Getting Right With History

Submitted by Brian on December 1st, 2014 at 11:55 AM

11/30/2014 – Michigan 28, OSU 42 – 5-7, 3-5 Big Ten

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[Eric Upchurch]

In one of last year's season preview posts I wondered if Michigan was going to end up on the wrong side of the war after Hoke's hire. I got piles of crap for this take from people waving Stanford anecdotes around. I think a lot of people read "pro style can't work" when what I'm saying is "it's clearly less likely to." I'm not going to turn my nose up at Jim Harbaugh no matter what he wants to run. Wing-T? Yes, sir.

Anyway: the crux of that argument was that if you think running a spread makes your defense soft when you have to play Wisconsin, the corollary to that is that if you're not preparing for spread elements daily you will struggle when you go up against them. For the most part this held true during the Hoke era (if I say "tempo" you will dive under a couch), and never more so than against OSU.

Statistically, Michigan has had a defense somewhere between good and terrific under Greg Mattison. Ohio State looks at that and says naw:

  • 2011: 34 points, 376 yards, about two feet from another 70 yards and game-winning points.
  • 2012: 26 points, 396 yards. A decent performance, year one of Meyer.
  • 2013: 42 points, 526 yards. An obliteration.
  • 2014: 42 points, 416 yards. Seven of those points are via a defensive TD.

These were all slow games featuring a lot of running and a lot of Michigan dawdling. This year's version of The Game had just nine OSU possessions, which is the practical minimum. Anything played at a Pac 12 pace would have been ugly.

Michigan had a vaguely acceptable performance once in four years, and two of those games featured freshman OSU quarterbacks who weren't even supposed to be the starter preseason. Hell, this game featured an eighty yard drive led by the third string QB.

The whole "Big Boy Football" thing is all the more galling since OSU has consistently ground Michigan into paste without bothering to throw the ball much. OSU QBs have thrown an average of 20.5 passes against Michigan in the Hoke era, and I'd guess about a half of those were screens and easy stuff in the flat. With most of the rest downfield bombs, OSU's offense avoids turnovers while simultaneously being lethally efficient. If the spread does get your QBs hurt more often—something that's been hard to confirm with numbers—that's not something that has affected Ohio State. Cardale Jones came in and sealed the game.

OSU is running twice as much as they're passing against Michigan and averaging 6.1 yards a carry. These are Rodriguez-at-WVU type stats, the kind that blew me away when I was looking at his track record after his hire.

The funny thing about the Danielsons of the world is that they're old school RUN THE DANG BALL types, but they manage to sidestep the fact that forcing the defense to account for a running quarterback is the best way to run the ball. I can think of no better way to make this point than a chart from back in 2008 that compared Michigan's YPC in year one of Rodriguez to the previous seven years of Lloyd Carr:

# Year YPC
1 2006 4.27
2 2003 4.25
3 2007 3.97
4 2008 3.91
5 2005 3.89
6 2004 3.83
7 2002 3.82
8 2001 3.59

Threet and Sheridan and no linemen and they still ended up above average. Michigan would easily top 2006 from 2009 to 2012. Lloyd Carr could talk about running the ball. His teams couldn't do it, at least not well.

I want to run the ball. I want to run an offense that doesn't ask the QB to make complicated reads, but rather asks him to make a decision about one guy. Hoke was a mistake for a thousand reasons, but prime amongst them was his "we're gonna run power" crap after he'd never been able to do that anywhere else.

Michigan spent the 2011 game running the inverted veer wrong and they still put up 40; that this had no impact on his approach speaks volumes about Hoke's lack of quality as a coach. Bo made the shift to a modern passing offense when he had to. Saban is grudgingly moving in that direction: I was watching the Iron Bowl on Saturday and Herbstreit made multiple references to how Alabama was now a no-huddle team. They found themselves down multiple scores in the second half and ripped off five straight TDs in short order.

The game moves; move with it or die. Michigan chose hidebound traditionalism on the field and whiz-bang idiot modernism in the pageantry. The former is a natural reaction after you get burned. The latter is a natural consequence of hiring a pizza marketer.

But can we learn? I would like to learn. Rich Rodriguez blew it here, and he learned. He dumped his defensive staff, got Jeff Casteel back, and is headed to the Pac-12 championship game with a freshman QB after having beaten Oregon in back-to-back years. This is our opportunity to do something right this time.

Unfortunately, Michigan's current coaching staff is going on recruiting visits today when they should be taking a day with a bottle of scotch before polishing up the old resume. I have no idea what they're supposed to say on these visits.

RECRUIT: Aren't you guys getting fired?
COACH: Almost certainly.
RECRUIT: So why are you here?
COACH: I'm like a corpse still twitching. Held in this hellish no-place, I pine for my soul's release and reincarnation as the offensive coordinator at a D-II school.
RECRUIT: Whoah.
COACH: You said it.

Florida knows what's going on; Tulsa knows what's going on; Illinois knows what's going on. Michigan doesn't. Comparisons to Nebraska are invalid. Michigan's not 9-3, and no one is going to be blindsided by Hoke getting axed.

Poke the Russia Today outlet in the Michigan e-sphere and you'll hear that it's about Doing Right By The Staff and that it's about Keeping The Pressure Off Harbaugh; neither of these explanations make any sense. That coach doesn't want to be on that visit. He wants to be looking for another job. Harbaugh speculation does not start with, or even focus on, Michigan in NFL circles.

I can't see a reason to drag it out, but here we are, dragging it out. The guy in charge may be competent but he has no track record. We're stuck here hoping this guy is actually qualified and that things turn out for the best. Maybe it will. Forgive me if I have a tendency to look on everything this department does as a mistake.

That's' going to be a tough habit to break, but here's a suggestion: act like a collection of people instead of a committee for once and acknowledge that there's no good way for this to go down. The first major Brandon warning sign was when he infamously took two days of meetings to fire Rich Rodriguez when that was a fait accompli.

Get on with it, motherfu

[After THE JUMP: offensive line ups and downs, clock lol, etc.]

BULLETS

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BEHIND YOU [Upchurch]

The edges cave in. Michigan had not seen an elite edge rusher all year unless Anthony Zettel or Shilique Calhoun counts. They might; even if they are they are not in Joey Bosa's class. I can tell this because Bosa and his compatriots crushed the Michigan pocket with a consistency Michigan had not seen in a long time. Gardner was sacked five times after getting through much of November without taking a hit. He coped surprising well given what we'd seen from him; it was still a major problem.

This wasn't much of a surprise with Michigan fielding a true freshman LT and a shaky sophomore RT. It was more a reminder that Michigan had just about gotten away with it this year. Sacks allowed are not great—26, which is 75th nationally—but they are much much better than last year. With an offseason to improve in they could get to good.

Especially since…

The running game functioned. Without those sacks Michigan averaged 4.8 yards a carry. In a sack-adjusted world that's just okay, but "just" and "okay" should not go next to each other when we are talking about a game against Ohio State in which Michigan's interior offensive line pretty much won the battle against the OSU DL.

Remember that De'Veon Smith carry on which he got lit up in the backfield? That's approximately the only time that happened.

It's kind of hard to take Michigan's rushing stats seriously this year since they feature almost ten yards a carry against Appalachian State and another big hunk at 6.1 against Miami (NTM). That's the kind of thing a lot of teams get, yes, but they don't surround that with four games in which you don't break 3 YPC.

Are we confident then? Maybe not confident confident. Still, the end of the year saw four straight reasonable-to-good performances in the run game and the pass protection was improved. Michigan gets back every OL on the roster, and they've got some experienced depth in Erik Magnuson. If they make equal progress next year they could be good-ish.

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Torn ACL, same knee. [Upchurch]

Drake? I'll say this about Drake Johnson: I don't yell "THE HOLE IS OVER THERRRRRRRE" when he's in the game. I didn't think that was going to be a big deal this year; it was. Johnson still has moments where his cuts cause him to come to a dead stop, but he ran through a couple tackles in this game, has good straight-line speed, and seems to understand the blocking in front of him more than his compatriots.

It'll be hard to hold off a returning Derrick Green and the newly-available Ty Isaac, especially since he'll be missing spring practice after tearing his ACL on that touchdown.

It'll be interesting to see who the new staff goes with. He's in the conversation.

Oh come on, part XXXVIII. The clock management at the end of the first half was dubious for everyone. Ohio State let the clock roll as Michigan prepared to punt from their 45 with about three minutes left in the half. Michigan then punted with 15 or 16 seconds left on the playclock. That is idiotic. It's also something Hoke seems to do before the half in every game.

The ensuing drive saw OSU tie the game on a ten-play, 83-yard march, with the last play snapped with 17 seconds left on the clock. OSU had two timeouts, but with a series of incomplete passes and first-down runs the amount of time they would have saved with them was negligible; anyway the point is that it is dumb to give the opposition 15 free seconds for a two minute drill and that this dumbness is endemic to the program now. Remember the free Hail Mary Michigan gave to Penn State? Yeah.

Defense. I don't really have much to say other than it was yet another clobbering—5 TDs on 9 drives is a clobbering—in which Michigan just could not cope with the multiple exposures to one-on-one tackling that Meyer's offense exposes you to. Not many have. The key to stopping offenses like this is having a defensive line that kicks the opposing OL's ass, as Penn State did and Stanford occasionally has against Oregon. That wasn't happening without Frank Clark, and probably wasn't happening even with him.

It was disappointing that Raymon Taylor got beat on two big plays, one the 52 yard bomb to Devin Smith, the other an opportunity to boot OSU off the field on their end-of-half drive.

HERE

Best And Worst:


Best:  Why Can't They Make the Whole Season Out of OSU's Defense?

To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, if Michigan is only capable of playing this way offensively when they line up against OSU, they might as well just schedule the Buckeyes 12 times.  Devin Gardner did throw the interception, and it was his fumble on a sack that OSU returned for a defensive TD following Elliott's TD run, but he also threw the ball as well as he has in weeks, completing over 2/3's of his passes for 233 yards and 2 TDs, and spread out the receptions to 9 different players, 10 if you include the throwback pass he caught from Drake Johnson on a pretty brilliant playcall that helped Michigan tie the game at 21 in the 3rd.  It wasn't anywhere close to his record-breaking performance from last year, but Gardner acquitted himself well enough in his final game as a Wolverine, and it was a bit poetic that his last completion of his career was a great little throw and catch to Canteen for Michigan's last TD.  Of course, the fact it was in a game Michigan wound up losing by 14 takes a bit of luster off the rose, but this is the "happy thoughts" part of this diary.

Inside The Box Score:

When I was a kid, I heard that Bo and Woody preferred to run the ball because when you pass the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad. The Michigan offense of the past two years has redefined that calculus. I now believe that when you pass the ball, six things can happen and five of them are bad. Of course, you have the original two bad items, the incompletion and the interception. I've seen enough of Michigan's offense to realize that we have to add these additional bad outcomes: 1) throwing screen passes for negative yardage, 2) getting sacked, and 3) getting strip-sacked.

     In case there was any doubt, Michigan drove the point home to start the game. On our first play, Drake Johnson ran for 7 yards. On the next play, Devin Gardner threw an interception. On the next drive, Michigan threw a screen pass for -5 yards, ran the ball for 15 yards, took a sack, ran for 4, and took another sack. Three good running plays and four bad passing plays. The second drive ended with yet another poor special teams play, as Jalin Marshall returned a punt 23 yards.

ELSEWHERE

HSR on where they are:

I almost have begun to wonder in the past decade whether Michigan's interest in the rivalry is, in knowing how much it means to them, being able to beat them and ruin that for them, is what Michigan fans truly get out of this.  Michigan fans don't care less about the rivalry than Ohio State fans do, they just care about it differently.  Michigan fans like winning, period.  Michigan fans want to beat everybody and dread that there will be somewhere along the way in a season where Michigan doesn't win.  Michigan's season is not going to be made by beating Ohio in a way that Ohio's might be.  But it makes me sad to know that there has not been one game since 1999 where Michigan went in to The Game and thought "we should win this." *  Ohio State fans have thought this all too often since the Tressel era began.  If I have a sadness about this rivalry, it is that.

(*-If you want to argue 2011 with me, I'll listen, but even then, the best chance Michigan had to get a win since 2003 (when it was #4 vs #5, which is not a "should"), did not feel like a "should win", but like a "please dear God, let us win."  It's not the same.  And 2004, #7 in the country vs. a 6-5 Buckeye team, still had to go to Columbus.)

The Devin Gardner era ended yesterday not with a whimper, but not with a bang.  It ended with more conclusive proof about the kind of person that Devin Gardner is (see photo above), but also the maddening flaws about what kind of quarterback Devin Gardner, turnover prone, but flashing brilliance here there and everywhere.  There seems to be a desire to make a metaphor of this game as a microcosm of the Hoke era, and perhaps it is.  Unfortunately, like so many times in the Hoke era, we're left with more questions than answers.  If Hoke's era is coming to a close, then the book will be left to be written, but we've written so much of it.  In so many ways, we've known for months what is going to happen, but we're waiting for the actual moment, so we can move on and move forward.

Baumgardner column. Sap's Decals:

HELMET COLOR – After dealing with all the crap this season, I finally had enough of seeing the wrong shade of yellow on the M helmets!  It was painfully obvious to me that it was not right the correct color and it’s time we got it right!

Maybe it was the culmination of everything that we had to deal with this year, including the all blue unis, but for some reason the color of the yellow on the Michigan helmets was painfully out of synch with the rest of the uniform.   The shade of yellow/maize didn’t match the pants. It didn’t match the yellow trim on the jersey.  Heck, it didn’t even match the yellow shoes worn by some of the Wolverines. Time for Riddell to get it right! If they can’t get it right, then they need someone to help get it right. Consider myself volunteered!

Daily on Gardner.

Comments

charblue.

December 1st, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

two coaches whose contracts stipulate that that if they were to be offered the HC job at Michigan, it would void most of the contractual obligations in their current deals. One of those is Les Miles, who actually accepted the offer to coach in Ann Arbor as his team was preparing for a NC berth. That was during infamous SEC championship game weekend fiasco in which Miles had agreed to coach the Wolverines but then saw his stipulation that that his approval be withheld from public release. When news leaked out, thanks to a Kirk Herbsteit exclusive, Miles denied there ever was any deal on the table. 

But we all know he agree to coach at Michigan. 

The other coach is Jim Harbaugh. Now, the SF 49ers organization has signaled in any number of ways in the past month that it wants no part of Harbaugh as coach in the organization's tuture, with a report out Sunday that for the second consecutive year it would be willing to trade his coaching rights to another team. 

This morning on WTKA, Sam Webb speculated that Harbaugh might be more interested in staying in the NFL if he found a club willing to let him coach and serve as its GM. I can't think of any team, not even the Raiders (although they might do it) dumb enough to have their GM trade for a guy who replaces both their coach and the guy who just made the trade. But who knows, the Jets are pretty desperate and Harbaugh is a winner. So maybe the Raiders or Jets might do it. Still that seems remote. Why would a league that knows the Harbaugh record and underlying player relations atmosphere both inside and outside the lockerroom take such a gamble? I don't know, I guess desperate teams take desperate measures. 

I watched some Harbaugh clips on You Tube in recent days of Harbaugh doing coaching clinics and talking to Stanford alums and donors. The coaching clip is while he HC at SD State. He is both charming, informative and intense in both instances. And, if you thought that his comments about Michigan academics for football players was a little negative, he is just as candid about the academics and benefits that Stanford players have in attending that school. He is who he is. And if you accept that, and want that, you will get a driven guy who will win. But you get what his competitve makeup and desire brings. 

The face of Michigan football will change and whether we want to accept it or not, Michigan is like a nuclear battleship which isn't that nimble or anxious to make whirlwind course changes. Even when it has acted quickly in the past, forces working against their own internal efforts, sabotaged a coaching change that was essentially approved. Then we got the Schiano episode and finally the Rodrigquez hire and all the drama surrounding it. 

I don't see any real point in delaying an announcement about the end of this regime, because a decision relieves a lot of tension on a lot of fronts and puts Michigan on the clock. Maybe they are looking for assurance that the person they pick next will sign on and that's delaying the announcement. 

 

charblue.

December 1st, 2014 at 2:12 PM ^

two coaches whose contracts stipulate that that if they were to be offered the HC job at Michigan, it would void most of the contractual obligations in their current deals. One of those is Les Miles, who actually accepted the offer to coach in Ann Arbor as his team was preparing for a NC berth. That was during infamous SEC championship game weekend fiasco in which Miles had agreed to coach the Wolverines but then saw his stipulation that that his approval be withheld from public release. When news leaked out, thanks to a Kirk Herbsteit exclusive, Miles denied there ever was any deal on the table. 

But we all know he agree to coach at Michigan. 

The other coach is Jim Harbaugh. Now, the SF 49ers organization has signaled in any number of ways in the past month that it wants no part of Harbaugh as coach in the organization's tuture, with a report out Sunday that for the second consecutive year it would be willing to trade his coaching rights to another team. 

This morning on WTKA, Sam Webb speculated that Harbaugh might be more interested in staying in the NFL if he found a club willing to let him coach and serve as its GM. I can't think of any team, not even the Raiders (although they might do it) dumb enough to have their GM trade for a guy who replaces both their coach and the guy who just made the trade. But who knows, the Jets are pretty desperate and Harbaugh is a winner. So maybe the Raiders or Jets might do it. Still that seems remote. Why would a league that knows the Harbaugh record and underlying player relations atmosphere both inside and outside the lockerroom take such a gamble? I don't know, I guess desperate teams take desperate measures. 

I watched some Harbaugh clips on You Tube in recent days of Harbaugh doing coaching clinics and talking to Stanford alums and donors. The coaching clip is while he HC at SD State. He is both charming, informative and intense in both instances. And, if you thought that his comments about Michigan academics for football players was a little negative, he is just as candid about the academics and benefits that Stanford players have in attending that school. He is who he is. And if you accept that, and want that, you will get a driven guy who will win. But you get what his competitve makeup and desire brings. 

The face of Michigan football will change and whether we want to accept it or not, Michigan is like a nuclear battleship which isn't that nimble or anxious to make whirlwind course changes. Even when it has acted quickly in the past, forces working against their own internal efforts, sabotaged a coaching change that was essentially approved. Then we got the Schiano episode and finally the Rodrigquez hire and all the drama surrounding it. 

I don't see any real point in delaying an announcement about the end of this regime, because a decision relieves a lot of tension on a lot of fronts and puts Michigan on the clock. Maybe they are looking for assurance that the person they pick next will sign on and that's delaying the announcement. 

 

gwkrlghl

December 1st, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

At first I blamed Carr, then I blamed Rodriguez, now Hoke.

But now I'm just convinced that we have morons buried deep in the athletic department. How else could we bungle everything so badly for close to a decade now? It's like we've established a culture of absentmindedness in the AD

saveferris

December 1st, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

I think we underestimate the impact that decades of unimpeded success has had on the culture of our Athletic Department leadership.  It's like our management acumen has atrophied under the illusion that things will work themselves out simply because "This is MIchigan".

I don't know what it will take to snap these guys out of the funk.

RockinLoud

December 1st, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

Michigan's AD strategy seems to be thus: "What's the most logical, obvious, and best thing we should do right now? ... ok great, let's do the exact opposite of that. Go."

death by trident

December 1st, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

I can't believe that people are asking for patience with firing Hoke.  Reasons?

  1. Recruiting (which is in the toilet now plus the imaginary exchange with a recruit above could actually happen)
  2. It looks bad for Michigan to be hasty (because we've looked like a beacon of composure all season? lulz...)
  3. The coaches we want aren't available (coaches leave to take another job and an interim coach coaches the bowl game - all. the. time.)
  4. Our targeted coaches might have to answer "questions" (these same coaches have been getting asked questions ever since the Minnesota game this year - this is nothing new)

It's time to move on.  Fire Brady Hoke now.

oriental andrew

December 1st, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

Be decisive, for once, and do what should be done. Recruiting visits make no sense right now, unless the AD has somehow given Hoke the impression that he will not be fired, or Hoke is just too stubborn to acknowledge it. 

I understand Hoke's position - unless told otherwise, he's the coach and he's going to do what he thinks needs to be done. If he has recruiting visits already set up, canceling them can only be an indication to those athletes that he is, in fact, done. 

The AD just needs to bring some clarity and ASAP. Michigan has no bowl game to play for, so no complication there. Best to cut the cord now and get a new coaching staff in place sooner than later in order to preserve as much of the recruiting season as possible. 

Decatur Jack

December 1st, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

I think any offense can work in college football when it's doing what it has set out to do. Spread, pro-style, wishbone option, all viable forms that can create big plays and be fun to watch.

I'm also not a HUNH zealot. I see the benefits of the huddle. That being said, I would like us to not be the 2nd slowest team in the nation, especially when we're losing.

Whoever they hire I'll get behind, eventually. Go Blue.

maizenbluenc

December 1st, 2014 at 1:54 PM ^

you are either a team with cache that can oversign with impugnity and run any damned offense you choose, clubbing all those before you,

- OR -

you'd better be damned ready to put a ton of points on the board quickly when you come up against a better spread team (like Oregon, either OSU, 2007 Florida or WVU, etc.). One only has to look at Troy Smith led OSU, App State I, and Oregon after it, versus say the Cap One Bowl to know why - and that situation has gotten worse, not better.

There are times when your defense will be unable to stop the opponent's offense enough.

Tuebor

December 1st, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

It was sad when Michigan had the ball with 6 minutes left in the second quarter and I told my wife that if Michigan doesn't want to be losing next time they get the ball they need to score a TD on this drive.  Two consecutive OSU TD drives later...

 

The biggest disappointment for me this year has been that it seems halftime starts 2 minutes early and ends 5 minutes late for team 135.

JeepinBen

December 1st, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

At thanksgiving a future-in-law's-family-member who coaches high school football knows the (now former) Michigan head of Football Ops, who got out last year because Brandon was micromanaging the crap out of Hoke. Talk about "big boy football" and how Brady didn't adapt to anything and you have to wonder if that was directed from on high. We had a game this year when the offense went to the line and looked to the sidelines. Just one game. Either Brady's hands were tied by the AD who watched film and said he had to micromanage everything thanks to the RR "debacle" or Brady's hands were tied because he's not that good of a coach.

redsoxaa

December 1st, 2014 at 12:24 PM ^

I just don't get it.  Hackett has said he has more than enough info to make a quick a confident decision about the future of Michigan football and then proceeds to dwiddle his thumbs.

Rufus X

December 1st, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

No one ever said Rodriquez' offense didn't work - of course it did.  Any moron can see that.  Hoke has been a failure. There can be no doubt of that.  Yet when I say Rodriquez failed here, I get berated for being a Manball Michigan Man Moron. But to all the MGoDesciples that keep saying "we should have kept Rodriquez" over and over and over again, your prophet just summed it up:

" Rich Rodriguez blew it here, and he learned. He dumped his defensive staff, got Jeff Casteel back, and is headed to the Pac-12 championship game with a freshman QB after having beaten Oregon in back-to-back years."

Thank you, now can we please STOP pointing to Rodriguez' current success as evidence that we should have kept him?  He ignored the defensive side of the ball the entire time he was here, got fired because of it, learned his lesson, and now figured out that when you have a great offense, a pretty good defense is good enough.  

 

MGlobules

December 1st, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

here, got fired because of it, learned his lesson, and now figured out that when you have a great offense, a pretty good defense is good enough."

I don't think you're as ignorant as this suggests you could be, Rufus. Do you really think that Rodriguez, a guy who played D in college, just thought defense was some crap other people took care of, then had an epiphany as he crossed the Arizona border?

HE TRIED TO BRING CASTEEL WITH HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE. HE INSISTED ON RUNNING THE 3-3-5 HERE, AS HE IS DOING AT ARIZONA.

Shit yeah, he made mistakes. But the kind of reductivism you're serving. . . serves no one, least of all the truth.

jabberwock

December 1st, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

it was 3 reasons.

1. $

2. Family liked it there.

3..  There was a chance that he was going to get offered the HC job once it opened up again.
when that didn't happen he was pissed, & he was then ready for a change of $cenery in AZ.

FWIW I think #3 was a pretty big deal.

True Blue Grit

December 1st, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

RR's offense or defense had he stayed beyond 4 years.  But there's no doubt his recruiting was a disaster that would have undermined his teams at some point.  To be specific, all the defensive positions and offensive line had bleak futures if RR had stayed.  So, IMO year 7 of RR and year 4 of Hoke are probably toss ups.

Blue2000

December 1st, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

RR's 2009 recruiting class was hamstrung by the bullshit FREEP allegations.  2010 was undone by the fact that his job was in question pretty much in question after the first month of the season.  Had he gotten a clear vote of support from Brandon the way Hoke did last year, his recruiting would have been fine.  The only class he was able to recruit without a cloud over his head - 2008 - was top 10.  

saveferris

December 1st, 2014 at 12:48 PM ^

Thank you, now can we please STOP pointing to Rodriguez' current success as evidence that we should have kept him?

No. Brian's comment on Rodriguez's performance at Arizona is not necessarily a concession that he would've never been successful here. Who's to say that Rich Rodriguez couldn't have learned that lesson while still being the head coach here at Michigan?

What I really find mind-boggling around here with the anti-Rodriguez faction is their fervent belief that Michigan would not be better off, right now, today, with Rodriguez as our coach.

Rufus X

December 1st, 2014 at 1:01 PM ^

We should have kept Rodriguez areound, allowed him use his really good offense as a springboard, allow him time to learn from his mistake of having a nonexistent defense, until he figured it out and then we'd be really good?  

So by that logic we should keep Brady around, allow him to use his really good defense as a springboard, allow him time to learn from his mistake of having a terrible offense and zero player development, until he figures it out and then we'll be really good?

No thank you.

I actually agree that we would be better of if we had kept Rodriguez, but it just wasn't possible.  It was time for him to go, just like it is with Brady.  Neither one worked, for different reasons.  Revising history to paint Rodriguez as a tragic victim is just that - revisionist.

saveferris

December 1st, 2014 at 3:14 PM ^

So by that logic we should keep Brady around, allow him to use his really good defense as a springboard, allow him time to learn from his mistake of having a terrible offense and zero player development, until he figures it out and then we'll be really good?

Key difference between Rodriguez and Hoke being that Rodriguez's teams showed improvement every year whereas Hoke's have gotten worse. Every year. So no, that logic shouldn't be applied without the benefit of context.

I also never claimed that we'd be "really good" under Rodriguez, I claimed we'd be better off than we are now under Hoke. Although, I think we can extrapolate that if Rodriguez has made it to Year 7 at Michigan, then we're really good and pretty happy with the state of things.

We better as a fan culture start learning to evaluate our coaches performance with context, because if the future criteria is going to boil down to, "new coach wins more 9 or more games, then wins 10 or more games, then wins 12 games and makes playoffs", we're going to be on this carousel for a long time...or we've gotten incredibly lucky.

Hannibal.

December 1st, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

The fact that Rodriguez took Tony Gibson with him to Arizona is conclusive proof that he didn't learn his lesson while at Michigan.  He learned it after year 1 at Arizona.  He burned through his coordinator mulligan when he hired Gerg, and it's hard to imagine Casteel wanting to come to Michigan to coach in that toxic environment. 

section17

December 1st, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

How many times do I have to correct you ass hats! Now get this through your little WalMart Wolverine heads! It's not Rich Rod's fault he had no defense. The jerk wads in the athletic dept. would not pay the money to hire a good DC!!! RR wanted to bring in Jeff Casteel but the cheap bastards would not pay him or even give him a contract!!! Stop blaming RR for the crapping defense. Like the old saying goes, you get what you paid for!

bronxblue

December 1st, 2014 at 1:00 PM ^

I don't know what type of disciples you are fighting, but the reason you might be getting some brush back is because you come across as kinda sanctimonious and smug.

RR didn't ignore the defense; he tried to bring in the guy he has now, the defensive coordinator he had at WVU and has been a part of his success everywhere else, but people in Michigan's AD balked at spending, if memory serves me right, around $300k.  It wasn't so much that he learned about defense, only that he really learned he needed Casteel, and fought hard for him when he went to Arizona.  Give RR Casteel at UM and he's probably still here.  And if you look at recruiting breakdowns, RR absolutely tried to bring in top defensive players and succeeded just as much as he did on the offensive side of the ball.  

RR's bigger problem was not recruiting an OL class for nearly 2 years.  That would have sunk him going forward at UM; it certainly didn't help Hoke.

Blue2000

December 1st, 2014 at 1:21 PM ^

Thank you, now can we please STOP pointing to Rodriguez' current success as evidence that we should have kept him? 

No.  We should have kept RR, which his current success confirms, but his prior success at WVU suggested at that time.  Especially when the alternative to Rodriguez was Brady fricking Hoke.  RR with a new defensive coordinator made infinitely more sense than any of the other options available to us at the time.  Brandon blew it.  

WestSider

December 1st, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

gentlemanly than necessary; I see the delay on firing as related to the upcoming banquet. Suspecting Hoke is fired post banquet. I don't agree with any delay at this point, but UM does things a bit differently as we have seen all too often.

alum96

December 1st, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

I dont think it has anything to do with the banquet. The banquet thing seems like an intermet meme someone posted and everyone is grabbing onto.

I thought the past 6 weeks Hoke would either be fired by Tuesday of this week or Jan 2.  Nothing in between.  I dont see him being fired the day after a  banquet or any such nonsense.  Maybe we truly are that stupid.  Maybe.  But if nothing happens in the next 30 hours I think Hoke is the coach until Jan 1 to save a million.

If he is fired Dec 9th, i'll eat a lem... err well I'll say I was dead wrong and we truly are a program stuck in 1935.

I will say this - if I was Hackett I'd call in Hoke's agent and explain that he will be fired, it can be today or it can be in 30 days.  Today would be better for all parties involved - and negotiate a $2.2M buyout rather than the $3M.  If Hoke "loves Michigan" as much as everyone says he does this is something that he'd do.  He still gets $200K more than he otherwise would get for his "love" and we all can move on.   Hell if his love is true he should say I'll take the $2M I'd get on Jan 1 and go off into the night.