Question posed to Rittenberg

Submitted by Paly33 on October 13th, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Its the last question answered in the post. But basically asks Adam if he thinks RR prepares his teams enough for the big rivalry games i.e. State & OSU.....  Along with saying recruiting players from out of state that have no ties to Michigan that may not have a good enough understanding of these rivalrys.

While I disagree that RR doesn't prepare enough for these games, sometimes I find myself wishing he would pull a Tressell "Countdown until we beat Michigan" or Dantonio "Pride before the fall" comment.  I understand that this is not RR's personality and I'm sure he's saying all the right things behind closed doors to the team but shit sometimes I want a little more raw emotion out of him publicly.

I love RR and I'm probably just being a cry baby (which all of you will let me know) but if I have one beef with RR, this would be it I guess.  Any thoughts.......? 



October 13th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

 Quite frankly, I don't buy this at all. Rodriguez hasn't beaten Michigan State or Ohio State because he doesn't have a better team than the Spartans or the Buckeyes. Emotion can help you for half a quarter or so, but it doesn't typically lift you to a victory against a superior opponent. I thought Michigan came out with great energy Saturday and moved the ball downfield on its opening drive before Robinson threw the interception. Michigan will beat Michigan State and Ohio State when it has the better team, not when Rodriguez plays up the rivalry enough to satisfy Michigan fans (who might never be satisfied). A Michigan alum could coach a bunch of homegrown players and if his team wasn't better, he'd probably lose, too.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:58 AM ^

IMO, I think we aren't just suffering from lack of experience or depth.  It is a talent gap also.  MSU has really talented players, and the days when Michigan wins 8 against MSU per decade may well be gone, at least as long as they keep doing so well recruiting the midwest.  They are recruiting at a very high level right now, so experience and depth, to me, aren't the only factors at play here.  OSU has always had talent, but they are obviously killing it right now, and will for the forseeable future.


October 13th, 2010 at 12:16 PM ^

Dantonio loves to recruit against our style of play.  State now more than ever has a better chance of recruiting the pro style offensive players than they have in the past.  Before Michigan was always the obvious school of choice.

With that said I don't care what MSU recruits on offense, we need to be able to get the big time defensive recuits in the Michigan and around the Midwest.  Thats where we can't lose!


October 13th, 2010 at 12:50 PM ^

Sorry, but I get tired of hearing this.  Other than QB (where there's a clear difference between Cousins and Denard), at what positions are there clear differences between "pro-style" players and "RichRodGimmickOffense" players?


October 13th, 2010 at 1:57 PM ^

Sorry -- the gimmick thing was intended for a wider audience.  I didn't mean for it to be centered on you personally.

On the ninjas, though, isn't NFLer Wes Welker a slot receiver?

You could probably say that Molk (and maybe Christian Pace, depending on where he tops out for weight) are RichRod-specific players (as opposed to the bulkier types that might play at the next level).


October 13th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Wes Welker is a great slot ninja, but for every one Welker there are many that don't even come close to making the NFL.  Could you see Gallon, Dileo, TRob, etc.... even coming close to be a NFL type player?  Granted its way too early in their careers to tell but I would think its a long shot.

I was thinking about the O Line as well, maybe that argument could of been made when RR first got here.  But I think he realized that he needs bigger O Lineman i.e. Lewan to go up against the Big 10 D Lines.  He lets Barwis S&C program lean them up a bit and make them quicker.


October 13th, 2010 at 6:51 PM ^

Steve Smith (Panthers not Giants) is a pretty small guy.  Percy Harvin isn't a big guy.  Randle-El wasn't a big guy.  Santana Moss isn't a big guy.  Obviously NFL teams like big, fast WRs who can stretch the field vertically (e.g. Braylon, Megatron, Fitzgerald, etc) but there is a place for small shifty guys who can open quickly off the line.

This will especially be true as you see more teams adopt a spread look.  Because of speed/combination of linebackers stuffing the running game and the QB/receiver friendly rules, the NFL will continue to trend towards emphasizing the pass.

The natural progression would then be to have more receivers.  What is that called again?  Oh yeah, the spread.  There is a reason why NE and Indy run a pass-heavy spread offense.  I'm not sure a power running game with TEs and FBs is the future of professional football.

Also, any passing play run out of a pro-style offense can be run out of a spread offense.  I'm still having trouble understanding the idea that a spread passing attack is somehow less sophisticated.  Yes, we run a lot of bubble and tunnel screens to take advantage of our receivers in space and we also run plays that involve 4 verticals, but there are other routes that our receivers run that are identical to a pro-style passing attack.  The basic fundamentals will still be the same regardless of the offense: read the defense, make good cuts on your routes, catch the ball.

Megatron and Roy Williams didn't exactly light it up in college but they were drafted high b/c they exhibited all of the abilities of a top-caliber WR.  If you're a good WR, it doesn't matter what offense you play in.  F*** all those coaches that use the "the spread won't prepare you for the NFL" BS.  Hopefully our coaches can be successful in convincing future DeAnthony Arnetts of this.

El Jeffe

October 13th, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

You go, Rittenberg. God I'm so tired of the "Rodriguez doesn't understand the rivalry meme." First of all, he is literally coaching for his job. Does anyone seriously think he is indifferent to beating MSU or OSU? He is desperate for any and all wins. Second, what exactly, precisely, specifically, measurably, would it mean for him to "care more"? I don't even understand what that would look like, and more importantly, how it would matter one fucking iota in terms of winning football games. MSU is a good team, and they caught UM's offense on a bad day. End of fucking story.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:38 AM ^

There is no way to know how much emphasis RR puts on the rivalry with the things he says to the media.  IMHO, I think RR and the non-Michigan recruits know how important the rivalry games are.  You heard it from Denard before and after the game.  Denard got emotional after the game, which points to me that he understands it very well.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:43 AM ^

The kids were sold on the tradition and history of the program.  The rivalries are right at the forefront of that.  Don't kid yourself for minute.  They understand the importance of every game. 


October 13th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

Kids learn the rivalries soon enough if they don't already know about them coming in.  Past players come speak to the team in the week leading up to the game, for one.  Nevertheless, in the case of OSU, its easy to get fired up to play a very highly-ranked team the last game of the season.  That's a no-brainer.


October 13th, 2010 at 3:06 PM ^

Yeah, you learn about the rivalries the day you step on campus.  I grew up in NJ, hating C-Webb and the Fab Five and rooting for Catholic schools like Notre Dame.  I applied to UM based on academics, got accepted, and went all in for Michigan.  I learned to hate ND and tOSU pretty quickly.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

I couldn't agree more with bluenyc:  Perception is reality to those who believe it.  We don't know how much emphasis  RR puts on the rivalry games because we're not IN the program.  But it is a question worth asking, I've thought it myself.  


October 13th, 2010 at 11:47 AM ^

I agree with Rittenberg here - UM hast lost because the better team won in those matchups (save for last year's MSU game, which probably could have gone either way).  Yeah, it might be sufficiently showy for RR to make some grandiose gesture regarding the main rivalry games, but ultimately it would be a media-serving, empty move.  I'm sure he stresses the importance of these games, but putting up a clock or ranting to the media is excessive.  Also, as an alum of MSU, Dantonio's approach this rivalry has rubbed some of the more thoughtful fans a little raw because it plays into the whole "MSU say they don't act inferior but they sure appear to compensate" paradigm that has been attached to this school for decades.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:51 AM ^

and he seemed to figure it out. It's not like Lloyd's or Bo's teams were all from Michigan. Nor are Saban's from Alabama, Meyer's from Florida, etc. National recruiting is an obvious strength of the program, not a weakness


October 13th, 2010 at 12:49 PM ^

It isn't like we were dominating the rivalry games before Rodriguez got here.  Carr was 5-4 against the unstoppable combo of Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, and Charlie Weis.  We're all painfully aware of the struggles against Tressel.  I'm pretty sure Carr and Co. "got" those rivalries enough to satisfy the knuckleheads who are complaining now, but the results weren't much better.  

Does Rodriguez also not "get" the rivalry with Illinois or Purdue?  We've lost games to those teams and our rivals because we weren't any good the last two years for a wide variety of very obvious reasons.  This year we've lost one game (not five or six, one) against one of the two best teams in the Big Ten (in a game where we repeatedly shot ourselves in the foot) and everybody wants to shit their pants.  Me, I like the underwear I've got on (Spiderman rules!) and as such will choose to remain calm. 


October 13th, 2010 at 11:52 AM ^

Moreover, RR's public comments have to be more tame in order to prevent them from becoming MSU bulletin board material.  And I agree with most here; whether or not RR "understands" the rivalry enough has a minute impact on the outcome.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

If RR was losing rivalry games with superior talent I would be alarmed.  If RR were losing rivalry games to equal talent I would be concerned.  For now I am just pissed about it.


October 13th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

a head coach for a long time now. It's completely naive to think that he somehow "doesn't get it." regarding rivalry games (or non-rivalry games for that matter). He was offered the job based on his experience and success at other programs and he took it because it was a clear step up from WVU. He gets it. He knows he's coaching for the kids on the team, for the fanbase and for his job. I'm quite certain he doesn't intend to go out and lose to MSU and OSU. The talent probably isn't where he'd like it to be and the schemes might not even be the right ones but to suggest that he doesn't understand what the rivalries mean is ludicrous. 


October 13th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

"Emotion can help you for half a quarter or so, but it doesn't typically lift you to a victory against a superior opponent."

I'm sorry, but what? This is absurd. I didnt know that there was a limited time frame for playing with intense emotions, or that practicing intensely and being especially driven in mental preparation (e.g., studying film) only impacts the game for a certain amount of time. That's just dumb. Tell that to Bo in 1969, tell that to MSU in several years, including those in which we barely won (e.g., 2004, 2007).  


October 13th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

Tell that to Bo's Rose Bowl teams on January 1, '72, '77, '78, '79, '83, '87, and '90. (I'm leaving out the Jan 1970 game because of Bo's heart attack).

Do you think that all those losses were simply due to insufficient emotion and not the fact that we were playing better teams on those days?

We beat OSU in 1969 because we were playing as good a brand of football as any team in the country by the end of the season. Yes, we were sky-high for that game, but emotions will take insufficient talent and coaching only so far against quality opposition.


October 13th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

Come on Don, you should be able to not butcher the logic. My point was that emotion can make a difference beyond what Rittenberg said, not that emotion necessarily wins a game or that lack of emotion losses a game. Its neither necessary nor sufficient, but it helps, and beyond half of one quarter.  


October 13th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

you would respond to this?

also... i disagree with your examples: emotions did not help MSU win in 2004 and 2007. the better team won out when emotion ran out. further, UM beat OSU in 1969 because Woody and his players looked past the game while the UM squad was coached and geared to attack player weaknesses on the Buckeye squad. Bo flat out out-coached Woody that game and I believe Hayes has said as much. emotion gets you out the gate and into the red zone. player mistakes lead to an INT and leaving seven on the field


October 13th, 2010 at 1:48 PM ^

Jesus man, see my above response to Don. You all really butcher logic around here. I never said emotion is required to win - hence my deliberate inclusion of MSU 04 and 07. I said it can help a team play a better game against a stronger opponent. My argument, if you read my post, is that emotions do more than what Rittenberg said, help for half a quarter or so. 


October 13th, 2010 at 1:51 PM ^

you're arguing a non-quantifiable/qualifiable attribute as fact. as if "emotion = +5 Offense." this isn't D&D, it's football. no matter how fired up you are, player quality will win out 99 out of 100 times. hell, rudy couldn't even finish the sack on his own. and he had HEART!


October 13th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

First, emotion is quantifiable and qualifiable. Have you ever hear of the discipline called psychology? Also, please brush up on what a fact is and how that relates to cause and effect. I said that emotion is neither necessary nor sufficient, but it helps. I am not sure what facts we are dealing with. Also, please stop focusing on wins and losses, as I said that is not what my argument is about. I really wonder if you take the time to read posts before responding. 


October 13th, 2010 at 2:13 PM ^

and, as i said before, the items you list are not elements that can have concrete value. Team A, who desperately wants to win will not, mathematically, win more times than Team B, who cares less, when a disparity of skill exists but for limited instances. you've argued from the start that RR doesn't care enough about these rivalry games and it's shown by the W/L column. i disagree. you seem to think simply bc you REALLY think it's true that it's a fact. 

also, what if both teams want it just as much? then it comes down to... skill. and MSU executed that skill into a W. 

you're utilizing a flawed premise (that wanting it more = results) in my opinion. yes, it can be a deciding factor or leg up in the trenches but if one team has a significant experience and success ratio, it doesn't matter how much one team wants it: it's not going to happen but for the 1 out of 100. imo.


October 13th, 2010 at 8:20 PM ^

WOW - you can't see through the logic of wins and losses can you? I am so tired of trying to get you to see through that lens. I have tried to get you to see what I am arguing, and you refuse. Your questionable thinking and questionable decisions as a mod, and ubiquitous presence (dont you have a life?) make this place much worse off with you than without you. Do me a favor and never reply to one of my posts, and I will do you the same favor. Thank you. 


October 13th, 2010 at 8:32 PM ^

are not determined by emotion. they're determined by skill, quality, depth, etc. MSU had a stronger defense and a successful offense. did Illinois lose to OSU bc they didn't want it enough? etc. i see what you're saying - you think it is a qualifiable element as valid as "quality on special teams" - i disagree. you haven't argued much more than that. it's a bit of a cop out to simply say "see, he lost. doesn't mean enough to him" - did Florida lose to LSU because they didn't "take it seriously/Urban Meyer didn't want it or prepare for it enough?" no.


October 13th, 2010 at 3:44 PM ^

As a mathematician I can't help but take the chance to laugh at the notion of emotions being quantifiable.  What is the simplified form of the following emotional state?

2*Happy + 3*(Nervous)^2 - Sqrt(Insane)

The social sciences are sciences in the same way that alchemy is a science.