Andrew interviewed former Michigan cornerback Troy Woolfolk, who talks about the coaching change, how he dealt with his injury, and who his most impressive teammates have been.
Did I oversell it?
Andrew interviewed former Michigan cornerback Troy Woolfolk, who talks about the coaching change, how he dealt with his injury, and who his most impressive teammates have been.
Did I oversell it?
Yup. Exactly what I was thinking. I didn't want this thread to devolve into another RR post-mortem thread, so didn't post. But when Woolfolk comes out and declares that Michigan would have won a NC with Hoke at the helm from 2008, and that people didn't respect RR as much since they didn't think he knew what he was talking about... that's pretty damning.
At the same time (and I think this is obvious), people at Michigan - players, administration, and fans - could have been more open-minded to the changes Rodriguez was trying to make. Rodriguez does know what he's talking about, at least when it comes to offense; and he was able to lead his team to very good things at WVU. People didn't like him largely because he was an outsider, and that hampered him quite a bit.
There's plenty of blame to be passed around for why the Rich Rodriguez experiment didn't work.
at least some of that lack of buy in came because of the shit storm around the program - both insiders and outsiders.
It will be interesting to see how he does at Arizona with Casteel on staff.
[Side note: Cory Zirbel is on Rich's staff as a Graduate Assistant: which kind of goes to show that Rich is a good guy, just not the right guy.]
Rich Rod was a poor fit for M but he's clearly well meaning. With Casteel he will have WV level success.
I think he's a good person, but I'll be surprised if he has WVU-level success at Arizona. I can't help thinking he caught lightning in a bottle there when he had Pat White and his offense was new to college football.
I've always kinda thought that about him. The stars kinda aligned for him in WV between bursting on the scene with a new type of offense, having the right guys to run it, and being in a conference that didn't really expose some of his and his team's deficiencies elsewhere. My impression of him was a high ceiling, low floor guy... his team would hang a ton of points on good teams and then inexplicably lose others. That was really my biggest concern when he got hired, that he wasn't a total package that could not only flash brilliance on offense but be solid in all aspects of the game and running a program. I think that was borne out unfortunately. People will always remember the horrible defense, but we were bad in so many little aspects of the game like kicking, inopportune penalties, ball security, etc. I wish the guy luck and would love to see him prove me wrong, but my guess is he hit his ceiling at WV.
So much easier to recruit to Arizona and West coast talent is plentiful.
Casteel knows what he is doing.
PAC 12 easier.
I think Rodriguez is a good guy. I think he has good intentions.
I just don't know if he always goes about it the right way. He's not the best PR guy, and I think he struggles to connect to certain players/attitudes. As a coach, you have to use different approaches for different kinds of guys. It seems to me that he was kind of a hardass and made his players feel like crap sometimes, which you can't do with every guy. Sometimes his emotions just got the better of him.
In the end, what the majority of Michigan fans wanted was winning. PERIOD.
I'm not talking about your $500,000+ level donor that wanted things "the way they were." I don't care about the "good ol' boys network." Even though I know that circle does influence a lot when it comes to Michigan Football.
I'm talking about the majority. Not the 1%...and the majority didn't care about the Victors Walk or the Hold The Rope or any of the changes, we just wanted W's.
And when you felt like you were smarter than the coaching staff, well then, THAT is where the troubles started. When it was 3rd and 1 and we're lined up in a 3-3-5 the same we were on 1st and 10. When no adjustments were made to opposing offenses.
I don't think anyone thought the players on the team were a top 10-15 defense going into last year...but we knew, at Michigan...we're no worse than a 40th ranked defense. And that's bad. But 117th or whatever it was? Come on. How are you THAT bad at your job?
Then you hear stories about the coaches yelling and embarrassing the kickers, blaming losses on them in front of the whole team. What kind of shit is that? Then the next year, one of those guys is winning the SUGAR BOWL for us. It's not like Hoke got a new player.
Another example of fans feeling like they're smarter...Rich Rod continuously recruiting certain positions and neglecting others. We're at what, ELEVEN offensive lineman in 2 years under Hoke?
....so in the end, Michigan fans could've accepted Rich Rod and his ways more than they did, sure. But he could've been less sensitive to the outside world, and been more focused on winning games. Because if he would've done that, a lot of that noise would've been silenced. As a HC you're judged on wins and losses and he was terrible, especially when it counted. Near losses to UMass and other "meh" teams, 60+ to Illinois, 0 for MSU/OSU, you can't have that at Michigan.
was the best "put" interpretation of RR. The guy couldn't get the job done here, inide or outsider sources...doesn't matter, a lot of grown men acted like babies during his tenure, but the bottomline is he couldn't get it done, I mean for christ sake, our annual Indiana battle was the game of the year...fricken Indiana! A year later with the same players, Hoke has us winning the Sugar Bowl.
A lot happens in a year both in physical maturity and in understanding of the game. Don't understimate the impact of being 1 year older on football players.
"Rodriguez does know what he's talking about, at least when it comes to offense"
Agree 100%, problem is that he has no clue about Defense (see: Robinson, Gerg).
scheme that will always put his QB in danger of injury and ultimately the success of his programs will depend on his QB's avoiding injury. Just as they did at WVU.
Honestly though, he's just not a good football coach. Good to great scheme, Yes definately. A good football coach who knows how to use personnel, no absolutely not.
"he's just not a good football coach."
I guess my definition of a "good football coach" is different than yours. He worked wonders at WVU and did a great job with offenses elsewhere. The only place he wasn't successful was at Michigan, a very insular program where his offense worked but his defense didn't.
He's a good football coach. He might even be very good. If building that program at WVU doesn't qualify you as a good football coach, then your expectations are way too high.
I agree, he's a good football coach. I would even say excellent. But he did a terrible job here. Yes, there were things stacked against him, and there were factors out of his control. There always are. But he did a terrible job of dealing with the factors that were out of his control. He did a terrible job of dealing with at least half his players (the defense). He did a terrible job of dealing with at least half his fan base. Does that make him a bad football coach? No. Not at all. He's proven that he's a superb coach. But he wasn't superb here. He was terrible here. Terriblest in 2008 when he didn't even try to win games, not really, just wrote the season off while adapting to his system; terrible in 2009 when he didn't even try to help the defense, not really; terriblesterifficer in 2010 when it became clear that he wasn't able to help the defense either directly or indirectly. Terrible!
I've heard a lot of things about RR, but the idea that he didn't try to win every football game is about the dumbest I've ever heard
I'm sure he wanted to win every game in 2008. But he didn't try to, not really. Really trying means you make winning your #1 professional priority. It's obvious that installnig and running his system was his priority, not trying to win games that year. He admitted as much in his interview with Wojo the next August, I think it was, when he said that he was surprised that at Michigan you couldn't just roll out your team and win your fair share. Should have been fired the day he said that.
If you seriously think RR tried his hardest to win every game in 2008, then you either think he's a bad coach or you just aren't thinking.
Compare that approach with Hoke who didn't immediately go full bore pro-set like he probably wanted. The approach of a true quality football coach is to use the players you have and maximize them for winning today.
Ugh. Delaying the installation of your own offense only prolongs the transition period.
Michigan started off running a bunch of I-formation, pro-set stuff early last year. It didn't go well. Denard sucked.
So what did Hoke/Borges do? They went back to the spread, but they went back to it because they had run it before (at SDSU, Ball State, etc.) and were comfortable.
Expecting Rich Rodriguez and Calvin Magee to run anything but spread is asinine. They were brought here to run THEIR offense, not a continuation of Mike DeBord's.
Honestly, this is one of the lamest arguments. "Rich Rod should have run an offense that he didn't have any clue about!!! That would have helped us win more!" Yeesh.
We sucked in 2008 because we sucked. Running a pro-style offense with crappy players wasn't going to do any good, either.
The players on that offense had a total of one year of starting experience (Schilling) across the entire unit. It was going to be a trainwreck regardless of the scheme.
but 1 piece of evidence suggests he is not. He hired Gerg.
No, they weren't brought here to run their offense. They were brought here to win games.
Or, maybe you're right. Maybe they were brought here to run the spread. But that is an indictment of the decision-making process. The goal should be to win; not to run a certain offense.
Your tautological argument about sucking in 2008 because we sucked is not helpful. Putting everything on the players is unfair, inaccurate, and misleading. Implying that a coach should not adapt his system to the talent on the team is just silly. This is when you lose people's hearts: when your scheme is more important than the people.
Prolonging the transition period is just fine as long as you're winning during that period.
If we had 5 Wisconsin sized lineman, 2-3 stable workhorse RB's, and some possession WR's, then yes, we should have delayed the transition. But we didn't. Here's what we had in 2008.
Out of all our Lineman, we had 4 juniors and 0 seniors. WR's was 2 juniors, 0 seniors. QB's, I shouldn't have to, but we had Steven Threet, a guy who had transferred in from Georgia Tech, and Nick Sheridan, someone who walked-on to the team solely to get a look at the coaching aspect of it. RB we had 3 juniors, 0 seniors. TE we had 1 senior, 1 junior. And those upperclassmen I mentioned? Here's their names: Greg Matthews, LaTerryal Savoy, Tim McAvoy, Cory Zirbel, David Moosman, Mark Ortmann, Mike Milano, Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, Mike Massey, and Carson Butler.
Do you see a pattern there? It's that we had a very young offense, and very little talent. Those upperclassmen are hardly on the level of Junior Hemingway, Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, etc. etc. Why should RR have tried to teach the old system, when the majority of the players had never learned the old system themselves? Running the pro-style offense wasn't magically going to win us more games
This argument would seem sensible until you watch Steven Threet running a read option.
Threet wasn't a good quarterback as a junior in a pro-set offense, so maybe, just maybe, he couldn't run any offense very well because he wasn't a good quarterback. Him being a redshirt freshman in a completely new offense just multiplied his bad quarterbacking skills.
So you're saying Hoke has experiece coaching both? What a concept! RR could've and should've been using Threet better. Period. That offense didn't have crappy players. Inexperienced maybe, but not crappy. They could've put up more than 10 against Toledo for christ's sake.
I agree they could have put up more than 10.
But seriously? They were crappy players. Threet, Sheridan, McAvoy, Ferrara, Mathews, Massey, etc. Hell, even most of the decent players (Stonum, Molk, maybe including McGuffie) were freshmen.
That offense wasn't good, whether it was pro-style, spread, triple option, run-n-shoot, whatever.
We had 1 returning offensive starter in 2008, and that was Steven Schilling. The guys left on the roster, were a bunch of underclassmen who had made few, if any contributions the year before.. There was no reason to delay the transition. Why bother trying to run something you're uncomfortable with (a pro-style offense with Steven Threet as QB), when you don't have the talent to do it? That's what he was saying with Wojo, that he was surprised the lack of talent that Lloyd had left behind.
Here's the full quote: "Yeah ... and not only in the NCAA stuff, but I made assumptions before I took this job. Hey, this is Michigan. We just roll 'em out there we're gonna win eight, nine games ... you just assume you go in there, even with a new system, and you're gonna have enough talent ..."
The part about the talent is the reason he assumed he could go in there and win eight, nine games without trying. It's not the point of his argument. It's the evidence for it (at least in his opinion). As I said, he should have been fired the day he said this.
I don't care if you call it a transition or a belly-scratcher. The point is the guy lost 9 games. There's always a reason to delay that. Like, forever.
I'm not sure what your point is here. The quote indicates that he assumed, at the time of his whirlwind hiring process, that the all-time winningest team in college football history would have a talent base that would put it in the upper echelon of the Big 10. Then, when he arrived, he found a team without much experience and deficient in talent at several positions. Are you contending that he continued to believe that he had superior talent all through his first year?
I think there are a bunch of valid criticisms of RichRod. I think he was willfully blind about what it took to succeed at Michigan off the field. He either wasn't briefed about important traditions and components of the program or chose to ignore those briefs. He didn't manage people (players, assistants and support staff) particularly well. The defensive issues go without saying. But criticizing his decision to implement the offense he had developed with a team that had virtually no playing experience seems off base.
My point is that he assumed he could just roll a team out there and win eight or nine games.
The reason doesn't matter. Whether it's talent, divine intervention, scheme, tradition, everybody else is on scholarship reduction, whatever the reason is, it doesn't matter. It is a heinous mistake to assume that you can win games. Always.
It doesn't matter if it's a coach thinking about games or a CEO thinking about profits or a kid thinking about grades. You can never assume that 'rolling it out there' will get it done. Everything takes hard work. To see a big-time coach saying that he thought he could just roll a team out there, for whatever reason, is a telling statement about his thought process.
And I'm not the one saying that he shouldn't have run the spread offense. I'm saying he shouldn't have lost nine games, and that he didn't try his hardest in 2008 to win all the games that he could have. Whether that means not using the spread or adapting the spread better to the people he had or working more to retain the people who left even though they didn't fit his system - I don't know. But he should have done something different, and it was obvious that taking a year to install his system, rather than winning games, was his priority in 2008.
I think it's pretty clear that the "roll them out and win 8 or 9 games" was his expectation of Michigan's talent level before taking the job. And history gave him some good reasons to hold such beliefs at that time. And maybe had the hiring process not been rushed, he would have looked at the roster and turned us down. But I don't see or remember how his initial expectations about Michigan football's historical success shaped how he coached.
As for the "didn't try to win" argument, don't you think he believed the offense he developed and that had brought him acclaim as an innovative football mind gave the team the best chance to win? If anything, the attempt to "do something different" cost the team a chance to win at least one game that year (the switch to the 3-3-5 against Purdue).
Just because he assumed that Michigan level talent was capable of winning 8 or 9 games every year doesn't mean that he didn't try or didn't coach them. You think RR just sat around and called off practices because he thought he'd get his 9 wins without working? That's not how football works, and to say that RichRod wasn't aware of this is just ignorant.
Threet couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and Sheridan mixed his time with flashes of being passable and the rest being terrible. Why delay installing your offense if you're going to suck no matter what? May as well get the linemen, WR's, etc the experience they need in the new system.
I think we can all agree that he wasn't a good football coach for Michigan. While he is most definitely a good coach, I would argue that he's more of an offensive coordinator than a head coach. He lacked the coaching staff that he so obviously needed on the defensive side, and it showed. I think the fact that he need a good defensive coordinator to take care of that side of the ball as much as he did detracts from his status as a head coach.
It's becoming clear that RR was not a motivator, and did not know how to keep a good staff around to iron out the areas that he wasn't so good at. These are both things that I think every good head coach should be good at.
Without going into the whole "RR was not given a fair chance..." vs "RR didn't bother to learn Michigan traditions and endear himself to the fan base..." debate, from a football perspective his offense at Michigan could not move the ball consistently against good defenses without turning it over, while his defenses could not get off the field against anyone.
...then what was Hoke before he came to Michigan? RR accomplished far more that Hoke had up the point of coaching Michigan (RR probably still has).
RR is a great coach who just didn't fit in here.
Why is it necessary to badmouth Hoke in order to talk Rodriguez up? Hoke led BSU to their best season in school history and won MAC Coach of the Year. Then he led SDSU to their best season in about 15 years and MWC Coach of the Year. And now he's added a third CoY award. I think that's pretty impressive.
...but RR has I think 5 COY awards (2 in the BE, which is > MAC & MWC). I don't think that you can reasonably deny that RR is still a more decorated coach than Hoke at this point. And that's no knock on Hoke, I think he will surpass RR in due time.
My reply was to the poster who said, "Honestly though, he's just not a good football coach. Good to great scheme, Yes definately. A good football coach who knows how to use personnel, no absolutely not" If he thinks that, then I want to know what he thinks of Hoke because his tangibles are not quite to the level of RR.
That's because all we have on Rich Rod is his time in the Big East and here at Michigan. And for his time in the Big East, people are substituting the current version of the Big East, not the pre-ACC raided Big East, which wasn't the raging tire-fire it is today. Pre-raid, Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College were all competing against Rich Rod. Maybe not exactly Alabama/LSU, but not cannon-fodder only. And since his big success came after they left, and since it sucks today, people can get away "Well he was good in the Big East, and we all know that doesn't count".
Please explain further how the fans hampered Michigan winning games under RR. The stadium was full with RR running the show. The Big East not playing defense made RR look better than he really was. Bill Martin wasn't going to pay assistants SEC money. Michigan won a lot of games in the past with the same administration. I'm just glad that Dave Brandon gets it.
Do I really have to explain this? Lots of fans didn't welcome Rodriguez. And as soon as things started to go awry, people were complaining about every little thing he did. He tried to give the #1 jersey to J.T. Floyd and fans didn't give him a break, even though somebody around Rodriguez (Jon Falk, Fred Jackson, the AD, someone should have informed him about some of the traditions). It was all over talk radio, the blogs, etc.
There was a somewhat negative atmosphere when he arrived. Not 100% negative, but people didn't like that Michigan hired a West Virginian with a fancy spread offense.
Good grief, I can't believe I'm explaining this.
Honest question. Seems more likely someone mentioned something in passing, but RR didn't realize the import of the statement.
You have to remember the courtship was like 2 drunk teens having their first midnight meeting. We needed someone, he needed someone, a contract was set up with a handshake and bam he's now at the presser in front of 100+ cameras/reporters.
Even from the get go he had that "aw shucks" personality that made it appear he knew nothing about Michigan and I dont think he understand just how large/vocal the fanbase was during his 1st year. By all accounts (3 and Out) he eventually realized his mistake and tried to rectify it by seeking out the history/traditions of the program but then everything else went to hell so it was a moot point.
So you're defending RR by saying he was like a drunk teen at midnight? I'll agree with that assessment, at least at Michigan, where he didn't try as hard as he should have. Overall, when he works hard, I think he's a super coach. But he was just lazy coming in to Michigan. He's way too smart to not know to research traditions and culture of a new job. Heck, any teacher going into a new school knows to do that, and we don't get paid gazillions of dollars a year. He didn't 'realize his mistake' so much as realized he needed to get off his behind and do some work.
Before he coached a game, he played score-o at a hockey game and was seen as a ego-maniac. Then Hoke came in, did the exact opposite, and was praised for it because it wasn't what RichRod did. If you can't realize the difference in how they were welcomed, or you think fan and faculty support means nothing, then I don't know what to tell you. I will say that I didn't hear a single player on Monday night football last year announce they were from "Rich Rodriguez's university of Michigan" though.
I totally agree. RR had his flaws, but these stories always drive me a little crazy because kids/"insiders" take shots at a guy who won 100+ games in college football and was an innovator everywhere he went. Sure, it didn't work out here, but to take parting shots a bit at guys for crap like "toughness" when, frankly, Troy had a hard time staying on the field throughout his tenure at UM feels hollow. And yes, I know he was injured and that robbed him of his speed to a great extent, but when you struggle to produce on the field you should probably be careful about calling out a coaching staff about its coaching protocols.
He's won 75 games at this level - 60 at WVU and 15 at Michigan. He's over 100 wins if you count Glenville State, but that's D-II.
I don't know why everyone here seems to be at one or the other extreme with this guy. I don't think he's horrible, but I don't think he's a future Hall of Famer either. He has some clear strengths and weaknesses. WVU was the perfect situation for him and he shouldn't have left it. I don't think he'll find that kind of situation again.
It's no fun to have opinions that are somewhere in the middle. That's just being wishy-washy.
Every coach in history was either awesome or terrible.
I hope you figure that out soon.
I don't disagree with you that RR's best situation was WVU, or that he isn't an HOF coach. He's a good coach with flaws - like 99% of the coaches out there. But what drives me crazy here on this board is the hive mind that breaks out - everyone was pro-RR when he started, then became anti-RR, then became anti-Hoke, then pro-Hoke, and there is no real nuance to the arguments made. Listen, I was definitely against the Hoke hire initially because he felt like settling, and I still think the jury is out. That said, he's a great recruiter and hired some good coordinators, and I expect him to do well here. But when people tell me that a coach like RR is crap because he couldn't succeed in a tough situation here and thus he was always a bad coach and anyone who thinks he did anything good besides "stumble" upon Denard, that drives me crazy.
It's odd how it seems to come down to that. RR without a doubt is a great spread mind, but he never engendered the kind of teamwide loyalty Hoke seems to have created. Guy talks about wanting to run through a wall for Hoke, when it comes to RR most of them either quickly change the subject or have only negative things to say.
I don't disagree, but two points.
I have to strongly disagree with point 1. Hoke came in with a losing record. Many thought to be the emergency safety net after Harbaugh left Brandon at the altar. The fan base was fractured over the fact RR was fired. The fan base was pissed at yet another botched coaching search. Prior to the hiring people like Brian are railing about standing at the battlements with a battle ax to behead anyone who mentions Hoke as a candidate.
The fact Brady Hoke was our head coach had the potential to really blow up. A guy with a losing record that we had to settle for after Brandon lost Harbaugh. People were mad because our Athletic Department looked incomptent as hell and Michigan, a premier program, had to resort to desperation hires from the MWC, WAC, or whatever hell conference SDSU was in. Hoke had a very good chance of being the guy we took all that anger out on.
Hokes come in. Tears in his eyes, slams his hand on the podium and tells that asshole from the Freep "This is Michigan fer godsakes." He conducts his early team meetings will enough to avoid a flood of transfers. He plucks Mattison, a man with multiple rings, out of the NFL. People buy in. Had Hoke not managed to achieve buyin with that first presser, I think we'd have had the knives in before he ever coached a snap. RR at least came in as the man who built a BCS caliber team, yet he still ended up unpopular. Hoke came in with a losing record but managed to have people saying "He sounds like the right man for the job."
Regarding your second point. I honestly think if say our defense made it up to #60 and we went 5-7, there would be a mininum of sniping at Hoke. A 50 place improvement of defense and us being at least competitive in our games would have kept the heat off Hoke. I'm sure there would be MLive bitching, but that is always there as background noise. National columnists are already pointing out that we might suffer a regression due to a lack of O-Line depth this year. If we'd been middle of the road last year, people would have attributed it to the depth chart. If Hoke had shit the bed and the defense continued to be terrible, then the knives definitely would have come out.
I will counter your points with two arguments:
1. You mention that Hoke came into a fractured program, but the difference between RR's introduction and Hoke's was that Carr's regime was still kicking around and making noise the whole time, undermining RR's credibility along the way. And let's not forget the differences in expectations people had after Carr's era versus RR's. People expected UM to always win, to always be a top-20 outfit, and nothing in their past showed them to believe otherwise. But after RR, fans wanted change as much as anything else. Under Carr, people groused but he still won 8-9 games a year. The expectations were lowered for Hoke before he stepped into the role simply because the guy before him left so unceremoniously. That's a huge difference.
Also, I think we sometimes forget that the blogosphere represents a relatively small number of fans. Brian bitches and moans about Hoke, but point to me a MSM article that ripped the Hoke firing beyond the usual "he's a guy with a losing record but with UM ties." The bigger issue had to do with missing Harbaugh, but I never felt people held that against Hoke. And even with Harbaugh, the guy went to the NFL, so while some people felt he turned his back on UM I think the general consensus was that his personality wasn't going to be a great fit and he might as well take a chance at the top position in his industry. With RR, UM was being rebuffed by the likes of Miles, Schiano (if you believe some reports), etc. Other college coaches at programs no better than UM's. That stung people, and then the whole issue with leaving WVU (perpetrated by some disgruntled WVU faithful that was largely beyond the control of RR - imagine if SDSU had popped off about Hoke when he left) popped up and further stacked the deck against him. Then the Rosenberg's of the world chimed in, oftentimes out of personal vendettas than actual facts.
I do agree that Hoke handled the introductions better and kept more kids around, but by all accounts that was as much a result of the team leaders telling guys to stay, to hold rank and give the new guy a chance, something the team definitely lacked when RR showed up. They saw what had happened before, and they made a concerted effort to not see that happen again. I'm sure Hoke had something to do with that, but let's not undercut the efforts made by RVB, Martin, Kouvacs, Molk, Denard, etc. And again, RR wasn't around to meddle when Hoke arrived, nor did he say "I'll sign your transfer papers" like Carr apparently did. Again, that's huge.
As for Mattison, yeah Hoke brought him in, but he able to do that because Brandon opened up the checkbook. UM is finally paying coaches the way it should, which wasn't the reality under RR. I still hold to the belief that if Casteel had some to A2 with RR, that defense would have been better on Day 1 and who knows what would have happened.
As for point 2, I don't disagree, but the busts of Hoke in the HOF that some have already put an order in for certainly benefitted from an amazing season. People will talk this year if they lose to MSU or OSU, and then we'll see how well everyone handles it.
Regarding the Hoke press conference, how much of that was based on RR? Rich came in, had an introductory presser, and immediately the sniping started. Dave Brandon didn't want that to happen with his new hire, and no doubt gave pointers/tips to Hoke, probaby encouraging him to go over the top a little with his presser. For all the jokes we make about Dave Brandon marketing/social outreach, this really is his field to excel at. When Hoke gives the "Fergodsakes" answer, you see him answer the initial question, and give props to the school, typical standard stuff. And there's a little pause, and then he adds in "fergodsakes", to take it over the top, and to try and quash any doubt's about him not being right for the job. From there the writers took the approach of, "Well Hoke may suck, but we'll let the results run first before we talk".
Also, was that a Freep question? I heard it was Rothstein or Meinke, but I'm not really sure on it, just curious if anyone knows or not.
And finally, I disagree with you about the 5-7 bit. If we had gone 5-7, losing to MSU and OSU, the cannons would be in full force on everything. "This is Michigan fergodsakes" would be a joke for everyone else, and everyone would be pressing Brandon, "Why didn't you offer Harbaugh in November?" "Why not up the ante for LSU and Les Miles?" "Why did we get a coach with no BCS conference experience and a losing record?"
Your scenario, I think would have applied if we had won 7-9 games, and stayed close, like one possession close, in any losses. Otherwise it would have been, "Why did we fire RR to get the same result?"
Because it doesn't sound like him
In all due respect shoe - the failures of RR, especially on defense, were on display for all to see from the U Mass game in 2010 through the Mississippi State bowl game debacle. And the team's performance last year under Mattison's & Hoke's leadership, using obsentively the same core players, was proof-positive that it was coaching, not talent, that led this team's defensive into the abyss.
Troy is just confirming what we already knew. We witnessed it first hand.
The same core players with an extra year of experience and training. So, not really the same players.
But your point is still made.
Guys like Blake Countess, Jake Ryan, Will Heininger, and Troy Woolfolk weren't on the field in 2010 and made a significant impact in 2011. Add in a completely healthy Mike Martin and a few guys getting better with age/experience (while losing just Mouton) and you have a much more talented team as your disposal.
They had an extra year of experience as college football players, but no experience playing under Mattison, whereas in 2010 they were in year two of Gerg's "system."
Mattison worked wonders last year.
You're speaking to a former "hairshirt" wearer. I posted a plea to Brandon after the Purdue game in 10 to give him an extension. I posted a plea after the Mississippi State game for one more year cause we were SO close to greatness. And i blasted Brandon for the stupidity of hiring Hoke and our almost certain unravelling of the team.
I started taking off the shirt after watching Hoke handle the media before the season and i took it off completely after watching the season unfold.
I agree that the coaching staff under RR failed on the defensive front to a great extent, but last year showed what a more experienced defense WITH a good coach can do, not simply that the 2010 team was full of untapped potential. And as others have noted, RR's teams had horrible luck with recovering turnovers while Hoke's had an equally-amazing recovery rate. There were a couple of times last year (NW and Va Tech jump out) where some great timing turned possible scores into change of possessions.
The defense played much better last year, but it also had two seniors on the line and some freshmen who played a bit above their head. Let's see what happens this year with more new faces before we christen the coaching staff the greatest of all time.
Thanks for the interview...yet it pisses me off when I read it.
It really gave us a feel for what was going on in the players minds. Many never bought in, despite the "all-in" window dressing. I always thought the late season, and late game unravelings were a sign that Rodriguez had lost the team. Here is yet another piece of the puzzle.
And yeah, Hoke wasn't a proven commodity in 2007, and it seems Martin didn't have the license or connections to hire a Mattison, so Troy's alternate universe was unlikely.
But still ...
Perhaps we needed the catharsis to get our act together.
Regarding the players not trusting RR: Is this an indictment on RR or the players?
I think the answer is...yes.
Trust is most definitely a two-way street. I think anyone who has every been around a team, or played in a garage band or been part of a work environment knows that.
And I think 3 and Out hits this on the head. When RR came in, many players bolted for the NFL, anyone who could leave did, and the leadership of the team didn't trust him, and he didn't earn their trust.
Compare that to when Hoke came in and Martin, Molk, and RVB declared that this team wouldn't fall apart.
2 way street is a great way to put it.
"there was just this towel on a mat. And at the beginning there're two people holding it, and one person had to eventually take it from the other person"
That's just awesome. Can you imagine being the guy going against Martin?
Sometimes this material best left within the family.
is he had a terrible staff. Football players know good coaches and RR's staff was just not up to par with the rest of the Big Ten.
Full disclosure, I laid bleeding atop Rodriguez hill, while cursing the hire of Brady Hoke. Yet with whatever blinders I had on, I could never figure out why RR was such a great offensive mind and could so deftly confound a defense, (in many cases, not all) yet he couldn't translate that knowledge to his defensive coaches to figure out how to stop an offense. Maybe that is his gift and his curse. He confounds defenses no matter what side of the field they stand on.
The thing is, RR did have a defensive coach who could shut down offenses - Casteel. And it's not like Hoke would be really useful from an offensive gameplan standpoint - he brought Borges along for that. Head coaches can only do so much, and to expect them to be able to run an entire team on both sides of the ball isn't realistic anymore (if ever).
The thing that irritates me about the Castell angle is everyone keeps saying that "if only he had brought Casteel" everything would have been fine. Ok, he didn't have Casteel, but Casteel is not the only 3-3-5 defensive coach. If that's what he wanted to run and what his assistants were familiar with why didn't he hire a 3-3-5 guy?
If he can't be flexible in creating a staff what's he going to do in the future when/if Magee and Casteel get head coaching jobs. His track record doesn't suggest he can hire outside of his comfort zone.
That's a fair point, but I do think it is easier when you start at a new place to have as much of the core around you and then deal with defections and changes down the line. True, there are other 3-3-5 guys out there who could have run his defense, but it also sounded like RR had relatively few options for DC given the available finances, and Schafer was the one he took a chance on. And in the beginning, that defense played okay and RR stayed out of it until the unit simply broke down and they were getting torched week in and week out.
I think what we've already learned from the RR era is that (a) RR had profound trouble transitioning to the pressure at UM and failed to get the people into positions to succeed at times, and (b) the talent on those first couple of teams was REALLY sub-standard for a program like UM.
Thanks for the interview, Magnus, Andrew.
Tore me up that Troy couldn't stay healthy here. I think he's a great kid. Grew up watching his dad, such a class act, and was really pulling for his son to have a great career.
Best of luck to him.
As far as the coaches, I don't think Troy was necessarily taking a shot at Rodriguez as much as he was lauding Hoke and just telling it like it was. No coach will have success without strong backing from everyone associated with the program, buy-in from the players and a solid staff on both sides of the ball. Couple that with some dumb mistakes, high expectations, and major holes through departures or lack of talent, and the result is a very painful experience for everyone involved.
All of that said, Hoke deserves to be embraced and I'm grateful that he's our coach.
Guys, get it right. It's Tloy Woolfork.
Between John Bacon, players and some other writers (such as the great "other side of the story" in this year's HTTV), we get a lot of mixed notes on the Rodriguez era. I think that's telling all on its own. We do not get mixed messages about Hoke. We didn't get mixed messages about Carr until his last year or so, when he was already halfway out the door. I think when that many different people have that many different things to say about the same person, it shows that that person is not showing everybody all of himself. That he's putting on different faces for different people. In business, that's good. In coaching, I don't think it works. Conversely, there's Hoke:
"The main difference between the coaching staffs is that Coach Hoke stresses physicality. We would do drills that had nothing to do with football, but just to see the toughness in the player. We'd do this one drill where there was just this towel on a mat. And at the beginning there're two people holding it, and one person had to eventually take it from the other person. It gets really rough down there; people get bloody noses and stuff. It teaches you into becoming a man and how to hold yours"
Everyone says the same thing about Hoke. Everyone. Honest. Forthright. Intense. Believes in FOOTBAW! I don't know whether that's the best path, but it's a consistent one, which I think is key.
Between John Bacon, players and some other writers (such as the great "other side of the story" in this year's HTTV), we get a lot of mixed notes on the Rodriguez era.
I have suggested to Brian Cook that we do an open question session with Craig Ross, much like the several "submit your questions to the author" segments that John U. Bacon did.
Just like Bacon did.
And if you are Lloyd Carr, that can be, "None of them."
I don't really see it as a whole lot of hostility. The overwhleming thing to me is how hard anybody has to work, to find things on which to disagree with John U. Bacon. Craig Ross had very little disagreement. What there is, didn't seem like much a big deal, and/or didn't seem very clear to me.
Actually, I suggested to Brian (rightly, I think) that if we could spur some sales of HTTV the way that Three and Out climbed the bestseller lists, it could be good for everybody. I just like good questions, and good answers and more information.
"I think when that many different people have that many different things to say about the same person, it shows that that person is not showing everybody all of himself. "
If you could get into the minds of every Michigan fan before the Hoke hire and contrast what was there vs what's there now, you'd see a wide range of opinions, yet he's the same guy now as he was then.
Varied opinions on the same person are just that, varied opinions. Opinions do not make, or have any bearing on, who a person is.
When total change comes nobody is really happy save the ones that were disgruntled before. Nobody was disgruntled othern then Lloyd got complacent...they didn't want whole sale change they just wanted it updated and mondernized and back to a winner at the Michigan level.
Rich, didn't handle media well, didn't handle players well and didn't handle the alumni/fanbase well. Ohio st isn't just another game on the schedule and lip service later means nothing to a fanbase when you say, it's still just another game on the schedule.
The reality is Rich lost the job when he hired 4 defensive backs coaches to run his defense, lost all of the remaining offensive talent to nfl or transfer that could have helped him win in year one and made that even more devastating by firing his defensive coordinator to bring in someone else to work with a disgruntled defensive staff rather then let the dc he had get a staff he would work with.
Rich is a good coach, nobody can deny that. He made many wrong and bad decisions here and the naysayers were there every step of the way to point them out. But the fact remains is Rich had he succeeded would have been loved and revered, instead he was ran out unceremoniously.
This is a funny comment.
We ran 8 plays in 2008? First of all, I doubt that's true. Second, we still had an explosive offense. Why fix it if it ain't broke? Third - and I'll probably get flamebaited to Hell - Denard Robinson isn't a good passing quarterback. If you give him too much to do, he'll turn the ball over and throw the ball into the ground. If you don't believe me, go back and check out the first half of the 2011 season.
Sometimes the genius move is to run a few plays and run them well, rather than running a ton of plays but being crappy at most of them.
I guess whoever invented the triple option (that various teams like Nebraska and Georgia Tech have run extremely well) wasn't a genius, either. Triple options teams don't run many plays. Why? Because there's no need.
It was also a matter of football fundamentals during his tenure, it doesn't matter what offense you are running if the running backs and punt returners keep on fumbling the ball.
You are easily the worst poster here. "we ran a base of 8 plays." "we only played well against Indiana." Do you have any other wildly inaccurate points with no factual basis to get out there?
I actually know Rich Rodriguez, and you're wrong. Say what you will about him as a coach, but he is a good person and far from a "scum bag". Consider me a hater on your statement.
down at Dan's Downtown tavern, sitting on Rich Rod's lap.
Why is a married football coach at the bar with an umarried woman on his lap?
Answer: Because he is a scumbag, I'll bet he told Rita that he was watching film to get ready for the upcoming game.
I actually laughed out loud on this one. I mean, I guess it is completely reasonable to think he is a shitty individual from seeing one waitress sitting on his lap at a bar. Wow...I bet RichRod is just as happy getting out of Ann Arbor as we are to have him on Arizona.
He let Brock Mealer lead the team out of the tunnel. That alone in my mind makes him a good man.
And yet not a single comment here criticizing Hoke or his staff for that. Times have really changed.
Until you snuck one in of course......
Nice try Mr Miggle.......nice try.
That's a pretty tricky thing to criticize the coach for. If the player says he's ready and the doctor clears him, what is the coach supposed to do?
I very rarely criticize coaches for personnel decisions and I wasn't here. They know far more about their players than I could ever hope to. It's inevitable that some of their decisions won't work out. My point was simply that no one even seemed to notice that statement. If Carr, or god forbid RR, had been the coach, the Monday morning quarterbacks would have pounced.
The thing was, he was a fifth year senior. I noticed that comment, too. But if he came back too soon (and I don't know whether he meant he came back two weeks too early or two months too early), then tthat was his last shot. Coming back any later could have been just as detrimental to the team, if not more so.
If Woolfolk was a sophomore, there might be a different reaction. Sometimes seniors just need to tough it out for themselves and for the team.
You could probably add our top-10 Fulmer Cup position to that list as well. Doesn't even seem to have raised an eyebrow, especially in the press, which I guess is a welcome change.
The Fulmer Cup issues are mainly with Rodriguez's recruits, not Hoke's. Furman got arrested, Robinson had legal issues, Demens had legal issues, Toussaint has legal issues, Campbell, etc. Unless I'm mistaken, the only Hoke recruit to run afoul of the law so far is Frank Clark.
I know these guys are Hoke's responsibility now, but he's a steward of mostly Rodriguez-recruited guys right now. The only Hoke recruits on the roster so far are a few from 2011 (Clark, Heitzman, etc.) and the 2012 kids, most of whom just arrived.
And just to throw out there before someone talks about "RR recruited Thugs", most of those issues are something that every kid in college has. Big Will, Furman, Robinson, Demens all did things that aren't eyebrow raising. Drunkenly sliding across a carhood, running into a parking structure gate, civil issues with apartment payments, and the issue with Furman (don't know how to describe that one) is all something that happens just about everywhere. They didn't mug someone, or anything like that.
The only iffy one is Frank Clark, and we don't know the whole story on that one yet.
I somewhat agree on most of the guys you mention, but Toussaint's (alleged) drunk driving issue is also a serious issue. I think you forgot about him.
Demens and Stonum (not sure he adds to this year's Fulmer but definitely hurt the team by continuing to fuck up) were Carr commits. It isn't like Hoke wouldn't have recruited BWC, Fitz, etc. either (he certainly hasn't refrained from playing them and in some cases giving them "team leader" type status).
I don't think it is anything more than random happenstance and kids being kids, but I do think if Coach Hoke wasn't so well thought of by the media there would actually be a story about it instead of basically silence or the occasional "he'll be awesome at discipline" platitudes based on zero evidence/results. In sort of the same way that the Marlin Jackson, Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington, Kelly Baraka, and Larry Harrison (and I'm sure a few others) situations never seemed to alter anyone's perception of Coach Carr.
You mean other than suspending a player for a whole year and then kicking him off the team at position of need?
I think it's hard to keep 85 other human beings out of trouble all the time, but all you can do is handle it when it happens. I think Lloyd, Rich and Brady have generally done what's right.
Add in that, aside from the recent Toussaint and Clark incidents, everything else proved to be minor or even comic. Unpaid rent, a misunderstanding about social media, breaking a parking lot gate, and a Dukes of Hazard hood slide gone wrong hardly scream "program out of control." What seem to get people up in arms are drugs and violence, neither of which we've seen here (the Feagin thing, for example, looked really bad for RichRod, even though he seemingly handled that the right way).
I do think Hoke will field some criticism if he doesn't suspend Toussaint and Clark for the Alabama game.
RR had great success at every level he coached, until he hit the real big time at Michigan, same goes for Kelly. Great at GVSU, great at CMU, great at Cinci. Once he got to a place that played a legitimate big time schedule and had big time expectations he's flailed around like a lost bird. Something I did not predict, in fact I predicted just the opposite for him at ND. I took his previous success as an indication of what would be his future. I was wrong and will gladly admit it. Its a shame others here cannot ever seem to do the same in regards to RR.
The trot our Casteel and his FEI numbers and he & RR's success in the big least as evidence that future success was/is inevitible. How many quality teams did Casteel's defenses hold to ZERO?? Last year when we beat Minnesota like we did, shut down Nebraska etc. I was thinking to myself that RR could have coached 10 years at Michigan and possibly NEVER beat anyone by a shutout. After all, if we use the past as a predicter of the future then WVU's record against the best of the weakling big east says that his defense, even at its best under his boy Casteel, was NEVER on par with the real big boys that play brutal conference schedules.
I love the we get to see them back together in a somewhat legitimate conference. I predict that they wont shut out Washington state or whomever the weakest teams in that conference are in a given year. That for me will finally and conclusively dispell this idea that if we'd just hired his boy it would have all been different.
Man, it's like MLive just threw up in the comment box.
WVU's defenses under Casteel were fine, and they'll be fine in the Pac 10/12. RR's problems would not have been fixed completely by hiring Casteel, but imagine last year with Mattison. Do you honestly think the defense would have been as good without him? Of course not. Or how about the offense without Al Borges? Those guys were people Hoke trusted and he was able to bring them along; Casteel was RR's preferred defensive coach and Martin and co. closed the purse strings and that's why he went with Schafer and, later, GERG. At any point over those three years, they could have said to RR "bring in your DC and we'll pay for it." That didn't happen, and regardless of why, it definitely had an effect on his performance.
WVU's defense have statistically been fine, and held their own against some pretty good offenses both in and outside of the Big East. And let's not act like the B1G is full of dynamic offenses - holding the tire fire that was Minny's offense last year (and without their top QB) was fine and all, but NW, MSU, ND, OSU, and VaTech sure could move up and down the field. Of course, that's because they have good offenses, but apparently WVU's defenses are "bad" when they play Goergia, GTech, and Oklahoma and UM's opponents are all solid units when they beat the Wolverines.
But whatever. Hoke is the coach and he's doing great. I'm happy, and as long as UM keeps winning it sounds like you'll be happy. But stop regurgitating trite arguments without any backing just because it makes you happy.
Simple. How many teams did Casteel shut out?? When a talented defensive coach with his own experienced players playing in his system come up against weak opponents. They shut them out or hold them to minimal scores in 3rd string junk time.
Now, if you really want to trot out the big east(without Miami & Va tech.)as an equivilent conference to the THEN big 10, big 12, SEC, Pac 10 or even ACC. You just go ahead and swim in that pool by yourself. There's nothing I can say to that.
Wins in single games against quality opponents on what 3 occasions? Does not balance the scale against playing your entire regular season conference schedule against middlings at best and downright patsies at worst. If any 6 game stretch in WVU's schedule had included Wisconsin, Ohio st., and Penn st. they would have never had the opportunity to win those games that you and others hang your hats on as indisputable proof of the dynamic duo's potential.
Dynamic offenses?? I'd love to see a Casteel's best 3-3-5 handle Bielema's freight train or even a Troy Smith led version of Tressel ball. Dynamic and effective are not exclusive. If they were the NFL would not be paying Harbaugh 7 million a year and not even taking a casual glance at RR. Same goes for Casteel. When the big boys start offering him DC positions you can trot him out as a potential game changer for the RR era at Michigan. Until then that dog just won't hunt.
When did I say that I was comparing the old Big East with the Big 10 from years past? I openly admit that the Big East was a weaker conference than others, both during and after the time Miami and Va Tech were there. But at the same time, there were offenses in that conference who could score, and WVU showed they could compete against the big boys from other conferences as well. To dismiss the reality that RR's teams beat good teams from other conferences in BCS games, oftentimes with solid defensive efforts, makes me not want to swim in whatever pool you currently drift in.
And don't try the strawman "If any 6 game stretch in WVU's schedule had included Wisconsin, Ohio st., and Penn st." argument while ignoring WVU having some tough stretches (like #3 Va Tech, then a good Rutgers team on the road, then #19 Louisville in 2005). Sure, the Big East was not as good as the Big 10 top to bottom, but WVU had less resources than a typical Big 10 team, had a weaker recruiting base, etc. RR and Casteel took the talent they had and won with it, and did so against good teams both in and out of the conference.
And please stop with the tired "the Big 10 is so tough" argument. As we've seen recently given bowl and OOC performance, the Big 10 isn't an elite conference every year; heck, most years it is average. So great, UM, MSU, OSU, and Wiscy look good on paper, but then they struggle to beat the TCUs, the USCs, heck even crappy Florida's of the world consistently. People keep linking to UM over Tebow and Florida in 2007 - that was 5 freaking years ago! How about getting housed by a crappy Miss St. team? how about needing a couple of miracles to beat an average Va Tech team? How about seemingly-invincible Wisconsin getting pushed around by TCU? The sooner the myth of the Big 10 as an elite conference of great football teams that turn men into cowering puddles of goo under the eyes of Bo and House of Pain, the better.
"I'd love to see a Casteel's best 3-3-5 handle Bielema's freight train or even a Troy Smith led version of Tressel ball." Oh, you mean like the 2006 UM defense that was worked over by Smith to the tune of 42 points? Or do you mean the WVU defense that, after a rocky first quarter against Clemson, held the #24 offense in the land to 16 points, scored a fumble TD, forced two INTS, while dropping 56 on them?
A good offense can score on a good defense, and vice-versa. It's called being good at football. Wiscy has a very good offense, and yeah few teams had success slowing them down. MSU had one of the best defenses in the country last year and let Wiscy score 31 and 42 points on them. I still think MSU had an elite defense last year, one that could win a championship, but they still gave up buckets of yards. What counter do you have to that?
So I assume we can agree that
#1. Harbaugh is a better coach than RR even though he never invented any dynamic offense and
#2. That Casteel is at best an unproven DC who has had some limited success at a lower level of CFB but is yet to demonstrate the ability to dominate against the creme of the crop on a consistent basis.
At least we have those to build on.
|9-2-06||MARSHALL||WON 42-10||Marshall Thundering Herd at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
|9-9-06||EASTERN WASHINGTON||WON 52-3|
|9-14-06||MARYLAND (Thur.)||WON 45-24||Maryland Terrapins at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
|9-23-06||at East Carolina||WON 27-10||West Virginia ECU Football Tickets|
|10-7-06||at Mississippi State||WON 42-14||West Virginia Mountaineers at Mississippi State Bulldogs Football Tickets|
|10-14-06||SYRACUSE||WON 41-17||Syracuse Orange at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
|10-20-06||at Connecticut (Fri.)||WON 37-11||West Virginia Mountaineers at Connecticut Huskies Football Tickets|
|11-2-06||at Louisville (Thur.)||LOST 34-44||West Virginia Mountaineers at Louisville Cardinals Football Tickets|
|11-11-06||CINCINNATI||WON 42-24||Cincinnati Bearcats at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
|11-16-06||at Pittsburgh (Thur.)||WON 45-27||West Virginia Mountaineers at Pittsburgh Panthers Football Tickets|
|11-25-06||SOUTH FLORIDA||LOST 19-24||South Florida Bulls at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
|12-2-06||RUTGERS||WON 41-39 (3OT)||Rutgers Scarlet Knights at West Virginia Mountaineers Football Tickets|
GATOR BOWL @Jacksonville, FL
Now they did hold eastern nowhere to 3 points. Kudo's Casteel. Looks like you had a handle on them. Get ready for the Ravens to call you.
But......Losing to Lousiville & South Florida, taking 3 OT's to best the mighty scarlett knights?? Where was Casteel's defense that day??
RRs 2008 wolverine team with Sheridan/Threet at the helm would have gone 7-5 minimum against this schedule. Possibly better. Any major conference team would LOVE to play this schedule. Not just the Big10 but ANY of the real big boys. Great thing is, we'll just wait and see how that Casteel D handles the Pac12. Then perhaps we revisit this discussion. If the data shows me wrong at that time I'll admit it and eat that crow. My assertion is that as of now there simply is not a comprehensive enough data set to imply with any honest accuracy that Casteel would have had anything like a Mattison effect on RR's dismal defense.
Time will tell, have fun stopping Stanford and USC with those "bandits, spurs and sams" of your beloved 3-3-5. I'm betting your team will be in the bottom 3 of the conference in points allowed every year.(top 3 in points scored too, I give credit were due).
|September 2, 2006||12:00 PM||Vanderbilt*||#14/15||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN||W 27–7||109,668|
|September 9, 2006||12:00 PM||Central Michigan*||#10/13||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN+||W 41–17||108,712|
|September 16, 2006||3:30 PM||at #2/3 Notre Dame*||#11/13||Notre Dame Stadium • Notre Dame, IN||NBC||W 47–21||80,795|
|September 23, 2006||12:00 PM||Wisconsin||#6/6||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN||W 27–13||110,058|
|September 30, 2006||8:00 PM||Minnesota||#6/6||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome • Minneapolis, MN||ESPN||W 28–14||50,805|
|October 7, 2006||4:30 PM||Michigan State||#6/6||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN||W 31–13||111,349|
|October 14, 2006||8:00 PM||at Penn State||#4/5||Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA||ABC||W 17–10||110,007|
|October 21, 2006||3:30 PM||#NR/23 Iowa||#2/3||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ABC||W 20–6||110,923|
|October 28, 2006||12:00 PM||Northwestern||#2/3||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN||W 17–3||109,114|
|November 4, 2006||12:00 PM||Ball State*||#2/2||Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI||ESPNU||W 34–26||109,359|
|November 11, 2006||3:30 PM||at Indiana||#2/2||Memorial Stadium • Bloomington, IN||ESPN||W 34–3||42,320|
|November 18, 2006||3:30 PM||at #1/1 Ohio State||#2/2||Ohio Stadium • Columbus, OH||ABC||L 42–39||105,708|
|January 1, 2007||5:00 PM||vs. #8/7 USC*||#3/3||Rose Bowl • Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)||ABC||L 32–18||93,852|
Just to highlight that good defenses can still be scored on, Ball State scored 26 on the 2006 team, and ND scored 21. And as we saw toward the end, good offenses found a way to score pretty easily as well.
But regardless, I'm not saying Casteel was going to make this team elite, but he has a track receord of fielding good defenses. Are they world beaters? Probably not. But if you want to presume that every "big boy" in a conference would feast on that schedule and win lots of games, I'm not going to disagree. Maybe they'd even go 11-2.
But regardless, RR and Casteel won a whole bunch of games at WVU, and did it by putting lots of points on the board while keeping most opponents well below. They might struggle in the Pac 12, and maybe I'll be proven wrong. Of course, name me the last successful coach at Arizona? Yeah, it's kind of hard. But regardless, teams like USC and Oregon will probably torch them, but I'm guessing that they'll find some success against the Oregon States and Washingtons of the world.
Things wouldn't have been different if we hired Casteel. Our program was severely damaged before Rodriguez ever coached a game here. No coach makes a team whose secondary depth chart (for 4 positions) reads James Rogers (who has yet to see the field in 4 years), sophomore Jordan Kovacs, and a bunch of freshmen into a good defense.
On the flip side, any idiot can come in and have immediate success at a job (SEE Weis, Charlie) if the groundwork has already been laid, even if the fans want give all the credit to the new coach and, say, give him a 10 year contract extension.
What good coaches can control and can do is build a team through recruiting and scouting. Rodriguez did that at WVU. When his first full recruiting class there reached its senior season and the rest of the team was stocked with his players, they finished in the top 10 three years in a row, went 33-5, and beat the SEC and Big 12 champions in BCS bowl games (not "Big Least" competition in either case).
Brian Kelly did not do that at Cincinnati. He inherited a program that Mark Dantonio was building and got credit for the foundation that had already been laid, then bailed before he had to do it himself. On the other hand, he's been at ND two years. Acting like we know much of anything about what he's building there on his own is silly. All we know is that Charlie Weis was a mediocre scout/recruiter/program builder (something we knew after his 4th and 5th seasons at ND).
It's a shame that you can't see, despite all the whining people did about supposedly subpar recruiting, that Rich Rodriguez did a fantastic job here and rebuilt Michigan into a national power. We didn't go 11-2 last year, win our first major bowl game in over a decade, and we aren't ranked in the top 10 this year because the guy spent 3 years driving our program into the ground. He didn't get to taste the fruits of his labor, but we all did, and so we should probably just shut up and say thank you and wish the guy well at UA.
I think this is a fair assessmant. Here at MGoBlog we've made mention of Carr's recruiting falling off near the end of his career. Not bad, but not on the whole great. We were making a slowish decline, and who knows where we would be if we had made the safe choices. We took a leap on a catalyst, saw things bottom out, then turned things around. RR may not have turned everything around, but he brought in talent, and laid the foundation. Hoke took that, and so far has run a marathon with it
Did Troy read Three and Out?
I wish I had seen the 7/18 questions thread before now. Questions I'd like to have asked:
I guess you should Touch the Banner more often.
It really is absolutely, 100% the best Michigan blog owned and operated by a Brandon Graham doppelganger.
That is the best way to sum up Rich's tenure. Couldn't get himself out of it for some reason.
Rich handled Denard and Tate very well while here, but little else.
Holy Perry Mason Batman.....
In all due respect Section 1 - that reads more like a cross-examination than an interview.
Not a single one of those questions "suggests" a particular answer to Troy. They are all open-ended. Troy could answer any way he chooses.
I could do a cross-examination, if I wanted; particularly with Rosenberg and Snyder. It wouldn't look anything like that.
It's in the comments-
It was weird that I connected with Coach Hoke so soon. I felt like I've know him for four years. He just seemed cool, and he's just a good guy. That's the first quality I see looking at Coach is great character. I really believe he's a good person at heart and honestly cares about his athletes. I was able to read that early on, so he was all good with me after that, and we just got closer throughout the year."
That's what really matters to the future of Michigan Football. The rest is just people trying to prove they were right or weren't wrong.
Woolfolk is the only one I can think of who actually played for all three of Carr, Rodriguez, and Hoke. Other 2011 fifth-year seniors redshirted under Carr but never saw the field while he was coach. Is there anyone else?
EDIT: Apparently Junior Hemingway saw some action in '07.
I will root for RR every game except when he plays Michigan and when he plays Toledo this year