Note: This is not an apologist’s rant. You're free to set whatever standards you so desire from your coaches. I will say that blaming the coaches when you are A) unsure of the true cause of our lack of success, and B) have very limited information to work with (only eight games at this point) seems premature to this rational fan.
Cause & Effect, Sunday Morning Quarterbacking
Forgive me, for I am an engineer. As a result, I am not only unable to refrain from math analogies, but that I also believe in cause and effect relationships. I don't think I'm alone here, as I've heard too many "if only we would have done X/Y/Z" arguments on this site to count. Everyone is aware there are a slew of factors that go into football success, including (but not limited to): scheme, technique, (personnel) execution. While I do think it's generally accepted that an increase in any single factor almost always results in positive total outcome, it is my personal belief that the net outcome is an uninvertable function. Unlike scientific experiments, we never get to replay football games to determine how a change in coaching/scheme/execution could have affected the total outcome. As such, no one positively knows exactly what factors are affecting the outcome, and how much impact they have.
People have spent years trying to work around this; some very successfully. The whole value in having 'experience' in a skill is the ability to ascertain what factors might be affecting the outcome when the information is limited. This is exactly why doctors are paid more than residents, senior electricians are paid more than journeyman, and so on.
With that said, I'd like to ask everyone who has suggested that "if only we would have done X/Y/Z" what makes you so sure that you've identified not only the most significant factor affecting our outcome, but how are you sure that your suggested change would have had enough effect to change the outcome? In reality, this is a hypothetical question, as we can't go back and replay games to be sure, but I think it's still a question worth asking yourself. Along those same lines, what makes you think that you have a greater ability to identify these factors than our current coaching staff? Are you suggesting you have more experience than our current coaches, or perhaps you were born with a God given talent for coaching football, but just decided you'd rather work in sales, health care, or whatever the hell you do? While I'll always acknowledge your argument that "Coach X produced better results than Coach Y", suggesting you know more about football than our current staff (or any NCAA staff for that matter) just makes you look like a fool.
1. Bragging about your occupation = a turn-off to other posters.
2. When a defense, which had been reasonably competent the year before, returns eight starters and then, despite remaining very healthy, degenerates into one of the worst in I-A (the stats don't lie), it can be reasonably inferred that it is not being properly coached. Players are supposed to improve with experience, not drastically fall off. I think it's safe to say that NO ONE expected this defense to give up 35+ points five times, and 45+ points three times. And there's still three games to go! Given these facts, it's pretty tough to accept that Shafer is the absolute best guy we can find for that position.
Where did he brag about his occupation?
He clearly wasn't bragging.
Your position is that defense was reasonable competent last year? Last year's defense gave up the 2nd most points (278, in 2004 the D gave up 279, 1 fucking point from being the WORSE ALL TIME IN MICHIGAN FOOTBALL) ever. That's competent???? A division 1A team put up 32 points, Oregon could have put up a million!
EDIT: That 2004 team that gave up the most points (by 1) in Michigan history played only 12 games whereas last year's team played 13, so it could be argued that the 2004 defense was probably the worse all-time in Michigan history.
Last year's defense at least had last year's veteran, NFL laden offense to keep them off the field. This years defense has no such luxury.
Last years defense was terrible, and had "the worse linebacker ever" (to quote Brian) in Chris Graham and the worse Michigan player ever in Johnny Sears to start the season. The guys this current defense has couldn't even beat them out for a job, and this year have demonstrated time and again why!
Scott Shafer may not be the best DC in the land, but he has proven himself to some extent in the past. The LB's and DB's on this team, however, didn't prove themselves last year and certainly haven't this year.
Shafer does deserve some "blame" for the defense, but he doesn't have RR's wizards hat or Harry Potter's wand, and can't turn chicken shit into chicken salad.
P.S. Biased or not, you really should should read GSimmons web site; he might just learn you somethin.
Juice Williams breaks all pupose yardage record in Michigan Stadium this year.
Some guy named Moore from Toledo (!!!) breaks record for number of receptions at michigan stadium.
Most points EVER scored by Purdue against Michigan.
Worst defense EVER in history of Michigan football.
How am I doing?
It would not of mattered who they hired of the available upper echelon defensive coordinators. Rich hired the guy right? So I would then deem Shaffer upper echelon. Thanks for posting Ryan. You could spend all day breaking down film and say we should've done this or that. But that's not the real issue. There maybe coaching issues, however this is by and large all on the guys or players. I heard Fritz Shermer speak once about defensive football and it changed my football perspective forever. He basically broke down the mental aspects of what it takes to be a shut down defense. And by and large he said it comes to the personality or will of the defender. He mentioned that the body or all your college stats or bench press reps were meaningless in the NFL. It's all about who is more headstrong. He said great QB's like Favre would also make great defenders. Now I agree you need wheels at the corners and beef up front but if you're all body and no mind, you're just waiting to get burned. You could put Belichek coaching this defense and they'd struggle. Pete Carroll, Corwin Brown(Not today though right), and name some other great defensive minds. I'm sorry but as a unit, their drive is low, their faith is really low, and they are mentally beaten. In this scenario, it's like blaming a doctor for something untimely or getting the unwanted news.
Defense is all heart. Why did we even hire a defensive coordinator. We could have just got richard simmons to motivate our players before every possession and we'd be stonewalling teams . . .
More times than not, the results you get are pretty much the results you'll always get. Meaning, change one variable and it effects the player in one way. But his mistakes will find a way into the game in another way. It's like this argument,"If I was only more wealthy I'd be better." So, you give a person wealth or perhaps their youth back and voila! They repeat their life all over again under the new given paradigm or circumstances. You are the architect of your reality day by day or down by down in life. It is not the coaches fault or your parents when you cannot figure out something that has been taught all year. This is well past game 5 and I've seen the same mistakes repeated. If you do not think this one is one some of the guys youre mistaken. If I put some of you in at coach and had you demonstrate to these guys day after day and they then replicated the results you see with Shafer. And then heard all of the internet people blogging for your resignation, Im sure you'd offer up the apology. Whatever is happening within Michigan Football is good for it. I don't like the losses but there is growth here in needed ways. I'm behind Rich and all the team. I cheer and I do not complain. I think the fans should adopt that mentality as soon as possible. Michigan will be back.
So last year this group of defenders had mental toughness and this year that same group doesn't? And that's not on the coaches?
Two things, one UM will not improve until a new Qb is named and two Brandon Grahmam will go pro next year. Everything else is just fluff.
Coach is my new favorite person.
Hat's point about returning eight starters is right on!
It would be interesting to look at the performance of this unit in different games and bounce those numbers against some admittedly subjective rating of how the game would stack up from an "emotional psych up" perspective.
As a Spartan I'm familiar with this phenomenon, (albeit seemingly less so under Dantonio).
Hat's point related to "bragging about your occupation" might be relevant if "Forgive me for I am an engineer" could be remotely construed as bragging...