Lloyd Not to Blame for QB Struggles

Submitted by SouthForestAve on November 24th, 2008 at 6:21 PM

I read the post "Sunk Costs" and disagreed with the following point on who is to blame for this past season:

"Lloyd Carr put all his eggs in Mallett's basket, leaving Michigan with David Cone as upperclass QBs this year. His recruiting was obviously rotting slowly, too."

Unlike the Drew Henson situation, Lloyd Carr did not put all of his eggs in the Ryan Mallett basket. When Mallett signed in 2006, Jason Forcier was only a redshirt-sophomore and would've had 2 more years of eligibility left if he had stayed. Once Mallett arrived on campus, Forcier decided to bolt for Stanford, something Lloyd could not have planned for. This turned out to be unfortunate for both sides, as Forcier had to sit out last year (there would've been chances for him to play here) and then played hardly at all this season. He could've been a decent QB here and would surely have been a big step up from Threet or Sheridan this season.

Despite this, Lloyd still had a solid backup plan in place. He signed Steven Threet at the start of the 2007 season. Threet was meant to be a solid back-up to Mallett for 2-3 years that could develop into a potential starter by the time he reached his junior year. This can still happen obviously, he was just pushed into the starting role too early. Also important to keep in mind was that before Lloyd announced his retirement he had signed 4 star QB John Wienke from Illinois, a traditional drop-back player who ended up at Iowa after Carr announced his departure (I don't quite recall if it was before or after the Rodriguez hiring). If Wienke had stayed on he probably would've been better than Sheridan at least this year. Mallett bolted after the bowl game.

The QBs this year were clearly not ready, but Lloyd is not at fault. There was attrition out of his control. A running quarterback would have been great this season but that's not the system he ran and he probably never thought Michigan would hire a coach like Rich Rodriguez. This was just an unfortunate result of a drastic regime change.



November 24th, 2008 at 8:34 PM ^

But, the fact is that this year with Lloyd and without Mallett (if he left or was hurt) would have meant Threet, Sheridan or Weinke. That by definition is all of his eggs in the Mallett basket (Jason Forcier left in Spring 07).

Blue Balls

November 24th, 2008 at 8:39 PM ^

Football, those were the players Coach Rod had to work with. Reasons or excuses depending on how you see it, the fact remains-the cupboard was bare. Curious if you would have given Cone or Sheridan a scholarship.


November 24th, 2008 at 11:18 PM ^

When Lloyd's final recruiting class ended in 2007, here's who we had on the roster:

5-star senior Chad Henne
5-star freshman Ryan Mallett
4-star sophomore Jason Forcier
3-star freshman David Cone

Forcier transferred out due to Mallett being the heir apparent and was immediately replaced by 4-star Steven Threet.

Before he left, Carr recruited 3-star John Wienke, so here's who SHOULD have been left:

5-star sophomore Ryan Mallett
4-star RS freshman Steven Threet
3-star RS sophomore David Cone
3-star freshman John Wienke
walk-on Nick Sheridan

How exactly was the cupboard bare? How many schools out there have a star waiting in the wings in case their Golden Boy quarterback transfers or gets injured? Not very many, unless you're USC.

Like I said on Brian's post: shit happens. There doesn't NEED to be a scapegoat for everything. You can blame Lloyd for a lot of things - lack of defense for the spread, poor LB recruiting, poor OL development, etc. - but quarterback recruiting/development isn't one of them.

The quarterback play at Michigan had been pretty damn good for the entirety of Lloyd's career. There's very little evidence to suggest that Michigan wouldn't have been a good passing team if Carr were still around.


November 25th, 2008 at 12:00 AM ^

I agree that quarterback recruiting under Lloyd was strong and this year's situation was out of his control. But contrary to your point, qb development was not at all strong. Navarre progressed from laser throwing statue to laser throwing statue. Brady wasn't given his due time given the Henson crap, and Henne regressed in many ways after his freshman year. Sure, a lot of these qbs got better with their reads and the playbook....but they were also trained to be lead footed statues with minimal imagination unallowed to roll out of the pocket.


November 25th, 2008 at 8:23 AM ^

Chad Henne - 2nd round pick
John Navarre - leading passer in school history
Drew Henson - probable 1st round pick if he had stayed
Tom Brady - 3 Super Bowl victories
Brian Griese - 2nd round pick (I think), national champion

I'd say that's pretty good QB development. You can nit-pick, of course, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many schools with better QB's over the past decade.

By the way, Henne's senior year should be taken with a grain of salt. He didn't play very well in the first couple games, but he turned it on when he came back from the injury. For having a separated shoulder and a sprained knee for the majority of the season, he did pretty well. The anemic offense against OSU in 2007 was due in large part to the fact that he had absolutely no strength in his right shoulder.


November 25th, 2008 at 9:04 AM ^

Scott Loeffler was one of the best and brightest young coaches on Carr's staff.

Don't forget Grbac, Collins, and Dreisbach -- all of whom also made it to the NFL.

In addition, I've read stories (none that I can remember enough to link...) where coaches talked about Michigan QBs entering the NFL being very well prepared for the transition to the pro game. Looking at the string of Michigan QBs that have ended up in the NFL, it is hard to argue that QB development was an issue.

chitownblue (not verified)

November 25th, 2008 at 10:12 AM ^

BILG, I'm really, really, struggling to imagine what could have been gained by rolling John Navarre out of the pocket. He's slightly less mobile than a table nailed to the floor of the Sears Tower.

J.W. Wells Co.

November 25th, 2008 at 11:01 AM ^

I've never bought the whole idea that Chad Henne regressed or that sophomore slumps even exist (it's called "regression to the mean" statistically... a freshman overachieves based on outside factors, and in his sophomore year those factors are gone and he plays his average game, which only *appears* to be regression).

Chad Henne had a stellar year as a freshman, as far as freshman years go. But go back and watch the tape; Braylon Edwards made him look REALLY good. Chad Henne didn't win the MSU game in 2004; Braylon did with a bunch of circus catches that mere mortals don't even dream about. Henne threw very few accurate deep balls in 2004; Braylon just caught everything thrown within 7 yards of him. Henne wasn't bad, but he was nowhere near as good as the players around him and the coaches made him look sometimes.

As his career progressed, Henne's ability to throw the short pass greatly improved, and he developed a lot of touch on the 8-yard passes that he previously howitzered off receivers' sore fingers. Henne still did not throw the most accurate deep balls as a junior and senior, but Manningham, Breaston, and Arrington (though great receivers in many ways) were not Superman-Catch-Anything Braylon. All around, his play improved.

And of course, senior year his shoulder was banged up all season, until the heathly bowl game when he kicked major ace.


November 25th, 2008 at 9:51 AM ^

Carr's first year as HC was 1995. Driesbach and Griese were the starters that year. Grbac and Collins played for Mo (excluding the couple of starts Grbac had under Bo in 1989).


November 25th, 2008 at 11:29 AM ^

I must admit, after reading your post and some of the comments I disagree less with your stance about the QB situation Carr left behind. I do have some comments:

1. David Cone should never have been given a scholarship to a Division 1 program. By all accounts he might as well have a decapitated right arm since he couldn't even get a mention on the depth chart this season despite there being a RS freshman, true freshman (who might not end up as a QB), and a walk-on. That is a waste of a scholarship by Carr on a player who is only still on the team because they need someone to use hand signals to send in plays.

2. Do you put any blame on Carr for the Jason Forcier transfer? That's tough because some kids just make up their mind no matter what the coach says or does. However, I think Mallett was annoited as the heir apparent to Henne without having proven anything. I think that the old Lloyd Carr would have pointed out to Mallett that some great NFL QB's sat their first couple of years. I think (though I don't know this to be fact) that Mallett was given the Drew Henson treatment and that pushed Forcier to transfer. Mallett was terrible as a freshman and by all accounts they should have been playing a guy like Forcier in 2007 when Henne got hurt. If that happened, Forcier would have been our starter in 2008 and I think we would have been much better off. I don't "blame" Carr for this, but he had a role in it.

3. How much "blame" do you put on Carr and Rodriguez for Mallett leaving? I put the blame on Mallett since I think he was a spoiled punk that didn't give a crap. But I think Carr practically ran him off in 2007 and Rodriguez didn't try very hard to keep him.....but I don't think it really mattered.

The bottom line is that Cone, Sheridan, and Weinke were not going to ever be Michigan quality quarterbacks but yet they made up most of the depth chart had Carr stayed. Threet is a wildcard. Mallett was counted on to take over as a true sophomore and that's risky no matter how good he was supposed to be.

I know this sounds almost silly, but I think the Jason Forcier transfer cost the team more wins in the past two years than any other single event. I think he would have performed better as a back-up than Mallett in 2007 and he would have been a solid starter in 2008.

The Antonio Bass injury hurt a lot too, but there's no telling what his career path would have been from the day he got hurt until 2008. How much, if any, QB would he have played under Carr? After barely playing QB could he have dusted off the cobwebs and started this year for Rodriguez? We'll never know.


November 25th, 2008 at 11:47 AM ^

1. I agree that David Cone shouldn't have been given a scholarship, in retrospect. But every school has players on their roster who don't deserve to be there based on talent. It's a matter of gaining depth.

2. Forcier may have fit Rodriguez's offense better - he probably would have started this year if he had stuck around - but he wouldn't necessarily have fit Carr's offense better than Mallett. To a certain extent, I do think that Mallett was given preferential treatment. But if you were 6'7" with a gunslinger attitude and a rocket for an arm, you would get preferential treatment almost anywhere you went. With guys like Manningham and Arrington on the roster, deep balls are necessary. With guys like Mathews and Clemons and Savoy on the roster, you'd better just be accurate on short passes.

3. Mallett was at fault for Mallett leaving. I don't blame him for wanting to stay from Rodriguez, since Rodriguez's offense has usually involved a running QB (even Shaun King had 600+ yards rushing). I am a bit confused that he wanted to go to a place like Arkansas instead, but that's neither here nor there.

willis j

November 25th, 2008 at 2:59 PM ^

04 Henne 5*
05 Forcier 3*
06 Cone 3*
07 Mallet 5*
08 None

Thats really not great, not bad though, but Cone was like, really? I still think he could have done better in the QB dept. But like others have said, its in the past, it doesnt matter anymore.


November 25th, 2008 at 4:29 PM ^

Please remove "08 None" from that equation.

Carr had John Wienke lined up to come to Ann Arbor. Rodriguez's hiring caused Wienke to flee. And whoever got recruited in 2008 was probably going to sit on the bench for a few years, anyway, due to Mallett.

You can't blame Carr for not getting a QB recruit in 2008, since he had been retired for 2.5 months when signing day came around.


November 29th, 2008 at 5:08 PM ^

My friend was in a bar talking to this hot chick, and guess who literally walked in between them to talk to the girl? Mallett was a fuck.

Forcier had some mobility didn't he? I remember playing NCAA 07' and after Henne graduated I had Forcier. He was pretty agile, at least on X-box.