things go poorly
Really, when you think about it, it's obvious. A list of attributes:
1. He has experience being outnumbered by an evil empire. With just two remaining Jedi Knights, he never gave up and eventually defeated the Emperor. Yes, I know it took over 20 years, but we've already waited 7.
2. He has fought against Storm Troopers, which will help us next time we play Penn State at home. Also, he's about the same size and age as Paterno, so that will be a nice story.
3. He coaches up his talent. Most Jedi Knights start their training as small children. Yoda didn't get a hold of Luke Skywalker until near adulthood and turned him into a Jedi powerful enough to turn Darth Vader back to the good side and resist the Emperor's will.
4. Speaking of which, good with youth. Since we'll still be starting a lot of sophomores next year, that should help.
5. Understands how to battle larger opponents. Enough with "this won't work in the Big Ten" talk. Yoda is about 3 feet tall and repeatedly defeats opponents twice his size or more.
6. Recruiting advantage. Yoda has good relationships with the Wookies, which will really help our defensive line.
7. Complete change from GERG. Especially in the hair department.
8. Can speak directly into the players' minds when they are on the field. I don't think there is any rule against using the force during a play.
9. Lived in a swamp for the last 30 years of his life, so he can deal with wet weather.
1. He's green. State fans will jump on this. I do think, however, that when he does appear visually, it looks pretty blue, so it should be ok.
2. He died a long, long time ago. Given #8 above, however, that may turn to our advantage.
I think we have a solution here. Get his agent on the phone.
Dave Brandon has been asked repeatedly about Rich Rodriguez’s status. He has given the same answer consistently: “I will evaluate the program after the bowl game.”
I cannot recall the last time a college football coach was fired after his bowl game. It has probably happened, but it is very rare. There are only 4-5 weeks between the bowl season and national signing day. That is too little time for a new coach to fill any holes in the class, to re-recruit the existing commits, and to replace any who bail out. Generally, if the coach is going to be fired, it is right after the regular season.
In the meantime, leaving Rodriguez’s status unclear makes it difficult to land any uncommitted recruits who are still considering Michigan, and it increases the likelihood that existing commits might waver. I cannot imagine that Brandon does not know this.
It therefore seems that the time to make a decision about Rodriguez is now. If Brandon wants him back in 2011, go ahead and say so. That, at least, will shore up the recruiting class. Other decisions (e.g., defensive coordinator) can wait. If he does not want Rodriguez back, fire him now, and get a replacement on board for the final two months of the recruiting season.
One scenario floating around the various message boards, is this: Brandon has already decided to fire Rodriguez, but he is waiting to make an announcement until he has a replacement lined up. That scenario also gives him the wiggle room to retain Rodriguez for another year if the coach he wants turns out to be unavailable.
The longer Brandon goes without explicitly saying that Rodriguez will be back, the more gossip there will be about his demise. Brandon must realize how poisonous these rumors are. If he does nothing to dispel them, you have to assume that he is quietly looking elsewhere. There is otherwise no good reason to wait.
End of season (almost) stats. The offense took a significant hit after the Purdue, Wisconsin and Ohio State games, but still finished with over 500 yards/game (a Michigan first) and over 34 points/game. The scoring offense was hampered by one of the worst turnover margins and THE worst field goal kicking in the FBS. If Michigan was just average in those two categories, they would probably have scored 40 pts/game. (EDIT: also hampering the offense was Michigan's strength of schedule, 2nd in the Big Ten. UM played the 5 toughest defenses in the conferece, but missed out on two of the worst (Minnesota and Northwestern). They also got stuck playing Purdue in a rainstorm.)
(EDIT 2: the meme that this offense fattened up against out-of-conferense opponents and didn't perform in the Big Ten does not really show in the numbers. Michigan averaged just under 31 pts/game in the Big Ten, even with the turnovers, total lack of kicking game, and tough schedule).
As it stands, the 500.9 yards/game is the most in Michigan history, crushing the previous school record of 466.9 set in 1992. The 34.33 pts/game is 6th in the "modern era," behind 1947 (39.4), 1976 (36.0), 1992 (35.9), 2003 (35.4), and 1991 (35.0). On a yards/game basis, this is the 2nd best offense in the history of the Big Ten, second only to 1994 PSU (512.7 yds/game), and just barely edging out 2005 Northwestern (they gained 6004 yards in 12 games - Michigan gained 6011 this season).
Conversely, the defense was the worst in school history by just about every measure. The 33.8 pts/game allowed demolished the previous low mark of 28.9 set in 2008. For reference, before RichRod came to town the worst Michigan defense was the 1962 unit that gave up 23.8 pts/game, exactly a full 10 points/game better than this team. On a yards/game basis, this year's mark of 447.92 was more than 50 yards/game worse than the previous low of 393.3 in 2009. The pre-RichRod low point was 389.9 in 2000.
Overall, I think it's worth it to give Rodriguez another year, but (obviously) the defense must improve significantly. The list of best offenses in Big Ten history is riddled with forgettable squads like 2005 Northwestern (7-5), 2005 MSU (5-6), 2005 Minnesota (7-5), 2003 Minnesota (10-3). Those teams all averaged near 500 yards/game.
Our schedule sets up nicely next year, with powerhouse Wisconsin and upstart Penn State off the slate entirely. Our two toughest games are both at home at the end of the season (Nebraska and OSU). I think RichRod will need to be at least 8-2 going into the Nebraska game and will need to beat both OSU and MSU. That means the defense and special teams must move up from the dregs to around 60th nationally. I know these are high standards but I really believe 9-3 (at least) and a trip to Indianapolis is the only scenario that will save our coach's job.
|RedZone - TD||75.00%||6th|
|RedZone - Score||82.69%||64th|
|3rd Down Conversions||46.30%||23rd|
|4th Down Conversions||52.17%||63rd|
|Pass Eff Def||140.65||97th|
|RedZone Def - TD||60.78%||60th|
|RedZone Def - Score||84.31%||78th|
|3rd Down Conversions Def||42.37%||84th|
|4th Down Conversions Def||69.57%||112th|
|Punt Returning (Yds/Ret)||5.38||98th|
|Kick Returning (Yds/Ret)||21.14||77th|
|Punt Return D (Yds/Ret)||9.78||81st|
|Kick Return D (Yds/Ret)||21.37||63rd|
|Pts Responsible for||180||19th|
|Pts Responsible for/g||15.00||22nd|
Yahoo seems to think we will get a head start on our new in-conference Rivals. Seems Michigan always finds a way to draw a tough bowl game... Maybe there can be some backback for 'JUST LATERAL THE DAMN BALL!!!'
Site: Tempe, Ariz.
Date: Dec. 28, 10 p.m., ESPN
Matchup: Big Ten No. 4/5 vs. Big 12 No. 4
Today's projection: Michigan vs. Nebraska
NFL early games. I got the honor to watch Manningham play Jacksonville, Buf/Pit, and Atl/GB. Manningham is on my fantasy team and Steve Smith/Hakeem Nicks are out! Big day for Manningham? I hope so!