|Nebraska 2007 defensive statistics||Nebraska 2008 defensive statistics|
|Points allowed 455||Points allowed 371|
|PPG 37.9||PPG 28.5|
|First Downs allowed 299||First Downs allowed 228|
|Rush yards allowed 2,786||Rush yards allowed 1514|
|Rush YPC 5.2||Rush YPC 3.6|
|Rushing TD’s allowed 38||Rushing TD’s allowed 24|
|OPP. ATT-COMP-INT 409-236-8||OPP. ATT-COMP-INT 385-222-12|
|Passing yards allowed 2.936||Passing yards allowed 3,034|
|Pass TD’s allowed 20||Pass TD’s allowed 19|
|Pos||2007 Defensive two deep||2008 Defensive two deep|
99 Barry Turner 6-3 250 Jr.
88 Clayton Sievers 6-4 245 Jr
99 Barry Turner 6-3 260 Sr.
Clayton Sievers 6-4 255 Sr
43 Ty Steinkuhler 6-3 285 Jr.
96 Brandon Johnson 6-3 315 Sr.
97 Kevin Dixon 6-3 285 Sr.
43 Ty Steinkuhler 6-3 280 Sr.
93 Ndamukong Suh 6-3 305 Soph.
96 Shurkee Barfield 6-4 310 Jr.
93 Ndamukong Suh 6-3 300 Jr.
56 Shurkee Barfield 6-4 300 Sr
98 Zach Potter 6-7 280 Jr.
95 Pierre Allen 6-5 265 RFr.
98 Zach Potter 6-7 280 Sr.
95 Pierre Allen 6-5 265 Soph.
51 Bo Ruud 6-3 235 Sr.
38 Kyle Moore 6-2 225 RFr.
53 Tyler Wortman 6-3 235 Sr
12 Blake Lawrence 6-2 225 Soph.
13 Corey McKeon 6-1 225 Sr.
40 Lance Brandenburgh 6-1 230 Sr.
52 Phillip Dillard 6-1 238 Jr.
54 Colton Koehler 6-1 230 Jr.
15 Steve Octavien 6-0 240 Sr.
40 Lance Brandenburgh 6-1 230 Sr.
34 Cody Glenn 6-0 230 Sr.
23 Latravis Washington 6-3 225 Soph.
2 Cortney Grixby 5-9 170 Sr.
5 Armando Murillo 6-0 195 Jr.
5 Armando Murillo 6-0 190 Sr.
28 Eric Hagg 6-1 200 Soph
30 Tierre Green 6-1 200 Sr.
9 Bryan Wilson 6-1 205 Sr.
3 Rickey Thenarse 6-0 195 Jr.
33 Matt O'Hanlon 5-11 195 Sr.
9 Bryan Wilson 6-1 205 Sr
4 Larry Asante 6-1 210 Soph.
4 Larry Asante 6-1 210 Jr.
6 Major Culbert 6-0 205 Jr.
|CB||25 Andre Jones 6-0 190 Sr.||21 Prince Amukamara 6-1 195 Soph.|
In 2007 the Nebraska two deep had 5 underclassmen; in 2008 there were 5 underclassmen. The roster was very similar in both seasons. In 2007 Nebraska had a pretty shitty defense composed of mostly upperclassmen, in 2008 with the same amount of upperclassmen there was significant defense improvements. The 2008 defense allowed 84 less points, despite playing an additional game. In 2008 the rush defense improved by 1,272 yards, with the YPC dropping by 1.6 yards.
So what is the cause for this massive one-season turn around? A coaching change. 2008 was Bo Pelini’s FIRST season as head coach. I have been a hardcore Rich Rod supporter so far, but the Penn State game really has me questioning things now. I have been seeing over and over on this site that a coaching change would hinder us for a year or two, rebuild again yada yada but I don’t see why. We are in an almost identical situation to what Nebraska went through this last decade.
In 2007 Bill Callahan’s team went 5-7; in 2008 Bo Pelini went 9-4. I don’t know if I’m ready for a change at HC, but all the transition will hamper us/ we can’t improve talk has to stop. I know that we have A LOT of underclassmen in the secondary and Nebraska didn’t, but those same upperclassmen were terrible for Nebraska then vastly improved the next year.
A big concern seems to be that hiring a pro style coach (Harbaugh) would mean bad things for our offense. I don’t see why this would have to happen; Harbaugh has been running the zone read at Stanford with the top pro prospect Andrew Luck. He actually busted off a real long TD run against USC this weekend off it. Would it be all that crazy that a non spread coach would come in and recognize he has the most explosive player in CFB and run the spread the remainder of Denards career? Devin Gardner also seems like he has the skillset to excel in a pro style system.
The premise, implied or explicit, of all of the "fire RichRod" posts is that he's incapable of putting forth a competitive defense.
In that 2007-8 season, WVU had the seventh-ranked defense (by yardage) in the country. Indeed, in 2010, WVU is ranked fourth defensively under Jeff Casteel.
Here are the total defense / scoring defense rankings for WVU in the last six years:
2005: 15th / 13th
2006: 62nd / 49th
2007: 7th / 8th
2008: 36th / 11th
2009: 36th / 31st
2010: 4th / 5th
I realize that the Big East is not the Big Ten. However, WVU showed in those bowl games that their defense was for real. Jeff Casteel has achieved those rankings running the 3-3-5, FYI.
The point I'm trying to make is: RR is clearly capable of coaching a team with a successful defense. Why hasn't he had one at Michigan? As has been noted many times by many people, (1) because the defense was famously decimated; (2) highly touted recruits haven't worked out and/or left; (3) he naively thought the defense would be fine, and focused heavily on getting the right players on offense given the radical overhaul he needed to execute and has successfully achieved; (4) Jeff Casteel didn't come with him to Michigan.
RR is capable of running a competent defense. Hence, firing him because you think the defense won't get better seems senseless to me. As does firing him because you're frustrated with the losing (as we all are).
There is only one reason to fire RR: because you believe that Michigan will be a more successful football program, over the long haul, with someone else as the coach. In order for that to be true, there needs to be another coach out there, who is available, who you think would win national championships at Michigan. (Keep in mind that Lloyd Carr won one, Gary Moeller won zero, and Bo Schembechler won zero.)
Personally, it's not obvious to me that there is an available coach out there, Harbaugh included, who is clearly superior to RR. If other people believe otherwise, I'm happy to consider persuasive arguments.
Personally, I still believe that once we get a full defensive roster here, with this offense, we will be an awesome team. While it's true that these last three years may well have gone better under a more traditional coach, it's hardly clear that a Harbaugh type could lead us to MNC titles. On the other hand, the RR offense combined with an above-average defense will.
We gave RR time on the offensive side of the ball, and he has given us the best offense we've had at Michigan in generations, along with one of the best individual athletes in Denard we have ever seen here. Let's see how RR does with an upperclassman-led defense before blowing up the program again.
Lack of depth, high variance offense, lots of reasons get tossed out for the condition of our team. So let’s take a moment to look at history:
|Coach||School||B10 Record First Three Years|
|Kirk Ferentz||Iowa||7-17 (ED: WOW)|
|Danny Hope||Purdue||6-5 (Note: only in second year)|
I’m going to say we end this season 7-5. Giving us wins over Illinois and Purdue. I’m going to be generous because even with that generosity RR comes in at: 6-18 in three years of B10 play.
Guess where that puts you on that chart? Tied with Tim Brewster and ahead of Indiana by one win. Drop the Illinois game and you’re tied with Bill Lynch at the very bottom of the pile. High variance. Lack of depth. Every single B10 coach faced a myriad of problems and with the exception of Tressel they had an inferior brand and facilities. Yet every single coach, barring Lynch, did better in their first three years than RR. Fire Rich Rodriguez.
[Edit: Went back and did some more coaches.]
|Coach||School||B10 Record First Three Years|
|Jon L Smith||MSU||11-13|
|Terry Hoeppner||IND||4-12 Only coached two seasons|
I’m watching the Walking Dead right now, but I’ll try to figure up a response after that. As for maintaining Carr’s offense, I make no claim my actions were good ideas. I’m not an HC after all. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut.
I’ll simply say this. In my view I look at those two tables and I have a hard time seeing how everyone but Ron Turner, Terry Hoeppner, Tim Brewster, Bill Lynch and Barry Alvarez inherited programs in worse shape than Michigan in 2008. Alavrez is the only name on that list that went on to have success, so far as least.
Also I moved these charts to the top and you can stop reading here as some people have deemed my other ramblings worthless. Just let the data speak for itself. Or read on if you are so inclined....
Ladies and Gentleman of MGoBlog: We’ve all read the posts calling for patience. Talking about the youth of the team, how bare the cupboard is and the need to let RR build depth before we judge him. Today I am going to do my best to prove those claims are false. Well no false is too strong of a word, there is definitely a lot of truth to them. However I maintain they are overstated and the way in which RR has handled the depth he did inherit provides sufficient grounds to judge him.
Let’s begin with the offense. Our memories of 3 and 9 focus around two quarterbacks running around in terror. Both lacked the legs to be effective mobile quarterbacks and the arms to pass off as an efficient passing game. Threet and Sheridan were synonyms for Three and Out. We watched them run around, we shook our heads and said “Well you have to have the right personnel for RR’s offense to work.” This is definitely true considering the impact Tate and Denard have made. Yet some of us also found ourselves asking “Why aren’t we running Carr’s offense?”
Threet was basically the second coming of John Navarre. Projected to live and care free life on the depth chart. Navarre plugged into our offense and worked. Taking us to #4 in his senior year and our last win over tOSU. Today at ASU Threet has 137.56 passer rating, 62% completion rate and 14 TDs to 13 INTs. The situation RR came into was one where he had access to Carr on a daily basis and likely Carr’s playbook. Imagine the result of having spent his first offseason working with Threet and on Threet’s mechanics (Threet was prone to overthrowing at Michigan). Imagine for a moment an offense with Threet as a QB with a rating of say 100 and the ability to at least sustain a drive for a few minutes and let the defense rest.
That at least is an offense capable of scoring more than 10 against Toledo in the Big House (we lost 13-10). We didn’t get that though. We started “installing” the spread. 3 and 9 was the sacrifice RR needed to “install” an offense that was good for 5 and 7 the next year, with 4 of those wins coming against non B10 teams.
Also keep in mind no system has really involved so much as we relied on Tate’s abilities for 5 and 7 and Denard’s abilities this year. We don’t have a consistently dominant running game or even an offense that is really consistent in B10 play. We tend to go through periods of being flat followed by a scoring frenzy that starts in the 3rd or 4th quarter when Denard hits the “Extra Dilithium” button and becomes a one man army. So think about 3 and 9 and ask “Did we really gain anything from that sacrifice?”
Now on to defense. Our cupboard was not bear on the defense. When we faced Wisconsin we turned the ball over three times on our side of the field. Schafer’s defense comes out and holds Wisconsin, a ranked team, to two FGs and one blocked FG. That’s a good defense. Start three times on our side of the 50 and only let them get 6 points. Go back and watch those games. The defense was always solid until the offense went 3 and out five times in a row and left a worn out defense in poor field position. Then the hurting began.
Or until the Purdue game. The game when Richrod went to our 4-3 defense. A defense recruited by Lloyd Carr, a primarily 4-3 coach, and led by Schafer who ran the 4-3 at Stanford. A defense that had spent not just the previous summer but all its time at Michigan drilling for the 4-3. A defense that basically won the Wisconsin game for us with their saves and takeaways. Right before Purdue RR ordered a switch to a 3-3-5. Purdue put 48 on us.
Injuries, players leaving to go to the NFL or to go back home. Yes those things happen. However RR did not walk into a threadbare program. He definitely walked into an under strength program that had issues (DB recruiting comes to mind). Yet he proceeded to weaken it further. He made no attempts to keep the Carr systems in place while he brought his own players up to speed. Instead he burned everything to the ground and look at where we stand today.
Think about it. Year One he threw the Carr offense out the window and left two pocket style QBs to run in terror (well attempt to run from) LBs and DTs. He clearly had designs on a 3-3-5 defense from day one, as evidenced by the Purdue switch and numerous reports that Schafer felt RR was meddling too much with the defense. RR has no depth in the program because he opted to destroy it.
Think about the kind of player Carr would recruit for defense. A kid who looked good in the 4-3. This meant that kid likely played on a 4-3 in HS and possibly even further back. Yet RR walked in the week before the Purdue game, a week where he had 20 hours of allowable practice time and said “You know that defense you’ve been running since you were 14? Forget it we’re going 3-3-5.” End result, Purdue puts 48 on us. The same Purdue team that only managed 21 against Minnesota and MSU that year. Central held them to 32.
The “we lack depth” argument is not a free pass for RR. We didn’t have to lack depth. Schafer managed to field a functional defense. Lloyd Carr was just down the hall from RR and there was no reason the offense couldn’t have been tailored to play to the strengths of the Carr era recruits while the RR era recruits redshirted, learned his system and built depth. Instead we started doing a total conversion in year one and what little depth we had was forced into a system that it was ill suited for.
As it stands today rumors swirl about the fate of the DC. We have an offense that has an amazing athlete at QB, yet the offense goes flat for extended periods of time. On 10 points in the first half against PSU despite having a week to prepare and some of PSU’s better defensive players being out of the game. Last week against Iowa we scored 7 points in the first three quarters. A 21-point surge in the fourth made the final score look somewhat close, but 45 minutes and 7 points.
Just gauging MGoBoard's feelings about the football program.
Picking up from last year, I'll be starting a weekly analysis on the BCS standings since we're getting close to the time it actually starts to matter and the variables get reduced. First, your updated BCS standings:
4) Boise St
So what this means is:
- Oregon and Auburn / Alabama likely control their destiny. Oregon more so, since they have no real roadblocks on the way to a #1 or #2 BCS ranking. Auburn may jump them at the end if they beat Bama and win the SEC, but the Ducks got a slot if they keep winning.
- I still think Alabama will jump all the non-AQ teams if they beat Auburn and win the SEC champ game. Voting pools still make a huge portion of the polls and I have a hard time thinking more "traditional" college football pollsters will not move Bama up considerably with those two wins, and the computers are going to give Bama a big time trampoline-like bounce with potential wins against Auburn and an SEC champ game opponent.
- The non-AQ is playing out as I thought a couple weeks ago. For a slot opposite Oregon or Auburn/Bama should one of the two slip up, it's the TCU/Utah winner, not Boise St. the computers and voters are more impressed with TCU's quality wins at this point over Boise St, and the game against Utah is going to far outweigh any bump in computers's Boise's going to get from either Hawaii or Nevada.
- I also think though, that you're looking at 2 non-AQ's in BCS at large berths. So with that, we're looking at (10 bids overall):
BCS CHAMP 1: Oregon
BCS CHAMP 2: Auburn
ACC: Va Tech/ FSU winner (likely only 1 team)
BIG EAST: Pittsburgh? (Do we have to?)
BIG TEN: Wisconsin or Iowa or tOSU at this point, but more thoughts below
SEC: see above
BIG 12: Nebraska / Mizzou / Oklahoma winner (likely 1 team)
PAC 10: see above
Fill- in for Auburn's SEC (champ slot replacement rules): (1 loss) Alabama
Fill-in for Oregon's PAC-10 (champ slot replacment rules): Stanford / Arizona
At-Large 1: TCU / Utah winner
At-Large 2: Boise St
BCS Championship: Oregon v Auburn
Rose Bowl: Stanford/Arizona v. Wisconsin/Iowa/tOSU
Orange Bowl: Va Tech / FSU v. TCU
Sugar Bowl: Alabama v. Pitt
Fiesta Bowl: Okl/Neb/Mizz vs. Boise St
Big Ten: At this point, I think the Big Ten is likely the conference to get most screwed. Lets say Alabama beats Auburn, I still think both the SEC champ game winner AND a 1-loss Auburn get BCS bids. Sugar Bowl's going to take an SEC team if at all humanly possible to replace Auburn's slot. The fill in for Oregon's slot is probably going to be the Pac-10 runner up so the Rose Boel gets it Big Ten v Pac-10 matchup. Both an undefeated TCU/Utah and an undefeated Boise St are probably for to autoqualify for a BCS at-large slot taking one of the second conference slots from the Big Ten. The second team from the Iowa/Wiscy/tOSU triumverate are going to have to hope for a loss by either (TCU and Utah) or Boise St.
- Big games left really are Alabama v Auburn and Boise St vs. Hawaii or Boise v Nevada. TCU v Utah is big terms of who gets a loss, but really, the winner of that should be able to win out and secure themselves a BCS at large slot. Th eonly real drama about TCU . v Utah is that if Utah wins, then Boise probably has the top non-AQ slot from voters, Utah has the top non-AQ slot from computers, and the difference in BCS standings will be miniscule.
- The Iron Bowl is really shaping up as football armageddon 2010. Should Auburn win, they're either the BCS champ rep or the SEC at-large depending on the result of the SEC champ game, but really, Alabama's probably out at that point. If Bama wins, then we are on the verge of absolute chaos. Bama wins the SEC championship, they're probably in the BCS champ with a whole lot of wailing/gnashing of teeth jumping over non-AQ's & 1-loss Oklahoma/Neb. A loss by Bama in the SEC championship and we probably have the first non-AQ in the championship game, most likely TCU, not Boise.
Ohio LB Sean Duggan committed to Boston College. It makes sense since he goes to a Jesuit high school, and has teammates at BC. Michigan was doing some things right with him, but it wasn't enough.