The past couple days there have been some popular misconceptions that have been sprouted from a murky lair that was once shut out of mgoblog, but has suddenly been brought to light: that lair being the “Rich Rod should be fired” gang. There are also many popular misconceptions that had arisen prior to The Happening in Happy Valley. This isn’t about if Rich Rod should be fired or not, it’s about misconceptions going around the board.
1. The 3-3-5 doesn’t work
This is an absolute lie. The 3-3-5 works, the 4-3 works, the 3-4 works, the 4-2 works, hell pretty much every defense you’ve seen talked about in the past decade works in modern football. West Virginia has run the 3-3-5 with success. Yes, it’s in the Big East, but they have typically done well out of conference too. IIRC, Florida has spent time running it as well, and their defense has done alright in recent years. It's less about scheme then it is about fundamentals, talent, and coaching.
2. The 3-3-5 is the reason Michigan's defense isn’t doing well
Not true. This defense has played 3-3-5, 4-2-5, and against PSU, started in a 3-4. I don’t like the fact that the defense is switching up formations regularly, and I would still prefer 4 down linemen, but the fact remains that the defensive formation isn’t to blame with the bad tackling, and even worse coverage we’ve seen.
3. That the offense is consistent
It isn’t. And no, I’m not expecting Michigan to put up 60 points a game, and I’m also not saying the offense is bad. The offense is obviously good, look at the stats, but it isn’t consistent. The first 5 drives against PSU consisted of:
The first was a 3 and out, which, ugh, Vincent Smith in the I formation. The Second was an 80 yard drive for a touchdown, the third was when denard got hurt and a false start turned a 3rd and 5 into a 3rd and 10, the fourth saw a holding play on second and goal lead to a FG. The fifth came after Gallon derped it out at the two.
That is a quote that I got in response to claiming the offense was inconsistent, and I’m not disagreeing with anything that was said there. The problem is that people are looking at this and seeing consistency when it’s not. The first drive was still a 3 and out. If the ball was given to Smith out of the I-form that’s still our offense that did that. If we had a false start and Denard got hurt and we didn’t convert third down, that’s inconsistent. If we stalled in the red zone (which we did more often against MSU and Iowa), that’s still stalling and not converting for TDs like Michigan should, which is still inconsistent. If we go three and out again, for the second time in 5 drives, regardless of starting field position, it’s still another 3 and out, and it’s still inconsistent.
When we have scoring opportunities and miss open receivers or someone misses a block or we have a penalty and don’t score because of it, that is still inconsistencies in the offense, regardless if “the play was there” or not. It doesn’t matter if the play is there or open, it matters that Michigan executes and finishes the play and scores touchdowns. Any way you slice it, Michigan had 10 or fewer points in the last three games at the end of the first half. This offense isn’t consistent.
4. The offense is good and the defense isn’t on RR
This is very wrong. Magee is the OC, his offense is doing good. Is the spread RR baby? Yes. He deserves a lot of credit for recruiting offensive coaches and spending lots of time perfecting his offensive craft. But as a head coach, he isn’t an “offensive head coach.” He is the head coach, in charge of the whole team. RR is the one in charge of the whole team, only one person is above him, DB. RR isn’t just responsible for one part of the machine, he’s responsible for the whole thing. He has been very effective recruiting personnel that can coach on the offensive side of the ball, but he needs to do that on the defensive side of the ball too. You can’t claim “he doesn’t have time to be everywhere at once so the defense isn’t his fault.” The reason he has other coaches is so he doesn’t have to be everywhere at once. When the defense doesn’t work you can’t claim it’s not on RR because the whole program is on RR.
5. “But Denard is just a first year starter”
True, he is. But a lot of teams have first year starters, about one ever 2.5 years. Denard has started his fair share of games and has been in the program over a year. This thought is vastly overstated. Denard is a damn good football player and will still improve, but the meme that all of Michigan’s offensive problems will be solved when Denard has more starts is greatly overblown.
6. That the spread does't work in the Big Ten
I said above that the offense still had inconsistencies. That does not mean that the offense doesn't work. Obviously the offense is still putting up points and doing well, they just need to be more consistent in the first half. This goes back to my point I made about defensive schemes, they are extremely overrated. A pro style can work to great success in the Big Ten (JH could run a no huddle pro-style and there is a chance it could be just as successful for example) and the spread works. Florida's offense (at least with Tim Tebow) would work in the Big Ten, as would Oklahoma's spread, as does Ohio State's 2 TEs and everything in between. The offense depends on executing, regardless of system. It depends on putting your players in positions to be successful with their skill set and teaching them how to play the game with the tools you have. That can be said for offense or defense. I think the 3-3-5 is closer to the 4-3 then the spread is to two TEs, but in either case, the scheme can be successful with the right players and the right tools, and the right coaches teaching the players effectively.
There are obviously subjective ones that can be included, such as the “Cupboard was empty” and the “you can’t claim the cupboard being empty is a problem anymore.” I have my feelings on both of those, but any way you put it, it’s debatable, and this isn't the tread for that.
There may be more misconceptions out there, these are the main ones I’ve seen or at least that I have put up a fight against. I guess to a degree they are a bit debatable, but these aren’t as debatable as I think a lot of people are making them out to be. I think in both cases, whichever side of the RR fence people are on, they are using extremes to try to prove their points. This is a product of loving Michigan and being passionate about the product, and I don’t have an issue with loving Michigan football. But there needs to be balance in how you view things, there needs to be reasonableness in arguments, and there needs rationality not to over emphasize things or skew ideas just to favor your objective. The offensive consistency is an easy one to skew, because you look at the stats and you look at the possibilities that are there and think “we are so close to being unstoppable.” This is a very good offense that is very close to being nearly unstoppable, but just because it is very close doesn’t mean it is. It still means that it’s just very close.
I know I'll get some "you're being hypocritical" comments, but I've tried to make this as objective as I could.
If there are other memes that aren’t easily debatable I’d be glad to hear them and add them above. I don’t want this topic to degenerate into a RR should or should not be fired thread, there are a ton of those already. This tread is kind of closer to a Jay Z song, because there’s like 99 threads about firing, but this ain’t one.
Also, I feel information like this is board worthy, not diary worthy. It's long, but that doesn't, IME, give it what it needs to be diary worthy. Just because it's long doesn't mean it brings diagrams, lots of hard work, etc. to bring to life. New members (this isn't a bash on you), but I think this is a pretty fair example of "just because something is long and has something new, doesn't mean it's a diary." That's just my little interpretation that I have as far as board/diary lines that often get murky in the gray area.
Now before I begin, let me just say this is not a critique of any poster on here. I understand the frustration just as well as anyone else here and can certainly sympathize with the way people have vented. I guess this is just my personal way of venting so if you need to ignore or neg, go ahead, but hopefully this helps at least one UM fan other than me feel a little better.
I have watched the boards the past two days sink into a depressive state. Brian on TWIS listed the board titles, we won the Tears of Unfathomable Sadness. There is a board post below trying to argue that we are becoming ND. But we’re not and we won’t ever be. We’re Michigan.
As my friends and I walked back up Hill St in a slightly depressed state after the Ioss to Iowa, an old guy driving by yelled the six words that this fan base needs to remember, “Keep your heads up, you’re Michigan”. I won’t pretend that problems aren’t there. There is a possibility that this coach won’t succeed at Michigan, that Brandon will choose to go in another direction. There is even the possibility that Brandon will keep RR and THAT will turn out to be the wrong decision. It doesn’t really matter. I encourage everyone on this board to look up the Illinois 2007 ABC intro (if one can stomach the look of douche Mallett in a Michigan uniform). “The past can be an anchor seeing you through hard times”. Now I can’t foresee the future, I can’t predict if and when we will get back to regularly competing for and winning Big Ten Titles, but what I can do is say that we’re still Michigan, we’re still the Leaders and Best, and I wouldn’t want to be a fan of any other University.
Beat the Illini!!
Michigan gets tears of unfathomable sadness, with a pic of Lloyd Brady to boot!
MGoBoard-the last bastion of civilized thought in the sports message board world-finally hit a brick wall and has turned into every other sports message board. Even Brian is calling for certain coaches' heads in the middle of the season, without regard to whether this would actually hurt or help the team. Where did the patience go? Where did the rationality go? Where did the radical idea that coaches and teams should be judged on their body of work rather than a single game go? When did we stop looking at extenuating circumstances like critical injuries and just start flailing around instead? When did we start giving up on coaches and players before all the games have been played?
It's entitlement; the same thing that has kept Notre Dame down for years. We aren't going to win just because we are Michigan. Parity has come to college football and a large chunk of our fanbase remains unaware. There's no quick fix. If we go searching for one soon then our transformation into ND will be nearly complete, needing only another decade of constant rebuilding and unmet expectations to make it official.
I guess I'm the weird one. I had fun watching the PSU game and didn't get upset when we lost. I like cheering on the team and my weekend isn't affected by the outcome of the game. I think there's more to measure a team and its coaches by than wins and losses. If a college football game makes you genuinely sad and depressed then you probably should find another team or another hobby. This team will probably make you mad or upset for a few more games this year and many years to come.
To those that have already mentally dismissed the coaches for this year - what if we improve? Anything can happen in college football and there are still 4 games left to play. Won't you feel a little silly if we manage to overperform and show signs of improvement? How about we wait until all the games are played before we give up on the team and coaches?
I know there's at least a few people that think like I do left on the board. We turned from a majority to a tiny minority overnight. I wonder what it will take to satisfy this new majority of angry fans?
The Case For:
-Denard Robinson-He is only a sophomore. I would hate to see his abilities move into a different scheme. I feel that there are about two different offensive systems in the Nation that he fits as a successful QB. I am not saying the new coach would not use him but I think it would take time for them to know exactly how to use him. RR and CM have this down and I doubt Chip Kelly will be our next coach.
-The rest of the offense-We will return basically every key player from the offense and that includes a line that is one of the best in the conference and possibly nation. The offense next year could become Oregonesque. If Denard improves just a little bit in those situations he has failed in this year, we become something beyond anyone has ever seen here. Like I said we could be right with Oregon.
-Defensive Attrition-Some of this is on the staff. Most is not IMO. Woolfolk, Warren, Cissoko, Turner and Vlad. Those are all guys that I feel are not playing for reasons other than the staff. The ones that are arguable are everyone but Woolfolk. Warren was told he would be drafted. He left and wasn't drafted. Maybe he did leave because he disliked the coaches but I don't feel that's it. I think he wanted to get paid. Hardly on Rod. Cissoko had troubles beyond Rods control. You can't hold their hands. Turner apparently had issues with his committal to the program. Again, you can't hold their hands all offseason. Vlad got injured last year. It is very possible he wasn't the same afterward. No doubt he would have contributed this year, but I doubt it would have made an earth shattering difference. So, if you simply add Woolfolk and Warren to this secondary you take away a ton of inexperience and add one guy who is a shut down corner and another that, by all reports, had improved significantly. You can now do some things to create pressure since you don't have DOOM in coverage. I won't even go into the freshman backups. That should be self explanatory.
-Two of our losses were to pretty damn good teams. Iowa crushed MSU and MSU had beaten good teams themselves. We lost those games largely in part to mistakes made by us and not because they made more plays.
-2012-To me, this teams is built for that year. A bunch of juniors and seniors on defense. A senior Denard. This team could be very special. It is very possible that a new staff could do the same thing but I feel better having Magee and RR control the strings on Denard than anyone else.
-We could whiff on Jim Harbaugh-What if we don't get him? Then who? I would be in favor of Chris Peterson or Gary Patterson. I think Peterson could use Denard the correct way, but at the same time he may not want to come here. I think people are jumping the gun thinking JH will take the job. Sure, he probably would take it. It would be great for a few years but he doesn't seem like the type to turn down a new challenge. I mean the NFL. One thing that I have always liked about RR is that it doesn't seem likely he would go NFL on us. He is a college football coach so that if he was successful it would be sustained for a very very long time. Do we sacrifice 4-5 years for the next 20 or 30? I still believe he can get it done but it's a matter of how long we are willing to wait.
The Case Against: -The lack of defensive depth-How do we not have more options. Sure, there wasn't much to draw from from LC and yes, there has been bad luck but this is still Michigan. We should be able to put a better product out there.
-Greg Robinson-Why was he hired? What had he done recently to indicate he was a good choice? It has been stated that he likes turnovers instead of playing solid defense and forcing punts. That's all good as long as you, you know, get the turnovers sometime before the other team scores.
-Scott Schafer-Why was he fired so soon? He seems to be doing fine where he is now. The syracuse defense isn't a world beater but they certainly don't have the talent pool and the name either. There was rampant speculation RR was too controling and that was the reason he is gone. If so, why is RR controlling the defense? You hire coordinators to do the job. If you want to do it, don't hire a coordinator or hire some schmuck to take the title but you take the blame.
-The violations-I know and I agree that these are small violations that basically every program probably violates in one way or another. That's not the point. The point is that we got busted and it's embarrassing. How do you fail to file the same paperwork you have had to file for years? To me that part is unacceptable.
-The defense-One play sticks out. It is fourth and one in the first half. We have the opportunity to make a huge stop and perhaps start an offensive fire. The ball is snapped and given to Royster. There's nowhere to go. This play is dead and we get the ball. But wait a second, despite two different Michigan players haveing him wrapped up at once, he somehow falls for a gain of two and a first down. How does that sort of thing happen? Is it the players or is it how they are coached? This is just a small example of our run defense being bad.
-Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton-How have they not developed to be better than they are? Why? How come? It's not a lack of physical ability. I have to think it's a lack of development from coaching. They constantly make poor decisions and are undisciplined. In Obis case, he sometimes just does nothing. To further this problem, where are the guys to take their spots? I know Demens took one but it took 6 games. Either they weren't identified or he really isn't that much better. In the case of the latter, where was the recruiting?
-We could get Jim Harbaugh.
Conclusion: Let's say we beat Purdue. I think one more win is worst case. I think with our offense, we have to beat one team so I am sticking with 6-6 as worst case, 8-4 as best case. In the worst case scenerio here is my prescription: Fire Gerg. You have to if for no other reason, to save face. Get the absolute best you can and Brandon has to pony up to get this guy whether it's Casteel or someone else. Dick Bumpas may be another option. I don't care who it is just get someone in here who can make the defense average. Make them good enough so that we can score 30 per and win 9 games. It has to happen. You keep RichRod, but it will be abundantly clear that this is it. Walk the walk now. He will know that's the deal whether you say it or not. By keeping RR you also likely keep the vast majority of that 2012 roster even if you have to change staffs. Like I stated above, my hang up is that if RR hit's here, it will be sustained for a very long time.
Now, in the best case(8-4) all this is moot, we will havebeaten Wisconsin or OSU and people are happy. You still fire GERG though. I will gaurentee we won't win a game 21-14. They will have to be of the 48-42 variety.