Newsbits of importance from Tom. Dark I'm-not-saying-I'm-just-saying rumors about Craig Roh and Demetrius Hart have been flying around the internets this week. Tom clarifies. On Craig Roh:
My source told me that Craig has been concerned with his position switch to linebacker, and believes he is much more effective as a defensive end.
Craig actually vocalized his concern about his position to the coaches after the Penn State game, and my source says that he has been playing much more on the defensive line during practice this week.
Roh's apparently been handed to Bruce Tall and will no longer be mostly a linebacker. This is both good and another instance of players coaching themselves. Meanwhile, Demetrius Hart decommit rumors are false:
There was a slight mix up with Demetrius' enrollment with Michigan, but it has been cleared up. That was the issue, it wasn't that anyone was recruiting him harder, or anything along those lines. Everything has been straightened out, and his mom says Demetrius will be at Michigan in January.
Insert the usual CYA boilerplate about how anything can happen, but you can focus your panic elsewhere.
Crowded. JT Floyd is officially out for the year with "freak" ligament damage in his ankle. Hooray.
The Never Forget banner guy has updated it, and if any further members of the secondary wish to make themselves unavailable they'd advised to do it quickly because we're running out of room:
New additions are Michael Williams (concussions), JT Floyd (ligament damage), Jared Van Slyke (leg injury), and Vlad Emilien (transfer). Available locations are limited to that patch of maize underneath the crying wolverine. Given the state of the secondary this is getting considerably more RR-fault-ridden as the year goes along. Justin Turner and Vlad Emilien's transfers are big deals with the free safety depth chart reading "Ray Vinopal" and the corner depth chart reading "Random Three Star Freshman Projects and James Rogers."
So we've got that going for us. Courtney Avery will draw into the lineup for Floyd.
Okay, a final final final word or two. It's unfortunate that Anchorman references are vastly overused because sometimes there's nothing you can say except…
…I'm not even mad, I'm impressed. That is amazing. I'm sitting on this pile of ninja corpses, covered in blood. As the sun rises over a scene of indescribable gore I laugh, because what else is there to do?
I’m surprised they didn’t stick with what Coach Robinson was running,” Graham said of the 3-4 the team deployed in 2009, its first year under Robinson. … “Let Coach Robinson play his defense,” Graham said. “Let him do what he knows. He was thrown off, I would say. I know the 3-3-5 is what he (Rodriguez) has been doing for so long. He’s just got to adjust to the Big Ten.”
Michigan ran a 4-3 under last year but that's beside the point. Those quotes from a guy who was in the program last year indicate that no one who doesn't know a 3-3-5 like the back of his hand is ever going to be comfortable as a defensive coordinator at Michigan as long as the WVU guys are around saying things like "hey it's a bye week, I've got this great idea."
While everyone says "scheme is overrated," Michigan's offense puts the lie to that. It's not necessarily the 3-3-5 itself—this is not a BLANK can't work in the Big Ten argument—but attempting to run an exotic niche defense with a guy who doesn't know it (and evidence suggests is a terrible coach anyway).
Much has been made about Michigan's defense, which is near the bottom of several national categories, including total defense. Illinois was in a similar spot last year, but has made strides under new defensive coordinator Vic Koenning:
Scoring defense: 30.2 (96th) in 2009, 16.8 (12th) in 2010
Total defense: 403.3 (91st) in 2009, 301.4 (15th) in 2010
Pass defense: 248.8 (100th) in 2009, 183.9 (19th) in 2010
Rush defense: 154.4 (76th) in 2009, 117.5 (26th) in 2010
That certainly reads like a "hint, hint."
Defensive antidote. Via Wolverine Historian:
Penn State jerkos. As an internet fanbase, Penn State has a remarkable knack for accusing others of pathologies they're displaying literally within the accusation itself. The latest example is a piece at Black Shoe Diaries the author probably thinks is Swiftian satire that takes a sentence from the game recap, some random comment I don't recognize and didn't make about the Terrence Talbott whiffed PBU that turned into 40 yards, a somewhat maudlin paragraph from Maize and Brew supporting Rodriguez, and a random quote from pissed off David Molk. It combines these to show how self-centered Michigan fans are… in a post whining that Michigan fans didn't give Penn State its proper respect.
BSD can talk about self-centered behavior when they do this:
Indiana has a legitimately very good pass offense. They had 41 opportunities to make catches and made 40. Chappell almost never went to the wrong guy and missed on maybe five of his 65 attempts. Their receivers are tall and fast and shifty. One dollar they're the most productive pass offense in the conference at the end of the year.
Michigan State has somehow acquired the without-question best stable of tailbacks in the league; Iowa's Adam Robinson isn't bad but he's not the equivalent of Baker/Bell/Caper, and there's only one of him.
Indiana imploded and Michigan State's run game is pretty mediocre. We tried the credit-the-opponent bit and then all of the opponents turned out to be much worse on offense than Michigan made them look. Doing it now against your gritty moxie ginger neckbeard quarterback would be delusional. Penn State sucks and Michigan is worse. But I said Ogbu is a beast, so your pathetic insecurities can be a tiny bit less pathetic. Let's hold hands.
Now go talk about how arrogant we are as you caress each other's soft places while whispering "what if Michigan never comes back" and we discuss whether we should keep Rich Rodriguez and worry about falling into a Notre Dame-like fallow period. Tim was right to describe BSD as a place utterly incapable of recognizing irony.
Save a spot on the Never Forget Banner for my wife
She retains four years of eligibility and figures she will be a walk-on starter in time for the Wisconsin game. The problem is that she weighs in at 95 lbs and her durability in Big 10 play will be called into question. But, she has mad skills at corner -- she'll line up helmet to helmet instead of the 15 yard cushion that has become the Michigan 3rd Down Conversion Gap.
The most damning evidence against this defensive coaching staff. First, not getting Demens in a game until the season is almost half over. Ok - he wasn't paying rent, fair enough. However, Demens needing to tell the coaches he needs to back up so he can diagnose a play and actually be able to do something about it is sad. Even if Gerg doesn't know this since he doesn't run a 3-3-5, shouldn't one of the position coaches who love this scheme be able to tell him that? Second, every single person on this blog (and my fiance who only follows Michigan football because of me) could tell that Craig needed to be on the line - why should he have to tell the coaches that? These two things more than anything, especially the age of the defense, are the critical determinants in my mind because its clear the coaches aren't putting the players in position to MAKE PLAYS for whatever cockanany reason.
OK - I buy the "do the best he can within the constraints he's been given" (system, youth, etc.)
However, I am also of the mind that with 3 up front, you need to be way more aggressive with the other 8. (And GERG clearly is not calling aggressively within the constraints he's been given.)
His best still isn't good / has not shown many rays of hope.
So I am really hoping GERG's boss' boss comes in and places some emphasis on finding a defensive coaching staff with the flexibility to recruit, train and field a defense able to do way more than beat Big East, MAC, a sucky Notre Dame, and one or two bottom of the barrel Big Ten teams each season.
The bad news is that can't be done until after the season, so we get yet another year of tepid / desperate shots at defensive recruiting ...
I had been thinking this week (while trying to forget the PSU game - 24 hrs to be mad, then move on to next opponent as RR says) that the similarities between Zook's situation last year and RR's this year have SOME interesting parallels. Never would have thought that Angelique Chengelis would have been the one to capture that (normally ignore her fluff pieces).
Those being that I thought Zook would be a gonner after last year, but the AD there gave him one more chance (with some probable pushing to get rid of a lot of his assistants). I wonder if the eval there was that Zook showed he had some success a few years back and is a documented good recruiter (similar, although not exactly the situation with RR). I haven't patrolled the Illinois blogs from last year to see if there were similar conversations as are on mgoblog this past week, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were.
Illinois is not UM (in terms of expectations for wins), so the parallels stop there, but Brandon seems like a smart guy who gets it. If he was like other successful businessmen (and he hasn't shown otherwise), I'd expect he'd look at similar samples around the country and see what has worked in these types of situations and what hasn't. Maybe Illinois '09 decision is something that becomes part of his sample variables.
What is it that the Penn State bloggers want? A hearty handshake and a pat on the back. They won; you'd think that would give them enough satisfaction.
Besides, pointing out Penn State's crappiness is both necessary and relevant because it provides the proper framework for assessing and understanding our own defense's mind-boggling crappiness. Thank you, Penn State, for giving us context.
They're currently averaging 5.1 yds/carry for third in the conference, right behind Wisky's 5.2 yds/carry. Bell, Caper, and Baker blow any RB we have not named Denard out of the water. I'd say MSU is a good deal better than "mediocre" at running the ball.
If you look at the national stats, the NCAA website has MSU at #37 nationally in rushing yds/game @ 175 or so. If you're looking at yds/carry, they're 23rd nationally @ 5.08. I'm not saying those are phenomenal numbers, but neither are they "pretty mediocre."
Occasional excess is necessary to remedy the deadening effects of moderation.
Angus or better, and if we can get one of those Chik-Fil-A cows that has a rudimentary knowledge of the English language and has apparently, in spite of anthropological teachings, developed tools, well..
that the defensive incompetency is simply a season-long ruse to lull Ohio State into a false sense of security. Then, when Michigan takes the field against OSU, they'll unveil the fully competent defense they've been hiding all year, and OSU will be completely flummoxed.
This is not an attempt to fisk, but rather I'm just curious about the bolded part of Brian's argument below:
New additions are Michael Williams (concussions), JT Floyd (ligament damage), Jared Van Slyke (leg injury), and Vlad Emilien (transfer)... Given the state of the secondary this is getting considerably more RR-fault-ridden as the year goes along. Justin Turner and Vlad Emilien's transfers are big deals with the free safety depth chart reading "Ray Vinopal" and the corner depth chart reading "Random Three Star Freshman Projects and James Rogers."
First, given that it follows the previous sentence (I deleted the one about the crying wolverine because I didn't think it mattered one way or the other), in which three of the four people listed were injured (in addition to the injury to Woolfolk), the bolded sentence seems odd. I think it was trying to set up the next sentence rather than act as a conclusion from the previous, but I'm not sure.
In addition, I don't get what RR could have done with Turner and Emilien, but I am certain I don't have all of the information either. I mean, if Turner and Emilien were (a) not good enough to see the field; or (b) whining overly about not seeing the field, and they (by all accounts) voluntarily transferred, what should RR have done?
Should he have said "hey guys, your game or attitude aren't up to snuff, but please don't transfer because we might have an unprecedented rash of injuries, and then we'll need your weak game or attitude out on the field!" I realize there are other possible conversations that could have gone on, but does anyone know anything about what actually went on? I do understand that it seems insane that with our depth chart people still want to transfer, but couldn't it just be 19 year-olds acting irrationally? They do that from time to time, I hear tell.
The answer to that-- but who does? But what I do know is that, on my flag football team (yes I know it's only flag football) when one of our best players is pretty unreliable due to his job, we don't give up on him. We call him every week hoping that he shows because when we're short on players one extra guy is huge. That, and when he's there we win. I don't know the beind-the-scenes on these players, but I have to admit, the lack of depth is really hurting and you have to wonder if there was possibility of keeping those guys on the team.
Should he have said "hey guys, your game or attitude aren't up to snuff, but please don't transfer because we might have an unprecedented rash of injuries, and then we'll need your weak game or attitude out on the field!"
Maybe not that, exactly, but something like that. You know, it is possible to rehabilitate a 19 year old who may have taken the summer for granted. Compare that to the way Lloyd handled Braylon. Braylon wasn't the easiest guy in the world. How many pep talks do you think Braylon received before Lloyd pulled the "we're not on the same page" line out in the press conference? Notice Braylon never quit or left.
I support RR, but I swear, it's getting to the point that anything that resembles criticism of the coach gets these type of rebukes from many of you. Perhaps you can't blame fully blame RR for all of the attrition, but at some point, he has to get some of it. No other program is having this much attrition three years after the changeover.
I appreciate the response, but again, my first question was whether Brian was blaming RR for Floyd's injury, as the placement of various periods in the quote I reproduced suggested. Maybe it was just a bad period placement (the one after "... as the year goes along") and a semicolon or em dash would have made it clearer.
Secondly, my point in the Turner/Emilien question was in some ways the converse of yours. Given that every coach loses players to transfer, and given that we apparently as a group know nothing about the exact circumstances of Turner and Emilien, isn't it just as likely that RR tried to convince JT and Vlad to stay as the reverse, which is what Brian is implying? Furthermore, all we ever heard about Lloyd is that he "threw transfer papers" at people.
Like take the example of Chris Perry. By all accounts (that I know and remember), Lloyd basically told Perry to GTFO and his (Perry's) mom came in and put the hammer down on Perry and convinced him to stay. Now that story might be somewhat apocryphal, but the point is that two things are false: (1) Lloyd never had a player transfer; and (2) he always worked as hard as he could to get them to stay. I'm just pointing out that RR and Lloyd might not be so different as you suggest. Assuming that the Braylon and Turner examples prove something is what we call "selecting on the dependent variable," or post hoc ergo propter hoc.
In picture the Freep used, the UM folks all happen to have their heads down like they are ashamed. It is not a coincidence that the Freep used this picture and is more evidence about their truly biased nature.
The past is history, the future's a mystery. Being alive in this moment is a gift--that's why they call it the present.
Good to see, but this might qualify as "too little, too late".
And the Illinois example rings true and does have several parallels. I'm starting to lean towards Brandon needing to tell RR to fire most of his defensive staff and then reassign whoever he is allowed to keep. I really think RR needs to bring in someone with autonomy to run what they please. This 3-3-5 scheme, run by someone who clearly doesn't understand it, is a disaster.
The other factor is our youth. I'm guessing almost no one playing on the D side of the ball ran a 3-3-5 in high school. A dumbed down 3-4 or 4-3 might be easier to play and produce better results as the assignments might seem more familiar to the kids we have playing. Just a thought.
"I am delighted to have you play football. I believe in rough, manly sports."
- Theodore Roosevelt
I'd recommend clicking on the Roh link for a good chuckle (not that there's anything wrong with that, etc.). Excerpt:
"They say close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades, well I say big sizes only matter in sports and <CENSORED>. And, although I’ve done a ton of research on Roh I wasn’t able to get any info on his <CENSORED>, but I can report he bulked up to 250 lbs during the off season."
I remember how uncomfortable Brady Quinn got from attention of that nature.
Now go talk about how arrogant we are as you caress each other's soft places while whispering "what if Michigan never comes back" and we discuss whether we should keep Rich Rodriguez and worry about falling into a Notre Dame-like fallow period.
who sent the text to the guy on BSD saying "Sadly, it's not that you're that good, it's just that we're that bad."
Sorry to all my fellow Michigan fans for perpetuating the arrogant Michigan fan stereotype. What I should have said was "McGloin was amazing, how could he possibly squeeze those passes in with only 10-12 yards of room between the receiver and defender. Truly an inspired perfomance. You guys beat a great team and there is no shame for either side today."
I would have said that, but I've been punched in the dong so many times this year it just didn't seem to matter.
I swear at the time he did not miss a throw. I thought that this guy could put on a show in Columbus the following week when in actuality he was summarily decimated.
I guess the biggest facvtor is the almost complete lack unforseen pressure. He was able to sit back and assume there would be not stunts and it would be a classic U shaped pocket that would collapse slowly. The throws that looked great on TV were actually a form of pitch and catch to absurdly open receivers that he knew were going to be open because of the vanilla set of the defense.
It is almost hard to play this poorly...consistently. You would assume that someone would wander into the wrong place and turn it into a bonehead positive play.
With a complete index cross-referenced by last name, number, position, reason for attrition, academic year, and maybe their mothers' maiden name. It's getting rather difficult to keep them all straight.