We should tip our hats to Purdue

Submitted by Dan Man on November 7th, 2009 at 6:10 PM
This loss hurt.  Hurt bad.  We can debate ad nauseum about whether this is more on the coaches or more on the players, more on the cupboards being bare or more on RichRod failing to develop what he has.  I think that it's actually all of the above.  But this post isn't about that.

First, I think we have to tip out hats to Purdue.  They fought hard (as did we).  That onside kick call was brilliant and took some stones to do it.  Purdue made more big plays than we did and that's why they beat us.

Second, despite the loss, we did look better overall than we did the past several weeks.  Yes, there were many horrible mental mistakes on defense (anyone surprised?), but there were some positive signs, too.  The offense continues to gel, Tate continues to gain confidence and cut back on some (but not all) of his mistakes, and it was good to see our young receivers making crucial plays.

Third, RichRod was wrong not to kick the field goal on 4th and 10.  And not in hindsight - it was wrong no matter the result.  Hopefully he learns from that mistake and won't do it again.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly in the current "climate," regarding RichRod:  It's pointless right now to talk about his future with the program.  He's not getting fired anytime soon.  He is what we have.  Our confidence in him has been rattled, but it will be largely up to him whether we can turn things around.  I hope he succeeds and will be cheering hard for him to do so.

Go blue.

[EDIT: I wrote this before I heard about Danny Hope's dick move after the game (discussed in the comments).  While I still tip my hat to Purdue's outplaying us, I'm sure the team and RichRod will remember that gesture when preparing for our next game with them.  And I believe RichRod will show more class than that we he gives his payback.]



November 7th, 2009 at 6:17 PM ^

I think we looked a lot better today. I am looking forward to the UFR (much thanks to Brian for doing those every week) this week--I think we will see an overall improvement on the offense side of the ball. The O-line, for the most part, looked much better this week.

Defense obviously continues to be the main concern. We were massively out gained (again) today and big plays continue to kill us. On a bright note, Fitzgerald looked pretty good today--future star at linebacker?

As far as RichRod is concerned--if you are a true blue fan you will back him, through thick and thin. He is our head coach and a proven winner.


November 7th, 2009 at 7:37 PM ^

RichRod talked about when he went to shake hands with Hope he brought over Ruckmen. Ruckmen got suspend by the Big 10 earlier in the year when he jumped on a Illinois lineman after the whistle was blown. If I remember correctly it was right after Jonas was suspended. RichRod made a comment he would like to see the Big Ten review that play. Similar situation where no flag on the play but Big Ten reviewed and suspended Ruckmen. So Hope felt RichRod needed to keep to his team.

Well RichRod said that Hope said this is Ruckmen and we thank you for doing what you did to him.

Dan Man

November 7th, 2009 at 9:18 PM ^

Wow - that was a dick move. Big time. Rodriguez didn't have it in for Ruckmen or Purdue - he just wanted to ensure the conference was treating everyone fairly.

Well, I hope Hope enjoyed rubbing it in RichRod's face, because I think we're going to kill those guys next year.


November 7th, 2009 at 8:23 PM ^

right on the head. Reckman deserved to be suspended for what he did in the Northern Illinois game. RichRod didn't hit the Northern Illinois player, Reckman did. RichRod didn't suspend him, the Conference did. Quite frankly, Danny Hope really pissed me off with that assinine stunt. I lost any respect I had for Danny Hope after today.


November 7th, 2009 at 6:24 PM ^

To be fair, Purdue should have a couple more wins than they do. They nearly beat Oregon, played tough against ND, and would now be crushing teams like Northern Illinois and Northwestern. UM just seems to be running into the "bad" teams when they are turning it around - Purdue, MSU, and Illinois. You just hope that UM can catch some luck against OSU or Wiscy in the coming weeks. This team is better than people are giving it credit for, at least offensively. Even against Illinois and PSU, the team was stopping itself as much as the opposing defenses. Yeah, bad breaks and bad teams, but the defense can't be much worse next year (I mean statistically there are only so many spots in the FBS) and the offense should be better.


November 7th, 2009 at 7:44 PM ^

No, but in theory having the same DC running the same defense from year 1 to year 2 should help mitigate the loss in overall a bit. As others have noted, teams like Iowa and Wiscy field top defenses despite having mediocre recruiting talent. That comes from cohesion and consistency across years. I'm not saying that the defense will make huge strides next year, but the defense was 81st overall coming into today, giving up about 28 pts/gm (ignoring Baby Seal U). So at this point, it can't be much worse next year.


November 7th, 2009 at 7:07 PM ^

I remember starting 4-0 on my high school football team hoping to challenge for a state championship. We lost a close game, and dropped the next. At 4-2, we proceded to lose the last 4 games and finished 4-6. you can joke that we were a bad football team, but after those first 2 loses we felt immense pressure trying to get back in the wins column. it was so difficult to try to get the ball rolling again.

Confidence -, Doubt +

how does this relate?

I truly feel that the kids RR recruited want to win badly for their coach and program. The upperclassmen want to make up for the poor record last year. These kids (yes kids) are pushing to please 100,000+ on saturdays...and those are just the people that fit in the stadium. I think its in our best interest to stay supportive and realize that these kids are not far removed from a time in high school where they could have dealt with the same things I did. Im not a Umich alumn but I love, cheer, and root for them as hard as any. THINGS WILL GET BETTER! many of us will live to see a National Championship...I can't wait for that season--that game--that day...


November 7th, 2009 at 8:15 PM ^

Yes there is pressure, but the staff should be making better decisions. How can you not go for the points. Had we a field goal, we'd at least be a TD from the W. These are just kids but they come to play and perform for 100000+ and for all of us at home. I'm dying and don't want to see Michigan become the new Northwestern with one off win seasons. Let's make this the program it should be!


November 7th, 2009 at 8:27 PM ^

thankfully, however we are suspiciously resembling Nebraska.

Trying to "modernize" the program by bringing it into the next century. Endless numbers of long, long winning streaks, bowl streaks and all of kinds of other streaks coming to an end.

We even wear Adidas now.


November 7th, 2009 at 8:30 PM ^

The massive changes are on the offensive end, though, and it's clear from last year to this year that a lot Michigan's made a lot of progress on offense. It's the defense that's so troubling (and is terrifying for next year).


November 7th, 2009 at 9:03 PM ^

But the offense is fine. And to be fair, the Callahan offense was a train wreck - in its second year, they averaged a shade under 25 pts/gm, and that was against some pretty mediocre teams. RR's offense looks pretty spectacular given that it is being led by two freshman and a mediocre offensive line. The defense is the problem, and that really hasn't changed much in terms of schemes (save the one year under Shafer). This is a talent issue, and the one thing UM can do is recruit talent. I'm not going to say that RR is the best man for UM; I will say that right now, he needs to be given a chance.

Steve in PA

November 7th, 2009 at 8:45 PM ^

Joey Elliot was on Sirius this evening while I was driving. He was completely the opposite of Darryl Clark in the post game news conference. Very humble and was giving props to Michigan as much as possible.


November 7th, 2009 at 11:06 PM ^

No doubt that was a total dick move by Danny Hope and Ruckman. But I also think that some of it has to do with the "Snake Oil" decommitment of Roundtree from Purdue to Michigan. I live in Indianapolis and they made a huge deal about it down here. They hate RR with a passion. Losing back to back to these fucks is brutal.


November 7th, 2009 at 11:37 PM ^

But I agree that Hope was a real jerk doing what he did at the end of the game. Anyone remember how Lloyd handles the Illinois coach back in '95 when the guy said he was bummed that he couldn't play UM twice in a season. Lloyd just beat him soundly and took the air out of the ball when he had a chance for a late TD to run it up even more.

RichRod made a ton of mistakes this day --- at least as they showed on the field. On-side kick sometime during the game was predictable. PU was the underdog. Quit giving me the "freshman made a mistake" crap. Kovacs has to be deeper than any WR. How do you let a guy go downfield so far. Bad call on the 4th and 10 down 38-30. Kick the FG and then a TD wins the game. Also, with 2:05 left and 1 TO and a strong wind at my back, I kick off deep. Hold em 3 and out and get the ball no worse than my 40 yds line with at least three pass plays to get into FG position.



November 8th, 2009 at 12:05 AM ^

You say RR made mistakes today, but last I checked he wasn't telling Kouvacs to let guys get past him. There is a reason Kouvas is a walk-on - he's not very fast and struggles to keep up with Big 10-caliber WRs. The on-side kick is usually not predictable - that's why it worked. Sure, underdogs sometimes whip it out, but I think it is a stretch to say that a coach is responsible for that working. The FG I can understand, but RR basically said he didn't trust his defense (who would) and he tried to get the 1st. And as for the 3 and out on the deep kick, that is tough to expect with this team. Sure they stopped Purdue a couple of times, but they also gave up huge scoring drives. I understand the frustration, though.


November 8th, 2009 at 6:59 AM ^

They are just a bottom feeder big ten team with zero class. It was going on with Joe Tiller and it still is with Danny Hope. You see onside kicks outside of less than 2 minutes left in the game in high school, it just makes Purdue look really bad and stupid. Look at us we had to kick an onside kick to stay with a horrible Michigan team and we had to run a hook and ladder play last year to beat the worst Michigan team in 40 years lol. I cant tip my hat to a team that calls out the opposing coach after the game when hes the one who pulled a bunch of shenannigans to even win in the first place! Purdue can enjoy their win this year cause in a few years we will be back to wrecking them along with the rest of the big ten year in and year out. In Rich Rod we trust!!!


November 8th, 2009 at 8:23 AM ^

After Hope's classless demonstration, the only hat I want to tip to him would be the one that the character "Oddjob" wore in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger."


November 8th, 2009 at 9:50 AM ^

If ole sausage doesn't miss the extra point in the game (let me get this straight, you hit a 51 yard kick and miss an extra point?), then we kick another extra point after the TD at the end to tie and go into overtime.Then who knows what happens...

That didn't happen though, and it's not good to go down the path of "what if." I like the walk ons, but can we seriously not find 2 Safeties out of 85 Division 1 scholarship players? I understand the need for keeping cohesion on the defense, so maybe the secondary coach should be shown the door. I forget his name, or what he looks like, but I know what his players do at the back end and it's not pretty. Deep as the deepest. This is a high school safety mantra, and someone should be saying it in our practices every day.

On the bright side, I agree that players on both sides of the ball made some good plays. Roy Roundtree has sure hands, and I think that he and Tate have a bright future together. Tate still has the "scramble before you need to" mentality in the pocket, but he had some plays where he stood in there and threw it. Every week his awareness in the pocket will improve through film study. Go Blue!