Here goes: My Official Conclusion - Time to Change

Submitted by superstringer on November 1st, 2010 at 12:53 PM

I have been an infrequent commenter but daily (often hourly) reader of MGoBlog since before Lloyd retired .  (I was sold that Brian correctly told us, on Tuesday before the OSU game, that LC would retire on the forthcoming Monday morning, based on inside info he had.  No one in the media had said that previously.  It came to pass.  I put my full faith and confidence in Brian at that point.)

I am in my 40s with kids, so I am not in a position to let the ups and downs of a college football team dictate my daily mood.  If the team does horribly, I can't go around for a few minutes, much less days, acting all sullen.  My daughters and wife expect me to be Daddy, not Angry-Against-Everything-Cuz-I'm-A-Michigan-Fan-Guy I actually want to be.

I lay this out as necessary background.  I have reserved all judgment to this point.  I have in fact defended RR from non-Michigan fans, who have bought into the media that has somehow painted RR as a bad guy.  I knew patience is the most important thing to have as the management of a football team (see:  Daniel Snyder).  This season, even after 5-0, I knew we were facing losses against Sparty and Hawkeye Nation, so I told myself, do not make judgments until after the three-game PSU / U of I / PU stretch.  Do not rush to a conclusion yet.

Had a mind change Saturday night.  It hasn't gone away since, and now I'm crystal-clear about the future.

I hereby officially declare, as a multidecade U of M fan paying extremely close attention to all circumstances:  It is time to replace RR and throw a ton of money at Jim Harbaugh.

It has been complained that people have ranted this weekend about changing coaches without a reasoned basis.  I respectfully submit the facts are indisputable.

1.  RR's teams are not Big Ten tough.  The offense with smaller backs, smaller/fleeter O-line, etc. works great again mediocre and bad teams -- see, ND, UConn, Any MAC Team, Any FCS Team, etc.  Against brawny Big Ten teams (meaning, not IU), no so much.  While the style of offense has done well for some lesser-ran Big Ten teams to get spotty success (pretty much, Purdue with Drew Breeze and Northwestern), it's my conclusion this offense is not going to produce a consistent winner.  But my comment about not being "Big Ten" tough is not limited to the defense.  For that we turn to...

2.  No excuses for this lack of defense.  RR has been coach for 3 years, has had 2 1/2 of his own recruiting classes.  The lack of talent in the front 7 is squarely on RR's shoulders, period.  Big-name defensive recruits are pretty much not touching us there.  There is really nothing in the pipeline, in terms of the underclassmen or incoming classes, that screams massive improvement is on the way.  I can give a slight pass to RR for the DBs -- with five 4- or 5-star guys who might have been on this team, but aren't -- and clearly the extreme youth movement there MIGHT, in 2 or 3 years, produce something resembling competency.  But, given the lack of Big Ten fight in the front seven, and the lack of hope I have there, the current situation squarely is RR's fault.

3.  We aren't getting media love.  This might not seem like a big thing, but enough people nationally and locally in the media seem to like dumping on RR -- this ultimately is somewhat like how folks in the Middle East view the USA, it kind of doesn't matter what reality is, it just matters what you hear over, and over, and over, that's all the people believe.  This problem will generally serve to disintegrate national support and, thus, recruiting for our program.  Ask Notre Dame about that.  (BTW, I see sooooo many OSU decals on cars, and on sweatshirts, these days compared to 4-5 years ago -- and I live in Metro DC area.  This isn't an accident.  Public view of our program is NOT where is used to be a few years ago; the Bball problems clearly contributed to that of course.)

4.  Harbaugh!!!!  Dude, like, we are STARING at the obvious answer.  If he wants to go to the NFL, so be it -- his bro is there, and obviously Jim was one reception away from the super bowl and might fancy another shot at it.  But there have been enough indirect sources saying his heart is still in UM, and having been a Bo disciple, I don't question where his heart is. Stanford is no UM: he can't recruit like he wants too -- too many academic restrictions.  Still he gets Top 20 classes there.  But no way he can out-recruit Oregon or USC at Stanford, just nooo way.  So I would guess, he won't be at Stanford long-term, he probably will be looking for the NFL or a B(C)S school where he can get top-notch talent.  (I am on record predicting the USC job will open this winter.  I could see him there, working with Pat Haden.)

What sells me is, Harbaugh's teams ARE TOUGH.  Both on O and D.  Did you watch that UCLA game?  They smashed the Bruins in the face and laughed about it.  They didn't have the athletic talent to stop Oregon, but then again, no one might this year.  Otherwise, they are just one royally tough football team -- gee, just like Bo used to field!!!!

We have an obvious solution staring at us.  Ask yourself this, if this Spring RR is coaching us and Jim Harbaugh is at another B(C)S school, HOW WILL YOU FEEL?  My point exactly.  (If he's in the NFL, well, nothing to be done about that.)

I'm all in.  I don't need to see more.  I know what is coming the last month of the season, so I don't need to say something like "barring a miracle" because there won't be any miracle.  I am fully satisfied with the realization that...

The RR experiment has come to its end, and Dave Brandon needs to get Jim to COME HOME.  Period.




November 1st, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

Qualitative arguments will not get you very far around here.

"HARBAUGH!!!!!" doesn't qualify as an argument. Neither does "We aren't getting ay media love."

The offense is putting up big numbers in the B10. To call them "not tough" is complete bullshit.

Also, what makes you think Harbaugh wants to come to Michigan?

Finally, reserving judgment requires you to watch the rest of the season. To make a decision now is both premature and immature.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

because that's average yards/ game. Scoring (which, as you know is the point of an offense) wise Michigan is #19 (OSU is #6, btw).…

Still, I get your point that the offense isn't the problem here. However, RR did hire the 2 DCs, and insists on keeping his guys from WVU as D assistants, so what possibly makes you think he's get a young, solid DC to come to Michigan to work with RR's (and not new DC's) assistants?


November 1st, 2010 at 2:07 PM ^

but again, sophomore QB in his first year starting and he has no go-to RB. With this offense yards tell me there is a ton of potential scoring going on next year and when I think about 2012, I get an erection. The offense is fine. Give them a short field, oh, once a game and we score 5-7 more points per. Where does that put us?


November 1st, 2010 at 3:07 PM ^

Assume this defense could generate even 2-3 more stops per game giving Michigan more TOP and therefore probably on average another 1 or 2 possessions a game. We'd probably have the #1 offense in the country.

17 against MSU with 3 TOs in the red zone and a missed field goal.

28 against Iowa with 4 TOs and a missed field goal.

31 against Penn State.

30 against UConn, 28 against ND, 42 against Indiana and UMass, 63 against BGSU.

Do not dismiss those offensive numbers with a true Soph QB and no running backs that could qualify as "good" (all 3 are above average).

I am as disappointed as the rest of everybody, but this is why I still can't support the "Fire RR" meme. His offense works.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:06 PM ^

I am not one of those that over-promote our offense.  Lloyd Carr offenses, while conservative, were often potent.  However, I think saying that our offense is incapable of handling Big Ten Ds is unfounded.  Our biggest problem is we just don't have a good running back, not that he is small.  Mike Hart was pretty small too.  Our offensive line handled the best the big ten had to offer in Iowa.  We had good push and protection the whole game.  Rich Rod has also adapted well to 'Big Ten style' by featuring tight end more and using big backs like Hopkins.  The only difference is that our quaterback and slots are small ninjas.  But would you really trade denard for navarre??


November 1st, 2010 at 1:09 PM ^

agree with some things but number 1 is a ridiculous argument that really makes no sense considering the offense has done fairly well against the Big Ten. Defense is defense and ours is terrible. The initial argument made by window lickers across the nation was that a RR coached offense could not do it's thing in the Big Ten and as far as I am concerned Denard and Co. have struck down that theory emphatically. The defense is still atrocious but the type we play cannot be deemed the sole culprit. I would deem coaching and lack of know how to make that defense work as more of a problem than the system itself. Forcing guys to coach that system when they have never done it may be a problem but the 3-3-5 Sometimes and sometimes not is not the only problem.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:25 PM ^

Two recruiting classes equals true sophmores/redshirt freshmen. And we are bitching because are playing such young players, let alone kids who have been in college for 2 fucking months.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

that watches the game and pays attention to B10 football believes this garbage.

RR's teams are not Big Ten tough.  The offense with smaller backs, smaller/fleeter O-line, etc.

OSU averages 304.5 across their OL.  UM averages...  wait for it...  wait for it... 301.5 TAKE THAT RR!  ANd on top of that we are much younger and still growing, next year we could be a miniscule 302!  Now I realize that this difference is huge, but does it really make us soft? Please find a new argument this one has no basis in fact. Outside of Smith, our RB are the same size as everyone elses.   Again find a new argument, no basis in fact.

And your D argument has been blown to smitherenes more time than I care to count, so I will leave that one alone.

Seems like 40 wasted years of not paying attention to UM football to me. You owe it to your children to ignore the "perception" find out the "facts". Let them know that in life you should not just follow the crowd, but do the right thing. Of course being in DC, that might be a tough sell.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^


Point #1: How do you measure toughness?  On size, do you have any evidence that UM's O-line is any smaller than that of its peers?  I posted a diary on this a few weeks ago and found nothing of the sort.

Point #2: RichRod's first full class consists of true sophomores / redshirt freshmen.  Giving him *half* of the '08 class (snake oil aside) isn't fair.  Don't get me wrong -- most of the results are his fault.

Point #3: I don't know what to say here.  Do you think people like "Clint from Iowa" or the "lifelong Michigan fans" from Barrington, IL that SI's Stewart Mandel always seems to find might _enjoy_ all this?  To me, all the RR attention is evidence that the brand is nationally relevant.  We're seeing This Year in Schadenfreude.

Point #4: Too many eggs, one basket, etc.  I'm intrigued by Harbaugh, too, but let's not be bunglers a la Auburn and Notre Dame, eh?

Finally: "Harbaugh's teams ARE TOUGH.  ...  They smashed the Bruins in the face and laughed about it."  That sounds stupid and emotional to me.  Are Taylor Lewan and Mike Martin not tough enough for you?


November 1st, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

So putting up over 500 yards and 28 points against the big brawny number 2 ranked defense of Iowa is not Big Ten tough?   Just checking.   You make a fine argument there and now have swayed me to agree with your conclusion.


November 1st, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

And another thing, why do these posts always start with something to effect of "I've watched a lot of Michigan games, so I would know". To me, that instantly makes you 10x less credible.

Communist Football

November 1st, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

Otherwise, they are just one royally tough football team -- gee, just like Bo used to field!!!!

Question for you: how many MNCs did Bo field?

A follow-up: what was Bo's bowl record?

Bo was a great personality and a good coach. But in the last 60 years Michigan has won one-ONE! MNC. And they had to share that one with Nebraska. Bo's bowl record was 5-12.

I know that a lot of Michigan fans prize our NCAA-leading all-time winning percentage. But I would rather be able to say that Michigan leads in all-time national championships. (In the history of the AP poll, which has been around since 1936, we are tied for 12th with two.)

I think it's great that we won a lot of games before World War II. So did Yale and the University of Chicago. If we want to contend for national championships in the 21st century, Bo and Bo look-alikes are not the answer.


November 1st, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

I really don't consider Bo's failure to win an NC as really that big of a failure. First of all, he should get much of the credit for 1997 championship since it came directly out of his coaching tree (and the fact that it was shared doesn't matter; we can't control whether or not other teams end up undefeated). Second of all, until the mid 70's, the UPI awarded its National Championship before the bowls, so our undefeated 1971 team (which outscored opponents 409-70) was worthy of an NC and would have won one if there weren't 3 other undefeated teams that year. 


November 1st, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

As has been mentioned before, we have one of the top offenses in the country with a sophomore QB and no outstanding RBs. We hired RR for his offense, and that has done VERY well given the short amount of time and lack of experience.

As good as RR is for our offense, Greg Robinson is as bad for our defense. True, we have some young players, but they lack fundamentals such as tackling and often miss their coverage. We need a new defensive staff, someone who can at least make us competent. A mediocre defense with our awesome offense will get us very far.

Jim Harbaugh isn't the answer--he took 3 years to get Stanford back to snuff, and he didn't have to start over like RR did. People who talk about "tough, pro-style Michigan teams" clearly think we started playing football in 1969. We spent two years fixing one side of the ball, now we need to fix the other, and we need RR to stay for that to happen.


November 1st, 2010 at 2:07 PM ^

#1.  Re-read what everybody has said in response to your point #1; this may help it sink in better.  Also, in Big Ten play, we have scored 42 (Indiana), 17 (MSU), 28 (Iowa) and 31 (Penn State) points; other than the MSU game, I think our offense scored enough points to win games.  Our offense is obviously fine; this brings us to our defense and your point #2.

#2.  The guys that Rich Rod would have recruited in 2008 would be either true juniors or redshirt sophomores.  His first full recruiting class is comprised of current true sophomores and redshirt freshman.  The only upperclassmen that are making any sort of positive contribution on defense right now are Mike Martin, RVB and Mouton.  Where are the rest of the recruits from 2006 and 2007 (Martin is the exception to this list since he was the class of 2008)?  See the diary titled "Decimated Defense" for your answer.  I would hope someday that we can field a defense full of some combination of true/redshirt juniors and seniors.  I honestly can't remember any other time we have played so many underclassmen at the same time on defense.

#3.  Not sure how OSU decals in metro Washington DC equates to more media love for OSU; maybe that simply just equates to more OSU grads or Ohio natives moving to DC in correlation with the general explosion in population in the DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland area over the past 15 years.  Notre Dame still gets a lot of media love and they have not been consistently good for at least 15 years.  We were getting a ton of love from the media when we were 5-0 and everybody was ready to hand the Heisman over to Denard.  When we win, the media hypes us up (almost excessively).  When we lose, they become very negative (likewise almost excessively).  Welcome to the media in 2010.

Fair enough that you want Harbaugh, but you said yourself that you would wait for the PSU, Illinois, Purdue stretch to conclude.  This is such an over-reaction to one game in a long season, not much different from the over-reaction to 5-0 leading to Denard4Heisman and MichiganBCSChamps2012.  Some people on this blog are so uneven sometimes.


November 1st, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

Lol i stopped reading when the first point was RR players are not "big ten tough" hahah...


Funny that even without a feature RB we have still put up points on everyone.. If we had a mediocre D we would be undefeated and not be crying like retards right now


November 1st, 2010 at 11:52 PM ^

I'm sure this will come across as dickish, but can we just create two wiki-like Diary entries called "RR should stay" and "RR should go" and just let people post away at them.  I count at least 8-9 "Diaries" that are just jags from people in one of these two camps, and news to everyone - we know the arguments. 

The season is still only 2/3rd done, and no changes will be made until the last 4 games are completed.  Let's just sit back, enjoy the fact that there is still footballl being played in A2, and leave the future to the, well, future.