Monday Skull Session

By Luke on September 20, 2010 at 12:50p

 Straight Pessimism. If you're not acquainted with the phenomenal blog Straight Bangin', shame, shame. A hallowed mix of hoops, hip-hop, tribalism, and schadenfreude, SB's Joey bounces up like roundball this week to commiserate with respect to the inevitable firing of Rich Rodriguez. No, you didn't misread that, a high IQ possessing Michigan man has decreed the Rodriguez era not long for this world, even after Michigan avoided a 2007 redux in escaping UMass 42-37. Brace for impact:

Rich Rodriguez will be fired at the end of this season because his teams can't, won't, or just don't play defense. The Wolverines are 3-0, and they are led by the nation's Heisman front-runner, so today might seem like an odd time to contemplate a coming doom not yet even preset on the horizon. However, this weekend's Massachusetts-Michigan game revealed that past is prologue, and the Michigan story to be authored in the coming weeks is one that has become a sad cautionary tale.

Can't say I disagree after the UConn and Notre Dame wins respectively were more properly contextualized this past weekend.

 "I'm special!" A Ralph Wiggum may in fact be lining up at gunner or be responsible for the middle protect in a spread punt formation at virtually every school in the Big Ten. The Cleveland Plains Dealers' Doug Lesmerises takes to the pulpit with a sermon regarding the special team state of affairs conference wide:

What Big Ten coach said this after Saturday's games?

"Special teams were awful."

There's no way to know, because it applies to too many teams.

Real talk.

 Closer to home, The O-Zone's Brandon Castel has a wrap up of the miscellaneous news and notes surrounding the aftermath of the Ohio game. In particular, senior (and patron saint of 11Dub) Brian Rolle had some choice verbiage with respect to the state of affairs as Ohio State nearly surrendered their fourth special teams related score in their third consecutive contest:

The Buckeyes went with a group of youngsters on the coverage team again this week, including tailbacks Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry, but that might change in the future with veterans like Brian Rolle and Jermale Hines itching to get back on the coverage team.

“I feel like I have to get back out there,” said Rolle, who first starred as a kick coverage guy back in 2008.

“Actually, Jermale Hines came up to me and said 'Hey B, we've got to get back on kickoff!' I said 'I might have to, we might have to.'

“It kind of makes you think maybe we should do it, maybe some guys aren't taking it seriously. We did when we were on it. I talked to the kickoff team and told them they have to make a play. That's the only unit where if one guy makes a mistake then a play can be broken.”

Given The Vest's track record of special teams excellence, the blunders during the season's first three weeks have been mind boggling to say the least. While special teams were inordinately bad conference wide this past weekend, I'm neither ready to concede this is some sort of epidemic that will cost any additional teams future games nor am I willing to risk Ohio State starters in an attempt to sure things up. The proper repetitions and coaching should prevail when everything's said and done (I pray; seriously).


The guilty party has since been summarily dismissed as Ohio's mascot and the university issued a public apology Monday. Crimes against nutmanity cannot and will not be tolerated.

 HOOPS!!1! Matta's bunch landed 6'7" small forward Sam Thompson for the class of 2010 Sunday. The 3 averaged 10 and 8 last season for Chicago's Whitney Young High and is presently ranked as the 56th best player in the Class of '10. Thompson recognizes himself as something of a disciple of the game of a certain other prominent former Chicago product turned Buckeye:

"That was important," Thompson said of his role. "I definitely looked at Evan Turner. That wasn't the whole basis on my decision-making. I looked at all the wings that have played under coach Matta over the years. I think he really lets them play. The wings in his offense are allowed to make a lot of plays at both ends of the court."

Welcome aboard, Sam.

 Alarm clocks. It probably won't matter if they have them in Champaign or not, because despite the league offices setting the Ohio State-Illinois affair to be an 11 am CST local kick, the stadium will probably be 75% capacity (at best) and non-threatening as can be. Hope they sell Red Bull in bulk near by.


Comments Show All Comments

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I like that B Rolle and Hines want to get back out on special teams to help the team even more, but I can't say I'm thrilled with the idea of them being injured on kick coverage.


Re Alaram Clocks: red bull sucks. It's all about Monster's "Recovery" drink. Caffeine, electrolites(what plants crave) and b viatmins. Tastes like lemonade, which is a marked improvement over the standard energy drink flavor or three day old sun-brewed urine.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckeyeSki's picture

Solid Idiocracy Reference

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

might be my fav movie

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

ToledoBuckeye's picture

Yeah, Michigan's wins over UConn and Notre Dame don't seem so impressive anymore.  Notre Dame may have the slowest defense in the nation.

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

btalbert25's picture

After watching seeing the turd Michigan layed this weekend I'm convinced that they will be getting a sound ass whooping every week in conference play.  They will have to battle to beat Indiana, Illinois and Purdue.  They may have something with their offense, but they won't be chewing up that much ground in conference play, and their D will hold no one under 30 points.

btalbert25's picture

I should've prefaced it by saying last week I believed the Michigan team may win 7 or 8 games this year.  I was even willing to say they would beat Penn State.  After witnessing how bad their D really is, I'm convinced that I may be able to pass for 250 and 2 TD's.

original buckeye's picture

I agree.  That UM defense is horrid.  UConn and ND are terrible--those are not wins to be proud of.

btalbert25's picture

Notre Dame is terrible, and I just don't see Brian Kelly getting any kind of defense working up there.  The team may score some points this year, but I just don't see them being any different than they were when Cheeseburger was the coach.

BTwrestle04's picture

LMAO @ the mascot fight.

M Man's picture

Straight Bangin' is so far down the food chain in the world of Michigan blogs, I have a hard time thinking who's below.  Whatever.  The interwebs are wonderful in that everybody gets to have an opinion.  Even the columnists at the Detroit Free Press.  So that shows you how far that rule extends.

Something that the 11W group might be interested in, which never really translates from television viewings, is the extent to which Rich Rodriguez DOES NOT coach his defense.

Which probably sounds like I am auditioning to be the straight man for thousands of hooting Ohioans, and just waiting for the inevitable one-liner retort.  Naturally, the head coach is RESPONSIBLE for everything.  Rich Rodriguez's job isn't done, just by virtue of his offense rolling up 500 yards a game.  He needs to find a defense.

But for anyone who goes to all of Michigan's games, they will know; Rich Rodriguez has almost nothing to do with our defense, or even Greg Robinson, during the games.  Rodriguez does not call defensive plays and schemes.  He does not talk to the defense during their on-field timeouts.  He doesn't even stand at the defensive line of scrimmage, which is where Greg Robinson normally positions himself.  (Rodriguez does do pep talky kinds of stuff with the defense, occasionally, when gorups of them come off the field in transition.  Then he is back to business with the offense.)

This is not rumor or scandal or evidence of anything personal.  It is simply how Rich Rodriguez operates, no matter who his DC is.  Rodriguez's game-time role, as I understand it, is that he is watching the opponents' offenses, and talking to Michigan's coaches in the press box, about what he is seeing.  He can communicate with everybody over their headsets.  But honestly, his hands-on involvement with the defense is minimal at best.

Now, it might be said that if Michigan's defense is bad, and completely failing to progress, that Rodriguez's responsibility to the team and the program, is to fire Greg Robinson and get a new DC.  I regard that particular scenario as unlikely, but it is 10000% more likely than any termination of Rich Rodriguez at the end of this year.

Straight Bangin' isn't even making any basic contractual sense on this topic.  Michigan has a contract with Rich Rodriguez for two more years.  Someone might want to suggest that if, at the end of this year, Rich Rodriguez feels like he's earned a contract extension, but doesn't get one, that he might resign.  Otherwise, there's no reason whatsoever to expect that anything like a Rodriguez "firing" is in the offing.  The more realistic presumption is that Mr. Straight Bangin' is just bangin' a little sideways this week.

One last thing; Michigan's got a small handful of four-star recruits who are mostly expected as early-enrollees for 2011, and who are widely known to be looking for signs that the program will be carrying on with Rodriguez, and who are all expected to be committed by November. 

11W is doing a fine job; but your taste in Michigan blogs leaves something to be desired.  I'm trying to figure out how to get Mr. Straight Bangin' to bet me $100 on whether Rich Rodriguez will be the Michigan head coach in 2011.  That's easy money as far as I am concerned.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

One last thing; Michigan's got a small handful of four-star recruits who are mostly expected as early-enrollees for 2011, and who are widely known to be looking for signs that the program will be carrying on with Rodriguez, and who are all expected to be committed by November.


that's assuming a couple of things: these recruits actually enroll, and they don't leave the program before they see the field.

Also, Greg Robinson is a TUURRRBBBLLLLE coach.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

iball's picture

"Michigan has a contract with Rich Rodriguez for two more years. "

And Lord knows no one in Michigan has money to buy that out. Uh thank you.

The University of Michigan has no one to blame other than the idiot who made the hiring happen. Rodriguez coached teams have NEVER played defense. He made his name with Pat White, Woody Danzler and a bunch of highlight films. This was one of the worst hirings in CFB history. Period. The best course of action is to buy out RR's contract, AGAIN, and get a coach who can recruit and coach ALL aspects of football.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

M Man's picture

We sure do appreciate your concern.

And, I like your signature!  We have so much in common.

btalbert25's picture

When Jim Tressel lead teams have had poor defensive showings in bowl games, losses, and wins for that matter, people do take it out on the coordinator, but inevitably Jim Tressel ends up being blamed for taking care of his friends and not wanting to rock the boat etc.  These are defenses that have been ranked toward the top in college football.  Even though ultimately, he really doesn't interfere much with the defense either. 

The head coach is always going to take the blame when his team doesn't play well.  If he doesn't have a mind for defense he puts someone in there who does.  When a team plays so poorly in one area, and this will be the 3rd year of Michigan having a bad D, the head coach has to take some of the blame.  To be sure they have sustained a lot of losses in the secondary, but every time a DB went down I would read on MGOBlog that it was no big deal, we didn't want that guy, or he wasn't going to play anyway, or the D line and linebackers are great so the secondary won't matter. 

If Michigan fails to make a bowl again, and I realize they are only 3 games from making it, with another very winnable game coming up, you have to believe regardless of what DickRod has coming to the school next year, it's going to be damn near impossible for him to survive another year in Ann Arbor.  This team has looked very similar to last years bunch at this point in the year.  With an improved Big 10 and a Defense that looks to be on par or worse than last years it's reasonable to expect Michigan to have another 5 win season.

btalbert25's picture

Personally, I like the prospects of him being there another 2 seasons after this year.  I just don't understand why Michigan fans are so pleased to have him has their coach and defend him so much.  I wish Ohio State fans were as united in solidarity for Tressel.  Jeeze we play a great game last Saturday and I still hear people bitching about Tressel and how this team doesn't have isn't a championship level team etc. etc etc.

M Man's picture

It's just normal operating procedure, right?  Calling for the Head Coach's head.  It's what everybody does.  What happened to, or whatever it was called?

Tressel is a wonderful example, in fact.  A guy who is as universally liked and respected as anybody in the country, and yet there were calls for him to be fired, and a website dedicated to the purpose.  I presume that there are "FireUrbanMeyer" and "FireLesMiles" websites too.

I cannot even begin to count all of the calls to "fire Lloyd Carr" in the Tressel era, and before.  And the funny thing -- it always came from numbnuts who didn't like Carr's play calling and coaching, which were mostly brilliant.  Nobody seemed to complain about his recruiting, which slipped badly in his last few years.  Anyway, Carr stayed at least one year longer than he expected to, and maybe two years longer than he should have.  And why not replace Carr before then?  Because there was no clear heir.  Certanily not an internal one.  And why not?  Because Carr had his own, uh, issues, with DC's.  His longtime DC Jim Herrmann didn't survive to the end of the Carr days, and Carr's last DC, Ron English, has gone on to become the '0-for-ever' Head Coach of the Eastern Michigan Hurons Eagles, coming soon to a stadium near you.

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

Rod's contract has a clause that he can be let go due to any NCAA infractions, and the school would owe him nothing. 

M Man's picture

Well, with respect to the 2009 NCAA story, what we know is this:

  • The Notice of Allegations directed to Michigan had a number of allegations that were truly piddly stuff; about "stretching" as a Countable Athletically-Related Activity, the alleged coaching/observation activities of a couple of graduate assistants whose job descriptions were purely "Quality Control", and making a few guys push blocking sleds for missing classes outside of football season.  Insofar as the Michigan and NCAA joint investigations turned up the same evidence, Michigan copped to all of those allegations, and sanctioned itself in a generally "200%" penalty move.  (Loss of double the number of graduate assistants over two years, forfeiting twice the number of alleged "stretching" hours, etc.)
  • There was one pretty serious allegation with respect to one graduate asistant who gave false testimony (about what, I don't honestly know).  He was dismissed from the program almost immediately, but otherwise cooperated fully in the investigation, and appeared at the Seattle meeting in August. 
  • Finally, there was ONE (and only one) allegation that went to Rich Rodriguez.  It was for the catch-all allegation of 'failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance' within the program.  Not only did Rodriguez deny the allegation... The University likewise contested the allegation.  And they have fought it from their first response.

So not only is Michigan NOT cutting Rich Rodriguez loose, in any way, shape or form, for an alleged NCAA 'major' violation -- the University has taken the active, aggressively-defended position that no allegation is rightfully made against Rodriguez.  At all.  Period.  Full stop.  (Commence "defense" jokes now...)

KenK's picture

It really doesn't matter what Rodriguez's coaching style is; if he Defense contributes mightily to losing games, RR is doomed.  So, if he wants to keep his job at AA, he'd better either get involved or get coaching help. Frankly, I don't think UM will can RR before his contract expires, but I don't see them bringing him back, either.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

BucksfanXC's picture

Yes, plenty of good tickets left for the Illini game. I'll be in attendence cheering on the Buckeyes for that Illi-Buck trophy.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

The Guy looks, acts, and talks like a douchebag. Personally, I hope you guys keep him for 10 more years. Cause I don't think he will ever beat The Vest. And it brings joy to my heart seeing his team implode....

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama