An honest question from the hated los barcos re expectations

Submitted by los barcos on October 11th, 2010 at 2:19 PM

i know i come off as the mgoblog negative nancy - which i really dont mean to - i just want to ask this question without being accused of being a "bandwagon" fan who is not "all in".  in my quest to devour michigan material, i came across this popular sentiment from the in rod we trust link:

I never even considered projecting more than eight wins for this team prior to the season, so I don’t understand the apocalyptic attitude certain fans are taking.


im curious to hear the opinions of the people who say "i predicted this team to b e 7-5/8-4 at the start of the year and thats what they still may finish" .


theoretically, with rich we hired one of the best coaches in the game...but at what point will the team exceed expectations as opposed to meeting the lowest threshold? in his first year we thought they would be bad...and they were bad. the second year, we thought they were going to be better but still bad, and they were exactly that.  now, i know there is still alot of football to be played (we could do really well, for example, and win out...........right?) but its starting to look - for the third year in a row - that rich will only meet our lowest expectations.  

ill try to phrase this as delicately as possible to avoid the ubiquitous "fuck you barcos, die in a fire" rants, but is it not reasonable to expect more from one of the "best coaches in college football" after three years? 

bare cupboard, freshmen secondary, the DECIMATED DEFENSE BY MISPOGEN, sophomore qb blah blah blah. ive read all the valid reasons for the team's struggles (or excuses, depending what you want to call them) but in the end, cant the "best young coach in the game" turn an average team into a better than average team?  



October 11th, 2010 at 2:24 PM ^

Coaches don't play CB or MLB.  The biggest failing of Rodriguez is not finding someone to replace Obi (CB was out of his control).  Which I dearly hope is a Pat Massey situation, which is not good.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

...and progress.  The offense has to hold serve, and the kids on defense need to improve.  Whatever the scheme, it needs to show that it is working WAY better at seasons end than it is right now. 


October 11th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

Sure, this hasn't gone as fast as we'd like, but good coaches take time to build up programs.  You can blame RR for the attrition (Boren etc.) but EVEN IF all those players stayed (which never happens in a coaching transition), he still inherited a team that lost the leading passer in school history, the leading rusher in school history, and the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft.


The national media is on the Jim Harbaugh bandwagon right now, and for the sake of argument, let's assume that he's a good coach.  What people overlook is that he didn't turn Stanford into a winner overnight; he had two losing seasons before he went 8-5 (in his third year) last year.  Now that he has his recruits running his system, judgment is more fair on the coach.  Brian Kelly at ND is another good example.  He's trying to change the system around, and despite being left with relatively good talent (Weis could recruit, just couldn't coach), he's running into trouble.  The Fire Brian Kelly crowd in South Bend is as silly as the Fire RRod crowd at this point.


Trust me, it's painful to watch this transition take longer than people expected, but if RR survives this year (which I believe he will), everything that happens next year will be fair game in terms of judgment; his players are the ones leading the team at that point, and I fully expect this team to be in contention for the conference crown.

Mitch Cumstein

October 11th, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

After ND, all I heard around here was "this is it, we knew believing in RR would pay off".  Now its "wait until next year".  Just like it was last year.  The problem is, when I'm honest with myself, I don't believe this team is much better than last year.  To this point, if we compare results to last year (which is not an exact science), we've probably been a little worse.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

While I disagree about this year's team being worse than last year (no way, in my opinion), I do agree that the "wait until next year" thing is started to wear thin.

I'm all for not counting 2008, and I don't want to see Coach Rod fired regardless of how the rest of the season goes, but the constant "they'll be better next year" excuse isn't going hold much water after a while.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:55 PM ^

Agreed that we can't count 2008.

So that means he's now coached us for 1.5 "countable" years. Most people would agree that a coach needs at least 4 years to get his players in and developed for his systems. 

Even counting 2008 that means next year is his "judgement" year and not counting it means 2012, still two years from now. This is why the "fire rich rod" stuff just drives me nuts.

Also most agree that the defense is a year behind the offense in development, and, has been decimated by numerous things. You almost have to give the defense til 2012ish for them to get the same "fair" 4 years to "prove" worthy.

It sucks, but we knew it was gonna suck, and that doesn't make it suck less, unfortunately. At least we have Denard. And yes, that is still a cool thing folks, in case we've forgotten...

/ends rant

/doesn't feel much better


October 11th, 2010 at 7:47 PM ^

I think that every year counts.  You can't just throw 2008 on the scrap heap.

That defense had a bunch of guys (Terrence Taylor, Tim Jamison, Will Johnson, Morgan Trent, Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren) with at least one year of experience who would eventually make an NFL roster...even if it was just the practice squad.  Jonas Mouton is another player who will fall into that category.  That's seven different guys.  How many Big Ten teams can say that?  Not Indiana.  Not Purdue.  Not Illinois.  Not Minnesota.  Not Northwestern.  You get the idea.  There wasn't great depth, but there was enough talent to do significantly better than they did.

They lost to Purdue (who started a QB in his first game) in large part because they installed a new defense in mid-season.  They lost to Utah in large part because not only did Nick Sheridan start a D1 college game but he was throwing the ball with under two minutes to go in the first half.  Take away that needless interception and Michigan has a good chance to win the game.  They lost to Toledo....forget it, I can't even come up with a reason for losing to Toledo.  They lost to Northwestern because they couldn't field a punt.

I'm not saying that the 2008 team was going to win the Big Ten but 3-9 is much lower than the bar needed to be.  Every season counts....that's why you play the game.


October 12th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

Both of you make good points.  I am torn, I support RR, and stick up for the him and the program at all costs, but damn it is getting old.  I think we go to a bowl this year, and next year is the year.  We have to beat State, and beat OSU, and get double digit wins.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:04 PM ^

I wasn't one to say this is the year... before this season I predicted 7-5 and I really put all my marbles in next year.

I don't think we are as bad as last year.  Last year, we got outgained by ND and Indiana both by about 100 yards and somehow happened to win both... that isn't happening this year, making this year's wins more "legit."


October 11th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

that the "let's wait until next year" is going to run out very soon, but can we please wait a few more games before we start talking about which team is better and who our new coach should be next year.  If we beat Iowa this weekend or even go 2-1 in our next 3 games will the naysayers still be here or at least vocal.  If you don't want to accept the saying of "wait until next year," that is fine, but at least let's wait until this year plays out.

Also, this team is definitely better than last year and our final record will prove it.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

I know coaches know a hell of a lot more than I do, but I just plain refuse to believe that there isn't a better alternative to Obi starting.  Is it possible that the team respects him too much and they know that benching him would reduce morale?

Nosce Te Ipsum

October 11th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

Although you are getting hammered for having that opinion I agree with you. After doing so poorly throughout the game it just makes sense to try someone else out there and see what happens. There is no way it could have gotten worse.

Durham Blue

October 11th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

the D to struggle mightily this season.  However, the hope was that the offense would be strong enough to lead the team to a decent 7 or 8 win season and a bowl.  Coach Rod is an offensive mastermind so it's not unreasonable to expect this to happen, barring injuries to key people.  That said, if a relatively healthy O continues to shoot itself in the foot like it did against MSU and we end up 6-6 or worse, I will have serious doubts about RR's future here at Michigan.  In other words, we need to prove this season that we can beat or at least hang with some of the big dogs in the B10.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

what did we do on offense that was unusual for us or that was novel for State to see? As far as I can tell from being there and not yet watching replay--nothing. I'm starting to wonder if RR's (very legitimate) rep as a guru is based more upon this scheme--objectively successful--than his in game play calling or game planning.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:33 PM ^

fine. i'll bite.

i guessed 7-5, 8-4 tops. the reasoning was simple: the team is excessively young with limited senior leadership and rough depth. a team like that can be shredded by poor decisions and injuries, which we witnessed during the MSU game. RR can help develop Denard into a terrifying threat but only Denard can develop himself into one that makes proper decisions at the right times. all the schemes in the world will not help you win a game if, during the game, a player's inexperience dominates their training. 

RR is the coach for the future because he took a bad team and helped them beat Wisconsin in 2008. he's consistently out-coached Notre Dame and been the victim of unfortunate circumstances in a NUMBER of games. i've yet to see him out-coached by a mile. other teams have had better game plans but when players are saying "we practiced against those two runs all week" and they STILL get blown up by it... that's on-field lapse and not a problem in Schembechler Hall. 

tl;dr form: RR is not Les Miles.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:47 PM ^

though i noted specifically that he hasn't been "blown out of the water out-coached." when players are exactly where they need to be to make plays, whether on offense or defense, and are merely not making the play... that's not being out-coached, that's struggling to execute what your coach put you in position to do


October 11th, 2010 at 3:48 PM ^

Them beating us over and over on the snap count for two straight years is a coaching issue. Them jumping our wheel routes over and over was a coaching issue. I'm pretty sure they've beaten the spread each of the last three years. Taking the three losses together I think it's clear that Dantonio has been outcoaching Rodriguez by a significant margin.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

That's because he's a better coach than RR.  MSU is what UM used to be...solid pro-style offense, hard-hitting non-gimmick defense.  RR's system may work in the Big East, but not in a real football conference like the Big Ten.  What's his Big Ten record again?

Colt McBaby Jesus

October 11th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

Really, by a mile? I'll concede that he's been outcoached, hell, they've lost the last 3. However, last year went to overtime. This year, if Denard doesn't throw behind his receivers twice in the redzone it's a completely different game. You can't blame RR for Denard making bad passes. I'm not saying RR's been great, but he hasn't been outcoached by a mile.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

What did you see last year that really blew you away? Giving up two late game touchdowns to a 6 foot nothing true freshman QB?  Hanging 20 points on our craoptacular defense at home?

I think D'Antonio is a good coach, but let's not lionize this guy because he beat us a few years in a row when we were down.  EVERYONE beat us in 2008 and 2009.  Even Purdue. D'Antonio has yet to win a bowl game at MSU.  In three seaaons, he managed to get his team into the final AP poll once - a 24 ranking at the end of 2008.   


October 11th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

I agree that RR is our coach for few more years at least, but the reasons you give are questionable at best. You have got to come up with better arguments than those. Let's see...

"RR is the coach for the future because he took a bad team and helped them beat Wisconsin in 2008."

  • I guess RR is not to blame for the team being bad in the first place? At least a little? Nor is he to blame for Um being down 19 at the half? And you say below he is often the victim of unfortunate circumstances. So, he can be the victim of bad luck, but not good luck? You don't think some luck had something to do with this win?

"he's consistently out-coached Notre Dame and been the victim of unfortunate circumstances in a NUMBER of games."

  • OK, he out-coached ND. That is definitely selective evidence there. What about Toledo? Utah? Purdue? MSU? And, are we to presume that when he appeared to be out-coached, it was really due to bad luck? None of the examples of his out-coaching benefitted from good luck? 

i've yet to see him out-coached by a mile.

  • Ok, but what about by a foot? A yard? Why is a mile your measure? Again, a less than convincing argument. 

other teams have had better game plans but when players are saying "we practiced against those two runs all week" and they STILL get blown up by it... that's on-field lapse and not a problem in Schembechler Hall.

  • Practicing against expected plays can't replace teaching fundamentals. Much of the on-the-field lapses (not all of them) are due to poor fundamentals. And I am guessing a lot of that is failure on the practice field. 

I am not saying you are wrong, you just need more convincing arguments. 


October 11th, 2010 at 4:57 PM ^

There are a ton (read: more than half) of posters here that manage to:

1) fault RichRod for the flaws he's responsible for (some % of attrition, wasting resources recruiting guys who can't qualify, decisions about defensive coaches, in-game coaching in certain games), while still

2) understanding the gravity of the flaws he's not responsible for (the QB situation prior to this year, the depth and talent situation he faced coming in, the hostile local media and its effects, some % of the attrition).

There is no difference between the "blind" "sheep" RR supporters, many of whom at their core I suspect just don't want a repeat of the last 3 years with ANOTHER transition, and the los barcos-es of the world who post nut-hugging Harbaugh nonsense.  Except that los barcos is negative, and thus more annoying, and actually thinks he's important enough to be "the hated" on this board.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

I'm all in for RR, but I do agree the one thing that concerns me is defensive coaching.  He admits he doesn't coach defense.  If that's the case, then he is responsible, as head coach, for hiring a DC that knows what he's doing... and the jury's out on Gerg.

I don't think he's been outcoached on the whole; on a play-by-play basis, perhaps he has been outschemed, but no coach is perfect.  He could have run a perfect gameplan in 2008, but with Sheridan at QB, you're not going to beat Utah, who happened to beat Alabama and ended up #2 in the BCS.  The fact that we were in that game is a miracle.

The MSU thing is frustrating given our recent dominance in that series, but I think RR's tenure is just poorly lined up with the best MSU football in recent history.  If MSU hits 10-2 this year (which is quite possible), then RR's first three years would have encountered MSU in its 2 best years in the past decade.  If we played any of the John L Smith or Bobby Williams teams, things may be different.

Say all you want about the D, but you can't deny that his offensive schemes work... and we only have one senior on offense.  If it were up to me, I'd fire Gerg before considering firing RR.


October 11th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

i was using those as examples of a general theme, not the exact defined reasons. 2008 showed he could out-coach a much better Wisconsin team, not that it was a valued example that bought him years. a mile was used bc you have to expect to be out-coached at times but you fire a coach when he's blown out of the water.

and if you think RR is skipping the fundamentals and that's why it keeps happening... ugh. players slip into old habits under pressure. they grow out of it.