BC guys evaluate Bates's tenure positively.
I'm creating this diary to dispel some of the myths that people are trying to believe in hopes of keeping Coach Rodriguez around. If you support keeping him, that is fine, I respect your opinion, but after a careful viewing of the Penn State debacle, my personal opinion is that this team needs to head in a different direction if it can get the right coach.
The Offensive Argument
The theory holds that Rich Rodriguez has come into Michigan and in three years has built an offensive juggernaut that rivals the likes of Oregon or Boise State in terms of scoring offense. On defense he has had some bad luck with attrition and injuries, but that if we give him the necessary time and let him build a defense that is even remotely capable, he will have an unstoppable team given how great the offense is. There are two glaring flaws with this argument.
Flaw #1: The Offense is Not THAT Good
Our offensive production has been overhyped on this blog by an obsession with one statistic: Yards Per Game. Right now, I believe we are ranked #4 in the country in YPG. On this statistic alone rests the entire "offensive" argument. The vital fact that is being forgotten is that in any sport, you cannot gauge a team, or even its offense, on one statistic alone. Take for example, Michigan's ranking in the following statistical categories:
Points per game: 20th
Time of Possession: 92nd
Third Down Conversions: 61st
Red Zone Efficiency: 51st
These statistics were not cherry-picked from a group of low ranking stats. Instead, I chose four random stats that I feel are extremely important in terms of offensive performance. In light of these statistics, it is clear that our offense is not some unstoppable force. It is good. But it isn't the "we score like our hair is on fire every time we touch the ball" machine that some on this board make it out to be. Not even close.
Flaw #2: The Lack of Hope of Defensive Improvement
This one baffles me. The next part of the argument goes that if we give Rich Rodriguez time, he will build a competent defense to match our amazing offense (see Flaw #1 on that point). However, I wonder what gives people the inclination that he will do this. There seems to be no basis for believing that he is the type of coach that will do this. It is clear that he puts very little emphasis on defense, he has recruited bad apples time and time again on that side of the ball, either players who leave the program or don't end up being good anyway. They have not developed the talent that they have had and mediocre players have decided to try for the NFL instead of staying, even though there was a chance they'd go un-drafted) and did.
The track record says that there is no likely foreseeable scenario where Rich Rodriguez builds a suitable defense to match up in the Big Ten.
Perhaps you draw a different conclusion from these facts. My conclusion is that the University of Michigan football program needs to go in a different direction. After three years, a good offense and an atrocious defense just aren't good enough, especially with no expected improvement within the next two years. The record against almost all opponents is terrible and the program has literally become irrelevant.
Starting over and bringing in someone else (perhaps someone closer to the program) is the much better long term solution.
I've been mostly successful this season at keeping my editorial voice out of the weekly wallpapers. However, this week poses several challenges in the "making fun of the opponent" category: a team with a Native American nickname and a program with no discernible traditions. Combine that with my utter disgust after Saturday's game and this is what you get. Actually, I had already finalized the concept for this Illinois wallpaper BEFORE the Penn State game and the original title was "They Be Illin'" but now it is me and you, fellow Michigan fan, who are doin' the illin'. I've changed the title to reflect how I feel at this point in the season; I was so disappointed after the loss at Happy Valley that I almost posted a completely blank wallpaper with the vow to continue posting blank wallpapers until the next win but, after three consecutive losses, designing these wallpapers is the one thing that helps me to move on emotionally (like art therapy).
That said, I haven't completely abandoned hope that this team can meet my original pre-season expectation of 7 wins and I'm firmly in the "let's wait until the last game is played before we cry for firings and lynchings and the like" camp. Here's to hoping that by late on Saturday afternoon we will all have moved on from illin' to celebratin' 6 wins and bowl eligibility.
I had several versions of this wallpaper bouncing around my head last week: everything from tackle twill letters on a retro track jacket to a blinged-out gold chain with diamond-encrusted letters ala Run DMC. I like where this ended up much better; the hoodie and lettering feel appropriately distressed and it gave me a very natural way to turn the last "I" into an apostrophe.
The image below is a preview only. You can get this week's widescreen, 4:3, iPad and mobile wallpapers at The Art. The Art. The Art!.
All of the 2010 Schedule Wallpapers
There has been much talk around these here parts about the inability of the players and mainly the coaches the past few days after debacle that took place on Saturday. I think the real issue here is with Adidas. Since the addition of Adidas as our official supplier we all have seen how untight the jerseys fit which has obviously affected the play on the field. I think this weekend will be a telling factor, as Michigan will hopefully unveil there new more compressed football jerseys, in how long Dave Brandon will allow this ineptitude of our outfitter. Hopefully they will be able to turn it around and we do not see this season turn out the same as the last 2. Who knows, it could only be short time until fan-favorite Nike gets the call...
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 . . .