This is my first forum post. I was strolling through Elevenwarriors, I found this gem:
Ramzy is my favorite writer over there. This was a good read (buckeye tilt warning).
"..Maybe you enjoy seeing Michigan's struggle, but this type of unthinkable decline is capable of happening anywhere - especially at our favorite ivory tower. All it requires is unchecked power in the hands of the wrong goddamn person guarded by influential people supporting him or her for all the wrong reasons."
Yes, yes, we don't talk about injuries unless they are season ending. /hoke
That said, having followed most of the pressers and such so far this year it beginning to sound to me like half the starters are injured and have /will be missing playing time.
Is anyone keeping track of what is known so far?
So, uh...who wants some wallpaper?
I didn't plan on making any wallpaper for the rest of this season for obvious reasons (my previous "Just Win" wallpaper could probably suffice), but then someone on the board said something that caught my eye. The thread has since been deleted, but it was titled "No Maize...Just Blue."
I think that line sums things up pretty well. This season has us all feeling blue, and coincidentally we will be sporting all-blue uniforms this week. If you want your desktop to be as depressing as Michigan football this is the wallpaper for you.
I mean, it really doesn't matter at this point, but it has been curious to me that a few grinder, lunch pail DL guys have shown good improvement on defense while other players have not shown similar improvement or even regressed as they have aged in the system.
Removing Ryan from the discussion due to the over/under switch, shouldn't we naturally be more assignment sound in terms of our defense due to familiarity with base scheme? Mattison has some coaching competence so it is simply that his scheme is too complex? I will put some points out for consideration:
- Herrmann used to run a pro scheme when he was our DC and we often heard that we played slower than other teams due to things being too complex.
- Mattison frequently mentioned early on that we would be a "michigan defense" as they learned the system and he added more nuances, but we seemed more competent early on.
- I spent some time in Iowa City during Norm Parker's run as DC and he specifically made his defenses basic to play fast and to ensure the next player in could execute if needed. He never changed his approach and had consistently pretty good units for the talent level.
I guess I compare that with listening to Marcus Ray talk about calling defensive switches out of the sideline call based on how the offense was lining up to run a particular play, which seems like it involves a level of complexity and understanding. He was on one of our best defenses at Michigan, it played very fast, developed NFL talent and had both Mattison's and Hoke's fingerprints on it. Either these guys forgot what made them good, have continued to add too much to the playbook as they advanced their careers or can't find the right guys to learn assigment football which I find hard to believe. I would interested to hear from some of the coaches on the board regarding this point.
Read into this (or not) as you will, but the Board of Regents candidate forum that was supposed to be held today has been postponed. It will now take place on October 24. Only one current Regent, Kathy White, is scheduled to participate.
The general tenor on the board concerning the state of the program seems to be that Hoke was a bad hire from the start and that his initial success in 2011 was primarily due to Denard "saving us" inspite of Hoke's ineptituted, as well as a defense which improved but ultimately simply enjoyed being on the positive side of the bell curve when it came to turnover margin and 50/50 plays (which even then was acknowledged as unsustainable).
It seems to me that if Hoke, Borgess, Funk et. al. are/were inept, which is clearly the belief now, then either they've always been inept or somehow became inept over the course of the past few seasons. We talk a lot about an increase in recruited talent not translating into on-field success and, rightly, attribute that to coaching... and some of us have gone to 11 with the vitriol.
But this staff, by all accounts, NAILED IT in 2011. Despite what many posters, contributors, and even Brian might recall now, while the 2011 season was happening we did NOT think we were winning despite this staff's (lack of) ability, we thought we were winning because of their ability. We lauded the fact that they came into a situation with limited personnel, limited depth, and players who were unsuited to Hoke's particular vision of football and guided them to an 11 win, BCS bowl season. It seems to me that if this staff is now just a group of inept, out-of-their-depth neophites, we'd have picked up on that in 2011 (we certainly seem to see it that way now). But go back and read the write ups and comments after the Nebraska win, and the OSU win.
Here's what Brian had to say after the Nebraska pummeling:
I was wrong. I was mad when Michigan hired Brady Hoke because I though it was a capitulation, that it was Michigan returning to the things that made it such a frustrating team to root for once Lloyd Carr stopped having the best defense in the universe.
It turns out as I was sitting in the stands burning up inside as Rocky Harvey scatbacked Illinois to victory or Michigan punted itself into oblivion against OSU, Brady Hoke was standing on a sideline burning up inside, whether it was at Michigan Stadium or somewhere in the MAC. Hoke does not want to lead by 17. He wants to lead by 21, dammit. If anything, the playcalling this year has been too aggressive what with the constant unleashing of the dragon
If this feels like getting back to Michigan, it's the Michigan of your dreams, the Michigan you left back in Peoria when you shipped to Saigon. You've got one good picture of her and she's that pretty every day in an ugly place. "This Is Michigan" is about the idea, not the reality—at least not a reality from the last 20 years. So far. Days like Saturday inch us closer to the picture in our heads.
Here were his thoughts after OSU:
I could not have been more wrong about Hoke. He's not the milquetoast win-by-not-losing sort. He's not even average. He has a gut feel that is on par with every RPG minimaxing engineer out there. Forged by the fires of MAC defenses, Hoke has learned to push when he should and pull back when he should. I would not want to play poker against him.
I know Hoke talks about toughness and physicalness even if the latter isn't really a word, and that's fine and important. It's half of the equation. The other half is putting your guys in position to take advantage of that. Hoke does that. MANBALL: pretty much not pejorative anymore.
Undertand, this isn't a Brian "callout;" we all thought we were seeing the same thing here. (Go read how we - and I use "we" as the "collective mood of the board" - felt after Hoke won the Conference Coach of the Year award.) I was in agreement with Brian's analysis then, and I'm more or less on board with the "this staff looks out of its depth now" sentiment. But while we're duscussing how we got from THERE to HERE, the conversation is always about how much this staff, particulary on offense, just seems to "not get it." There is no talk about how they went from "getting it" to, well, "not."
Now... after the Sugar Bowl we were all a little *yeesh* about the offense, and had no illusions that the Alabama game in Dallas was going to go well for us. Brian's write-up mentions worries that now seem prescient.
ALL RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A TALK. Holy pants the offense. This was the third time this year Michigan's offense was just beyond terrible; they lost the other two but horseshoed themselves the Sugar Bowl. It was imperative that Michigan establish something VT had to react to, but they never did. Their big tactical innovation for this game was a not-very-spread formation with a TE, a tailback, and Odoms in motion for a jet sweep fake. That worked on the first play of the game when Odoms got the edge and then hardly ever again. I don't understand Michigan's emphasis on running to the perimeter against a defense like VT's that thrives on getting their safeties to tackle in space. Meanwhile, Michigan receivers got zero separation all night, allowing VT to tee off on the run with impunity. Michigan needs an athleticism upgrade there.
However, we didn't think this staff was out of its depth by any stretch. Now, we act like it's been evident since day one and only Denard, Molk, Martin, Kovacs and luck saved us that year. We went from calling out other fan bases for ripping on Hoke's looks, his weight and his demeanor, to doing it ourselves.
These things we point to now, these "basic," "egregious," and "nearly comical" errors that are so plain to us today, were some of them there in 2011? To me, it's more than "we now have more data." I can see how the results of this season and the two prior outweigh 2011; but the rhetoric now is "they've clearly always been incompetent," yet that wasn't our take back then. We Legitimately thought these coaches were good 4 years ago, now there's no way they were ever anything but a gang of monkey's fucking a football.
How did WE, as a blog, a board, a group of "compatriots," get from THERE to HERE? Lack of results on the field, sure. But to go from one extreme to the other in terms of our affection for this staff, our confidence in them... talk to me a little bit about your experience going from "there" to "here."