The Iowa Conundrum

Submitted by Meeechigan Dan on July 1st, 2009 at 11:48 PM

The Barking Sphincter has just given voice in his post below to a real, though irrational, voice in all our heads. It is wholly irrational because it draws premature conclusions. It is akin to him noticing a blemish on his skin and fainting in horror because he’s sure it is melanoma. Or declaring a pharmaceutical study with an n of 1 is definitive. His world is possible, yes, but not probable given the track record of the coach in question.

Yet he represents, like a monster-shaped shadow on the wall of our room when we were six, the gibbering irrational terror that Michigan football might not get better very soon. Various posters tried turning on the light to show the Sphincter that the shadow is just the three bags of circus peanuts he was saving for a special occasion, but he squeamishly delights in the thought that the monster is real. That’s his problem.

The evidence has been presented. But there is one additional piece of evidence that I want to offer, and it takes this form: Why is the current recruiting class predictive of peril (if you grant that the class finishes out as it has started)?

I have heard people talking about Penn State and Michigan State and Iowa all being much more fearsome than Michigan this upcoming year. But based on what level of talent? For example, the 2007 Penn State class averaged roughly 5.6 for a Rivals Rating. If Jones, Avery and Williamson (who have no RR now) among our current commits get rated around 5.3 or 5.4, then that will be (roughly) where this Michigan class is. Now, I don’t want to do a Sphincter move and use an n of 1; the previous Penn State class was better. But so was ours.

The point is, many, many teams have been, over the years, highly regarded with the kind of talent we’re bringing in now – old WVU teams, second tier SEC teams, teams like Boise State, Big 10 teams not named OSU and Michigan. You’ll slap me with scheme and GERG being new and freshman QBs…but that’s not my point. My point is simply that this level of talent predicts nothing about a decline or about any inability of Rodriguez to win in the future. .

Would all five stars be better? Of course. But this talent – particularly if it fits the scheme – does not predict bad things.

Let’s take Iowa and make my Title relevant. Iowa coaches, to paraphrase Robert Ludlum in the Matarese Circle, would kill their mothers in front of their priests for a class like we are assembling right now. Not one of their last five classes averages the star ratings that this class is averaging. None come close. And, even though Iowa lost Shonn Green and two OLineman to the NFL, they are routinely picked above Michigan with 8-4 and 9-3 being bandied about. Would you take their players above ours? Ferentz over RRod? I am not being naïve – I am aware of various mitigating factors – all I am suggesting is that this recruiting class predicts absolutely nothing at this point. It certainly does not predict, in my opinion, a weak season in three or four years from now when the meat of this class is on the field.

Comments

Tater

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:43 AM ^

It's funny how UM has one bad season and gets treated like it is the norm instead of an aberration. I am guessing that it is the tendency of most people loving to see the mighty fall. It's the dirty underbelly of "rooting for the underdog."

I won't repeat my prediction, since I have said it a lot, but I have a couple of other reasons than those I have said already why I think UM should bounce back this year.

1. UM has succeeded with freshman QB's before. Forcier is talented enough to execute the system, and should be fine.

2. The defense is better than it looked last year and better than it looked this spring. The defense wasn't returning a lot of talent last year, and the offense compounded it by keeping them on the field way too much.

Also, the offense they struggled against while running their new scheme in the spring game was the spread, which they have always struggled against and which usually puts up its share of points against any defense.

I can't imagine another bad or even mediocre season. AFAIC, it's business as usual this year.

Farnn

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:17 AM ^

Another thing, and maybe I just have selective memory, but a bunch of times last year, this team didn't look like a 3-9 team. The 4th quarter against Wisconsin, the first half against Penn State, and a few others the team was actually pretty good. They just weren't experienced enough to put it all together for complete games. I can see us doing really well this season(9-3 or 8-4) or doing just okay (6-6) depending on how the qb situation is, if the defense can just be serviceable and if our offense can hold on to the ball. A lot of ifs but none of them seem out of the realm of possibilities.

Flood

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:59 AM ^

Don't forget the times of the year when Michigan looked like an 0-12 team. First half vs. Wisconsin, Notre Dame disastrophes, Toledo, not to mention the soul-crushing OSU game.

After I got over the elation of Mike Shaw's first touchdown (right hash of the North endzone if I remember) and realized how often the offense simply tripped over itself, it became apparent that we could literally lose any game that we played.

Hopefully the situation reverses itself next year and we will show that with a second year of spread rehearsal, we can win any game that we play.

Ike

July 2nd, 2009 at 3:53 AM ^

I think, possibly, the most important factor to a recruiting class' actual value is how well it stays together. Because of key departures, whether they be due to disciplinary, academic, or personal choices, some of Lloyd's last few classes didn't live up to their billing. On offense I don't think the argument should be that the cupboard was bare, but that the cupboard was raw. We have plenty of talent, but it wasn't quite ready for primetime and it hurt us on both sides of the ball. I think it's too early to really pass judgment on what kind of players those guys from last year really are. Most of them will have their legacies written over the next two seasons. And, I think looking back in 3-4 years, we'll be a lot happier with the kind of team, coaches, and players we have than I think some of us are right now. I'm not concerned about this recruiting class or this season because I think we're coming back into some recruiting classes that have stuck together better, and it will show very quickly on the field. As long as Coach Rod can bring in classes that are willing to work hard and can stick it out I think we'll be good in the long run. I guess my entire argument can be summed up like so:

Those who stay will be Champions.

I'm just hoping this class will gut it out.

I Blue Myself

July 2nd, 2009 at 4:39 AM ^

The problem with recruiting Iowa-level talent is that it makes it very difficult to compete consistently at the top level. If you have a good coach and get lucky with your three-star recruits, you can occasionally compete with the best. In Iowa's case, they had three great years (2002-04), but then they fell off a cliff. Last year Shonn Greene miraculously appeared to them, and they managed to finish fourth in a relatively weak Big Ten. If you're Iowa, the Outback Bowl looks pretty good most years.

The same is true just about everywhere -- the teams that stay consistently among the best tend to recruit the best players. There are schools that bring in top talent and manage to screw it up (ND, Miami, FSU), but I can't think of any examples of teams that manage to stay among the elite without elite players.

That probably would have been true if RR had stayed at West Virginia. He had an amazing run there, and of course deserves enormous credit for what he accomplished. But he couldn't have done it if Pat White hadn't turned out to be an incredible athlete beyond anything he had a right to expect when he recruited him. If RR had stayed at WVU, would he have kept them in the top 10 after White left? Barring a huge improvement from WVU's typical recruiting levels, I doubt it.

I don't think this recruiting class is going to make or break the program. But if Michigan wants to stay as an elite school, they have to recruit like one.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:05 AM ^

You posted in my blog that if Rich Rod blows another season out his arse, you'll be there with Pitchfork in hand. You stated your case, and I'll state mine.

If Rich Rod does the oposite and brings in a bang-bang season of 8-4 with a bowl win, I'll be there with all the rest to say that UM IS on the right path. For every blunder from 2008, if he takes this young squad, which is now pretty much moulded to his style and more full of "his" players and wins in 2009, then I'd have to assume we are on our way.

And I'll grant you that as far as this class goes, it is a bit premature to call it a failure (which I of course have not, just questioned the front loading of lower-ranked players). I still am hopeful that Rodriguez closes with a flurry, like he has done the last two recruiting cycles.

Meeechigan Dan

July 2nd, 2009 at 7:04 AM ^

I agree with the long-term view here (answering I Blue Myself). Over time, we will need to recruit top ten to be elite. In fact, it was the phantom top ten recruiting of Lloyd's late years that, when attrition, busts, and bad fits were factored in, was barely top 40 when all was said and done. That has resulted in the cupboard being bare now.

I am suggesting, though, that this one class provides no basis for alarm and, in fact, is superior to a couple of Lloyd's recent top classes due to poor fit, such as 2005 and 2006.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 7:59 AM ^

You spent nearly half your blog inventing new and more eloquent ways to insult me.

In effect, you have proven the points I made in Blogs I and II. Thank you.

The Michigan fan base has turned to enabling as the force behind their rah-rah-rah Rush Limbaugh-like dittoheadism.

Again I say: To even question the Great Godriguez incurs the wrath of this nation of barnacles who attach their self worth to Michigan's successes and failures. They take it personal, because if Michigan fails, so do they.

Again, Dan, thanks for proving me right by devoting an entire blog to me.

Love,

The Barking Sphincter

wolverine1987

July 2nd, 2009 at 8:12 AM ^

For the most part, the anger on this blog does not get directed at those who question RR, as you assert--it comes from those like you, who draw CONCLUSIONS from 1 year. I happen to think that anyone who decides that either 1-everything will be awesome for sure, or 2- RR will get fired because... are equally wrong, and in many cases, stupid. In your case, you are not merely questioning, you are making statements and conclusions that are unfounded, so you deserve a lot of what you get.

Meeechigan Dan

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

A couple observations:

1) That was insulting to you? My, we are thin skinned. That was playful nonsense far less derogatory than your insults directed at anyone who suggests "Godriguez" doesn't suck. Unless there is a ominous significance to circus peanuts that escapes me. If I wanted to insult you, I would call you harsh names, like sphincter or something.

2) The entire post is not dedicated to you, although that would prove nothing except that I have bad taste. The meat of the post makes the point that our current recruiting class does not foreshadow doom.

3)I was the one, in your post, who said your comments might have merit...a year from now. But we are rational creatures who see enough reasons to suggest good things are in store for the program while also recognizing that there is absolutely nothing to be gained by hand-wringing. That we choose to wait and see rather than vomit paranoia does not prove anything you've claimed.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:52 AM ^

You're right, and I apologize--a bit edgy on my part, no doubt. See my 9:05 reoly below.

I'll ride this Rodriguez thing out with everyone else. I hope he succeeds. When the hire was made, I was very much in favor of it. I knew a guy who (don't we all) worked with Barwis at WVU (he's a s&c guy with the Pittsburgh Pirates now) and thought UM made a great hire and said it was very important to get Barwis to go.

I thought another important guy to bring was Casteel, but as we know, he stayed. It seemed like that kind of rocked Rodriguez, which led to the Shafer disastah. The rest is history.

Anyway, to me last year was horrible for many more reasons than just the product on the field. This staf has really had a tough time getting grounded at UM. I still think this Hopson character is a FAIL. But we shall all see.

What can I say, Dan? You had me at "haloscan"

Michigan Arrogance

July 2nd, 2009 at 9:33 AM ^

1) lets not play the B&W X wins is a failure game. there could be circumstances, like injuries that suppress the final win total. much like 2005 under LC.

2) odds are, we go 6-6 and no one is right so this will continue for another year. the fact is, M doesn't have top end talent and what talent we do have is really young.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:03 PM ^

Now you are correct: injuries and such can lead to years like 2005. And there can be no doubt that UM slipped under Carr's watch. I'm not debating that.

When Rodriguez was hired, about the first thing he said after, "Holy shit. I have to pay that buyout?" was, "WE CAN ADAPT TO THE PERSONALITY WE HAVE"--now that is a paraphrase, but as well all know, it's pretty friggin' close to what he actually did say. And we all said, "Oh joy!"

Fact: There WAS talent on this team when he took over.
FACT: We don't really know what transpired between Rich Rod and Mallet, but I believe that if Rodriguez wanted Mallet--he'd be here.
FACT: They drove Boren off the team. He may not have been too happy, and may have wanted to be a Buckeye all along, but he had put in three years at UM already, IIRC (redshirt year and two years in the trenches)--and a transfer to OSU would be a complicated mess.
FACT: Rich Rod rammed the spread down the throat of a team WAY ill prepared to play it. He did NOT put the team he had in 2008 in the best position to succeed.
FACT: Hiring Shafer as a DC was a bad move. It was enhanced by hiring Jay Hopson--who was supposed to be a good linebackers coach and a great recruiter. He has proven to be neither of the two.
FACT: Rodriguez has what, FOUR defensive assistants? One or two less than most teams? (Correct me if I are wrong). And the defensive coordinator is also a position coach? Is that a usual procedure?

MY OPINION: Rodriguez felt he had to tear the program completely down. Players didn't like it. The transition was anything but smoove. Rodriguez and his WVU homies came into Ann Arbor swinging their johnsons and feeling like they were here to SAVE Michigan football. And oh, by the way, he was a traveling circus with all the WVU bullshit. Casteel and Stewart stayed--he wasn't prepared for that (had WVU lost to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, both would probably be here). Casteel the steady DC, and Stewart has been touted by WVU fans as RR's best recruiter--but that I don't know about, could be WVU sour grapes.

Lloyd had no idea UM would hire a Spread guy--and in fact they tried to hire two other guys first who were NOT spread guys, and who knows about the Miles thing--but Lloyd left a team that would have been good enough moving forward, and left a great recruiting class that would have helped the transition to either one of the two guys he thought were going to get the job. To blame this on Lloyd is really dumb. DUMB I say!

And to let Rodriguez "The Adaptor" off the hook is dumb as well. DUMB I say! He didn't adapt. He used much of 2008's spring practice to implement the spread, Pretty much eschewed defensive coaching during that spring.

The unfortunate thing is that good kids--kids who were realizing a dream to play for Michigan--were hung out to dry by their own coach and skewered by so many so-called fans.

Michigan Arrogance

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:47 PM ^

Fact: There WAS talent on this team when he took over.

not really. how many NFL draft picks will he have in 09 and 10 together? 4-5?

FACT: We don't really know what transpired between Rich Rod and Mallet, but I believe that if Rodriguez wanted Mallet--he'd be here.

I believe, if Mallet wanted RR, Mallet'd be here. at best this point is unsubstantiated. Honestly, i think you're right in a way. BUT: RR didn't r-u-n-n-o-f-t Mallet b/c he didn't 'fit
' into the offense, but rather b/c mallet was an prima donna who felt entitled to everything. no matter how much he didn't work for it. and more than anything, Mallet didn't want RR- he wanted to be spoiled and guaranteed a starting spot under LC.

FACT: They drove Boren off the team. He may not have been too happy, and may have wanted to be a Buckeye all along, but he had put in three years at UM already, IIRC (redshirt year and two years in the trenches)--and a transfer to OSU would be a complicated mess.

this is NOT a fact. it is heresay at best. also, Boren was a true So who RSed at OSU in 08. Boren was another LC recruit... everything was entitled. he wanted to go home on weekend to plow the street of Cbus for his Dad's company. RR, justifiably, did not take that as being fully committed to the program. more heresay (but it's 1st hand)... Boren wasn't that happen in A2. IME, he wanted to go to OSU but daddy said no and LC agreed to let him plow on the weekends. again, it's not that RR didn't want Boren, it's that Boren didn't want RR.

FACT: Rich Rod rammed the spread down the throat of a team WAY ill prepared to play it. He did NOT put the team he had in 2008 in the best position to succeed.

he's a spread coach. what do you expect? this is how he gets his programs started. it's been successful in the long term in the past. as RR said, this ain't his 1st rodeo. and really, the entire year of running nothing but spread will make them a better offense this year, rather than half-assing it all last year.

FACT: Hiring Shafer as a DC was a bad move. It was enhanced by hiring Jay Hopson--who was supposed to be a good linebackers coach and a great recruiter. He has proven to be neither of the two.

hindsight is 20/20 isn't it? at the time, not many complained about it based on Shafers resume at WMU and stanford. it didn't work out. RR could have gone another way and hired a guy he had a pre-existing relationship with, and maybe he should have done that. i will say that installing the 3-3-5 vs Pur was a bad move and i knew that the instant i saw it that day.

FACT: Rodriguez has what, FOUR defensive assistants? One or two less than most teams? (Correct me if I are wrong). And the defensive coordinator is also a position coach? Is that a usual procedure?

FACT: Rodriguez has what, FOUR defensive assistants? One or two less than most teams? (Correct me if I are wrong). And the defensive coordinator is also a position coach? Is that a usual procedure?

no idea what is normal, but some DCs are also position coaches.

it's pretty clear that RR focused on the offense. mostly b/c they had the least experience there and the least talent. it also seems clear that O is teh focus of his recruiting early in the transition b/c he needs personnel at RB, slot, QB and OL. no one is giving him a pass on this, but it's a little early to be calling his a failure after 18mo on the job.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:09 PM ^

I never said "failure"--I am just questioning the potential for success that so many seem to think is a given.

And just for the sake of posterity (and hindsight)--I questioned the Shafer hiring from Day One. And was skewered for daring to do so. But I also supported Shafer by so adroitly realizing that he was the victim of having to deal with one of the most inept offenses in the history of college football (if not the world) and also lousy special teams play that left his defense with its back against the wall quite often. But I really did not think it was a good hire and at the time questioned Rodriguez's approach to Big Time football (which, for some insane reason I still consider the Big Ten to be) by hiring a guy with a resume that was at best questionable.

Lastly--to your point about Rodriguez being a spread guy and that's all he could do--bullshit, and there were so many who pointed toward his stops at Clemson and Tulane before the WVU gig as proof that he wasn't a "one-trick pony". Also: Rodriguez was the one who uttered that fateful term of "adapt"--not me. Remember that? He said it a lot, because he was questioned a lot about taking over a team that was known for a pro-style offense.

Michigan Arrogance

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

...a resume that was at best questionable.

i think shafers resume was universally applauded. great success at WMU and a solid improvemnet at Stanford.

re: clemson.. he wasn't the HC there. he signed on to install some spread under whomever the HC was. had a guy like mallet stayed with his experience as a FR, there's no doubt mallet starts instead of Threet/sheridan and they probably run a slightly different offensive philosophy, given that they could trust the QB a bit more than threet/sheridan.

the adapt stuff was probably just a 'tell em what they want to hear' situation. as HC, this is his show and he can run whatever system he wants. not to mention that that was all said prior to the 1st spring practice (iirc) when he didn't have a good idea about what he had. short term, the spread was terrible last year, but that was more a result of experience than fit in the system. they had the single most inexperienced combination of OL and QB of any team in CFB. not many coaches are going to get 6 wins out of that team.

The Barking Sp…

July 2nd, 2009 at 5:34 PM ^

I think he was universally applauded by Michigan fans. I saw a pretty good run at Western Michigan (YIPPEEE) and a one-game wonder (the upset over USC). Shafer had kept in touch with Rich Rod over a period of years--that's how he got the gig. And uh, he was fired after one year--says a lot to me, kind of justifies my opinion of him going in. Well, scapegoated, fired, potato po-TOT-o.

I'll say this: I believe the defense WILL improve very alot much leaps and bounds under Robinson. If the offense improves very alot much (don't need the leaps and bounds)--and it better, goddammit, UM will win NINE games and I'll be on Rich Rod's jock in a heartbeat. You can beleeedat.

Michigan Arrogance

July 3rd, 2009 at 8:48 AM ^

what do you mean by that? his resume was spotless. look at brian's analysis of his time at WMU and Stanford.

and it was more than one game against USC his year at Stan. that was a talent lacking D that performed much better than the previous year, IIRC. his failure was personality and being the new guy on the staff who wasn't fully trusted, apparently.

bouje

July 2nd, 2009 at 2:08 PM ^

Since you're such a great collegiate football mind why the hell weren't you hired for the job? You obviously know way more than RR. No wait... let's see your credentials... Oh right you're some loser armchair quarterback who just likes to bitch and moan.

RR took WEST FUCKING VIRGINIA to the BCS. HE ALMOST WENT TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!

You can question the man all that you want but all that happens is that you look like an idiot chicken little. OMG THE SKY IS FALLING BLAH BLAH BLAH.

I've met some dumb fans before but you take the cake. So what do you want to happen? Do you just want to fire RR right now and get who as our coach with all of these spread guys as our recruits. Seriously play in traffic

dakotapalm

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:23 PM ^

"FACT: We don't really know what transpired between Rich Rod and Mallet, but I believe that if Rodriguez wanted Mallet--he'd be here."

Clearly you don't know the difference between fact and opinion. Let me rewrite that for you:

"OPINION: We don't really know what transpired between Rich Rod and Mallet, but I believe that if Rodriguez wanted Mallet--he'd be here."

chris16w

July 2nd, 2009 at 1:46 PM ^

The reason the Mallett opinion is ridiculous is because human beings are allowed to make decisions for themselves.

Barking Sphincter, if a girl says no to sex with you is it because you didn't want it bad enough? No, it's probably because you are a creeper.

Some recruits may find the spread creepy (Mallett probably did for his NFL aspirations) and and high school recruits may find a 3-9 record to be creepy. That's probably why Jelani Jenkins and Jeff Luc and all of the the other linebackers that we need but won't get aren't coming here. It's not because RR doesn't want them badly enough.

bouje

July 2nd, 2009 at 11:07 AM ^

I have a question for you. How the hell is it RR's fault that Lloyd didn't recruit for shit his last few years? How is it his god damn fault that Mallett bails and he's left with Threet who couldn't beat out a wet rag at any school... or a walk on... if you want to talk about people screwing up let's start with Carr.

Yet Carr is remembered as someone as a God. As the best Michigan Man since Bo.. Hell some people think he's better than Bo.

Yes I am one of those people who wrote to the Daily when I was at Michigan calling for Lloyd's head. He's a great guy, a great representative for the Michigan name but he's NOT and I will repeat NOT a good football coach.

So until you can tell me how going 3-9 with the amount of people that Carr lost over the years from those recruiting classes (who were top 5 in the nation) and how none of them panned out I will gladly STFU. But there is no evidence that any of this is his fault. The talent wasn't there and hasn't been there for years and you're an idiot if you didn't see Michigan slip into mediocrity for the past several years under LLLLLoyd.

bouje

July 2nd, 2009 at 11:27 AM ^

It's a combination of factors and anyone that says that it was "OMG ITS ALL RR'S FAULT THAT WE LOST THE BOWL STREAK HE'S THE WORST COACH EVER OMG!" are idiots.

Carr left the cupboard bare when he left and I don't see how that cannot be factored into the equation when looking at RR's first year.

In sum Jay I'm not some idiot who only has 3 posts I've been here since Haloscan. And if you really think that Lloyd did that great.... Well frankly you're an idiot. Because I think about the Cap One bowl and with all of the players that we had that are now tearing it up in the league... and I think about how our talent was squandered.

Lloyd lost to Appy State with the best offense ever in our history (arguably). How anyone can defend our love-able coach after that debacle is embarrassing.

And people want to talk about people defending RR to the death. Carr had YEARS here and we all knew the product that he had. The S&C program was a joke (go eat a pizza and get fatter) and maybe you like mediocrity but that is what Carr was. MEDIOCRE AT BEST.

jmblue

July 2nd, 2009 at 3:19 PM ^

Occasionally, bad coaches do win national titles (Larry Coker comes to mind). Carr wasn't a bad coach, but I think it is a valid criticism to note that we were rarely in national title contention under his watch (1997 and 2006 were basically it). He perfected the art of achieving good-but-not-entirely-satisfying seasons.

AC1997

July 2nd, 2009 at 11:48 AM ^

This is obviously an interesting discussion and it turns passionate because we're all so desperate to turn things around after a season that we couldn't have imagined in our worst nightmares.

You have all made some good observations and some flawed ones. Here are mine on this topic:

-- Lloyd Carr was a very good coach for Michigan and that is without debate. His flaw was that his approach to the game (win with conservative, disciplined play because you have the best talent) left him for a small margin of error in the new age of college football. As he got closer to retirement that margin for error got smaller - his recruiting classes weren't as good, his ability to motivate/prepare players waned, discipline problems increased, etc. Then Appy St. happened and Lloyd's career was essentially over.
-- The cupboard was not bare, but it definitely wasn't full for Rodriguez. There were glaring holes at critical positions and what talent was around was young.
-- The hire of Rodriguez probably made the talent/depth problem slightly worse because he insisted upon implementing his system rather than adopting to what mediocre talent he had. I think this burned him on defense especially. Offense was going to be bad no matter what.
-- An opptimist would look at last year and say that 4 of the 9 losses were by a touchdown or less and Michigan was in every game at the half. That implied that they just didn't have enough ammunition in the gun to maintain it for the second half offensively. You'd also say that a complete collapse of special teams was unexpected and significantly contributed to the results.
-- A pessimist looks at last year and sees the blowouts. Sees the foot shooting against ND. Sees a veteran defense that gave up big plays. Sees a couple of lucky wins.
-- Anyone trying to extrapolate future performance based on a partially complete recruiting class of high school juniors needs to find a better hobby. Sure, we'd like to have five-stars to give us margin for error but we all know what a crap shoot recruiting is - especially 14 months before those kids see the field at all.
-- Any school coming off of a 3-9 season is going to find it hard to recruit.

If Michigan goes 3-9 again this year, we need to worry about future recruiting and ever getting back up to the status as an elite program, regardless of how good a coach RR is.

If Michigan starts winning games, the recruits will return and Michigan will be back among the elite. The hope is that Rodriguez is a good enough coach to win games with mediocre recruits to make progress until he can land the top level recruits. I'll take that as opposed to Ron Zook at Florida - a guy that got the top level recruits but didn't know what to do with them.

bouje

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:33 PM ^

Yes he got the recruits but never did he develop them.

I see Stevey B, Jake Long (who was a gym rat), Woodley, Branch, the list goes on and on and on of players who were under-utilized or under-developed. Our line besides Big Jake has been a JOKE for years (probably because our S&C program was a joke).

I really liked your post and agree that there was a lot of foot-shooting but how much of that was because there were young kids across the board playing in their first games. So a lot of the meltdowns at end of games/stupid mistakes are most likely products of youth and as this team grows up this year I feel like they will make huge strides across the board.

kapfilms

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:32 PM ^

@Sphincter:

If I may quote from one of the greatest movies ever --

Pogue Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
Private Joker: Our side, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Don't you love your country (M)?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.
Pogue Colonel: Then how about getting with the program? Why don't you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
Private Joker: Yes, sir.

notetoself

July 2nd, 2009 at 12:33 PM ^

in all this rodriguez discussion, have we forgotten that people wanted to burn beilein at the stake after posting the worst record in the history of the team?

jmblue

July 2nd, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

There was an annoyingly vocal minority here and elsewhere on the interwebs that seemed to irrationally dislike Beilein from the start. They first bitched that he "wouldn't recruit Detroit" and then went ballistic over the 10-22 season. They are very quiet now, though.