The TWIS Razor

The TWIS Razor

Submitted by Meeechigan Dan on November 24th, 2010 at 10:06 AM

I can honestly say that, deep inside, I haven’t entertained the idea that Rich Rodriguez should be replaced this year. And, as you all know, Meeechigan Dan was routinely consulted by Bill Martin and, quite frankly, is on David Brandon’s speed dial. It’s a heavy responsibility that I shoulder for all of you.

Last year, firing RR occurred to me more than once during the slide because his offensive genius was theoretical. This year, it is fact. In September, I formally acknowledged this genius, and the lack thereof on the other side of the ball. Fortunately, for the rational, there is perspective…

 

One of my favorite features is This Week in Schadenfreude (TWIS). When any of my teams is winning big games/playoff series, I gluttonously partake in the ‘freude, trolling competitive sites, rarely commenting, but soaking in the complaints about officiating, lucky bounces and questionable coaching decisions like Thomas Covenent in Andelain. Let’s face it, the ‘freude is what it’s all about; it is “Little Brother” and 2-10-1; it is watching damefan1’s videos and was Manningham’s catch against Penn State; it is the coin in which fans are paid for their loyalty.

 

For schadenfreude to have gravitas, a team must dominate over time. Red Wings schadenfreude is classic example; the spitting hatred of the unwashed directed at a dynasty is a fine wine to be enjoyed. Conversely, is such a thing as Lions schadenfreude even possible? No.

MSU currently enjoys a certain cheap ‘freude, like a bad pool player who pockets the nine ball on a lucky combination; no one with a larger view of the contest expects the less-skilled player’s luck to hold up and his “Nyah, nyah, nyah!” will soon be forgotten, decorum will return, and order restored to the universe. On the other hand, OSU has become a stuffy commodities firm trading in an endless supply of Michigan schadenfreude by the container car, moving it from train depot to seaport to FedEx hub with a certain dry efficiency; all we can think about is that, being first to the buffet table of decade long dominance, we didn’t extract our proper, sustaining share of the ‘freude in the 90s and now it’s gone forever, to be quietly laughed at by any Buckeye fan hearing our plea.

I tip my hat to the author of TWIS for obvious reasons, but Mr. Cook deserves subtle credit for something more: TWIS emphatically argues that RR should be retained.

From the narrow view of a football fanatic, the stupidity of the coaching staff always seems like a reasonable proposition and the coaching change “fix” that is universally talked about in TWIS a GPS-equipped life raft floating off the bow of the Titanic. One fanbase’s coaching complaint appears to be justifiable rage and frustration. Collectively, the sameness of fans’ contempt for coaches that had been formerly praised is bipolar.

Look at the last dozen or so national champions:

 

Year Team Coach
1997 Michigan Car
1998 Tennessee Fulmer
1999 FSU Bowden
2000 Oklahoma Stoops
2001 Miami Coker
2002 OSU Tressel
2003 USC Carroll
2004 USC Carroll
2005 Texas Brown
2006 Florida Meyer
2007 LSU Miles
2008 Florida Meyer
2009 Alabama Saban

 

Stoops, Meyer, Brown, Miles, Bowden, Fulmer, Carr and even Tressel. I don’t have the dedication to journey back to those championship years and catalog the glowing quotes describing the brilliance of Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops, the seasoned wisdom of Mack Brown and Bobby Bowden, the eclectic genius of Les Miles, but they exist. And while they have yet to lift the ugliest trophy in sports, we’ve all breathlessly heard about rising stars Brian Kelly, Greg Schiano. Mark Richt, Randy Edsall, Jeff Tedford and, yes, Rich Rodriguez. Glowing comments about brilliant coaches at the peak of their skills.

Urban can't be happy and he can't reload the spread option with a prostyle quarterback. He can't go prostyle with an offense built for the spread option with speed backs. He is stuck in a mediocre second tier hybrid offense. If Urban can't fix this, I expect he will leave. Does anyone see a solution for this year or next year?

This year’s performance is not just the worst job of coaching we have seen in the Mack Brown era, it is without any real question at all one of the very worst coaching jobs in modern football history.  I can’t think of a single instance in which any coaching staff has done less with more talent or inherent program advantages than this staff has accomplished this season.

A combo here!

Is Les Miles a better college football coach than Bobn Stoops?

When Bob looks into the mirror tonight, he will see a glimpse of someone who quit

 

I hate you, Brian Kelly. I hate your fucking lesbian golfer visor. I hate your fucking offense that looks like Oregon’s offense on quaaludes and holds the ball for 2.5 minutes a game. I hate your fucking Dance of the Backup Quarterbacks playcalling system. I hate your fucking Baaaaaahston accent as you blame the players and get high on the smell of your own fucking farts.

(All quotes above taken from the TWIS weekly column.)

And more. From 30,000 feet, I gaze upon the sameness of serious football fans suggesting that once brilliant men have lost that brilliance and become Gerry Faust overnight. William of Occam might suggest that, if a successful coach remains the same and the players change, it’s the players that are responsible for the change in fortunes. Particularly when great players are replaced by young or less talented players.

About mid season, TWIS was a slap in the face for me, a realization that definitely proven coaching commodities do not become dumb overnight. Yes, perhaps there are structural reasons for hard times (the game passing you by [Bowden, Carr], personal issues [maybe Meyer], selecting bad DCs [RR], etc.) and those are fair game; RR’s fate ultimately hangs on his management of the defense, which is, I hope for my mgopoint total, ironic. But RR was a proven coach at WVU authoring one of the most revolutionary performances against Oklahoma, and he has duplicated that offensive success under duress at Michigan. Yes, his decision-making on defense concerns every one of us, but he is responsible for Jeff Casteel (not vise versa), and should have another two years to figure that out.

Gotta go. Brandon is calling.

TomVH: Defensive Recruiting, Who's Left?

TomVH: Defensive Recruiting, Who's Left?

Submitted by TomVH on November 24th, 2010 at 9:48 AM

[Ed-M: bumped from diary - MGoBlog's recruiting editor updates the status of defensive recruitment]

Since Justice Hayes just committed, and there were still people looking around to see if it was ok to ask if he plays defense, I thought I would help them out. Here's a look at who's left on the defensive front for Michigan recruiting.

First, who's committed so far:

2011 Commitments
Name Position Height/Weight Star Ranking
Brennen Beyer DE 6'4", 225 lbs. 4 Star
Demetrius Hart RB 5'8", 190 lbs. 4 Star
Justice Hayes RB/Slot 5'10", 175 lbs. 4 Star
Dallas Crawford DB 5'10", 185 lbs. 3 Star
Shawn Conway WR 6'4", 183 lbs. 3 Star
Greg Brown DB 5'10", 180 lbs. 3 Star
Jake Fisher OL 6'7", 260 lbs. 3 Star
Delonte Hollowell DB 5'8", 162 lbs. 3 Star
Kellen Jones LB 6'1", 209 lbs. 3 Star
Jack Miller OL 6'4", 270 lbs. 3 Star
Tony Posada OL 6'5", 315 lbs. 3 Star
Chris Rock DE/DT 6'5", 250 lbs. 3 Star
Kevin Sousa QB 6'2", 220 lbs. 3 Star

For those counting at home, that's six commitments out of thirteen that are on the defensive side of the ball. There are around 9 spots left, give or take, for Michigan to fill up this class with. These are the current defensive recruits that Michigan has a shot with. 

 

2011 Defensive End Prospects
Photo Name Vitals Hometown Stars Film
Anthony Zettel

6'4", 255 lbs.

West Branch, MI

4 Stars  Junior Highlights
Zettel is waiting until after the season is over to make his announcement. He has already taken his official to Iowa (Nov. 20th), he's visiting Penn State this weekend, and will be at Michigan on December 10th for the Big Chill.
Deion Barnes Deion Barnes

6'5", 230 lbs.

Philadelphia, PA 4 star Deion Runs Fast
Barnes has Michigan in his top five along with Georgia, Penn State, Pitt, and South Carolina. He has mentioned several times he plans on visiting after the season. He may visit for December 10th as well.

 

2011 Defensive Tackle Prospects

Photo Name Vitals Hometown Stars Film
Timmy Jernigan Timmy Jernigan

6'2", 275 lbs.

Lake City, FL

4 Star Junior Highlights
Jernigan has Michigan in his top group with LSU, Alabama, and Florida State. He has made some recent trips to Florida, so I wouldn't count them out. I've been hearing a lot lately about Timmy, and a recruit actually told me that Jernigan really likes Michigan. He's concerned with our defensive scheme, however, so we'll see what happens.
Darian Cooper Darian Cooper

6'3", 275 lbs.

Hyattsville, MD 4 Star Junior Highlights
Cooper is planning a winter visit to Michigan, and outside of Jernigan, is probably Michigan's best option at defensive tackle. His season ended in the WCAC championship game this weekend, so he's now focusing on recruiting.
Mickey Johnson Mickey Johnson

6'1", 310 lbs.

Covington, LA

4 Star Junior Highlights
While Johnson continues to list Michigan in his top group, I don't think he'll end up choosing the Wolverines. His name is still on the radar, but not likely.

 

2011 Linebacker Prospects
Photo Name Vitals Hometown Stars Film
Kris Frost Kris Frost

6'3", 210 lbs.

Matthews, NC

4 Star  Junior Highlights
As everyone knows, Frost just got back from his official visit to Michigan. This visit came at the perfect time for Frost, and for Michigan. He will take officials to LSU and Cal, and is going to try to make it back up to Michigan again before deciding at the US Army game. Frost will be an early enrollee. I included him here for argument sake, since he is also being recruited for receiver.
Desmond Morgan Desmond Morgan

6'1", 225 lbs.

Holland, MI 3 Star Senior Highlights
Morgan is a lifelong Michigan fan, and was beyond excited to receive his offer. He took an unofficial visit with his dad to the Illinois game, and will be back for an official visit on December 10th. He's taking his time, but I expect him to be in this class. If Michigan grabs Morgan and Frost, that will be a nice linebacker haul for the 2011 class with Kellen Jones already on board.

 

2011 Cornerback Prospects 
Photo Name Vitals Hometown Stars Film
Blake Countess Blake Countess

5'10", 170 lbs.

Owings Mills, MD

4 Star Senior Highlights
Countess has a top four of Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State and Michigan. It's been rumored that Michigan is in the lead, but Georgia Tech might be right there with them. Countess plans on visiting December 3rd, and will also be playing in the US Army game.
Daren Kitchen Daren Kitchen

6'1", 170 lbs.

Houma, LA 3 Star N/A
If Michigan missed on Countess, they may finally offer Kitchen. Kitchen has said he's a big fan of Michigan, and would most likely commit if offered. 

 

2011 Safety Prospects
Photo Name Vitals Hometown Stars Film
Avery Walls Avery Walls

5'11", 185 lbs.

McDonough, GA

4 Star Junior Highlights
Walls has already been to Michigan several times, including an official visit for the U Conn game. He has since taken visits to Oregon and Cal. I still think Michigan is in a good position, but I think Oregon has made a good impression on him. Due to an illness in his family he had put recruiting on the back burner. He still plans on taking a few more visits before he announces.
Wayne Lyons Wayne Lyons

6'0", 190 lbs.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 4 Star Senior Highlights
Lyons recently announced that Michigan will get one of his official visits. That was huge news for the Wolverines, as they seem to be climbing up his list. Wayne plans on being up at Michigan on December 3rd, and then out to Nebraska on December 10th. He has already taken visits to Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA. Michigan is making a move with the talented safety.
Karlos Williams Karlos Williams

6'2", 210 lbs.

Davenport, FL

5 Star 2010 Spring Game
I'm including Karlos on this list because he still maintains that he will visit Michigan. The visit will probably take place in January. I've heard that it's not likely he will switch from FSU, but there's at least a small chance. He has been recruiting hard for FSU, so don't get your hopes up, but who knows what could happen with a visit.
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix

6'2", 190 lbs.

Orlando, FL

5 Star Junior Highlights

I'm including Ha'Sean for the same reason that I'm including Karlos, he still plans on visiting Michigan. I have heard that there's a small chance that he changes his mind from Alabama. Don't get your hopes up here either, but with his teammates selling Michigan and his visit you never know.

Michigan obviously doesn't have enough room to take everyone, and they're still looking for a few more offensive positions like tight end and offensive line. Most of the decision time tables for these recruits are after the season, or during the Army All American game. That should give Michigan plenty of time for visits, and a little extra push with coaching visits too.

Tradition and Michigan Football

Tradition and Michigan Football

Submitted by Hail-Storm on November 24th, 2010 at 9:46 AM

There has been a lot of talk on here about how Michigan football is supposed to be played.  What I seem to hear the most is that Michigan football is "3 yards and a cloud of dust" and a pro style offense, and this is how Bo ran the program so we need a Michigan Man to come back and run it that way.  I also hear complaints about how RR should have learned to play how Michigan plays and should have run the program more like Bo, Carr, and Mo. I respectfully disagree.

Before I go to far, a slight background of me. Bo was somewhat before my time. He retired when I was 8 and I only really knew who he was because of some of the stories my parents would tell me about how he would destroy opponents. I have since then, read everyone of his books, and become a huge fan of his as both a coach and a person. I consider my first true Michigan coach  to be Carr, and I loved the way he ran his program, and would defend him against his detractors.

So why do I disagree that Bo and Carr's ways were wrong? I don't. They ran the program how they were supposed to run their program, but I disagree that this is what Michigan football is. Our football program has been around for well over a hundred years, and to me it is not defined by only "3 yards and a cloud of dust". It has been defined by men who were innovators, who lead and did not follow (leaders and best).  Yost helped mold and shape the game it is today, by believing 100,000 people would want to watch Michigan play among others. We had the Mad Magicians who ran an innovative offense, that left everyone baffled as to who had the ball. We added wings to our helmets to help our quarterback see our recievers, and were the first to utilize the two platoon system. 

You may not like RR, but he is an innovator to the game. His new type of offense has been copied by many around the country. He knows how he wants his team run, and his offense so far has shown he knows what he is doing.

Hate him for his losses, but don't tell me that Michigan can't be innovative and change.  Michigan has proved over the last century that this is exactly what Michigan football is.

2011 Early Enrollers: Dee Hart & Greg Brown

2011 Early Enrollers: Dee Hart & Greg Brown

Submitted by MGoShoe on November 24th, 2010 at 8:31 AM

In a special to the Freep (print link) Josh Helmholdt of the Wolverine.com expands on his earlier report that Greg Brown is no longer a soft commit ($) and lists Brown and super-recruit Dee Hart as January early enrollers at Michigan.

Fremont (Ohio) Ross cornerback Greg Brown, who became U-M’s first commitment in the 2011 class back in Sept. 2009, is on track to graduate high school and enroll early. He will take his official visit to U-M next weekend, and start classes in Ann Arbor a month later. "I'm just focusing on finishing my high school education next month and in those following couple weeks, I will be enrolling at Michigan to play ball for the Wolverines. I just can't wait to get in the Big House in front of those 110,000 fans and play some football."

Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips four-star recruit Demetrius Hart is likely to play for U-M next year because of his exceptional talent and play-making ability as a running back. The 5-8, 190-pound Hart is the other commitment scheduled to enroll, and having him in spring ball should hasten his first appearance in the Big House.

We knew this about Frost (thanks, Tom), but Helmholdt goes on to list Michigan recruiting targets Avery Walls and Kris Frost as likely early enrollers.

Several of Michigan’s remaining targets in the 2011 class are also planning early graduations, including four-star Georgia safety Avery Walls and Charlotte, N.C., prospect Kris Frost, who took his official visit to U-M last weekend.

Brown's visit to Syracuse appears to have solidified his commitment to Michigan and the early enroller status for Brown and Hart will give them clear head starts on their development.  With Hart likely to compete for the starting RB assignment and Michigan's desparate need for secondary depth, this certainly qualifies as positive news.

When will the staff changes come?

When will the staff changes come?

Submitted by RagingBean on November 24th, 2010 at 2:35 AM

A word of framing up front, this thread (or at least my intent with this thread) is based on the presumption that Rich Rodriguez will be retained as the Head Coach at Michigan but that there will be changes made to his coaching staff. That being said, I think most of us agree that Greg Robinson is not long for Schembechler Hall.

Assuming that the firing of Gerg is a given at this point, when does the ax fall? Will we see it come next week in the immediate aftermath of the regular season? Do we try to bring in a new coordinator in time for the bowl practices/game? Or will we see a temporary DC in the bowl game with the new guy not really arriving until later in the winter?

New Wojo article: somewhat surprising

New Wojo article: somewhat surprising

Submitted by MGoPacquiao on November 24th, 2010 at 1:26 AM

Wojo's latest article makes a pretty bold statement that I didn't expect to see from him before the osu game.

http://www.detnews.com/article/20101124/OPINION03/11240324/1131/sports0…

I'm interested to see the response, since his writing is usually well-taken around here. 

Reports from the Front

Reports from the Front

Submitted by Deep Under Cover on November 24th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

COLUMBUS - Here we are in Columbus in front of a crowd of 10,000 alumni and 75,000 trucker drivers' children, panic in the streets.

In the week leading up to the legendary Michigan-ohio state bout, students at the poisonous-nut academy take to the streets in a drunken fit to jump in the maybe-once-was-majestic mirror lake.  In a tradition dating back long before most participants were born (circa 1990), students take the plunge in the frigid lake to douse themselves water, manliness, and duck feces.

The lake itself is a man-made pond that was last known to be clean out by this writer 2 years ago.  In the summer it is dark and murky, quite a feet for being approximately 4 ft deep.

While the exact beginnings of the tradition are shrouded in mystery; some believe it started in the twenties, while others report that a mere 4 years ago yielded 100 jumpers, maybe less.

While the origins may remain a mystery, one thing is for certain: it makes so much sense.

"Well, Michigan is our rival, so what better way to show them we will beat them than to jump into this [disgusting] lake" says gym major Jim Kapuna.  For others, however, it is not all fun and games. "I came out with a flesh eating bacteria" says one frosh, while I report "some student was puking in the alley at 8:30."

If nothing else, this tradition shows how this campus comes together for a common enemy.  "Its too cold to jump" says one Silly Putty major, a sure sign of confidence.

While the campus stands together in solitude against the Wolverines, this writer sits in his room, drinking his High Life and listening to the drunken chants of "We don't damn give the Michigan" room, wondering why I am here.

From TJDN News, I am

Deep Under Cover

OT: Pump Up Video for Ohio State Game Last Year

OT: Pump Up Video for Ohio State Game Last Year

Submitted by Sandler For 3 on November 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 PM

So I was trying to find the Al Pacino pump up video that I watched countless times before the Ohio State game last year but I am having no luck. Does anyone know where I can find it? It ends with the "Hellooooo Heisman" sound clip.

If the B10 were to go to 14 teams, why not add the service academies?

If the B10 were to go to 14 teams, why not add the service academies?

Submitted by Communist Football on November 23rd, 2010 at 9:25 PM

According to MGoComrade SeniorBearcat, Dave Brandon said today that he could see the Big Ten expanding to 14 teams over the next few years:

DB sees the Big 10 at 14 teams in the next couple of years, with 16 teams being possible. Only big name teams that have a large market share / successful in sports and in academics. He did not name names, but mentioned only a few schools fit that profile.

If this is true, what could the teams be? Going by big market share in athletics and academics, and geographic contiguity, other than ND, who makes the cut?

With Nebraska in the fold, the geographically contiguous states are: Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.

Here are the I-A (FBS) teams in each of these contiguous states (I am assuming that the Big Ten will not seek to add a team in an existing Big Ten state, because the idea is to expand the television footprint):

WY: Wyoming

SD: None

CO: Colorado, Colorado State, Air Force

KS: Kansas, Kansas State

MO: Missouri

KY: Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Louisville

WV: West Virginia, Marshall

MD: Maryland, Navy

DE: None

NJ: Rutgers

NY: Syracuse, Buffalo, Army

Of these schools, the remotely plausible candidates are Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, and the service academies.

Strong athletics (FB or BB): Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, WVU

Strong academics: Army, Navy, Air Force

Decent TV markets: Missouri, Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Army, Navy, Air Force

Now I know that they don't have the most powerful programs anymore, but how cool would it be to add Army and Navy to the Big Ten? Two old-time college football powers in major East Coast states. Awesome academics and premier research institutions. High-character institutions. Air Force could also fit this bill, but it's a smaller TV market than New York or the DC area.

What say you, Comrades?

Dr. Rodbaugh, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pimp

Dr. Rodbaugh, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pimp

Submitted by Undefeated dre… on November 23rd, 2010 at 9:13 PM

“I find that I don't care about Ohio State at all.” (Brian Cook, 11/23/2010)

Has it come to this? That during this week, the week of Thanksgiving and our unity against the common foe of That Team Down South, our esteemed leader can’t bring himself to care about Ohio State?

Cannibalism may be fun for the short term, but in isolation it’s not a viable long-term survival strategy. To repeat the already-repeated obvious – everyone wants Michigan football to be good on the field, good in the classroom, and good in society. That’s the end, upon which we all agree (though likely with different views on the appropriate mix of those three factors). What we can’t agree on is the most effective means to that end.

All this shouting has become tiresome, and it seems like the site has become a perverse echo chamber. Rodriguez has improved in wins every year… he lacks ‘quality’ wins. The offense has improved… the defense has worsened. The cupboard was bare…the pantry was emptied. Inexperience has been exploited and will improve…experienced bad players are still bad players. The coaches demand the most out of the players… the coaches can’t get the most out of the players. It’s GERG’s fault… it’s the guy who hired GERG’s fault. New blood was needed…the old way worked.

One thing we can learn from economics – when there’s only one dimension to consider, there’s generally an optimal position to maximize total happiness (or utility, or whatever). Imagine a single ice cream stand on a beach full of sunbathers – the optimal location of the ice cream stand is the one that minimizes the total distance that the sunbathers have to walk. But when we start adding multiple dimensions – younger customers are willing to walk further, the demand varies by the weather, some customers will walk further for certain flavors but not for others, there’s an Italian ice stand as well, customers have different amounts they can pay, some ingredients are more costly than others, and you have to pay rent for the beach space, etc. – there no longer is a clear optimum. Furthermore, there’s no mathematical solution – you can only simulate and try to find optima.

We’re at the point where there’s no math, no hard and fast truth, that clearly states the right course of action for the program. We are all finding our local optima and arguing from that point. Sure, some points aren’t actually optimal, but there’s so many of points of discussion that it becomes impossible to determine the truth. (Note: Brian, a comp sci guy, would argue that with enough data processing power the truth can be discerned from all but the most random of data points – but we’re not supercomputers).

What’s the way out of this mess? The Founding Fathers had it figured out – representation. We are, collectively, the muddled masses with a multitude of conflicting, confusing opinions. And so we need a representative to sort it all out. In this case our representative wasn’t elected; he was chosen, but he’s ours nevertheless. And while David Brandon may have some flaws, it’s hard to argue that there’s anyone in the world better suited to be Michigan’s Athletic Director. And it’s his call. Will he make the ‘right’ decision? I don’t know. I do know he’ll make the best decision he can, and he’s the best person to make that decision, and what more can you ask for?

So that’s how I’ve learned to stop worrying and love the pimp (hand). I hope that MGoBlog can remain the blog for many Michigan fans, one that educates, informs, considers, and most importantly has fun in the process. Fight amongst yourselves if you must, but remember that we ALL agree on the end, and it’s OK to disagree on the means. Remember that all but the lamest of arguments have some good points to consider. And remember that if your side ‘loses’, suck it up and move on. Besides, we always have women’s softball. Or is there a firecarolhutchins.com site?