Before you get riled up about the topic, I have the utmost respect for the guy. He got us that elusive National Championship in the modern era. He cared for his players and their education. And this is not a ND-esque "Ty Willingham is responsible for AIDS, economic situation in US and ND going 3-9 last year" hatchet-job either. But to be really objective, there are a certain things we Michigan fans should get excited or atleast a wee bit optimistic about the new era ( or the lack of Lloyd, rather )
- Lloyd was really adamant about his methods. If coaches were things in an electronic lab, Lloyd was an inductor - extremely opposed to change. He really believed in his methods -- at every level. This will be the common theme in this entry. He was against change fractally ( if you zoom out in every scale, you could see Lloyd hated change ). He waited a whole quarter before he changed his offensive signals though someone alerted him that Northwestern is stealing his signals. He waited almost a whole game during "The Disaster" till he realized Mike Hart was picking apart the Appalachians. He waited until the bowl game till he realized that his 4th year QB in shotgun can pick apart a defense with his audibles. Something to get excited about the addition of RR is, Rich looks for mismatches fractally. Be it a directional punt to nullify your returner or putting lighting fast small guys against your LBs / safeties or working your team out in the off-season, he looks for mismatches at every level.
- Mike Debord. was an absolute disaster coaching Central Michigan. If there was one example of cronyism in sports, this was it. Debord was fired from Central Michigan but two years removed from that he finds himself coaching offense at Michigan. Even I can throw Rock, Rock and more Rock and I wish I was a friend of Lloyd. I hate Debord and Michigan fans aren't big fans of Debord and if you like Debord you are an Ohio State fan. This is a welcome addition by subtraction. Again, the first point manifests itself a little. When Lloyd fired Malone, he was incubating Debord and refused to look outside. Debord was coaching special teams and suddenly he's an OC. ( You have to go to the West Virginia to find special teams coaches promoted to HCs, but that's OT anyway )
- Belief about presence of a Running Game and a solid defense. This was a comment made by someone in Victors Board. Lloyd played as if he had a solid running game ( in spite of opposing teams picking apart the Zone Blocking ) and a Solid Defense ( in spite of the defense getting gassed ). Rose Bowl against USC, Tied 3-3 at half. USC couldn't find any lanes running against Michigan. Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin decide not to run again from the 3rd quarter. Lloyd sticks with his plan, hopes to score a field goal and hopes his defense can continue dominating USC's offense. Michigan's pass defense was picked apart by JD Booty. USC's pass defense was not even tested though Chad Henne, I think, may be better than the Stanford QB who beat USC next year. Not to mention, Mike Debord says he hadn't seen certain blitz schemes from USC ever. Only Jay Paterno is probably worse.
- Not being gracious enough after losing / Press conferences. I personally think that Lloyd was so devoted to Michigan and his players that he takes losing personally and is so disappointed that he's grumpy during handshakes and press conferences. Anyway, he doesn't really endear himself to neutral observers which is probably slightly worse for Michigan Football. Rich is afterall a snake oil salesman. http://runupthescore.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/ap02.jpg
- Special Teams. They weren't really special. When was the last time we blocked a punt ? Brandon Minor is so not made for punt returns. Fake punts ? Fractally opposed to change.
- Performance against Ohio State. Just like whatever Penn State does falls into the lap of Michigan, Lloyd simply didn't have an answer for Tressel. Bad luck ( when he had the best defense, Troy Smith was winning Heisman ) or not, tOSU exactly knew how to beat Lloyd's teams. Now, if at all OSU has a weakness, it's defending Spread Option as evidenced by last year's Illinois game. And you can't find better Spread Option teachers than Rich Rod. Tressel is a wee bit nervous as he sent his assistants to USF this off-season to find out how USF beat WVU. Now this is a completely different Michigan team Tressel will face.. fact remains this won't be a Lloyd coached team. As Rich gets players suited for his system and since Tressel doesn't run Spread Option (so his defense can't simulate exactly), when the top 2 athletic teams in the Big 10 face-off we can expect Rich to have his share of victories. ( Sidenote : Les Miles showed how to rattle Boeckman... Pressure him. )
- Strength and Conditioning. EEEEBarwis.