WTKA Roundtable 1/4/2018: A Lonely Cook Comment Count

Seth January 5th, 2018 at 7:11 AM

WTKA cover 1-4-18

Ira’s in for Sam today.

Football things discussed:

  • Brian groans
  • Every quarterback regressed this year. Unprecedented under Harbaugh, who’s had QB success since San Diego. Wasn’t just protection.
  • Down three guys on an OL that wasn’t very good to begin with.
  • No valid complaints about the defense, though some people manage to do so anyway. Microcosm of the season: constantly put behind the 8 ball and held the opponent to a beatable score.
  • Mo Hurst was the best defensive lineman in Craig’s 3,000-year lifetime. Cam made Ira laugh.
  • Would Roman come? Would we go to a pistol? Pistol gets you more of a downhill running game out of a read-option shotgun game, changes quarterback footwork.
  • One of the problems with this offense is Harbaugh might have stepped back from running the offense.
  • Go back to his third year of Stanford: things got better from there too.
  • New coaches: likely to have five new guys if Drevno and Pep are gone too, plus there’s a tenth assistant.

Hoops things discussed

  • Hoops! Ira’s not a fan of the gap: the space between the BTT and the tournament could lead to too much rust.
  • Michigan’s the third-best team in a bad league, but it’s a four-bid league. The defense is ranking better than their offense on Ed’s numbers.
  • Livers emerging is a big deal because Robinson should be out there with Teske to hide his perimeter defense, return him to his Microwave job.
  • Z is never going to be Derrick Walton but he’s becoming an excellent version of himself now that he can shoot: never doubt Beilein’s ability to make anyone a 36% 3-point shooter.
  • Donnal is at 6.3% DREB at Clemson, which means everyone on Michigan’s court is outperforming him. Wagner has improved after his draft grade circled that spot, and Teske is a major upgrade.
  • Poole is the Quinn Hughes of the basketball team: once he settles down Michigan really has something
  • When was the low point last year? Maverick Morgan or the Ohio State loss?
  • Root for Texas, UCLA and LSU. Texas might be really good—Bamba getting better could make that a signature victory this year. Central Michigan could help too.
  • Watch Oklahoma’s Trae Young: Ira says he’s Steph Curry II.

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


It was bad year, and it’s manifesting itself on the radio.



January 5th, 2018 at 8:09 AM ^

Brooks and Simpson ar an excellent combo/change of pace to compliment each other. Beilein needs to keep bringing Brooks along because he is going to be critical down the stretch and into post season tournament play. So far so good...a lot of pieces falling nicely into place for this team.


January 5th, 2018 at 8:59 AM ^

It doesn't work that way due to the talent available. 

I know people really don't get this, but talent is super important. Having only two recruiting classes to work with is super important. 

That's why it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that Michigan won 10 games each of Harbaugh's first to years (and really should have been at least 11 in each) and why a drop off was to be expected.

However, given the caliber of coach Harbaugh has been his whole career, that drop off should not have included losing to MSU and South Carolina. That's where the concern comes in. My opinion is its just a blip based on the recruiting and some ill-advised staff hires that made the recruiting woes from 2014 and 2015 worse. 

Sten Carlson

January 5th, 2018 at 9:45 AM ^

Relentless! Absolutely relentless. It is what it is, for a myriad of reasons — some past, some present, and some even concerning the future. However, one of those reason is unequivocally NOT (as you and your ultra-negative cohort seem intent upon pushing) that Harbaugh ain’t got it, lost it, is being outworked, etc. The Jimmy’s and Joe’s haven’t lined up yet. It happens. Sometimes coaches take over sinking programs and they’ve got everything in place, other times (like with Harbaugh at Stanford) they luck into a great QB situation (pun intended) and the timetable is accelerated. Remember, OSU was NOT sinking, it was cruising and winning at an historic rate PRIOR to Meyer. THAT is what we’re up against.

Comparing teams like you insist upon doing is a fools errand — just to be clear, yes, I’m calling you a fool! We’ve endured the horror, the darkness, and the bungling, but the way some of you speak it’s like you want to jump right back into that nightmare of embarrassment and incompetency. Be VERY careful what you wish for here! Michigan has been playing football for nearl 150 years now. There have been ups and downs, but if you cannot see that the program is trending upward from its recent low, then you’re either blind, pathetically negative, and/or an abject troll.

With my gaze on the short term, ie, this season, I’m frustrated as I hate losing. With the eye of a “long term investor” I’m thrilled at the prospects moving forward. When will it be “our time?” I don’t know, and neither does anyone. But, of one thing I’m 100% certain: there’s nobody on the planet better suited for Michigan (at this time) than Jim Harbaugh. You can bitch, people can wring their hands and worry about every little detail, but it is what it is and is success eludes the program it’s because of the hole that was dug by those that preceded this regime. That hole, so you know, took years to dig and will take at least as much time to crest.

If there is one thing I’d ask is for you to escheat your relentless negativity. It’s not “keeping it real,” it’s a pathetic amalgam of entitlement, unrealistic expectations, shortsightedness, and frankly, immaturity. You don’t realize it, but you’re actually doing harm to the thing that you claim to love. Let’s all get behind this program and enjoy the journey.

Go Blue!


January 5th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Agree with you 100%. Michigan’s situation was completely different from Stanford, OSU, or even MSU and much more complicated than what fans want to hear. This was never a situation where Harbaugh was guaranteed to come in and win right away and that it would realistically take 4-5 years.


January 5th, 2018 at 5:38 PM ^

But I think he was saying, "I'm just a cook," a la Steven Seagal, but it really did sound like 'cock,' not 'cook.' Either way, it's not very professional, but I guess that's Brian's trademark now. It wouldn't hurt if he had a cup of coffee before these things and tried to have just a little enthusiasm for these roundtables. Will we look back at the 2017 season and realize it was the season Cook jumped the Shark? Fitting, considering we started the season with Florida and their noted Shark-humper.

Image result for i'm just a cook


January 5th, 2018 at 12:10 PM ^

Win. The talent is overwhelming. Coach Harbaugh makes what? 9 million? Get the job done. No more excuses. No schedule it too hard. No 1st year position Coach excuses. It's time to win. If not, the country will rightfully label this Era and Coach Harbaugh as sham to what was labeled and celebrated as 99% fresh off the boat Colombian just a few years ago. First and second year coaches are winning more with less all over the country. No more excuses. People with these excuses can ship themselves to Bolivia instead of the Michigan fans demanding accountability and return on the University investment.

Sten Carlson

January 5th, 2018 at 5:27 PM ^

“The talent [at Michigan] is overwhelming.”

Your acceptance of this statement is, unfortunately, the reason why the tone of your post (and I’m assuming your outlook/sentiment of the Michigan football program) is quite grim. Is the talent, in fact, overwhelming? When I look around the country I see two or three programs with talent that is not only significantly better, but also deeper, than any other of the other program’s. it just so happens that Michigan’s path to the B10 East runs straight through one of those two programs. Michigan is TRYING to get (back) to the point where it has such talent, but as is clear with QB play this year, it’s not there yet.

As such, I think this false premise sets you up for continual disappointment — basically, you think Michigan SHOULD be better than it is, and because it’s not it’s somehow underachieving. While I feel disappointed in 2017 as well, my fundamental stance on the “talent” is that it’s not there yet, so I tend to understand the lack of performance.

“Coach Harbaugh makes what? 9 million? Get the job done.”

What difference does his salary make? Would you feel better about 8-5 if he were only making $3M? Do you grasp the concept that someone (often times?) investments like coach Harbaugh’s salary take time to mature, or to “come into the money” so to speak? If Coach were a new CEO, his first task is to stop the free fall of the stock price and start to rebuild the workforce to compete again. Michigan’s stock was falling fast — we were losing to Maryland, Rutgers, and Minnesota, let alone MSU and OSU. That’s stopped. The only game that Harbaugh has lost that in that capacity is Iowa last year. But, after watching what Iowa did to OsU this year, it doesn’t look as bad — both games were very costly.

So to my mind, he is getting the job done — at least the first part of his job. A ludicrously overly simplified statement of, “win” completely glosses over the steps in the process to make that simple statement a reality. Every accomplishment comes with new, and ever more ambitious goals. Next on the list, develop the young talent on the roster, while continuing to build depth with new high level recruits. Again, he’s doing that. Obviously, that process didn’t translate to the field in the biggest games, but that’s understandable given the stage the process.

“No more excuses.”

Who is making excuses? Certainly not Coach! Besides, this idea that ANY mitigate or causative factor is an exsuse, is again ludicrous oversimplification. An excuse is blaming something that is unquantifiable, and even if true, is not really the reason things didn’t go as planned. For example, proffering that the reason for getting a F in a class as, “the professor didn’t like me” is an excuse. Even if one knew, for a fact, i.e., they told you to your face, that they didn’t like you, to fail someone simply based upon personal preference is wildly unprofessional. More likely, they didn’t like you because you weren’t a good student in their class, and the failing grade was a reflection of your not accomplishing the level of mastery/analysis they expected. Analyzing the 2017 roster and suggesting a “down year” isn’t an excuse — it was expected and quite understandable.

“No schedule it too hard. No 1st year position Coach excuses.”

I’ve not heard Coach offer any excuses, least of all these.

“It's time to win.”

Or else what? Would you fire Harbaugh? And hire whom? Do you honestly think that there’s another coach out there who is just so much better than Harbaugh WITHOUT a top job already. The list of coaches who are such significantly better coaches than Harbaugh (saying nothing of what Michigan means to them and they to Michigan) that you’d fire JH to hire him has to have only two names on it. I agree, I want to win and win consistently and if 2018 was the seminal season in a long run of championships, I’d do backflips. But, again, what if it isn’t. What if it’s 2019, or 2020? Would your impatience buy Michigan a ticket on to the coaching carrousel? Who, besides those two, would want to come to Michigan after is home town hero came in and couldn’t live up to the expectations?

“If not, the country will rightfully label this Era and Coach Harbaugh as sham to what was labeled and celebrated as 99% fresh off the boat Colombian just a few years ago.”

The “hype” was not from Coach himself. He made no grand promises and predictions other than hard work. The hype was from the media and fan expectings — both of which are renowned for their irrationality, superficiality, and short-sightedness.

“First and second year coaches are winning more.with less all over the country.”

Like who? Name me one 1st or 2nd year coach who has expectations that are as high as those at Michigan, and who has be beat programs like PSU, MSU, and OSU just have a chance to win it’s conference. Oops, there I go, making excuses. But think about what Michigan has to do to accomplish its first goal of winning the B10 East. There’s nobody else, and certainly not a 1st or 2nd coach, who’s out performaing Michigan under Harbaugh unless you’re looking at a lesser conference. I suspect this is the grass being greener sysndrom. Everyone else is out having fun while you’re at home bored. Yeah, not so much. What Michigan is trying to accomplish — out competing perhaps the single most (certainly top) successful CFB program of the last 10-15 years — is NOT easy, and from where Michigan was (losing to the also rans and struggling with MAC teams) is NOT going to happen as fast as you obviously desire.

“No more excuses. People with these excuses can ship themselves to Bolivia instead of the Michigan fans demanding accountability and return on the University investment.”

You speak of accountability. I get it. You want Harbaugh to think about you, about how frustrated you are, how you’re tired of losing to MSU and OSU. Since you brought up investments, this is not an active trade Michigan is making. Meaning, it’s not looking to buy low and cash out higher. This is a buy and hold, and reinvest the dividend investment, more akin to an annuity. They’re in it for the long haul. I promise you, if you were to ask AD Ward and the decision makers, they’d tell you that as long as Harbaugh doesn’t have debacle seasons, the Big House stays full, and progress is being made, Harbaugh will be given as much time as he needs to build the program back up to elite status. THAT is their investment.

I get that it’s not fast enough for you and others. I don’t want it to go slowly either. But, unlike you, I think the “excuses” have merit, and that over the long haul (look how long Sweeney was at Clemson before they were contenders) Michigan will be back — as long as impatient people aren’t allowed to make shortsighted decisions.


January 5th, 2018 at 10:31 PM ^

the Outback Bowl effort on offense was the worst Michigan team performance I have witnessed in 50 years of cheering for UM football. We need to totally clean house coaching-wise at offense. That was pathetic for having 6 weeks to prepare for a mediocre opponent with consensus 4/5-star recruiting talent ...


January 5th, 2018 at 10:47 PM ^

these offensive coaches were working with their agents to find a new job for 2018 versus winning the bowl game. All the more reason to move on ... new blood is needed !!!


January 24th, 2018 at 1:50 AM ^

On the short term like this season, I’m frustrated as I hate losing. Spanish dictionary . With the eye of a “long term investor” I’m thrilled at the prospects moving forward. When will it be “our time?” I don’t know. Neither does anyone. ....