Rich Rod - pick the good and the bad

Submitted by M-Wolverine on November 3rd, 2009 at 11:23 AM

OK, time for some healing. I think most of the bickering on the boards have been because people take the extremes they hear elsewhere, from the radio, other boards, etc., and move those feelings here. In other words, everyone who has a criticism of something Rich has done is really saying "FIRE HIM TODAY!!", and everyone who says there are reasons the team is bad is making excuses, and "HE CAN DO NO WRONG". And at least here, for the majority, I don't think that's what either side is saying.

So I was curious, from all you knowledgeable posters, what has Rich Rod done right, and what has he done wrong? One item of each. I'm not trying to turn this into a pro and cons board, because then people are saying whether he's doing a good job or not. I'm just trying to find some middle ground here. If you think he's done a poor job, what's the one thing you like most about what he is doing? What excites you about the future? If you think he's all that and a bag of chips, what's the one thing you'd change about him if you could put on the Wizard Hat? What do you wish was different?

Again, try to limit to one, because it's not a judging panel on him as a coach. But just an illustration that those that love him can say "yeah, he didn't/doesn't do that too well" and those that are feel he may be lagging can say "but he's really good at that".

I thought of the concept more than the items, but it's not fair to ask without saying, so here are the ones that most come to mind right now for me:

Positive - Not to be too generic, but I really like the offense. Forget watching Oregon and such (though you can, it's fun) can even see when MICHIGAN is clicking, on first drives, or earlier games, what this offense can do when it's run properly. The hurry-up, keep them on their heels, what the hell are we going to do next? feel of it. And that it's primarily a running offense. Bo would be proud. It's modern, and it's old fashioned. It does what bothers teams the most (see Brian's TWIS post on USC), and still holds to the tradition of what works and succeeds in football. When that full offense is in, it's going to be fun to see it done to other teams. Especially after cursing it for years when it ripped us up.

Negative - I was going to say something else more football related, but I think the judgement is still up in the air on that part, so I came down to the one thing: I wish he would hire a PR firm, or take a training course, or something. Cure the foot in mouth disease a little. Because I really believe he means well, is shooting from the hip, and wears his heart on his sleeve. So most of what he says is coming from a good place. It's just the delivery that lacks polish sometimes, and comes off badly. You don't have to be Lloyd's one word answers, but with time I could seem him being more of a slick charmer, like a Bobby Bowden type (the man can practically tell you, why gosh darn yes, we're cheating our asses off...aren't those kids precious?...and get away with it). Heck, there's no one way to do it. Spurrier came off as arrogant and made it work, Lou Holtz dorky, Bo gruff, Carroll as "isn't this all fun?"...but there's a smoothness to their style. And yes, winning will make anyone seem better. But that would be my one.


Huntington Wolverine

November 3rd, 2009 at 11:45 AM ^

I know that takes time.

+: Not playing players on name alone- they have to perform to earn their minutes

-: In game decisions. I'm an amateur but I second-guess some of the clock management and substitutions (timing of bringing in Denard, Brown on the goal-line 3x, etc.)

I'm frustrated but I think Rod can lead this program. We've seen progress, even if we have seen regression recently. Not sure if assistants are the ones we need at certain positions (linebackers and dbs) but I like the Gerg hire and that may give lift to the whole defensive performance if he's here 3-4 years.


November 3rd, 2009 at 1:13 PM ^

Good: Most of what he has done so far. As someone already posted, he has them a lot closer to each other as a team now. He has started to repair the years of neglect from an aging Lloyd Carr. He has modernized the program and pulled it, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

Bad: He fell for the sandbagging line of shit from Terelle Pryor, and it cost him BJ Daniels. If I live to be a hundred, I will still believe that Pryor knew he was going to OSU all along, but was encouraged by Tressel to lie about it and diminish UM's chances of recruiting a decent QB that year. As evidenced by the Steinbrenner/Henson ultimatum and the JT Turner standardized test snafu, it isn't the first time OSU has, directly or indirectly, tampered with UM players.

UM would have been better than 3-9 with Daniels, and a Daniels and Forcier tandem at QB would have probably beaten MSU and Ill this year, and possibly Iowa, despite its defensive deficiencies. I am glad I get to watch Daniels down here for the next couple of years. He is sort of between Forcier and DRob; he isn't as accurate as a healthy Forcier and isn't as fast as DRob, but is quite accurate and quite fast, and is a little bigger, listed at 210. When he learns to see the right side of the field better, he could be an elite QB.

I will gladly take what UM has now, though, and be patient with them while they grow for another year or two. It's not like RR is the only coach who ever went after the wrong player.


November 3rd, 2009 at 5:13 PM ^

About 2 weeks (IIRC) after RR took control of the program. We didn't lose BJ Daniels due to Pryor's narcissism or RR's naivete. We dropped Daniels, allegedly because he or his representative made it clear he had a price and that the winning suitor would hit the bid. RR (and UM) wouldn't bid.


November 3rd, 2009 at 1:44 PM ^

The good: I think he's done a good job of updating the program, even if it isn't reflected yet in the results. On offense, the pieces seem to be in place. We just need to get better at putting them into place. A team this young is going to struggle at times. We should see a jump forward. I just hope it's next year and not further down the road.

The bad: Shafer didn't work out well. I'm not sure whose fault that was, but we'd be ahead of where we are with a second-year defensive coordinator. I'm not sold on Rodriguez's defensive recruiting yet, either.

The ugly: Some of the results, obviously including the Illinois game.

To be honest, even if Carr had stayed, I think we would have struggled the past two years. Just not as much. Some of the turnover we experienced after the regime change would have been prevented (perhaps Boren and Mallett), but others would not have (perhaps Mallett).


November 3rd, 2009 at 2:11 PM ^

I would like Rich to show a little more concern for the defense, and it'd be nice if he wanted to be hands off one of the changes he asked Martin for was to give him the money to go out and steal the best D-Coordinator in the Country, and then he could forget about it.

But the good of the offense is that we're truly hitting a new era in sports where you need defense to win championships, but they don't win championships. You need to score points too, and a lot. Because even the good teams are giving up points...just not as much as the other guys. While they're scoring 40+. The rules just make defense so hard in sports as they shift in bias, (and the systems are ahead of the defenses in college football currently), that you have to have a more offensive mindset. You just can't completely ignore the defense (not that I'm saying we're doing that).


November 3rd, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

89. Things haven't gone as we hoped, but they will still be very good in a few years.

Some people have surprising expectations for this year and last years teams. We had Threet and Sheridan last year, and this year we still have 89. Be patient and stop expecting UM to be the best right away.

Arizona Blue

November 3rd, 2009 at 2:39 PM ^

Good: I think Rich Rod has done a good job with offensive between game scouting and scheming. I think our usual first drive success is evidence of this phenomenon. I think he has installed an offense that, if clicking, will strike the fear of God into TOSU and other Big Ten teams. I think he's updated our strength and conditioning program and has created a culture of competition which will eventually maximize talent as opposed to dull talent into complacency (Lloyd's later years).

Bad: Rich has shown inability, either through lack of talent of competency, to make great in-game adjustments. He is 1-8 on the road and has accumulated 3 wins thus far in the Big Ten. He lets Calvin McGee call plays. He seems to be doing just about everything possible to fuel critics of his regime and legitimize the insanity that is "FIRE RICH ROD NOW"


November 3rd, 2009 at 7:59 PM ^

The funny thing is, you could flip flop those for the defense for a lot of the season. They seem like they have NO clue what the other team is going to do offensively when they start the games and you wonder what they did all week, and then, at least up until recently, made great half time adjustments.


November 3rd, 2009 at 2:42 PM ^

positive - offensive genius.

negative - is recruiting hasn't been THAT great yet (hard to base actual results on rankings though).

- he hasn't done a good job hiring assistants. in particular, defensive coordinators.

Wide Open

November 3rd, 2009 at 4:09 PM ^

POS: I talk to Ohio State fans (I'm in an effing sea of them) and most all of them say Michigan is going to be a dangerous team when he gets "his people" in, and could jump up and bite their "boring" team as soon as this year.

Rich Rod has been successful, and surrounded himself with successful people. He has built a reputation of success that still hasn't totally been eroded in the general population, or in any of the high-caliber recruits he targets.

NEG: We've seen very few games in the last year and a half that didn't feature several glaring mental or physical (Rock/Paper/Scissors) errors, and few camera shots of RR that didn't have him chewing out a player or coach after these mistakes. To me, it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that he's in complete control of the game and the gameplan.

Then after the game I get my fill of booze and sluts, and remind myself that...he has been successful. He will be successful at U-M too.