Let's look back to last year. Our defense was supposed to be the strength of our team and carry us while our offense adapted to RichRod's new scheme. That obviously didn't happen and our 2008 defense finished as the worst in school history. However, a lot of people (myself included) thought that our defensive struggles in 2008 mainly stemmed from our offense's inability to move the ball, thereby putting more pressure on our defense and tiring our defensive players out as the game went on.
However, our defense has continued to suck hard this year. Despite the vast improvement of our offense, the defense has actually gotten worse this year. I understand that there are personnel issues that are not going to be fixed in the short term, but the defense has seemingly regressed as the season has gone by. The opposite should be happening. It's gotten so bad that we have to rely on our offense to pretty much outscore our opponent, because every game we play turns into an offensive shootout. Case in point: today, we score 36 points but allowed 38 points and nearly 500 yards to PURDUE. Our defense got punked by Joey Elliott (?!?!) for god's sake.
So what is the problem? I don't think that it's the DC Greg Robinson, mainly because replacing our previous DC Shafer with him hasn't fixed any of our defense's problems. Our defense still has trouble with fundamentals like tackling. I think the real fault lies with our position coaches. Aside from Donovan Warren, our secondary has looked straight-out awful and has shown zero improvement. I understand that we're starting a walk-on at safety, but we just allowed Joey Elliott to have a career day. This is mainly the fault of Tony Gibson. Among WVU fans, Gibson was notorious for churning our piss-poor secondaries, and he seems to have continued this tradition at Michigan (Ryan Mundy was coached by Bruce Tall, for the record, and not Gibson).
Our linebackers have also regressed horribly. Ezeh and Mouton, who were promising up-and-comers once upon a time, consistently take terrible angles and get sucked in by play action. It's gotten so bad that walk-on Kevin Leach is starting over Ezeh (and still playing pretty poorly). Who coaches the linebackers? Jay Hopson. And he hasn't done jack shit with Michigan's talent at linebacker.
So obviously the solution is to fire Hopson and Gibson, right? Except this probably won't happen. RR loves Gibson and Hopson and will not fire either of them. He fired Vance Bedford (who now coaches DBs in Florida's ridiculously awesome secondary) to bring Gibson in. He has similar loyalty to Hopson. RR's loyalty to his staffers is really hurting our defense right now.
Position coaches are at fault
We should fire them but probably won't