Paging Dr. Stalin
getting our glares on
Will there be a roster purge a la Charlie Strong or can we expect Harbaugh to try and retain almost everyone?
I'm not a fan of purges; part of a leader's job is to gain buy-in, but they do happen. Some attrition will certainly happen, but I'd like to not dig a huge roster hole we're digging out of for 3+ seasons.
Strong's purge is not likely to repeat if only because that kind of massive roster depletion is just about unprecedented. Strong walked into a combination of bad timing (two guys suspended for sexual assault) and no discipline after the Mack Brown decline had truly festered. Strong read guys the riot act…
Sources said all of the players in question were told that Strong was watching them closely dating back to February, when they were part of a group pulled aside and told that their attitude and/or behavior had to change.
As part of that conversation, players were told they’d be subject to more random drug tests, sources said.
…and they did not respond. That led to a lot of guys out the door.
Michigan has already experienced one of these, as Kyle Bosch was brought into a meeting with Harbaugh and told there would be some conditions on his continued membership:
“I was at school all day, getting ready,” Bosch told Sporting News on Tuesday morning. “Then I met with Coach Harbaugh and I didn’t expect the transfer. That was not my original intent when I went up there yesterday. … This was very untimely. If it was my intention to transfer, I would have done that a long time ago.”
Bosch said his meeting with Harbaugh produced two options: stay with the program with stipulations (he did not say what they were) or transfer.
The kind of things Bosch dealt with over the past year are best left unspecified, but if he didn't want to meet the law laid down by Harbaugh it's best that he find somewhere else to be.
Bosch is an exception. Hoke was very good at getting guys who work hard and go after their schoolwork, thus the APR and extremely low transfer rate. That rate is about to pick up for a lot of reasons (remember that even before the season ended Hoke mentioned two OL were headed out), but the departures won't rise to the level of a purge or leave Michigan alarmingly short-handed this September.
You can tell this is the case just by the recruiting numbers. Michigan has room for a class of 12 right now. Without epic departures that isn't going to get past 20, and a roster that only has to add 15 or 16 players is not in dire straights.
This staff versus previous staff.
Hi, I'm your DL coach. [Eric Upchurch]
Since the site has been 90% devoted to the assistant coaching rumors or hires for the past several days I wanted to throw a question at you.
The natural reaction in the wake of hiring Harbaugh and turning the page on the previous regime is to look at everything through rose colored glasses. At least until the first game we lose, people will mostly think he can do no wrong and every person he hires or recruits is a great fit.
If we take a step back, how do you feel the staff construction we will have next year compares to our reaction to the staffs that Rodriguez or Hoke hired in their first seasons? Do you see any areas that make you scratch your head or long for someone else?
There's no comparison. Hoke and Rodriguez both imported the large majority of their existing coaches and held on to Fred Jackson. Those coaches had experienced success—sort of in Hoke's case—in a specific context at a lower level of competition. Rodriguez fatally did not bring Jeff Casteel along; Hoke imported Greg Mattison and brought Al Borges with him.
- Is an in-demand OC/QB coach.
- Hired an in-demand DC.
- Kept Greg Mattison as a position coach.
- Hired the guy who built the Stanford ass-kicking machine.
- Hired Ty Wheatley in the recruiting-heavy RB slot.
- Hired an ex-NFL OC and successful college OC as a WR coach.
- Hired a special teams coordinator who has 15 years of crazy success.
Nobody on this staff is going to wander over to San Jose State after they're done at Michigan, and most of them have experienced impressive amounts of success outside of the Harbaugh context. With limited exceptions that latter was not true of anybody on either of the previous two staffs other than Greg Mattison.
If there's anything with this staff that makes me pause it's the still-hypothetical Dougherty hire. He's only had one year of TEs, and with the importance of those guys in the Harbauffense it seems like you'd want a guy with a long track record there, possibly with some OL coaching mixed in to help out Drevno. OC/OL is a lot on one plate.
But we don't know if that's actually going to come to fruition—given the timing here it's possible that Fisch swooped in on his spot. The last thing we heard about Dougherty was a Football Scoop report from three days ago—unreliable to start and increasingly so as we get further out without any confirmation. I'm beginning to think that's not happening.
[After the JUMP: search postmortem, these are my readers.]
I've read Mgoblog during three different coaching searches now, and lightly participated in one while at Maize n Brew. Obviously, one learns things while covering events like this, so naturally Mgoblog's overall posture towards a coaching search has shifted from Rodriguez to Harbaugh. My question put as succinctly as I can muster: Did you want to break Harbaugh to Michigan?
In the past you've put a great deal of emphasis on your blogs - and bloggers in general - needing to be right. Your margin for error is so slim, given the medium, that anything you do that is even the slightest bit misinformed can ultimately destroy your credibility. How has that changed as the blogging medium has shifted from Rodriguez to Hoke to Harbaugh? Did your approach change during the Harbaugh run? Was that a conscious decision?
It seemed that your stance changed perceptively from "I'm reporting on other people's facts and profiling potential successors" to "I'm gonna break news if I have a good source." What went into that?
Yes, I did want to break Harbaugh, and no, I didn't.
I did enter this search differently than previous ones after being strident about the fact that Hoke would not be hired the last time around. I was considerably more skeptical of the institution's competence (unwarranted, as it turned out) and more skeptical of SOURCES (extremely warranted). But the heart of the coverage was the same: I lay out everything I've got, give you the shape of the items as best I can without burning sources, tell you what I think, and allow you to draw your own conclusion.
This search was both strange and not strange compared to the other two. Rodriguez came out of nowhere so whoever was first to say "Rodriguez" and "Michigan" in the same sentence was going to get major credibility brownies. IIRC, that was The Sporting News—nobody connected to Michigan at all. When Hoke was hired he was so implausible that anyone saying "no seriously this is going to happen" was providing useful information. And that search was up and done much quicker than the month between Hoke's firing and Harbaugh's hiring.
By the time things were done-done with Harbaugh, they'd been almost done for weeks. I don't in fact know who "broke" the news. Sam Webb clearly knew what was up when he put a number on it and started incrementing that number 5% a day at a rate that would hit 100% on the 30th. Steve Lorenz had it as "when, not if." The day after Christmas I put up my 99% post; the day after that John U Bacon said it was done on twitter. Report after report started flowing in after that, each of them erasing a progressively tinier sliver of doubt. In that situation who had it first, and does it even matter? Bacon's 8k retweets say yes. Common sense says not so much.
I don't think your last paragraph is quite right. From the beginning I was incorporating anything everyone was saying, from paysite folks to national ones to sources in my inbox and on my phone. I globbed it all together this time instead of separating out my stuff from everyone else's because it just seemed like the best way to get a handle on the situation. But even from the beginning I was debunking Football Scoop stuff like "Harbaugh has already turned down Michigan" because of information I had.
The major difference between MGoBlog and everyone else is that this place was willing to pass judgment on other people's takes. 99% of reporters will opt out of commenting on their colleagues. I'm not a reporter and couldn't care less what Jason La Canfora or Tim Kawakami thinks of me, so I can tell you exactly what I thought of their stories.
I approached this from a fan mindset, the upshot of which was that I wanted to assemble and judge every single piece of information available and assemble it into as clear a picture as possible. That meant bombing stuff I knew was wrong nationally, deploying the common sense scoff at Sean Payton even when local guys were saying it was possible, and plugging everything into one Bayesian estimate of whether it was happening or not. I thought that was the most useful way to approach things, and traffic around here seems to indicate it was.
Once you're already at 99% your ass is in the wind, a feeling I hate. Hitting publish on that post was one of those "oh shiiiiiiiii" moments. I didn't want to do it; I felt I had to do it. At that point I did want to break that last percent. I'm already exposed. I thought it was a possibility if one of the more connected guys who talks to me got it. Ultimately that didn't happen because Bacon talks to the universe, and fine. Better him than someone who had been wrong for 30 days in a row before being right on the last one.
In the aftermath, I think I did the job better than I had before. I was not presented with any opportunities to be as wrong as I was about Hoke, of course. I believe I wouldn't have made the same mistake, and think that the broad outlines of everything that appeared in Searchbits were correct.
I look forward to never having to do this again.
Jim Harbaugh is uncomfortable with this email.
Ever since Searchbits began, the two phrases "Harbaugh!" and "It's happening" became household staples. My wife never watched Michigan anything until we started dating, and she called the last month of our marriage "the most obsessed she's ever seen one man about another." It's bled into my career, too.
I teach sixth grade literacy in a western suburb of Chicago, and my teammate is a recent Michigan grad. We're slowly converting our students to everything Michigan. This past week, we've had two extreme cold days that cancelled school. On my homework site, I simply put Harbaugh! on the days off, followed by "Test cancelled...Harbaugh!" on Friday.
Their extra credit assignment? Telling me what form of speech we're turning Harbaugh into.
Yep, that is what the future of America is learning.
Go Blue and keep up the good work.
God's work, Nate.