Because he wouldn't give his current coach a vote of confidence threw him through the mud, couldn't get Harbaugh anymore, and realized, "Fuck, I dont have a choice now. Hopefully I can pay someone enough money to want to come here now..."
Why did Brandon Fire Rich?
1. The record. I'm not going to list the details we all know, and pile on. But it obviously wasn't good. Was that the primary, or overriding factor?
2. The atmosphere around the program. Fans, alumni unhappy, media circling, national perception. Had it just gotten to the point that it had all gotten so ugly, that it didn't seem like there was enough momentum to turn it around, or fight through it?
3. The other 95%. Brandon says the W-L and the stuff we saw was only a small part; so he did like the whole picture?Maybe he didn't like either the state of the program, the talent level, or what he saw behind the scenes; whether in practice, or in interactions with players, staff, the department, the public. Everything seemed like it was good, but was Brandon saying he was seeing stuff we can't? Because if he thought 2 and 3 were great, wouldn't he put up with #1 against all fan pressure?
It's surely some combo of any number of things, but now that we've had a day away from it, we can consider why it didn't work, and why Brandon came to the conclusion he did (whether you agree with it or not).
Cmon man, let's hire a GD coach first. Quit spewing garbage everywhere. Criticize him when there's actually something to criticize.
In December of 2008 everyone lauded Bill Martin for landing a great coach with an exciting scheme. Very quickly, those same people freaked out and chastised Martin for going "outside the family" and RRs tenure here speaks for itself.
Reserve judgment until it plays out......
I would definitely not say "everyone lauded Bill Martin" for hiring Rodriguez. All reports speak to a very vocal internal group of alumni and boosters that were opposed from the outset and may have actually done things to undermine Rodriguez's efforts. I'm not saying this is true or not, but the fact that multiple reports from multiple sources speak to this fact (?) make it impossible for you to say "everyone" lauded Martin.
but the average fan was very excited..... and I'd say those alumni wouldn't have been happy with anyone that was connected to Mich after the Miles stuff. But I get your point..
As Sam Webb repeated this morning, Rich didn't fit in with the money crowd or down in front set that runs Michigan football. They were upset with the hire after the first meeting with RR because he wasn't one of them, didn't talk like them, and was a redneck. He even went so far as to say that Rich wouldn't fit in no matter what he did on the field.
Another called in and asked about Patterson from TCU. Sam stated he wouldn't be a good fit either with this set. IMHO as long as this is the set of people DB is going to try to please Michigan football will never rise to prominence again.
Yost and Bo had no connection to Michigan and were our most successful coaches IMO. The fact that Brandon wants someone from the "Michigan family" scares the hell out me as it appears JH (who I don't care for) will not be coming here.
It's a good smokescreen for why all those wins that he was always predicting were always just around the corner never materialized. ANYBODY who wins a lot will be accepted. Lose a lot, and you could be a clone of Bo and you'd be out.
I think I agree with you but its a damn shame that the "money men" get to dictate a lot of the direction of the program. I know that's how it works, but those f-ers are no better than you and I and probably are less intelligent. Its just a bummer that our favorite program and the source of a lot of enjoyment and grief is being directed by a few wealthy people.
I disagree, respectfully of course.
The money men do not dictate the direction of the program. In fact, gifts/priority seats donations have been steadily increasing year after year:
Athletic Budget 2007-2011, Annual Gifts and Priority Seating:
2007 - $13,085,000
2008 - $13,335,000
2009 - $13,600,000
2010 - $13,700,000
2011 - $20,972,000 (due to new stadium seating)
Even corporate sponsorship has increased, sometimes dramatically:
2007 - $5,041,000
2008 - $4,925,000
2009 - $9,880,000
2010 - $13,760,000
2011 - $14,021,000
That stated... I don't think the big-time donors are holding out. It seems that they will donate along with the rest of us and even increase their donations.
Now they might be holding out on major gifts, i.e. new buildings, but the athletic complex, especially football, continues to expand and improve, so it seems there is no shortage of gift money there.
that this trend in giving increases the weight of their influence, perhaps as much or more than the threat of withholding it. I.e., "Look at all the dough we've put into this thing, DB. We're not happy with the current state of affairs. Now give us someone who's going to give us a good return for our giving."
I think there's some truth to both perspectives. Yes, donations have continued to increase. But yes, it's possible that major donors were threatening to withhold future donations.
At the same time, yes, just having lots of money doesn't make you a better person. But yes, making a lot of money suggests an ability to be successful in some sense. How do we feel about Stephen Ross going after JH for the Miami Dolphins?
I don't know why people create a Conspiracy Theory around Rich Rodriguez. His start was a little bumpy (WVU buy out, shred-gate, alternating captains, # 1 jersey, probation....) but all of that would have been forgotten and forgiven if he had won some meaningful games.
Everybody loves Denard and we all know that DR is a result of RR's system. IWhat he was trying to do would have been accepted if the team won games. He just didn't put a very good football team on the field after three years and that forced DB's hand.
Sure, some wealthy donors and people in the Athletic Department might not have been thrilled with the hire but everybody would have been on board if he had won more games. He didn't and the negatives outweighed the positives. That's why he had to go, not because anybody was out to get him.
But being a clone of Bo means, "I like Big Ten Championships but don't care about the National Championship". Gary Moeller did very well at getting the team to the Rose Bowl and had a better than Bo average of Bowl Game wins, much better. And still fans weren't satisfied.
Brandon sounded like he was stating that he just wants Big Ten Championships, but he also said he wants Michigan to be better than OSU, which is the year in year out premier team in the Big Ten.
Bo nailed it because he beat his mentor soundly against all predictions AND had a high winning percentage. This gave him the credential to never be fired as long as his winning percentage was great and he beat OSU half the time.
Gary Moeller was expected to exceed that, and that is unrealistic, especially since in the 1990's the National Championship was a pure vote.
Then Lloyd steps in salvages the season in 1995 by beating OSU in the end and is allowed another season, minor grumbling as we don't contend for the Big Ten Championship, but then we stun OSU in Columbus.
1997 Lloyd nails it and is untouchable.
Rich Rodriguez was hired into the tough position as the rebound from a great coach retiring, and couldn't even beat MSU let alone OSU.
My prediction is that whoever we hire there will be plenty of press reports about why the fan base and alumni don't like him, and then if he wins the "red letter games" he will stay.
If he doesn't then he's gone after three years.
If you look back into history, this is exactly what OSU went through until they found Woody.
Where are all the upperclassman that should have been playing that LC recruited? Better yet where are all the high draft pick the last couple of years that LC recruited? Brandon Graham was doing nothing special until Mike Barwis got a hold of him and he became BG the stud.
As Bo himself said when Moeller got fired by Illinois, three years isn't enough. If we are not going to get the so called big fish we want why change the HC this year. Bring in a new D staff, but keep Tall who has done a good job with the DLine. Texas just poached Diaz from MSU.
Whoever ends up getting hired will have a lot of starters coming back pending transfer and should be able to win 8-9 games. What happens if they don't?
This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off. You criticize people for not liking RR regardless of what he does of the football field and then state that you don't care for JH, which must not be based on what he does on the field, either. The guy has proven to be a hell of a coach. The hypocrisy around here is ridiculous. I don't feel that we have to have a coach that has a Michigan connection directly, but I agree that he better come in understading the school and its traditions.
I probably sound like a broken record, but I don't want a guy that openly bad-mouths Michigan players and academics like Harbaugh did simply to boost opinion of his own program. I am/was a pro-Rodriguez guy and don't really fit in with who you refer to in your post but am definitely in the anti-Harbaugh camp. That would not change if Harbaugh had 4 national championship rings.
I can respectfully disagree with your position on Harbaugh. You have every right to not like a guy, as long as you don't bag on others for not liking someone else. That is when it jumps the line into hypocricy.
I'll assume you're not calling me a hypocrite because nothing I have done thus far is hypocritical. I "railed" against the firing of Rodriguez and now that it has happen, I am outspoken about not hiring Harbaugh. And I definitely do not hold it against people that like/want Harbaugh. I'll just like them less for their differing opinion. (Kidding)
I am not calling you a hypocrite. Like I said, I can respect your opinion. I would only call you a hypocrite if you were mad at people for not liking RR and then saying you didn't like Jim Harbaugh. I am afraid that all of the people who were for RR and were quick to say "we need to support our head coach" will now be upset that he got fired and complain about the new hire. He are just going to end up in the same situation with everyone on a new side of the fence. If we can all remain calm, have our opinions on who we like and don't like and then rally behind whomever is hired whether they were our choice or not, we might actually put this thing back on track.
I understand your point and agree in general. However, it is somewhat disingenuine to call Rodriguez supporters that are skeptical of a new coach hypocrites when Rodriguez detractors are now trying to rally support for a new coach. If I wanted, I could easily argue that those same people should have taken some of their own medicine and supported Rodriguez more whole-heartedly and we may not be in this position now. I don't necessarily believe it would have turned out differently than it has, but I think you get my point.
gone public with his criticisms, but if you look closely at the content of what he said I think it offers more reasons to hire him, not less.
His comments show that were he to come to Michigan, academics would be a high priority for him and he would do everything within his power to ensure that every player had a great future after Michigan, whether they end up playing on Sundays or not.
Also: I've always defended RichRod, but I do think that we would be unlikely to have more Demar Dorsey-type situations if JH were to come to Michigan.
I can't speak to this poster, but the pro-RR crowd generally doesn't take the stance that "off the field stuff doesn't matter". They take the stance that RR hasn't done anything off the field that is wrong (NCAA infractions notwithstanding, but that was a witchhunt that could be launched against any major football program in America if they had vindictive local media too).
Otherwise, he's been a very standup guy, personality-wise. As for his understanding of M, he knew OSU/MSU/ND were rivalry games, he just happened to lose a lot of those. He admittedly wasn't aware of some tradition about a #1 jersey that really only was invented in the late 90s. He ran an offense that wasn't "traditional" Michigan, even though it's more three yards and a cloud of dust than any team since Todd Collins was QB.
In other words, I don't see hypocrisy in not liking Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles because they seem to be cads, even though they win. Off the field issues should be a concern, as long as people focus on the off the field issues that matter, like character, instead of those that don't, like understanding M traditions.
I'm adding "paralyzed and handcuffed by the '70s" as a tagline. I'm not sure who said it, I think it was Huge.
Really? Because Rodriguez wasn't offered the same pass you're giving Brandon. He had 2 more years on his contract "to play out". At what point do you pass judgement on Brandon? Now? After the hiring of Hoke? After a pair of 7-6 seasons from the next coach? When is it fair to offer a criticism of how this is playing out?
It seems like we've got one standard for the coach, and one for the AD.
I think if it's fair to look ahead at where you thought the coach was taking you and say "I don't want to go there, let's make a change", it's at least fair to freaking criticize where it looks like this AD is taking you prior to everything "playing out".
I also think that UM has now defined down the amount of time that's permitted to create success and I hope any coach that negotiates a contract any longer than three years knows it's a charade. Win your bowl by year 3 or take a hike - we're Michigan.
I think that's an overreaction. No improvement was shown and the Defense and Special teams regressed horribly. I think RR was given a more than fair shake by a lot of the fan base and he happened to lose most of us this year. I know I was a supporter until this season. At some point you have to recognize that the wheels have come off.
Again, I understand the point about improvement and lack thereof and the lack thereof spelling doom for Rodriguez. But to be critical of your post, your statement that no improvement was shown is simply incorrect. There were many signs of improvement and to ignore those further demeans the efforts of Rodriguez. The incoming coach is definitely going to enjoy the fruits of Rodriguez's efforts and wins next year should carry some sort of an asterisk that they come, in part, as a result of Rodriguez's sweat and tears.
We lost the only viable candidate that the fanbase as a whole wanted. Now we are starting a national coaching search in January. That is not good and it is something to criticize. Brandon was counting on Harbaugh and you could hear it yesterday in the presser. After putting RR through the ringer he had no choice. Maybe my verbage was a little lame and for that I apologize.
It could be argued he wanted him to stay, and gave him a chance to change the narrative in the bowl, and instead, got killed and made it harder to keep him (kinda the theory Brian just said on the radio). Not sure I agree with it, but curious how you took Brandon's actions to be sticking it to Rich.
We didn't even belong in that bowl game. The only reason we got invited is because of the potential ratings because of the large national fan base. I can't figure out why so many people(DB included) really thought 15 practices were going to make a difference. If we were in the Pizza Pizza Bowl where we belonged, we would have won but still had the same glaring issues. Would RR have been kept then? We needed a new defense, not a new HC. We have just become ND. The real question should have been: Who gives us the best chance to win in 2011 and 2012. It sure as F' isn't Brady Hoke or any other coach other than RR.
We were going to win that game. I didn't see a lot of people predicting a loss, no more a historic ass-whipping. The way we played, we might NOT have won the Pizza Bowl...how would that have looked? This was an opportunity to play well against a good team...and again it showed we're not close.
The question isn't who will help us win most in 2011...it's who will make us good 2012-2020.
At one point on ESPN they were showing nearly 80% of the pools had MSU winning that game. It closed closer to 50% but you're completely high if you think we had any business whatsoever being in that bowl.
The way we played had a lot to do with who we were playing.
And for the record, I'd take Rodriguez + a new DC / scheme over anyone else out there with this team 2+ years from now.
We needed a new defense, not a new HC. We have just become ND. The real question should have been: Who gives us the best chance to win in 2011 and 2012?
So now what do we do since we've already been spurned by what appears for all purposes to have been the only other coaching option on DB's list.
Not giving him a vote of confidence. Then denying reports that Rodriguez had been let go and then the next morning firing him and having a presser ready to go.
I agree whole heartley with your OP. RR did not stand a chance since he arrived, because this University is nothing more than a bunch of Wine Sipping Cheese Nibblers that have to have it their way!
Makes me sick to be a MI fan the way the last 3 years have gone!
for firing Rich Rodriguez. That's been done. We know about that, for sure.
I think our team would have a better 2011 recruting class, and be in a much better position to perform well on the field in 2011, if Coach Rodriguez had not been relieved of his position. I think Brandon has made that mistake, already. I don't have to wait and see, to be able to criticize that.
I'll watch and wait to see what the process produces, for a next coach.
And please; now we have to pull together? Now we have to support our future coach, because we support our team? I may throw up.
What universe do you live in? There was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that happened against a mediocre Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State or Mississippi State that should give anyone any confidence that Rodriguez could turn the ship around in 2011. For heavens sake man, we got trucked by Mississippi State. Mississippi State!! The Indiana of the SEC.
I stuck with Rodriguez as long as I could. There is a lot of things Brandon will have to answer for but canning Rodriguez is not one of them.
I think there's plenty to criticize. You can't criticize the pick yet, of course. But how the process has played out thus far is fair game.
I'm haunted by this possibility. Would a vote of confidence meant a better performance that day?
Some people thought that game was so inconsequential, that it would have been a waste to put Devin Gardner into the game.
And now it is seen as a historic, era-ending defeat.
Good to know that people in Ann Arbor are still smoking the same stuff as we were in the 1970's.
if he's offered the job.
How's that workin' out?
Harbaugh, who was 29-21 at Stanford. With fewer wins "against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25" than Rich Rodriguez.
This has been a bad week for Rich Rodriguez; and a terrible week for David Brandon. But NOBODY has had a worse week this week, than Michael Rosenberg. He won the battle, to undermine Rich Rodriguez. But it appears that he's lost the war, to install Jim Harbaugh.
Who cares about Rosenburg?
I've been a RR defender too but I just can't understand how you could diminish what JH has accomplished at Stanford.
1. 29-21 is a pretty impressive accomplishment for someone taking over a 1-11 team, especially given Stanford's built-in recruiting challenges
2. Yes, he would have fewer wins than RR against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25 b/c he's only coached in a BCS conference for 4 years, as opposed to the 10 year span that Rosenberg mentions for RR
3. One of those big wins came in his first year at Stanford when they beat an undefeated #2 USC team, leading a squad that would finish 4-8
You are right about Rosenberg having a bad week however. It was funny to see him have to reverse himself, then later huff "Elite programs aren't run like this..."
Let's not forget that Cooper was fired after Ohio State's bowl game, and OSU had to do a national search at that point, in order to find a guy who had spent a long time in a lower division. Granted he had been winning national championships but this idea that whoever the next guy is must be a big-name coach with decades of experience at a BCS school that is not in the Big East or ACC is a ridiculous thing to argue, and that's why everybody needs to just calm the eff down and remember that Dave Brandon is the CEO of a subsidiary corporation of the University of Michigan, and he has to identify a talented general manager to oversee the production of his most profitable product. I'm not 100% sure he's going to get a home-run guy but I don't think any of us will know until at least a year has gone by and we can see what the new guy is capable of.
Some common sense thankfully. I know Mike Bilotti turned down the job. Tressel was the third choice. He was a 1-AA coach, albeit quite a successful one. And it seems to have worked out OK for OSU. If Brandon were to bring in a top drawer 1-AA (or whatever they now call it) coach tomorrow most of this blog would be looking to tar and feather him. As if the only guys who can do a great job in Ann Arbor are named Harbaugh, Meyer or Patterson.
You know folks, mighty Florida just hired a guy who has never been a head coach. We'll see how that works out. I bet Muschamp will do fine.
0-3 vs State, 0-3 vs OSU
6-18 vs Big Ten
11-11 at the Big House
1-11 vs Ranked teams
as well as the issue with practice time.
Much love to Rich Rod but it was the correct decision
It's because RR ordered Cottage Inn pizza for the senior get together at his house, rather than a certain other pizza brand. At this point, Brandon had no choice.
Nothing pumped up my cholesterol as much as the bacon & pepperoni Sicilian. Nothing like it here in NC.
Do they still give discounts at Cottage Inn after MBB wins to ticket stub holders? Back in the old days (1990s) they did and it was spectacular. Grabbing a pizza on the way home from Crisler after victories in 1993-94 and 1994-95 was icing on the cake. Or icing on the pizza. Something like that.
+1 for North Carolina. Where in NC?
grew up in NY; graduated from M in 1986 (yup, old as dirt)
Nah, pretty sure dirt was around before 1964.
That's a long commute for work. I'm a Charlotte guy (since 2003) by way of Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor prior to that (LSA '97).
I loved those. Can''t remeber exactly how much they cost, $5 or less. Had one nearly every deal
They give that discount at Hungry Howies now, instead.
You clearly haven't consumed enough Cookout yet, as I think it easily one-ups the cholesterol count from Cottage Inn. As far as pizza though, you're right, nothing like it here in Carolina.
Char-Grill followed by Goodberry's.
Note: bummed I lost the 666 mgopoints level.
I think I would keel over and die after that one. Sadly neither one exists in Brier Creek (that I know of), so I'll have to wait to try out my hypothesis.
If you told the Michigan fan base that this would be their new coach's future accomplishments, would they support this coach? Hell no.
We play in a smash-mouth conference. You need to go toe to toe with the Big Boys. We were not able to do that.
He did not see that improving with RR at the helm . . . enough so that he still fired him after Jim Harbough The Savior fell out of his pocket.
He also said that even the Ball Boys need to be defensive minded. Not a good fit for a coach who publicly declared that the defense was sombody else's job to worry about.
When you see those numbers - is there any questions as to why?
1. A lumpson of defensive backs got hurt or transfered
2. Showing progress in the wins category year by year.
3. Having a future heisman prospect.
4. Having a very young team that doesn't graduate much this year
Wait what was the question
Look, I love me some RR and I supported him as strongly as any until the time of the PSU debacle, but let's take off the rose colored glasses.
When RR came in, he and his staff sought to radically change the program into what they wanted it to be. They didn't want to just modernize the offense or the S&C program, they essentially wanted to scrap what we had and rebuild it into what they knew. And I can't blame them - RR had big time success at WVU and he is a "system" coach.
But, what RR didn't realize is that many (most) of the fans / donors / alum - even those that wanted to update the staid program - loved what we had. Updating would have been acceptable - scrapping and re-building was not. There was a recent quote from one of RR's coaches (too lazy to search for it) in which he defended the slow transition by saying that when they came in, they didn't realize how long it would take to build up the program to the way they wanted it to run. Well, that's the mistake - unlike WVU, Michigan did not need them to come in and build a program - we had one of the best out there. They needed to come in and improve the program and give it a kick in the ass, sure, but a rebuild was not in order.
Also, let's go back to 2008 for a minute - with the backup QBs being Threatadin, RR's first order of business should have been keeping Ryan Mallett on the team. If that meant delaying the implimentation of his stread offense or adjusting that offense to fir his talent, he should have done that. And, even worse, once Mallett left, what rational person would have tried to run the option offense with Threatadin at QB??
Not trying to trash RR, but the manner in which he and his staff approached this job was likely the factor that doomed him.
As for the progress that you list:
1. Yes, a bunch of DBs transferred - who's fault is that? Transfers have been pretty common durring the RR era. In 2008, this was an understandable aspect of a cc - but in 2010? Sorry, this speaks to a larger issue. As for injuries, every team has them. Hell, Penn State fielded its 3rd stringers against us on offense and managed to kick our asses.
2. Progress in wins? in raw numbers, yes. However we still could not beat a single decent team, and the magnitude of the losses to decent teams actually got worse.
3. Future Heisman prospect Denard - I love Denard. Probably one of my favorite M football players ever. But, he is one player. Michigan is about the team. Also, I hate to break this to you but there are probably 20 teams that can legitimately say "we have a future Heisman prospect" on the team.
4. Having a young team - so? Won' t these players be back next year regardless?
I believe you meant "irregardless." Wait, could that have been why he was fired?
I believe you meant "worser."
This shows you have no clue what your talking about, there was no way a Spread Coach was keeping Mallet, no matter what he said!
Also, let's go back to 2008 for a minute - with the backup QBs being Threatadin, RR's first order of business should have been keeping Ryan Mallett on the team. If that meant delaying the implimentation of his stread offense or adjusting that offense to fir his talent, he should have done that. And, even worse, once Mallett left, what rational person would have tried to run the option offense with Threatadin at QB??
Wow, it was only three years ago, do you people seriously not remember? Mallett would not return Rodriguez's phone calls and left campus abruptly. There was talk of Mallett transferring before Lloyd even announced his retirement. Mallett was not going to stay here, especially after Rodriguez was hired. This was incorrectly put on Rodriguez, especially after he said "I only talk about guys who play for Michigan," because he didn't show a sufficient amount of regret at not being able to keep RM.
However, that doesn't mean Rodriguez couldn't or wouldn't have used him. (Do I really have to say this for the 10,000th time in 3 years? Shawn King, Tulane, 12-0.) RM would have made a huge difference. Those who know football have consistently called RR an offensive genius - it doesn't take a genius to figure out that an offense with RM is far preferable to either Threet or Sheridan. Honestly, we might not be having this post-Rodriguez hand-wringing if Mallett had stayed.
Up until then the narrative was that we had a weak secondary due to injuries and inexperience, but that everything else was fine. The rest of our D was solid and improving and we had an offense that could score on anyone.
As soon as the secondary, and to a lesser extent the linebackers, got some help through time, recruiting, and injury recovery, we'd be competing for the B10 championship.
Then came the second half of the Wisconsin game. Oh-oh #1:
Wisconsin absolutely mauled the "strength" of our D. This wasn't just a young secondary problem.
Then came OSU. Oh-oh #2:
OSU held our vaunted "spread 'n shread" offense to, gulp, 7 points. It turns out, we can't score on just anyone.
Then came the bowl game. Oh-oh #3:
After a month to heal up, refocus on some fundamentals, and prepare for a single opponent, all it did was confirm the verdict from the Wisc and OSU games . . . we are a "team" that is mostly just one great exciting player in Denard. Kind of like Indiana was when they had Antwaan Randle El.
The excitement over Denard and a schedule front-loaded with weak opponents smokescreened some serious fundamental problems with the program. Problems that DB believed would not go away under RR.
If any of the last three games had been competitive, RR would have had a fighting chance. But losses by 20, 30, and 38 points -- consecutively, in that order, and on the national stage -- were too much for DB, the fans, and ultimately RR to bear.
RR had no chance here no matter what. It doesn't make any difference that we have had only one highly drafted player that was strictly recruited by LC. BG wouldn't have even been what he became if it wasn't for Barwis. He was out of shape and average in performance before being Barwised.
RR was brought in to change things. That is what he was hired for. A preseason top 5 team loaded with senior talent doesn't lose to a FCS school unless they are either woefully unprepared or tremendously out of shape. That was the state of the program towards the end of LC's tenure whether you choose to believe it or not is up to you. It was unacceptable if you want to consider yourself an elite program.
So Rich's players aren't good because they're freshmen and sophomores. But Brandon wasn't good enough because he was out of shape...not because he was a freshman and a sophomore. Nice double standard there. Who's believing what they want to believe?
I think he just had his hands tied behind his back.
Maybe the bowl game did have more worth than we think it did. Maybe if we didn't get blown out and showed some resemblance of a team effort, things might be different.
I think the plan always was Harbaugh, then RichRod; but after DB couldn't secure Harbaugh and RichRod got embarassed in the bowl game, DB had no choice but to cut RR loose.
I can say I was very upset with what transpired yesterday, but thinking over it, I realized that Db isn't so much to blame, but our damn luck as a program lately. Who knew a guy who claimed to love Bo and Michigan would turn us down, and our current coach would act like a dead fish during a game that probably was the final nail in his coaching coffin.
"Maybe the bowl game did have more worth than we think it did"
I think this is more correct than people acknowledge. Harbaugh's record at Stanford in his first 3 years:
4-8, 5-7, 8-5.
As we all know, RR:
3-9, 5-7, 7-6.
If he wins that bowl game, they're pretty similar and he's showing progress. But getting blown the f' out by a team that many michigan fans feel (right or wrong) is "beneath them", that meant he couldn't keep his job.
That MSU game was a complete embarrassment to U of M. Perhaps I shouldn't feel this way, but I would rather not have played the game than to have lost the way we did. My SEC friends have been burning holes in my Iphone laughing at Michigan and the Big Ten. You can bet that game did not help our recruiting either.
I turned the corner after PSU and this latest debacle was the icing on the cake.
I feel for RichRod, but he was perceived as the square peg in the round hole and never got the job done. Three years into the program, for all practical purposes, we had the worst D and the worst special teams in the country and an inconsistent offense that virtually disappeared against good competition. He hired GERG and did have an NCAA investigation on his watch. His recruits left in numbers we would like to forget about. Other than that, he was pretty good.
The records for JH and RR are not that different over the first three years. What was different:
1. JH won some "signature" games - beating a #2 ranked USC team.
2. Having lesser expectations to deal with at Stanford - no one expects that team to contend every year for the Pac 10 title let alone be in the national top 10 or in the hunt for the MNC.
3. He had enough positive buzz to overcome negative buzz (Toby Gearhart's emergence and Luck's emergence definitely helped neutralize toiletgate out there)
Here...RR had the perfect storm confluence of bad things to happen to a coach:
1. No "signature" victories - getting beaten by all of the major rivals really hurt - being competitive with MSU and nicking even one game off of OSU or Iowa would have helped him a lot. Looking back, had he gone for 2 versus MSU with Forcier in 2009, he had his best chance to win a "big" game.
2. NCAA investigation regardless of how serious or bogus you think it was, didn't help him with his critics.
3. Some bad PR moves - being a college coach isn't like a pro coach. In the pros, if you are just a hairline over on the legal side of the law AND are winning no one seems to care - you can make fetish videos, say outrageous things and get caught in all sorts of shenanigans so long as you just win baby. RR did a lot of little things which nicked away had the good will most people had for him...for seemingly trivial things like the number 1 jersey to the naming of captains....his attempts at humor or lightening the mood at the press conference seemed to just feed the flames...
4. Of course losing and losing badly hurt - were all his losses close well played games, 21-17, 24-21, 17-14, a lot of people would have given him time. He definitely was reshaping the offense and I hope whomever takes over will have the sense to try to keep the OL and Denard Robinson together - should be a great junior year for them, but his defense just lacked any progress. So many teams lack talent (hard to believe Stanford gets better defensive players than Michigan) so coaching and prep has to figure into some of the failure of defense. He might have a chance if he had gotten the defense to work his first year when we had Brandon Graham and Donovan available - might have helped set the pattern for the latter years, but we'll never know.
5. Injuries and attrition - to DBs and RBs in particular.
And compare Stanford in year 3. Big wins. Close losses. The records were similar, but not the results.
Michigan got manhandled in all 6 of their losses, and struggled to beat ND, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and, to an embarassing extent, UMass.
Anyone who thinks RR's firing is shocking or unfair is being unreasonable--even Brian lost faith in RR after the Gator Bowl. It was time to move on, even if JH wasn't already in hand. If you can't deal with the uncertainty right now, that's a reflection of your character, not a sign that Brandon has failed. We won't know if Brandon screwed the pooch for 3-5 years.
at the press conference seemed to just feed the flames...
"We just lost to Michigan State, what are you going to do, hang me?"
Had there not been the air of chaos and negative PR around the program from the day RR was hired, he probably would have been given a 4th year. But from day one there was nothing but chaos. Now we can debate who is at fault for the chaos, personally I think RR is only partially to blame, but it was there none the less.
I hate the "signature wins" argument. The year he beat #2 usc he also lost to 2-9 Notre Dame the last game. If his team could win that game, he sure has hell coulda won that game. Didn't Toledo win more games than that?
Harbaugh inherited a team fresh off a 1-11 season (and a generally losing team for years). Rodriguez inherited a team fresh off a 9-4 season (and a generally winning team for years).
it the bowl game was Michigan 52 - Miss St 14, instead of the other way around.
I think that DB thought he had JH all lined up (his press conference comments on JH had the tone of a jilted lover). If JH was a go, then RR was gone no matter what. DB would have found a way to spin it regardless of the favorable bowl game results.
But with JH not available, you have to think that a favorable bowl outcome like that would have shown enough progress to kept RR around.
So much for the bowl game not mattering.
... that DB would have had a hard time firing RR if we had won the bowl game by a big margin. Eight wins would have been hard to argue with, nothwithstanding losses to our rivals.
embarassed and blown out. It wasn't even close. That hurt RR a lot, IMO. Also, our "progress" over the past 3 seasons was due to easier schedules.
RR never beat a team with a winning B10 conference record in that season. That says it all.
You really think our schedule in 2010 was "easier" then 2008 and 2009?
we didn't beat any good teams (except, perhaps UConn with their starting QB suspensded).
The numbers speak for themselves. We have been terrible over the past 3 years.
I'm going to go with a heaping does of #2. As is the case nowadays, "anti" crowds typically make much bigger noise than the supporting crowds (i.e. online reviews, rarely will someone who enjoyed their experience take the time to write a good review).
Not that I blame him, but I think DB took the easy way out by firing RR this year. Overhaul the D. Give new coordinator 100% jurisdiction and see what happens. A lot of young men made a huge life decision to play for Coach Rod and, quite frankly, they are who I feel for the most in this situation.
We honestly don't know what happened in that meeting. For all we know DB offered RR another year with the condition of a defensive remodeling and giving up the reigns to a highly paid DC and RR said no. I don't think DB took the easy way out, I think he took the right way out.
I think the real question is whether the way out is good for the short term or the long term. I'm not sure firing Rodriguez was good for the long-term success or not. I still believe Rodriguez showed progress (clearly in W-L record, clearly in offensive production) and was badly hurt on the defensive side of the bowl by injury and inexperience. Will the new coach be able to produce better results than Rodriguez would have in 3-4 years? I guess we'll find out.
Was it good for the short-term success? Probably in the eyes of many. But we'll find out soon enough - can the new coach complete the recruiting class?, can he retain Denard? can he win next year? Personally, I cannot take a regression and a losing season next year.
From the statements I heard Brandon saying, a coaching change overall hurts the short term. He specifically said he's doing this for the long term.
Many average employees are retained because the cost and general turmoil in an organization caused by a new hire is a big impact on the short term. Firing someone is always a long term decision and a difficult one. The easy decision is to do nothing and hope things change. Since we can't view parallel universes, we will never definitively know whether this firing decision was right or wrong as far as Rich Rodriguez succeeding.
Is Brandon making the decision now so that he can get the painful transition over with? Yes. And since in his mind he must have decided that firing Rich Rodriguez was inevitable, then delaying it only makes things worse by delaying the chance to improve the situation.
I thought it was telling the way Brandon referred to Rich "and his staff" more than once, in those words, saying they worked hard and also wishing them the best wherever they go (i.e., together). People around here who thought Rich would not be willing to replace his defensive coaching staff were probably right -- notably Tony Gibson, whose firing I think was probably non-negotiable from Brandon's point of view -- everything that guy touched turned to shit.
or wherever they go individually. It is hard to be sure of his meaning.
Lets face it, the wagons were already circling for RR's head and then going out and getting absolutely destroyed in the bowl game and honestly, DB has zero choice. A win or a competitive game and you could've justified keeping him and wiping out the defensive staff. A blowout against a mid-level SEC team which was the third game in a row that we were entirely non-competitive was just too much to bare.
of people looking at their 4-4 record and automatically coming to a conclusion that they were an average SEC team. You put any of our three conference co-champs in the SEC West division, and I wouldn't be surprised if they would all have at least 3 losses themselves.
What, exactly, would you consider them then?
If they didn't beat any of the top teams in the conference, they certainly can't be considered a top level team. And they didn't lose to all other SEC teams, so they aren't the worst of the SEC teams. That pretty much cements them as a mid-level or average SEC team.
them a team that, aside from Ole Miss, played 4 teams better than the 4 toughest opponents of any other D-1 program. MSU might not have beat those teams, but they didn't necessarily get embarassed by them either, especially against Arkansas and Auburn.
What I wouldn't consider them is a team not to be impressed with.
For the record, I'm not claiming that they were elite. I'm just claiming that you have no data to suggest that they weren't the best team that Michigan has played to date and I think it's ridiculous for you to throw them in the D-1 middle class because you happened to look at their record to see 4 losses.
Question for you. When you do your bowl picks, do you base your winners on the colors of the uniform, or on which mascot you think is tougher?
And I've made the following point multiple times... since when do you measure a team solely by who they lose to? Thats all anyone was doing with MSU, their only four loses were against top 20 teams so they must be awesome.
Fact is, the only not mediocre team they beat was Florida who won 7 games. After that, Georgia who won 6 games. To be honest, the fact that they played close to those top teams doesn't mean anything. Moral victories don't count. and I didn't call them middle class D-1. I called them what they are... a mid-level SEC team.
"...heaping dose of #2"...I just left one in the toilet if you want to go with that one.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Call it snake bit. Can't explain why but it just was not happening. RR will go to the next program and be a success. If you need a specific reason, I think the UofM culture needs a more secular coach.
He needs to be more worldly? I didn't know Rich was supernatural......
A little less Josh Grobin or whatever that singer is called and a little more awareness of the world around him.
I just don't think U of M alumni like the good old boy / golly gee manner RR conveyed to everyone. I liked him but then that stuff never bothered me.
Groban is a god of adult contemporary pop, I suppose.
he actually does have someone waiting in the wings, but doesn't want to appear to have done deals behind everyone's back...thus the wait before announcing a new coach.
I think all speculation is rather pointless because Dave Brandon knows more and/or is more clever than all of us. I hope I'm right.
I'd write him an apology email for doubting him if that was true
Yesterday's presser demonstrated that Brandon isn't more clever than all of us... that and caving to Delany about moving Michigan and tOSU to different divisions.
fucking apply for his job if you think you could do it better.
I hope I'm right.
Easy, dude. Apparently you have doubts, too.
Speak for yourself. Brandon is definitely not more clever than me. I think we all know this to be a fact.
Maybe you are right but nothing he has done in this situation leads me to give him the benefit of the doubt. Would love to be wrong but his demeanor in that press conference did not give me any confidence that this is all going according to his plan and we are going to have a big-time hire in a week.
I really think looking backward was the wrong way to look at it. We don't know RR all we can go by is what we hear.
The facts remain that we have 8 home games next year, the leading Heisman candidate returning, 20 of 22 returning starters. I don't see anyway to fire a guy after 7 wins if he returns 20 starters unless he goes Haywood or Moeller.
I just don't get it aqnd this is going to gnaw at me forever. What could have been? I'm not saying I know for sure what was going to happen 2011 has been a lot of peoples destination date. Once we knew Threet wasn't going to be the answer most logical fans knew it was going to be a project. While I was pissed at each loss I was ok since I knew in 2011 I'd get my revenge
HALF of our Big Ten wins in three years were IU twice and Purdue once. That is all I need to hear. An average of 2 Big Ten wins a season is not acceptable. His teams are embarassing to watch, and even his "signature wins" were close games that required a last minute TD.
Last year he fielded the WORST defense in the HISTORY of Michigan football. This year the Defense was worse than that, to the tune of 1800 yards more. He set the bar lower than it had ever been and then lowered it again considerably. WOW.
This year we had the WORST special teams of any squad I have ever witnessed. My highschool special teams were better. In fact, I can't for the life of me remember any team in my lifetime that worried about a 25yard field goal. We had to go for it on every 4th down, and that's pathetic. What's worse than that is there was no kicking coach to help our guys. They just let them kick without instruction.
Not having someone to teach the correct fundamentals of kicking is absurd. That's like me going out to the golf range and hoping that if I hit 120,000 balls I will get better. The truth is that without proper instruction of fundamentals, I am hopelessly lost (much like our kickers this year).
Rich always put true freshman in big spots that he wanted to start right away. From McGuffie to the present, every year he would put a true frosh out there to field punts, start at RB, or whatever. Michigan is not a place where true Frosh start, unless they are Gods. I know about how the cupboard was bare, but you have to admit he started young guys over old wherever he could, whenever he could.
Recruiting 1,000 slot recievers. How about some defense? The fact that the next coach will have a ton of midgets to deal with will be hard to find something for all of them to do.
I could go on, and on, and on....
Well that was a rant. I'm not going to go point-by-point and refutte your claims because (a) some are correct but (b) the ones that are wrong can be sueced out by reading this site. RR was put in a tough situation and didn't produce, but I'm not sure he was ever set up to succeed given the truncated timeline. The RR era failed, but it wasn't completely because of RR - the man can coach, and I fully expect him to exact some revenge on UM down the line.
Go Blue !
Why are we still having this debate? I thought it ended after the Gator Bowl, when even most diehard Rich apologists abandoned ship. It's over. Only about twenty people, all on this board, still think RR deserved a fourth year. The rest of the world -- fans, media, administration, players, bloggers -- has moved on.
Was this a coaching problem? I understand that our kickers were on scholarship and could kick in practice without problem, but what about the games. A particularly illuminating comment from my 12 year old "Why do all of our kick-offs land around the 10 or 15 yard line?". I can only think of one time this year that a kick-off reached the end zone.
The best case scenario is probably Harbaugh, and even he was not going to take us to the promised land over night. It will probably take a few years as he struggles with the holes in the roster from more defections, youth, and needing his players. I don't think his road will be as full of holes as Coach Rod's but it will probably take time.
That's if we get him. Coach Hoke will have protractors. Coach Miles will have protractors. More noise will happen if these two struggle. Just about everyone else will be an outsider who will be given a even shorter leash by impatient alums and haters and media. It could very well be a mess in Ann Arbor for a long time.
If Mr. Brandon did not have a 'good' replacement in the wings, bringing Coach Rod back with changes to the staff might of been the best course of action: The team is mostly built as Coach Rod wants, next year there would of been experienced players that were mostly sophomore and juniors, and 'ironically', I believe Coach Rod learned about 'getting it'. Considering what can happen if we don't get 'Mr. Right', releasing Coach Rod might of been disasterous move by Mr. Brandon.
I don't think that you can isolate any one factor, as many of the factors tied in to each other.
First and foremost, the losing. A program that has not had a losing season in decades does not accept this level of losing, the consistency of losses in "red letter games" and the lopsidedness of the losses.
As a direct result of losing in this manner, the entire foundation crumbled, and this is likely what doomed RR. What I am referring to here is:
1. the continuous media BS, which many of our fans bought in to
2. the sub-standard recruiting
3. the apparent perception that RR would always be on the hot seat
4. the feeling amongst the alum and fans that this was simply not the Michigan brand of football that we grew up knowing and loving
5. the "national perception" that we wee a program in a downward spiral.
At the end of the day, winning would have cured most of this, so it goes back to the W/L record. It really is a shame, though.
Congrats on breaking the 10,000 point threshhold. You have become a voice to be reckoned with and I respect your opinions.
I think it was mostly #2 because he saw the results it had on national perception/recruiting and probably figured the situation was not salvagable. I also think a large factor, though, was Brandon's relative lack of experience as an AD. We all think he would be a good leader because of his corporate experience, but running a company and running a school's athletic department are quite different, with different responsibilities and media exposure. Brandon is clearly learning these differences, and the only problem is that he is learning them during one of the most important hires in the program's history.
I keep hearing people make this comment that running a school's athletic department is different than running a company. How is it different? You state media exposure, but do you think Google and Apple have less media exposure than Michigan? Or maybe you meant they have less than a "company".
Again I'll hear generalities, and specifically about Brandon when he was hired that he is a success because of what he learned playing football for Bo. I think these are the same people (although I don't know bronxblue at all specifically) who buy Bo book and talk about what a great leader he was and how is experience and lessons work in any organization, since every organization is a team that has goals and need people to succeed in working together toward those goals.
I believe Brandon has also been on the board of Regents, or has been connected with high level decisions at the University of Michigan one way or another. Stating that he doesn't have the experience to be an AD is completely baseless.
Yes the specific goals and the specific context of managing athletic programs is different than selling pizza but all of the team skills and leadership skills completely apply.
So which is it? David Brandon is a Bo prodigy and can apply superhero leadership skills? or everything in the numerous Bo Books is really complete crap because none of that applies to anything outside of Collegiate Sports?
By most accounts, the other 95% Rod excelled at, except for arguably talent. Someone mentioned in the liveblog, if Rod had closed on a big time defensive recruit like Zettle, he'd probably be coaching today. But to me that's more 2 - the atmosphere and direction of the program.
The expectation is every senior class wins a Big Ten Title and beats Ohio State. I think it would have taken a minor miracle for Rod to have beaten Sparty next year, let alone the other two. So he fired him.
But frankly, the timing of the firing, and the timing of the new hire, has probably handicapped the new guy for 2-3 years. If it's not a big time hire (like Harbaugh or anybody Brian mentioned), it's not worth nuking the program for three more years to me. I'd rather he had given Rod the chance in 2011, and once he didn't meet expectations there's no argument that we don't keep him for the bowl game. We hire a new guy, even Brady Hoke, and roll in the new direction.
Percentages of your three factors:
#1 -- 60%
#2 -- 15%
#3 -- 25%
If UM had gone 5-7 (or 6-6) in 2008, 7-5 in 2009 and 8-4 in 2010 with a couple of those additional wins over MSU, OSU, PSU, RR would probably still have a job at UM.
that is not what happened
I know that, I was responding to the OP's request that people speculate on the percentage that the three factors he listed weighed in RR's dismissal. I answered his question with my opinion on those percentages.
It is my opinion that the losses were the primary reason for RR's termination and suggested a hypothetical win-loss scenario where he might have still be retained. That was all.
I don't even understand what you are getting at with your post. Would you care to elaborate?
a shot at you..... just a simple agreement. Did not mean to sound callous.
I have heard several people mentioned that some of the players had enough after the bowl game. Does anyone know what went down? Player descent has to be #1 reason if it was true. If the players wanted a change and were vocal, Brandon had no decision to make.
I heard that too, but I guess I took it as the players being upset with the constant uncertainty surrounding the head coach, not the head coach himself. Might be wrong - if it is true that the players were sick of RR, then he had to go.
You could actually see the steam leaving the offense in the first half of the Gator Bowl after the defense failed to stop anything. Just as Craig James noted, Michigan was fired up to be playing in that bowl game. The offense came out and make me laugh with glee when Denard broke those big runs in the first drive. But you could see the wind leave the sails slowly but surely as the first half progressed. Everyone looks at the scoreboard and calls it a blowout but I don't see it that way - I saw it as a devistating emotional loss that was much more telling than the final score. The defense could not compete and the offense realized it could not carry the team on its own. It was very sad to watch and the players must have felt terrible afterwards.
Agreed - it was hard, if not impossible, for the team to recover the momentum after that 2nd quarter. But it still wasn't over at the half - they came out on D and made a big 3-and-out stop, but then the offense got bogged down, and the failed FG (!!!)...
After so many 2nd half comebacks this year, even those that came up short, I thought this team would keep fighting to the final possession like they had most of the year. That didn't happen, and I believe that was the end of RR's opportunity to continue here.
That field goal was the end for me. I think his decision to go for that, knowing his kickers can't kick, his job on the line, and the demoralization of the team if he missed was what summed up Rich Rod for me. I don't know if it was his stubborness, or his inability to put people around him to talk him out of bad decisions, but whatever it is, he just didn't learn from previous mistakes. How many times did we start the game with the same Vincent Smith run for no gain. Or the same play on almost every 1st and 10. His continual use of Vincent Smith on 3rd and short, when he almost never succeeded. Coaches put kids in spots where they can succeed. Too many times Rich didn't, and that is why I am glad he is gone.
the players had any reason to be distracted or anything........
I'm emotionally exhausted and I didn't have reporters asking me about the future of the program at every opportunity.
But the play reflected that. That might be part of the frustration players have with the staff. You can be as "all in" as possible, but it's human nature that you get frustrated by the other half of the team if you feel like you have to score EVERY time, just to keep it close. There will be backbiting. It happens in the pros, no more to kids. And on the other side, kids aren't stupid. They can tell when they're being mismanaged, or bring coached badly. I think there was a lack of respect with the defensive staff. You can't be told to do something over and over, fail each time, and still think you're getting good advice.
but what was lost in all this is that the Bulldogs were not a freshman/sophomore laden team; they were mostly juniors and seniors who had been through the SEC wars successfully. Furthermore those guys were from Mississippi State, this was all gravy! There are no gynormous expectations there. Our poor guys have to deal with a the pressures of being 'Michigan' despite the team not quite there yet. So the game started, the pressure mounted, and our guys blinked.
One thing Mr. Brandon might have thought about is what tremendous pressures Coach Rod and the team would be under next year, even more so than the last. Reflecting on how the team performed with a month to prepare for MSU, and how they wilted away in the Jacksonville sun, perhaps he felt there was no way Coach Rod was going to have success next year in Ann Arbor under that intense scrutiny.
Lets face it: the atmosphere around AA has been toxic this year, even moreso since RR took over. Now, not all of that was his doing, but he helped make the cause more justified with the record and stretchgate.
I think DB had no choice, given the results of the bowl game and other blowouts against Wisky and OSU. Had we played competitive in the bowl, or even won, I think we would be having a different argument.
Then again, I think DB felt it was time to cut our losses, as the scrutiny and unease around the program would not get any better with another year.
Either way, this whole situation sucks.
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Up or down, you'll never know.....
It was definitely a down vote.
Had Harbaugh been an option and was willing to come, I was at the point where I thought that was the best option for UM. The next best option in my mind was keeping RR and doing a complete overhaul of the defensive staff. Now, neitherof these are possibilities. IMHE (or maybe not so humble) this is a huge clusterfu*k.
Way back in the middle of the season I question the intellegence of all the posters stating their undying faith and belief in DB and his ability to handle this situation...what a joke. I said then and I will say now, at that point we had nothing to judge the man on and nothing on which we could base our faith. This was his first major test as AD and he has failed in a big way.
The only way his timeline made any sense was if he had JH in his back pocket. If that was the case, he would have been lying the entire time about evaluating after the bowl game. Four things are certain now: 1) DB was not lying when he said he would evaluate after the bowl game, so we can say he is a man of his word. 2) He didn't have JH in his back pocket. 3) After a coaching search the new coach will have maybe a week to fill out the recruiting class (if that). 4) Now that we actually have something to base our opinions of DB on, I can't say I have a lot of faith in the guy.
No matter how you look at this now, that timeline was a huge mistake and I have to question DB's ability to have not seen that and adapted based on changing circumstances.
I'm going to go pray in a corner somewhere.
Thanks for expressing those thoughts, each of which I have thought at one time or another during the season. You are on your game today!
I just think it is too early to make that call on DB. In my opinion, now is when he begins his tenure as AD. It's like being the new CEO for a company not doing so well. It takes a while to change the culture. Organizational change does not take place over night. Moreover, DB is making a decision for next year, the year after etc...You can judge all you want now, bottom line is; we won’t know the end result for several years!
We want change so fast. We want a new coach, high value target, with instant gratification in the win/loss category and recruiting. We want to be reassured everything is going to be okay and we want to know we are still viewed as being the best program in the nation.
Although I feel the aforementioned "we want" thoughts will come to fruition, I feel it will take some time and support on our part. We are "sharking" ourselves! Everyone just needs to be positive and think positive. Better things will happen. PLEASE! We sound like a bunch of whiny rabbits searching for the AA Cat’s Teet.
Apparently Michigan does not want the culture changed. If DB does not get Michigan's culture changed in three years should he also be fired? The end result for RR's ability to lead a fourth year of 20+ starters will now never be known.
you the culture has been changed. Just by looking at your Avatar. That is the culture of the program in its current state. Speed and spread! Offense! You are correct, most want it back to its original state...
By cultural change, I'm referring to Midwest Recruiting and Defense! Michigan Football had a cultural change for the past 3 years and will go into at least 2 to 3 more years with the players we have in place. There is no such thing as instant change, and the cultural change is already in effect until somebody else stops it, and again begins their process.
However, I don't disagree with you. I fully supported RR. Loved him as our coach. I think he would have had a great year in 2011, with improvements on the defensive side of the ball too!
Its really an interesting dynamic between the supporters of the pro-style offense and the "new-age" spread option attack. I used to love the fact that Michigan pumped out pro QBs more than any other school. However, the offense that Rodriguez ran this year was more exciting to me than any other offense I've watched. Not because they were successful (or not successful, depending on who you listen to) but more because of the potential. And I was excited about seeing it run next year with even more seasoned veterans on the team. It put the "college" back into Michigan college football for me (as opposed to prep for the next level), if that makes sense. I'll be very sad to see it go if that is what in fact happens.
I agree. I actually not only loved watching Michigan play, but I really enjoyed and had fun watching football again. When Denard is about to take the snap, it's like watching Jordan about to get the ball with 3 seconds left in game.
I just hope people stay positive because I'm excited to get that part behind us and support the next adventure. Regardless, we are still freaking awesome! The past few years is a drop in the ocean when compared to our rich history. We'll be back...
I agree that I think it was a mistake to fire RR if he didn't have JH (or some other great coach) in his back pocket. What could have happened is that Brandon and JH did have an understanding, but then JH spurned us at the last minute after NFL teams started throwing around $7 million kind of numbers. At that point, it had already dissolved into such a toxic situation, that he felt had no choice but to let RR go. Only time will tell if it was a mistake.
there was a believeable perception that the timeline was in place so that DB could go after JH after the bowl, but keep RR around as a backup plan.
Now, whether or not this perception is reality matters little in my opinion of DB right now.
The timeline divided the fan base further than it already was and created a nightmare of an atmosphere for the team in their bowl preparation. He should have foreseen this but, even if he hadn't, there came a point when he needed to step up and make a decision one way or the other.
I sincerely regret that I am unable to give you many posbangs for this comment. Well said.
I'm sure many have read Ivan Maisel's take:
Pretty hard shots at fan base.
I've been embarrassed by all the "Thanks for nothing, hope the door hits you on your way out," that I've read on facebook.
I know you didn't say whether you felt the shots were warranted or not but I will . . . the truth hurts. Through all these past few months, I'm more upset at the fan base and the local media that fueled it than anyone/anything else. Its been a disgusting display by a fan base and Michigan Men and Women that have always prided themselves in being the leaders and best. In my opinion, the Michigan brand has taken a huge hit in this whole ordeal, a much bigger black mark than a few losing and/or substandard seasons on the gridiron.
tend to agree with him and you, but I also think that when you are a big name program with as much history as Michigan some of that is unavoidable.
Now, that is not to say that recent behavior is warranted, but it is not surprising that during a down time (regardless of blame) that a program like this will have a major fanbase backlash.
Imagine if OSU went on a skid like this....
But I do understand the attitude that we are not OSU, nor should we act like it during rough times.
Troof. This was the line that killed me:
It's hard to imagine what Michigan has to be arrogant about, besides the past.
That pretty much sums it up right there. The college football landscape has changed. All of Michigan's wins and legends and leaders mean exactly fuck all on Saturdays. The only question should be who will run (1) a winning program (2) with integrity.
The problem is that on certain indicators, RR did neither (the latter of which I don't agree with, but that's the thousand cuts story--the buyout, burned records gate, stretching gate, Dorsey gate, etc.). I do believe that with institutional support to allay the fears of recruits, he would have taken us back to the top, but institutional support comes from alumni support, and RR clearly never had or lost a lot of alumni.
So, here's where we are. There is utterly no reason to suspect that Michigan will be anything but a mediocre B1G team for the next half decade. I certainly hope that doesn't happen, and I will certainly support and pull for whoever the next coach is in a way that many alumni never did for RR. But I am not optimistic right now.
Like you mention in your last paragraph, I think the best and most important thing that Michigan fans can do this offseason is find a way to reduce expectations. I'll be honest - its going to be very, very difficult for me to cut the next coach the same slack that I cut Rodriguez. Very difficult, if only because I feel like a woman scorned with the way this all unfolded. I know its silly, but its something I'm struggling with.
But Maisel's zinger could be said about any program that has ever gone from great success to a rough patch. Could have been said about Alabama, USC, and many others. Saying that the past doesn't matter at all is stupid. Maisel's got a bit of a point, and I'm not denying that we're in some pretty dire straits right now, but I think this is mostly a lifelong SEC homer's chance to twist the knife a little in the side of a program that has always turned up its nose at much of the rest of CFB.
I think DB rolled the dice on this (we'll see if he lost). He wants results and wants them now. Again, we don't know if RR rejected an ultimatum regarding his assistants or not but if he did, that would explain why DB appeared caught off guard without a back-up and pulled the trigger.
I personally think he could've have given RR another year without losing any brand impact (the stadium would still be sold out and recruits are still coming). Not to mention your candidate pool could be much stronger after another season. If RR turned it around, you're applauded for nerve and patience, if he didn't, you pull the plug and move on.
One thing I'm confident in saying is, because of Brandon's timeline, the new guy needs at least four years to turn it around. It'd be a miracle if we beat OSU, Sparty, or win a B1G Title in the next three years.
I think the guy we had deserved four years. DB should've listened to Bo on that on. Unless there are ethical issues (and there could've been behind-the-scenes stuff but I doubt it), every coach deserves 4 years. I think DB was flushing the whole thing down to get a fresh start- easier to build new than to remodel.
No one remembers he also said all it would take for him to be out would be to lose to OSU 3 straight times. And if you look at the history of the series, it's true...Lloyd was a surprise to survive it. I'm not so sure Bo would have been so accepting of all the losing at Michigan.
giving a guy time to get his players developed is not the same as "accepting the losing"
Why does everybody assume that RR was OK with firing GERG and his entire D staff (guys he has been with for a long time) and rehiring a Defensive "expert" (a guy like Muschamp, before UT) to basically run the D with his own staff?
Everything (good & bad) that I have read about RR leads me to believe that he would have told Brandon to go to hell if that option was ever offered.
However, why do people think RR would have accepted that offer (if there was one)?
I wouldn't be surprised if Rod said "give my whole staff one more year." I'm still not sure if I wouldn't rather have that than no coach weeks before signing day, but I'm more sympathetic to DB if that were the case.
RR had zero leverage. No way would any rational person thing even one person the D staff should be retained. We were atrocious from top to bottom. Option 1) You fire your defensive staff and keep your job, or optoin 2) you and all your staff (O and D) are fired. Even if he was loyal to the end, either way, the defensive staff is fired. By refusing to do so, he just got his offensive coaches fired too.
to pitt, or wherever, as soon as he decides to coach again.
I like RR and thought that he should stay back in November. But the month inbetween opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how successful he was, a sizeable portion of the fanbase would always want him gone. RR and DB's thing has been for everyone to be all in for Michigan but how was that possible with such a divided fanbase? With such a deep divide, RR was doomed. We could have kept him longer but he'd have been a lame duck at that point, not unlike Zook knowing any failure could cost him his job with a staff picked by the AD and not him.
And please I've seen a couple posters regurgitate DB's measuredly worded PR tinged term "let the process...". Please stop. You sound like you were strapped to a chair in the basement of Schembechler Hall and reprogrammed Clockwork Orange style.
Obviously if you are ready to judge then, clearly you have all the information Brandon does, and have spoke directly to Rich, and Harbaugh, and you know how some players feel...... so please fill in the blog.....
[Edit] Okay, I'm being a tad smug. But, I hate it when people sit back and rant like they know more than DB. DB has more info than any of us ever will. It's not like he's going to the 8-ball and planning his moves. Give him a break.
Sorry for sounding like an a-hole.
What i mean is it comes off like they're not thinking foir themselves. They just hear Brandon saying "the process" over and ove again and it's so beaten into them that they start going "yes...the process." Then they start repeating his lines and it makes me look at what they're saying with some skepticism because it doesn't feel like their own thoughts.
But compared to the big picture here it's just a small pet peeve.
I feel like Brandon gave him an extra day to see if he could convince Jeff Casteel (or another competent DC) to come to UM. When that didn't happen DB had no choice but to let him go. Of course I have no way to substantiate that, just a feeling.
Hell, if we are thinking about upping our coaching budget by an additional 2 or 3 million dollars per year, with all-new big buyout provisions, you'd think that we had a budget for Jeff Casteel.
The gutty decision, the hard and courageous decision by Brandon, would have been to find a way to stick with RR and give a gigantic middle finger to the press corps, and rally around our current student athletes and coaches.
If I were a current student-athlete, and I heard David Brandon talking about a 10-year future at Michigan, I'd probably be doing a very large WTF? What about NOW?
I know the feelings about the media (ESPECIALLY after that Tuesday debacle!), but I honestly don't think DB was afraid of offending the media in deciding to fire RR. I'm not even sure the input of influential alumni was decisive. I do think he made an evaluation and didn't like what he saw. People can disagree with his evaluation, but I don't think it was a lack of courage that led to this decision.
It is starting to come out that RR and Co. had lost many of the players - Brandon spoke with players and their families. Don't assume that retaining RR would have been a rally around the players. Those guys want to win too. Why did Craig Roh have to beg to put back on the DL? Why did Demens have to tell the coaches that they were aligning him too close to the line?
I think the players liked Coach Rod as a person, but I also think that they were probably sick of the vultures circling the program and the cloud that they brought.
I think you should try to hire Bob Stoops. Head coach at UM and OU are positions of similar stature, but I think there is a nonzero chance he could be convinced to come to UM.
UM, OU, Texas and OSU are all on the "short list" of college football. The UM-OSU and OU-UT rivalries are certainly two of the best, though UM-OSU is more prominent, historically. In his position at OU, Texas is the school with the fertile in-state recruiting, and Texas is the more prestigious University with more clout in the conference. While OSU has a deeper pool of in-state talent, UM is more prestigious and has at least as much power to wield within the conference as any team. UM is similar to OU in that we need to recruit well at home, poach from our neighbor to the south and recruit nationally. In the last respect, UM may have a better track record in getting top players from across the country, including California, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania. I think you can argue that UM is in a better position vis-a-vis our archrival and in a better position nationally.
Stoops is from Ohio, where is parents live and where his dad coaches football. He was an All-Big Ten DB at Iowa, and he started his coaching career in the Big Ten at Iowa.
Starting in 2011 with the addition of Nebraska and the Championship game, the Big Ten is the conference to be in alongside the SEC. The Big 12 is sliding to probably the 4th best conference given the recent defections. We have the Big Ten Network, UM, OSU, PSU, and now NU. The Big 12 has the Texas Football Network (or whatever it's called), Texas and OU. (By the way we should get a new logo, too.)
So, he should considering UM based on the answers to several key questions:
Does he want to coach at OU forever? or, Does he feel like he's already accomplished enough there and he's ready for a new challenge?
Does he want to be 2nd to UT in the Big 12 indefinitely? or, Does he recognize the UM is in a better position versus our archrival and within our conference? Does he recognize that the Big Ten will be a better place to be moving forward?
Does he want to live in Norman, OK indefinitely? or, Does he want to move wonderful Ann Arbor, closer to his family and roots?
Of course, we'd have to make it worth his while financially, but we're going to pay fair market value to get a great coach, right? He's young, successful, defensive-minded, and he would make everyone forget about Harbaugh in an instant. He has many good years of coaching left in front of him. Can we convince him that his time at OU was spent in preparation for him to be ultra-successful at UM? He could be a legend after 10+ successful years at UM on top of his fine work at OU.
Make it happen, please.
No way Stoops leaves Oklahoma for Michigan.......
At the risk of sounding extremely rude, you're living in a fantasy world. Lets be honest with each other - the Oklahoma job is much more prestigious than the Michigan job right now. And Stoops is making a ton of money. What could possibly make him want to leave for Michigan? I am just as partial to you about Michigan being a better school, etc. but this is crazy talk.
So called big name coaches are unlikely to come here because:
1. They already have their system in place - a system which is both on and off the field. On the field, they are winning (otherwise they would not be "big name"). Off the field they have a recruiting system which is funneling good players to them (again, otherwise they would not be winning for a long time), so why blow that up to come here unless they are really bugged about something.
2. They have little to prove or gain - we are not likely to offer these types of coaches more money or more leeway than they would where they are currently located. Consider if you work here as HC, your endorsement and side ventures are limited by the employment limits of the UM system - which is one of the reasons why you didn't see successful coaches here signing up to shill potato chips and car dealerships - things that can occur elsewhere especially down in the SEC - Bear Bryant's TV show was sponsored partially at one point by some local chip maker.
3. I realize that it is appealing to think of a guy who can come in make everything good (why don't the Tigers trade for Derek Jeter, Why didn't the Pistons get Michael Jordan, Why didn't the Red Wings get Gretsky....) but a more likely occurence is to find someone who is ambitious and talented - like Bo was back in his Miami (OH) days. I'd like to hear about some top DC from the schools in the top ten in scoring and rushing defense (by the NCAA totals) like who is Saban's DC or who is TCU's DC or even OSU's DC. These are the type of guys who (a) want to move up and will be super serious, (b) bring current knowledge to the table - they know the college game and all of the off field stuff that needs to be nailed down.
I think UM has about as much prestige as Nebraska does now, with a less reasonable and more insular fan base. When thinking about whether Coach X is a realistic option, I think it's useful to ask whether he'd take the Nebraska job if it were open. If the answer is "no", it's highly unlikely that we'd get him although I would make exceptions for guys who played/coached at UM. I think Harbaugh would have been willing to come here if not for the NFL offers, and so would (ugh) Miles.
I don't think we're quite as bad as Notre Dame yet.
That is a very interesting comparison. I'm not sure if I agree or not. Nebraska is clearly on an upswing whereas Michigan is not (they were at 7-5, I think, but not now). Nebraska appears to have weathered their down years and is back on the rise. If you were comparing Michigan to another big-name program I'd have to use Iowa as a good example? Not sure.
Nevertheless, its a very interesting question and debate for sure, though.
Crack. Stop smoking it.
Many things went into the decision, no doubt. There was often "drama" over the "types" of players RR recruited. I believe this had mostly to do with academics. There were just too many cases in his short tenure where players either didn't qualify, or they barely qualified after barely making it in at the 11th hour. Michigan should not be recruiting players in these situations, no matter how many stars are next to their name. DB alluded to this in the press conference, when he described the things a new coach would need to understand about Michigan. (This is a HUGE reason we want Harbaugh, IMO.)
I was very angry at both RR and UofM over the Dorsey situation. On the one hand, RR should never have recruited the kid in the first place. On the other, the University needs to have (and maybe they do and it was being ignored??) in place better oversight of whatever academic vetting goes on BEFORE an offer is made to a recruit.
I wanted RR to succeed here so badly, especially to shut up the Day 1 haters. We will never know how his fully loaded offense could have worked. We have all fallen in love with Denard, and I pray that the new coach will make use of his dilithium star power. But now that RR has been dismissed, I look back on the sum total of the short RR era... the record, the defensive and special team failures, the recruiting troubles, utterly embarrassing losses on the national stage, etc. etc., and I'm convinced the only thing to do was to put an end to it. I'm pretty sure if you take away all the drama and the NCAA violations, and make a decent showing in the bowl game, RR is still our coach.
I think you make an excellent point here. If I remember correctly, Dorsey had not even completed an admissions application when he signed his letter of intent. The application was still not complete or submitted weeks later. It's a travesty that this could happen.
Part of the blame for this may fall on administrators in the Athletic Department or the Admissions Office. It probably does. But Rodriguez definitely has some blame in this, and it reflects on his ability to run a program.
Given what happened with Dorsey before and after his commitment to Michigan, it seems that there were red flags about his academic record that should have been flagrantly obvious to anyone. According to some rumors (take them for what they're worth), Florida backed off Dorsey and Vance Bedford referred him to Michigan because Florida was concerned with academic issues. Regardless of that, his academic record apparently included a dramatic and eyebrow-raising senior-year improvement in GPA, some of which was attributed to his taking "alternative" courses with little or no academic value. And Dorsey has not been admitted to any Division I school anywhere. Even Louisville would not have him. Nobody is saying that Dorsey isn't good enough to play or out of shape, a la Justin Turner. This leads to the conclusion that he can't get admitted anywhere for academic reasons.
Rodriguez and his staff should have noticed the academic issues much, much earlier and worked with admissions officers before signing day, so they could have had some idea of whether Dorsey would even have a shot at admission. There is no indication that they did this. As a result of this failure, the administration and athletic department were embarrassed and a kid was put in a bad situation.
If I were the AD, something like this would bother me enormously.
Vance Bedford referred him to Michigan because Florida was concerned with academic issues
Well now isn't that interesting (if it's true)? Vance Bedford, DB coach during the Lloyd Carr(!) era, points a recruit no one will admit in Michigan's direction? Sabotage, I tell you, it's sabotage! Kidding, of course, due to ludicrousness. But hey, we are in a time of turmoil and instability, a time when imaginations tend to run wild.
Everyone will blame DB. Someone in his position deserves the blame but also much of the credit when things go right. However, maybe, maaaybe 1% of the people on here really knew what was going on. Geez, this is becoming MLive.
If you talk to former players that had RR and LC who weren't in the media bashing RR, most will tell you directly that change in coaching was night and day. And, not in the offensive style. The assistant coaches such as Dews, Tall, and Gibson were awful (and obviously Gerg). They weren't prepared to coach at this level.
Also, under LC we didn't have kicking coach with a title but we had a coach who worked with our kickers and treated them as kickers, just like QBs are treated differently than other players (i.e. in training, lifting). Our kickers under RR would be so damn sore and exhausted going into Saturdays because they were going through pretty intense training and lifting throughout the week. Was this a difference? You make the call but a friend and former kicker for us told me he could barely kick come Saturday when RR ran the staff.
I always disagreed with my friends who played under RR that his methods were wrong. I'd say they were bitter that they didn't have LC anymore but the more they explained how the new staff just wasn't capable of running this program, and then seeing the results after the last 3 years, it made sense. A lot of little things were wrong and they added up big time.
Anyway, DB made the decision to fire RR around the Wisco game. The OSU game solidified things. At that point it was expected that Harbaugh would be the next coach. Why? Because he told DB that he would be the coach, i.e., there was a tentative agreement in place. Then the NFL came calling and threw millions upon millions in front of him and JH's got starry eyed. This will probably make more sense in the next few days.
And take a look at some of the items that DB said in terms of what he was looking for:
Someone who understood the uniqueness of this university (translate: STUDENT athletes, not OSU)
Someone who has a defensive minded everything (translate: DEFENSE)
Someone who has been a head coach (translation: Know how to hire effective assistants)
I'm sure there is more, but you get the drift!
I'm not trying to be a jerk, but do you have frequent conversations with former players, staff, coaches, etc.? This is an honest question, as your post sounds like one brimming with insider knowledge.
I would believe some of the "soreness" arguments for kickers except that RR's kickers at WVU were never close to as bad as the kickers have been the past few years, and none were the top-ranked kickers that we've seen UM bring in. Plus, the workouts didn't seem to hurt Mesko or Hagerup, and while there are differences between kickers and punters, they don't completely explain the cratering. I do think that the lack of coaching hurt the SP, along with simply some bad luck.
Also, I'm not sure how anyone can say RR's methods don't "work" when he set a school record in scoring and clearly had this team moving forward despite a slew of injuries. The defenses were horrible and that falls on him, but it wasn't like Carr was a master of the offense when he was here - he had some decent OCs and they pushed the team forward. To say that RR's methods didn't work despite the evidence of their success everywhere else (and the nascent explosive offense we saw this year) is myopic IME. He probably needed to be fired because the situation was not salvageable, but all of this revisionist history crap about him as a bad coach is insulting.
He got fired because his record was atrocious. That is all. Lock the thread.
Winning cures all. I know that RR had to deal with insider BS at the program, but fans are unhappy because of our record in conference.
I honestly believe that if we won or were strongly competitive against OSU or Miss St., fans would have been happier/ RR would still be here.
Look at Auburn (Cam) or OSU's (ebaygate) issues. Nobody cares, the media is brushing it off, and it's not a big deal. Imagine both of these programs were at historic lows in their on-field performance. Do you think the media, fans, and alumni would react the same?
Could have been the fact that anyone with any knowledge of football more than JV could tell that the team regressed, again, and are not anywhere near good enough. Fundamentals were a joke, and being at the Gator Bowl I can tell you the plays were predictable. Both on offense and defense. Young or not, these kids have played football for years and should be able to comprehend more than this. It was the coaching.
When the first offensive play was run some 5 weeks after the last play, I told my daughter it was a hand off to Vincent Smith for no gain, sure enough, they ran the same play. Way too predictable. Defences knew what we were going to do, especially without Tate backing up, they knew Denard was not going to be unleashed to run wild. I am thankful that in hind sight they did this, because burning a year of Devon's eligibility could have been worse for the program than any coaching change if Denard leaves.
Gotta believe that the assistant coaches where the one's most out of their league and depth. We saw only RR, but the team on the field spent most of their time being coached by the assistants RR brought with him. Bet they were the real issue and the problem that RR did not see nor fix.....
In my opinion, you're statement is dead nuts accurate. And to put an even finer point on it: Tony fucking Gibson.
The offense became predictable. If the opposing defense would just play their gaps and not get out of position we were very defensible. That is why the better teams handled us. Our defense regressed and was not fundamentally sound. You can not disregard that whole aspect of the game. I wonder if during the evaluation richrod was not willing to take blame for the D or willing to give up some control of the scheme to whole new defensive staff.
kind of guy that would give up control for ~1/2 of his team to a new DC. He has a particular style and team scheme (Barwis, high tempo...) that wouldn't mesh with a new DC and the DC's assistants.
Every day that goes by without a coach is another day closer to Brady Joke as the next coach at Michigan.
I'd be happier with Les Smiles, myself! Or even K. C. Keeler Instinct!
Much of the toxic atmosphere, as evinced by the media and heard in many conversations with people not in the know, came about from an attitude of "I want it to be so, therefore it is so." Add a fair amount of Michigan man BS; stir in a helping of regional prejudice; mix a huge helping of pride, and you have a rather untenable situation. This is not to downplay the on-the-field failures, but to
BTW, this morning I saw, on Channel 4 (Detroit) a claim by one Katrina Hancock that Rodriguez approached an unnamed university offering to completely cut ties with UM if they would offer him their head coaching position. This supposedly happened very recently. However, their link to the story appears to have been withdrawn as of 10:00 (if it, indeed, ever existed). I mention this because the story itself, along with the tone of Hancock's reporting, was the typical sanctimonious rot that spews from our local media outlets. I can only imagine the tale disappeared from Channel 4's site because someone realized it was just one more piece of s**t with no factual basis.
something in DB's ear on the sidelines and DB wasn't smiling like Demens ...
If the short term health of the program (i.e. How good are we going to be next year?) was a deciding factor, then it makes no sense to fire Rodriguez after three years. However, after the Penn State game (a ten point loss on the road to a team with higher expectations this year that had blown us out two years in a row) the meltdown that occurred in the fanbase proved to me that an enormous portion of the folks following the team were not interested in progress or reasonable expectations, but rather were just pissed that we weren't winning big already.
I never heard Stanford fans ranting about Harbaugh's losing record three years in or how his 90th ranked defense showed that any progress on offense was irrelevant because he had proven he couldn't hire/retain a successful DC. For whatever reason, anger about what had happened (i.e. the bumps along the way in the rebuilding process) overwhelmed the many positive steps and the upward trajectory of the program. There is still a (quite sizeable) portion of the fanbase that remains convinced the only reason we went 3-9 a few years ago is because Rich Rodriguez told Mallett and Boren to suck it before heading to said fans' house to pee in their mouths.
I think Brandon realized that even if Rodriguez won ten games next year there would be division and for that reason he didn't want Rodriguez as the long term face of the school. As such, I agree that it makes sense to fire him now rather than get backed into a corner after a good season makes him that much tougher to get rid of, especially if you can hire another elite coach with Michigan ties to quiet the naysayers (especially after he walks into a ridiculously good young roster and has the kind of immediate success Rodriguez was poised to have next season after doing so much heavy lifting).
Of course, if you make that move and replace him with Brady Hoke simply because he coached the d-line under Lloyd Carr, then Brandon is a shitty athletic director who would rather try to bamboozle us with an unproven head coach than tell the crappy fans to shut up and realize the situation Rodriguez walked into and how long it takes to realistically improve that situation.
I never heard Stanford fans ranting about Harbaugh's losing record three years in or how his 90th ranked defense showed that any progress on offense was irrelevant because he had proven he couldn't hire/retain a successful DC.
That's because Stanford had wins against Oregon and USC and you could actually see evidence of Stanford competing with the top of the Pac-10.
Also, the USC team they beat went 5-4 in the Pac 10 with a true freshman QB. Not exactly the top of the conference (they finished tied for 5th and went to the Emerald Bowl). They were no better than the ND team we beat this year that dominated Miami in their bowl game.
If you really think the difference in perception is that one win over Oregon then you don't talk to a lot of Michigan fans. From day one the overriding attitude, especially among casual fans, has been "How did Rodriguez screw this up?" From running off players to forcing his system on players, countless theories overshadowed the reality that our roster Rodriguez had for his first game was terrible.
7-2 in conference and 11-2 overall and #3 in the country. After 2009, Harbaugh was 2-1 against USC and coming off of a win against the conference champion Oregon. The perception is that he can compete with his rivals.
But it's ok if you have the monopoly on talking to all of the Michigan fans
John David Booty broke his hand (he would miss the next few games) but was not taken out of the game and continued to throw the football. He threw 4 second half interceptions with the busted hand and essentially handed (fantastic pun intended) the game to Stanford.
If Pryor had busted his hand and continued to chuck the ball right to our DB's a few years ago, I imagine we would have beaten them to.
If he could compete with his rivals, why did he have a losing record against Cal at that time (his, you know, actual rival) including losing a game that could have put them second in the Pac 10 in year three instead of sending Stanford to the Sun Bowl? If Rodriguez can't, why did he beat Notre Dame two years in a row, despite the fact that they finished both seasons with a better record than we did?
See, anybody can make an argument. The fact that our fans felt they needed to argue in order to dismiss 3 < 5 < 7 as a clear sign of progress (and progress doesn't mean "being as good as I want the team to be") illustrates the kind of problem I think Rodriguez was facing and the reason Brandon thought it was better to cut bait now rather than give Rodriguez a chance to win big next year and secure the job without putting any end to the disgruntlement throughout the fanbase.
Oh that game
John David Booty broke his hand (he would miss the next few games) but was not taken out of the game and continued to throw the football. He threw 4 second half interceptions with the busted hand and essentially handed (fantastic pun intended) the game to Stanford.
And Stanford was apparently playing a redshirt sophomore backup quarterback who had only 3 passes in his career. And USC surrendered 4 sacks, more than they had all season, and only had 95 yards rushing. (source)
Please - stop trying to compare Michigan and Stanford - you are only making it worse for RR. As I mentioned above, is it really fair or reasonable to expect that Michigan would go 12-1 next year with a blowout BCS bowl win? That's the bar you're setting by continuing to make this comparison.
and this is my honest belief, if RR had a winning record against either MSU or OSU and still had the same overall record, he's still the coach. Maybe you're right and he was doomed from the beginning and people were looking ofr excuses. But the fact that he was 0-6 in those games killed what little chance he had to still be the coach here.
Stanford defense 2007-2009 under JH:
Points / game: 28.3, 27.4, 26.5
Yards / game: 435.42, 379.58, 402.69
Avg point differential: -8.7, -1.1, +9
Michigan defense 2008-2010 under RR:
Points / game: 28.9, 27.5, 35.2
Yards / game: 366.92, 393.33, 450.77
Avg point differential: -8.6, +2, -2.4
The trends in the first two years are similar, but that third year really bottomed out for Michigan's defense, especially in scoring and point differential.
Also, it's hard for Stanford fans to complain about 4-8, 5-7, 8-5 when their previous 5 years were 2-9, 4-7, 4-7, 5-6, 1-11.
One guy was hailed as one of the best coaches in football and the other got fired, even though both inherited similar situations if you look at the actual teams/rosters they got a chance to coach. Those numbers are also paired with an offense that went from 20.2 points and 290.8 yards/game in year one to 32.8 ppg and 488.7 yards per game with a unit that returns 9 starters next season.
The only difference I see in their resumes is that one guy got a shot at year four (turned out pretty awesome and the defense improved tremendously with another year of seasoning and a new coordinator) and the other guy didn't because "We're Michigan!" and so our fans decided to look for every argument to prove that 3 < 5 < 7 doesn't count as progress/improvement even when you are playing a significantly more difficult schedule.
I think it's reasonable to draw some similarities between the first 3 years of JH's tenure at Stanford, and the first 3 years of RR's tenure at Michigan. However, I think it's also important to recognize the differences, especially in the 3rd year and especially considering the context of both programs.
Certainly, the general atmosphere and fan expectations are very different at Stanford than at Michigan, and that made it easier for Stanford's AD to keep JH around. And 8-5 was the best record Stanford had since 2001.
Nevertheless, it's hard to say that Michigan in 2010 is the same as Stanford in 2009, and I believe it's even harder to argue that Michigan under RR in 2011 will be like Stanford in 2010. Do you honestly expect 12-1 and a blowout win in a BCS bowl next year, with your only loss coming to a non-rival team playing for the national championship?
The more people compare JH to RR, the more you cement this year's Stanford team as the benchmark for RR next year. I don't believe that's fair or realistic to RR, so my suggestion is that we stop trying to suggest that Michigan under RR is just like Stanford under JH, "except for a 4th year."
Look, Harbaugh is an excellent coach that did a great job there. Maybe we don't win a BCS bowl next year, but I think it is hard to argue that we aren't significantly better and it isn't like Rodriguez hasn't done this before when given a chance to actually build a team into year 4 and beyond.
My point is that one guy was praised even before that fourth year as one of the best coaches in the country while the other just got fired (and the one who got fired had already shown he could build a BCS caliber program if given time to do so). The only reason for this gaping disparity is that one fanbase (because of prior struggles) took a realistic view of their roster while the other (due to years of uninterrupted success) failed to do so and blamed the coach, as if Rodriguez's screw ups were so bad that an awesome Michigan team could lose to Toledo. Then, even when the situation on the ground became apparent, the patience buzzword disappeared when it turned out patience required you to watch the team you like lose football games, some times by a lot of points, especially against better football teams.
you still making this comparison? Seriously. Stanford vs. Michigan pre JH and RR. Get a grip.
Stanford had a better roster than Michigan when the two coaches took over. Don't even try and say Michigan was set up to win. Just because Stanford had a losing record before Harbaugh got there does not mean his team's roster was worse. He had young talent on his team. In year 3 Harbaugh had the luxury of playing upperclass players who contributed heavily. RR did not have this luxury.
Purple is one of the only people who continually tries to use reason on this issue. Most Michigan people cover their eyes and stick their fingers in their ears and say "but, but it's Stanford versus Michigan". That's bullshit. Being Michigan or Stanford does not change the circumstances that the two coaches were faced with. The rosters tell the whole story. Stanford was left with a better football team than Michigan.
However, after the Penn State game (a ten point loss on the road to a team with higher expectations this year that had blown us out two years in a row) the meltdown that occurred in the fanbase proved to me that an enormous portion of the folks following the team were not interested in progress or reasonable expectations, but rather were just pissed that we weren't winning big already.
I never got this either, especially the certainty that McGloin would suck. Other teams try hard to win, too. Michigan doesn't win any games based on its proud history, and the truth is that PSU had beaten the crap out of us for two years, and we were playing a white out game in Happy Valley. That is not an easy place to win, and we lost by 10 points. I never understood how so many people felt that that games was the turning point for them. At the beginning of the season I had us at 8-4 with losses to PSU, OSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The only one I got wrong was that I thought we'd beat Sparty.
I certainly didn't anticipate getting destryed by Wisconsin, OSU, and eventually MSU (NTMSU), but then I don't think anyone knew how much the decimated secondary would affect us.
Has Rich Rod been re-hired yet? It is january 6th and um does not have a coach.
It is fairly obvious that UM can not compete with the NFL for the services of Harbaugh.
Any other coach is just going to divide the program even further.
Any other coach? Are we that arrogant?
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat the hell are you talking about?
If Dave Brandon doesn't come out with the best coach since Bo Schembechler, he's going to have a similar stint to Rodriguez. I hope he realizes this. This program is on the edge of an absolutely catastrophic meltdown that should (but won't) shut up the over-60 crowd for a while. They got what they wanted. There's a damn good chance it will fail and fail hard.
God I hope I'm wrong but this is an awful time to be looking for a coach. This has Urban to not Notre Dame written all over it.
Don't devolve this into personal demographics.
I'm a middle-aged, white, professional Victors Club member, who attended Michigan with Rick Leach and with Bo Schembechler as our coach and Don Canham as our Athletic Director.
There is no more ardent defender of Rich Rodriguez than me.
Thank you for posting that message. I appreciate it. But you have to admit (?) that there is a very vocal, wealthy, and senior minority of alumni donors that were ardent detractors of Rodriguez. Maybe I overestimate their pull, but maybe not.
Older fans supported Rich more than younger one's. The reaction from students in the paper yesterday didn't really do anything to out those numbers in doubt.
I don't remember seeing that but I have been talking more about "quality" versus quantity. And by quality I only mean the strength of their message in the athletic department. I would guess that the most influential alumni are those that give big and have previous/current actual ties (as opposed to myself, a 30-something who gives small and has no contacts within).
While I disagree with broad generalizations and stereotypes, there is some evidence (polling data) that there was a significant shift in support away from RR among Michigan fans 65+ this season (from 65% wanting him to continue in May, to only 18% in December). Interestingly, however, there was also a significant shift in support away from RR among African-American fans over that same time period (from 75% wanting him to continue in May, to only 40% in December).
To my understanding you are in the minority.
To other responses in this thread: let's be honest, there could be a 10% reduction in student ticket orders and nobody would care about that specifically. The people with money are the people whose opinion counts.
Also I'm very angry/depressed and only 35% rational right now.
Because the old white people with all the money didnt like him or that dag gum run around QB. I only consider Rich here for 2 years that first year was a scratch. Also going into the season I thought we had a 6-6 team, don't you remember the how many wins to save his job posts most said 6 or 7 wins so don't kid yourself and say it was performance based. Please go get a coach like Guz Mahlzon or another innovator, not Les Miles or Brady Hoke PLEASE
I highly doubt race had anything to do with this decision. Leach ran around too and nobody complained because those teams won. RR was done in because he didn't win enough, couldn't beat the big rivals, and fielded atrocious defenses. Alumni are not going to be happy with 30+ point losses in 3 straight games, and there simply weren't enough positive growth signs, especially on defense, at the end of the year to put much faith in a leap forward next year. Maybe if RR could have promised a big-time DC like Casteel would come he might have been saved, but even then that was a problem.
Alums expect winning, not a white QB in a pro-style offense.
really talking about race? I want to slap you. Please, stop posting.
MSU and OSU (and Wisconsin!) had 11-1 seasons, while the Big 10 went 2-5 (at the time) in bowl games.
Iowa tanked to 8-5, MSU gets blown out in a bowl (neither team was really THAT strong)
Notre Dame, under a first year coach, showed improvement over the course of the season and won their bowl game.
NTMSU beat Michigan handily in the 2nd year of their coach's tenure.
Stanford went 12-1 this year and won handily in their bowl game.
Nebraska (member of Big 10 next year, and considered to be one of the stronger teams in the conference) loses to a mid-level Pac 10 Washington team (that got blown out by Stanford, btw).
Even Stanford's bowl loss last year, in JH's 3rd year, was much more competitive (against Oklahoma) without Andrew Luck (didn't play due to injury). Heck, even Northwestern's bowl loss this year was more competitive without Dan Persa. What would the Gator Bowl have looked like without Denard?
It's hard not to compare Michigan's situation under RR unfavorably to those competitive benchmarks. For a business mind like DB's, I have to think the competitive context played a significant role as well.
If you look at the whole context then you also have to consider what each coach was working with. Stanford in year three was lead by a roster that fielded most of its players from the previous coaching regime. Michigan did not haver that luxury.
The previous coaching regime at Michigan failed to produce the kind of players that could contribute by their junior and senior years. This is the most telling stat of all but no one mentions this. The rosters of the two teams are different so if you don't acknowledge this then you miss the reason why Michigan was not as competitive with the higher ranked teams. The higher ranked teams had a huge advantage over Michigan. Both have talented players but Michigan's players were too young. No team wins with the kind of youth that Michigan was fielding this year.
I believe RR did a much better rebuilding job than Harbuagh. Stanford had the players that Michigan did not. RR had to rebuild both the offense AND the defense. Stanford was throwing out players in year 3 that would have started whether Harbaugh was the coach or not. RR will show what a big mistake Michigan made, so I say hold off the judgement of RR coached teams until he has a team that has more upperclassmen than underclassmen. The future will be very telling, watch how successful he will be. Don't give me the bullshit that he couldn't do it at Michigan because he would have if he was given the oppurtunity to improve on the mistakes of the previous coaching regime.
Kept the players in the program, and developed them.
Though I still think this truckload of young talent Walt Harris recruited in one recruiting year (he doesn't get credit/blame for the first one he had, right?) is laughable. No matter how many times you say it. And no one was saying there had to be a better record at Michigan in his third year. Keeping games close and not getting killed every game (and winning a few big) is what Stanford did that Michigan didn't. Not one more game.
Lots of really good discussion on here. This is a board with a lot of really bright people. That definitely isn't the case regularly on line.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. This is exactly why I put much more stock in the thoughts/opinions of the MGoCommunity than the average fan base and media.
I agree. Unfortunately, rarely does logic beat out the bleating masses.
It is very simple, once Harbaugh started winning that was the end of RR. Fans assumed that because he was a "MIchigan Man" that he would run through walls to get back to UM, regardless of what he said about Michigan a few years ago. Michigan Man blood is not as think as most people want to think. Fans were making up reasons why he would (Standfords lack of excitement, wants to bring UM back to glory, follow in Bo's footsteps), come back. I thought most of us would have learned from the Les Miles situation. Because most (not me) thought that we had a great option for a coach change in JH, RR had to go. I will bet 10.00 that if fans knew Brady Hoke was going to be the most available option, fans would be singing a different tune. Fans are not only the guilty party, the media had JH a lock to come back to UM which helped to mold public opinion. This is just like politics.
RR record: 15-22
MIchigan Men as coach: 0-2 ( I hope im wrong)
Sure, there is a faction that would have never accepted him regardless, but they simply wouldn't have mattered if the record in wins and losses were reversed. "Fit" is just one of the many lame assertions about RR that are peripheral to the real problem. If the first year had been 9-3 and the second year 8-4 and 2010 had been 10-2—with victories over MSU and OSU in the bargain—people complaining about "fit" would have been laughed off the internet.
And RR didn't lose so many games because he didn't "fit", either. He lost because of the reasons that many teams lose—lousy defense, poor special teams, offense only sporadically potent, and fundamentals of blocking and tackling that are consistently poor. He inherited significant roster issues, but was able to only partially remedy them due to circumstance and recruiting decisions that didn't work out. And perhaps most importantly, he made the single worst hire at the coordinator position on either side of the ball at any major program in the last 10 years.
Honestly Rich Rod is a very good person and a great coach but three factors did him in:
1) Zero support from media or the athletic department - one or the other is survivable. Both is not - if anyone believes that the compliance issues with the NCAA weren't leaked by someone INTERNAL to the athletic department then they are sorely mistaken. Rich has been on the hit list since day one.
2) Lack of traditional level of talent - Michigan usually has a cup board full of talent. I don't know if it was a ton of negative recruiting at the end of Lloyds tenure but Michigan was not really as deep as they traditionally are. I believe schemes can make up for it so I don't weigh it as heavily as others but it is a reality.
3) Rich's own obstinence - honestly the guy is insanely stubborn. Must use Vincent Smith at all costs, hiring GERG and then MAKING GERG run the 3-3-5. Inability to actually adjust to Miss State's fire blitz by rolling the qb TO THE OTHER SIDE.
If Rich was winning - 3 would matter less. It didn't matter at WVU when he would lose to South Florida or Pittsburgh for no explainable reason other than his inability to adjust his scheme to fit the situation.
However would it surprise if he went to UConn recruited his players and kicked our ass. Not in the least...
There are only two statements that can be completely wrong here. The first one is that record has nothing to do with it. Of course our record has everything to do with his firing. If we had been winning, the fan base would be much happier and firing him would be a PR nightmare. End of.
The second is that it was all about his record. It clearly wasn't. If RR had fit in better and if JH hadn't succeeded so much that the grass looked a lot greener with a Stanford HC, then a lot more people would have thought RR deserved another year. DB does not make his decisions in a vacuum. No one does.
Everything else is speculation and only very few insiders know something close to the complete picture (what were the alternatives, what options was RR offered, what has been said before and during the season, who is putting pressure on DB, etc).
This is why I think this discussion has been excellent, and the OP was well worded to initiate it. Thank you all for restoring my faith in our fan base, which has gone a bit off the hinges during a difficult time. Go blue!
Why did Brandon fire Rich Rod?
Occam's razor. The simplest explanation tends to be the correct one.
Rich Rod lost too many games. He lost all the big games. He lost by a lot. He had no defense. He had no kicking game. The so-called improvement on offense (that never really scored a lot of points against good competition) consisted entirely of one player. After OSU and Miss State, Brandon's email in-box must have been a sight to behold.
Because of all that the fanbase and alumni were on the verge of revolt. They were starting to vote with their feet and their wallets. When, aftet two years with no bowl game anywhere, Michigan cannot sell out its full alotment of tickets to a New Year's Day bowl game in Florida, something is seriously wrong. From that, one can make a pretty educated guess about the emails Brandon was getting that threatened the ticket base in Mich Stadium.
If UM does not sell out UM Stadium the whole house collapses. DB knows that. No way could Brandon toletate in 2011 a repeat of the 2009 OSU game where there seemed to be as much scarlet & gray in Michigan Stadium as maize & blue and the S&G was more vocal. Brandon had no choice but to terminate.
Pretty simple, really.
and I think DB asked RR : "What are you going to do about it?"
And RR said, "Give me more time - just wait."
DB: "For what? What is the plan? Personnel changes? Philosophy changes? New recuiting goals? What?"
RR: "You'll see - it will all work out - just need more time."
Poor performance + No Plan = Canned in any profession.
More like this
RR: "Give me more time"
DB: "For what?"
RR: "Well Dave since I was handed a bunch of players that couldn't start by their junior and senior years, I still have rebuilding to do. Have you noticed how young our team is compared to other teams in college football that are successful?"
DB: "But shouldn't you have a good team by year 3? I mean that gives you a chance to have your own true seniors and redshirt juniors playin, right?"
RR: "Dave you do know that not every recruit pans out. This should have been evident by the roster I was left from the previous coaching regime. Do you see how many players from the previous coaching staff are contributing at this time? So you expect me to rebuild the team by year 3 when I am relying on mostly freshman and sophomores. Do you not realize how crazy that is?"
DB: "But Jim Harbaugh had 8 wins in his 3rd year at Stanford! Stanford! They do not have the prestige that Michigan has, Rich!"
RR: "Harbaugh had a roster loaded with upperclassmen by his 3rd year. Prestige doesn't win games anymore Mr. Brandon, join the new age of college football and realize that you need experience and depth to win. Harbaugh had experience and depth at Stanford because his previous coaches produced players who could contrubute and had talent. Do you want to name the players that Mr Carr left to help make this program a winner by year 3?
DB: ".... well umm you should just win you're at Michigan! Who cares if you are starting mostly freshman and sophomores. It's all about results, there is no such thing as valid reasons why this team isn't in the top 25, you are at Michigan!"
You're not Athletic Director...
Inside a College-Football Tragicomedy
Thoughts on the Stormy Tenure of Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez From a Writer Who Was There
"When Michigan's 63-year-old head coach, Lloyd Carr, announced his retirement in 2007 after 13 seasons, athletic director Bill Martin seemed genuinely surprised. At the outset of a monthlong search for his successor, ESPN reported what just about everyone suspected: former U-M player and assistant Les Miles, who was about to lead Louisiana State to a national title, would succeed Mr. Carr.
But contrary to popular belief and published reports, Michigan never tried to contact Mr. Miles, and his calls to Ann Arbor went unreturned.(Mr. Martin, who's now chairman of Bank of Ann Arbor, said Wednesday that he had been traveling in search of a coach.) Mr. Martin instead offered the position to Rutgers' Greg Schiano, who turned Michigan down..."
Bacon article: "UM never called Miles in 2007"
Very insightful stuff, besides that. Sorry if posted already.
edit: just missed it
Because rr's teams weren't good; because most fans, media, alumni, students didn't like him; because even players were turning against him; because he stubbornly refused to change; because he knew nothing about defense; because we're on probation; because RR didn't recruit well enough; because of attrition, Feagin and Dorsey; because of the Groban fiasco. But most because of the first one.
I'm sure this is all just part of the plan
Through various social networking tools, Haynes is connected with a huge group of fellow former Wolverines. He said they're all in agreement when it comes to Rich Rodriguez, who was fired as Michigan's head football coach on Wednesday — it was time for Rich Rod to go.
RR did not have anyone around to explain to him what he needed to do and who he needed to connect with and how so that he could garner the crucial support of the former players and the alumni. Martin and Coleman went out and did their search without consulting these people and then tossed RR into the melee without guidance or back-up.
Again, our real problems started on a November day in 2006 right before we played OSU with them no. 1 and us no. 2 and the football coach emeritus at the U died of a heart attack.
Truly, we have seen nothing but horrors since that day!!!!!
Bo, now would be a great time to appear in DB's dreams at night and tell him what to do!!!!
the team that played Utah in August, 2008 was very bad and started Nick Sheridan, but would have probably beaten the team that just played Mississippi State a week ago.
really believe this?
please cite your evidence to the contrary.
That's kind of backwards.
I could maaayybee see an argument that the 08 team would perform better in that one game, but to say they would have won the game?
going into it, I'd take the team with Denard and the better offense 100 times out of 100. Even though the 08 D was better, no way they score enough points.
The sole reason that Rich Rodriguez lost his job is because he failed in an area of his job where he had zero leeway, recruiting defensive backs. You can't have two entire classes have no corner backs. He appeared to learn his lesson about depth the year before he came, where he began insisting we have 2 or 3 quarterbacks ready to play. The same amount of care was not placed to recruiting defensive backs, where we lost about as many as we have on the team. While there were other factors at play, such as the failure to get the offensive line up to snuff, the horrible execution, these could have been over looked and later on fixed if our entire defensive did not fall apart due to the lack of athletes in the 5 deep.
No Rich Rodriguez is not the sole reason that Michigan has bad defensive talent or even the biggest reason why. Rich Rod can only rebuild so many positions at once. He has started to establish depth through his 2 and a half recruiting classes. He was left with so many holes to fill that when he lost a few of his recruits it made the situation a disaster.
Why was it such a disaster since most programs do experience player loss? Well take a look at the two deep that RR inherited at Michigan. Sure he had some older players that were talented but the probelm was the depth. RR was left with a very, very big problem. He had to reestablish depth at every position on the team and that task takes a very long time. By year 3 there was very little help from the previous coaching regime. No other college coach has to deal with that. Most coaches in America get to rely heavily upon their seniors and juniors but RR never had the ability to rely on upperclass players. This is an enormous fault of the previous coaching staff.
You should re-read my post, you reworded what I said and made your first paragraph based on that, and ignored my "had no leeway" caveat and made a second paragraph out of that.
Wrong. My first paragraph was explaining how Rich did not fail at recruiting defensive backs. You stated in your paragraph that he didn't place the same amount of care recruiting defensive backs as he did quarterbacks. To me that is placing blame on Rich for the secondary issues. My first paragraph was explaining that I don't believe Rich was at fault or in other words I believe he did put care into recruiting defensive backs. He simply had a lot of bad luck with defensive backs but I don't believe had he taken extra care he could have changed the circumstances. I shifted the blame to what I beleive was a problem created by the previous coaching staff.
My point in the second paragraph is that you can only recruit so many positions at once. Sure he could have oversigned defensive backs but that would have depleted the depth at other positions. I find it hard to say he took little care in improving the secondary, he was just given a very poor depth chart and little time to improve it. Add to that injuries and I see "RR caring about the secondary issue" as one of the least of his concerns on being fired. There was just little patience by DB and Michigan to allow RR to let his players mature and develop.
I sadly kind of wish that Brandon would have kept RichRod around, while dish out a good amount of money/control to a defensive coordinator. I am not seeing too many positive scenarios left that are possible..
You don't like combing through page after page to search for a message you posted this morning to see if there were any responses?
You need to adjust your settings.... ;-)
Now, if you don't like SCROLLING down down down down (or up up up)....I got nothin'.
All of the Above.
Did DB retain Fred JAckson, Chris Singletary and Mike Barwis? How does it work normally when the coach is fired? Does he fire everyone and rehire or simply retain some that he deems worthy to stay on during the transition?
When he said "we get ready for every game the same way" At first I brushed it off thinking it was ok because he probably was trying to keep the guys from overlooking other games. But I think this is where the problem would have been if we had kept him. We would never have done MSU and OSU in like we used to. Bo always said that he always had the team do something to prepare for OSU every single week of of the season, even if they didn't know it.
First, a little background so you know where I'm coming from:
The first Michigan game I ever watched was the 1969 M vs. tOSU. Since that day, I've been as loyal a Michigan fan as there ever was. Attended all the home games and some away during the five years I was attending the UM (grad. in 78). Lived through the agony of the 10-10 tie and "the vote". Attended the Orange bowl and two Rose Bowls with the Michigan Marching Band. Married to an M grad, and all three kids have gone there as well (one currently a sophomore).
So yes, I've been an M fan for a long time, but: I am not over 60, not a big donor to the UM, not a "wine and cheese", "down in front" alum. I consider myself (and my family) to be loyal fans who love the university and its traditions. The question is why RR was fired. Here is my take, as just a "regular" M alum and fan:
Although I was a bit surprised at the Rich Rod hire, I was totally sold on the whole "change" thing, and really pretty excited to see what he could do. I was also not expecting things to turn around immediately - the first season's record was hard to take, but we all felt that this was a year of "adjustment".
But as the last three years have unfolded, even though the wins category has improved a bit each year, I've seen some distressing trends with the team; it's hard to put a finger on exactly what has been happening, but I just kept thinking, "something's not right here ..."
1) Season regression: Whether they've started out a little weak, or strong, Michigan teams always have managed to improve over the season. Sometimes they've made great improvements, sometimes not so great. But there's always been an upward progression. These last three teams have actually gotten worse or stayed the same. Every year. What is up with that?
2) Weekly stagnation: From week to week, the team's performance really did not seem to improve. Don't they watch the films? Learn from their mistakes? "Get ready" for the next opponent's plays? Practice the basics ? ("it's all about the basics, the nuts and bolts of football: blocking and tackling" - Bo) Were the expectations not high enough?
3) Game regression: Within each individual game, the team's performance also seemed to deteriorate as the game goes on. Rather than learning from their mistakes, getting fired up, making adjustments, pushing harder, striving to win, more often than not they just continue to make more and more mistakes, until the end. The old "let's just shoot ourselves in the foot" syndrome. If we won, it always seemed like we were just lucky to win, rather than deserving of it, as the better team. Were they ever admonished to strive for excellence on every play? That is the Michigan tradition.
4) The play has been "streaky", i.e. one quarter they're great, the next they look like they don't know what's going on. Or worse yet - one or two plays are great (eg. DRob breaking open for 20 yards), but then we blow the gain with penalties. This used to happen once in a while over the past thirty years, but recently has become a consistent, sadly predictable problem. Is this a coaching problem? Are there personality issues that we don't know about?
5) It's been said that in practice, everything goes great - our kicker makes kicks, our passes are completed, etc., but for some reason, that just doesn't translate onto the field. Huh? What's wrong with this picture?
6) Rich Rod's response in post-game interviews was always "well, we just didn't execute". Yes. And why is that? Is it a player problem? A coaching problem? Did we need to bring in a sports psychologist to help the team? Whatever was needed, it wasn't happening.
Rich Rod seems like a nice guy - a good family man, cares about his players, active in the community, etc. etc. Maybe he "didn't fit in" right away with the M culture. But as many of you have already said, if he'd won more games, that wouldn't have mattered.
Something was just not right, and as head coach, it was ultimately his job to assess the situation and make the necessary corrections, adjustments, whatever ....
After three years, it had become obvious that whatever he was or wasn't doing was not effective. Things were at best, stagnating, at worst, unraveling.
That is why DB had no choice but to fire him. It was messy, but it's done now. And although we're in a bad situation, with no head coach at all and new rumors swirling by the minute, I still do love this University and have not given up hope for a great, new coach (whomever that might be), and a better season starting next fall.
GO BLUE! Beat the Broncos!
and his teams played sloppy.