this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
I waited until today to post my thoughts on the whole CC issue. I didn't want to write in the heat of emotion / disappointment. Unfortunately, after a full 2 days of sobering (and sober) reflection, my thoughts didn't change much. Sorry in advance for the length of this.
1. Our dynamic amazing #6 offense - can this meme finally be put to rest? Does our offense have potential? Yes. Is it improved? Yes. Is it one of the best in the country? Far from. Every single decent defense that we have faced has stopped us. Against OSU and MSU (not that MSU), after our opening drive scores (here 2 scores), the defense made a few simple adjustments and was able to completely stop us. One of the MSU LBs said after the game that they knew what we were going to do on offense. If that is true, than where is RR's offensive genius? Top offenses manage to score at least a few points against good defenses. I know that the excuse given was - again - lack execution. Well, if we are failing to execute against every good defense, then this is not a well coached offense. If the offense is the reason to keep RR, this is not a strong reason.
2 Defense - I won't belabor the point. But what is troubling is that those "15 extra practices" that some said would make a "huge difference" did nothing. We are young, thin, inexperienced, out-matched, etc. But, over 4 months, we haven't improved a lick. To the contrary, we have regressed to the point where we are a national joke. Especially given the youth, I would have expected SOME improvement. This is coaching. Not necessarily RR, but he hired the D staff and the buck stops with him.
3. Special Teams - same story as the defense. Zero improvement - instead, regression. And, sorry, some of this - maybe a lot of this - is on the coaching.
4. Denard - many have speculated that if RR goes, Denard may follow. And he may. But why? Denard has a great arm (poor vision and ability to make decisions, but a great arm). There is no reason that with good coaching, he could not be an awesome QB in a traditional offense. Look at Vick on the Eagles - he has an almost identical skill set to Denard (strong arm, some accuracy and decision issues, great speed) and he has transformed himself into a true pro-style QB. He still uses his legs, but more so to open up the pass and as a secondary weapon that makes him very difficult to stop. And, having done so, he is having his best pro season. I hope that Denard realizes this and sticks around if RR is fired.
5. The coaching situation is "toxic" - As Bruce Feldman on ESPN said yesterday, the situation with RR's job status has gotten toxic for Michigan. He is a good guy, a class act and probably still a good coach, but at Michigan he is not working out. There is too much hostility and displeasure in the fan base and this whole 3-year hot seat (which would only continue if he returns) has really hurt recruiting. One of my good friends - a die hard 20 year M fan - said that he and his family do not even look forward to the games anymore. They watch because they are loyal fans who support the team, but the enjoyment and excitement is gone. I know many who feel the same way. We need a massive shot in the arm to bring back that hope and excitement in the fans.
Saturday, Michigan was playing in its first bowl game in 3 years. Rather than talking about our storied program, our tradition, the members of the current team (other than Denard) or the great things that we are doing to return to glory, almost all of the coverage of our team focussed on RR's job status. This is not healthy for our players, our team or the Michigan brand. I wish RR the best, and truly hope that he succeeds at his next destination, but I would be incredibly disappointed in DB if RR is not fired.
6. DB's time frame - I have been a huge critic of this time frame. To me, if DB does not have enough evidence after 3 years, then he is just indecisive. The time frame largely resulted in the media circus that has negatively surrounded our program. HOWEVA, it is entirely possible (likely?) that DB's time frame really is geared towards obtaining JH. If this works out, than DB really is as good and smart as many think, and deserving of his pimp hand possessing status. But, if we end up keeping RR or getting Hoke, then this whole process was unnecessary, as DB could have accomplished that in November and ended the speculation and recruiting hindrance.
7. Replacements - I know that the favorite is JH. IMO, he would be an out of the park home run of a hire. But, he may be heading to the 49ers. If he does, to me, that would not mean that we should stick with something that isn't working. Aside from Hoke, who I know is not popular on this board, there are many good candidates out there, many with ties to Michigan (which I do not think was important in 2007, but which I do think should factor in to this hire). Hopefully, if we can't land JH, DB will find one of them.
8. Our fans - when RR came to M, he was not treated appropriately by the fans, the media and, to some extent, the former players. It is naive to think that this didn't have a role in undermining RR's tenure. It is in the past and can't be undone, but hopefully the fans and former players (forget the media, they are hopeless), have learned their lesson and will treat our next coach with more respect.
It was August 31, 2009, when Jon Chait went online with his searing criticism of the Free Press' editors, for allowing Michael Rosenberg to play the role of self-appointed investigative reporter, when he had earlier played the role of opinion columnist with an anti-Rodriguez agenda.
MGoBlog was one of many online outlets which then linked to the Chait online-column, which bears re-reading:
Chait's main point at that time, in the immediate aftermath of the newspaper story, was not so much that Rosenberg had it all wrong. (That part was later determined through the exhaustive University/NCAA investigation, such that David Brandon now openly characterizes Rosenberg's original story as "false and misleading," and "crap." Jon Chait exposed Rosenberg's folly in some detail in his own later columns. Brian Cook did it here, in a series of blog posts.) Rather, Jon Chait's point was that basic ethics require somebody at the Free Press to choose -- are they going to trot out Rosenberg as an opinion columnist, advocating positions? Or is he going to be an investigative reporter?
The Free Press, even in the face of extreme criticism, has now flipped twice on that subject. Rosenberg was a columnist. Then, he unleashed himself on Stretchgate. Now, he has rotated himself back to columnist-advocate, with the predictable, inevitable column demanding of Dave Brandon, not just that Rich Rodriguez be fired, but that Jim Harbaugh, whom Rosenberg lovingly portrayed for another publication (Sports Illustrated, in October of 2010), be hired.
I won't quote Rosenberg, or link to the story. There's no longer any need. Rosenberg, and the Free Press, have together reached the level of ethical bankruptcy.
I've never heard of this blog before, so I don't know if it's any more believable than any other source. Count me skeptical right now.
While I was in Fort Lauderdale in December 2005 I had spent an hour looking for a decent sports bar that had the Alamo Bowl. My hotel room's television decided that it wasn't going to cooperate with this one simple request of mine and forced me out the door. I hadn't missed a Bowl game since I was a child and this wasn't going to be the first.
I finally found one and it had a few Nebraska fans huddled around the only screen showing the game. I was by myself and the next few hours weren't much fun. It wasn't just the loss. I listened to these guys tell me how we were no longer relevant and how we were headed into obscurity just like they were. They kept saying the same thing a lot of Michigan fans had been saying for quite some time. We need a change. Fresh air. Someone with more motivational skill and to quit relying on the We Are Michigan arrogance. That our name and history will only get us so far. One quote stood out because it was as if I was having a deja vu moment with someone from back home. "Lloyd Carr is a good coach. A good man from what it seems. But good coaches will always get beat by great coaches."
These guys weren't being dicks. They were fans rooting for their team and being honest when we started talking football during the game. They even bought me drinks. What made the time suck was that they were right. I knew they were right. I had been denying this for awhile because I always looked at things like they were cyclical and in the back of my head always thought, "Oh we'll turn it around.."
But it was deeper than that. We had gotten behind and truly lost ourselves in that aura of arrogance as a fanbase. Michigan as a football program was living off of old money and not making investments in the future. I could see the trainwreck coming. I never envisioned or predicted it to get to this place, but I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. So I just lied to myself .
Then 2006 came and it played tricks on my heart. One last hurrah before the mighty fall. We all had a chance to watch and witness 11 weeks of what I still feel is the greatest college football team ever to have never won anything. Our football teams equivalent of the Fab 5. They beat team after team after team. All leading up to the biggest game on the national stage against our rival ever.
On November 13th I had bought tickets off of ebay, the most I had ever spent to go to any sporting event in my life so I could make the trip to Columbus and be a part of Michigan history first hand. On November 17th I received my tickets, just shy of an hour after hearing about Bo's death.
The next 4 games said it all. Out coached. Unprepared. Underachievers. Lagging behind even further from the pack of college football's elite.
Lloyd was burned out way before this and we had no plan. Greg Schiano turned us down twice. Greg fucking Schiano. Nobody with any credentials wanted the pressure of the job it seemed. We took our name for granted. But we all wanted change. Ohio State was kicking our ass. The rest of relevant college football outside of our little Big 10 world was also kicking our ass.
Beating MSU for most of a decade and winning a lot of Big 10 games made us content that we were still as successful as the rest of the elite but it was all an illusion. We were falling behind. 1997 was a long way away. Many fans knew this and were asking for change. Some of us were craving it! Then along comes Rich Rodriguez. Smart, football genius, young, but a bit wet behind the ears in his knowledge of the school he contacted about a job.
He came to bring us into another era. The same way other innovators and motivators had done before at Michigan. You had been asking for this for so many years now and Rich Rodriguez came in to be the one to give it to us.
Except when he got here a circus ensued instead. An outright debacle in the grandest fashion. People from within the very university we cheer for, its own alumni started something out of nothing before a game was ever played under the new regime. The seed planted. The media played it up. Our rivals relished it all. The michigan fan base ate it up. The masses rolled with every punch and instead of football you got WWE theatre.
I am not going to beat on too many dead horses here. They are all blood and mashed guts now. After reading this site for the last 4+ years it's probably just liquid. Most all of it has been said by every blogger on MGO in a million different ways. But I will rehash a few obvious points that have brought me to some conclusions about this whole state of affairs.
Rich Rodriguez is a good coach. He will be a good coach when he leaves here. He will win big somewhere else. But here it isn't going to work, ever. Here are some caps -EVER EVER- The ship sailed on that in September 2008. I just didn't realize it until this past few days.
When you want something. Especially when someone is trying to give it to you when nobody else will, smile and say thanks even if you didn't get it neatly packaged or exactly the way you wanted it. Don't screw it up by complaining about the trivial shit.
Rich Rodriguez deserved better than what was given to him. A big portion of the Michigan Football fanbase got what they deserved. I think that karma always has a way of showing its ugly head in every aspect in life and looking back at it all I can't say that this isn't one of those examples.
In all reality, did anyone of you that rooted against this guy ever expect him to succeed? How can you win with a giant cloud of shit hanging over your head every second of the day for 3 years? How can you succeed when recruiting, the lifeblood of any major program is impacted the way Michigan Football's has. How do you get to the next level when you have a hole the size of a moon crater in talent and bad luck as long as I-94 tagging along for the ride saddled with all that negative unnecessary bullshit created by some the very people you are trying to work for?
You don't. He hasn't. You cannot make a marriage work if the other person isn't willing to work too. You can't even correct small mistakes if you aren't given an straightforward shot at it. You can say everything you want to about his epic fail, but if we are honest and really look in the mirror we all know that these are not ordinary circumstances and to judge fairly you have to critique with the entire story in mind. This isn't just X's & O's, execution and on field coaching ability.
Ignorance. Nepotism. Cronyism. They all found a way into Michigan football in a way that has left a black eye on us. If you don't think so then I believe you to be foolish and as many outside of our own fanbase perceive-arrogant. But regardless of how I feel about Rich, I no longer want him as the coach of Michigan.
My support for Rich Rodriguez is no longer there. I want him gone. Yesterday. It is time to move on and I think the writing is and has been on the wall that he will be within the next few days. I used to think that he should get a 4th year no matter what. But even that is gone from my mind. What is a 4th year going to do. Even if he wins 10 games it won't be considered real success to the majority. Because the Majority of the Michigan fanbase doesn't like him and never will. Rich needs to move on for the betterment of his family, his future success and simply because he is wasting his time here.
So I think it is time to do something to save Michigan Football before we become completely irrelevant. I sure hope Jim Harbaugh is coming here. Because I think he is the only guy that can make this work right now. Because sadly if Jim Harbaugh comes to town unlike Rich Rodriguez he'll be treated like a god. The press will praise him. The average fans will all shut up whining. The dirty cloud of negativity will magically lift and he can do the job without this raging storm right outside his window.
I never thought Jim Harbaugh was a bad coach or that he would fail at Michigan. I just thought we already had a good coach and it wasn't fair that we didn't give our full support to the him. But since things are what they are, as a fan of gigantic proportions I am all about anything that betters the football team I have been watching my entire life. In my heart I now know Rodriguez is not that guy. But if Jim Harbaugh isn't available it doesn't matter who coaches in my opinion, the tables will be stacked against them. Hello spiral.. I hope if we get lucky and Harbaugh is announced as Michigan's next head football coach this week that he has us in mind for the long term because he is going to have to do what Bo did in the late 60's. Take a floundering/fractured program and build it back up. And that is going to take awhile. Hopefully by that time if Michigan hires outside of it's own we have learned our lessons and give the next man who comes from outside the support they need. Going through this once was enough.
Lastly I will say that I did learn something from this experience. I think as a fan I am a better one than I was pre-2008. I learned a lot about life through this. Through football. I'll always support the team and the school forever. But I lost respect for a very large chunk of the people who call themselves fans of Michigan football.
Hopefully time and some magical wins heal all.
Go Blue Forever
1. Rich Rod is fired and brings his team back to AA and waxes Michigans ass.
2. Michigans quest to hurry up and right it's ship ends up being a protracted version of the past two years.
not my wish or an opinion just I fear more than anything. sorry gotta run Notre Dame just called
So let me start by saying I posted this rant after the PSU game and still feel the same way I did then......
I love Rich Rod and I'm assuming most of us do and wanted him to suceed here as our coach. As it stands things have not gone good since my last serious post and continue down a path of destruction.
I know to many of us think this change is not in our best interest but damnit i'm ready for the change. I wish things would of worked out but things beyond RR control did not make that happen.
We can point to every excuse why and try to justify our opinion but I hope most of us have come to the realization that perception is now reality.
Regardless if its JH or BH, this team needs to find its swagger back. This fan base needs to find its swagger back! I'm sick of this internal fighting. Last thing we want is to act like ND!
Change is coming folks weather you like it or not. All I care about is that it benefits Mich in the end and i'm sure we all can agree on that.
Pride has come and the fall has happened but redemption will be so sweet. Never forget the past because you will never learn in the future.
I'm ready for whatever is ahead because I love this University are you????