Michigania

February 9th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

After listening to the audio..... Why does it seem RR has no awareness of how poor the defense was, and/or the lack of reason why it should drastically improve next season?  Are there stud defensive players on the roster that were to surface next year and have a major impact, that im not aware of?  Seriously.  He keeps making reference to how good they'd be next year, but on the defensive side, I just don't see it.

coastal blue

February 9th, 2011 at 2:17 PM ^

Maybe it's because you don't need a Top-15 defense to be a Top-15 team. If our defense was even at 2008 levels (reasonable progression) and our offense progressed in the same manner (Denard cuts down on his mistakes, finding a back to take the pressure of Denard on the ground, a few less turnovers, a few less drops), we could have easily won 9-10 games next year under RR.

This is why I don't buy any of the "oh it's okay if we go 6-6, 7-5 next year, TRANSITION YEAR". No. We were set to have an excellent offense. We have Mattison. 9 wins is the minimum. 8 wins makes me slightly skeptical of the hire.

coastal blue

February 9th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

The firing of Schafer was panic to put the blame for 3-9 on someone. That's on Rodriguez. I think having the stability might have helped or at least been better than Robinson. But who knows.

However, I really dunno if the the 4-3 was our problem. As has been stated, we ran a lot of 4-3 last year and it really didn't make too much of a difference (the biggest difference probably being Brandon Graham).  I think the 3-3-5 specifically didnt work with this team because of the personnel...but then again, I really don't think it would have mattered what we ran with so many freshmen in the defensive backfield.

My point is this: We were at the bottom of the defensive barrel for numerous reasons. Some on Rodriguez, some on Carr, some on bad luck and some on the usual (injuries). But next year, short of a UFO abduction taking all 11 starters the day before Game 1, we were going to be better. I felt if we made the right DC hire under Rodriguez, we could at least get back to 2008 levels with next year's team. Like I said, that alone, along with the offense's logical progression, adds up to a 9-10 win season.

I feel if Hoke is smart and Mattison is what he is cracked up to be, there is no reason the team can't reach that goal .

michgoblue

February 9th, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

I am all for rose colored glasses, but the problem with some of the "if RR were back" expectations of 9-10 wins is that it is based on the "perfect world" scenario.  

Just about any team can say that with "a few less turnovers, a few less drops" a decrease in QB mistakes and a RB situation that improves, coupled with an improvement in the defense, they would have a great season.  But, the problem is that under RR, I do not believe that we saw much to give us a reason to expect all off those perfect world scenarios to come true.  

We did not see the emergence of a premier running back.  In fact, despite having 6 able bodied backs to choose from, RR never manages to establish the RB attack.  Read Fred Jackson's interview in today's Det News.  He openly says that under RR, the RBs did not feature in the offense much.  It wasn't a matter of the RBs not stepping up - RR largely deployed the RB as a lead blocker for Denard.  If that were not the case, he clearly would have given more of a shot to Hopkins or even Cox, who seamed capable of accomplishing more than V. SMith (no disrespect to him).

Same with the drops and turnovers-  these have plagued RR's M teams for all three years.  Why do you expect that they would decrease.  

Same with the D, which got worse every year.  Why do you believe that it would improve?  What has given you confidence that RR would have had any ability to go out and hire the right DC to (1) unify the staff, and (2) teach these kids fundamentals like angles, lanes and tackling.

Sure, our win total went from 3 to 5 to 7.  And I don't mean to be a downer, but given how close some of our wins were this year (ND, Ind, Illinois), we were 3 plays away from only winning 4 this past year.

Look, at the end of the day, RR is not the coach, so the post morterms are all academic, but it is frustrating for me when people say, "OMG, if RR were here we would have won like 10 games with our wacko ninja offense, so anything less by Hoke is a disappointment.'  

To me, if Hoke has a solid season with 8 wins, beating the teams that we should beat (Easterm, Western, SDSU, Minn., Purdue and Illinois), winning at least half of the games that are against decent teams (ND, Northwestern, MSU, Iowa), and plays competitively with MSU (win or lose), OSU and Neb, I will consider this to be a successful season, given that it is his first and that we are transitioning to a new offense.  I also expect him to bring in a top 15 class - not a top 5 class, not the #1 class in the country - a top 15 class, with at least 1 5* and at least 7 4*.  I would also like him to win more than 50% of recruiting battles with MSU and at least 25% with OSU.

These, to me, are REASONABLE expectations.  Yours are not.

coastal blue

February 9th, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

You don't strike me as particularly flexible in your thinking. You don't want to believe RR could have succeeded at UM.

Denard, logically and rationally, should improve next year. This alone could have meant 1-2 more wins this year.

The defense, logically and rationally, should improve next year. Yes, the defense has gotten worse, BUT, take this year: nearly everyone assumed after last season that the secondary would at least improve somewhat. What happened? Warren left, Woolfork went down, Emilien and Turner busted, Floyd was hurt. It was a disaster. It is extremely unlikely that something like this would happen two years in a row. Like I said above, bad luck played a key roll in how bad our defense was this year.

We did not see a RB emerge and you blame this on RR. I find this incredible to believe. This was a guy who coached the White/Slaton/Devine backfield. I seriously doubt RR would not have used a RB who performed up the task. I think its more likely no one claimed the spot. However, perhaps Dee Hart could have been that back next year (Dion Lewis, Maurice Clarett)? Who knows.

You talk about things like being close to losing 3 games this year. Okay. We were 3-5 plays away from being 8-4 in 2009. It goes both ways.

To me, your expectations are laughable. We return 10 starters on what should be a phenomenal offense. We just picked up one of the best DCs in the game. Hell, if you think that RR couldn't find a quality DC to unify the defense, Hoke just did. If anything, expectations should be HIGHER than those were with RR. At least if you think as low of him as you seem too.

If Hoke was the correct hire, he will utilize the offense properly and Mattison will create a mini-leap for our defense, from the 109th ranking in the country to 75-80 range. If we flail about on offense and our defense stays in the same realm of the rankings, well...I will definitely wonder if we fired RR a year too soon.

Michigania

February 9th, 2011 at 6:50 PM ^

Thank you to MICHGOBLUE.... because your post above was the best thing I read today. It really was.  And your quote below, was telling....

"we were 3 plays away from only winning 4 this past year."

That is EXACTLY right. I haven't read a spot-on post like this, in awhile. I'd give you +1000 if I could.

Jeffro

February 9th, 2011 at 2:36 PM ^

I kind of feel like he keeps implying that they will be so good next year to cover himself when he’s looking for a job.  If there’s a dramatic improvement next year he’d rather be the “I told you so guy” instead of the underperforming coach.  It they fail miserably, the blame can easily be placed on the transition.  Just like any professional without a job, Rich Rod is selling himself in hopes that the self promotion will land him back in the ranks of college football.

Yooper

February 9th, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

It is in his interest as a job seeker to take credit for any improvement next year ("he is winning with my guys-I know how to build a program").  It is also a subtle way to put pressure on Hoke, and especially Brandon, if things go sideways.  Mostly, though, it is a reflection of the fact that he is a football coach that remains confident in his abilities and nothing in the past three years is going to interfere with that.

Michigania

February 9th, 2011 at 7:37 PM ^

its amazing how you love the first coach in Michigan history (RR), to be doing what you're suggesting he is doing, and throw the program under the bus. Do you realize this has never happened?

You NEVER heard Gary Moeller say how it was HIS guys that won the title in 1997, and they were HIS guys, too. And you never heard him complain about being fired, how "gee, it was one mistake" etc. Moeller is the epitome of a Michigan man.  Funny how so many people like you here commend RR's current speech, but he is being simply the first selfish M coach in history. He got blown out by all our rivals and key BigTen opponents, for three years, with no sign of improvement. The last three games he got blown off the ball. He deserved to go, and you think he didn't. 

Instead, you should irate that RR is saying the things he is saying now. If they lose, he looks like a martyr. If they win, he looks like a martyr.

Hugh Jass

February 9th, 2011 at 8:37 PM ^

Is it possible that you are mis-reading (is that even a word?) his comments?  Perhaps he still has a love for Michigan and as a tribute to the guys still in the program is simply promoting them as guys who are going to win and make people proud.  We always say how like-able the current players are and we all root for their success.  Is it possible that Richrod is still their biggest fan?.......sort of how we fans brag about our team.  That is at least the positive slant that I wish to put on the situation.

Hoke-A-Hey

February 9th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

I was a fan of the offensive system but It was easy for me to let go of Rich. One thing that always bothered me was his seemingly normal approach to that last game in November. During his time here we were clueless on special teams (Mesko) being the exception. Defensively we got worse, the abnormal attrition, the media perception and of corse the violations. He can talk all he wants about how good we were going to be this coming season, the truth is he didn't deserve a fourth season. This is Michigan! I wish RR the best wherever his next stop is. My only advice: quit making excuses it makes you look worse then the past three seasons already did.

NateVolk

February 9th, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

I think we'll have an eyeball test to what we hope to see that will alter how we view the number of wins in 2011.  7 wins might be good and 9 wins might seem worse. It depends a lot on performance in the games that matter most on our schedule. Rich's 2010 team failed that viewing test miserably in meaningful games . In a lot of ways it was worse against those teams than in 2010. That's basically why 7 wins from the prior years 5 wasn't good enough for him to maintain employment.

LSAClassOf2000

February 9th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I had one of these recently. I apparently do not need a new prescription for my lenses. 

Anyway, the story of the season is far more dynamic than any "eyeball test". Like any sport, it's more than appearance - consider, among other things, the actual statistics you compile with the talent you put out there. Particularly on defense, there will be an entire fanbase paying close attention to those numbers.

How would 9 wins be worse than 7? I would think getting two games back would be indicative of vast improvements, especially if they come against top-tier teams in the conference.