Bright, Sunshiny Unverified Voracity Comment Count

Brian February 10th, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Site update. It took a little longer than we thought it would but we have restored commenting abilities for IE users. This serves as your regular reminder that you should switch to Chrome or Firefox. Also, users should be able to upload avatars again. Also I updated the "MGoElsewhere" menu a bit so it contains links to twitter feeds for both Tim and Tom.

jordan-morgan

Chris Ryba/Daily

The destruction of the innocents. Basketball beat Northwestern 75-66 yesterday as Jordan Morgan went ham (11 of 13, 27 points) against the Phantom of the Opera and John Shurna failed to exist. Shurna's been limited much of the season and apparently picked something new up recently. His last three games are a DNP against OSU and two games in which he played around 25 minutes but only attempted 5 field goals. Michigan may have gotten a little fortunate there.

I don't have a ton to say that UMHoops didn't cover in the link above but some praise is in order for Morris, Hardaway, and Douglass for setting up Morgan's monster night. Almost all of Morgan's baskets were assisted and even on the ones that weren't his teammates were setting him up in excellent position. Example: Douglass had an excellent post feed—in a year when any post feed is a rarity—that allowed Morgan to immediately spin baseline for a layup. Northwestern's D is terrible so this may stand as a career game for Morgan but it was good to see him be so efficient after that Ohio State game where going up soft cost Michigan badly. Morgan started the game off in similar fashion before becoming ruthless.

Meanwhile, at one point I exclaimed "shoot that!" when Hardaway passed up an open three. Progress all around. I wasn't even that mad about the terrifying Northwestern run because it was four straight three pointers, two of them challenged to the point where there could have been a foul.

Kenpom moved a bit afterwards. Not losing a game Michigan was only mildly favored in pushed the season prediction to almost exactly 17.5-13.5 and increased the chance of reaching 9-9 and therefore the bubble to 16%. Slightly beating the prediction moved Michigan up to 52nd, one spot behind Michigan State.

More fodder for next year's optimism. The Only Colors tracks an individual stat called PORPAG that sort of mimics baseball's VORP. (The usual caveats that basketball is a team game and you don't know about defense, etc., apply.) A quick glance at their top 15 shows Darius Morris sixth. That's excellent. More excellent still is that only four players in the top 15 are going to be around next year: UW's Jordan Taylor, Morris, Shurna, and IU's Jordan Hulls. The rest are seniors or Jared Sullinger. So not only is Michigan returning everyone but the rest of the Big Ten is getting hammered by graduation.

This is not a throwdown. So one part of the now confusingly diverse Maize 'n' Brew crew got sick of my repeated assertions that The Process was the worst way to acquire any new head coach, Brady Hoke or not. The result was this very long post that asserts Michigan's most recent recruiting class is "awesome" and makes other arguments that I don't even know what to do with. Since that post's been disputed by another of that site's contributors and effectively countered by a long message board thread here that's surprisingly light on snark and image macros. I'll forgo a response (other than, you know, this) because Mets Maize made it pointless:

One Small Step for Hoke, One Giant Leap for Hokeamania

There you go: the events of the last month delivered with maximum pith. Nothing has changed the fact Michigan had a candidate pool of one in their coaching search that started in January that they were probably going to start no matter the result of the bowl game.

Hopefully we'll start seeing some reason for optimism other than Mattison soon. Nothing in the intervening weeks qualifies, not even Jason Whitlock's endorsement.

Wasted effort. The Sporting News's Dave Curtis went to some trouble to find out that converting third downs is a good idea. It's gotten play a few places because it's February 10th and the long hard college football offseason has started. I don't like this because I am all mathy and stuff and this…

All five BCS bowl winners ranked among the nation’s top 13 teams in third-down differential. The differential statistic, not officially computed by the NCAA, takes a team’s third-down conversion rate on offense and subtracts its opponents’ third-down conversion rate.

…is not useful at all. "Drives are good," it says.

Worse, it places undue emphasis on third down itself when first and second down are equally, if not more, important. This has unfortunately succumbed to linkrot but back in the day I did an analysis of third downs by distance and frequency, coming to the unsurprising conclusion that short was good and great third down conversion rates are often more indicative of what you did before third down than anything else. Just looking at third down rates is goofy because first and second down contribute to the distance you have to go—you're really looking at "first and second and third down conversion rate," which is fine if you want to look at that. Just don't make it seem like third down is really really important when your number doesn't control for the effects of first and second.

Old news. I got distracted writing posts on the 4-3 and Tim Hardaway that ballooned into way longer thing than I thought they'd end up being, so some items fell through the cracks. You've seen these already if you read anything other than the front page here.

One: Wojo interviewing Brady Hoke. Amongst the increasingly familiar Passion For Michigan, Denard As NFL Vick, and Tremendous Toughness segments were a couple of things that are not familiar. One was Hoke saying he was "pissed off" at Michigan's factionalism the past three years, which is a refreshingly blunt way for a coach to say anything. The other was the admission that beer had a role in shaping Hoke's physique:

Q. Did you just drop a hint you were a bit wild back in your college days?

A. Uh, yeah, for two years I really didn't have the best goals in mind. I wanted to play football and try to drink every beer in Muncie, Ind. And I tell parents that on visits.

I'm trying to ignore the bit that follows wherein "funnest" gets deployed. Football coaches and grammar, man.

Hoke comes off as likeable, down to earth, etc. Even if you're of the opinion that ADs tweeting out old Jason Whitlock articles as evidence in favor of anything is awful, at least the guy he hired has a solidly positive rootability factor.

BONUS:

Q. How often do you chew a kid's tail?

A. Oh, usually daily.

Do yourself a massive favor by taking that out of context.

Two: De-emphasizing Denard, a little bit. This is almost a week old and has the freshness of Abe Vigoda but:

"To a degree … we're blowing a lot of it up," new Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "In our offense, I don't see Denard rushing for 1,700 yards, and I told him that. But I could see him rushing for 1,000 yards, and I could see him throwing for that 700 or 800 he didn't rush for."

Hives hives hives hives hives… mmm smaller, treatable hives. Borges later praises Denard's completion percentage as a couple other coaches make noises about a running game that looks "a little different" and emphasizes more "downhill" running. It then throws this in at the end:

Michigan was eighth nationally in total offense, averaging 488.69 yards, 13th in rushing (234.54), 25th in scoring (32.77) and 36th in passing (250.15).

…and returns ten starters. I'll come around on Al Borges after he's got a tall strapping fellow bombing it for 10 YPA but the chances I don't spend next year bitching about the misapplication of Denard Robinson are slim. I'm not even sure how you get him 1,000 yards if he's taking snaps from center. You can only run so many waggles and Incredibly Surprising QB Draws. As always, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Hoke uber alles.

Etc.: Michigan picks up a 2013 hockey commit; JT Compher is a forward from Illinois who seems high-end, like first-round OHL pick and easy NTDP pick high-end. We'll see if that holds up as he ages. Mets Maize on the Northwestern game. More justified hockey grumbling. Spring game will be April 16th. Michigan football documentary series planned. The Wolverine Blog points out that the guys who "couldn't shoot ever" now can and that's probably another thing we can add to the list of reasons Darius Morris is awesome. Scot Loeffler becomes Temple's OC.

Comments

Needs

February 10th, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

Shurna got blasted into the basket stantion against Minnesota on a layup attempt. Opened up a big gash near his eye and gave him a concussion to go with the ankle problems he was already having.

Hoke-A-Hey

February 10th, 2011 at 4:04 PM ^

There are other ways and formations we can use to get him the ball in favorable situations. Don't just assume we will be under center all the time for those qb designed runs. I want to see his footwork during the spring game, that will say a lot about how smoothly the transition will go for him in this style offense. Denard is such a hard worker I can't see him failing at anything he puts his mind to. Very excited for this new era of Michigan football.

Erik_in_Dayton

February 10th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

I think that either Hoke or Borges said something about putting in read plays for Denard. This seems like it may be more than talk because San Diego St. ran a play last year that looked like a zone read in terms of what the QB and RB were doing (I realize that the line wasn't zone blocking).  The QB would hand off to the RB and then run around the end as if he still had the ball.  I'm sure that he wasn't reading the end and would never have kept the ball, but the play was meant to give the impression that he might.   

I'm guessing that it wouldn't be too hard to turn that play into a true option in which the QB could keep the ball when the end crashed down.  Maybe there's something about what San Diego St.'s line was doing that I don't understand that would make this impossible, so I can't be sure.

 

cp4three2

February 10th, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

"Borges explained to Robinson he was taking too much of a pounding, and wants him to be the leader of a more-balanced offense that incorporates more tailbacks, tight ends and receivers, behind a rugged line."

 

That's why he doesn't want him running so much and having your best player not get hammered by opposing defenses is pretty smart.  

WM Wolverine

February 10th, 2011 at 4:59 PM ^

I believe the majority of running plays end with contact. He came here because of the offensive philosophy in place and was used to his fullest potential. It goes without saying that weird al is a much better offensive mind then RR. I am sure once he instills "ruggedness" and "300 lbs" he can then teach Denard to not get tackled. Denard got hurt trying to score on every play. His maturation alone will lead to less contact in identical situations as he takes whats there and gets the rest on the next play.

michgoblue

February 10th, 2011 at 5:18 PM ^

It is essential that Denard take less of a pounding.  Why?  Because as tough as he is and as much as I likes to run (and is willing to take a pounding), but around the mid-point of the season, he was very banged up, which hurt both his running and his throwing. 

And even if you are correct that Denard's maturation will reduce his beating because he will presumably know when to run out of bounds or slide, this will only have so much of an effect, as most of the beatings that Denard took were on shorter runs where he was drilled by a LB.  Every run presents a risk that our best player will be dinged up, or worse, seriously injured.  If we lose Denard, we are back to a first year starter in Devin Gardiner - not a good thing.  Recognizing this risk does not mean that we do not run Denard - it means that we cut down on his runs so that (1) we decrease the # of chances for injury, and (2) maybe actually surprise teams when he does run.

In my mind, when you have a QB with Denard's speed who can actually throw, they are most deadly when deployed in the same manner as 2006 Troy Smith or 2010 Michael Vick - running a pro set, but knowing that if the O-line doesn't hold up and pressure breaks through, they can take off and turn a sack into a gain of 8-15 yards.  Re-watch the 2006 OSU game or just about any Eagles game from this past year and see how effective the mobile QBs were in such a scheme.  Of course, that is not to say that we don't mix in some designed runs, as the threat of these runs will keep defenses guessing.

PurpleStuff

February 10th, 2011 at 5:36 PM ^

Troy Smith ran for 228 yards (3.8 per carry) and 1 TD in 2006.  That should not be a benchmark for Michigan in 2011.  Denard has already rushed for over 2,000 yards in his career and hit 6.6 per carry this past season (despite the worry that defenses knew what was coming and keyed on him).  Smith topped 1,100 after four years.  Denard is a much better runner than Troy Smith was in college.

In college, Mike Vick completed 54% of his passes as a sophomore.  He threw 9 TD and 7 INT.  Denard threw the ball a lot more, completed 62% of his passes, and still managed more yards per attempt.  Denard is a much better passer than Vick was in college.

Something like a junior Vince Young should be the benchmark.  Throw for 3,000 yards (if Denard can just play the full season and equal Tate's production from the time he missed he does that easily), complete a high percentage (Young hit over 65% which seems very doable for Denard considering Young wasn't nearly as accurate earlier in his career as Denard was last year), AND rush for over a thousand yards while cutting about 100 carries from his total from last year.

funkywolve

February 10th, 2011 at 6:57 PM ^

Good call on Troy Smith in 2006.  The OSU offense definitely evolved as Smith became more accomplished as a passer.  In 2004, OSU used Smith in the running game a lot more than they did in 2006.  By 2006, Smith was a pretty good college passer and OSU had a good stable of running backs behind that he could hand off to.

Eye of the Tiger

February 10th, 2011 at 9:13 PM ^

EXACTLY.  Let's dwell on that comparison a little bit longer.  Sophomore Denard was electric, our best player, a fairly accurate passer and a dynamic runner.  But he was also turnover prone, particularly at soul-destroying moments, and a whole lot of drives just died.  This is why we were 8th in total yards and only 13th in scoring.  

Texas in 2005 was 3rd in total yards and 1st in scoring.  Is there anyone who would rather take 8th/13th over 3rd/1st?  What about 13th/8th?  That's probably a more realistic goal, but I think becoming a more efficient scoring offense is what Borges is talking about.  

Texas in 2005 used both West Coast style offensive plays from formations with VY under center and zone-read plays from shotgun formations.  This is what I HOPE to see next year.  Borges, after all, isn't going to be stupid and think Denard is Navarre.  But a lot of questions remain.  I'm not sure why he hasn't made the obvious reference to VY himself.   After the last 3 years, I'm weary of "system offenses" and would like our coaches to approach the offense with flexibility.  That means mixing it up to keep opponents on their toes.  Running things like zone-read out of the shotgun from time-to-time, even if it's not a West Coast set.  Scoring quickly at times, and grinding out long, defense-destroying drives at others.  Like Texas in 2005.  

 

Eye of the Tiger

February 10th, 2011 at 11:24 PM ^

Thanks for the correction.  I'll make the change in an edit.

EDIT: I would, but can't anymore.  So I'll just say it here:

We were 8th in total yards and 25th in total scoring.  Wouldn't we rather be something like 19th in yards and 14th in scoring? Or, as I said in the earlier post, 13th and 8th?  

Remaining prolific but taking a moderate step down in terms of yards, in exchange for a rise in points scored and fewer turnovers/better 3rd down conversion, etc. is I think an attainable goal for the Borges offense.**  

But if Borges is too system oriented, to the point of ignoring the things we already do well, we'll take a step down in both categories.  Obviously this is what Brian is afraid of, and it's a legitimate concern.  But Borges and Hoke have to know at this point that the alumni expect a LOT out of our offense, and particularly out of Denard.  I have a hard time seeing them as so thickheaded that they wouldn't use Denard as Denard.  Borges' statement is essentially saying "we're going to keep Denard as Denard, but hopefully use his legs a little more sparingly, and develop his arm and reads to compensate."  In other words, they'll still use Denard as Denard, but also a bit like Vince Young.  

 

 

**Or--OMG FAIRY DUST TIME--3rd and 1st like Texas 2005, FOR THE WIN!!!

gbdub

February 11th, 2011 at 12:22 AM ^

The problem with arguing about efficiency is that I don't think the scoring inefficiency was at all endemic to Rich Rod's scheme (see 2007 WVU) - I doubt he had plays designed to throw the ball to the other team or to fumble the ball on the 10. It's not like we chose to favor yards over scoring, and Borges can just flip that.

Denard will improve his decision making and mehanics - he was a FIRST YEAR STARTER, which everyone seems to forget. On the other hand, Borges' scheme will put more pressure on Denard to thread throws to covered receivers, make multiple passing reads, and make quick tosses from the pocket - this could lead to more interceptions / incompletions. Hopefully Denard's continued improvement and general awesomeness outweigh the higher difficulty (in terms of passing, anyway) of a more West Coast style offense.

Eye of the Tiger

February 11th, 2011 at 12:59 AM ^

I'm not blaming Rich Rod's "system" for our scoring inefficiency, at least not only.  Systems emerge for a reason, usually massive success at several places and times.  RR's spread-n-shred was very efficient (10th in scoring, 17th in yards), as you say, at WVU in 2007.  The variation on spread-n-shred that Oregon ran was incredibly efficient in terms of scoring in 2010.  

On the other hand, it was not so during his 3 years here.  Why?  A plethora of possible reasons, many of which were outside the offensive scheme.  The kicking situation this past year is one of them, and has nothing to do with how the offense was run.  Denard as turnover-prone-first-year-starter is another.  Vince Young was much more turnover prone in 2004 than 2005, for comparison's sake.  Fairly crappy performances from our brittle RBs, especially on obvious running downs, is a third.  A historically bad defense, and consequently endemic bad field position is a fourth.  

On the other hand, there were tons of situations, in the Big 10, when we couldn't get anything going.  That happens to everyone, but I didn't see a lot of adjustments or flexibility in offensive playcalling to adjust when we were stymied.  For the record, this is the same thing that drove me nuts during the Carr/DeBord days.  Despite some late-game surges, we couldn't catch up to the teams that build big leads on us during these moments.  

The thing is, though, I'm not actually trying to make an argument about Rich Rodriguez .  I'm making an argument about what we might reasonably expect from Al Borges' offense in 2011.  I hope we'll see an offense that can go uptempo or grind it out, depending on what the situation calls for.  I hope we'll see an offense that scores more often per drive, that features more high percentage short passing routes (outs and waggles! outs and waggles!) and is much more efficient on 3rd down.  I also hope we'll still see Denard shred it for the big gain enough times that we don't agonize over his being wasted.  Basically, I want to see flexibility and adjustments to situations.    

 

michgoblue

February 11th, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

This is exactly right, and it is even handed.  Even amongst those of us that criticize RR's offense for its failure to perform against the better teams, I think that most of us understand that this was partly, if not mostly, a product of things beyond the control of the offense - i.e. FGs, defense / special teams leaving crappy field position, first year starting QB, brittle running backs, etc. 

gbdub

February 11th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

I agree with most of what you say, and hope for similar things from Borges. That said, isn't "inflexibility" likely to be another product of our young signal caller and "just a guy" running backs, rather than a reflection on RR's offensive scheme?

The spread n' shred is all about options and flexibility. But Denard's mechanics were still shaky, he probably wasn't comfortable with the full playbook, and we didn't have the true scoring threat at tailback to have consistent success with the read option against quality opposition. As a result, we weren't flexible - we had plans A, B, and sometimes C, but no D, E, or F. I think an extra year in the system for Denard plus someone like Dee Hart could have opened up those extra options and made the offense truly deadly.

But that's all in the past. What's still relevant is this: this will be the first year in a new offense for Denard, and once again he probably won't be comfortable with a full playbook. Furthermore, Borges has limited experience with a true dual-threat QB, so he'll be learning too. This may cause our flexibility to actually regress. The question is, which will be more effective: Sophomore Denard in a half-finished RR offense, or Junior Denard in a half-finished Borges offense? (Caveat: both are probably better than Denard in a DeBord offense).

Eye of the Tiger

February 11th, 2011 at 10:16 PM ^

He always says things like "we've got a system that we think can be successful at the highest levels."  Fair enough, and it was at WVU (and at Oregon this year).  But this indicates a certain approach to running an offense.  When I watch his teams (including the WVU offenses), I see a system being implemented.  Sure there's variation in what plays a given offense runs, but I see little in the way of gametime adjustments to situations.  

What I don't want to see is Borges trade one form of "system thinking" for another.  What I do want to see is Borges mix in West Coast routes and formations with the spread-n-shred plays we ran effectively last year.  I want to see the ratio of x to y determined by what the situation requires.  There's been discussion of Texas in 2005 (Vince Young's monster year).  That offense did exactly that, to great effect.  

There are hints that this will be the course Borges takes.  After all, talked about exchanging 500 of Denard's rushing yards for passing yards, and that would put his stats at almost exactly the same level as VY's in 2005.  

M-Wolverine

February 10th, 2011 at 9:54 PM ^

With less hits since Vince Young craps bigger than Denard, but more big plays, because Denard could circle the earth twice in the time it takes Young to get off the blocks. The idea that the run plays are all going to come from under center is either trying to create a narrative, or intentional dense.

michgoblue

February 11th, 2011 at 10:33 AM ^

Purple, these are GREAT points.  Since Borges' hire, I have been pushing the Denard = 2006 Troy Smith comparison.  I didn't realize he ran so sparingly in 2006, so I no longer think that the comparison holds up.  Denard will run a hell of a lot more than this.

One point, however - Smith was a very good runner, so I imagine that the Vest purposely ran him less to avoid injury.  Over Denard's career in 2011 and 2012, as (1) his throwing / decision making matures and (2) we have a running back that can actually get some consistent production, I would expect Denard's carries to decrease, as the risk of injury on every carry still exists, and losing denard would be fatal to the season, even with Devin as his backup.  Not saying that they won't run him, but they will be selective, since most coaches simply don't want to risk injury to their top player.  Smith ran approximately 5 times per game, probably most of which were scrambles, with a few designed runs mixed in.  There is no way that Denard runs 5 times per game, but somewhere around 8-10 is my best guess.

Now, as to the Vick comparison, you are correct - Denard was a much better passer than Vick was in college.  But, my comparison was to Vick version 2.0 - the Eagles version.  In that system, while I don't have his stats, he was highly effective as an under center QB, who used his running ability when the play broke down or when his O line didn't hold up.  The threat of his legs opened up a ton of passing opportunities. 

cp4three2

February 10th, 2011 at 6:47 PM ^

I think it's pretty obvious that Rich was a great offensive mind.  That, however, does not make Al Borges a moron.  I was simply pointing out that the quote Brian used needed to be put into context.  He's not simply saying we're not going to run Denard because our QB's don't run, damnit.  He's got a reason behind it.  

 

Secondly, Denard playing QB means he can't really come out for a play or two the way a runningback can when a RB gets shaken up without hurting the flow of the offense. If having Denard run less means he'll be on the field more that's a positive for this offense because the mere fact that he's out there opens up other players as the opposing defenses have to focus on Denard's long play ability.  When he has to go out because he got popped, it hurts the entire offense much more than him not running the read option 5 plays less a game. That's basically what Borges is saying there.

 

San Diego State was 19th in scoring and 16th in yards last year.  So like I said, sure, he's not Rich Rod, but he's not a fool either.

echoWhiskey

February 10th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

Brian, you've stated several times that Rich Rod was a goner after Ohio State with a reasonable sense of certainty.  Are you basing this on the "Michigan Man" speech from the press conference announcing Hoke and if so, how does that lend creedence to the notion he was gone before the bowl game?  I still think the bowl game demolition played a major factor in the decision, but wonder if I'm missing something.

NateVolk

February 10th, 2011 at 5:06 PM ^

There isn't any evidence he was gone after Ohio State. Maybe the meltdown at the banquet, but maybe that was just a guy out of answers and not able to cope with the reality that he blew every chance he had during the season. (whipped in important league games) The known evidence we have to go on is that he could have saved his job with the Gator Bowl.

 If he wanted to go early, the door wasn't chained from the outside.  Everyone keeps saying the school was trying to jip him 2.5 million. Well if he really knew he was gone, he could have left and not taken the 1.5 he eventually got. Who was taking who? Can't have it both ways.

Remember though, that the "Rodriguez was treated unfairly being left hanging" and "Brandon bungled the search" twin stories, only work if we believe that Rodriguez was definitely gone after OSU.   You also have to believe Brandon is a total liar. People that loved Rodriguez fanatically are more apt to easily believe that. The lack of evidence to support it, notwithstanding.

 

El Jeffe

February 11th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

I thought this was a surprisingly fair post from a guy whose MO is gravedancing.

But I will take issue with these two points, but only abstractly. You said

There isn't any evidence he was gone after Ohio State.

You may be right about this, though I always wondered about Brandon's saying things like "Rich has an opportunity to go through 15 practices to prepare for a bowl that his team has earned a right to play in." That always seemed like extremely low levels of support, and made me think DB assumed he could would get rid of RR after the bowl game, with either Harbaugh or Hoke.

The flip side of this is when you say:

The known evidence we have to go on is that he could have saved his job with the Gator Bowl.

I know this is the known conventional wisdom, but is it really the known evidence? It is true that Brandon said that he followed The Process to the letter, and he did, in the sense that he did what he said he was going to do. But I've never heard him say "we would have kept Rich if the bowl game hadn't been such a blowout." Have you? So I doubt whether there is really any evidence of this.

M-Wolverine

February 10th, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

About 0.0. Because if he was gone for sure after the OSU game, it makes more sense to fire him then, because what if we WIN the bowl game? What then? Makes it really hard to fire him.
<br>
<br>Unless one's argument is that we had no chance to win the bowl game, so he should have been retained, which is a really, uh, "interesting", argument to make...

El Jeffe

February 11th, 2011 at 9:34 AM ^

I think you're making at least my point, if not Brian's point with your comment about his being gone after the OSU game. Yes, it would have made more sense to fire him then. The point is that there were four options that DB had, unless I'm missing one:

  1. Fire RR after the OSU game so as to give the new coach plenty of time to shore up the class, prepare the team for the bowl, etc.;
  2. Keep RR regardless of the outcome of the bowl game;
  3. Wait and see about the results of the bowl game before making a decision and have no other contingency plan in place; and
  4. Publicly state that The Process is what it was--wait until the bowl game and then move forward--while really having a plan to fire RR and hire (1) Harbaugh or (2) Hoke.

The problem I at least (not sure about Brian) had is that we know 1 and 2 didn't happen, so those weren't in DB's plans. 3 and 4 look the same in terms of the outcome, but 3 makes DB look like a colossal nincompoop and 4 makes him look like a Machiavellian liar who strung along RR and his staff and their families for cold-blooded, calculating reasons.

FWIW, I think 4 is what happened. I think DB is not a nincompoop, but rather a seriously cold-blooded dude who fucked over RR and his staff for expediency. Maybe that's what he was hired to do, but I was and am pretty uncomfortable with it.

M-Wolverine

February 11th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

For having problems with the process. Those can be fair minded, and your list points out issues with any scenario. It's just the revisionist history that the bowl was just going through the motions as fact I have issue with. What if we had won, and he was firing an 8-5 coach with a bowl win? How would that have gone over? If you truly believe #4, he was taking a big risk. He'd at least deserve credit for being a great gambler, because he took a huge chance it could blow up in his face, and the bowl couldn't have worked out better for him, if you go with the evil plot to fire him was the goal, because that game made it easy.
<br>
<br>I still doubt that was the case, since it took over a day to fire him; unless that was part or the plan, and he really is an evil genius to make it look like he was struggling. One can argue he should have know after OSU, and he's not that bright. Though I don't remember a lot (including the Game Preview) predicting that we were automatically going to get killed in the Gator. That's another bit of history that's been revised.

El Jeffe

February 11th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

On the Gator Bowl--yes, that was a surprise to everyone, I think. I haven't seen anyone revise that history, but if you have I'm on your side.

Perhaps I drew too sharp a distinction between 3 and 4, in hindsight. It could be that he had the following decision tree:

Win bowl game

  1. Keep RR, or
  2. Fire RR only if Harbaugh is locked up

Lose bowl game, especially in epically horrific fashion

  1. Fire RR if Harbaugh or Hoke (or Miles?) is locked up
  2. Keep RR if none of the above want the job

M-Wolverine

February 11th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I wasn't guaranteeing victory or anything, but I thought it would be a game one way or another. I didn't really think we'd blow them out either.

But I have seen people justify it by saying "come on, with that defense, what did you expect? That it would suddenly become good in a month? MSU was a great team".  MSU may have been that good, but I didn't see anyone saying they'd lay 50 on us BEFORE the game.

Desmonlon Edwoodson

February 10th, 2011 at 4:50 PM ^

I don't disagree that Michigan has a less than even chance to go the the tournament this year.  I haven't had statistics in the better part of a decade, but that 16% looks a little low.  I prefer to look at it as if they can somehow win the next two games, those odds jump to around even.  Just curious as to how a statistical analysis would apply to the other five 5-win teams, or if the general agreement is that the big ten will only send 3 teams to the tourney?

NateVolk

February 10th, 2011 at 4:54 PM ^

Borges can tweak or change our offense from last year anyway he wants without me sweating it. He only needs to be more efficient against good teams, value the ball better than the 08-10 versions, and keep Robinson from getting beat to a pulp.  

None of that will be very hard. Mail the sabermetrics stat sheets with those big yardage totals in an overnight parcel to Rodriguez for his job search, and bring us an offense that helps us compete with our rivals. Borges can decide what is best and I am cool with it.  

Way more concerned about coaching up and stocking the defense that was left in rubble.