Jim Harbaugh transition easier then you think?

Submitted by The program on November 28th, 2010 at 10:43 PM

QB - Michigan has a pro style QB in Devin Gardner (6-5, strong arm, will sit in the pocket) remember he turned Josh Johnson into a pro QB at San Diego.  If Tate transfers and Denard switches positions depth becomes an issue but other wise good.

RB- Mike Cox is a big back who can run and I think would do very well in a pro style system (I know he has not played much but has looked good when he has played and according to reports by rivals is the fastest of the RBs) not to mention that Denard might switch to RB and he would do well in any system.

WR - We are loaded with 3 guys that might play at the next level and would fit in any system (Roundtree, Stonum, Hemingway), plus lots of long term depth.

TE- We have two coming back (Koger and Moore) and given some time he might get get one or two Freshmen in this class not to mention that Watson might move back (if he is given a 5th year by the coaches) Overall they will be ok at this position next year but depth will be a major issue.

OL- The linemen are going to have to get bigger and stronger but there is a lot of experence coming back (4 guys with over a year of starting experience and by all accounts Barnum and Schofield are going to be good), though once again long term depth is a major issue.

DL- We return 3 starter that played in a 3-man front although Roh is undersized for a 3-man front.  Overall DL should be a strengh but  we have major depth issues. 

LB - We don't have a lot of 3-4 outside LB who have played but guys like Ken Wilkins, Jim Ryan, and Brandon Herron played similar rolls in High school and could transition well.  Guys like Kovacs and Cam Gordan may be asked to pay LB,  With Demens and Mike Jones I think we are ok up the middle but depth is a major problem at the two MLB spots

CB/S - We have a lot of expernece coming back given how many young players have gotten to play this year. Then with Troy and JT coming back I think this could be a position of strength. I could see Troy and JT at the corners (although I personally think the D is at its best when Troy is at FS) Ray at FS and Carvin at SS.  Depth at CB should be good although there could be a lack of depth at FS.

Special Teams - They have a really good punter, Stonum is a soild return guy and my hope would be that they let Odoms returns punts.  As far as the kicking game goes lets pray they get a good freshman; otherwise I think Ryan Van Bergen [Ed-M: RVB can kick?] gives us the best kicking option.

Offense overall- There is a lot to work with although building depth at both OL and QB will be very important to long term success.

Defense overall – Yes the D is bad but remember that Stanford’s D last year ranked 90thin the nation (not much better than ours) yet Vic Fangio (Stanford’s Defense Coordinator) has this years team ranked 24 and while there D is very disciplined  and tuff they do not have many athletes in the front 7 and still made major improvements.

Comments

DGDestroys

November 28th, 2010 at 10:48 PM ^

But seriously, it's not just gaining weight, losing weight, etc that's important. It's learning a whole new offensive playbook, and getting to the point where execution is second nature. They're close to that in RR's offense, it'll take a much longer time to get used to a pro style attack. Unfortunately, the world is not a video game. 

Zone Left

November 28th, 2010 at 10:58 PM ^

It's also about not starting multiple Freshmen in the secondary (again), spelling, finding a second solid defensive tackle, punctuation, and not assuming first year starters are going to work out.

Also, unfortunately, Woolfolk might not come back at 100%, no matter what his Twitter account says.  I hope he does, but that sounded like a pretty awful injury. 

jmblue

November 28th, 2010 at 10:53 PM ^

Don't assume he'd immediately install a pro-style offense.  He ran a spread at USD, and I have a hard time imagining him benching or moving Denard.

expatriate

November 28th, 2010 at 11:00 PM ^

So you just assume we can have a spread QB of Denard's calibur switch positions, plug in a RS freshman who didn't look all that good in the garbage time he was given, and the team will be just fine offensively.  Yea, 16 passing TDs, 14 rushing TDs, 1,538 yards rushing, etc. should be real easy to replace.

Oh yea, and change offensive systems and assume the guys we have will transition easily?  We saw how great that worked last time.  I think you understate how much offensive linemen would need to change not only how bulked up they are, but how they play the position.  There is a big difference between our O-line and Wisconsin's, who we would suddenly be trying to mimic.

On defense?  Michigan is going to change DCs anyway, what difference does it make if its under Harbaugh or Rich Rod?

So, change the whole offense, plug in a RS freshman QB, assume Mike Cox (who couldn't even see the field despite how "talented" he is) is a beast, and trust in Harbaugh to make it go easily.  Good luck with that.

Zone Left

November 28th, 2010 at 11:02 PM ^

We have a lot of expernece coming back give how many young player have gotten to play this year.  Then with Troy and JT coming back I think this could be a position of Strength I could see Troy and JT at the corners (although I personally think the D is at its best when Troy is at FS) Ray at FS and Carvin at SS.

That is no joke.

rbgoblue

November 28th, 2010 at 11:01 PM ^

And thanks for benching the Heisman front runner in 2011 for a RS freshman QB with some serious issues with his throwing mechanics?  Look no further than ND this year.  Our offense without Denard accounted for about 30 yards...

tenerson

November 28th, 2010 at 11:02 PM ^

Ugh. Why is everyone assuming that the offense would drastically change? Andrew Luck doesn't run a lot but they do have some stuff incorparated that uses his legs.  Sure, some things may change a little but I still think the first attempt would be to make Denard work.

Vasav

November 28th, 2010 at 11:21 PM ^

If we're going to hire Harbaugh and say "we like the offense as it is, so find a spread run OC, and let him be fairly independent," we may as well say, "Coach Rod, here's a former HC who's a great defensive mind, let him take care of the D."

That said, I could see Harbaugh running something of the "Spread HD," but as you mention, it will still be a drastic change and we'd be lucky if the drop off isn't so huge that we still make a bowl game.

The program

November 28th, 2010 at 11:38 PM ^

In 2006 Michigan State ran a spread which scored a ton of points and gave up even more ( heard that stroy before) while finishing 4-8 the very next year switching to a pro style offense they finished 7-5.  I don’t think we will  have a three game improvement but I think an 8-4 record is a real possibility with them beating Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, SDS (no Brady Hoke next year), Minnesota, Northwestern (Dan Persa will not be back), Purdue, Iowa (look at the roster they lose a ton of really good players), Illinois (Zook is still there head coach).

Edward Khil

November 29th, 2010 at 12:22 AM ^

Or Grammar v Punctuation v Spelling?  It's the readers who lose.

 

In 2006 Michigan State ran a spread which scored a ton of points and gave up even more ( heard that stroy before) while finishing 4-8 the very next year switching to a pro style offense they finished 7-5.  I don’t think we will  have a three game improvement but I think an 8-4 record is a real possibility with them beating Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, SDS (no Brady Hoke next year), Minnesota, Northwestern (Dan Persa will not be back), Purdue, Iowa (look at the roster they lose a ton of really good players), Illinois (Zook is still there head coach).

Dude, this is painful.  I don't think I'll be reading The Program's Blog anytime soon.

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BostonWolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 9:49 AM ^

Because RichRod would lose most of those games?

Also, Persa won't be back? Really? Do you know he's a junior? You think he's gonna tear his ACL and try his hand at the NFL just like that?

I think a 3-game swing is possible WITH RichRod as coach. You're correct, we have a favorable schedule, but if you're going to continue this preposterous exercise, could you please stop getting things wrong?

IvyLeague

November 28th, 2010 at 11:04 PM ^

you're an idiot. switching a QB who just had one of the greatest seasons in college football history for a red shirt freshmen? that's all I needed to read to know this post was garbage. BUT, I read on to see what other stupidity you though of. Your whole argument is that we hae all these players coming back. why not just keep Rodriguez then?
 

Flying Dutchman

November 28th, 2010 at 11:38 PM ^

I was set for almost the exact same reply until IvyLeague beat me to it.

Denard plays the next two years at QB and finishes with a degree and one of the greatest statistical careers in Michigan football history.    And likely a Heisman.

The program

November 29th, 2010 at 12:11 AM ^

I think Denard can play QB but not the way he does right now.  He can't run the ball 25 times a game other wise you will see the same replay every time we play a good team (Denard gains a lot of yards, gets hurt, comes back in and has a hard time throwing the football).  I am only saying that Michigan has less of a drop off between Denard and the back up QBs then there is between Denard and there running back therefore, if you want to have the best team it might include Denard at RB.

The program

November 28th, 2010 at 11:59 PM ^

First they return 10 starters on offense, 9 on Defense and all there special team guys. Most players get better with experience.  Yes there offense is good and would be better with RR coming back but he keep Greg on to be a defensive coordinator of a defense (3-3-5) that he had never coached before, this from a guy who fired Erik Campbell one of the best WR coaches in the nation because he did not want to have to teach him the spread. Plus he kept Tony Gibson on as the DB coach when he had coached two pass defenses that finished in the hundreds while at WVU (104 in 2003, 109 in 2006).  To me this shows a disregard for the defense. Plus he had a coaching position to fill before this season on defense and fills with a grad assistant who was named in an ncaa investigation.  Harbaugh gets the LB coach from a really good NFL team and let him run his defense that is good coaching.

bjk

November 29th, 2010 at 5:48 AM ^

Because he made to many poor decisions[.]

First they return 10 starters on offense, 9 on Defense and all there special team guys. Most players get better with experience. Yes[,] there offense is good and would be better with RR coming back[,] but he keep Greg on to be a defensive coordinator of a defense (3-3-5) that he had never coached before, this from a guy who fired Erik Campbell[,] one of the best WR coaches in the nation[,] because he did not want to have to teach him the spread.

[I leave the rest as an exercise.]

Maize.Blue Wagner

November 28th, 2010 at 11:05 PM ^

I'm not the best speller in the world, and I usually would give someone the benefit of the doubt when they write "expernece", guessing that they probably just did a poor just of proof reading their post.  However, I fear you may have purposely written tuff instead of spelling out tough.  This isn't a IM chat with a friend; please take the time to back up your argument with a better presentation of yourself. 

Vasav

November 28th, 2010 at 11:05 PM ^

Offensively, if we take our most successful assets - Denard and a spread style line - and ask them to play football completely different than the wildly successful way they've been playing for the past year and learning for the past three, there will be significant drop off.

Defensively, we're not good, and with or without Harbaugh there is a high probability for change. Based on this staff's track record, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt and expect a moderate improvement in the D with Harbaugh.

A moderate improvement on D and significant drop-off on O equals 2009 in my mind. The transition would be ugly. If we think RR can't get it done long term, than it's something we'll have to live with. But if we're hoping next year or the year after will result in a huge payoff, switching to Harbaugh and saying "Denard would be a good WR" is going to result in the same pain we've seen over the last few years.

The program

November 29th, 2010 at 12:18 AM ^

I agree the O will have problems to start the season we also play our first 5 games at home next year against Eastern Mich, Western Mich, Minn, ND, SDS (most likely dealing with a coaching change).  I think even with the coaching change we will go 4-1 to start the season.  Like I posted earlier Michigan State had a 3 game improvement in the first year from a spread to a pro style O (I don't think we will have a 3 game improvement).

ShruteBeetFarms

November 28th, 2010 at 11:05 PM ^

It must be RR's bad coaching that Cox hasn't played yet. We don't even know if Gardner can read defenses yet. The O line being heavier gurantees them blocking better right?

Sure we have a load of wide receivers, but what about when injuries occur?

real smoooooooooooth transition.

The program

November 29th, 2010 at 12:26 AM ^

If Gardner could not read defenses why did he start the year as the back up over Tate?  Like everyone else I have not seen enough of Mike Cox to say he will be great but he is a fit in Harbaugh system and RR has had a track record of not always playing the best players right away (Mcguffie over Minor until the Penn St game, Roundtree not playing until half way through last year, Obi over Demens for a year and a half, Mike Williams being on the field at all last year).  If we have injuries to the first three WR we have Odoms who has played a lot Jackson got so time this year.

MGrether

November 28th, 2010 at 11:09 PM ^

Umm... this post is as much in support for keeping RR as for dumping him. You have just pointed out that there was inexperienced talent that now has experience. You said that the same DC turned Stanford from 90th to 24th Defense in the country.

Also, transitions are tough. It takes any coach 3-5 years to put in their system and have it working. We asked for Carr's replacement and to bring us into the 21st century. People said that it would be a rough transition, but the Masses said "Noooo Way! This is Michigan. We will get a great coach and be instantly great." Now, we are heading out of year 3 with a combo of bare cupboards, recruiting mishaps and coaching failures on Defense.

People are basically saying, "We want someone great, who will keep all the goods things we do have going for us (and besides, if he is great he will adapt all of his ways to the talent that is here) while instantly overcoming all shortcomings within the program, some of which have existed for over a decade. He will instantly revitalize our recruiting, and give us victory over our rivals for-ev-er."

This is as much of a falacy as the "Easy Transition from Carr." To be successful in life, it is about making small changes, and seeing how those ripple out... then make more small changes, and so on. Constantly making massive changes is a recipe for failure.

The program

November 29th, 2010 at 12:34 AM ^

Harbaugh does not fix all the problems but how can you recuit if kids won't have Confidence that they coach will be there long term and it is not the losing that is bothering me as much as we are not even competitive.  Every team we played this year that will finished ranked we will have lose to by at least 10 points. My question to you would be what gives you confidence that we are going to make it to where we want to be given the last 3 years.