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|6 hours 53 min ago||Devin produced two of the||
Devin produced two of the best individual game performances in the long, storied history of Michigan football.
Nobody can say that the way his career ended wasn't disappointing, but let's not pretend that he was worthless. I think it is pretty obvious that he suffered considerable from poor coaching.
|1 day 12 hours ago||I've thought about this||
I've thought about this extensively and nearly included a section about it in the article; all three losses in the regular season were so close that it is easy to see better play at QB putting Michigan over the top in all three games.
The problem with "what-if" scenarios like that is that they don't account for other potential changes. And, significantly, they take a "sunnyside up only" view of such scenarios. Yeah, a little more offense against MSU might make the clock irrelevant. The OSU game looks way different without four interceptions. And so on.
But we aren't talking about a loaded team with a weakness at one position; 2001 was in virtually every other way was a rebuilding year for the roster. And Lloyd Carr, regardless of what talent was on the roster, had throughout his career an inclination to get hung with at least one head-scratching loss a year. It is hard for me to believe that it would be any different in 2001, on a team with a mediocre running game, shallow receiving talent, and only an average defense.
And, of course, even an undefeated season would have led to a complete evisceration in the Rose Bowl by a markedly superior Miami team. Don't get me wrong, that's still significantly better than the season that we had, but we're not talking about a possible national title here.
|1 day 14 hours ago||This is a football wonk||
This is a football wonk fansite; Brian considers the ultra-wonky UFR to be the site's calling card, and features like picture pages and whatever Seth's technical analysis column is called this year also provide insite into how the game is played on the field.
In this environment Stitt is a well-known innovator of interest to people who dig that kind of thing. And this article is not just fluff, since it gives several well-described examples of plays that Stitt has improved and how it happened.
You're way off base.
|3 days 15 hours ago||I disagree slightly; I think||
I disagree slightly; I think the criticism in 2001 was accurate, but not appropriate. Yes, he wasn't great. So analysis that diagnosed how was often correct. The problem is that the expectations on him were unfair. The running game was bad, the defense was average, and he only had one reliable receiver. He wasn't supposed to be "the guy."
Now, there are quarterbacks who can succeed with his level of experience and/or supporting cast, but plenty of fine football players that have succeeded in big spots were not so equipped. Just look down US 23--the reasons 2002 OSU had substantially more success than 2001 Michigan wasn't because Craig Krenzel was a demonstrably superior QB, was it?
To me, the coaching staff was unable to consistently produce excellence in all phases from year to year. Some seasons they'd have a great defense, some seasons a great offense, some years a great kicker. But there was no consistency, and those qualities were largely dependent upon whether they had a top-flight athletes with experience in the right place. They could not cope with adverse circumstances or roster situations.
|3 days 18 hours ago||He did throw over the middle||
He did throw over the middle occasionally, but he was often inaccurate. I think it was the '02 Notre Dame game where I remember him basically not coming close to receivers over the middle in the final, failed 2-minute drill. One thing I do not blame coaching for is limiting which throws he made, especially early in his career--poorly thrown balls over the middle are much more likely to be intercepted.
|3 days 18 hours ago||This is a legit issue. I was||
This is a legit issue. I was at the game, in the MSU student section. The last TD was right in front of me. I left disappointed, but I did not know about the clock issue at the time--I just knew that Michigan simply squandered too many possessions with bad offense to win. Because of this, I was slow to anger about the clock gaming, because I believed Michigan hadn't played well enough to win. Of course, back when we won most of the time, I really cared about HOW we looked when we won, and that bled through.
So I considered that issue. The problem is, no matter how ugly Michigan played, they still had a higher score after 60 minutes.
No one cares that Anthony Thomas was rested early with a 20-point lead in 1999 against Illinois, just that. We lost. No MSU fans lament that their 1990 win is less meaningful because there was an uncalled penalty. 2002 OSU fans aren't shaking their hands in angst because we out gained them that year or because Miami really should've won due to that phantom PI. All that matters is the W or the L. Michigan didn't play well in 2001, but there is an L because of a timekeeping error, not because of that play.
|4 days 8 hours ago||The media environment||
The media environment continues to change. One of the reasons Navarre received so much criticism was that the interwebs, talk radio, and national television made his play more accessible and made commenting easier than it had ever been. Steve Smith surely got criticism in his day, but it was in a time when you couldn't even watch all of his games, a time before ESPN highlights and 24-hour sports talk and message boards.
Navarre endured all of that, and did so for a national championship winning coach that received very limited criticism (though it certainly did exist at the time). He was the focus. Certainly Gardner played at a time where the media landscape provided even more potential for criticism, particularly the personalized format of social media, but his coaches were much more embattled. The coaches and the AD were the true focus of fan wrath, and that kept Gardner from even worse treatment.
|4 days 8 hours ago||A bit late to chip in here,||
A bit late to chip in here, but:
I don't think waiting to talk with a spouse about a massive life change job is at all a bad idea. A guy who cares about his family is not somehow less of a man for doing that. Makes sense that Hoke would wait.
Also, as much as we want to look down on DB for everything, is it proper for an athletic department staffer of any kind to furnish privileged academic information to a person who is not under contract? I could see that being a problem. It's possible DB was just being prudently cautious there.
|4 days 12 hours ago||Lets have some fun here. For||
Lets have some fun here. For starters, contra a couple responses, Martin wasn't fishing. He was sailing on his Santa Cruz 70 racing yacht.
But I have no doubt whatsoever that he knew exactly what he was doing when he boarded Stripes that week. He did not want to hire Les Miles. He had to deal with the different pressures in a smooth way. And he did it by vacating the premises.
And he was right. Would Miles have been the right fit here? A man who openly disregards any sort of genuine discipline for players known to be involved in violent altercations? A coach who takes brilliant offensive talent and produces offenses that cannot score (hey, sounds familiar). A coach who thrives in the ultra-corrupt SEC at the head of a program that is as likely to be rife with cheating as any in the country? Two scenarios were available: he came to Michigan, cleaned up to honor Bo, and was exposed as a so-so coach who couldn't win without the rich SEC talent advantages; or, he came to Michigan, continued to flout the rules, and got fired either for protecting a domestic abuser (not cool in places like Ann Arbor) or blatant violation of NCAA rules, whichever event the not-as-compliant-as-the-South local media came across first.
I believe that, based upon what was known at the time, Rodriguez was the best choice for the position. I think Martin's unorthodox and flawed search eventually wound up in the right place. And I believe Martin was, overall, good for Michigan.
|4 days 12 hours ago||I apparently remember the Les||
Edit. Saw wrong response, sorry.
|4 days 13 hours ago||The problem with the 2007||
The problem with the 2007 coaching search is that you don't always have a good selection to pick from. It's like the quarterback class in the NFL draft every year--some years you've got Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger to pick from, and they're all good choices. Other years you're sifting through a putrid new release rack and trying to talk yourself into Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder.
In 2007 Michigan was looking at: Greg Schiano, who is the guy that had good stats because he played in a system with a bunch of great athletes; RichRod, the superstar with all of the tools but two bad ACLs; a nobody from a division 2 school with no track record that's the GM's nephew but says he doesn't like you (Jim Harbaugh, who went 4-8 at Stanford and would have been great but who no reasonable person would have pursued at the time); and Les Miles, the guy with the rocket arm and a coke problem whom you're not sure wasn't involved in a shady sexual assault complaint last spring.
There's no way we could have known Harbaugh was the only good choice. Just glad we fixed it this time.
|4 days 13 hours ago||One thing I lament about this||
One thing I lament about this article is that I lacked the time (my schedule is tight for this kind of writing) and the space to go into the specifics of his playing style. And I wish I had, because I think the visual descriptions would have made it a better read. Navarre had a very distinctive physical presence: that wide shuffle in his footwork, that awkward low point release, the slow delivery (it was the length of delivery that resulted in so many deflections, I think--plenty of time for a defender to see the motion and anticipate the ball trajectory). He didn't have a lot of touch on the ball, and his 20-yard throws over the middle were rising darts that originated the entire concept of Tacopants.
Yet he also learned to throw a gorgeous deep ball and when he was on, especially late in his career, he could thread some tight windows. He learned to manage his body. It just took him a couple of years to sand off the rough edges, and thanks to some unfortunate roster issues, it happened on national television.
|4 days 13 hours ago||Only in that (as Hoke said)||
Only in that (as Hoke said) Many of Michigan's goals were still technically achievable, in much the same way that they were achievable for Purdue and Illinois. We all watched what happened against Notre Dame and Utah; the losses to come were inevitable.
|4 days 13 hours ago||Disagree. Martin wasn't||
Disagree. Martin wasn't perfect, but he's not even on the same planet as DB. People still hold some leftover hard feelings from the 2007 coaching search, and that might be where this comes from, but knowing what we now know about it, I believe Martin managed to salvage it pretty well. Of course, RichRod turned out not to work, and Martin erred in not paying assistants properly, but would I go back in time and get Les Miles, knowing what we know?
No. Absolutely not.
|4 days 13 hours ago||The idea of an AD dictating||
The idea of an AD dictating HOW HE COACHES to a coach is so noxious to me that I have trouble agreeing with this, even after the revelation of everything we know. But I have to apply Occam's Razor here and it's pretty clear that SOMETHING made Hoke decide that the only way to coach Michigan was a "certain style." DB is as likely as anything.
That would explain the chaos and the systemic failure that infected a number of experienced and capable coaches and appeared to turn them into complete incompetents. It explains why the offense continued to regress after Borges, allegedly the problem, was fired. And it also explains much of Hoke's decision making, and many of his errors. Of course, the Gibbons situation looks pretty obvious, too.
One might ask, "why are you acting like what you're saying is significant? A lot of this is old news." Because I was a DB supporter for a long time. Argued in his favor here, or at least argued against uncharitable interpretations of his actions. Even after I stopped, I scoffed at ideas like the ones forwarded by Alton.
But the evidence is impossible to ignore. I was wrong.
|4 days 13 hours ago||Not sure whether the Shane||
Not sure whether the Shane decision came from Hoke or from DB, but it seemed that once the decision was made they really wanted to give him a chance to sink or swim. If the injury hadn't happened, he would have gotten a full game to show exactly what he was capable of. It did, as was perhaps anticipated as a possible consequence, make the choice to play DG for the rest of the year a lot clearer.
Either way, the move was a clear admission of the obvious, that the 2014 football season was already toast. Because it was a move based on 2015.
And, while I remain as horrified as all of us were at the time regarding how Shane was handled following his head hit, nobody can deny that 2015 became a lot clearer as a result, in many different ways. Wish it hadn't taken a serious violation of Shane's safety to do it.
|4 days 13 hours ago||This is a bit vague in the||
This is a bit vague in the OP--it sounds like a caller (who could be anyone) said this, and all Bacon said was that he couldn't get into it. If so, that's a pretty flimsy thread to hang a theory on. Which is not to say that it is implausible, just that fourth-hand information like this is pretty corruptible even from reliable sources.
I do put a lot of stock into things Bacon does say. He has enormous credibility within our niche, built upon years of strong reporting and validated through multiple pull-no-punch books that have given close and (so far) uncontradicted glimpses into the deepest recesses of the program. That both proves that he reports good stuff, and provides a natural shield against him engaging in baseless speculation, since there's no way he will blow years of cred to float theories that aren't backed by real facts.
So when Bacon talks, we listen. Interested to get clarification on what he actually said here.
|5 days 3 hours ago||Drove past Utah? Past Salt||
Drove past Utah? Past Salt Lake City? Because Utah is not exactly a flat state.
|5 days 3 hours ago||So it seems that Utah is||
So it seems that Utah is focused and "up" for the game. Oh well. I guess it's too much to ask for a team to casually overlook a season opener against a traditional power with a new coach who has been the celebrity of college football for the last 8 months.
|6 days 16 hours ago||They beat Georgia, too, and||
They beat Georgia, too, and came close to taking down FSU in the conference title game. Their QB (I forget his name) is a terrific option QB and they have a lot of good pieces. Seems like a fair starting point.
|1 week 5 hours ago||In 2008, not exactly the dark||
In 2008, not exactly the dark ages, Oklahoma was blowing everyone out. Bloodlettings. And they had guys like Demarco Murray in the backfield.
Sam Bradford threw for over 4800 yards.
In 2010, Jim Harbaugh used Andrew Luck less than Lloyd Carr used John Navarre in 2003 with a Doak Walker winner behind him (similar yardage FWIW).
I can understand someone inferring from my somewhat awkwardly worded "under wraps" comment that I was implying a Neolithically reactionary offensive strategy, which is not the case. But it is clear from the stats and results that Harbaugh did not unleash his protege's talent in the aggressive fashion found in programs run by other offense-oriented coaches.
And, to me, the implications of that truth on Michigan's decidedly unimpressive quarterback stable are clear.
|1 week 11 hours ago||That's a good question.||
That's a good question. Obviously, I would love a season like that. But let's keep the larger picture in view here. Harbaugh, a solid offensive guy, had at his disposal a player that most believed (correctly) would be taken #1 overall in the NFL Draft. And in a conference known for offensive fireworks, in an age where top QBs routinely break 4000 and even graze 5000 yards, Stanford averaged 258 ypg in the air. Good, yes, but not mind blowing.
I watched them a fair amount that season. Luck, of course, could air it out quite well. But Harbaugh was also perfectly content to pulverize opponents on the ground, and games like the PAC opener against UCLA and a mid-season tryst against Wazzoo saw Luck pass for less than 200 yards each. Watching Stanford to see what Luck was all about involved a lot of waiting for long-yardage situations, since they were quite capable of running between the tackles on every play. Stanford averaged just under 30 passes a game, while running it more than 41 times a game.
With a HOF-level talent at QB. And it wasn't wrong, as evidenced by their record.
Players of that caliber usually command a more centralized role in college offenses. Point being, if Harbaugh was that conservative with a once-in-a-generation talent, we can expect far more reserve with this year's roster.
|1 week 11 hours ago||I doubt Harbaugh got much||
I doubt Harbaugh got much production out of his 4-8 Stanford team in 07. And while he had Luck, when his offense was grinding opponents he kept Luck under wraps, limiting production where allowed in the game plan. If he does that with a future HOF QB that he loves, he can do it with a couple of guys he's not sure about.
|1 week 12 hours ago||That's a good point about Rudock, hadn't realized it.||
That's a good point about Rudock, hadn't realized it.
|1 week 12 hours ago||Crucially, the B1G plays in a||
Crucially, the B1G plays in a large number of those games. Gator, Outback, and Citrus are all available (uh, is Gator still New Years?) and the Rose is still a B1G possibility depending upon the playoff.
|1 week 12 hours ago||Yay procrastination fodder1.||
Yay procrastination fodder
|1 week 12 hours ago||My family has adopted UMD||
My family has adopted UMD football as our D-2 alternative. They've been good every year we've been here and the games are fun to watch; hard to find games to attend that don't conflict with Michigan games, though.
|1 week 12 hours ago||I was sort of in that spot||
I was sort of in that spot for a while, especially in the late 90s and early 00s when I could catch the games on the radio and they were kind of the loveable underdog. I went to a game in '01 with my LSU jersey and Michigan hat and actively cheered in the student section. It was infectious.
|1 week 12 hours ago||That's been true of away||
That's been true of away jerseys for years. The classic 80s-90s jersey with the Northwestern stripe had the same idea. This is a throwback to the 70s, of course, but it is also basically the same idea as the one-off Rose Bowl jerseys from the 1/1/93 game that Wheatley put to the sword. Watch the highlights.
|1 week 12 hours ago||This is how it was listed||
This is how it was listed earlier this week. So nothing really new here--they have a listing, but they're not stocked yet.