There's a difference between giving coaches the benefit of the doubt and recognizing when something is just plain stupid.
Dennis Norfleet To Safety Bothers Me
Yesterday Jordan Kovacs casually tossed off something about helping out Dennis Norfleet—or dennisnorfleet, whichever—and other young safeties with minutiae, and then there's a clip of a 5'6" guy wearing 26 tackling someone else:
I hate this for lots of reasons.
The chance Dennis Norfleet becomes a good safety seems minimal. There's being small, and there's being Norfleet small. Bob Sanders is the go-to-comparison here and yes okay there has been one Norfleet-sized safety in the last ten years of college football who has been really good. I can think of plenty of mini-me running backs who have been somewhere between okay and great. Garrett Wolfe, Brian Calhoun, and Jacquizz Rodgers pop immediately to mind, a guy like Vincent Smith has provided Michigan value.
There would seem to be no need to make this move unless safety depth next year is just terrifying. With Gordon/Wilson the presumed starters, the very idea they'd need to move a kid like Norfleet to D says bad things about replacing Kovacs, or that neither Furman or Robinson is viable even as a backup.
Nickel corner? There's even less of a need there. Avery returns, Delonte Holowell is locked into nickel-or-nothing, and Terry Richardson is also a nickel sort. That they'd even try this seems to indicate a need in the secondary that can only be explained by attrition or inability to play.
We're really going to make this move before even trying the guy as a change of pace/third down back? He's clearly not needed to play S for the bowl game, but he may be needed to run the ball since Rawls isn't really getting it done and Norfleet—a guy who Hoke was pushing to get on the field on offense early this year—is just going to go by the wayside to not play safety? WTF?
I mean, if we're trying to win a bowl game here Norfleet has a much better chance of helping that cause on offense than the sideline watching Kovacs and Gordon play safety.
Hoke mentioned something about burning Drake Johnson's redshirt, which he probably won't actually do, but he has put it on the table:
He offered the proposal when asked about his running backs, who will take the field Jan. 1 against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl without starter Fitz Toussaint. Sophomore Thomas Rawls, redshirt freshman Justice Hayes and senior Vincent Smith are expected to be in the rotation.
That indicates Hoke would like to see true freshman Drake Johnson get some time against the Gamecocks. Johnson, who starred at nearby Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, is redshirting this year.
"Maybe," Hoke said. "We like what Drake's done to this point."
So instead of trying out the guy that Michigan thought was good enough to play on kickoffs they're thinking about burning a redshirt for a guy who only got an EMU offer before Fred Jackson swooped in.
This could mean Norfleet isn't good at running the ball to the point where it's not even worth trying him over Rawls. I find that hard to believe after watching his high school tape, but it is a hit on any expectations you may have for the kid as a runner. The nonsensical-seeming position switch is the first step on the road to obscurity.
But more likely it means he's not good at running through unblocked guys and that he might never get a shot running behind an offensive line that could get him some cracks.
Hopefully this is dismissed as a crazy bet Fred Jackson lost by Saturday.
I think what that poster is suggesting is that if you think something is stupid, and our coaches think it's not stupid, who should we tend to believe?
Remember that one time that we lost our entire season because our coaching staff thought Bellomy was ready to do anything at all with the football in his hands instead of letting our former 5 star QB turned mediocre WR have a go at it? Yea I don't either because it apparently never happened and our coaching staff never does anything stupid as all fucking hell.
Right. Use one bad personnel decision and ignore the numerous good personnel decisions Mattison has made in his long and decorated tenure. That's convincing as well. Or, perhaps as you say, "stupid as all fucking hell." The whole Bellomy thing was a disaster, but let's not use one outcome to interpret all personnel decisions our coaches make - especially when different coaches are making them. I would tend to side with giving Mattison the benefit of the doubt here.
His Dudeness is merely making his point by use of hyperbole and inflammatory language, as is his M.O.
He's right, though, and it's both amusing and a bit sad to see how we're not allowed to criticise THIS coaching staff as if they always know what they're doing.
Missing the point? I dont think so. It was quite fair and warrented to criticize the coaching staff for the Bellomy thing. And for various other things, such as 4th down calls, clock management, the whole OSU 2nd half. and so on. I dont think anyone thinks this coaching staff is above reproach. But some issues are just too early, too questionably constructed, to use build a case against the coaches; let the issue mature, find 'better' facts, then make the case. Until then, a guy like Mattison deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Brian's post is mostly about how this move probably says bad things about either Norfleet or other parts of the team; he barely criticizes the coaches at all. Yet WolvinLA2 and TwoFiveAD both got indignant as if these coaches are INDEED above reproach (and there ARE plenty of users who feel this way).
His Dudeness responded for the sole purpose of pointing out the stupidity of that line of reasoning even though the other two were fighting straw men.
At no point did I say the coaches are above reproach. But to the people who are saying, "why in the hell would we do something like this?" I would suggest that there's information out there that the coaches know and we do not. The coaches make bad decisions sometimes, no doubt about it.
But when something unconventional like this position switch happens, I would suggest the initial reaction not be to blame the coaches, but to realize there's probably more to this story.
when they moved Vince Smith to safety because he's small. And then they forced Denard to play corner so they could put the taller DG in at QB.
On second thought, the first paragraph of your post is idiotic. Have you thought that maybe, while Rawls isn't that good, that he's better at this point than others at RB, he's not just more "beefy". At the time DG moved to WR he was Michigan's best WR and possibly the third string QB because of what the coaches saw in the Spring Game and in practice. I know to my eyes Bellomy and DG looked about equal after the Spring Game.
Also, just because Norfleet is small doesn't mean he has the same skill set as Smith. He'll probably never be a very good blocker. Yes, you can use him in other ways and I think he had more upside at RB/slot than at safety, but none of the things you say make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things.
This site endorsed the move, taking the risk, and thought Gardner was pretty awful...all the up past his first game as full time starter. (It took at least 2 games for Brian to warm up to him as QB).
Yet this is the same analysis that we're taking "Norfleet move (if it actually happens) bad!" as the TRUTH.
Just to your one small point. I have read many posts here that stated how Bellomy looked better than Gardner, but I never saw that. In the spring game Bellomy's success was on short dump off passes that Gardner never attempted. The spring game said more about how good our defense and how bad our offensive line was than how good our qbs were.
The thing that made me think Gardner was always going to be better than Bellomy and that he was going to the the 2013 starter over both Morris and Bellomy (beyond his 4th year status and recruiting hype) was that he had a very good arm, stood tall in the pocket, had supreme confidence, threw a nice deep ball and was a superior athlete. And I felt that before Morris had mono or Bellomy played against Nebraska.
But I don't blame the coaches for using Gardner as a wide receiver. He was a good one, possibly the best on the team and was getting better. The thing that did really bother me was that they said in August and early Sept that he was still the #2 QB and that he was splitting reps at qb and receiver. During the Illinois, game Denard got hurt and Bellomy proved he clearly was not ready to play. Then after the Nebraska game they said that Gardner wasn't getting reps at QB so he couldn't come in.
In the Nebraska game, it was too late. We were screwed. The coaching malpractice was not getting Gardner enough reps to let him play QB in a pinch when they knew he was better than Bellomy and that Denard was fragile.
Only idiots wanted Denard moved to WR, and only idiots thought Bellomy looked like a good QB in the spring game.
Idiots say lots of things. Usually it's better to ignore them.
You'll notice that step #2 involves bringing in one OR TWO quarterbacks to see if they could handle being the backup. Michigan did NOT bring in a freshman quarterback in 2012, and you'll also find that I was not impressed by Bellomy in the spring game.
Third stringer Russell Bellomy looked like what we've been expecting - a game manager type who can scramble a little and make check-down throws, but he seems to lack the requisite arm strength for pushing the ball downfield.
Without step #2, you don't get to step #3. Michigan had no viable backup. As such, I was never in support of moving Denard to wide receiver.
If somebody makes an "if/then" statement and the "if" part doesn't happen, then the "then" part doesn't really matter.
If I babysit your kids, then you should give me $20. I didn't babysit your kids, so you don't owe me $20.
You're right that having two Bellomys wouldn't have changed my opinion. Because a second Bellomy (if he's an exact replica) wouldn't have been a capable backup. That was my stipulation, that Michigan should see if a freshman "is capable of being the backup." The freshman (Bellomy) wasn't ready.
If "Move Denard to WR or RB" was #2 on my list of steps, then you might have a point.
...and NFL scouts think that's the right path, too. So I think that thought process is justified, even though we were never strong enough at the QB position to strongly consider such a move.
...except maybe he wasn't, because Devin Gardner did really well during his time as a starter. Except against Ohio State, a team that was undefeated.
What possible information could the coaches have that would justify putting a 5'7 RB at safety?
Maybe they like his skills and think he could play safety. He did play cornerback in high school at a fairly high level.
Maybe, Derrick Green is a silent commit and Norfleet isn't working out at rb. extreme optimism....
I did read, and honestly I'm not sure what in my response indicates that I didnt. I'm not even sure what we are apparently now arguing about, so I'm bowing out.
This stuff is always hilarious. Go back and look in season if anyone had the least bit of question on anything the PREVIOUS staff did. They got hammered too. And back when negs were negs and they MEANT something.
Moral of the story? We like the guys who coach for our team, and some people are going to be defensive about them. Doesn't mean you can't offer criticism. Just don't act like there's been some shift in the globe from "how it was before." Which was the same. With the added editorial bent of the site adding to the wrist slapping.
I, for one, do believe its possible and acceptable to critique while still being supportive. And lets put this into context shall we? Its not like the staff is installing the 3-3-5 defense or trading the entire O line for the D line...its one player who's played one season. But it seems as though that the more people protest other people's criticisms, the louder everyone gets...figuratively speaking.
No meme or gif from me for a while. I'm self-imposing sanctions for 72 hours.
was Mattison's call? Thanks a lot Greg, or should I say GERG.
If Mattison saw Norfleet throughout the season and said "I need the man on defense", I would worry much less about it. But couldn't also be just as plausible that Borges says "he can't seem to run over unblocked middle-linebackers. I don't know what to do with him?" I suppose we'll never know the exact thought process, and that in three years we'll look back at this thead and call half of the people stupid, but one side of the offense coaching staff has vastly exceeded expectations and has earned a lot of leeway with personel decisions. The other side...eh, not as much at this point.
I wouldn't even respond to "his dudeness". He has also stated that Rich Rodriguez did a good job while head coach at Michigan and that Lloyd Carr was the reason he didn't win more games. It had nothing to do with his offense only averaging 16 points a game against ranked teams. It had nothing to do with the worst defense in the history of Michigan football. It was Lloyd Carrs fault.
We didn't "lose our entire season" because of that one personnel decision. That was a close game WITH Denard Robinson in there, and there's no guarantee that Devin Gardner would have been able to pull it out, either.
Maybe we'd be 9-3 in the regular season and playing Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, but who knows if we would have beaten Wisconsin? That's probably a toss-up, too. So maybe we're 9-4 right now if Gardner had been ready, maybe 10-3.
Or maybe we'd still be 8-4.
Well when our own coach says it is the goal of the entire season to win the B1G and we lose the opportunity to do so because of that horrible call then yes it is the whole season. I think Hoke would agree with me.
I don't think he would agree with you, or at least he wouldn't publicly say so. He wouldn't say "Our whole season was ruined by a poor personnel decision at the QB position." It's about more than one guy.
Well no shit.
The opportunity to win the B1G was lost in the Nebraska game. That game was lost by Bellomy not being able to do anything at all. That choice o put in Bellomy was made by someone on the staff. The accountability for that staff choice is on Hoke.
Did someone put crack cocaine in your lunch? You're fired up!
To be perfectly honest with you I hate that this staff has already "earned the right" to not be questioned by most of the fan base. News flash: Hoke and his staff haven't won shit here YET. I hope they do, but they haven't yet.
Secondly I HATE that Magnus is seen as some sort of expert on anything by the average MGoUser.
He has a blog? Check.
He has youtube and a Rivals/Scout account? Check
He has access? Nope
He has expertise? Nope
Some how that gives him the right to talk down our recruits and pipe in on all things recruiting. That bothers me.
Get ya popcorn ready.
Oh boy. I started a Dudeness-Magnus war. Okay, time to end it. We be friends, people!
These wars are typically one-sided these days. You'll notice that my comments are limited to football and the discussion at hand.
But also, His Dudeness is the worst arguer ever. He makes no points, but instead cusses and makes personal attacks. If I didn't know he went to college I would think he was 15 years old.
Literally half of his posts are him ripping on other posters or calling Al Borges fat. He makes the rest of us look bad; I wish he were born a Spartan fan.
actually seen him win an argument doing nothing but cussing and personal attacks. It was darkly impressive in its own way.
I don't know if this makes sense, but of all the people in the world who I have no idea what they look like (because I've never met them, seen them on television, etc.), His Dudeness is probably the one I dislike the most. The fat jokes (so witty), personal attacks, and general idiocy are bad. His "haha, told you so; who cares about the victims?" stuff after the Colorado theater shooting was probably the worst thing I've ever seen on this site.
I appreciate it.
Never end a sentence in a preposition.
Added to the perfectly matching qualifications, the fact that the example he's using with Gardner at QB when Brian thought Gardner was simply awful at QB whenever he had been seen in public (not without reason) makes it all the more delicious.
Regardless of your hatred toward me, I never said that Hoke is beyond reproach. All I said, really, is that you're taking a giant leap when you say that Bellomy's insertion into the Nebraska game cost us the Big Ten championship. Despite being blown out in the Big Ten championship game, Nebraska was a pretty decent team and Michigan's running backs ran 19 times for 32 yards in that game. Denard had 10 carries for 46 yards and was 6/11 for 55 yards through the air prior to getting injured. It was a close game regardless, but our starting QB couldn't do many good things, so it's no guarantee that our backup (Gardner, in this hypothetical) could have done anything, either.
Maybe Michigan was just destined to lose that game.
devin gardner would have easily done better than what bellomy showed. I dont buy this crap that he was not prepared bc he was a wr in the offense and knew the play calls and he was a qb last year in the exact same offense. i would have taken my chances on having gardner in there with a small package of 10 plays that he is comfortable with than have bellomy in there throwing ducks not even 5 yards in front of him. it was obvious he wasnt ready for that situation and atmosphere. gardner had played in all types at that point at wr and qb. im not guaranteeing it but dont you wish we at least could have had a chance. our defense was shutting down their offense until they got worn out in the 4th from lack of offensive ball control
Yes, I wish Gardner would have had a chance. And as I've said before in this thread, a) the starter wasn't doing much and b) there's no guarantee that Gardner would have won the game.
That move didn't necessarily guarantee the outcome. At best, it would have been a 50/50 proposition. I would perhaps suggest it was closer to 40/60 or 30/70, considering that Gardner had recently hurt his shoulder and was playing WR for much of the time.
Gardner didn't exactly set the world on fire the first few possessions against Minnesota, and that was after a week of practice and preparation.