The Tin Age Of Gold

Submitted by Brian on January 21st, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Tommy Tuberville, 1/11/2010:

"We're going to air it out," Tuberville said. "We're going to keep the Air Raid. I think it's something that Tech has hit upon that gives them that identity to recruit."

Rich Rodriguez, sometime in 2008:

“We’ll adapt. I like winning too much not to adapt a little bit to our personnel.”

Brady Hoke, 1/14/2011:

"I think you'd be remiss as a coach if you don't know your personnel, and you try to implement something that maybe you're not quite ready for. There's a way to grow to it. So we're not going to try to put any square pegs in round holes."

Midway through Rich Rodriguez's first season it had become clear that Michigan was spectacularly bad at football for the first time since the 60s, and the blame started to go around. A large portion of it was directed at Rodriguez shoehorning Michigan's pro-style personnel into the spread offense, and it was all dumb. Very dumb. I wrote a post explaining how dumb this was called "The Golden Age of Tin." In brief:

  • Despite having NFL talent up and down the roster Michigan was about 70th in offense in 2007. All of that talent left.
  • Michigan had moved to a zone running game two years before Rodriguez arrived and he changed very little on the line.
  • Four of the five starters skill position starters were freshmen who had never played in a pro-style offense. (Brandon Minor would later return from injury/discontent/quasi-suspension and play pretty well.)
  • The run-pass split was almost 50-50 a year after WVU ran 70% of the time.
  • The quarterbacks were bad in any system.

A couple years later, Nick Sheridan is a grad assistant, a redshirt junior version of Steven Threet has a 18-16 TD-INT ratio for a 6-6 Arizona State team, and Michigan's spread offense is one halfway decent turnover margin/defense/kicker from being awesome. Rich Rodriguez did a lot of things wrong in his time in Ann Arbor, but installing the offense he'd been running for 20 years wasn't one of them.

Because of all the things he did do wrong, however,


he's in a sad car with sad child. Al Borges is now in charge of Denard Robinson, a bunch of slot receivers, tailbacks no one except Fred Jackson thinks much of, and… well… a pretty decent set of pro-style outside receivers, tight ends, and (probably) offensive linemen.

Borges is going to do the only thing he can do with this personnel: coach a pro-style offense with a vertical passing game. This is not going to be as good for Michigan as continuity would be, but the person to blame for that is the athletic director, or Rich Rodriguez, or some of the things Rich Rodriguez did wrong. Al Borges has not spent the last 20 years figuring out how to get mileage out of quarterbacks who double as drag racers in the offseason. He's spent it saying "no, I'm not Jeffery Tambor" and passing to open up the run.

Coincidentally, the best example of what happens when you replace a Rich Rodriguez-type coach with a more passing-oriented guy is when West Virginia replaced Rich Rodriguez with Jeff Mullen. Mullen was the QB coach responsible for turning Wake Forest into a miraculously effective offense through 2007 and arrived in Morgantown promising more balance in the Mountaineer offense. He got it:

OC Year Runs Passes Run%
Rodriguez 2007 628 265 70%
Mullen 2008 517 305 63%

Unsurprisingly, passes got less effective as they became more frequent. The thing that dropped WVU from a national title contender to just another top 25 team was that despite rushing less, rushes also got less effective.

OC Year YPC YPA Pass Eff
Rodriguez 2007 6.2 7.8 11th
Mullen 2008 5.3 6.4 28th

If you're thinking Steve Slaton's exit for the NFL may have had something to do with that, replacement Noel Devine actually rushed for 6.3 YPC. What happened? Burgeoning Wolverine Star has a table of its own that highlights the severe drop in productivity from quarterback legs that started as soon as Rodriguez left. Pat White's rushes were exactly as frequent—down to a tenth of a percentage point—as they were in 2007 but his productivity dropped alarmingly. White averaged 6.7(!) YPC under Rodriguez and just 5 under Mullen.

While it's possible the schedule was tougher and the team weaker after Owen Schmitt and a few others graduated, Devine's numbers suggest the most likely explanation for that huge drop is that Mullen didn't know what the hell to do with White.


So. Michigan fans wishing to protect their soul-tingly-bits would do well to regard quotes like these from Borges as gentle untruths created for public perception: 

"I've been doing this for 24 years. I'm no genius and I do not pretend to be one, but I have a hell of a lot of experience with a lot of different types of quarterbacks."

But when Borges goes on to compare Robinson to Michael Vick and what he's doing with the Eagles…

"They said Michael Vick couldn't be a West Coast-style quarterback, and he's one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. Why? Because they put him in situations to run and throw. Denard is 6-feet tall, like Michael Vick. He can run and he can throw and make things happen. If Michael Vick can do that with the Philadelphia Eagles, why can't Denard Robinson do that at Michigan?"

…he suggests that "a lot of different types of quarterback" boil down to guys running NFL offenses with various scrambling add-ons. This is not a fluke. Borges has an array of quotes along those lines. It's also not very realistic. Vick's long and winding journey to becoming a good NFL quarterback took ten years of intensive coaching. When he was three years out of high school (like Denard will be next year) he had a 9-7 TD-INT ratio; VT ran 74% of the time. Their offense was a grab-bag of spread 'n' shred mixed with pro-style that featured a heavy dose of option and even more "Mike Vick makes one read on seven-step drop and starts running." It was pretty effective, but it was even more run-heavy than Rodriguez's Pat White days and took the most outrageously athletic player in the last two decades to make it go.

I'm not sure Denard is quite that, and if we're talking about putting Denard in positions to run or pass that just sounds like a lot of rollouts. And here's the weird thing about Robinson: the guy hates running the ball when he's not explicitly directed to. When he got to the edge this year he invariably chose to throw even when it was third and three and there wasn't a guy within six yards of him.

run run run run run nooooooo okay [ninja stuff] wooooo

Maybe that's because Michigan's offense revolved around Denard running 25 times a game and he didn't want to put any more tread on his tires, but seriously, how many times did you scream "run!" at the TV or field last year?

Maybe this will work out. Maybe Michigan will run four verticals at opponents until their safeties scream for help, whereupon Denard will be able to enact one-read-and-scramble. It would be easier to imagine this happening with Braylon Edwards on the outside, but Michigan did have some success throwing deep in the bowl game and I'm guessing Denard's going to spend most of his offseason throwing fly routes.

But if it doesn't, there's no alternative. Coaches are old and crotchety and just are who they are. They have a very specific, gradually moving corpus of knowledge and when they deviate from that performance suffers. Borges is an effective coordinator with a certain sort of offense. Without it he's probably going to be a version of Jeff Mullen. This is no one's fault, really, just like it wasn't anyone's fault three years ago when Rich Rodriguez surveyed his offensive personnel and felt the crevasse beneath him inch open for the first time.

Tommy Tuberville, 12/27/2010:

"I still believe in running the football," he said. "More than what they did in the past. That's the biggest difference. We want to be a bit more physical and be able to run the ball, which will help throwing it down the field, too."

RIP, air raid. RIP, spread 'n' shred.

BONUS: we should put together a pool for when and where the first column approvingly citing Borges's ability to adapt relative to Rodriguez by comparing their first seasons shows up. Bonus points will be awarded for the most irritatingly shallow glossing over of the difference between junior Denard Robinson with seniors around him versus freshman Threetsheridammit surrounded by fellow freshmen.

DISCLAIMER SECTION: I expect these things next year: Denard is a better thrower, turnover margin is a lot better (fourth year running, that prediction), all yardage metrics drop, scoring drops slightly from 25th but is better distributed across the schedule, FEI plummets. Improvement from the defense and, god willing, kicker will mask a drop in offensive power.



January 21st, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

You flip a coin twice and it comes up heads both times.  You are grousing because it is probably going to come up heads again.  The reason we flip coins is to  see how they come up.

You pick two examples; undoubtedly the two examples you want to pick to make your preconceived point.  Well done.  Hopelessly unconvincing.

Surely you don't presume to prove that there is no coach out there who can't make good use of existing skills.


January 21st, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

I think the point is there's zero correlation between whether a coach says he will "adapt" and whether or not he actually does. They are counterexamples for anyone who jumps with both feet into the belief that Borges will do something he's never done before because he's been handed a quarterback he's never had before.


January 21st, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

this whole adapting to your players' skills thing.

Hate him or not, Tressel is very good at this.  And they don't get any older and crotchety than him. 

We were all shocked with what he did when he had Troy Smith.  We had never seen anything like that from him before.  We were used to Tressel-ball.  He went away from it when his players changed, but then came back to it with Pryor.  It can be done. 

What I want for Denard is not Lloyd's Brian Greise/John Nevarre offense, but Tressel's Troy Smith/Pryor offense.   

There I said it.  *Gasp*


January 21st, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

"They said Michael Vick couldn't be a West Coast-style quarterback..."

No, they said he shouldn't be a West Coast-style QB. It seems like a waste of talent to not have the defense respecting your best player on as many plays as possible. Adding a run/pass option to a roll-out shouldn't be a big transition, but the coaches will need to play some NCAA '11 to see the QB Option Pass plays. :)

As far as the Borge/RichRod comparison pool, I'll take October 16th. The day after the MSU game. Despite 2 red-zone INTs and a missed fieldgoal in 2010, the final score of 34-17 will be compared to whatever the score is in 2011.


January 21st, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

One of the main arguments made by the "support RR" camp was that people started criticizing him and setting him up before he got into campus.  This is a fair criticism, as many were saying "the spread won't work in the B10,"  "RR can't recruit defense," "RR's mini guys will get killed in the B10," and the like. 

How is Brian's daily negativity against Hoke and Borges any different than this?

We don't know how Hoke / Borges will work out.  They might produce an offense that takes a step back until they have their players.  Or, they might produce an offense that can actually score against top defenses.  Will we be as "quick strike" as last year?  Probably not, but at the end of the day, as long as the scoreboard shows more points for the good guys, who cares.

I just think that the level of negativity here is over the top.  It is obviously Brian's blog and it is his right to write what he wants.  And I will always come here, both for the info, the humor and the overall great work that Brian does.  But, I just wish that Brian would keep the truly open mind that he and other urged RR's early critics to keep.

Huntington Wolverine

January 21st, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^


You keep using this word but I do not think you know what it means*

We don't know how Hoke / Borges will work out.  They might produce an offense that takes a step back until they have their players.  Or, they might produce an offense that can actually score against top defenses.  Will we be as "quick strike" as last year?  Probably not, but at the end of the day, as long as the scoreboard shows more points for the good guys, who cares.

I don't think Brian would disagree with any of this.  In fact, I think that's his point as a counterpoint to the majority of people swooning over 0 pieces of empirical evidence - we don't know yet and until there are results on the field, everything should be taken as coach-speak with a grain of salt.


*Not just "you" but the Princess Bride reference works

Michigan Arrogance

January 21st, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

Immediate criticism of RR upon his hire:

"this isn't the Big East"

"the spread won't work in the B10"

"he's not a Michigan Man"

"#1 jersey OMG THE TRADITION!"

"shredding" documents

"leaving his alma mater for a better job"

Immediate criticism against Hoke upon his hire:

His overall resume


January 21st, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

You are right that some people had those criticisms of RR.  With the exception of "the spread won't work in the B10" those can all be lumped into the "he doesn't fit because he doesn't get just hwo different / tradition-laden / aweomse michigan is from other schools."

Were those poeple right?  Probably to some extent they were.  Do I think that people should have gotten bent out of shape over the #1?  No.  But, the larger issue is that Michigan is a school that takes its traditions as seriously as any other school, and maybe more seriously than most.  Those traditions make us Michigan, and for many of us, they partly define Michigan football.  Sure, we wanted to modernize, but we didn't want a complete break from the past.  So, while I agree with your implication that taken individually, each of these criticisms sound silly, the sentiment behind those criticisms was not totally unfair.  At the end of the day, RR's lack of "fit" doomed him as much as his defense.

As to the more substantive criticisms:

1.  "The spread will not work in the B10" - Well, just looking at this year (I give a pass on the first 2) the spread didn't work in the B10.  Our offense looked like shit against just about every decent defense we faced.   Could it have improved?  Sure, but that is speculation. 

2.  "RR's tiny players will not work in the B10" - How many of our electrons succeeded?  V. Smith was totally ineffective against the larger B10 teams.  Wisconsin ran the ball something like 25+  straight times on us to finish the game - this is not on our depleted secondary - it is a simple matter of their big guys moving our small guys out of the way.

3. "RR doesn't recruit defense."  - Well, you tell me.  Sure here have been a handful of decent recruits, but largely, we are filled with 3* projects and "tweeners"

I don't want to pile on RR.  I liked him as a person.  And when he was hired, while I had many of these concerns, I didn't voice them and was excited to give him a chance.  But he didn't work out.

As to Hoke's resume, he has gotten his past two teams to outperform their historical norms by a ton.  I have no doubt that he is the guy for a job.  The last time that Michigan hired a lower-profile internal guy as its head coach, we won 5 B10 titles and our first National Championship in decades.  I can only hope that Hoke gives us the same success that Lloyd did (before the last few years when he was clearly slowing down and should have retired).


January 21st, 2011 at 4:01 PM ^



This word every means EVERY GOOD DEFENSE WE faced.  We put up huge points against: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. 

Yeah man their defenses sucked.  THEY WERE THE WORST!




As to Hoke's resume.  It took him 5 YEARS.  5 YEAAAARRRRSSSSS to get a better win/loss record than his predecessor. 

RR got 3 years.  (2 if you don't count the smoking crater that was 2008).

King Douche Ornery

January 21st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

Didn't Michigan get shut out in the first half?

Illinois--yes, THERE's a measuring stick for Michigan.

Iowa: Down 35-14 when Robinson went out and two hail mary's later, UM made it close. Wow. Impressive.

I've never seen a guy's fans try to get so much mileage out of "almost being within reach of making games close"

Monocle Smile

January 21st, 2011 at 5:00 PM ^

rather than just being a dick.

28 points in a half is a ton...especially after being shut out for a half and not having the opposing defense back off (Wisco stayed aggressive).

Illinois had a decent to good defense. They're not bad just because they're Illinois, just like we aren't good just because we're Michigan.

Who cares HOW the score got close? And what hail marys? You mean designed flag routes with good timing? The comeback looked to be in full stride despite our defense not stopping anyone.


January 22nd, 2011 at 2:50 AM ^

Your case would be more compelling had the comeback scoring been the exception rather than the rule. But it happened repeatedly: PSU, Iowa, Wisky.
<br>We'd move the ball for the first couple drives. Then the defense would adjust and clamp down.
<br>We'd fall behind by 21 or more by halftime.
<br>Second half: winning team relaxes at halftime, as teams routinely do after taking huge leads.
<br>M rallies and threatens. At which point, the winning team says "Damn, we better close this out." Then it slams the door.
<br>This happened against three of the six quality opponents. Two others (OSU, Miss St) did the same thing, minus the comeback. Whenever the games were close, or whenever the opposing teams needed a stop, M got stopped. It's pretty obvious.


January 21st, 2011 at 8:44 PM ^

Well, since you resorted to name-calling, you should be made to understand your own idiocy. We didn't start scoring on Wisky and Iowa until we were down by 21+. We scored 7 total in the first half. Has anyone not told you that it becomes a lot easier to score when teams get huge leads, then play prevent? Are you aware that Illinois was a mediocre team?


January 21st, 2011 at 2:30 PM ^

I'll admit I was too lazy to read through all 125 comments (hard to find any meaningful posts with less than 100 these days!) forgive me if someone else already made this point.

RR's problem with "not adapting" was not on offense really. As Brian notes, the skill levels were cratered and he adapted as best as made sense while still moving forward with the "transition."

RR's big problem was the regression of the D and his lack of ability to "adapt" to his players there. He had plenty of talent on that side of the ball in 2008 but the scheme was incoherent and seemed to not use the skill appropriately or in the correct positions (see Purdue game, 2008).


January 21st, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

"RR's big problem was the regression of the D and his lack of ability to "adapt" to his players there."

Here's a perfect example of how to point out a Rodriguez weakness.  There are plenty of them, so why is it that people fixate on dumb $h1t like his "inability to use Threet in a pro-style offense?"


January 22nd, 2011 at 10:04 AM ^

The defense was historically bad throughout Rodriguez's three-year tenure, but by all means, let's speculate whether keeping Mallett and more flexibility with his offensive scheme might have turned around that 2008 Toledo game . . .

Gustavo Fring

January 21st, 2011 at 2:40 PM ^

Addressing the Vick comparisons.  Vick is 30 years old (a man, as Mike Gundy would say).  Denard is much younger and has had barely any real high-level qb coaching.  Vick took 10 years (though one can argue his attitude durnig his early years-which by all accounts was the exact opposite of Denard Robinson- had a lot to do with that) to finally start to realize his potential.  There is no guarantee that implementation of a West Coast offense and spring practice is going to turn Denard into Michael Vick. 


January 21st, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

I propose instead of a pool centered around whining about what some stupid-ass media guys write in their fish wrappers, why don't we instead bet on this:

Chances we score more than 7 points against OSU.

Chances we score more than 17 points against MSU.

Chances we score more than 14 points in our bowl game.

I am in the camp that most teams gladly allowed Michigan to roll down the field between the zed zones. But once the field shortened and there wasn't physically enough room to spread out the defense, our offense sputtered and died.  This means all those yards were a meaningless mirage.


January 21st, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

I totally agree with the concept of your post and your views on the offense.  But, you lost me at "most teams gladly allowed Michigan to roll down the field between the zed zones."  I don't think that defenses said, "ah, fuck it, let em march down the field.  Don't waste the energy.  We can just stop em in the red zone."  (Although, that is what effectively happened).


January 21st, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

To be fair, virtually any good defense uses the field to suffocate effective offenses.  I get what you are saying, but any good defense knows that when you are in the 20s, you use the sidelines and especially the back of the endzone as extra defenders and really pack the middle UM's best defenses did that, but I think people have forgotten what a good Maize-and-Blue defense looks like over the past 3 years.

RR's offense worked with young talent, and it certainly was going to work with older, experienced talent.  UM lost to those teams because they were better and, especially with Wiscy and OSU at the end, couldn't stop anyone and put the offense in horrible situations.  I think teams started to figure out how to defend Denard a bit at the end, but there is no need to dismiss the offense in hand because a couple of elite teams took a 7-6 team to town.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:04 PM ^

Chances that we score more than 30 on Iowa and Wisconsin?  And I'm also sure that next year the drop off won't be that bad since we are returning what like 10 starters on offense?


I'd hope that we score more than 7 against OSU.  Also to say that we only scored 17 on MSU when our first year QB makes 2 mistakes in the end zone is a bit dis-ingenuous. 


January 21st, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

How hard can it be to put 15-20 plays from last year's offensive playbook into this year's offensive playbook.  It's not like the players have to be taught them.  It is only up to the OC to call them.  (Assuming all offensive players haven't thrown their 2010 playbooks away.)


January 21st, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

Rodriguez was unable to convince Mallet that he would adapt his scheme to fit the personnel.  Hoke, apparently, was able to convince Denard of that same thing.  End of story.  The players believe, why don't you?

While it is true that human coaches* are not fully in control of, and therefore not solely responsible for, players' decisions to stay or leave, but it is already clear to me that Hoke has been much better at sweet talking the current players - something that Rodriguez was not able to do.  This is the reason why articles will be written comparing Hoke's first year to Rodriguez's.  

*unlike the great satan: Tressel


January 21st, 2011 at 3:22 PM ^

I doubt there was anything possible rich Rod could have done to keep him .His and his parents minds were made up as soon as RR was annouced as Head Coach . With outside help most likely. From Carr who knows . It wasnt hard to convince them that Ryan was better off in a pro style offense...Because that is his dream to play in pro's .. 

st barth

January 21st, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

It seemed obvious even from watching on TV that Mallett hated his freshman year here.

Personally, I'm not convinced that Robinson is staying until after the spring practices.  If he gets on the field and finds himself clashing with the new system he might yet have a change of heart.  Like Forcier said, Robinson is perfect for Rodriguez's system.  It remains to be seen how he will adapt.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:38 PM ^

Brian has a track record over the last year or so of being around 90% wrong on all predictions/feelings of Michigan football, I'm willing to say things will be fine with DRob in this offense.


January 21st, 2011 at 7:55 PM ^

If you say it, it must be so.  Not sure why everyone here is on board with the historical revisionism (must be the influence of WLA).  

As I remember it (from when I was a student at the time): Mallett and Carr were on the outs, Rodriguez came in, Mallett looked like he would give the new non-carr staff a shot.  Rodriguez proceeded to fire loeffler and make backhanded comments that made Mallett feel he was unwanted.

Mallett was not retained.  Whether it was his fault or not, the CEO gets blamed for that.  RichRod could have done more to retain Mallett.  He did not.  Mallett left.  

Because of this. we had to watch Sheridan and Threet for an entire year.  It was the worst year of my life.  For putting me through that, Rodriguez should have to spend the rest of his life in hill country.



January 21st, 2011 at 11:16 PM ^

There was talk of Mallett leaving Michigan before the 2007 season even started.  And they continued throughout the season. 


Rodriguez has said himself he flat out told Mallett he'd have no problem adapting his spread to fit his skillset and used Shawn King as an example of how he had done it with success in the past. 


You say "RichRod could have done more to retain Mallett".  What more is there to do?  Promise him the starting job?  If a kid leaves because he is told he'll have to compete for a starting job just like everybody else at every other position, then he isn't the type of player you want on your team anyway.  And compromising your integrity for one player undermines it in the eyes of everyone else.  You can't expect kids to buy into what you're selling when you're making exceptions.

Michigan Arrogance

January 22nd, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

Because of this. we had to watch Sheridan and Threet for an entire year.  It was the worst year of my life.  For putting me through that, Rodriguez should have to spend the rest of his life in hill country.


wow. i don't even know what to say.

i fucking hate people.


January 23rd, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

You say that you hate people for expressing an opinion, and that is somehow supposed to be better than me stating I hated watching Sheridan throw rainbows.  I don't get that, but since you are a Yankee fan I guess you don't have to make sense.

Napoleon said he would rather have a lucky general than a good one.  I would rather have a coach who can retain gifted athletes (whether it is his fault or not) than one who believes that Sheridan was the appropriate choice to start as QB.

Rodriguez's failings were nobody's fault but his. 


January 21st, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

I'm going to be marginally positive that the offense will be okay next year just because of the talent that returns, and I do think Borges will figure out how to use Denard somewhat effectively.  But at the same time, I think we may be underselling how good Denard can be in virtually any offense.  He's a fast, mobile QB with a good arm, and I could see quite a few 5-step drops that are designed runs.  And one of my concerns with RR's offense was how reliant it was on the QB staying healthy despite those runs, and with the only experienced backup leaving in Tate, I'd rather Denard minimize the number of times he takes hits.  I know that pure numbers say that running QBs don't get hurt any more than passing QBs, but I also know that both White and Robinson tended to get hurt as the season progressed, and those teams struggled when they did.

As for the Vick comparison, I think that might be Borges just trying to highlight a prominent QB with a similar style and analogizing.  Vick took years to be as good as he is, and Denard may never get there.  But that VT team under Vick really wasn't very talented offensively; UM's is far better. This year will be a transition, but the cabinets are far more stocked than when RR arrived and that should lessen some of the growing pains.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:46 PM ^

On Vick, it is widely known he had a completely shitty work ethic until he got sent to the slammer.  Denard, on the other hand, has a fantastic work ethic and attitude.  Denard can easily become the next Tim Tebow (minus the off season circumcisions).  Justp utting that out there as that was the biggest thing that jumped out to me in this article.


January 21st, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

if Borges is bringing back the fulback shuffle. What's the over/under on number of plays into the spring game until they break it out?


January 21st, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

Firstly, there's a big difference between going from Lloyd ball to Rich's spread and shred and from going from Rich's spread and shred back to prostyle.  Sheridan and Threet (or Mallett) weren't fast or athletic enough to run his offense effectively.  


Denard being fast is an asset in the prostyle.  Denard can play in any offense at quarterback.  You're also discounting the fact that Hoke has a history of adjusting to his players whereas Rich did not.  


You're also discounting the fact that WVU's was in fact more difficult.  They replaced Maryland, Mississippi State with Auburn and Colorado.  They also lost two games in OT making the 9-4 not seem nearly as bad.  Devine also had a couple monster games that bumped up his YPC that year.   


January 21st, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

I'm going to go out on a limb here: we will exceed 2010's scoring average of 32.8 ppg.  I don't think 2008 WVU is the best comparison; I think more of Hoke than Bill Stewart, and I definitely think more of Denard Robinson than Pat White.  By midseason, I don't think many people will be pining for the RR offense.


January 21st, 2011 at 4:11 PM ^

He picks up things very well and his talent, desire, and work ethic have me convinced he will be just fine.  He throws very well and they will tweek that part of his game. In fact, I think the new offense will make him more unpredictable to opposing defenses.

The guy I'm curious to see develop over the next couple seasons is Gardner.