Are we fickle or just irrational?

Submitted by Michael From TC on November 26th, 2013 at 5:18 PM
I am not the least bit concerned about ticket prices to the game. Thats what the tradeoff is for not having any ads in the stadium. If we were 10-1 right now, only the students that dont show up would be complaining about pricing. From Hokes standpoint, he does not want to talk about the dysfunctions of this team because they are the same dysfunctions as they were 6 weeks ago. We as fans and the media demand more answers and insight and as soon as we get it, we tear it apart. This is precisely why we have a histiry of coaches that dont cooperate with the media. If you want him to divulge information you better not tear it apart when he gives insight. In the world of win now or we torch your house, coaches changong a system 180 degrees dont stand a chance. We, as a collective fan base need to be better than that. We demanded a return to pro style play; let the men we brought in return us to pro style play with enough time to see thier first recruiting class graduate.



November 26th, 2013 at 5:21 PM ^

Have their first recruting class graduate and then make a decision on the coach. That way you give coaches 4/5 years to show what they have. They are more than welcome to make personnel changes along the way. 

The Crootin' Crouton

November 26th, 2013 at 6:31 PM ^

Hoke had his best year when Coach Rodriguez's recruits were the most seasoned.  It's unfortunate he was chased out of town... it's not like Hoke was going anywhere else from SDSU in that year.  I wonder if (I don't know the timing exactly) the whole Harbaugh excitement expedited his premature demise.


November 26th, 2013 at 6:56 PM ^

but in the end there was no choice.  The defense worsened each year he was here until they were the worst in the country; most blue chip defensive recruits were not going to be interested.

I think the offense would have been deadly that year had he stayed - no confusion r.e. system, Denard in the spread, etc - but had he stayed RR would also be facing the music this season for the lack of OL recruiting.   


November 26th, 2013 at 7:40 PM ^

RR intentionally focused on defense in the 2010 class because he had plenty of good OL on campus (Omameh and Lewan starting, Schofield, Barnum, and one of Washington/BWC gives you a solid line that he had already seen).  The 2011 class was fucked up by The Process and the fact that Rodriguez got fired.  Jake Fisher decommitted while Dave Brandon was refusing to tell recruits if the coach recruiting them would be retained (he's been starting at Oregon since his RS freshman year) and getting the axe makes it difficult to close on recruits. 

Acting like the situation now would be the same if the circumstances back then had been different is shortsighted.


November 27th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

would be not recruiting enough OL b/c you already have some good ones on campus.  Most important position group on the team, there should be some in every class.

In any event, no one can point to the dream OL depth chart we'd have right now if RR had stayed.


November 26th, 2013 at 5:21 PM ^

Irrational.  Yes, beyond doubt.  Fickle?  Yes.  Hoke was right.  Brian stakes claim that we are not fickle when it comes to our team, which, yes.  Hoke was implying that our tastes for coaches is very easily swayed, which, yes.  Of anyone, Hoke would understand the saint to sinner metamorphasis.  It has happened in the matter of about 6 weeks.


November 26th, 2013 at 5:26 PM ^

I think the biggest issue here is that I never get the sense from Borges that he takes any responsibilty for our issues. He never once has come out and said "I picked shitty plays I need to reassess the abilities of our team", and has come across as arrogant. This makes people hate him. And when you are 4 games deep in a tail-spin, that doesn't make anyone want to see a rinse and re-use gameplan get curb stomped in the backfield.

The FannMan

November 26th, 2013 at 5:36 PM ^

Do you really expect him to say anything close to "I picked shitty plays"?  

Do you think that would make the Michigan program look good?

Would such a response even make you feel better or like him more?

Look, if you want to criticize the offensive play calling, then fine.  There is a legitiamte discussion to be had in terms of plays and players. etc.  In fact, its been had to death on this blog.  But worrying about a nothng event like a press conference is just kind of odd.

Finally, do you hate Brady Hoke too, because that was who Brian was talking about?  He was the one who used the word "fickle."


November 26th, 2013 at 6:23 PM ^

Who gives a crap what he says to the media?   99% of press conferences quotes are useless.  Coaches have been trained to be bland as hell, lest the wrong thing slip out.

The real issue is in the past 2 years we were used to having 1-2 games where the play calling was just completely insane and blew up in our face (e.g., Iowa in 2011).   This year we are at the opposite end of the spectrum where all but 1-2 games has seen atrocious play calling that are destined to fail.  The complete inability to adjust, or adjust properly, is killing us.  Never would've expected our OC to be so pig-headed as try to jam these plays in despite it being abundantly clear that we can't successfully run those plays  or that they other teams know we are running those very plays and design defenses to stop it.  No excuse for 75% of the plays called against Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State, etc.   Yet each week he doubled down on shit that failed.  I mean how many more times do we need to run power from the I-form in key spots?   Why keep trying unsuccessful running plays against 9 men in the box?  Why have we used like 2 screens all year?


November 26th, 2013 at 5:28 PM ^

If this big transition was so important to success, why didn't we sign a QB in that class?  Why was Drake Johnson (a 3-star with no major conference offers) the only RB we took?  Where are the freshman All-Americans on the offensive line (like Taylor Lewan was in RR's third year)?  Why did we spend 17 games trying to get the best receiver in that class to block DE and OLB?

The problem with this team isn't too many young players on offense.  It is the fact that outside of Funchess the Hoke recruits are providing basically no positive impact.  We're not waiting for Denard/Roundtree/Lewan/Omameh to grow up after posting big numbers.  We're still waiting for anybody to show up, and there is no guarantee that will ever happen.


November 26th, 2013 at 6:16 PM ^

Green has rushed for 218 yards and 2 TD on 3.1 ypc.  He is the only Hoke recruit to break the century mark this season.  In RR's third year, Vincent Smith ran for 601 yards and 5 TD on 4.4 ypc.  Mike Shaw added 402 yards and 9 TD on 5.4 ypc.  Fitz was out injured (he would post a 1,000 yard season a year later).  And Denard added another 1,702 and 14 TD on 6.6 ypc.  He and the other two QBs RR brought in added another 3,000+ yards through the air.  Lewan and Omameh were starting on the line as well.

Chesson and Butt have a dozen catches each and 2 TD between them.  Roy Roundtree led the conference in catches and was 3rd in receiving yards in RR's third year.  Odoms did more in 7 games than either Chesson or Butt, and Gallon was buried on the depth chart (rather than playing every game and just not making plays)

Even if/when these guys get better with age there is no reason to suspect they will be better than the guys we've had here recently or that other elite programs bring in.  Impatience has nothing to do with seeing the writing on the wall.  It's possible that Borges/Funk/Jackson are just so bad that they are screwing it up, but that is a kind of bizarre hope to cling to.


November 26th, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

Why don't people understand that if the line isn't up to par that everything else will suffer? We can put up numbers better than the ones you listed with an offensive line that is capable. If we reach that level we will finally become a well rounded football team. 


November 26th, 2013 at 6:45 PM ^

And the line would be up to par (or at least lots better) if we had guys as good as Omameh and Lewan were in RR's third year on this line.  We don't.

It would be great if in year three Coach Hoke's recruits still had to do nothing to produce a championship level team.  I'd love it if we had 4 or 5 Taylor Lewans to ease this difficult transition.  But lots of coaches (including his predecessor) manage to get those kinds of contributions out of the young guys they recruit.  Jim Harbaugh had two RS freshmen starting on the o-line in his third year.  Both were freshman All-Americans and Honorable Mention All-Conference. 

Where are those kinds of guys on this Michigan team?  If they were here we'd be undefeated or very close to it.


November 26th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

The only stat that matters for this year's OL is 10 of 14.  As in, 10 of 14 scholly OL have freshman eligibility.

TE's are also babies (highly rated babies, but babies nonetheless), as RR didn't recruit many TE due to his offensive philosophy.

As many others here have stated:

* starting an underclassman b/c he's beaten out the upperclassmen at his position: great. 

* starting an underclassman b/c you have no upperclassmen: not so great.

* starting a bunch of underclassmen, with underclassmen behind them for depth: well...

Our JV can't block the other team's varsity, go figure.



November 26th, 2013 at 7:37 PM ^

What upperclassmen did Omameh and Lewan beat out?  Oh, that's right.  They still managed to be not terrible.

Obviously playing young guys isn't ideal.  That doesn't excuse this staff for recruiting no young guys who are any good at this point in their careers.  Instead of freshman All-Americans, or at least one guy who can keep a job at one position, we have musical chairs and an avalanche of negative yardage plays.  Folks will get better with age, but there are no future stars in the 2012 class (so raving about this staff on the basis of supposed recruiting prowess makes less and less sense).  This is a problem now and going forward.

5th and Long

November 26th, 2013 at 8:53 PM ^

What upperclassman did Lewan beat out?


Perry Dorrestein and Mark Huyge all competed for LT position in 2010.  Lewan beat them out.  Dorrestein and Huyge split starts as RT.


That line also had:


Lewan (RS Fresh) Omameh (RS So) Molk (Rs Jr), Schilling (Sr) Hugye (RS Jr)/Dorrestein (SR)


The interior of that line had experience (even Omameh had two starts the previous year).

IMHO it's much easier to shine as a Freshman when you have a strong supporting cast.

To say that the 2012 class has no future stars, seems a bit myopic.  That class has Braden, Bars, Magnusson and Kalis.  Their bodies and football IQ need time to develop.  I'd lay money that one of those guys ends up All-Conference or better before he graduates.


November 26th, 2013 at 9:41 PM ^

The existence of Mark Huyge or his equivalent on the roster is the only difference between this offense and what we saw in 2010?  Good to know.

This line has two 5th year seniors with loads of starting experience, one of whom is a 1st team All-American who nobody thought would come back this year because his NFL stock was so high.

Listing guys names doesn't suddenly make them awesome at football.  Braden and Bars will likely never play if they can't beat out Magnuson, Kalis, Bosch, and multiple walk-ons now.  Kalis can't seem to stay in the lineup, much less lock down freshman All-American honors like, you know, actually really good linemen often do.

And you are glossing over the main point.  Who on this team is as good as Taylor Lewan was as a RS Freshman?  Or as good as Martin/DeCastro were at Stanford as RS Freshmen? Or as good as Wheeler/Tuerk are at USC this year?  Or Baker/Kalil when they were 2nd year players at USC?  Or Barrett Jones at Alabama?  And how do we get better if nboody is all that great and our two best linemen depart next year?

If all you're saying is we'll be okay but obviously not as good as actual elite teams, then I'm not really interested in your opinion.  If you're saying we'll be just as good as USC/Alabama/Stanford without the same caliber of players, then you are completely fucking delusional.

Our only hope at this point is that Borges/Funk/Jackson are such collosal fuck-ups that they are screwing up what would otherwise be a fantastic situation.


5th and Long

November 26th, 2013 at 10:44 PM ^

So facts don't matter to you?  You asked who Taylor beat out and implied nobody.  So I simply pointed out he beat out a few upperclassman. 

Is there anyone on the line on this team that is as good as Taylor as a freshman?  I don't know.  It doesn't look like it right now, but that doesn't mean they won't be as good as Taylor as a senior.

Even with two 5th year seniors at tackles, the line still has less experience that the line in 2010.  So it's easier to be a freshman and have a breakout year, when you're surrounded by more experience.  Your flaws aren't as magnified.  Lewan said as much this week in the pressers.

You're missing the point.  While you can list a bunch of O-linemen who started as freshman and had great campaigns (you left off Luke Joekel), what you're missing is that most O-Linemen take time to develop.  Was Jake Long an All-American his freshman year?  The number 1 NFL draft pick could barely crack the starting lineup his RS Freshman year.  What about Eric Fisher.  The #1 draft pick from CMU?  He wasn't a Freshman All-American.  He didn't even get all-conference.  They developed over time.

I can't predict whether Bars, Braden, Magnuson, or Kalis will end up being Lewan/Long good.  But you can't predict they won't.  They need time to develop. 




November 26th, 2013 at 11:00 PM ^

Jake Long was 2nd team All-B1G (coaches) and HM (media) as a RS freshman.  He didn't "barely crack the starting lineup."  Fisher started two games as a true freshman at CMU and played multiple positions starting throughout the year as a true sophomore (on a shitty team).  That despite being a skinny 2-star recruit coming out of high school (not a guy hyped by all the recruiting services as "college ready" and who this staff claimed had a good shot to start last year, like Kalis). 

Finding two competent starters in more than a full recruiting cycle is not that hard.  It was done by Rich Rodriguez.  It was done by Lane Kiffin while on super harsh probation. 

The fact that Taylor Lewan had to beat out one unheralded recruit (and Omameh had to beat out zero) doesn't change the reality of what we've got on campus, and it ain't anything to crow about.


November 27th, 2013 at 1:24 PM ^

but against conference competition, a certain degree, yes.  Next year we will have almost no upperclass scholly OL on the team.  What is so hard to understand about this?

Dominant teams are loaded with upperclassmen on both sides of the ball, with perhaps a few superstud underclassmen sprinkled in here and there.  On offense, that will not be us until at least 2015.

If there is no improvement at all next year then yes, of course that will be cause for alarm.  But to expect a position group with almost no upperclassmen to be mauling people next year is way too optimistic.

Brown Bear

November 26th, 2013 at 5:29 PM ^

After thinking about the irrational question, my answer is no. Michigan fans are the most rational fans on the planet. This board is a grand statement of this, keep up the good work team!!


November 26th, 2013 at 5:38 PM ^

because I have never used the word fickle before (and now I've used it twice), but the true answer seems to be a combination of irrational (my team must win every measurable aspect of the game) and objectively irritated (boy these tickets cost a lot of money these days).


November 26th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

The current nature of fandom means:

1. Less patience - everyone wants to win now. Consider in the pros where it was once a given that no rookie QB was ready to play, teams expect a rapid turn around - go from an also-ran to a playoff team in 1-2 years. A three or four year program - forget it. There is no nobility seen in being loyal and faithful. The long suffering fans of some teams of bygone generations are all fading away.

2. Less reasonable expectations - even in a mythic national championship there are usually only 2 champions at most (one in one poll and one in another) which leaves the other 150 some teams out of luck. For many teams in the past which typically had only 6 or 8 which might even get considered for a draft and maybe (a long maybe) one who actually plays in the NFL, playing in a bowl game was a great reward. Today, teams openly dismiss the Rose Bowl! (see Oregon coming out flat against Arizona - still in funk after losing to Stanford and a shot at the BCS game).

3. Less restraint - the 24 hour internet board (I know I'm not helping by contributing to it here), talk radio and cable coverage allow the most fanatical, most obsessed and most extreme fans to stoke their fervor all week long - there is no buildup - there is no off season. Every statement by every player and coach and commentator is subject to intense scrutiny and analysis. It is safe to say that for these fans - fandom is a huge part of their lives.

4. Add Big Money to these three and you get the current situation - fans stoked up to want perfect seasons each year with annihilating shut out scores with amazing offenses and defenses who are bipolar: either in ecstasy ready to canonized the players and coaches or in deep depression damning players and coaches to eternal inferno.

Like many I have my doubts about the play calling and hope the analysis of the relative youth of the team is correct. If so, the next few years should be pretty good for the OL and the team in general - we'll have jr and senior laden squads.


November 26th, 2013 at 6:08 PM ^

Add Big Money to these three and you get the current situation - fans stoked up to want perfect seasons each year with annihilating shut out scores with amazing offenses and defenses who are bipolar: either in ecstasy ready to canonized the players and coaches or in deep depression damning players and coaches to eternal inferno.

Who is demanding a perfect season exactly? As far as I recall, we went 11-2 in 2011, our offense was far from prolific, and yet the fans were absolutely ecstatic. We went 8-5 last year and yet there was only a minor fringe group of fans calling anyone to be fired.

The way I see it, all anyone has asked for is that the team just not get worse as the season goes along. Is that really an unreasonable expectation?


November 26th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

I don't think it's irrational or fickle to expect improvement and competency in year three of a coaching regime, especially when the offense is being run by the third-highest paid OC in the nation. Most of us here expected a possible 3-4 loss season as pretty likely. That isn't all that bad if you show improvement, even slight improvement, throughout the season. However, that hasn't happened at all, and when you throw in the small ransom many of us pay to be in that stadium on Saturdays, you're going to hear about it. With the monetary commitment we make, our love and support is not entirely unconditional.


November 26th, 2013 at 5:50 PM ^

he should have said they have a right to be angry and me and my staff and team are angry over our performance.

When he said fans are fickle he was implying fans did not have a right to be angry because the program is just fine. He really doesn't get it and I have to believe he and brandon have talked and brandon has told him as Bush 43 told his FEMA director he is doing a hell of a job while the city was drowning along with its inhabitants.

This program is drowning and Brandon will not do anyhting about it. His Michigan Man is safe because he has support within the AD department.


November 26th, 2013 at 5:55 PM ^

First off there have never been ads in Michigan stadium, so that doesn't explain why they had to double and triple the ticket prices in the last 10 years.

As for demanding a return to a pro-style offense... I've never bought that crap. RR got fired because he lost too many games. A few illiterate fans tried to rationalize this by saying the spread just can't work in the Big 10, but if this actually played a factor in DB's decision he is completely incompetent. Fact is, DB struck out on Harbaugh and was allegedly too arrogant to go after Miles... beyond that, who else was available? Were there really any proven spread coaches who would have been willing to come here?

From Hokes standpoint, he does not want to talk about the dysfunctions of this team because they are the same dysfunctions as they were 6 weeks ago.

This is exactly the problem. Michigan fans look around the country and see teams that have improved as the season has gone along. And yet that hasn't happened here. That's why everyone is pissed.

Michael From TC

November 26th, 2013 at 7:16 PM ^

A lit of the teams you speak of are developed systems with upperclassmen having been on it since the stepped on campus.

In addition, i will argue that our schedule has gotten far more difficult than our outcome on the field has gotten worse as the season progressed. At worst its a wash and coupled with underclassmen gaining meaningful playing playingtime that is a win in the end despite the terrible time we see currently.


November 26th, 2013 at 5:58 PM ^

I'll say this here and gently back away, but to the OP's final point - protest or otherwise, that might very well be what this staff gets to see; a chance to see its first class graduate.

It seems to me that David Brandon probably does not want to be what some other programs have perpetually been. That is to say, the sort of program that is searching for either a coordinator or a head coach every few years. I am going to assume for the moment that he learned a lesson and doesn't want to be the program that is forever in transition and is trying to win with someone else's players. Not that people haven't done this, but stability and patience might very well be the aim here for the time being. I can't speak for other members of the staff with as much certainty, but there the chances that Hoke would be the one to go aren't even worth the bother, and the chances of Borges being fired could very well be lower than what people think. 

It may not be anyone's preference, but it stands a realizable chance of happening. I understand the impatience, but it is entirely possible that patience is what is being asked. 


November 26th, 2013 at 6:37 PM ^

You would think Brandon is saavy enough to realize that on the heels of an epically bad offensive performance during the season, one that has regressed as the season has gone, needs action.  I understand what you are saying that we don't always want to be a team in transition, but you can't keep your head in the sand just for staff continuity.   Lets face it, our offense has become a laughingstock.   Perhaps even worse then our GERG defenses were.   Leading NCAA in negative yardage plays... two games where we had negative rushing yards, another where our RBs has 27 rushes for 27 yards.