The Myth of Depth

Submitted by CRex on October 31st, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Lack of depth, high variance offense, lots of reasons get tossed out for the condition of our team. So let’s take a moment to look at history:

Coach School B10 Record First Three Years
Jim Tressel tOSU 19-5
Brent Bielema WISC 15-9
Mark Dantonio MSU 13-11
Pat Fitzgerald NW 10-14
Kirk Ferentz Iowa 7-17 (ED: WOW)
Ron Zook ILL 7-17
Danny Hope Purdue 6-5 (Note: only in second year)
Tim Brewster MINN 6-18
Bill Lynch IN 5-19

I’m going to say we end this season 7-5. Giving us wins over Illinois and Purdue. I’m going to be generous because even with that generosity RR comes in at: 6-18 in three years of B10 play.

Guess where that puts you on that chart? Tied with Tim Brewster and ahead of Indiana by one win. Drop the Illinois game and you’re tied with Bill Lynch at the very bottom of the pile. High variance. Lack of depth. Every single B10 coach faced a myriad of problems and with the exception of Tressel they had an inferior brand and facilities. Yet every single coach, barring Lynch, did better in their first three years than RR. Fire Rich Rodriguez.

[Edit: Went back and did some more coaches.]

Coach School B10 Record First Three Years
Joe Tiller Purdue 16-8
John Cooper tOSU 13-9-2
Jon L Smith MSU 11-13
Randy Walker NW 9-15
Glenn Masson MINN 8-16
Ron Turner ILL 6-18
Barry Alvarez WISC 5-19
Terry Hoeppner IND 4-12 Only coached two seasons

I’m watching the Walking Dead right now, but I’ll try to figure up a response after that. As for maintaining Carr’s offense, I make no claim my actions were good ideas. I’m not an HC after all. Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut.

I’ll simply say this. In my view I look at those two tables and I have a hard time seeing how everyone but Ron Turner, Terry Hoeppner, Tim Brewster, Bill Lynch and Barry Alvarez inherited programs in worse shape than Michigan in 2008. Alavrez is the only name on that list that went on to have success, so far as least.

Also I moved these charts to the top and you can stop reading here as some people have deemed my other ramblings worthless. Just let the data speak for itself. Or read on if you are so inclined....

Ladies and Gentleman of MGoBlog: We’ve all read the posts calling for patience. Talking about the youth of the team, how bare the cupboard is and the need to let RR build depth before we judge him. Today I am going to do my best to prove those claims are false. Well no false is too strong of a word, there is definitely a lot of truth to them. However I maintain they are overstated and the way in which RR has handled the depth he did inherit provides sufficient grounds to judge him.

Let’s begin with the offense. Our memories of 3 and 9 focus around two quarterbacks running around in terror. Both lacked the legs to be effective mobile quarterbacks and the arms to pass off as an efficient passing game. Threet and Sheridan were synonyms for Three and Out. We watched them run around, we shook our heads and said “Well you have to have the right personnel for RR’s offense to work.” This is definitely true considering the impact Tate and Denard have made. Yet some of us also found ourselves asking “Why aren’t we running Carr’s offense?”

Threet was basically the second coming of John Navarre. Projected to live and care free life on the depth chart. Navarre plugged into our offense and worked. Taking us to #4 in his senior year and our last win over tOSU. Today at ASU Threet has 137.56 passer rating, 62% completion rate and 14 TDs to 13 INTs. The situation RR came into was one where he had access to Carr on a daily basis and likely Carr’s playbook. Imagine the result of having spent his first offseason working with Threet and on Threet’s mechanics (Threet was prone to overthrowing at Michigan). Imagine for a moment an offense with Threet as a QB with a rating of say 100 and the ability to at least sustain a drive for a few minutes and let the defense rest.

That at least is an offense capable of scoring more than 10 against Toledo in the Big House (we lost 13-10). We didn’t get that though. We started “installing” the spread. 3 and 9 was the sacrifice RR needed to “install” an offense that was good for 5 and 7 the next year, with 4 of those wins coming against non B10 teams.

Also keep in mind no system has really involved so much as we relied on Tate’s abilities for 5 and 7 and Denard’s abilities this year. We don’t have a consistently dominant running game or even an offense that is really consistent in B10 play. We tend to go through periods of being flat followed by a scoring frenzy that starts in the 3rd or 4th quarter when Denard hits the “Extra Dilithium” button and becomes a one man army. So think about 3 and 9 and ask “Did we really gain anything from that sacrifice?”

Now on to defense. Our cupboard was not bear on the defense. When we faced Wisconsin we turned the ball over three times on our side of the field. Schafer’s defense comes out and holds Wisconsin, a ranked team, to two FGs and one blocked FG. That’s a good defense. Start three times on our side of the 50 and only let them get 6 points. Go back and watch those games. The defense was always solid until the offense went 3 and out five times in a row and left a worn out defense in poor field position. Then the hurting began.

Or until the Purdue game. The game when Richrod went to our 4-3 defense. A defense recruited by Lloyd Carr, a primarily 4-3 coach, and led by Schafer who ran the 4-3 at Stanford. A defense that had spent not just the previous summer but all its time at Michigan drilling for the 4-3. A defense that basically won the Wisconsin game for us with their saves and takeaways. Right before Purdue RR ordered a switch to a 3-3-5. Purdue put 48 on us.

Injuries, players leaving to go to the NFL or to go back home. Yes those things happen. However RR did not walk into a threadbare program. He definitely walked into an under strength program that had issues (DB recruiting comes to mind). Yet he proceeded to weaken it further. He made no attempts to keep the Carr systems in place while he brought his own players up to speed. Instead he burned everything to the ground and look at where we stand today.

Think about it. Year One he threw the Carr offense out the window and left two pocket style QBs to run in terror (well attempt to run from) LBs and DTs. He clearly had designs on a 3-3-5 defense from day one, as evidenced by the Purdue switch and numerous reports that Schafer felt RR was meddling too much with the defense. RR has no depth in the program because he opted to destroy it.

Think about the kind of player Carr would recruit for defense. A kid who looked good in the 4-3. This meant that kid likely played on a 4-3 in HS and possibly even further back. Yet RR walked in the week before the Purdue game, a week where he had 20 hours of allowable practice time and said “You know that defense you’ve been running since you were 14? Forget it we’re going 3-3-5.” End result, Purdue puts 48 on us. The same Purdue team that only managed 21 against Minnesota and MSU that year. Central held them to 32.

The “we lack depth” argument is not a free pass for RR. We didn’t have to lack depth. Schafer managed to field a functional defense. Lloyd Carr was just down the hall from RR and there was no reason the offense couldn’t have been tailored to play to the strengths of the Carr era recruits while the RR era recruits redshirted, learned his system and built depth. Instead we started doing a total conversion in year one and what little depth we had was forced into a system that it was ill suited for.

As it stands today rumors swirl about the fate of the DC. We have an offense that has an amazing athlete at QB, yet the offense goes flat for extended periods of time. On 10 points in the first half against PSU despite having a week to prepare and some of PSU’s better defensive players being out of the game. Last week against Iowa we scored 7 points in the first three quarters. A 21-point surge in the fourth made the final score look somewhat close, but 45 minutes and 7 points.

Comments

sum1valiant

October 31st, 2010 at 9:49 PM ^

I stopped reading at

Yet some of us also found ourselves asking “Why aren’t we running Carr’s offense.”

That's just dumb.  It isn't Carr, it isn't what RR knows, and it's not what we hired him to run.

clarkiefromcanada

October 31st, 2010 at 10:24 PM ^

...does anyone remember the post apocalyptic period after the Horror? If you'd brought up running "Carr's Offense" then the board would have electronically set fire to your home. If you recall, the collective damage to the Michigan confidence done by Dennis Dixon and Armanti Edwards was such that Michigan needed to "modernize" the offense etc. etc. So, the powers that were did hire Rich Rodriguez.

Unless you avoided all things Michigan fanbase over those years you would not have ever asked "why aren't we running Carr's offense"? Indeed, the only guy asking that was named DeBord.

dlevs01

October 31st, 2010 at 9:54 PM ^

The defense is terrible and RR seems like he may have been a step behind in realizing that and addressing it in recruiting as he focuses on the offense. If Brandon doesn't think RR can  turn the defense around he should fire him. If he does then he should keep him.

But please don't waste time trying to make the argument that RR should have tried to run an offense he is not familiar with, with 2 bad QBS, a terrible O-Line, no WRS and no healthy RBs. That 2008 offense was going to be terrible regardless, and in case you hadn't noticed, Michigan is averaging 35 points a game and 30 in Big Ten Play. Offense is not the problem.

Ernis

October 31st, 2010 at 10:18 PM ^

Don't insult the man's intelligence with "tried to run an offense he is not familiar with." The man is a football coach, and a master of his craft. The game is fundamentally the same regardless of scheme, and when it comes to defensive preparations for opposing offenses, you are exposed to everything in the book (recall RR was a defensive player). Schematically, he could install whatever offense he wants.

SAvoodoo

October 31st, 2010 at 10:32 PM ^

Sure he knows football but it's not what he's best at.  Would you want Lloyd running a spread? Afterall, he's a football coach and a master of his craft... It's not that Rich Rod couldn't run a pro-style offense, it's just not his particular cup of tea.  The defense's lack of preparation on the other hand there is no excuse for.

Ernis

October 31st, 2010 at 10:56 PM ^

Lloyd's spread offense looked pretty good vs. UF in the Capital One Bowl.

Honestly, though, this is just a symptom of a bigger issue, which is whatever it is that RR is doing to manage the staff and team doesn't work. Sometimes the "My way or the highway" works, and sometimes it doesn't. I think it all comes down to charisma, maybe. Fuck it, who knows. Is RR an egomaniac, perhaps? Narcissistic? Who knows.

All I know is, I'm done making excuses for the guy. Whatever happens, happens, but this team looks worse than it should, given the talent and resources we had when 2008 began. My brain can't handle running around in circles, trying to think of ways to divert the causal chain from reaching RR. But you know what? That's just pride. I've thrown in my lot with RR and I don't want to believe that the haters were right, I don't want to face the music and admit I was dead wrong. But it's looking like I was wrong ... and no, it's not scheme. He just doesn't seem to be able to get consistent performance out of the team, and that is the bare minimum of doing a good job as coach.

Hopefully this doesn't turn into another meltdown to end the season and we pull away with 2-3 more wins. We all knew, going in, that this team was going to struggle -- there would be some ugly losses, but I honestly think this team has enough talent to beat a good team. We have yet to do that. We just got beat down by a mediocre (at best) team. There are several instances where we barely beat bad teams. I'm hoping, and I'll be cheering through every game, but man, it's just hard to imagine anything good happening out there.

Shop Smart Sho…

November 1st, 2010 at 1:21 AM ^

From everything I've heard and read, that spread offense was 75% Scott Loeffler telling Carr they had to do that to win.  He installed it and coached it and called most of the plays.  Of course, he also had one of the most talented and experience QBs Michigan has ever had, so that makes life easier.

CRex

October 31st, 2010 at 11:35 PM ^

We basically knew it was Threet or Sheridan the moment Pryor signed with tOSU.  I'll assume prior to signing day the staff was working 24/7 on recruiting and scouting so they didn't have much time to plan.

So from signing day on you know Threet is starting.  You have RR and McGee, both of who are considered offense geniuses and you have Carr still in the picture.  Carr being the guy who recruited and coached basically every player on the team, with the exception of the guys RR picked up in that recruiting class.  So RR has access to Carr every day and of course his own resources.  I personally don't think it is unreasonable to expect RR to produce an offense tailored to the 11 guys he is actually starting.  Like Ernis said, Carr pulled a decent spread out for the Bowl, Kelly ran a passing spread at Cincy although his results are varying heavily at ND due to his lack of depth at QB and of course there are other spread passing attacks.  

As I look back, and hindsight is always 20/20, I kind of start to see that offense as the first example of my way of the highway.  Basically we're doing RR's system.  No hybrid systems or use of Carr's system (which everyone was recruiting to play under) just begin the conversion.  So right now there is a mob forming up for GERG/Gibson/the entire D Staff and one of points is that RR makes these calls.  Firing GERG doesn't solve anything if the next D-Coord is simply ordered to run the exact same system with no concern over the ability of players.  

I'm arguing RR has shown a willingness to do that when he threw the spread offense in on day one and when he began to monkey with Schafer's defense.  At some point when the system keeps failing we need to stop blaming other factors and look the HC. All those other B10 coaches came into programs where they had injuries, transfers, half the team in jail (*coughspartycough*) and of course the added pain of being a lesser school that had to recruit against the big boys and their national brands.

BlueRaines

October 31st, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

Let's go tell Peyton Manning to be the starting QB at Oregon and run the zone-read option 25 times. He's a 'master of his craft' and since 'the game is fundamentally the same regardless of scheme' that offense should be unstoppable.

Ernis

October 31st, 2010 at 11:04 PM ^

You must be joking. Obviously players have skills that work better in certain contexts. Why stop at having Manning be the QB at Oregon? Why not make him a DT? Your analogy is incredibly off. Writing a playbook is not the same as the actual manifestation of athletic ability, and I find it hard to believe you think they are the same.

The point is, RR is familiar with any offense he has to go up against. It's part of coaching, and when you coach for as long as he has you know that stuff inside and out. It's a complete insult to assert that he only knows how to run one kind of offense, and IMO is indicative of the cognitive dissonance some of the more stubborn apologists are possessed of.

blueheron

October 31st, 2010 at 10:00 PM ^

Commments:

1. Impressive coverage ...
2. "Threet was basically the second coming of John Navarre."  I've seen far bigger reaches on this board, but I'd take the '00 Navarre over the '08 Threet (nearly apples to apples, I think, based on age and experience).  I think Threet was cognitively there in '08, but he was really lacking physically.  Experience obviously mattered.  Aside: He's had his moments this year, but tougher teams have been hard on him: http://espn.go.com/ncf/player/profile?playerId=232227  I know nothing about the ASU offensive line, etc., so I can't say much more.
3. "Imagine the result of having spent his first offseason working with Threet and on Threet’s mechanics (Threet was prone to overthrowing at Michigan)."  You're assuming that Rod Smith left him alone for several months.  I'm guessing ... no.  I'd guess that they worked extra-hard with him first and prayed he would put distance between himself and Sheridan.  I believe that, under the best of circumstances (different coaching, no system change, etc.) Threet and Sheridan would have been the least talented pair of QBs since ... I'm not sure when.  1980-something?  They were historically bad.
4. I agree that Threet would have been more effective in an offense that had him mostly chucking passes.
5. You don't say anything about the relative inexperience of Tate in '09 (true freshman) or Denard in '10 (dynamic true sophomore, but a new starter).  I'd expect those guys to get better with time.
6. I also wonder why the running game isn't more dominant.  Is it just the talent level and strength of the backs?  Not completely sure ...
7. I'd agree that the '08 defensive cupboard was far from bare, but the last two years have clearly shown that recruiting on that side of the ball (Brandon Graham and, to a much lesser extent, Stevie Brown, aside) hasn't worked out too well.  No CBs in '06 ... *no* CBs in '06.  (I see that you refer to that later.)
8. I think you make a good point about the morale of the defense in '08.
9. "RR has no depth in the program because he opted to destroy it."  That seems simplistic to me.  I've seen some clear bungling there, but I still don't think Obi or Greg Banks were destined to be impact players.  Did you read the "Decimated Defense" posts?
 

Oaktown Wolverine

October 31st, 2010 at 10:23 PM ^

God if one more person mentions "Decimated Defense" ...  3 years in RR is responsible for recruiting players that didn't pan out, for players leaving , for bad DC hires, for not focusing on the D from day one. The old cliche holds true, defense wins championships, offense wins games. You need a good d to be a good team.  Under RR, we are the football version of the Golden State Warriors. 

blueheron

November 1st, 2010 at 7:25 AM ^

This is just one little point, and I don't mean it in a "MUST KEEP RICHROD" sort of way, but:

Was it RichRod's fault that no cornerbacks were recruited in '06?  A simple Y/N will do.

- - -

What I'm trying to illustrate here is that's it's not ALL his fault.  The man has taken an unjustified amount of heat.  Just the other day I had to debate the whole "RICHROD SLIMY" issue with a Buckeye in my office.

Oaktown Wolverine

November 1st, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Come on dude, 2006 has nothing to do with this. Look at all the talent he did have that didn't work out. Warren busted out because he didn't want to be apart of this mess, Turner transfered because he couldn't get along with the coaching staff, Dorsey and Denard's buddy (can't remember his name) didn't get in, and Cissoko left because he was caught slinging weed, just to name a few of the players that didn't work out. Rich Rod also didn't do enough to keep the players happy, not the players that were here before he came along, and not even his own recruits. I like his no nonsense, work your ass off attitude, but I guess you can't be too harsh on 4 star recruits or they will go elsewhere, and the 2 and 3 stars can't seem to get it done.  

CRex

October 31st, 2010 at 11:11 PM ^

The whole Threet in the pocket is kind of a "what if" exercise and the outcomes an individual arrives at are likely influenced by preconceptions individuals have on the Carr and DeBoard/Deboring offense.  All I can really say is that everyone on that offense, Threet included was recruited for the pocket QB style offense.  I'd argue Threet 2008 was splitting time between learning mechanics and learning designed rushes and things that were likely pretty new to him.  I doubt he would have set the world on fire in the pocket, but we should have at least been able to avoid those constant strings of 3 and Outs. 

Perhaps Threet in the pocket doesn't let us showcase RR's grand design and costs us spread recruits later so we needed to take 3-9 and move on.  

You're right about Tate and Denard both being young and QB only improving as time goes on.  We've also had definite success in the area of the offensive line (which makes it even more puzzling about the running game struggling IMHO).  Yet by the record, the majority of B10 coaches have had more success in their thirst three years in terms of pure wins and losses within the conference.  Out of all the coaches on that list you have Alvarez with 5 wins and Ferentz with 7 who went on to produce excellent programs.  I guess if you're an optimist you look at that and say give RR time and you could have that.  If you're a pessimist you point to Brewster and Ron Turner.  

I did read the Decimated Defense but I have to say I think we're trotting it out as an excuse too often.   A lot B10 coaches have inherited programs that never see top tier defensive players, the likes of Graham, and they get more wins with lower quality defensive recruits.  RR gets some slack for the defense due to their age but all things considered I personally think they could be better than this.  They freeze and blow even easy assignments.  He also gets the blame for the sudden 3-3-5 switch before Purdue and the concern over the fact we seem to struggle offensively against B10 defenses.  In my mind I see a team that had a bye week and still managed to lose by 10 (with a rally in the 4th needed to close it down to ten).  

SAvoodoo

October 31st, 2010 at 10:16 PM ^

You can't tell me that Rich Rod coming in and running Carr's offense puts us in a better spot that we are.  If he does that Denard never shows up at all* and we're left with the same defense, and a coach running a system he's never ran before. 

*Michigan initially recruited Robinson as a defensive back. When Michigan's defensive coordinator Scott Shafer offered him a scholarship as a defensive back, Robinson declined. If Rich Rod is running Carr's offense he goes elsewhere.

NateVolk

October 31st, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

I agree with the guys that expecting Rodriguez to run Carr's offense isn't reasonable. But you arrived at a factual conclusion that is really worth examining:  this offense's production is not that impressive against quality opponents. 

Like you point out it tends to go into huge lulls of non-point production. Last night being the most damning example. Against a defense with major issues, turnovers were not the culprit but simple non-productivity. 

This is season 3 of this system with an offensive minded coach who has unquestionably focused more recruiting energy towards offense in his first 1.5 classes (08 being a half class as stated by Brian).  

It isn't asking too much that we be able to score more points throughout the game against good big ten defenses.  The last 4 games are more about establishing that identity and confidence and less about what bowl we play in. 

Can't join you on the call to fire, but you aren't without basis with that record being what it is. The firing thing is going to be fairly decided by a really smart man.  Rich can probably cement more time with just average results the rest of the way.  Hope he does.

 

 

 

SAvoodoo

October 31st, 2010 at 10:42 PM ^

While it may be true that the offense isn't impressive against qualit opponents the argument isn't a good one.  I think it is asking too much to score at will against good teams at this point.  We're still starting a sophmore QB who didn't start until this year and have no real running threat (other than said QB).  I would argue that the running problem is on Rich Rod (not calling hopkin's number on the 3rd and short for example) but you can't expect Denard to be able to shread good defenses yet.  He's an unbelievable talent but still is only a sophmore.  I think everyone's perception is off based on the insane numbers he's been putting up against lesser opponents and that for a sophmore starting his 8th game he's doing damn good, especially considering where he was last year. 

Space Coyote

October 31st, 2010 at 10:49 PM ^

When you say it is asking too much to score consistently against quality defenses you are absolutely correct.  I don't think it has much to do with starting a sophomore QB (pretty much every team starts a first year QB about every 2.5 years, it's not as big of a thing as people are stating), he's had a year in the system, that fits with what a lot of programs have.  The offense should be more consistent though in the field of gaining yards, finishing in the red zone (more Iowa and MSU then last night) and a few other fields.  I think this offense has its weaknesses (complexity of routes, drilling better passing technique to complete those passes (as opposing to spending so much time developing a single aspect of the game), etc).

And what isn't asking too much is to recruit and develop a defense that allows you to score 31 points on the road and not lose a football game.  That's on RR and the staff he hired to fulfill that job. 

bluesouth

October 31st, 2010 at 10:28 PM ^

I had to go back to your comments

"Today at ASU Threet has 137.56 passer rating, 62% completion rate and 14 TDs to 13 INTs"

he's also not a redshirt freshman thats on his third offensive system in two years, he's experienced.  Something RR or Lloyd or any other coach could give him.  13 ints he really has not changed that much has he really .  read this and post after you've read these.

http://mgoblog.com/diaries/decimated-defense-part-ii-statisticating

http://mgoblog.com/diaries/decimated-defense-part-iii-resuscitating

willywill9

November 1st, 2010 at 10:36 AM ^

with all due respect to Mr. Threet... one cannot compare him to John Navarre.  John Navarre was more than serviceable, and didn't get beat out by a former walkon to open a season.  Also, Navarre wound up being among Michigan's passing leaders all time.  Navarre was undervalued and got more crap than he deserved.  Threet played one season, under extreme circumstances as noted by BlueSouth, and left.  I don't see the comparison at all.

blue note

October 31st, 2010 at 10:37 PM ^

As bad as things are now with the decimated defense, the most important thing is to look forward and ask: is this defense going to turn it around and become a competent unit next year?

That's tough to answer at this point. We lose Mouton, our leader in tackles and TFLs. Rogers, Banks, Segesse and Patterson will be gone, all of whom are not at all good, but are getting significant snaps this year.

Whatever RR has done to this point... has he done enough to put this defense in position to be not god-awful next year?

Hopefully we'll be discussing this topic more in the next few weeks, but right now I don't see it. I see a paper thin D-line, maybe average linebackers and a secondary with overmatched underclassmen again. Unless I'm wrong, then, yep, RR is headed for the same place as Tim Brewster. John L Smith, Ron Turner, etc.

Space Coyote

October 31st, 2010 at 10:42 PM ^

First, as an incoming coach you can't just run someone else's offense.  To do that would no longer really make you the head coach of your team, but just a follower of things past.  What he could have done is tailored his offense, which surely can be tailored as seen by his Clemson days, to fit Threet better.  A point was raised about Threet getting instruction since RR came into the program.  Much of the problem was though that Threet was learning small nuances of RR game plan rather than maturing naturally as a QB.  If he would have been getting instruction for all that time under Carr's QB coach, I'll go out and say he would have looked exponentially better as a complete QB that first year.

All these people that scream "no depth was left for RR" are looking at things far too simplistic.  Part of the reason RR had no depth is because his coaching staff either lost players or didn't develop players.  All these people claiming Turner was no good, maybe he wasn't good because the coaching staff didn't develop him.  Previous Michigan coaching staff's were able to knock out NFL corners on a consistent basis, it wasn't just the talent (which Turner clearly appeared to have) but also coaching.  This lack of depth from "Lloyd's recruits" is less a product of Carr not recruiting that RR's staff's lack of developing.  This whole "Carr didn't recruit any CBs in 06" is offset by the fact he recruited 3 in '05 and essentially 3 more in '07 (one of the WRs probably would have been moved to corner).  One of those in '07, who would be a senior now, was a 5 star recruit and looked to be making great progress under Carr's staff.

All these stories about people transferring out and not becoming stars at their respective schools aren't great examples.  People often find trouble finding the field regardless of where they transfer.  There is a chance they would have provided at least solid depth, if not have been solid contributers.  

What CRex has said about the 4-3 defense isn't exactly accurate in that the 4-3 defense is all these players could play under (remember Carr's teams switched from 3-4 to a 4-3 and the defense remained solid).  What kills the program is that they constantly switched defenses and don't develop the players.  Why were people high on Obi?  Because he showed signs of developing and played well...under Carr's regime.  He starts being taught a bunch of different things, different schemes, doesn't play well, loses confidence, and there goes his career.  Under a consistent regime things are very likely different.

I'm still up in the air about fire RR or not.  But people claiming "but the offense is doing well" are out of there minds.  A head coach's job is to prepare the team.  If he can't prepare the team, if he can't recruit defensive coaches to help prepare the players that's on RR.  That's on Gerg too, yeah, but the fact that it's on Gerg is on RR.  If he can't handle that then he should be an OC somewhere, not a head coach.  There needs to be improvement and there needs to be consistency.  People saying this is Lloyd's fault are idiots.  Was this team going to be one of Lloyd's best teams had he not walked away?  No.  But the players he was bringing to Michigan and the coaching staff he had in place that proved to turn these players into NFL talent proved that they would have fielded a good product.  RR didn't need to destroy all of Lloyd's coaching staff outside of Jackson.  Michigan had some of the best DB, WR, O-line, and QB coaches in the nation.  He didn't need to throw Lloyd's product and Lloyd and all those players under the bus when he originally got there and said "these players aren't good enough."  

RR needs to prove that the team hasn't lost faith in him and that this team can improve.  The offense is good in spurts, in needs to be more consistent and solid throughout though.  It needs to finish drives early.  The defense needs to get all around better and that defensive coaching staff needs to actually develop players up to the potential they have.  And something needs to be done about keeping some of these players at Michigan.  A lot of things need to be done, and quickly, but things aren't looking exactly positive at the moment.

Michigan should be able to field a team that when the offense scores 31 they can win a game once in a while.  They can't at the moment because of the defense.  That's on RR and staff.

Space Coyote

October 31st, 2010 at 11:02 PM ^

I'm not calling for him to put up 60 a game.  I'm saying his teams need to come out and put up more than 10 points in the first halves of games against quality opponents.  The last three games Michigan hasn't finished the half with more than 10 points.  When you don't bother putting a defense on the field putting up 10 points isn't consistent enough.  They shouldn't need to score each time they touch the ball, I've said as much, but the defense is on RR too and the offense needs to not dig a hole to have to impossibly dig out of at half time.

Space Coyote

October 31st, 2010 at 11:21 PM ^

If you're mocking me or the board or both or everything, or, like you know, whatever, I guess it doesn't really matter too much.  I think RR has made some adjustments at half time that have helped the offense a bit, but I also think it's in large part to defenses playing softer.

To me, from what I've seen throughout the year, it hasn't necessarily been the lack of coaching adjustments in game that have caught up to the offense.  Against ND, the line shift was something (IIRC) that started in the second half.  A lot of these things that people are calling for RR to make adjustments to aren't things he should need to make adjustments to.  It should be the players on the field making the adjustments.

All the plays are there to take advantage of all the things defenses throw at Michigan, that's why they do the whole audible thing.  I'm not there at practice, and I don't know what he's teaching, coaching, whatever for his players.  But I know when Carr was here and Henne was the QB he could make those adjustments.  He could call the audibles because he and his offensive line and RBs and WRs knew and understood what the defense was showing and could make adjustments during the play.

Again, I don't have any inside knowledge of the program, but to me, from my vantage point from in front of TV, it looks a bit like RR and staff are training players what to do, rather than teaching the players what to do.  These are two very different things mind you.  Training involves showing something to the players and telling them what to do, teaching involves showing something and having them understand what to do, how to change it and why.  One of the first things I was made to understand at a coaching level is that you need to teach the players, not train them, because if you train them and they see something they don't recognize, things blow up real fast, like MacGruber fast (I don't even like SNL anymore and don't even know why I put that example in there).

formerlyanonymous

October 31st, 2010 at 11:33 PM ^

It was more along the lines of "whatever." I'm too laid back about everything to get caught up in the arguments that be. I have my opinions, they're different than everyone elses, whatever.

But, FWIW, I'm not so sure Henne was making those major adjustments until his junior year, his 3rd as a starter. I didn't think he was even great at them until his senior year. That comes from a quarterback with a lot of experience and a lot of experience around him. So maybe not the best example.

I'm not sure RR's ever had a team or quarterback capable of making those reads, nor do I think he's ever really had the talent like a Robo-Henne to do it either. I'm also not even sure RR's offense is complex enough to warrant reads like that. The run game is a purely numbers game and I still have never seen the answer to Smart Football's pondering that RR's pass offense isn't just a small collection of simple pass concepts.