Pacific Rim 2 is going to be about giant robots built to fight Adam Jacobi
Okay, I'm going to voice what I know all of you are thinking deep down inside when you say 8-4:
Michigan has already lost all the games it will lose in 2010.
With a non-catastrophic mid-season injury status (knock on wood -- seriously, do it) and the bye week here after two weeks of harsh reality checks, this team is in a position to bounce back and go into the last two games of the regular season at 8-2. If the 2010 Wolverines do that, UW and OSU start to look different. I say this team will finish strong and end the regular season at 10-2.
- Not only is Demens better than Ezeh, but Ezeh will function well in the backup role.
- Demens gives Mouton reliable help in the middle, something he has lacked up to now. This will allow Jonas to play more within the defensive scheme, without feeling the need to try and do it all himself.
- Two solid quarterbacks are better than one. The bleeding from sophomore-mistake turnovers will not stop, but it will slow to a point where it will not kill us at the end of the season against UW and OSU.
- Special teams will improve dramatically once Rodriguez, who is now apparently involved in special teams as much as he is involved in the offense, puts his stamp on them. If this means Gibson spends more time working with the secondary (his actual area of experience) and less time working with special teams, that could have a good sort of domino effect.
- We will still have a bad secondary, but by the last two games, it will be a bad secondary with ten games of experience. That's better than nothing.
- Let's hope Rich figures out that Gibbons should be kicking off and Broekhuizen should be kicking field goals. There's a reason why NFL teams almost always employ two different kickers in these two very different roles.
- Finally, Hopkins is going to shatter the curse on Michigan running backs that's been in place ever since Hart lost two fumbles in his last game (twice as many as in his entire Michigan career before then). [Has there ever been more conclusive proof of the occurrence of a curse?] The glimpses I've seen of him remind me of what's been missing. I especially like the way he carries himself after a run -- he just gets up, looks around, and goes back to work. Once Hopkins breaks the curse, Toussaint emerges as a viable option and is no longer automatically injured the minute he is in for more than one play.
In the comments of Brian's mid-season secondary review, poster Rasmus wrote
"I'd love to see someone do a study of Gibson's tenure as WVU's defensive backs coach, from 2001 to 2007. That's seven seasons of data. Were they generally decent, or a constant liability? Did players leave for no apparent reason? And so on..."
I bit on it.
Here are WVUs rankings in Pass Defense, PD Efficiency and Total Defense:
First of all, throw out 2001 and 2002 since the players on those teams were inherited by RR and staff. Also, major caveat, as always, about WVU being a Big East team. Also, also, there's the obvious problem that simply using team measurables isn't particularly precise in evaluating DBs specifically. Anyhoo...
What's you see is two sloppy years and three respectable ones.
What I was more interested in was the level of talent they were able to recruit at WVU among DBs. So, first to identify the DBs, I went through the team's leading tacklers from 2005 to 2007 and culled out about 18 of them through that period. Then I looked at the recruiting stats of those 18. Wouldn't you know it, the very highest ranked guy was one Ryan Mundy, who actually led the team in tackles in 2007.
Of the 18 guys who played DB with some regularity, the average Scout star rating was 2.2; 8 were recruited as safeties, 2 as CBs, 2 as WRs, 2 as LBs, 1 QB, and 3 were walkons. Pretty impressive, huh?
Conclusion from rough, derivative evidence: Gibson had shit to work with -- Mundy included according to anybody who reads this board -- and made good with it.
We still lead for DeVondrick Nealy and he has narrowed it down to a top three of Michigan, Arkansas, and Auburn. He is a RB who seems underrated on both sites (3 stars) despite having a lot of solid offers.
The timing of this ESPN piece by Brian Bennett on WVU DC Jeff Casteel couldn't be better from my perspective as a Michigan fan.
I'm not saying Greg Robinson is a bad DC. In my view, the jury is still out on GERG at Michigan given the teenage wasteland and "wafa thin" UM depth chart.
However, there is no jury or trial for that matter when it comes to Jeff Casteel and coaching college football defense. The dude could coach a turd into a competent, fire-breathing defense.
I came across two separate articles today regarding RR's statement in his Monday presser regarding his role in the defense. For those unfamiliar with the comment, here it is:
"If I still aspire to call plays and be involved in the offensive planning or special-teams planning, there is only so many hours in the day. I want to know what we're doing defensively and have some input. I can give them two cents' worth. I hope it's worth more than that."
The two articles that I came across were (1) an article on MLive by Rob Otto, and (2) a Freep article by Drew Sharp. (I have not linked either article, since I do not know the board's current mood on linking articles from the Freep or MLive, but if any commenter asks, I will do so.
Both articles criticized RR for basically passing the buck and making an attempt at humor (including his Vince Lombardi comment) on the state of our defense. Sharp even compared his mentality to that of MSU, where losses to good teams were excused as somewhat expected.
Putting aside the fact that the articles were by Drew Sharp, who is an asshat, and a guy named Otto who calls his column The Ottoman Empire, I think that these two articles raise a fair criticism (as opposed to so many of the unfair criticisms that the MSM has raised about RR). Our defense sucks. This is not only the worst Michigan defense in decades (if not ever), but it is one of the worst in college football. While RR does not coach the D - and that is fine, since he is an offensive expert - the buck stops with him. He is the head coach.
I found it awkward, if not uncomfortable, that our HC was basically saying, "I understand that this is a problem, but it's not really my fault or my area."
All the usual caveats of I support RR and want him to win, etc. Just curious as to what other people thing.
QB Cody Endres has been suspended for the rest of the season. You may remember Endres as the QB Michigan did not see in the home-opener due to reported drug possession/usage issues that were deemed "team rule violations" by the school.
This news comes on the feet of news that Erik Kuraczea, a starting guard on the UConn football team, who was suspended similarly to Endres for activities and games starting the season, has decided to transfer effective immediately.
Injuries have plagued the squad and hopes of a Big East championship were squandered as the team struggled after their Michigan loss, losing to Temple and, after convincing wins against Buffalo and Vanderbilt, being stunned by a 2-2 Rutgers squad that lost to Tulane.
So, I mean... it could be worse, right?
Small Aside: Shavodrick Beaver has still failed to play any meaningful minutes this year, throwing a total of 5 times for 35 yards and rushing 19 times for 98 yards.