Now before I begin, let me just say this is not a critique of any poster on here. I understand the frustration just as well as anyone else here and can certainly sympathize with the way people have vented. I guess this is just my personal way of venting so if you need to ignore or neg, go ahead, but hopefully this helps at least one UM fan other than me feel a little better.
I have watched the boards the past two days sink into a depressive state. Brian on TWIS listed the board titles, we won the Tears of Unfathomable Sadness. There is a board post below trying to argue that we are becoming ND. But we’re not and we won’t ever be. We’re Michigan.
As my friends and I walked back up Hill St in a slightly depressed state after the Ioss to Iowa, an old guy driving by yelled the six words that this fan base needs to remember, “Keep your heads up, you’re Michigan”. I won’t pretend that problems aren’t there. There is a possibility that this coach won’t succeed at Michigan, that Brandon will choose to go in another direction. There is even the possibility that Brandon will keep RR and THAT will turn out to be the wrong decision. It doesn’t really matter. I encourage everyone on this board to look up the Illinois 2007 ABC intro (if one can stomach the look of douche Mallett in a Michigan uniform). “The past can be an anchor seeing you through hard times”. Now I can’t foresee the future, I can’t predict if and when we will get back to regularly competing for and winning Big Ten Titles, but what I can do is say that we’re still Michigan, we’re still the Leaders and Best, and I wouldn’t want to be a fan of any other University.
Beat the Illini!!
Michigan gets tears of unfathomable sadness, with a pic of Lloyd Brady to boot!
MGoBoard-the last bastion of civilized thought in the sports message board world-finally hit a brick wall and has turned into every other sports message board. Even Brian is calling for certain coaches' heads in the middle of the season, without regard to whether this would actually hurt or help the team. Where did the patience go? Where did the rationality go? Where did the radical idea that coaches and teams should be judged on their body of work rather than a single game go? When did we stop looking at extenuating circumstances like critical injuries and just start flailing around instead? When did we start giving up on coaches and players before all the games have been played?
It's entitlement; the same thing that has kept Notre Dame down for years. We aren't going to win just because we are Michigan. Parity has come to college football and a large chunk of our fanbase remains unaware. There's no quick fix. If we go searching for one soon then our transformation into ND will be nearly complete, needing only another decade of constant rebuilding and unmet expectations to make it official.
I guess I'm the weird one. I had fun watching the PSU game and didn't get upset when we lost. I like cheering on the team and my weekend isn't affected by the outcome of the game. I think there's more to measure a team and its coaches by than wins and losses. If a college football game makes you genuinely sad and depressed then you probably should find another team or another hobby. This team will probably make you mad or upset for a few more games this year and many years to come.
To those that have already mentally dismissed the coaches for this year - what if we improve? Anything can happen in college football and there are still 4 games left to play. Won't you feel a little silly if we manage to overperform and show signs of improvement? How about we wait until all the games are played before we give up on the team and coaches?
I know there's at least a few people that think like I do left on the board. We turned from a majority to a tiny minority overnight. I wonder what it will take to satisfy this new majority of angry fans?
The Case For:
-Denard Robinson-He is only a sophomore. I would hate to see his abilities move into a different scheme. I feel that there are about two different offensive systems in the Nation that he fits as a successful QB. I am not saying the new coach would not use him but I think it would take time for them to know exactly how to use him. RR and CM have this down and I doubt Chip Kelly will be our next coach.
-The rest of the offense-We will return basically every key player from the offense and that includes a line that is one of the best in the conference and possibly nation. The offense next year could become Oregonesque. If Denard improves just a little bit in those situations he has failed in this year, we become something beyond anyone has ever seen here. Like I said we could be right with Oregon.
-Defensive Attrition-Some of this is on the staff. Most is not IMO. Woolfolk, Warren, Cissoko, Turner and Vlad. Those are all guys that I feel are not playing for reasons other than the staff. The ones that are arguable are everyone but Woolfolk. Warren was told he would be drafted. He left and wasn't drafted. Maybe he did leave because he disliked the coaches but I don't feel that's it. I think he wanted to get paid. Hardly on Rod. Cissoko had troubles beyond Rods control. You can't hold their hands. Turner apparently had issues with his committal to the program. Again, you can't hold their hands all offseason. Vlad got injured last year. It is very possible he wasn't the same afterward. No doubt he would have contributed this year, but I doubt it would have made an earth shattering difference. So, if you simply add Woolfolk and Warren to this secondary you take away a ton of inexperience and add one guy who is a shut down corner and another that, by all reports, had improved significantly. You can now do some things to create pressure since you don't have DOOM in coverage. I won't even go into the freshman backups. That should be self explanatory.
-Two of our losses were to pretty damn good teams. Iowa crushed MSU and MSU had beaten good teams themselves. We lost those games largely in part to mistakes made by us and not because they made more plays.
-2012-To me, this teams is built for that year. A bunch of juniors and seniors on defense. A senior Denard. This team could be very special. It is very possible that a new staff could do the same thing but I feel better having Magee and RR control the strings on Denard than anyone else.
-We could whiff on Jim Harbaugh-What if we don't get him? Then who? I would be in favor of Chris Peterson or Gary Patterson. I think Peterson could use Denard the correct way, but at the same time he may not want to come here. I think people are jumping the gun thinking JH will take the job. Sure, he probably would take it. It would be great for a few years but he doesn't seem like the type to turn down a new challenge. I mean the NFL. One thing that I have always liked about RR is that it doesn't seem likely he would go NFL on us. He is a college football coach so that if he was successful it would be sustained for a very very long time. Do we sacrifice 4-5 years for the next 20 or 30? I still believe he can get it done but it's a matter of how long we are willing to wait.
The Case Against: -The lack of defensive depth-How do we not have more options. Sure, there wasn't much to draw from from LC and yes, there has been bad luck but this is still Michigan. We should be able to put a better product out there.
-Greg Robinson-Why was he hired? What had he done recently to indicate he was a good choice? It has been stated that he likes turnovers instead of playing solid defense and forcing punts. That's all good as long as you, you know, get the turnovers sometime before the other team scores.
-Scott Schafer-Why was he fired so soon? He seems to be doing fine where he is now. The syracuse defense isn't a world beater but they certainly don't have the talent pool and the name either. There was rampant speculation RR was too controling and that was the reason he is gone. If so, why is RR controlling the defense? You hire coordinators to do the job. If you want to do it, don't hire a coordinator or hire some schmuck to take the title but you take the blame.
-The violations-I know and I agree that these are small violations that basically every program probably violates in one way or another. That's not the point. The point is that we got busted and it's embarrassing. How do you fail to file the same paperwork you have had to file for years? To me that part is unacceptable.
-The defense-One play sticks out. It is fourth and one in the first half. We have the opportunity to make a huge stop and perhaps start an offensive fire. The ball is snapped and given to Royster. There's nowhere to go. This play is dead and we get the ball. But wait a second, despite two different Michigan players haveing him wrapped up at once, he somehow falls for a gain of two and a first down. How does that sort of thing happen? Is it the players or is it how they are coached? This is just a small example of our run defense being bad.
-Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton-How have they not developed to be better than they are? Why? How come? It's not a lack of physical ability. I have to think it's a lack of development from coaching. They constantly make poor decisions and are undisciplined. In Obis case, he sometimes just does nothing. To further this problem, where are the guys to take their spots? I know Demens took one but it took 6 games. Either they weren't identified or he really isn't that much better. In the case of the latter, where was the recruiting?
-We could get Jim Harbaugh.
Conclusion: Let's say we beat Purdue. I think one more win is worst case. I think with our offense, we have to beat one team so I am sticking with 6-6 as worst case, 8-4 as best case. In the worst case scenerio here is my prescription: Fire Gerg. You have to if for no other reason, to save face. Get the absolute best you can and Brandon has to pony up to get this guy whether it's Casteel or someone else. Dick Bumpas may be another option. I don't care who it is just get someone in here who can make the defense average. Make them good enough so that we can score 30 per and win 9 games. It has to happen. You keep RichRod, but it will be abundantly clear that this is it. Walk the walk now. He will know that's the deal whether you say it or not. By keeping RR you also likely keep the vast majority of that 2012 roster even if you have to change staffs. Like I stated above, my hang up is that if RR hit's here, it will be sustained for a very long time.
Now, in the best case(8-4) all this is moot, we will havebeaten Wisconsin or OSU and people are happy. You still fire GERG though. I will gaurentee we won't win a game 21-14. They will have to be of the 48-42 variety.
After reading a variety of things about the reasons for the horrific FAIL in defensive coaching, and, most of all, after watching dismal performance after dismal performance this year, I've noticed one common theme in the defense's problems -- consistently bad decision-making by almost everyone on defense. Defensive linemen and linebackers don't fill the correct gaps; linebackers overrun the play (often, this is a variation of the first problem); defensive backs aren't in the correct zone or decide to cover the less dangerous receiver in their zone; defensive backs and linebackers take bad pursuit angles. Etc.
I find it endlessly frustrating to watch the same mental mistakes made over and over again, by the same players and, even more disturbingly, by different players. It's one thing if Obi Ezeh is a really bad decision-maker. But the bad-decision disease seems to be spreading to the whole defense.
Although GERG bears a lot of the responsibility --probably most of it -- I don't think it's all his fault. I think Rich Rodriguez has shown an insufficient tolerance for bad decision-making. In some respects, this is the principal flaw in his coaching at Michigan.
It's not just bad defensive decision-making that hurts the team. Other parts of the team are infected. Look at Jeremy Gallon. He has made bad decisions from the beginning of the season on kick returns, but he's put out there again and again. Players on both sidess of the ball make the same kinds of dumb penalties week after week. The kicker puts two consecutive kickoffs out of bounds at crucuial times.
I know the team is young and that young players make mistakes. But should they always be making the same ones over and over again? It would be one thing if the defense was thwarted by poor decisions on backside contain one week and by poor decisions about zone drops in another week. But the team keeps making the same bad decisions over and over.
This kind of problem is really attributable to the head coach. He could make it clear that he won't tolerate stupid mistakes made over and over again. But I have not heard anything from Rodriguez along those lines. He just seems to keep blaming his team's inexperience. And he allows his coordinators and position coaches to put the same guys in the same situations where they've made bad decisions before -- and then they keep making them. I'm sure that the coaches are telling the players about how to make the correct decisions. But the message does not seem to be getting through. Only the head coach can really do anything about making sure that his coaches are communicating effectively.
If this really is a flaw of Rodriguez's, firing GERG or even the entire defensive staff is not going to solve it. I like Michigan's offense. I think there are few coaches who could have seen the potential in Denard Robinson as a quarterback and then brought that potential out of him, with spectacular results. I want Rodriguez to succeed. But I'm really starting to wonder if he can -- especially if he's not doing enough to prevent bad decision-making by his coaches and players.