Disclaimer: This is my opinion. And for the record, because the decision to keep or fire Rich Rodriguez is completely out of my hands, I no longer have an opinion on the subject. I trust the people in charge and will go with whatever decision they make. Unlike most of these other diaries, this has no statistics. They just aren't my thing. I warn you, this is long. It is basically my rationale for being rational. Take it for what it is worth... Thanks.
After the Ohio State beatdown, I was angry and wanted RR fired. Sunday I was too angry about the Wiki Leaks guy so I cooled down a little bit. On Monday, after seeing Denard Robinson win the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award, I've cooled down significantly and am looking at things more rationally, but not delusionally by any means.
Rich Rodriguez has done a terrible job coaching this team his first three years. When his WVU DC wasn't coming, he should have kept Ron English because he doesn't know shit about defense and/or the Big Ten. Ron English wasn't the greatest DC, but he was young, had energy and the respect of the kids that we had. RR should have adjusted his offense to Threet's talents, but he either didn't know how or was too stubborn. Then comes Tate, played well but he was a Freshman - what did you expect? Then Denard played flat out amazing but still he was a first year starter (Who won Big Ten OPOY). The defense? Can't honestly say Greg or Shafer are terrible coordinators or RR is a moron for forcing a system and staff upon them (or both). Either way, the entire coaching has failed when it comes to tackling. Every football player needs to know how to tackle with proper form. Offense on turnovers, special teams, and obviously defense. That is a fundamental. RR needs to give up on his defense philosophy and fire his friend Tony Gibson. On special teams, the kicking game is partly RR's fault, but Gibbons was a bust. Hagerup is great. Poor tackling on returns - that is mostly on Tony Gibson and partly on the other coaches for not teaching this fundamental football move. I don't know if they break down special teams film to look at teams blocking schemes on special teams, but uh, it didn't look like it. The injuries in 2010 really hurt, especially on defense and in our run game. Red zone turnovers by a first year starter at QB really killed us in some of those games, too.
It's a real conundrum we are in. Fire him and somewhat start over with a new guy, although I think the transition wouldn't be as bad as 2008 with a coach that isn't as stubborn as RR. Or say that for the first time, we have a returning QB that has proved he is electric. A stable of great WRs and RBs, many who are upperclassmen. Solid OL. Solid incoming recruits. Defense returning from an injury plagued year with many young players that had on the job training and game experience that will have an entire new staff running their own that is actually effective in defending Big Ten offenses (that is a MUST if RR stays). If RR can't handle an autonomous defense, then he is not all in for Michigan and should be fired. You want to build the best program in America right? Then bring in the best Defensive Coordinator and Staff you can find and let them do it their way, the same way you do it with your offense.
I pity David Brandon for having to make this decision. It basically makes or breaks his legacy as an AD. (And could have an impact on his political future, who knows.) Fans, media and former players all calling for the coach's head. Does he succumb to their demands? Does he see what I stated above and say "One More Year?" If he gives him another year and we have great season in 2011, he is a genius. T shirts will be made, "Patience is a virtue? No - David Brandon is patience." If we flop, he is a chump with no credibility.
In 2008 when Rich Rodriguez was hired, there were people who didn't like him. 3-9? More people didn't like him. First NCAA violations in program history? More. 5-7? More. 7-5 with poundings by Big Ten's elite? Even more. And it's hard to argue against those people, it has not been pretty or fun by any means. And then there are the people who stood by the coach no matter what, because he was the Michigan coach. As long as they always pulled for Michigan to win, these groups are the same - just passionate Michigan fans with strong opinions. And today, there is a supposed divide amongst the Michigan faithful. FIRE HIM NOW and WAIT AND SEE. These groups are also one in the same - one views the glass half full, the other half empty. The WAIT AND SEE group is no doubt angry with the way this coach has mismanaged and poorly coached his way into a hole in the job of a lifetime and straight up dragged Michigan through the mud. With all the drama and losing the past couple years, they still ask for patience because they want to see where this thing goes when some stability is involved (minus the defensive coaches =)..) The FIRE HIM NOW group wants to...well..FIRE HIM NOW. And you can't really blame them for feeling this way after the past few seasons. At the same time, as much as they were saddened, angered and frustrated by watching the games we lost, they can't tell me that they weren't thrilled watching Denard Robinson go apeshit on Notre Dame or the defense coming through in 3OT against Illinois. I know you can argue that all the wins, yards and points came against lesser opponents, a back-up QB at ND and vs. UCONN, Bowling Green. You can argue that we played close games against bad teams. (We did, FCS UMASS 42-37 are you kidding me?) You can argue that we were not even close in any of our losses, and that most yards and points came in on clean-up duty defenses. Once again, you are probably right. You don't even have to argue about the defense. However, you can't argue against the fact that our offense has shown flashes of being unstoppable and that the defense was plagued by freak injuries that forced inexperienced players, young and old, to play in games they had no business seeing the field in. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you want the coach to stay for one more year, you should be able to support him and still agree that he has done a horrendous job thus far and excuses about the cupboard being bare aren't applicable anymore. You should demand he stays away from the defense. If you want him fired now, ask yourself this question. If you could turn the page and take a peek as to what 2011 holds for Michigan Football with Rich Rodriguez, would you be curious enough to take a look? If you would, then maybe your mind isn't as made up as you thought it was.
I think it's time to take a break from the endless coaching debate. There are individuals under the illusion that there is no one talented on this defense at all. To that I take objection, there are many players( besides Mike Martin) that i believe will be great. One of those players is Cam Gordon. While many of you may chuckle at this assertion, i sometimes wonder if we are watching the same games. I see a player that is making plays, but does make mistakes. I mean this is to be expected out of a freshmen position switch guy. Believe Cam is indicative of the defense in general, very talented, but prone to the mistakes of inexperience.
I have previously stated my disdain for stats, I believe that stats often present logical fallacies. The numbers point to an outcome, but then are confounded by a different outcome altogether. However, because statistics are the coin of the realm I shall expose my coin purse ( pun intended ). All of my stats are compiled by cfbstats.com .
I am using Cam Gordon as factoid, and for purposes i will be comparing him to Linebackers, most notably to OLB. This is do to the lack of comparable nomenclature to the position that he plays currently in the 335, and most common 3-4, 4-3 defenses ( I believe that his ultimate position will be OLB at some point anyways, he has the frame to grow into that position).
The consensus pick for best big ten linebacker is greg jones. So i took a look at Greg Jones' Freshmen year stats. http://www.cfbstats.com/2007/player/416/1009826/index.html now lets look at Cam Gordons http://www.cfbstats.com/2010/player/418/1024821/index.html Jones comes in with 78 tackles, and 4.5 sacks. While Cam Gordon comes in at 73 tackles, and 2 picks ( with 1 game left to play). Now lets look directly at the OLB position. According to Espn the number one OLB that will be drafted is Akeem ayers of UCLA. Let's take a look at his Freshmen numbers. http://www.cfbstats.com/2008/player/110/1008517/index.html he comes in with 43 tackles and 5 sacks.
With this data in hand, i would draw the following conclusion: For a freshmen season, Cam Gordon seems to be on par with the best at his position, and likewise if we only analyzed these players in their freshmen years under the lens of having no potential for growth, then might these players get the same aspersions cast against them that Cam Has? I believe the future for Mr. Gordon like this defense in general is bright, they are just a young team, and They are likely to get better. Is this a logical Fallacy? You be the judge, but the evidence is there to point out otherwise.
P.S. I forgot to mention that these players started all games of their freshmen seasons just like Cam Gordon.
About five weeks ago, I took two polls after the loss to Penn State. The results were not too surprising, but I felt that it would be interesting to see what the board thinks after all of the ANGAR. Well there has been a large amount of ANGAR after the game on Saturday, so I conducted another poll. Admittedly, the loss was probably too fresh in our minds, but I was impatient, and I wanted to see if all of you really wanted to keep this guy. There have been several hundred responses to each survey, and I really appreciate everyone taking the time to do this.
The answer is yes, MGoBoard still wants Rich Rodriguez to coach Michigan again in 2011
After the Penn State game (with the assumption of a 7-5 record), I asked if Michigan should retain Rich Rodriguez as head coach.
|Response:||% of responses|
|I'm not sure||11|
After the game this weekend, the responses were not quite as steadfast in their support of Rodriguez, but there is still a clear majority in favor of retaining Rodriguez. Apparently 7-5 looked better five weeks ago than it does now, and the way that the games were won or lost were probably not exactly what most of us had envisioned at that point, although nobody thought that Michigan would beat Wisconsin (88% thought that Michigan would lose) or Ohio State (85%).
|Response:||% of responses|
|I'm not sure||13|
GERG is not as lucky as Rodriguez however. The responses to asking if Michigan should retain Greg Robinson weren't shocking.
Five weeks ago:
|Response:||% of responses|
|I'm not sure||37|
|Response:||% of responses|
|I'm not sure||12|
I think we're pretty clear on this. Needless to say, MGoBoard wants Greg Robinson to resign, retire, or be fired. I think the consensus is that Rich Rodriguez will need to completely overhaul his defensive coaching staff, starting at the top, make a good hire this time, and give the defensive coordinator free reign in personnel, strategic, and recruiting decisions. Greg Robinson has failed here (and it was not entirely his fault), but we're fed up with the performance on defense and we think it's time for a change.
The other four questions that I asked were pretty consistent in their responses, but yet again, there was less of a clear cut majority. Keep in mind that most of the responses in the previous polls were largely given with the assumption that Michigan would not beat Illinois and finish 6-6.
Has Michigan shown enough improvement in Rich Rodriguez's tenure?
|I'm not sure||14|
Can Michigan eventually succeed under Rodriguez?
|I'm not sure||21||18|
Would Michigan be better off with Rodriguez as head coach in 2011 than without?
|I'm not sure||15|
Take a guess: Will Michigan retain Rich Rodriguez as head coach?
|I'm not sure||5||13|
Well, there you have it. I would agree with the majority who want Rodriguez to have another year (personally I think that a coach should have more than three years to build a program and that it's hard to discount the progress that has occurred from 2008 to now), but I understand some of the perspectives of those who wish to have a change in coaching occur because it has been frustrating to seee the team perform so poorly.
A couple of interesting responses from some seemingly irrelevant questions from the earlier survey:
Question #5: If a coaching change is made, should it be done before or after the bowl game?
- Before – 51%
- After – 37%
- I’m not sure – 12%
Question #8: Would Jim Harbaugh be the best candidate if Rodriguez is fired?
- Yes – 48%
- No – 19%
- I’m not sure – 33%
There isn't really correlation between these two and any other of the questions, so there isn't really much to be gained other than just an answer to my curiosity, I suppose. By the way I don't think that this is a place to start a "'Jim Harbaugh is awesome!' 'No he's not!" flamewar (which are kind of annoying anyways)*
There are countless other threads in which to debate the merits of Jim Harbaugh, and I wonder what the response would be now if I asked the same question, but it is irrelevant because as of now, Rich Rodriguez is our coach and devoting so much time debating the merits of a possible replacement coach if he is fired is potentially pointless.
Here's something we can all get behind.
Last week, my cable company here in Kansas City removed the Big Ten Network from its basic cable package. This is in KC, by far the largest city near Lincoln, NE. With the 'Huskers being one of the largest fanbases/alumni bases in the U.S., you would think cable companies would be adding the B10 Network, not removing it.
(Just thought we might need to talk about ANYTHING other than, you know.)
Take a break from deciding our next coach. Enjoy a Monday Night Football game. Alan Branch is starting tonight. I would love to see him give Troy Smith a sack sandwhich a couple times.