I think you will get your wish.
I have been on the MGoSidelines for an extended while, too shellshocked by the current state of Michigan football to participate much or even complete my McBean Rating System. Yet, I return on the eve of the season because I think a point need be made. Assuredly, it’s been made before, but perhaps not with this emphasis.
I am somewhat hesitant to post this, and some will say I was not hesitant enough. I am going to the UConn game overflowing with optimism, but the optimism comes with a catch, which, because it is cathartic, will now pollute MGoBlog.
Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, now stands or can stand between the results we see on the field and a verdict on this coaching staff. We are at a moment of refreshing purity where a simple answer to a simple question now awaits the spiritually hungry:
- Can the current staff of football coaches actually recruit and coach?
In previous Rodriguez campaigns, muddy waters divided the Michigan faithful; one side, with justification, pointed at coordinator changes, mismatched personnel, attrition, distractions, and injuries, while the other side declared that, despite all these high-quality excuses, no serviceable coaching staff could ever lead a Michigan team to 3-13 against Big 10 teams over two years. (Can this actually be true? Pinch me. A 3-13 record against the Big 10? Hit me.)
The debate is thankfully over. Almost like the nauseating propaganda that precedes an election, this confusion now ends in Election Day: eleven votes are to be cast that will answer many questions, but one in particular:
- Can the current staff of football coaches actually recruit and coach?
Reading scrimmage notes prompted me to post this; in particular, I detected a faint odor of excuse wafting from comments about the secondary and the marginal tackling performance.
No more excuses, no matter how tempting. If our entire team transferrs tomorrow, no excuses. If we’ve had the bad fortune to overrate every linebacker on the planet since David Harris, no excuses.
Last year after the Indiana game, I posted on how other coaches are doing more with less. Allow me to quote myself:
The Iowa defense is younger than ours overall and features a less-experienced secondary that averages 5.3 for a Rivals Rating, or a middle range two-star. Brian says about Michigan, “There is exactly one junior and no seniors at both safety and cornerback.” Iowa has less experience. Yet my gut tells me – with absolute certainty – Darryl Clark will have a far better day against our secondary. Who wants to take me up on that bet?
In general, their players are more lowly rated at every position (possible exception of one LB), often significantly so, with players converted from the offensive side of the ball (a TE turned DL) and one playing out of position.
Occam’s Razor makes it difficult to accept that our stud HS talent was pretty much collectively overrated, and Iowa’s meh HS talent was pretty much vastly underrated. Ferentz would have given a kidney to have Cissoko or Warren or Graham or Brown or Mouton or Martin. He doesn’t have enough organs to bargain with the devil to get those types of players with mega-hype coming out of HS, yet he easily is fielding a better defense that probably would have consumed Indiana whole without any sauce.
As for the “new system” argument – that switching from Shafer to Robinson has resulted in our guys being at the start of a new learning curve – I accept some of that, but not all. Now, I will defer to Sharik or gsimms to tell me whether a new system can transform studs into non-studs, but it would seem to me that stopping Eastern in the first half or stopping Indiana at all would frequently be possible with raw stud talent playing by instinct.
I backed down last year. New DC I was told. New system, fool. Well, it’s not new anymore. No one in today’s game gets a decade to establish a system. If Appalachian State can manage Mannigham, Arrington, Matthews and Butler with walk-ons, we can manage better than last year with our secondary. If Michigan State can dominate most of a football game with putrid DBs, so can we. If Iowa can mold nasty defensive lineman out of corn oil, tight-ends and spare body parts, then our row of premium four-stars is ready to be twice as nasty…if the coaches are competent.
- Bad tackling will be on them.
- Bad coverage schemes will be on them.
- Safeties futilely chasing TD runs from behind will be on them.
- Turnovers will be on them.
- Weather will be on them.
- Injuries will be on them (speaking of which, whatever happened to the Barwis dividend? If being turned into supermen doesn't help you tackle and stay healthy, then he’s more overrated than Heaven’s Gate).
I look at the Michigan football team, and I don’t see players, I see red litmus paper hovering over a solution know as UConn, that, if basic Michigan coaching is present, will turn that paper Blue.
(FWIW, I feel the paper will turn Blue. I think we shall catch a glimpse of WVU-style offensive firepower against Oklahoma come September 4th en route to an 8-4 season.)
Back several years when they first announced the idea of suites, or "premium seating," Bill Martin and Co. said the effect would be seen all over the stadium, not just in the plush confines for those that could afford to sit there. After walking through the west side of the stadium at the scrimmage on Saturday, I can now say, without a doubt, that he was right.
The "new" Michigan Stadium is simply tremendous for the average fan. There are restrooms everywhere you turn, including at least one that I saw that goes underground (similar to the old restroom underneath the pressbox area). Yes, the walls-as-urinals are gone, but it is huge, and there will be plenty of space for people to get around.
But, to me, the real magic comes in the westside upper concourse, above Row 92. Because it was raining on Saturday, we went up there to watch the scrimmage. We would have braved the rain, but had our 20-month old with us. This may become the best place to watch the game for those with tickets on that side of the stadium. Covered, great view and concessions and restrooms are abundant. Plus, the upper concourse that you can see from Main Street (as well as the similar one on the east side) will pull, the AD says, about 20 percent of the foot traffic from the main concourses. I am guessing this will be a great place for people in rows about 72 and up.
I know he is not in people's minds right now because of the Pimp Hand and some of the nastiness of the NCAA violations, but I have to applaud Bill Martin for a job well done. Whether you were for or against the renovations, they did it right!
I have yet to buy NCAA 11 yet (a travesty, i know) but will probably be buying it this week. I was wondering which rosters are the most updated... I remember when the rosters first came out that there was a website and all (i did find the usernames for the ps3 rosters) but i'm wondering which rosters replaced Dorsey and I guess now JT Turner will have to be removed (although i'd probably just do that myself) as well as White, if he even made it into the game.
So what have been the best rosters that other PS3 faithful have used??
I think our depth this season is going to be a major strength for this team and could be one of the difference makers that will go mainly unnoticed.
After watching last year's MSU game on BTN a couple days ago, I found myself thinking that we really were not that far off from having a top notch offense and good-enough defense that could easily have won 6,7,8 games instead of 5. And that was with Molk out, Mooseman snapping the ball all over the place, and Tate injured. Maybe we beat MSU, Iowa, Purdue, etc if we had more depth.
Of course the lack of CB depth has been well documented over the past weeks, and losing any more players there could be enough to doom the season. But almost every position has serviceable backups that will allow us to do two things we couldn't last year.
1) We will be able to roll two players in certain positions during the game without much of a drop off. This will keep us fresher as the game and the season wears on.
2) We will be able to recover when/if the Angry Michigan Hating God strikes us throughout the season. If an O-lineman, LB, RB, WR, etc goes down we should have someone who can step in and keep up the pace.
I just can't help but feel that these things will really help us out as we roll into the meat of our schedule. As a team, we seemed to get weaker and weaker as the season rolled on, causing us to lose a couple of games (Purdue, Illinois) that we might have won in September.
Hopefully this year will be different! Go Blue!
So I was thingking....Doug Dutch was a decent player who was switched around between WR and CB at Michigan. He was always a back-up who rarely played. He was undrafted but signed with the redskins, then was traded by the redskins to the ravens for former 2nd round pick John Beck. Not saying Doug is a Great player but obviously is pretty talented.
Anyone else hoping that James Rogers is like Doug Dutch, but with the opportunity to play?