Musing on Turner, RR, and Blue Chip Maintenance

Submitted by Seth on August 11th, 2010 at 6:12 PM


The following diary isn't a statement of belief, but a muse.

You and I have all read articles that pretend to be just asking questions when they are really making rhetorical questions, statements in the form of a question.

This is the opposite. I am writing this because I want it to be refuted. Be merciless. And more importantly, be merciless with solid reason. By the end of the week, I want this theory which is now solidifying in my head to be ripped apart, buried, and transferring to Division II. Got it?

Let's go.

The question I ask is a repeat from a diary I wrote last year after the Dong Punch:

[Can RR placate] egos of 21-year-olds with assured NFL futures[?]

I wondered this when it seemed that we had lost more than our fair share of blue chip prospects, and were getting few in return. To this, at the time, I answered

So far, obviously not a problem. Nuff said.

"Nuff said."

In Internetese, "Nuff said" actually means "I am probably wrong and know it so I am simply not going to argue this with you."

Enough was not said there. So I return. With a chart. Here's the blue chip (5.9 to 6.1 on Rivals) talents that Rich Rodriguez has had as his wards at Michigan. The guys who left early with a bad taste in their mouths are in italics.

Player RR Class Position Under RR
Stephen Schilling 6.1 2006 OL Kind of busty, but is Offensive captain in 2010
Brandon Graham 6.1 2006 DE Crowning achievement of the Barwis program.
Justin Boren 6.0 2006 OL Biggest F.U. ever issued to Michigan in history
Carlos Brown 6.0 2006 RB Played out injurious career as lightning option
Jonas Mouton 6.0 2006 LB Biggest + of "new" defense: he doesn't have to think.
Steve Brown 5.9 2006 S Ugh for a year, then + at box safety
Greg Matthews 5.9 2006 WR Useless with bad QB work, had a career moment v ND
Adam Patterson 5.9 2006 DT Total bust
Ryan Mallett 6.1 2007 QB Transferred the minute RR was hired
Donovan Warren 6.1 2007 CB Left early for NFL, wasn't drafted
Toney Clemons 5.9 2007 WR Transferred to Colorado, blaming system
Boubacar Cissoko 6.0 2008 CB Kicked off team after several incidents
Dann O'Neill 6.0 2008 OL Couldn't hack in RR regime, transferred to crappy school
Darryl Stonum 6.0 2008 WR KR and backup receiver -- head hasn't matched obvious talent
J.B. Fitzgerald 5.9 2008 LB Got playing time in '09, looked badly coached
Kevin Koger 5.9 2008 TE Could be "the guy who made RR trade in FB for TEs"
Brandon Smith 5.9 2008 S Hung around unhappy, then transferred
Michael Shaw 5.9 2008 RB Academic troubles put career in question
William Campbell 6.1 2009 DT Apparently is handsome
Justin Turner 6.0 2009 CB Redshirted away from worst DB unit in history, transferred
Tate Forcier 5.9 2009 QB Started 2009 brilliantly until injured, job now in jeopardy, called out
Jeremy Gallon 5.9 2009 SL Redshirted, could be KR this year
Craig Roh 5.9 2009 LB/DE Started 2009 though undersized. Dad is an outspoken RR defender
Je'Ron Stokes 5.9 2009 WR Likely to contribute this year
Cullen Christian 5.9 2010 CB Likely to contribute this year
Devin Gardner 5.9 2010 QB Competing for starting QB spot, likely to redshirt
Demar Dorsey 5.9 2010 CB Never made it to campus

I discounted the 2005 class because Bass and Zirbel were lost to RR for theirby injury,  Manningham left when Lloyd retired, and Slocum and McKinney were gone long before that, so basically you have Kevin Grady (an established bust by then), and Terrance Taylor sticking around to play out his senior season.

It gets uglier when it's just the 6.0 guys:

Player RR Class Position Under RR
Stephen Schilling 6.1 2006 OL Kind of busty, but is Offensive captain in 2010
Brandon Graham 6.1 2006 DE Crowning achievement of the Barwis program.
Justin Boren 6.0 2006 OL Biggest F.U. ever issued to Michigan in history
Carlos Brown 6.0 2006 RB Played out injurious career as lightning option
Jonas Mouton 6.0 2006 LB Biggest + of "new" defense: he doesn't have to think.
Ryan Mallett 6.1 2007 QB Transferred the minute RR was hired
Donovan Warren 6.1 2007 CB Left early for NFL, wasn't drafted
Boubacar Cissoko 6.0 2008 CB Kicked off team after several incidents
Dann O'Neill 6.0 2008 OL Couldn't hack in RR regime, transferred to crappy school
Darryl Stonum 6.0 2008 WR KR and backup receiver -- head hasn't matched obvious talent
William Campbell 6.1 2009 DT Apparently is handsome
Justin Turner 6.0 2009 CB Transferring

That's half of the true blue chip recruits that could have contributed to 2010 who are no longer with the program, for whatever reason. Among those who stayed, particularly among the younger players, there are academic concerns, commitment to the program concerns (if you don't have Tate on transfer watch you're an optimistic person), and what not.

What happened is platitude: RR has very exacting requirements for his players if they want to earn playing time, and those who signed to play for Uncle Lloyd found themselves in a foreign culture.

But that doesn't explain Turner, a 2009 recruit who signed on for Rich Rod. It doesn't explain why Tate Forcier went from (paraphrasing) "I'm gonna make sure we all work hard this offseason" to a guy we are getting hints about being a pariah. This is the kid who won Notre Dame, and ruined his shoulder using guts to beat Indiana for us.

I think this much is now obvious: Rich Rodriguez does not placate egos.

The Question:

Is this a problem for Michigan?

The Theory:

Bo Schembechler

Rich Rodriguez is old school. Like Bear Bryant. Like Bo.

He has one philosophy he shared with Bo and Bo's ilk: "Nobody comes through your tunnel who isn't the toughest, hardest working summamabitch in the game."

This a program value.

I like these program values. I appreciated it when the Tigers, desperate for any kind of hitting, let Dmitri Young go because he was becoming a team distraction. That was a forgotten storyline from 2006. It was the final notice served that Leyland's team would not be what the Tigers had been before. It worked.

Punching yourself in the nose to spite your face is a good way to wake yourself up if you've been sleepwalking. I wouldn't, however, recommend doing it repeatedly.

I think RR might be a bit too hard on the guys.

(You may now gasp).

Take a Look Around: Egos = Wins

No, I'm not saying I want to be Pete Carroll's USC. I'm saying I'm starting to tire of being the official, absolute anti-USC: "Come here to play in the cold and gray, where you will be worked to your breaking point then rebuilt by a crazy man who tames wolves, where your performance in the classroom will be judged as harshly as your performance on the field, and whatever talents you were born with mean diddly because that walk-on is busting his ass and is going to beat you for your playing time."

This is our program. This is what we are all in for. And I, for one, have not asked this once yet: Where's the fucking fun in that?

When we hired Rich Rod, I figured 10/10 impossible things had to go wrong for this not to work out. We are now at like 8/10, and Year Three hasn't even started yet. Some of this was the transition pains between opposite regimes, atop of some glaring holes left by years of neglect and inbred coaching.

Some of it, however, we must attribute to RR not being a great defensive mind. More has been widely attributed to Rich Rod's hardass-ity running off good players. And the more times this happens, the harder it becomes for me to flatly deny it.

The defensive backfield has gone from 2007's "I'm getting nervous for the future but there's plenty of time," to 2008's "This shit scares me, but eh, he's new, let him recruit," to 2009's "This shit is in the worse shape I have ever seen," to 2010's "This is Indiana."

To lose a guy like Turner because, we are guessing, he gained 11 pounds while J.T. Floyd was busting his ass, that says a lot about Rodriguez's commitment to his program's core values, and also gives us some insight into the downside of having this be our program's core value.

I'd love for this not to be true: The programs that consistently remain on top today are those that placate egos. The Bo era is over, the (coaching, not literal) spawn of Bobby Bowden now reign supreme.

Bama, Florida, LSU, Texas, Ohio State, USC, Miami (Miami!) ..none of these championship teams were built with the Bo/Bear/Woody method of peeling down to the core then building back up again (no, Bama's method of cutting its 3-stars and busts doesn't count). They recruit the best talent, then keep that talent happy, and then when it comes Saturday, the fat and talented run roughshod over the meek and hungry.

I am, of course, speaking in extremes. USC players weren't just getting massages from the cheerleaders -- they did a good amount of ass-busting too. Also: highly coveted recruits went there and got playing time.

Maybe a sword doesn't lose to a knife just because a knife wants it more -- maybe that only happens in fairy tales.

We now have many more 4.5- and 5-stars who have left the program during RR's tenure (Boren, Mallett, Warren, O'Neill, Cissoko and Turner) as have have joined it (Campbell, Gardner). I don't blame RR for all of those guys (Cissoko undoubtedly would have been on a different page than Carr), but I am now officially at Very Concerned You Guys.

I'm not saying RR is anti-5-stars. Rather, I think he doesn't know how to treat a 5-star differently than a 3-star, and that doing this, unfortunately, is part of modern college football.

In fact, at this point I am pretty much sure that RR cannot build a program like Tressel, or Carroll, or Saban, or Urban Meyer, or Bob Stoops, or Bobby Bowden. At this point I am rather holding out hope that Rich Rod can change the paradigm, can swing the pendulum away from "We'll make you a star, kid," and back to "out of these tunnels come the meanest, toughest sonsofbitches who ever put on pads."



August 11th, 2010 at 6:20 PM ^

So you think Rich Rod is turning Michigan into Iowa?  Fucking fantastic.

Who knows if you are right.  Five stars may not be coming (and may be leaving) because we have been losing.  Or, maybe they aren't coming because Rich won't treat them right.  Either way, I think you're jumping, nay, catapulting yourself to conclusions, here.

Garvie Craw

August 11th, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

I don't see Nick Saban as a guy who is easy on his players. Having grown up with Bo, I'd rather have a team full of hard-ass overachievers who wins 8-9 games per year than a bunch of egotistical star players who get placated and win 10-12 games a year and show up on police blotters. But that's just me. I'm an old-school hard-ass myself.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:55 AM ^

Saban also cheats his ass off, and has my vote for the dirtiest coach in college football.  The way he purposely oversigns and then kicks kids out of their dorms is deplorable, just like how he left the Dolphins.  I don't care how many championships he wins, I don't respect Saban and I never will, I respect Rod.  Having said that, I'm sick of fucking losing. 

Cosmic Blue

August 18th, 2010 at 4:59 PM ^

i think the hardest thing for the blue chippers to take is losing. no one likes to lose, and its even worse when you're not used to it (which most 5 stars arent). the elite players dont want to go through it when they can easily go to a winning program. when (if) RR starts winning again, the blue chips will be back too


August 11th, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

is a real 'fun' guy, puh-lease!  Our team is still a majority of underclassmen.  Unfortunately our D is about a year behind our O, that's the immediate problem and I am one of those, "We have to outscore our opponent" guys currently until I see our D grow up quickly.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:37 PM ^

   Maybe a little, but if the quarterback/reciever is athletic or talented enough vis-a-vis Micheal Vick or Micheal Crabtree then it's not really an issue. In my opinion the only problem that really arises from the spread is the use of the shotgun snap and the lack of developing footwork with the three step drop but if youv'e got pure talent thats not something that can't be fixed with a year or two in the league. My point being, if you are a 4/5 star then the limitations as it pertains to your future N.F.L. draft future is minimal at most.

   A bigger problem arises when the spread offense team is not winning and not getting the hype that most 4/5 star kids want to see. I think most kids think that N.F.L. scouts will see them more on a National Championship contender than otherwise, not to mention the competitiveness of said kids. This is a problem that we will shed this year!!

Maize and Blue…

August 11th, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

going to the NFL in Saban's first couple years at Alabama.  In fact, I remember them wanting his head on a platter after losing to Louisiana Monroe three years ago.  Saban was just starting to rebuild and gets the advantage of the NCAA having no balls when it comes to his recruiting style.  In one four year period he took 113 LOIs when you are only allowed 85 scholarship players.  That means an extra recruiting class every four years not to mention all the kids that got cut.  Sooner or later tactics like that will come back to bite him in the ass.


August 11th, 2010 at 7:59 PM ^

Or reward him with a national championship and the undying admiration of a U.S. state, forcing his competitors to copy his methods while he is lauded for his innovation which professionalized the game and gave major programs back some of the swagger they lost when the NCAA limited their scholarships so little schools could compete with them.

Ruppert Mudoch was vilified by a lot of people on his way toward making mass media an oligarchy, but I can't remember him ever getting bitten in the ass for being the first to play with that snake.

Tangental. Sorry.

Remember, though, that Saban's 32-man classes that forced out 7 or 8 guys were not what put the 28-man limit on the SEC for how many players you can bring in using various methods to get around the NCAA's 25-man class; that was Houston Nutt's 37-player class.

If anything comes of it, it will probably be some competitor of Saban's in the SEC who is trying to do the same thing but isn't nearly as good at it.

The Bama fans have a good point about this being, by the rules of that conference, legal, even if they ignore our claims that it's unethical. Who's to say he will get his comeuppance? The most we can hope for, I believe, is for the national media to make enough hay over this that players stay away from Bama, but 4- and 5-star high schoolers are notorious for ignoring the possibility that they would be anything but 1st round NFL draft picks.


August 11th, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

Be mediocre but win a bowl game (with a team that had a losing record the year before), play for the conference championship the next year and go to a BCS bowl, then win the National Championship...well, that's some rebuilding. Most of his questionable practices will only really bear fruit in the upcoming years.  He took a team with a losing record, and molded them to championship caliber pretty fast. He's a massive dick and cheat, but he's a good coach.


August 11th, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

I think you have to look at the players here, how many of them really are superstar talents and not overrated by the recruiting gurus because they committed to Michigan (or for whatever other reason)? Mallett, Boren, and Graham are the only true elite blue-chips there, and you can't really blame RR for not having some of these prospects pan out.

Huntington Wolverine

August 11th, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

Sometimes you do the right thing for the sake of your own soul's protest... he won at WVU, he'll win again. 


Also, zen musings aside, how does the theory that it's not fun stack up with the testimony from those in the program that are loving the family atmosphere and playing X-Box in his basement?  Also the testimonials from recruits of how fun an atmosphere it is. 


August 12th, 2010 at 8:50 AM ^

Isn't it possible that RR won at WVU (and it was really only the 2005-2007 seasons that were any good by UM standards) because he was coaching in what is BARELY a BCS conference after the departures of Miami (YTM), Va Tech and BC.

When Miami, Va Tech and BC were still in the Big East (and Syracuse was still a respectable program) RR's WVU teams only won 8 or 9 games a year. Now he is coaching in the Big Ten against Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin (and soon...Nebraska). I suspect that his ceiling at UM will be 8 or 9 wins a year.

Nature abhors a vacuum and it is POSSIBLE that WVU merely got pulled up to the top of the Big East by the vacuum created with the departures of the three aforementioned "elite" Big East programs. I find it interesting that Rutgers went from perennial bottom feeder in the Big East (and CFB in general) to a decent team at the same time WVU became "elite". Coincidence? Possibly...but I tend to think...not.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

that his WVU record is less impressive than its made out to be because of the conference he was in, but he also was a great offensive coordinator at Clemson and Tulane. The guy can coach. Defensively, he might not be great, but he has proven he can make an elite offense in several places.


August 12th, 2010 at 9:49 AM ^

WVU's record in 2005 was 11-1, in 2006 it was 11-2, in 2007 it was 11-2.  When was the last time UM put together three straight years like that?  "Any good by UM standards."  I would argue that our "standard" is about 8-4 or 9-3, which is your stated ceiling for RR.  Mo's avg. was 8.8 and Lloyd's was 9.4, so if RR gets 8 or 9 wins with an occasional 10 win season then he's keeping to historical norms.  

1 or 2 loss seasons are rare.  Lloyd had exactly 3, none of them back to back.  Bo had a lot, but football was a lot different back then.  It bugs me when people talk about "UM standards" as if we are undefeated heading into the OSU game EVERY year.  Most of the time we have a loss before entering conference play.  1 or 2 loss seasons are EXCELLENT seasons by any standard.  They are also a rarity, and something  Michigan has done exactly once in the last decade.  


August 12th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

I agree that UM's "standard" is 8 or 9 wins a season, thus a "good" season would have to be better than that and RR had three of those seasons: 2005-2007, but he was going up against such football powerhouses as UConn (a team that had only recently moved up from 1-AA), Cincinnati, USF and Louisville (recently "promoted" from Conference USA and still full of Conference USA caliber talent).

If OSU, Penn State and Nebraska leave the Big Ten soon, then I think RR can be a consistent 10+ game winner, but if he has to compete against the Big Ten as it is in reality, I suspect that he will rarely win 10+ games in a season.

Will UM fans really be happy if RR only brings UM back to the level we were at under Moeller or Carr, especially after what we have had to suffer through (both on and off the field) the past two years? I know that I won't be pleased unless we win AT LEAST two MNC's while RR is here to justify all the sh*t we have had to endure.

I hope like hell that I am wrong and UM becomes an elite team under RR, I just don't think his three years of success at WVU in a terrible conference is enough to justify the unqualified faith some UM fans seem to have in his ability to elevate UM to elite status.


August 11th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

I think you tend to star-gaze a little too much. What has happened hasn't been good, I'll agree with you there/ But there's a few things that need to be said. You're not always going to get the 4/5 star guys in this system because - 

1. We don't place a premium on the NFL-style receivers and offensive lines. Guards and centers are often smaller (therefore = lower rated) and the coaches like to have a smattering of slots and tallish outside receivers. I am worried about the staff's inability to secure a star running back, considering Michigan's history of great backs and RR's own history with good RB's (Slaton, Devine). 

2. We've had two very bad years on the field. Recruiting follows that. The 2009 class was much more indicative of RR's recruiting skill than the 2010 class. With that being said, the staff (admittedly) made a lot of mistakes in 2010. They took commitments from flyers early when they could have gotten equally talented players with much better offers later. It happens. Some of these players will be busts, others will be contributors, and some may be stars.

The ending of your post is the part that gets me. To me, I don't see a lot of coaches tailoring to the "stars" of their teams. Yeah, if I had Percy Harvin I'm going to be excited about having him, but it's not I'm going to treat him any differently, or tailor to him. Some coaches do, because they like certain players or stars, but that's kind of an ignorant statement. I certainly don't think Saban does that, though Carroll might have.

What you're looking is it an extreme case of bad luck with some players. Turner did not want to play football. Whether he plays elsewhere or does not play, he was not motivated to play at all, especially with all the talent he has and the total lack of depth in front of him.

It wasn't a case of him being pushed out because the staff was too tough on him. 


August 11th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

Where did you get this information? Is this a fact, as you've stated it to be so, or just "star gazing" as you, yourself might put it?

The point I think Beard-Hater is getting at isn't so much about specifics, that is *HOW* to placate egos (though he does offer "special treatment" as a general possibility). He is simply pointing out that, whatever the difference may be, Sabans and Carrolls and Meyers acquire and retain blue chip recruits, while RR has trouble acquiring and retaining them.

We can point to "system" and make similar rationalizations, and to a point these may be quite valid; but at the same time, we are fairly deep into RR's tenure and have enough observations to start drawing broader conclusions about what he's good at and what he's not so good at.


August 11th, 2010 at 7:37 PM ^

Have you been around this staff? I've seen them teach and be around these kids. They treat them well. Yeah, they yell at them and get after them, but they treat them well too. Like family. I don't see how anyone could question RR's motivation skill or ability to play to different players strengths. 

I can't tell you why Turner doesn't work hard, doesn't spend time in the weight room like others, or attend workouts, but there has to be a reason he's not at least competing for playing time. Maybe I should have reworded it as he doesn't want to play at Michigan. But this is not something I put on a head coach, or even on his positional coach. 


August 11th, 2010 at 7:58 PM ^

RR is clearly great at motivating the people who buy into his method. No one questions that. We all have heard how much the players love it.

Nonetheless, there is room to question (and I stress that no conclusions should be drawn yet, just thinking of alternative explanations). The results we've seen create plenty of room for it.

RR is great at coaching a certain attitude of player. One way to look at it is, he only recruits and coaches players who are easy for him to motivate and coach. /devil's advocate

People respond to different things, and so different types of players may require different approaches than are currently utilized. Was Turner truly impossible to coach, or were the right strategies simply neglected? If we exclude the strategies needed to get performance out of certain attitudes, how much are we losing?

Will a well-coached team of RR's guys be good enough to pound USC, Alabama, Florida, and OSU in the near future? We'll see -- but I think there is room to question at this point.


August 11th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Just using the one other program I'm familiar with as an example (USC), Rodriguez's competitive attitude/outlook is not unique.  When Pete Carroll was hired, he instituted a competition day every Wednesday where any player on the team could be challenged for his starting position.  Virtually every drill had winners and losers.  Guys like Booty and Sanchez (5-star qb's) had to sit for years before they got a chance to play (and Mitch Mustain is likely never going to start a game at SC).  For every player like Jarrett, Mike Williams, Bush, and White who played early, there were loads of transfers like Broderick Green and Emmanuel Moody and blue-chip guys you never heard of like Whitney Lewis and Jeff Schweiger.  Even the new coach everybody can't stand just held Dillon Baxter and Markeith Ambles (two "pampered" five star recruits) out of practice to run and roll in the grass (I don't really get that one) because Baxter missed bed check and Ambles helped him sneak back into the dorms.

The difference is that they had multiple four and five star talents to fall back on when some of their top prospects inevitably failed to pan out.  Same goes for Saban at Alabama (whose competitive policy is I think much harsher than Rodriguez's).  When you don't you end up with a 50/50 shot of getting Henne as a four year starter or Ryan Mallett who transfers after one year and leaves the depth chart in shambles. 

If there is an issue that continues to be a problem at U-M under Rodriguez, it is that we don't have another blue-chip recruit to replace a guy like Turner if he ends up not panning out.  Hopefully a little dose of on-field success this fall will change that, but right now the big difference I see between us and the SC's and Alabama's of the world is still a lack of talent and depth, not the fact that the coaching staff is being too hard on our top prospects.


August 12th, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

Not exactly a note in RR's favor, is it? Considering that WVU was a 28 point home favorite and CHOKED big time. If Uncle Lloyd had done that against OSU, UM fans would have been screaming for blood.


August 12th, 2010 at 10:24 AM ^

If there is an issue that continues to be a problem at U-M under Rodriguez, it is that we don't have another blue-chip recruit to replace a guy like Turner if he ends up not panning out.

Couldn't this also be said of 2007 WVU?  Sure, they had Pat White, but who was his backup?  Adam Bednarik?  Who dat?  Lack of depth at a key position is painful regardless of team or circumstance.  And Lloyd was no stranger to this problem; it's what gave us starting sophomore John Navarre (about which, yes, fans did scream bloody murder).


August 11th, 2010 at 6:40 PM ^

they become brats in highschool with all the attention they get and you want or head coach to kiss their asses? this is football, not tennis.  


August 11th, 2010 at 7:21 PM ^

We're dealing with facts, not theory. Your moral position of "being hard on people is good" only gets results to a point. There are countless observations that you can be too hard on people and demotivate them. There is a point at which you stop whipping your horse, unless you want it to collapse.

Wolverine In Exile

August 11th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

I always wonder about this more in the college hoops game where these mid major geniuses get a big time job and seem to flame out at a high rate when they have (1) better plant resources, and (2) better recruits. Did this guy who built a successful program over multiple years with lesser resources become an idiot when he instantly got more money / talent? I think for the most part, no. I think it is a management issue of personalities. In the non-sports world, I think Apple is a great example. When Apple started Jobs was the creative genious, Woz was the brains, but when Apple got reallyy successful and tried to compete with the big boys, jobs wasn't up to the "business management' task. It was only after Jobs's separation and return (and subsequent delegatino of business tasks to business professionals where he maintained creatiive control and vision) that Apple really took off and has become the global behemoth it is today.

I think some of this is why JoePa is still successful. I think he realized a number of years ago that he would delegate the ops part of the job to his assisstants and he would simply hold the control of personality management and vision. Even though he's close to eating brains on a nightly basis, there are still rampant stories about how Joe knows how to "close the deal" in recruiting and you just don't see the defections from PSU's player base, so consequently they have a real stable base of experienced players in most  positions every year. i attribute this to JoePa's (& his staff's) ability to manage the egos of their players within the PSU vision. PSU's recruiting dearth this year may actually be a result of Joe's decreased activity level this winter / spring / summer.

So coming back to us, yes I tihnk you may have a point M-p-gon. Maybe RR is that mid major coach in college basketball (or Mike Montgomery / John Calipari in the NBA) where he needs a roster that is 100% bought into his philosophy and a school like ours which provides a greater talent  level, but also a greater personality diversity just isn't a fit.

I also think though that  if RR makes it through this year, he's going to explode in terms of success as his players become the standard....


August 11th, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

thought the same, except more so our hockey program versus, say Miami recently.  It's one thing to build a team of good-not-great players that are going to bust their butts to be the best they can be, stay for more than a year (more hockey/basketball than football) and generally have enough talent where enough work will let them beat just about anybody and a completely separate thing to try and take 20 guys who are all draft picks and thus generally have all the talent in the world, but may be less apt to work as hard and are almost certainly less apt to have a complete team-first mentality.  In my opinion, I think having the talent is more high risk, high reward, if you can make them all mesh really well and work hard, you're in the driver's seat for an NC that year, but that doesn't mean that next year, with arguably more talent, you're going to be anywhere near as good.  You can see it all over, BU winning the title in '09, but not even making the tournament last, our hockey team last year in a microcosm (beginning vs. end of the year).  Whereas, the other approach will give you a generally pretty good team, that lacks the lows but also has a lower limit.  This, of course, all goes back to how impressive it is that Red can make the tournament 20 years in a row with a roster full of (more or less, don't know them, so don't consider this too much of a judgement) prima donnas, where every year he has to get them to play together, play well and in the case of his high-powered, highly touted forwards, defense. 

Obviously, both methods can be successful in the right circumstances.  We'll see if RR can either learn to deal with the higher talents or make it work in the Big 10 (and especially nationally) with a little less talent then we are used to.  Hopefully he can and as long as we have success I don't really care how he gets it.


August 11th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

I pretty much agree with this. The 4 and 5 star guys who "don't work out" shouldn't be transferring, they should be staying at UM as back ups as much as possible.  RR needs to find a way to convince these guys to stick around and at least contribute.

On the other hand, RR didn't need 5 star talent to win at WVU.  To the extent that he does get 5 star talent at UM, great, but he shouldn't have to rely on it given his history.


August 11th, 2010 at 7:03 PM ^

I'm all about a coach demanding a furious work ethic.  While 'm not the biggest fan of RR, it does seem that many players lost really weren't his fault.  Where I might see cause for concern would only be if he and his staff weren't doing proper due diligence on these players (i.e. Dorsey going to a fake high school).  

What I can say with certainty is that the Big East is garbage.  Iowa would crush the Big East year after year.  Illinois would annually be competitive.  So, let's not think that Big East success should lead to certain Big Ten success.  We need the top talent to compete.  They don't all need to be 5stars, but this is a different beast than the land of Rutgers.  Make 'em work hard, Rich, but you better get the talent.


August 11th, 2010 at 8:37 PM ^

Don't you think? I mean, he only even coached one of those two games.  And neither were world beaters.  Probably the worst SEC champ of the last decade (they lost to Florida, and still advanced), who they beat by 3, and an Oklahoma team that seems to have a hard time in any BCS Bowl vs. a team winning one for the Gipper, or whatever the hell they were doing.

But what those teams had, that make the difference, was that NFL talent people are talking about.  A really good NFL level RB, and a QB who even though he doesn't fit the NFL style at all was good enough to still get himself drafted pretty high. So we need some of our less heralded recruits to turn into THAT....but we haven't really seen any signs of it so far.


August 11th, 2010 at 9:21 PM ^

I didn't know there was debate on the issue.  The Big East is certainly among the worst BCS conferences.  There isn't a single team in that conference of note.  Pitt?  Cinci?  C'mon.  Rutgers?  Like I said, Iowa would run it.

The conference is shit.  Winning the Big East is not impressive.   Winning one big game is also not super impressive.  You think those WVU teams could have beaten OSU, PSU, Wisc and UofM...and then beaten Oklahoma?  Of course not.  

Huntington Wolverine

August 11th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

Justin Boren 6.0 2006 OL Biggest F.U. ever issued to Michigan in history

Anyone else read this as "Biggest F. -up ever issued to Michigan in history" instead of the intended "Biggest F.-you"?


For the record, I like my version better.