there was one constant the last couple of his years when we lost--opposing players saying variations of 1- "we knew what they were going to do", and 2- "they got tired in the 4th quarter." Multiple occasions of that in the public record. Both are true. Regarding football, that was in fact pre-RR football here. We hoped that would change, but in fact it got much worse. I think all Brian has ever tried to say is that let's recognize that, and not pretend that the program was everything we all could hope for before we hired the guy who didn't work out. And I think he's right to point that out.
Unverified Voracity Flees Mob, Fumbles En Route
State turdstorm UPDATE! Yesterday Eleven Warriors graciously posted that Maurice Clarett might be a troubled weirdo who tried to take down Ohio State after he got the boot, but at least he's a trying troubled weirdo and he's not all bad. This is a level of understanding I do not have with Tractor Traylor even after the guy died tragically.
11W's reward for this understanding is to have Ray Small go MoCo:
"We have apartments, car notes," he said. "So you got things like that and you look around and you're like, ‘Well I got (four) of them, I can sell one or two and get some money to pay this rent."
The wheeling and dealing didn't stop with rings. The best deals came from car dealerships, Small said.
"It was definitely the deals on the cars. I don't see why it's a big deal," said Small, who identified Jack Maxton Chevrolet as the players' main resource.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on May 7 that OSU was investigating more than 50 transactions between OSU athletes and their families and Jack Maxton Chevrolet or Auto Direct.
Representatives for Jack Maxton Chevrolet did not return repeated requests for comment.
NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes from benefiting from the sale of their merchandise. Small said he wasn't the only one.
"They have a lot (of dirt) on everybody," Small said, "cause everybody was doing it."
Man… Ray Small. That guy was in trouble from day one at OSU, threw regular public hissy-fits about it, and he wasn't even that good at football. If I was an Ohio State fan he would be in my circle of the damned. Their term for this rapidly expanding category that includes Kirk Herbstreit and (to the truly deranged) Chris Spielman is "Fake Buckeye."
You can add Mark "Club Trillion" Titus to that list after he posted there was definitely something "shady" going on with football players' cars, then followed it up with a rebuttal saying that he shouldn't get death threats because that's mean. Titus claims the shadiness was to the point where most students knew or should have known what was going on.
Meanwhile, the local news station is investigating the Gibson thing and while that transaction continues to get more complicated it's not getting proportionally more explicable:
10 Investigates [sic] found that Gibson had a trade-in. He traded in a 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo that BMV records showed he bought for $15,400 just seven months earlier.
But the dealership may have given him only $1,000 toward the trade-in, [instead] dropping the sales price of the car he was buying by a substantial amount.
10 Investigates [sic] has learned that's what Kniffin has told investigators with the BMV.
The trade-in business materializes as predicted; an explanation for how Thad Gibson scraped together enough money to buy two cars worth a total of 30k in less than a year is yet to be explained. Along The Oletangy responds to the investigation apparently clearing the transactions:
In any case, it doesn't matter what the BMV finds when they analyze Jack Maxton Chevrolet's tax forms as long as no special treatment was given to Ohio State football players.
It's obvious plenty of special treatment was provided, but where is the smoking gun?
Position paper on demolition of Ohio State program and whether it is good or bad. If Ohio State was going to fall apart by Notre Daming themselves with a series of coaching hires ranging from questionable to insane, that would be a thing to be conflicted about in the same way certain Ohio State fans are bored with a terrible Michigan team they're just going to blow out.
This is a different thing entirely since it suggests the fence Tressel legendarily put up around Ohio's borders is one based on massive NCAA noncompliance. Meanwhile, thanks in part to this (and in part to Michigan imploding) they've gone 9-1 and turned the Big Ten into their personal playground. If the NCAA finds proof of this massive noncompliance and OSU gets bombed into the stone age and is no longer any good, there's no conflict there. It's an unadulterated good. Michigan has been hypersensitive about this stuff since the Ed Martin Day Of Great Shame, and it's obvious their main rival hasn't. Putting that on even footing will help put the rivalry there if it doesn't swing it all the way back to the Cooper days, which fine by me.
Hot under the collar, part II. ESPN's Mike Fish, you may remember from the above-referenced Maurice Clarett bombing, has a new article. This is the header image:
Africa basketball charity, AAU player headed to Indiana, Tom Crean, Indiana AAU coach. This can't be good. Not pictured: involuntary adoption. Hooray Beilein.
Hey let's rehash this again. MZone noticed that I hadn't mentioned Lloyd Carr's election to the College Football Hall of Fame and asks why I hate Lloyd Carr, complete with requisite psychoanalysis and link to me being mad in the immediate aftermath of the Hoke hire when everyone was mad, something I've obviously backed away from in multiple column-length pieces since.
To defend myself: I don't take the CFHOF seriously. It just elected Deion Sanders. When Tom Curtis was elected it warranted about two sentences. For better or worse, I am totally uninterested in the charity work of rich people. I've also said my bit about Carr as Michigan's coach over and over again. Contrary to two-bit psychoanalysis it was not negative, or at least it was far less negative than many.
And I am pissed off at the hostility to change that's obvious every time any former Carr player says something about anything. We've got a program of Joe Morgans. I'm worried how that will manifest itself on the field. It's not hard to draw a contrast between what's gone down the last three years and what would have gone down if Bo was still around. Bo would have been on the warpath; he probably would have dropped by to scream at Rodriguez some. The impression we've gotten from every one of Carr's former players is that there is exactly one person responsible for Michigan's decline—Rich Rodriguez—and not only is that incorrect (Horror, DeBord, Tressel vs Carr) but it's detrimental to Michigan's future. If we got back to the days where every bowl opponent laughs at how predictable we are that will not be good.
(I don't think that's happening because Borges is a real live offensive coordinator and not a broken robot that only calls zone left. Hoke uber alles.)
Eyerolling reorg. Adam Wodon on the inevitable hockey realignment coming sounds like anyone talking about anything last year when talking about conference realignment:
It all starts with Notre Dame. (Well, it all started with Penn State and the Big Ten, but that's already happened.) Think about it — you're Notre Dame's president. Your sports teams all play in the Big East, or, in the case of football, is the most storied program in college sports. You fire up CHN's iPhone app one morning to check the hockey standings, and what do you see? You see Notre Dame competing against some MAC and D-II schools. You recoil. This is not what Notre Dame does. This is not what Notre Dame is.
That is not a knock on the other schools, it's just reality. There is no way that Notre Dame is staying put. That means that the CCHA is certain to lose its remaining powerhouse (from an institutional, NCAA-wide standpoint), and fall further to seven teams. That means the CCHA is in trouble, as a whole.
Maybe Wodon's got some inside chatter on this that he's refusing to mention in an effort to make his column as annoyingly speculative as possible, but this is the impetus for an elaborate reorganization scenario that sees Notre Dame move to Hockey East because they'd rather play Merrimack (seriously) than Ferris State.
Notre Dame is choosing between some games against BC and then a bunch of schools no one at Notre Dame has heard of plus flying for literally every road game and staying in the CCHA. While ND has money, are they going to spend it on that for no real benefit? And will Hockey East expand to an eleven teams just for the dubious benefits of having ND in the conference? Travel costs matter in hockey, the longest season in the NCAA, and no one is going to make enough money on an ND move to justify the increased costs even if "this is not what Notre Dame does." Yeesh.
This is EXACTLY the thing. During the late Carr years we were predictable, plodding on offense, and got tired out on defense.
The move to RR, the spread, the 3-3-5 and Barwis' strength training was supposed to change all this. It didn't happen.
Sure, our offense was unpredictable and electric during the first five games of 2010, and I guess also during the first six games of 2009. But it seemed like all the good defenses in the Big 10 had us figured out pretty darn well, and not only did we seem to get tired later on, our defenses couldn't stop anyone even when they were well rested.
The thing about the Horror and the Oregon apocalypse in 2007 is that, right afterwards, we rolled off 7 straight wins and ended up beating Florida in the bowl game.
The thing about 2010, our best season under RR, was that we imploded and were humiliated three times to end the season.
And this is from someone who really, really wanted it to work out. IT DIDN'T.
I think it's funny that 11 Wariors has a banner ad on the side of their site for Auto Trader saying "Find the right car for you!" It must be for the Tressel Speical.
That BarwisMethods Training Center is probably badass. But probably not as hardcore as Iowa's Chris Doyle Training and Dialysis Center.
Is life in your imaginary world nice?
There's certainly a lot going on there.
So your argument is that Brian is full of it because of how you imagine he would have reacted in the future in a parallel dimension.
In a parallel dimension, that argument might hold some water. It might even be regarded as somewhat rational. Unfornately in this dimension it's nonsense.
I got mentioned in the post!
FWIW, my name is capitalized.
I forced myself to read half of that article and for all the digging they did, EPSN basically found nothing. The worst they found seemed to be an indication that Indiana Elite players were likely to follow people they knew or family members of people they knew. That might sound bad but all of these kids are brought in from Africa, away from their families. Can you really blame them for following what's familiar? Going off to college it tough enough for kids who grew up in the same state much less a kid from Sudan, who probably doesn't speak english, going off to a school where he doesn't know anyone again.
Nice try ESPN, why don't you focus on the impending doom coming from columbus instead
Brian, it takes a big man to take a strong public opinion on a topic (your initial dislike of Hoke) and to not only backtrack from that statement, but to publicly admit that you have backed away. I commend you and welcome you to the Brady Hoke fan club. (your introductory copy of "Finger Pointing, Toughness, Touching Kids and Looking at Butts" will be arriving in the mail shortly).
As to the whole Lloyd Carr thing, I do take issue with one statement:
"The impression we've gotten from every one of Carr's former players is that there is exactly one person responsible for Michigan's decline—Rich Rodriguez—and not only is that incorrect (Horror, DeBord, Tressel vs Carr) but it's detrimental to Michigan's future. "
Up until his very last season, Lloyd had us competing for the B10 Championship. Hell, in his second to last season, we were 7 points away from playing for the National Championship. The specific examploes that you reference to show that Michigan was in decline all can by explained as:
1. The Horror - yes, Lloyd's last year was bad. He wanted to reitre a year earlier and by most accounts, he admits that he didn't have the energy / drive to coach that last year, but he stayed on at Martin's request.
2. DeBord - he was, in fact, DeBoring, but having a boring OC that was predictable didn't stop us from consistently competing for the B10 until Lloyd's last season (see point 1)
3. Tress v. Carr - well, there is a good chance that soem of those victories may be vacated, and that Tress was playing with a team of players that were largely ineligable because of violations. Sure, Tress beat Lloyd, but he may have actually been cheating to do it (said with as little whine as possible), so to me, losing to a guy that cheats, recruits players with cars, apartments, etc. does not tarnish Lloyd as a coach to me.
If you want to say that Lloyd's last season was bad, I will give you that. But, one bad season does not, in my opinion, evidence a program in decline.
As to whether RR is SOLELY responsible for the program's sharp decline during his three years as head coach, I agree with the point that debating the issue any further is a waste of time. Everyone has their opinion, and none matter since RR is no longer the coach.
You really don't think that the program was in decline? The drubbings to USC didn't mean anything? How about following up the Horror with a similarly embarrassing loss to Oregon. How about the 7-5, 2005 season? Yes, we were still competitive in the Big Ten, which might be more of an indictment of the conference than anything else, but we also got frequently embarrassed by elite competition.
The end of Carr's tenure was certainly better than the past three years, but it wasn't exactly amazing, either.
I really do not believe that we were in decline, with the exception of his final season (about which I commented above).
To respond to your points:
The USC drubbings - USC was arguably the best or one of the best teams in the country those seasons. No shame in losing to them. No, I was not happy that we lost badly, but a large percentage of the team that drubbed us is now in the NFL, with a few bona fide superstars.
The Horror / Oregon - see my comments about Carr's last season, which I concede was a disappointment.
As to whether we were in decline during Lloyd's final few seasons, I guess it is a question of perspective. Personally, I believe no. During the years before Lloyd took over as head coach, and during much of his tenure, we were not exactly competing for NCs every year. We were atop the B10 (along with OSU), and that is where he kept us. Hell, he got us our only NC in the latter half of the decade, and was one stupid Shawn Crable penalty away from playing for the NC in his second to last year. So, no, I don't see decline (again, except 2007).
And 2005? And let me ask you a question, how would Carr's year have been in 2008? Replacing a whole offense and linebacking corp, could we really have been any better than 7-5 again? That'd be three "bad" years in four seasons. That's a decline.
Would have been a crappy season no matter who was coaching. I totally con cede that. But a crappy 7-5 would have been a ton better than 3-9, no bowl an having half of the team transfer.
We're discussing whether Michigan in Carr's later years was on the decline, i.e., not winning Big 10 championships on at least a semi-regular basis and usually being considered a Top 10 team. If you think a 7-5 season wouldn't have been a decline, I don't know what to tell you.
If Carr were our coach in 2008, we wouldn't have had to replace the entire offense. Mallett, Boren, Arrington would most likely have stayed, and Mitchell may have as well. With those guys around, playing in a system they were recruited for (ditto for the defense), it's likely we'd have been a bowl team. If you want to consider 7-5 with a sophomore QB a sign of decline, OK, relative to the late '90s it may have been, but that still represented the floor under Carr - enough that Brian called that record a "Year of Infinite Pain.".
It's amazing how this "the program was clearly in decline" revisionism has taken root. Absolutely no one was making this claim in December 2007. Look back at the archives of this site. The consensus was we just needed a few "tweaks" to beat OSU and return to our 1990s status. As late as August 2008, after the coaching change and massive attrition, the consensus was still that we'd likely make a bowl. Then we went 3-9 and people searched for explanations.
I don't know how you can't see it. In 2004-2007:
- We finished the regular season unranked twice
- We went 0-4 against OSU
- We went 2-2 against ND
- We went 4-0 against MSU (thank god) but had to pull out some of those victories against mediocre teams in the most unbelieveable fashion possible
- We suffered the "biggest upset" in D1-A history (Horror)
- We were utterly crushed at home by Oregon
- You mentioned the USC team and their NFL talent. They certainly had a lot, but they were led by one John David Booty. The 2006 Michigan team had so much talent (credit to Carr) that it makes my eyes water - Woodley, Harris, Hall, Branch, Henne, Hart, Manningham, etc - all playing, and some starring in the NFL. Yet in their two biggest games, we were clearly outclassed (OSU was ahead virtually the entire game ; USC blew us out through smart coaching & good playing in the 2nd half).
There were certainly some highlights (2005 PSU, 2008 Cap One Bowl vs Florida, to name a few), but we were, unfortunately, below the top tier and sometimes (2005 & 2007) well below it. In 2008, if Carr had stayed, what would we have gone - 6-6? 5-7? 7-5? Do you really think we would have competed for a Big Ten title? It's hard to argue much different than that. He gets a lot of "credit" for that year.
We weren't atop the Big 10 in Carr's later years - we had, unfortunately, been clearly passed by OSU. That wasn't the case in Carr's first few years, 1996-2003 (or the Mo years, or the Bo years). That's a decline.
--which, I admit, is completely dependent upon a person's own opinion about what constitutes a "good" season for Michigan football. So this is my opinion: averaging more than three losses a year, getting blown out several times by good teams, and going 1-6 against OSU his last seven years (I disagree with you that this will get dispersed by cheating--there is zero evidence that all of those same players would not have been at OSU despite it) are in fact, disappointing to a program with the potential of Michigan. I admit my opinion is heavily influenced by App. St. and also as I posted earlier, by the quotes from opposing players several times after losses questioning our tactics and conditioning. But IMO, a typical three loss season, complete with a loss to OSU, and being overmatched in a bowl game, is disappointing. There were several seasons like that, not just one.
2002 to 2007 (Only years they had)
Michigan avg. Team Ranking: 8.8
OSU avg. Team Ranking: 12.5
Michigan avg. Team Ranking: 11.5
OSU avg. Team Ranking: 15.8
I'm not going to go point-by-point and argue your claims (since they are not new and have been debated ad naseum already), but if anyone honestly thinks that the Carr era was going in the right direction after about 2005, you either were not paying attention or honestly thought that 2006 was better than it actually was.
I have always said Carr was a very good recruiter and a good coach, but he rode Gary Moeller's recruits and a magical season by one of the best defenders in CFB history to his NC, then spent the next decade or so keeping the team competitive in the B1G but failed to keep pace with the evolution other programs were going through. He was a good coach and deserves all the praise he received, but he was never an elite coach on the sidelines, and at times it felt like he purposely stuck his head in the sand and ignore the college football landscape. As far back as Donovan McNabb at Syracuse and Jarious Jackson at ND (and maybe before, I don't remember), UM couldn't defend against a mobile QB, and while that didn't kill them too often in the B1G, they definitely struggled as teams moved to spread offenses and other formations that allowed them to level the talent gap between them and UM.
Because that was the biggest flaw with Carr - he thought football should be played one way, and surrounded himself with guys who shared that view, such that he never recognized that this way wasn't necessarily the best option anymore. I'm not saying RR was the best choice for UM, but he gave UM a swift kick in the butt toward acknowledging that the CFB world had changed since the 1980's, and I hope Hoke and co. continues this growth.
I've never really understood this meme of Carr won with Mo's players. Do you think Carr, as DC, didn't have anything to do with recruiting some of those players? Carr became the head coach in 1995. In the 1997 season we had quite a few freshman contributors to that championship season. Do the names Dhani Jones, Ian Gold, or Anthony Thomas ring a bell?
No, I understand that Carr had some influence on recruiting kids and definitely brought in some nice contributors, but the leaders on that team - Griese, Woodson, Feeley, Tuman - were still mostly guys that Mo brought in/was probably the lead guy. I'm not trying to undermine Carr's accomplishment too much - he still won a title, and that is extremely difficult. But I've heard too many people say "Carr won an NC at UM - he knows what he is talking about 'x'", as if the guy knew how to build a team from nothing or take over a program with glaring problems. Yes, he recruited well and I'll never knock the contributions youngsters like Thomas and Jones made, but the team won because guys like Griese and Woodson took the lead.
My issue with Carr boils down to the perception (totally subjective, and I acknowledge it) that he was a good coach who was so damn scared about change, of upsetting Bo's team and his mindset, that he failed to push UM forward and let it evolve like the other elite programs did. It's not just the USC losses or the Horror; it's being terrified every time a QB broke containment because I had no faith the defense knew how to tackle those guys in space. It's was watching them run on 2nd-and-7 because that's "what you did at Michigan", not because it was the best play. It was sending out teams chock full of future NFL pros and going 10-2 or 9-3 and saying "well, at least we shared the B10 title with Wisconsin or OSU" instead of being upset that this team didn't compete for a title.
I suffered through the RR era like everyone else, but he gave me hope that UM was going to take a chance and try to catch the other programs like Texas, USC, Florida, and Alabama that were winning when it counted in top-tier bowl games and big-time matchups, not kicking the crap out of Purdue and Eastern and calling it a "good" year because the team went 7-1 in a watered-down B10. And it meant being angry that OSU was getting better while UM was stagnating, something I never saw out of Carr. I'm sure he's a great guy and his charity work is commendable, but the Carr era was a complete tease to me outside of 1997, and even then I had no faith that the direction of the program would grow with that victory. Carr arrived at the perfect time for UM - they needed a no-drama guy who would keep up the tradition, CFB was still conservative enough offensively and defensively that trotting out more talent and playing solid football would get you 9-10 wins given the right schedule, and OSU was on the decline under Cooper and Tressel needed some time to get them back.
I have faith in Hoke that he'll be a good leader and his decision to hire Mattison has already played out extremely well on the recruiting trail, but I agree that hoping Hoke becomes Carr 2.0 isn't aspirational.
Interesting choices, considering 3 were way down last year, in cyclical fashion. And among them Texas has had much the same complaints of beating up on a soft conference, and winning the title because of one transcendent player; and you've got USC on heavy probation to get there, and Bama which struggled for much of the time frame you speak of (check out their record vs. their rival) till they hired a win at all cost guy that will probably land them back on probation someday. Urban Meyer is/was a great coach. Did you want us to get him and all that comes with it? (Even if we could have).
I get the problems all of those programs suffered through recently, and trust me I'm happy that UM has stayed above that fray (for the most part) throughout its existence. But at the same time, all of those teams (Alabama the least, but still) made conscious efforts to evolve with college football, whether it be by increasing coaching salaries to attract the best coordinators and recruiters, adopting more wide-open offenses and defenses (or at least being better prepared to handle them), and finding ways to recruit the best kids and really grow your program. Carr wasn't necessarily bad at any of these elements (save for the openness to new offenses and defenses), but he definitely lacked the energy and desire toward the end to keep pace with the Jones, er Macks and Meyers. Now, that might ultimately fall on Martin for not letting Carr walk away earlier and getting someone younger/more energetic at a time when there was still solid talent across the board, but the fact remains that Carr was treading water at the end, and if you throw out 2006 as a bit of an aberration (and I think the OSU/USC games kind of bear that out), this team was falling farther and farther behind the rest of the elite programs.
As for Meyer as a coach, I'm not sold he would have worked at UM when Florida took him because he walked into a talented team with no direction after Zook, and that fanbase is not nearly as fanatic/blue-haired as UM. I mean, Meyer came in with an offense that looked and scored like Spurrier's, and the fans were just happy to have a good team again. Kind of like what is happening now with Hoke and RR (if Zook was actually a really good HC and not a good recruiter without any common sense on a football field). Meyer was able to build on the foundation he was given and turned Florida into a champion. Maybe if Meyer was tabbed in 2005 after that loss to Nebraska, 2006 doesn't happen but 2007-2011 also probably doesn't play out that way, and I'm starting to feel that 2006 team would have won 10 games with me as the coach.
I guess this is a long response, but I have always felt that Carr did some great things for the University, but he was more a shepperd for the old guard and kept the flock largely safe until the end. He didn't try to push the team to be better than it historically was, and while that resulted in some nice conference trophies and a good winning percentage, UM is suffering a bit now because he also allowed the team to stagnate while other programs at least pushed forward.
Apologies to the MGoPopulace. I have really been trying to be good and let things slide... avoided the whole debate part of the Chris Perry thread....got roped in here...
Anyway, I wouldn't disagree with much of what you said. i'm not sure USC evolved much more than we did...but that's minor. It's certainly safe to say Carr lost some energy towards the end. Almost all coaches do at that point. It's hardest to recruit, travel, and kiss the asses of privileged 17 year olds. It happened to Bo too. Frankly, there was a talent slide in his latter years. We just didn't notice it because the Big Ten was frankly so bad at the time. (Anytime you can reasonably say the conference's second best team might legitimately be MSU for more than a single season, it's down). Moeller came in, and not only upped the offense, but the recruiting too. Lloyd continued that early on. But any coach close to retirement, it's the recruiting that slides first. I won't argue that it happened with Lloyd too.
I don't think I was clear on Meyer...that's on me. I never meant he was legitimately a candidate for Michigan. I just meant that right now he's one of handful of coaches to be as successful as he has, and none so fast. One of a kind. And I don't think fans down there were actually that happy when they went 7-5 or whatever he did his first year. That obviously changed fast. But while quite possibly not as "blue-haired" as Michigan's fan base, I wouldn't say they're not as fanatical. Or maybe more accurately, as self-entitled. The reason Spurrier left in the first place was certainly money, and a new challenge, but a large part was that he was kind of tired of fans who took all the winning the did down there for granted, and complained that they weren't winning the National Title EVERY year. (And darn if Meyer didn't try and prove to them it could be done). Hoke is getting a bit of what Meyer did, in that after Zook, they maybe realize automatic winning at the pace they were before isn't a birthright. It's not easy. Not to say Hoke is Meyer. Meyer did everything Hoke did, but at a much higher sustained level. But what I was getting at was if you really wanted someone like Meyer, who is undoubtably one of the best coaches out there, you have to take the problems too...the arrests, and all that stuff that kind of makes us cringe. Maybe not as much as Saban, and certainly not as much as USC, but still worrisome qualities. (And while there's been no evidence of anything going on down at Texas, and I wouldn't implicate the coaches, anyone who's been around football in the "State of" Texas knows that there are a lot of influences keeping kids at home. It's more remarkable that Texas managed to stay so average for so long). Not saying Meyer is automatically a bad dude. He seemed like a dream candidate to replace Lloyd when he said he dream jobs were ND, OSU and Michigan back at Utah (but then turned down ND when he had the chance the FIRST time for Florida). And he's done great things. But I'm more in the group that I'd rather be 9-3 and not be shady, then win 11 games every year and do things the wrong way. Can you be honest, and win big time? I guess it's possible, but it hasn't been shown too much in our "dynasties".
So yes, it would be nice to have someone do things the right way, and win a bit more more than we were in the process. And it seemed like Rich might be the guy to do it; innovative, and apparently still very honest. Hopefully Hoke is the guy to do it now. But turn us into USC et al., with a secondary primary recruiting base, and without open courting of scandal? I'm not sure it's possible. If a coach could win one National Title, and maybe stay at the top of the Big Ten a bit more consistently, I'd be pretty ok with that.
I agree with every single word of this. I think that's what a lot of people liked about RR. The PROMISE that Michigan was doing something different, something to become relevant. I know it's not supposed to be all about National Championships, but there were some damn good UM teams that could have competed for the NC that never got there because of losses that just plain shouldn't have happened. Too many fourth-quarter comebacks. That USC Rose Bowl game was actually the low point for me. The Horror and Oregon were abysmal, but it was watching UM get absolutely railroaded by USC that made me want something different. Sure, RR didn't work out -- I don't think anyone's trying to say that he did. But I absolutely agree that a change was necessary, and the failures (at least initially) were not entirely his fault. I don't want to return to Carr-ball. I don't want to open every game by running left, and I don't want to throw for two yards when you need nine, or run on second and seven. I don't want to win 28-24. I desperately hope we don't lose all of the high-powered offense potential of RR. I hope that Hoke can be a 20th century Carr. Open to adaptation and modification that will enable us to compete with anyone. I have faith that this will happen, given his (apparent) willingness to adapt for Denard. But honestly, i think if we go completely back to Carr ball, back to 9-3, 10-2 seasons, people are going to be looking around again in about five years.
You complain about tackling under Carr and then say at least RR gave you hope.
Yes, I know you didn't say RR gave you hope about tackling, but this is still an important point to make: we didn't actually get better at most of the things that made us go 7-5 in 2005 and 8-4 in 2007. We got worse. Much worse. Even the areas we improved in--offensive production in particular--were difficult to sustain against top-tier opponents.
I think, when Dave Brandon thought about how to crawl out of this hole, this is what he considered most important. Picking Hoke seemed weird and disappointing at the time, but over the past few months it's become increasingly apparent, to me at least, that there was method to the madness (if not the timing). We really do need to get back to fundamentals, to things like keeping contain, tackling, blocking the big front 7s of the Big 10. If we can do these things AND retain at least some of the pace of our offense last year, we're going to have a very fun 2011.
See, I am not going to crown Hoke as the defensive savior until he actually coaches a game and we see how the defense looks. Until that time, it is all coachspeak, the type you hear from every coach about fundamentals and playing the game the right way.
Mattison is a huge upgrade over every DC RR had, but lots of the tackling issues were due to young kids and bad coaching by overmatched DCs as it was anything fundamental with RR. I'm sure he pushed tackling, keeping containment, etc. with his defensive coaches, but at the same time Avery and Ezeh are the guys out on the field trying to execute. Now, with more talent on defense and some pieces in place on offense (luxuries RR didn't have), hopefully we'll see a return to good tackling and the type of defensive soundness you need in order to compete.
But I'm not going to knock RR and glorify Hoke just because one of them struggled to field a good defense and the other hasn't had a chance to prove whether or not he can do better with slightly older versions of that talent.
I used the "if...then" sentence format to indicate that. IF we do x, y and z, THEN we will have success under Hoke. If we don't, we won't. Just like with RR.
But these are also fair to say: Brandon hired someone in order to do these things, Hoke hired Mattison in order to do these things and all signs at this premature date point to an increased emphasis on these "fundamentals."
We'll have to wait to see how much, and how much it will mean, obviously.
The horror is what it is. We were unprepared and flat the whole game, and they rolled over us. I don't see how people can condemn him so much for this though. Last year Va tech lost to a D2 team, but Beamer finished strong and won an ACC title. I believe LSU dropped one to a D2 team a few years back as well, and they went on to have a good season as well. Michigan was still 1 win against OSU from a B10 championship that year. Yet this past year, we sneaked by umass, and didn't even sniff a B10 title. I just don't understand how you can bash a guy for a couple bad games in his career with all the greatness he has done for our program, on and off the field. How can you bash Carr for a few games in a 10+ career when RR had more embarassing losses overall in only 3 years, and yet RR seems immune to your criticism because he wasn't given a fair chance by the media. I have never bashed RR, but when people keep attacking Carr with all he did for our program and seemingly defending/excluding what RR did, it makes me sick.
My bad, thanks for the correction.
the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated will supposedly reveal a lot more about TSIO and delve deep into Tressel's history, and could form the basis for a show cause from the NCAA. Article in SI is written by George Dohrmann who won the Pulitzer in 2000, so not just some hack rehashing information. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8090187/upcoming_sports_illustrated_expose.html?cat=9
The 11W piece is precious. Yes, Ray Small is not "the whisleblower you seek", but then again, when it comes to Ohio, the only whistleblowers possible are Ohioans. So we take what we can get---especially on an otherwise slow Thursday. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Was not the whistleblower folks liked...but I guess he was right...
"He's nothing but a low-down, double-dealing, backstabbing, larcenous perverted worm! Hanging's too good for him. Burning's too good for him! He should be torn into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!"
I just listened to Denard's interview with Rittenberg.
Here is what is said:
Rittenberg: How different do you think this offense will look in 2011 versus last year
Denard: *laughs* When they see Michigan football come back in the Big House everyone will be surprised and uh, they are gonna be used to the tradition that we had here and uh that's gonna be the biggest thing.
All he is saying is that the offense is going to look more like the offense before Rodriguez got there. He doesn't say a detrimental thing about the Rodriguez years or Rodriguez. Unless you want to count him saying he's happy to try out the Pro-style offense so scouts can see him as a quarterback. But, you know, it was Rodriguez who actually gave him the chance to be a quarterback from the start...
As for Fred Jackson, as always, it'd be nice to hear some specifics. Because you know, treating OSU differently than other teams worked oh so well for Lloyd Carr's last 7 seasons.
You obviously cannot understand what another human being is saying.
All Denard said in that interview is that the offense will look more like the offense before Rodriguez, i.e. a traditional Michigan offense. More power, more under center, more running backs. He's not making an observation on anything other than the offense on the field.
If Rittenberg had asked Chad Henne "What do you think Michigan's offense will look like in 2011" and he had responded, "Well, I think it will look more like the offense I ran, a more traditional Michigan offense" no one would care.
If he had responded with, "Well, it certainly won't look like what they ran in 2010, because the spread can't work in the Big Ten and that isn't MICHIGAN football and that's not how MICHIGAN football wins games", then you probably would have seen some hostility.
So no, your point was not proven, let alone precisely.
As for Google...please, tell me what I should google?
"Rodriguez rivals not seriously"?
"Lloyd Carr guide to Emphasis"?
"Rodriguez lose because opponents treated all same"?
Everyone just gives these vague quotes without saying why they believe Rodriguez didn't "get it".
...when Hoke got hired. I was elated. I've seen his teams play and I liked that he always called Michigan his dream job. I also liked that anyone who knew him in college football said two things about him: 1) A man of integrity who knows how to lead and 2) an unbelievable recruiter. Hoke was no more unknown when he was hired than Bo was unknown when he was plucked from Miami-OH. It didn't take much checking around to find out about Hoke. The people who didn't know who he was do not follow college football closely. And they'd never met Hoke. He makes a strong impression in his folksy, selfless way.
Now, I also would've been pleased if Jim Harbaugh was hired, and Michigan would've hired him if he wanted the job. But he opted for the NFL -- and he and his brother recommended Hoke, by the way.
I would've been dreading the future if Les Miles got the job, because I know how he's getting it done at LSU -- oversigning, backdating scholarships, holding summer tryouts and making cuts. It only takes a few players on a college team to make a difference. You change out even 3-4 each year of the players you recruited but clearly overrated, it translates to real wins. So to me, Miles is a cheater. And I don't even think he's a great coach. He's a decent coach on a great run. I've met him. He's not too sharp. Make everyone play by the same rules and he won't look so good. Michigan didn't think he was so great either -- that's why Miles was not offered.
I wholeheartedly agree that Michigan teams, at least on offense, often have been completely predictable in bowl games -- any Rose Bowl against USC proved that -- and I agree with Brian that Borges seems to pride himself on not being that. But let's not separate RichRod from that crowd: He ran a completely predictable offense that always got his quarterbacks drilled. It is not true no one could stop it. The previous South Florida staff stopped it all the time when RichRod was at WVU, and Tressel and crew visited with that staff so they could learn how easy it was to stop. And stop it they did. Another year of RichRod would've proven more of the same and the defense, while it might not have been able to get worse, it certainly could have leveled off at horrendous.
I only would've been mad if Brandon somehow talked himself into keeping that Big East midget offense around another year. I've never bought all this crap about a house divided. That had nothing to do with RichRod's failures. It was his giant ego, his unwavering belief that the Big Ten would have to change to meet his system, and the fact that he put himself before the team and exuded that arrogance in so many ways. And still, none of that got him fired. Losing, and losing big in the Big Ten, is why he is gone. Losing and looking completely overwhelmed will spawn factions against any coach. I supported him wholeheartedly when he was hired because he was the Michigan coach. But the Michigan coach should be an impressive person and nothing he did impressed me. His comments since getting fired have only made me happy he's commenting as the former coach.
There were plenty of people who knew Hoke and thought he was a great hire. Even a few who read this blog regularly.
The whole "everyone was mad" really means "I was mad and everyone else should be too". But everyone wasn't pouting on the radio. Some were happy, some were surprised/shocked, and some didn't like it. And after the initial press conference, there were a lot more in the former end than the latter. The fact is some carried it a lot longer than others, but that doesn't retroactively make it everybody. Hardly even on the small corner of Michigan fandom that this site makes up.
Moreover, the people who actually watched Hoke's SDSU team play generally were a lot more high on him than those who hadn't. He wasn't my #1 choice for the job, but I thought he was a solid choice, and he's only reinforced my opinion since then.
If so, it would help explain why we were so bad in conference. But we also had other issues, like depth, that hurt as we slogged through 15-22.
Also, people forget that WVU racked up all those wins with defense too. And Big East opponents. Not to knock the job RR did there, but the conditions weren"t the same. Maybe, had Casteel come, things would have turned out differently. Doesn't matter anymore, though.
I'm very happy with Hoke's offseason so far. The only knocks are attrition and some lingering jitters about the offense. Logically, I realize he needs some time. But after the last 3 years, I'm not patient anymore, emotionally-speaking. Lost that last November...
entirely. Thanks for posting it, making it relatively concise.
Jim Tressel: "You're killing me Small!"
but isn't thursday the day it hits the mailbox? shouldn't someone have it scanned and up here right now?
That's not how SI works anymore. I think their big scoops hit the website as soon as the issue goes to print. So if they are predicting next Tuesday, that would be for the issue hitting newsstands a week from Monday (and thus mailboxes slightly earlier).
hard to believe this delivery model is falling out of favor
While I find the clusterfrick down in Columbus to be one of the more entertainining cannibalizations this side of the Andes, all UM fans should be careful how many stones they throw. I am fairly certain that if you dig deep enough into any major program, you are going to find guys getting sweetheart car deals, comped dinners, access to strip joints as underaged kids, DUIs and impermissible interactions with agents, runners, local businessmen, etc. People always talked up Carr running kids (looking at you Braylon) early in the morning for breaking team rules as proof that he ran a tight ship, but I'm fairly certain that some of those "team rules" were probably NCAA rules as well. It happens, and while schools like OSU, Auburn, and USC allowed it to grow well beyond acceptable bounds, let's not act like the program is above reproach when it comes to NCAA regulations.
A Michigan fan dialing up the current defense flavor of the month of the most dim witted OSU fan: everybody is surely doing it.
I didn't think it could get any weaker than them using it. I have to say this tops it.
that buckeye nation is waiting for a classy, educated, golden boy whistle blower they can all admire. Tressel will have to recruit a few first.
And Michigan is waiting for a football coach that knows how to win, I think.
here this a.m. Think about what Carr's status might be if he'd had a level playing field--the anointed.