"And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear."
I think this needs a little more explanation, as this seems to boil down to "Had David Molk for a year".
YOU'RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME
You asked today “how Borges is Nuss?” I think equally appropriate is “how Gibson is Funk?” It seems to me that their respective backgrounds, personal ties to the HC and seeming invulnerability in the face of terrible performances on the field are quite similar. And, my fear is that loyalty to Funk – like RR to Gibson before him – will ultimately lead the HC’s demise.
Do you agree?
I am about to conjure forth a firestorm of controversy and despair. Be warned.
Gibson's miserableness is likely overstated. Back when everyone was like "this secondary is the worst secondary in the world" I went back and looked at WVU's passing D performances under Rodriguez and found that they were decent. Tony Gibson coached Ryan Mundy well enough to get him drafted by the NFL—something that did not seem in the cards when he was at Michigan. Tony Gibson is… possibly not a complete twit.
/rain of blood
/skies turn black
/rabbit graveyard sees rabbit corpses assemble itself into evil zombie rabbit voltron
He is obviously not great, as secondaries he has been around since tend to be disaster zones. But the things that made him look like a twit at Michigan are some of the same things afflicting Funk: his coordinator doesn't know what he's doing week to week and therefore his players don't know what they're doing, everyone is confused and miserable.
Then someone shoots the glass in your underwater research lab. When the structure is so broken there's only so much you can tell about which part of the rubble was marginally less sound than other parts of the rubble.
You are right that we can take a look at heuristics in an attempt to find out if there are reasons other than perceived competence that Funk is around. Funk does not appear to meet Good Ol' Boys standards. Whereas Gibson came up with Rodriguez all the way from Glenville State, Funk has bounced from coaching staff to coaching staff on his way up the ranks. Hoke hired him from Colorado State just before his last year at Ball State, whereupon the Cardinals rushed for nearly five yards a carry. San Diego State went from 115th(!) in yards per carry to 28th in the two years Funk was there. And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear.
Funk's track record with Hoke is pretty good, and he is not a guy who has been around forever-forever. I'm not sure we're going to get much clarity about whether he's a good coach this year given the issues with personnel, but it's put up or shut up time no matter what.
I'm curious to hear your thoughts on using an opt-in system for student tickets. In my opinion, this would solve several problems. First, it would immediately reduce the number of empty seats by identifying non-attending students and allowing the University to resell their tickets. Second, it would condense the student section which--in the opinion of a recent alum (2006-2013)--would improve the stadium experience for students and, in turn, encourage more students to show up.
Under the system I envision, you would pay a fixed amount (approximating the price of season tickets) which gives you the right to opt-in to each individual home game for no additional fee. During the week leading up to each game you have the ability to "claim" your ticket online, up until some cut-off period. For example, maybe you have until 12:00am the night before the game.
If you don't claim the ticket by then, you cannot attend (I have mixed feelings about whether you should get some sort of small refund. maybe $5). Any unclaimed tickets would then be assigned the upper-most seats in the student section and then be resold by the university the morning of the game. The students would have to be alerted, somehow, as to which rows of the student section have been resold and are no longer part of the general admission section.
There would also have to be some penalty for students who claim their ticket but are no-shows. For instance, if on two separate occasions you claim your ticket and don't show up, you lose your right to claim tickets for the rest of the season. Obviously the University would have to start tracking student attendence (maybe by putting the tickets on the MCards like in bball), but I dont imagine that would be difficult.
This is what Michigan did for basketball this year except presumably Michigan will not be overbooking the student section by 50%.
I'm opposed. A claim system does allow the university to sell seats that would otherwise be empty; it's a pain for people, though, and as part of my withdrawal from the field of the War On Students I'm in favor of making the process of going to games as easy as possible for everyone but especially the fickle next generation.
The question then becomes: how do you reward loyalty without annoying overhead? Michigan's revised student section policy is a major step forward:
By 2015, seat reservations will be based entirely on loyalty. Attendance points will be accumulated the following ways: each game attended is three points and arriving 30 minutes prior to kickoff earns an additional three points per game, for a total of six points per game.
Groups of up to 100 students can reserve seats together.
Groups get the average priority of everyone in them. That's simple and effective; it does not put any onus on the students except to show up early, and it was obviously concocted by the student government because I mean seriously the guys in suits have been trying to fix it and came up with HAIL and the world's worst GA policy. (I hope that my repeated rants on the subject had some influence there, but probably not.)
It's a step forward. Others can be taken. The new priority system does not solve one of the main reasons the student section ends up looking empty: it is extremely difficult to flip tickets. The university decided it wanted full price for a student ticket not used by a student way back in the day and put a cumbersome validation process in place; if that was ditched most of those tickets not being used would get sold and deployed.
This brings back the unpleasant specter of the dudes I knew in college who bought tickets just to put them on eBay. I don't think that's going to be nearly the problem it was when student tickets cost $295 for the privilege of watching Penn State and nobody else. If Michigan's not capturing full value there they have to be close. Michigan should let tickets be sold normally while still scanning M-Cards for priority, and if you don't go to at least three games you no longer get to buy tickets.
Ugh. Capturing full value. I'm going to go take a shower now.
What's your solution to the Bag Man?
I put up a post on this on Bag Man Day that was immediately stepped on by the Horford transfer; I wanted to expound on some questions I got in the mailbag and picked this guy's email from about a half dozen.
Part of college football's draw is amateurism; kids playing for education not money. Obviously this is all smoke and mirrors anymore, but it's hard to let go of that aspect of it (if for nothing other than nostalgia's sake). I have a passing interest in the NFL as compared to college football. There's just a sense of cynicism when everything is commercialized and athletes are getting paid big money to play a kid's game while the "rest of us" slave at work for crumbs. Here are some questions you may be able to give your opinion on assuming some sort of compensation is awarded to student athletes.
Shouldn't we just make college football a D-League or create one for those who want to skip college?
Is the draw amateurism or the fact that these guys are students like the other students? Amateurism proponents are quick to mention the Insane Dollar Value of their scholarship. Some even go so far as to include all the world-class training and such in their effort to portray the college athlete as already well-compensated. If they're successful in their arguments, don't they just defeat themselves? They're already being compensated. Now we're just discussing the price.
Might as well go all in and not try to walk some line between amateurism and professionalism right?
Walking a fine line is dumb but neither should we upset the entire apple cart if we can at all help it. College has a lot of good effects for players even if they're not getting engineering degrees, and with most of them headed for brief pro careers at best the current model does a lot of good for a lot of people. We've done a half-dozen events with Carr-era players, and man they make you glad that college football is the way it is instead of being minor league baseball or the CHL.
Why stop at a fixed stipend? Should there be some kind of salary cap? If there is a stipend or other form of compensation, won't there still be bag men to get top recruits extra money to attend certain universities?
A stipend is only one way to approach it. The Olympic model is another. If the NCAA was to say "we won't pay you, but we don't mind if you get paid for your likeness" that sidesteps Title IX issues and mitigates bag-man issues. The difference between ten grand and zero dollars is a lot more compelling than 40 grand and 50 grand. While it'll still have some influence, other factors actually become more prominent.
I mean isn't this really just bidding wars for free agents that we see in pro sports?
Even if this is a negative, and I'm not sure it is, it is already happening.
Should all the athletes get the same wage and who decides the pay scale? Wouldn't there then be problems with different "salaries?"
We seem to have figured this out for everyone else in America. I don't understand why this is a particular issue for athletes.
Do "student athletes" also get a scholarship?
Yes. I mean, it's a perk that costs the university almost nothing and has great symbolic value.
Is competitive balance a casualty? Poorer and smaller schools certainly won't be able to afford top recruits, and maybe not even the stipend, so do we just have the same handful of teams who can actually afford to be competitive and get national exposure, eliminate the "Cinderellas" and certain universities' football programs altogether?
Unless you can find a kid who chose the MAC over the Big Ten right now this is just the status quo.
I guess I just don't see a fix to an already broken system. There's a ton of money to be made and everybody wants a cut. Paying the athletes, which I'm not totally against and there are legitimate arguments for, isn't going to solve the problem entirely because the NCAA doesn't have any teeth to enforce their rules. Athletes will get a stipend but then there will still be bag men steering athletes to certain schools. In essence, they'll be getting paid twice.
There isn't a fix, other than dropping the Victorian-era approach to amateurism. Probably the most ludicrous regulation of all is that athletes can't sign with agents and maintain their eligibility. An agent! Someone who's job is to be an advocate and aid for your career, and you can't even say "you will be my agent" even without getting money and the NCAA yanks your eligibility. It's ridiculous.
Simply, the NCAA needs to look at the rules and decide which of them are even vaguely enforceable, then dump the rest.
"And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear."
I think this needs a little more explanation, as this seems to boil down to "Had David Molk for a year".
he means RR's failure to recruit good and a sufficient number of OLs.
While I agree having Molk at center with 28 starts at the beginning fo 2011 was a big deal leadership wise, Huyge was a 5th year senior, and Omameh was a RS Junior, and the entire line had significant playing time (Schofield was the only 1st time starter).
Mark Huyge 6-6 302 RS SR Started 17 games, played in 26
Patrick Omameh 6-4 299 RS JR Started 15 games, played in 19
David Molk 6-2 286 RS SR Started / played in 28 games
Michael Schofield 6-7 299 RS SO Played in 16 games (1st start vs Western in 2011)
Taylor Lewan 6-8 302 RS SO Started 2 games, played in 11
We've done a half-dozen events with Carr-era players, and man they make you glad that college football is the way it is instead of being minor league baseball or the CHL.
I am probably just in the dark, but is this a positive thing or a negative statement? I couldn't tell.
As for the push to replace amateurism with another system, I absolutely agree that we've figured out payment models for most other jobs and duties; it shouldn't be that hard. And while you'll still hear about the "big" schools beating the "smaller" schools because of money, they already do that now. There are only so many spots of teams, though, and most teams that succeed as underdogs do so from a combination of schematic choices and experience/age. Those won't change if a payment model comes into play, as the base will still be kid receiving scholarships, with a stipend an addition.
of the minor league teams in comparison. I haven't seen a Durham Bulls vs Tidewater Tides game as a featured broadcast on ABC or ESPN either, much less the playoffs.
i think the killing of gibson the same way as the killing of stevie brown, or for that matter the killing of al borges: overstated because fans overstate. we tend to boil these things down as binary, either terrible or great, partially because it's fun to make a case and partially because it's way easier than trying to distinguish shades of grey.
i didn't like our secondary while he was here. there were many more reasons for our general suckiness than just tony gibson.
We do overstate sometimes, but I don't think that applies for Gibson. If anything, I think that his ineptitude was understated. Even Rodriguez finally fired his ass after Arizona put an abysmal defense on the field in 2012. Then in 2013, they went from regularly giving up 500 yards and 45 points to a very respectable, if not downright really good unit. Tragically, Rodriguez realized that Gibson was a bum one job too late.
Oh, Rodriguez. You actually did a few things right. Why did you have to massively fuck up a small handful of things so incredibly?
RR didn't fire Tony Gibson.
I'm fairly sure Gibson didn't join his staff at Arizona. Didn't he end up at Pitt for a couple years?
Edit: I stand corrected, I guess he did spend a year there as you stated.
Patrick Omameh and Will Campbell (who the current staff moved back to defense) were both on NFL active rosters last year (not camp invites or practice squad guys, but actually getting paid to put on a helmet every Sunday). Michael Schofield is being projected as a 4th or 5th round pick this year and Taylor Lewan is almost certainly going to be a 1st round pick.
4 pros in two years is a far cry from James Rogers (the only upperclassman on the roster in 2010) and a gang of freshmen. Gibson failed to make an already shitty situation good. Funk and Co. are complaining about a bare cupboard that objectively doesn't exist and making more excuses when the supposedly more talented newcomers they brought in don't improve things either.
Harbaugh was 12-1 in year 4 at Stanford. Dantonio was 11-2 in year 4 at MSU. Hoke went 11-2 in what would have been RR's 4th year. Those teams all started at much lower points than Sugar Bowl Champions. We'll know what we've got in less than a year's time. Hopefully people aren't still defending it if it turns out what we've got is mediocrity.
Rodriguez recruiting, while a step down for Michigan, was still good overall and far better than whatever Hoke and company had at SDSU. It's just a new oversimplification.
Seth covered this in some detail before, but it was a combination of factors that lead to the teams recent struggles. Rodriguez's recruiting is just the one people are holding onto most strongly now. As Arizona stabilizes that one will wash away too.
As for your specific gripe about the OL - I also agree. Michigan's current staff made their own bed to some extent when they only signed only 4 guys in '12. You knew what you had in Miller, Bryant, Pace yet you didn't go hard after filling OL needs. If you choose to recruit only 4 in that class you better be damn sure you can turn them into starters within a year or two. That hasn't happened and Michigan should stop blaming Rodriguez for the current roster choices. We are deep at DL and LB and DB because that's how they chose to recruit. We are young and thin on OL because that's how they chose to recruit.
But "only signed only 4 guys in '12" line is a stretch. First off, they were targeting five for that class, but they missed out on Garnett (who looked like he was coming), Kozan, Jordan Diamond, and had Stacy decommit. Thewy weren't just going to take on more guys for the sake of taking on more guys, so asking them to throw out random offers to pick up more isn't the solution.
On top of that, you can really only play 5 at once, taking more than 5 in a class isn't really a great approach, though Michigan compensated the next year by taking 6 and not having one of them redshirt, making the class 5 and 5.
In football, particularly at OL, you don't say "man, our depth is insanely thin here, let's take 7 guys in a class to make up for it". It makes for uneven classes, continues the problem down the road, and really doesn't help fix the problem. Sure, taking a fifth in 2012 would have been more optimal, but that wouldn't have magically fixed the problem Michigan was in right now. And had they taken 6 or 7, well, then you are dedicating scholarships to several OL that won't help you, and taking away those scholarships from other positions, all because you're trying to immediately fix a problem with recruiting numbers that doesn't get immediately fixed simply by recruiting numbers. You simply don't make up for a lack of OL numbers in '10 and '11 with numbers in '12. Having a couple more young guys competing going into their RS So year wasn't going to make the difference you're insinuating it would make.
I understand your point, but if your depth is insanely thin, I think you have to take 6 or 7 guys to make up for it. We all know there are only 5 spots, but we can't be sure which of the 6 or 7 guys develops and become starters. If your hit rate is 50%, your 7 recruits get you 3.5 starters. You are then depending on the guys already on your roster to make up the rest of the starters, but they just weren't there. You can redshirt to spread the seven across two years. Also, in a couple years it'll be obvious who is better than who and you'll get some attrition. You don't want to plan for that, but it is likely to happen.
There are 85 scholarships to give out. There are 5 OL out of 22 positions (let's have the long snapper, fullback, punter, and kicker walk on for this discussion.) So 5 of my 22 starting positions should be reflected in 19 or 20 out of 85 roster spots. We were down to <10 scholarship linemen. If you take 7, you get back to 15 or so. That's still too few, in my opinion. And yes, I'm making a SWAG at some of these numbers.
(Tangent: do you say WAG - wild ass guess? or SWAG - scientific wild ass guess? I've heard both.)
7 OL in one class is too many. Not only are you setting yourself up for roster balance problems down the road, but they redshirt at a much higher rate than other position groups. It's just not realistic to spread those players out over two classes. Aiming for 7 is also very likely going to make it more difficult to get the caliber of player you want. We've heard rumblings before from our recruits about taking 6.
I don't think anybody carries 19-20 scholarship OL. There are several factors why you shouldn't want to. They generally don't play special teams at all. They don't rotate in much, if at all, during games, and they have a lot of positional flexibility within the group. Coaching staffs routinely rep the players at multiple spots. 15-16 should generally be enough. There is no way you can be prepared for every eventuality with a scholarship cap. Overdoing one position group leaves you vulnerable elsewhere.
Unless you simply refuse to recruits players who are going to announce late, you can't be sure of your numbers in each class. That's part of what makes recruiting difficult. By the time we lost out on Garnett and Diamond, (players we were rated to have very good chances with) there's not much opportunity to replace them with quality players.
Yes, normally 7 is too high, but we were in a situation where we couldn't hold a spring game because we had less than 10 scholarship linemen. Another factor that is overlooked is how many "man-games" can those scholarship players give you. It's been discussed that RBs are more likely able to contribute from day 1, or at least in their freshmen season. Canteen is showing a frosh WR can contribute. (Walk-ons are more likely to be able to contribute as WR than OL just because of sheer numbers - there are plenty of 6', 180lb guys walking around, not many 6' 7" 300lb'ers.) So a RB can give you 12 games over 4 seasons, or 48 games total. Ideally, we'd let our O-linemen develop and mature and start their 4th and 5th years, for 24 career games total. So why do I want to stack my roster with tons of wide receivers (like Rodriguez seemingly did) and ignore the O-Line? Think of it this way, if you go four deep at split end, that's a capacity of 48 career games * 4 guys = almost 200 games. Four deep at Left tackle gets you 100 career games. I think you need more offensive linemen, and taking 6 or 7 ONE year to get you back up to 15 certainly doesn't create roster balance problems any more than taking 4 or 5 wide receivers does.
The recruiting rankings of Rich Rod was only a slight step down for Michigan, but the retention was a significant step down. Add to that, that if you look at the highly touted guys that ended up leaving Michigan, many of them didn't pan out elsewhere either, indicating that the talent was also significantly less.
Now, there's a bevy of reasons for all this, not all of which is on Rich Rod and not all of which excuses last year's performance. Hoke got good use out of a number of Rich Rod players. But it was clear that at the end of Rich Rod's tenure, the talent and numbers wasn't up to standard, and those numbers are the upper-classmen now. It's not the whole reason for the lack of success, but you certainly can't dismiss it as insignificant or even marginally significant, it's an important factor that likely would have eventually ended up hurting Rich Rod too had he made it through to 2014 at Michigan.
In 2003 no Michigan offensive linemen were taken in the draft. In 2004 Tony Pape went in the 7th round and never made an active roster. In 2005 David Baas went in the 2nd round and has had a very good NFL career. In 2006 no Michigan linemen were taken. In 2007 no Michigan linemen were taken in the draft. In 2008 Jake Long went 1st overall and has had a very good NFL career. No Michigan lineman was taken after that until 2011 when Stephen Schilling went in the 6th round and subsequently made the Chargers roster.
I can't think of any undrafted guys who made an NFL team from that era and I know there aren't any currently in the league. And that is a long time to get 4 guys, one of whom never made a team. To have a team put 4 guys in the league in two years and hear people bitch about the awful hand they were dealt is beyond frustrating in that context.
But maybe you just can't run a pro style offense without a different type of player than the ones who actually play pro football...
No amount of Hoke recruiting would have given us a senior OL this season. This problem, therefore, is the responsibility of the previous staff. This is not a blanket excuse for our problems on the line, but it is an explanation for why we have struggled and will do so again.
As for the lack of drafted lineman, it seems pretty irrelevent. Those lines, despite having few NFL players, were pretty good. They were never a weakness on our team. More to the point, we had a number of All-Conference guys, meaning they played well for us, so who cares about their NFL careers?
My theory is that guys like Mark Bihl and Rueben Riley (the two starters from the 03 class) didn't see the field until they were juniors and seniors. So when they got the call, they were not overwhelmed, even if they were never dominant. That is the difference between those lines and the current one. Kalis will almost certainly be drafted (all 4-year starters at Michigan have been) and will probably end up as a hell of a player. The problem is that did not help us one lick last year when he wasn't a hell of a player.
What's your excuse for 2012? That team had 4 upperclassmen on the roster who are or will be getting paid to play football, along with Mealer and Barnum (4-star recruits who were 5th year seniors). And they had major issues running the football with Denard and Fitz.
The talking point then was that those guys just weren't talented enough, but oh boy wait until you see these studs Hoke is bringing in. Those guys got into the mix this past year and things got exponentially worse, despite another mobile QB and a record-setting WR taking pressure off the ground game.
Last year isn't damning or determinative (since Dave Brandon wasn't dumb enough to fire another coach after just three years), but it didn't happen in a vacuum either. The fact remains though, if we aren't a 10 win team next year, there is no reason to think Hoke is anywhere close to the coach that guys like Harbaugh and Dantonio are (or Rodriguez for that matter). If you think that is going to happen, then great. If you don't but you still want the guy around, then you are just being silly or biased.
Sometimes players don't live up to their billing, especially on the OL. That's why you bring in numbers and have depth on the OL, because some of them are whiffs and don't pan out. The problem in 2012: that wasn't an option because there were no numbers to make up for the whiffs.
The fact that you then go on to complain how RS FR that had to play, again, because of a total lack of depth, weren't up to snuff. Well maybe if they didn't have to play until, oh, I don't know, they were upper classman, then by the time they played some of them would live up to their talented billing, while others wouldn't but that would be alright because there are plenty of numbers.
And total win number, while a nice thing to look at, is in no way damning or determinative either. Seasons are different than other seasons, you can't look at that in a vacuum either. Michigan will still only have 1 upper-classman starting on the OL (maybe 2) because there are only 2 on the entire roster, which is still depleted because of a lack of recruiting by the previous staff this year. You can act like this staff is in no way affected by previous events still in 2014, or you can be silly or biased against the staff, which you are.
The team needs to improve, if it doesn't, the staff will be gone. But there are many factors in all of this, you just like to bring up the factors that show how much you hate this staff.
Brady Hoke is getting the fourth year that his predecessor was denied. Despite having a losing record against his rivals and finishing 7-6 in year three and getting blown out in a shitty bowl game, etc. You know, all the things that supposedly justified firing the last guy. The only difference is he was here before and the guy who hired him is the guy who would have to fire him.
If you think Brady Hoke inherited a tougher situation than Jim Harbaugh at Stanford or Rich Rodriguez did here, fine by me. I don't think that is true. Those guys either had elite success or had their team in a position to do so in year 4. Mark Dantonio did the same at MSU.
If you still think Brady Hoke is as good a coach as those guys, I hope you're right. We'll see next year. But if you're still blaming Rich Rodriguez for Michigan's problems at that point you'll be about as tiresome as someone who thought Al Borges was doing a swell job last year.
Agreed. If anyone blames Coach Rod for anything in 2015, that person will be a fool. By that point, it will all be on Brady Hoke (despite Coach Rod being responsible for a portion of that years 5th year seniors, he gets a pass in my book). This is true whether he is the head coach or not. By 2015, Coach Rod will be completely irrelevent.
Why would anybody be blaming Rodriguez in 2015 when it was clearly Lloyd Carr's fault for setting up Rodriguez to fail?
I used to think that but then think of all the upperclass talent RR had at disposal, guys like Mouton and Hemingway, etc. Carrs cupboard became bare two yrs into RR, that is where the recruiting hit Carr took the last few yrs, showed itself... In RR yr 3.
Rich Rod walked into a worse situation at Michigan, no doubt. He also created a worse situation and had people hand him a worse situation. If you think the circumstances surrounding Hoke and Rich Rod are nearly the same after the third year, you're way off base. If Rich Rod had the support, sure, his 4th year he could have made a jump. But it's clear as day he didn't, and at least partially because of that and all the other surrounding things (plus the worse record against OSU, MSU, Overall, and Bowl games).
And no, I don't think Hoke is as good a coach as Harbaugh, that's why Harbaugh is in the NFL taking his team to Super Bowls, where he would have left Michigan to go had he come here. That said, Harbaugh's 4th year consisted of 3 5th year Sr, and two RS So on the OL. It was also filled with upperclassman, including a starting offense with: only 4 under-classmen by eligibility (Andrew Luck, 1st overall pick, Jonathan Martin (2nd Rd), David DeCastro (1st Rd), Stepfen Taylor (5th Rd); only one of those guys was in their 2nd year or less. That seems like a better situation. On defense, only 2 players were in their 2nd year or less and only 1 wasn't an upper-classman by eligibility. So by year 4, Harbaugh had built a better situation and had depth from the previous staff to help him get there.
As for Dantonio in year 4, they played 2 ranked teams all year, they won one (vs Wisconsin at home) and lost 49-7 in the other (Alabama in the Bowl). They beat three teams with a winning record, two at home, and Rich Rod's Michigan team on the road. They also beat ND in OT at home on a fake FG. For some reason, I don't think Hoke's year 4 will have that same luxary, what with going to ranked MSU and OSU, and having ND on the road. So again, pure record doesn't really tell the whole story, neither does simply blaming Rich Rod, which I'm willing to admit.
The only way Hoke will get fired is if he fails to make a bowl game and we are talking about going 5-7. Yeah, they have a tough schedule with away games at ND, MS and OSU. But even if they lose all three they have a good chance of winning at least 8 games. If Hoke ends up losing 5 or 6 games this season then I think there are some serious HC problems. But I think Funk will be fired if there is no improvement in the teams record this season but it will take Hoke losing 7 games to get fired. I don't see this as a possibility but I do see having another 4 or 5 losses as a possibility this season. My guess Hoke will have to win 10 games in 2015 and win at least one against OSU or MSU at home.
I'm worried about our program. I would hate to see Hoke get canned, so I will be patient and ride out another 4 or 5 loss season. But 2015 needs to be a watershed season for Hoke. If he wins agaist all other teams but loses at home against MSU and OSU then we will need to get rid of him. I still don't know how good of coach he is but the evidence will become clear during the 2015 season.
I don't have an excuse for the 2012 line. It wasn't very good, but it was not historically bad. That line actually protected the passer very well. The running game was weak, but they made enough creases for Denard to be effective. You are right, though, that the RB run game was poor. I thought the biggest problem was terrible line calls, not a lack of physical ability.
Still, I think that line sort of illustrates my point. Barnum and Mealer were not great players, but neither were they totally overmatched. I think this is because both of them were seniors getting their first time. Being seniors, they weren't dreadful, but neither were they great players or else they would have started earlier in their career. They were, in short, what most OL are. And because we had them to go along with some truly good players, the line was OK.
As far as Hoke, I am entirely biased in his favor. I hope he is never fired, wins a lot, and rides off into the sunset. This doesn't mean that he is entirely to blame for the young line, just as my love for Lloyd Carr didn't stop me from calling for his head after the Horror, or as my distaste for Coach Rod didnt lead me to blame him for the lack of experienced offensive players in 2008. Sticking to this debate is probably a good idea, rather than rehashing the coaching change debate all over.
Lets actually use our heads a little, and realize that college players don't always equate to NFL players, and that experience tends to equate well to success as well.
From 2003-2007 Michigan started 4 total players that wouldn't go on to become 1st or 2nd team all-conference players in their time in college:
The names included Adam Stevanich (2 time 1st team All-B1G, 5 year practice squad), David Baas (8 years active, Remington Award Winner, 3 time All-B1G), David Pearson (1 year active, 1 year practice, 2nd team All-B1G), Matt Lentz (2 years active, 3 years practice, 1 time 1st team, 1 time 2nd team), Mark Bihl (1 year practice, 1 time 2nd team), Jake Long (2 time All-American, Best OL in America, 7 years active), Adam Kraus (1 year practice, 2 time 1st team), Justin Boren (4 years active, 1 All-American, 2 1st team), Stephen Schilling (4 years active). So that's the standard from 2003-2007.
2008 was awful, because it consisted of Mark Ortmann (2 years practice), Tim McAvoy (nothing), David Molk (FR), Mark Huyge (Nothing), Schilling. And thus it performed awful.
2009 again had little talent outside of Schilling or was young, with Ortmann, Schilling, Molk, Huyge, Dorrestein (1 year practice).
2010 started mixing youth, experience, with some talent, with Lewan (FR), Schilling, Molk (All-Big Ten that year), Omameh (FR), and Dorrestein.
2011 the line performed quite well, probably because it had Lewan (All-B1G), Schofield, Molk, Omameh, and Huyge.
2012 took a step back because it had Lewan (All-American), Rickey Barnum (nothing), Mealer (nothing), Omameh, and Schofield. It also had something like 2 scholarship OL behind it that weren't true FR.
So you see, previously, Michigan set a standard of having good, experienced OL at the college level with a nice bit of depth. It started going down hill entering the Rich Rod years as far as skill, Rich Rod introduced a couple good players, but the depth and numbers never resurfaced. Hoke then had to improve the numbers and try to put in extremely young players with 2 good OL and make something out of it. I think there is a clear difference when you look at the "standard" as far as OL.
AS = Years on NFL Active Squad
PS = Years on NFL Practice Squad
AA = All-American in career
1st = 1st team all B1G in career
2nd = 2nd team all B1G in career
This goes back to our "who's at fault" arguments in the first This Week's Obsession. I pointed out that Barnum and Omameh were very effective guys for Rich Rod's offense, and that it was conceivable that, with such a huge 2008 class of OL he could spend scholarships elsewhere in 2009 after reeling in Schofield and Lewan and then get his next generation of OL in 2010 and 2011.
But OL want stability, since they know they probably won't be starting for several years at least. And in fall 2009 the program was rocked by the Practicegate crap and subsequent rotten season right when it was most important to nail down those 2010 recruits--lots of targets who ended up good OL elsewhere slipped away. Then in 2010 Rich Rod was walking dead, more so with every loss, and that stink kept the 2011 OL away. Jake Fisher decommitted when Rodriguez was fired. Hoke didn't have time to patch that up as well as find DL and DBs and re-recruit Denard, etc.
So it was we went two years without recruiting any Michigan-level offensive linemen, and lo and behold going into 2014 there are no plausible senior or junior starters on the offensive line.
It wasn't shit that happened overnight. We're eating the fruit of 2009 and 2010.
It wasn't just Rich Rod's fault that the OL situation is what it is today. The way Rich Rod was treated unfairly by outsiders and people within the program also continue to hurt the Michigan program. Around here, that's known as "The Process".
Funk does not appear to meet Good Ol' Boys standards. Whereas Gibson came up with Rodriguez all the way from Glenville State, Funk has bounced from coaching staff to coaching staff on his way up the ranks. Hoke hired him from Colorado State just before his last year at Ball State, whereupon the Cardinals rushed for nearly five yards a carry. San Diego State went from 115th(!) in yards per carry to 28th in the two years Funk was there. And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear.
Wow. That was probably the most encouraging thing I have read about Funk in a long time.
Thank you, Brian.
But the Archer reference was clutch.
Did you watch Sea Lab on Adult Swim the other morning as I did? Exact scenario, Brian. Too bad that was hilarious and this is painfully worrisome at best.
Best bet, I think, is to allow athletes to accept money for endorsements. Jerseys, commercials, whatever. Like you said Brian, it naturally weeds out the women and shit sports.
Keep the money in a fund or something until they graduate.
Ah yes, those "women" are the worst. Am I right fellas?
I mean, I'm all for not including revenue sports that generate money for the non-revenue sports into Title IX in some shape or form (more realistically, just don't include football as to match the scholarship number is difficult for many athletic departments).
But man, you did not say that in a nice way.
is if a non-revenue sport athelete: woman or shit, can get endorsement revenue, etc. as well, more power to them.
That said, the Olympic model does kind of help with the Title IX problem when it comes to paying revenue sport players.
I think on the margin you'll see fewer guys transferring down for playing time, opting for the fuller support provided to second-stringers at major schools. I don't know the elasticity, so I can't tell you how important this would be, but in theory there should be that effect.
A second question would be whether as Michigan fans we should care or even rejoice over such an effect. Are we harmed or helped by second-stringer opting out? I don't know. The fact that Alabama chooses to have the turnover suggests that the lottery ticket of an extra scholarship is worth more than the value of additional experience among non starters.
I sincerely believe that as long as the program is making money NOBODY within the AD cares if we are an elite program. They'll spend like we are and they do so long as money is being made. I think the Big House, historical record, etc is their mantra to make money and continue to do so. I genuinely think that as long as there is a UM HC that is at least 6 degrees from Bo (Kevin Bacon style), mediocrity will be accepted. The very people that praise Bo and make statues of Bo and name buildings after Bo are the ones that have most forgotten who Bo really was. Yes, he had integrity but WINNING FOOTBALL GAMES was his main priority. The kids he coached aren't like the kids needed to win these days or like any modern kids, really. I could name a thousand things but while facilities do attract kids it doesn't matter if you reject him because he barely qualified. I'm sorry but Bo would likely support any coach that was dedicated to UM and even accept some "off years" here or there (Carr) if they cared about the kids. Yet, that support would quickly end after YEARS of the ineptitude the AD & teams/HCs have shown lately. If alive, he'd insist that Michigan had the best they could buy on staff in what I know he'd see was a sea change in CFB from his days coaching to today. He'd insist and if anyone had the balls to rebuke he'd burn this motherfucker to the ground. No, not angry, FYI. Just saying what I think and what I think I'll get neg-nuked for saying despite most knowing it's true deep down. We're spending like an elite program, the one we should be. We're producing a product like a poor, second rate state school.
You honestly think that no one in our athletic department - guys whose job revolves around Michigan sports, and who are often alumni of the school - cares if the team wins or not?
Do you call in regularly to sports radio?
I think they know winning would be a great thing for them (obviously). However, I think money is money and the current higher ups in the AD don't really fret at a 7-5 season AT MICHIGAN as much as you'd think because mediocre in a bad conference still = mega cash here. Borges would have been fired midseason if they cared. I'm not saying they actively don't want us to win or outright don't care at all. I think as long as a "Bo lineage" HC is in place and we're making money, they don't really care about seasons that Bo would have gone ape over and corrected immediately. Final point being that they seem perfectly content on living in the past and past glories. They'll upgrade this and that. They'll build this and that. Yet, I genuinely think that 7-8 win years at a once juggernaut program is acceptable now as long as that cash is flowing. So, do they care? Sure, they "care".......but not enough to use our outrageous finances (not bag men) to field a team led by a coach we KNOW is a winner. More than anything, IMO, it's the attitude this staff gives the kids. They're coddled. Year one? Fine. Was needed. But still? No. Time to weed out the weak. I could write more to explain how you can be an old school coach and have your team love you but it involves Jim Harbaugh and the one year a friend of mine played under him in Jim's first year at Stanford and my friends last. Let's just say it was VERY MUCH like the way Bo came here in 69. They hated him until they loved him almost to a man before the year even started. Maybe I'll diary the story? Very interesting. But our AD? I think (opinion I regard as obvious fact, bth) money and living on our history is on par or more cared about than the FB program's success. I really do. Disagree/neg away. No hard feelings, cheesy insult included.
But you must realize that the AD is comprised of real, actual people not just corporate robot monsters? Dave Brandon played football for Michigan. He wants Michigan football to win. To deny this is just being overdramatic. He might have no idea of how to make that happen, but to suggest that he doesn't care is so unrealistic and personally disrespectful that it almost defies credulity. The AD probably does not live and die by every little thing like fans do, but don't forget that Brandon wrote an open letter to a recruit in an effort to land him. This is because he thinks that player will help the team win, not because that player will lead to any economic gain.
I'm not saying he overtly doesn't want us to win. I know he does. However, it's not a priority as long as we keep pulling in the money we do by being mediocre. There is no dramatics in that statement. It's my opinion based on real world behaviors, results and actions. I guess I could say that with the money we make, while you cannot force a coach to come or players to come play for you, a school like Michigan had the resources to get just about anyone if they REALLY tried. I mean, we sold the rights to our HC's name after a 7 win season for (correct me if wrong) around $10 Million. Yet, like him or not we have a coach we all know is middle of the pack in CFB. Nothing against Hoke but did he EVER have the resume to support his hire to MICHIGAN? And I was ok with it, ha! I just knew up front that we hired below us. Face it, were not Michigan anymore and it's largely to do with the attitude in the AD. Bo was a great man and coach but we're not that program anymore and aren't doing anything but spending money on shit that makes us feel like we are, not what will actually make us be again. 97 & 06 were great years and we've had other solid ones but they're mostly surrounded by average yet talented teams since the early 90s. The fire to win is dying here, if not dead. We're soft. We're apathetic. We're an above average program that rakes in cash due to tradition/alumni, not the product. It's sad that only a few see it, IMO. No offense given/taken either, just as the other guy above.
You're still proposing that someone doesn't care enough or doesnt try hard enough. And you give nothing to support it. You might have a case if you said our Athletic Department and AD were incompetent. In fact, your post argues just that. But you make a jump about passion and effort that isn't sustained by your own evidence.
Lets say that Hoke is a bad coach. We still pay him like a top coach, so what more can the AD do? The coordinators make a ton of money, and we just fires one who underperformed. What more can the AD do? The answer, the only one that makes sense is "hire better ones". Well, this is a knock against the ADs ability to judge coaches, i.e. competency. Not a lack of want or effort.
But I get it. It's easier to think that if we just tried harder, if the AD just cared as much as the fans do, that we'd be better. It's somehow comforting to think that the reason for our struggles isn't aptitude but desire. But I'll never get Kate Beckinsale into bed no matter how hard I try.
Hiring better ones sounds easy but there were a lot of factors at play when Hoke was hired. If you believe some of the stories, Harbaugh was supposedly interested in the UM job but wanted to coach Stanford in the Orange Bowl. In the time between when Harbaugh and Brandon talked and Stanford played in the Orange Bowl, NFL teams started reaching out to Harbaugh and Jim went to the pros. I think most of us, maybe not all, would have been doing cartwheels if Harbaugh had been hired after RR.
On top of all that, one of the big criticisms with RR was he didn't get the 'Michigan Man' mantra and what that encompassed. I think Brandon knew that one of the challenges the new coach after RR was going to face was repairing the fractured fan base and understanding the whole 'Michigan Man' mantra. So if your Brandon do you look at possibly bringing in another 'outsider' and cross your fingers and pray to the lord this guy quickly gets and understands the 'Michigan Man' mantra as well as the history and traditions with the program? Or do you try to bring in someone with ties to UM?
Harbaugh definitely fit the bill as to regards with having ties to the program. Unfortunately, most of the other guys from Bo's coaching tree were either retired (McCartney, Moeller, Carr) or probably not going to repair the fractured state of the program, at least internally within the AD (Miles). The double whammy is when you look at Carr's coaching tree, you see almost nothing. Without googling on the internet, I'm guessing Hoke is one of the few guys, if not the only guy, under Carr who had some success coaching at other programs once he left UM.
On top of all that, rarely if ever do coaches leave a Top 10, 15, 20 program to go to another Top 10, 15, 20 program. Bama and OSU had Meyer and Saban fall into their laps. You look at the hires over the years at programs like OSU, Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, LSU, Texas, Notre Dame, etc., they aren't poaching guys from top notch programs. They're getting guys who had success at schools a little lower in the pecking order. If making a 'better hire' was easy none of the blue blooded programs would ever be down, but when you look around almost all of the blue blooded programs have had a down period at some point over the last 20 years.
I really hope Hoke gets the ship righted, but if he doesn't the coaching search for his replacement is going to be really interesting.
you both have points and I thank you for the reply even if disagreeing. Is there a bit of passion? Sure. Yet, I'm not confusing incompetence for not caring. I think our AD is VERY good at making money. I just also think they're not as good at carrying what happens in between making the money. As long as the money is there it is my opinion that they'll never carelike they should at a place like Michigan. Again, both points noted as I also noted a few before. No amount of money or pressing can get someone or something that just isn't interested. I wasn't even referring to Jim in particular, btw. I actually don't think we're too far off in understanding each other's views/points. Maybe passion is what is creating that gulf but it's not in an accusatory tone but one of my own. That said, I simply no longer wish to envy an AD at a school with less than half the resources in the "we're going to do whatever need to be done to get what we need to be successful" department. Again, no offense given our taken in any if these posts. Thanks for the points, opinions and discussion. genuinely.
Yeah were just having a discussion. I meant no offense and don't think my tone was accusative. FWIW, I agree that Michigan football should be at the very upper echelon. And I agree that the AD hasn't been perfect. I don't have a huge problem with Brandon, but if we could get a better AD, I'd be all for it. The same goes for Hoke or any University employee. I want Michigan to be the best.
I just think that questioning someone's desire to succeed is no good. Hoke might not be a top coach, Brandon might not be a top AD, but they both want to be. And I understand your point that Brandon's first priority is money, and winning his second. I just don't buy it. Why would he have fired Coach Rod? Were we not making money? If the programs tanks ala Tennessee, do you think we will still make as much money? Neither does Brandon. Winning is the reason for all the money. He knows that. Everyone knows that. If you don't think he knows that, you are questioning his intelligence, i.e. competency. Again, it all goes back to that.
It is just discussion and I enjoy it. It's rare to have it without a ton of snark when someone is disagreeing or trying to clarify another's real point. I think that last reply hit closer than I thought it would on the way I feel. Truly. The only thing I still hold onto is the notion that I don't feel there is a difference in what I'm saying and what I believe.....if that makes sense (ha?). I know they care and these discussions have clarified what I guess I see as "caring". It's interesting now due to the ticket news! Not that the UM coffers would even notice a dip but it's interesting in that for the first time in my life (that I'm aware of) the students aren't buying. I assume it's a mix of bad home schedule and a general blanket of apathy but I also think it could be the first signs of UM students recognizing we're not behaving or producing what UM should. It's been over a decade of "if only's", "a few years away's..." and seasons that seem like a bizarro world due to the play contrasting the stadium/helmets/tradition. Finally, again, I enjoy the discussion and it genuinely helped me better clarify what I feel/want. That is rare on this blo......well, the entire internet. Haha, Thanks.
I've had a number of those moments on here. Not a bad blog. By and large the commenters are excellent.