WTKA Roundtable Thoughts on McElwain

Submitted by Occam's Razor on February 15th, 2018 at 11:40 AM

Brian is pretty down on the McElwain hire, which goes against what many on the MGoBoard think in the thread below. 

His points center around the fact that McElwain is another coordinator thrown into the pot rather than a specific skill position coach, awkward (shark thing and weird Florida press conferences) and poor Florida recruiting AT Florida (which is hard to do). 

The roundtable is still collectively down on Drevno and baffled regarding Michigan's Oline issues for the past 3 years. They also hope that Warinner has a big influence on the line this upcoming year. 

It feels like we're in the twilight zone when Brian is the most negative guy on the roundtable. 

Craig with the bold prediction of Newsome starting tackle next season as well with Hudson on the other side. 

Speight is looking at schools ranging from oSu to Texas Tech. 

A caller brings up a question on whether Harbaugh's odd approach to offense is hindering Michigan from hiring a bonafide offensive coach. 




February 15th, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

I guess I just don't understand the Mcelwain distain.

In my view it's kind of like Hoke - sure he stunk it up as a HC, but that doesn't mean that translates to a bad position or coordinator coach.

Adding in Gary Busey gif for likeness.




February 15th, 2018 at 12:37 PM ^

Seems to me that bringing in MacElwlain is unlikely to make things worse than it already was, so that's something (I suppose). Also, Speight to o$u makes absolutely no sense - he doesn't fit their system nor their "culture", plus they don't need a transfer qb anyway.


February 15th, 2018 at 12:05 PM ^

Which includes the hiring of a former Alabama offensive coordinator. There's also the issue of, well, Florida's offense being less than inspiring over the last three seasons, especially this year. In year one and two, you could conceivably have blamed Muschamp, at least in part, but the fecklessness of the offense this year doesn't make this inspiring. 

Mr Miggle

February 15th, 2018 at 12:38 PM ^

They lost their best offensive weapon and their best RB to year long suspensions. Their QB choices were all seriously flawed and/or inexperienced.

Their season got off to a horrible start because of off the field problems and they never recovered from them. I'm not sure what kind of coaching would have solved those problems, but McElwain and company didn't manage to do it.


I Like Burgers

February 15th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

When they had Will Grier, their offense was pretty explosive. Also, McElwain’s offense at Colorado State was pretty solid and I forget his name (Higgins?) but he had that WR there that was arguably best in CFB.

Also, Florida is just kind of a fucked up program. Not totally ready to put that all on McElwain.

Bonus also, I don’t give a fuck about the shark thing or weird press conferences. I mean fuck...Michigan fans (Brian especially) complaining about their HC being a weirdo is hypocritical as hell. Harbaugh is about as weird as they get.


February 15th, 2018 at 5:01 PM ^

since Tebow and he only ended up playing a handful of games in 2015.  I like the comparisons of Grier and Patterson and I think that this offense can do some good things with a mobile and instinctive QB like Patterson.

Of course time will tell, but this is a hire that I'm optimistically excited about.



February 15th, 2018 at 12:17 PM ^

why they would be down on him. Outside of his last season at Flordia, the guy has a very good track record as a HC at Colorado State and OC at Alabama and Fresno State. He has NFL experience, he is a good coach and has coached WR's at other schools. You usually don't get a coach with his pedigree to be a WR coach. I don't think he will be here long term, but he has the knowledge to help our WR's and offense in general.


February 15th, 2018 at 7:17 PM ^

“Stunk it up as a head coach” is even a stretch. He took a 3-9 Colorado State team and had them winning 10 games by year 3. He took a 7-5 Florida team, won 10 games in his first year, won the division each of the first two years, and went 22-12 in 2 1/2 years. He did all of that without having a QB. I’d hardly call that stinking it up.


February 15th, 2018 at 7:31 PM ^

Because a team doesn't need 4 coordinators. We have a guy coaching wr's who has never coached wr's in his life so he can be the 4th person on the staff who helps call plays.

Also he can't recruit all that well which this year shows is something you need from your assistant coaches.


February 15th, 2018 at 2:25 PM ^

Winning cures all. Getting chipper Brian back is one more reason to hope that we get less bad breaks, and bounce back strong.

Rx is for at least 10 wins, including 2 rivals. Jim and the boys need to fill it up.


February 15th, 2018 at 12:01 PM ^

The most shocking thing I have ever seen on MGoBlog was the title "Whatever" as Brian's reaction ro the bowl loss.  I knew at that point that he had failed his morale check.  Whether it turns into a complete rout or he's able to rally may depend entirely on the upcoming season.


February 15th, 2018 at 12:05 PM ^

I love be this blog, and Brian at his best is amazing. There isn’t anything else like it in many many fan based. But enough “whatever” posts and you may end up losing people. That’s fine when it’s just a blog. But when it’s your business???


February 15th, 2018 at 12:09 PM ^

you have to be able to cover losses and disappointments with the same insight to really do this, I think.  His coverage of losses has been at best, tongue and cheek, and at worst, very dismissive, for some time now.  His approach seemed very entitled last year, kind of a caricature of "Michigan fans."

SirJack II

February 15th, 2018 at 12:24 PM ^

I guess I like how the voice of the blog serves as a kind of barometer for the mood of fans. Brian isn't going to cover a demoralizing, underwhelming end to a demoralizing, underwhelming season as if such games aren't soul-numbing. It's not going to be business as usual on MgoBlog. When I saw the title "Whatever" after the bowl game, I was like, Yup, pretty much. This voice is part of what differentiates this blog from others.  

Space Coyote

February 15th, 2018 at 3:32 PM ^

Look, I know Brian and I are exactly buddy-buddy these days. But this relates to what has always bugged me most. Under Rich Rod, Brian got into the nuts and bolts. If he didn't understand something, he dug, he asked smarter people questions, he watched tape, and he usually figured out what was going on. What was going on didn't always work; how he made sense of it wasn't always exactly right; but he damn sure put in the effort to make sense of it all and did a damn good job of doing it. In the process, he became one of the more informed team-bloggers out there on his team. He had a strong understanding of the scheme, of the philosophy, and even if it didn't work, why it didn't work or at least an idea of what needed to improve. He fell in love with the concept of a fully functional Rich Rod, the spread, and what it could mean to Michigan.

In comes Hoke and flips it on its head, similar to what Rich Rod had done after Carr. The response was always half-hearted. If he didn't understand something, it wasn't because he didn't understand, it was because it was stupid, or the coaches didn't know better, or something along those lines. It was "MANBALL", a derogatory name in and of itself. And while, yes, that offense had some serious lows, there was never the deep dive into what they were trying to do, where they were trying to go, why what they did failed, honestly. It was always hand-wavey. It was always, "well this is how good teams use H-backs but this offense sucks" or "we don't run the QB anymore". That's hyperbolic, but it was a drastic difference in tone.

Out goes Hoke and in comes Harbaugh and it's tough to say "MANBALL" in a derogatory way because Harbaugh just finished wrapping up multiple successful stops and set the foundation, with his offense, for one of the most consistent and best offenses in football. So he jumped on board, because how couldn't he. But we still never saw half of the attempt to understand that we saw under Rich Rod and the spread. Brian is still married to the spread. We got the Harbaugh-fense part in his write-ups, but they were brief and fleeting.

This past year, the offense did a ton of cool things. There were a variety of new looks they had never used before, old wrinkles they recycled again, schemes they used to get guys open, and it was hardly touched on. For sure, they didn't always work. For sure, they were more limited with the offense struggling to do even the basics. But they were there. And I go back to what happened in the Florida game, with the TEs getting beat on Power, and the write-up not identifying that, still not understanding the core concept of this offense for the better part of 7 years. That never would have happened under Rich Rod. That attention to detail that would alliviate a lot of the concerns of this fan base because they would better understand what was actually going on, despite the negative overall result. The dedication to this always felt half-hearted to me and waiting for an excuse to jump off.

I get passions change, I get circumstances change, and I get priorities change. That's fine. I don't post on here or even on my own blog as much for those very reasons. But it's also a hobby of mine, not my job, and I have next to no influence compared to Brian on these things. But it is different than it used to be. But for example, I rewatched the Wisconsin-Michigan game last week and listed 15 schemes/plays that I thought were worth writing about (about half Michigan, about half Wisconsin). That's context I think would benefit people. Needless to say, I'm not in an area where you're likely going to get 15 articles though.

And McElwain is a fine hire. He isn't a God send. He isn't something to go beat down the doors telling people Michigan is going to win forever. But he's fine. He's someone that can run Harbaugh's offense (I hope, because I like Harbaugh's offense better than McElwain's personally) and understand how to feel a game, when to call certain plays, and frankly, how to coach WRs. It's not a splash, but it's fine. Shark humping and all. Instead, this blog and this fan base are stuck in a morass of self-deprecating pity with the status of the football team. And that sucks. And that doesn't help Harbaugh or this program make the changes they need to to get this program where it has been repeatedly proven Harbaugh can take programs. Give him time to make the changes he feels need to be made, to improve the players, to improve the culture. Give him a real chance without tearing everything down in the mean time.

Space Coyote

February 15th, 2018 at 4:40 PM ^

And he talked a lot with Chris Brown of Smart Football (and this blog is how I learned of Brown’s blog). Now with twitter, we have more access to smart (and dumb) people than ever. I learn or relearn or confirm things on Twitter regularly about football from people smarter than me about specific things. That in no way was a shot. There are more football blogs and access to All22 than ever to learn from.


February 15th, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

Great analysis of the situation.

The #1 thing I seek when reading something on M football is a greater understanding of what's happening and why. I want insights that more knowledgable football people have. Deep knowledge. The quality of the writing is just a bonus. I wonder if Brian's just burned out.


February 15th, 2018 at 8:07 PM ^

I appreciate your last paragraph. Im pretty fed up with the negative hyperbole this fanbase is stuck on. I think they are finding joy in trying to sabotage Harbaughs efforts. And in some ways theyre succeeding. The negative buzz around this progrm has been wholly created by its own fans. I see parallels to the current political climate and it makes me ill to tell the truth. Id hate to think this is all millennials have to offer us. Social media has not been good for our  program or society.


February 16th, 2018 at 10:41 AM ^

That is a really valid point, I think. There are many that just hate non spread offenses; from 'MANBALL' to 'Not Modern' to whatever, if it ain't spread it just ain't smart. 

I get criticism, but the swing from 'Harbaugh is a good coach/elite coach' to 'the program is doomed' is just insane, and not supported by the preponderance of the evidence when everything is taken into account. 

I honestly have faith we'll get there. I'm happy to let the process prove out. This isn't RR with his famous defensive troubles. RR sucks at building defenses unless he has *that guy*. Harbaugh has proven time and time again, even here, he can build effective offenses. But one year where we get blackjacked by luck and many are hilariously crtical. 

One thing that would help is exactly the type of breakdown of the nuts and bolts of the offense that you mention. I hear people with tangential football knowledge saying 'playcalling sucks', but I read people who really analyze stuff saying the playcalling is fine, we just ran into an execution/injury perfect storm. 

Football lends itself to lots of superficial analysis and criticism. That can lead itself to knee jerk reactions as teams try to please the fans. This has all been ramped up by social media, I think. 

How many here would have called for Carr's head after his first couple seasons? Or Moellers? Or hell Bo's when from 81-84 he went 9 wins, 8 wins, 9 wins, 6 wins???

To paraphrase aaron rogers, we need to relax. 

I wish Brian would do the analysis he used to. But it's his blog and his thing, and I'm still way overall thrilled its here, and there are podcasts for me to listen to. 

As a fan base I wish we would stop being so reactionary. 

UofM Die Hard …

February 15th, 2018 at 4:08 PM ^

I thought that was a one of a kind type of post... I felt the same way when i read it...whatever, its over, lets move on from that crap season.  

Problem is he is holding onto that sentiment and its not working, maybe for some, not for most.  The first segment of the round table was basically unlistenable ...a lot of it sounds like my 5 year old daughter throwing a fit and its starting to sound like a lot of the talking head BS on ESPN....if they want to do that, fine, but it will push most away. 

Craig saved the segment. We are close to having a real good team, but you have to check that emotion and know its going ot be a challenging road.  Brian seems to have just thrown up two birds and given up. 

In the thread below, seemed like 90% of this blog base likes the hire, i do as well, very solid coordinator...not meant for HC. So if he wants to hold onto the shark story and keep beating that tone of drum with the program...ok then...the rest of us will proceed as is. 





February 15th, 2018 at 12:46 PM ^

I always went here for the latest *real* take on news; with goods and bads balanced. Now we don't even have a write up. The last couple of weeks I've been checking out Maizenbrew more and more often because they have football news where this place has become strangely silent. 

Again, I'm not harshing on the guy. It's not easy to take the gut punches, and I'm sure he gets a bazillion hot takes every day that I never have to think about. On top of that he has a young child, and has been sick. 

I'm just saying that if this starts to go beyond that you'll see people drift away. And I get it. 

I don't mind reality. Mark Champion used to be a hoot for me to listen to on Sundays. But when its all bad, and I don't see any of the positives suggested elsewhere then I start to look elsewhere for balance. 

I hope all is well for him, that things get better in terms of his happiness, and we get some news that tickles his fancy. I love this place, and I'm indebted to him for starting it. 


As an aside, I had the thought a few years back that if his child plays football, it would be a hoot to see Brian on the sidelines coaching pop warner. 'Ann Arbor Rockets UFR....' would be a great post. 


February 15th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

But if that is really the case, I find that interesting.  What we have now is far better than what Brian has been subject to under this blog (late Carr years, RR and Hoke).  He had the morale and energy to write with passion during those times, why not now?  Perhaps it has worn him down over the years.  I dunno.


February 15th, 2018 at 12:18 PM ^

Look at the top banner on this blog.  Harbaugh was very literally "the savior."  He has ridiculed any dissent about Harbaugh's performance.  I think he is having trouble reconciling his expectations of what the hire would mean with the realization that we still have quite a ways to go.

Red is Blue

February 15th, 2018 at 12:54 PM ^

To me, it wasn't realistic to expect the program to be humming by year 3.  The highly rated recruiting class of '13 had mostly moved on (or never panned out) by last year.  The headliner from the '14 class (Peppers) was gone and there were only a few starters/heavy contributors left from that class.  The '15 class was the transition class and was small.  So that meant relatively few upper classmen contributors were around for the '17 season.  Tough to be "humming" relying so heavily on underclassmen.