Wojo provides some sound perspective on UM football and RR right now.
Wojo provides some sound perspective on UM football and RR right now.
Correct. We've got a QB with all of 11 starts under his belt. One has to expect that the defense will improve at least some.
I expected 7-5 this season and it looks like that is what we'll get. Next year 7-5 would be genuinely disappointing.
But as to next season, I completley agree
How do you get text inside the yellow box?...I've been trying to do that
Click the quotation button in the editor and then paste the text you want. when you have all of the material need, then hit the return key and click the " button again to add other text that is not in the box.
Have you ever seen those puzzles on the back of cereal boxes? What is the next number in the following sequence? 3, 5, 7 . . .
is it 9 or 11, jshdhn?
Decent read until the end -- he says Wisconsin is what Michigan used to be because they're physical and maul opponents and all that good stuff.
The original questions about the defense are valid -- obviously Rodriguez has to find a way to field a good defense one way or another -- but then when he goes back to the whole "good ol' days" argument, it kind of taints the logical points. He also acknowledges that a ton of young players are on the field and were playing a far more experienced team but just sort of writes it off. Not one of his better pieces, IMO, although I'm used to reading things more as an editor than a fan.
That style of football won many, many games in the Big Ten. RichRod's style has lost many, many games.
I happen to think that you can win with his offense, but that's based more on theory than anything we have seen in reality. No one has won consistently at a high level in the Big Ten with the spread. Purdue was medicore and OSU used a hybrid spread pro style as did PSU.Both also had strong defenses.
But are we losing many games because of our offense? besides this offense is probably still running only 25% of the playbook. Next year Denard should know the entire playbook and be able to make audibles on his own. With the extra bowl practices we could be running at 75% by the season opener.
The offense doesn't help when it repeatedly turns the ball over and goes three and out.
As far as the playbook I thought RR said Denard has the whole playbook.
Ball security also comes with time. He's had 11 games as a starter, and yes at times looked shaky. Some poor decisions have been made but at the end of the day this guy is a true soph who has led our offense admirably this year and next year will be the returning starter at QB with a year under his belt, when most people thought he'd be converted to a slot receiver by now. The more mature he becomes, the more good decisions will be made.
His point is that Rodriguez needs to field a defense.
Then he says that Wisconsin -- a far more experienced team -- is winning a lot this year with a traditional power running attack. That's true. And you're right that a lot of teams have won with that system. Also, a lot of teams -- in all conferences, including the Big Ten and SEC over the last few years -- have won a good number of games running spread offenses. We've moved way beyond this being a gimmick (unless you ask Gary Danielson). As long as you have an offense that scores points, it doesn't really matter.
His point (I'm pretty sure) is that we need to win games, and to do so, we need a more capable defense. Michigan's offense now is better than it's ever been in my lifetime -- why do we need to return to "3 yards and a cloud of dust" in order to win games, and how would that help us if our defense still sucks?
Basically, the offense is irrelevant to his point about defense, and he doesn't offer me any logical reason to scrap this offense and go back to the old one that wasn't as good.
why are you talking about the offense right now
... is far more competitive now that in the 70's 80's and in the 90's Michigan started to get 3-4 losses per season (except in 1997). Maybe the style that won many, many games, won those games in the Big 2, Little 8 era. That style had an impressive bowl streak, but unimpressive record.
Remember the 90's? when we started losing games to Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan state?, when Wisconsin would win at least shares of the Big 10 title? It was because those teams improved. All of a sudden Wisconsin.Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois were not gimmie games as before. So wgat we are suffering now is a combination of a drop in our talent/experience (at least defensively) and the rest of the teams getting better. This is our current reality The Big 10 is pretty good almost top to bottom.
Remember 2006? 2007? didn't we have a top defense in 2006? what happened when we played teams that spread the field? Remember the 2006 Ohio State game? Remember 2007 vs> Appalachian State? What about Oregon? what style did they play?
- Big 10 has gotten more competitive
- Michigan's offense now can score on anyone, and yeah, with RR's style
- Defense IS young and inexperienced
- If with a veteran team, Michigan keeps having turnover issues and poor tackling, etc. then the current coaching staff should go. Not now, when the there is still lots of upside.
UM did not gameplan for Appy State and UM still won 9 games that season including a win over a spread team in the Capital One Bowl. The 06' did get exposed, but they were 11-0 at one point. UM far more games with smashmouth than they are now. If you recall the 01' team. It too was young, but they somehow managed to win 8 games with a mediocre offense and defense---sorta like how Dantonio has managed to do in his 4 years.
Furthermore, the dominant team in the conference uses alot of smashmouth. OSU only has won 5 straight Big Ten titles during the period you say that the Big Ten was tougher.
Two spread teams won the NT.One did so with a less-than-stellar defense and they had Vince Young.UF won both of their NT's with great defenses.
UM is younger, but not inexperienced. Defensively, they have plenty of experience in their front 7. Offensively, most guys have played more than one season. The youth argument fades with every passing game.
Tackling, poor assignments, and bad angles are not experience issues. TThese guys have played football for years. They know how to tackle, how to pursue properly, their assignment in a scheme. It isn't difficult. Besides, they have plenty of experience. You act like they start 11 true freshmen who came in August. They do not.
Your argument also ignores the fact that their defense was horrible his first two seasons with experienced players.
You state that Michigan D's should not be given slack due to the 10 freshmen / RS Freshmen playing becasue of each passing game. And to a degree I agree with what you are stating. What I believe that is missing is simply fact that the best thing a freshmen does is go into the off season, pack on 10-20 pounds and come back as a sophomore. This extra weight gain/strength comes in real handy. This does not come during the the season. I will even take it another step further with Sophomores turing into Juniors. That is 2 years 20-30 pounds of muscle. That is what was on display today. An bunch of JRs and SRs (21 and 22 year olds) physically having their way with a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds. Generally not going to go very well. On top of all this the wear and tear of the season is taking its toll on the kids. This is their first time extending themselves like this.
RR is staying, GERG is going and DB is going to talk it over with RR to get a base defense going and stick to it.
I agree with your view of the defense to an extent, though I think a swarming 4 3 with fast players can work in the B10 (Oregon runs that defense). Looking at yesterday, the problems on defense went far beyond youth. I think it's safe to say that the secondary players will get better with experience. There were several blown assignments and we were hit with big passing plays. But the root of the problem was the total inability to stop the run. That has also been the problem in our other losses. The D-Line is not young. Martin is still pretty young and he's our best defensive player. Van Bergen is in his fourth year, Banks is a fifth year senior, and Patterson is a fifth year senior. Ezeh and Fitzgerald have been in the system a long time. Mouton is a fifth year senior. Only Demens is an inexperienced players in the 3 3. The problem with stopping the run isn't experience. It's the scheme and the lack of talent. Even with improvement, the secondary would have been powerless to stop their run game. Against spread teams there may be some improvement going forward with the secondary, but not enough overall improvement to change the outcome in each of our 4 losses.
Rodriguez's defensive assistants are wedded to the idea of a 3 3 5 that clearly does not work in the Big Ten. They need to go with the exception of Tall, who I think might be able to stay because he's done okay with the D-line. I think you can emphasize speed and still stop power running games if you have a 4 3. Again, Oregon runs a 4 3 and they can stop power running games. What's clear is a change in direction is needed. A new scheme has to be installed and everyone needs to stick with it. It's true G. Robinson was handcuffed by trying to run a scheme he didn't necessarily believe in, but he can't solve the problems anymore because the situation is out of control. You need a complete overhaul, and I'm not sure Rodriguez buys into yet. He sounded very defensive in his post-game presser, but he has to acknowledge this obvious failure and work with Brandon in finding a new DC. It's clearly needed going forward.
While that win against the Florida spread was one of my favorite ever, we were also playing a running spread with its star QB still recovering from injuries. I still think we would have beat them, but I'm not sure it would have been as purty with a healthy Tebow.
That style of football lost us many, many Rose Bowls
What has UM gained by running the spread?
I find your logic lacking.
One of the best offenses in the country, for one thing. Michigan is a mediocre defense away from being a terrifying matchup for any team anywhere. You know when we will probably have a mediocre defense and an offense that is even more unstoppable? Next year. Get on board or go root for Stanford.
"he says Wisconsin is what Michigan used to be because they're physical and maul opponents and all that good stuff."
I said as much in another thread where they were whining Ball was mocking Denard on one of his touchdowns and threw his shoe. We need to go out and kick there ass and send them and make 'em dread having to ever come to the Big House!
I didn't get too much of a "good ol' days" vibe, except for that one sentence, which is hard to argue. I don't think he's writing off the inexperience, just saying that can't be the only excuse. Defensive philosophy and recruiting mistakes have definitely hurt this team. I'm a Rodriguez supporter, but the quote about the 5-6 true freshman playing is worded like he doesn't think it's his fault at all that we are forced to play that many young guys. I think it gets better next year, but there is a lot of work to be done.
3,5,7 equals progress. A defense in the top 60 next year equals ten wins or more.
7? How about 7/8/9? I'm still extremely confident that we'll win 8 games this year, and I'll never count us out of an OSU game, no matter what. Holy crap do I miss the feeling of beating those bastards.
3, 5, 8? that would lead to 12 wins next year. i'll take losing in the national championship i guess...assuming the pattern holds true and we win 17 games in 2012. take that alabama
That is the same thing Spielman said during the game..
Even if michigan can field a 50th ranked Defense they are gonna win a lot of games in the big ten, and pretty much he is right..
If we stop wisconsin 2 or 3 times more we easily have a chance to win
They shut UM out inthe first half 24-0 and ran for almost 400 yards! Wisconsin controlled the line of scrimmage all day on both sides. MSU and Iowa and PSU dominated UM also. The scores were closer, but we never really threatened them. Remember PSU took a knee at the end or they would have scored again.
Let's be real here. Wisconsin dominated Michigan today and Wojo is right, they are what Michgan used to be. It's what works in the this conference. 270-290-pound lineman will get pushed around by the best team in the B10.
We haven't put serious pressure on a QB all season. You want to take the pressure off the secondary, pit pressure on the QB and make him rush a throw.
3,5,7 equals progress
But if you look at the number of Big Ten wins, it's a closer call: 2, 1, 3. It gets even closer when you consider that we lost a conference game (MSU) in overtime last year, and won one (Illinois) in overtime this year. If those two results were flipped around, and all else equal, we'd have posted 2, 2 and 2 conference wins in the past three seasons. So how much better are we, really?
Give that man a cigar........
This is a very good article. Wojo clearly has been doing his research and paying attention.
I still can't shake the feeling that I could be totally cool with Harbaugh at the helm though. I don't buy that anyone can say Denard Robinson and others would for sure be out the door, or that Harbaugh wouldn't smartly put Denard Robinson's (and others') talents to good use.
It would take a for-sure Harbaugh hire for me to think anyone else besides RR should be coach of Michigan next season though. Firing RR and then getting anything less in return would be a major mistake.
Post of the night and judging by those points, you captured the opinion of others as well. Harbaugh's Cardinal just laid a beating on the road against a rival coming off a near miss against Oregon.
The guy is the real deal. I am very comfortable with the idea of him running this program and building it completely according to his schedule and philosophies. I am entirely unconcerned about his judgment regarding any player. I am even less concerned about losing any current recruit or having any current player transfer as a result of any change as well.
Rich Rodriguez is our guy and there has been some encouraging improvement. I'll bet Harbaugh isn't even being explored on any level. Still, finding out if it's possible wouldn't hurt a thing.
Our AD is a very shrewd gentleman and I believe he composed a short list of possible replacements shortly after he assumed the job. The football team is the engine of the entire program and he cannot affort to let it sputter.
He has stated he possesses far more information than anyone else and will be in the best position to make a decision re: potential changes. I don't know what if any effect the deep pocket boosters can have but I have to believe DB will do what he believes is in the best interest of the university.
There are people who will not forgive Harbaugh for the comments he made re: academic standards at the U.
I am sure DB will review everything carefully. He has the info, but I think he will also review our improvement with a careful eye. The offense is better but D and ST are worse. But I wound't put as much weight in the win column improvement as everyone else has. While we have 7 wins we were a hairs breath away from disaster (very close wins over a bad ND, a bad IU, a bad PU and Illinois). Every quality team we have played has blown our doors off. I think the most important thing to DB, being a BO guy will be big ten wins. Rich has 6 in three seasons. Even if we keep RR, and I think we do, will the D improve enough to have winning Big Ten record next year, I hope so but I am not holding my breath. If he can't do it next year there will be too much pressure to hold on to RR for another year, and if that is the case then a change may have to be made now.
As far as Harbaugh the comments he made while being a little bit bush league by calling out his alma mater weren't really earth-shattering revelations. He basically said that football players who were borderline getting into the school, which is a top notch academic institution are encouraged to major in communications rather than say engineering. He was being honest in saying that they steer guys who would not have been admitted to the school on their academic merit to what he perceives to be a less rigorous major.
Finally, if RR guys can't get over it, its in the past...hit them in the head with a stick.
and I say that for this reason alone. What we'll probably become under RR will be very similar to ORE, a team that Stanford scored over 30 pts on and moved the ball at will in the first half. However, in the second half, it was all ORE, with Stanford's defenders bending over attempting to catch their breath from the middle of the third quarter on.
I'm not sold on the fact that in the Big Ten a team has to be big and massive to win. In my opinion, and Wojo is correct, it's ultimately your defense that will decide how good your win-loss record will be, and sometimes it only has to be decent if the O is simply unstoppable. And to be perfectly honest, when I see what a first year starting qb can lead a team to do when running smoothly and with the knowledge we have some nice, exciting complements coming in next season, I think assuming experience and the added weapons will only make us better is both fair and reasonable. In fact, I think we'll ultimately break most of the conference's record for a year's offensive production, provided we aren't inundated with injuries and the outside drama that's been following this team like 17 year old girls follow rock stars.
In the end though,I'm glad to see a sportswriter make the statements many of us have been trying to get our fan base to understand since Day One. We have problems, and it doesn't matter how or who. Casting blame serves no purpose whatsoever in addressing the problem. What matters is if they can be fixed by the current HC. Too many would rather cast blame and shout their "I told you so(s)." That attitude is what I simply can't grasp. I think RR can do the job. He may have to make some undesireable choices, but all great coaches do. I'm not advocating holding on to a coach that won't be successful. Hell, what fan would want that? However, and I don't care if its Harbaugh or the reincarnation of Lombardi, I think a decision to remove RR anytime prior to the conclusion of the 2011 season would be an error of such an egregious nature, we'd regret it for far more years than some have regretted having him here.
Oregon is a good defensive team. That's what a lot of people overlook. Most of their wins are by scores like 55-14. They don't get in many shootouts. Against Stanford, they had like three turnovers in the first half, which set up scores for SU. In the second half they took care of the ball and pitched a shutout.
Maybe this article will speak sense to the RR haters.
Rich Rod is nothing but a $3 million a year offensive coordinator.
Dave Brandon is starting to sound an awful lot like the Lions GM's over the years. Always evaluatin', always explainin' ... always losin'
Nick Saban is nothing more than a $5 million-a-year defensive coordinator.
That's the stupidest fucking thing I've seen on here in a while. Get lost.
Edit - meant that for Bill45 not shorts.
Chait is presently providing the best post-game analysis, in my opinion. The problems on defense are both coaching and talent, maybe equal parts. Talent (i.e., size, athleticism, technique) is no doubt an issue, but it didn't have to be as bad as it was today. Purdue and Minnesota throw a bunch of high school girls out as their back seven and they had much more respectable showings against UW.
The unspoken issue with this team is the offense's sporatic play. The offense is very good, surely, but they systematically play better when the game is out of hand. This is borne out in the data. I can speculate as to why this is, but it's troubling that the offense struggles when the game is still in the balance.
I thought the offense had broken free of it's inability to score on good defenses in tight games with the Illinois game. This looked so much like Penn State, Iowa, and MSU on offense that it was troubling.
Good that you pointed that out.
I agree with your line of thought. I do think there is some validity to the argument that we rack up points and yards when we're down 20 and our opponent might have softened up a little bit.
But at other times I look at the bigger picture and realize my standards for "sporadic offense" have probably become "doesn't score for two consecutive possessions".
With a better defense those offensive struggles against good teams would seem less pronounced.
that is my hope anyway.
Wiscy, like a lot of schools, plays their best game against Michigan. They don't play their best game against Minnesota or Purdue. Wiscy was bigger, stronger, and older, and pushed Michigan around. Earlier this week, I said Wiscy was "rock" and the only question was whether Michigan's defense would be "paper" or "scissors."
Sadly, Michigan's defense looked like a bunch of broken, one-legged scissors trying to chase rocks up and down the field today. Luckily, it isn't a permanent situation. They need to get older. That's all. RR will eventually have enough personnel out there and will find players who are both big and fast.
RR isn't stupid, and he will find a way to adjust. He has said that he uses many different fronts in different situations. As his personnel becomes more experienced, he will be able to use a bigger playbook. One of the great things about having DB as the AD is that DB knows football. He and RR will discuss a lot of things this offseason. Maybe DB will be able to give him a POV to which he previously hasn't had access. I am guessing DB will give him some very educated feedback in how to tweak things for the Big Ten.
This team really isn't that far away from being very good again. I am expecting more improvement next year. No overhauls are needed: just a few more tweaks and some players getting bigger and older. The team is still 7-4; I'm not ready to cash in this season just yet.
I'm not cashing in on the season by offering some critical analysis (or regurgitating Chait's critical analysis). There is a space for reasonable discourse between FUUUUUUUU and "Hater!" While acknowledging above that youth is certainly an issue, I think our personnel could be deployed more effectively. I agree with Chait that it put our players at an almost insurmountable disadvantage to be in a three-man front and to have Vinopal serving as our strong safety, effectively.
Also, while I'm sure that teams get more excited about playing the Big House than playing Indiana, I don't like the excuse that opponents bring their A-games against U-M and that explains why we perform worse than the Purdues and Minnesotas of the world. College football teams prepare and play hard against everyone, unless it's a case of a team giving up on a coach. Wisconsin sure didn't come out flat against Indiana last week, and if there's ever a Big Ten foe to come out flat against, IU's your team.
I think we can be good next year, too. I've lost confidence in the "one-year-older" rationale for that, though. We need new defensive leadership--someone that players can look to and feel confident that their potential is being maximized. It's no secret why blue chip defensive recruits choose the schools they do. They're investing in their future, and they want to go to a school where they will get the absolute best training at their position. That means staff who have a record of sending kids to the league or, at least, churning out top defenses in their conference.
This is not meant to be an excuse by any means, but Michigan can't win games by sneaking up on anyone like those other schools do. We've been kicking people's butts for so long that we are a huge game for pretty much anyone we play, regardless of our record. This is why I think its silly when people say "what good teams have we beaten?!" Everyone brings their A game against us which is why I think we have been winning the games we're supposed to win and losing to teams that are objectively better than us. We just can't sneak up on teams who would take a team like NU, Minnesota or Purdue lightly.
Again, not an excuse. We need to get to a level where we're not overmatched by teams by a wide margin. And I think with all the young kids we have currently and them growing as they should, that will happen next year.
But it's a pay article now.
The defensive front was way undersized last yr in a 4 man front.....who the heck thought it would be better this yr in a 3 man front minus brandon graham? DUH....
This defense has been flat ran over every single week, can't stop the run can't get to the passer.....both of those is on the defensive front.
Vanbergen, out of position he needs to be in a 4-3 as a sde, not interior dline
Martin, out of position as a 3 front nt, again he needs to be de in 3front or dt in 4front...
Roh, out of position still needs to be 4front rde
Patterson/Banks 4 front sde....
I admire the effort these guys give but the whole defense rests right here with no defensive tackle able to come in and play next to Mike Martin that can take the heat off the dline, ie let martin be a dt and not a nt, vanbergen be a sde, roh/black be rde's....
We witnessed today a dline just get ran over no matter how much they subbed they just got their tails handed to them....and they are bigger this yr then last yr and last yr was a 4man front and did a better job!
about the offense the issue with the program is that we don't field a competitive Big 10 defense. After setting out all the familiar reasons for this state of affairs, Wojo is saying that time is about up to correct it. I took from his comments, and the quotes from Brandon, that they are in for one more year to see if the D carries it's part of the bargain. No excuses.
A good article by WoJo, but I take a couple of issues:
I agree that RR needs to really fix the defense, and I'm not sure how he'll do it. If some great DC shows up on the market, then I want to see him go for it. But right now, next year's defense will hinge largely on the young players making strides forward, and I'm not sure if that jump will be significant or merely incremental.
is one of the few columnists around here who usually makes sense.
"sometimes you miss tackles because you're just not strong enough yet."
The roster lists 8 DL (not counting John Ferrara), 6 LBs who have been in the program since Fall, 2008 or before. Rogers and Kovacs, too, have been in the program at least that long. Barwis was touted as a miracle worker. What happened? Can someone explain?
Wojo makes the point that once Michigan was the team that was physically dominant. And they were. But they aren't now. They hadn't been in some past years. Some contributors to this blog blamed Carr and Gittelson for that, and Barwis was supposed to be the solution.
The fact that Kovacs went from being a walk-on to a decent B10 player in about 2 years seems pretty remarkable to me, and points to some solid player development.
No matter how hard to push them in the weight room, you can't make most 18 and 19-year-olds as strong as 21 or 22-year-old linemen who have been playing in an offense for 4-5 years. Wiscy is a very good team with a dominant running attack, and it showed against UM. It also showed against a whole bunch of other teams. This defense will get better, and I do think that a shift in schemes is necessary, but the S&C coach can only do so much.
What's everyones take on G. Robinson's job? Is he gone no matter what? My opinion 100% is fire him. However I would like to here everyone else take on that?
Greg Robinson most likely is out. He looks old anyway. He should just retire and golf everyday.
"Manhandled" is too strong a word. Michigan's offense scored 28 points against both Iowa and Wisconsin. (Granted M was completely manhandled in the first half against Wisconsin.) And Michigan averaged 6 yards a play on offense against MSU (even including those three interceptions, urgh).
So the only thing Wojo is saying that others haven't is that UM's offense was manhandled by three teams. And it's not true, except for the first half today.
As for the D, RR is right. Nothing's going to help until at least the bowl game, at which time some players can come back healthy.
At this point, I just want one more win. It would be sweetest if it came next week. But, otherwise, we'd better be able to beat an also-ran from another conference.
then 7-5 might be harder to get than this year. The schedule next year is tougher than this season. Remember Nebraska will be on the schedule and we have to go to MSU. Thereare no guarantees that next season is 9-3 or better. Eight wins next year is not good enough to retain this staff. They should have eight this season.
Unfortunately, I'm chaulking up next Saturday as a loss, since it seems that Roh an Smith will be out and Martin is no where near 100%. That's 2/3 of the D-line and our most productive RB. I don't see a lot of evidence that we can be more competitive than today next saturday.
What is going on you son of a gun? I see there is a bout of message board infidelity ;^). Pertaining to the Wisky game, a lot of things were ugly not a great performance. Denard still struggling with some decision making and on defense, I am not sure what the answers are besides "talent". Anyway, I think Rich gets another year and he should. Hope all is well Wolfman.
I am going back to my dumpster
Damn drunken iPhone doublepost.
Get a room you two, this isn't Craigslist Missed Connections. (Why not switch up the terrible joke due to the double post)