Mailbag! Comment Count

Brian December 19th, 2008 at 1:55 PM

in percentages (or, better yet, in ± with a baseline of 5), how much is Scott Shafer's departure reflective of a poor fit as DC (and thus a tacit admission by Rodriguez that he was an unsatisfactory hire) vs. being indicative of the first the first flowering of potential panic by Rodriguez in the face of booster/fan/media displeasure (a la Auburn & Tony Franklin, as you've illustrated) on a scale that he was unprepared  for. Please discuss.


Ninety percent "poor fit as DC." The Purdue game, which came when the team was 2-6 and had given up 35 points in three of the last four games, with the other game against Toledo, seemed like a breaking point. Michigan installed the 3-3-5, saw it backfire spectacularly, and from there the rift had formed and it was not repaired.

I put very little credence in the idea that coaches give half, or even a tenth, of a damn about what's said about them in the media or amongst fans. That's only relevant at the point where you get dragged into the athletic director's office and he says "some assistants go or you do." Michigan is a school that gave Tommy Amaker six years and would have let Lloyd Carr return for as long as he pleased no matter what happened against Ohio State: ultimatums did not happen.

Brian, you've probably already addressed this, but if 2005 was the Year of Infinite Pain, what was 2008?

I'm partial to the construction adopted by Auburn fans: 2008=DEATH.

Various questions on recruiting, all from one email:

How does the amount of verbal decommits stack up to other programs?  This has to be a somewhat common occurrence throughout the country?
Michigan's decommitments (Newsome, Barnes, McNeal, Fera, and Campbell) are more plentiful than any school out there that hasn't undergone a coaching change this offseason. It's an unusually high number nationally.
How does the number of decommits this year compare to other years under Carr? Or is this more than UM is used to?
That's not an entirely fair question. There's been a vast increase in verbal decommitments over the past few years. Coaches are pushing for commitments earlier and earlier, and getting them, which means there are a lot more kids who can change their minds and they've got a lot more time to ponder.
So, yeah, there have been a lot more decommits than is normal, but every program can say that.
I realize every UM fan in the blogosphere overreacts & is shocked when a kid decommits, but don't you think the coaching staff rates each verbal commit differently?  When Newsome committed, I hope the coaching staff had him as a "soft" commit & were not shocked when he dropped us?  As opposed to say when a Thomas Gordon committed - they coaches would have to believe this is a rock solid commit.  I would think the coaches know what kids are not yet 100%, even thought they gave a verbal & still need some recruiting.
Absolutely. There was some discussion of this even before Newsome officially decommitted. Michigan's continued pursuit of Tate Forcier despite having two quarterback commitments seemed odd at the time, but in retrospect it was clear the coaching staff placed zero faith in the Newsome commit and were recruiting like it didn't exist. That allowed Michigan to pick up a guy rated at the same level something like two days after Newsome opened his recruiting up.
Meanwhile, the Barnes "decommit" looks like a mutual decision. There were rumors he was less than solid a month ago, which is plenty of time for Michigan to follow up with him and make him feel comfortable. They didn't do so, and you have to believe that's by choice. I wonder if they weren't thrilled with his senior year film.
Other decommits caught Michigan in a lurch: Michigan didn't seem to have a lot of irons in the fire at outside WR when McNeal bolted, and they're still looking for a replacement even after Cam Gordon's commitment.
Don't some verbal commitments nowadays constitute a "leader in the clubhouse" for a lot of kids?
Yes. They're turning the tables on college coaches, who press for earlier and earlier decisions; kids are now locking down their scholarship offer and surveying the field. Which is fine. They lose all power after Signing Day, so they might as well enjoy it while they can.
Something not directly asked: how much will these decommits hurt the recruiting class?
  • Newsome: not at all. Michigan replaced Newsome with an equivalent prospect in Tate Forcier. (Newsome started the recruiting cycle ranked way high but has dropped steadily since; he didn't even start for Hargrave this year.)
  • Fera: little. Michigan replaced Fera with a near-equivalent in Brendan Gibbons. Also: kickers are crapshoots.
  • Barnes: little. Guy is a three-star who is probably going to end up at Purdue for lack of better offers. Michigan can get a dozen of those kinds of players.
  • McNeal: considerable. McNeal is a top-100 talent to everyone and Michigan is not going to replace that in this class unless they snake oil some kid unexpectedly.
  • Campbell: either not at all or enormously, depending on whether he recommits.

Overall: there's a ding from the McNeal departure and if Campbell doesn't rejoin the fold it'll be a huge disappointment; other than that the decommit hullaballoo is a lot of hype with little impact.



December 19th, 2008 at 2:12 PM ^

Just as the war of 1914-18 stopped being called the "Great War" after an even bloodier war happened a generation later, so it is time to retire the name "Year of Infinite Pain" for 2005. 7-5 was painful but considerably less so than 3-9.


December 19th, 2008 at 3:00 PM ^

Wasn't there a Simpsons episode that had a Children of the Corn-type movie in it called "The Redeadening"? I think that name would be quite appropriate to describe 2008.

Of course, if 2009 is a replay of 2008, it might be more appropriate for 2009...but I refuse to accept that as a possibility.


December 19th, 2008 at 6:25 PM ^

So I guess he was serious when he said he was just using Michigan to see who would stick with him.

***ok, new info conflicts this, but needless to say this is a kid to keep an eye on


December 20th, 2008 at 6:38 PM ^

I think with the expectations in '05, that could be considered year of infinite pain, and I feel death is a good one for this year (any expectations for this year's team were ill-advised). To be reborn, first you have to die.


December 21st, 2008 at 1:27 AM ^

I was thinking of it more sense of simply changing or transforming. But you're right that it's usually associated with something grotesque, in which case this was the year of transmogrification.

I should have said transfiguration, which goes better with the metamorphosis or resurrection theme. So next year could be the year of transfiguration and 2010 could be the year of resurrection.


December 21st, 2008 at 6:11 PM ^

Just to let everyone know, Newsome did start at QB for Hargrave in every game this year.

Hargrave actually has three football teams, JV. varsity and what's called a post-graduate team. Newsome played for the post-graduate program team so technically he didn't play for Hargrave High School's Varsity team, but he did start for the postgrad team, which plays against other teams comprised of college bound athletes, the best in the country.

This information is completely false and a lie.