Will we be happy going back to "the way things used to be?"

Submitted by cypress on November 2nd, 2010 at 2:44 PM
Let's say the bottom falls out, RR is gone, and we bring in a new coach who promptly proclaims that the last 3 years have been a failed experiment and we are returning to "Michigan football". We transition back to a pro-style offense with rocket armed QBs, massive O-Lines, feature RBs, big WRs and a traditional tough, physical Big 10 defense. We are 9-4 or 10-3 on most years, usually a top 15 team who finishes in the top 3 in the conference. Is that now good enough for our fans? It wasn't a few years ago. Has our perspective changed? This thought crossed my mind when I heard someone talking about how traditional Big 10 teams have struggled in some of the bigger bowl games.



November 2nd, 2010 at 2:46 PM ^

included the Flying Wedge and the Single Wing.  Bo ran the triple option until the early '80s.  Football is constantly changing and evolving.  There is no "the way things used to be" option, ever.


November 2nd, 2010 at 3:01 PM ^

I don't want to imagine it. I want to see it.

I'd love to be able to pick any down lineman and read him almost the entire game. Read option, Veer, Inverted Veer, Midline, Inverted Midline. I know it sounds like a lot, but its basically the same read on different linemen. Back DE, Back DE, Front DE, Back DT, Front DT. The first 2 let you choose which way Denard goes and makes the read for LBs harder.

I'd also love to see the pitch come into play. It's a relatively simple concept to add and it can be combined with other plays in so many ways.

Anyway, I really hope they start adding some of these plays to the playbook for next year or the bowl game. I don't want to imagine it's awesomeness any longer.

Ben from SF

November 2nd, 2010 at 3:15 PM ^

I am puzzled as well as to why we don't run the pitch option more.  I suspect that RR doesn't want Denard to get laid out every play, and we don't have a credible pitchman (Michael Shaw?) to force the down lineman to ignore Denard.  It would be interesting to see if we run that play with someone like a Ryan Kerrigan, who is unblockable anyways.


November 2nd, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

What would be nice, if this scenario happens, would be if the new coach tailors the offense around the personnel he has.  Keep some of the offensive assistants to ease the transition.  Don't shoehorn Denard into a pro-style offense.


November 2nd, 2010 at 4:45 PM ^

Call me crazy (my doctor does) but I'd be content keeping Rodriguez around just to watch Denard for a few more years.  His play alone is spectacular (even against MSU and Iowa) and its kept me excited about the team notwithstanding the losses/setbacks/disappointments.  Denard is such a great story - the change from last year to now - that it would be heartbreaking to see him transfer.  Heartbreaking.

Mitch Cumstein

November 2nd, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

And I'd be fine with them now.  So to answser your question, yes.  Our team was representing our school well, had a reasonable chance to win all of the games they played and they made new years bowl games most years.  I don't really know how you could ask for more.


November 2nd, 2010 at 5:09 PM ^

As would I, but its all relative. I wasn't in this community back in those days but I certainly remember the ardor of "Fire Lloyd" after the Horror and embarrassment of Oregon.

Even with the successful 2004 season, everyone was outraged when we lost to a meh OSU team. 2007 was a let down when we lost to OSU thenas well.

When times are bad, we do nothing but complain. When times are good, we still find ways to complain.


November 2nd, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

You mean, when we used to beat MSU on a regular basis and when they did win it was rare or surrounded in controversy?

Yeah, that'd be great. Losing to that bunch is supremely annoying.


November 2nd, 2010 at 3:18 PM ^

Let's not sugar coat the past or pretend every U-M defense in the last 15 years was comparable to 1997 and 2006.

The present sucks (obviously) but the reasons are pretty obvious to anyone paying attention (basically zero experienced talent on defense).  The very near future, on the other hand, is still very bright.


November 2nd, 2010 at 3:28 PM ^

"The present sucks (obviously) but the reasons are pretty obvious to anyone paying attention (basically zero experienced talent on defense). The very near future, on the other hand, is still very bright."

Sorry, but this argument is, to me, very very thin. A lot could happen between now and this magical next year in which everything improves, next year being the "bright" to this years "dark". In this world, we only have players improving, nothing else occurs.

Look at what happened between last year and this year, or last year and the year before - attrition, poor recruiting, injuries, staff changes, and so on. Hang your hat on the very unlikely chance that none of that happens again, that all we see are these young flowers blossoming, butterflies flittering about, birds chirping, bunnies hopping about in the continual sunshine. But for me, its a fantasy. It may happen, but chances are it's not even close to reality.  


November 2nd, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

If you think a team returning 20 starters getting better is a "fantasy" that is fine.  I'm sure there will be bumps in the road between now and next fall.  I'm also sure we'll have more than enough to win anyway.

I don't see how giving a guy one year with his own players and a little experience on both sides of the ball is too much to ask.  If the team isn't cracking skulls next year, then by all means fire the guy.  But he deserves a shot.


November 2nd, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

Look, every team in America has their areas where losing a starter is detrimental. We just got unlucky that the player we lost, we lost for the whole season, he was one of our best defensive players, and was at a position with the least depth.

One of the biggest differences on defense between this year and next year is that next year we'll have depth (and experienced depth) at about every defensive position. If we have a major injury it will still hurt, it always does, but it won't have the impact that losing Woolfolk did this year.


November 2nd, 2010 at 5:36 PM ^

What depth are we going to have at every defensive position next season?  How many of RR's defensive recruits have we lost thus far (to injury, transfer, ineligibility or idiocy)?  I know someone has that number handy...isn't it like 25% of his recruits?  We don't have defensive depth.  We just don't.  Our young, inexperienced players are again going to be young and relatively inexperienced next year.


November 2nd, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

"But he deserves a shot."

I think we just have to agree to disagree at this point in the debate - I feel he has had his shot. I don't measure what "his shot" is entirely in terms of time, but also in events. Couple the time that has passed, with what he has produced in that time in terms of wins, perceptions, and so on, and I think we have our answer. Of course, if he wins 3 more games, I can see giving him another year. Any less, I would disagree. 


November 2nd, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

If you think playing with the rosters we've had the last three years counts as "a shot", then your perception of what it takes to field a successful college football team is pretty warped.  We were short ten scholarship players last year and fielding a true freshman QB.  This year we have one healthy upperclassmen on the entire roster in the defensive secondary.  Teams don't recover from that kind of stuff.  The examples are plentiful and the counterexamples are non-existent.

Next year Rodriguez will have his own team with three full years of recruits and no gaping holes on the depth chart.  I'm willing to bet the results look nothing like the last 2.5 years.


November 2nd, 2010 at 4:42 PM ^

Three years isn't "a shot"!!!  H-I-Larious.  Here's my favorite:

Next year Rodriguez will have his own team

As opposed to what?  Whose team was it that went 3-9?  5-7?  Whose team is it this year?  That is precisely why I refer to you as a RichRod apologist.


November 2nd, 2010 at 4:54 PM ^

We were short ten scholarship players last year and fielding a true freshman QB.  This year we have one healthy upperclassmen on the entire roster in the defensive secondary.  Teams don't recover from that kind of stuff.

But aren't these issues of RR's own making?  How many guys have transferred out of the program since he arrived?  We somehow lost both Mallett and his replacement (Threet) to transfers.  We lost Boren over a trivial issue (he wanted to drive a snow plow to make a little money).  We lost Turner and Emilien even though it seems like the secondary could use them.  After a while, when you keep on losing players to other programs, it's hard not to conclude that something is wrong.  These are not normal levels of attrition.  If they result in us forever being a young team, well, those are the breaks.


November 5th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Losing Threet had nothing to do with adding Tate or Denard - we were always going to bring in two QBs that year, and in fact, we had two committed (Tate and Beaver) when Threet transferred.  All Threet's transfer ended up doing was force us to play Denard as a true freshman instead of redshirting him.

How long are we going to keep up this line on Boren?  He's a four-year starter at two different programs (Michigan and OSU).  If he's so lazy, how was he able to win a starting job at OSU?  For some reason, neither Lloyd Carr nor Jim Tressel ever seemed to have an issue with him.  Does it make sense to assume that RR was 100% in the right about Boren?

As for Turner and Vlad, again, we're only getting one side of the story here.  And even if they're lazy or whatever, I wish we still had them around.


November 2nd, 2010 at 5:00 PM ^

Yes, but they were also probably better than their 6-7 record suggested last year.  If I'm not mistaken, all of their losses except PSU were by single-digit margins, while they had few close wins (unfortunately one was against us).  And despite all the close losses, they still managed to go 4-4 in conference play. 

We simply haven't been very competitive.  When you lose by 17, 10 and 10 points consecutively (and the latter two required comebacks to even be that close), you're not that close to being a good team. 


November 2nd, 2010 at 7:42 PM ^

are fair points.  But the change in this year's MSU team is significant.  It is relative.  Starting from where we are now (compared to where MSU was last year), and with an MSU-like schedule next year, with the same level of improvement through experience and the return of Woolfolk, we could see a 9 or 10 win season.  If there isn't that sort of improvement, hand me your extra pitchfork.