Good stuff...it may be just my perception, but your M-Optimist seems comparatively short-winded these days.
someone let radioactive Stephen A Smith into the state again
Edit: Made this a Diary after a couple of kind requests. Lest my psyche be further questioned, I'm M-Pragmatist here...and I think M-Optimist is slightly bats(hit insane... like, asylum-worthy).
M-Optimist on the DL:
The D-Line will be the strength of the D, lead by Death Roh and Martin. Yeah we lost BG, but these two are beasts, and they return faster, stronger, bigger, badder or as I like to call it, barwisier. On top of that, Big Will is ready to step up, RVB is a quality vet, and three solid seniors provide depth. Depth makes up for the loss of BG.
M-Pragmatist on the DL:
For all the BG-love, the logic above makes him sound replaceable. Despite double and triple teams, BG still managed to make impact plays in every single game. He killed drives single-handedly and turned TDs into FGs. No one is replacing that. Roh and Martin are quality players but they’re not all-confrence caliber. Furthermore, without BG stealing attention and absorbing blocker's attentions, their effectiveness is going to be limited.
Campbell, for all his hype, has been completely ineffective. He’s only a true sophomore so of course it would be extremely premature to call him a bust. But, it's also extremely premature to assume he’ll be an impact player. The ho-hum upperclassmen remain ahead of him on the depth chart.
While the DL is probably the strength of the defense, it's likely taking a significant step back with the loss of someone of BG's caliber. The depth and returning experience is nice, but this is most likely an average B-10 defensive unit.
M-Optimist on LBs:
Ezeh and Mouton return for their senior year, when players typically have their best season. Moundros may be inexperienced, but he should be a good run-stuffing role player. Fitzgerald and Demens are coming on. With GERG coaching them and another year of experience, the LBs won’t be as bad as last year.
M-Pragmatist on LBs:
You forgot to mention Stevie Brown, arguably the 2nd best defender last year. Browns was a talent who has been extremely impressive in NFL camp. Replacing him is a position-switch red-shirt freshman. This is the biggest downgrade (after CB) on the defense and it’s consistently ignored or underplayed by M-Optimist. We had a talented, versatile, senior LB who is playing in the NFL…now we have a guy who played QB for most of high school and hasn’t played yet in college.
As Brian has noted, Moundros being a potential starter should set off alarm bells for the rumored improvement of Ezeh. Some guys just never get it. The ILBs should be better, this is true…but the loss of Stevie Brown is going to hurt this unit.
M-O on the Safeties:
There is finally some talent and depth back here. Gordon and Robinson are skilled. Kovacs and Emilien return with a year of experience. I know they’re young and they’ll make some mistakes, but these young guys will be better…it can’t be as bad as last year.
M-P on the Safeties:
Its true, probably won’t be as bad as Kovacs/Williams.were last year. But consider that last years corners were Woolfolk and Warren. This experienced duo allowed the safeties to take a little less responsibility. This season, the CB situation is a tragedy, and the safeties will be asked to do more.
One of the most experience-dependant positions on the field has almost none. Gordon and Robinson have not played. Kovacs is still a walk-on type with limited skill, even if he has a year of experience. Emilien still can’t beat anybody else out on the depth chart, where walk-ons remain on the fringe. To see such extreme inexperience and expect significant improvement is being willfully blind to history.
M-O on CBs:
Losing Woolfolk sucks but it won’t cost us as many games as we think. Floyd is better. Cullen and the other freshman are going to step it up.
M-P on the CBs:
Woolfolk probably won’t cost too many games, this is true. What many forget is that Woolfolk wasn’t exactly a lock-down CB to begin with: A 3-star talent who proved capable last year, but was far from all-conference. He was an excellent player only relative to the other choices. Furthermore, the Cullen hype is insane. Freshman CB, even the HOF-caliber guys we’ve had in the past, struggle as freshman.
I won’t go on. Its bad and we all know it. This unit alone can submarine whatever other gains you want to hope for from others.
M-O on continuity:
Yeah, yeah, there may be concerns on an individual basis, but the team the team the team. Another year in the system, Hopson is gone, and the 4-2-5-3-3-5 hybrid D will be an improvement. You’re only as good as your weakest link.
M-P on continuity:
You’re grasping at straws. Most other teams return with another year of experience in their defensive system with almost no upheaval. This is not an advantage for Michigan, its avoiding a major disadvantage. The shift in terminology and pseudo-shift in system is not an argument for improvement, no matter how many off-season fluff pieces you’ve read.
The weakest-link argument is highly suspect, but even if you buy it, the 2009 safety disaster is no worse than the 2010 CB tragedy. Outside of that positional weakness, the 2010 impact players aren’t nearly on the same level as BG, SB, DW, and TW.
M-O on luck:
Last year, we were a couple plays away against Iowa and MSU. And Illinois, ugh!...we had that game. Should have had 7 or 8 wins and this years offense is even better.
M-P on luck:
We also eked by ND and Indiana - a couple plays from 3 wins again…and this years defense is even worse. M's on field luck is neutral. Every fanbase thinks they're unlucky...except that private school in Indiana.
M-O on fate and talent:
You’re wrong…this just have to get better…they just do. Rich Rod knows what he’s doing and in year 3 things will be better.
M-P on fate and talent:
I hope you’re right. And on offense, I’m with you. But the D man, the D…I just don’t want you to scream for Rich Rod's head and call him and underachiever when you don’t get the 8 wins you expect. At least acknowledge that 5 wins isn’t an unreasonable prediction that only big-dumb-jerk-faced-dummies can have.
M-O on predicting the future:
But M-Caliber did a convincing analysis with regression maths and lots of sig figs and it says we’ll win 7 or 8 games easy.
M-P on predicting the future:
M-Caliber rules, but his model is not predictive for future seasons. He assumes the defense will be better overall (ypg) and also assumes the D will be way better at creating turnovers. I suspect this is wishful thinking. The turnover gap should be better via regressing to the mean, but this is still a below average D and once again we’ll have a first-year starter at QB. (The “if Denard throws INTs he’ll be on the bench” line is questionable. We know Tate will too.)
M-O on think-good-thoughts:
Man, why are you such a hater? I’m just trying to think positive. This will help the team. Good vibes matter!
M-P on think-good-thoughts:
Bo hated hippies.
Whatever, I say we're due for some good luck and we get 8 wins. What do you think, smartass?
6 wins, assuming we beat UConn. But I think we'll get completely embarrased in a couple of the rivalry games, which is going to spawn some serious unrest in the unreasonable realms of the fanbase. I actually think 5 is the rational prediction and that 6 or 7 is being an optimist...8 or 9 is just wishful thinking.
Good stuff...it may be just my perception, but your M-Optimist seems comparatively short-winded these days.
"It's easy to be negative...it takes effort to be positive"
That being said, great entry!
He says, "Get off my lawn!"
I hate to admit it but you raise some interesting points. The loss of BG can be minimized at best, as he was a truly beastly contributor.
I would argue a different point on cornerback, however. While we don't have the personel, one could point out that last year they played so far off the line they may as well have been safeties. If we bring the corners up to defend the quick bubble, that will be a major improvement.
I will now take my delusions and go home until the 4th.
Given that the "pragmatic" perspective (which is exceedingly and ridiculously negative) is argued with more conviction (and several more sentences) and the optimistic viewpoint is terribly weak, we can safely assume what side Mat falls on. Basically this entry offers an opnion that young and inexperienced players do not get better, while 2 or 3 players (and one that underperformed in Warren) are more important than the collective whole of a maturing defense. It assumes that every returning player will play to their same level of last year, then factors in the losses in personnel to paint a dire, despressing picture. Pretty lame entry IMO.
A lot of reasonable thoughts here, although I thought it was strange that you discounted the "weakest link" argument so strongly. I remember a couple front-page articles and diaries from last year about the importance of the defense's weakest-link and how it seriously dragged down the rest of the defense. Just from a common-sense look at it this makes sense, because the offense can hide its weaknesses through play-calling while the defense can't hide its weaknesses to the same extent and must react to the offense.
I had had some hope for this defense that every position group would be competent/average, but the attrition at CB has made me doubt that hope.
I think the weak-link argument is debatable, but M-P claimed:
The weakest-link argument is highly suspect, but even if you buy it, the 2009 safety disaster is no worse than the 2010 CB tragedy. Outside of that positional weakness, the 2010 impact players aren’t nearly on the same level as BG, SB, DW, and TW..
Even if the weak-link model is valid, it doesn't favor a defensive improvement since 2010 CB is even worse than 2009 Safety.
1. Martin and Roh are, or can be, all conference talents.
2. Though you cleaned it up afterward, you did essentially declare Big Will a bust as completely ineffective. You cannot form an opinion on Campbell until you view his performance this season. He may be very effective.
3. The performance of our offense will effect the performance of our defense. Despite some improvements on offense last year, we were so inconsistent and prone to turnovers. Our defense was often put on the field in quick change circumstances and without any momentum generated from the offense. If this O is as good as I think it can be, our best defense may be our offense.
A very interesting post, however. But I see more than 6. (If we are embarrased by a rival, it will not be MSU, they will be on the receiving end of the humiliation this year, I promise you that)
But, I never called Campbell a bust. That said, IMO, its just as likely as him being an impact player. But one year in...its far too early to make that kind of judgement. All we can say is that he's been mildly disappointing relative to the incoming hype.
Also agree on Martin and Roh...they CAN be. But so can a lot of people. Based on Roh's excellent freshman year and physical development, I feel optimistic about Roh. Martin...maybe...I see some potential validity to the argument that he's close to his ceiling in terms of physicality. Regardless...good players and both still young.
I'm not sure its a given that the offense will have fewer turnovers with Denard at QB and younger RBs. But man, I hope so...
No, a lot of "people" can't be All-Big Ten. The difference between Roh and Martin and "a lot of people" is both have shown the ability and talent to deserve that kind of expectation. Martin played with a shoulder all season, so your point about him maxing out his physicality is dubious at best. As to your concern about "young" RB's, the players likely to see the most time are two juniors and a sophomore, with only one (Cox) that showed any penchant for putting the ball on the ground.
I think they are all-conference caliber, though not necessarily BG caliber
"and the 4-2-5-3-3-5 hybrid D will be an improvement."
Man, I sure hope a 22-man defensive scheme will help things...
We can develop schemes that use the band. Of course, that didn't work in that throwback game between Cal and Stanford. But, with 22 uniformed defenders, maybe it'll help.
And, I figure if the drum major puts his baton up the opposing ball carrier's backside once or twice, that'll make the next guy think twice about trying to advance past the LOS.
NO YOU ARE AN IDIOT FOR SUGGESTING WE WILL ONLY WIN 5 GAMES, WE ARE GOING TO WIN 10 OR RR'S FIRED, AND WE ARE GOING TO GO 11-1!!!!!!
This should have been titled "The M-pessimist talks with the M-optimist".
...The optimist was actually more pragmatic in a few areas IMO.
I'll try to get into some specifics later if you like. I don't have time now.
But (quick observations)...
If 5 wins isn't pessimistic than what is? I've yet to see anyone predict fewer than five. That includes alot of self-proclaimed "Michigan haters". Apparently there are no pessimists?
I think your "pragmatist" did a better job of presenting his arguments. But you still seem to at least lean toward the pessimistic view on every point.
I'd say its pragmatic to see a 4-win average over the last two seasons combined with what looks like a vastly improved offense and project some improvement despite a suspect D. A pessimist would look at the D, see the terrible losses of the last few seasons, see yet another new QB and predict no significant improvement.
I'd say the vast majority are optimistic on Michigan football's future and improvement. Its not that pessimists don't exist, they're just rare.
Looking beyond the total of wins, many people are pessimistic about individual players or position units or coaches...but everyone assumes to some degree or another that improvements will happen in other places to offset it.
"I'd say the vast majority are optimistic on Michigan football's future and improvement. Its not that pessimists don't exist, they're just rare."
Can I come to your world?
...I still don't know if I'd go with "vast". Even here.
Almost everywhere else, the closest thing I see to optimism is how our next coach (JH more often than not ) will turn things arround.
Very few people predict 5 wins or less...so most people expect improvement. Expecting improvement is optimism.
That's where the pessimists have it wrong... Where they mistake their pessimism for being "the reasonable ones".
Expecting improvement from such a youg team isn't optimism. It's the reasonable expection to have.Expecting so little improvement as to not have it translate into a better record is pessimism IMO.
Pessimist - things will get worst. Optimist - things will get better
You're assuming things will get better based on some dubious logic. You're assuming the offense will be better (based on returning starters) while ignoring that the defense will be worse (based on losing starters). This is not self-evident. You can make arguments on either side.
Expecting so much improvement that it will obviously translate to a better record is optimisim.
"Pessimist - things will get worst. Optimist - things will get better"
No, not necessarily.
I realize framing that way helps your argument. But when things are bad than pessimism can simply be assuming things will stay the same. Same as assuming that you'll stay on top can be optimistic.
This can go on and on forever though...
I'll agree to disagree.
It really is splitting hairs anyway.The difference between an "optimistic" 8 win prediction and a "pessimistic (in my view)" 5 win prediction could easily be decided by 3 plays.
I'm personally predicting 7 wins (give or take 1 game)...And hoping for at least 10.
It depends on your fundamental view of Michigan football, where its at, and where it can possibly go.
If you're considering the norm for Michigan should be 7 to 9 wins, then things have been atypically bad. You're right then -- It would be pragmatic to assume a improvement to get back to the norm and pessimistic to assume things will stay the same (bad). In this view, the past shouldn't be ignored.
Yet I view it as a "nothing is given" type of situation. Having watched programs like Syracuse, SMU, USC, Oklahoma, Notre Dame fall off for long periods in the previous decades (most built back up, but not all) and programs like Miami, Florida, and even Boise rise to prominance out of nothing, I view history to be no guarantee. As such, Michigan is in real danger here of falling off the cliff as a program. (I realize this is unreasonable or unfathomable for some, but history argue it has happed). As above, but in another way, the past shouldn't be ignored.
That being the case, winning more than 5 games would be a good sign of improvement (and therefore optimistic relative to the pessimistic side - stumbling further toward the cliff) and not a sure thing as Michigan's presumed right to be better than average.
I guess I see why some see that as a pessimistic view.
Poor job by the optimist re: stevie brown. The pragmatist mentions that Stevie Brown was arguably our second best player last year yet doesn't give the coaching staff credit for turning him from arguably one of our worst defensive players to one of the best and hopefully similar things will happen this year.... then again, obi ezeh... sigh.
Huh? Care to explain that comment?
I'm basically as pessimistic as you are—I'll be more surprised by 9-3 than by 4-8—but even I have to admit that both Tate and Denard got significant playing time last year.
It will be Denard's first year starting?
Given Tate's extensive HS training, his older bros experience, private QB tutoring, etc...he was esentially equal to a redshirt frosh last year. He was about as ready as any true freshman can be.
Denard is on the other end of the spectrum. While he did see game action, he had no business being there. Everyone acknowledges he was extremely limited in terms of playcalling. The IQSD plays werent preparing him for the kinds of decisions QBs need to make.
So while Denard and Tate are both sophomores this year, theres a major gap in experience. Tate is going to play beyond his years a little bit and Denard is esentially a redshirt freshman. That doesn't mean Tate is the better QB, its just that he's probably a little less likely to make mistakes based on his experience.
I think theres no question the QB position will be better in 2010, but that doesn't necessarily mean theres going to be fewer turnovers.
...the 2010 impact players aren’t nearly on the same level as BG, SB, DW, and TW
I think you are being very negative in this statement. You are comparing last year's players using hindsight while predicting no one will step up this year. We knew BG would be solid and thought DW would be great. However, prior to the season, many considered SB a bust and TW just meh. So, if two players surprised us last year, I think you should consider the possibility that two will surprise us this year. MM has the hype of DW, so once again your argument comes down to the loss of BG (which is huge). But, if you are comparing rosters and claiming to be a pragmatist, at least be fair and consistent. Compare what we knew about both prior to the season. It's very possible that two players with the preseason hype of SB and TW, which was little, will also step up this year.
I'm not saying its impossible that people will step up their games. I think its likely. But will anyone step up to BG-level? It seems doubtful.
BG, SB, DW where all 4 or 5 star talents who will play in the NFL. 2 of them were seniors. All of them had extensive playing experience. Mouton and Martin are the only 2010 comparables I can think of (guys who were highly regarded recruits and have been playing for a couple years.)
I do think some people we might not expect will step up (like Brown and Woolfolk) did last season. But given that nearly everyone outside of Roh and Martin is more or less a question mark, I can't see all the holes being addressed.
To me, thats not being pessimistic.
I guess I am an optimist. Not the worst thing I called myself today.
7 wins and the rest is gravy.