Has Brandon already decided?

Submitted by MGlobules on November 20th, 2010 at 9:34 PM

I could be wrong, but the message I'm getting from several recent Dave Brandon interviews is that RichRod has done enough to merit another year. Is anyone getting the same idea, reading between the lines? 

My hunch is that this has been communicated to the players, too, because I don't see how we get the likes of Dee Hart if it's not pretty clear that RichRod is staying. Mind you, I'm the guy who said we would go 6-6 and RichRod would be retained, anyway--for many of the reasons I think that now: too much invested in putting together a RichRod-style offense, too much evidence next year will be lots better. So maybe I'm looking at this with Rose Bowl-colored glasses? Anyway, the Brandon interviews are here, in Wojo's latest in the DetNews and a very good interview on the Huge Show: 





James Burrill Angell

November 20th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

To rephrase, I think the answer is YES, he has likely decided to keep RR, decide what to do about the defense and whether a change of staff there will help or not.

That said, if the team gets an Indiana-83 hung on them by OSU and perhaps similarly something horrible happens in the bowl game, AND someone worthy of being the next coach sends word that he might be available, maybe he makes the change.

Mi Sooner

November 21st, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

1.  Notice his relaxed attitude at last monday's presser; he was very relaxed even though he knew the next two weeks of footballwere going to be rough.  I think that he knew at this point, he was good for next year and probably beyond.  Compare this to how he was after the PSU game monday presser.

2.  THe last time that I saw the RR caln at a umich hockey game was right after he was hired.  Last night, the RR clan, minus RR, were in the athletic department seats.  Let's face it, the hockey crowd can be rough, and they had no fears treading where the lions fear to tread.  (and spartys, and broncos, etc)


November 21st, 2010 at 4:40 AM ^

Look, I'm a firm believer in Rich Rod (or any new coach, for that matter) deserving at least four years to prove himself.  But the fact of the matter is this - It's now or never for Harbaugh.  He's going to get a major offer this off-season, and he's going to take it (remember how he almost took the Kansas job last off-season!?).  If Rich Rod ends up not working out, and Harbaugh's no longer interested, then who do we have!?

Miles/Schiano/Ferentz - turned us down already.  English?  DeBord?  Hoke?  Trgovac?  The list isn't pretty. 

That's why I think that we need to cut this currently failing experiment short and hire Harbaugh.  It should be seen to the end, but the reprecussions for letting it reach the end are just potentially too great.


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

Here's how I see the coaching debate:

We basically have two options:

#1) Rich Rod is brought back...IF...he agrees to letting Brandon and Moeller appoint him a new defensive coordinator, and that defensive coordinator is allowed to hire two of his own defensive assistants (because RR has proven, twice, that he is incapable of putting together a competent defensive staff).  The RR assistants lost will be Robinson, Braithwaite, and probably Tall (Gibson becomes full time special teams coach - something else we desperately need - and recruiting coordinator).  The defensive staff could potentially look something like this...Mike Trgovac (for example) DC/DL coach, "Trgovac's hire" LB coach, "Trgovac's hire" DB coach.


#2) Jim Harbaugh is brought in as the new head coach.



#1) For keeping RR.  His offense is great, his defense sucks.  If Harbaugh comes in, he's going to have to revamp both the offense and the defense.  If RR is kept, and a new defensive staff is brought in, only the defense needs to be revamped.  Plus, RR is under contract for another year, and his buyout is pricey.  And, of course, Harbaugh angered Lloyd and friends with his academics comments four years ago.

#2) For hiring Harbaugh (my choice).  #1) RR's offense isn't that great.  It's actually flat out SUCKED against good teams.  We were down 24-0 to Wisc, 31-10 to PSU, 35-7 to Iowa, and 31-10 to MSU.  Most of the points he's scored against good teams have been scored in garbage time (against prevent defenses).  #2) Do we really want a coach who can't be trusted to hire his own defensive assistants?  #3) Recruiting.  The real reason people were excited about hiring RR was this - his offense at WVU was so great, with 2 and 3 stars, if he comes to Michigan, and starts racking up 4 and 5 star recruits, it's going to be unstoppable.  Well, that has not happened.  Rich Rod continues to recruit like he's at WVU.  And it's sort of a catch-22 situation that might never end.  He can't land talented recruits (especially defensively) until his team starts to go to BCS games, and he can't go to BCS games until he starts to land big time recruits.  Jim Harbaugh, on the other hand, is one of the best recruiters in the entire nation and would really be able to jump start things here.  #4) MICHIGAN MAN.  RichRod simply doesn't portray Michigan values.  If Bo was still alive, he'd be slapping the sh!t out of him after all of these excuse-filled press conferences.  "We're too young, we've had too many injuries, Vince Lombardi couldn't win with this kind of talent, etc...etc...etc...".  Rich Rod has yet to man up and accept any responsibility whatsoever.  He just blames it all on his players!?  How about..."I need to do a better job recruiting, I need to do a better job preparing young players and backups, I need to do a better job putting together effective schemes, It ultimately all comes back to me."  That's exactly what Bo/Moeller/Lloyd would have said.  Never in a million years would they have blamed the players publicly.  Never in a million years should a coach blame his players like RR has done time and time again.  #5) Jim Harbaugh's just a better coach, in every aspect.  We can't think short-term here.  We need to be thinking about 5-10 years down the line.  Sure, RR might be a better coach for this team NEXT season.  But we need to be thinking long term here.  #6) Everything Harbaugh said about our academics was TRUE, and Lloyd hates everybody anyways - that's why he was asked to leave the athletic department (and I have a very reputable source that verifies that).

#7) And I'm making this seperate because it's so important - It's NOW OR NEVER FOR HARBAUGH.  He's going to be getting some major offers this off-season (NFL, Georgia, etc.).  He almost took the KANSAS job last season, for crying out loud.  He IS going to be leaving Stanford after this season.  And once he signs a major deal with a major program, he's no longer going to be interested in us.   So...if RR ends up not working out (which is very likely) and Harbaugh is no longer interested...who in the he!! are we going to hire!?  Miles/Ferentz/Schiano already turned us down.  English!?  DeBord!?  Hoke!?  Trgovac!?  These are, honestly, going to be our best options if Harbaugh's not interested.  In which case, we'll be COMPLETELY SCREWED.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:53 PM ^

I did, and read nothing new that Brandon hadn't before been saying. He's still saying he'll wait until the end of the year, and neither his tone nor his choice of language seem to suggest that anything's changed or will change until the end of the year. Do you have some quotes that trouble you?


I asked Brandon if he'd wait until after the season, after the Ohio State game and the bowl game, to assess the future.

"Sure, same for every one of our 27 sports," he said.

We have two big games to play. It's important to see how our guys improve, particularly as we step up the level of competition, so I'm like everyone else. I'm anxious to see how this all pans out.

I have access to the entire program and look at it in its totality, and that's what I'll do with football as well as the other 26 sports we play. That's what athletic directors do.


November 21st, 2010 at 2:30 AM ^

it's almost a foregone conclusion that Brandon will have RR back next year.

If you want to believe DB at face value for his quotes, well, your career in politics will be short lived should it ever start. When Brandon says;

"It's not as simple as win-loss records. It's just not. People want to try to make it that simple, but there are so many things you have to look at when you measure the strength of a program."

That statement pretty much discounts W-L record as being relevant to RR's job stability, whether it's the horrible overall record over the previous 2 years or our ridiculous B10 record.

There have been numerous statements that DB has made over the course of the season that someone less lazy than myself can directly quote that seem to accomodate for RR's unfortunate lack of personnel or that can be inferred from the indication of a recruit who stated they were hesitant to commit due to coaching stability concerns until after speaking with DB.

If your point is that there's no quote available from DB that says RR is our guy next year, well, yeah. But it's obvious to minds of reasonable consideration that DB is just leaving himself a wee bit of wiggle room should shit go seriously wrong over the remainder of the season... and it hasn't.

RR's back next year and it doesn't take a weather cock to tell which way the wind blows.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:42 PM ^

Well there are no guaruntees, but I'd guaruntee it. Some crazy off the field stuff would have to happen for me to think DB would let go of RR after this season. We have an awesome AD and I trust his decison, so no worries.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:47 PM ^

he has decided to give RRod another year. RRod could help by making it easier by winning out but Brandon has the status and the maturity to hang tough through an offseason of some discontent.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:48 PM ^

On the defensive side of the ball, this is such a young team. The development these kids go through from the time they're 18 and 19 to the time they are 22, 23 is amazing, the amount of weight, speed and strength they gain. That's the case in all programs across the country. We've got a bunch of 18 and 19 year old guys out there trying to chase down and tackle and fight off blocks of 22 and 23 year old guys.

You don't get it in blogs and you don't get it reading a newspaper. If you want to know what's going on, you get inside the program and look at it carefully, and I try to do that with all of our sports. Keep in mind I'm spending time with a lot of our coaches and a lot of our student-athletes because that's how I find out what's really going on.

On offense not being a problem under Rodriguez, but defense being a major concern: "If you dig down below the surface of that, the real question is how did we end up with seven or eight freshmen or redshirt freshmen out there on the field at the same time? How did we get there? When you go back, you say, okay, who could we have gotten recruiting, who did we miss on, who left early and could be out there playing, who got hurt that could be out there being an impact player?

"You can kind of see, it's like everything else? there's no simple answer. It's a combination of losing some kids that really could have helped us by things we couldn't control, and probably putting ourselves in a position where we were relying on youth more than we want to and should be.

We're going to compete for the Big Ten championship and the right to go to the Rose Bowl. That's what Michigan football is all about. That's why coaches come here, that's why players come here and I can tell you, that's why athletic directors come here.

Damn Brandon for being so levelheaded. With that kind of talk we should fire him too for being a realist and logical. FIRE DAVE BRANDON!!! YOUNG PLAYERS, BAD LUCK, AND INEXPERIENCE ARE NO EXCUSE!!!

Srsly though, Dave Brandon knows what he is doing. Let us do the worrying about getting tickets when Michigan is firing on all cylinders and trust DB and RR. I mean do you really have a choice? Either get on board when the bandwagon isn't as easy to sit on, or get off and stay off when the bandwagon has nitro boosters and a sweet spoiler.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:12 PM ^

mean for GERG and the rest of the D coaching staff?  All of those issues he raises could be used to describe GERG's situation too.  I, for one, am hoping beyond hope the D staff is broomed and a new coordinator is given free reign to do what they see fit.  Hopefully a D coordinator with current coaching success and recruiting chops to match.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:49 PM ^

knows except for maybe DB and RR. I wouldn't be that upset if he stayed. The only worry I have is if he brings more stuffed animals to games. If that is true, that is just weird.

RR said something about Vince Lombardi himself wouldn't be able to help this defense. GERG is no Vince Lombardi. He is dealing with a very scarce cabinet.

For now, just let the season play. It is like a bad song playing over and over again after a loss with people calling for everyone's head is rediculous. We aren't on the sideline, locker room, at practice, etc. Just sit back, enjoy the ride, and have a little trust in RR or at least DB to make the right choices. This isn't their first rodeo at making important decisions.. It is college football, not 'Nam.

James Burrill Angell

November 20th, 2010 at 10:52 PM ^

Just had this argument with the people who I sit around in the stadium.

I hate that we blame GERG for this defensive mess. I really do. He may or may not be a good coach BUT consider what he had

 1) Took a job where his staff was dictacted to him

2) Took a job where the scheme was dictated to him

 3) Said scheme is not something he had run before

 4) Defensive Back armageddon (transfers, ineligibility, injuries)

 5) Something like 5 guys from his first defensive recruiting class never enroll

So with that said, for the many people who want to see GERG gone (and I must admit, I may be one), what will it matter if (1) RR insists the new guy has to have RR's boys as his staff (2) the new coordinator wasn't familiar or fond of the 3-3-5 and its imposed on him.

Further, it stands to reason that just by adding a year of experience on the players we have, only losing Rogers and Mouton but gaining back JT Floyd and Woolfolk, we should be better next year. But how much better? I love these guys for trying but the horses just aren't there defensively right now. Too little talent, way too young, and, at least against good big ten teams, we appear to be out sized. The question is, will one year significantly change that issue regardless of who the coordinator is? Its likely going to take three years of heavy recruiting AND recruiting quality AND quantity defensively AND making sure they're eligible to make it to campus.

I must admit, I'm happy we have three CB recruits and we're in on some safeties. Lord knows we needed some depth back there. But what concerns me is we haven't had a significant interior defensive line or MLB recruit that this staff has brought in the last two classes. Watching those monsterous linemen from Wiscy manhandle our defensive front seven (save Mike Martin) was sort of depressing.

vigo the carpathian

November 21st, 2010 at 1:13 AM ^

this is an excellent post about GERG (honestly). i think what's hard here -- and it's true for rodriguez, too -- is figuring out the criteria that we should use for deciding whether to retain or dismiss a coach. there's a big difference between the "he deserves another year" and "he's the best guy for the job going forward" criteria.

i agree that GERG hasn't had a fair shot here, and in that sense he kind of deserves a little more patience. but is he the best guy for the job? probably not. for rodriguez, it's kind of the opposite. it's really hard to say that he's earned a fourth year, but it's possible that he is the best guy for us going forward (though i think there's a good case for harbaugh).

maybe you can use different criteria for the two positions, but i don't think it's obvious how you make those decisions. although "who's the best guy going forward?" seems like the big question, i wouldn't be a fan of dumping a legendary coach as soon as the next hot thing struck me as marginally more promising for the future. in that world, you no longer have your joe paternos.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:49 PM ^

Offensively,yes, but defense and special teams are huge question marks. Strictly basing our opinion on evidence, one can say that UM will have a great offense, horrid defense, and so so special teams. What that translates to in terms of W's and L's is 5-7 to 7-5. In other words, mediocrity.


Any prediction other than that is based on pure conjecture.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

Players tripling their time in a college program between now and next September may lead rational minds to think the defense will be better. And that's how much more time every freshman who didn't enroll early will have. Add in the fact that the only players lost on the defensive side of the ball are Rogers and Mouton, it all points to a defense that is at least competent.


November 20th, 2010 at 9:53 PM ^

Brandon won't do anything rash in his first year as AD. The program has been through enough turmoil without piling a coaching change on top of it. He will "evaluate" but won't dismiss RR until after 2011 at the earliest, and only if we're noticeably digressing.

Evil Monkey

November 20th, 2010 at 9:54 PM ^

We will have a lot more expirience next year and depth on both sides of the ball. If they coach, prepare, and evaluate the d side of the ball they will be better next season on defesne

Mitch Cumstein

November 20th, 2010 at 10:02 PM ^

I am of the opinion that Brandon either has to fire RR or extend him.  A lame duck coach has an awful time recruiting in most cases.  Is anyone concerned about this dynamic of the decision.  I mean, in a perfect world, I'd give him another year.  But it would be hard for me to extend him if I were the AD.

myantoniobass …

November 20th, 2010 at 9:57 PM ^

I agree with you, these interviews strongly lean to another year for RR.  I hear DB watches film with RR on Sundays.  I just hope next week, should we lose (which seems to be our trend against ranked Big10 teams), I hope the loss is more like last year and NOT like 2 years ago at O state.

Hoken's Heroes

November 20th, 2010 at 10:34 PM ^

What did I type that wasn't level headed. I commented prior to the game that Wisky would have it's way with U of M and I was vilified for saying that. I will never abandon my fanatacism for the U of M football program but I will be equally critical of it. Next year will be the year that RR either redeems himself or takes his crew to another program.


November 20th, 2010 at 10:47 PM ^

I'm not buying that rationale.  

First, if you feel the coach will not get the job done, it's better to get it done sooner rather than later.   Second, why would the program be buried?  That seems to assume a massive flight of current players and refusal of high school kids to come.  What if the new coach quickly gained the confidence of both sets of kids?  What if he had a smooth transition into A2?  Just because RR had such a tough time doesn't mean all other coaches would.  A coaching change should be made if deemed to be in the best interest of the program, and not feared because of change itself.


November 21st, 2010 at 1:44 AM ^

What if the new coach quickly gained the confidence of both sets of kids?  What if he had a smooth transition into A2?  Just because RR had such a tough time doesn't mean all other coaches would.

In all likelihood, a new coach (for the sake of argument) would have to have a smoother transition, because loyalists to the old regime wouldn't be around to sabotage the new regime, and the state's largest newspaper wouldn't have people close enough to the program aiding and abetting a half-assed "investigation" that was nothing short of (h/t Chait) journalistic malpractice.

No coach should have to endure what RR has gone through. The program is still suffering and trying to recover from the vendettas of a few against a man that did nothing to deserve it. Not to mention the staggering misfortune with injuries, etc. that has plagued the team, particularly the defense.