Take a break from deciding our next coach. Enjoy a Monday Night Football game. Alan Branch is starting tonight. I would love to see him give Troy Smith a sack sandwhich a couple times.
Anyone familiar with Harbaugh's recruiting? As far as pipelines and areas where he focuses? According to Rivals, he has the #5 and #7 linebackers committed! One from NJ and one from GA. Also has commits from Texas, Washington, Colorado, New York, Lousiana, Indiana, and more. Does he really recruit that well nationwide? And if so, is this in part due to his NFL ties?
TomVH - can you shed any light on him as a recruiter and what makes him so successful (other than winning)?
So reading some of the message board responses today, I came across this comment and felt I had to respond:
....but the people on this board who are defending RR more so than their University and its fans aren't real fans in my book. "He won't have the arrogance and constant bashing by fans" etc.; this is bullshit. Why don't you guys go follow RR over to whatever school he ends up at if he is fired! (I am in no way a Rich Rod hater. I believe whatever coach is here next year needs to compete for the Big Ten Title next year considering that we have so many returning contributors.
So assuming Harbaugh is hired... he must compete for a Big 10 championship against established teams in our division such as MSU and Nebraska? This is also under the assumption that he gets ALL of his starters back (no transfers?) and no losses in the recruiting market?
You are also assuming the offense makes it back to a top 20 outfit (I'm giving you a little wiggle room) and he's as much a defensive genius as RR is on offense and he turns our D into something respectable at say around top 1/2 in the country?
Oh yeah... and assuming Denard wants to stick around to keep making plays for us (or if Harbaugh will even let him stay at QB) - let's remember that Denard is not a clean passer and a switch to an OSU-type pro offense has not done wonders for the likes of Pryor (who most have said is not meeting expectations), who has more of a pro-style frame/arm than Denard.
If Denard does stay, do we give Harbaugh flack if he DOESN'T implement a spread O? I mean, what fraction of this website's contingent constantly rides RR for not "conforming to his players' skills" in 2008? Your #1 and #3 running back recruits are also in danger because they do not fit the bill of Harbaugh's style of O. Are we willing to lose them and not suffer a drop-off in talent?
If he DOESN'T compete for a Big10 championship next year, is he then on the hot seat for not meeting this expectation? By firing RR, you then set a bar of expectation that by all accounts you MUST apply to the next person in line.
In addition, do we just ignore all of Harbaugh's past indiscretions (DUIs, comments in the media, comments about UM academics) or do we constantly give him a hard time like some have done to RR?
While I don't endorse a preference of whether to keep RR or hire Harbaugh (a case can be made for both and I don't know if I really mind either decision), comments like this are setting a major precedent for the successor. Two sets of rules cannot be applied just because you think Harbaugh is a "Michigan Man".
Reminder - Stanford has played ONE currently ranked team this year and lost handily by 21 (another spread O team similar to M's). He also wasn't a success overnight over there, going 4-8, 5-7, and finally 8-5 in year 3. This is eerily similar to what is going on now here at UM.
So I think we should be cautious at anointing Jim Harbaugh as our Savior because it becomes dangerous when you stand back and look at where our program officially stands at this point. Every transition has its speed bumps.
I have heard from every random acquaintance that wants to rub our recent history in my face (because apparently I'm the reason we haev struggeled recently) that RR's system will not work in the Big Ten. I'm not going to discusss whether or not our our offense was great (my vote is yes), but the other point that is inevitably brought up...that our players (specifically our o-line) is too small for the B10. I posted this chart in a thread I found earlier today, but it is way back on the board now, so I thought everyone who is so inclined could use some ammunition in contradicting this meme.
Below are the weights of the starting o-lines for "power" teams in the Big Ten, as well as Notre Dame:
|M||6'-8", 294 lbs||6'-5", 308 lbs||6'-2", 287 lbs||6'-4", 305 lbs||6'-7", 321 lbs||6'-5", 303 lbs|
|OSU||6'-7", 299||6'-3", 320||6'-5", 293||6'-4", 313||6'-8", 300||6'-5", 305|
|MSU||6'-5", 298||6'-4", 310||6'-5", 285||6'-5", 295||6'-5", 312||6'-5", 300|
|PSU||6'-3", 298||6'-4", 323||6'-3"286||6'-3", 306||6'-4", 310||6'-3", 305|
|Iowa||6'-6", 300||6'-3", 300||6'-2", 275||6'-2", 273||6'-5", 295||6'-3.5", 289|
|Wisc||6'-7", 327||6'-5", 323||6'-5", 313||6'-4", 315||6'-6", 322||6'-5", 320 (!)|
|ND||6'-4", 290||6'-5", 351(!)||6'-3", 301||6'-5", 295||6'-5", 297||6'-4", 307|
|Position Avg.||6'-6", 302||6'-4", 319||6'-3.5", 291||6'-4", 300||6'-6", 308|
- Our Offensive Line is not undersized; in fact if you take our ND's OG (who must make Boren look fit and trim), all of our starters are "average" size at worst
- Holy hell is Wisconsin's line huge!
- Iowa has the "smallest" OL, which I find kind of suprising (corn-fed midwesterners and all)
Info for B10 teams was taken from Rivals depth charts, except Michigan's, which I got from mgoblue.com (because that was the only team I actually knew who the starters were)
I've stated my opinions as to why RichRod deserves another year. But I would like to know more about Harbaugh. What I really want to know: is he an a**hole?
Obviously, that's a provocative way of putting it. But I believe--media and haters aside--that both Lloyd and RichRod are pretty great people. (In fact, I sometimes wondered whether people hated Lloyd because he WASN'T an a**hole. Obviously, people venerated Bo, and Bo loved his boys, but he was indeed--and often--an a**hole, something I happen to know first hand. A lovable one, but often an irascible person and quite hard to work with.)
I know that Harbaugh brings the bloodline; I know that that and winning are what most people care about. I'm not asking people to gossip about Harbaugh so much as--those who know more than I--to sift through some of the crap that's out there and point us toward the truth--links, personal anecdotes, whatever. Because the stories of toilets, womanizing, screaming fits, ratting out our academics--to me--don't go down too well.
Maybe a lot of that is lies, or overblown. A lot of people think RichRod is some kind of ogre, while I've come to believe he's a good guy who really cares about the kids. (In fact, in some ways I've long thought he was almost the quintessential Michigan guy--good person, great football mind, and I believe a lot of people could be saying that a year from now.) What's really up with Harbaugh--anybody know?
Many of you on the board seem to love doing research, because we get a lot of great analysis. As I wallow in my RR job in limbo depression I was wondering if the following has ever happened.
1. Has a coach ever been fired(for performance not being drunk or other off field debacles) after improving his win total by 2 or more the previous 2 years?
2. Has a coach ever been fired after sitting with his Heisman candidate in New York?
3. Has a coach ever been fired after having a top 10 offense in the country?
I hate this coaching talk as much as the next guy. At the same time, IF something happens, do you think Hoke would be on our list? Former D-Line coach when we won the championship and did an excellent job at Ball State and San Diego State. I would say this man would be on our short POTENTIAL list of candidates.
Every Monday during the football season the OSU beat reporter Doug Lesmeris writes a column called for the Cleveland Plain Dealer called "Wolverine Watch". I thought his take on the coaching situation in Ann Arbor today was balanced, unemotional, well-thought out and articulated. In short - none of the things you guys get from the Detroit-based media. I thought the board might enjoy seeing what real reporting looks like for a change.
"You can see how his offense is coming together when he has a guy like Denard Robinson to run it. The defense was young, injured, unsound and atrocious, but making the obvious assumption that the Wolverines will have a new defensive coordinator, that has to get better. The games against Ohio State have been painful, but 7-5 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten is a step up from 8-16 and 3-13 the previous two years.
But think about if Stanford coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh was named the coach today. His mixture of sizzle and substance, of national appeal and Michigan ties, of relative youth (he's 46) and experience (he's 57-27 in seven years as a head coach at San Diego State and Stanford) makes him an almost perfect candidate. When he walks in the door, doesn't Michigan become one of the 10 most intriguing programs in the country? Would anyone doubt his ability to both recruit and rally the entire Michigan community?
This isn't a call that Rodriguez must be fired. If Michigan doesn't have a contract in Harbaugh's hand first, I'm not sure it's worth the risk. To me, the Wolverines have shown enough to move away from any "RichRod must go" talk, no matter how frustrating Saturday was.
But if Harbaugh is ready to leave Stanford, for another college or NFL job, this may be Michigan's one chance. The same option may not be there next year. If that's the case, take Rodriguez out of the equation. Harbaugh may be a must-get for Michigan."
Can Michigan practice longer each day than the NCAA in-season limit during bowl practices that are held on days that school isn't in session? If yes, could they also have done this during Fall Break, even though it's during the season?
Each week I put together a unofficial blog poll entry and as an analysis piece I like to look at each team's record against winning and losing FBS teams. I thought it would be interesting to take those records at a conference level. I also found out something interesting about Michigan's schedule when compared nationally. First conferences
|Avg# FBS Winning Teams Faced|
Hey, so ah, PAC-10 way to get out there and get after it. Oregon and Stanford combined have only faced 7 winning teams (two of which are each other). The other piece of fun here is the mighty SEC falling below the ACC and Big East.
That's great but what did they conferences do against those schedules?
Win % vs FBS teams with winning recoreds
|Win% vs FBS teams with winning record|
So here the SEC gains some respect back by posting a good overall winning percentage. But I think it's safe to say that Big 12 and Big 10 teams should fair pretty well come bowl time.
Now lets get closer to home since we've arguably established that the Big Ten is a pretty good conference.
Let's see how each Big Ten team did against FBS teams with winning records.
So we see that only three teams played as many or more winning teams than Michigan this season. And look as ol Wiscy down there toughing it out with 5 games against winning competition and yet there they go to the Rose Bowl. So Michigan played one of the toughest Big Ten schedules what about nationally.
Of all 120 teams in the FBS 11 faced as many winning teams and only 2 faced more winning teams than Michigan. And of this group Michigan is tied for 5th for the best winning percentage. With only two teams posting winning records. And holy hell ND. I guess that's the price you pay for being independent.
And finally here is a look at teams with winning records against FBS teams Team Games
Anyway, take that for what it's worth. I just found it interesting at how small the number of teams that post winning records against teams that have winning records (26), that Big Ten looks a lot tougher than I thought and really that Michigan's schedule was as tough as it was. Carry on with the coaching debate.