All other stats are interesting, but the only ones that matter are these. I share everyone's frustration, but wins are wins and we have the youngest team in the Big Ten by leaps and bounds.
Let me first say I am not an RR hater. In fact, I wanted him to succeed as badly as anyone, and am appalled at the crap he has had to put up with, and the unwillingness of so many fans to acknowledge that he had so many poorly stocked (not unstocked) cupboards at some many position groups upon his arrival.
That said, I am just as frustrated as anyone else at the current mess.
Fact is, as has been posted elsewhere today, the 2008 and 2009 offenses scored more points in the first halves of Big Ten games than the 2010 offense did. That is incredible. To wit:
|Year||PF, 1st halves vs B10||PA, 1st halves vs B10||M turnovers, 1st halves vs B10|
Stark improvement in the second halves this year, but because by the end of the 3rd quarter in the MSU, Wisc, Iowa, PSU and OSU games most or all the necessary damage had been done, each took its foot partially or completely off the gas in the 4th quarter until (Iowa and PSU) pressed, in which cases both merely got the clinching score needed.
|Year||PF, 2nd halves vs B10||PA, 2nd halves vs B10||M turnovers, 2nd halves vs B10|
Sure, there are myriad ways to interpret these stats. Few of them reflect well on the 2010 team, or RR.
You can never win or lose a game in the first half, but you can come close. A game's dynamic changes completely if a team gets out to a three-score lead.
I've looked at the play-by-plays and drive charts closely for this year's team, and for the 2008 team. And yes this year's team is a yard-gaining machine. The record-holder in M history -- well, or at least as far back as the late 1930s, when official NCAA stats started being kept. Indeed, 500 yards a game is impressive. On paper.
It is far less impressive when so many of those yards are gained between the 20s, or at least don't make it all the way in.
For instance, here is a look at how our first-half drives in Big Ten play (save half-ending kneel-downs) went:
|TDs||FGs||Missed FGs||Punts||Downs||Fumble lost||Interception|
(For those adding up, these TDs and FGs add up to 93; the fumble return vs Purdue brings the number to 100. And one of the first-half turnovers occurred on a KOR vs Wisc, hence the fumbles lost and INTs immediately above add up to 11, not 12).
There were many long first-half drives in Big Ten play that ended badly -- in fumbles, interceptions, on downs, or missed field goals. These mistakes effectively rendered all those yards gained on those drives moot. They're no more helpful to the scoring cause than punt yards. Because, really, when the 08 team kept punting from around its own 40, the other team would get the ball at around its 20 without having been scored on. The only difference with this year's team making so many mistakes in the first half is that the other team would acquire the ball at about the same location on the field, but instead of after a punt, rather after an M turnover, or on downs, or after a missed FG. There is no difference on the scoreboard.
A mistake prone-team renders its gaudy yard totals moot with its mistakes.
23 turnovers (whole game) in Big Ten play last year, and 23 turnovers in Big Ten play this year. That's almost 3 per game.
Ain'ta gonna cut it.
All other stats are interesting, but the only ones that matter are these. I share everyone's frustration, but wins are wins and we have the youngest team in the Big Ten by leaps and bounds.
I guess that's improvement, but I think we can all agree that 4-4 in the B10 in 2011 won't cut it for RR, so really, how much of an improvement is 3-5?
Moreover, if you restrict it to games decided in regulation:
2008 - 2-6
2009 - 1-6
2010 - 2-5
Overtime is pretty much a crapshoot. If the 2009 team had won its OT game and 2010 lost its, instead of the reverse, we'd have won exactly two Big Ten games all three years.
The point of overtime is to not be satisfied with a tie, it's to determine a winner. Overtime isn't a crap shoot, it is different than the regular format of the game from a field position point of view, and eventually a scoring attempt rule, but it still involves all the elements of execution, play calling, and luck.
If you allow what-ifs to enter the argument there is no limitation to the results you can pretend happened.
Instead of discussing whether improvement existed, or what kind of improvement it was, the discussion should be about what decision will have us end up with more wins next year, and the year after, etc.
It's interesting that two games ago people were posting about the mathematical possibility of winning the Big Ten. With many others telling them that it's unlikely that Michigan could get two more wins, let alone have everyone else on top lose.
Now that what we expected has happened we're suddenly unhappy with the result and are contemplating another upheaval and message to the future recruits that Michigan doesn't have a clue what it wants for their football program and will keep jumping on the next popular success story because all that matters is keeping fans happy all the time every day.
How do we build anything on morals like those?
.......is the stat for losses against teams with losing records. In 2008, we had 3 such losses. In 2009, we had 3 such losses again. In 2010, we had ZERO losses to teams with losing records. What's more, 2010 happens to be the strongest year at the top of the B10 in quite awhile, with 3 teams going 11-1. It was a very bad year to be in the league with such a young team when the top teams are all competing with tons of seniors and many more upperclass multi-year starters.
I don't get it. You're purporting to be showing a lack of improvement, but then you show a very small decrease that you got only because you cherry picked your data, and then openly show a huge improvement in the second half?
WTF? That makes no sense whatsoever. Look at this 10 pt decrease, pay no attention to the 60pt increase right after. Jeez.
Indicates that TO's are a result of his system. Youth = turnovers. We are young. We commit too many turnovers. Especially at QB and RB where the majority of TO's are bound to happen.
A lot of things worry me about RR, long term, TO's are not one.
So if I understand this correctly, you believe hanging with a team for a half before utterly collapsing in the second half is superior to falling behind in the first half before battling back in the second half?
Ultimately a win is a win, and a loss is a loss, but IMO fighting back shows character, team unity and conditioning, while collapsing in the second half is a hallmark of badly coached teams.
Just my opinion.
... a team with so much more talent and experience than the 2008 offense should score more points. And the reason it doesn't is it turns it over way too much, or misfires on passes, or drops passes, or misses FGs, or doesn't have a trustworthy enough PK to attempt a FG.
Meantime, our defense is way worse, so by halftime of our most important Big Ten games this year, we were out of it or on the verge of being out of it.
In 2008, we were in every game at halftime. Every one. Biggest deficit by far was the Wisconsin game, which we came back and won.
Unless you can cite other games, the only one of 24 Big Ten games in which RR's MIchigan teams played four quarters of mostly mistake-free ball on offense and special teams, and were solid on D, was the win at Minnesota in 2008. 1 in 24.
I'll restate: In what universe is "being in the game at halftime" only to be blown out in the second half preferable to falling behind early, mounting a furious comeback, and coming up short?
Not to mention that, IMO, the Michigan offense has been plagued by untimely penalties, untimely dropped passes and turnovers that had varying degrees of bad luck involved in these first halves. Its a small sample size issue, and though there seems to be a pattern, I don't know in reality how much of a role just plain bad luck played.
Not my post, but I think he was claiming that Michigan fell so far behind in the 1st halves of B10 games this year, that the opponent's style of play changed in the 2nd halves (prevent defenses).
2008 average half-time score: 13.75 v. 13.25
2010 average half-time score: 12.5 v. 22.375
Noone seems to understand that a prevent defense is designed to stop long passing gains while conceding short, underneath routes. Not exactly how Michigan has been scoring this year.
No team is going to let up against Michigan, because they have seen what the offense can do once it gets rolling. Unfortunately the comebacks inevitably came up short because unlike Auburn vs. Alabama last week, or Michigan vs. Minnesota in 2003, the defense didn't hold up.
That doesn't render the second-half TDs the offense scored suddenly meaningless.
Your breakdown by halves is very interesting, not because of the results but because of your decision to go with this as the breakdown. As IKESTOYS notes above, you're cherry-picking your data. Why not break it down by quarter? How about by the minute? You can take any amount of stats/data and interpret it in a way to come to a conclusion you hope to find. Just because you state you are not a "RichRod" hater does not make it so. Don't preface a thread like that and then skew the stats to show the opposite. Win/losses, total points for/against, total yards for/against, etc. are much better indicators that wacky breakdowns by halves.
touchdowns per drive, at least in the NFL, is the most trustworthy statistic for predicting victories.
I cannot find such stats in the NCAA.
Be my guest.
I've got better things to do than research statistics (like read annoying threads like this one).
If TDs per drive are the most trustworthy statistic, you should have used that. If you can't find that info, you should not manipulate other data in an attempt to create some kind of other test and present it like it is trustworthy. That is the end of my unsolicited advice.
This is done under in the FEI part of my diary, and there is a 40 spot improvement.
So yeah, don't know what else someone could really say at this point.
Pop Warner was tired of his teams with his razzle-dazzle single-wing offense losing to teams that played fundamentally sound football.
He actually lobbied for first downs to be incorporated into the scoring.
He was laughed out of the room by other coaches. Including Fielding Yost, who time and again watched teams with their flashier offenses gain more yards than his, only to lose after continually making drive-killing and ultimately game-killing mistakes, when his fundamentally sound and mistake-averse teams didn't.
If RR can get his offense to make a lot fewer mistakes across the board, not just fewer turnovers, then his offense indeed can be a monster like few others the game has known.
But in the five biggest Big Ten games of the season (MSU, Iowa, PSU, Wisc, OSU), the offense: scored a combined 5 TDs and 2 FGs, but had 10 punts, 3 INTs, 4 fumbles, 2 missed FGs and 2 drives that ended on downs. That's 5 TDs in 28 drives. Or a 0.18 TDs-per-drive percentage, which would rank in the low 20s among 32 NFL teams (according to October 2010 stats I saw earlier today somewhere).
Again, I'm not sure what else there is to say. You just said, "Look at our offense in our 5 losses! It sucked!"
If you were actually looking for some truth regarding our improvement, why are you limiting your sample size as much as possible, using an analysis that doesn't adjust for strength of schedule and then not even comparing the results to years prior? All of the heavy lifting has already been done for you. If you like drive analysis, you should use FEI.
There's a reason that you don't do that, and it's obvious. What you really want to say can be summed up as UNACCEPTABLE, which OK, fine. At least it isn't blatantly intellectually dishonest like the arguments you've made so far.
I'm sorry I limited my statistical search to the first halves of games, in my attempt to find out how bad the team's first-half scoring woes really were.
And why did I choose to conduct such a search? Because as the original post says, Michigan was out of it -- or close to out of it -- by halftime in the majority of Big Ten games.
I'm no statistics major, but I did take a year of engineering at university so I'm not mathematically challenged. I deal with polling companies occasionally in my job, and if I want them to poll people in a specific region, we limit the darn search. But if you're conducting the poll are you gonna insist it must be done nationally every time, because to narrow the search to a key area is somehow statistically dishonest? I'm missing that part of the argument.
Michigan's offense moved the ball pretty well in the first half of most Big Ten games this year but had a hard time scoring in first halves. That's something I thought about on Saturday, and I thought I'd check the drive sheets and PBP to see if that was indeed the case. It was. The offense let the team down in the big games of the Big Ten season, because whether it moved the ball well or not, it could barely score points -- the whole point of the darn enterprise.
As I said in a different reply somewhere in this thread, I am amazed at the effectiveness of this offense when it works, when it doesn't cack out. The ND defense didn't know whether to s--t, shave or wind its watch at the hands of Denard's wizardry that game. But for whatever reason -- better defenses, bigger defenses, sloppier play, poorer play-calling -- the offense repeatedly shot blanks during long stretches of the crucial first halves of Big Ten games.
If you recall, the maligned defense opened the MSU game with a pair of 3-and-outs but the offense put up only 3 points before MSU got its ground game going in the 2nd quarter. Iowa similarly had 1st-quarter stumbles, but the M offense scored a TD on its opening drive then did nothing the rest of the half as Iowa began pulling away.
This continued throughout the conference season, except against Illinois or course.
Our Big Ten offensive player of the year will most likely throw fewer interceptions and fumble less, as he gains more experience and knowledge. Most (not all) of Michigan's QBs down through the years made fewer mistakes as they got older, so there's no reason to expect Denard won't.
The concerns I have aren't about individual improvement on mistake-making but unit-wide improvement -- specifically, the ability to play much less mistake-ridden football against the toughest teams.
I appreciate the research that the best posters here put together in diaries, such as yours. I was trying to be more playful than disrespecting in the title of my diary, and if that rubbed you the wrong way, apologies.
I stand by the point of my original post. That is, during those parts of the game during the Big Ten season when the contest was up in the air -- before either team began to pull away -- this Michigan offense, unfortunately, and surprisingly, was slightly less effective at scoring points than RichRod's first two Michigan teams. It moved the ball more, but then bogged down more for whatever reason, thus negating so many of those yards that look so impressive in the NCAA rankings and record books. This might have been what that idiot Beliema was getting at after the M-Wisc game.
I wish there more improvement in crunch-time scoring -- and I define crunch-time for the purpose of this research as "when the game is in doubt," not just at the end of a close game. I wish the results were much better. Hell, several posters here -- including one mod -- know me, and know how much I want/wanted RR to succeed, and with this offense. MIstakes are doing him in, and they rise up in almost every Big Ten game he has ever coached. And they aren't limited to offense. For whatever reasons.
Well, as you say, there's nothing else to say. Cheers.
Check blublooded's fantastic diary "State of the Offense," where he breaks down Points Per Drive (even better!). Brian referenced it in his apologies for "friendly fire" in last week's postings.
Michigan's record vs FBS teams
|Vs FBS Winners||2-6||0-4||3-5|
|Vs FBS Losers||1-3||4-3||3-0|
Every deficiency we have can be blamed on youth, attrition and injuries (defense and special teams).
Over all our record shows that we're getting better. Any competent coach that comes in next year is going to continue that progress. So why risk loss with a coaching change. Just doesn't make sense.
You seem to imply that by only looking at Big Ten games, opponent quality holds constant. Given the small sample size and close numbers, for these stats to mean anything, variables like opponent quality need to be constant. Except it isn't. State and Wisconsin certainly are at local peaks this year, Iowa is the same (Record notwithstanding, they were lucky last year, and probably unlucky this year), OSU is OSU, Illinois is better, Indiana is equal, Purdue is worse, but weather in that game was a major factor, and Penn State is worse. Our SOS according to Sagarin is 30th.
We also have a worse defense this year, and no kicking game (Hard to argue this is coaching, which both will lower point totals fairly significantly. Brian has explained numerous times that anyone trying to argue this offense isn't awesome is fishing.
Re: the turnover issue, turnovers were an issue, but we still had a first-year starter at QB and are very young. We also have many more plays this year since we actually moved the ball. Turnovers per play is the better statistic to look at, and that was clearly lower.
This is complete bullshit and agenda driven both given the timing (directly following a diary of the exact opposite name) and the way it was produced (by being less than genuine with the data). It is shit like this that would (should) get you fired if it were relevent to your job. You should be ashamed of yourself.
I love this offense when it works, let me say that. It is a thing of beauty. It just had big-time trouble working again this year when the game was on the line -- that is, in every important Big Ten game. Like last year. Like the year before. We all rightly chalked up the 08 shortcomings to extreme experience and talent (for the system) issues.
Not so much this year. Yes, Denard is a first-year starter. I get that. Shaw was a third-year starter who was replaced in several games by Vincent Smith, a first-year starter coming off knee surgery. I get that. But the OL and WRs are almost all veterans, or about as veteran as one can hope to have most years.
This year's offense in the Big Ten games should have scored more -- and a lot more -- than the 2008 team. It didn't. Mixed with a non-existing PK game, and a much worse defense, that was lethal.
Too many people see the POTENTIAL of the offense, or the impressive-but-too-late results vs Iowa, PSU and Wisconsin and then EXTRAPOLATE to next year, saying, wow, this offense is going to be killer. Just like Oregon's this year, etc. And if RR is retained, that will be my hope as well.
But to blindly extrapolate without examining the reasons for this year's offensive misfires is unrealistic.
I was trying to quantify just how poorly the offense performed scoring-results wise, compared to its two predecessors -- and was shocked at the result. This team desperately needed the offense to score much more in the first halves than the 08 team, not less.
If anyone has a better idea as to how to quantify in a more "honest" way as to why the offense fired so many blanks by the time we were three scores down in the second half to MSU, Iowa, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State, well I'm all frickin' ears.
If it appeared I was being "less than genuine" with that data, that wasn't the intention.
I work in a results-based industry. Great intentions, great ideas and partially successful attempts at execution don't cut it. You did it or you didn't. You got the result or you didn't.
Similarly, I look at the offense this year in the big Big Ten games and I see a whole lot of partially successful attempts at execution in the first half -- when the games were still largely in doubt. When a long drive bogs down at the 20, that's no better than a punt from your own 40 -- from a results-based viewpoint.
And a scoreboard viewpoint.
1. Our offense failed in the B10 games when they were on the line
2. Our offense should have scored more, and a lot more, than 2008 in the B10
3. Blindly extrapolating to next year is not possible
4. Results based action, or your fired (based on your job..)
Your scoreboard viewpoint is based on the idea that, of the 5 games we lost, 3 of those 5 were against top 10 teams. We were never in the Wiscy and OSU game, but I believe a few freak bounces go our way we smoke MSU.
So... what other results did you have in mind?
I don't think we disagree on much about the defense or special teams.
I stick by my original point. The offense is much more talented this year, gained many more yards and by most statistical measures was far better than the 08 and 09 offenses -- or just about any others in M history, probably.
It just wasn't good at scoring in the toughest Big Ten games before falling behind by 3 scores. My research backs that up.And by that results-based criterion -- scoring being the only stat that truly matters -- there wasn't any improvement.
I don't imagine there are any M fans ready to start printing "WE GAINED MORE YARDS PER GAME THAN WISCONSIN AND OHIO STATE" or "WE COME BACK LIKE A SUMBITCH WHEN DOWN BY 20 POINTS" T-shirts.
I hope I'm wrong, but after 24 Big Ten games, the same success-killing mistakes infect this team. And they snowball. Usually didn't start happening until the 3rd quarters in the big games in his first two years. But this year, such were far more prevalent in the 1st and 2nd quarters.
The title of my original post was smart-ass, yes. The guts of it, no.
You just keep skirting the point..
Our offense DID score more points.. by a lot. A TD a game is a vast improvement.
That being said, you sound like your disappointed that we didnt put up Oregon pts, because, frankly, we have the machine to do it.
Im upset that we killed a bunch of drives on interceptions, but what did you expect when you start a QB who, on top of being 19 years old, has never been a starter before?
Shit, its not like he was the offensive player of the year in the B10, and its not like he was second in that national rushing statistic thingy..
We didn't score points because every single drive that stalled inside of the 35 that should have been 3 pts wasn't. Plain and goddamn simple. We didnt score points because ST SUCKED.
Denard forced some throws, hes young. Wait until he walks out onto that gridiron as the savvy veteran Q, ready to surgically excise defenses.. no more happy feet.
Seems like people decide "diaries are where I find a random statistic that takes exactly 4 minutes to calculate then speculate wildly"
Your argument has more holes than an irrigated golf course my friend...
All I can reasonably conclude from your post is:
So, we scored more points in the second half by almost 100% increase, our defense was almost stout in the second half of games (seems to imply that the coaching changes in the locker room worked, which implies the players are responding to coaching) and this isn't progress? I'm confused, enlighten me Nonnair, to what it is I'm missing in your amazingly thorough analysis,,
I think that overhauling defensive staff(probably save Bruce Tall since he's one of the better DL coach in the country) would be the best option IMO. They would get a DC who understand his scheme and can teach the young players on how to play within the scheme.
Illinois is the best example. The defense were terrible last year and this year, they were above average(I think that the defense were shell shocked after Michigan game IMO). If Michigan can field a defense that is at least average, we'd be looking at a 9-11 win season.
Who knew this was even contagious?
This may be the most intellectually dishonest attempt at a diary yet.
Any diary that starts with "I am not a RR hater" seems to degenerate into a steaming pile of RR-hating excrement lately.
I think the bowl games against out of conference teams will give everyone a benchmark by which to judge the strength of conference, and therefore Michigan's improvement. If we win it speaks volumes about improvement. If not, well we may be all in for someone else next season.
That's 15-21 total, with six wins in the conference over three seasons. One of them against a conference team with a winning record(save the Wisco game in '08 which could be viewed as a fluke).
This season the team was not competitive against any of the top five teams in the conference. Last time I checked, Michigan measured itself against the best, not the middle or worst in the conference. Losing some games on last second heroics by the opposition or fluke plays is one thing. Not being competitive for a half or three quarters of a game is something altogether different.
No disrespect to the kids who played their hearts out, or the coaches who also try their best, but the results speak for themselves, in 2010 Michigan was 3-5 in the B10 and the five losses weren't even remotely close. The progress that has been mentioned is looking at stats, not results. The results are wins and losses, not practice perfection or gaudy numbers that rank offenses and defenses. Coaches are paid to win, not to rack impressive stats. Schools get the best recruits because schools win and give players better shots at the next level. Losing gets you coaching changes and more losing(see ND).
The only stats that truly matter are the one that come under the the heading of W-L. The last three years are the worst in Michigan football history from so many perspectives and the only questions that matter are, can this staff and it's approach to coaching, recruiting and evaluating talent to compete in the BIg Ten and nationally succeed in the near future and the long term?
The only evidence we have is past performance. The performance of the last three seasons and the comparison of the performances at other schools. To that end, there is very little evidence to support the theory that the current philosophy would be successful in this conference. The Big East is a far cry from the Big Ten.
I don't think 3-9, 5-7 and 7-5 even looks good on paper. It certainly isn't what I (or anyone else, if they're being honest) was expecting three years ago.
If you asking me (which you did not), I think the whole problem is one of expectations. I, for one, had lowered expectations coming into this year than into 2008 and thus enjoyed watching the offense move the ball each week. If you ask me (again, you didn't), this offense is scores more interesting than the old pro-style that Michigan ran year after year. 7-5 this year is fine with me, especially with all signs pointed towards improvement next year. I went to Michigan in the early 90s and had a blast attending every home game in years where 4-loss seasons were the norm. I think people's expectation level has been extremely high, maybe much too high, over the past years and they doomed any new coach coming in with a completely new offensive scheme.
P.S. Don't tell me if/when I'm being honest with myself or not. You don't know me.
not solely bad coaching.
I mean, if RR and his entire staff is an awful, incompetent bunch who never ever stress the importance of protecting the football in practice, team meetings, etc., then I agree, kick the bums out and bring in the anti-turnover coaching squad.
But the quantities show one of two things:
1. That RR started taking dumb pills when he showed up in Ann Arbor
2. RR is the unluckiest son of a bitch on the planet, bar none.
Looking back at his offensive struggles at Tulane, Clemson, West Virginia and now Michigan, with relatively few teams "plagued" with the same issues as Michigan (massive player attrition, team youth and high turnovers), I'm more inclined to assume the second statement above is closer to the truth.
Sloppy play overall and godawful defense are what will do in Rodriguez, not just the turnovers (I would attribute more to youth and lack of experience).
You forgot about option 3:
That RR is more of an OC than a head coach. He doesn't really know how to handle his defense, or special teams for that matter. At WVU, this deficiency was masked by the presence of Jeff Casteel (and, perhaps, the crappy competition he faced). At Michigan, without Casteel and against tougher competition, it's become glaring.
... to an extent.
I mean, there's only so much you can do about the offense's mistakes. I highly doubt Rodriguez is oblivious to their shortcomings, and I highly doubt he's like "Oh, what, we turn the ball over a lot? Yeah, let's just ignore that."
People talk as if it's the "poor coaching" leading to these mistakes, but Denard is still a sophomore, and he had a phenomenal regular season. Junior Denard makes me wet with excitement. And turnovers decrease as experience increases. There's correlation, and I suspect a bit of causation, but the statisticians around here would jump me if I said that.
Score Board at the end of regulation that's all that counts. More wins than losses.
Correct. 7 > 3.
The issue I think most people really have is that it's clear this squad isn't a contender in the big ten, yet. Yeah we can win against the Indianas, Purdues, Illinois, etc., but can't get past the upper crust.
People are now searching for reasons to demand RR be let go despite the obvious fact that 7 wins is better than 3. I understand, I'm not happy at the state of the team either. But I'm not going to allow myself to be unhinged about it and start claiming that 7 wins isn't better than 3 or 5 wins.
your explanantion. If you average the scores in the first half the score would be 13-22 which is till a close game. The 2010 Wolverines did much better this year in the second half and no the ganes weren't decided in the first half. I used tio be a banker and my favorite personal quote was that you could have the same borrowers finanical information and one guys would approve the loan and another guy decline it. The point is you came up with numbers to decline it. Bottomline is the team has won more games this year and improved since 2008. What I saw in your table was how dissapointing we were in 2008 game was close and teams slowly but completely pulled away, this year the team fought back a little in the second half, they never gave up, they always played hard even last saturday while getting way behind. So no I decline your belief that your tables show lack of improvement.
Answer is simple:
From 2008 until now, our defense has gotten progressively worse. Ergo, we can't stay in the game with big dogs. 2008 defense plus 2010 offense = 10-2
I have read the post in it's entirety. Stunned. Lack of improvement? Really. No, our guys are not world beaters...yet, but there must be some patience. Look at the facts, RR was abysmal in his 1st yr at WVU, then bounced back phenomenally in his second yr. Great. However, the really great stuff happened with the emergence of Pat White & Steve Slaton (PW & SS) which happened in year...wait for it...wait for it...5!!! That's right, the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia in ATL was in the 5th yr of RR's time. There was a fully developed system with all the players recruited and in place on both sides of the ball. The fact they had one 9 and two 8 win seasons in yr's 2-4 can be attributed to Big East competition...no slight intended, but look at this year's conference standings!! UConn to a BCS game? Really?
Anyway, the point is, in a league like the B10, with the lack of talent on board at UM (for whatever reason, and whoever is to blame) the progress will not be as immediate. But, PW & SS, for all their success, did not score on every possession, they fumbled, missed open recievers, dropped passes, et. al, et nausea, but had a pretty good defense to get some stops...and that D was NOT littered with true freshman. I, for one, am confident that the off season will bring the neccessary changes to fix/tweak the problems and next year will be improved enough in all three phases to make a run at the title.
Finally, enough of the "we will be the Oregon of next year" stuff! Have you seen Oregon play? At all? They DO NOT score on every possession, they make mistakes, turn the ball over, and all of that. Even as explosive as they are, what's the difference? They have a defense which is one of the best in the PAC10, for what that's worth, and are ranked well nationally in scoring defense and ypp. Also, their special teams are, well, special. They can score on PR's, KR's, and cover the oppostion's PR's & KR's to boot! [Nice, see what I did there! :-)] Anyway, many of the top level special teams around the country employ both offensive and defensive starters, VaTech, Boise, SEC, check it out, however, at UM, with all the injuries, we didn't have that luxury circa 2010, but...in 2011...
I can't and won't speak for anybody else, but if in yr 3, we can get 8 wins [bowl game pending], in yr 4, we can get 9-11 wins, then in yr 5 go 11-0 going into our big rivalry game against the hairless nuts with a chance to play in both the B10 title game and the BCS NC game, I'll take it! That, I think, compares apples to apples, and demonstrates true progress. Until that time, GO BLUE!!!