The Usual

Submitted by Brian on November 29th, 2010 at 12:07 PM

11/27/2010 – Michigan 7, Ohio State 37 – 7-5, 3-5 Big Ten


Detroit News

The Ohio State game has the power to make whatever happens in it seem like Michigan's season in microcosm, and so the overriding theme of the 2010 season is looking up at the scoreboard at halftime to see Michigan on pace for about 500 yards and about twenty points. Michigan had 238 yards and seven points this time around and instead of a competitive game we got the usual.

The last couple weeks the "loss will cause me to" bit has been "repeat I expected 7-5." That kind of mantra to keep your boiling rage under control has been necessary and less than effective as Michigan has fallen behind massively against good opponents and shown little ability to get up, causing the chattering class to rush to their keyboards so they can point out the lack of progress after Saturday. In the Game-as-microcosm sense, it's true. Last year Michigan was an opponent that got Tresselballed to death. This year they weren't good enough to pose the vague threat. They made Tresselball into things like 98 yard touchdown runs (save an iffy holding call after ninety of those yards) and 85 yard kickoff return TDs.

In the larger scheme it's not. In the nonconference Michigan traded Eastern Michigan for UConn, who may have lost to Temple but is also a game away from the Big East title, and traded home for road against Notre Dame. The conference record of the two teams not on their Big Ten schedule (excluding the game between the two) is 4-10. Last year it was 7-7. They got two more wins. Last year their average yardage differential excluding the Baby Seal U game was –57 yards. Even if you hack out this year's most lopsided game against Bowling Green—something that's not fair to the 2010 team because of the schedule upgrade—this year they're +18. That's a huge swing.

And yet. Today even the most insanely patient Michigan fan feels zo unzatisfied.

This is the point where some sort of post from the summer that took a cold-eyed look at what Michigan had and what it would have in 2011 and set a baseline—what's that? It's Some Sort of Post From The Summer's music!

I know it's my role as the crazy fan blogger to demand the head of the coach when he fails to live up to my crazy expectations, but if we're seriously talking about an 8-4 regular season "not being enough" for Rodriguez to get a year four Michigan should have just fired him already. If this ends up being an 8-4 team the Mathlete's luck chart will have Michigan considerably on the happy side of the ledger. …

"This is still Michigan" is demonstrably false. Even in year three this remains a desperately young team with major holes in the secondary and no upperclass quarterbacks. Rodriguez's responsibility for the state of the state of the roster is limited to the absence of Terrelle Pryor, or any marginally acceptable option at quarterback from his first two months on the job, and a couple of would-be-sophomores Rodriguez did not add to the end of his first full recruiting class. You can wave your hands and say "Michigan! Rabble rabble rabble!" all you want but if you dressed these guys up like Generic State University people would expect them to go .500. …

My personal measuring stick for Rodriguez: yardage parity and a winning record. I would be displeased with 7-6 but willing to grit my teeth and give Rodriguez a shot in 2011, when he will return both specialists, every starter on offense save Steve Schilling and all but three starters on defense. That will seem exceptionally kind to many, I know, but literally no coach in the country could take the leftovers after Mallett's transfer and do anything other than flail as Rodriguez has.

2008 was a complete waste. To me, this is year two for Rodriguez, and 2011 is when I expect rubber to meet road.

That was before Troy Woolfolk blew up and Vlad Emilien and Justin Turner lit out. (While not having Emilien around is grating apparently Michigan just came up craps with Turner, who is heavily rumored to be out at West Virginia and headed DII; since this was a guy with an OSU offer it was not apparent this would happen.)

There are arguments that 7-5 is not good enough because this was the most unsatisfying 7-5 possible, and, yes, it was. Michigan's record in close games is 3-0, 4-0 if you want to count the Purdue game (UMass does not register since it featured an unrecovered onside kick). They fell behind massively in every loss and never had a chance to drive for even a tie in the second half of any. I've said before that if Rodriguez is broomed and Harbaugh installed here my reaction will be "meh" quickly followed by "what about Denard?" Because this is Michigan football Rodriguez will take Clemson to the BCS four times, but even that certainty doesn't dull the shine on Harbaugh.

But it's pretty hard for me to go back to what I thought before the season, see what it is, see what we got, and think Rodriguez didn't put himself in position for Put Up Or Shut Up 2011. Barely.

Non-Bullets of Something Or Other

Well, that was horrible. Awful refereeing plagued that game. There were the two inexplicable OSU personal fouls after TDs—the first I thought was for the dive but that was a legit dive with two guys coming at him—the iffy penalty on the 98-yarder, a terrible holding call on Steve Schilling, and a non-review of what seemed clearly like a non-interception followed immediately by a review of an OSU non-fumble that screwed Michigan both incompetent and competent.

Also, Michigan got called for "encroachment" before the snap, on offense. Can that even happen? WTF?

Well, that was horrible. Darryl Stonum emo 2010:


Well, that was horrible. Mmmm Seth Brokhuizen rugby punt. Kicker Nick Sheridan? Kicker Nick Sheridan. Not his fault he's seeing the field. Save us Justin Meram. Anyone.

Well, that was horrible. Michigan got what seemed like its first procedure penalties of the year from someone other than Taylor Lewan when Je'Ron Stokes and Jeremy Jackson picked up five-yard penalties. Jackson's wiped out a 30-yard gain and led to Michigan's only three and out of the first half.

Well, that was horrible. At least we won the "don't look retarded" game. 2-0, baby!

Well, that was horrible. Further adventures in hating Michigan fans:


Anyone from the student body is invited to say something to Koger's face, by the way. He apologized, but probably shouldn't have.

Well, that was horrible. God… Roy Roundtree… not all of those were easy, but… arrrrrrgh.

BONUS psychoanalysis note: since everyone does it I might as well offer a protip so the evaluations are less annoying. If you're going to respond to something I say by discovering the way in which my brain is broken, you should say "excessively skeptical of using emotion in decisions and too fond of numbers."

Wind-down, offseason, bowl, etc. note: I am burned out. I'm not making any promises about UFRing this game. I might, I might not. This week is going to be relatively light and then we'll start talking about bowl stuff and whatnot, with an eye towards what will or will not happen with Rodriguez. I'll have something up this afternoon about what I've got, which isn't definitive at all but exists.



November 29th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

I wish I still lived in Ann Arbor so I could get Koger's address.

I would go down there and shake his hand and tell him, "Thanks for the season. Regardless of your record, you guys busted your ass and I loved watching you play."


November 29th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

A sympathetic pat on the back. Good natured ribbing. Just the way we have long treated fans from, say, Indiana or Minnesota.

In 3 years, RR has taken the greatest college football program in history and turned it into Indiana.

That's criminal negligence.

He has to go. Now.



PS: I'm on my third username cause the others were negbombed into oblivion for stating what you now all accept. If you're a moderator, please restore my original account since we're now all on the same page. Thanks.


November 29th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I feel burned out on Michigan too, Brian. I used to be very adamant about RR staying. Now I just don't have the strength to argue.

If he gets fired he will go somewhere else and be mindblowingly successful. He will mold a team that will be able to at last compete with and probably beat whatever team Michigan has at that time. ESPN will do a segment on how unbelievably unfortunate he was here, on top of the ridiculousless of the local media.

The man's luck with defensive recruits has been historically bad. Yes, he's made some bad errors in hiring his defensive coaching staff, most notbaly Jay Hopson but also including the DCs. They all had a very, very hard job.

All that said: will he succeed here with all the outside factors trying to strangle him? I don't know. Gun to my head I think so, but I'm not super confident about it.


November 29th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I'm flip flopping like crazy over this, but the one thing I think is important is a quick decision, and by decision, I mean either, "RR is my guy and I'm extending hime thru 2012" or "we're going in another direction".  The longer this drags, the bigger potential that it effects recruiting and retention.  Indiana Univ. was in a similar situation with Bill Lynch, one more year left on his contract (I know IU is not Michigan in terms of expectations etc).  anyway, I loved the way IU's AD Fred Glass handled the situation.  even though IU won its rivalry game and Glass had earlier said he wanted the school to live by its contracts, Glass determined that 3 Big Ten wins in 3 years did not "merit an extension."  I think that analysis was telling.  It wasn't whether or not Lynch should get one more year to fulfill his contract, it was whether the university should go further out with his leadership.  He also said he didn't want Lynch to twist in the wind.  The fact is that Glass is savy enough to know that (1) he could't keep Lynch without extending his contract; and (2) a decision needed to be made quickly.  Why?  Keeping Lynch for one year would impact recruiting down the road, and delaying a decision creates uncertainty and effects recruiting in the current class.  I'd like to get that same comfort from DB.  So far I'm not feelin it. 


November 29th, 2010 at 2:35 PM ^

Because this is Michigan football Rodriguez will take Clemson to the BCS four times, but even that certainty doesn't dull the shine on Harbaugh.

"Because this is Michigan football"?! Comments like that drive me crazy. Yes, the last several years have been tortorous, but that kind of pessimism, named here as a symptom of fanhood with the institution, is something one would expect from a Detroit Lions fan. They are currently snakebitten. It's not some kind of historically cursed program that should cause it's fans to snivel and always expect the worst.

Man up.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

I understand Brian's current feelings, but as Michigan fans, the one thing we must try very hard to do is to avoid the pitiful self-loathing of ND and Sparty fans.  The last few years have been as bad as any stretch in Domer or Sparty land, but if we start to put a woe-is-me cloud around us it will be that much harder to get back to dominance.  Michigan may suck now, but for the first 25 of my 28 years they spoiled me and I'm not going to forget it.  That's why I don't talk to Buckeyes or Sparties.  When Michigan comes back I can look at them with a smile and they'll know I wasn't a douche to them like they were to me when they were up and Michigan was down.  Act like you've been there.

As for Rodriguez, I don't doubt he would have success elsewhere were he to be fired, but that's neither here nor there.  I like Rodriguez, but I like Harbaugh more for one particular reason:  When he took the job at Stanford he pointed at USC and said "We're coming after you," and he's beaten them 3 out of 4 tries including the biggest upset (point spread wise, anyway) in NCAAF history.  Doing that to Ohio State is step one in getting back to being Michigan.  When Rodriguez had his one shot at the promised land at WVU his team gagged it away against a terrible arch-rival Pitt team.


November 29th, 2010 at 9:58 PM ^

Having bravado at Stanford isn't terribly hard. If you fail, nobody cares. Everything at Michigan is under a microscope and JIM HARBAUGH IS NOT A CLASSY HUMAN BEING.

Damn it there I go again. It's going to be a long couple years.


November 29th, 2010 at 11:00 PM ^

I don't know enough about how Harbaugh has handled himself in his coaching years (aside from his jab at Michigan a few years back) to say whether he's classy or not, so I'll leave that be.  Regarding the bravado, the point is he didn't fail.  If he did he wouldn't be a serious candidate for this job because he wouldn't have those major wins on his resume.

Also, while Harbaugh would be under a microscope here, it wouldn't be the electron microscope Rodriguez is under because Rosenpenis et al wouldn't be at his door with torches and pitchforks.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:08 PM ^

I don't know what tortorous is, but this program's attachment to Rich Rodriguez garners that kind of pessimism to this point and I totally agree with Brian that Rodriguez would be freaking dominant elsewhere.

He hired a DC to run a team with talent, came here and realized "oh shit, there's no talent here," then made a bad personnel hire with GERG and it looks like he'll be canned for that fact and for being historically unfortunate with injuries and transfers. If Donovan Warren, Troy Woolfolk, Boubacar Cissoko,and J.T. Turner (as what was advertised) were with the team this year, we would have another win minimum and would have been able to actually blitz. Take 4 guys from one position on any Lloyd Carr team and tell me what the result would have been. Take 4 guys from any position on that Harbaugh team everyone loves at Stanford and tell me what happens.

The team has been amazingly unlucky. People who forget that are being very forgetful. And I swear to god if someone tells me "you need to be deeper than that" for a coach that has 2.5 classes of his own (including true freshman) players I'll yell at my computer and hate you forever and I mean it. I will wish for bad things to happen to you. Don't give me that shit.


November 29th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

I'll have something up this afternoon about what I've got, which isn't definitive at all but exists.

So Brian has some info about the RR issue.  Interesting.  And telling.  Very telling.


November 29th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

Whoa. Interesting logic re Emilien and Turner. The way you skew it, it was just RR's bad luck -- oh, that chronic bad luck he always seems to have -- that Emilien and Turner left. They were RR's recruits. Therefore, they were his responsibility. Had they washed-out due to injury, that would indeed be bad luck. But they washed-out because they didn't meet the standards, one way or another. (See also: Dorsey, Kinard, Lalota, Witty, etc.) RR keeps talking about how short-handed the D was. He, like you, glosses over the fact that he recruited so many stiffs. Please acknowledge that.


November 29th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

I actually agree with every one of your points.  But, why do you feel the need to jump down Brian's throat over it.  He has repeatedly acknowledged RR's mismanagement of the defensive recruiting.  I didn't even think that was something that the "anti-RR" and "pro-RR" factions argued about - we all agree that RR hasn't handled the D well. 


November 29th, 2010 at 3:51 PM ^

All of the historical and statistical analysis in the world won't solve this dilemma. There are fairly self-evident costs and potential benefits to firing RR soon vs. letting him have at least one more season to prove himself with a roster largely of his own making.

I'm not wise enough to know the "right" answer, but I have worked as a consultant for over 15 years and the ONE most important factor in determining whether or not a project turns out well is the goodness of fit between consultant and client.  I think the evidence is fairly clear that RR is not a good enough fit at Michigan. He may have gotten a raw deal from us fans/alums, the cupboard may have been relatively bare when he arrived, and he may have improved by two in the Win column each of the past two seasons. But these are neither circumstantial concerns nor random influences on the result, in my opinion; they are reflections of RR's ability to match his talents with the needs of the Michigan program.

For the record, I think hiring Jim Harbaugh would bring no guarantee of quick or long-term results, but one has to admit that the fit has the right "appeal." His own track record is one of both rapid success which could easily be repeated at his alma mater, and stupid verbal coach tricks. He is a loudmouth, an egomaniac, and has not had to cope with his share of hard knocks in his football life. So we don't know how he will respond to whatever would come of hiring him. For example, if he takes RRs recruits, adds proper defense and special teams coaching and emphasis, and we compete for the Big Ten championship or even a National Championship in the next few years, whose to say he wouldn't bolt for the NFL as soon as Jerry Jones or someone else offers him $5M per year?

Would that be better for Michigan in the long run???

I for one would say that the risks of keeping RR are pretty clear at this point. He will likely be successful elsewhere but at Michigan he may be just as likely to compete in the middle of the Big Ten most of the time. More importantly to me, though, is the fact that he is the wrong man for the job (and I'm not a believer in the whole Michigan Man vs. Outsider distinction). His actions and words on and off the field are unbecoming and his team's results thus far are underwhelming if not also humiliating for those of us who expect Michigan football teams to perform with the best around.

It's time to acknowledge the (fairly) obvious, cut bait, reload, move on.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:18 PM ^

"the one most important factor in determining whether or not a project turns out well is the goodness of fit between consultant and client"

This is probably an understatement, all things being equal. But it seems you are basing this view off of a ridiculous premise: The only good fit would be another "Michigan Man". You seem to disregard the fact that RR was hired to change the culture and atmosphere of complacency in the program. It was stale. Since you've been working in the consulting business, I'm sure you can appreciate that people hate change. They especially hate it when an "outsider" comes in who doesn't know "how things are done around here". Also, In this situation the client is everybody above RR and RR is obviously the consultant. How could you possibly come to the conclusion that RR and DB and/or Coleman are not a good fit to work together?

Next you talk about how RR got a raw deal( and outlined pretty substantial factors), but then say they had no influence or they shouldn't be considered because it's actually not those things. It must be that RR is a bad fit. How could you know that? You cannot simply shrug those off and act like they've had no influence on the outcome.

You then spend some time disparaging how RR acts in an "unbecoming" way. Where'd that come from? While in the paragraph prior you talk about how Jim is cocky, loudmouthed, spoiled and apparently is involved in "stupid verbal coach tricks". For some reason the latter is ok while the former, which is not close to being true, is not. I'm really very confused. I guess you really don't prescribe to the Michigan Man vs. Outsider thing.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

I may still be cloudy headed after the OSU game, and this whole damn season, but...I didn't think my point was that unclear.

The gist of it is that RR is not a good fit. He has had his share of "unfair" crap to deal with, much of it not his own doing, but that's true of any coach and would be true of Harbaugh if we hired him. So you can't really blame those other factors for his highly questionable results thus far. He made very poor choices for how to handle the talent he inherited, the culture and history of the program, etc. Then he sold out for his offensive scheme and seems to have ignored defense and special teams. Now we have modest improvement in the Win column but otherwise terrible results. Even the supposedly prolific offense doesn't score the number of points that it should based on yards produced.

My parallel point is that Harbaugh might not be any better and in fact his own record as a coach is not nearly as established as RichRod's. But he certainly knows the culture and the history and those are advantages. It's not that he's a Michigan Man per se, but rather that he would have that knowledge in his pocket. Someone outside of the Michigan culture/program could have done much better than RichRod in this regard by being more respectful and open minded from the beginning.

Finally, for the record, I agree that the program had become stale under Lloyd Carr and change was necessary. RichRod was in fact my preferred candidate and I thought it was a bold move to hire him (although it could have been handled better). Now three years later I think he might have been qualified and experienced enough to have been given a chance, but he hasn't produced. In fact by almost all measures other than wins (which have been almost exclusively against teams they should have beaten) the program has regressed.

Of course change is hard, but it doesn't have to be this hard when you start out with as much to work with as RichRod did in 2007. Harbaugh may not be the best answer in the long run, but he or someone else who knows and respects our history are better bets than RichRod in 2011, in my opinion.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:37 PM ^

Still points back to something you should really understand. Especially because of your profession. People hate change. Especially when an "outsider" comes in and doesn't know " how things are done around here". Sure, RR may have made a couple mistakes because he was ignorant of certain traditions. He has since fixed those and has been very mindful of them, even going so far as to bring back older traditions. The point you are trying to make on this issue is based on perception, one that must have been shaped by something other than researching the issue. Was he ham handed when he came in? Probably. Was it intentional? No. Has he tried his best to reverse those "wrongs"? I would say yes.

Another thing is that the Old Michigan Gaurd never wanted RR. This does not strengthen your argument.  Just because it's not a fit for the blue hairs does not mean it's not a fit for the Michigan football program. Petulance does not need to be rewarded.

You can search this board for myriad different statistics, reasons for players leaving and shortfalls of this coaching staff, effects of injuries et. There's a lot of great information around here. All of it points to the fact that yes there has been progress and yes the coaching staff has mishandled a lot of things. It also helps understand more completely why the defense is as bad as it is and why the offense hasn't been scoring as much as it should and many, many other things.Anyways, welcome to MGOBLOG.


November 29th, 2010 at 10:20 PM ^

Brady Hoke understands "our culture," let's go get him!

Come on, man. Bo was great, but that's the past. Harbaugh is the last vestige of that line it seems, and him only kind of, but tell me what happens when he goes for the pros?

Plus I just don't know if I can take having a prick coach my team for the forseeable future even if we're winning. Why will nobody acknowledge that the guy's kind of an asshole?


November 29th, 2010 at 11:37 PM ^

You can't seriously be saying that RR is not first and foremost an asshole, can you?

The guy berates his players and doesn't take much responsibility for the lack of coaching they receive.

I would never say let's hire Hoke, he's too green even having resurrected two programs now.

It's not about reliving the Bo days. They beat OSU more than half the time but then almost always got killed when the bowl game meant something.

It's about winning now, which requires innovation, flexibility, resourcefulness, and an ability to run a clean program. RichRod has not demonstrated any of these traits so far.

My bet is that he won't ever do so at MIchigan. Harbaugh may not be the holy grail either but he seems like a much better bet to me. And if he runs a successful program for a few years before moving on to the pros, perhaps one of his assistants will be a qualified and logical choice to replace him and continue the winning tradition.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

- i left a pretty good job with excellent job security (like RR with WVU)

- l left to start my own consulting practice for the potential of better rewards (like RR going to UM)

- i had zero clients when i left my firm (kind of like the limited talent RR inherited)

- my income the first year stunk; probably one-third of my previous salary (RR was 3-9)

- i improved in year 2 and by year 3 i was at my previous job's salary (if RR wins his bowl, it will match the pre RR UM)

- year 4 and 5 has been great.  making more than previous job and working half the hours (i expect RR to reap rewards similarly in 2011 and maintain going forward)

hopefully DB sees the UM program like a business (like my business) and doesn't fold the tent too soon.


November 29th, 2010 at 8:51 PM ^

I like the straight-forwardness and confidence embedded in your post, but what is required to make the leap of faith you are making from year 3 to years 4-5 and beyond is that the fundamentals are in place to succeed next year and in the future.

As I stated in my post, I disagree with this premise. The defense will have to start over on the coaching side and perhaps schematically as well. And while the players will be older and wiser, and have no where to go but up in terms of performance, there is a big difference between being mediocre and competing at the top of the Big Ten and in the national rankings.

Special teams can probably be "fixed" more readily but again there is really no current basis for believing this will happen. If the AD has to tell the coach that the special teams stink and the coach requires such motivation to actually do something about it, we have bigger problems than poor special teams, don't we?

I hope your business continues to succeed. If I'm AD Brandon and evaluating the state of the football program in late 2010 after 3 years of the current staff and schematic approach, I hold my nose, pay the buyout (btw couldn't RR be fired for cause due to the NCAA infractions, thereby nullifying the buyout altogether?) and start over.

Leaps of faith are what make life grand sometimes, but in this case I prefer to take the calculated risk of cutting bait and trying again.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

Seems like a sensible insight but I would suggest, ftr, that Harbaugh has taken a few hard knocks. Broke his arm his junior year and we went an unimaginable(!) 6-6, losing to a BYU team that Bo said was no way the best team in the country. Then it took him a few seasons to get some traction in the NFL. He was Comeback Player of the Year in '95 for two good reasons: great season, and he had kinda started to go away. Taking on a 1-11 team at a non-football factory school is not exactly skating straight to the top with a silver spoon in his mouth, either.

Harbaugh might've been the right choice in 2007, though that little dust up was still pretty fresh, and he probably is the only person that could prevent the ugly offseason we're about to inflict on ourselves.


November 29th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

While watching games this year, I couldn't help but feel that UM was going up against a Big Ten conference that was better than the past couple of years.  It seems like this is a cycle (remember how the Big Ten was in down years a few years back?).  Do the numbers support that?  Well...  8 of the 11 teams have a winning record this year.  Compared to last seasons:

  • 2009: 5 did,
  • 2008, 7 did,
  • 2007, 8 did
  • 2006, 5 did,
  • 2005, 7 did

Is that weird to anyone else?  I'm almost ready to put down money that says 7 Big Ten teams have winning records next year.  

I guess what I'm saying is that this year's Big Ten was part of the cycle where the conference was really tough, and we still wound up with an overall winning record (while having a tougher out-of-conference schedule than last year as Brian said).  If the pattern holds, we're in for a tough conference again next year.  However, with conference re-alignment, Wisconsin gets replaced with Nebraska (at home) and we get ND and tOSU at home as well. 

That all being said, teams with winning records in conference, home games, conference re-alignment, etc. are nothing compared to more talent infused and experience gotten on D and better execution on O, but as I'm grasping for straws, it felt good to see that my hunch that the conference gamut was tougher this year has some truth to it.  What it means for the future, only DB and his pimp hand truly know that at this point.


November 29th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

I was also at the game and we were ahead by only 4 point until less than two minutes remained. If you were not concerned then you were the only one. Our offense had already given up a pick six. With our offense and defense no lead was safe. Even when we went up by eleven there was fear they could score quickly and get an onside kick for the second year in a row. We were ahead by how much in 2009 and lost?


November 29th, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

I'm no fan of a 7-5 season but if you take off your maize and blue colored glasses you will see that our defense this year is eerily similar to our offense in 2008 (worse than dreadful)...that offense was a bunch of over matched freshman which is basically what our defense is now...I know patience is tough but I really think with the right D coordinator (Casteel I hope you're reading this) Michigan is closer than the games who...when your D cannot stop anybody the games are going to be closer than they should against bad teams and worse than they should be against good teams...going to the bowl game and getting the extra practice time is going to be huge going forward, IF RR stays


November 29th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

Let’s take football out of the mix and analyze this from a business perspective. After all, Dave Brandon is from the business world and he analyzes everything using those parameters and standards. Here are my thoughts:

1.) RR is the CEO of Michigan Football which generates $90M+ per year for U of M Athletics. DB is the Chairman of the Board.

2.) Question 1: As the CEO and face of Michigan Football, how has RR helped the Michigan Football Brand the last three years?

A1: RR hasn’t done anything to advance the Michigan Football Brand. He’s done more to harm it than help it. You can see that by looking at his record, reading any sports newspaper, listening to any sports analyst, or asking any objective college football fan. They would all agree Michigan Football is worse than it was three years ago with no assurances of future success with this system, these players and this coaching staff.

3.) Question 2: If you hired RR as the CEO of your company (let’s just say Domino’s Pizza), and three years into it he had already run Sales, Operations and Marketing into the ground as he has the Offense, Defense, and Special Team at Michigan. Would you feel good about the fact that he grew Sales (Offense) back to their original levels three years into his job? Would you trust him to hang around long enough to fix Operations and Marketing? Would you have a high level of confidence he could generate future Sales growth?

A2: No. If he was Dave Brandon’s CEO @ Domino’s Pizza (and Dave was the Chairman of the Board) RR would’ve been fired no later than year two. You can’t go into a company/business unit that is functioning reasonably well and tear it to pieces and claim progress when only one area is performing reasonably well three years later. In the business world, he probably would’ve been gone in year one because his excuse of an “empty cupboard” wouldn’t fly.


Bottom line here is this… Dave Brandon knows Rich isn’t the guy to represent the Michigan Football Brand. He never was and he never will be. He did the right thing any good leader would do and supported him up to this point. He’s going to term Rich after the bowl game and after he and Jimmy H. have already signed his new contract. He’s delaying the decision/announcement because he knows Jimmy won’t come until he wins his BCS game with his current team. You can take that to the bank.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

I'm in the sales profession, and I've always seen Rich Rod's longevity in those terms. "CEO", is a good analogy, but I think "salesman" is also appropriate.

The common thread that links sales professionals is that we are always on renewable, one-year contracts. At some companies, it can be less than that , (one fiscal quarter, etc.). At the end of the day, you're measured on one thing: "Performance Against Quota." It doesn't matter if your product is expensive or cheap; whether your company is large or small; whether your customers are rich or poor, consumer or corporate. The measure is exactly the same.

So, too, with coaches. The only measure that anyone really cares about is "Win-Loss". All of the other stuff - i.e. recruiting, etc. - is for others to observe whether the coach is "doing the right things" in the absence of a "Win-Loss" record, or (if the institution wants to be generous) to determine whether the coach is just the victim of bad luck or circumstances beyond his/her control. Sales has the "funnel", and other "Management Business Objectives" (MBO). Same things, only different.

At a certain point in the sales profession as with coaching, there can be no more excuses (or "reasons") for not meeting quota. You either make it, or you don't. Key players got injured? Product not released on time? Bugs in the software? New "scheme"? Tough sh-t. Sales managers, like ADs, arrive at that point by different paths, and with different conclusions.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:38 PM ^

First a "consultant" now a "business" view. Alright. I'll bite. 

 You frame all of your questions by stating this CEO/COB relationship and relate it to dollars($90 + Million dollars to be specific). And then you don't at all talk about that relationship again.If we were to go any further with this line of thinking we would probably need all the requisite information. What were revenues under RR's tenure compared to the previous years? That seems like a pretty good place to start. How about ticket sales? Merchandise? Club seats? Donations? TV ratings? How do all of these relate back to our current executive structure?

Basically what you are saying is "hey our product isn't as good as it used to be" without asking how this is driving the bottom line. Let's face it, if we were looking at this from a business perspective revenue is really the only thing that matters.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:24 PM ^

I would keep RR for at least another year, and I have five reasons:

1.  I'm still not sure if RR can succeed at Michigan -- when I'm not sure about something, I don't make changes.   There is still a good chance he can succeed at Michigan.  Yes, I just said that and didn't combust in flames.

2.  If Michigan is JH's dream job, it will still be his dream job in another year or two.  If it's not his dream job, then Michigan is just another stepping stone to the NFL and it doesn't matter. 

3.  College football games, week to week, are decided by a lot of random occurences (fluke plays, injuries, etc.).  I still believe that Alabama and Boise St. are two of the best teams in college football, even though neither will be in BCS bowl games.  Michigan is better than 7-5, in my opinion.  The Big 10 was stacked this year. 

4.  Being a die-hard Michigan fan means enduring bad years too.  If a bad year is 7-5, I can take it. 

5.  Giving a guy four years as head coach is a fair shake.  I'd rather set precedent in giving a head football coach at least 4 years before canning him.  If JH ends up being the next coach, I'd want to give him at least 4 years too.

Florida Buckeye

November 29th, 2010 at 5:02 PM ^

I have a question regarding injuries as related to strength and conditioning.  Has any analysis been done comparing pre-Barwis "total games missed" by starters (or even two deep) vs.the past three years under Barwis.  As an avid College er Big Ten er OSU fan, I read many tOSU and UM blogs (this is definitely one of my favorites!) I recall many posts trumpeting how much stronger, faster, endurable, and most of all, reduced injury prone that UM was going to be with the OMG Barwis S & C program.  And, when those infrequent injuries did occur, how much less severe they were going to be.  I must admit, that I was just a bit jealous, (Geeze Louise, just think of how great tOSU could be if we had HIM!)  In any event, with nothing to back it up, it just seems like UM has had an exoribant number of injuries, both minor (miss a game) and major (miss a season)

As for the Strength and Speed part of the equation, are the UM players stronger, more enduring (play more minutes without huffing and puffing) and are they faster than when they came in. (please do not use DRob as part of your analysis...he is so completly off the charts when it comes to speed, but he was faaasssttt when he got there)

The bottom line question is..."Does Barwis give UM the edge that all (most?) UM fans believed that he would?


November 29th, 2010 at 6:46 PM ^

i don't know about injuries.  imo, S&E has only a minor impact at preventing injuries.  if a guy slams into your leg and it breaks or you tear an acl, i'm not sure if S&E can really prevent that injury.  our main injuries have been leg brakes and ankle sprains.

however, i will say the UM generally played a helleva lot better in the 2H of most games this year (osu excluded).  Now, that could directly correlate to better conditioning. 


November 29th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

The genius  Buonarotti's Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the great art works in human history.  While in progress his patron chafed and was impatient.  We, centuries after, regard it with wonder and awe.  It took a long time and was little to look at until it was finished.

So far RR's work reminds me of that ceiling when all Michaelangelo had finished was the plaster prep for the frescoe to come.  But there is less assurance that what is to come will be reminiscent of Michaelangelo's realized vision.

I recommend to the readers:

As for "Tresselball," Jim Tressel is one of the great coaches in NCAA history.  He is almost what  Bo would have been had Bo had  first call on Ohio's talent. 

The Denarding

November 29th, 2010 at 8:29 PM ^

We all expected 7-5, we got 7-5, and the only game I can honestly say we lost that I expected to win was Penn State.  I think a direction on defense is necessary but I believe it is easier to get direction on defense than change the entire coaching staff and philosophy.  This team did as we expected it to.  I'm not sure why the coach should be punished for it.  

More importantly and I will reiterate this on other blog threads, we should all realize there is a very high possibility that Jim Harbaugh will be in the NFL.  If not now, very soon.   If you had the choice between Carolina, SF or Michigan, which would you take?  Especially when your brother is already in the pros and very successful and probably informing you of how ready you are to make the jump ALL THE TIME.  


This has not been discussed much and probably deserves more face time.



November 30th, 2010 at 10:24 AM ^

i have heard that he wants to go to the NFL too... But Harbaugh seems like he likes being the boss and if he goes to the NFL he has to answer to a GM and owner. In college he would get to recruit his own players and lead the program how he saw fit... Plus the whole bringing Michigan back to glory thing and all... Not saying he wouldn't leave but look at other college coaches who had complete control and left for the NFL only to suck (Steve Spurrier,  Butch Davis, etc)


November 30th, 2010 at 1:50 AM ^

Did anyone notice when Forcier threw the interception at the start of the third quarter?It was actually dropped by the defender and wasn't a turnover. Michigan should have delayed going on the field with their D so the review booth could have more time to look at the play. I noticed that OSU did that when there was an apparent fumble by them . Michigan was on the field getting ready to run a play,but OSU didn't have their team on the field. I think they purposely delayed so the review booth could get a good look at the play.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:50 AM ^

Did anyone notice when Forcier threw the interception at the start of the third quarter?It was actually dropped by the defender and wasn't a turnover. Michigan should have delayed going on the field with their D so the review booth could have more time to look at the play. I noticed that OSU did that when there was an apparent fumble by them . Michigan was on the field getting ready to run a play,but OSU didn't have their team on the field. I think they purposely delayed so the review booth could get a good look at the play.