Is animosity between teammates normal?

Submitted by kenfizzle on November 9th, 2009 at 9:54 AM

So after 10 games, I think its finally time for me to pose the question to MGoWorld, is animosity between a teams offense and defense a good thing or a bad thing?

My boy from HS is a manager and my roomates GF is a trainer, they both say that our offense and defense HATE each other, especially in practice. I can imagine the offense not enjoying the D allowing points every drive and 400 yds a game, but from what I've heard the D hates the offense more. Now I've never played organized football but is this normal? Is it an overall detriment to a team's chemistry? Is this due to Rich Rod's style of letting the DC do all the defensive coaching? I'm curious what you guys all think.

*EDIT: This is not something new that has been happening only since our recent losses. This has been happening since the beginning of camp.



November 9th, 2009 at 9:56 AM ^

Or why the offense would hate the defense? You play for the same team, you all want to win. I don't get why they would hate each other. Does not compute.


November 9th, 2009 at 10:18 AM ^

I was saying that because he didn't really give an answer. Its not like I'm going to do anything with the responses I get and accept everyone as truth, I was just referring to his unclear answer.


November 9th, 2009 at 10:31 AM ^

But yes I think that it is a bit weird for a defense to completely hate and loathe an offense and vice versa. Maybe they get pissed off when they don't make a stop, or throw the defense out their after going 3 and out but that's normal.

But to say that the defense hates the offense with a fiery passion like they do OSU I think is a bit weird.


November 9th, 2009 at 9:59 AM ^

but I've got to think that's a bad thing. Both sides of the ball need to be out there working to help the other. The team, the team, the team, right?


November 9th, 2009 at 10:02 AM ^

The offense and defense hated each other in Remember the Titans and they not only won it all but also overcame generations of institutionalized Southern racism...


November 9th, 2009 at 10:02 AM ^

In high school I played on the offense and we were pretty horrible and our defense was great. There was some animosity between the two units and during a couple games it got really bad and did not help the team at all. I don't think it helps the team and if it is as bad as you say it is then our team is being hurt by this.

However I would have to say after the game I was at my tailgate in Crisler and Brandon Minor & Brandon Graham stopped by the tailgate after the game and seemed like good friends. I know that I am talking about 2 seniors and it is a small sample size but thought I would mention it.


November 9th, 2009 at 10:21 AM ^

the reason our defense is bad.

I think it has more to do with our players then who they're mad at. The O and D go up against each other in every practice, you have to believe there is some animosity there.

I'm sure they enjoy winning together.


November 9th, 2009 at 10:23 AM ^

I would say it is normal for them to have animosity also. The offense is probably mad because the defense gives up so much but in turn the defense is probably mad because they are on the field so much because of turnovers, 3 and outs and such. This is all speculation but that would be my guess. I think a little animosity would push each side of the ball to preform better.

No.9 Hamburgers

November 9th, 2009 at 10:37 AM ^

I don’t know if it is “normal” but football does not seem “normal” in comparison to other sports. Im not certain, but in most sports that play offence and defense, you have the same players switching from offense to defense in a split second. In football you have two units...two individual teams that make up one team.
From an offensive point of view...It does not matter how many points the offense scores, you guys (defense) are not doing enough to stop them from scoring. You guys are giving up big plays etc, etc.
From a defense point of view...It does not matter how many three and outs we get, if you guys (offense) can’t put a drive together and score we don’t have a chance of winning.
So, I can see where different units can get a case of group think instead of looking at the whole picture as an entire team.


November 9th, 2009 at 10:54 AM ^

I played, just through high school, and in my experience no team that is losing games is going be throwing flowers at each other. It is pretty easy to get mad at the other side of the ball or even the other side of the defense, when they are constantly making ugly mistakes. Both sides of the ball have done more than enough to generate ill will. The defense has completely failed to make key stops since the first month and the offense has frequently squandered opportunities presented by the defense. It's a long list. Even on the best teams, there will be some players that don't like each other much. That's normal. Also, this team has Lloyd recruits, RR recruits, elite athletes that have never lost much, players who know they are on the worst M teams in 40 years. It's a pretty stressful, combustible mix.

This is not where to look for the problem. Losing is the problem.

Undefeated dre…

November 9th, 2009 at 10:56 AM ^

Rivalries are normal, and it's normal to have a player or two hating another player or two. But squad-level hatred is not normal and a bad thing.

Given that this is about third-hand information from a relative board noob, I'm hesitant to believe it. But it does make sense based on what we see on the field. In 2008 I think we saw the defense get pissed at the offense's ineptitude, and gradually their morale crumbled. Maybe Shafer fed into an us vs. them mentality (offense vs. defense), and that's one of the reasons he was let go.

There are similar things this year, though probably more related to turnovers than to general ineptitude on the offense's part. I have been a part of dysfunctional teams. Winning smooths things over, but losing widens the cracks. I've also seen seasons unravel because everyone is just playing out the string.

In this scheme, with a good offense but little time of possession, the offense gets the glory and the defense has a *lot* of work to do. They're on the field for 35+ minutes per game already, and turnovers and short fields only make it worse. So I can see where they might be pissed. They might also be pissed that the head coach is an offensive guy.

It's funny, when Jeff Casteel didn't come to Michigan nobody thought it was a big deal, since we got Magee and Barwis. But maybe Casteel was the one to help keep everybody on the same page.

Maybe it's not an issue, maybe I'm overreacting to an OP who is posting hearsay. But if it is an issue, it's something that is Rodriguez's responsibility to fix. Fans need to be "All In" for Michigan, and so do players.


November 9th, 2009 at 11:02 AM ^

When teams lose or are on a lsoing streak, players bicker and finger point.

When teams win or are on a winng streak, its all kumbaya.

This has been true ever since the first team was every created.

No different in Ann Arbor.


November 9th, 2009 at 11:09 AM ^

They both have good reason to hate each other. The offense turns the ball over too much, and the defense can't stop anyone.

Personally, I don't really care if the offense and defense don't like each other. But if the offensive players like the offensive players, and the defensive players like the defensive players, then it can work.


November 9th, 2009 at 11:27 AM ^

Any competitive team I've ever been on has always had rivalries, and those have always been exacerbated by losing.

I race an Express 27 (out of Great Lakes). Our best years we had my brother (Sparty) on the team. However, we still weren't getting 1st. One thing my brother would do was bark out orders to everybody. You couldn't do a thing on the boat without him telling you what you should be doing (whether he was wrong or not). He was a good sailor, but the sibling rivalry and the losing brought this out in him.

It always bothered me. But then I was one guy.

When we lost, though, it would really bother another guy on our team. And then they would piss and moan at each other, and I would jump in and piss and moan because I already had a beef, and then the captain wouldn't want to get in the middle of a piss-and-moan fest because it would just get him hollered at.

We couldn't work it out. My brother left the team, and we replaced him with Misopogal. Misopogal is nowhere near the sailor that my brother was, but she gets along with everyone. Her primary concern is whether or not there are spiders crawling around, and because of that we now race on a much cleaner boat, which also has fantastic post-race snacks on it.

Racing is a blast. But we place lower now than we used to, and this is directly related to how much worse we are at setting up for a spinnaker leg, which my brother was awesome at, and which Misopogal is awful at.

However, we have a team we can lose with. And when Misopogal gets better, we will be a better team.

Having a team you can lose with is important in sports -- not for the immediate future, but for the good of the team. I think RR knows this, and that this is why there has been such great attrition since he came here.

There will always be pissing and moaning on any team, and this will always be exacerbated with losses. However, kenfizzle's post here scares the hell out of me, because if there's a ton of pissing and moaning going on, that signifies that this isn't a team that can lose together, and it has been my experience that the only way to solve that problem is through attrition, which makes you worse.


Undefeated dre…

November 9th, 2009 at 12:40 PM ^

OP, thanks for the update. I think building a rivalry between offense and defense can be very successful, because it motivates both to be their best. The key is that they remain two parts of the same team.

If that rivalry becomes hatred where people feel like there are two different teams out there, well, that's different. And has been pointed out below, losing puts people on different ice floes instead of the same 'berg.


November 9th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

Its been my experience that during practice, the O and D are very competitive. There are fights here and there especially during camp, and the competitiveness is amplified when you go 1's on 1's. But when practice is over, that all goes away. You win and lose as a team.


November 10th, 2009 at 1:59 AM ^

People tend to get angry when they beat each other up 5 days a week in practice. None of it really affects game day. Neither side of the ball wants to get shown up by the other side, and let's face it, they're all there to win.

The offense won't purposely go 3 and out to bring in a tired defense, just like the defense won't purposely give up a 70 yard bomb to spite the offense.

Now, if people on the same side of the ball hated each other, then there might be issues. Think TO vs. any QB he's played with, or Larry Johnson vs. the entire Chiefs organization.