Coaches' timeouts are worse. Basketball teams should get one, full stop.
The anger is raging inside all of us. The performance was dreadful, but as a beloved coach by all(sarcasm) once said, the past is the past. When you look at this program don't lump your anger from the OSU streak and The Horror and the Big Ten record all together with Sat. night. We need to look forward. Things have not changed for the future of the program. For everyone that wants RR gone, I submit a short rebuttal.
This team (could) return 22 of 24 starters next year. The #4 offense in the country will return every skill position player except Martell Webb and the offensive line should improve even with losing S. Schilling. The 2011 schedule is set up for a Big 10 Championship. Rodriguez will finally have experience and depth at his disposal on offense. No freshmen(even redshirt freshmen) save possibly Hart will see the field. Don't you want to see what could become of this offense and the stars it could attract with stability up top? If you broom RR then what? If you bring in Harbaugh, Denard is either gone or a slot back. I have no idea how much attrition you get but this offense has been molded by RR for 3 years, it will not be as good.
I know you'll raise your pitchfork and say, but what about the "defense"?. To that I have run out of rebuttal, but I will say with unshaking confidence we will be better. To the people who like to fire people I'll give you a sacrificial Gerg, because that side can't get worse. I don't care anymore. Everyone who is worth a dam is coming back on d, they will be better with or without Robinson.
My plea to you is that I am 40 years old and for my entire life the pleas from the stands has been to open up the offense and be aggressive. RR has found a once in a generation type athlete in Denard and we are on the cusp of history. Our leadership next year will be beyond reproach, Martin, Molk, Denard, Van Bergen. Do not tear down what could be historic because we go to the Armed Forces Bowl instead of the Gator Bowl. As long as we get our 15 practices I could give a shit who or where we play. I have forseen 2011 as our return to greatness for 2 years and while I thought JT Turner and Boo Boo would be our corners in my NC scenario, I am not wavering, because I didn't see what the offense could become.
Friends our offensive potential is great, the only thing to slow us down is the negativity killing recruiting, because the defense will get there if we stick together. Please put your forks down for all our sakes. This team is so close to getting over the hump, it just needs a little push from us and recruiting and wins will just open up and come pouring down on us. We truly have a chance at greatness here. Let's not pull the cord too soon. I may be wrong, but if Brandon pulls the lever at the end of this season, I will always wonder at what could have been.
How many great things almost got flushed before it had a chance and was saved? We are Seinfeld right now. Seinfeld was almost cancelled before it got going. It was almost cancelled several times in it's 1st 2 years. Floundering in the ratings, few people believed, the masses wanted it flushed, but there was a key few who saw something beyond the ratings. They saw greatness and stuck their neck out for them. They got over the hump and we were all rewarded.
I feel like D. Brandon needs to be Clark and the family are the fans. The family's justified in their stance they just need someone to lead them thru the pain.
D. Brandon, stay the course, dare to be great.
PS If we go 8-4 next year you can broom them all and light him on fire just put the shovels back for 1 more year please.
There have been tons of posts about whether or not Michigan should fire RR. That is not the topic of this post. My question for the board is this:
IF Michigan does choose to fire RR at the end of this season, who are the realistic candidates to replace him? Not a wish list, but who is realistically out there that would want to leave their current job to come to Michigan?
I know that the popular candidate on this board, and everywhere else, seems to be Harbaugh. But, is there any reason to believe that he would come here?
Just curious what everyone thinks . . .
Most people here seem to be resigned to AT BEST a 6-7 win season this year. Virtually everybody is in agreement that RR deserves to at least finish out 2011 (albeit with a new DC).
The problem this creates though is that regardless of what happens in 2011, our recruiting class will go down the toilet. No top recruit is going to sign on to a program that is either
1. on the verge on firing the HC
2. or not confident enough to give him an extension.
So therefore, unlike the popular opinion that DB should wait out through 2011 before canning RR or singing him to an extension, I say it needs to be done now. IF you believe in him give him a four year extension (with a zero dollar buyout clause if you need) or can him right now and lets overpay Harbaugh.
I am personally fine with both options. I think if we hire Harbaugh, he is going to be very successful coach here not because he is phenomenally better than RR but because:
1. He has the pedigree that will keep the freep type wolves at bay.
2. He has a VERY decent set of talent on offense to build.
3. He is smart enough to go get top flight defensive coordinator talent to shore up our weakness.
[FA Edit: Bumped ahead of coaching kerfluffle due to value.]
So for the past few weeks, we all have noticed the abysmal performances by our defense. There has been lots of ideas tossed around, from GERG being a Defensive Jenius to poor coaching to bad luck/loss of concentration on a few critical plays. One thing that has struck me has been the absolutely atrocious tackling, namely our inability to make one.
Time and again, we have the ball player wrapped up, and then 3 yards later they have picked up the 1st down on 3rd and forever. I thought it was about time to look at tackling, both who is making/missing them and why.
About the analysis:
1. I regarded made tackles as anytime a player made contact with the ballcarrier and that ballcarrier ended up down by contact using solid tackling technique. I did not look at technique of made tackles, as after 1/2 of tape review most of the tackles that were made were of good technique.
2. I classified OOB as out-of-bounds tackles, which could have been a solid tackle out of bounds or a bump out (couldn't find a reasonable way to quantify the difference so they are tackles, but not quite).
3. I designated missed tackles as failing to make a tackle in space, taking an extremely bad angle on a tackle that should have been made, or simply just getting the hit but not bringing down the ballcarrier.
4. Bad Form takes into account any missed tackle that used any of the following:
- Head on the upfield side
- Arm/Jersey tackling
- Any hit at or above the numbers
- Getting "shook" in open field due to not breaking down or overpursuit.
The difference here is missed tackles in my mind sometimes come from being literally overpowered or stiff-armed, not a technique avenue. If the UM defender made the hit with the head on the right side and attempted to wrap up but the ballcarrier just slipped through, I counted this as a missed tackle only.
I reviewed the "every defensive snap" from the MSU and Iowa games and the results are as follows:
|MSU||Total Plays||57||4 TDs|
|Player||Tackles||OOB||Missed Tackles||Bad Form|
So. MSU only, we cant tackle at all.
|Made tackles||OOB||Missed Tackles||Bad Form|
Totals 33 7 18 11
|Plays||Missed Tackles/Bad Form||Missed Tackles/Play||Missed Tackles by Bad Form/Play|
Versus our Offense:
|Tackles||Missed/Bad Form||Missed Tackle/PLay||Missed Tackle from Bad Form/Play|
The numbers in this case really demonstrate how bad we actually are at tackling, and that it is a technique thing.
Solid to great defenses, while they might miss tackles, don't do so using bad technique.
Upon watching again, specifically focusing on tackling, the difference between our D and a Big Ten D is that ours seems to lack that killer instict, getting the ballcarrier to the ground regardless. We don't attack downhill, and we consistently have the head of our tacklers on the wrong side to impede forward progress. This could also be a good reason that we haven't seen a ton of fumbles this year as well, as the most common cause of a fumble is a good ol' helmet on the ball.
While the issue might stem from second-guessing assignments and being a half-second late to the hole, the number of times we went high and behind the ballcarrier in these games its simply shocking. Technique is something you can coach, and something you can keep coaching week in and week out.
Rich Rodriguez's defenders generally point to Kirk Ferentz and Barry Alvarez as examples of coaches who were given bad situations, struggled enormously at first, but then were able to right their ships and become highly successful. If we only give Rich Rod enough time, the argument goes, he will surely do the same thing. CRex's recent diary includes a helpful chart comparing the initial records for the first three seasons of various Big Ten coaches. Once again, Alvarez and Ferentz are the only ultimately successful coaches on the list who did about as badly as Rich Rod in their first three years.
If you look more closely at their performances, the comparisons break down. Both Ferentz and Alvarez struggled greatly through their first three seasons, but they took huge leaps forward in year four, something that it doesn't look like Michigan will be capable of under Rodriguez.
Wisconsin under Alvarez
I was a kid in the late 1980s. I remember Wisconsin at the time as an absolutely atrocious team, one of the two worst in the Big Ten (along with Northwestern). They hired Alvarez in 1990, as indicated in bold on the chart below.
In short, Wisconsin struggled for three years, with gradual improvement, then won Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships in year four. They did slide back a bit, with a losing season in 1995, then ramped up in the Ron Dayne years and have been a very good, occasionally great Big Ten program ever since.
Iowa Under Ferentz
Ferentz inherited the Iowa program in a very similar situation to what Rich Rod had at Michigan. He replaced a beloved coach (Hayden Fry) who had done very well but slipped a bit toward the end of his career. If anything, Fry had fallen further than Lloyd Carr did, posting a very bad final season before Ferentz took over in 1999.
The pattern is strikingly similar. Rock bottom start, gradual improvement, then Big Ten champs in year four. In Ferentz's case, Iowa was 8-0 in the Big Ten in 2002. They didn't play OSU, and their only losses were to Iowa State and to USC's first juggernaut team in the Orange Bowl.
So what does it mean?
I confess that I don't know the details about the circumstances at either Iowa or Wisconsin leading up to the hiring of these coaches. If anyone did follow these programs very closely, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on what their situations were like at the time. But I think it's safe to assume that neither Alvarez nor Ferentz inherited much talent. Iowa was in decline prior to hiring Ferentz, and Wisconsin was terrible prior to hiring Alvarez. Yet these coaches, working with much more difficult recruiting situations than at Michigan, were able to turn their teams into Big Ten champs by year four. Does anyone think Michigan will be close to winning the Big Ten next year?
Can you name any highly successful coach who was unable to build his team into a winner by year four? That's not a rhetorical question. I haven't heard any names mentioned. The usual story is huge success in year two. That's what we see in virtually all the most successful coaches from the last decade: Tressell, Stoops, Carroll, Meyer, Brown, Saban. Am I missing anyone?
It's true, none of those coaches began in as bad a situation as Rich Rod did at Michigan. But Barry Alvarez and Kirk Ferentz did. Highly successful coaches seem to have a very swift upward trajectory when taking over a program. Even if you put them in the absolute worst situation possible, they manage to turn things around amazingly fast. Maybe Rich Rodriguez is an exception to that rule. If he is, he is a rare exception indeed.