RR talks big ten teams this season and CF generally

Submitted by michfan4borw on August 16th, 2011 at 10:01 AM

This is not a thread intended to debate the merits of Rich Rodriguez as a coach at Michigan whatsoever.  RR's tone in the interview suggests to me that he's gotten over having been removed as Michigan's coach, so hopefully we all have too. 


This interview is interesting, because he talks about his predictions within the big ten based on his coaching experience.  FWIW, he has high expectations for Michigan, but I also think picking Michigan to have any other type of season (poor or average) would not come off well at all.



I tried to embed.  I hope it worked. [EDIT: please help by embedding the video; a reminder on how to do it would be nice also but not expected.  thanks.]



August 16th, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

I wonder why you didn't see anything the second half of the season....oh I know why. Our freshmen and sophomores were pushed around and beat up by the 3 best teams we played all year who started mostly juniors and seniors. Didn't Wisconsin lose something like 18 fourth and fifth year seniors? Some people look at the youngest team in the big 10 (which I believe is true for the second straight year) and see plenty of room for improvement. Since you dislike RichRod, you don't. Great. Could we at least stop using played out memes like "if RichRod would have run a pro set the first 3 years he would have won a lot more games but he was too stubborn." I will tell you this, if the only returning starter was Taylor Lewan (similar to when RichRod took over) and the leading rusher and passer in Michigan history were just drafted into the NFL, you can bet your ass Hoke would be running a whole lot more out of the power I.

micheal honcho

August 16th, 2011 at 1:21 PM ^

Yeah, damn those played our memes, they're so damn inconvenient when they're all true and stuff.  Now he's a talking head hoping for another shot while AD's who might be in the market are watching his Michigan films and thinking this guy might just be an egomaniac. Watching him repeatedly line up 7yds deep on 1st and 10 only to be faced with 2nd and 14 they might even suspect insanity. Hey, asshole, try running a fucking dive play on 1st down and make it 2nd and 7. You might be surprised how many more offensive chances you'll get if you tire out their Defense a little. You know, keep them on the field shedding blocks and having to make tackles.

Yeah, it might be a tired meme, since its so damn obvious.

Now my beliefs have migrated toward the idea that moderating his spread attack or running a fundamentally sound pro set offense was never an option. He wouldnt know where to begin. Its evident that he's a one trick pony and had no choice but to run the only way he knew how regardless of the personel. It was not stubbornness, it was ignorance.

Watch his interview during the capital one bowl in 2008. He says straight up the he's going to modify things to match the players. Your and others assertion is that we had no players, fine. I find that an awful tired meme too. Minnesota or Purdue would have gladly snatched up most of the guys on that roster and been happy to do so. Even those perennial middlings wouldnt go 3-9 and lose to Toledo.


August 16th, 2011 at 8:45 PM ^

Purdue's big win in 08 was Central Michigan and we beat Minnesota....I am not sure what your point is. And since 08, Purdue has had 4 guys drafted, Minnesota has had 2, and we have had 7, so I don't really know if they gladly would have snatched up most of the guys on our roster. Are the facts that we have had one of the worst 3 year draft turnouts in the history of our program the facts that interest you or do you still think we had a lot of talent?


August 16th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

The entire phrase "foundation of toughness" is a gimmick. It's schtick. Hoke will ensure that players learn fundamentals, and his theorized offensive philosophy is based more on overpowering than speed and agility. That doesn't mean anyone is tougher, it means people will make their blocks and there'll be fullbacks out there slamming into people, which will make everyone go "omgz look how much tougher they are than an RR team" despite the fact that an RR team isn't supposed to do that (well, except for make their blocks, which would've been nice, especially the WRs).

Magnum P.I.

August 16th, 2011 at 10:23 AM ^

Coachspeak: "The main thing for [a new coach] is to develop your players and develop that team, but you don't want to neglect other areas. And that can be a tough balancing act. You've got to lean on your staff a lot."

Translation: "Thanks for nothing, GERG."


Coachspeak: "[Michigan] can do very well. They've got 19 returning starters, the player of the year returning in Denard Robinson. And they've got eight home games."

Translation: "Thanks for nothing, Lloyd."


Coachspeak: "I think Brady's getting a lot of support, both internally and externally."




August 16th, 2011 at 10:46 AM ^

This is great stuff.

On a serious note I hope RR learns from his Michigan days.  Would probably be one of the best head coaches in college football if he could just:

- Teach the kids instead of yell at them.

- Avoid using his defense as a tool to make his offense better in practices.

- Let his DC do his own damn thing and don't force feed that god awful 3-3-5 down his throat.

All that being said, I don't ever think RR could have won here.  Square peg, round hole - shot Shafer when he should have given him autonomy. 


August 16th, 2011 at 10:31 AM ^

I find it very interesting to hear Rich speak regarding the current Michigan team. One can see that he has done his best to move on, although I think its pretty clear that he really wanted that 4th year. Very competitive guy

Section 1

August 16th, 2011 at 11:17 AM ^

...and it might not even be so contrarian.

My feeling is that as great a year as Denard had last year, he had LOTS of room for improvement this year, insofar as he may have been running Rodriguez's offense.  Denard is brilliant.  I love Denard.  I worship the ground that Denard's afterburners leave smoking underneath him.  But I can think of two or three very big plays in every 2010 game that we lost, in which Denard, playing as essentially a first-year QB in the Big Ten, made freshman-appearing decisions.  And it is not easy to be the QB in that offense.  It was to be expected.

I think Denard had a very suspect game against Miss St.; and Denard played poorly against Mich. St., too.  Turn around the results of those two games (PSU, Wisconsin and OSU were all lost causes), and is Rodriguez relieved at the end of the season?  And I'm not even talking about the odd fumble or turnover on Denard's part, when the guy is handling the football 70 times and running with it 25 times.  I'm talking about learning and executing the basic stuff that Rodriguez was trying to teach him.

I am not knocking Denard or blaming 2010 on him.  Far from it.  He is our hero.  What I am saying, is that I think Rodriguez has an excellent case to be made, supporting his statement of last spring when he said he would have expected "exponential" improvement in 2011.  Because I think that as good as Denard was in 2010, he'd be that much better in 2011 leading the Rodriguez spread.

Now isn't this thread an interesting bookend to yesterday's "Lowering Expectations" thread?  No matter how you feel personally, or what anybody might be able to predict, today we have Rich Rodriguez predicting a very solid (possible 10-win?!) season and laughing about five games at home to start, while yesterday Michael Rosenberg was predicting that Michigan "will struggle early" before a mystery win over Nebraska or Ohio State, because, well, you know, it's just how it's gonna  be, at the end.  Tremendous.

Section 1

August 16th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Except that reimagining the team's record was a secondary point.  (Relevant only to what might have been enough to keep Rodriguez here.)  The main point was what kind of improvement could be expected this year.  My expectation is that even the best player on the team would have improved greatly, and as a QB would be a very big difference-maker for any 2011 W/L record.

blue in dc

August 16th, 2011 at 1:02 PM ^

However as you noted, you only suggested two games where Denard's improvement alone would have been enough, I've suggested one where we got pretty lucky, taking both, one game swing.
<br>Maybe it is the term exponential growth that bothered me, but extrapolating one players significant growth into a significant improvement in record eems a stretch to me. The point I was making is that many people like to point to expected improvement in Denard as a reason that we would have been so much better with RR, yet they ignore so many other factors.
<br>I fear that some have such lofty views of what RR would have done, that they will likely view anything Hoke does as less than what would have been. If we beat ND with all their starters, take care of the middle of the pack in the big ten teams and can stay within a touchdown of the best big ten teams, we will be a significantly better team, that won't make our record any better

Blue in Yarmouth

August 16th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

He even clarifies his point for the second time and you still completely miss it. He isn't trying to debate what could have been or what was under RR. He's talking about Denard and his potential improvement. It isn't hard to imagine that, when considering the improvement we saw from Denard between year one and two, Denard could have shown exponential improvement between year two and three in terms of running the spread offense You're the one talking about records, he just used the two losses to illustrate a point.. 


August 16th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

but the things i couldn't get over were the defense and special teams. I think RR is a great coach but the choices he made at the coordinator positions still baffle me. I'll take Hoke with his hotshot coordinators over RR and his staff of baddies.

I just don't see how 9-10 wins was possible with that D..no matter how much better Denard got


August 16th, 2011 at 11:42 AM ^

You missed his point, I think  - you're talking about good luck the team had that could have gone the other way, but he's not talking about luck. He's saying that Denard was good, but still had lots of room to improve. Expecting a first year starter to be significantly better in his second year in the same system is not a particularly bold stance to take.

I suspect Denard still improves fundamentally as a passer this year, since he was actually pretty raw last year (even though much better than we expected). However, I think the new system will require a lot more thought and precision, so even if his mechanics are better, it may not translate to better performance.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

Something is off in the universe because for the second time in 2 days I agree with section 1 on a RR topic. Denard was Awesome last year but he definitely played like a freshman starter against at least 2 teams that we lost to. Now, o don't think that you can extrapolate a what would have been record because there are too many variables, but the point is that denied can be expected to improve and that may lead to a great season.


August 16th, 2011 at 10:54 AM ^

I love this board, but I don't understand why any pro RR people get downvoted and anti RR people get upvoted. I understand this wasn't meant to be a "debate RR" thread, but if someone says "Hoke is an upgrade, heres why..." you're asking for someone to disagree with you. I think both posts are fine, however the response to Hoke being an upgrade gets downvoted, and the "Hoke is an upgrade" post gets upvoted.

People have differing opinions. Always will. It's not a sin to believe that RR is/was was a better coach. Rooting for Hoke to fail would be, however I don't think any RR supporters are rooting against Hoke in any way.



August 16th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

Hah hah, that's just the way it's always been. For years people would get downvoted over the most innocent questioning of RR and his staff. I remember being negged aggressively for bringing up how alarming it was that our DC and the rest of the defensive staff don't even speak the same language! Because God forbid someone question RR & co. en route to multiple NCs and of course trillions of yards.

The tides have simply turned. The RR faction was/is certainly boorish and unfair at times. Now, the Hoke faction (or the happy-RR-was-fired faction, if you want) may be acting the same at times.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:19 PM ^

The reason why the RR faction had such support on MGoBlog and those opposing and innocently questioning Rodriguez got negbanged is because of a few reasons:

1) Misopogon's Decimated Defense, Mathlete's work to show correlations between performance and youth/new defensive coordinator, and the hours that Brian poured into figuring out why the team was underachieving gave many readers something to point towards when disagreeing with people questioning Rodriguez. Had someone that disagreed with Rodriguez put the detail into why they thought Rodriguez was doing a bad job aside from blanket statistics like "losing record," "horrible Big Ten record," etc, I truly feel like it would have been better received.

2) The Free Press Jihad made it feel like there was a media firestorm against Rodriguez, and any questioning of his methods only piled onto that firestorm, making it more difficult for Rodriguez to achieve success. This is by no means correct since Random Blog Guy has less effect on the negative atmosphere than Booing Fans in Stands or Real Life Protester or "When Can We Fire This Guy?" Letter-Writer, but it's possible that Random Blog Guy is the same as those showing disgust in real life.

Again, this is only my theory so take it FWIW. The obvious counterargument to this is the lack of content Brian has generated to show why Hoke will succeed versus what he generated for Rodriguez, but then again there's not a lot of material for Brian to go through for Hoke. So I can understand why Brian's not trying to rally the troops to support Hoke.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:47 PM ^

You make a good point: The public context was much different in the RR era, and this blog did some excellent work (as we all know) in analyzing the situation. MgoBlog doesn't have to rally the troops for Hoke, for example, since they're already rallied.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

But there's also a reflexive "defend our coach" aspect, and it only seems to apply to the current guy, not the last guy.  Lloyd could get roasted when Rich was coach, and be the blame for every bad thing that happened; and now Rich can be criticized without much backlash, whereas Hoke gets the benefit of the doubt.  The main difference is the editorial viewpoint of the blog that backed Rich but not the other guys so much.


August 16th, 2011 at 2:39 PM ^

You're right that the "defend our coach" position is the default one amongst the commentariat, but I think the main editorial viewpoint at the site has consistently been contrarian towards "common wisdom" (as opposed to "pro" or "anti" any particular coach).

Thus analytical criticism toward RR was tolerated (and eventually encouraged) while "blue hair in club seat / brah on sidewalk / dolphin-puncher" criticism was thrashed. "RR's defenses are terrible because he fails to place linebackers in position to effectively react to plays and avoid blocks" was fine, "DickRod is awful because he's not a MICHIGAN MAN and that newfangled spread offense with tiny quick guys will never work in BIG TEN POWAH FOOTBAW" was not. Common wisdom said RR "doesn't get Michigan and stubbornly forced a spread on an otherwise good team". Analysis showed that late-Carr recruiting played a major role in early struggles. This blog strongly defended analysis.

This rather neatly explains Brian's current lukewarm editorial stance on Hoke. The current hype around Hoke (and Hoke's own public persona) is based in large part on "common wisdom" - "He's a MICHIGAN MAN", "he gets tradition", "he preaches TOUGHNESS", etc. Brian's editorial voice is reflexively annoyed by this type of "analysis" , even though it's positive (actually, precisely because it's the sort of positive that resonates with blue hairs and brahs). Despite that, Brian gives praise where analysis can be done (mostly recruiting). With little relevant performance data to go on, and Hoke's actual record fairly mixed, the "analytical stance" on Hoke is not fully formed and we get mostly the negative reaction to the common wisdom fawning.

The commentariat is stuck between "defend the coach" and "analyze the data (most of which is only relevant to the fired coach)" and anarchy reigns.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:03 AM ^

Goodness. We won't see if Hoke's an upgrade until several years down the line, Rodriguez obviously didn't do enough to stay, and all of this debate before Hoke has coached one game at Michigan is asinine.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Who are we to judge whether RR did or didn't do enough to stay? Obviously Brandon didn't think he had done enough to stay. However, if we had a different AD, and RR is still here, did he suddenly do enough to stay?

I understand its a slightly pointeless thing to debate but to say that he "obviously didn't do enough to stay" is a very bold statement IMO.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:19 PM ^

Yes, I'm aware of his record. He won 3, 5, and 7 games. When Rich was hired I expected him to struggle initially, but I was willing to experience a few down years in order to see a team with brilliant offensive schemes and michigan caliber players. Clearly we saw the very beginnings of this plan last year on the offensive end. We also returned 10 starters this year, so clearly the offensive performance was beginning to take place.

I also envisioned an average Michigan defense, which I think we would have seen this year. One of the best offenses in CFB, with an average big ten defense IMO would be a formula that would tear through the Big 10 year after year.

Obviously we didn't have an average defense last year, however my thinking is that it's must easier to improve special teams and defense to an average level, than improve an offense from above average to elite.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:27 AM ^

Insert interview here.


Gai1: Hey! RR didn't get a fair shake, THE OFFFENSE!!!, moar experience next year!!! WINS WINS WINS

Gai2: Rich Fraud sucks, no D! No MANball!! rabble rabble rabble



August 16th, 2011 at 1:09 PM ^

The interviewer removes the mic from his mouth before he actually ends the question and they shot the video in front of a spotlight resulting in a very distracting backlight.  I cannot believe CBS will put out this kind of garbage -- but then again, it's CBS.

I noticed RR commented that he thinks Michigan will have 9 or 10 wins..."at least that's what I expected if we were going to be there."

While at Michigan, RR never stated what he thought his record was going to be for the coming year.  This thing RR did here is not a "prediction".  By stating these many wins (which I firmly believe is too high and on purpose) he is effectively telling Brandon to kiss his ass and an attempt to put Hoke in a poor light if he doesn't get 9 or 10 wins this year.  To RR, anything less should cause fans to think Hoke failed, and at or above it will be because it was with RR's players.

If that isn't throwing Brandon and Hoke under the bus I don't know what is.

If we had a defense like we do with our offense, 9 or 10 wins is real.  The reality is, if Hoke goes less than 9 or 10, it WILL be because of RR's defense -- AGAIN.