to play football, not to play trumpet
coaching search 2010
Today's "snow armageddon" in the southeast got me to thinking . . .
For those of you that live in the south, y'all know what kind of reaction there is to a predicted snow storm. For those in the north, a snow storm is an everyday occurrence and you probably laugh hysterically at the reaction of southerners. (Yes, all of the bread and toilet paper in the local Target here was gone by early evening yesterday in preparation for the 4-8 inches of snow predicted).
On my enjoyable drive into work this morning, with the roads to myself, I started comparing the physical and emotional reactions of people to approaching wintry weather compared to the reaction to coaching changes across the country. As the analysis evolved, it became pretty entertaining and I wanted to share in case you are entertained as well. What I've tried to do is match the reactions to snow storms based on geographic location to the reactions of a fan base to a coaching change at a particular school. Here's some categories I've created - please feel free to add more that you believe are pertinent, especially for schools/locations that are less extreme examples that the ones I chose:
Snow in Georgia = Coaching Change at Michigan: I think this fits. Those of you in Georgia (Atlanta, in particular) that deal with approaching snow storms know how drastically people freak out when even a hint of snow is forecasted. I think this is how the coaching change/search has gone with Michigan fans:
Everyone that freaked out about a change are analogous to southerners living in Georgia that are not used to the snow. Those that did not want a coaching change were aware that a change could occur but were emotionally unprepared and started freaking out when it became a foregone conclusion (equivalent to southerners flocking to the grocery store to get milk and bread).
Everyone that welcomed the change are analogous to northerners living in Georgia that feel comfortable in anticipation of a snow storm. Those that welcomed the coaching change believed it would be "all good" and did not worry. However, once the change came they quickly realized that they were not prepared for the fallout and became extremely nervous and began expressing their reservations. For example, Atlanteans (?) realized that getting to work from the suburbs was almost an impossible exercise, just as the coaching change at Michigan has frustrated many to the point of trying to remove themselves emotionally.
[You could probably substitute several schools here including, but not limited to, Florida(?) and USC(?)]
Snow in Michigan = Coaching Change at Eastern Michigan: You could substitute a number of schools here but I thought Eastern was the most fun. Everyone that lives in or has driven regularly in Michigan knows that snow in that state is a regular occurrence and almost all but disregarded. (As an aside, I can remember being in school up there in 1993, probably the worst winter I've experienced, and classes went on as usual. I remember walking to the Frieze Building in a -60 degree wind-chill for my 8am calculus class. And I also remember commuting to work on roads covered in ice with people driving at least the speed limit, seemingly oblivious to the ice.)
I imagine this to be the same for die-hard fans of Eastern Michigan football (are there any???). They basically expect a coaching change every 2-3 years as part of the game. Just as players graduate and new players must be recruited, so do coaches at schools like Eastern.
[Other analogous schools = Minnesota(?), Washington(?)]
Snow in Florida = Coaching Change at Penn State: This one is the most enjoyable to discuss . . . Everyone in Florida knows that it could, one day, snow there. Every Penn State fan understands that, some day, Joe Paterno will retire, be fired, or pass away on the job. Nevertheless, each year that goes by where neither happens leaves Florida residents less prepared just as it leaves Penn State fans unprepared for a change. In particular, every year, Penn State's coveted assistants get wooed by other schools (e.g. Bradley) and Penn State fans freak out that their coach-in-waiting is going to be gone. When the time actually comes, if ever, its going to be very entertaining to watch.
Snow in Canada = Coaching Change at Notre Dame: Per jHackney. Self-explanatory.
First thing's first, I think I did a pretty thorough job, but if you think any of my numbers need to be corrected, just say so in the comments. This can be a group effort.
One of the most common objections heard from Michigan fans with respect to the potential hiring of Les Miles is that he's demonstrated a penchant for oversigning. ESPN's Outside the Lines produced a segment about a month ago widely linked to on this board highlighting LSU's use of this practice under Miles. If it matters to you my take is that it's abhorrent that a head coach making a multimillion dollar salary and with tremendous institutional backing could go into some poor kid's home and sell the promise of a college degree and then spit the kid out when he becomes expendable. I would hate seeing someone who'd do that become the head coach at my alma mater both for the sake of the kids he'd recruit and for the fact that he'd be the most public face of my school. Game theory be damned.
I got into an argument with psychomatt earlier about whether LSU was set to oversign again this year. I cited http://www.oversigning.com which says LSU currently has 8 more commits than it will have a place for. Psychomatt disputed these numbers. So, fair enough. Let's take a closer look.
As chronicled by the OTL report LSU trimmed down right before fall camp to get down to 85 scholarship players to start the year. Since, one player was dismissed from the team and none have transferred. The player dismissed was fullback Dominique Allen. He had a scholarship, was dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and Miles noted interestingly at the press conference that walk on James Stampley was clearly the number 1 fullback anyway.
That gets us down to 84.
Now, to the roster analysis:
There are 9 outgoing scholarship seniors. They are: Terrence Tolliver, Lezerius Levingston, Josh Jasper, Derek Helton, Richard Murphy, Jai Eugene, Joseph Barksdale, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis.
All other seniors on LSUs website are either expressly denoted as walk ons or have completely blank bio pages and no varsity letters. Exception: Dan Graff, listed as a player-coach (?!) who joined the team as a sophomore walk on. I'm confident in counting on him still being a walk on.
Potential 5th year candidates
- Josh Dworaczyk- has started every game for them at left guard this year. Will almost certainly return.
- Will Blackwell- was the starter at the beginning of the year at right guard before injuring his ankle. He recovered to play in the final 3 games. Probably back.
- T-Bob Hebert- took over Blackwell's starting job when he went down and spent the previous year starting at center. As a multi year starter he'll be welcomed back.
- Stevan Ridley- LSU's top back this year getting 249 carries and 1,147 yards. If he wants to come back he can. And he probably will come back at least according to where he's currently projected to go in the draft and to general message board scuttlebutt.
- Stefoin Francois- Started every game at linebacker, will be welcomed back. Not thought to be a draft risk.
- Ron Brooks- backup cornerback/strong safety and contributor on special teams. Played all 12 games, but started none. Put up decent numbers, though, 28 tackles 5 tfls and 3 PBUs. With Peterson leaving on the one hand and the number crunch on the other let's give him a 50-50 chance of being back.
- Jarrett Lee- 2nd string qb. It might be conceivable they'd let him go, but because Miles in his infinite wisdom, put Russell Shepard at wide receiver (seriously if he comes RIP Dilithium), their current 3rd string option is a freshman walk on. Zac Mettenberger (highly touted Georgia castoff) is about to come aboard though. But still, who likes having a redshirt freshman walk on as your 3rd string? Lee's getting invited back.
- Jordan Jefferson- Starting qb. He's welcome back.
- Patrick Peterson- Thorpe winner. All world cb. NFL. Gone.
- Alex Russian- Cone like tight end turned backup snapper. It's a wonder he isn't gone already.
- Mitch Joseph- in LSU's 3 man tight end rotation. Started 4 games this year. Let's say it's 50-50.
Only case with any ambiguity is Dennis Johnson, but after going through message board stuff I'm 90% sure he's a walk on.
So giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves let's count the maybes as both out. So in total we'll say that's 4 RS juniors not coming back. Obviously that +9 seniors +1 free schollie = 14.
Potential 3rd year draft entrants
I couldn't find any 3rd year guys LSU fans seem worried about losing early to the draft. Correct me if I'm wrong.
As Brian explained here , outside Alabama, medical hardships aren't very common. In fact, between 2008 and 2010 SEC schools that don't love houndstooth on average gave out slightly more than one each.
Recruits who fail to enroll
LSU currently has 21 commitments and is still in on some prospects. Let's hypothesize they don't gain or lose any commits between now and signing day, although it's probably more likely they gain. From 2005-2010 (Les' tenure) LSU has signed 144 players of whom 135 qualified academically and enrolled.* That makes for a 93.75% matriculation rate. Obviously using this rate to project into the future has its limitations, Miles might have changed his recruiting philosophy and taken on more high risk kids this year, but given how much he oversigned by last year and that 28 of the 29 in that class enrolled, I doubt a huge variation is likely this year. Anyway, using that figure we can project that 1 player not qualifying is the most likely outcome, having 2 not qualify is the second most likely outcome and having none fail to qualify the 3rd most likely outcome. Let's go with taking one out since it's the most likely statistically and they might end up with more commitments anyway.
You don't really need me for this, it's simple math. But giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves this is what we get 84 - 9 - 4 + 20 = 91. Miles is looking at being 6 above the limit right now.
Is this really a big deal?
I can hear people say it now: But, but, that's not accounting for players who choose to transfer voluntarily or make boneheaded decisions in the offseason and get kicked out justifiably!
To reply: Yes
Any oversigning analysis shouldn't account for that. For a coach to take a kid's signature, or even a commitment, when he doesn't have a spot for him is fundamentally wrong. Even if he thinks it's more likely than not that the spot he needs will free up in time, he promised a player much younger than him, usually much poorer and less powerful the opportunity to get a degree and play the sport he loves and by accepting that signature or commitment he doesn't have a spot for he's putting that at risk. It's grossly reckless and highly irresponsible. No institution of higher learning should be associated with it. And really, if a football program ends up a few scholarship players short is it the worst thing in the world? Those scholarships would instead go to deserving walk ons. And what's wrong with that?
and NO, I do not mean Brady Hoke. Hells to the No on that.
There are plenty of up and coming D1-coordinators we could hire to be our next coach. We tried the whole, lets-hire-the-guy-who-is-hot-right-now thing and it did not work. The big east sucked balls when RR was there and is no different now (Case in point the 2010 Uconn Huskies). I suspect the pac-10 is nominally better than the Big East but not by much. JH does come with some bonafides that make his probability of success here high but he is by no means our ONLY SAVIOR.
I for one would want a careful search conducted by DB even if we can't get JH and not just some panicked declaration of RR being retained because "OMOMG there are no other options out there".
Chill out, yes we will probably suck football dongs in 2011 but that is not going to change one little bit even if RR is kept around (unless of course NCAA changes the rules such that offensive yardage decides the winner of football games, in which case RR will win MNC's from now until the end of times).