Mailbag: Plenty Of Sad Football What Now Stuff, Yost Back In The Day
Watch Michigan lose to Michigan State on Saturday was frustrating and somewhat difficult to put into perspective. We want to believe that the coaches are capable of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their players so the players can successfully execute. We also have to have the right players. It seems that we are still not where we want to be in terms of talent, coaching and understanding. How far away are we before we have the right combination?
Let's just get to the big question first. Michigan is still staring at the crater where their senior class is supposed to be, and reeling from Rich Rodriguez's inept offensive line recruiting. The 2011 class is also not spectacular, as it was a few in-state true believers, Blake Countess, and guys with little recruiting profile thanks to Rodriguez's sinking profile and Michigan giving Hoke three weeks to pile ten guys in. The talent on this team is mostly underclass.
That will not be the case on next year's defense. A projected starting lineup:
- DL: Clark (Sr), Beyer (Sr), Pipkins (Jr), Henry (Rs So)
- LB: Morgan (Sr), Ross (Jr), Ryan(Sr)
- DB: Countess (Rs Jr), Taylor (Sr), Wilson (Jr), J. Clark (Rs So)
This defense is an okay unit still beset by personnel issues. Snaps at NT not given to Quinton Washington against MSU went to… Jibreel Black. Yup. 250-pound Brennen Beyer is now the starting SDE. Before that the existence of Black was the only thing separating the situation the SDE and 3TECH positions from the one Michigan is dealing with at guard: one sophomore with a middling recruiting profile (Bryant on OL, Heitzman on DL) and a pile of freshman who are still freshman no matter how touted. I expect Michigan's defense to take a significant step forward from good but not great to maybe great next year.
The situation on offense is much more frightening. Michigan hasn't been able to move snap one away from Fitzgerald Toussaint, which is an indictment of Michigan's recruiting or development or both there. Michigan hasn't had a QB who wasn't massively turnover prone since Borges arrived, and there are zero seniors on next year's OL. Does a starting line of Magnuson-Bosch-Glasgow-Kalis-Braden featuring four sophomores and a junior who is a former walk-on entice? No.
Michigan's probably a 9-3 team next year and then you're putting all your eggs in Shane Morris's basket at QB the year after. So… not for a while.
[After the JUMP: oh good the "when can we fire this guy" tag is back. Yost: not really Yost.]
I once asked you a question regarding what would it take you to abandon your support for Rich Rod. You were kind enough to post it and respond.
I'd like to ask the same question for Hoke and company.
All I look for as a fan is player development. I figure Michigan will win and lose, but as long as the players are developing and they put in a strong effort I am happy. I don't expect perfection or anywhere near it. The players are still kids and I don't lose sight of that fact like so many others. But I just want to see them get better as the year goes. Compare the joke State was on offense at the beginning of the year with a crap line and few highly recruited players and look how Dantonio develops them. There is a plan. There is clear training that the players absorb. He molds them. The players clearly improve as a unit. Does Hoke do that? Is there evidence of that?
I don't know for sure, but just like with Rich Rod I just don't see the development.
Yet I don't feel as critical toward Hoke as so many others do. I think it has to do with recruiting acumen. But the thought that Hoke can't develop his players has been nagging at me.
What's your opinion? Specifically, what would it take you to abandon your support for Hoke? Do you think the player development is there? Why has Sparty been able to develop lower ranked players on offense (ignore their great D for the purpose of this question) into a more consistent superior unit than Michigan?
Thank you -
If we're comparing things to MSU, Dantonio started out 7-6, 9-4, 6-7 and then had an 11-win, turnover-fueled season of fortune that ended with a 49-7 loss to Alabama. In year five is when they actually seemed like a double-digit-win team, nearly winning the Big Ten and beating Georgia in the Outback. Hoke got off to a faster start thanks to Michigan's own lucky-as-hell 11-win season but right now he's in a similar doldrums as the previous guy's crappy late recruiting enters their upperclass years. Dantonio had a similar attrition issue because just about the only good players in JLS's last class were JUCOs.
Dantonio was also hired in late November instead of January, giving him more time to assemble a first class that would include late pickups Kirk Cousins and BJ Cunningham. Michigan's QB from their first class was Russell Bellomy—slight difference there—and they took a pass on Devin Lucien. (Who has nine catches for UCLA this year, FWIW.)
It takes time to assemble a winning program when you're coming from a botched transition, and I'll take a pass on another transition just yet.
What would it take for me to want Hoke gone? A lot. Nothing that can happen this year. Michigan could get bombed five straight times to close out the year and it would still make more sense to forge ahead instead of try another transition. In that case I'd probably be advocating for some staff changes, but haven't we seen enough of what happens when you change course wildly after three years of trying something?
And assuming there's notable progress on the field from a team that is shedding most of the baggage associated with that disastrous senior class, I would advocate a fifth year. So much of what's going on now is Rich Rodriguez and Mike Rosenberg and Dave Brandon's fault.
Hoke's recruiting does buy him quite a bit in my book. He's stabilized the program with the 2012 class, which still has 24 of 25 guys on campus; this year's 27 is all present and accounted for, and Michigan is finally entering a year in which they are struggling to add 18 guys to a single class. He's winning recruiting battles with powers and managing his roster sensibly*. You can see the direction things are going in terms of retention and recruiting stars.
MSU guys are good because they're around all the time. MSU has reached Wisconsin levels of retention, redshirting damn near everyone and keeping almost all of them around for four or five years. Michigan has taken a step and a half towards that.
Are people developing? Individuals, surely. Clark is coming along this year; Beyer has developed; I like both ILBs; Wilson and Taylor are moving forward. Gallon's great, and Funchess is now a weapon even if he can't block. The DL has taken a step back but I'm liking Willie Henry a lot.
Some units are not. Michigan hasn't developed a tailback since… Chris Perry? (Mike Hart came fully-formed out of high school.) Fred Jackson's talent evaluation has been a running joke for years now and it gets less and less funny every year; Michigan has no one who can pick up a blitz and is getting zero from two touted freshmen. Thomas Rawls is a ghost even after Drake Johnson's ACL tear.
The offensive line is hard to judge because of the recruiting crater but has been handled awfully—IMO Michigan is better off if they just stick with Glasgow-Miller-Kalis across the front and hope, and every snap on which a guy flips to an unfamiliar position in practice is a waste of time. The tight ends have almost gone backwards in terms of their blocking and Michigan insisted on using them extensively for half the season; AJ Williams's suspension for the MSU game is like seeing Robbie Findley pick up two yellows in the World Cup. Special teams have also been a consistent disaster from dinosaur punts to erratic punters to Michigan's horrible return units.
If Michigan does end up in a spot where a shakeup is required—emphasis on required, as that's the only way someone's getting forced out—the heat would fall mostly on Funk, Jackson, and Ferrigno. And Borges, who in addition to the we're-stretch-we're-power-we're nothing executive decisions that have exacerbated the line issues has fielded a turnover-mad QB for the third straight year.
*[For the most part. Not taking a QB in 2013 was a mistake.]
Imagine it's January and Hoke has to break it to the players that Borges and Funk were sent off to frolic around a nice farm. Who are valid candidates for OC/OL that Michigan would be able to hire next year? Of course, we'd all love to have an Art Briles, Gus Malzahn, or Chip Kelly heading up the offense, but that's not happening. Who would choose to leave their current positions for the Michigan job? Loeffler? Matt Canada? Ron Zook (just kidding I know he was a defensive coach)? Lane Kiffin (maybe just kidding, but a total buttwipe)? Before we call for heads to roll, I think some nominations are in order.
This is not happening, man. Let's start with that. And I don't know anything about OL coaches; nobody knows anything about them except their OL coach, who they usually hate. As far as OC: given Hoke's predilections I wouldn't get your hopes up if they center around the Briles/Malzahn/Kelly axis. That has about as much chance of happening as Al Borges getting replaced by Tony Franklin again.
If I'm picking from realistic candidates who might be available, I'm looking at Nebraska's Tim Beck. He has an option system that's one coherent whole and has been the productive half of the Cornhusker outfit for the last few years without amazing talent at the helm. He is also likely to be a free agent after the year. You'd have to figure out if he can run a passing-oriented offense first since Shane Morris isn't going to be running around like a maniac. But this is all fantasyland anyway.
I know your mailbox is full with football questions but I have a a couple hockey related questions.
First, after watching the Tech series Nagelvoort is clearly a high caliber goalie saving 56 of 59 shots (95% save percentage). Early in the season Racine looked solid with a 93% save percentage in two and half games before going down with a groin injury. If you are Red, what do you with the goalie situation? Do you split series a la 2011 with Hunwick on Friday and Hogan on Saturday until one emerges? Ride the hot hand with Nagelvoort or go back to the presumed starter with Racine?
Second, I have been a student ticket holder for the past 3 seasons. I hear a lot about the "glory days" of Yost can you talk about what exactly made those years so much better? Are the cheers stale? Is it purely an attendance issue? Did the renovations take away from the "aura" of Yost?
Thanks for the insight.
Sir. I love you. You are the best.
GOALIE STUFF: Racine is on quite a streak himself; I think at the very least when he is ready to play you have to go to a platoon. A lot of teams have done this; I remember going back to ND and Miami stats when previewing them and noting that they had two goalies who had split the games near-evenly. You don't have that much data on either guy; it seems like at this point you should give each guy one game on a weekend until such time as it seems one of them has separated themselves.
This is an excellent situation to be in. I mean… last year versus this year.
YOST STUFF: Hey man I don't want to harsh on you. Those students who are in the building nightly singing O Canada the 10 minute mark are my guys. I love that. Hagelin flag, etc.
Back in the day the entirety of that side of the ice was students, and there were about 30-40% more seats available before two different renovations, both of which screwed over the students. The first added that overhang for people who like to spend lots of money to not attend hockey games. (You probably don't know this since you're directly under them but the club seat section is never more than 50% full. Never.) That instantly cut out 3-4 rows and made about 4 more crappy seats where you had to duck to see anything, and made a big chunk of the student section almost separate from the rest of the arena. I was back there one year. It was awful.
The second stripped out most of the glass-level seats and altered the row structure such that there is very little student presence behind either of the benches. Back in the day, the oldest, meanest students sat behind the opposing bench and said horrible things about the opposition on the ice such that it was a not-infrequent occurrence for the parents of those players to trundle back into the student section trying to punch someone. This was scary and ridiculously awesome. It probably couldn't last. It hasn't.
Combine that with hostility to the penalty box cheer (band playing over it, Red exhorting it to stop) and the student section has necessarily gotten way less weird and unique and awesome over the past decade. About 80% of this is on the athletic department, and about 80% of that 80% was the Bill Martin department. They looked at SI articles describing the student section's cheer as a blight instead of a treasure and reacted accordingly. They've been crapping on the students ever since. None of this is actually the students' fault, except insofar as they were unable to come up with completely clean cheers that would show up in SI.
(The other 20% was that season-ending game where the dancing spread to the entire section, and now the student section is a bunch of FUN PEOPLE who LIKE CANDY and LIKE DANCING and LIKE FUN instead of terrible twisted misanthropes taking their frustrations on life out on innocent student athletes. Some people.)
The cost is becoming apparent. These days the student section is probably a quarter of what it was at its heyday and the corresponding drop in enthusiasm is obvious. In the heyday you knew that it was a football Saturday because the game was relatively muted, and you knew that Michigan had lost when the crowd was barely alive; after Saturday's game there was basically no difference in crowd enthusiasm from Friday. Yost is just another arena now.
Anyone recall the fan(parent?) of an opponent who showed up on the second night of a series at Yost with a carrot on a stick? That was wierd and we made that known. (BTW - This was probably the 98-99 season).
Don't remember a carrot on the stick but do remember the following;
Mrs Cockburn - After chanting "Cockburn" over and over again, a Northern Michigan Mom stood up and just started shouting "Shutup! Shutup! Shutup!". Amazingly the students were silented for a moment, before quickly turning in a "Mrs Cockburn" chant.
Fighting Parent - A rousing "Jersey Chasers" chant led some opposing girls to leave early. Before one did, she ran up and slapped a Michigan Student in the face, who pushed her away and down a few roles. An opposing parent went after the Student who had stood up by this time. Unfortunetly for the parent, he was a head shorter than the student and fell into a headlock. Amazingly the girl and parent were sent away, and the student got to come back to an applause.
Sign Guy - Way more tame and less cool, but a Notre Dame parent brought some sheets of paper and had written stuff on them like "basketball" and some other clever one liners. My friends and I kept prompting him to hold up the signs for the first two periods. We were dissapointed when he didn't return for the third, only to find joy again that he had moved to the west side of the stadium where we continued to chant out his signs
Probably not cool stories, but as Brian said, it was a bold choice to surround the opposing fans with the student section.
For one game, I also had to sit under the second ier. It was horrible. I couldn't hear anything and felt like I was missing action.
Yes! I remember that... one of my favorite Yost memories. I remember tauting that parent more than watching the game that evening.
Not to sound like an airhead, but is the general consensus on Derrick Green's ability going forward not high? Major recruit that seems to be a bit overlooked in the sadness.
Expectations were sky high for him among UM fans.
His big upside was supposedly that he had a college ready body out of HS and had an unusual size/speed combo. Fans saw him as the #1 ranked RB (on some sites, which are obviously the only ones that know anything) and expected him to come in and be a freshman All-American.
His HS film showed that he did not really have great balance and did not break a lot of tackles for a player his size against HS competition, but that wasn't important because, #1 ranked RB!
He came into Fall camp and rather than the large but slim bowling ball he was in high school, he seemed a bit "doughy," at least in the eyes of some.
He hasn't been able to earn more than a few carries over Fitz, who has looked much worse due to the OL, but probably isn't much more than serviceable in the type of offense that the coaches want to run.
When he has gotten time, he hasn't really flashed the way that stud freshmen RBs tend to do. Even if stuck behind a veteran, most 5 star running backs manage to earn some carries as a freshman, and even if not, they bust big plays in garbage time and show their natural ability.
He's gotten 2 TDs, but generally hasn't quite broken arm tackles and shown the natural ability that fans would expect out of a #1 RB recruit.
He still could have a good, maybe even great career at Michigan, but early signs are not nearly as promising as fans (maybe unreasonably) expected, so their revised expectations are rather low.
We had every reason to have high expectations. Not only was he recruited by every single major program in the country, but he was the most impressive offensive player at the AAA Bowl. Even among other 5-stars, he was the best.
He was indeed very highly recruited, but for what it's worth he had been seemingly favoring OSU since Tressel was there but OSU took Ezekiel Elliot instead of waiting till NSD for him.
And he was good in the Army game, but he wasn't MVP like you seem to be remembering. He rushed 8 times for 49 yards. Good, but not head and shoulders above the other players there.
And, for what it's worth, 247sports had him as the 8th best running back, and their composite had him at 4th best.
Don't get me wrong, those rankings are great, but it seems like a lot of UM fans got caught up in a positive feeback loop where they held every high ranking of him as sacrosanct and ignored any that said he was good but not quite "Freshman All-American elite."
There were plenty of warnings to tell fans that they shouldn't expect Adrian Peterson day 1, but they were mostly ignored, it seems like.
I didn't say he was the MVP of the actual game, but all reports had him as the most impressive player that entire week. And even if we'd say he's the #4 RB, that's still reason for high expectations.
Now, not Adrian Peterson level expectations, so if anyone had those, I agree they were wrong. But it wasn't wrong to think he could be a great RB.
but is the general consensus on Derrick Green's ability going forward not high?
My sense is he'll end up being pretty good. Yes, he's vulnerable to ankle tackles. And my guess is the game is faster than he's able to deal with right now. But with some more game time, some blocking up front, he'll be getting into the second level of the defense where he'll be a load for safeties to take down. I doubt he'll ever been the 80 yard speed burner. But I think he'll become a good 20+ carry, 100+ yard back soon enough.
I think he'll be pretty good but never quite live up to the expectations (understandably). He seems like a guy that needs a good hole to get going and we haven't been close to giving that to him. I don't think he'll quite have the tackle breaking ability we were all hoping for from a guy his size, but he'll certainly improve in that department, and his straight line speed will still be an asset. The coaches don't have much confidence in him as a pass blocker, but he seems pretty decent at the physical part of it at least, and if he can pick up the mental aspect he'll have a lot of utility because he's built to handle the high number of carries.
If all goes well, he'll be a lot like Chris Perry. Perry was also a highly touted power back coming out of HS. He played sparingly until his junior year, when he was a decent back splitting carries with BJ Askew. As a senior, he was in the top 5 in Heisman voting. Green may be forced into a faster progression, splitting carries next year with Johnson/Smith. But if we get a Perry-like senior year, I'll be more than happy with him.
List of coaches who need to hit the sticks, in order of priority
the TE coach who can't get this kids to block
The offense needs to take a long, hard look at itself, perhaps in for an overhaul.
And Michigan doesn't have a single TE with 2 years of experience on their roster. The fact that the TEs are as good as they are, at so young, is enough to keep the TE coach.
But some school has a very good freshman tight end. The exception proves the rule, duh.
I'm dying for some actual insight from a guy that PLAYED for these coaches.
Of course he doesn't owe us anything, he gave enough, and he sure as shit knew how to block.
I like Dan too. In fact, I was wondering the same thing re: the two goalies. I think the hot hand phenomenon is interesting, but it's relevant in this instance that Michigan doesn't play again until November 15th. With that much time I'd think Racine will be healthy enough to go and a Friday/Saturday split start system will be used.
Hoke won the wet T-shirt contest on Saturday, I'll give him that.
There are many valid criticisms of Rodriguez, inept OL recruiting is not one of them. He did a fantastic job of recruiting OL for his system and had a relatively high rate of success despite notable misses (e.g. ONeill, Wermers, Posada) without even counting Campbell or Washington (either of which could have made a solid college OLmen.)
Rodriguez's OL recruiting was FAR from inept, it was excellent when you factor in his development and rate of success. Yes, the gap in recruiting numbers for the position is currently debilitating, and that can be blamed on Rodriguez, but it was inept only that it didn't set up his replacement for success.
If you recall, Rodriguez brought in a 6 person OL class in '08 and a 3 person OL class in '09. Those classes produced Lewan, Schofield, Omameh, Barnum, amongst others. If Barnum is healthy, that's 4 multi-year starters. Between them (and Molk) he had a starting OL all lined up. That's why he didn't need to recruit OL heavily in '10. The once spot he had to replace (Molk) was addressed (for his system) by Miller and Pace.
In '11 he had Jake Fisher amongst other players that may or may not have fit his system. He can't be blamed for the transition and how Hoke finished the class.
The same problems we see today wouldn't have been there under Rodriguez. If nothing else, Rodriguez showed he could get linemen playing at a competant level a lot faster than Hoke-Borges-Funk have shown with Kalis/Magnuson/Braden/Bars. So the '11 and '12 (and '13) classes would vey likely have yielded more production than what you're seeing on the field now.
This is not inept.
I was as ALL IN for Rodriguez as anyone, but I feel like I only 50-70% agree with you. I agree about 2008 and 2009, and perhaps he thought he could essentially take a year off of OL recruiting in 2010 and then 2011 is more on the transition than RR, but it seems like you should never take most of an OL year off. Yes, Pace and Miller, but it seems like what we are learning is that OL is kind of a crapshoot so it's probably best to take, what, 3-5 (?) every year to hedge your bets.
You have 4 guys you trust to start for the next 3-4 years on campus already. I'm not talking recruiting rankings, I'm talking kids who have played or at least practiced for you that you believe in.
Support Rodriguez or not, you had to acknowledge the run game was productive and the sacks were infrequent under Rodriguez in 09 and 10 (i.e., the OL measures were good). While some just credit it all to Molk, it seems certain to me this was not due to inherited talent, but rather, development and recruiting. Huyge and Molk were the only ones contributing by 2010 that were not Rodriguez guys. Omameh was a system fit, Schofield and Lewan were just plain good. There was competant depth behind them.
We always knew OL was a bit of a crapshoot. You look through the Carr recruits and you got a success rate near 50-60% on them, 4-stars or not, just to get guys that were playable. Rodriguez did better than that. What he did with Omameh (and, again Barnum was viewed as a starter whenever he was healthy) and the fact that Lewan proved to be so damn good and Schofield quickly competant -- you had to understand his confidence in developing OLmen quickly. Even guys like Mealer and Khoury were playing better as upperclassmen than some of the guys playing now with far more impressive profiles and offers.
I don't think he wanted to take a year off OL recruiting, but given the circumstances on the D side, you can certainly understand why he felt he might be justified in doing so. 2011 is an X-factor, but we know Fisher was a commit and Bryant was on the verge. Either could be a great player right now for Rodriguez, but now we're in hypothetical land.
In short, no one can say that Rodriguez was setting himself up for the OL failings that we see now. Damn near every position besides QB and OL can be questioned IMO, but these two were very solid and they're why Rodriguez had a good offense.
Rodriguez's OL sucked in '08 but it had neither talent nor experience in the system. We have a similar debacle going in '13 but a)it's not year one and b) there is plenty of talent.
The big difference is that we are running a scheme that is complicated and REQUIRES experience, vs a system that is simple and ENHANCED by it. That's not Rodriguez's fault nor an indicator of him being inept.
You are kidding, right? Serious, you have to be kidding, right?
How many of the 6-person 2008 class are still on the roster? How many of the 2009 class are still on the roster?
And now what about 2010? "He didn't need to recruit OL heavily in '10" you say. OL is a position in which you need depth, which is why you always take at least 3 per class, often more. Having only taken only 3 in 2009, it was moronic to only take 1 in 2010. You really think that taking 4 OL in 2 years was a smart call on his part?
What next? The 2010 defense was really super good, and that it was all Lloyd and Hoke's fault? Come on man, give it up.
As I said, I don't totally agree with Mat's position. On the other hand, one could imagine a goal of loading up in 2011 (which some recruitniks will probably disavow me of), which would have softened the blow of 2010. In other words, had he not been fired, one would think he would have taken a big 2011 OL class to make up for 2009 and especially 2010. The fact that he didn't have that opportunity is not really his fault--coaching transitions mess things up, after all.
But yes, I think we would all agree that 2010 was a disaster. How much of that disaster was due to the coaching transition (i.e., some of the 2010 attrition was likely due to the transition, as was true of the exits of Arrington, Mallett, Manningham, Clemons, etc. in the Lloyd-to-RR transition) and how much was straight whiffing on RR's part is up for debate.
The 08 class graduated, man. They took 3 starters with them. The '09 OL class is 3/3 in starters (though one of them is on defense). RR punted on '10 in favor of defense, figuring he could fill the remaining needs in '11, but that class never happened so...
When your scheme requires you to fill an immediate recruiting need, you sometimes have to back off in the future when you overcompensate in year one. Hoke is doing the same kind of stuff that Rodriguez did. He punted on WR because he had too many on the roster. Instead he took a bunch of DL and LB and then eased off LB in '13 knowing he could fill needs in '14.
Bottomline: it is not inept to address your needs, and cut corners at other positions to do it. certainly not when you have young players you KNOW can play. Not every class is going to be 22 starters at each position on the field.
That might be due to the OL coach, Greg Frey, who's now at Indiana and apparently doing very well in that department. Out of any of the coaches on RR's staff who Hoke should have considered retaining, Frey is the one. Obviously given Funk's relationship with Hoke that wasn't going to happen, but I think he's got a better track record than Funk.
But Frey was the one guy Rich wouldn't take with him to Arizona. Now he's a guru?
or didn't take? Frey has been at Indiana since RR was fired, apparently he wasn't waiting around holding onto coat tails. He's from Ohio, has a good thing going, why uproot again and move 1500 miles away?
People left Pitt to go to Arizona. Casteel left West Virginia for less money. I know Indiana is looking almost ok right now, and Arizona doesn't have much better tradition, but it's not like it's a can't leave job.
If you want to argue that RR's staff (specifically Frey) developed linemen well, I'd agree - and Frey seems to be doing well at Indiana, too. But he recruited way too few of them altogether. OL recruiting is the ultimate numbers game; it's a very difficult position to evaluate coming out of HS, so you need to bring in large numbers if you want a good line. We played with fire with our tiny OL classes from 2009-11.
If you think/prove you can develope them at a higher rate, then you can take fewer of them.
Playing with fire? OK, sure. But it was a justifiable risk given what was happening on D and what was on the roster on O.
I think Frey is certainly part of the development, but I'm also convinced that the system/techniques were more teachable and required less physical development.
I agree on his system being easier on offensive lineman. They ran fewer, more basic protections because the passing game was predicated on short stuff. They also ran essentially 2 run plays, inside and outside zone. Frey may very well be a damn good line coach.
But bringing in 4 linemen over 2009-2010 was crazy. Particularly egregious was the 1 out of 27(!) class in 2010. There is no way around it. Even if he was 100% certain to develop, which is crazy to think, you're looking at a class of one guy. Imagine if Lewan had gone pro, thanks in part to Frey's great ability to develop linemen!
Not really crazy when you bring in 6 the previous year and you see that you have 5 reliable young starters on campus.
Think of it this way. Entering the 2010 season Rodriguez needs 20 OL player-seasons (5 starters x 4 years) over the next 4 years, to get through the 2013 season. With Lewan (FR), Schofield (FR), Omameh (SO), Barnum (SO), and Molk (JR) he has 16 of the 20. 80% of the need for the next 4 years has already been met, assuming they're healthy. And these aren't recruits we're talking about, they're kids on campus, practicing.
That's not normal, but it indicates the degree to which Rodriguez had nailed the OL as he entered the 2010 class. Molk was the only one that had to be replaced and so Pace was brought in. Otherwise, every position was set and there was additional depth on hand as well.
For the 2012 season, he had 4 starters already, and probably a 5th between Mealer and Khoury. All he needed was some depth/insurance.
In a hypothetical world where Rodriguez is still coaching here, the OL wouldn't be as bad as it is now. Lewan, Fisher and Schofield are 3/5s of your OL. Miller is probably a quality player in the spread, with the benefit of being in his 3rd season of practicing the same system/plays. The one other hole is filled by recruits from 2011, 2012, and 2013 classes. Burzynski, Bryant, or maybe even Washington could be filling that role in a spread attack too.
Unlike mauling teams like Wisconsin, spread teams don't need their linemen to bulk up to be 320. That means they can play sooner. Rodriguez knew he could find guys in the '11, '12, and '13 classes if he needed to because he was clear through 2012.
I've been arguing that we need more bodies on the OL since 2011. I've been arguing it's a position of uncertainty when everyone was projecting our 2014 OL to be dominant with Magnuson-Kalis-Miller-Bryant-Braden. But once a guy hits campus, and he shows you he can play, it's a different situation than being a recruit.
So, Rodriguez took a risk in 2010 and firing him in 2011 almost ensured that risk would be costly. If he hadn't been fired it'd be a different story...at that position anyway.
Those classes produced Lewan, Schofield, Omameh, Barnum, amongst others.
Not sure there are many you can name. Mealer did play one year, but was not a big win on the field, even if he was awesome off it. Everyone else didn't contribute at all (at least as an O-lineman). 4 of 9 isn't a great hit rate for contributors. Starters, maybe, but guys who were even good back ups only makes it 5 of 9.
Khoury and Mealer both played and were fine, as far as being depth players. Q was recruited for OL then flipped with Campbell (who was drafted to play OL in the NFL).
Of the 9 linemen Rodriguez recruited in 08-09, 7 became college starters. If you include Campbell (I do not), it would be 8/10. Wermers and Oneill were the only true busts and Oneill actually was an all-conference player for WMU.
Recruiting OL wasn't a problem for Rodriguez.
You're both correct to an extent. Rich Rod's ability to identify OL recruits was good. The problem is that he didn't establish adequate numbers. The ones he did recruit ended up performing to some extent, but he didn't have nearly the numbers that are often desired for the position (you typically want at least 5-6 OL in any 2 year period so that you at least have an upperclass group of players).
Edit: never mind, that discussion happened previously. Carry on.
Agree with you on the typically desireable numbers, and during a transition I'd say you want even more than that.
My point was that Rodriguez had reason to feel confident that he could take less than typical numbers given both his (and/or Frey's) talent identification and development.
He knew he'd potentially have to lean on some young kids inside down the line (in 2013) but with both freshman tackles looking like studs, plus a guy they LOVED in Q Washington, he needn't worry too much about 4 years down the line.
Especially when you consider the catostrophe happening on defense. His OL recruiting was good and he took a reasonable/calculated risk in taking fewer guys to address D. This is pragmatic, not inept.
Rodriguez can be blamed for Michigan's current OL failingings, but he can not be called inept (in this regard.) They are two different things.
pasquale told always told us in hockey band that the reason we had to play over it was so the games could be on TV. The athletic department apparently frowned upon broadcasting CHUMPDICKWUSSDOUCHEBAGASSHOLEPRICKCHEATERBITCHSLUUUUTCOOOCKSUCKER to televisions around michigan so we had to try and drown it out. The upside is now those of us who arent in michigan can watch the games more often (super pumped for B1G season when almost all the games are on tv and i dont have to stream it).
recruiting classes, is there any likelihood our line would be better than what appeared on the field this season? I'm pretty ignorant on the success of JuCo transfers, and I'm guessing Hoke's emphasis is on developing players, which isn't something you get much time to do with transfers. I'm guessing you're more likely to find skills position players at the junior college level than linemen, but, again, that's just speculation.
Not an expert, but I don't think Michigan is too high on JUCO players, anyone back me on this?
It's very hard for JUCO transfers to get admitted to Michigan.
As much as the O Line struggled Saturday, everyone needs to take a deep breath. They are hellaciously young, and Funk will get them turned around eventually. You just can't replace experience and maturity on the line. I don't give a crap about other "young" offensive lines that are deemed successful, when you have your interior three that are as green as grass, you WILL struggle. I don't care if Alex Gibbs is the OL coach, the result would be similar.
MSU fans were ready to buy Mark Staten (MSU OL coach) a one way ticket out of East Lansing last year due to the poor OL play. Much like Michigan, MSU had a lot of injuries, inexperience, and guys playing out of position. This year MSU is healthy and rotating 7 guys, including their damn centers. And now Staten is hailed as being a really good coach. I expect to see the same from Funk. Give him some healthy bodies that he can consistently put on the field and see what happens. Brian says as much in his write up...go with what you have and see how much better you can make them, and hope they are mildly proficient by the time tOSU rolls into town.
QB forced to run 20x a game
It's concerning that guys like Barnum and Omameh seemed to regress relative to where they were.
It's also concerning that NONE of the four RS freshman OL appear ready yet.
This is pretty much the call to reason I was hoping to read. While no one is happy with performances like Saturday's, I see this team on a very upward trajectory, mainly due to recruiting and the "crater" where the senior class should be. Firing is the easy part of the equation, but unless there is someone better suited for the job who those people think would realistically take the job and they can name them, it's only half an argument.
I had a lot of hope for this year that obviously isn't going to be fulfilled, but the idea of going through yet another coaching change is completely unpalatable. Borges bears much fo the blame for the performance this year, but I also think the offense-without-an-identity is partially due to the fact that he ran a spread (which we all applauded) for 2 years. It's technically year 3, but really only year 1 in the Borges system. They should still be farther along, but that with the youth should at least cast doubt on the "he needs to be fired immediately" argument.
Brian's point about transitions is the one everyone seems to forget. - they take time. Let the guy prove he can't win with his own class of seniors before jumping back into the cesspool of coaching changes.
This is why I love MGoBlog.
Great answers to all three questions, full of rational thinking despite the temptation (that I feel myself) to get MOAR ANGREEE!
While next year should show us some marked improvement from Hoke's first full class (2012), we won't be in full bloom until 2015 or 2016. Dantonio had to deal with similar circumstances.
Perhaps Saban and Meyer have done worse things to college football than be complete douchebags: they have created unrealistic expectations for fans. And even that is a bit skewed: Saban has never even immediately taken a program from bad to great. MSU only had fewer than five losses in his fifth season, LSU only had fewer than three losses in one season, and even at 'Bama his first season was a 7-6 attempt. In fact, at LSU, he was 5-3 in the SEC his first three seasons.
Meyer is the true exception to the rule. Dude turns around programs on day one, and may be the best scheme-and-execute coach in college football history. I hate Ohio State as much as anyone, but to deny Meyer's ability to win is to deny reality. In 12 years as a HC, Meyer has ZERO seasons with fewer than eight wins and only two eight-win campaigns: his first year with Bowling Green (YTBG) and his last year with Florida. While his character may be rightfully questioned, that guy can get his kids to execute his excellent gameplans.
Cosign. The amount of dismissive Meyer-bashing that goes on around here sometimes is comical. He might be sleazy as hell, but he's a tremendous coach. If Hoke had Meyer's exact same on-the-field record people would be clamoring to erect a statue of him down at Stadium and Main.
Please cite a source for #1 if you are going to make a claim like that. That's a nasty rumor to spread about someone you have probably never met, especially when it seems like there is no basis to it.
As for #2, yeah he had a lot of arrests, but it wasn't exactly "record setting." I believe Georgia had more over the same time span, so it wasn't even the most in the conference. And Michigan just had a player arrested a week ago, so it's probably not the best time for pointing fingers elsewhere.
And the recruiting rankings sure don't show UF "being out-recruited for 3 years" prior to Meyer retiring. Here are the recruiting rankings from 2006-2009 for UF:
2006: #2 nationally
2007: #1 nationally
2008: #3 nationally
2009: #11 nationally
The upperclassmen in 2010 were exceptionally talented. What hurt UF the most is that their best coordinators got hired away as HCs and Urban retired in 2009, only to be convinced to come back as a shell of himself in 2010.
I feel like Schofield should have been moved to LG and Magnuson at RT, ride with Glasgow and Kalis in the interior...Miller was not a good blocker. If Schofield is good enough to play in the NFL, teams would give him a chance to try at RT at that point, moving him to LG where he played well before would only improve his resume', not hurt it. Imagine how good the left side of the line would be that way.
We need a QB coach, plain and simple, Borges is not getting it done in that regard. I'm not sure about Gardner moving forward either, he doesn't read defenses well, is this because of the lack of a QB coach?
I also wonder if Montgomery leaving has hurt our D-Line play. Pipkins was supposed to be a stud who dominated the guy in front of him and he's been meh since enrolling, why is this? I also believe there is a leadership void sans Kovaks. I don't like bend but don't break defenses, I like defenses that are in attack mode and daring teams to move the ball.
Why is Wile not the regular FG kicker, he's obviously better than Gibbons, are we in the business of coddling players feelings or winning?
Many things are amiss, I just hope Hoke can figure things out, right now, I'm concerned and hopefully it will improve but Hoke seems too stubborn to me thus far, he needs to look at himself first.
I disagree that Pipkin's been meh. The guy was a contributer as a freshman and co-starter as a sophmore. He looked to be coming on before injury too. The focus on recruiting lately has been such that I think people are having a bit of warped perceptions on the instant impact it has on a program (see Derrick Green), especially at positions on either line.
Also, Gibbon's has been shaky lately, but we are still talking about a guy that was damn near automatic inside the 40 the last two years prior to that. What have you seen that makes you say Wile is "obviously" better? Bigger leg maybe.
but Wile does have a bigger leg, he kicked the 49 yd FG with ease against the wind and Gibbons barely made the chip shot with the wind after it hit the goal post. Also, Wile should have been the one to kick the 52 yarder at PSU at the end of the game, these are bad decisions, plain and simple, the results tell you this.