What so far has made you think this is going to happen? If it happens it will be the best tasting crow I have ever had, but I have resigned myself to 6-6 with a win over a injury ravaged Purdue team. Like I said I desperately hope they will be good, but I am done believing they will be good unless I see some sliver of evidence to the contrary.
The Tenuous Case For Keeping Rich Rodriguez
Where I'm at. The previous "when can we fire this guy" post?
(illustration via reader Brian Louwers)
I promised I wouldn't talk about Rich Rodriguez's job status until the season was over but apparently I'm going to. I blame everyone.
Too many posts in the Fire RR vein argue things no one is disputing. This one titled "The Buck Stops at Rodriguez," argues that a head coach is in charge of his program. This is not very enlightening. Neither is restating his record. We're all aware of Rich Rodriguez's record. We watched it. Saying "but this happened and I was sad" means you're answering the wrong question. You're answering the question "what will make me feel better?" Sometimes you're answering the question "who would have been the best choice for 2008?"
These are the questions I'm interested in:
- Which football coach will give Michigan the best record in 2011?
- What about 2012?
- What about 2015?
You hire a coach for the long term. I think you fire a coach for the short term, though, and the point at which you boot the last guy is when you think the next year isn't going to meet a reasonable minimum threshold of progress. I completely understand people who have hit that point. You can save your comments about how he needs to go—neither I nor anyone else cares to hear it for the one millionth time in the last three days. It's an understandable position. If Rich Rodriguez is cut loose after the season and Jim Harbaugh comes in I will not be in the streets with a bullhorn.
But I wouldn't endorse that move (at least not right now), because I think the answers to questions one and two are conditionally "Rich Rodriguez."
Upperclass Denard: How Does It Work?
Michigan has a unique talent on its hands in Denard Robinson, and they've acquired a mobile offensive line, slot receivers, and tailbacks to complement him. Some of these players can easily transition to another scheme. Stephen Hopkins can I-back with anyone. The outside receivers are just outside receivers. Taylor Lewan is going to hate donkeys in any scheme.
Others can't. The gaggle of tiny waterbug types—including Dee Hart, though he probably won't end up at M if there is a change—are going to be marginalized. I'm not sure how well the offensive line will hold up in an offense that prizes power over movement. Michigan isn't going to be able to materialize an excellent fullback and tight end depth out of nothing.
And then there's Denard. He could move to receiver or tailback, I guess, or more likely transfer, or you could bring in a spread guy, or you could try to keep Magee, or you could just ride with the guy who has already made Denard the all-time leading QB rusher in the Big Ten, will make him the all-time leading QB rusher in NCAA history, and turned Pat White into one of the best quarterbacks in college football before that. One of the "Smiths or MGoBlog" posts contains an argument I've made before:
For everyone that wants RR gone, I submit a short rebuttal.
1 Oregon 8 2488 2095 625 4583 7.3 572.9 2 Oklahoma State 8 1471 2747 615 4218 6.9 527.3 3 Nevada 8 2407 1754 584 4161 7.1 520.1 4 Michigan 8 2204 1943 563 4147 7.4 518.4 5 Boise State 7 1500 2111 473 3611 7.6 515.9
This team (could) return 22 of 24 starters next year. The #4 offense in the country will return every skill position player except Martell Webb and the offensive line should improve even with losing S. Schilling. The 2011 schedule is set up for a Big 10 Championship. Rodriguez will finally have experience and depth at his disposal on offense. No freshmen(even redshirt freshmen) save possibly Hart will see the field. Don't you want to see what could become of this offense and the stars it could attract with stability up top? If you broom RR then what? If you bring in Harbaugh, Denard is either gone or a slot back. I have no idea how much attrition you get but this offense has been molded by RR for 3 years, it will not be as good.
I think that's indisputable: you will lose offensive firepower by making a change. Over the course of his career Rodriguez has established he is standard deviations above the mean as an offensive coordinator. Criticisms about the offense exist but are limited to suggesting that this group featuring two seniors and a sophomore quarterback isn't really the fourth-best offense in the nation because they're not scoring enough. That's true—Michigan is only 19th in scoring offense—but the blame for that rests largely with a defense that doesn't force turnovers (or punts) and the nation's worst kicker situation. If you adjust for all the vagaries that make straight yardage and scoring statistics unrepresentative, pile on a strength of schedule factor, and average it all out this is not, in fact, the fourth best offense in the country:
Michigan is still ranked #2 nationally in rushing and #3 overall in Points Above Normal but the game scores are coming down.
While Michigan's performance over the last three games is not that good, it would still be top 25. If you're wantonly throwing that much data away to make that your conclusion you've just gone Nanking on math for little reward.
Whatever you lose had better be made up for by better play from special teams and defense, but if we're rebooting the defensive coaching staff what does it matter who's doing ninja stuff on the other side of the ball? Unless Anonymous New Coach, who we'll call "Jim Harbaugh" for simplicity's sake, brings in someone who can play instantly the only way that will happen is by bringing in a better defensive staff. Michigan can do that without disrupting something that looks like it's going very right on the other side of the ball.
The obvious argument against that is Scott Shafer, Jay Hopson, and Greg Robinson. That's why the conditional case for bringing RR back rests on either 1) grabbing Jeff Casteel, probably in the event of a Bill Stewart firing, or 2) clearing everyone (or almost everyone) out, bringing in a defensive coordinator with a track record of established recent success on the college level, and giving him carte blanche to bring in the people he wants to bring in. This will be expensive but I hereby volunteer a dollar from each Michigan season ticketholder to make it happen.
The Convincing Argument Against
I AM SO PUMPED ABOUT THIS SMOOTHIE I'M THINKING OF
I AM TOTALLY GOING TO KICK THIS SMOOTHIE'S ASS
WHAT IS YOUR DEAL, BANANA AND WHEATGRASS?
i hope i'm not having an aneurysm—YEAH SMOOTHIES
Recruiting, basically. Rich Rodriguez is chased around by a horrendous narrative caused by a lot of losing and a lot of other stuff. Jim Harbaugh has to deal with a DUI and some self-serving statements about Michigan's academics—these don't live up. If Michigan goes 9-3 next year under Harbaugh, people are delighted. If Rodriguez does it there remain many, many grumbles. Michigan can throw away the last three years and start over.
Even if this reduces expectations short term, the narrative is totally different and recruits might be more amenable to jumping on board. Fuzzy Dunlop, who amazingly does not have a tennis ball avatar:
Many of those saying the defense is not Rodriguez's "fault" miss the essential point. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. What matters is who has the ability to rectify the situation. And we are fast approaching the point where Rodriguez will no longer have that ability (if he ever had it).
The defense sucks. Let's say it's not Rod's fault. Fine. So how does he fix it? Get great defensive recruits? If we lose out, or eke by Purdue, what makes anyone think the good defensive recruits will be rushing to come to Michigan this year? Perception becomes reality -- our defense is perceived to be a joke, with terrible coaching -- this is not a situation talented players are going to rush into.
He gets a little more negative than I am but the point is valid. Unfortunately, at some point the baggage in your past becomes an active detriment to your future. Rodriguez is either already there or one season from it.
The Gibson Issue
Defensive backs coach Tony Gibson is a lightning rod for criticism because the secondary is a disaster zone and the internets have it that he and Rodriguez have a Clinton-Blair style "special relationship," with all the charges of cronyism that brings. Even Michael Rosenberg is making that argument after years of blithely ignoring the DerpBord era. (Q: What's the difference between a Free Press columnist and a message board poster? A: Editors.)
Unfortunately there's no statistic you can point to that definitively says he's good or bad but the vague outlines provided by the NCAA's site aren't exactly damning:
|Pass Eff Rk||28||63||30||20||45||47||8|
That's not great aside from the bizarre first year (West Virginia was terrible at run defense so teams just ran) but it's consistently above average. In six years Gibson had three players drafted, one of them (Ryan Mundy) a guy who transferred away from Michigan because he wasn't going to get playing time. That's about one per slot he was in charge of, assuming that the spur and bandit were not his responsibilities. The rest of WVU's team saw eight guys drafted across nineteen spots.
None of this is definitive but it's at least an indication that Gibson isn't the anchor certain FFFFFUUUUUUU sorts make him out to be. The debacle here could be a coaching issue, but Occam's razor suggest it's talent (and attrition). Cbuswolverine put up a diary looking at the experience of the top five and bottom five secondaries in the country with the expected results—everyone but LSU averages at least 3.5 years on campus, and LSU is at 2.75. It is possible that Tony Gibson is a huge problem, but even if he was we wouldn't know. His reputation as a great recruiter is commonly stated, but we have even less data on that.
I put in a Mathlete request for a fancy math version of the above statistics that would adjust for schedule strength and maybe parse out the sacks in the three years they're available.
The Most Insane Thing Ever Said About Me
It's days like this that I envy Brian.
What I'd Do At 7-5 Or 6-6, Probably—I Mean If We Lose By A Billion In Three Games, Probably Not, But Let's Just Say If The Season Plays Out Like It Looks It Will
I'd fire Robinson. Then I'd bring in Casteel if he's available post Stewart firing or broom most of the defensive staff and bring in someone making SEC dollars along with two other established position coaches, and then I'd give Rodriguez 2011 and hope like hell. Michigan's in a bad spot either way, but at least Ivan Maisel's with me.
Yeah, that's right: Ivan Maisel.
Other bits: for folks complaining about the O/D coaching breakdown, Touch The Banner surveys the Big Ten and finds that literally every team in the league has four defensive assistants and all but one (Purdue, which has a dedicated ST coach) has five offensive assistants, or would if they hadn't fired their head coach already. Maize And Go Blue is here:
Wojo on matters:
Rich Rodriguez didn't fire or demote his defensive coordinator Monday, and to some, that's a sad surprise. Frankly, I'm not sure it makes a big difference.
Greg Robinson has done a poor job, and his position certainly should be in jeopardy. But full accountability sits where it always sits, where it now shifts uncomfortably — on the coach.
We haven't beaten good teams. I won't deny that. But just capitalizing the first letter of every word does not make it true that "Every Single Team" we beat had a losing record.
Minnesota in 2008 was 7-6, Notre Dame in 2009 was 6-6. Still not good teams, but get your facts straight.
Edit: Also why does it matter if it's a fluky win? Do they count differently in the standings? Wasn't Purdue's win over Ohio State fluky? How about Harbaugh's win over USC? I'd say both of those were fluky. If we have fluky wins over Ohio State and Wisconsin this year, you're going to say no they don't count? Fluky. (At this point I just like saying fluky).
The "experience" argument is bullshit for a lot of reasons.
One is that in 2008, we had a highly experienced defense, and we also had a junior Brandon Graham and sophomore Donovan Warren. And the defense was terrible. Absolutely terrible. 48 points to Purdue's true freshman third string wide receiver quarterback. 46 points to Penn State. Over 300 yards allowed to MSU's shitty quarterback. Everyone knew that the defense was poorly coached at the time. That's why Shafer was run out of town with torches and pitchforks. Everyone knew at the time that it was cataclysmic underachievement. Now history has been revised and everyone blames "lack of talent". The one year Shafer debacle has disappeared down the memory hole and the "no talent" meme popped up since then. Meanwhile, Shafer is the architect of a Syracuse defense that is better than any of Rodriguez's terrible terrible squads. Shafer obviously wasn't the problem. Everybody knows this now. That's why the Rodriguez apologists have shifted to the "no talent left behind by Carr" meme. It's a shift of "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia"-ish proportions.
Another reason it's bullshit is that freshman in all sports make mistakes, but they also improve. That's what young players who are actually being coached well. They get better. Michigan is not getting better. They are getting worse, and the defense has gotten worse as the year has gone along each season of the Rodriguez era. Mouton has barely improved since Rodriguez got here, and Ezeh has not improved at all. Furthermore, our freshmen have shown absolutely no bright spots whatsoever. They have shown no sign whatsoever of having talent, outside of maybe Jibreel Black. Talented freshmen at least show you flashes and reasons to have hope. Our freshman have shown none of this whatsoever. They aren't functional by any measurement.
another reason is that it's not that uncommon for guys with freshmen eligibility to contribute on a defense. Remember William Petersen and James Whitley? Both of them made contributions on our 1997 defense. They weren't eight miles out of position on every pass play. They didn't blow every coverage, like our guys do now. Remember Steve Morrison? Erik Anderson? Jarrett Irons? Marlin Jackson? Leon Hall? David Bowens? The list goes on and on, and it gets even bigger when you talk about sophomores. We have had lots of freshman contributors over the years. Contrary to popular belief, it's not unheard of for freshman players to be remotely functional and capable of playing better than a I-AA squad.
And yet another reason is that it's partially Rodriguez's fault that we are relying totally on freshmen. It is common knowledge that Rodriguez has touble connecting to the former coach's players and favors his own. This was confirmed in the interviews with the former WVU players posted here (which weren't even all that negative about RichRod). No wonder Donovan Warren didn't stick around. His legendary position coach (who coached Charles Woodson) got kicked to the curb in favor of Rodriguez's buddy Tony Gibson, who has yet to get anything good out of a single player at Michigan. Rodriguez's only corner recruit of the '09 class was a fiasco, and so was the guy who was supposed to play deep safety.
The lack of experience isn't a terrible thing when you have some talented upperclassmen to lead the team. When you are relying on so many sopomores and freshman that is an entirely different situation. You can throw out talented freshman and put them in good positions to succeed when they are surrounded by talented upperclassmen. It's much harder to hide freshman in a defense surrounded by nothing but inexperience and lack of talent. Yes a lot of teams have freshman and sophomores contributing but Michigan is asking freshman and sophomores to do much more than contribute.
It's not unheard of for freshman to do decent things at the collee level but it's also not unheard of for freshman to fail miserably. See Denard Robinson of last year. Did he improve much through the season? I would say he regressed. That doesn't mean coaches were failing. Denard came back and improved over the off season like most young players do. It comes with maturing and learning the game at the college level slowly. Throwing freshman and sophomores into the fire and relying on them heavily is not a successful formula. That is why most successful programs do not start a lot of freshman and sopomores unless they have to.
You seem to think Rich Rod supporters are making up new memes. This is false, Rich Rod didn't start out with the strongest defense. Sure we had some experience but they weren't all that good. Brandon Graham was the only real good player on the defnese. So to think he inherited a good defense is silly.
Rich Rod has battled attrition, if you think that's his fault then you are entitled to that opinion. I don't agree and I think David Brandon wouldn't agree but only time will tell. I'm praying David Brandon isn't as bat shit crazy as some of the U of M fans out there. I believe Brandon will calmly and rationally look at the circumstances of the defense, then look at the powerful offense that actually has depth and see that to make a full decision on Rich Rod he will need to allow the depth chart to be filled with Rich Rod recruits before canning him. I think taking West Virginia football to heights never experienced by the program is enough of a resume to at least be allowed to graduate a senior class before firing.
Agree with a lot of what you said, especially about the freshman. While you expect mistakes, you expect some plays to be made. We're not seeing that. I think the reason is some questionable coaching and a lack of talent.
Experience is great, but raw talent adn good coaching have to be in place for that experience to be maximized. RR keeps talking about how they need to get faster and more athletic on D. Well, the areas he's mentioning, most of these players are his recruits. The recruiting on defense has to get better and they have to bring in some kids that have the ability to contribute right away.
That's why the Rodriguez apologists have shifted to the "no talent left behind by Carr" meme. It's a shift of "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia"-ish proportions.
Great reference. I agree.
I think the "Fire Dick Rod" crew are putting the blame on Rodriguez in the same way we citizens are putting the blame on Obama (and the Dems) for a downtrodden economy.
Neither one is primarily the fault of the man in charge, but hey, it's got to be somebody's fault. Except, the defense (and the economy) are terrible because of a variety of factors, many of which are outside of anybody's control.
I'll bring this point up. Not sure who played football in college, but the majority of our fundamental/scheme work was with a position coach, while the HC focused more on implementing an overall strategy and managing substitutions, that sort of thing.
I'm just not entirely sure how Rodriguez can be blamed for a unit he rarely interacts with, rather trusting his position coaches to get those players up to speed. I think we saw Rich Rod's frustration with the failure of the D coaches during that speech against Penn State where it looked like he was challenging the manhood of the D players.
The D coaches need to go.
If Tommy Amaker can make it 6 years at Michigan, Rich Rodriguez deserves at least 4.
doesn't care at all how I feel.
Seriously, I didn't realize until yesterday's semi-meltdown(s) how angry I really was/am about this weekend's performance. There are no answers to unveil, no relief to give, and no sudden hope where there was none. At this point, I don't care what has to be done, what has to be changed, who has to be fired, or what has to happen to make us winners again. AND I'm realistic enough to know that there are far many people out there who have better ideas on how to make this happen than I do. At the end of the day, we just have to have faith, not in Rich, but in Brandon, to make this damn thing work.
Should the worst-case happen, Denard's destination post-RichRod should be...wherever RichRod goes. I don't want him achieving 60% of his potential just so I can see him in Maize and Blue.
(Q: What's the difference between a Free Press columnist and a message board poster? A: Editors.)
When did we get editors?
Shouldn't that be:
Its nice to know that we can usually count on you for a "talk me off this cliff" type post!
Needs a few more notches. We haven't even seen what a real defense with depth will look like under Rich Rod. RR hasn't even had a senior class graduate yet. Next year some of his recruits will be seniors but not all of those players were recruitied by RR, the class was patched together late by RR. Can't we get a full depth chart with all of RR's players before we scream for firing a coach. I'd like to think Michigan fan is more rational than Notre Dame fan but this is getting to the point of becoming embarrassing. Sit back and realize what RR is working with on this defense. Rich Rod isn't the one missing thousands of tackles every Saturday.
Young players improve the most over an off season, not during a season. See Denard as an example. We have a lot of defensive players that are freshman and sophomores that have to be allowed time to develop before the defense can become something decent. If Dave Brandon isn't a complete moron which I tend to believe he is not, then he will at least give Rich Rod a senior class. While it won't be entirely his own players as the senior class he should at least give him next year. I'd be inclined to give RR 2 more years since that would be his first true senior class but then again I have patience and it seems that Michigan fans are lacking in this department for the most part.
Doesn't the coach have a responsibility to coach these kids up? Great coaches make average players into great players. It shouldn't take 4 or 5 years. Understandable these deficiencies would come to the surface against the best opponents, but it is every single game now. How has JH done so well at Stanford? Because he coached his players up, made them better. RR is the highest paid state employee Michigan. He needs to justify that salary quickly.
Denard is a great example of players developing at UM and so far I think you could add others on offense too (most of the oline, stonum, the te's especially blocking wise).
However, I'm not sure you can say the same thing on the defensive side. Ezeh hasn't developed at all in this 3 yrs with RR. Mouton just about falls into the same catagory as Ezeh. Has JT Floyd really much better now then a year ago? Banks and Sagesse are upperclassman who haven't really looked like they've improved much. There's some exceptions - Martin, Kovacs.
I think the jury is still out on whether this staff can develope players on the defensive side of the ball, and to me that is scary.
I'm not a huge RR fan - the spread does nothing for me. But I agree with you whole heartedly. Obviously, RR bears some blame for the defense, but I really think Carr's empty cupboard bares most of the blame. How many "Michigan quality" players are around from those recruiting classes? How much veteran leadership and ability are we missing because the senior/redshirt senior class are sub-par? Not to mention the extra attrition on players like Martin because they never got a chance to develop physically or gain experience by sitting and watching a good upperclassman at their position.
I've been meaning to do something comparing Pete Carroll, Weis and Rich Rod's first three years from the perspective of the players left by the previous coach. I wish I'd done it - I bet it would be quite illuminating.
Could RR have done a better job of recruiting on defense? Sure. Could the defense coaching staff have been better? No doubt. But both of those problems would have been at least somewhat masked if we weren't constantly scrambling to play true freshman all over the field.
Give RR a chance to stop scrambling on defense long enough to have the luxury of actually redshirting some people. Let's see what happens if we don't have to risk so many injuries by throwing every recruit immediately into the fire. Clearly, the defense has been a disappointment, but they were doomed from the start because of the lack of depth left behind by the previous coach. It's not fair to let Carr's legacy ruin a coach that has a track record and has made light years of progress on offense.
Very much appreciate this post.
To start, in my 39 years of living, breathing, walking, talking and being a fan of Michigan football (at least for 34 of those years, since I remember the "decision" taking place in Kindergarten, at age 5), I was left on Saturday night thinking that the Penn State game (er, defensive debacle) was the most disappointing loss that I can remember. Initially, I thought the Appalachian State game was in the pole position but, as time wore on, I realized I was in shock for a long time after that game and didn't experience the same level of existential angst and pain as this past weekend.
That said, I find myself today still supporting Rich Rodriguez and thinking/believing that, if given time, he can do something pretty special with UM football. The "D" must certainly be improved, and a coaching/philosophy change may definitely be warranted following the season, but I also remember 2-3 months ago thinking that, even under the best of circumstances, our "D" would cost us a few games this year - and after losing (very, very) arguably our best two players in Troy W. and Mike M., not to mention the extreme youth and lack of development/experience, I think we are a long, long way from our hoped for best of circumstances.
So, yes, I absolutely agree, I think Rich Rodriguez and the current program by far offer us the best opportunity to develop, grow, and succeed in 2011 and 2012 (and I'd argue 2015, as well), and my greatest concern at the current time is what might happen if we let him go in another month, or two, or maybe three, i.e. Needing to hire a new coaching staff, implement a new system, recruit for that system, and in the meantime "plug in" the players from this system and try to get by. We've been down that road the last couple of years and I think it would be an error to travel that same path right now, prematurely in my own subjective opinion.
My hopes for this season were 7-5 with a bowl game (and hopefully a victory there), and I think it is still possible, and while 6-6 would be something of a disappointment, I still fully support Rich Rodriguez (even while open to any possibilities that would improve our "D" now and going forward). All of this, as stated above, is merely subjective opinion and, so long as I continue living, breathing, walking, and talking I'll be a Michigan Man, and fully invested in the program, hopefully with Rich Rodriguez but regardless of how this season finishes and subsequent decisions go.
I was thinking about App State too. I've been a devoted fan for 30 years and this game really hurt on so many levels. I've gone through the whole anger, denial, sadness, embarassment, acceptance process. What I've learned in the past couple of days is I am more engaged in this team than I've been since I was student (and I have a lot less time these days). As much as the reality of the situation blows, I can see a positive future and I'm glad I'm totally engaged in watching the process.
I like the idea of bringing in Casteel, if he is available. If that doesn't work, demote RR to OC and bring on Harbaugh (sarcasm, I think).
I realize that's sarcasm...but it almost seems crazy enough that you think it might work...
Well, upon closer inspection, maybe not. Isn't Harbaugh an offensive coach anyway (I know he was a QB...as does pretty much everyone else on this blog...so why do I have this in parentheses...?)
I sit firmly in the "clean house" camp on the Defensive side. Fire everybody. Get a new DC. Let him bring his Defensive coaches and run HIS defense.
I think you might be missing the point of the offensive criticisms, Brian. Everyone likes the numbers; a top-20 offense is eminently respectable, especially given our youth. And the fact that most of the points are scored in the second half means that the offense is resilient and not packing it in like last year. Those are unqualified good things.
What I--and I think others--are concerned about is the fact that they can't score early and they can't sustain a scoring drive when it would be most helpful to do so: when the game is close. Sure, the defense isn't helping, but the marginal utility of yardage, points, and possession is lower when you're far behind: you can't expect to win shootouts if you only show up for half the battle. You've already been shot to death by then. I just wanted to reiterate that I love Denard and co as much as everyone else, but we shouldn't ignore 7 TOs and 27 first-half points over the last three games--even if the stats are happytime.
Now, the real problems are with the defense, so ya'll can go back to talking about that. If our defense were better it would make the offense more comfortable, too.
I think the best possible outcome right now is for us to win the next two and get a defensive staff where the co-ordinator knows the scheme and the assistants buy in. That could be Casteel (since we know that'll work), or Hypothetical New Guy (with new assistants). I'm fine either way so long as the outcome is a defensive staff where the DC isn't undermined constantly. We might also consider shifting an offensive coaching slot to defense or special teams duty.
but where is this coming from:
including Dee Hart, though he probably won't end up at M if there is a change
hasnt he said he picked michigan because of the school and would come regardless of the coaches?
I don't know. If he was that devoted to the school, why wouldn't he have committed in January like he originally planned instead of waiting to see the first half of the season?
C'mon Blue, beat Illinois!
I'm withholding judgement on the entire coaching staff for one more week.
I really wish those Denard figures were real. I would buy 10 of them.
As for the coaching situation, I'm torn.
Let me fix that for you:
Q: What's the difference between a Free Press columnist and a message board poster?
Freep editors don't edit.
Bobby Williams and John L Smith at MSU had higher Big Ten winning percentages than Rodriguez and both of them were fired. Tim Brewster had a higher Big Ten winning percentage than Rodriguez and he was fired. There was clarity at MSU and Minnesota. I don't understand why there is no clarity with Michigan. I never thought I would see the day when we had lower standards than MSU and Minnesota.
Anyone else want to hear a sobering stat? Mike Debord had a MAC winning percentage at CMU higher than Rodriguez's Big Ten winning percentage. Yes, folks. We would have been better off hiring Mike Debord.
I think you may have skipped Brian's first paragraph. Here you go:
Too many posts in the Fire RR vein argue things no one is disputing. This one titled "The Buck Stops at Rodriguez," argues that a head coach is in charge of his program. This is not very enlightening. Neither is restating his record. We're all aware of Rich Rodriguez's record. We watched it. Saying "but thishappened and I was sad" means you're answering the wrong question. You're answering the question "what will make me feel better?" Sometimes you're answering the question "who would have been the best choice for 2008?"
I didn't miss that part. I'm wondering why Rodriguez gets to keep his job when coaches with better records at inferior programs have lost theirs.
Everyone is aware of Rodriguez's record, but it seems obvious that not everyone appreciates the incredible suckitude of it, and how it compares to numerous other coaches that we Michigan fans have laughed our asses off at. I like to remind people that OSU and MSU fans are on their hands and knees praying that we keep Rodriguez, the same way that we were praying ND would keep Weis and OSU would keep Cooper.
Guess how much I care about what Buckeyes and Spartans think of our head coach.
They showed downward trajectories. John L. Smith went from 5 wins in the Big10 to 4, to 2, to 1. RR's offense is as potent as they come and is still showing upward trajectory for next year. We are adding wins each year despite finally hitting rock bottom on defense.
The defense has been going down.
And we haven't added any wins yet this year.
We beat Indiana. We probably beat Purdue. Like I said, the improvement is hidden by the Senior leftovers leaving the team and having to play 8 freshmen on defense. Improvement on both sides of the ball next year, which is pretty much inevitable barring injury to Denard, will show the most important stat increase next year.
So that's not an improvement. And I wouldn't say any victory for us is "probable" at this point. But at that rate of one Big Ten win a year of "progress", it'll be 6 or 7 more years till we win a conference title. And how significant the improvement on defense, which will truly cause a leap (or not), is still very much in doubt.
2-6 in the big ten in '08
1-7 in the big ten in '09
1-3 in the big ten in '10
Unless UM wins 2 of their last 4 games (something I highly doubt) I'm not going to see much upward trajectory in conference play for UM under RR.
RR's offense is as potent as they come and is still showing upward trajectory for next year.
next year being the key phrase there. we actually had a downward trajectory from year 1 to year 2 (somehow) and we're still only equal to our big ten win total last year.
The defense has been plummeting since 2006 and hit rock bottom this year. The Offense hit rock bottom in 2008. There was small improvement on offense last year, but the defense took another step back. There has been lots of improvement on offense this year, but the defense has hit rock bottom, as I said. A tiny step up on both sides of the ball next year results in wins. We'd be 7-1 right now if our defense could hold teams to 28 or 30 points instead of 35+.
Rich Rod will keep his job because he has different circumstances than other coaches you mention. Rich Rod had horrible talent to work with. He had to rebuild the offense and defense from ground zero. Defensive attrition has lead to a longer transitional phase than the other coaches that you mentioned have had to endure. You can't just look at a win loss record and say wow coach A is worse than coach B!!! Did Tim Brewster lead West Virginia to the door step of a national championship? No. Did any of the coaches you mention have the success of Rich Rod on their resumes? No they didn't.
It's not all about the record when you are rebuilding a program. You have factors that sometimes go beyond the head coach when seeing the record of a team. David Brandon doesn't make crazy decisions based on a win loss record, as he has stated before. He looks for improvements. He will see that Rich has created a top ten offense when he has talent and then he will discuss the poor defensive personnel and see what Rich is doing to address that issue. I think when he sees some of the defensive talent RR has brought in and is bringing in, he will be pleased with the direction of the program.
Isn't someone accountable for the attrition? If the attrition continues, are you OK with continued poor play? At what point does performance matter?
that Bobby Williams, John L Smith and Charlie Weis "lost" their teams. When I hear the Michigan players speak at the pressers, they show nothing but respect for RR and the rest of the staff. The players are saying they believe in the coaches, the team and the schemes. If the players were giving mixed signals on their belief in the coaches, I'd be leading the pitchfork mob right now.
I don't recall ever hearing any of the ND players speaking negatively about Weis. Didn't Clausen say that if Weis were back he would have stayed? A few other players also came out in support. I don't recall specifics about Bobby or John L., but I would be shocked if their pressers prior to the firings didn't sound like ours.
And Eastern Michigan has one win since highering Ron English and a worse defense than us.... so I guess it could be worse?
And unfortunately, the only chance for their win total to get hire is probably against Buffalo.
They have as many conference wins as we do. And may end up with the same amount.
thats the exact quote i was looking for above
(1) You're absolutely right on the offense, both as it currently stands and on how it would disintegrate under Harbaugh or basically anyone else. Michigan is far better off for the next 3 years on offense by keeping Rodriguez in place.
(2) This situation, with so much youth and so little production on one side of the ball, is like a half-Zook circa 2009. Change the defensive coordinator (and forget how Rodriguez has shown about as much interest in defense as Coach Taylor on FNL), splash out some money on a staff that knows the sort of bland 4-3 that's so effective in the conference (because defense is reactive; I'm not a traditionalist on offense, despite my team's leanings, but when you play half your games against pro-style, run-between-the-tackles types, a new-wavey defensive scheme built to combat speed more than power isn't going to be effective regardless of its new-waveness), and profit.
(3) Absolutely none of this is written in the hopes that you'll keep your own Bill Callahan for longer than you should. Nope, none at all.
Frankly, I don't care if Michigan's offense is ranked 1st or 51st, because at the end of the day, Michigan football is based on the idea that you win with defense, not with an offense you hope can outscore whatever your defense gives up. The offense should not have to score 31+ to win every Saturday, especially against FCS and mid-major opponents. Period. So for me the "we have an incredible, high-powered offense! YAY Denard!" argument only goes so far. He's one player, a guy who is only here for two more years. We can't justify the employment of a coach based on one player, a guy who is clearly a special talent, but has yet to prove he can make it through an entire game without getting banged up. Love me some Denard, but remember, "no player is bigger than the team." Just like "no coach is bigger than the team."
So as far as defense is concerned, Rich Rodriguez waltzing into his presser this week and saying that defensive schemes are "way, way overrated" seems to indicate a coach that clearly has his priorities out of whack. Special teams has clearly suffered as well, never being appreciably good at any point in his tenure. Michigan football needs to prove that it can beat Big 10 teams that aren't Indiana, and show that it's a program that doesn't need to consistently rely on insane comebacks in the 2nd half to be in position to win games. So far, neither of these items have gotten appreciably better.
At what point do we cut bait and admit this experiment simply isn't working out? Or is our fanbase too attached to wanting Rich Rodriguez to have been a successful choice to look rationally and objectively at the situation?
i don't really love the "michigan football is about defense" argument. i want to win. i don't care what method we employ. bo and lloyd used great defenses. if someone can find a different way and be just as successful, that won't make me like the team less.