this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Yes, it has been a challenging week. The D is in question and needs experience and more talent. What recruits eyes are going to light up when Michigan comes calling? A commit soon could put this week behind us. The O is going to be a juggernaut. I don't think for a minute a Frosh is going to come in next year and turn this D around. However, a select group could break through and add needed depth. Who will it be?
My first choice is Zettel.
No. 2. D. Grant
Go Blue !!!
Anyone think the losing coach on saturday will get fired by his respective program?
both teams really need a win
[Ed: Bumped for interestingness. Here's where you're at.]
[UPDATE: The new poll was not functioning at the bottom of the page, please retake it]
Last night, I posted a poll to see what MGoBoard’s opinion is regarding the state of the program. Much has been said over these topics in the past few days, but there truly hasn’t been an accurate way to see how the board has reacted as a whole. The bickering has been not only annoying, but unhelpful in determining what people are really thinking. Unfortunately, I can’t post the results directly from the host (as I don’t want to shell out the $200 to be able to share the information other than copy and paste), but here are the results. This poll was flawed and there are more questions that can be asked after seeing this data, so a follow-up poll will be conducted at the end of the post.
Question #1 - Has Michigan's offense improved enough in the past three years?
- Yes – 82%
- No - 18%
This is pretty unsurprising, considering how the offense has come from being one of the worst in the country in 2008 to arguably being one of the best in 2010. There has been improvement from year to year, and with Michigan’s young talent at many offensive players, including Denard Robinson, this looks to continue.
Question #2 - What has been the single biggest reason Michigan's defense has struggled?
- Lack of talent – 30%
- Youth - 22%
- Rich Rodriguez has made poor decisions trying to influence the defense - 18%
- Attrition – 18%
- Greg Robinson has coached poorly schematically – 12%
Admittedly, all of these reasons have probably been a contributing factor to how unsuccessful the defense has been this year. Nothing has really stood out as the main factor, but a combination of all of these has definitely crippled the defense. The two biggest factors, the lack of talent and youth, combine together with attrition to make the biggest reason for the failure of the defense to be the personnel for 70% of the respondents, while coaching was signaled out by 30% as the biggest reason.
Note: I am not questioning the effort of the players on defense; they have worked and played as hard as they can. They are great representatives for the University of Michigan in how they conduct themselves on the field. They may have struggled, but they haven’t quit.
Question #3 - Should Greg Robinson be retained as Michigan's defensive coordinator?
- No – 54%
- Let's wait until after the season to decide – 37%
- Yes – 9%
Over half of MGoBoard wants Greg Robinson to be removed from the defensive coordinator position at the end of the season, and more than a third will reevaluate their position after the conclusion of the season. After the struggles on defense this season, there seems to be a consensus that someone should take the fall after the season.
Question #4 - What was Rich Rodriguez's most egregious off-the-field mistake?
- Nothing was particularly egregious – 25%
- Attrition – 22%
- The NCAA practice violations – 22%
- Poor choices on recruits who did not make admissions standards – 20%
- Other (leave in comments) - 7%
- Comments he's made in press conferences - 3%
- Not being a "Michigan Man" - 1%
Despite this being a poorly worded question (one commenter stated: “egregious may be a little strong” and I agree), the responses have been all across the board for this question as well as Question #2. I think that the top three have been mistakes on Rodriguez’s part, but I wouldn’t call anything that he’s done “egregious” per se. Some of the comments left in other that have been echoed in others:
There's not a whole lot that RR has done that many or all other coaches go through.
Remember the way he left West Virginia?
Not giving his DC enough freedom to install his own staff.
Hiring Scott Shafer
Forcing out Scott Schafer
Too much focus on offense, not enough on defense or special teams. Not enough recruiting there (or recruiting ones that can enroll), not enough coaching there. This is a team based on offense first, I see no whole team concept.
Neglecting to recruit defense enough until the late stages of the 2010 cycle. If we had gotten some of those freshman DBs in for spring practice, they would be further along than they are now.
He ruined the sanctity of Michigan Football.
the audacity of having a west virginia accent /s
Question #5 - Has Michigan shown enough improvement in Rodriguez's tenure?
- No – 70%
- Yes – 30%
Agreed, although I think this figure would change a lot when Michigan makes or fails to make a bowl game. In year three, I think the fanbase has reasonably expected the team to make a bowl game and have a winning record but it remains to be seen if that will happen or not.
Question #6 - Should Rich Rodriguez be retained after the season?
- Let's wait until after the season to decide – 41%
- Yes – 37%
- No – 21%
Very interesting, despite all the anger and frustration voiced on the board after the Penn State game, only a fifth of MGoBoard wants a different coach for 2011. Personally, I think that it’s fair to wait until after the season to assess final judgment and that will be addressed in the follow-up poll.
There is something interesting of note though: the 257 people who indicated that they would like to see Rodriguez stay around for 2011 responded that Michigan has improved enough under Rodriguez’s tenure (62%), Michigan will beat Illinois (61%), and that the defense’s struggles are not his fault (2% selected “Rich Rodriguez has made poor decisions trying to influence the defense” as the biggest reason).
On the other hand, however, the 147 respondents who do not want Rodriguez to be retained said that Michigan has not improved enough under Rodriguez’s tenure (only one said that they have), only 9% think that none of Rodriguez’s off the field mistakes were particularly egregious, and 47% think that his poor decisions in trying to influence the defense is the biggest reason why the defense has struggled.
Questions #7, 8, 9, and 10 – Will Michigan beat each of its final four opponents?
- Michigan will lose to Illinois – 65%
- Michigan will beat Purdue – 88%
- Michigan will lose to Wisconsin – 88%
- Michigan will lose to Ohio State – 85%
The board has been pretty clear; most of us see a 6-6 conclusion to the season, with 7-5 being possible and 5-7, 8-4, and 9-3 as being pretty improbable. This is pretty obvious; Illinois should be coming in as a favorite, Michigan should be heavily favored against Purdue, and Wisconsin and Ohio State look to be heavy favorites against Michigan.
Here’s the follow-up poll. [FIXED]
Maybe Casteel is a great guy and he has had success as a coordinator. I have no idea how or if he recruits, but he is a younger guy that should (should) be able to identify with recruits.
However, a few things:
1) If we are to fire the second DC in three (!) years, I think it is time to bring in an outsider in that is given the authority to broom the staff on that side of the ball who have remained a constant through this disaster. I don't trust RR to "get the gang back together" since I am sure Tall* and Gibson would then stay on board. It sort of feels like we are at the table doubling down on the same bad bet.
2) I actually do believe that scheme does matter. I am done with the 3-3-5 nonsense and this would be a result of a Casteel hire. I am also tired of hearing my head coach say we go between the 4-3/3-4/3-3-5, if we have three schemes, we have none. There are many top defenses in this league, they led by DCs who are paid many dollars to coach against teams in this league, so run a defense built for this league, not one that is made to stop our offense. On the flip side, we have already seen how defenses line up to stop our own offense from scoring (not gaining yards), let's just copy that when Nebraska shows up next year since they are the only team who looks like us (Illinois may get there with the new QB, I don't know).
The only way someone good will take a chance on this if GERG is gone is if they have full run, the dump truck of cash is backed up and maybe a multi-year contract is signed. Otherwise, the track record looks poor from a longevity standpoint which makes hiring more difficult.
*For the Tall supporters, I am not so sure Tall made BG a first rounder. I think BG's uncanny explosiveness/strength, Barwis and his ability to destroy in 4-3 scheme that fit his talents appropriately (e.g. like Griffin from USC, not dropping into the flats to cover TEs) made him into a first rounder.
I am of the camp that this year's defense is agonizingly similar to the 2008 version of the offense, where we are too young/inexperienced and the pieces don't fit right, at least not yet.
So, here's my prediction: Saturday's game will be our 2008 at Minnesota game. That was the most complete game of the year and one of only 3 games where our offense out-gained our opponent (ND and Miami (NTM)) were the other two. If you're a sadist (or want to see how far our offense has come) you can check this out for yourself here.
Other similarities--coming off a loss to an under-achieving team that was gut-wrenching for its own reasons (the week before MN, we lost to Purdue to officially become bowl ineligible) and we will be playing a team that is over-achieving pre-season expectations.
So, have we had our "Minnesota 2008" performance on defense yet? If so, who?
Will I look stupid?
DiscussEDIT: With the news about JT Floyd I recant my prediction.