GERG for the Last Time

Submitted by Ziff72 on March 31st, 2011 at 10:13 AM

This is a bad idea.  I didn't  like the hire.  I thought he did a poor job. I wanted him replaced.  Despite these statements I can't let it go.  I know I won't have any support, but as the saying goes "if I can reach 1 person it was worth it".

On the Mattison presser thread I tried to make a point about GERG and when I saw the responses I was again saddened.   Maybe I'm missing the joke and that will be fine, because as fans we are known to exaggerate and be extreme.   If I'm not and you truly believe what you are saying then I need to get this off my chest for the last time.

GERG knows about fundamentals on defense.  He knows about how defenses work.  Despite all the evidence backing this up people seem to think he was on a solo mission to destroy Michigan.

First the evidence. Gerg won 2 Super Bowls.  Make any excuse you want on how he got them, but he got them.   Does this prove he runs a great defense? No it doesn't.   The fact that he got to that position does.  You can get a job in high school, because you know a buddy.  That can even get you a foot in the door at a college, but you can't work your way up to the Super Bowl and not know  how to tackle, shed a block, contain etc..    These are the coaches that have employed Greg Robinson.....Dick Vermiel, Mike Shanahan, Mack Brown, Pete Carrol and Rich Rodriguez.   Not a complete list but it gets the point across.   Vermiel and Shanahan are known as complete overbearing, controlling lunatics in a win at all costs business.  Do you think they would trust their defenses to a guy that doesn't know how to assemble a defense or know how to tackle?

I really want you to think about that a second.  Imagine Mike Shanahan is sitting at a table looking at film with Greg Robinson  and he asks him about how bad a tackle that was and Greg saying no I thought that was good form.  Or they are going over the tape getting ready for a playoff game and Shanahan asks him his plan and he says well on 3rd and 1 I want to have 5 guys in the box or on 3rd and 18 I want my db to turn his head and jump the 5 yd route.  Do you really believe that?   Really?

It's easier to believe these guys go to clinics, teach at clinics have other coaches on the staff and no one can figure out how to tackle, than it is to believe the kids are young and they need coaching?  Courtney Avery missing tackles was not because he was a high school qb and stepped on campus 3 months ago it was because Robinson doesn't teach fundamentals.  That's what your bet is?

I'm dying to see John Bacon's book because I'm curious if we will get any answers.  As I said at the beginning I don't like the way Robinson called defense for Michigan and I wanted him gone, but I have enough sense to know that there must have been some logic to what they were trying.   I have no idea if Robinson was doing a good job at Michigan, but I'm certain that they worked on fundamentals and he knew what he was talking about. 

He may have been a bad communicator, he may have been terrible at timing blitz calls, he may have picked the wrong defenses to match the personnel, he may have put the players at wrong positions. maybe it was too complicated, maybe it was too simple.   I won't debate you on that because I have no idea what went on behind closed doors, but to say he didn't teach correct fundamentals or set up unsound schemes doomed to fail is just silly.  

There are plenty of coaching examples of people being horrible in one spot and a genius at the next, but one man presonifies my point more than any other...Rod Marinelli.    Has there ever been a defense that looked as overmatched and out of position as Michigan looked the last 2 years?   Yeah the Detroit Lions over Rod's last 2 years.   I would look at my tv and say we have no outside contain they are going to run left for 10 yds and they would.  Despite the fact Marinelli was widely recognized around the league as a great defensive coach we looked like a joke and I started to think maybe he doesn't know how to coach defense.  Week after week he would sit up in those press conferences  and say it's getting there, pad level, my pick is sharp until he was a national joke and canned.   So what did a coach that had his job on the line do.....he hired Rod Marinelli to run his defense.   Rod has Julius Peppers back on his side and all of a sudden he's back to being respected.  Funny how he remembered how to coach fundamentals and set up solid schemes once he had Julius Peppers coming off the edge.

I'm not saying the coaches are always right(they are not) I'm not saying there are not great coaches, good coaches and bad coaches(there are), but they all know the correct way to tackle and they all have similar drills on how to get the kids to have better fundamentals by the time they reach the NFL or major D1 football. You need to really know that.





March 31st, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

You called it on Bacon's book.  The Rodriguez and Robinson interaction relating to the defense will be what everyone is looking out for. With an average defense or a little below average, I doubt there would have been a coaching change.



March 31st, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

The last era was mostly incompetent anyway so I won't totally blame him but as far as defenses go his sucked worse then any defense I've ever seen.


March 31st, 2011 at 2:38 PM ^

We're going up against a team with their starting quarterback knocked out and what does our defense do? Blitz no one, give yards and yards of cushion on the corners, essentially the complete opposite of what should of been done. That was a coaching decision, not necessarily Coach Robinson's but ultimately, it falls on him. What about the Mississippi St. game? Granted, that was a good MSU team, but with all that time to prepare, that was the best they could do? I wasn't too hip about the decision to replace Coach Rod, but the ship had sailed on Coach Robinson even before that game...and he still couldn't get the job done, knowing what was at stake for him. I believe you are right, the man knows his X's and O's, but if he can't get his players to play reasonably well given that knowledge, he isn't a good coach.


March 31st, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

pretty sure my hated pompous ex CEO DB fired RR because he stuck up for GERG and blamed instead, whatever M hating god circumstances led us to field 8 freshmen on defense 3 yrs into the RR transition. CEO's hate being faced... RR Not being given any GD support but instead "the process" probably also factored into the facing. I still don't know if GERG is as bad as some think. I tend to trust Brian however so I guess he did suck. But EIGHT f-ing freshmen? I've played rugby with college kids last two years, freshmen are babies compared to upperclassmen...not even full grown. Impossible situation for any D coord...

I know this...RR will land on his feet at a top program and field NATIONALLY competitive teams. We won't.  MANBALL? Really? West coast offensive? arrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!


March 31st, 2011 at 8:13 PM ^

but I agree.  If I were GERG, I certainly wouldn't take UM's defensive failures personally.   Same w/ Scott Shafer the year before.  It's a life lesson for all of us - some work environments, for whatever reason, you want to avoid.    In this case it was having a scheme and assistants forced down their gullets.

The Barwis Effect

March 31st, 2011 at 10:59 PM ^

Good post pertaining to this very subject over at


Michigan Thursday: Teaching vs Scheming

When you go to college you learn the knowledge and maybe a few skills to become a professional. No matter what your profession is; Lawyer, Doctor, Architect, Business Professional, etc. ............

The same goes with football players and at times I see a coaches that come from the NFL that don't understand that. My first example is Charlie Weiss, he talked about there wouldn't anyone out scheming him at ND. That was clear and so was his inability to be a college head football coach. In college you need to be able to see an all state running back that might be a step slow is a perfect linebacker prospect. In college you have to teach technique and football skills over drawing up complex plays. In the NFL, you have elite athletes and to win you need to out scheme your opponent.

What makes me excited about Michigan football is Greg Mattison gets it and I don't think Greg Robinson ever did. Yes, Mattison came from the NFL Ravens but his experience in college football way out weighs Robinson's. You can tell Mattison is a teacher in some of his comments yesterday when he met the press about Spring Practice:

On learning the new schemes: Even though installation is going slowly, "There is no disappointment whatsoever in me. I get excited and more enthused every day we meet." They get to mold the players into what they want to see, and the players are all excited to learn.

Talent and Technique: " There hasn't been any moping or negative attitudes, guys come in wanting to learn. When the coaches make corrections, the players demonstrate those by the next day. The entire D has tons of work to do on basic techniques. "But I would have said that about any time I've had, unless they're perfect with their technique, I'm not satisfied." First step, punch, etc. - all the basic techniques need work.

Big Will? Campbell is coming off the football better at times, but not always. Quinton Washington "has been neck and neck with [Will Campbell]... When you see Quinton Washington and Will Campbell battling for a position, that says 'great, because now we can roll them.' Because I believe in that, and I always have." Will Heininger has stepped up, and can rotate with Jake Ryan. Jibreel Black looks as good as Craig Roh on some days.

LB's? "The one guy probably that has improved the most and I have really become excited about him is Cam Gordon. I've really got high hopes for him." He's playing SAM backer, and has a chance to be good. "Has a tremendous attitude." He has safety athleticism, just need to get bigger. "Cam's a really long way away, but as a coach you see things in a young man you say 'this guy really could be one of those really good players some day.'" He's battling guys much bigger than him right now, and they want him to get as big as he can while still being able to run.

I know the proof will be on the field on Saturday's but it sounds like to me that Mattison is teaching the defense on how to be play their positions where Robinson used a stuffed Beaver to motive his players to be better.

At the end of the day you want your football coaches to be good leaders and teachers. This also maybe an area where RR could improve as well. He was known as a the mastermind behind the spread but could he really teach 18-22 years old kids on how to be better football players? His teams didn't get better during the season at Michigan, they got worse which makes me believe he was more of a scheme guy then a teacher. To quote Charles Barkley, "I could be wrong but I doubt it!"