Recruiting Thought

Submitted by wolvrine32 on May 1st, 2009 at 12:47 PM

When at West Virginia, the coaching staff had a certain set of players available to them as potential recruits. Because of the limitations inherent in that set of players, they would quite often have to take risks on kids with baggage of one kind or another, or they would simply have to take a flyer on some kids with potential who may have been overlooked. “Talent + issues” or “10% chance of being an overlooked 4-star player” simply equated to being better in the overall analysis than “mediocre but serviceable boy scout.” West Virginia’s set of potential recruits is inherently riskier than, say, USC’s. Another way to put it is USC is looking for ways to pare down their universe of recruits, while West Virginia is looking for ways to expand theirs. In the end, USC’s batch of incoming recruits typically has a smaller zone of variability than West Virginia’s does.

Then WVU clearly made two other decisions to help mitigate the limitations of their recruiting pool.

First, they decided to outwork the other guy, or at the very least not allow the other guy to outwork them. Enter Barwis and the OL running to the line of scrimmage in the 4th quarter, etc. I’m not suggesting this was successful or not, just that they clearly believed it to be something they had to do. When you have less talent overall, or more inherent variability, you have to wring out every last drop of effort.

Second, they implemented a particular specialized offense. The WVU spread is even different than other spreads. Why? I would argue it is another attempt to expand the set of potential recruits. By taking some subset of your 85 scholarships (15? 20?), and making them fit characteristics of players that other teams don’t value, you’ve just dramatically reduced the amount of work you need to do to fill a roster with 85 good athletes.

Let me explain that some more. The slot receiver characteristics seem to be fast, fast, good hands, fast (in that order.) When that is your only criteria, and the offense is designed to make that profile of kid succeed, you don’t need the #3 wide-out in Florida. You can take Rivals’ #93 WR from wherever and you’ve probably filled that need with a 5-star for your system. WVU just made a 5-star recruit from basically nothing, because they changed their objectives and recruited a kid who has a high probability to succeed in that particular role. Now you have just reduced the risk of recruiting failure by looking for something (someone) different than the other guy.

Now, is that philosophy going to beat USC? I don’t know and neither do you, but it beat the snot out of Oklahoma once. The risk of pursuing this strategy is that the system you crafted can be attacked or beaten in some fashion, that is, it is a weaker overall offense than something else. But so far, so good for the spread.

What does that mean for Michigan?

I think the mindset to outwork the other guy is going to be a major factor in the program’s future success. As much as I love the Wolverines, I think we had lost something somewhere and this coaching staff will bring it back. They clearly believe they will, at the very least, not be outworked.

I do not believe they have fully adjusted to their new recruiting reality. This is not to say I think they are doing a bad job, I don’t. But I also don’t think that they realize they can recruit a fast, fast, fast, tall or at least not short slot receiver yet (and lots of other recruiting possibilities as well.) I say this because those philosophies were very deeply ingrained and it is very difficult to change your paradigm that quickly. As they become accustomed to Michigan’s set of potential recruits, they will begin to manage the risk differently. I interpret the commitment of Drew Dileo as the coaching staff not yet properly managing the risk of their new situation. They don’t have to take a flyer on this kind of player, they can get someone more dynamic for that specialized position, or change the position's role in the offense entirely, and they simply haven’t realized that yet. They will.

Comments

Route66

May 1st, 2009 at 1:34 PM ^

This is a great post. IMO It sums up what I have been thinking, but I am too dumb and not articulate enough to be able to express it like that.

Here is my caveman way of saying it: RR and staff have never had this kind recruiting class pool POTENTIAL to draw from. When they get comfy with what the winged helmet* can bring in, you will see a very neat and exciting new level of the spread.

*This is not arrogance, just stating the fact that UofM is pretty good at bringing high level guys in comparison to the WV's of the world....you get my point. And now it is already redundant.

See, no matter how hard I try, I just can't state my point as clear as the OP.

wolvrine32

May 1st, 2009 at 2:36 PM ^

It is really hard to be critical without sounding like you want to run them out of town. I really like this coaching staff, but they occasionally do something here and there that drives me batty. This was an attempt to explain why I think they were wrong without coming off like I want a change or something. I don't, I just want them to adjust their thought process a bit. Oh, and vent in a constructive way.

JWMU_01

May 1st, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

Very well put. I love the reverse engineering of the frustration in the comments on the Drew Dileo Post. I think this is a very fair assesment of the recruiting practices at present state. If they will follow Wolverine32's advise and outwork the other guy while targeting a higher caliber player it will make for a very strong and exciting program!!!!!

bouje

May 1st, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

I don't see how RR and company didn't realize that they could get better recruits here at Michigan. We went 3-9 last year and they still recruited a better class than they ever had at WVU. So again why are we going after kids that are just "FAST, FAST, GOOD HANDS, FAST". Last I checked Gallon was not a meh 3 star recruit with no offers. This was a huge stretch for a player where we already have a ton of talent for the current/previous class.

Yeah trust the coach, he has forgotten more about football in the past year than I will ever be able to amass in my lifetime but as someone who follows recruiting I hate this move.

imdeng

May 1st, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

I guess we all are trying to make sense of the current profile of our recruits - and there are several explanations. The OP presents one point of view. However, the way I see it, you don't get paid multiple millions a year to take a few years to realize what kind of players you can or can not recruit. I am sure RR and his coaching staff has a better idea than most (all?) of us amateurs regarding what kind of talent is available to them and what kind of talent do they want from that pool. This is their bread and butter, their livelihood - and they have much more information available to them than even the recruiting services - let alone fans like us.

Further, if a group of people were smart enough to figure out how to take advantage of a small recruiting base by designing a custom recruiting strategy and offense around that (as the OP suggests), I am sure they can also figure out how to best take advantage of the current larger recruiting base and what kind of offense will best suit this group.

Just hold on everybody - RR and his team are professionals with a proven record - who live, breath and eat football recruiting everyday. They know what they are doing - and as fans - we should hold judgment until we have more definite proof of a coach's ineptness (just in case we have an ND fan reading this - you know what we are talking about) over a period of time.

Meeechigan Dan

May 1st, 2009 at 2:39 PM ^

I have a different take. I think the staff immediately knew they would be getting better players and overestimated this. Last class, they clearly pursued top players and had success, but they got burned by having too few eggs in the basket. The decommitments were the clue that, although the Michigan brand would get better players, it didn't mean that the better players came easy.

When all was said and done, the class was too small. I think the reaction to the difficulties of recruiting and waiting on top talent has RR of the mind that, by God, he is going to pack this class and load up the cupboard with raw material. Sure Dileo and Drake may not be marquee players, but those players are still necessary. He is going to take 25 players in this class and he'll get his top talent...but he's going to make sure he has backup talent, too.

wolvrine32

May 1st, 2009 at 3:41 PM ^

I never intended to imply that the coaching staff didn't realize they could get better athletes with more defined (less risky) potential. They clearly understand that. What I'm implying is that *they still believe Dileo, et. al. are premium players in their system*. They have yet to make that shift into what the best system is for the level of athlete they can now recruit. It will take a couple of seasons before those two variables stabilize.

For example, does Smith really know what a potential Michigan QB is? Not yet. He won't know until Forcier is a senior. The point being, more changes than just the kid. The kids capabilities drive the system, and vice-versa. Right now, the coaches are working with an outdated model of what the offense is. I believe that's why they offered this guy, AND why I think it was a mistake. They believe he is perfect for a system that will be outdated when he's ready to play in it.

I really believe in 2 years, RR will scratch his head and wonder why they recruited him, but right now he would say "look at him! He's an ideal slot receiver for what we run!"

ShockFX

May 1st, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

Are you really advancing a thought that you have a better understanding of what RR's system will look like in 2 years than RR does? Maybe Dileo is actually a player. Omameh was a last second 2 star pickup. Odoms was a last minute 3 star. Toussaint was a low profile 3 star when he committed. Bell was also under the radar then blew up camps. Everyone was bagging on Vincent Smith as a 5'6" 3 star, until he got to campus and impressed everyone. They got Lewan and Roh out of Arizona.

How much evidence do you need that the coaches know what they are doing? They want fast, talented, hungry football players that will work their assess off. What "system" do players like this NOT fit in? Other than not needed as many slot ninjas, what would change? You don't think athletic lineman could become roadgraders? Stonum and Stokes and Miller don't fit other offenses?

Too many people are caught up in the fallacy that the reason the team went 3-9 is the players didn't fit the system. I'm pretty sure it was a lack of talent and experience, not the system.

Magnus

May 2nd, 2009 at 3:55 AM ^

To be fair, the players at the most important position on the football field - quarterback - didn't fit the system. They were also short on talent and experience there, but neither one was destined from birth to run the read option spread.

wolvrine32

May 3rd, 2009 at 10:59 PM ^

What I am saying is that the system will evolve and Dileo will, in all likelihood, be less effective in whatever it evolves to.

Maybe he will be an amazing player. But I think the chances of that are slim, and based on that can't understand why the staff accepted his commitment so early or didn't make it conditional. From where we sit with what we know, it seems like a reach.

I happen to think this one recruit was a reach, and explained why I thought the staff made that decision. This is clearly a debatable point that two reasonable people can disagree on.

ShockFX

May 4th, 2009 at 12:08 AM ^

If you can explain what the system could evolve into, I think that would help. Otherwise the argument is somewhat lacking. You think the system will evolve, RR is unaware of how it's going to evolve, and as a result of this the most recent 3* commit won't be as useful, despite the fact that RR offered him in April?

Unless your argument is that the offense is going to evolve to not need slot receivers, in which case your argument would need to apply to T-Rob, Odoms, Gallon, Teric Jones, etc. Alternatively, it seems a lot of people are jumping way out in front to question a 3* commitment in April/May.

cfaller96

May 1st, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

I'm not sure why everybody's so effing panicked about RichRod picking up a marginally talented white kid to play in the slot. He needs bodies there, and he started with nothing just 2 years ago. Somebody is going to be at the bottom of the depth chart, and not even USC has 5* recruits down that far. Why can't people accept this?

Besides, it's very early in the recruiting cycle. Some of these kids that look like a stretch may turn out to be better than initially thought and their rankings will be boosted as a result. As ShockFX pointed out below, a lot of our up and coming talent didn't have too many stars this early in the cycle.

Let the Dileo commitment ride, and let's just wait to see what happens.

UNCWolverine

May 1st, 2009 at 9:07 PM ^

This is a very well written post. As others have stated it clearly explains my thoughts on this topic as well.

I like the "managing the risk" angle of the post; maybe that comes from the nerd in me. You are completely correct that RR and his staff had to bring in higher risk kids while at WVU, both from a character standpoint as well as from a skill hit or miss standpoint. The standard deviation in terms of both were just much larger.

He does not need to take such large risks in recruiting in A^2 from either standpoint. The standard deviation in both a recruit's character and skill level should be much smaller and the bell curve much steeper. Sure there will be outliers such as McGuffie. However by recruiting more discreetly those outliers should be few and far between compared to his days in Morgantown. It's also much easier to justify missing on a 4/5 star kid in McGuffie that it would be in a lower ranked player such as Drake.

I agree that over time RR and his recruiting staff will tighten it up a bit once they are finally comfortable with the fact that they were just handed the keys to a Ferrari and no longer have to be seen driving around town in a Hyundai.

ShockFX

May 3rd, 2009 at 1:52 PM ^

"I agree that over time RR and his recruiting staff will tighten it up a bit once they are finally comfortable with the fact that they were just handed the keys to a Ferrari and no longer have to be seen driving around town in a Hyundai."

If you actually look at the past recruiting classes at Michigan, you'd realize that Rich Rod isn't treating the Ferrari like a Hyundai. His recruiting is just as good as Lloyd Carr's, if not a bit better given the circumstances.

UNCWolverine

May 4th, 2009 at 4:16 PM ^

"What, in the name of god, makes you assume he can get 4 and 5 stars without getting any 3 stars?"

Oh I don't know. Maybe because the 2009 class has 1 5-star and 13 4-stars. Is that enough 4 and 5 star kids for you?

Secondly I don't understand why you are hanging your hat on that argument. Did I or anyone ever allude to the fact that RR should be able to land 4 and 5 star rated kids without any 3 stars? I have no idea where that came from.

And lastly he already has four 4 star kids for 2010 and it's May 4th.

Again, your argument belongs in a new thread. Michigan is a Ferrari compared to WVU's Hyundai. Once RR is completely comfortable with that he won't throw out offers to 10 middle of the road WRs by May 1st.

My post is valid and relevant, backing up the initial post above. Your reply to my post makes zero sense and is completely misplaced.

ShockFX

May 4th, 2009 at 7:34 PM ^

Fine, you asked for it.

"This is a very well written post. As others have stated it clearly explains my thoughts on this topic as well."

A very Joe Morgan-esque way to compliment yourself while complimenting someone else.

"I like the "managing the risk" angle of the post; maybe that comes from the nerd in me. You are completely correct that RR and his staff had to bring in higher risk kids while at WVU, both from a character standpoint..."

While Jason Gwaltney and Noel Devine were both character-risks (and in the case of Devine, I'd disagree http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/stewart_mandel/02/02/noel…), I don't think it's fair to say they HAD to bring in higher risk kids. You know who else offered Gwaltney? Pete Carroll, Jim Tressel, and whomever was at MSU in 2004. http://www.rivals.com/viewprospect.asp?pr_key=26616&Sport=1
You know who else offered Devine? USC, Alabama, Florida, FSU, and Nebraska. http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/viewprospect.asp?pr_key=36104
I wouldn't consider them much different from Johnny Sears or Carson Butler.

"...as well as from a skill hit or miss standpoint. The standard deviation in terms of both were just much larger."

Less talented players do not possess a different "hit or miss" ratio. They are less likely to be hits by virtue of being less talented (or perceived as such). I think it's also pretty clear that "character risk" is mostly unrelated to what happens once at college. Ezeh, Grady, Stonum all have DUIs. Harrison, Butler, etc. Hell, look at Iowa or PSU for programs with "character" issues.

"He does not need to take such large risks in recruiting in A^2 from either standpoint. The standard deviation in both a recruit's character and skill level should be much smaller and the bell curve much steeper."

Ideally, what we want is to see the mean talent of recruits increased. Just reducing the SD on your recruiting risk bell curve™, would actually decrease the chance of having zomg amazing players unless the mean talent was increased as well. It's obvious the average talent of RR's classes will increase, but this is more a function of having a base to recruit from (WV has less players in the NFL than American Samoa) than a shift in his risk-taking.

If anything, he could afford to take MORE risks at Michigan because he is afforded 10-15 more "secure" recruits a year by virtue of being at Michigan. Patrick Omameh for example. Adrian Witty also. On one hand we have a failure of the rating agencies (Omameh) and on the other we have a player (Witty) that ostensibly is here because of his teammate (highly rated D-Rob). That's a pair of two stars that he would have HAD to take at WVU (the Hyundai) but CHOSE to take at Michigan (Ferrari). To anyone paying attention, by finding breakdowns in talent evaluations (Omameh) and taking a flier on another player to land his teammate (Witty missed his senior year with injury) RR is INCREASING the standard deviation of whatever metric you're using to evaluate. In fact, this happens all the time, it's called "Good coaches find football talent where others who are not risk neutral do not" see Moneyball or Lloyd Carr's 4th down play calling to understand how risk aversion is suboptimal.

"Sure there will be outliers such as McGuffie."
A) Not his recruit.
B) Talent evaluation was dead on accurate.
C) 2(3?) concussions and family issues from day one, eventually sending him home to Rice.
D) I believe Taylor Hill would have been a better example for you to use here.

"However by recruiting more discreetly those outliers should be few and far between compared to his days in Morgantown."

Highly unlikely, and also highly stupid, given how risk measurement actually works. You might perceive a difference because of the shift in the mean, as 4/5 star athletes were outliers for WVU, but commonplace (the 4* anyway) for UM.

"It's also much easier to justify missing on a 4/5 star kid in McGuffie that it would be in a lower ranked player such as Drake."

I'd argue the opposite. Excluding character risk (unless you think it's correlated with star rating) missing on a 4/5 star kid means you probably misused him rather than he just wasn't that good. http://sauriansagacity.blogspot.com/2009/02/accumulated-recruiting-tale…
I'd like to highlight places 8-11, and 13-17 as schools ragged on for blowing high level talent. If you make the assumption that recruiting is an efficient market, and at this point it's been shown to be pretty good at predicting on-field success (SMQB article I can't find right now showed wins and star rating correlate strongly), then your argument asserting it's easier to justify a miss on a 4/5 star (aww shucks everyone thought he was good) vs a

Tater

May 2nd, 2009 at 8:27 AM ^

I think that once RR gets enough bodies that fit his vision of his program, he will feel more comfortable turning down the more "marginal" prospects. For right now, though, he needs those kids.

Some people seem to be judging RR by one season in which he was stuck with a team whose maximum potential was probably 5-7, even with the old offense. I think he walked into a cesspool, performed admirably, and will produce a lot better results this year and subsequent years.

As someone else alluded to, this staff will develop players better than Carr's did for one major reason: the Barwis factor. I am happy with the early class so far, and look forward to seeing the RR machine working at full capacity on the recruiting trail in subsequent years.

Once RR demonstrates that his offense is going to get the ball to everybody, and that it will result in a highly-ranked team at the end of the season, he could be in the enviable position of having four and five-stars "selling" him instead of vice-versa.

Elno Lewis

May 2nd, 2009 at 10:58 AM ^

Please refer to John U. Bacon's most excellent book, "Bo's Lasting Lessons", chapter 11.

Also...

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050828/SPORTS17…

Interesting read....

I couldn't find any star ratings on Rob Lytle--maybe they didn't exist back then. Woody tried like heck to get him--even drove to his house in a final attempt and make Rob look him in the eye.

Recruiting, in my mind at least, with regard to fans is just entertainment. We don't have the inside info coaches have, and until a kid steps onto the field we don't really have a clue.

However, I do enjoy watching everyone getting their panties in a bunch over this junk....

jmblue

May 2nd, 2009 at 11:45 AM ^

I was with you until this passage:

The risk of pursuing this strategy is that the system you crafted can be attacked or beaten in some fashion, that is, it is a weaker overall offense than something else. But so far, so good for the spread.

In what fashion can the spread be attacked by opposing defenses? And what is the offense that it is weaker overall than? You throw these comments out there without clarification. We had a pro-style offense, loaded with future NFL players, under Carr, yet we generally were just middle-of-the-pack in offensive production. Meanwhile WVU under RR was way ahead of us.

wolvrine32

May 2nd, 2009 at 8:12 PM ^

I wasn't making any judgements about the spread. I was stating that any offense geared to use different players than the "norm" could be inferior, could being the operative word. (That offense could also be on the cutting edge of offense, in an evolutionary sense.)

If a staff decided to pursue a wishbone, they would likely have an easier go of finding solid players to fill it, but it might not be successful. That's the risk.

The point is running a specialized offense increases both the chances of obtaining quality players for that system, and the chances the defense can figure out a way to stop that particular system.

jmblue

May 4th, 2009 at 2:06 PM ^

But what makes an offense "specialized"? Why is the spread more specialized than the pro-style offense we used to run, in which the QB never carried the ball? And why would defenses have an increased chance of stopping it? You've thrown that line out there twice without any clarification.

The main way that defenses stop offenses is by outnumbering the point of attack and/or generating heavy pressure on the QB. By spreading out the defense and having a running threat at QB, the spread offense makes both of those difficult to accomplish. I'm not sure if defenses will ever really slow down the spread. The one thing that might do it in (which also happened to the wishbone) is that it might get a stigma in recruiting as a bad offense for preparing people to go to the NFL. But that remains to be seen. Wishbone QBs never passed. Spread QBs do.

wolvrine32

May 4th, 2009 at 5:10 PM ^

By specialized, I'm really referring to recruiting. That is, they are looking for certain athlete types to fill roles, more so than a typical offense, specifically to generate a recruiting edge by running a particular system. I think the spread is a fine system, but when they first trotted it out, it was unproven and risky. As it found success, it reduced the recruiting advantage because more and more schools were going after the same kids.

Imagine if you and I sat down to design an offense based on utilizing kids that other schools might overlook. There's a good chance that it would be weaker than the norm. But maybe not. That's why they play the games.

dundee

May 2nd, 2009 at 12:35 PM ^

sounds like we all want to trust RR, i know he knows what he's doing but i believe the complaint comes from the fact that, from the knowledge that we have now from the recruiting web sites is that most of these recruits will still be there after their senior year. so why are we offerring them so early? which i think brings a few questions.
1. are these kids hidden studs that will blow up their senior yr and be recruited by everyone?
2. is RR just trying to get as many people as he can in case of de-commits?

jblaze

May 4th, 2009 at 2:12 PM ^

strategy of signing your "average guy" (say your #3-5 player) while still targeting your "dream guy" (#1 or #2 player), and if the dream player commits, mention that to your middle of the pack guy and have him do whatever (still come to compete, de-commit...)

wlvrine

May 2nd, 2009 at 10:11 PM ^

IMO it is not the offensive style that makes it hard to defend. Diversity in attack makes it effective. As long as you can utilize all your weapons and execute I see no inherent advantage in one system over another. So I understand when you say that by operating a certain system you increase the chances of a defense figuring out a way to stop said system. But, I do not see how defenses have a better chance of figuring out RR's system over say any other offensive system.

Bo inside all of us

May 3rd, 2009 at 9:49 AM ^

"I do not believe they have fully adjusted to their new recruiting reality... But I also don’t think that they realize they can recruit a fast, fast, fast, tall or at least not short slot receiver yet (and lots of other recruiting possibilities as well.)"

You're drinking the maize and blue Kool-Aid. I drink it too, but come on man.

3-9, new coach, different system, program on the decline, a series of recent recruiting class flops... what do you expect?

Listen, there are a lot of good teams, with good history and reputation out there who can go 9-3, 8-4 every year, like Lloyd could. I know, I know, the helmets. They get you a player or two. But Jesus Christ, you make it sound like we're USC, LSU or Florida.

I think RR has been a rockstar of a recruiter. Take a look at our O-line next season. That's the place to start filling the cupboard and he nailed it. Next will have to be the D, where, if you'll note, Lloyd was good a getting one, one single good recruit per season. Where'd that leave us?

CARLOS FREAKING BROWN! I'd take last seasons recruiting class over many of the recent years prior. I think that tells you all you need to know.

wolvrine32

May 4th, 2009 at 5:21 PM ^

I'm not sure I understand your point. Michigan has always been a recruiting powerhouse, certainly top 1-2 in the Big Ten most years. USC hasn't always been where they are, nor have LSU or Florida. It's somewhat cyclical. But even RR's first 2 classes were really good, good enough that I don't understand why he'd have to take a Dileo in May. That was my only point.

funkywolve

May 4th, 2009 at 11:46 AM ^

Off the top of my head, I can't think of to many slot receivers that are very tall. Can you? The two in the pros that immediately come to mind are Brandon Stokley and Wes Welker, neither of whom are very tall I think. Heck, the colts drafted the guy from OSU (Gonzalez?) to replace Stokley, and I don't think Gonzalez is that tall.

dmontag

May 4th, 2009 at 1:36 PM ^

I had completely forgotten about the whole "run to the line of scrimmage in the 4th quarter" thing. Did the team actually do that in any of the games last season? I honestly can't remember, and I forgot to look for it at the time.

wolvrine32

May 4th, 2009 at 5:13 PM ^

My understanding is that the O-line is always running to the line of scrimmage, but it would be in the 4th quarter that it would really hurt the morale of the defense. (In a "we're so in shape, we're still running when we don't even need too!" way.)

They were certainly running in the spring game.

markusr2007

May 4th, 2009 at 6:51 PM ^

I agree completely on two main points: recruiting and "outworking opponents".

RR hasn't proven anything yet and has all of his work ahead of him following the 2008 season debacle. There are no good excuses for losing to Toledo, Northwestern and Purdue last year.

About taking a 3-star athlete nobody wants and applying them into a system which transforms them miraculously into a "5-star at their position" is an interesting concept. We haven't observed this very much at Michigan, with the exception of Mike Hart who was a 3 star RB that many teams wanted.
I hope Odoms, TRobinson and some of the 3-star speed demon slots shine this fall, however. With a better QB, they probably will.

About "outworking opponents", this is meaningful only if it yields results in games. There's something to be said about working smarter versus working harder. When the OL runs to the line of scrimmage, this brings the full force of mental and physical toughness to bear on opponents, to be sure, but it also is about offensive efficacy. It's part and parcel of running a no huddle spread option offense. I'm sure Michigan's players worked very hard and had very physical practices last year. But then the UM coaches stated repeatedly that the success at these mid-season practices was just not translating into games, and they appeared confused as to why this was the case.

I agree with the concept of "outworking opponents" as long as this extra effort pays off in increased productivity. Having the 300 lbs defensive lineman volunteer to run extra suicides at practice for the team shows commitment, dedication, desire and physical and mental toughness. That kind of "work" should eventually translate to on-field success, but for whatever reason (lack of buy-in, lack of commitment, poor coaching) it hasn't.

michiganfanforlife

May 5th, 2009 at 9:29 AM ^

If there is anyone who knows the exact type of player needed to run this version of the shotgun spread-option, it's RR. Forgive me for this, but who are you to question his plans? One thing that I love about this new scheme is that there IS a concrete idea of the size/type/skill set for each position. If RR wanted a big guy, he would put him on the outside at X or Z. The Y is a slot back who is an agile, quick in space, make you miss kind of guy that can break one for 6 at any time. Besides, this kid Dileo is going to return kicks and punts and probably play corner. Dileo is the first kid in the history of Louisana to pass for a TD, run for a TD, catch a TD, return a punt for a TD, and return a kick for a TD all in one season. Sounds like a playmaker to me. That's the other thing. Every guy on offense UM gets is dangerous, and is a serious threat to go the distance. He likes explosive "splash play" guys and I like his style. Last year was a necessary evil to run this team through the "let's change everything" gauntlet. Everywhere RR has coached, he has trouble his first year. It takes time to re-learn everything from blocking landmarks, to his "check with me" on certain plays. If some of you missed the spring game you should go check it out. The offensive line is 10x better, and they are moving as a unit instead of a bunch of guys running around. This kid, Tate is special. I am certainly drinking maize and blue kool-aid, but watching Tate run the offense is a night and day difference. He is quick to make decisions, accurate with hitting guys not only perfectly but in stride to set up YAC. He will also make big plays with his feet when the pocket breaks down, and that adds a whole new element to the offense. Then when David Cone came out, it looked like Threet all over again. The reason is the new QB's skill sets actually fit the offense. Now the read option is actually an option, where last year it was just a key on the back. Here's to starting 4-0 this year and sending Weiss back to the NFL where he belongs. Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!