I've been waiting for the official mgoblog opinion on this
Mount St. Mary's hired a private equity CEO to be their president. You'll never guess what happened next.
Last year I attempted to coin a clever nickname for the Feagin-Threet quarterback pairing: "Dual Threet." Dual is now a slot receiver and Threet is moseying on out of town, possibly to North Dakota State if you believe random guys on a message board. (Do not believe random guys on a message board. Believe specific guys on a message board.) So it goes for Michigan in the past couple years.
I've been a stalwart supporter of Rich Rodriguez since his arrival. I didn't think Ryan Mallett's departure was his fault, nor did he have much of an opportunity to land a dual-threat guy in the month or so he had to finish off Michigan's 2008 recruiting class. The one guy it seemed he did have a chance with, BJ Daniels, ended up at South Florida amidst a flurry of payoff rumors that even The Wolverine—normally a place that shies away from incendiary allegations like that—lent credence to. The hand he was dealt was an exceptionally poor one. I can find no better way to sum it up than this: how many walk-on quarterbacks can you remember at power (or even decent) programs, and how did they do?
I've got exactly two:
There's almost no precedent for a quarterback situation like the one Michigan faced in 2008, and almost no way to claw yourself out of a hole that vast at the most important position on the field. Once that hand was dealt, Rodriguez was dead meat.
So the reasonable criticism of Rodriguez are mostly confined to his role in setting up his hand: "running off" Mallett, the Boren defection, the fruitless chase of Pryor, and so on and so forth. I didn't find any of these arguments compelling, since I knew Mallett had a foot and a half out the door even when Carr was running the team and that the Borens had major daddy issues and the options outside of Pryor were about nil. The decision to hire Shafer was a poor one, and that seemed like it should be held against Rodriguez. Other than that, it was Angry Michigan Whatever Hating God all the way.
You can tell there's a but coming, so: but. But the Threet transfer bothers me. Even with the recruitment of Forcier and Robinson, Threet is the most experienced quarterback on the roster by two years and has some decent starting experience. He will find no better situation wherever he transfers unless it's to some podunk I-AA school. The transfer makes little sense for him personally or professionally unless there's something behind the scenes we don't know about.
Meanwhile, Michigan now finds itself down to two true freshmen before they have to drag out another walkon, be it Nick Sheridan or Nader Furrha or whoever. Even if Threet was mostly poor a year ago, he was obviously far superior to the alternative, and at worst he would be the backup next year. With Denard Robinson something of a project, every one of Michigan's egg is now in Tate Forcier's basket. Threet leaving the program is an obvious negative.
So it doesn't make sense on anyone's part. Why did it happen? I go back to a quote from Calvin Magee in the aftermath of the Michigan State game. Dan Feldman's Daily article on the transfer highlights it:
By staying and giving Michigan another feasible option besides Sheridan, Threet opened himself to public criticism from the Wolverines’ coaches. Offensive coordinator Calvin Magee described Threet’s three-interception performance against Michigan State on Oct. 25 as “inconsistent, like it always is.”
Man, that's pretty rough. Behind-the-scenes reports from insiders always said Threet had major confidence issues and didn't respond well to this staff's high pressure style. Maybe they tried to adapt. That evidently didn't last, so Threet decided he'd be better off elsewhere.
It's obvious neither side had much faith in the other. That's not unexpected given the rickety nature of the pairing, but I can't help but think that Bo or Lloyd would have found a way to finesse it better. I don't know. Maybe I've been talking to John U. Bacon too much.
I've been waiting for the official mgoblog opinion on this
...but I can't help but think that Bo or Lloyd would have found a way to finesse it better.
I'm not disagreeing, but it's pretty funny to think of those two as paragons of finesse.
For Carr I can see it. Bo? Not so much.
I'm OK with the coaches putting a lot of - and maybe nearing too much - pressure on the QBs. This is Michigan and fan's expectations of the position are enough to make the QB feel like shit after a solid performance. Getting it from the coaches earlier can only toughen them up.
However, that pressure should never hit the public media. I bet Carr put a lot of pressure on them too, but he was a very good P.R. guy and his coaches would always have the QBs back in public.
I think you make an important point about Threet. If he had confidence issues it doesn't help that Forcier has been annoited the saviour of the program without throwing so much as throwing a bubble screen. But as it is, he knew that he wasn't the right fit for RR's program. Anyone watching the games could see that. But I loved Threet for his heart. He had MUCH heart. I would have loved to see him give it one more go. Just to see if he could correct his throwing problem and to watch him help make the transition to true RR ball smooth. But as life is...So now it is baptism by fire. Lets do it.
This a thousand times. I loved Threet's heart too. I really liked Threet and I'm disappointed to see him go.
And as was said, Denard will be a project, so even if Forcier turns out to be really good (which seems ridiculous to expect or even really hope for in his freshman year)... what happens if he gets injured?
i think if that happens we can start google-ing dead kitten pictures again. lets all knock on wood together for that one
Viva La Forcier.......
Vive le Forcier.
The one thing that I've read that bothers me hasn't even come from this blog, it's come from the mysteriously always in-the-know folks over at GoBlueMichiganWolverine.
First, I would agree that losing Threet does hurt. There's no way to argue against it. Two true frosh and Nick Sheridan (gasp) as our possible starters is not an ideal situation.
Getting to Threet as a player though, it's not as if he was killing it out there. His numbers were certainly better than Sheridan, and he would provide more competition with the current batch, but let's not forget that he looked abysmal for the better part of a year. I respected him for his heart, and he gave a lot for us, but I don't see him being substantially better than Sheridan (best offensive game of the year was Minnesota, with Sheridan as a starter). And let's not forget, we return everyone on offense and do have some degree of experience in Nick Sheridan.
And as far as RR possibly urging him to leave, give me a break. What are you basing this on? A gut instinct? Last time I checked, Threet transferred once already (mind you, with Gailey as coach and no ideas of being inserted into the option offense of Paul Johnson). The only concrete evidence in this argument is Threet having a tendency to bolt under a sign of competition. So what, RR praised our recruits in the press? He was hard on our Threet and Sheridan all year in practice? Please don't put any more blame on RR for baseless assumptions. Leave that to Drew Sharp.
We forget that Sheridan beat Threet for the job and started against Utah. Threet looked bad in practice according to most beat writers before the first game.
I will not become the mop (on those commercials) singing "Baby Come Back" on Threet's porch. I don't have amnesia...I remember seeing the obvious disgust in RR's body language with the QB's, which was confirmed by Magee's statment. The difference between Sheridan and Threet was pounds and height. An NFL ref told me after hearing about my semi-pro career that the difference between "them" and me is a couple inches in height and the fact that they run a 4.3 and I run a 4.5 (Darn Gene-Hating God)!
RR was just honest with the kid and Threet isn't ignorant. I believe it was a combination of the Tate fest on campus and what young Tate showed in drills that prompted Threet to go to coach to ask some tough questions.
He's gone, now let's move on.
Brian--- Regarding Bacon. I know him real well. Have known him for about 9 years now. Keep in mind that although he's a great guy, you can't get through 1 conversation without him name dropping at least 5-7 notable michigan alumnus and some obscure story about them. in 20 years i guarantee he will be telling similar stories about how RR cleaned up this program, getting rid of all the dead weight and then destroyed the buckeyes for years on end.
couldn't there be a small chance that threet saw what forcier was really capable of and, knowing that forcier is catching on quickly and has plenty of time to learn the offense, he knows he doesn't stand a chance at beating him out??
No. Look, Forcier is not OMG NEW TEBOW!!!! It's wishful thinking of the worst kind.
not to say that threet left because he was scared of forcier, but tate's a better fit for this offense and he's already begun to show that. it's not a laughable assertion to think that tate had something to do with threet leaving. not everything obviously, but something.
The timing of all of this would support that. I wonder why this issue hasn't had more focus: why now, so late into winter semester? If this was about his relationship with the staff, I would guess that he would have pulled the trigger sooner.
My guess is that he had serious thoughts about leaving months ago, but wanted to wait until after LOI day. Once he surveyed the competition, he probably surmised that he had two choices:
a) stay, help the team through the transition; transfer next year
b) stay for the long haul, help the team in the short term and essentially end up a martyr for the program
c) rip the band-aid off now; hurt the team in the short term but maximize his long-term potential by preserving 2-3 years of eligibility somewhere else.
So this decision was all about his best interest. Given the way that (it appears) he's been treated, I can't blame him. This staff wasn't particularly loyal to him. Lloyd seemed to engender the type of loyalty from players that might have led to option b. That's one of the reasons I'll always miss him.
What's wrong with wishful thinking? I don't know about you, but I like to be happy. You can spend the whole offseason saying we're gonna suck again and mope, or you can be hopeful. I like that guys thinking. Maybe Forcier is already better than Threet. Is that likely? Maybe not, but is it possible? Absolutely!
Last year RR was willing to start Sheridan over Threet to start the season based on a little more mobility and a quicker release, Threet knows this, enter TForce w/ much more mobility and much quicker release, and the QB attitude to boot. Its hard to get demoted in anything you do in life. Threet got demoted. Not officially, but i guarantee that within a couple "practices" Tate was making the throws, and running around in ways that Threet never has.
BUT... who honestly believed Threet was going to keep the job over either of these two kids by the OSU game next year????
I still maintain my beliefs that Forcier would have won the job by game 4... if only because he can do the small, little things NOT that the game needs, but the offense needs.
Wheel routes, bubble screens, etc.
Threet couldn't get the ball to the playmakers, and that's why he's gone. End of story. If Forcier can't either, we're screwed. But I'm with WolvinLA... let's get behind this kid, because he's our man now.
that maybe Threet just didn't want to get broken in half? As more of a drop back QB, he might not have wanted to keep the ball and get run over by linebackers next year. I really wouldn't blame him. There is a reason QBs are allowed to slide. Most of them aren't running backs.
I'm glad Threet gave it shot for a year but I bet he was hoping we would run a little more 5 wide with lots of short passes and less of him getting driven into the ground.
playing a different position. All I'm saying is he wants to be a QB and not a RB.
I genuinely feel sorry for Threet. I've now read the story of how he grew up idolizing the Wolverines, his parents went to Michigan, etc., etc. Then he gets his shot, and it's a thud rather than a bang. But quite frankly, competition is tough. Michigan games are grueling. Ohio State linebackers don't feel sorry for you.
If Steve and his parents got their feelings hurt because Coach was too busy to meet, or the press coverage was hurtful, or the freshmen were being prematurely annointed, you do have to wonder about whether this is the right place for Steve. Don't get me wrong - I am not critical of Steve being crestfallen, and I probably would have been, too. But I am not, nor will I ever be, a leader of a Michigan football team. It takes a rare breed.
Best of luck, Steve. Change your mind and stay. But only if you are willing to run the gauntlet.
You wrote: "Notre Dame's Matt Lovecchio, AKA A Major Reason Ty Willingham Was Fired."
I'm confused by this. Wasn't Lovecchio gone before the start of Ty's first season at ND in 2002? Yes, I know that part of his decision to leave was because Willingham refused to name him the starter after spring practice, but that 2002 Irish team started 8-0 (including a 2-point win over Michigan) with Carlyle Holiday at quarterback. Holiday was also the starter at the end of the 2001 season, which happened to be Bob Davie's last year as Irish coach. So my question is, how was Lovecchio a major reason Willingham was fired? In 2003, Holiday was benched in favor of Brady Quinn who never relinquished the starting spot thereafter. Do you think Lovecchio, had he stayed, would've been an upgrade over Fr./So. Quinn and orchestrated a few more wins?
First time poster, long time reader.
I didn't see anything promising about Threet's performances or leadership skills last year. Forcier seems to have a better QB attitude and he is helping recruit guys which may indicate good leadership skills.
We're still hitting bottom. We have to. The Bill Martin/Lloyd Carr show lost Les, so we were guaranteed some very lean times. Having Threet around would have meant we might have leaned on him for some poor performances early this season.
Let's throw Tate in there and hope for the best. At least he has potential and Threet did not.
I am thinking its three years before we are "back." But the faster we flush out the dead wood the quicker the journey.
I agree with Brian's analysis and feeling on this. As others have said, I don't know if Bo would have adjusted to meet Threet's personality, but Carr would certainly have. Pressure is one thing, but there is simply no excuse for a coach knocking a college player in the press like Magee did. Threet not being taken to the OSU game is the second thing (and RR's cavalier comment afterward) that on its face may not mean much, but combined with Magee's comment and the rumor from Go Blue Wolverine, starts to smell suspicious.
I'm not anti-RR, but I do think that if he didn't do everything possible to retain Threet, it shows very poor judgement.
what is the rumor form go blue wolverine?
While you never like to see transfers, this certainly doesn't worry me so much as it offends me. You would like to see kids staying regardless of playing time, especially someone who's already sort of a journeymen. However, I had no confidence in Threet's ability, and he showed zero improvement throughout the season. The interceptions were pretty bad, but the fact that he repeatedly dropped the ball for no reason killed me. Any time he took a snap and didn't hand off immediately, I cringed and watched the play with one eye closed. Again, it stinks that he doesn't want to stay on the practice squad, but we can't do much worse with either Forcier or Robinson - and both will likely be much better.
Losing Threet is definitely BAD. BAD. BAD.
Forcier is a smallish, skinny 18 year-old. He's going to get hurt, and probably in the first 3 or 4 games.
Denard is a project.
Sheridan = loss.
RR needed to figure out a better way to keep Threet around.
Having said all that, Brian must remember that Threet was a 4-star Elite 11 QB. In all likelihood, Steven thinks that if he can be a starter for a couple of years in a PRO STYLE offense then he might be able to make it into the NFL.
And before anyone laughs, remember 2 things:
1) He was a goddamn FRESHMAN last year in a totally new offense (and one not suited to his skill set), with a totally new coaching staff. OF COURSE he struggled! 2008 does not mean Steven Threet sucks.
2) Jim Sorgi has been in the NFL for several years.
is size which was the main reason he worked so hard to enroll early. by the time the season rolls around he'll have added 10-15 lbs at least. i mean of course there's that whole "experience" thing as well, but nick sheridan is still there for tate and denard to lean on. it'll be ok.
what Tate lacks or has. None of us has seen him play in college. And that "whole experience thing" is actually (in a QB) far more important that you let on.
1987, meet MgoObes.
Dude doesn't talk shit.
That is all.
I wasn't implying he talks shit, simply saying i disagreed with him.
"Dude doesn't talk shit."
Translation: The fine gentleman knows of what he speaks.
I don't know what Obes' connection is to the team, and I've tried to press him before and he casually (and smartly) plays it off... but I've read enough threads to know he's got some sort of source of inside info, and if he says OMT (Our Man Tate) is a good fit, then I'll buy it.
Yes, that probably has alot to do with the fact that I want to believe it, and it's in line with all the other stuff we've heard... but you get the idea.
ok. If true, I would defer. Because unless you have witnessed OMT in person at the college level, or know someone connected who has, then I would say my statement was quite reasonable. And I too hope it's true.
You're likin' that OMT, aren't ya?
I saw Tate play in some high school games this season. He does lack size but has all the ability in the world as far as throwing and running with the football. Depth chart is thin but this is why the staff needs to really work hard with Robinson as soon as he hits campus.
If RR tried to convince Threet to stay, I would definitely think lesser of him.
but really, he was a 20 year old who was a first time starter. There's a big difference between the two. The bottom line is, Threet was never going to win a game for us. Maybe we got lucky three times last year when he didn't lose the game for us, but he was never going to be a go to guy. At least Forcier and Robinson still have that opportunity. I'd rather go with an unknown then proven failure - no offense Steve.
Jim Sorgi has a sweet gig if you can get it. I think he took over "sweetest gig in the NFL" status last year, as "backup to Peyton Manning" supplanted "backup to Brett Favre" as the current champ. Sorgi's making about a million a year to practice, work out, and only get hit in the preseason games, and then games once the Colts have clinched playoff position or in blowouts, which probably totals about 4 to 6 quarters of actual NFL regular season game action a year.
He said the absolute best job in the world was 3rd string QB in the NFL.
You're well paid, put on a pedestal by almost everyone, and get to live the glamour life of a pro athlete.
And you can do it for 20 years because you never get hurt.
on several occasions. This coming season is going to depend on Forcier's health first and foremost, and his ability to implement the offense secondly.
With Threet around (and healthy), at least we knew where the bottom level of QB play was. Forcier may or may not be an improvement this coming season. With two freshmen, neither of which have taken a game snap, who knows?
But my greatest fear is that this staff may very well be hanging on a thread by the name of Tate Forcier. A repeat of last season is now not out of the question, and that could very well spell the end of RR's career at Michigan, and be a huge-set back for the program.
Strange as it sounds, losing Threet could have much broader consequences than who starts when the season kicks off.
With Threet's departure, how many projected starters are returning that ran the same offense or defense as last year?
In other words, 2008 is no longer the transition year (and probably wasn't before the transfer) but now a virtual waste. 2009 becomes that transition year (teaching new QBs the offense, and an entirely new defense) and it all hangs on two freshman QBs.
If this team goes 4-8 is Rodriguez the coach in 2010? Probably more importantly, how many wins must Rodriguez have in 2010 to stave off the firing squad?
At worst Threet buys RR some time on the long hard journey to get to six wins and keep the vultures at bay.
At best he becomes a pleasent surprise and holds off the freshmen on the long hard journey to etc, etc.
How can losing him not be a severe setback?
this is a good point...how many more games would threet have won for us next year? and if rr does go 4-8, would he even be here in 2010??
or not. I can't tell anymore. But, I am not wringing my hands over this. I've been reading these posts and articles and trying to suss this out, and it strikes me that there are only three main explanations for what happened, or perhaps some sort of hybrid:
1. Threet is a Boren-like pussy prima donna whose feelings were hurt and was afraid of competition;
2. Threet loves to play football and recognized that he wouldn't get the kind of chance he would have wanted in RR's offense;
3. RR is a colossal dick who "ran off" Threet needlessly and rudely.
Let's assume for a minute that either 1 or 2 is true. If 1 is true, we say good riddance. If 2 is, we tip our cap to ST and wish him the best. By the way, I don't believe for a second that 1 is true--ST came to UM to compete against 5* Mallett, and busted his ass when he was on the field last year. As Chitown put it awhile back (paraphrasing), ST is not what is wrong with today's college athlete. So, of those two, 2 seems more likely.
Now, the only possibly troubling explanation is 3. This seems to be Brian's concern. I think I think that this is probably partially true, in the sense that RR seems to be a no-nonsense badass about most things. However, I disagree respectfully with Brian's musing that maybe Bo or LC would have handled it differently. Bo? Laughable, based on what we know about him. LC liked to handle things privately more than RR, but he was a badass as well. Many players had transfer papers thrown at them, one hears.
The difference, I think, is that RR is more public and overtly fiery than LC. Chalk it up to their regional heritage, age, or whatever, I don't know. But, and here's what I personally care about, I don't get incompetence or petulance from RR. Badassedness, yes; petulance, no.
At the end of the day, though, I bet the answer is a combination of 2 and 3. ST wanted to play at UM, but he was probably told in somewhat certain terms that his days were numbered. Being a football player, he decided to transfer somewhere where he could play football. I will miss his contributions, but I have a hard time getting too upset about it.
it doesn't lessen my concern. Because if your thesis is true it shows, as I mentioned earlier, colossal bad judgement IMO on RR's part. You should not as a coach make decisions that will hurt your team (other than on principle, for disciplinary reasons, etc) and I don't know how anyone can argue, whatever your opinion of Threet's play last year, that we are better off as a team without him.
honest to a kid? I don't see much benefit to Michigan in convincing the kid to stay. You really think he's going to be head and shoulders better than Forcier or Robinson? Steve Threet will likely end up being a starter for a half-season total, sharing duties with one or both freshmen. After that it's clipboard time. In the process he burns one year of his precious collegiate eligibility struggling within an offensive system that's not suited to his strengths.
with this, in the abstract sense that having Threet > not having Threet. I wasn't trying to argue that we are actually better off w/out him (addition by subtraction), only that the most likely explanations don't make me worry about RR's tactics or judgment, which is the only thing I really care about.
If he was square dealin' with ST, then even if he told him he was going to go in a different direction with the QB position, leading ST to transfer, I guess I can't find much to worry about there. And, as WCW implies, wouldn't it actually be worse in a moral sense if RR "finessed" the Threet situation so as to keep him?
Ironically, therefore, rather than RR being a slimy snake oiler, he may have put ST's interests ahead of the team's by being so honest with ST about where he stood that ST could make a well-informed choice, even if that led him to transfer. You could argue that RR is dumb for doing that, or that he hurt the team, but it would be hard to argue that he was being a dick for doing it.