Mailbag: Krikor Arman, Alumni Stuff, Ryan As WLB, Also Krikor Arman

Submitted by Brian on April 25th, 2011 at 4:40 PM


Who is the man, Brady Hoke? Krikor Arman, says Brady Hoke

The other side

So last week I bombed Braylon Edwards and various other people who have publicly or privately undermined the program since Carr's departure. I owe the internet in general a POV from the other side. I met a Bo walk-on at the Michigan Beerfest a couple years ago and he's been a consistent email correspondent; he provides this perspective from the recent billions-return alumni thing:

We had the team meeting last night which started out in the field house with Coach Hoke speaking for a few minutes while introducing his staff.  Afterwards we went over to the stadium and had dinner in the club level, which is beautiful.  There were probably 200 guys there, including Coaches Hanlon, Burton, Thornbladh, Moeller, and Carr.  It was a nice gathering and great to see the old fellas.

Regardless of what some outsiders think or what people want to hypothesize about RR, the fact of the matter is it WAS a different environment and it DID alienate ex-players/coaches, to a degree.  Michigan football is different.  It's a family.  It's steeped in traditions that are older than the vast majority of people on the board.  RR did not take care of the program.  He did not endear himself to the guys who won 42 championships in the 132 years of Michigan Football.  One thing I heard over and over last night from ex-players was "thank God we're done with that bullshit" ("the lack of defense" and "the guy just didn't get it"). It may seem petty, but this isn't like taking over an old, family owned business and revamping the computers and offices.  This is Michigan. I can't put it into words, but as much as I supported RR, he did not, in fact, get it. 

I talked with Bruce Madej for a while as well as Paul Schmidt.  I was surprised to learn that RR did not force freshman/sophomores to live in the dorm.  The only players who HAD to live in the dorm were the early enrollees, and they only had to stay there until after spring semester. Think about that. An 18 year old kid is going right from living at his folks place and attending high school to instantly living on his own, with rent and phone bills, gas bills, grocery shopping, etc. ALL THE WHILE trying to maintain his athletics AND play for a demanding coach. There's no way an 18 year should be put in that situation. It's overwhelming.  Schmitty told me that was the first thing he told Hoke when he arrived.  Hoke immediately switched the policy back to freshman and sophomores MUST live in the dorm.

It may seem like a pathetically insignificant aspect of the RR regime, but I think it's yet another example of how many different ways he failed as the head coach at Michigan.

I am NOT here to say Hoke is the answer because he's getting the young kids back in the dorm.  BUT, he has brought back some things that made this the winningest program in college football.  AND, he's galvanizing the fabric of Michigan football that had rusted a little bit over the last 3 years. 

So… there's that. My position here is endlessly conflicted. I wish the "This is Michigan" stuff wasn't so inflexible that it caused what happened over the last three years and etc etc etc but everyone knows that. This guy, like Craig Ross, just wants to see Michigan win. That's what we all want. We just have different opinions on the best way to go about doing that.

Jake Ryan and WLB

Brian -

I know that you weren't as high on Jake Ryan after a more thorough review of the spring game than some people, but he did do okay and he got some good reviews from bowl practices.  My question is this - why isn't he a contender at WLB instead of SLB?  It seems like he's a bigger, stronger, guy that can tackle well but might not be athletic enough in coverage.  Isn't that the type of guy you want at the WLB while the athletic converted safety types play the SLB (Gordon, Hawthorn, Jones, etc.)? 

Chicago, IL

I wasn't necessarily down on Ryan. Like everyone else I was impressed by his playmaking, but he was going up against a redshirt freshman walk-on when he blitzed off the strongside. That's a major factor in a 1-v-1/2-v-2 scrimmage.

As for the question, Ryan is a big dude at 6'3" and nearly 230 pounds as a redshirt freshman. The usual S&C path will see him brushing up against 240 next year. That's a good size to be the guy facing down a tight end on the LOS most downs. It's not so good to be the designated super fast pursuit guy. Also, the knock on Ryan from high school was his agility. His recruiting profile is littered with references to his ability to "attack vertically," worries about his ability to cover guys, and vague mutterings about a move to DE.

While Ryan may have been an OLB candidate in the 3-3-5—where attacking vertically is a large chunk of the job description when you're not being coached by Greg Robinson—he's strictly SAM in a 4-3 under. Fortunately, he looks like an excellent fit there.

If you're looking for WLB reinforcements look to safety, where Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman are OLB-sized guys idling behind starters.

Technical blocking stuff


The one thing I noticed from the scrimmage was a lot more "angle blocking" (layman's term, actually the offensive line appeared to be using Wing-T rules) as opposed to zone. The idea is to gain leverage on your opponent by blocking in towards the ball with the tackles/TEs and pull. The biggest thing that makes me say this is first the pulling techniques on the QB sweep looked exactly like a puller in a wing-T system (open deep, run around a down block).  "Angle blocking" is the idea in the flesh.  However, I actually could see this as an advantage for M going forward.  Zone is ubiquitous.  Rule blocking is not.  Could be an advantage.  The blocking did not look that great, yet.

Borges seems to be finding what the personnel does well and focusing on that (hence the grab bag of multiplicity).  Holy hell, we need a good runner, I hope Mike Cox is it.

Tyler Sellhorn

I kind of thought Michigan was good at running zone stuff by last year. The mobility on the interior gave them the ability to get downfield and pick up linebackers on the second level. I worry about their ability to move Big Ten defensive tackles, though. Last year it was up to those DTs to move faster than the OL so they didn't get reached. This year the power schemes will ask playside OL to overpower DL who might be bigger than them. We'll see.

Krikor Arman sets the record straight


Thank you for the excellent reference in today's blog, I am honored.  Just wanted to clarify a couple things.  I did not come from the club team.  I went directly to open tryouts and made the team out of the 10 people trying out.  And this "forward #14" scored two goals in his first game, and has four championship rings from Michigan, one a National Championship.

So thank you, because I really appreciate all of my friends reading about how I was "forward #14."

Krikor Arman, M4

No offense was intended to Krikor Arman in this morning's post. Krikor Arman is notable enough to be in Wikipedia, which means he is more important than me, most webcomics and, for a brief time, Old Man Murray. He is also in med school.



April 26th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

So, one player was allowed to move out of the dorm during Carr's tenure?  And how does that  exception compare with an entire policy that freshman need not live in the dorms?  You claim that all worked out, so this policy didn't matter.  The proof?  I'd say that it's impossible to know the answer.  Would as many kids have bolted the program if they all lived together?  Would the team have been more of a "team" if the youngsters lived together?  Would it have been helpful to the kids long-term development (as responsible adults and not just athletes)?  We'll never know, but you can't point to RR's overall track record and say that this helped.


April 27th, 2011 at 9:18 AM ^

That this policy was bad or good.  You have no idea who or even how many players lived outside the dorm.  This is what we do know;

- RR disciplined players and even kicked them off the team if they didn't act like Michigan Men (Hagerup OSU, Cissiko, Tate)

- RR put players health above wins (Denard Illinois)

- RR was very involved at Motts, and set an example for the players

- RR brought in a great group of players that represent the University excellently (See current Roster)

- RR created a dynamic offense, while failing very badly on defense resulting in 3, 5, and 7 wins

RR ran this program like a Michigan Man, which is with integrity.  You for some reason, can't look past your hatred of the man to admit he did most things right here. He didn't win though, and that's why we have a new coach.  You're credibility would go way up if you could ever stop lieing to yourself that everything the man did was not bad.

I have no idea what your problem is, but I definately would not mind if you pulled a Boren and went and rooted for the Buckeyes. Your blind hatred would due you well there.

Mi Sooner

April 25th, 2011 at 8:55 PM ^

force his players to stay in the dorms their first two years at that renagade outfit that he ran at OU.   the first year in the regualr dorms w/us non-atheletes.  i met a fair amount of future OU football stars while in the dorms. and lets face it, Barry did not run a tight ship...


Although, very few of his players joined the frats at OU because he didn't need the additional headaches associated with them.


April 25th, 2011 at 7:28 PM ^

Don't waste your breath.  If RR thought of it, it must be stupid.  Whereas, if Hoke or Carr had come up with it, then it would be praised as a good idea.

Addressing the merits, what is baffling is why anyone believes a freshmen is any less capable than a sophomore of taking care of himself outside of the dorms.  It's a college freshman, not a mental patient.  And it's not like sophomores are all that mature.  This is just an idiotic argument started by an ex-player grasping for straws.


April 25th, 2011 at 10:35 PM ^

This isn't a Carr vs. RR thing.   Berenson, Beilein, Borseth, you name it  - none of these guys let their players live outside the dorms until they're upperclassmen.  That's standard practice at this school.  For RR to drop this practice was a needless mistake on his part.    

Section 1

April 25th, 2011 at 11:01 PM ^

Things change all the time.  I have a vague recollection that Bob Chappuis was nearly suspended for the "crime" of having a car on campus.  Tell that one to Braylon Edwards.

This has got to be one of the lamest excuses for the tragic erosion of family values that we learned about from the Boren Family.

I'm just guessing now, but for every genuine "changed tradition" story that someone might want to allege against Rich Rodriguez, I think I can come up with two allegations that were made but which turned out to be wholly untgrue.


April 26th, 2011 at 9:08 AM ^

Basically I agree. I don't know why RR changed the policy, and absent any countervailing info I think it was ill-advised, simply because I believe that freshmen and sophomores in general benefit from living in dorms during their first two years. However, the idea that alumni players were focusing on this as an example of how RR "didn't get it" is farcical. If it was that big a deal, we would have heard about it long before now from Michael Rosenberg. I don't know why former players, fans, alums, etc. can't simply admit that they didn't like RR because of 3-9, 5-7, 7-6, and horrible defenses without inventing all the vague, ill-defined horseshit about him not being a Michigan Man. He did a lousy job in too many areas of his job as HC—that's why he's no longer here.



April 26th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

Totally agree - while we can argue about thed merit of RR's housing policy, we shouldn't be arguing that it's some sort of sacred tradition that destroys the fabric of Michigan Football if it's altered. It's just a thing.

It really does seem, if this is the best example the "Bo era walk-on" can come up with (he certainly seems to think it's definitive), that this school of player reached a conclusion (Rich Rod doesn't get it) and then started grasping for evidence to support that conclusion.


April 25th, 2011 at 10:23 PM ^

Letting them live off-campus is just treating them like every other student.

Not every other student.  We have some living-learning communities that require two years' dorm residence.  The Residential College, for one.  When you join those communities, that's part of the deal.  Being an athlete has come with two years' dorm living, too.  I'm surprised that this is even up to the coach.  


April 26th, 2011 at 10:05 AM ^

Well sure, there are programs that require dorm residence. And I have no problems with some programs deciding to require it. But it's not like it's a general rule and RR was allowing players to be "above" everyone else, which is what I was responding to.


April 25th, 2011 at 5:08 PM ^

I think Brian and/or Mgoblog should be added to Wikipedia. I don't have the energy to tackle the task... But. I bet someone on here can do an excellent job.

Update us all when it's done!

El Jeffe

April 25th, 2011 at 5:15 PM ^

I have no problem with players returning and feeling more at home with Hoke than with Rodriguez. I think a moran of the highest order could tell that Rodriguez was doing some things differently than older regimes, and it appears that Hoke has returned some things to status quo ante.

What I don't understand is the vitriol directed at Rodriguez, as though it weren't patently clear from the outset what sort of coach he was when he took the job. Some of us wanted to roll the dice with that sort of change, as we were getting tired of being on the outside looking in of programs that were revamping along similar lines (see: Oregon, Auburn, Texas, Florida, LSU).

I also realy feel for people like RVB, for whom Michigan football WAS the RR way. Ex-players are being way too myopic in thinking that there is one M football brain that everyone shares. By claiming that the "old way" to which Hoke is returning M is somehow the only legitmate form of M football is a slap in the face of the players who have been busting their asses for the last three years.

So my view is that the only thing that ought to come out of fans' and ex-players' mouths is something on the order of "I see what they were trying to accomplish, I appreciate the hard work they put in, and I'm sorry it didn't work out. Now I'm looking forward to a new era under Brady Hoke."

That's the way I'm approaching it, anyway.

micheal honcho

April 26th, 2011 at 9:32 AM ^

When RR arrived, wasnt he basically doing the same thing?? What about the guys who played for Lloyd? werent they basically being told(indirectly, through actions) that everything that they'd learned, done, accomplished under the past regime amounted to jack shit??

I know RR said "I'll take all the Jake Longs that you want to give me" but the reality of it is, no he wouldnt. He wouldnt even have recruited Jake Long. He'd have said he was too slow, not good enough balance etc. He was alienating a bunch of guys and disrespecting everything that came before him. Not though words, but through actions.

I'd love to talk to the 4 star OL from Grand Haven high(Dan O'Neal or something) who was recruited heavily by Carr & co, labeled as the next Jake Long(hyperbole I know) only to remain at UM for 1yr under RR and transfer to western where he plays now. Clearly he knows that the education he'd recieve at Michigan was far superior, even if he wasnt going to be a starter why wouldn't he just hang in, ride the pine and get a great education? Why did he leave so abruptly under RR??

I think that if you were one of Lloyd's guys and RR knew he would "need" you, and you'd established yourself as a potential leader before he got there, he treated you as well as the guys he(RR) recruited. However I question how he treated those who he knew would never play in his "system"? What about seniors that were there when he arrived? Did he afford them the respect they had earned for busting their asses year after year in practice, camp etc.? We know how the previous regimes treated them, even if they were never going to contribute on the field.

I don't know the awnsers to these questions now, but in the coming years it will reveal itself and we might get a better idea of why some say he didn't "get it".

El Jeffe

April 26th, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

That is an impressive list of speculative statements. I don't have the time or inclination for a full fisk, but let me just say that there are three differences between RR hinting through his actions that Lloyd's players weren't welcome (if he in fact did that) and Braylon Edwards saying with his words that RR wasn't a Michigan Man.

  1. We know what Braylon said. You are speculating about what RR did.
  2. Braylon said things. RR may or may not have hinted at things through his actions.
  3. Braylon was not, at the time of RR's un-Michigan Manness, a player on the team. RR was, at the time he was not being a Michigan Man, in fact the HFC of the University of Michigan.


April 25th, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

Whenever someone prefaces an unfounded claim with the phrase "I can't put it into words" my head explodes.  If there is some other "it" that rich rod didn't "get" other than hiring a competent defensive coordinator and winning (which can be put into words...), I would really like one of these fervently anti-rich rod people to


April 25th, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

about how RR alienated the former players and coaches besides just not winning.  The only specific we got from that email was the dorm room thing which is interesting but might be number499 out of 500 things that went wrong the last 3 years.

Sometimes wonder if you expect someone outside your family to lead your family but there's not a bunch of people taking him under their wings and showing them the rope how they are ever supposed to be part of the family.


April 25th, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

I think that the Big House is the greatest place on the planet, but I know I think that because I went to Michigan and grew up watching games in the Big House.  There are millions out there who feel the same way about Beaver Stadium and the Shoe and the Swamp.  And they're not wrong.  It's a sentiment that should be encouraged.  

It's just a problem with the guiding principle becomes "you must know our shibboleths," because you're excluding a lot of people who have valuable things to add.  Like Bo.  And unlike MSU's new hockey coach.  


April 25th, 2011 at 6:44 PM ^

Well, our school's marketing campaign is "The Michigan Difference."  And I do think there is something that separates Michigan--as a university and as a football program--from every other school.  But I agree it shouldn't be mere "shibboleths."  And it shouldn't be running the ball up the middle on every play.  Let's hope Hoke doesn't respect that tradition. 

Michigan Arrogance

April 25th, 2011 at 5:45 PM ^

I still don't get it. Or "it." Or "IT."


Well, IT == information technology, go I guess I get that it. I mean IT.


OT: You every say a word a bunch of times & it starts to sound weird?


April 25th, 2011 at 6:16 PM ^

You realize that "this group of entitled bitches" are not abstract people, but likely the same people you've spent your entire fandom cheering - the people that helped make you a fan, and gave you all these memories?

I'm tired of the non-specific accusations, but I assume that these guys have an insight to the program that I don't, and, as people that actually contributed to it, have more invested in it's success than I do.


April 25th, 2011 at 6:26 PM ^

"Entitled bitches" are "entitled bitches" nonetheless.  I'm not necessarily agreeing with the OP, because we've heard such conflicting stories about ex-players' inclusion that I don't know what to believe.  However, whether they're former players or not, if they were souring the attitude around Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium because Rodriguez had a fancy spread offense, messed with the #1 jersey, and lost a few more games than everyone wanted...

...then yeah, maybe they should have been excluded.

I refuse to automatically believe that these ex-players were in the right, because we've seen some of their bitchy attitudes in the media.  And that started even before Rodriguez coached a game in Ann Arbor.


April 25th, 2011 at 6:33 PM ^

Well, first, I'm sure that we can agree that just because Braylon is a mouthy fuckwit, and Morgan Trent said stupid shit (and Jay Feeley tweeted obnoxious things?), that doesn't implicate every single one who didn't support Rodriguez.

It sounds as if their was a largely silent group of players that didn't want him to be the coach. That doesn't make anybody "right" or "wrong". It means that they disagreed with people who thought Rodriguez was good - which is something reasonable people can do.

micheal honcho

April 26th, 2011 at 4:35 PM ^

And I refuse to believe that in this case there is "smoke" but absolutely no "fire". While this particular group of former players might not be automatically right, they are also not automatically wrong either.

I take their mostly emotional statements as just that. Driven by emotion. However that does not mean that they are completely off base either, just that thier reactions might be overblown and exaggerated but where theres smoke, theres usually at least some fire.


April 25th, 2011 at 6:30 PM ^

Fair enough, although I have only been a fan since 06 when I started attending.  "Entitled bitches" was wrong to say though, as a generalization and ad hominem.  


I just think that these former players saw what they wanted to see.  The "RR doesn't get it" meme started even before his first practices and I wonder if many of them did anything to see if that was true.  Obviously I have no personal knowledge, but given that some former players and coaches were still involved in the program, I have a hard time thinking that RR was slamming doors in people's faces.  


April 25th, 2011 at 6:35 PM ^

For some reason, it's obvious that a large number of people felt less welcomed.

Maybe it's nobody's fault - maybe players felt less-inclined or "welcomed" to go back merely because they didn't know anybody. Mostly all of their connections to the program left with Carr. That doesn't make it anybody's fault, but would you go visit your old family house after your parents moved?