The post got off to a great start but I just couldn't get passed "Zontan may line up under center." When making a pretty bold prediction these little details are important.
Coach Rodriguez and Disinformation
Information has value. Well aware of this, Coach Carr and his predecessors kept almost all information about the football team secured deep in a sub-basement of Schemblecher Hall behind a steel door with a left-handed combination lock. Fort Schemblecher. Sun-Tzuians should be proud of the minuscule amount of information our opponents could gather in order to “know” us. Just ask Florida.
On the other hand, Coach Rodriguez is giving away information like Santa passing out presents at an orphanage—there is something for everybody—videos, audios, pressers, one-on-ones, photo-ops, and lord knows what else. It’s feel good city for those who smoke, snort, or shoot Michigan football information, for Schemblecher Hall suddenly seems to have glass walls. The vault appears to be empty. And dusty.
Why is he squandering all this information when this has been the traditional time to start filling the vault for a new season? Rodriguez is a seasoned and successful coach who knows what he is doing. He is not running open practices for altruistic reasons. He is not running open practices for self-aggrandizement. He is not running open practices to satisfy your or my curiosity. He is running open practices to better win football games by spreading disinformation. There are smoke and mirrors on the practice field. Rather than burying his stock of information on the fifty-yard line in an old dill pickle jar, he is investing it in the information market with the expectation of increasing its value. He is trying to trick ‘em to get a leg up on ‘em.
What does this mean? In previous years we got little to no information. Now we have it coming out of our ears. The problem is all we learn is reliable but probably not truthful. We are getting smoked and mirrored, tricked, disinformated, and led astray along with Utah and Notre Dame. What we see and hear now is not going to be what we get. The only way to even come close to determining what we will see on the 30th is to wait until the game starts. Zontan may line up under center. We may have three quarterbacks in the game at the same time. Who knows? I have been saying that I don’t have any idea how Michigan will do this year, but that I am sure that they will be exciting. I am revising that upwards to exciting and surprising.
I should have used Lapata. I need a spell checker for names.
agreed, richrod is an evil genius. go blue
that one QB is ahead of another? i don't see either of these guys being so different from each other that opposing defenses will have different schemes for each of them.
that Cbrown might take some snaps as QB? no one's shocked there.
that Shaw might be a slot and RB? ditto.
unless they are releasing film from the film room, the S/N is way too low for any info to be useful to an opponent.
I think it's purely that RR understands that more information in public hands builds interest - people are talking about Michigan football at a time when, last year, everyone just sort of shrugged. It's gotta help merchandising.
Well written and I agree entirely. The greatest source of disinformation from RR, though, is not the formations he will run, but maintaining the doom and gloom around our offensive proficiency, which he has done so well that half the posters on the various Michigan boards are on suicide watch predicting 4 and 5 win seasons.
I would suggest that RR is seeing what we all thought he would see: a higher level of athlete at Michigan than at any of his previous stops. Smarter athletes who now are getting into the kind of condition he needs to unleash insanity on the Big 10. I am not suggesting we are lights out in practice on offense, but that RR knows he has unique tools on offense and a great defense. And a schedule that is manageable.
Mdan - I tend to see many more of the "we're going undefeated!" posters than the "we suck" posters.
There are plenty of both. I see about an even mix and usually the two of them arguing.
Chitown and MA are on the right track. What has been let out is not misinformation (neither QB will be a significant threat this year, RBs will line up everywhere, etc.) this has been widely known. RR to this point has been providing access.
The general concept about hiding all of your information to keep your opponents in the dark has some value but is limited in scope. It works in a regime where if you think that the resources you have at your disposal at one point in time is all that you will ever have and that the same holds true for your opponent. Think of this as poker. You can only play the cards you have been dealt, so don't let anyone know what you have, unless you can trick them into believing something inaccurate.
This is not the case with college football. College football coaches are in a situation where they are always trying to influence (and gain the favor of) recruits, the media, alumni, fans, season ticket holders, poll voters, marketers, etc. If you can attract additional resources by providing access, you will have greater resources in the future to compete with.
USC is a prime example of this. USC was a dead program. Carroll shows up and reinvigorates the program. He works his ass off in recruiting and starts bringing in some players. The team starts winning more than in the recent past. The media has access and begins writing a lot of glowing stories about the program. Access for a team that is winning provides a positive feedback loop. Recruits, alums, et al, get to read/see more and more about a successful program and the success begets the success.
No question that RR is aware of the PR value of this new football Glasnost. I agree with you also that there is likely limited value to a diabolical misinformation plan. But there is plenty of disinformation floating around, and it primarily is in his assessment of our offensive woes and how all the players are picking up his system. If there is a question if this has been effective, read any review of the Michigan program and check the ranking that follows. It is verbatim RR and full of doom and gloom. This may have limited value beyond Utah, but when someone asks me how I am hitting the golf ball on the first tee, I say even if I just shot 81 the day before (good for me): "Oh, you know. Still can't putt. Hit a few good shots, but can't seem to straighten out the driver." RR wants to explode into Utah's face and he the last thing he is going to do is be crowing with delight about how great everyone is doing in August.
Either that or we really do suck (which I don't believe).
What has RR said at any point that is purposeful "disinformation?" If anyone thinks that RR privately believes the O-line is actually a powerhouse-in-waiting and that Threet is poised to become the next Vince Young, they're living in a very strange fantasy-land. With the inexperience at those two positions alone, any coach expecting that a B10-championship caliber performance is forthcoming in the early and middle parts of the season would be a fool, and RR is no fool. Maybe by the end of the season the various parts will be humming, but there are going to be consistent fits and starts until then. Not even Barwis can prevent that. The team will be in great physical condition, but that won't prevent missed blocking assignments, incorrect reads, timing problems, fumbles, and penalties from inexperienced, young players in pressure game situations.
No, RR is doing exactly what coaches have been doing forever: soft-pedaling expectations in advance of a new season when there are legitimate question marks. Nothing more than that.
This is a well thought out post and may hold some truth, but I guess I couldn't get past the misspelling of Schembechler.
"soft-pedaling expectations in advance of a new season when there are legitimate question marks." Yes, but something a little bit more. This is not a returning regime who is lamenting the loss of departing seniors. This is a vast mystery - implementation of an opposite football philosophy at a storied institution - and RR has chosen a ridiculous level of openess to help people understand this mystery. He could have taken all sorts of steps to break down the walls of Fort Schembechler and still kept things quiet on the practice front. Instead, he's Mr. Video, daily interviews, player interviews. This over-the-top approach with a relentless emphasis on the newness of the scheme and 5,000 variations of "just how bad will the OLine suck" question serves his purposes very well: to set up Utah and, more importantly, to get his players to circle the wagons and get jacked up in a us-against-the-world frenzy.
I've heard/seen a number of interviews with RR, and I don't recall any inappropriately negative assessments of the O-Line. If he has high expectations, then it's absolutely reasonable for him to believe that the O-line has a way to go before it meets his standards. It doesn't have to be some sort of devious plot to deceive the media and other programs.
As far as circling the wagons and instilling the us-against-the-world mentality, I'm 100% in agreement that it would be smart to do so. RR doesn't need anything better than the various polls and lists putting Michigan way down in the conference and 54th nationally. The more the media pile on, the better. The idiots down in WV have helped mightily in this; RR is an intensely proud and feisty guy, and the ridiculous character assassination and denigration of his coaching abilities have surely fueled a raging inner fire in him.
I prefer to snort Michigan football. In like, huge, rockstar lines.
God I laughed at the "Why is he squandering all this information?" as if Lloyd sat in some lair laughing on top of a huge pile of precious, precious information never to see the light of day.
"Not the precious..."
WolvinLA, I heard that you can get the real good stuff on Rivals and Scout.
I kind of understand the whole "fire up the troops" thing that dominates sporting discussion.
But, football isn't "The Office". It doesn't take place in some self-contained, fictional universe that only exists on TV. These are real people. They read, despite what they may say, stuff that is written about them. They know how to google search. They, for the most part, aren't idiot-savants that only comprehend life on the football field.
Do you think these guys are so child-like and dumb that we, all-mighty internet commenting fans, can see motivational ploys but they are completely taken in by them? Do you think Utah's players are sitting back, reading RRs quotes, and thinking "lol man those guys suck coaches always tell the truth!!" Seriously.
I think many of us have been overly influenced by Carr’s absurd and self defeating media embargo. Very little of what we’ve learned from RR has been of any importance or anything we couldn’t have known already. Carlos Brown at QB is the only thing I can think of that might be of some importance. We just got used to Carr not letting anyone know anything so this seems unusual.
I don’t think this has anything to do with misinformation. I think it’s all about PR, media relations, and, honestly, being so secretive probably took up time for no gain. Carr treated the media like the enemy which lead to more combative coverage and bad PR. The Pete Carroll example is apt here. Carroll feeds the media and makes things fun for the players (without sacrificing the football) and reaps the rewards of great media and PR.
In conclusion, Carr’s media strategy was very out of date, unnecessarily combative, and self defeating.
I would also suggest taking RR's poor mouthing different aspects of the team with a grain of salt. That is standard coach speak. In media it's called 'expectation managment' and has been used very effectively by both Goeorge Bush and Barack Obama. You downplay your chances to reduce expectation (the anti-ND) lowering the bar for success and making everything SEEM that much better. I also think, especially concerning the OL and QB, that moderation of expectation is reasonable.
That used to be the ND approach under Holtz. With quotes along the lines of "Navy has a heck of a team and we're going to have to play our best game..." And under Holtz, ND was tough.
Now, all Fat Chuck does is talk about how great they are going to be, insult opponents, and then list the excuses he is not going to use after a crushing defeat.
all ND changed is on what day of the week they lower expectations. they used to lower them on weekdays. now, they lower expectations on saturdays.