I waited until today to post my thoughts on the whole CC issue. I didn't want to write in the heat of emotion / disappointment. Unfortunately, after a full 2 days of sobering (and sober) reflection, my thoughts didn't change much. Sorry in advance for the length of this.
1. Our dynamic amazing #6 offense - can this meme finally be put to rest? Does our offense have potential? Yes. Is it improved? Yes. Is it one of the best in the country? Far from. Every single decent defense that we have faced has stopped us. Against OSU and MSU (not that MSU), after our opening drive scores (here 2 scores), the defense made a few simple adjustments and was able to completely stop us. One of the MSU LBs said after the game that they knew what we were going to do on offense. If that is true, than where is RR's offensive genius? Top offenses manage to score at least a few points against good defenses. I know that the excuse given was - again - lack execution. Well, if we are failing to execute against every good defense, then this is not a well coached offense. If the offense is the reason to keep RR, this is not a strong reason.
2 Defense - I won't belabor the point. But what is troubling is that those "15 extra practices" that some said would make a "huge difference" did nothing. We are young, thin, inexperienced, out-matched, etc. But, over 4 months, we haven't improved a lick. To the contrary, we have regressed to the point where we are a national joke. Especially given the youth, I would have expected SOME improvement. This is coaching. Not necessarily RR, but he hired the D staff and the buck stops with him.
3. Special Teams - same story as the defense. Zero improvement - instead, regression. And, sorry, some of this - maybe a lot of this - is on the coaching.
4. Denard - many have speculated that if RR goes, Denard may follow. And he may. But why? Denard has a great arm (poor vision and ability to make decisions, but a great arm). There is no reason that with good coaching, he could not be an awesome QB in a traditional offense. Look at Vick on the Eagles - he has an almost identical skill set to Denard (strong arm, some accuracy and decision issues, great speed) and he has transformed himself into a true pro-style QB. He still uses his legs, but more so to open up the pass and as a secondary weapon that makes him very difficult to stop. And, having done so, he is having his best pro season. I hope that Denard realizes this and sticks around if RR is fired.
5. The coaching situation is "toxic" - As Bruce Feldman on ESPN said yesterday, the situation with RR's job status has gotten toxic for Michigan. He is a good guy, a class act and probably still a good coach, but at Michigan he is not working out. There is too much hostility and displeasure in the fan base and this whole 3-year hot seat (which would only continue if he returns) has really hurt recruiting. One of my good friends - a die hard 20 year M fan - said that he and his family do not even look forward to the games anymore. They watch because they are loyal fans who support the team, but the enjoyment and excitement is gone. I know many who feel the same way. We need a massive shot in the arm to bring back that hope and excitement in the fans.
Saturday, Michigan was playing in its first bowl game in 3 years. Rather than talking about our storied program, our tradition, the members of the current team (other than Denard) or the great things that we are doing to return to glory, almost all of the coverage of our team focussed on RR's job status. This is not healthy for our players, our team or the Michigan brand. I wish RR the best, and truly hope that he succeeds at his next destination, but I would be incredibly disappointed in DB if RR is not fired.
6. DB's time frame - I have been a huge critic of this time frame. To me, if DB does not have enough evidence after 3 years, then he is just indecisive. The time frame largely resulted in the media circus that has negatively surrounded our program. HOWEVA, it is entirely possible (likely?) that DB's time frame really is geared towards obtaining JH. If this works out, than DB really is as good and smart as many think, and deserving of his pimp hand possessing status. But, if we end up keeping RR or getting Hoke, then this whole process was unnecessary, as DB could have accomplished that in November and ended the speculation and recruiting hindrance.
7. Replacements - I know that the favorite is JH. IMO, he would be an out of the park home run of a hire. But, he may be heading to the 49ers. If he does, to me, that would not mean that we should stick with something that isn't working. Aside from Hoke, who I know is not popular on this board, there are many good candidates out there, many with ties to Michigan (which I do not think was important in 2007, but which I do think should factor in to this hire). Hopefully, if we can't land JH, DB will find one of them.
8. Our fans - when RR came to M, he was not treated appropriately by the fans, the media and, to some extent, the former players. It is naive to think that this didn't have a role in undermining RR's tenure. It is in the past and can't be undone, but hopefully the fans and former players (forget the media, they are hopeless), have learned their lesson and will treat our next coach with more respect.