this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Often in reading the posts I get to enjoy the witty and amusing posts of those truly overwhelmed and angry with the current state of football at Michigan. Indeed, THE USE OF CAPS IN POSTS TO DISCUSS ONE"S ANGER WITH THE CURRENT FOOTBALL ISSUES and RICHROD"S INCOMPETENCE and how we should FIRE ROD because THIS TEAM HAS REGRESSED is all too common from the shouters and the trolls. I
While the shouters are annoying I would say that based on the volume of posts I have recently read that I find the subjective concept of regression has become the most bothersome. Let's look briefly at regression as defined:
So it would be 2. "relapse to a less perfect or developed state". So is it regression from the start of the season? Regression from last year? You see constant chatter about how the offense has regressed, the defense has regressed, the coaches should do better etc. but nobody who posts "regression"...like lemmings...backs it up.
2008 scoring: 20.2 points per game (97th out of 119 teams nationally).
Rushing: 147.6 yards per game (60th).Passing: 143.2 yards per game (108th)
2009 scoring: 32.0 points per game (24th)
Rushing: 208.30 (16th)
Passing: 195.70 (89th)
...hmmm...seems like no regression here too much...I'll take a 58.4 percent increase in offensive output along with 41.1 percent increase in rushing and a 36.6 percent increase in passing. If this is regression, then I hope we see offensive regression to the same level year over year (or at least next year). Indeed, when considering the numbers below the offensive improvements almost cover the brutal defensive issues.
2008 scoring: 28.9 points allowed per game (tied for 89th).
Rushing: 136.9 yards allowed per game (51st).
Passing: 230.0 yards allowed per game (81st).____________________
2009 scoring: 26.4 points allowed per game (76th)
Rushing: 158.30 yards allowed per game (80th)
Passing: 235 yards allowed per game (83rd)
...here, interestingly, scoring defense is actually improved by a couple points a game (8.7 percent reduction) while rushing is worse by 21.4 yards per game and a 15.6 percent increase (one might consider safety/linebacker play here) and the passing is more or less static at a 2.1 percent increase (despite having more or less one legit corner and walk on safety play).
Big picture what we see is very significant improvement on the offensive side of the ball with interesting scoring defense improvement and real issues with stopping the run and pass on defense. Neither of those issues are new and so it's difficult to consider the team regressing into poor play when the play was *already* poor.
In terms of team implications...well, one hopes Big Will works out in the offseason and improves, that Mike Martin continues to develop. Those seeking linebacker play improvement may be on to something with a position coach change *but* one wonders what linebacker play might look like with a) a second year with GERG and b) competent safeties behind them (here meaning not walkons and no offense to the Kovacs family). Nightly I pray one of the corners works out...I hope the offense simply continues on this arc of production.
Like all of you I am totally frustrated with how this is working out this year; however, I am sick and tired of the naysayers, trolls and newbie idiots posting the exact same material on "regression".
I am going out on a limb believing that we can win one of the next two games; but what is Michigan football without hope (Capital One Bowl 08, for example).
Best wishes to all of you and thanks to Brian for the common sense earlier today.
It's unfortunate that we all had to tolerate a difficult loss Saturday on national tv against a significant rival. It seems, however, that some are taking it harder than others with the poor overall performance apparently signifying huge deficits in team effort, coaching ability (offense + defense), defensive scheme (okay, maybe...or maybe it's the players) and recruiting. That is far from an entirely comprehensive list as it seemed there were various unrelated complaints as well as irrational coaching comparisons (here's looking at you Bill Stewart and Paul Johnson). I would say enough with the ACC comparisons but I'm sure I'm biased.
Of course, it's mere weeks since we had beaten Notre Dame and were undefeated. Tate was the toast of the town (and the nation to some degree) apparently almost a Heisman Candidate. Denard was then a nice change of pace (although he wasn't allowed to throw back then) and people made posts that spoke about 9-3 being reasonably possible. Posts were made with the phrases "dare I say" and "New Year's day bowl game" in the same damn sentence. Indeed, on Friday there were posts predicting blowouts for Michigan. I guess if you type it enough then hope becomes reality?
So here we are following a loss to a highly rated and credible Penn State team. This follows much closer losses to the litte brother and at Iowa. Thematically, I see turnovers (5 vs. Iowa; 4 vs. PSU) and inconsistent play as the culprits. That and a serious inability to get the defense off the field. But really, are these issues including the defensive lapses coaching incompetency or is the cause of this wildly inconsistent play the fact that +/- 70 pecent of the players are freshmen and sophomores who lack the maturity, physical/mental toughness and deep season experience needed to win consistently at this level. The fact is this team has proven they can compete with good to very good teams (ND, little brother, Iowa) but they are very young and will have huge variance in performance. It seems the hot early start and ND win got the hopes a bit crazily high; regrettably, the fall back to earth (and reasonable 7-5 predictions) is painful and eliciting a lot of debateably considered analysis.
This leads me to consider the concept of "rational thought" and whether or not it can truly coexist with the "loyal Michigan fanbase". If fan is short for "fanatic" and someone who is marked by an extreme and unreasoning enthusiasm then we're not off to much of a good start. I will apologize to the ivory tower crowd on my take on philosophical matters (I'm a therapist) but I will go with the modern view on rationalism meaning here a reliance on reason as the best guide for belief or action. I wonder if, in the heat of the game and for about the next 36 hours, "rational thought" is suspended. When we win it's 9-3, OSU dominantion, wine and Rose Bowls and when we lose apparently Paul Johnson, Brian Kelly or hell most anyone else coaching should have been hired.
I'm nobody's apologist but perhaps some rational thought looks at the young players we have, an incoming top 10-15 class, an expectation of freshman/sophomore variance (Tate's a freshman and while Denard has perfected running the throwing is not so much), improvement in defensive performance statistically (hell it couldn't have been worse), Barwis, and it being GERG's first year (the guy is not a defensive Messiah...) and you can reasonably expect some improvement over the rest of the year with decreased performance variance next year (meaning here more wins). Variance does not equal regression people.
Michigan is not about to lose all our remaining games...but we sure as hell were not winning 10 after the ND game either. Perhaps rational thought can win out but I'm not holding out too much hope.
Best wishes to all of you.
Driving in today (attended with my father...last time he came was "The Horror"...so a bit worried at that point); the sportscaster on 97.1 discussed "is Rich Rodriguez coaching for his job today?" I wonder how many of you heard this sort of discussion over the past week...indeed, I wonder how many of the cabernet drinking, luxury box opposing, Lloyd Carr missing (incidentally, I *do* miss winning 10 games a year), "sit down already" yelling old guard were secretly hoping that he was?
Well, I guess we can cast that aside for a week or two. Let's hear it again from the stands "Rich Rod-Ri-Guez" clap, clap, clap, clap, clap". What a pleasure to hear.
Rarely have we as Michigan fans have the opportunity to enjoy watching our offense work with fluidity...ever (I'm looking at you Mike Debord). There have been moments like the Florida/Michigan 2008 Capital One bowl game where for a series or two it clicks but today it was sustained for most of a half. There was a sort of joyous wonderment in the stands where you just were not sure what was going to happen. The speed is evident. Tate Forcier is more or less as advertised and the offense looked (aside from a few expected miscues) mostly competent.
A few quick observations from my section:
- Denard is *fast*, very very fast
- Tate is your starter
- Stevie Brown appeared competent (mostly)
- God love you Brandon Graham; Craig Roh looks nicely competent
- The new luxury boxes certainly add to the reflected noise (I will agree that the bands seem quieter...you could barely hear Western at the half)
- Student section *very* loud
-Old school Cabernet fans in my section still annoying (about 200 left after the Michigan punt with a minute left in the 3rd; they didn't much like the guys near me waving the fans "get up" all the time)
- same old same old regarding fans complaining at the most minor of Michigan transgressions (apparently it is not okay to compel the opponent to take 5 yard chunks and run down off clock when up by 31). It is *still* sad to hear middle age men yelling at teenagers and the defensive coaching staff (it seems it's not okay to just win but you need to do it with some defensive panache...)
- looking forward to seeing Minor Rage next week.
Overall a very inspiring game and you can see RichRod's program and talent meshing nicely. Imagine four years of this system.
I am hopeful that the "old guard" cabernet fans, unhappy with the noise, RAWK music and overall commotion, are near their end and that the complaining I heard in the 3rd and 4th quarter (because we were only up 31 points...then gasp...24 points) is their last gasp before being overwhelmed by RichRod's coming success with the team.
Best wishes to all of you. Go Blue.
The recent diary by the NYWolverine has awakened me, at least momentarily, from my winter slumber (mediated only by true Canadian past times like curling and the drinking of quality beer). Anyway, what a well written and well thought out article; problematically, the focus of apologism and rationalization is completely remarkable.
Now NYWolverine, I'm not entirely in disagreement with you in that there are any number of factors that do make Michigan game day extremely unique e.g day games, the Victors, Let's go Blue, the Band etc. (as you have well described). There are many cultural norms involved with attending any Michigan game that all of us accept and/or expect.
So, here's where I take issue:
"Where you see boring, I see Michigan culture."
You have essentially undertaken a stunningly limited and specious sociological analysis of the game attending Michigan fanbase (mostly season ticket holders) and also "midwesterners" and overgeneralized this to the Michigan fanbase. We must sit in different sections since the modesty and humility seem less evident where I am located. Where I sit there is a culture of remarkable entitlement and sometimes (like last year) completely unreasonable expectation. These are the features of the fans who leave at halftime, who don't particularly cheer for anything and are just there to, seemingly, sing the Victors 8 or 9 times per game.
As for "loyalty through thick and thin" I ask you NYWolverine, how many people in your section left in the 3rd Quarter of the Appy State 2007 game? I was proud of the fans who stayed with us and, frankly, I have not before or since heard the stadium louder than Henne's last drive of that game (obviously the outcome of that game need not be discussed further). That same game thousands of fans, multiples indeed, were booing. These same fans were yelling to fire Carr, to fire DeBord (a reasonable thought, perhaps) and yelling at 18 year olds (hello Stevie). I'm certainly not proud of that element of the Loyal Michigan Fanbase (who all left after the 3rd, anyway).
NYWolverine, you made many interesting points and spurred me to respond. Generally, this is the sign of an informative and interesting commentary, I think. On point however, I think it clear that you are rationalizing for a culture of entitlement. This culture of fan, of supporter, of donor (myself included) looked past the limited recruiting of much of the past decade, the limited innovation (both on field and in game day experience), the malaise that had settled somewhat on the program in that time and tacitly accepted it.
Unquestionably the Michigan Experience is something to enjoy and celebrate. Rationalizing entitlement and malaise is, however, completely unnecessary.
Best wishes all; back to the Canadian winter for me.
It's been over a year since I last posted anything bigger than a 1 sentence comment; indeed, what was really to be said about the ridiculous losses to schools like Toledo?
Like most of you, I'm fairly sick of the mainstream media and the cheesy fairweather fans in my section piling on the carcas of the Michigan football program. Then again, a bit of context would tell us that the media have to hate us as even in losing we are the measuring stick...what else is there for Kirk Herbstreit etc. and what else for the old, tired and annoying fans who never cheer, yell at those who do and just come for the "occasion".
When I read the diaries and comments I notice too many of the same people piling on RR who piled on Lloyd at the end of his tenure. It seems RR has changed much of the culture in the team and the recruiting (apparently we mostly recruited kickers from Florida in past), has modernized the S&C (eee...Barwis), has limited pizza consumption by linemen and somehow made Canada's own Renaldo Segasse moderately relevant (if only by default).
I don't see national championship next year...but I see a return to success in the Big 10. Unlike ND we actually have a good coach who is capable of recruiting. I'm going to remember these days in a couple years when RR hangs 60 on tOSU.
Best wishes all...