The importance of coach background?
Patterson is a rare defensive HC standout
I know there are plenty of questions about the coaching search coming through, I'd hoped to give a different take.
In your opinion what is the preferable background of a coach. In the modern game with high powered, explosive offenses being the key to success, the trend seems be leaning towards guys with strong background in developing offenses (Tom Herman, Gus Malzahn, etc). I still maintain that the best background for a head coach is having a much stronger background on the defensive side of the ball. A top notch defense requires the ability to adapt to the offense (everyone runs the same offense week to week, defenses must adjust) putting a higher premium on extensive experience multiple jobs running multiple defenses.
The other key to success is recruiting (it seems you can out scheme your way to an effective offense, but a defense is more about the 'Jimmy's and Joe's). In my estimate, the best coach would be a guy with a lot of DC experience who knows what hates to defend and hires that guy. For instance, if Hoke had just admitted he didn't know anything about offense and spent the blank check Brandon gave him on the best guy to run a Denard led team (As I recall there were heaps of Oregonesque coordinators out there who would kill to walk into an experienced Denard job with money to spend on top assistants), we would probably be celebrating Hoke as a genius for not wearing the headset. I'm not sure Rodriguez hiring a stud D coordinator and letting them run the D the way they wanted would have worked because a number of his D recruits didn't pan out, which I believe goes to talent identification.
Please don't excommunicated me from the M family, I still think Harbaugh is the top candidate despite his offensive background!
You've got a pretty good case with "DC who knows what he hates to defend," as that's exactly what Bob Stoops did and he's been pretty successful. On the other hand, the top guys in college right now have a decided offensive bent.
Defensive guys at top 25 schools: Saban, Dantonio, Patterson, Snyder, Whittingham, Mora.
Offensive guys: Meyer, Helfrich, Fisher, Briles, Mullen, Freeze, Rodriguez, Johnson, Richt, Graham, Pinkel, Swinney, Andersen, Malzahn, Harsin, Petrino, Miles, Sarkisian, Kill.
A few of those are tenuous (Swinney was never a coordinator, Kill has been a head coach for so long he's just a head coach); even considering that it seems like the rapid evolution of offense has made OCs preferable to DCs.
And when DCs do have sustained success it's often because they have an oddball system they make work, whether it's Saban's NFL-style pattern matching, Dantonio's hyperaggressive cover 4, or Patterson's 4-2-5. Imposing your will is possible on defense; it seems to be a lot easier on offense.
I know you are being loaded with questions around the coaching search. My question is for after the search is over. The basis of the question is simple. How long do you think until Michigan is back to at least consistent 8 to 9 win seasons.
My personal belief is that with Harbaugh the chances are quick. But, what if it is not Harbaugh and someone who specializes in spread concepts to their offense, ie.) a Mullen or Herman? Do you think those hires would lead to as heavy an attrition as the Rich Rod transition did? If not how well would the current roster mesh with those schemes. Lastly if one of those two or another spread guy was hired, and the transition isn't a great fit, should we be prepared for Harbaugh, Harbaugh, Harbaugh, all over 4 years from now? Thanks in advance.
There wasn't actually that much Rich Rod-Hoke transition attrition. Most of the guys who left did so because they couldn't stay in school or find playing time. IIRC, Cullen Christian and Ray Vinopal left with Tony Gibson to go to Pitt, but I don't think anyone else could be claimed to have left as direct effect of the changeover. (Check the most recent Attrition Watch and correct me if I'm wrong.) In general, transfers are rare. PSU had their program burned to the ground and open season declared on their players and they only lost a few guys.
Recruits who haven't signed LOIs are a different matter, but if Michigan has a coach in January they'll have about ten spots to fill.
As far as spread/not spread, the differences in personnel there are considerably overstated. OSU and Miss St run power-oriented spread offenses built on being beefy mean guys; that kind of offense would fit well with Michigan's recruits on the OL. Receivers are receivers; Michigan has a couple slot guys. Tailbacks like Brandon Minor and Carlos Hyde function in the spread; Michigan's current crew could do just fine.
QB is the big difference, and it's an issue. I do think Morris has sufficient wheels to be a keep-'em honest threat, and as OSU's shown over the past half-decade or so, a spread oriented system tends to keep reads for shaky QBs relatively simple.
Hoke did a very good job stocking the roster with guys who stick around and they are beginning to mature, so a relatively quick (read: year 2) turnaround is within the realm of possibility.
[After the JUMP: frankly, things get very silly.]
let's consider this for a moment, just for fun
Like everyone else, now that the other shoe has officially dropped on Hoke, we get to wait and speculate. Well, speculate more anyway.
I was wondering what you think about Brian Kelly? I know you were high on him last time around, ND could be somewhat pissed at winding up at 7-5, and he's never seemed like quite the right guy for them.
Any chance we could poach him, and is it worth it?
Jon (stubob), class of '98
This is a weird question that will never happen but it's interesting as a though experiment so:
The natives are restless in South Bend after ND went off a cliff this year and I get where they're coming from. Their 12-1 season wasn't actually the kind of team that impresses you with their dominance (it featured narrow escapes against Purdue, Pitt, Stanford, and BYU) and the thud at the end of the year demonstrated just how far away from truly elite that team was. The rest of Kelly's tenure has seen four or five losses. It's not that far from Bo Pelini's tenure.
So he might be achievable if only because ND isn't going to fight tooth and nail to keep him. But for that very reason he not an enthralling candidate.
He's at a peer school and in year 5 he just went 7-5. He's turned purple, he's suffered an unusual number of quick defections from star players, and he would be entering with negative points with people around the program since he's been the head coach at a rival school. Also, ND fans are right that he hates running to an irrational extent—two years ago M was all but begging him to put it on the ground and he refused to get M out of their shell.
He's a B, B+ candidate and he comes packaged with a ton of drama. I would say not worth it.
Worst "would you rather" ever:
Schiano, or Pelini? Assuming no other options available.
Pelini, and it's not close. Pelini sustained more success at a higher level than Schiano ever did. Schiano had one big year and then declined to meh performance in a depleted Big East; Pelini took over a cratered Nebraska program and won nine games every year. I get that the institutional differences between Rutgers and Nebraska make that easier; I still think that his performance in the Big Ten was more impressive than Schiano's in the Big East, and then you have to take Schiano's NFL flameout into account.
Saban to Texas
What if it is Saban
WHAT WOULD YOU DO
Take a bath, write sternly worded open letter about how you should not cut players here, spin around in circles until I fall over.
Unnecessary hockey apology.
I realize that with everything going on with the football program, this may not be at the top of your priority list to answer, but I have a question and a confession/apology regarding the hockey team and the Yost experience.
I was a hockey season ticket holder for 8 years for undergrad and dental school from 2004-2012, I live in New Mexico now but I was able to be home for thanksgiving and I caught the Friday game against RPI. This was my first time being in Yost since the renovations had been done. I know I don’t need to tell you but it was just not the same. Michigan scored two goals in the last four minutes to win in regulation, by all accounts an incredible way to end a game, but the atmosphere wasn’t what I expected or remembered.
I understand that I was there during thanksgiving break and the alumni band was playing, but based on what I have read on twitter this doesn't seem to be isolated to holiday weekends. Now while I totally agree that the previous athletic administration could be blamed for a lot of this, I didn’t think the upgrades made to the arena were all that bad objectively. My question is how much of the change in the atmosphere at Yost do you attribute to the Brandon administration, how much to the product on the ice, and how much to the resurgence of the basketball team? I know it’s easy to blame Brandon for everything, but I really think that the change in performance of the hockey and basketball teams have contributed most to the change.
Yost started sliding downhill a long time ago. The first issue was the installation of the club seats, which cut off vision and involvement from a big hunk of the student section. Those issues have continued with every subsequent renovation that takes out students and every price hike that makes them reconsider buying tickets. The student section used to be the entire east side of the arena, when that east side had 50% more seats than it does now. No matter how enthusiastic modern student sections are they cannot compete with those of a decade ago simply because those sections were 3 or 4 times larger.
Brandon accelerated the process with his rampant commercialization. The first half of any intermission is packed with ads, as are breaks in play. MGoUser Alton pointed out that a lot of the traditional Yost songs have been pushed out by ads for Famous Bill's Terrible BBQ. They recently added a second PA announcer to do their commercial reads, apparently because Scott Spooner has too much dignity to sound like a guy who is trying and failing to impersonate Rob Schneider.
The recent lack of team success plays a role; constant renovations with no thought given towards Yost's atmosphere and ticket prices that shrink the most passionate slice of the fanbase are bigger factors. (And, yes, basketball has also cut into the Yost student section.)
Now for my apology, I remember fondly the days when “I Can’t Turn You Loose” was played and we searched for Mr. Johnson, the Water Buffalo, someone in a costume, or just a kind of overweight guy and got them to dance for the duration of the song. For some reason, at some point during my first or second year of dental school, my friend and I decided that it would be way more fun if everybody danced. We tried for three or four games to get everyone to dance and at first it was just us and the one guy who was supposed to be dancing. We got a lot of sideways looks (which we should have heeded) but eventually on that one fateful night, the right combination of alcohol and emotion struck and it caught on and everyone danced and it was glorious. Now, I wasn’t the one who choreographed the dance that everyone does now, but I feel like I was the driving force behind the paradigm shift, and had I just sat and enjoyed the singular dancer we wouldn’t be where we are today. I hate that something that was so unique and awesome was turned into something that feels packaged and cheap, and I wanted to apologize and confess my part in it.
Thanks for reading.
Brian P in Clovis, NM
Backstory on this for anyone who isn't in the weird old Yost fraternity: the hockey band plays "I Can't Turn You Loose" every game, and until about five or six years ago the tradition was that they'd find a designated overweight guy to dance unless either Superfan or Jack Johnson's dad was available.
The shift Brian P describes came suddenly: one year the final Yost game saw the entire student section do the dance, and the next year it was every game. I hated this, and said as much on this here blog. Violation of the sacred principles and such.
I was wrong.
Even though Yost is way way off its glory days, I was wrong about this. This was driven home to me at the Maryland game. The band did the cake and the students did the dance and it was terrific. It was something that bled over from hockey to every other sport at Michigan because it was weird and fun and came from Brian P in Clovis, NM and not for any reason other than that some people were trying to have a good time at a sporting event. Subsequent events have proven you guys right. I shouldn't have been so uptight about it. Things like that survive on their merits and die on their merits. This thrives.
I'm a born hater and I got nothin'. Brian P of Clovis, NM, you don't have anything to apologize for.