"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Ridiculous wallpaper part 7.Via user monuMental and his ridiculous talents:
How could this possibly happen? So when people say things along the lines of "could we really have the worst defensive talent in the Big Ten" and I say "yes," no one believes me. This is usually because one sophomore four star in the starting lineup at a particular position looks like talent and two fifth-year-senior three stars do not. Here's the Iowa two-deep on defense:
There are 22 players. Five of them are underclassmen, only one of those a starter. Nine are seniors, and this is minus a senior starting linebacker who would shove a freshman out the door. Michigan's starting lineup has as many sophomores (Floyd, Kovacs, Roh) and freshmen (Gordon, Gordon) as the entire Iowa two-deep, and where Iowa has seniors backed by seniors or sophomores backed by juniors in many places Michigan has freshmen, freshmen, and more freshmen. This is why it's impossible to tell anything about Greg Robinson yet. You could take an established genius and give him this roster and the results would be, oh, I don't know… somewhat depressing:
Pass Efficiency Defense
Tackles For Loss
That's not Michigan. It's USC. USC's secondary:
Senior CB Shareece Wright, a top 50 recruit
Freshman CB Nickell Robey, a top 250 recruit
Sophomore S Jawanza Starling, a top 250 recruit
Sophomore S TJ McDonald, a top 50 recruit
This is a "talented" secondary. It is also awful because it has one upperclassman; they're trying to bolster things by moving freshman and starting WR Robert Woods to nickelback. That sounds familiar except in Michigan's case it's a guy who should be a linebacker moving from wide receiver and being forced to start instead of being Courtney Avery.
Michigan does not have near that amount of recruiting mojo, nor does it have the veteran consistency of Iowa. Yes, if Michigan is not more experienced and less awful next year it's time to focus the firey finger of blame entirely on Rich Rodriguez. Not quite yet, though.
Parachute in. While everyone was looking at that guy in the parachute he was looking at us:
AIM FOR THE YELLOW.
Alabama-rama. Some final thoughts on the Alabama game, but first Dave Brandon:
"I just thought it was a terrific opportunity for our team, our coaches and our fans," Brandon said. "But we got the numbers right, we worked really hard to make sure there was plentiful availability of tickets, because we wanted to get that right for our fans. We hope to think of this as a preseason bowl trip where we can bring lots of people and really make it a special Labor Day weekend."
Booting the Notre Dame game is not an option, so Michigan will go on the road to face Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Alabama (sort of) in the same season. Have fun, senior Denard. Anyway, thoughts:
I am almost certain the reason introducing a middleman is preferable to a home-and-home are the messed up TV contracts. If Michigan plays a home and home with Alabama they split the extra TV money with the rest of the conference. It sounds like by doing this neutral site thing they are getting the financial windfall all to themselves. If you dislike this trend—and as a guy who would rather travel to Tuscaloosa than Dallas, I do—the only solution is to let teams keep all the profits from their nonconference games to themselves.
As to why it's in an irrelevant place like Dallas: when ND started its "barnstorming" games it quickly discovered it couldn't play anyone in a relevant location because TV contracts prohibit anyone from playing a neutral site game in their conference's geographical footprint unless that game is going to be on the appropriate network. The result was ND-Washington State in Texas.
This will be the biggest nonconference game played against anyone other than Notre Dame in…a very long time. Maybe the 1996 Colorado game? Michigan accidentally played a 13-0 Utah team in 2008 but in terms of pregame hype that pales in comparison. Washington was #9, IIRC, so Alabama will outstrip that.
Brian, Very helpful. Will you / would you do the same analysis for Illinois? I read a piece this week claiming that Illinois has made big improvement on both sides of the ball this year under the new assistants hired by Ron Zook. One word especially stood out: toughness.
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse.
In addition to the depth and experience, they have some serious blue-chip guys like Martez Wilson (5-star recruit who is now a senior). Better and more experienced players usually equals smarter coordinator in the mind of most casual observers.
Along with the good point about Illinois having better experience than Michigan (and perhaps better coaching, though we don't know that for sure), it can't be overstated that Martez Wilson is playing this year. He was a 5-star recruit who had offers from USC, Ohio State, Michigan, and Miami and chose to play at Illinois. He got injured at the very beginning of last year and now he's back.
Think how much better our defense would be if, say, 2006 LaMarr Woodley suddenly re-appeared on this team. It wouldn't fix everything, but boy would it help.
in 2008 Captiol One Bowl against Florida. The secondary was full of young players who consists of Joe Haden, Major Wright and Wondy Pierre-Louis. Tony Joiner was the only player who is not a freshman or sophmore. Florida secondary was 86th in the country in passing defense. They improved vastly from 86th in the country to top 10 in the country within two years. Joe Haden who got burned repeatedly by Manningham and Arrington became a 7th overall pick this past year in the draft.
Point being is, experience matters(talent helps too) more in defense than on offense. Michigan have neither the experience on the secondary nor the talent(for the most part) on defense. You have a recipe for terrible defense which is what we're seeing right now. They'll get much better in a couple of years with more talents and experience.
You are, of course, correct. But patience is *hard*, especially when what tests your patience results in losing a lot more football games than any of us are used to, and to teams that we're not used to losing to.
In '97, Sporting News has the Buffalos pre-season #1. Though, unless Saban is coaching the Cowboys by then, this would be bigger. I think you'd have to go back to Florida State coming to town in '91, which was huge. And then the Miami games before that.
Glad to see the parachute run getting some front page exposure. It's simply awesome, isn't it?
Funny how the Gerg haters go silent on posts like this.
Brain does interesting analysis, finds an astounding comparison, and presents a logical conclusion that says (again) "BE PATIENT WITH THE DEFENSE." And all the Gerg and RichRod haters go strangely silent. Funny how that works.
But we are MICHIGAN. We are LEADERS AND BEST. We get the BEST RECRUITS the BEST FACILITIES and play with superior PAD LEVEL and do not ever have STUBBY LEGS. Losing even one game per year is UNACCEPTABLE but looosssing to Sparty is UNACCEPTABLE!!! because I work with Spartys and they make FUN OF ME. I don't like to read about FACTS like DEFENSIVE ATTRITION and INEXPERIENCE in the DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD.
I acknowledge that we're young, and that certainly plays a factor in our defensive struggles. I'm just concerned that GERG won't be able to get the most out of these guys when they're older. His recent track record is brutal. His last three Syracuse defenses were as bad as this year's Michigan defense.
Let me turn this on its head: what evidence is there that GERG will ever again field a championship-caliber defense? Those Super Bowls were a long time ago.
I ain't saying GERG is the answer, but wouldn't blaming him for the Syracuse defenses be the same as blaming RichRod for the current UM defense? That is, if it's GERG's fault his SU defenses sucked, and not his DC's, then wouldn't the same apply here?
IME, it's just too early to tell how good or bad GERG is. Year 1 (last year) is year 1 (remember UM's offense in year 1? *shudder*). This year, he's got a backfield made up of walkons, freshman, and scotch tape. I always advocated giving RichRod at least 4 years, and I think we should give GERG at least 3.
No, because GERG was both the head coach and defensive coordinator at Syracuse. Like most head coaches (including RR), his focus was on one side of the ball. The fact that he's now coordinated five consecutive horrendous defenses (his first at SU was average) is worrisome. At what point do we simply conclude that he's not the answer? Anyone can coach bad players to a bad outcome. That is not a reason to retain him.
Look, I know that sounds dickish, because I guess it is dickish. But whatever- how many times must we say BE PATIENT before people understand we're not saying GERG IS AWESOME...? How many times? 100? 1000? How many more "OMG what's wrong with the defense?" threads must we endure before people wise up to the reality of the roster?
I have no idea if Gerg is any good (though my opinion right now is that he is). But I think it is FAR more important for the Michigan defense to have some stability and continuity. The reason why this defense sucks in the first place is because there's been so much turmoil there*- give Gerg a chance is all any of us are saying. He may blow that chance, agreed. But now is not the time to make that judgment. Now is the time to rebuild the roster, and that can't happen if the DC is being fired every 2-3 years.
*and yes, I realize that some of that turmoil is RichRod's fault. I believe firing Shafer after only one year was RichRod's one and only true mistake so far. Then again, it was his call so eh we just gotta roll with it.
I've read your rants, and Brian's above. Neither of you is giving me a reason to believe that GERG is actually good at his job. You're just arguing that he might not be as bad as he looks right now. That's not a ringing endorsement. Nothing in his recent track record suggests that he'll field a top-notch D, even after X amount of time has passed.
You said this:
I have no idea if Gerg is any good (though my opinion right now is that he is).
Why do you think he is? What does he do that makes you believe that he is a good DC?
I'm not a believer in the "stability" argument. Our 1997 defense was on its third DC in four years. So was OSU's 2002 defense. Texas's 2005 defense was on its third DC in three years. Coordinators come and go all the time. Carr went through OCs every couple of years. It's not that big of a deal. If the only real argument for keeping GERG is that it would provide stability, he should not be retained.
Why do you think he is? What does he do that makes you believe that he is a good DC?
Last year I watched him work with the kids on the sidelines. After giving up huge plays, Gerg would always calmly talk to them and be positive. He was never full of spit and anger. At least, it appeared that way to me. That's why I think he's a good coach- he's more focused on teaching over the long term than he is on the appearance of teaching in the short term. Remember, these are kids we're talking about, not an NFL farm team. A good coach is going to have to get the kids to want to do what he's asking.
I admit that's not tangible, nor can it be empirically proven. Which is why I'm willing to admit that time could reveal me to be wrong and Gerg to be bad. But without that time, no judgment either way can be proven right or wrong.
The examples you point to do not include an entire coaching transition. The rosters on those defenses were not depleted. To combine both a program transition and a depleted roster is always going to be death. I am not going to advocate more turmoil to a roster that is already young, thin, and only moderately talented. Just because it worked a couple times at a couple programs doesn't mean it will happen that way this time. And, there's no need to take that risk- as long as the kids are being developed (and we won't really know that for another year), then there is no reason to risk stopping the progress.
Brian, thanks for that bit of well reasoned perspective. I will try to keep it in my head as I wring my hands in frustration every time our defense gives up a third and long. I have personally been a member of the GERG must go camp, but when you really break out the numbers, you make a good case for leniency with GERG.
"Michigan's starting lineup has as many sophomores (Floyd, Kovacs, Roh) and freshmen (Gordon, Gordon) as the entire Iowa two-deep, and where Iowa has seniors backed by seniors or sophomores backed by juniors in many places Michigan has freshmen, freshmen, and more freshmen."
I read a compelling treatise on another site that eloquently explained that USC's defense only sucks because Monte Kiffin has not yet died. You have countered none of that gentleman's well reasoned arguments. If only someone would take the time to combine all examples of such persuasive analysis from around the world of college football in one place, we wouldn't have to listen to your excuses. Obviously you just love losing, Brian.
I don't doubt that RR would fire Robinson if things failed to improve next year since he doesn't have a legacy with him, but I'd bet that getting rid of any of his assistants he brought from WVU would be a different matter entirely. RR strikes me as the kind of HC who would be very loyal to assistants who've been with him for a while and would be highly resistant to being told by DB or anyone else that he had to get rid of any of them.
Occasional excess is necessary to remedy the deadening effects of moderation.
I don't know if this really matters. It's not normal for a DC to hire his own staff. I''m not sure why this is brought up as an issue. Anyway, of the two defensive assistants who followed RR to Michigan, one (Frey) clearly seems good at his job and the other (Gibson) is one of our top recruiters. The position group where we have the most experience, and have shown the least demonstrable progress, is LB - GERG's position.
Because he went to Michigan? Guy hasn't coached college in 20 years, was the nominal defensive coordinator under Fox (who was the real coordinator) wasn't well thought of around the league and was fired. Greg Robinson has a better NFL resume than Trgovac and actually has been around the college game the last 20 years. If Michigan goes a different direction in the next couple of years I hope they can do better than Trgovac and I certainly wouldn't want them to open the check book up for him.
The issue is not that the two deep is so young, its what has happened that there is no development of supposedly talented recruits (or the out right loss of those recruits).
Justin Turner leaving the program after not contributing. BooBoo flaming out spectacularly. Will Campbell MIA. Warren deciding he was better off leaving a year early to go undrafted versus coming back for a senior season. Lolata leaving after having never contributed.
Here is the crux of my concern. Most of the guys I list above would still be young players, so the expectation wasn't that the D would be incredible, rather there would be signs that it was building towards a highly experienced group that was currently demonstrating progress. That isn't the case. And that is the concern.
I'd love to hear the thoughts on why this is occurring. At some point, we need to accept that there is a failure occurring on the defensive side of the team. I think M hired a great HC in RR, but I'm concerned that the deterioration of the D year over year will catch up to RR. I hope this concern turns out to be nothing more than a worthless exercise in hand wringing...
You mention the development of talented recruits then you cite Warren (Jr who left for the draft, not undeveloped underclassman) and Cissoko (who turned criminal, not really much the coaching staff can do there). One was pretty fully developed and just bailed for the NFL (hah) and the other didn't give the staff a chance to turn him into anything.
You might have a point with the other three, but I think the coaching staff can only do so much. Turner was on campus for all of a year before he left the team on his own accord, same with LaLota. While they had all the hype in the world, they also had some pretty big physical disadvantages (Turner - "outgrew" corner; LaLota - showed up something like 2 inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter than expected). Either way I don't think these two qualify for your "failure to develop" concerns. You need more than a year in the program to develop into a solid player, and even highly regarded recruits flame out. It is just more obvious when it happens at Michigan because of the utter lack of depth behind them.
While Campbell hasn't broken on to the field yet, he is also playing behind the hands down best player on our defense. Besides, you can't really judge a recruit until his 3rd year in the program. Give big Willy time.
How about the development of Roh, who has put on weight and become a good pass rusher (although using him as a LB is a regrettably bad decision). Thomas Gordon is another positive story for this staff. Wasn't he the lowest rated recruit in the '09 class and now he is starting and playing solid as the Spur. And if you want to talk about someone maximizing their talent look no farther than Kovacs. The kid who everyone considers too small and slow is in the right place at the right time and making plays all over the field. Could he succeed without decent coaches to develop the mental aspects of the game?
The real failure to develop has been at the linebacker position, and even there we are seeing a turnaround year from Mouton. If Demens can step in for Ezeh without a drop off we will have starters coming back at every position except DE and WLB.
I agree that development of our players could be a concern, but I don't think we will have credible evidence to support either side for another year or two at least.
My point was that his high recruiting ranking was based on his size. Had his actual size been reported he might have been lower rated. 6'6 260 is going to get a better ranking than 6'4 230. As fans we base our expectations on star rankings most of the time and can be misled into thinking guys like Lalota have higher ceilings and more potential for immediate impact than they do.
You're pointing out guys who were with the program for 2 years or less (Donovan Warren is an exception because apparently he was never going to stay 4 years).
It's possible what we're witnessing is a bit of impatience from the players themselves. They come in expecting to play right away, don't win playing time, and decide to leave because they're unsure they'll ever get PT. I don't know if this is RichRod's fault for overselling their chances, the kids for not being mature/resilient enough to handle having to earn PT, both, or neither.
Regardless, as leery as I am about the attrition, I won't get overly concerned with it until it becomes a pattern over more than 2 years. If we're still seeing ridiculous (Artis Chambers, Marell Evans, srsly?) transfers into next year and beyond, then I'll start to wonder just what the hell RichRod is doing to these kids.
is normal. It happens everywhere in college football. players transfer because they don't get PT or they are homesick. Plenty of players, like Quintin Patilla, Pierre Rembert, Matt Gutterriez, Clayton Richards, Jim Presley, Keston Chetham, Marques Walton, Chris Rogers, James McKinney, Jason Forcier, Mister Simpson, Quinton Woods, Cobrani Mixon under LC left Michigan. To say that attrition under RR is an isolated incident is ignorant.
"To say that attrition under RR is an isolated incident is ignorant."
Who was saying it was? Serious. I looked up in the thread and didn't see who was saying that.
When you have multiple , highly regarded recruits flaming out (Turner, Emelien, Lalota) and some guys not getting in at all ( Dorsey, Davion Rogers, Jones, Witty -ok Witty did eventually get in) due to academics, you may be tempted to wonder about the recruting. Not ignorance. It's the reality of the situation.
The ignorance comes into play when people fail to realize that the kind of attrition you are talking about happens at every major program in the country and has been happening at Michigan for years prior to Rodriguez's arrival. Jumping from "some guys are leaving and/or not panning out" to "something is wrong" only happens if you aren't aware of the long history of these things happening.
Go look at the old recruiting rankings on Rivals and you'll see that under Carr (as would happen under any coach) the 4-5 star recruits wash out of the program or never amount to anything on the field at an incredibly high rate.
I am fully aware that 5 star recruits don't pan out. Kevin Grady was a 5 star and was behind Mike 3-star Hart and was never a full time starter. He was a Carr recruit. Yet I don't recall Carr ever having a position group so painfully thin as the secondary is right now.
RR is the head of the ship, if they're hitting icebergs the ultimate responsibility is his. If they're down to starting true freshmen, converted backup WR's and walk ons in the secondary, it's his responsibility, utlimately.