The past couple days there have been some popular misconceptions that have been sprouted from a murky lair that was once shut out of mgoblog, but has suddenly been brought to light: that lair being the “Rich Rod should be fired” gang. There are also many popular misconceptions that had arisen prior to The Happening in Happy Valley. This isn’t about if Rich Rod should be fired or not, it’s about misconceptions going around the board.
1. The 3-3-5 doesn’t work
This is an absolute lie. The 3-3-5 works, the 4-3 works, the 3-4 works, the 4-2 works, hell pretty much every defense you’ve seen talked about in the past decade works in modern football. West Virginia has run the 3-3-5 with success. Yes, it’s in the Big East, but they have typically done well out of conference too. IIRC, Florida has spent time running it as well, and their defense has done alright in recent years. It's less about scheme then it is about fundamentals, talent, and coaching.
2. The 3-3-5 is the reason Michigan's defense isn’t doing well
Not true. This defense has played 3-3-5, 4-2-5, and against PSU, started in a 3-4. I don’t like the fact that the defense is switching up formations regularly, and I would still prefer 4 down linemen, but the fact remains that the defensive formation isn’t to blame with the bad tackling, and even worse coverage we’ve seen.
3. That the offense is consistent
It isn’t. And no, I’m not expecting Michigan to put up 60 points a game, and I’m also not saying the offense is bad. The offense is obviously good, look at the stats, but it isn’t consistent. The first 5 drives against PSU consisted of:
The first was a 3 and out, which, ugh, Vincent Smith in the I formation. The Second was an 80 yard drive for a touchdown, the third was when denard got hurt and a false start turned a 3rd and 5 into a 3rd and 10, the fourth saw a holding play on second and goal lead to a FG. The fifth came after Gallon derped it out at the two.
That is a quote that I got in response to claiming the offense was inconsistent, and I’m not disagreeing with anything that was said there. The problem is that people are looking at this and seeing consistency when it’s not. The first drive was still a 3 and out. If the ball was given to Smith out of the I-form that’s still our offense that did that. If we had a false start and Denard got hurt and we didn’t convert third down, that’s inconsistent. If we stalled in the red zone (which we did more often against MSU and Iowa), that’s still stalling and not converting for TDs like Michigan should, which is still inconsistent. If we go three and out again, for the second time in 5 drives, regardless of starting field position, it’s still another 3 and out, and it’s still inconsistent.
When we have scoring opportunities and miss open receivers or someone misses a block or we have a penalty and don’t score because of it, that is still inconsistencies in the offense, regardless if “the play was there” or not. It doesn’t matter if the play is there or open, it matters that Michigan executes and finishes the play and scores touchdowns. Any way you slice it, Michigan had 10 or fewer points in the last three games at the end of the first half. This offense isn’t consistent.
4. The offense is good and the defense isn’t on RR
This is very wrong. Magee is the OC, his offense is doing good. Is the spread RR baby? Yes. He deserves a lot of credit for recruiting offensive coaches and spending lots of time perfecting his offensive craft. But as a head coach, he isn’t an “offensive head coach.” He is the head coach, in charge of the whole team. RR is the one in charge of the whole team, only one person is above him, DB. RR isn’t just responsible for one part of the machine, he’s responsible for the whole thing. He has been very effective recruiting personnel that can coach on the offensive side of the ball, but he needs to do that on the defensive side of the ball too. You can’t claim “he doesn’t have time to be everywhere at once so the defense isn’t his fault.” The reason he has other coaches is so he doesn’t have to be everywhere at once. When the defense doesn’t work you can’t claim it’s not on RR because the whole program is on RR.
5. “But Denard is just a first year starter”
True, he is. But a lot of teams have first year starters, about one ever 2.5 years. Denard has started his fair share of games and has been in the program over a year. This thought is vastly overstated. Denard is a damn good football player and will still improve, but the meme that all of Michigan’s offensive problems will be solved when Denard has more starts is greatly overblown.
6. That the spread does't work in the Big Ten
I said above that the offense still had inconsistencies. That does not mean that the offense doesn't work. Obviously the offense is still putting up points and doing well, they just need to be more consistent in the first half. This goes back to my point I made about defensive schemes, they are extremely overrated. A pro style can work to great success in the Big Ten (JH could run a no huddle pro-style and there is a chance it could be just as successful for example) and the spread works. Florida's offense (at least with Tim Tebow) would work in the Big Ten, as would Oklahoma's spread, as does Ohio State's 2 TEs and everything in between. The offense depends on executing, regardless of system. It depends on putting your players in positions to be successful with their skill set and teaching them how to play the game with the tools you have. That can be said for offense or defense. I think the 3-3-5 is closer to the 4-3 then the spread is to two TEs, but in either case, the scheme can be successful with the right players and the right tools, and the right coaches teaching the players effectively.
There are obviously subjective ones that can be included, such as the “Cupboard was empty” and the “you can’t claim the cupboard being empty is a problem anymore.” I have my feelings on both of those, but any way you put it, it’s debatable, and this isn't the tread for that.
There may be more misconceptions out there, these are the main ones I’ve seen or at least that I have put up a fight against. I guess to a degree they are a bit debatable, but these aren’t as debatable as I think a lot of people are making them out to be. I think in both cases, whichever side of the RR fence people are on, they are using extremes to try to prove their points. This is a product of loving Michigan and being passionate about the product, and I don’t have an issue with loving Michigan football. But there needs to be balance in how you view things, there needs to be reasonableness in arguments, and there needs rationality not to over emphasize things or skew ideas just to favor your objective. The offensive consistency is an easy one to skew, because you look at the stats and you look at the possibilities that are there and think “we are so close to being unstoppable.” This is a very good offense that is very close to being nearly unstoppable, but just because it is very close doesn’t mean it is. It still means that it’s just very close.
I know I'll get some "you're being hypocritical" comments, but I've tried to make this as objective as I could.
If there are other memes that aren’t easily debatable I’d be glad to hear them and add them above. I don’t want this topic to degenerate into a RR should or should not be fired thread, there are a ton of those already. This tread is kind of closer to a Jay Z song, because there’s like 99 threads about firing, but this ain’t one.
Also, I feel information like this is board worthy, not diary worthy. It's long, but that doesn't, IME, give it what it needs to be diary worthy. Just because it's long doesn't mean it brings diagrams, lots of hard work, etc. to bring to life. New members (this isn't a bash on you), but I think this is a pretty fair example of "just because something is long and has something new, doesn't mean it's a diary." That's just my little interpretation that I have as far as board/diary lines that often get murky in the gray area.