The myth that "the cupboard was bare"

Submitted by UMxWolverines on February 10th, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I couldn't remember most of the guys we had on defense in 2008, so I went and looked them up and what they were rated when they were being recruited. I just went along with the people that said things like "there wasn't much talent" and things like that. But I went and looked up the starters in 2008, and here they are:

Morgan Trent Senior - 4 stars

John Thompson Senior - 3 stars

Terrance Taylor Senior- 4 stars

Will Johnson Senior - 4 stars

Charles Stewart Senior - 3 stars

Donnavon Warren Sophomore - 5 stars

Tim Jamison Senior - 4 stars

Stevie Brown Junior - 4 stars

Troy Woolfolk Sophomore - 3 stars

Obi Ezeh Sophomore - 3 stars (although he was a running back in hs)

Jonas Mouton Sophomore - 4 stars

Brandon Graham Sophomore - 5 stars

I realize most of these guys didn't play in these last two years, but in 2008 the defense was still bad and there's no way it should have been that bad. It was defninitely piss poor coaching. I'd kill for that defense now!  Can't wait for Hoke to restore order.




February 10th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

I'm essentially a Board-Appointed advocate.  I only take a case when there is overwhelming public sentiment in favor of a second-chance.  I do not undertake the representation without being fairly certain in the outcome.  FuManBlue was my first client and it was so successful that I have the ability to be more discerning than your everyday public defender.  In other words, the OP is SOL.

kevin holt

February 10th, 2011 at 3:16 PM ^

That really sucks, counselor. Since negs aren't really worth anything (or they are sometimes? I have no idea), seems like your caseload suddenly lightens considerably. Like being a defense attorney and suddenly jail isn't a thing anymore.

However, if negs and Bolivian are a possibility here, I'll take the OP as my client. He has had several quality posts in the past, and I think this one was more lighthearted than it seems. I've always seen him as a great fan and poster in the past. It's just one slip-up.

Also, as I recall, he's still a high-schooler, so he has more to learn. Not like the occasional blue hair that comes on here to blast the coaching and say they're withholding donations until a change is made, UNACCEPTABLE, etc.



February 10th, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

You'll have an easy time with this case, him being a legal minor and all.  Could be a good first case for you.  Although, he clearly put a lot of thought into his post and, as such, will have a much harder time winning over the masses as FuManBlue did . . .

kevin holt

February 10th, 2011 at 3:38 PM ^

While you're an advocate in cases that you feel you will win, I think I'm more of the court-appointee who has to take any case, no matter how hopeless. I might be able to work my way up to the right to choose clients, but my cupboard is bare (oh god, that's my own client, I think it's always too soon for that... welp, rookie mistake)

I'll defend OP with the best of my ability, but we might need to just take a plea bargain on this one. I advise my client to make a great big EDIT at the top, adding in a disclaimer.

Good, merciful people of this great Blognation of ours, the Go Blog of M, please take pity on this poor fan who only meant well. He will learn in time, but sending him to Bolivian will just make him a hardened, silent cynic like we have seen time and time again. I just need your consideration, ladies and gentlemen of the MGoJury.

edit: on second thought, we might be able to plea for insanity. It's come to my attention that the OP has a rare but increasingly prominent condition known as Hokeamania (see signature). I'm consulting with Psychiatrists on the matter and will discuss the matter as information comes through.


February 10th, 2011 at 3:41 PM ^

The OP is not worthy to go to Bolivia. 

The only people that were truly sent to Bolivia are OMGShirtless, FuMan and I.  As far as I know Brian is the only one who can pwn us and send us to Bolivia.

My best advice for the OP:

Don’t be an idiot.  I think to myself, would an idiot post this?  If the answer is yes then I do not do that thing.


February 11th, 2011 at 11:15 AM ^

We know that RR laid the blame squarely on the players. "Even Vince Lombardi couldn't do much with what we've got..."

If that's not putting 100% of the blame on the kids and absolving the coaches then I don't know what is.

So okay. Ask yourself this.  If Gary Patterson and his staff or Greg Mattison and his staff had these EXACT same kids for the last 3 years, would the defensive performance have been EXACTLY the same?

I think everyone except the most ardent RR apologist would say no.

So, it WAS a coaching problem, at least to some extent.  And yet we have never heard RR utter even the SLIGHTEST implication that maybe, just maybe, some of the blame rested on his shitty defensive staffing decisions.

The defense would have again been terrible in 2011 with RR's staff.  This is why he was fired.

If the 2011 defense is terrible under the new staff THEN maybe RR will be proven correct and absolved.

Section 1

February 10th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

Yes, hiring Greg Robinson was a mistake.  A bad mistake.  It was a mistake made after Michigan, for reasons that have not yet become clear, failed to bring in Rich Rodriguez's first choice, Jeff Casteel.


February 10th, 2011 at 3:19 PM ^

that one of the reasons RR allegedly wanted out of WVa is that he couldn't pay the assistants what he wanted.  Now, maybe it's just me, but if I have a problem in an existing job before I take a new job, I want to make sure the existing problem won't be an issue in the new job.  If assistant's salaries were a major issue, then they should have been addressed in the initial negotiations.  If Casteel was that important, Rodriguez should have been negotiating what he would pay Casteel in order to make him an offer he couldn't refuse.

Section 1

February 10th, 2011 at 3:38 PM ^

The fact of the matter is that Jeff Casteel said yes to Rich Rodriguez and was preparing to move to Ann Arbor, in late 2007.

Then, Bill Stewart was named HC, and Casteel changed his mind.  At that point, and then again at the close of the 2008 season, (and I say this with perfect 20-20 hindsight), a Michigan check for high six figures should have been written, with Jeff Casteel's name on it.  He was making about 375k at WVU. 

What we don't know -- at least what I don't know -- is what Bill Martin said and did at that time.  What was said by Rodriguez, Casteel and Martin, and how much money was offered, I don't know, and I wish that I did.  There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff Casteel was formally offered the Michigan job on three or more occasions.  At the end of 2007, in early 2009, and again, in some form or fashion, in late 2010. 

Section 1

February 10th, 2011 at 3:03 PM ^

Rich Rodriguez doesn't write checks for the Assistants on the coaching staff.  The Michigan Athletic Department does. 

And yes, if you are going to try to extract an extremely high-quality job applicant from a job where he is happy and secure with his family, you have to offer him a shitload of money.  David Brandon recently acknowldeged that Michigan had done badly in that department in the past, and needed to change.

And no, none of the worthies whom I knew, who were ardent supporters of Rich Rodriguez were ever much in the mood to give Greg Robinson their unqualified support.  Brian Cook questioned the GERG hiring from Day One.  Nobody expected Robinson to be retained for 2011.  I frankly didn't expect Robinson to be retained for 2010.

The good thing in all of this is that you've shown us your Special Purpose.  As an ignorant prick.

STW P. Brabbs

February 10th, 2011 at 6:28 PM ^

Man, this reaction is better than I could have dreamed it would be.   I'll bite.  Sure, maybe the athletic department didn't commit enough money to get Casteel - but how, exactly, do you know that this is what went down?  Put another way, what would have been 'enough'?  Are we sure that Casteel had a price that was within reason?  Are we certain that Rich couldn't have done a better job getting Casteel to come work with him?  Do we know exactly how Casteel felt about working with Rich? 

Dismissing the (reasonable?) possibility that you are a close friend or confidant of Mr. Rodriguez, I'm guessing you don't really know the answer to these questions.  Thus, it's a ridiculous little piece of massaging the truth to say that Michigan didn't bring Casteel in. 

As for GERG, I'm not at all sure how the fact that you and Brian expressed misgivings about the hiring has fuck all to do with Rodriguez actually, uh, deciding to hire the man.  I'd give you all the MGoShrutebucks in the world for being so prescient if I could, but I'm still  not sure it would absolve Rich of responsibility for his disastrous staffing decision. 

Finally, it would have been funnier to insult me with Special Purpose in a manner that actually reflected the usage of the phrase in The Jerk.  I'll admit that I didn't do a great job of this either, but I thought that the vague image of penny-pinching, blue-haired  adminstrator restraining Rodriguez from showing the world his dong was kinda funny.  YMMV.


Section 1

February 10th, 2011 at 7:14 PM ^

We got answers.

1.  The overtures to Casteel in late '07 and early '09 are a matter of public record.  As was Casteel's initial agreement to come to Ann Arbor.  (When the shell-shocked Mountaineers thought that a whole new regime would replace the just-departed Rich Rodriguez & co.)  Followed by Casteel's (perfectly reasonable) demurrer, saying essentially that if in fact he had the chance to stay in Morgantown and keep his daughters in school and keep his same job with even more autonomy under Stewart, he would do that and just stay in Morgantown.

2.  I don't know what specific amounts Casteel might have been offered at any step of the way.  Let's just agree that it "wasn't enough."  I'm not the first to discuss this.  Brian Cook was way ahead of me; noting that while Casteel's initial backing out in '07 might have been understandable, it was less understandable when in 2009, in the wake of Scott Schafer, we couldn't get Casteel with a new, determined, and very large offer.  But I suspect (I never claimed to know) that we will someday find out that Bill Martin was only willing to pay Casteel on a traditional Michigan/Big Ten/Big East pay scale.  David Brandon now knows -- he has said so -- that Michigan had made errors in that area.  Anyway, the point that Brian Cook has already alluded to was; Yeah, we know Casteel turned us down once, then twice... what was he turning down?  If he was making 375k at WVU, was Michigan offering 400k?  Or was Michigan offering 800k?

3.  Someday soon, somebody is going to be able to draw up a very simple, very interesting chart.  Consisting of the contract-package numbers for each of Jeff Casteel, Scott Schafer, Greg Robinson and Greg Mattison, for the years 2006-2011.  What I expect it to show, is that Michigan was essentially "cheap" until it had to pay for Greg Mattison.  And that you get what you pay for.

4.  You are wrong when you suggest: "Thus, it's a ridiculous little piece of massaging the truth to say that Michigan didn't bring Casteel in."  No, that is a fact.  Michigan didn't bring Jeff Casteel in.  For whatever reason.  I explicitly said that I didn't know all of the details, and that I'd like to get more information.

5.  Greg Robinson.  Nobody knew in early 2009 how bad things would be on defense under Greg Robinson.  But then, I don't remember anybody, other than disgruntled Syracuse Orangemen, and Brian Cook, saying wtf?  Rodriguez got him, I suspect, because he felt he just had to make a change from what is portrayed in the video that leads off this thread.  I think I'd feel the need to make a change, based on that kind of sideline clusterfuck, too.  Robinson had a pretty good-looking resume back then; where you and I appear to differ is that I think that Robinson turned from what seemed on paper to be a semi-reasonable selection, into a disaster.  If Greg Robinson had been Rich Rodriguez's first choice, and a guy that he had demanded, and had asked Bill Martin to do anything in the whole wide world to get to come to Ann Arbor, I'd blame Rodriguez much more harshly.  But Robinson was the third or fourth choice.  And he now appears to have been a bargain-basement choice.


STW P. Brabbs

February 10th, 2011 at 8:32 PM ^

I've read this, and you still don't have anything but conjecture about why Casteel did not join the staff.  Therefore, you're still applying your own best guess.  But I'll play along: it may well have been that Michigan had to pay Casteel $800k to come here.  To be honest, I'm not really sure he's worth that, but ok.

Still, ultimately, it's Rodriguez's job to hire a good staff.  You want to let him off the hook because hey, a bunch of internet jagoffs powered by Google thought Robinson might be an okay hire too?  Rodriguez was paid millions of dollars to know how the fuck to differentiate between a a guy who treads water with pro-level talent at Texas (albeit with beautiful hair) and a guy who really thought Ezeh was just about to turn it around midway through his fifth year.  Furthermore, by all accounts the GERG hire was turned from bad to cataclysmic because Rodriguez (or Gibson, by proxy) decided to force the 3-3-5 down the old fella's throat.  That's Rodriguez's responsibility.  That ain't on Martin.  Anyway, Jeff Casteel isn't the only fucking guy in CFB who can coordinate a defense.  (Indeed, Mr. Scott Shafer seems to know a thing or two about defense, but he had to drag around the dead weight of Jay Hopson and Tony 3-3-5.)   Hell, if Rodriguez loved the 3-3-5 so dearly, he could have hired Rocky Long, who was looking for  work in 2009.  Instead, Long was hired at SDSU, for what I'm guessing was a hell of a lot less than $400k. 

Finally, what's lost in all of this is that it wasn't just Michigan who had to hire Mattison, though the numbers will come out on how much he's being paid.  Dude was crystal clear that his enormous man crush on Hoke was a big part of the reason he came.  I don't know whether he and Brady just love drinkin' beer and eating homemade pizza together or whether Brady's got incriminating photographs, but that doesn't really matter.  Hoke closed the deal with what appears to be a great hire, bottom line.  And if Mattison doesn't do a good job, that will be on Hoke too, and I'll be among the first to say that it turned out to be a bad move on Hoke's part.

Head Coach: responsible for coaching staff. 

Section 1

February 10th, 2011 at 10:20 PM ^

Not at all.  I am suggesting that if Michigan made a cheap offer to Jeff Casteel, and thereby failed to get him, then that is a mistake.  I assume that I am onto something in that regard, because David Brandon has very nearly said as much.  Saying that Michigan's coaching salaries, particularly assistant coaching salaries, have been in the middle of the pack.  And that would have to change.  And true to his word, Brandon paid what it took to get an NFL Defensive Coordinator to make the lateral move to Ann Arbor.  I presume that the number is very close to, or perhaps north of, a million dollars.

Indeed, the rumor that I very much like (and I shall patiently wait for proof) is the one wherein Brandon, in the late stages of the Rodriguez Administration, tried to respond to the Coach's plea that they make his guy Casteel the kind of offer that would move him to Ann Arbor, and that Brandon had funding up to $1m to offer Casteel.  But that Casteel also wanted assurances that he'd last more than a year with Rodriguez at Michigan.  It essentially forced Brandon to either 'double down' on Rodriguez, or to go in an all-new direction.

I think the hard, gutsy, rusky, smart move would have been to go with a continued Rodriguez offense and a Jeff Casteel defense in 2011.  Brandon would have had to stand up to the media, the former M Letterwhiners, et cetera.  I think it would have been fantastic; historic.  Instead, Brandon went the safe, happy, low-risk, low-imagination route.


February 11th, 2011 at 1:17 AM ^

In debating whether to even justify this with an's a screwy enough thread already- why not. 

Perhaps I have my head too full of tradition, honor, and loyalty to my school. But when I see "Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan," or comments like "Bo is dead," which have appeared frequently on this site, I find them offensive. I won't throw my university, my coaches, or my honor underneath a bus, dirty cleat, or the brown leather shoes I stood in as a student while singing the Victors. For any reason. And I certainly wouldn't do it to prove a point.

You stomp on Lloyd Carr, no matter what you're standing in, you stomp on the university. Period.  

I'm not a fanatic, but I'm also not a casual fan. I have pride in my university. And Lloyd was my coach all five years I attended the University of Michigan.  He's part of the institution, as I now am. And no, I never wore a cleat. Just old worn leather shoes. But it's my university, just as it is his, as it was Bo's and now is the next man's. And though Lloyd's shoes stood on grass and mine on concrete, make no mistake, we stood together. And I'm proud of that. 

That's what I meant.