I love your work. BlazeFire, but I don't really follow. if you don't like kicking the field goal and playing prevent, why would the Hoke hire do anything other than just that (judging from past experience under Carr)? I'm not saying that it will not be great under Hoke, I'm just not following the argument. Can you explain?
Playing to Win
I want you to think back, carefully, think back to the days of Coach Carr. What did you used to say, muttering to yourself grimly or shouting to others in the room angrily during the game? “A field goal will only put us up 6 and there’s plenty of time for another drive left. Go for it!” I shouted this at the TV on many 4th and 1’s from the opponent 14. “We’ve been blitzing successfully all day, and now we get down to the last minute, and you go to this totally ineffective Prevent? Play to Win!” You may have supported Coach Carr to the upmost, like I did, but you can’t deny that his choices infuriated you on occasion. He so often played not to lose. He so often did things ‘the old way’.
And so, we brought in Rodriguez to change all that. To finally do away with the run up the middle on third and 50, and the QB who couldn’t get out of the way of the world’s slowest developing pass rush. We brought him in, scary as it was, to reverse the field and have lightning quick snap counts and to play to win. And it didn’t work.
Monday night, a spread & shred offense as good as anything Rich Rodriguez at WVU ever put on the table played in the national championship game opposite Auburn, a team featuring a more traditional spread. True to form, the scoring in this game was quick and furious, featuring scoring drives of less than a minute in many cases. Full field reverses and lightning quick snap counts were the play du jour. At times, it was awesome to behold.
Keen observers may note one thing, however, about the game. With a final tally of 22-19 and scoring that included safeties, goal line stands and field goals from within the red zone, the battle was undeniably defensive. In a game where the question was expected to be, “How long can these good defenses stand up before these excellent offenses find a chink in the armor”, we instead found ourselves asking, “How many chinks in the armor before the offense runs out of little things to exploit and can’t make anything else happen?”
And we were left with one more question. Why did the Auburn defense not get tired, slow down, and slowly but surely give the game away in increasing chunks of yardage, as every MSM talking head had prognosticated for weeks?
Ladies and gentlemen – we brought in Rich Rodriguez to be our coach to lift us out of our mediocrity and to finally lift our sights higher than a Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl berth. We brought him in to reinvigorate the program and bring speed, style and a modern flair to Saturday afternoons in the Big House. We brought him in to win National Championships. And we sent him on his way because while the speed was coming, the rest of it, so far, was frustratingly not. And now you question it?
No, don’t say, “He needed more time. He needed more time to install this and ready that and yadda yadda yadda.” No. We brought Rodriguez in to take us beyond dreams of Big Ten Championships and Rose Bowl berths where we were never really in the national picture. We brought him in to wake up from our dreams of Bo. And as I’ve already pointed out, that’s no guarantee, even if everything works perfectly. The best Spread & Shred in the history of Spread & Shreds just played in the national title game, and lost, in a DEFENSIVE BATTLE. I’m not saying that the spread doesn’t work. Obviously it does. But think back to Michigan/Florida in the Capital One Bowl. Just because it’s the spread doesn’t mean it’s a winner, either.
And we recognized this. And we fired our coach. And we were prepared once again to move on. Except now, the name we wanted – we couldn’t get. And people are lamenting, “If we couldn’t get Harbaugh, we shouldn’t have fired Rodriguez.” Well, I’ve got news for you people. “4th and 1 from the 14? We couldn’t get the TD, so lets just kick the field goal.” “1:15 left up by 6? I think it’s time to pull out that prevent defense.”
No, we may not have gotten exactly who we wanted. But who we had was not getting it done, and even if everything was optimal, it very well may not have been enough.Brian talks about how we sacrificed our chance at being national champs to be conference champs. Well me, I think that's a lot of bull. Rodriguez was a good coach, but we were still a million miles from becoming a national power, and the next flash in the pan wasn't any more likely to do it. And last I checked, winning the Big Ten goes a long way in your national perspective. Keep Rodriguez if we couldn’t get Harbaugh? Avoid the perilous situation we’re in now? You’ll excuse me if I don’t feel like kicking the field goal and playing prevent. It might cost me, but I’m a Michigan fan. I want to PLAY TO WIN.
he's saying that keeping what we had just to keep it was not the appropriate way to win. The way to win was to change things up and go with a team that played productive offense but also has a great defense. That great defense won the championship, and that we would probably never have had that under RR. His DC was not coming and he was unable/unwilling to do something else, just as LC ALWAYS did what he did.
He's saying RR was not something completely different, just the opposite side of the coin.
Could be wrong, but that's the way I read it.
What I was saying,j and hopefully this will clear it up for everyone, is that the mindset of, "If we couldn't get Harbaugh or X-coach, we should've just kept Rodriguez" is kicking the field goal or punting on 4th and short. Rodriguez wasn't winning. Keeping him would've been playing not to lose, as a program.
For the record, I wrote this Monday, but couldn't upload it.
Thanks for that. I hope you did not take my response as being overly critical - I really was just asking for clarification.
One thing I'm going to imply is that we all used to think one way when Carr was the coach, but having the perspective of time, our views may be shifting a little. Maybe it's okay to be a little boring, as long as you aren't making the opposing offense look too exciting.
that is all.
He didn't come to Michigan to win games, he came to Michigan to put in his offense, which would supposedly win games. The point is his focus was to do things his way with his offense above everything else. That is why he failed.
So you are ok with hiring the exact same thing that you used to bit€h about? Just checking.
I am talking about those who would prefer to retain Rodriguez if we couldn't get the guy we wanted. It has nothing to do with HOke himself.
I think it's possible to separate our notions of Carr as a coach (motivator, talent development) and as a gametime playcaller. I think Carr was an excellent coach and that either he or his coordinators made some poor in-game decisions during his career.
Just because Hoke has similar values to Carr doesn't mean we're buying into Carr's conservative in-game philosophies. The things that Carr values are still relevant - you gotta have tough linemen, and as Oregon displayed, even if you can move the ball between the 20s, you gotta be able to run up the middle and not turn it over when you're in the red zone, which demands size and consistency. RR had problems in the red zone as well, kicker or no kicker.
The thing that frustrated me about Carr was that he was so close to being a truly great coach. He just needed to not be so risk-averse in his game management. In just about every other aspect, he was great at his job. Hoke shares Carr's philosophy in many ways, but he's his own guy. He's displayed a flexibility offensively that Carr never did, for instance.
It was never the style of offense. They all can be effective, whether it's Florida, Auburn, Alabama or USC. But what most of those OMG offense! teams had that no one wanted to pay attention to was lights out defense. Lloyd, Rich, Hoke can run any offense they want. We haven't really had too much problem scoring points. It's stopping people. Brian's all OMG over the offensive coordinator, but I'd rather spend the bucks on a D-coordinator. Because in bowls, MSU, Florida, USC, Nebraska, Texas, our problem has been stopping them, not scoring. (USC did a pretty good job against our offense, but one year we scored the 2nd most points they gave up all season, and in both our problem was that their defense was NFL caliber. No one was scoring more points against them...we needed to hold them to fewer points so it could be like Monday's game, TWO high powered offenses, stymied).
If we want to use your 4th down analogy, RR never got the choice to punt or go for it. He was forced to kneel and cede control. We never got to see what he would do in a favorable situation with his team (Majority of his guys as upperclassmen, 2nd year starting quarterback, NOT 6 true freshman on the two deep defensive backfield, 20 of 22 starters back, possibly a real kicker (Goudis), possibly a star running back to take the pressure of Denard (Hart)).
If RR had gotten all this, plus changed his defensive coordinator to someone who A. Either knew how to run a great 3-3-5 or B. had full control over how the defense would be run... Would you really be saying it was just "business as usual"?
He never really got a chance.
(And yes I know the overall record, the big ten record, the record against MSU-OSU...and if we're going to play the numbers game, I want you to look at the number of starters he inherited and the number of players from the previous coach starting in years 2 and 3 in comparison to other coaches...it's pathetic. That's why, coupled with his failing in the hiring of Greg Robinson, he needed one more year to fix his mistakes and get it right.)