after I read this:
Apparently, OSU "spanked" us 21-10. What an idiot. That's the least of the ignorance in this article. Doyel says that RR "sniveled" in his press conference, and tried to pain RR as a whiney little child, throwing blame around, and accepting none himself. A lot of this is taken out of context and blown out of proportion. You, Gregg Doyel, are exactly who RR is talking about: the "faction" who wants to cause drama and adversity!
Much has been made of the recent UM record. However, whenf statisticians seek a more reliable measure of a team’s quality and the direction of a program, they look at the bigger picture by (1) comparing that season record with records from other schools and (2) considering not a single year, but groups of years (called a moving average).
(1) I looked at the records of the two most recent coaches among our rivals. I found that ND had a 3 win season, OSU had a four win season; and MSU had three four-win seasons. Some of these occurred during coaching transitions, like UM’s. But others had no such excuse.http://cid-4bf9d75c782b05b1.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/notre%20dame%20trends/ND+trends+vs+UM.jpg
(2) As in prior threads (see footnote*), I now report the analysis of the records of the ND coaches, based on the victories averaged over each of 4 successive seasons.**
Results: Under Lou Holz, the trend was positive overall (with an increase of .125 victories per year). Yet, much as occurred during LC’s initial years, the gains were all early, and were followed by a gradual decline. For all the subsequent coaches at ND, the trends were consistently negative (a decrease in average victories of -.25 per season for Davies, -.25 per season for Willingham, -.10 per season for Weiss. However, the trends appear downward at a uniform rate, starting at Holtz’s peak.
1. The ND program is progressively deteriorating.
2. One wonders if the many coaching changes
contributed to this. I have given mixed
shades to the transition years, in which one coach has at least 2 years of the
other one’s players. From this, one
wonders whether Willingham would have continued the upward trend if he was kept
and could play his recruits during what were the first two years of Weiss’
3. Since ND faces massive losses next year, including the OL, RB and probably Clausen and Tate, in addition, with a completely inexperienced backup QB who will be unable to practice and coming off ACL surgery next August, one must seriously wonder when—no, whether—the ND program will get back on track.
If UM uses ND as an example of what might happen to a program, the questions for UM now is whether it will follow the pattern of Holtz, who began with a decline in average wins—similar to what is likely for RR (although Holtz did not have the big immediate dropoff in average wins from his predecessor, since that average was already quite low). The promising thing is that, unlike ND, UM has more, not less, starters coming back for the next two years. Clearly, it’s way too early to tell—as Brian has intimated today—but I can't help worrying that we might end up like ND if we keep getting rid of coaches before they can build their program.
* In two previous threads titled “Reasons for Hope” (for UM), and “reasons for MSU hopelessness.” Another interesting and pertinent link from another poster is: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/what-two-losing-seasons-start-tenure-means**Note that it’s not a simple average. At the beginning of a coach's tenure, his record is shown as an average that includes the prior coach's average--which may be either better or worse than the current record. As, such the first two years of each coach’s tenure are shown as mixed colors, as they reflect the recruits of the previous coach as well as the performance of the current coach. (just ask yourself, if Bo were alive and took over the coaching job of the perennial celler-dweller Northwestern team in the 60's, would he be responsible for the first few years?)
RR is often criticized based on the low win pct so far. The big dropoff from LC’s win percentage shocked many of us. Certainly, one can blame RR, the system, coaching changes, the players, or even just bad luck for the poor first season. In any case, there’s a lot of error in just considering one season. It doesn’t accurately reflect the direction of the program as a whole. So, what happens when we look at this direction: that is, the average trends in the UM program as a whole, irrespective of coach? Has the program been getting worse?
To answer this question, I looked at the trends since LC took over in 1995 (based on a moving average involving each four year period). The data below suggest that, while the LC’s record was generally excellent—in fact, even above our NCAA-leading all-time win pct-- it declined after the Moeller-as-HC recruits circulated out of the system for 3 years. Afterwards, there was also a small trend downward under LC (amounting to .125 fewer wins each year). Possibly, this result lends mild support to the idea that the program was slowly going downhill.
What we find, unsurprisingly, is a big dropoff initially with the coaching change—the size over two years is .75 more games lost on average per season * However, just as Moeller gets some credit for the first 3-years of LC’s record, LC gets some blame for the first 3 years of RR’s record. LC does not bear responsibility for the coaching but he does bear some responsibility for the recruits.
There is some mildly reassuring news too. Assuming a 7-6 final record this year (including either a win or loss in the bowl game), there is no further decline in the average this season (it stays at 7.5). Possibly, RR has stopped the bleeding—which began as a small series of skin cuts under LC and appeared to become a gushing, cut artery when the coaching change occurred.
So, the bleeding may be coming under control, and the patient can probably be taken out of intensive care. But the patient is not yet entirely out of the woods. Note that, just as LC had a slight positive bump in his third year average, we should expect a slight negative bump in the total win average next year (unless UM wins 11 games). This bump will disappear if RR wins 9 games in his fourth year. The trend will continue to be upward for each successive 8+ win season; but RR needs a string of 9+ win seasons and a tenure approaching LC’s to match or exceed LC’s record.
Toal wins and average wins for four successive seasons beginning in 1995 to present.**
9, 8, 12,10 avg 9.75
8,12,10,10 avg 10
12,10,10,9 avg 10.25
10,10,9,8 avg 9.25
10,9,8,10 avg 9.25
9,8,10,10 avg 9.25
8,10,10,9 avg 9.25
10,10, 9,7 avg 9.25
10,9,7,11 avg 9.25
9,7,11,9 avg 9.0
7,11, 9,3 avg 7.5
11,9,3,7 avg 7.5 (7-6 season assumed for this year)
*The dropoff with the coaching change admittedly was more rapid, taking only two years to lose 1.5 more games on average, compared with the decline of 1.0 games on avg under LC over 10 years.
**Note that a few of the season involved 12 rather than 13 games total, but the 12-game seasons were spread over the 12 year period. So, just considering total wins shouldn’t affect the trends much. If anything, they will probably increase slightly the decline under LC.
In light of recent research, etc., it seems what Michigan could use more than anything right now is a solid safety.
Like a senior, highly rated, responsible, football smart, playmaking safety.
Like, let's just say, the No. 6 defensive back of 2006.
Some guy named Brown.
Like this guy (after ad):
Now, this has no bearing whatsoever on the current team, because it is way too late to make this change.
But what if Carlos Brown had, at some point in his career, converted back to safety?
Safety Carlos Brown?
I believe the reason for Brown's surprising Michigan commitment was that Lloyd promised him he could play tailback. Someone else may confirm that for me -- that's memory's service, and I have proven to have a bad memory.
Now, a promise is a promise, say they, unless it's a promise to a player about the position he will ultimately end up at.
Subject to the will of the service.
Could it Have Happened?
The depth problems at safety have been known about for a long time. They were a certainty, at the latest, by Spring 2007, when Jonas Mouton's move to linebacker meant Lloyd's staff had to know that its post-Englemon/Adams future was essentially Stevie Brown ('06) and Michael Williams ('07) [meeting their respective expectations] or bust.*
At that point S.Brown was a hypey sophomore, and Williams a not-yet-enrolled freshman headed for a redshirt. That was it for depth.
Meanwhile, in Spring 2007, the post-Hart tailback outlook was Brandon Minor (already heir apparent after some long runs as a freshman), Kevin Grady (whose future on the team was by that point in some doubt), Carlos Brown, and Avery Horn (Mister Simpson was already transferring). Sam McGuffie and Mike Cox [sic] already had happy teeth.**
I mean, gee, what if at some point in Spring 2007 Carr pulled Carlos Brown aside and said something...something...something
Hey, guys, I wonder what it was like back in Spring 2007...Spring 2007...Spring 2007
Wouldn't it be great, guys, if we could go back to 2007 and see what that conversation would be like?...would be like?...would be like?
[in Carr voice]
"Carlos, hey Carlos, come in and talk. Listen, I know that I made a promise to you that if you came here you'd be a running back, and that our pact would stand in the way, or let's say 'occlude' your moving to another position. That will be your word today, Carlos, 'occlude.' You and your teammates will all learn 'occlude' today.
Now listen, Carlos. I have Hart and he is tremendous. And I have Minor, and he is also tremendous. So I have two tremendous backs this year. And I also have Grady, if he can ever get that cranial occlusion out of his rectum. So my depth at your position is pretty good right now. Not tremendous, but pretty good.
But Carlos, I am looking toward the future here, and I have already noticed, as you probably have, that the guys I have that are your age at safety have a similar rectal occlusion of the crania, particularly your namesake, that wirey kid who made me change Grady's number.
Carlos, you played safety in high school. You were a tremendous safety, if I remember. And we can still redshirt you.
We can go into this year with Hart and Minor, and if anything happens to those guys, you and I are right back where we started. But if you hang off the field this season, you can work with the safeties again. And then by next year, Carlos, you'll still be a sophomore, and we will have some depth at defensive back. I think you could easily be our starter in 2008, Carlos, especially given the aforementioned crania-in-rectum situation of the other Brown kid.
I think we have a chance to do some great things with this team in this environment, Carlos.
So, whattaya say, Carlos? You know as everyone else kind of knows that I won't be around here much longer. I want to know that I left Michigan in the kind of shape to continue having the kind of success we've had here. I want to be sure that I'm not leaving a vital position on our defense -- you know how I love good defense Carlos -- to the off-chance that someone can get production out of that guy whose got such a cranial occlusion of the rectum he's seeing the name on the back of his jersey. Are you up for it? Do you wanna be a safety again?
So whaddayathink? Do you wonder if Lloyd would have gone for it? Do you wonder if Carlos would have accepted? Do you wonder if it would have worked? Do you wonder how many games Michigan might have won in 2008 through 2010 if it had worked? Do you wonder if Russell Crowe was in the room when this conversation was taking place?
I guess it's implausible now (both C.Brown at safety and Russell Crowe being in whatever room you're in at the moment). If it was plausible, I would have made this a diary, and included cha..
But a man can dream sequence, can't he?
* "Bust" at that point meant "Artis Chambers"