How about Moeller's first year? (Gonna have to dig) but I think EVERY position on O had a soph/jr/sr that ended up in the NFL.
And he went 9-0-3.
Man, if a coach could have walked into a stocked cupboard like that in 2008, huh?
The Mountain Will Come To Michigan
Published reaction to the Day of Slight Reckoning has mostly fallen into two camps. One focuses on how the prideful block M has been brought low; addressing that is left for another post. The second shrugs at the end result, adds it to the ever-growing pile to strikes against Rodriguez, and quickly segues into a discussion of Rodriguez's presence on the proverbial hot seat, which is deemed hot indeed. Unlike last year, when a smattering of dips said Rodriguez was in danger of losing his job, there's no denying the reality of it: there are 2010 football seasons that end with Rodriguez getting run out of town on a rail.
How many are there? It will come as no surprise to anyone who's read this blog for a long time that I believe there are (and should be) considerably fewer than the popular conception does. Heck, I (and Dave from Maize 'n' Brew) just managed to convince Doug Gillett of this. For the last year and a half this space has been advocating radical patience.
For an example what seems to be the conventional wisdom, Bruce Feldman has a piece($) in which he repeatedly asks for much more than I think is reasonable for RR to deliver next year:
This is still Michigan, growing pains or not. This isn't a normal rebuilding job. Going 8-4 may not even be a strong enough sign that Michigan is rocketing back to the top and all of this tumult in the previous two years were worth it. …
Again, 8-4 might not be enough. Michigan needs to go back to winning like Michigan used to. Now.
Similarly, Dan Wetzel declares that setting the bar at a return to a bowl game is "incredibly low."
I had a twitter conversation with Feldman about this assertion a couple days ago. During that one of the tweets hit my main account—forgot the "d"—and thus the Facebooks, where it drew a chorus of raspberries because I asserted that going from 5-7 to 7-5 whilst replacing Baby Seal U with UConn would be "significant" progress. (It's since been pointed out that Michigan is playing a I-AA team next year so they're replacing with Eastern Michigan with UConn, but it's not like there's much difference between EMU and a horrible HBCU except when it comes to the entertainment provided by the marching band.) Patience is running low.
I know it's my role as the crazy fan blogger to demand the head of the coach when he fails to live up to my crazy expectations, but if we're seriously talking about an 8-4 regular season "not being enough" for Rodriguez to get a year four Michigan should have just fired him already. If this ends up being an 8-4 team the Mathlete's luck chart will have Michigan considerably on the happy side of the ledger.
- Aforementioned schedule upgrade.
- In games against non-baby-seals last year, Michigan was outgained 410-353 on average. They did not outgain any BCS opponent other than Purdue.
- The two-deep at safety, which covers three spots, has two walk-ons and zero upperclassmen. The corner depth is horrifying, as well.
- The quarterback depth chart also features zero upperclassmen.
- The scholarship breakdown looks like so: 11 seniors, 13 juniors, 20 sophomores, and 39 freshmen. The defense as a whole remains extremely young relative to competition:
The 2009 and 2010 classes make up about half of each unit for our rivals; for us it's about 75 percent..
- Only four seniors project as starters.
"This is still Michigan" is demonstrably false. Even in year three this remains a desperately young team with major holes in the secondary and no upperclass quarterbacks. Rodriguez's responsibility for the state of the state of the roster is limited to the absence of Terrelle Pryor, or any marginally acceptable option at quarterback from his first two months on the job, and a couple of would-be-sophomores Rodriguez did not add to the end of his first full recruiting class. You can wave your hands and say "Michigan! Rabble rabble rabble!" all you want but if you dressed these guys up like Generic State University people would expect them to go .500.
Progress is mandatory, but firing a guy because he's not healing lepers is unwise. This is a team that deserved to go 3-9 in 2008 and had four non-freshman defensive backs on the roster last year. Rebuilding from that is not a short-term operation. We've been through why this happened many times before; suffice it to say Rodriguez's margin of error to prevent a wholesale cratering was infinitesimal.
Later in Feldman's piece he says Rodriguez is an "excellent coach" and "proven winner" who "knows how to develop talent and motivate players." If this is the case—and everything in his coaching tenure before Michigan suggests so—why shouldn't Michigan give him the benefit of the doubt? They are not going to hire a coach with two BCS wins to his name next offseason. Patience is warranted. One year now (to be clear: 2011) has the potential to pay off with a 20-year stretch of success. While recruiting has suffered Michigan's classes are well within the range where Michigan can expect to compete for Big Ten championships when it is not operating with literally half the upperclassmen of its primary rivals.
My personal measuring stick for Rodriguez: yardage parity and a winning record. I would be displeased with 7-6 but willing to grit my teeth and give Rodriguez a shot in 2011, when he will return both specialists, every starter on offense save Steve Schilling and all but three starters on defense. That will seem exceptionally kind to many, I know, but literally no coach in the country could take the leftovers after Mallett's transfer and do anything other than flail as Rodriguez has.
2008 was a complete waste. To me, this is year two for Rodriguez, and 2011 is when I expect rubber to meet road.
How about Moeller's first year? (Gonna have to dig) but I think EVERY position on O had a soph/jr/sr that ended up in the NFL.
His 3rd year, not his first. He started in 1990, starting by winning 3 straight Big Ten Titles...taking the 2 Bo had finished with to 5 straight. Might want to do more digging.
That was the 1992 squad. 3 All-Americans: Joe Cocozzo, Chris Hutchinson, Derrick Alexander 12 All-Conference: Elvis Grbac, Chris Hutchinson, Derrick Alexander, Corwin Brown, Joe Cocozzo, Rob Doherty, Matt Dyson, Steve Everitt, Tony McGee, Shonte Peoples, Doug Skene, Tyrone Wheatley
The 1990 squad went 9-3, lost to ND in South Bend, then back-to-back 1-point home losses to MSU (Desmond interfered with in the end zone when Moeller went for 2pts and the win, no call) and Iowa. All Americans: Tripp Welborne, Dean Dingman & Greg Skrepenak.
Desmond was all conference.
That 1990 squad lost 3 games by 6 pts (4, 1 & 1). That non-call vs. MSU still smarts.
...when the games they lost were by 7, 3, 3, 4, and 4 points, and you can say they were "x" away from 5 more wins. (And if you want a coulda shoulda - Alamo Bowl makes a much strong exhibit). They were neither. What WAS true was that team faced more offensive lines injuries than any squad I've ever seen (more than just losing David Molk), where everyone but Long spent some serious time in rehab.
And the first two of those 4 loss seasons in a row were Moeller, not Lloyd.
My post was aimed more at the "but we're/you're/they're MICHIGAN" crowd (I'm looking at you, ink-stained wretches!), where 11 win seasons are the norm. All those seasons I'd noted, among others the past 20 years, were NOT 11 win.
Jim Tressel -- entering 10th season
Mack Brown - entering 13th season
Kirk Ferentz - entering 12th season
Bob Stoops - entering 12th season
So, maybe 20 years is a bit of a stretch, but at least 10 would not be.
RR is not going to another school. Michigan would match any salary that some other school would throw at him. He is also not going to the NFL unless he does something ridiculous like win 3 NCs in a row, and even then he would have to show that the spread can work in the NFL. Only way RR is out at Michigan is the pink slip (I hope it does not come to that).
I don't see RR ever going to the NFL--his brand of football doesn't fly there. Or at least that's what people say. If he turns Michigan into a monster program, where else is there to go? M will pay what they need to if he really gets it going. I don't see another college program snagging him away unless M wants him to leave.
thanks for writing exactly the same thing i did
Get over it.
It would appear your thoughts aren't so unique.
Aw come on. Let's say Rich goes all Urban Meyer and win's two and is in contention for three in a 4 year span. He's now doing it in the rough and tough, punishing Big Ten. This eliminates much of the "this won't work in the big boy leagues" meme.
Can't you just see Jerry Jones or someone throwing a lot of money his way, and Rich saying F y'all. You treated me like shit. See ya!
If this is year 2 for Rodriguez can we expect to the his usual year 2 bump that we all expected last fall?
i can't stand the amount of knee jerk reaction to firing coaches in the NCAA. I think a new coach at any program deserves at least 4 years before even talking about a regime change. When you are attempting what RR is, I think it is not out of the question to be patient far at least this amount of time. First two years - the personnel just wasn't there, so you have to rebuild through recruiting. However, with two losing seasons, you can't expect to get all the recruits you want/need. RR has done a phenominal job of recruiting the past two years, and we might see the benefits of these efforts on the field this fall. I say might because all of "his" guys are still so young. So, IMHO, I don't think RR should be on a hot seat at all untill at least one more year. Getting rid of him before 2011 wiould simply put us back to square one. I may be more patient than most, but I am trying to focus on the long term good and stability of the program and not the immediate win/loss record.
Exactly. We fire Rich Rob and we set ourselves back three more years. Plus who would come here knowing they have to re-tool the offense and will be worried about the short leash. Les Miles who is about to get run out of LSU for inept coaching?
Finally, someone with a voice of reason. This is exactly right. If we fire RR within the next year, and install guy X, mr. X will want to bring in his own brand of recruits. We'll be caught in flux for another 3-4 years.
No, we've went all in with RR when we hired him. We knew full well that he was going to completely retool the team with his brand of speed/spread option players. Backing out now is like going to your house when its being remodeled from top to bottom and complaining about exposed insulation and holes in the drywall. IT'S UNDER FUCKING CONSTRUCTION.
Just be patient and wait for the final product. Yeah, if they end up screwing you by not doing any work, then you have a right to complain. But give the builder a chance to do his job. Cuz if you hire someone else it'll take even longer to fix.
And that's really the Catch-22 with axing RR early: the team is set up right now as a spread offense, so you'd need to either hire another spread coach, or hire someone who runs a different offense and then wait 3+ years for his recruits to get into place.
Even had Arrington, Mallett, et al stayed in 2008, I don't think the record would've been much better: those guys were pro-style guys and wouldn't have been as suited for the spread. Shit takes times to implement. I'll take Brian's patience and raise him: I expect this year and next to show improvements, but I don't think we can evaluate RR until 2012 when Tate, Denard, et al are seniors.
Is 7-5, 8-4 regular season that far fetched?
Stand firm on this, Brian. It's the only thing that makes sense, emotions aside. Firing RR after a sub-par 2010 would be disasterous, and would only prolong the recovery by another 3-4 years. I don't have that kind of patience. And besides that, I think Michigan will be unstoppable once RR gets this thing rolling. My prediction since he stepped on campus (minus Pryor) has been that 2011 would bring massive happiness. I was thinking 2010 if we did land Pryor, but, alas, we don't have him. Fine by me at this point. Forcier, Robinson and Gardner are a sweeter deal for longterm success.
As long as the defense improves this year, I think we'll be fine. In this guy's opinion, a qualified coach should at least have 4-5 years at a school to prove themselves; at least give them a year with their own recruits as seniors.
And if we can just get through this year, I firmly believe we'll be excellent in 2011.
The other side of the young players in Michigan's case is how many of them played their Freshmen or Redshirt Freshmen years? Guys like Roh or Campbell that yes are still underclassmen, but they had significant playing time as younger players. Young guys with experiance can be a dangerously good combination.
I figure if we want to have a real chance at winning this season we need to have enough of the players already on the roster play. That means a Maximum of 2-3 incoming Freshmen coming in and seeing significant playing time in the 2 deep. The fact that guys like Dorsey, Christian, Black, Furman, Hagerup, and Robinson have a real shot at playing significant roles is really scary IMO.
I think the difference between class and experience is a good point here. Yes, UM has a small number of upperclassmen, but they have a good amount of starts under their belt. (I think Mathlete quantified this somewhere). I'll take a true sophomore who started all last season over a redshirt junior who has barely sniffed the field. I think this year will be better than 7-6 and I will be surprised if it isn't.
There's also the physical development of the player to be considered. A RS Freshman or true Sophomore is really only about 19 years old. A RS Junior making his first start, on the other hand, is at least 21. Those additional two years make a big difference in terms of strength and conditioning, as well as the body's maturation.
In my opinion, there is one coach in the country who can win with ABSOLUTELY ANYBODY. His name is Brian Kelly. And in 2007, Rich Rodriguez looked exactly like Brian Kelly does in 2010.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to repeat his success at Notre Dame.
But yeah, you're smoking some crack with that 'dozen' comment, brohammer up there.
The issue maybe that the competition in the Big East isn't very good and an above average coach looks great. I know Kelly was gone, but Cincinnati sure didn't look like world beaters against Florida. Success in the Big East may not equate to success in other BCS conferences.
since his resume is the same prior to coming here. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just sayin
RR's teams beat the SEC and Big 12 Champions in BCS bowl games. Kelly's Cincinnati teams lost by two touchdowns to a VaTech team ranked lower than them in the Orange Bowl and got smoked by Florida.
If they fired RR after this season, the person that came in to replace him would have a "loaded cupboard" as opposed to the "empty cupboard" that RR had. This would almost guarantee success and essentially prove all the RR haters right.
I really hope he gets to 2011.
It might be loaded, but if RR is fired, we won't be running the spread n shred. It'll be a prostyle offense, so there will be more growing pains.
We have some lovely parting gifts, and a copy of the MGoBlog Home Edition, just for you back stage.
but paragraph eleven contains two sentences.
Don't yell and give us the facts. Plus give us solutions
Who would you have hired?
What record would they have had with this roster?
What would you do now?
Would that guy get 2 years from you?
What has RR done to embarrass the U other than be defamed by the paper.
I like forward to your response because I seriously don't understand what people are looking for. RR's track record in his last 5 years at WV was the best in the country, he didn't get dumb flying a couple states over. I see progress until that progress stops in recruiting and on the field I don't know what people want.
"You can wave your hands and say "Michigan! Rabble rabble rabble!" all you want but if you dressed these guys up like Generic State University people would expect them to go .500."
Indeed. Why is that so hard for people to grasp?
Does anyone know if David Brandon reads MGoBlog? I'd like to know how he'd view the content. Favorably, I'd hope.
Well Brian just about summed up my entire existence for being on the board so I guess I'll just shut it down and read posts untill September. I think I can claim the 1st look forward to 2011 sometime during last year as being THE year. Everything still trending that way as far as I see it. I've never been more nervous for a season, not because expectations are so high, but because I don't want anything to fuck with the next one. I'll be sick if he's fired after this year and not given a chance to finish this and stick it up everyones ass.
...and the "2008 was a waste, 2010 is year two" is a GREAT close. i absolutely can't wait to drop that on the nitwits.
Decision - Have you made your decision for Christ?
All the Glengarry references on this board make me happy.
You have written eloquently and to the point. This is why my signature has been there (will accept 4 - 5 losses straight in Big 10 . . . as much as I don't want to, I will.)
It takes time and patience to build something worth keeping. The impatience and shortsighted thinking on the part of many M fans is galling. Thankfully, MSC & DB have RR's back, and I believe will give him through the 2011 season to prove himself.
One more thing . . . not that RR owes UM anything, but UM has been very loyal to him. I think this is at least part of the equation once the success begins, and that he will remember this loyalty to him.
I blame RichRod for:
Not bringing in at least a few 2-3* MAC-level defensive back and quarterback prospects his first year (you don't expect much that late in the recruiting season, but when you have as glaring as everyone has stated you need to do something about it, and don't tell me you couldn't get a few middling recruits to jump ship for a late Michigan offer).
Not making defensive back a major priority in his second recruiting class, again given the coming apocalypse there, where he should have been able to pull in some 4* recruits who could start as freshmen (at least over a walkon), as well as some quality depth.
These were obvious holes in previous recruiting classes, as MGoBlog has pointed out time and again. But if he had put any effort at all into closing these gaps, the defense would have at least been mediocre, and we never would have been subjected to the Nick Sheridan show. Those players would be entering this year as sophomores and juniors and most of the excuses for why this team will continue to be horrible for another year would disappear. The complaint against RR is not that he is failing to compete with Ohio State and Penn State yet, but that he has been failing to compete with Indiana and Toledo. That is a level of failure that even the initial roster depletion does not excuse.
In his two years Rodriguez has beaten Indiana and lost to Toledo in one of the weirdest, flukiest games I've ever seen. I think that fits the definition of competitive.
True, I'm sure RR would have liked to have more options in his first class. But seeing as he had very little time, he did a pretty damn good job of salvaging most of Carrs class and adding alot of good pieces.
In the few months that RR had, he went after Pryor, Daniels, and Sheppard. Obviously he didnt get any of these and had to settle with Feagin.
RR also did pretty damn good recruiting DBs, he just was unlucky. Cissoko, Floyd, and Smith were all 4 star types. Unfortunatly, Cissoko flamed out and Smith didn't fit and transfered.
RR's 2009 year wasn't focused on DBs? He signed Vlad, Witty, Cam Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Mike Jones, Teric Jones, and Justin Turner. Witty didn't make it in and alot of others havent shown what they can do yet, but they are all only RS Freshman. Give them a few years.
And you don't have to look far to see peoples point that 4 years is too much time, or 4 years is not enough. Look at coaches that have been around for 4 + years that were hired to "take the school to the mountaintop", I will get negged for this I am quite sure, but for the record I want RR there in 2011, but another part of me does not want another Ron Zook/Illinois type situation in 2 or 3 years. And if you don't see us being ALOT more competeive in the Big 10 this year, I think that situation is inevetable.
But, Coach Rod can coach. Zook is a tool who has made his name as a great recruiter. Now that is a program I wouldn't want to be a fan of this year.
The two-deep at safety, which covers three spots, has two walk-ons and zero upperclassmen. The corner depth is horrifying, as well.
[I]n 2011, when he will return both specialists, every starter on offense save Steve Schilling and all but three starters on defense.
It's gonna be another roller coaster year of emotions.
EDIT: There has to be a better editor than this
Part of returning to dominance is being able to beat your little brother. Lately, we've been like a boxer unable to beat his sparring partner. Before we can take out Iron Mike, we better be able to beat Glass Joe. I can handle 7-5 as long as we beat State and their model coach, saintly players and pristine athletic department.
Living in a world in which Michigan loses regularly to MSU is depressing.
two in a row does not "regularly" make.
Can the season just start already?
What a lot of RR haters don't realize is that if you fire Rodriguez, who are you going to hire that will translate into immediate success?
Jim Harbaugh is meh IMO and is going to have to rebuild to shape the team in his image.
Les Miles may be a smoother transition than Harbaugh, but he has too many other issues anyway, including a rebuild.
With those two being the names most thrown around, if you decide to stick with the spread, who do you hire?
Hiring Butch Jones would be weird considering he was RR's offensive coordinator.
Would Chip Kelly leave Oregon for Michigan and would M even want him considering the discipline issues?
I could obviously keep going, but from my point of view the best chance for success in an era of immediate demands and unreasonable expectations is to let Rodriguez keep his job as long as the team progresses from year to year unless a big time coach begs them for a job and the progress is minimal.