Misplaced Anger

Submitted by steve sharik on November 8th, 2009 at 8:58 AM

If you are one of those people who was really angry about the way we played as a whole yesterday, then you either a) haven't been paying attention to the previous nine games, or b) don't have the ability to accept a situation and move on emotionally. I mean, what did you expect would happen defensively yesterday?

I understand being frustrated in the moment when a bad play happens, or that we lost a game we *could* have won (and if you think we automatically should have beaten any Big Ten team at this point I have a bridge I'd like to sell you), but to express that much anger about the state of the team is emotionally immature. It should have been out of your system no later than the previous Saturday.

And I have news for you, the next two weeks will be just as ugly, so please mentally prepare yourself so the rest of us don't have to see and/or hear your irrational comments.



November 8th, 2009 at 9:08 AM ^

I have now accepted what the rest of the season will be. I thought they would win yesterday though. Losing this particular game was surprizing to me at least. A win and the heat would have been off, or turned down a little. And I did truly think that Michigan was better than Purdue. Now I really understand where things stand. If the next two weeks go as is expected, just a bad taste going into the off-season.


November 8th, 2009 at 9:14 AM ^

Exactly. It's like showing up to Thanksgiving Dinner and bitching that you don't like turkey. If you've watched this team, you know what they do - maybe the shock, outrage, and anger can be canned.

As I've said - nobody knows for sure if we're headed in the right direction, but thankfully, what anyone on this board thinks is 100% irrelevant to the outcome of who coaches this team.


November 8th, 2009 at 10:45 AM ^

Agree. Time for emotional outrage has past.

Either you can get out there and root for your team or just focus on other stuff until the team gets better.

On a different note,
"But thankfully what anyone on this board thinks is 100% irrelevant to the outcome of who coaches this team."

This one too: wolverineliberationarmy.com/blog

: P


November 8th, 2009 at 11:10 AM ^

100% agree and cosign on everything. Ultimately, the people who will make the decisions about RR do not read MGoBlog or listen to WTKA for ideas on what to do, nor should they. Calling for the coaching staff's head achieves nothing, and does nothing to help the kids busting their asses out on the field.


November 8th, 2009 at 9:37 AM ^

I can't speak for anyone else, but I was *angry* last week. This week, I was very *sad* due to the realization that we'll probably miss another year of postseason play. Last winter felt endless, and it looks like it will be the same this year. Plus, missing those extra practices seems pretty critical when your issue is youth and experience.

However, despite the fact that our B10 record will probably end up worse than 2008, there has clearly been some obvious improvement on offense. With the exception of PSU and second half Illinois, we're cranking out the offense. If we can make similar strides on D next year, we should make the leap next year.

might and main

November 8th, 2009 at 9:41 AM ^

Yes, it was disappointing to lose after getting up by 14, but the Purdue game was better than the Illinois game. I was concerned that the team had quit after Illinois ... they haven't. They played with heart yesterday. They may not be good, but they haven't quit on their coaches or themselves.

It's fine by me to question the coaching - there are mistakes being made. But I agree with Jamie Mac ... anyone on here who has quit on this team should just STFU and go cheer for someone else. Michigan football will be back, and will be opening some cans on Purdue, Illinois, yes even Penn State again. Then everyone will be ALL IN like the typically weak.


November 8th, 2009 at 9:51 AM ^

We have been watching this for not nine games, but 21, and now 22. But some of us have been watching for hundreds of games, and are still shocked. There are some of us who actually saw Tom Curtis and Thom Darden on the TartanTurf. And it's not exactly like showing up for Thanksgiving and complaining because one doesn't like turkey. It's like showing up at Mom's for Thanksgiving and dinner is cat food, Dad has disappeared, Mom is covered with tats and piercings and living with an elderly biker who's into grunge, and ...

I enjoy Coach Sharik's analyses and find them enlightening. Is there any hope for this team, now or in the future? What is the problem? Is it any of these:

1. The players are just young and need to develop and mature physically, and they will, given time;

2. The players completely lack athletic ability due to inept Carr-era recruiting, and no one who has been on campus since before January, 2008 can possibly play D-1 football;

3. All of the defensive players have concentration periods shorter than 10 seconds;

4. All of the defensive players have quit trying;

5. The coaching staff has all of them completely confused;

6. Too many of them are trying to be heroes instead of doing their own jobs;

7. The coaching staff has panicked and is trying too many things all at once ?

Michigan football has for me been a longtime source of recreation and pleasure, and I would like to have it back. I concede I don't have the skills set to offer cogent and coherent analysis and suggestions, and I rely on Coach Sharik for that. Scolding I can get from anyone.

steve sharik

November 8th, 2009 at 6:35 PM ^

I would say some of 1, 2, and 6 for sure, as well as possibly 5 and 7.

The real problem: Michigan Football should be a source of enjoyment, but does that mean winning, good football, or both? And is it fair that we always had winning football while every other major power had periods like the one were going through right now?

Also, please realize that Michigan Football since say, oh, 1976 has *not* been a source of pleasure for some of us from the perspective of assumptive arrogance, vanilla schemes, and underachievement on the part of Michigan Football for over 30 years now, save a small handful of seasons whose excitement was based solely on winning.

I get a lot of enjoyment from strategy, and the strategy from 1969 to 2007 was "We have better players than you, will play basic football, and make fewer mistakes." While this will yield a solid winning percentage, it doesn't yield national title contenders on a regular basis b/c eventually you run into other power programs who have equal talent accompanied by a much more complex strategy.

So if we have to endure this present pain to come out on the other side as a Florida/Texas/USC level program (which we haven't been since 1977), then so be it.


November 9th, 2009 at 1:47 AM ^

Actually, I had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek when I offered ## 2, 3, and 4 of my list. Unlike many of the contributors, and despite the attrition, I put a lot of faith in the development of players. Randy Logan came as an offensive player, as did Ian Gold, Greg McReynolds, and Jim Betts. Dave Gallagher was recruited as a LB and got one of the last scholarships. No doubt there were many more. I have a hard time accepting that among all the players on the squad, there aren't 11 who, properly taught, can hold the Purdues and Illinoises of the world to four touchdowns.

I watched a lot of Michigan football from 1969 to 2007, and a lot of the plan I perceived was not merely acquiring superior talent, but in turning decent athletes into fine football players, and turning fine football players into good football teams. The 1985 team had a ferocious defense, but few who went to the NFL (Mark Messner was a high draft choice, but was not a big NFL success).

I'm not old enough to have seen the Mad Magicians of 1947-48, but I suppose that would be an example of the success of a complex strategy. Was Texas's putting the ball in Vince Young's hands a complex strategy? Did USC have one? Boise State, I will concede.

As for enjoyment, there are certain Michigan football memories I most enjoy. Like the Ohio State game which featured a total of ten penalty yards for both teams combined (Michigan won, and it was in the 70s, but I don't remember which year). Like knowing Michigan had star defensive linemen who became physicians (Dave Gallagher, Dom Tedesco). Like considering the career of Rich Strenger, who came as a TE, was converted to tackle, rode the bench behind Muransky and Parris for 4 years, but continued to work and develop and became All Conference and Hon. mention All-America despite being a starter only one year. There are lots more, but I think I am making my point.

Coach Sharik, thanks for the feedback. I'm flattered you thought my post worth comment.

steve sharik

November 9th, 2009 at 1:59 AM ^

When you have a ton of talent on the roster. Jacob Hester from LSU, for example. David Harris. A lot of the guys you named.

A lot of times the recruiting "gurus" get it wrong, but also a lot of times all guys with "less" talent need is to practice against guys with amazing talent. You get the most improvement playing against players better than you. And if you practice against guys more talented than you and more talented than your opponents, the games become easier than the practices.

I cite the basketball program until last year. We had a good player or two, but it was impossible for the mid-level guys to rise to upper-level b/c they practiced against walk-ons and other very untalented players. Now that Beilein has stocked the cupboard (and continues to stock it with even higher level talent), you're going to start to see guys like Stu Douglass , Zack Novak, Blake McLimans, etc. become those "developed players" to whom you referred.

And I know for a fact that Bo's teams didn't always play the most talented guys, but the most talented guys that made the fewest mistakes.

Now, as far as more complex schemes, I refer you to the 2007 Rose Bowl that featured us as a team many were clamoring to take on OSU in a re-match for the national title. We played USC in the Rose Bowl. USC couldn't run the ball on us, so what did they do? They found Morgan Trent and picked on him the entire 2nd half and threw the ball almost every play. Result? They went up and down the field the 2nd half and turned a close game into a blowout.

On the other side of the ball, USC had sent corner blitzes at us not only throughout that game but also when they played us in the 2004 Rose Bowl (2003 season). Sack after sack with no adjustment on our part.

These are the kinds of things I hope we have rid this program of. It just doesn't look like it at all right now because of our lack of talent, depth, and experience.


November 10th, 2009 at 12:18 AM ^

You really are sharp. If one of my dreams comes true, you and I will sit down over 100 beers and I will tell you about M football kids from before your puberty and you will teach me some football.

RR should get your resume.

Still and all, IMHO coaching is the most important single thing in college football. There were reasons other than recruiting that Bear, Darrel Royal, Bo, Woody, Lou Holtz (someone I have always despised, but perhaps irrationally), Tom Osborne, and the like were long time winners. Just as there are reasons that John L. Smith and Bob Davies epitomized the Peter Principle in college football. The only knock I have on Lloyd Carr, really, was he was too loyal to people who just weren't very good at their jobs (e.g., Andy Moeller as an OL coach). I refuse to accept he didn't do his best to bring good athletes to Ann Arbor.

Sometimes people are just unlucky. The maligned 1984 team was very good until Harbaugh broke his arm. What would have been the case if Lawrence Taylor hadn't blown up John Wangler's knee, or if Antonio Bass hadn't lost his entire career to injury, or if Corey Zirbel (or Bill Dufek, in an earlier time) hadn't lost his entire career to injury?

On the other hand, I still have a hard time accepting Shawn Crable's and Gabe Watson's wasting gigantic god-given talent. But, then, I am one who thought if Braylon Edwards had had half the work ethic and sense that Walter Smith had, we might have forgotten AC and, maybe, even Jerry Rice.

The beer's on me.


November 10th, 2009 at 3:09 AM ^

One of my favorite quotes from Bear Bryant was when he said, "You can't make chicken salad without the chicken," in reference to recruiting.

Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier didn't forget how to coach when they went from ND/UF to South Carolina, but neither had anywhere near the same level of success because it is much tougher to recruit there. Many cite Tom Osborne's increased ability to recruit blue-chip talent (often at the expense of taking on less than reputable characters like Lawrence Phillips) as the catalyst for Nebraska's jump from twenty years of close-but-no-cigar to three out of four national titles. I don't think Bob Davie was a great head coach by any stretch of the imagination, but he worked with much tighter recruiting restrictions than Holtz faced at ND (guys like Zorich and Rice were partial qualifiers).

So yeah, coaching is very important to a team's success, but recruiting is probably the most important part of any college coach's job (especially if that coach wants to win big at the national level).


November 8th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

While I can see some of your points, I do not agree with:

4. All of the defensive players have quit trying;

5. The coaching staff has all of them completely confused;

On the subject of 4, the D line is working hard. You can't tell me Graham is taking plays off, nor is Martin or RVB. Warren certainly is working hard out there. I also think Kovacs for instance is busting his butt out there. Some of the players are not that effective (Kovacs,Mouton, Williams) but that's a different issue.

I also don't see #5 at all. There have been some (read: few) plays where we do look confused.... but 'all of them', no way. Graham doesn't look confused to me, he seems to know what he's doing.

I like Coach Sharik's writings as well. But I haven't gotten the impression he is saying GR is doing a poor job. In general my impression is Sharik thinks GR is doing reasonably well. The lack of depth, the youth and inexperience and lack of talent is the tale for the defense from what I have read. The only schematic element that seems questionable has been the cornerbacks alignment. Sometimes they are playing off the wr on the snap. CS sounds like he wouldn't do that so much.

I realize you are generalizing but I think Michigan football will rise and be a source of fun for ya again. (I'm not scolding ya, I saying hang in there). Right now it's rough, but every other program in the nation has gone through some sort of struggles at one time or another. We'll be back.


November 8th, 2009 at 11:05 AM ^

Thanks for even looking at my sorrow and depression caused stuff. I didn't mean to imply that I was arguing any of the seven listed items. I was only tossing out possibles, or even impossibles. Naturally, I don't think the D has quit trying. These kids surely work very hard and try very hard with every breath they take. They have to have some sort of athletic ability or they wouldn't be in uniform.

I could have listed more possibilities, like Bo actually sold his soul to Satan in exchange for forty years of success, but the price would be Satan would curse the Wolverines thereafter.

Thus, it keeps coming back to coaching.


November 8th, 2009 at 11:56 AM ^

We have some talent on defense, but not at all 11 positions. The problem is, on defense, it only takes a couple of poor players to drag the whole unit down; if one guy fails to execute his assignment, it can mean a touchdown for the other team.

At safety and inside linebacker, we really are talent-deficient. One starting inside lineback (Ezeh) was a 3-star fullback recruit in high school. Under normal circumstances, he'd probably be a career backup. Instead, he's a multi-year starter. The other ILB (Mouton) was recruited to play safety, but turned out to be a 'tweener and was put at linebacker. The primary backup at the position is a walk-on (Leach).

One safety (Kovacs) is a freshman walk-on coming off knee surgery. The other starting safety (Williams) was highly regarded, but has done absolutely nothing to warrant this. He shouldn't be starting, but there is almost literally no depth behind him, so he does. Sadly, even though these two are thoroughly mediocre, they regularly lead the team in tackles, since the aforementioned ILBs are so poor at doing their own jobs.

I hate to rag on the kids, but the guys we have at safety and ILB flat-out would not see the field at OSU, PSU or any other good defensive team. They're not normal Michigan-caliber players. And yet, they're the best options we've got. The coaches are seriously hamstrung with them.


November 8th, 2009 at 2:19 PM ^

No defense is going to be any good when there is a four-player hole right in the heart of the back seven, though I suppose realizing this fact about the nature of success in football means we are both drunk on RichRod's kool-aid.


November 8th, 2009 at 10:32 AM ^

Agreed that we should not have been surprised by this - it can happen any week at this point. In many ways they actually played better than in the recent past. For now we have to live with the lows.

Having said that I also think there is a chance we can come out hitting on all cylinders next week, with minimal mistakes, and make a game of it.

A week passes, and there is always hope.


November 8th, 2009 at 12:37 PM ^

I know everyone has pretty much written off Wisconsin and Ohio State, but looking at Wisconsin they have not exactly been dominant despite a 7-2 record. They barely beat Northern Illinois, needed overtime to beat Fresno State, and just barely squeaked by Indiana this week. (in fairness they kicked the shit out of Purdue last week though...)

So maybe a bit of desperation on our part, this game being the best chance to make a bowl...plus if we hope for a bit of complacency by Wisconsin, bowl eligible and up against a team that looks like it should be an easy win...I agree, there is always hope.


November 8th, 2009 at 11:48 AM ^

never giving up more than 20 points in all 11 games.

Their offense sucked, but all it had to do in 05 was score 20 points per game, and bingo.

Recall the 6-4 loss (no, not a baseball score) to Iowa in 04. Up 6-4 with about two minutes or less, Ferentz refused to kick a FG on fourth-and-about-three from about the 10 yard line, knowing that a blocked FG returned for a TD was the only way Penn State was gonna score.

Different situation.

Bobby Boucher

November 8th, 2009 at 11:00 AM ^

Before the season even started I reasoned within myself that they'll probably only make it to 6-6 this year. Even though that's still not our traditional outlook, it's an improvement from last year. If they don't finish at least 6-6 then I'll be disappointed, but I'll get over it some time next year. Plus, the seasons not over with yet. Don't fret. Anything's possible!


November 8th, 2009 at 11:41 AM ^

I think it is important to note that the offense has made steady progress, albeit without the read/option. I am, however, confident that RR can adapt the offense for Forcier and it seems that we are seeing a nice development in the short passing area with Roundtree, Odoms and Koger. There is also a stable of backs and receivers that bodes well in the years to come. The O-Line, while a little bit thin, is still on track for improvement.

That being said, the defense is a catastrophe now. To say otherwise would be to deny reality. Something, anything, has to be done to establish an identity on defense. These problems cannot be wished away. A crises point has developed for the second consecutive year on defense. So it is not unreasonable to call for change, whatever that may mean. RR really needs to intervene on defense and fix the problems himself. He cannot be shy to step on toes because like we all see, the defense is in a crises. RR admitted in the postgame presser that the players are trying their best, so the players are not the problem. The problem is that they're confused because the defensive coaches are totally clueless. That has to change immediately.


November 8th, 2009 at 12:52 PM ^

RR should let GERG do what he needs to do. The last time RR stepped on the toes of his DC resulted in the 2008 Purdue loss.

And just b/c their players are trying their best (which I think we all pretty much agree on) doesn't mean that their best is good enough against our competition. So, yes, the players are the main problem.


November 8th, 2009 at 1:32 PM ^

My concern is the regression over the last few weeks. I guess its unwise to think that we'll just get better and better each week until we are back where we all think we need to be under RR, but the mid-season step back is disheartening. When our reasoning and justification for where we are is that we are young, untalented at key spots, and transitioning in schemes, baby steps of progress and superior coaching are all we can cling to from week to week. I hope we see that in the next two weeks to close out the season.

Tim Waymen

November 8th, 2009 at 1:50 PM ^

I'm angry at circumstance. I'm pissed that the universe is unfolding in a way just to spite me. Don't get me wrong; I love my life. I have great friends and family and certain ambitions, but these 3-4 months are among the most exciting of the year. College football Saturday is the most exciting day of the week. In fact, it's so awesome, I'm convinced that the rejected corollary to that one of the (Big) 10 commandments was to keep the Sabbath holy by playing college football. And when it goes bad, when the 6th win, particularly one involving beating a conference foe--let alone finally beating Ohio State--seems so elusive that I can only dream about it, I get mad. It sucks. Yes it's just a game, but for some reason we were programmed to care.

And, as embarrassed and frustrated as I am by our regression, I love being a fan, and that kills me.

Tim Waymen

November 8th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

I'm weird when it comes to that. I get angry, the game ends, and I try to forget about it. But then the reality creeps up and it hurts.

I miss when we were 4-0 and things were exciting. It felt like the monkey was off our backs, Michigan had turned a corner, and we were headed toward a best-case scenario. And that's the weird thing about the past 2 years. Failure has come in the most unexpected fashion. No one foresaw 3-9 last year or, more importantly, the bad defense that was largely responsible for it. And just when we seemed to be in the clear, we were hit with the unthinkable, the unexpected--a 5-game losing streak in the Big 10 and a team in danger of missing a bowl game again. We went from being a team that was able to eek out wins to one that "just isn't that good." It sucks and is embarrassing and you can't help but wonder, why us?

steve sharik

November 8th, 2009 at 6:44 PM ^

"I miss when we were 4-0 and things were exciting. It felt like the monkey was off our backs, Michigan had turned a corner, and we were headed toward a best-case scenario."

We had beaten:
WMU: terrible
ND: just lost to Navy on their own field, barely beat a bad Washington team on their own field in OT, and is horrendous on defense despite being coached by Jon Tenuta and Corwin Brown
EMU: the worst team in D1 football
IU: the 2nd worst team in the Big Ten

This raised your expectations, as it did for a lot of folks, and there's the problem. I think a lot of people need to step back and take a good look at who we beat back in September.

Tim Waymen

November 8th, 2009 at 11:14 PM ^

Yup, pretty much. People did talk about how we were close to being 2-2. I just didn't think things would get this bad. Sure, we screw up every now and then, make freshman errors, but a Big 10 win didn't feel that elusive. Hell, we played a tough game against Iowa and lost by 2 points.* While I agree that the 4-0 start was a mirage, I didn't think a RR-coached team would lose the way we did.

*I refuse to call that an accomplishment. We got the L. I was take it as more of an indicator of progress. And goddammit we were so close. No way will my proudest moments as a fan ever consist of almost beating a top-10 team (ahem, Charlie Weis).


November 8th, 2009 at 2:36 PM ^

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and thinking you'll get a different result.

Its amazing how many posters here are "all in" for Rich Rod despite the the ample evidence the program is going backward.

It was just three years ago this program was ranked #2 going into its next to last game. Just 24 months ago this team was ranked #13 going into its eleventh game. Playing in a New Years Day Bowl was a given.

Explain why a "program" with that consistency of success needed to be overhauled to the point where the Motor City Bowl is an outside ... OUTSIDE !! chance and getting a bid for it would be considered a major accomplishment.

Time to cut losses and reload with a coach who knows that winning football consists of more than an arrogantly personal offensive "system".

Rich Rod = the most overpaid offensive coordinator in football.


November 8th, 2009 at 6:56 PM ^

For all of our "success" we have 1 National Championship in the last 60 years. And it was a SPLIT title.

Think about this for a second. We were able to hire a coach who has won multiple BCS bowl games and had his program ranked in the top ten a couple of years straight. This was a guy other top programs like Alabama wanted.

And then he was shackled with this team. Mind you, in his two years here, he has NEVER had anyone other than a freshman or a walk-on starting at quarterback. And yet, you're still convinced he's a terrible coach? If his teams perform at the same level or only slightly better in year 4, then I would agree that the fit just isn't right. But you're judging Rodriguez prematurely and blatantly ignoring the deficiencies of this team.

Those deficiencies aren't something that can be fixed in a week or two. We lack talent, and the only way we can fix that is to develop what we currently have or to recruit new players. Both of those take a couple of years, unfortunately. Rodriguez can develop talent. Just ask Oklahoma and Georgia. But he had years to do that, and those 2* players that he turned into world beaters had been in his system for years.

If you don't give him ample time, then you're making a huge mistake. And you're also digging yourself into a deeper hole, because no football coach is going to accept the job if he knows the administration is willing to fire him in two years.

If you can't handle the losses because you refuse to acknowledge the deficiencies of the team, then stop watching. Come back when we start winning, no one will notice. But for the mean time, stop watching if you can't handle it.

restive neb

November 8th, 2009 at 11:35 PM ^

"Explain why a 'program' with that consistency of success..."

My answer is simply "no." It's already been explained at length, so you're either not really interested in hearing the answer, or you just haven't been paying attention.

On your final point ("Rich Rod = the most overpaid offensive coordinator in football"), clearly you're not familiar with the head coach down in South Bend.


November 10th, 2009 at 3:24 AM ^

repeating over and over how RR sucks without admitting the serious deficiencies he has faced, and the fact the offense has made incredible gains with a true freshman QB.

"Its amazing how many posters here are "all in" for Rich Rod despite the the ample evidence the program is going backward".

I can say the same thing about you and the other not so bright fair weather people by just removing and replacing a few words.

"Its amazing how many posters here are yelling for Rich Rod to get fired despite the the ample evidence that the program has serious talent problems on defense".


November 8th, 2009 at 3:48 PM ^

You know, Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If I still have hope for next week, does that makes me crazy?