"Mailbag: Brian gets told"
this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Who is the man, Brady Hoke? Krikor Arman, says Brady Hoke
The other side
So last week I bombed Braylon Edwards and various other people who have publicly or privately undermined the program since Carr's departure. I owe the internet in general a POV from the other side. I met a Bo walk-on at the Michigan Beerfest a couple years ago and he's been a consistent email correspondent; he provides this perspective from the recent billions-return alumni thing:
We had the team meeting last night which started out in the field house with Coach Hoke speaking for a few minutes while introducing his staff. Afterwards we went over to the stadium and had dinner in the club level, which is beautiful. There were probably 200 guys there, including Coaches Hanlon, Burton, Thornbladh, Moeller, and Carr. It was a nice gathering and great to see the old fellas.
Regardless of what some outsiders think or what people want to hypothesize about RR, the fact of the matter is it WAS a different environment and it DID alienate ex-players/coaches, to a degree. Michigan football is different. It's a family. It's steeped in traditions that are older than the vast majority of people on the board. RR did not take care of the program. He did not endear himself to the guys who won 42 championships in the 132 years of Michigan Football. One thing I heard over and over last night from ex-players was "thank God we're done with that bullshit" ("the lack of defense" and "the guy just didn't get it"). It may seem petty, but this isn't like taking over an old, family owned business and revamping the computers and offices. This is Michigan. I can't put it into words, but as much as I supported RR, he did not, in fact, get it.
I talked with Bruce Madej for a while as well as Paul Schmidt. I was surprised to learn that RR did not force freshman/sophomores to live in the dorm. The only players who HAD to live in the dorm were the early enrollees, and they only had to stay there until after spring semester. Think about that. An 18 year old kid is going right from living at his folks place and attending high school to instantly living on his own, with rent and phone bills, gas bills, grocery shopping, etc. ALL THE WHILE trying to maintain his athletics AND play for a demanding coach. There's no way an 18 year should be put in that situation. It's overwhelming. Schmitty told me that was the first thing he told Hoke when he arrived. Hoke immediately switched the policy back to freshman and sophomores MUST live in the dorm.
It may seem like a pathetically insignificant aspect of the RR regime, but I think it's yet another example of how many different ways he failed as the head coach at Michigan.
I am NOT here to say Hoke is the answer because he's getting the young kids back in the dorm. BUT, he has brought back some things that made this the winningest program in college football. AND, he's galvanizing the fabric of Michigan football that had rusted a little bit over the last 3 years.
So… there's that. My position here is endlessly conflicted. I wish the "This is Michigan" stuff wasn't so inflexible that it caused what happened over the last three years and etc etc etc but everyone knows that. This guy, like Craig Ross, just wants to see Michigan win. That's what we all want. We just have different opinions on the best way to go about doing that.
Jake Ryan and WLB
I know that you weren't as high on Jake Ryan after a more thorough review of the spring game than some people, but he did do okay and he got some good reviews from bowl practices. My question is this - why isn't he a contender at WLB instead of SLB? It seems like he's a bigger, stronger, guy that can tackle well but might not be athletic enough in coverage. Isn't that the type of guy you want at the WLB while the athletic converted safety types play the SLB (Gordon, Hawthorn, Jones, etc.)?
I wasn't necessarily down on Ryan. Like everyone else I was impressed by his playmaking, but he was going up against a redshirt freshman walk-on when he blitzed off the strongside. That's a major factor in a 1-v-1/2-v-2 scrimmage.
As for the question, Ryan is a big dude at 6'3" and nearly 230 pounds as a redshirt freshman. The usual S&C path will see him brushing up against 240 next year. That's a good size to be the guy facing down a tight end on the LOS most downs. It's not so good to be the designated super fast pursuit guy. Also, the knock on Ryan from high school was his agility. His recruiting profile is littered with references to his ability to "attack vertically," worries about his ability to cover guys, and vague mutterings about a move to DE.
While Ryan may have been an OLB candidate in the 3-3-5—where attacking vertically is a large chunk of the job description when you're not being coached by Greg Robinson—he's strictly SAM in a 4-3 under. Fortunately, he looks like an excellent fit there.
If you're looking for WLB reinforcements look to safety, where Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman are OLB-sized guys idling behind starters.
Technical blocking stuff
The one thing I noticed from the scrimmage was a lot more "angle blocking" (layman's term, actually the offensive line appeared to be using Wing-T rules) as opposed to zone. The idea is to gain leverage on your opponent by blocking in towards the ball with the tackles/TEs and pull. The biggest thing that makes me say this is first the pulling techniques on the QB sweep looked exactly like a puller in a wing-T system (open deep, run around a down block). "Angle blocking" is the idea in the flesh. However, I actually could see this as an advantage for M going forward. Zone is ubiquitous. Rule blocking is not. Could be an advantage. The blocking did not look that great, yet.
Borges seems to be finding what the personnel does well and focusing on that (hence the grab bag of multiplicity). Holy hell, we need a good runner, I hope Mike Cox is it.
I kind of thought Michigan was good at running zone stuff by last year. The mobility on the interior gave them the ability to get downfield and pick up linebackers on the second level. I worry about their ability to move Big Ten defensive tackles, though. Last year it was up to those DTs to move faster than the OL so they didn't get reached. This year the power schemes will ask playside OL to overpower DL who might be bigger than them. We'll see.
Krikor Arman sets the record straight
Thank you for the excellent reference in today's blog, I am honored. Just wanted to clarify a couple things. I did not come from the club team. I went directly to open tryouts and made the team out of the 10 people trying out. And this "forward #14" scored two goals in his first game, and has four championship rings from Michigan, one a National Championship.
So thank you, because I really appreciate all of my friends reading about how I was "forward #14."
Krikor Arman, M4
No offense was intended to Krikor Arman in this morning's post. Krikor Arman is notable enough to be in Wikipedia, which means he is more important than me, most webcomics and, for a brief time, Old Man Murray. He is also in med school.
"Mailbag: Brian gets told"
"Mailbag: Brian gets told of a different opinion"
"One thing I heard over and over last night from ex-players was "thank God we're done with that bullshit" ("the lack of defense" and "the guy just didn't get it"). It may seem petty, but this isn't like taking over an old, family owned business and revamping the computers and offices. This is Michigan. I can't put it into words, but as much as I supported RR, he did not, in fact, get it."
I'm ashamed and embarrased for those players
Can it just be done now. I just tired of this, so very tired.
could point to a single specific instance of the Rodriguez staff "not valuing the tradition." (Those were Mike Hart's words, to be exact.)
I'm not merely sick of the former letterwinners whining about the former staff -- I am amazed that they continue to get away with it, without anybody really questioning what the fuck it is that they are talking about. Have any of them ever been specific?
It's not the devaluing of tradition, but more so 'hey, these aren't the guys that were running the show when I was here so they don't know how it was done when I was here."
RR did some things different, he has the right to, just like Hoke does. Each coach should have the ability to impact the program in their own fashion, everyone else be damned.
Oh, and to your question. I'll I can come up with is, umm, winning...
If one of these guys said, "Look at the records; 3-9, 5-7, 7-5. And that loss to Miss. St. Three losses to MSU, and three to OSU." If that was it, and if that was all, I might get it. We'd have a metric, and something by which to measure Brady Hoke. Forget about all of that "tradition" nonsense. It's all about winning.
Of course, even then, it would be a grossly unfair metric insofar as Hoke has been left with a far superior roster of players, and Hoke (it seems) is not starting out with two strikes against him in the form of a hostile press and a largely fabricated NCAA investigation.
If it were really just about winning games, getting to bowl games and winning and winning and more winning, we could forget about all of that dumb "tradition" shit and just become Oklahoma or Auburn or Oregon. They know its all about putting up the wins.
Mind you, this isn't my idea. I'm just riffing on what the "Look at the won-loss record" people are saying.
One of those is not like the others
What I am sick of is former players telling us how the program is bigger than the coach, and then trying to defend why they didn't support the players for the last 3 years because they felt they weren't part of the family. I wish one of them would stand up and say
"I did not feel at home with RR at Michigan and stayed away. I realize now, though, that by staying away I was part of the problem and I treated the program and current players with less respect than it and they disserved. I am back, and will never abbandon the program again."
Now that to me would be what a Michigan Man would do.
Summary: don't paint all unhappy players with a broad brush, do paint all fans who didn't like "The Process" with a broad brush.
as the end of the argument?
I think Hoke is a great person, and won me over months ago when he gave his acceptance speach. This is a defense of the program and the players over the last few years. I am not alone in my abandonment opinion as I have heard the comments of both RVB and Mike Hart.
I have read all of Bo's books, and as an alumn, hold myself responsible for representing myself as a Michigan Man. And I strongly believe that the Michigan way is winning and winning the right way. RR I believe was only successful in the latter. Although he didn't win enough to keep his job, I was never ashamed of the way he ran this program. He was quick to discipline when he needed to, kept players health above wins, and brought in a team full of standup men I am proud that represent the University.
I hold former players to high standards, which means putting their ego aside and supporting the team and players.
Your analogy goes two ways, there is a million spots on the scale between "not getting it" and "making breakfast for the alumni" (which oddly appears to be a big sticking point). I think that RR was much closer to the getting it spectrum.
There's some reasonable distribution of labor in terms of bringing in outside blood and attempting to instill traditions. I won't claim I know what that distribution is - the new guy shouldn't be 100% responsible for digging up all these random Holy of Holies in the tradition-pile, but neither should they forego any sort of proactive research and expect to be handed a sheet of everything as soon as they walk in the door.
I wonder what that ideal distribution is, compared to what RRod experienced. I know that when I first attended either of my alma maters, older students made every effort to pass on to us what we should know, what we should do, who we should be. Given the WR#1 fiasco/nonsense, what was the situation here?
Well, all of these former players are a hell of a lot closer to the program than we are, so I sort of trust their opinion on the topic. And, I agree with the Bo-era walk-on - there is something different about Michigan football; the traditions, the rivalries, the whole winningest program ever. RR just didn't fit because his vision of what he wanted the program to be was different from what many involved with that program long before he got there - former players, the players that RR inherited in 2008, many alum, etc. - envision when they think of Michigan football.
I think that summed it up perfectly. I'm not sure people who just watch, or are outside the family, even if they played football at other programs, really GET that. It's a unique, special place.
No question. Losing to a I-AA team on your home field as a top 5 team is unique. Wasn't the whole point of the Rodriguez hire to get rid of the stink our "unique" (i.e. arrogant, entitled, jumped-the-shark, etc.) program was developing in 2007?
How'd that work out?
Rich Rodriguez was hired because Martin thought he was the best candidate. To read any grand narrative into his hiring is silly. Look at whom the other rumored candidates were then: Kirk Ferentz, Greg Schiano, Jim Grobe, and Brady Hoke. All are philosphically pretty close to Carr.
Many of the traditions are unique to us, but so are the traditions seen at other schools.
The program needs to be able to evolve. When we get stuck with the notions that we are beholden to our traditions and that they are what define us, well, we become Notre Dame.
Hoke better win, becasue all we'll have left is tradition, and that's scary. I've had this debate with an FSU alum friend of mine multiple times, and he laughs at us boasting about our all-time wins and national champtionship and this and that, but points out what have we done in the past 60 years save for '97, not much.* Yet, we still grasp onto our traditions so tightly.
All of this is a difficult issue. Tradition is what makes college football so special, but we can't live and die by it if it no longer works. Hoke need develop a coaching tree, or this whole damn thing will happen again at X date in the future.
I hope this comes off the way it sounds in my head, if not, sorry. I hate law school finals.
*I would never admit to him that he may be right, even if it does lead to us getting in a drunken shouting match in a pizza place at 1:30am in Grand Rapids
Stuff like this makes me think RR was set up for failure from the start. Supposedly he was going to reinvigorate the program because the old way of doing things had gotten us The Horror, the post-apocalyptic Oregon game, and losing 6 of 7 to Tressel. But then he gets here and suddenly doesn't exactly follow the old way of doing things, and every difference is used as an example that he isn't a Michigan Man and doesn't "get it". He also had all the "family values" and "not my crowd" gibberish going against him before he even coached a game. Add all that up, and the only chance he had was to win early and often, and the roster his first season wasn't exactly ready for that.
I still think he could have salvaged things by figuring out how to put together even a mildly competent defense, but it would have been nice if he had a positive atmosphere to try and accomplish it. Instead, it seems like many involved with the program were unhappy an outsider had the audacity to do some things differently, decided all the problems were caused by those changes, and determined the problems could only be solved by returning to the old way of doing things.
I like your post. I see your point about him trying to do something new and the flack he got. The thing, I guess for me, when it comes down to it that he didn't "get" wasn't so much a mystical Michigan magic but defense first and tackling. That's it for me. That's what I think football is about and what he didn't seem to "get" that we have for so long. It always rubbed me wrong that defense seemed like an aftersight, when I believe it's most important. Sometimes I think people are speaking from different paradigms when they talk about "it" and who "gets..." "it."
I loved his offenses. I would've loved to see him succeed. I would've loved to have him be our coach for twenty years. If defense first and tackling.
And when it comes right down to it, I don't think Groban or some new philosophies would've turned people off nearly as much if not for 3-9 and Mississippi St.
God love the guy.
I don't think anyone is blaming the players for what happened the past three years. They're certainly not in charge of defensive schemes, nor did they recruit themselves. Rather, we're echoing RVB. To paraphrase, that it's nice that the alumni came out for this spring game but where the heck had they been previously? That's what we mean by alumni not supporting the players because they didn't like the coach. While they certainly weren't obligated to be RR's best friends, they should've been available to the previous players and made sure that the players knew that.
I think the players, who, you know, play the game, share some of the blame for the on-field results. However, wtf does this have to do with anything??? I am pretty sure this post is about the propriety of the other side of view regarding former players' "abandoning" the program when RR took over.
1. That was an interesting e-mail from the Bo-era walk-on. To hear him talk about the dorm issue, though, you'd almost get the impression that RichRod forced the players to live _outside_ the dorm. I certainly see the wisdom of a simplified and regimented life for new athletes, and I can see where having everyone live in the dorm would support that, but RR merely gave them a choice. Is that so bad?
2. Anyone care to speculate on Krikor's future career? I'd put big money on orthopedic surgery, which seems to be the default choice for ex-athletes. PM&R would be a darkhorse choice.
according to the obviously self-written Wikipedia page (or written by a fawning sychophant?), he's a anesthisiologist
maybe someone interviewed him, and learned the names of his best friends...
His best friends need a "Citation Needed" thingamajig. How do we know that they're his best friends without a verified source saying that they're his best friends? The rules of Wikipedia apply to everybody, even Krikor Arman.
Krikor's going into general surgery.
someone needs to update wikipedia, stat.
I guess I was at least close. Is he aiming for a fellowship at this early stage (say, CT)?
"As the 14th forward on the roster--having not come from the club team, but, instead, beaten nine others in an open tryout"
I assume that was added by someone who just read this post.
Your "rules" can't contain Kirkor Arman.
I think his family owns quickie burger. He failed to mention this in his Wikipedia page.
They do indeed own Quickie Burger. The Armans are good people.
They are very nice. I've chatted with them a few times.
I ate there for the first time before the Spring game, and it was gd delicious, Definitely one of the better burgers I have ever had.
it does read like he wrote it about himself -- a bit over glowing on a hockey career that barely was. yes, i was at the game he scored, AND the ALL the games he didn't dress for.....
Yes, you are correct that RR didn't force the kids to live outside the dorm. But, the question is, why would you give such a choice to an 18 year old? Keeping the kids in the dorm takes care of things like paying bills, figuring out food options, etc., and allows for a better transition to college academics and football.
To me, it was just another example of RR exercising poor judgment during his time here at Michigan.
I agree with you that it seems like a common sense idea but I guarantee that there are other very successful programs that give their kids a choice as well. I'm sure the same policy worked well for RR in WV and he had his reasons for keeping it once he was here. But it just seems like such a minor thing though.
was allowed to move out of the dorms his freshman year. This is not a reflection of Lloyd Carr at all. We have no idea how many of the players during RR's tenure decided not to live in the dorms, so holding this against him seems trivial (especially since no one has shown how this rule decimated any of Michigan values). I agree that dorm life is a much easier transition, and chose to live both my Fr and So yrs there, but I could have chosen to live elsewhere.
I think that we should focus on is whether he required kids to go to class, and spend time at Motts, and remain upstanding citizens. He did all of these.
Are you sure about Henson? I'm pretty sure he was in West Quad.
He moved out during the first few weeks of classes.
That this policy was bad or good. You have no idea who or even how many players lived outside the dorm. This is what we do know;
- RR disciplined players and even kicked them off the team if they didn't act like Michigan Men (Hagerup OSU, Cissiko, Tate)
- RR put players health above wins (Denard Illinois)
- RR was very involved at Motts, and set an example for the players
- RR brought in a great group of players that represent the University excellently (See current Roster)
- RR created a dynamic offense, while failing very badly on defense resulting in 3, 5, and 7 wins
RR ran this program like a Michigan Man, which is with integrity. You for some reason, can't look past your hatred of the man to admit he did most things right here. He didn't win though, and that's why we have a new coach. You're credibility would go way up if you could ever stop lieing to yourself that everything the man did was not bad.
I have no idea what your problem is, but I definately would not mind if you pulled a Boren and went and rooted for the Buckeyes. Your blind hatred would due you well there.
force his players to stay in the dorms their first two years at that renagade outfit that he ran at OU. the first year in the regualr dorms w/us non-atheletes. i met a fair amount of future OU football stars while in the dorms. and lets face it, Barry did not run a tight ship...
Although, very few of his players joined the frats at OU because he didn't need the additional headaches associated with them.
But it does make it harder to emphasis the "student-athlete" part of it, and not have the team a separate part of the University, above the rest.
General student body freshmen are not required to live in the dorms. Letting them live off-campus is just treating them like every other student.
Don't waste your breath. If RR thought of it, it must be stupid. Whereas, if Hoke or Carr had come up with it, then it would be praised as a good idea.
Addressing the merits, what is baffling is why anyone believes a freshmen is any less capable than a sophomore of taking care of himself outside of the dorms. It's a college freshman, not a mental patient. And it's not like sophomores are all that mature. This is just an idiotic argument started by an ex-player grasping for straws.
This isn't a Carr vs. RR thing. Berenson, Beilein, Borseth, you name it - none of these guys let their players live outside the dorms until they're upperclassmen. That's standard practice at this school. For RR to drop this practice was a needless mistake on his part.