Under Construction Comment Count

Brian September 1st, 2008 at 11:41 AM

8/30/2008 – Michigan 23, Utah 25 – 0-1

Every rational thought in your head suggests that the whole walk-on or freshman-the-coaches-are-panicked-about at quarterback, the line of baling wire and the occasional confused chicken, and freshmen everywhere at the skill positions will combine to yield an offense worthy of Yakety Sax, but until you actual see the damn thing in action you can hold out hope it will be otherwise.

We have seen it in action. It could have gone better. At least we have an incredibly direct metaphor all around us:

under construction

This program is under construction with a completion date around 2010. This is going to be a tough year. If you’re prone to hysterics you should do everyone a favor, watch something else, and annoy everyone on the Project Runway message boards with your all-caps posts. Get over it.

If you’d told me the final score before the game I would have been disappointed but not particularly surprised and wouldn’t have budged much from the preseason prediction. Unfortunately, a raft of unusual events obscured a much grimmer picture, especially in the first half. That was a near-worst case scenario. The offense was as bad as everyone feared; the defense was far worse than anyone expected in the first half. Without the latter unit’s second-half turnaround, I would be halfway to the Yukon and my new life as a gold prospector this morning. As it is, I think a bowl game is unlikely since it will probably require a 7-5 record.

But I’m here and we can talk about the game some. The best part was the warmups, and I mean that only somewhat sarcastically. Seeing the 100-some men in winged helmets go “HOO HOO HOO” whilst pivoting was a weird kind of thrill, as was the Barwis-led Circle of Death. This is not your father’s Michigan football, (TINYFMF) etc.

The second best part was Rodriguez’s inability to cope with the idea his team sucked. I also mean that only somewhat sarcastically. TINYFMF was best displayed on Michigan’s last play of the first half, when Nick Sheridan dropped back on third and long and lofted a ball on an ICBM trajectory. Everyone in the stadium knew it would be intercepted the moment it left his hand.

Lloyd Carr would have called a fullback dive and punted. Michigan would probably have escaped the first half with a manageable five-point deficit, and the defense and special teams excellence in the second half would have been enough to pull it out. The entirety of halftime that “22” for Utah rankled. That touchdown looked completely decisive.

So maybe that was a stupid call. Having your walk-on hurl a ball skyward is asking for it. But I vastly prefer the expectation your player can come through in an important situation to the fear he won’t. That tendency is probably going to hurt this year, when expecting any quarterback to do anything except soil himself is a bad bet, but when Michigan is good they’ll go through each series with a mind to score points; they should blow the doors off opponents who can’t cope. Carr’s formula was a recipe for 9-3, 9-3, 9-3, 9-3. Rodriguez will go through more swings based on how much talent he has at his disposal. Eventually, this will be a good thing.

There’s not much more to say: they kind of suck. I don’t know who any of them are. I hope they get better.

  • Boy, did I hate the 4-3 Michigan started out in during the first half. That’s a guarantee of zone coverage or a hideous mismatch between first-time starters at linebacker and slot receivers. For the most part it was the former, which the first-time starters at linebacker were terrible at, and Michigan got shredded on a wide array of routes designed test the weakest part of the Michigan defense. It failed.
  • Do you ever get the feeling people are prepared to criticize in a particular way even if reality conflicts with them? I’ve seen a lot of rabble rabble about “Rodriguez needs to adapt the offense to his players” in the aftermath of a game in which Michigan threw 60% of the time.
  • I bet you could have gotten good odds on “boy, I wish Rodriguez had run more” as a common complaint before the game. That was perhaps the most disturbing development, as it speaks to a total lack of faith in the offensive line.
  • Stevie Brown was victimized repeatedly, giving up the 50-yard pass on third and twenty that led to Utah’s first touchdown. I think he was responsible for the coverage on the score right before the half. He did jump another endzone route and bat the ball to Ezeh.
  • Feagin? I mean… he couldn’t have been worse.
  • The holding and pass interference penalties should be set aside in a description of Utah mistakes, as Michigan forced those errors out of the Utes with a torrent of pressure and wild hopeful downfield jump balls. One of these will serve Michigan in good stead for the rest of the season.
  • This would be the point during a game coached by Carr where I would bemoan the zone-tipping, ineffective 4-3 Shafer came out in for the first half; this is considerably more difficult when you have scarcely less information about the football team than the actual coaches do. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to get a grip on whether your defense can handle a spread offense in its base set when you’re going up against that in practice every day. Or how you’re supposed to figure out what you can do on offense when everyone’s a freshman and even the folks who aren’t played in a totally different system.
  • If ever a coaching staff could be forgiven for flailing about with the wrong players, it was Saturday. The halftime adjustments were encouraging.



September 1st, 2008 at 12:26 PM ^

Our run blocking was awful.  That does not lead to success by a mobile quarterback.  We threw everything but the kitchen sink at the RB position and the two longest runs (I can remember at least) were a 21 yard run by Minor and a 6 yard run on a QB scramble.


September 2nd, 2008 at 11:24 AM ^

We could be Clemson's fan base this Tuesday morning. As bad as Saturday was (and it was bad), expectations were set low for us and we have time, and room to get better. Clemson fulfilled their yearly obligation of being overated, and letting down early. Go Blue!


September 1st, 2008 at 11:55 AM ^

Obviously we are all disappointed at the outcome of the game, but I think the fact that we had a noticeable improvement on both offense and defense from the 1st to 2nd half is something to build upon.  The fact that we actually made half-time adjustments alone is a remarkable improvement over the former regime.  I think the next few weeks are going to be ugly, but by the time Wisco at home rolls around the offense should be slightly less than competent (which is a huge improvement over the last game) and the defense should be fairly stout, giving us a good shot against every Big Ten team except ...



September 1st, 2008 at 11:59 AM ^

Supposedly, Feagin has a bum shoulder. Also, the word out of camp was that, although he is a better overall athlete than the coaching staff originally thought, he has a noodle arm and simply doesn't possess the ability to make the throws necessary to be a Division 1 QB at this time. Now that Tate Forcier and Shavodrick Beaver are aboard and will both be enrolling early, I wouldn't be surprised that Feagin ends up being redshirtted and then moved to DB in spring practice next March. That's what LSU and Miami were recruiting him as, I believe.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:01 PM ^

Another ritual of fall is the one that Brian picks the guy he is going top harp on all year as his personal whipping boy.  The graduation of Chris Graham and Prescott Burgess before him will not deter his constant minus rating of one certain kid no matter what he does on Saturdays.  Yes, Stevie Brown, you're the man this year and it will before a long season for you no matter how many good plays you make it will only be the negative plays that get any attention here.  UFR will always find a way to get you a -1 no matter the situation, so don't spill the gatorade.

 Yes, you didn't make the tackle on a 55 yard pass play in the first half, but you only looked half as lost as Marrell Evans, but we won't mention that here.  We won't mention the completely ineffective scheme we employed in the first half on defense after talking about a press coverage attacking man to man defense all summer.

Yes, Stevie Brown, it will be a long fall for you no matter how you actually perform, but you join a long list of former players that get the inverse of the infamous Davis Harris Man Crush.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:24 PM ^

I will admit I'm very anti-Marrell Evans, but its also a little safer bet to think Stevie Brown will be staying in the lineup and Evans will be benched.  Mouton was announced to be starting on the radio this morning (someone else posted that on mgoboard at least, I will admit I haven't fact checked).  Stevie Brown was also heralded as doing levels better than last season during offseason work outs.  That success has yet to translate to the field, but if it is true, again, I expect him to get the benefit of the doubt from the coaching staff. On top of that, this isn't Brown's first game as a starter.  Evans on the other hand hasn't started a game in his career.  Experience is supposed to lead to better play.

As for not mentioning the ineffective scheme, I think that was not mentioned just once, but 2-3 times in the column.  And as Brian pointed out in his season previews, the secondary always gets more negative than most other positions.  They have less times where they get plusses, but can easily get a negative.  I think the real test of your theory will come in the defensive UFR.  If Brian neglects giving Brown a +1 on the deflection to Ezi, and he gives him a -1 for the stripping of Donovan Warren, then sure, I'll agree with you that its a bit over the top with disgust.  


September 1st, 2008 at 12:43 PM ^

I doubt Stevie is a daily Mgoblog reader, so if Brian rips him every week, I doubt Stevie notices.  It will be a long fall for because he is not very good.   He can get better, but until then, he deserves a tongue lashing from the coaches.  Brian giving him one has no bearing on his thoughts.  You probably realize this, but since you decided to be such a smart ass about it, I thought I would return the favor.  So why don't you take the attitude to NDNation or something.


September 1st, 2008 at 1:45 PM ^

who is a good or bad player?  I've played and coached football for over 25 years and I find it laughable that Quizbowl kids can criticize football players when they don't have the ability to even stand on the same field as these kids, but yet in this world of the internet some of you guys eat up every word of these bloggers as gospel.  I read UFR every week and I can tell you that half of it is garbage.  But how would you guys know, the ones who have never played a down in your life?  You read it and think it's all factual.  I don't care if Brian rips a guy.  I just think it's funny that guys who don't possess the balls to stand on that stage and the ability to play a sport at that high level find it so easy to sit in their mom's basement and criticize what they don't even understand; what they will never understand.  100,000+ people don't come to quizbowls.

My attitude is one of disbelief at the reaction of some to this loss.  Anybody who thought we were going to score 50 pts a week really needs to change their kool-aid recipe.  Yes, I was shocked that we played soft on D in the first half, but I'm just glad we turned it around in the second half.  I have a great attitude and I will always favor the players as I understand on some small degree how difficult it is for them to be on that stage and have your every move scrutinized and criticized.  Brian can hand out all the tongue-lashings he wants, but I was trying to point out there is one guy on the team every year than can do no right; this year it's going to be Stevie Brown.  It is probably because of the App State game, but whatever, it his blog and he can write what he wants.

If I was a t NDNation, I would be ordering my 2009 National Champions shirt.


September 1st, 2008 at 2:15 PM ^

A season preview and an after game post does not make a season. I've played football through my life, and I'm sure there are other players and coaches on this board. Not everybody loves to trumpet that fact and act superior because they played and coached, and you're obviously 3 years late to the "mom's basement" meme.

Ever have an after game film session with your players? Make everybody watch the plays over and over and rate whomever was in the postion you normally play? I guarantee that its much more unforgiving than UFR, with much more violent language, and players are lucky to escape with a neutral rating in a loss. It's not a lovey dovey atmosphere where everybody gives +1's to each other. There are actual consequences to that film session, whereas I doubt the coaches read this UFR.

And really, if you read UFR every week, while watching the game tape and think it's garbage, then you should start your own blog, with your own UFR and watch everybody flock over.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:11 PM ^

I thought the coaches showed a "Not invented here" mentality, that is, they went with the new guys because the incumbents weren't their guys and therefore must not be as good as the newcomers.  For example, Minor played well but came in off the bench, erratic Carson Butler was spectacular (may have started but was largely ignored), and Carlos Brown got only one carry.  Instead they went with McGuffie, Shaw, Stevie Brown (okay he was here but in the doghouse most of last year) Panter and many inexperienced others.  Ryan Van Bergan was a pleasant surprise as an untested holdover. 

How players perform in games, not practice, is what should count.  Maybe this week we'll see more of Threet and some of the guys who played well in the second half.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:12 PM ^

I don't know if this can be considered a positive, but I at least thought Steven Threet played like he should have: a redshirt freshman.  He missed some throws, held on to the ball too long, and made a couple plays.  I don't think you can expect much more from him, and he at least seemed to live up to how a redshirt freshman should play.  I know it still isn't playing well, but at least probably not below where he should be.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:22 PM ^

"As it is, I think a bowl game is unlikely since it will probably require a 7-5 record."

Abandoning ship already? I mean, I thought Utah was one of the best offenses we'll play this year... mistakes or not they only scored 25 points thanks mostly to a kicker with a cruise missile launcher for a leg. If the offense can figure out how to sustain 2 longer (50+ yard) drives a game for a TD, and score the rest off of mistakes, I don't see why It can't be a 7-5 season. We'll have to see what Utah does from now on, but I think that 25 may very well be their lowest point total this year, and It's not unrealistic that they go 11-1 or 12-0. Yes, the offense looked horrendous, but I really think people should see what adjustments they make next week before they decide this is going to be a losing season.

 Hopefully they'll use Minor, Brown, and Matthews more. Brown apparently has a minor shoulder injury and should be getting more time, and Matthews (according to Doug Karsch) shouldn't be out long if he misses any time at all.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:30 PM ^

I was able to watch only the first half, and then only sporadically, so I'm curious about what everybody's impression was: as much as I saw, I didn't see anything that made me think that we're faster or quicker than we were in previous years. I gather that we were as strong at the end of the game as at the beginning, so our conditioning certainly seems to be much better. But speed and quickness?

Like everybody else I was suprised at the lack of pressure our DL was getting on Utah's QB in the first half, but I heard this morning that Graham and Taylor were out of the lineup for a good number of plays. If accurate, I wonder if this partially explains the lack of pressure.

Finally, it's easy for me to get excessively pessimistic after a game like this, and it's helpful to recall this fact: in 1969, the season that is getting all the comparisons to this year, Missouri came into Ann Arbor in the third week and laid a whuppin' on Bo, 40-17. Two weeks later we lost to Sparty up in E. Lansing 23-12. I bet that there were more than a few people wondering about a season starting 3-2.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:37 PM ^

I'm not sure that we were faster in terms of raw speed, but I feel we played as if we were better conditioned all the way through the game on defense.  For as much as we were on the field as a defense during the game, we remained strong until the end, rather than looking winded and going slower.  That unfortunately is one of the things you don't really notice during the course of the game. 

I was more worried about the speed of our slot WRs and RBs.  They did not impress me.  You'd think with that speed they'd be able to break away from the man coverage on their crossing patterns.  That didn't really happen.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:50 PM ^

Yep, no doubt people forget about the start of 1969. Bo said they were actually 3-3 since people told him afterwards the MSU loss counted twice. So, the season that turned the program around began with a sputtering, hovering around .500 record before kicking into gear.

We played soft coverage in the first half and Johnson was able to run the show like it was a video game. Once we called for tighter coverage and he could jnot ust toss the ball to a streaking guy open in the soft zone, everything turned around. And, did so with the hallmarks of Schaffer's D, getting sacks and turnovers.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:50 PM ^

...that we were faster and stronger. 

 Our defensive line started eating up Utah's OL during the second half.

NONE of Utah's players looked faster than our players at the opposite position (i.e. their receivers weren't faster than our corners).

Our defensive line was fast enough to catch Brian Johnson from behind on a few occasions (Will Johnson, Tim Jamison, and Brandon Graham come to mind).

We're definitely better off - speed, strength, stamina - than we were a year ago.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:40 PM ^

......to waste another day debating that series of plays heading into half. But here goes:

It cost us the game. I, and dont buy into the 'eh, its ok, it represents a new way of thinking, and I am thankful' meme that everyone is ascribing to.

It represents not thinking, rather than new thinking. And, losing perspective of time and place in a game. It was a strategic mistake.

If I were RR, I would have lined the guys up, told them to re-set the physical tone of the game with these plays before half (I think our O will take a nice step forward once we figure out how to run these plays in the physical manner RR demands. And, getting physical does not take much improvement now that they've got their feet wet). You know something along the lines of 'I will feed you to Barwis if you dont knock someone down on their ass on one of these plays."

Yesterday, while infiltrating the WLA, I suggested it was a perfect time to run those Carlos Brown plays, a la Asiata. You have your timeouts, you're resetting at the line pretty fast, anyway. Now, since I find out Brown was not 100%, how about getting Minor some run--he hadn't carried the ball really all half--in that spot. He had an easily executed 21-yard run in the third quarter. Run that play with a 1:20 to go in the first half and if the same results occur...or even 50% of that production.....now you might be in business for a possible scoring.

As it was, we weren't in scoring position when the drive started. While the D had begun to recover, it still needed to get into the lockerroom for an overhaul of adjustments. Frankly, the D looked stunned to be even back on the field after the INT. The primary goal there should have been whatever happens, lets not give the Utes the ball back before half---especially since they would be getting the opening drive of the second half.

Look, its one game. I appreciate whats going and probably saw more positives than most (once a coach enabler/apologist, always a coach enabler/apologist). But if we lose a couple more games that get boiled down to coaching game management, that will be the difference between a respectable winning season and a losing one that will draw fairly or unfairly ND '07 comparisons. And, that wont sit well with me.

I've said my peace on this issue.....i am moving on as there are many other items from the game worth talking about.....such as Obi Ezeh developing into the best LB in the conference. And, a team that physically looked like it could have played eight quarters on Saturday. And, Hemingway showing me enough glimpses that he can be develop into a down the field playmaker.  And, the great flavor this Maize and Blue creamer adds to my coffee.


Ellipses Man

September 1st, 2008 at 12:43 PM ^

  1. Well let's be open and honest here, there's a bowl game out there and it is at stake for Michigan. And the alumni, university employees, and coaches all know that. Bowl games mean revenue(in the millions) and revenue seems to be very important to this administration(not that money is an issue). Any chance they(admin) get to sell the logo to the highest bidder them seem to do that. That's not a rip it is just standard procedure. Plus there is a consecutive bowl game appearance record on the line.  We've lost numerous recruits at the QB position, the home opener and so on. If it slides more, the media and alumni will grumble even more. The grace period will end.
  2. But I feel there is a lot to be positive about. This week of practice should be ugly and loud. But it should be the best. You'll get to see who can shake off a loss and still perform at a high level. This is the week you want to watch.
  3. If you are a fan of Michigan, shake off the loss and go put your iPod on. Then run a mile, do a hundred situps and then a hundred pushups. Next Saturday will be here QUICK. And with it a pissed off Miami of Ohio! lol. This is a MUST WIN game for Michigan or else EVERYONE will be licking their chops. The gauntlet gets uglier and tougher from here on in. As fans you need to cheer and hope without the idea of domination. Forget the loss and move forward. There was a lot to be positive about.


September 1st, 2008 at 12:57 PM ^

Brian, I think your assessment was dead solid perfect. Under
construction. Rebuilding. Call it what you like, but there is ZERO
reason to get your panties in a bunch if this team goes 3-9. Will it
ruin a successful 30+ year bowl attendance? Yes. Will we deserve it?
Yes. Many things led us to this, mostly the coaching turnover, and I
ultimately blame Ryan effing Mallett. If he and A-squizzie Arrington
stay, that is a very different offense. Instead, the bong-hitting,
booze-guzzling texas hothead had to piss off everyone in Ann Arbor last
year and was basically asked to leave.

These kids, however (and that's exactly what they all are on offense)
will be working all season with a group of under-sized and
inexperienced OL, trying to protect a group of inexperienced and
undersized RBs and QBs. I felt like I was watching a JV try to beat a
Varsity team when Blue was on offense, and that's almost exactly what
it is, and will be....all. season. long.

So, let's put our hands together and encourage these kids as best we
can, because they will fight their hardest to do the best they can
collectively as they learn the school of hard knocks in '08.

Go Blue and Fuck You to Ryan Mallett!

Ellipses Man

September 1st, 2008 at 1:09 PM ^

Don't blame Mallett or Adrian. They did what they felt was right. The time for blaming this or that is over. OVER. I'd like to blame my parents or the man when things don't go my way, but that's just not fair. My heart goes out to Nick Sheridan, he was thrown out there, in my opinion sacrificially. He learned the harshest lesson of life on Saturday, that no one really cares or gives two shits about you. Even your own,"fans." Seriously, my heart goes out to that young man. He deserves some more playing time. If you are reading this and you doubt he deserves another series or two, I'd say youre somewhat cruel. I know in other posts I've played the controlled opposition and said Threet should start. But the fact is its not all Sheridan's fault.


September 1st, 2008 at 1:18 PM ^

that kid was a fucking punk. Yes, Sheridan is a good kid, and if he's meant to play some more, he will. I cheered him all day out there in the Big House, even when he threw that ill-advised duck before halftime. Threet and he will probably switch on and off all season, we'll see. But....back to Mallett. If you didn't read, or are unaware of the shit that kid pulled DURING the season, and the numerous times Carr almost kicked his ass off the team, you should check into it. HE was supposed to be the "next guy", and lead this team through whatever transition we asked him to. He was a punk, and he bailed basically before he got his ass kicked off the team.

I agree with you on Sheridan, but F You Mallett. :)


September 1st, 2008 at 3:19 PM ^

repeat, rumor mill, says he possessed poor leadership, didn't try in practice, came off thinking himself better than all the other players on the team, passed guilt on others, cried, ate babies, the like.  I can't say I've seen enough to substatiate any of those rumors, but most of those were out there.

Rush N Attack

September 1st, 2008 at 1:03 PM ^

"As it is, I think a bowl game is unlikely since it will probably require a 7-5 record. "

Yes, we looked pathetic, but I wasn't exactly "blown away" by most of our future opponents this year (OSU aside) either.

Our o-line play was horrific (as expected), we have one qb that defenses don't respect as a runner, one qb that defenses don't respect as a passer, and a defense that took a full half to learn to play together.


Henne for Heis…

September 1st, 2008 at 1:05 PM ^

Where is kgh10? Haven't heard from that rascal in ages.

 Anyways, Saturday was disappointing, yes. But I'm here to talk about Tater!!

I'm glad to have Forcier; for those worried about his heights, he will probably grow one or two inches by next summer.

I think it's reassuring to have a QB recruit with a super accurate arm, and someone who is a pass first quarterback (kind of like what Troy Smith adopted his senior year). It also will keep talented deep-threat WRs bolting from Ann Arbor. As a Michigan fan, I know the run game is our bread and butter.  But the most important tradition to me is the legacy of awesome QBs and stellar wideouts.

ps. I miss Chad Henne.

Michigan Arrogance

September 1st, 2008 at 1:30 PM ^

marrell evans was terrible all day. the LBs were iffy in coverage, but evans got out run several times. he was a liability all day, and Stevie brown was bad on the one 50yd play in the 1st qtr. panter looked terrible in space against quicker RBs, but that's not surprising... he should be a MLB in a 3-4, not being asked to chase down RBs in the flats by the sideline.


and can we stop w/ the 1969 comparisons? we played 4 teams w/any talent that year: osu, msu, mizzou, PU. those were the days of 125 s'ships. this team won't be beating the worst teams on the schedule 57-0. they ended up 8-2, B10 champs on the way to the RB. we won't be 4-8 this year (i expect the offense to surprise a team or 2 and still pull out 7-5), but just stop comparring this team to a RB team from 40 years ago. sure, coaching change, outside the program, attrition, etc. why not compare this to yosts 1st year? or crislers? why? b/c the similarities end there.

S.G. Rice

September 1st, 2008 at 3:19 PM ^

Although Stevie Brown was bad in the first half, I thought he was quite good in the 2nd half.  How much of that was the development of an actual pass rush?  Who knows?  I'm not close to giving up on him.   I'll be interested to see what UFR shows.


Conditioning looked very good.  We will win some games in the 4th quarter.


September 1st, 2008 at 7:46 PM ^

You guys just suck. You gambled away a shit load of money, and now you need some excuses. "Under Construction" implies that you have the plans in place and the tools necessary to actually build. What you have is a coach that is completely impotent without the right players. Wholly one-dimensional. And even IF you can find Pryor-quality QBs consistently enough to actually sustain your shit, what will you do when Michigan fails to send kids up to the NFL? Under construction my ass.

Let me guess... your ass-backwards basketball program is also "Under Construction" until 2010. MmK.

No one should forget that Rodriguez wasn't even the first choice. You all went hard after Schiano, another gamble, who doesn't even have a particular expertise in any offensive or defense scheme. His team just fell to Fresno State. These are not proven coaches, folks. And Rodriguez's track record suggests that he's not even a good coach. He's a one hit wonder that has capitalized on a myopic impusle buy from a deep-pocketed, bratty athletic program. There's a reason why you've been losing palyers, including a top prospect, to your arch rival.


September 1st, 2008 at 9:03 PM ^

"What you have" are offensive players that aren't right in any system.
Rich Rod still suffered a nearly catastrophic complete turnover on
offense. Graduation and NFL turnover aren't his fault. I would wager
that the Prior situation had as much to do with the previous regime and its success against OSU. Rich Rod has his preference of system and is
trying to use guys like McGuffie who will fit. That describes every
coach in the country. So what kind of system would work under this
situation? None, so it's a specious argument.

You're also stretching the truth. Rich Rod wasn't the first choice
because there was no reason to pursue him. There was really no reason
to even consider him. After the Schiano fallout he suddenly became
available. I would also like to see an argument about his track record
spelled out. An assumption is dangerous in the hands of a person who
turns belief into ideology. Frankly, I don't think there's anything
conclusive. We can go back and forth about the talent he had in the
context of who he played against and whether the OK and Georgia wins
are even enough to form an argument. There is no doubt that Rich Rod
was successful at WVU though, and we can only debate whether that will
translate to Michigan. I would say that things are under construction,
however, because he literally has nowhere to go but up. Future
improvements at QB and O-line can already be mapped out. Talent at RB
and WR is young and is only getting better. How successful Rich Rod
will be remains to be seen, but "under construction" is an apt term.


September 2nd, 2008 at 1:26 AM ^

Not a “preference of system” – a reliance. I agree that he had success at West Virginia - as you say, "there is no doubt" about that. But it wasn't consistent enough or, more importantly, developed enough to prove him to be a good coach. Hell, he wasn’t even around long enough to see his stars graduate. Moreover, he was unable to do anything without the two key players in his scheme. Louisville. South Florida. South Florida. Pitt. All because he was unable to successfully implement his single-strategy offense – equally because of injuries to key players, as well as the lack of depth in his playbook. This is why you all were held to 36 yards on the ground this past weekend. That's pathetic, no matter what your scheme preference is or how young your players are.

Indeed, he was overly reliant on bringing Pryor in - both to securing his own personal legacy, as much as securing success at any school. Frankly, it shouldn't be shocking that he would walk out on his own heritage. I would go so far as to suggest that after the Pitt loss, he saw Michigan as a way to redeem credibility in Pryor's eyes. With a big name brand behind him, the loss would be played down as the clock ticked on decision time.

I don't buy the idea that Pryor turned down Michigan for any reason even remotely related to "the previous regime and its success against OSU." Not only was Pryor a perfect fit for Rodriguez - Rodriguez was a perfect fit for Pryor. It wasn't geography that put West Virginia atop Pryor's consideration list through the fall. After Rodriguez bolted for Michigan, Pryor publicly commented to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he no longer looked at Rodriguez in the same light. And who would have? He walked out on the players that redirected the national spotlight to him – not only before they graduated, but after an emotionally charged, devastating loss. Anyone who’s played any organized sport understands how that undermines a huge factor to effectively building any program, or actually teaching your players what is and is not important about the game. If I recall correctly, your players rallied behind Lloyd Carr while your fans delivered his head to Mary Sue Coleman.

Frankly, I disagree that Rodriguez has "nowhere to go but up." Two losses to Ohio State, and he won't even be able to go to his office in Ann Arbor. Moreover, he won't be successful at Michigan because of the nature of your program and - perhaps more importantly - the nature of your fan base and boosters. WVU was thrilled to have a winning season. Like Notre Dame, you can't stomach the idea of losing. That is why your message boards are lit up with anger and disgust.


September 2nd, 2008 at 2:27 AM ^

I think some of that is kind of disingenuous. He was obviously there long enough and had a consistent enough of a run to win two BCS bowl games and compete for a national championship while winning multiple Big East titles. Was he upset a few times? Sure, but this is a world where USC loses to Stanford and Bob Stoops is questioned all the time because he can "no longer win the big game". Not that Rich Rod is either Stoops or Pete Carroll. However, I think it's true that he had the best talent in the Big East but wasn't so much better that he was infallible. And so you can make two inferences. 1) If he does lose, it's probably through an upset. 2) He won eleven games three years in a row. Regardless of how the losses came, two is still an immense positive. Let's say he replicates this at Michigan. Are fans really going gnash their teeths in horror with the real Horror still in their minds? Is this really the worst outcome when Carr dropped not only games he should have won but big games too? Is Rich Rod really a bad coach if he makes us a perennial top ten team but doesn't quite get us to a championship?

No team can sustain injuries to star players and survive. Oregon went from national title contender to middling team without Dixon. The difference between Mallet and Henne last year was extraordinary. There is a common rule in sports. Some teams don't even bother with serviceable backups because they know that once their star goes down, the season is over. The Patriots know they're done without Brady. So there's no reason to blame a coach because of a freak occurrence.

To answer your question, we were held to 36 yards on the ground because our offensive line couldn't get a good push. I mean almost the entire offensive line left, and Schilling was pretty bad last year. Any new coach would have been forced to deal with this.

I only said that OSU's dominance over Michigan played a big part in Pryor's decision, which seems reasonable. I didn't say that there weren't other reasons. However, I never underestimate people's ability to regurgitate inane talking points (as this political election illuminates). There is never a good time to leave a program, as you are always abandoning somebody. I mean Pryor uses the logic that he left once, so he could leave again. That describes nearly every coach in the country since most of them had coached some place prior. Rich Rod is a special case, but the argument against him makes no sense. There are two things you could say. 1) He loved WVU and didn't want to go through a divorce but things had been damaged beyond repair. 2) He's an opportunist, in which case he's already near the top. Where would he go? He's not an NFL guy. You can't do a whole lot better than Michigan in the college football domain. No one's going to want him after a few mediocre years. If by the incredible chance he does leave any time soon, that means he has had great success.

Pure speculation has no place in arguments. Assuming why Rich Rod left with no factual basis is about as productive as all of the crazed fanbases levying infractions and ghosts against each other with nothing behind it all. I think it's pretty proposterious anyway to claim that one of the big things that hurt his chances with Pryor he did to actually help his chances.

I think that most people expected this loss - perhaps not the way it came, but all that matters is a win or a loss, and I don't think it would be too surprising if he went 6-6 or 7-5. That tends to be standard operating procedure in these situations, and Rich Rod really got the short end of the stick. But it really doesn't matter. He's going to get several years, and if a certain standard isn't met by then, it'll be clear that it isn't quite working out. I think that people will even be able to stomach two losses to the Bucknuts because they're just so far ahead right now. Yeah a coaching turnover set us bck. But that comes with the potential that Rich Rod could be even better than Carr has been for the past seven years.

Ellipses Man

September 2nd, 2008 at 9:13 AM ^

The defining moment for this man will be in how he handles the idea of Michigan as something bigger than his own legacy. If he gives himself, all of who he is as a person and coach to Michigan. He will be ok. What people see in him or think they see is a stubborness. The psychology of the man is being studied interview by interview. If he thinks he is bigger than Michigan Football he won't last 4 years. I do not say that as a booster or alumni. I just know how this all works. If anything, long term, people will go after the credibility of Bill Martin. They will say he had no clue whom or what he was hiring.  I do not know if that is fair or not though. But I do know people see him as a money man and nothing else. I've never met him, I am just giving you the tailgate knowledge/verbage. Martin's missed call and his wife's birthday present request of,'Just find a coach," make one wonder if he just wanted to duck the bad light and hire someone. In that sense RR did us all(Michigan Fans) a HUGE FAVOR by saying yes. In that sense, he helped Bill out a lot as well. And another thing, Carr was perfect except in the transition from conservative to liberal. And I do not mean politcal. I mean when he needed to mix it up, he defaulted to the construct, which was and is painfully conservative. Which eeked out Big ten games but not the big ones. if Lloyd was just a lil bit more wild he would still be there I think. He just was Lloyd, love him or hate him. BUT RR can and usually does win those big games. So he is, from this fan bases perspective a hopeful move in the "right" direction. The fear or growing fear is that he will end up with the same results. Or he'll attain the same record while going about business from a less conservative more gambler type ways. His ego or need to win will cause bad calls. Like starting Sheridan and throwing that last pass before half and then saying,"I visualized us winning." And I think from here on it people are really going to watch that with him. Not just schmucks like me on a chat board but the media and NFL GM's and so on. I can only imagine the sheer joy on other teams chat boards at the possible ruining of tradition that this regime may have on MI.

Michigan Arrogance

September 1st, 2008 at 5:20 PM ^

wolv54 still beats up kids to take their lunch money. and i'd like to thank 2026 for taking all the time to register here today, just to leave this^^ pile of garbage he thinks is an intelligent and/or haha post.


September 1st, 2008 at 7:23 PM ^

"Feagin? I mean… he couldn’t have been worse. "

I guess you mean not ready for prime time.  Did he look bad in warm-ups, because we out-of-towners never saw him on TV.

STW P. Brabbs

September 1st, 2008 at 10:28 PM ^

If I'm not mistaken, Artis Chambers was responsible for that last touchdown.  I thought Artis looked pretty lost the entire time he was in there.


Artis.  What do I expect, I guess.


September 1st, 2008 at 11:01 PM ^

Really, guys.  Chill.  It was one game with a bunch of freshmen playing.  This will take time.  Tressel was 7-5 his first year, Pete Carroll was 6-6, and Bob Stoops 7-5.  Of todays "best coaches" only Urban Meyer had reasonable success his first year at 9-3, but remember he inherited Zookers recruits/ Cris Leak, etc.  So relax.  Really.

You have to crawl before you walk....walk before you run, cliche...cliche....etc.

With Lloyd we would always be stuck at a jogging pace.  Give RR some time, your patience, and support, and eventually this program will be sprinting.


September 2nd, 2008 at 12:54 PM ^

Fulmer is like Lloyd, he'll keep going with what he's always been doing and finish 8-4 or 9-3 again.  Rememeber that five years of steady 9-3's got Earle Bruce fired.  My Point: It's a painful transition we're making but I'd still rather not be a program locked into the status quo like Tennessee.  Take our lumps this year like Tressel, Carroll, and Stoops did, take our chances and break out of consistently being "fairly good."


September 2nd, 2008 at 12:29 AM ^

Things that are radically different from the Carr regime.  We use a LOT of players.  We rolled out LB and DL more than I have ever seen.  Not nly did we appear to be well conditioned, but we were keeping our players fresh by having a lot of substitutions through out the game. Seeing Will Johnson run down Brian Johson was a shock.  

I would like to ask a question of someone like Gsimms regarding what changed in terms of our DL in the secnd half.  We seemed to be generating a lot of pressure up front.  Was it a slight modification of approach, or conditioning, or something else?

And all of this griping about the QB play really needs to realize that nothing is going to work well with the OL play.  If there is little to no ability to run, it will be a very long season for who ever is behind center.


September 2nd, 2008 at 11:04 AM ^

but it wouldn't surprise me.  it seemed we went for speed rushers in those downs.  if it was second and medium it appeared we went with more pressure up the middle though.  i dont know if there was a pattern or not.  video is too choppy due to lack of bandwidth between the external and my overloaded internal hard drives.