It should also be said that Oklahoma, if you stroll through their depth chart, starts a Rivals top 250 player at virtually every spot on the field, and their backups are of a similar pedigree. We have walk-on leaping our 4-stars on the depth chart.
On Jared Odrick's odd Big Ten DPOY victory:
Conferences, be they high school or college, have stupid political bylaws that determine all-conference teams (i.e. conference champs get to name 3 players to 1st team, 2 players to second team). The head scratchers like "Odrick: B11DPOTY" are usually negotiated settlements between coaches/SIDs (if you put my player up or vote for my player, i'll vote for yours) or actually written into the bylaws (i.e. your team is first in points against, you get to name B11DPOTY). Normally, those types of things result in a clear shake out. Sometimes when the margins are not obvious or the bylaws don't work out nice...the solutions are political (AKA stupid looking).
P.S. Is there hope for the defense to get better next year? Do you think Lloyd realized how bad the defense was going to be? and got out?
Odrick was just named first-team All America, too. Brandon Graham got jacked, not that there's any surprise in that.
As to the PS questions: yes, but not very good, probably yes he realized things weren't going to go swimmingly once he left, and no, that had nothing to do with his departure.
It seems as though most of the time Denard is in at quarterback, he is deployed in an otherwise empty backfield. This means that he either passes (infrequently) or runs. Any thoughts on why there is rarely a running back in the backfield with him. This means a read option is out the window. You would think that with his speed that this might be an effective attack. Is he having trouble making the reads in practice?
Two possibilities: Denard can't make the reads, or Michigan thinks he'll be more effective with the field more spread out. I don't get it, personally: Rodriguez broke out the zone read with Pat White early in his career.
That lack of zone read, more than anything else, makes me think Robinson is eventually destined to move to a Percy Harvin-esque slash WR/RB role. He's not running a run-crazy version of the base offense, he's running a no-decision, extremely predictable high school offense. Is there any way he advances enough without the benefit of a redshirt year to pass up Forcier or even Gardner, who's plenty familiar with the zone read in high school?
I think the answer to Denard Robinson is to give him a QB package but start the transition in earnest this offseason. Next year it's Tate and you try to redshirt Gardner, using Robinson as an all-purpose player.
Can we/should we take some comfort in looking at Oklahoma this year? They have an entrenched, top-tier coach, who is indisputably good at coaching in a big time conference. I haven’t looked at their roster, but I think its safe to assume they don’t have Michigan’s youth and under-scholarship issues. They were number two preseason, and when their quarterback goes down and have to play a freshmen, they’re 7-5.
(This email started under the premise that OU finished 6-6, which made the comparison better. I just realized that they finished 7-5, and literally crushed almost all the opponents in victory, and were close in every loss.)
Still, is the comparison valid? Take a national title contender, and put in a freshmen qb, and you are now a middling 7-5. Michigan has only freshmen qbs and 10 other glaring problems and ends up 5-7. Isn’t this actually par or slightly above? This whole thing is a full year longer than everyone expected. Last year was a black hole and this past season was year 1.
Well… no. As the emailer noted, despite their crappy record Oklahoma is an entirely different level from Michigan this year. Their peripheral stats show a team that's snakebit. Michigan's show a team that's just bad. We don't need to hack down to complicated statistical measures to do so:
|Pass Efficiency Defense||10||75|
Oklahoma's nonconference schedule included Miami (That Miami) and BYU, a Baby Seal U—Matt Guiterrez alma mater Idaho State—and bad CUSA team Tulsa, so the overall schedule is probably about as challenging as Michigan's. And there is no comparison. Michigan is better at three things: net punting, rushing offense, and kickoff returns. They are vastly worse in all of the big categories.
This is the flipside of pointing to Georgia Tech and declaring that it's easy to show up and contend for a conference championship in year two. Record isn't everything. Michigan's peripherals this year were really, really terrible; they indicate a team that is going to have to put in yet more time rebuilding. Oklahoma's probably going to leap back to BCS quality next year.
Comparisons to other programs who have struggled through mediocre years or other coaches who have struggled through an opening two seasons as poor as that of Rodriguez don't strike me as relevant. Michigan is in the midst of a unique, wrenching transition from 40 years of one thing to something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. They started a walk-on quarterback. Three walk-ons played extensively on defense this year, one of them a freshman starter at safety. There are no meaningful comparisons; we just have to grit our teeth and hope it works out.
I agree with the timeline proposed by the emailer: Michigan is a full year behind schedule because of a combination of things. After the Utah game I said the program was under construction and would be finished in 2010; now that is fanciful. Obviously.
Why have our 4 star guys been soooo bad, like Mike Williams and Boubokar when he wasn't suspended?
I don't blame just the previous staff nor the players themselves. Something about coaching the guys past through the learning curve.
Stevie Brown was actually a nice find and RVB wasn't too bad (save that 85-yd TD vs. Indy).
The staff has to prove to me that they can take this talent and finally get to at least 7 wins.
you will never, ever convince me that the odrick / graham choice was due to some arcane, secret conference bylaw, nor because of some sort of mutual backscratching.
my explanation is that sometimes people - even groups of relatively smart people - make dumbassed choices, whether they wear a whistle or a press cap (do those still exist? if they don't, they should).
Unfortunately, it seems that nobody sells press hats anymore. If I got my hands on one, I'd wear it around my small town while doing my job as a freelance photographer for the local paper. I have I.D. (which I don't usually need -- it's a small town), but a press hat would be a hilarious (and stylish) accessory.
I've been watching this game a long time (perhaps too long), and generally, winners get more than their share of post-season honors. The Heisman is supposed to go to the best player in college football, but it usually goes to the mvp of a team in the top 3; it has only once gone to a player on a losing team (see Hornung). I don't plan on watching any post-season honor shows this year.
cf: "chris weinke"
i didn't expect graham to win it, not on this defense. i thought he'd make all-america, though. guess he'll have to console himself with being a first-round pick ahead of several people with more individual hardware.
winners get more than their share of post-season honors.
I think it's a combination of "winning" and "exceeding expectations."
Note that Ohio State had fewer first-team all-conference players on the coaches' list (one, Coleman) than Michigan (two, Graham and Mesko). Iowa had five.
Wooo! Suck it OU. M is better at net punting!
Loved the H2G2 quote...
"Michigan is in the midst of a unique, wrenching transition from 40 years of one thing to something almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea"
I remember reading somewhere that Matt Guiterrez has a Michigan degree based on some obscure M bylaw allowing students to finish their degrees elsewhere if the bulk of their credits come from Michigan. Anyone else remember this?
Idaho State official site says he graduated from Michigan:
"I recognized that I needed to go play somewhere else," said the affable Gutierrez, who ended up a three-year letterman on 27 for 41 career passing, and even got his degree from Michigan. The Graduate was still in contact with one of his high school coaches, who played college football at Idaho State, and after consulting with his Michigan coaches, all agreed that transferring there "was a good opportunity."
"I don't get it, personally: Rodriguez broke out the zone read with Pat White early in his career."
Pat White is a RS Freshman and is in 2nd year of RR system, not in his first year.
No one seems to want to remember that thing called a red-shirt where you get to learn and develop without the intense pressure...
I know this should be under Recruiting Thursday but I just read at The Sporting News that Richard Ash has commited to WVU. Isn't he supposed to visit this weekend?
How much of this is due to his coming in late? I always assumed the simplistic packages were due to his having little time to learn the system. It will be much better to judge Robinson as a college QB after 2010 -- I expect the learning curve to be tremendous.
I'd say there are plenty of other things you should fear above that. You might want to start a little closer to home, and let Rodriguez fend for himself with the "wealthy blue hairs" you know so well.
I'm watching the Cincinnati/Pitt game, and I've decided we should cut our losses with Rodriguez and get Kelly instead. After all, he's had success coaching in the Midwest, his team is tearing up the Big East this year, and they run this great cutting-edge offensive scheme -- the spread! All the ingredients for a coach who could succeed at Michigan, right?
I guess I am an eternal optimist, but I do think that 2010 will show a notable improvement for this team. Sure, maybe BCS challenger in 2011 is going to be tough, but I fully expect this team to be back in the hunt for a major bowl game (and maybe even the Big 10 title) next year. The offense made strides this year and should return most of the key players. The defense will probably struggle, but with another year of GERG and even an average defensive showing, they should win 8-9 games.
I really hope our team is better next year, it's really sucked big time the past two years.
I know the guy left after it was clear the staff wanted to move him to TE. But, the guy had enough ability to be a reserve option just in case Tate was nicked up or in a mental slump. He would have had another year in the system and could have learned more for the spring game since D Rob wasn't enrolled until summer.
This season ended with a 7 game losing streak (sorry, the DSU game was an exhibition game).
At times, I thought a more veteran presence, even at the end of the Iowa game, could have been enough to get that one win we badly needed. I felt for Tate knowing this guy was really put into a grinder when the going got tough. Rick Leach even got spelled a few times his freshman year by a veteran QB.
With that defense, anything more than 7 wins was impossible, but the 6th win seemed within our grasp a few times.
p.s. I am chuckling about MSU and its 8 suspended guys. Doubtful that those extra 15 practices and a sub-Alamo Bowl is really going to help Saint Dantonio. Plus is Gholston decides to go elsewhere, he just lost his biggest recruit.