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

beastcoastinc

November 29th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

I've been preaching this all year and no one listened to me.  I'm not sold on Harbaugh being a great coach...just like I'm not sold on D'antonio...although that might be just a little bit of hatred.  No solid wins, coming off years when they lost games they should've won.  The Pac-10 is weak this year.  I don't know if he is as great as everyone is making him out to be is all.  I need more than 3 years in the Pac 10 to decide.  He is doing the opposite of RR.  He is taking a pro-style run first offense into the spread oriented pac10.  It works for awhile, but so many Pac 10 teams are down.

harmon40

December 1st, 2010 at 7:25 PM ^

2-1 against USC, once as a 41 point dog? 

Also...against a down PAC10, what would a good coach do?  Run roughshod through them, right? 

If taking a team from 1-11 to 11-1 in four years and blowing away the rest of the conference (while recruiting to a school that won't take anyone with less than a 30 ACT) doesn't make him a solid coach for you, what on earth would?

harmon40

December 1st, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

I don't understand why anyone would quibble with the fact that Harbaugh has done an amazing job out there.  "But the PAC 10 is bad..."  Yes, and Stanford is typically in the lower half of it.  I guess you could throw any stiff into that job and he would take a 41 point dog that finished 1-11 the previous season and beat an undefeated USC squad, and a few years later lead Stanford to an 11-1 season in which they are ripping off peoples' arms and legs.

I'm not saying we should get rid of RRod, but let's not muddy up the waters with bad arguments.  They are both good coaches.  The issue is this: what is the shortest and surest path back to prominence for Michigan football? 

Personally I'd like to see RRod come back and actually coach an upperclassman QB, but I couldn't help but be excited for the future if Harbaugh came back.  For DB, this isn't necessarily a decision between a brilliant choice and a brainless one.  There are good arguments on either side.

NathanFromMCounty

December 5th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

Toby Gerhart really wasn't exactly a hot commodity in college football terms before Jim Harbaugh showed up.  He was a really marginal recruit with offers from Duke (never a good football program) and Nevada (which, in the mid-2000s wasn't really much of anything) and Harbaugh either developed him into a Heisman finalist or designed an offense to take advantage of his strengths to the point that he was a Heisman finalist, either is a mark to the good for Harbaugh.

Tha Quiet Storm

November 29th, 2010 at 11:52 AM ^

This is my number 1 fear if a coaching transition happens - that whomever comes in will ruin Denard by forcing him to become a pocket passer or may even force him to switch to RB/WR. Am I the only one who thinks it would be completely insane to take such an elite athlete with Heisman-level potential and throw him on the scrap heap?

WreckingCrew

November 29th, 2010 at 1:52 PM ^

I would tend to agree, but I think there's a strong counter-argument: no student-athlete is bigger than the program. While the prospect of not maximizing a heisman-level talent is frustrating, to suggest that a coaching decision should be made according to one student-athlete's skill-set is absurd, especially at a place like Michigan. I, personally, would like to see Rodriguez get another shot with a (hopefully) revamped devensive staff and some extra experience on both sides of th ball. But if a change were to be made, worrying about one guy (as good as he may be) is a little short-sighted...don't ya think?

ChasingRabbits

November 29th, 2010 at 12:45 PM ^

Hello Denard, I am coach Jim.  I just wanted to talk to you about moving you from QB to R...

Door slams, car tires screech, plane takes off...  Plane lands, tires screech, Door opens

Hello Denard I am coach Rich Rod, welcome back.

YhostGhost

November 29th, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

So long as coach Jim calls Denard before calling a mere recruit Denard should be okay.  Especially if, in that first call coach Jim says to Denard something like this:

"Third place in the Heisman voting wasn't good enough for me and it won't be good enough for you if I have anything to do with it.  So, from one Michigan QB to another, Michigan's first Heisman trophy winner rushed, passed and kicked.  Michigan's next Heisman winner will rush and pass but I won't ask you to kick. (Though you can if you're any good)

His Dudeness

November 29th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

This is the dumbest post the user generated content has... generated. Seriously, move Denard to RB? After that season? If you ever think that one of your ideas is a good one again, go tell someone else about it and when they get done laughing they will hopefully tell you how stupid it is and not let you tell anyone else.

wolfman81

November 29th, 2010 at 2:12 PM ^

If even thinking about moving Denard from QB is dumb, then Brian is stupid too...Look at what he says:

I've said before that if Rodriguez is broomed and Harbaugh installed here my reaction will be "meh" quickly followed by "what about Denard?"

Almost certainly, a new offense would value passing over running in its QB.  (And it's not like Tate is some statue either.)  Whether Denard has made sufficient strides to overtake Tate in that regard is a matter for the incoming talent evaluators to decide.  And if Tate is the starter, assuming DG will be the backup, it would be stupid to keep Denard on the sideline when he could be helpful in the backfield or at receiver. 

Also, to the OP, Tate is transfering?  When did this happen?  Did I miss something?  Or are you simply describing a worst case scenario?

InRodWeTrust333

November 29th, 2010 at 1:19 PM ^

I enjoy talking about people that are at Michigan right now. It would be great if we left the Harbaugh talk out until Rich Rod didn't have a job at Michigan, which by the way I think would be an awful decision if they get rid of him.

sman13

November 29th, 2010 at 1:31 PM ^

I think it's a reach to suggest that Devin will replace Denard off the start. If we just look at the improvement that Denard has made personally between last year and this year, imagine what kind of progress he can make with a 1st round NFL draft pick quarterback in Harbaugh coaching him. I'm not saying Denard will develop Manning-esque skills in one summer, but I can see him developing some proficiency in pocket passing.

Not to mention, I think people are too quick to assume that Harbaugh is going to come in and try to completely reshape the program into a pure pro style offense. Harbaugh offered Tate, which definitely suggests that he was/is open to running an offense with a mobile quarterback. (If I remember right, wasn't Harbuagh an unusually mobile quarterback for Bo's days?) Also I feel like Harbaug is intelligent enough to see what happened when RR tried to force an offense to be something it isnt.

SmithersJoe

November 29th, 2010 at 3:33 PM ^

All this talk about Harbaugh v. Rodriguez made me wonder...
Year 1: Stanford (2007) 4-8 (3-6 conf), 1-3 v Top 25 (#2 USC), PF/PA 235/339 (148/280 conf)
Michigan (2008) 3-9 (2-6 conf), 1-2 v Top 25 (#8 Wisc), PF/PA 243/347 (154/268 conf)

Year 2: Stanford (2008) 5-7 (4-5 conf), 0-3 v Top 25, PF/PA 315/329 (257/260 conf)
Michigan (2009) 5-7 (1-7 conf), 1-4 v Top 25 (#18 ND), PF/PA 354/330 (177/266 conf)

Year 3: Stanford (2009) 8-5 (6-3 conf), 3-0 v Top 25 (#7 Ore, #11 USC, #24 Wash), PF/PA 461/345 (330/235 conf)
Michigan (2010) 7-5 (3-5 conf), 0-4 v Top 25, PF/PA 412/406 (247/314 conf)

Year 4: Stanford (2010) 11-1 (8-1 conf), 1-1 v Top 25 (#13 Ariz), PF/PA 484/214 (327/159 conf)
Michigan ???

I think both coaches have similar records in Years 1 and 2, but Harbaugh clearly has a better record in Year 3 with the victories over ranked opponents. Both offenses are improving at similar rates, but Michigan's defense (especially in conference) is not.

john22

November 29th, 2010 at 4:18 PM ^

we do not have a pro-style qb.Devin was a Dual-threat QB on all the sites.Do you think that Denard would really even stay on the team no,he's a QB period!!!The o-line was built for the spread so no.Alot of are players are built for RICH-ROD style.SO DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE EASY NEXT YEAR OR THE YEARS TO COME NO!!!.SO ALL THE ANGRY MICHIGANS FANS NEED TO SIT BACK AND TAKE A CHILL PILL.ENJOY WHAT YOU GOT,NEXT YEAR WILL BE BETTER.SO YOU NEED TO THINK AGAIN BUDDY!!!

Seth

November 29th, 2010 at 11:51 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.

Tate transferring would be a hit to this offense, but regardless of who comes in as head coach, you have the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year returning for his Junior season at this position. We went through enough sacrificing Mallett to a wholesale offensive system shift, and that guy was just potential (and likely would have gone to Arkansas anyway). I was willing to go through a wholesale changeout because RR IS the spread 'n shred, and it's a superior college offense. I would expect Harbaugh to adapt to the players on the roster, not go searching for Navarre clones or try to turn Gardner into Terrelle Pryor.

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.

There's probably a reason that Cox is behind Hopkins, Toussaint, Shaw, and Smith right now, and that reason (which is probably "fumbles in practice") doesn't change with the offense. Again, I would expect a new staff to adjust to the talent on hand, which would hopefully still include Hart 2.0 as well.

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.

In some ways they're a poor man's Braylon, Breaston, and Avant, but not in all ways. Don't discount Odoms, who moved to WR this year. His height is a disadvantage, but he makes tough catches and runs routes well -- guys like him have had success in the Big Ten for a generation.

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.

The coaches are hard after Jack Tabb too. Jeremy Jackson may move to TE in the future -- he's already a stork. I wouldn't expect Watson to come back -- going to a Twins Ace set given the talent on hand would be ludicrous no matter what you're trying to install. I don't even want to see the I-form anymore. Seriously, it sounds more and more like your plan isn't a Pro Style offense so much as a DeBordean one. There aren't enough character modifiers in the WYSIWYG editor to stress enough how bloody insane that would be.

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.

AAAAARRRGGGHH. You want to turn Patrick Omameh into Alex Mitchell, don't you! Admit it! You hate that our mean, agile donkey-haters can do things like execute reach blocks against the best year for defensive linemen in Big Ten history, and block guys like Te'o 15 yards downfield and into the path of the safety. Before RR came, Michigan was already moving away from "big ugly" and learned zone blocking -- this is why we have David Molk and Mark Huyge in the first place: they were recruited by DeBord and Carr because being agile and strong and quick is how offenses adjusted to defensive linemen going to 300 lbs. The 2011 O-Line: Lewan (So), Barnum (Jr), Molk (Sr), Omameh (Jr), Huyge (Sr). Campbell, Khoury and Schofield would probably start for most Big Ten teams next year. Pace is the heir apparent to Molk. There's a huge class of freshmen coming in. RR has an amazing hit rate from a large number of players. The O-Line is set unless we do something incredibly stupid like have them run the '99 offense.

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.

You want to go to a 3-4, when this team is short on linebackers, even shorter on defensive backs, and has a bunch of slasher-type DTs but no space-eating NTs (Martin serves as one because he requires a double, but he's a slasher a la Alan Branch)? The personnel is pretty 3-3-5 or 4-3. The 3-4 is even blitzier than the 3-3-5, and puts more onus on the DBs to play man -- the safeties end up with huge zones because the OLBs are playing closer. My hope woudl be that by next year Q-Wash can act as a 3-tech DT and we go to a four-man line that puts Roh in BG's old role and forces teams to single-block Martin.

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

Cam Gordon is a linebacker. Thomas Gordon is a linebacker. Jordan Kovacs is a strong safety, unless he's a linebacker who can dissect the play, but that's the 3-3-5 and you're not running a 3-3-5 right?

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.

JT Floyd is exceptional at being a human being, but is generally just an eh Big Ten cornerback, lacking the speed of most of the conference's receivers even before his injury this year. Woolfolk is probably a low NFL cornerback. He's better at corner than at Free Safety, though like in '09, T-Wolf may be needed to fill the FS hole, since he's the only guy with the speed in the defensive backfield to do that. Courtney Avery seems to have promise; Talbott and Christian didn't show anything this year other than that they are freshmen -- they could end up good CBs next year or end up lousy ones. Vinopal, well, find me a team in the conference other than Indiana who would trade their FS for Vinopal.

Really, the only improvement Harbaugh would almost certainly bring for 2011 is defensive coaching competency. If he 2008's the offense next year he's heading down the same path that doomed his predecessor, who came in which much better credentials, e.g. invented the hottest offense in the game.