- Member for
- 4 years 39 weeks
|33 weeks 6 days ago||Native Wolverine in Iowa City||
I grew up in Ann Arbor, attended U-M as an undergrad, and have lived in Iowa City for over 20 years. I saw the stale end of the Hayden Fry era first hand and then in 1999 witnessed the uproar when then AD Bob Bowlsby (current Big 12 commish) hired Kirk Ferentz instead of going after Bob Stoops (player and GA under Fry) like we just did with Jim Harbaugh. (It later became apparent that Stoops never wanted to be the HC at Iowa).
FWIW I had never even heard of Ferentz, who had also been on Fry's staff and was a respected OL coach with the Baltimore Ravens when he returned to Iowa City. As is well known, Ferentz did a magnificent job taking the empty cupboard left by Fry at the end of his career and building it into a Big 10 champ in 2002. He kept the momentum going for another two seasons but then flattened out until reaching the Orange Bowl in 2009 (and beating Georgia Tech). As the above post indicates he got a big extension after that and has underachieved (in a relative sense) since that time.
While the math may support firing Ferentz and moving on, and I as a close observer (but faithful Michigan fan) would certainly support, here's the local skinny on why it's unlikely:
1. Iowa may have some $$$ to spend because of the B1G Network revenue but they do NOT have a strong winning tradition. Fry was the original miracle worker here and prior to his hiring in 1979 they were doormats forever. Despite the view from outside which may suggest they can do better than 8-4 (on average) every year, Hawkeye fans don't necessarily see it that way. They are an old (age wise) and loyal fanbase that remembers the bad days very clearly. What to a Michigan fan may look like a stale and outdated program is perceived here as stable, competitive (again, relatively) program that "knows who they are" (e.g. zone running team with solid defense) and doesn't cheat.
2. Iowa is a conservative and rural state with by far the smallest population in the B1G (except for Nebraska which has a much more successful tradition in football). The idea of paying Ferentz (or anybody else) to "go away" just doesn't fit with the culture here. Their view of Nebraska firing Bo Pelini, despite the obvious anger issues and animosity, is that Cornhusker fans are crazy and have lost perspective on the reality of what "good enough" is.
3. Steve Alford was hired in the same year as Kirk Ferentz and he lasted 8 seasons despite a B1G record that was well under .500 and being a well-known jerkwad of the first degree. After he was finally forced out by the current AD Gary Barta, then national coach of the year Todd Lickliter from Butler (preceded Brad Stevens) was brought in. He lasted 3 seasons and was an absolute disaster of a misfit. Barta had no real choice but to pay him to go away because Carver Hawkeye Arena was sitting close to half empty--and had been since the last 2-3 seasons of the Alford era--and fans were in an uproar. Current basketball coach Fran McCaffrey is doing much better, but I suspect Barta is exceedingly gun-shy about a possible repeat experience with hiring the wrong guy to replace the highly respected Ferentz.
There are probably other reasons as well but I'll leave it there for now, other than a personal opinion as a lifelong football fan. I like Kirk Ferentz a lot as a human and respect the hell out of what he's done here in re-establishing the winning culture of Hayden Fry. After yesterday's total annihilation by a young Tennessee squad, however, there is NO DOUBT that the program is out of date with little hope of change in the near future. It's time for Kirk Ferentz to ride off into the sunset--or be encouraged to do so by his boss--but I'd be stunned if it happened anytime soon.
|34 weeks 1 day ago||First time in forever memory||
First time in forever memory I rooted for the Farmers--Go B1G!
|34 weeks 1 day ago||First time in forever memory||
First time in forever memory I rooted for the Garmers--Go B1G!
|34 weeks 5 days ago||It's just RIGHT||
Sometimes in this crazy world things just work out perfectly. This feels like one of those times. I grew up in Ann Arbor, sat in section 21 row 82 from 1973-1981, moved to the student section(s) as an undergrad from 1981-85, then out of town to grad school and real life. Jim Harbaugh was my favorite Michigan QB and the fact that he had a gutsy, successful pro career only made sense. Then he skyrocketed within the coaching ranks while maintaining his values and innovating too. His success is essentially unparalleled and now he's coming home. I am so excited that I considered driving 8 hours to be there tomorrow. There is no doubt I'll be making the drive next season to catch a game in person. Go Blue and welcome home Jim--we all support YOU!
|37 weeks 2 days ago||Excellent potential but not for us||
Tom Herman will probably be an excellent head coach in the near future but not at Michigan. It's not just that he has no college head coaching experience, it's that he won't inspire enough confidence in the fanbase to keep the stadium full or give him a chance to build a program. This is NOT 2007 anymore--after 2 failed coaching searches, 1 to modernize (RR) and a second to swing the pendulum back (too far) to the familiar (Hoke), let's face it we are all looking for a quick fix. We see it happen at other places (OSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC under Pete Carroll) and we think there's no reason it can't happen at Michigan right? The problem is there is no way to know if we'd succeed at finding a quick fix with a head coach. The reality is it's a crap shoot. We're all willing to roll the dice on Jim Harbaugh b/c we see him as essentially a sure bet, but other than him or Stoops or one of the other unavailable slam dunks we're not going to be very patient. We should be, and we might say we plan to be patient, but if there isn't a crystal clear improvement from year 1 to year 2 (with an upset or two!) to year 3 (contending for B1G championship) to years 4-5 (contending for playoff/national championship) we'll be ready to move on. We've been burned and we don't think we "deserve" to pay the price of hiring a young coach who needs time to invest in building a program over 4-5+ years. I think Hackett knows this and will not consider a coordinator like Herman even if he has obvious potential to succeed. It's just not the right choice for Michigan at this time. I think he'll play it safer than that which is not necessarily better for us in the long run but then again the long run is an unforseeable luxury when the program has gone progressively downward for 7 years (with the exception of 2011 which was an aberration).
|37 weeks 2 days ago||Not our problem||
This has no bearing on our situation. Alvarez is committed to the Wisconsin style of power running that he brought to town in the 1980's to ressurect the program from the ashes. My guess is he won't even hire Paul Chryst or Dave Doeren because they haven't quite proven themselves to be up the Wisconsin's standards yet. He may contact Darrell Bevell and kick the tires but Alvarez is a bit of a maverick who might prefer to make an unforeseen choice (like Andersen was after Bielema left for Arkansas). No matter what they are not in the market for the same candidates as we are. We are waiting for Harbaugh to commit to us or say 'no,' and vetting major program Plan B's in the meantime. Prediction: Wisconsin hires Todd Graham!!!
|37 weeks 6 days ago||The Process, new and improved||
Excellent update Brian. Who knows what is really happening--but the fact that there is SO LITTLE actual intel on the search seems like a good sign. I think Hackett (and Ross?) are doing whatever they can behind the scenes to let Jim Harbaugh know we want him and will do what it takes to bring him home to Ann Arbor. I agree with you that they are simultaneously vetting their Plan B options. Now that the regular season is over and the playoff lineup is set a couple of those options--like Stoops or Patterson--might could be Plan 1A options??? In any event I have a good feeling about this search so far compared to 2007 and 2010--we're not doing anything obviously stupid and we seem to be competently, diligently, and patiently evaluating our options before making a final decision. That's more than I can say about Florida or Nebraska, neither of who hired someone we would even consider good Plan B's! Go Blue!
|38 weeks 1 day ago||Great post, Space Cayote||
Dan Mullen may have done a great job building a program at the Indiana of the SEC West but he can't do the same at Michigan and give us the momentum we need to be Urban at his own game. It's terrible that we're in this position but we're in semi-desperate need of a splash hire, head coach with a proven track record who can genuinely project a no-BS "we're taking back what's rightfully ours" confidence to us fans. That's why we all want Jim Harbaugh to come home (more so than the fact that he was a successful U-M QB in the '80's). If we can't get him then let's go get someone like him in the next generation. If Bob Bowlsby could find Jim at the Univ. of San Diego then Jim Hackett can do the equivalent!!! Go Blue!
|50 weeks 1 day ago||63-13 Michigan wins B1G||
63-13 Michigan wins B1G
|50 weeks 6 days ago||Something is still wrong||
Last year it became clear that coaching is a problem--there was no other way to explain the constant attempt to run between the tackles despite terrible results. Now we have a new offensive coordinator who is more flexible and less stubborn than Borges. It looked better last week against an inferior opponent but last night was a disaster. It's only one game and counts as only one loss but we continue to insist on running on key first and second downs when it's not working. Don't tell me the yards per carry or total number of rushing yards improved. Those runs that are entirely predictable and lead to 2nd and long or 3rd and long are drive/momentum killers. Our supposed good to great recruits do not appear to be developing as the Hoke years go by. If this loss is indicative of how the season goes--ie. clearly being outcoached and outperformed in big games--it's time to blow the thing up and hire a new head coach. Yes it will cost us 2-3 more years in limbo but if we cannot compete with ND, MSU, OSU, etc then sticking with Hoke and expecting different results fits the definition of insanity.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Wat?!?||
This was a painful loss in and for itself but in the context of the season as a whole, let alone the last 6+ years, it was painful to the point of numbing (or going bowling). I am 50 years young, spent my childhood sitting in section 21 row 82 (thanks Dad) and bleed Maize and Blue. The truth is that I don't understand this season. Not a clue. We have talent and at least some good coaches but we sort of threw away an opportunity to take a major step forward this year (not just against OSU). The main gist of Brian's post is that he doesn't seem to get it either. None of us get it really. Are we making progress? Will we make changes to our approach or our scheme? Is coaching the main problem? Who knows??? Disappointment with a sprinkle of anger and exasperation will fade some over time. But feeling absolutely clueless about what is happening in the larger picture and whether or not we can expect experience and maturity to pay dividends in the near future is the worst. At least for me.
|2 years 51 weeks ago||Reality Check||
We got waxed by the defending national champs and while it was no fun to watch, we learned a lot. We are simply not physical enough on either line to compete with elite teams, including MSU. Take off your bias goggles, this isn't the 1980's or even the early 2000's, MSU has built an elite program based on power running and stiff D. They compete with us for elite recruits in-state and beyond. If they have a serviceable QB (let alone a good one like Cousins) they can compete nationally. On the other hand, we have the history and tradition on our side and our coaching staff has made quick strides to catch back up and restock post-RR. Despite going 11-2 last year we are a team in transition with an incredible and athletic QB who cannot throw on the run, who still shows no sign of setting his feet consistently, and an OC who refuses to use said athletic QB as a primary run option out of the shotgun. Take our medicine, beat up on some cupcakes with that crappy waxy frosting, and flex our muscles in a depleted Big 10. It's all gonna be good soon.
|3 years 42 weeks ago||Iowa Game||
I was at the game today and thought it was a completely conventional performance by two mid-Big 10 level teams. I agree with the previous post that stated had we been the home team we the score would have been reversed. I also agree that something intermittently weird was going on with Borges' play calling today. Fitz ran well in the 1st half but we completely lacked rhythm otherwise. Denard was a very spotty QB today despite time to throw and open receivers. By the last drive his poor judgment and inadequate down the sideline touch were totally exposed. We really should have beaten this Iowa team. It worries me that we never even had the lead despite Iowa's obvious shortcomings. We're much better on defense than last year but not so much on offense. Next week we play another sleepy dog. Better get the groove on!
|3 years 42 weeks ago||Beware this Saturday||
I live in Iowa City and watch the Hawks closely despite my Ann Arbor roots and Michigan loyalty. This game is NOT to be taken lightly although it is definitely winnable. The local press has once again begun questioning Ferentz even though he never changes his approach or his guarded optimism. It hasn't been a great season a half for him, other than a rousing win in last year's Whatever Bowl against hardly scary Mizzou. Coker is good but the team is really most dangerous when they are underestimated, especially at Kinnick. A win against Michigan is always a huge highlight and on this occasion it could actually begin to save their season from another hugely disappointing drop-off. We have to be patient and play on an even keel for 60 minutes, with few if any turnovers. Iowa is capable of making big plays and getting the home crowd behind them. I won't be surprised if either team wins but from my vantage point Michigan should prevail if they take nothing for granted, especially the angry Hawkeye in the corner.
|3 years 43 weeks ago||Three and Out||
I don't know if this comment will even be noticed since the thread has been quiet for a couple of days and the victory over Purdue is much more important. But I just got my copy of the book and have read the first 100+ pages as well as the comments on MGoBlog over the past few weeks about the RR era. As the 2011 season wears on and the team wins more games with similar talent to last year (albeit more experienced), comparisons b/t RR's tenure and Hoke's (thus far) are striking in several specific regards, IMHO.
1. No doubt that Hoke embraced the culture and tradition from the get-go (this was probably a BIG reason he was chosen), while RR downplayed it. On the other hand RR was chosen b/c the offense needed a huge update and he made it clear to his new bosses that he would coach his way and would need plenty of time to succeed. Bacon makes it clear that Bo's death was the beginning of the fractured void into which RR was hired, and in hindsight the expectations were impossibly high given the situation. Carr's apparent undermining of RR made success that much less likely, and Carr's silence is a very loud echo in the story. Whatever his problem was (and I personally think his rapid descent from grace after the App St. and Oregon losses made this proud Michigan Man very bitter) he could have done a lot to smooth the transition for RR and his staff. Lloyd is a great and charitable man in many ways and won us the only NC of our lifetimes but his legacy is tarnished in my mind.
2. RR was overly trusting and probably naive with regard to both his own contractual situation and the cohesiveness of his staff. Once Casteel backed out of coming to Ann Arbor RR should have paid more attention to the ability of his DC to mesh with the others and be trusted to run his own system. I think RR is a flawed but sympathetic character in the whole debacle but this is perhaps the best evidence of his being in over his head. What worked at WVU could not be replicated at Michigan, even with essentially the same coaching staff.
3. Although I have only read part of the book I think it is clear that Hoke and his coaches have approached the task at hand very differently than RR did. And I'm not just referring to Michigan tradition. The players are playing with much more intensity and abandon so far this season and the defense in particular is gang tackling and avoiding giving up big plays. The players are very similar to last year so this must be due to coaching. If this is a foreshadowing of what we will have the pleasure to observe in the coming years then I think Brandon did a great job with this hire. I was a big supporter of the RR hire in 2007 and was pretty skeptical of Hoke when he was chosen last January. But so far so good and it's pretty much the opposite of what we saw 4 years ago.
|4 years 21 weeks ago||Agreed||
The comparison of RR vs. Belein is useful not just b/c they both came to Michigan from the same school prior. RR was a proven offensive coach who was not a proven leader, let alone of a program like ours. This may not have been readily visible to Bill Martin (although it should have been if he done his homework) but of course it became visible immediately when RR took the job and started blowing up bridges on his out of Morgantown and coming across like an idiot when talking about how he might incorporate Michigan traditions into his coaching tenure here. As has been talked about endlessly the fact that he had no prior Michigan ties wasn't the problem; the lack of elite leadership skills clearly was.
Belein on the other hand is smart enough to know what he doesn't know and humble enough to admit it and address it, as the post points out. Basketball is in good and trustworthy hands.
|4 years 23 weeks ago||Been Awhile||
I am probably one of the "seniors" on this board...an Ann Arbor native who grew up watching Campy Russell and Wayman Britt and Steve Grote and Ricky Green give me the thrills of a lifetime as a kid.
Then came Frieder's teasers in the 80's, the miracle run in '89, then the walls (and banners) came tumbling down after that.......and we got lost in the wilderness. Threatened to emerge a few years ago when we finally made it back into the tourney...but now we are really back.
I appreciate the fantastic coaching and class shown by Belein and this year's team...it really is unparalleled in my experience. We may not have gone as far as some of those other Michigan squads but I have never been more proud.
Go Blue...we always have and always will support you!
|4 years 30 weeks ago||Ferentz||
I live in Iowa City and believe me, there is plenty of scrutiny of the program by a local media looking to profit from Hawkeye misdeeds. Ferentz has earned some slack for being incredibly steady and producing a mostly winning program despite more than his share of program trouble over the years. However, in light of all that has happened recently (rape trial, player arrests, player hospitalizations) he may be closer than ever to having used up his capital. Around here though the desire to blame the coaches and staff is always mitigated by the fact that if we run this guy out of town who and what do we have left? There's no obvious successor, no reason to think someone else could do better, and the men's basketball team makes Michigan's men's basketball team look like they belong in the top 20.
|4 years 30 weeks ago||Big Ten Icons||
I know it's just for athletes, but let's face it, any list of Big Ten icons that doesn't include Bo or Woody isn't complete. The modern Big Ten as a media entity is based on the M-OSU football rivalry from 1969 on and the problem is that we haven't come up with anything more enduring since then. For all of Magic Johnson's exploits (college and pro, which isn't considered by BTN) and Archie Griffin and Steve Alford and Drew Brees and Ron Dayne and whoever else, other conferences, namely the SEC in football, have much more to say in the modern era than the Big Ten. We should've swallowed up Pitt and UConn and maybe Maryland and expanded our advertising reach to make a bigger statement. At least we were the first to come up with a conference TV network.
|4 years 30 weeks ago||The Approach||
Obviously we can't know exactly how close this description is to what the visit was like, or how different is was from visits taken by prospective recruits under the previous staff. BUT, for what it's worth, we appear to be selling authenticity. I think that's got to be a big improvement and so far Hoke has done better than expected in salvaging the incoming class. It just FEELS like a good fit in the same way that RichRod DIDN'T feel like a good fit from the beginning. It's all going well so far and this can only mean we are on a better track.
|4 years 33 weeks ago||In DB I Trust||
Ok so my point total sucks but I got courage. I also got faith in DB da man. And only one empty Double X on my lap. We are due. DB was chosen bc he knows how to identify needs and get them met. I mean Dominos pizza has sucked since I graduated in the mid 80s and he turned turds into gold. We may be down but we ain't turds. Rich didn't fit but now we find our own innovator. Not Bo the sequel but someone none of us are seriously considering. Les and even Hoke would be safe but too safe and wouldn't unite us. Gonna be outside the Blue box. We don't know whazzup bc DB is doing it right. Have a cold one, channel your energy toward the kind of flexible offense that the others seem to have, the kind of demon team tackling defense that we used to have, and the kind of game changing special teams that we've never had. See the future. It's got us in the hunt with a guy under the headset who we love but don't even yet know. Go F'n Blue We Are U.
|4 years 39 weeks ago||My Point Exactly||
You can't seriously be saying that RR is not first and foremost an asshole, can you?
The guy berates his players and doesn't take much responsibility for the lack of coaching they receive.
I would never say let's hire Hoke, he's too green even having resurrected two programs now.
It's not about reliving the Bo days. They beat OSU more than half the time but then almost always got killed when the bowl game meant something.
It's about winning now, which requires innovation, flexibility, resourcefulness, and an ability to run a clean program. RichRod has not demonstrated any of these traits so far.
My bet is that he won't ever do so at MIchigan. Harbaugh may not be the holy grail either but he seems like a much better bet to me. And if he runs a successful program for a few years before moving on to the pros, perhaps one of his assistants will be a qualified and logical choice to replace him and continue the winning tradition.
|4 years 39 weeks ago||Your Analogy||
I like the straight-forwardness and confidence embedded in your post, but what is required to make the leap of faith you are making from year 3 to years 4-5 and beyond is that the fundamentals are in place to succeed next year and in the future.
As I stated in my post, I disagree with this premise. The defense will have to start over on the coaching side and perhaps schematically as well. And while the players will be older and wiser, and have no where to go but up in terms of performance, there is a big difference between being mediocre and competing at the top of the Big Ten and in the national rankings.
Special teams can probably be "fixed" more readily but again there is really no current basis for believing this will happen. If the AD has to tell the coach that the special teams stink and the coach requires such motivation to actually do something about it, we have bigger problems than poor special teams, don't we?
I hope your business continues to succeed. If I'm AD Brandon and evaluating the state of the football program in late 2010 after 3 years of the current staff and schematic approach, I hold my nose, pay the buyout (btw couldn't RR be fired for cause due to the NCAA infractions, thereby nullifying the buyout altogether?) and start over.
Leaps of faith are what make life grand sometimes, but in this case I prefer to take the calculated risk of cutting bait and trying again.
|4 years 39 weeks ago||If I was unclear, well then...||
double post, sorry
|4 years 39 weeks ago||If I was unclear, well then...||
I may still be cloudy headed after the OSU game, and this whole damn season, but...I didn't think my point was that unclear.
The gist of it is that RR is not a good fit. He has had his share of "unfair" crap to deal with, much of it not his own doing, but that's true of any coach and would be true of Harbaugh if we hired him. So you can't really blame those other factors for his highly questionable results thus far. He made very poor choices for how to handle the talent he inherited, the culture and history of the program, etc. Then he sold out for his offensive scheme and seems to have ignored defense and special teams. Now we have modest improvement in the Win column but otherwise terrible results. Even the supposedly prolific offense doesn't score the number of points that it should based on yards produced.
My parallel point is that Harbaugh might not be any better and in fact his own record as a coach is not nearly as established as RichRod's. But he certainly knows the culture and the history and those are advantages. It's not that he's a Michigan Man per se, but rather that he would have that knowledge in his pocket. Someone outside of the Michigan culture/program could have done much better than RichRod in this regard by being more respectful and open minded from the beginning.
Finally, for the record, I agree that the program had become stale under Lloyd Carr and change was necessary. RichRod was in fact my preferred candidate and I thought it was a bold move to hire him (although it could have been handled better). Now three years later I think he might have been qualified and experienced enough to have been given a chance, but he hasn't produced. In fact by almost all measures other than wins (which have been almost exclusively against teams they should have beaten) the program has regressed.
Of course change is hard, but it doesn't have to be this hard when you start out with as much to work with as RichRod did in 2007. Harbaugh may not be the best answer in the long run, but he or someone else who knows and respects our history are better bets than RichRod in 2011, in my opinion.
|4 years 39 weeks ago||When is Enough, Enough?||
All of the historical and statistical analysis in the world won't solve this dilemma. There are fairly self-evident costs and potential benefits to firing RR soon vs. letting him have at least one more season to prove himself with a roster largely of his own making.
I'm not wise enough to know the "right" answer, but I have worked as a consultant for over 15 years and the ONE most important factor in determining whether or not a project turns out well is the goodness of fit between consultant and client. I think the evidence is fairly clear that RR is not a good enough fit at Michigan. He may have gotten a raw deal from us fans/alums, the cupboard may have been relatively bare when he arrived, and he may have improved by two in the Win column each of the past two seasons. But these are neither circumstantial concerns nor random influences on the result, in my opinion; they are reflections of RR's ability to match his talents with the needs of the Michigan program.
For the record, I think hiring Jim Harbaugh would bring no guarantee of quick or long-term results, but one has to admit that the fit has the right "appeal." His own track record is one of both rapid success which could easily be repeated at his alma mater, and stupid verbal coach tricks. He is a loudmouth, an egomaniac, and has not had to cope with his share of hard knocks in his football life. So we don't know how he will respond to whatever would come of hiring him. For example, if he takes RRs recruits, adds proper defense and special teams coaching and emphasis, and we compete for the Big Ten championship or even a National Championship in the next few years, whose to say he wouldn't bolt for the NFL as soon as Jerry Jones or someone else offers him $5M per year?
Would that be better for Michigan in the long run???
I for one would say that the risks of keeping RR are pretty clear at this point. He will likely be successful elsewhere but at Michigan he may be just as likely to compete in the middle of the Big Ten most of the time. More importantly to me, though, is the fact that he is the wrong man for the job (and I'm not a believer in the whole Michigan Man vs. Outsider distinction). His actions and words on and off the field are unbecoming and his team's results thus far are underwhelming if not also humiliating for those of us who expect Michigan football teams to perform with the best around.
It's time to acknowledge the (fairly) obvious, cut bait, reload, move on.
|4 years 39 weeks ago||Wojo's Column||
I found Wojo's comments to be pretty much dead on. I am new to this blog but appreciate the serious attempt to dissect the current state of the Michigan football program in the context of its rich history. I certainly don't think Wojo is the deepest thinker on this subject, and I generally find his columns to be best suited to a junior high audience (perhaps its the tone), but let's be honest, watching Michigan football these days makes a Maize and Blue blooded fan squirm.
I don't disagree that progress requires patience or that the offense has come a long way in a shorter period of time than it might have otherwise. But COME ON...the defense and special teams are so atrocious that it goes way beyond having the wrong coordinator in place or the wrong scheme or a mismatch between those two. IMHO, the product on the field this year on defense and special teams is the result of malignant neglect. Injuries, youth, inexperience, whatever....the results stink. Those of us that have watched Michigan football closely for decades know to expect cycles of good to great and back again, and that circumstantial factors influence results more than we would like. The problem is that the guys are fundamentally poor tacklers who take poor angles and are too small to keep up with most lines in the BIg Ten. Special teams are all about effort/desire and one might think those would be strong suits on a RichRod unit. Not so. I have concluded that he is so enamored with his offense that he allows defense and special teams to be managed by others and therefore de-emphasized. This is a fatal flaw.
Finally, the results from the past three years clearly indicate a ceiling effect in terms of which Big Ten teams we can compete with (the traditionally weak programs) and who we can't (OSU, Wisconsin, Iowa, and heaven forbid, MSU), given the talent level and coaching emphasis currently in place. Sure, it could get better in the next year or two, but on what basis? A new coordinator or newly emphasized special teams aren't going to lead a major improvement in results without a change in culture from the top down.
I acknowledge that Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles or anyone else would bring no guarantee of better results. I also believe that RichRod will probably be successful somewhere else when he gets the opportunity, likely at a school in a conference where his offense might win him more of his games and generate more fan support despite a poor defense (e.g. Colorado). But the costs of keeping him at Michigan clearly outweigh the potential benefits and it's time to cut bait and try again.
As a lifelong Michigan fan it can't really get any worse than the past three years. I was very much in favor of moving on from Lloyd Carr to a new era, and was a big supporter of Bill Martin's choice of RichRod in 2007. But I was wrong. This was a mismatch from the beginning and it's time to move on.