this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
While none of us know exactly what happened in meetings or conversations between RR and Mallett and between Hoke and Denard, my sense is that it was something like this.
RR - Ryan Mallett you are one of the top pro-style quarterbacks in the country. I don't really see how you will fit in the offense I intend to run, even though I have no one else available to me that can run it. I hope you stick around, but if you decide to leave I will understand.
Hoke - Denard Robinson you are one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country and have dilithium speed. I would be a fool not to find a way to take advantage of your skill set and experience, even though I have Devin Gardner (and nobody else) to work with. If you leave Michigan you would have to sit out a year and you would not get the value of a Michigan degree. The team needs you, I need you, please give me a chance to find a way for us to be successful together.
After perusing the comments on Brian's latest article, I thought I'd offer up some different analyses on "Modern" offenses, terminology, etc.
Pro-Style. Spread, etc. I think these are dated terms and shouldn't really be used anymore by this board. Look at the Colts and Patriots. They are often in 3+ wide receiver, shotgun sets, yet are pro teams. Andrew Luck at Stanford occasionally ran a Zone Read - and kept it. MSU ran a VERY successful Zone Read at us this year out of their "Pro Style" offense.
With the advent of the internet, modern tape review, 20 hour work days (for coaches, zing!) etc. there aren't a whole lot of "new" concepts in offensive football save the Pistol set - debut a few years ago. The future is Multiple.
The "Wildcat" revolutionized football a few years ago - until defenses remembered that this was 1950's football and how to stop it. Now even the Dolphins rarely run it anymore. Rich ran many of the same plays Michigan ran in the 1940's, just with wide-outs as opposed to tight ends. There are an enormous amount of offensive plays out there, but all of them can be stopped by defenses with enough time to prepare.
Navy's Triple Option is ridiculously old offense, but it still works when executed well.
For a great example of what "modern" offense is, watch the Philly Eagles some time with Michael Vick. They run out of the I. They run a zone read 3 times a game. On 4th and 1 I saw them run QB Iso (denard's main play vs. ND). Those are football tactics from 1900, 1940, and the early 2000s. In preseason this year I saw the Titans run a Navy-style triple option with Vince Young. Last week in the playoffs the Packers many times ran out of a 3 back set.
Modern football is multiple football. I dont want Michigan to be "Zone Read" Only, I form Only, "Spread" or "Pro".
It may be a pipe dream with college kids, but the keys to offense aren't scheme based anymore. As Bo said it's all about Blocking and Tackling. Execution. I hope that Brady has a very open mind when it comes to the playbook, and that our Michigan Team can execute better than everyone else.
I know it is a change, but is it the worst thing that could happen for the guy? I almost see it as a positive if you look at a Vick with the Eagles who is of similar stature. The reasons would be as follows:
- I'm not sure we want him running for 1500+ yards again. He wore down physically due to nagging injuries (knee, shoulder) and his throwing motion subsequently broke down as well where he kept his body open, relying on his arm.
- I feel the most dangerous QB is a passer who can run well not a runner that passes. I would have liked to see Denard scramble more on passing downs since the field opens up as opposed to defenses keying on his run.
- We don't know if Denard can "read defenses" well since last year was his first year starting and I think we underestimate the processing overhead that goes into executing the read option. What if that effort is put into studying defenses instead?
- His HS coach said he always wanted to play QB, this is his chance to do it in the NFL. Can't help but make the comparison to Vick due to their same size and explosiveness.
- We can always call a designed run. The hated rival runs Pryor out of their base offense when they really need that first down. I watched it in person in Iowa City on 4th and 13 as all the motion and receivers when to the short side of the field, Pryor reversed his scramble to the wide side of the field to out run a LB for a first down.
- The Eagles use Maclin (6-0), Jackson (5-10) and our own Avant (6-0) effectively, I assume we can transition some of our slot guys in a similar manner. Don't need everyone to be 6-3 to 6-5. Additionally, I feel Koger is a great asset to involve more heavily.
I could be wrong, but there seems to be some positives here. Not much else we can do at this point.
Angelique Chengelis tweeted yesterday that Tate Forcier is attempting to schedule a meeting with the Michigan staff, to try to get eligible and re-instated. Rivals reported that Tate’s father, Mike Forcier, has flown to Michigan from California.
When Forcier was kicked off the team prior to the Gator Bowl, the official explanation was that he “did not meet University standards.” Most people assumed that he flunked out, but neither Forcier nor the university itself actually said that, and there are many ways (besides merely a poor GPA) that one can fail to meet standards.
I am not going to list the possibilities, but let’s just say that I think it’s something worse than merely getting a surprise D, where he needed a C to stay eligible. Your dad doesn’t need to fly all the way to Michigan to meet with the school, when that is the sole explanation.
Michigan’s dilemma, assuming Forcier’s infraction is capable of being remedied, is whether to take him up on it. Despite his obvious talents on the field, Forcier is a bit of a drama queen: he attracts attention for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, players who do that tend to keep doing it. If he somehow makes it back onto the team, you’ll always wonder when the other shoe is going to drop.
But Michigan’s well of quarterbacks is very close to running dry. There are just two scholarship QBs on the roster, one of whom is a transfer risk, and there are none (as yet) committed for 2011. You have to figure that anyone Hoke recruits at this late date will be, at best, a “project,” and nowhere near ready to play Division I football if Denard or Devin goes down.
Amazingly, not a day goes by without someone suggesting that Denard should move to another position, apparently assuming that Devin Gardner as a first-year starter will be better than Denard as a junior, and ignoring the question of who would play if Gardner gets injured or doesn’t work out. Even if you believe Gardner wins the job eventually, the outcome isn’t such a foregone conclusion that you could afford to have Robinson moonlighting at other positions: QB is a hard enough position to master when it is all you do, much less when you’re splitting time at slot, wide receiver, wildcat, or whatever else people think Denard would play.
But even assuming that Denard stays at Michigan as a quarterback, two experienced guys plus a middling three-star rookie isn’t enough. All of which says that Michigan probably needs Tate Forcier around, drama and all, if his unspecified infraction is at all capable of being atoned for.
There has been a lot of talk lately regarding if and how Brady Hoke and Al Borges will incorporate spread concepts into the offense. What I want to know is just how practical is this, and how much of it can we expect? Obviously it would be foolish not to adjust at all, but if the coaches are (at least to my knowledge) unfamiliar with the spread, just how much adjusting should be done? Should we incorporate more 3 wide and one back sets, or even run a significant portion of the offense out of the shotgun, or would it be better to run more power sets, simply because that it what the coaches know how to teach?
An attempt to diffuse the hostility - a short summary of the feelings of those underwhelmed by the Hoke hire
Brady Hoke is the head football coach at the University of Michigan. All Michigan fans wish him and the team (or should) nothing but the greatest success. However, several of us are not convinced that he will deliver on that hope. We're not rooting for him to fail; we're not trying to undermine him; we're not saying he shouldn't have taken the job; and we're not criticizing him as an individual. We're expressing disappointment and will ultimately move on.
At his press conference Hoke was asked whether Michigan was still an elite job, still an elite program. He expressed incredulity at the notion that a sane minded person could consider Michigan anything else. And we all feel that way about Michigan. For that reason, we expected the university to hire a football coach whose track record indicates with a high degree of certainty that he would succeed at Michigan.
Let's take a step back to the moment before Hoke was hired and consider whether Bob Stoops would have been a good hire. He has won a national championship, recruited nationally at a place that doesn't produce a lot of talent regionally, continually produces teams that win conference championships and contend for national championships and has done so while avoiding NCAA violations. In short, there's no reason to believe that if he coached at Michigan that he couldn't maintain that level of success. On the contrary, the evidence indicates that but for some unforeseen circumstances, the probability of his success at Michigan would have been high.
Let's next consider Tim Brewster. Brewster failed to recruit at Minnesota, he produced consistently poor teams and his coaching performance prior to Minnesota contains no evidence that he would have been a success had he been hired by Michigan.
In short, most all candidates fall somewhere on the scale between Brewster and Stoops. They all come with a certain amount of evidence that increases or decreases the likelihood that they could win at Michigan.
If we believe that Michigan is an elite job, we should also believe that Michigan is capable of hiring a coach who comes with lots of evidence that he could win at Michigan. Brady Hoke has some - he has the support of the administration and former players, he produced two great turnarounds and SDSU and Ball St. - but Bob Stoops has more.
I'm not asking for Bob Stoops; that's not the point of this diary. Rather I'm saying that for those of us disappointed in the hire, we had an idea as to the quantum of evidence we wanted to see that forecasted with high probability that the new coach would be a success, and we believe that Hoke is below that line, or that at a minimum, his resume contains less evidence than those of other potential candidates. For that reason, we are disappointed.
Say you really want to go to Harvard, and apply to there and Yale and only get into Yale. You go to Yale. You try to make the best of the situation. But that doesn't mean you don't have some disappointment that you didn't get into Harvard. As it is with Hoke. We'll make the best of the situation and support Michigan Football. But it's ok to express some disappointment.
As many have noted, prior success is not always indicative of future performance. Brady Hoke will have every opportunity to prove that whatever his resume, he has what it takes to win at Michigan. And those of us skeptical that he can do so will cheer for him with the same vigor as those most convinced that his resume is outstanding.