A Modest Attempt at Perspective

Submitted by FrankMurphy on January 3rd, 2018 at 11:20 PM

Here goes. First, the bad:

• The generally disappointing performance of the program over the past 10-15 years and persistent futility against our two main rivals should trigger some legitimate introspection.

• The way in which we lost the Outback Bowl, coupled with the disappointing 2017 season, dismal offense, and persistent weaknesses that date back to last season or earlier (e.g., poor offensive line play) raise legitimate questions about whether the issues plaguing this team are systemic.

• Jim Harbaugh’s failure to develop an elite QB so far legitimately tarnishes his reputation as a QB guru.

• Pep Hamilton, Tim Drevno, and perhaps other offensive assistants may need to be replaced.

• The above, coupled with the fact that Michigan has failed to finish better than 3rd in the B1G East three years into the Harbaugh era, raises legitimate questions about whether the Jesus-like hype surrounding Harbaugh and his antics is excessive and unwarranted.

Having said all of that, we ultimately need to keep the good in mind:

• This program was a complete and total train wreck when Harbaugh got here, and he doubled the team’s win total in his first season.

• For all of the issues on offense, the defense actually overachieved with another top 5 finish despite losing 10 of 11 starters from 2016.

• The defense returns 9 of 11 starters in 2018 and is poised for another dominant year.

• Many blue-chip recruits, like Rashan Gary, Khaleke Hudson, and Devin Bush Jr., have lived up to their hype and then some.

• What isn’t the product of hype is Harbaugh’s track record, having turned around two miserably underperforming teams, coached two Heisman Trophy runners-up, and molded a group of unknown recruits into the country’s best offensive line in 2010 at Stanford.


So that’s where we’re at. This will be a long, painful, and critical offseason. We have no choice but to take our lumps from Sparties and Buckeyes who will spare no opportunity to point out Harbaugh’s 1-5 record against them, our painfully long B1G championship drought, and the fact that Michigan was the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect B1G bowl record. HOWEVER, the light at the end of the tunnel is still in sight. It may be further off than we wanted, and the tunnel has had some unexpected twists and turns, but the light is still visible. All we can do is be patient and keep the faith. There are still plenty of legitimate reasons to do that. And it beats sky-is-falling hysterics or head-in-the-sand rehashing of old statistics that bear no relevance to the program today. Now neg away.

Comments

MGoGrendel

January 4th, 2018 at 8:17 AM ^

By this reasoning, my OP yesterday was less putrid.  What starts as an attempt to cheer up the board falls flat.

I saw a Michigan Football post on FB asking the fans what our record would be in 2018.  Talk about a hate fest.  The "we suck and won't win 7 games" drowned out the "cheer up, we're gettting better" crowd.

Going to stew until September and look for the bright spots in recruiting, new coaches, and the Spring Game.

MGoGrendel

January 4th, 2018 at 9:08 AM ^

so we've been through the same ups and downs of the program.  It appears we have a different perspective today.

Brandon brought in a ton of junk that went against our traditions.  He and his Kraft Noodle were booted out and replaced with Ward, who honors our past. Ward brought in the right coach to bring our football team back to a national championship competitor.  Many of us feel positive about this.

That said, I'm sure that I'm just as salty as you about our recent results. 

mGrowOld

January 4th, 2018 at 10:45 AM ^

My lack of optimism right now is simply a product of my past and what I've watched through the years.  I'm not a "clean slate" by any means so last year, for example, when the board was falling all over itself proclaiming victory in Iowa I was one of the only ones who thought the game would be close and we might lose.  Why?  Because I've got almost 50 years of watching us have problems playing night games and problems in Iowa.  A younger person who's never seen that wouldnt necessarily know to be worried going in.

Next year I think record-wise we're going to be about where we are this year unfortunately.  Thanks to Dave Brandon and Warde we are going to play three VERY difficullt road games AND have both Wisconsin and Penn State at home.  And based on what you've seen through three years of Harbaugh do you have any reason to believe we'll win even half of those games, much less all five?  So I'm a bit less that rosy about doing better than 8-5 next year again and when coupled with our less than stellar recruiting efforts this year that makes me kinda sad to be honest.

I think you're kidding yourself if we're going to be national championship contenders next year.  The schedule does NOT set us up for that in any way, shape or form.

Sorry.

MGoGrendel

January 4th, 2018 at 10:59 AM ^

Every year we lose at least one game we should win.

I don't think winning at OSU is out of the question - we came close last year.  With good OL and QB play, we are going to be tough.  But, that's were the uncertainty is.  Same for MSU - I think we can win there if we neutralize their game plan of stacking the box. 

I do think that Harbaugh has to have the team ready to punch back in both games.  Something that has been lacking for years - we put a little spike in the ground and then appologize.  Someone show some emotion and give a Taylor Lewan type penalty once in awhile. 

Woodstock Wolverine

January 4th, 2018 at 11:08 AM ^

I remember you proclaiming that last year before Iowa, I didn’t want to believe you but deep down I knew you were right. I don’t want to believe you about next year either, but you’re probably right.

I do believe that this program is heading in the right direction, the sky is falling people are ridiculous and though it may take longer than we had hoped, championships are coming.

mgobaran

January 4th, 2018 at 8:57 AM ^

Rudock finished 2015 as the 10th rated QB in the country by ESPNs QBR metric. Speight finished 22nd in 2016, despite being one of only three guys to post a negative rushing metric in the top 35.

The fact that Peters =/= Luck in year three under Harbaugh isn't a knock against Peters or Harbaugh. Luck was one of the best college QBs of all time. To expect to always have that high of a caliber QB is just setting ourselves up for failure.  

 

Maynard

January 4th, 2018 at 10:31 AM ^

1. I didn't say he was a blue chip.

2. I just gave you what he was coming out of high school. 

3. What is considered a blue chip? If it is 5 stars only, then there are only just over 30 of those each year. Is a 4 star one of those? I guess I don't know what the definition is. In a general sense, I don't consider him a blue chip either because that insinuates a can't miss player I would think, but I'm not sure it's a case of making some nobody into a great player by the coaches either. Consider this: The 247 Composite 4 stars went all the way down to #342. And there is around just over 92,000 college football players within all levels combined. Even if only 25% of those are freshman, that means Hudson would be in the top 1.68% of those 23,000 at #386. 

Sounds blue chipish, no? HAHA. I'm just fucking with you now. But seriously, he was great coming out of high school, not some project. Anyone who watched him in high school knows that he is basically the same player.

Supa Hot Fire

January 3rd, 2018 at 11:36 PM ^

This is all true but it was still disheartening to see the team get worse rather than better as this season progressed. There is no perspective to that other than that it is a problem. Hopefully the future brings better results

stephenrjking

January 3rd, 2018 at 11:37 PM ^

Many said 2016 was "the year," and it was. Talent and experience everywhere.

The issues people really have are issues with 2016. 2015 and 2017 are rebuilding years of sorts; 15 from the Hoke wreckage, 17 from a serious talent departure. 

But 16 was the year where things could come together, and they were just barely not there. Honestly, we were an inch away. Barrett isn't given that first down and none of this angst exists.

*The two weaknesses in the 16 team were an ok but not great QB and an OL. Harbaugh has shown plenty of willingness to address OL issues rather than stand pat, and rumors of larger changes suggest that this continues to be the case. 

SpinachAssassin

January 4th, 2018 at 2:24 AM ^

This is apparently how you get 20 million points. First rule of MGoPoints set aside for that moment.

Further to the above, 2018 can also be the year. Sucks a bit it's in an away year for MSU/OSU, yet no avoiding it. That inch and defeating a dignified 2016 sparty team prove we can win on the road and glad to have PSU at home and not a white-out. Next year's schedule will stand on its own.

When factoring in rumored changes, plus another year of Harbaugh OL recruits, plus an incoming QB that can either best adapt to those changes or is beaten out by the incumbents (both good things), plus the Rashan/Chase demon beast, plus Bush and Hudson blowing up plays, plus not being able to throw on the corners and maybe we can have nice things.

Hope springs eternal.

maizenbluenc

January 4th, 2018 at 8:20 AM ^

Let's fire Harbaugh.

I am sure we'll find someone awesome like Saban or Gruden, and they'll want to come here after firing three coaches in a row - including even Harbaugh after only three seasons.

Also, why not keep the train wreck going for four more years by trashing a recruiting class or two through yet another transition?

Maynard

January 4th, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^

The "we'll never have another Daddy like Jim" argument isn't valid anymore. I have been a Harbaugh guy as much as the next but I'm tired of seeing this played-out bullshit of an argument on here like some kind of codependent lover. "Oh no, nobody will ever love us like Jim. Nobody will ever want to be with us." GTFOH. So nobody will want to coach at a university for millions of dollars where you can perform at an average level to slightly above average and not really win any big games? Nobody decent will want that job? Really? That's what you're going with now?

And seriously, anyone who says Gruden or Saban as if that would be the standard for someone to win is an idiot. There are a lot of guys out there winning as much or more than Harbaugh right now.

You build someone up to be a messiah, then this is what you get. Stop acting like everyone is calling for him to be fired. It just isn't true. Some of us just don't worship him like some kind of cultish idol. He is a football coach and a good man, a great leader and role model. And yet, still an employee who must get evaluated.

maizenbluenc

January 4th, 2018 at 11:07 AM ^

just because of this expected response.

My point isn't Harbaugh Uber Alles - my point is this season is in a defined part self inflicted because of the tribal noise and firing of Brady Hoke, which was in part because of the same with Rodriguez.

If we keep bitching about, and then firing a head coach every three to four years, we are going to keep feeding negative recruiting, and keep causing giant holes (especially at the position level) in our recruiting classes. Those holes will result in small senior classes and very young teams or position groups far enough into the new coach's tenure that the blame will lie with them, which will bring about years like this one.

I think we need to go at least five years this time, and let the results of the past two recruiting classes fully materialize before we go back into the spin cycle.

Goggles Paisano

January 4th, 2018 at 7:05 AM ^

I no longer believe in pointing to years.  We've been pointing to a "year" since RR arrived.  No more sunshine and rainbows either.  I want results.  I will no longer be spewing the optimism in the face of the naysayers.  The Goodwill this program built up during my childhood and my early adult life has all been used up this last decade.  I have no more optimism to give and no more arrogance to offer.  I am neutral until I see results.  This is the only "perspective" I can now comprehend.     

UMfan21

January 3rd, 2018 at 11:42 PM ^

I would point out that our inability to beat two rivals, and finishing no better than 3rd in the East are redundant. It's really hard to finish higher than the two teams we can't beat.

Also, 2015 we had MSU beat except for the flukiest of fluke plays. I will never hold that loss against Harbaugh.