it's a major award
Endless data points factor into his deliberations about the direction of our football program. The vast majority, especially after a solid 5-1 start, point to retaining RR for a good number of years, especially with what an upheaval of a new hire would do, having to rebuild again from scratch.
I continue to support RR, but with the nature of the offense’s performance in this loss to MSU, it is now clear to me the single most important metric by which Brandon should review the remainder of this season in deliberating RR’s future.
Hearken back to 2007 when Bill Martin bore witness to what Armanti Edwards and Dennis Dixon did to our defense. On the day I learned of RR’s hire, my first thought was it was borne from what those two spread attacks did to our team that year. Of Oregon’s spread attack that won 39-7, I remember USA Today writing:
“Oregon seemed to do whatever it wanted against Michigan. The Ducks led 32-7 at halftime and coasted to the victory against little resistance.”
Watch that game again and you know the score could have easily been 55 -7, but Oregon literally eased up on us.
So Martin hires RR – the father of the spread – and he and all of us instantly began dreaming of days to come when our own Dennis Dixon, clad in a winged helmet, would toy with Ohio State’s and MSU’s traditional defenses much as we had been toyed with at the start of 2007.
Flash to today and it’s a different reality. The reality is that while RR’s spread attack has shown the explosiveness we anticipated, it has yet to do so once against a top tier Big 10 defense. Not once in 2.5 seasons. Yes personnel, yes youth, yes occasional signs, yes Denard for the Heisman, yes re-writing the record books, but anything even remotely akin to Dennis Dixon toying with UM? No.
Perhaps Bill Martin thought more of Ron English than he should have. Perhaps Martin’s greatest mistake was assuming that the Michigan defensive product vs App State and Oregon was indicative of how your typical top tier Big 10 defense would do against a top tier spread attack. I mean, we did end up beating Tebow and Florida that year, albeit after RR had been hired.
If I am David Brandon I would look for one very important sign this year – evidence that RichRod’s offense can truly work against top flight Big 10 defenses.
The UM defense will improve with recruiting and maturity. The offense will as well given this was only Denard’s 6thstart. But if I am Brandon and I don’t see at least one offensive breakthrough against a top tier Big 10 D, and by that I mean at least 5 offensive touchdowns against either PSU, Iowa, Wisconsin or OSU, then I really have to begin to question this hire.
On the other hand, even if the team loses the remainder of it’s games, but the offense actually breaks through and demonstrates the explosiveness we all hope for against one or two of those four remaining top flight Big 10 D teams, then to me, RR’s job remains safe for the immediate future.
iirc, Mike Jones took a medical redshirt in 2009. I'm assuming that with a broken leg in the ND game, he will get one this year too. Is that true, or no? I guess I'm curious how much eligibility he has left.
Also, did he just have rotten luck? It seems odd for the same player to have two seasons lost to injury.
Many thanks to the Gators for coughing up the loss to LSU (argh) and stealing the Tears of Unfathomable Sadness from the Michigan fanbase.
Also, who wins the internet this week? Inquiring mind wants to know.
Also also, BC baby hur hur
"I mean, there might be a few people who want to do that, but that's the same people that probably wanted to do that after the first five games too, they just weren't saying it publicly."
I love this fire out of RR. A me against the world type of attitude. He's going to do his thing no matter what his detractors say or do to him. As well he should. He likely has Dave Brandon's full support and will continue implementing his system now and for the foreseeable future. It's good to see this confidence in a coach, as it not only helps keep the current players focused, but can only keep recruits coming our way. We got your back Rich. Keep doing your thing. The best is clearly yet to come.
You can see the whole post at http://www.blackheartgoldpants.com/2010/10/10/1742174/does-michigan-even... . I'm just posting a response here as sort of a dual link + response post.
"b. Football is not about rolling up gaudy statistics, other than the endgame numbers on the scoreboard and turnover-takeaways, because by that measure, Kirk Cousins did not improve his standing v. Denard Robinson. Query: which quarterback do you want running your offense if you fall behind, today? "
Denard Robinson, because he's a better quarterback. As a pure pocket passer, he's obviously worse at the moment, but as a complete quarterback he's still better.
Also, "gaudy statistics" (a loaded term) are not meaningless. "Yardage differentials" and "career statistics" have predictive power over the long run and correlate with future performance. Scattered exceptions do not negate the rule.
"I can't tell, but is this even tackle football? This is how you win flag football. But tackle football?"
Being dismissive of speed is pretty stupid. Denard, the one-dimensional freshman edition, had a fair amount of success on the ground against Iowa last year - and this year he knows how to pass. The difference between a 20 yard gain and a 60 yard gain is often speed. When mistakes turn into touchdowns, it is a lot worse. Sure, our team is bad at tackling, but that doesn't mean our offense can't score points or that we don't know how to play football - ask the five teams we've beaten this year.
"b. Michigan failed to tackle anyone in the broken field with any authority, even when MSU backs were carrying the arms and torsos of Michigan defenders. To paraphrase Tyler Sash, earlier this week, they "guard", they don't tackle. I suspect that is because they "guard" all spring and summer, when they are playing their own. It is the inverse of our O-Line having to compete with our D-Line in camp. Surviving against those monsters means that you have prepared against the best in the country. Surviving against Denard means that you never learn to hit, control the LOS, tackle, or intimidate. Basically, Michigan doesn't play defense. They are playing some other game that I haven't seen before. I don't know what it is. But it isn't major college football."
An odd take, although I'm not happy with Michigan's tackling as usual. That will continue to be a problem throughout the year.
"Iowa can lose this game, but Michigan should not be able to win it. "
False. The most likely scenario for a Michigan win is indeed a positive turnover margin, but the classic scenario of an explosive Denard scoring lots of points while the defense does just enough to win is still out there - it just got less likely after the MSU game. Iowa does not have a good offense. Adam Robinson has about the same stats as the (unfairly) maligned Vincent Smith, and I was quite unimpressed by Adam Robinson last year. It's possible that Stanzi's love of country has caused him to stop donating passes to defenders, but I'll believe he's a good quarterback when I see it - which I might, sadly. All this will probably look bad when Iowa gashes our defense this Saturday, but Michigan's defense makes a lot of offenses look good.
"Michigan has six games of defensive nightmares, and now we're in week seven, in the Big Ten, and they are attacking the LOS with three D-Linemen? How many years do you think will pass, after Robinson is scapegoated and relieved of duty, before we see a Big Ten DC play football in October with three down linemen on first down? Who will take my bet that Michigan does not play a 3-3-5 next year?"
Is there a better way to express an argument than to ask a series of rhetorical questions? How do people even consider this an argument? Isn't it obnoxious to bury your assumption that Robinson will get fired within a rhetorical question? Does this series of rhetorical questions prove my point that rhetorical questions are annoying?
"Does Michigan have a middle linebacker who is going to cover the deep middle in their cover-2? When Iowa is running play-action and releasing Allen Reisner and Brad Herman on the verticals, their corners are rotating up to the flat, and our slots are springing corner routes? What are they going to do?"
Michigan does not, and Iowa will gain some yards. I don't have a response here...
"Will Michigan's quick and conditioned O-Line even get to the second-level to spring Denard? The game is over if they cannot."
The game does hinge on the Oline giving Denard room to make some big plays, and they will push Iowa's defense around a lot. Clayborn and the rest will cause some problems, and I doubt we will see as much passing until Iowa stacks the box and makes it easier. In particular, the deep ball isn't going to show up very much at all.
"I expect to see Baby Jesus Tate Forcier make a frantic return to the field sometime late Q3. Think about that: the most prodigious quarterback in decades may well be replaced before the fourth quarter, provided Iowa plays assignment football and demonstrates (as we should) total physical mastery."
Uh, no. The time for that would have been against MSU. It's unlikely that RR will put Tate in, even if Denard is performing terribly, given how Tate performed against Iowa last year. You can think about it all you want, but that isn't going to happen short of an injury.
"On balance, there is no single position at which Iowa suffers physical or schematic disadvantage, provided the game played is tackle, not flag, football."
This statement is wrong and you know it's wrong. Denard > Ricky Stanzi. We have a great OL and we have a great slot receiver. Mike Martin is a DL that any team would love to have. We both know Iowa looks like a better team overall, so don't exaggerate to make your point.
And a special section for this topic:
"A-Rob will have a bullseye on his forehead and his back, and the refs had better police the dirty stuff."
No, that's not how Michigan plays. You obviously are letting your hatred blinding you to how this team and all Michigan teams function. Later on, in the comments:
"So I hope we take that seriously, and I hope RichRod doesn’t do the West Virginia thing and just put a bounty on ARob’s knees. I am most concerned about that. RichRod is playing for his job, RichRod has major character issues, and I don’t put it beneath him."
Again with the hatred. Where are these character issues that have shown that RR will order dirty hits on players? You can't show them, there's no basis for them, and it's not like the players would blindly follow orders for that sort of thing anyways - these aren't MSU players (or Indiana fans...). Rich Rodriguez has lost games due to the injury of his best player; if he was the horrible person you make him out to be, he would be winning some extra games and offing other team's players with some frequency. These are just the delusions of a person who hates Michigan**, which are particularly bad when this shows up earlier:
"It would be pleasurable but unlikely for Denard to be blind-sided a couple of times, for good measure."
Oh really? If you meant for Denard to get sacked, you would have said that, so what does this mean? It looks like you're just finding it "pleasurable" that your team, which you presumably hold to a higher standard, might injure Denard. Maybe this is just poor word choice, but have the decency to hold yourself above your perception of the RichRod standard.
BGHP: You're a good blog that I actually read regularly, so why do you bump stupid crap like this to the front page? As a delusional fan post it's fine, but tacit endorsement of this ill-informed trash is beneath you - and this is coming from someone who reads and enjoys your blog.
*It's a fan post that's bumped to the front page, meaning at least one of the actual bloggers endorses it. I'm pretty sure that BGHP is popular enough that they don't need to just troll for web traffic.
**Based on the stupidity of this and previous posts by the same author, there's a faint possiblity that this is satire. If so, this is the best job of staying in character this side of Stephen Colbert, because this person just looks like an unusual dumb Iowa fan to me.