Hard to Disagree with Both "Sides"

Submitted by snoopblue on November 29th, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Disclaimer: This is my opinion. And for the record, because the decision to keep or fire Rich Rodriguez is completely out of my hands, I no longer have an opinion on the subject. I trust the people in charge and will go with whatever decision they make. Unlike most of these other diaries, this has no statistics. They just aren't my thing. I warn you, this is long. It is basically my rationale for being rational. Take it for what it is worth... Thanks.


After the Ohio State beatdown, I was angry and wanted RR fired. Sunday I was too angry about the Wiki Leaks guy so I cooled down a little bit. On Monday, after seeing Denard Robinson win the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year award, I've cooled down significantly and am looking at things more rationally, but not delusionally by any means.

Rich Rodriguez has done a terrible job coaching this team his first three years. When his WVU DC wasn't coming, he should have kept Ron English because he doesn't know shit about defense and/or the Big Ten. Ron English wasn't the greatest DC, but he was young, had energy and the respect of the kids that we had. RR should have adjusted his offense to Threet's talents, but he either didn't know how or was too stubborn. Then comes Tate, played well but he was a Freshman - what did you expect? Then Denard played flat out amazing but still he was a first year starter (Who won Big Ten OPOY). The defense? Can't honestly say Greg or Shafer are terrible coordinators or RR is a moron for forcing a system and staff upon them (or both). Either way, the entire coaching has failed when it comes to tackling. Every football player needs to know how to tackle with proper form. Offense on turnovers, special teams, and obviously defense. That is a fundamental. RR needs to give up on his defense philosophy and fire his friend Tony Gibson. On special teams, the kicking game is partly RR's fault, but Gibbons was a bust. Hagerup is great. Poor tackling on returns - that is mostly on Tony Gibson and partly on the other coaches for not teaching this fundamental football move. I don't know if they break down special teams film to look at teams blocking schemes on special teams, but uh, it didn't look like it. The injuries in 2010 really hurt, especially on defense and in our run game. Red zone turnovers by a first year starter at QB really killed us in some of those games, too.


It's a real conundrum we are in. Fire him and somewhat start over with a new guy, although I think the transition wouldn't be as bad as 2008 with a coach that isn't as stubborn as RR. Or say that for the first time, we have a returning QB that has proved he is electric. A stable of great WRs and RBs, many who are upperclassmen. Solid OL. Solid incoming recruits. Defense returning from an injury plagued year with many young players that had on the job training and game experience that will have an entire new staff running their own that is actually effective in defending Big Ten offenses (that is a MUST if RR stays). If RR can't handle an autonomous defense, then he is not all in for Michigan and should be fired. You want to build the best program in America right? Then bring in the best Defensive Coordinator and Staff you can find and let them do it their way, the same way you do it with your offense.

I pity David Brandon for having to make this decision. It basically makes or breaks his legacy as an AD. (And could have an impact on his political future, who knows.) Fans, media and former players all calling for the coach's head. Does he succumb to their demands? Does he see what I stated above and say "One More Year?" If he gives him another year and we have great season in 2011, he is a genius. T shirts will be made, "Patience is a virtue? No - David Brandon is patience." If we flop, he is a chump with no credibility.


In 2008 when Rich Rodriguez was hired, there were people who didn't like him. 3-9? More people didn't like him. First NCAA violations in program history? More. 5-7? More. 7-5 with poundings by Big Ten's elite? Even more. And it's hard to argue against those people, it has not been pretty or fun by any means. And then there are the people who stood by the coach no matter what, because he was the Michigan coach. As long as they always pulled for Michigan to win, these groups are the same - just passionate Michigan fans with strong opinions. And today, there is a supposed divide amongst the Michigan faithful. FIRE HIM NOW and WAIT AND SEE. These groups are also one in the same - one views the glass half full, the other half empty. The WAIT AND SEE group is no doubt angry with the way this coach has mismanaged and poorly coached his way into a hole in the job of a lifetime and straight up dragged Michigan through the mud. With all the drama and losing the past couple years, they still ask for patience because they want to see where this thing goes when some stability is involved (minus the defensive coaches =)..) The FIRE HIM NOW group wants to...well..FIRE HIM NOW. And you can't really blame them for feeling this way after the past few seasons. At the same time, as much as they were saddened, angered and frustrated by watching the games we lost, they can't tell me that they weren't thrilled watching Denard Robinson go apeshit on Notre Dame or the defense coming through in 3OT against Illinois. I know you can argue that all the wins, yards and points came against lesser opponents, a back-up QB at ND and vs. UCONN, Bowling Green. You can argue that we played close games against bad teams. (We did, FCS UMASS 42-37 are you kidding me?) You can argue that we were not even close in any of our losses, and that most yards and points came in on clean-up duty defenses. Once again, you are probably right. You don't even have to argue about the defense. However, you can't argue against the fact that our offense has shown flashes of being unstoppable and that the defense was plagued by freak injuries that forced inexperienced players, young and old, to play in games they had no business seeing the field in. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If you want the coach to stay for one more year, you should be able to support him and still agree that he has done a horrendous job thus far and excuses about the cupboard being bare aren't applicable anymore. You should demand he stays away from the defense. If you want him fired now, ask yourself this question. If you could turn the page and take a peek as to what 2011 holds for Michigan Football with Rich Rodriguez, would you be curious enough to take a look? If you would, then maybe your mind isn't as made up as you thought it was.



November 29th, 2010 at 11:08 PM ^

It's one thing to be able to disagree but I hope you are kidding about the "enjoy" part of it. This should be painful for all of us. Both "sides" want what's best for the program and there is evidence to support either one. To positively assume you know the answer to this problem is irrational. The OP did a great job of trying to bring both sides together and I think that's the best attitude we can all share.

Cosmic Blue

November 30th, 2010 at 9:06 AM ^

i tend not to post multiple times on posts im ignoring, but thats just my own wacky stance

the OP is trying to cool things down by helping people agree to disagree. you seem to want to fan the flames and make this all worse than it is. i dont understand people like you


November 30th, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

It was a joke.  I am making light of all of these threads because everyone is freaking out about the coaching situation and, to be honest, I'm sick of reading about it.  So settle down, sport.

P.S.  I argue for a living.  Arguments do not have to be mean-spirited or negative experiences at all.  Its all about tone and agenda and many of these threads have sh-tty tones and hidden agenda, pushing opinions like facts. 

OSUMC Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 10:45 PM ^

We are in a football recession, a coaching change would likely put us into a depression and I don't see the college football equilvalent of WWII rolling around anytime soon to pull us out of it.  What self respecting coach would take a job where the previous coach wasnt even given the chance to field a complete team of his own players?  Yes RR has probably handled many things poorly and yes we have had some bad luck on top of that, but the foundation of this program had been erroding for years.  Blaming RR for all of this is the equivalent of hanging the recent economic downturn and sluggish recovery entirely on Obama (if you even believe that this type of thing can be pinned on one person).  Convenient if you hated Obama already, but foolish.  Ditto with RR.


November 29th, 2010 at 11:11 PM ^

It's a tough call. I just don't see us improving a whole lot next year. I think we'll be a little bit better on both sides of the ball if RR stays, but I think we only pick up 1 more win at most. We won't be able to compete with the best teams in the B10 like OSU. We are at least 2 years away from that.


November 29th, 2010 at 11:40 PM ^

Before I read this:


I was firmly in the "RR needs another year with a new DC" camp. I'm still leaning towards that side, but am starting to have second thoughts. I think it comes down to whether the turnovers/poor defense/special teams disasters/general self-destruction etc. are related to Rich Rod's lack of attention to detail as this writer suggests, vs. being related primarily to youth, inexperience, a lousy DC, and some old-fashioned bad luck.

If it's the former, maybe Jim is indeed the answer. If the latter, we'd be making a terrible mistake in letting Rich go. I assume this is a big part of what DB is trying to ascertain. If it's some from column A and some from column B, maybe we are better off in the long term with Harbaugh? 

I don't know the answer, and I can't imagine the pressure DB must be feeling in trying to figure that out. I really do believe that we have to continue to get better once our young players become juniors and seniors and we have better competition and depth, and I still believe RR deserves another year to make his case. OTOH, I am starting to see the logic espoused by the Harbaugh faction.

P.S. I know others have been speculating ad nauseum for several days, but I've been busy and am just now catching up. That's my two cents.


November 30th, 2010 at 1:53 AM ^

I found this, if even a little accurate, pretty damning (sorry for no yellow box, I'm on the App):
<br>"Further... many insiders will tell you that Rich was like a bull in a china shop within the walls of Schembechler Hall. While he said the right things publicly, inside he routinely disparaged what he had been left by Lloyd and criticized Lloyd's program, apparently too dense to realize that most of the people still involved with the program were former colleagues and admirers of Carr. He established a tone from the start that all but invited the skeptics to actively undermine him, and he did little to earn the respect that he very much needed from Lloyd Carr. In short: don't portray Rich as merely a victim of a stodgy blueblood establishment. There's plenty of blame to go around for why this marriage didn't work out, and that includes Rich. He had his own "faction"."


November 30th, 2010 at 2:13 AM ^

""Further... many insiders will tell you that Rich was like a bull in a china shop within the walls of Schembechler Hall. While he said the right things publicly, inside he routinely disparaged what he had been left by Lloyd and criticized Lloyd's program, apparently too dense to realize that most of the people still involved with the program were former colleagues and admirers of Carr. He established a tone from the start that all but invited the skeptics to actively undermine him, and he did little to earn the respect that he very much needed from Lloyd Carr. In short: don't portray Rich as merely a victim of a stodgy blueblood establishment. There's plenty of blame to go around for why this marriage didn't work out, and that includes Rich. He had his own "faction"."

WTF??!?!? This is the first I'm hearing of this, but if this is true, it would put me squarely in the camp of "boot this poser and get somebody in here who understands what this program's tradition is really all about."

Losing ballgames and having a shitty defense is one thing, but if you're doing that while boasting inside the walls that you're bigger and better than the people who came before you, you're a jackass. He's no better than Charlie Weis if that's the case.

I always wondered why Lloyd wasn't a more public presence in retirement...Bo certainly didn't meddle but he was unafraid to publicly voice support for LC when he needed it most.


November 30th, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

If true, trippy ... very trippy.  When his occasional lack of social grace is considered, I can't say I'd be totally surprised.  Bummer.

- - -

As for the rest, the first few paragraphs are pricelessly loose and optimistic.  Mike DeBord (!) going (!) 8-4 with the '08 team with Threet driving.  Suuuuuuuuuuuure.


November 30th, 2010 at 3:46 AM ^

Wow. I thought my OP was long! That post at Genuinely Sarcastic scares me. How the D Coordinators are better without RR. How all these fumbles could just be lack of attention to detail. Jim Harbaugh would be very successful here no doubt. What scares me the most is that feared "What if?" scenario. What if we bring him RR back for one more season, it just doesn't get better. Defense, Offense, Special teams, Nothing. And then Jim Harbaugh is no longer available. That's scary to think about, because this coach is like the match made in heaven for Michigan.

Replace Petey with Tressel.


November 30th, 2010 at 9:14 AM ^


I'm glad you included the link to that post. I was already in the "Fire RR now" camp but not absolutley convinced that Jimmy was the only option for UM. I am now convinced that, in fact, Jimmy IS the only option for UM.

One quibble, I don't agree with the author's opinion that UM would have won 7 or 8 games in 2008. That was a pretty lousy offensive roster. I think 5 or 6 wins was very possible, though, and UM should have won 7 or 8 last year.


November 29th, 2010 at 11:39 PM ^

I am not sure how many of us there are out there, but count me as one because this is EXACTLY how I feel. Since you stated the case more eloquently than I can, I will just amend a summary of my feelings.

I wanted RR FIRED going into this season, there are numerous reasons why I wanted him gone.

1. The sketchy way he left WVU

2. The NCAA Violations (debunked mostly)

3. "Special Tea... yes please!, Oh... Tea[m]s, never mind Ill pass..."

4. Terrible Terrible (Arrggggg! MUST BREAK SOMETHING…) losses

However, this year actually changed my mind because I can see something in the team. We saw hints of it all this year and the question just keeps gnawing at me “what could next year look like?”

1.      DR learns how to throw the deep ball (and lead a receiver) so teams can’t play "cover 0" anymore

2.      We can convert field goals (which is one of the biggest reason I think we got killed by good teams, it affects all aspects of the game against a good team)

However, what put me over the edge was RR decision to suspended Will Hagerup for the OSU game, he had to know he was shooting himself in the foot for the biggest game of his tenure and that showed me some character.

For me the oportunity cost is just to high not to give him one more year.


November 30th, 2010 at 7:23 AM ^

I'm sure you're not the only one, but you're the first person I've seen who went from wanting to fire Rich Rod before the season to now wanting to give him another year. As someone who, save unspeakable horrors committed by Rodriguez this season, could not have been swayed from wanting to give him another year, I find that impressive. Kudos on your open-mindedness.


November 30th, 2010 at 12:10 AM ^

If we are looking exclusively at next season, I can see it as a tough call.  Beyond that, I don't think it is.  History has shown that when a top-notch coach comes to a historically elite school, the first season is often somewhat rocky but the second season brings about a breakthrough.  This was true for Tressel, Stoops, Carroll, Saban, and Meyer, and Chizik (if he counts as a great coach) as well.  Every one of these coaches replaced a guy that was fired.  Three won national championships in year 2 (Chizik might make it four), and two more won national titles in year 3.  There is reason to believe that Harbaugh just might be a top-notch coach, and if so, it's exciting to think what he might do here.

Conversely, history also shows that when a coach struggles mightily for three seasons, he's not likely to achieve great things down the road.  Frequently, things don't get much better in year four and he ends up getting fired then or after year five.  The one counterexample I can find is Ferentz.  He went 1-10, 3-9 and 7-5, then 11-2 in year four.  Problem is,  he's basically an outlier. 


November 30th, 2010 at 12:58 AM ^

you lost me when you said you wanted Ron English as DC. Yeah lets keep Ronny on board, especially when he interviewed for the HC position. Cause that wouldn't make an awkward work environment. 

I love how everyone has a hard on for Ron. He came into an awesome situation with a very veteran D led by Woodley. Since then his D got ripped apart by App State, Oregon, Illinois, and basically everyone in the Big East while he was at Louisville. Don't get me started on his time at Eastern or his connections to a certain backstabbing EMU trustee. 


November 30th, 2010 at 2:33 AM ^

Would you at least agree that Ron English would have been better than Scott Shafer or Greg Robinson? I guess in retrospect that is all I was really trying to say.


November 30th, 2010 at 7:17 AM ^

What happens if we fire him and bring in Harbaugh.

If it all goes to plan ... sure - great decision.

But if it doesn't 3 years down the line we are still searching for a win @ OSU due to no consistency of recruits with the schemes.

Then 3 years down the line we fire Harbaugh for <insert name here>.

The cycle of DOOM continues.


However, if we give RR a chance - it does 2 things 


1) At least we don't have the 'what if' guilt if Harbaugh failed.

2) The man is an offensive genius

3) Once 'his' recruits mature - that is the time when you should evaluate him. Not when his pie is half baked. Once the pipeline of recruits is mature and results start coming in that is the time his legacy will be established.

Patience is a virtue.


November 30th, 2010 at 9:46 AM ^

I couldn't take the post, in its entirety, seriously after reading this part, even if it was put there for balance:

"RR should have adjusted his offense to Threet's talents."


November 30th, 2010 at 12:57 PM ^

...keeping Rodriguez  and wondering five years from now “What if we had Harbaugh as our coach?” I can deal with those thoughts.

I don’t think I could deal with letting Rodriguez go now, and wondering 5 years from now “What if Rodriguez was our coach with an upperclass Denard, the best RB recruit in the country and 10 of 11 starters back on offense in 2011?”

That I could not deal with. I hope we don't wonder, I hope we find out