The Spread in the Big Ten: Why did Rich Rod Fail at Michigan?

By Ross Fulton on February 23, 2012 at 9:00a
86 Comments
My first problem is probably at Quarterback...

In response to my column last week, one commenter asked whether Rich Rodriguez's Michigan failures were a result of offensive shortcomings, or solely to be blamed on other factors.  I felt Rodriguez's tenure deserved its own post, because its become a "zombie" opinion in some sectors of the media that the 'spread' offense cannot work in the Big Ten.

Readers of this column know the immediate problem with this mantra is that the spread is not a single offense.  The second problem is that Big Ten teams have been running a variety of spread offenses for years.  In fact, the game that brought the spread mainstream was a Big Ten game (against the Wolverines).  So this meme has no basis in fact.   

Putting this aside, it is still worth analyzing why Rich Rodriguez "failed" at Michigan.  The most obvious answer to the reader's question is that it was not Rodriguez's offense's fault.  Rodriguez's Michigan defenses and special teams worsened every year and were frankly horrible by the end of his tenure.  This deficiency, more than anything else, sunk Rodriguez's tenure.

Yet it is too much to give Rodriguez's offenses a free pass.  Part of this was personnel, namely finding a quarterback who can do what is so essential to Rodriguez's offense's success.

Yet it also goes deeper.  Rodriguez was one of thes spread's original innovators and proponents. As Chris Brown writes, Rodriguez was the Johnny Appleseed of the 'spread,' both by bringing it to schools he was coaching, as well as taking it to others.

The early spread-to-run that Rodriguez pioneered was predicated upon the zone read and play-action two-man pass patterns, such as quick hitches or smash.  Rodriguez's offense generally operated from true spread '10' personnel formations with 4 wide receivers, either 2 x 2 or trips.

Below is clips from Northwestern's breakthrough game against Michigan mentioned above, and you can see the spread in its infancy.  

This is the offense Rodriguez brought to Michigan.  Other than some use of the tight end, Rodriguez' offense remained almost entirely predicated around the zone read run game.     

In the meantime, though, other spread offenses evolved.  Like anything else, as defensive coaches became more familiar with the spread, they adjusted, both in terms of personnel and tactics.

Offenses such as Oregon, which is still based in the zone-read, responded in a number of ways.  One, teams married the spread-to-run concepts with a more conceptual passing game. Two, teams became 'less spread,' using tight ends and H-backs to force 'alley' players to declare and to create angles to permit more variety in the run game. Three, Oregon counteracted the defensive games by incorporating other reads such as the midline option. Four, teams incorporated 'power' blocking concepts to complement zone blocking in a variety of formats, such as with 'inverted veer.'

The upshot is that offenses such as Oregon became more diversified.

            

Rodriguez largely failed to evolve his offense past the spread's origins.

Chris Brown, for instance, prophetically predicated at the beginning of Rodriguez's Michigan tenure that Rodriguez's passing game lacked the conceptual nature necessary to succeed as teams adapted to the spread's basic tenets.

Nor did Rodriguez (for the most part) diversiify his offense in the way an Oregon has to counteract things such as scrape exchanges.  Michigan never embraced plays such as the midline option, inverted veer, power or counter trey like others.

The upshot is that, while Michigan's offense was largely succesful once Denard Robinson was in place, it never hummed in the way Oregon's offense did (particularly against better teams) to overcome Michigan's defense or special team liabilities.

The problem, therefore, was not so much with having a spread-to-run offense in the Big Ten, as failing to adapt to what defenses have done to face spread offenses.

Rodriguez may face some of those same problems in the Pac-12 unless he similarly evolves.     

86 Comments

Comments

ArTbkward's picture

It seems to me that RichRod had a lot going aganist him both on and off the field from the day he arrived in TSUN.  His failure to bring DC Jeff Casteel from WVU on board, the total lack of support he received from scUM and his failure to seemingly drink the maize and blue Kool-aid in public.  Obviously some things are his fault but Carr also virtually encouraged players to transfer elsewhere once he retired (see Mallet, Ryan).

I read Three and Out recently, and it made me actually kinda like the guy.  I hope he does well in the Pac 12.  Let him be to scUM as Bill Belichick is to the Browns.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...
(Also, I'm not a dude)

Ross Fulton's picture

I agree with all of this, although I would just add that my impression from 3 and out was that Rodriguez did not have the 'diplomatic' skills to handle that job.  Being a coach of a major program is as much of being a public face of the university as anything else.  That being said, I think RichRod made coaching errors as well--continually meddling in the defense, failing to put emphasis on special teams, etc.  However, I find the offensive issues the most interesting from a schematic standpoint. 

ArTbkward's picture

I don't disagree with anything you said.  I think his coaching issues combined with the diplomatic issues fed each other.  Better on-field results would have certainly quieted the detractors, or cockroaches as it was written.  Better initial diplomatic relations may or may not have helped on-field results but at the very least it may have lessened some of the pressure and the feeling of fighting a losing battle. 

Regardless, I found it fascinating that scUM was in such a tailspin following the death of Schembechler.

I really like these posts, I think they're a great addition.  I'll be the first to tell you that understanding plays is the facet of football I know the least about having never actually played the game (aside from one Powderpuff game in HS), so, for me, these are good reads.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...
(Also, I'm not a dude)

BuckPirate1981's picture

First off, great article and analysis. One thing though - while Rodriguez is/was no Senator, I would point to the overwhelming evidence that points to him not being a good cultural fit from the begining, and not being given all the tools needed to do well. On one hand, Michigan was foolish not to take the company line OSU has now with giving Urbz all the cash money he needs to get the best coaches for the program. On the other, you have this general atmosphere that would give anyone a hard time from the onset. Take for example words such as this which I reference in a comment below:

“At the Capital One Bowl, we were trying to smooth things out, and we talked to Coach Carr,” Jim Mallett, Ryan’s dad, said. “I asked him, ‘Coach, next to my dad, you’re the classiest person I’ve ever been around. What would you do if Ryan was your son? He said, ‘If I was in that situation, with a different offense, he needs to leave.’ ”

Honestly, who tells a kid at a program they are supposedly loyal to they're better off peacing out? I applaud someone being honest about such things, but if anything, they would try to keep all the talent they could in house to give the next guy something to cook with - even if they didn't buy the ingredients. Short of winning at a much, much higher clip, the guy was doomed. That his offense was too flawed to overcome a defense run by individuals who were not his first choice (and those special teams, oi vey) just went to seal the deal. Does make me feel slightly better as I think Urban is a better coach with respect to adapting to talent. Alex Smith has significantly different tools to work with than Tim Tebow, and yet Urban was able to have great results with both kids. Maybe a future topic to write about Ross - why Urban did so poorly his last year with the Gators, and how this will or will not reflect on how he will do at Ohio State. 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I'm with ya. Anyone but USC in the PAC12

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

DMcDougal24's picture

Very impressed Ross. Do you think Hoke will continue to run this adapted spread with Shane Morris or may he change his offensive philosophy? I'm not familiar with his roots as a coach or what offensive philosophy he implemented in previous jobs

Ross Fulton's picture

No, they will be an NFL offense--zone and power downhill run game, 'west coast' passing game.  I give Hoke and Borges credit, unlike Rich Rod they adapted to their personnel. 

M Man's picture

Ross you are right about Al Borges' offense.

But as for "adapting"...  Borges adapted to a QB who was the B1G's MVP and most potent individual weapon.  And, as a lot of us know, that "adaptation" wasn't always a smooth one.  Our losses to Iowa and MSU last year were infuriating offensive messes. 

Who was Rodriguez supposed to "adapt" to?  Nick Sheridan?

BuckeyeSki's picture

Justin Feagin sniffed some playing time too

 

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

Run_Fido_Run's picture

In retrospect, I'm perfectly willing to judge how RR adapted to the personnel he inherited at Michigan - i.e., "grade him on a curve." 

RR went 6-18 in B1G games. A better coach would have squeezed enough production out of the likes of Sherridan and Boubacar Cissoko and gone like 10-14 or better. Grade (based on a curve) = C-. 

At Michigan, a C- grade gets you fired.

DMcDougal24's picture

M Man are you at all concerned that Hoke may not be able to continue this success once Denard leaves and the offensive philosophy changes? It seems Hoke is being appointed the next great coach and he's running someone else's system. I admit he's a good recruiter and has his players motivated, but I can't wait to see what he does with his own offense. He could be the next Walrus and no one knows it.

William's picture

Very unlikely to happen. Hoke and Borges want to run a Pro-Style offense and they are bringing in Shane Morris, a QB for the 2013 that fits their Pro-Style system perfectly.

DMcDougal24's picture

I'm trying not to judge the book by the cover, but Shane Morris's cover is a pretty boy who looks like he can't take a hit without rushing to the sideline to fix his hair. It obviously won't be that bad, but I'm picturing a Jay Cutler mentality

M Man's picture

I'm happy to answer, but first I want to say that Ross's OP is a good one, and I know that the intent here is to engage in a "merits and details of the Spread" discussion, for the benefit of understanding current Ohio State football under Meyer, and not a discussion of historical or future Michigan football.

The presumed Plan of Succession at Michigan goes something like this:

2012 QB depth chart - D. Robinson (Sr.), D. Gardner (Jr.*), R. Bellomy (RS Fr.) (The three QB's are personally very different; Robinson is more Juice Williams or Randle-El than Pat White.  Devin Gardner is a bigger, true hybrid.  Russell Bellomy is more of a straight drop-back guy, although Bellomy and the coaching staff might resist that description a bit.  He hasn't played a down for Michigan yet.)

2013 QB depth chart - D. Gardner (Sr.*), R. Bellomy (RS So.) or Shane Morris (Fr.)  Michigan has gone completely nuts over Shane Morris, who is expected to finish hs at the end of this year as a consensus 5-star and the Number 2 QB prospect in the nation.  It will be a huge challenge to fulfill the extravagant expectations.  Morris is a left-hander, who otherwise is a perfect prototypical Borges West Coast QB.

2014 QB depth chart - D. Gardner could get another year.  In 2010, he played in two early games, less than a dozen plays, if memory serves me.  It became a heated intramural debate as to why his red shirt would have been burned in that fashion.  (Gardner went in a couple of times when Denard got bumped, at a time when Tate Forcier was being benched as a disciplinary measure.)  But most thinking is that if Gardner wants a fifth year, he will get it, as a medical resdshirt, since he went through the balance of 2010 without playing and with a reported back injury.  But it might be moot; Shane Morris (as well as Russell Bellomy) will be seasoned within Borges' system by that time.  Borges himself says that it takes a full year for him and a starting QB to get all the details worked out.  If, in 2014, Devin Gardner is winning the QB job at Michigan it will be because he (and remember that Gardner came out of hs as a very high 4-star) is playing a very high level.

Michigan is really talented, but thin, at the position.  Michigan did not recruit a QB in the 2012 class, which has been a minor concern, but once again, everyone's dazzling dreams for Shane Morris override all other rational thought.  Morris has been a knockout star in everything he's done so far; camps, 7-on-7 tournaments, and now he is a star on Twitter as a kind of ringleader of the Recruiting Class of 2013.

Phoenix824's picture

M Man,   Your input and perspective make the site better than it would if just us Buckeye fans were pumping ourselves up and putting down TTUN.   I am glad we can debate things and have logical discussions.     Thanks for being a member.

JasonBuck's picture

Agreed, I can't stand TTUN as much as any buckeye fan, but I do appreciate a opposing point of view adding to a logical and interesting debate (but as I've said in the past, try bringing this to mgoblog and I bet we wouldn't get the same type of respect, and that's the difference in the two fan bases).  Thanks M Man for what you bring to the board!

BuckPirate1981's picture

Question for you M Man - didn't Hot Rod have a great quarterback as he came in to the program that ended up transfering to Arkansas? His name eludes me as I run to class, but the point being that would have been his best recruit in the time he was there if he had gotten the kid to stay, and had been able to adapt to that QB's skill set as Tress did (to some degree of success or another) going from Troy to the Todd to the Tattoo. 

bassplayer7770's picture

I assume you're referring to Ryan Mallett?

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ryan Mallet is the young man you are thinking of. Mallet would have fit into Rich Rod's spread like pine tar fits on a turkey sammich.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

M Man's picture

Ryan Mallett.  Transferred to Arkansas, had considerable success, got drafted, is now 2nd/3rd string for the Patriots behind Brady.  Very tall, highly immobile, good thrower, a total stud coming out of high school.

It was rumored that Rodriguez somehow "dove off" Mallett by barging in and ramming the zone-read spread down everybody's throats.  Among Michigan insiders, I think it is nearly universally acknowledged that Mallett was not going to stay at Michigan.  Regardless of Rodriguez and the spread.  Mallett was not well-liked by his teammates in Ann Arbor.  Mallett was from Texarkana.  Mallett's first instinct as a hs recruit was to go to Arkansas (where he subsequently transferred).  A job was essentially opened up for Mallett at Arkansas with the departure of Mitch Mustain.  Michigan's phenomenal QB coach Scot Loeffler left with the departure of most of the rest of Carr's staff when Lloyd retired; according to the Mallett family, Loeffler was much of the reason Mallet came to Michigan and much of the reason he departed when he did.

And as if all of that extinsic evidence were not enough, Rich Rodriguez has stated point-blank that he reached out to Ryan Mallett and indicated his wish that he'd remain at Michigan. 

BrewstersMillions's picture

Bit of an airhead while at Arkansas but I can appriciate Rich Rod's effort because regardless of 'system' you don't let a talent like Mallet go without a fight. Dude can absolutley sling the rock.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Ross Fulton's picture

Good posts.  Yes, the debate about Rodriguez-Mallet chicken & egg problem will always be that.  If I were in Rodriguez's shoes his first year, I personally would have gotten in the I, run the ball 35 times a game, and relied on a still pretty decent defense, and taken my 7-5/8-4 and moved on to the next year.  But that's just me...

 

Yes, obviously Rodriguez's defenses got worse every year.  That is on him.  But I personally have always found it interesting that he never 'evolved' like a Chip Kelly has...

yrro's picture

That's sort of what I thought. RR's system is *so* dependent on the quarterback. You can win the games you should win pounding the ball in the I with guys who know the system and playing adequate defense. No one really has to be a start, because your general talent level is so much higher.

RR's offense is deadly with the right quarterback, but it is entirely dependent on that quarterback to even be competent.

BuckPirate1981's picture

Ryan Mallett, that's it, sorry was running late for Epidemiology. 11W - responsible in at least some part for my current "B" in the class. 

Anyways, I agree he is not the athlete say, a Terrelle Pryor is.  That said, he's reasonably along the lines of athlete that, say, a Mr. Brady (who ran a blazing 5.23 from what I have gathered from various websites). I won't get into the whole, raw athleticism not being the best measure of who is going to end up married to a super model living in a multi-million dollar mansion after several championships debate, but we all know that in the right "system," a QB like Mallett could do very well. Heck, you could say he managed to overcome that "line-man" slow speed and do decently well for himself while at Arkansas. However as is the point of this article, Rich Rod was not someone who would conform his offense like Borges has with Denard to make the most of what he has. While at WVU, he obviously had his prototype QB. But even before then, he had an affinity for athletic, mobile guys (Brandon Streeter and Woodrow Dantzler were not as different IMO as the Clemson site suggests - both could move their feet pretty well). Shaun King was also someone who could move around well.

So given Mallett did not fit in as his "prototype" or ideal QB, I have to wonder how hard Rodriguez pursued Mallett. I'm sure he "reached out" - he would have looked like an idiot not to have. That said, look at the work Meyer put in convincing Dunn that his option would work with the kids talents - that, my friends, is what convincing someone they will work in your offense is all about. Loeffler leaving was a blow, but just like how Dunn thought he was a better fit for Walrusball than Meyer's spread but was won back, so to could have Rich if he had really wanted to - but of course that's just amateur criminal profiling from someone who wasn't there. No one other than Rodriguez himself would know for sure. The phrase "reaching out" is as much coachspeak as anything else I've ever heard (and as Buckeye fans, we've heard some of the best - I imagine this is probably the biggest deficit in Coaching: Football since Tress left). Maybe you're right the culture shock of Texas to Michigan was too much, or Mallett is just a dick. Personally, I'm glad we didn't see more of this than we did. But from what I gathered, it was as much as anything him being a round peg in Rod's square hole that did in his Michigan career as much as anything else. And these statements tend to also point towards that conclusion:

“Ryan’s the one who called (Rich Rod),” Jim Mallett continued. “He said, “Can I talk about the offense?’ And then he told me, ‘Daddy, (Rodriguez) never looked me in the eye.’ He never visited with the family, he didn’t talk to us. I never met the man. But hey, it wasn’t a fit. Let’s move on.”

I don't think Mallett to Arkansas was a foregone conclusion.

“Bobby Petrino was the polar opposite of Lloyd Carr, who is the warmest, sweetest man,” Debbie Mallett said.

So Rodriguez was even going up against someone who the kid's mom was an a-hole. All of that just to say, not only did Rich fail to adapt his offense to defenses figuring it out, but he failed in trying to adapt to the talent he inherited. Criminal profile + additional statements from victims + failure to adapt offense + additional eye witness accounts = conviction. Sentence? Having to coach at Arizona. 

And yes I will do my best to keep comments to a less than 10,000 word count from now on, my bad haha

M Man's picture

This whole thing has been beaten to death on MGoBlog; if you have an interest, you could check it out there via search.

The Mallet family has been a bit erratic in their supplying a history of Ryan's varying encounters with coaches and intercollegiate moves.  All that I can suggest to you is that no matter what you may hear, there is simply no way that Mallet was going to remain at Michigan once his position coach was gone, and there was no way that Rodriguez could possibly have kept Loeffler as the QB coach (when really, Rodriguez and Tony McGee were the 'QB coaches') without basically scrapping a large part of his offense and his staff.  That's the version of the story that I can subscribe to, without any personal attacks or recriminations. 

That, and there are almost no comments from Ryan Mallet himself.

You are going down a dead-end path with this.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

"Cocaine is a helluva drug" ~Ryan Mallet.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckPirate1981's picture

My apologies, as I'm sure you're sick and tired of the subject already (obviously here on this end, we didn't follow the subject nearly as closely). From an outside looking in perspective, that's just the way I see it. No personal attacks (other than Petrino who seems to be a tool, per Mallet's mom), just saying that past history indicates Mallet wasn't his type of guy, and that it would make sense for Rod to "reach out," but not be overly sad if Mallet left and he got a head start on installing his offense. Which, as nicely showcased by our well versed author, failed in large part because of his inability to adapt. Something I see as a possible reason for a perhaps less than ardent pursuit of Mallet, who did not fit his offense, one which could not tailor to better suit that player's talents (much unlike the current UM staff, which has so far blown away my expectations and I'm sure those of many Wolverine fans). I agree though, Rodriguez may have been facing an uphill battle that would have made this point moot. 

Not only is the rivalry back, but until we see how Hoke & Co. do this year with a seemingly tougher schedule (and how Meyer shakes off the rust), I'm more than a little nervous. Thanks as always for your rational insight on the other side M Man!

buckeyedude's picture

So why did J. Boren leave then? Sorry, had to ask. Just being a smartazz. ;)

 
 

Ross Fulton's picture

I thought Borges did a better job as the season went on.  As Brian and others at MGoBlog pointed out, Michigan held themselves back at times last year by not employing constraints such as the bubble screen, etc.  But by the time they got to OSU, they tore OSU's depleted defense apart with inverted veer again and again and again.

VestedInterest's picture

Much appreciate the offensive breakdown, but the elephant in the room in regards to overall failure was a complete abandonment of defense and trying to fit square pegs in round holes personnel wise. He threw traditions such as captaincies aside...it was a train wreck from the word go and was doomed for failure.

Ross Fulton's picture

Completely agree, but as I said above, the offensive issues are to me a more interesting analytical point. 

Kalamazoo Steve's picture

This.  The defense sucked, end of story.  Nothing to see here.

bassplayer7770's picture

Ross, thanks again for your articles.  I have a question that may seem to be a little out of left field...

Are you familiar with the Spread Offense that Tim Beckman (now at Illinois) runs, and what do you expect from his team in the B1G in the coming years?

therealtruth's picture

He had a top 10 offense in his third year, his early struggles were due to running the spread with a 6'6" mastodon at QB in his first year, and playing a true freshman in his second.

Offense has nothing to do with why he failed. Literally, not a thing.

hodge's picture

Yet therin lies the rub: Hoke inherited D-Rob and the rest of RichRod's offense, yet he eschewed his favored pro-set for a more spread-to-run attack to better match his personnel.  He compiled an 11-2 record in doing so, imagine what their record would have been with a full pro-set offense--their defense was damn good, but not good enough to carry them through eleven games.

This was one of RichRod's biggest failures; the team he inherited from Lloyd Carr was ill-equipped to run a spread-to-run offense, yet he stubbornly clung to it instead of adapting his offense acordingly.  He's far too smart of a coach to have let that happen--offensively at least, with the defense he dug his own grave.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I midly disagree. You're right that Michigan's biggest problem under RR wasn't the offense. 

Given better defense and STs, their overall offensive production under RR was good enough to win 8+ games and go bowling, and RR is still probably the coach. But, as Ross points out, that offense struggled against better defenses, so RR's offenses wouldn't have been good enough to win B1G championships.

Say what you want about Tressel ball, but Ohio State's offenses in 2008 (especially later in the season), 2009, and 2010 could perform better against high-level defenses compared to RR's offenses.     

BuckeyeSki's picture

"Please oh please dont mention that I hired Gerg for my DC in any follow-up articles, Arizona could be reading this"

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

M Man's picture

Arizona did read it; literally, AZ's athletic director read Three and Out before settling on Rodriguez.  And they made damn sure that they helped Rodriguez get Jeff Casteel as DC.

BuckeyeSki's picture

Lulz trumped by logic again!

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

Maestro's picture

I worry a little about the same problem existing with Meyer from the standpoint of not adapting.  B. Miller should be ideal for his offensive philosophies, but we all saw the John Brantley year with Meyer........yikes.

vacuuming sucks

William's picture

That's why we signed Cardale Jones and are after Malik Zaire.

Also John Brantley=Joe Bauserman

Squirrel Master's picture

Bauserman is not even close to Brantley. Brantley throws incompletes. Bauserman throws it in the stands like peanuts. Plus I have seen Brantley be able to throw it more than 10 yards and not get sacked on 5 straight plays.

I am still amazed how Bauserman stepped in for Braxton in that Nebraska game and threw an interception on the first play. so sad.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Ethos's picture

Don't be mean.  Bauserman was just giving out game-balls to the fans.

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

Squirrel Master's picture

That is one thing I can't say bad about Bauserman, the dude was a giver. He loved to help defensive players rack up stats.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

beserkr29's picture

One thing to keep in mind is that Brantley was NOT supposed to be the QB post-Tebow.  Cam Newton was.  Unfortunately for Urban and Florida, Cam left for Juco due to off the field stuff, then went to Auburn after a lengthy (and very shady) recruiting process.  Meyer had his backup in place, it just went awry after Newton skipped town due to some poor decisions and the next guy up didn't fit the system at all.  And there was no Tebow analog to ease some of the pressure a la 2006.   

Jason Priestas's picture

Brantley was also a local legacy that happened to be a five-star recruit. Urban had to take him.

Maestro's picture

I understand all the Brantley stuff, but it still happened.  They had an entire offseason to adjust and failed to do so, and as the season wore on they didn't have much success changing the course either.

vacuuming sucks

acBuckeye's picture

One could also argue that another reason Urban took Brantley was b/c he wanted to prevent him from going to a rival school, getting torched by him, then regretting not going after him. This may not be true, as i'm sure Urban thought he could work with the young man and make good things happen.

MuraliPatel's picture

To be fair to Brantley, he should have just gone elsewhere. I know there's immense pressure when you're a legacy, but hell, he would have been better served by going to FSU or Texas.

Maestro's picture

and to be fair, Brantley had beaten out Newton in spring practice and was named the back up to Tebow.  Let's not revise history.

vacuuming sucks

Squirrel Master's picture

very true Maestro. I will add that it was not all Brantley. Half of that team moved on to the NFL and other ventures. They were in somewhat of a rebuilding process. Plus I didn't see Brantley being forced to play like Tebow. they set up alot of play action to meet Brantley's talents but Brantley failed. Now Brantley not becoming a top caliber QB could be blamed on coaches developing him but can't also forget that half of the coaching staff left after Tebow as well. Hopefully this coaching staff will stick together a couple years.

I would be more troubled with coaches coming and going because he took top notch ones and they move on to better gigs.

edit: it is hard to rebuild in the SEC and I say same for B1G. It goes to show how amazing of a job Tressel did for the past decade winning the conference over and over again with such turnover. Although his coaches were not even getting sniffed at.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

acBuckeye's picture

Squirrel: I've been saying this for quite some time now, and i'm sure others have too, that this may have been part of the "genius" of Tressel. He knew that he had a handful of assistants on his staff that weren't "good enough" to ever get other jobs on their own, yet were able to serve a purpose under Tressel in a way that met Tressel's demands. (We all know who they are, and we all know their DERPness, but i digress.....) This, in turn, kept the turnover rate relatively low and allowed consistency and cohesion within the coaching staff. Plus, it also allowed Tressel to have absolute power and control b/c he knew his staff couldn't operate at a high level on their own.

This could be the one negative about Urban wanting the best on his staff. The fact that every year he may have to be replacing a key cog. Tressel rarely had this issue. Dantonio, Beckman, and Hazell are the only ones that come to mind.

Squirrel Master's picture

I love these articles by Ross. Great read! Urban's spread has been evolving to what he had in Utah to what he took over in Florida. Everyone believes he is going to try to "find" the next Tebow and Harvin to run OSU's offense but I think he will adapt and create an offense that will combine the power and strength of OSU with his innovative spread to run. Unlike RR, Urban will adapt to his personnel and opposing teams.

I don't think it is out of the realm that the power player that was once Tebow will become the RB (Hyde, Ball or Dunn) and the do everything speed player in the Harvin mold will be Braxton. At least for the time being till Marshall shows up. It will take just a few little tweaks to make the talent OSU has to fit into a style Meyer thinks will work.

Plus OSU has Fickell and their stellar defense. This will in no way shape or form resemble the crap that northern team had. Get the offense up to par because this defense can win championships.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Maestro's picture

I too have confidence in Fickell and the defense to be solid, but last season's defense was not championship caliber by any stretch.  I think they will be better, but they must improve on 3rd downs significantly and they must get more sacks.

Agree that Miller is the most explosive player on offense and will be used that way.  Even on 3rd and long when everyone in the stadium knew that a QB draw was coming he often picked up plenty of yardage.  

vacuuming sucks

Squirrel Master's picture

true. I am basing my statement on the talent brought in and past history. Plus I emphasize "can". They do have some growing to do and like the offense I hope they take advantage of this year and get ready for 2013.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

timdogdad's picture

my question is who did the recruiting for them for in  2007. 2008  or around there? that left their d pretty bare with just average players.  gotta give a guy like jordan kovacs credit for just walking on because there was no one better than him and becoming a reliable starter. 

Squirrel Master's picture

Tressel was the head honcho but I think Bollball and Heacock were the leads. As bare as the D may be, not even close to the cupboard that was the offensive line. He left behind 2 toothpicks and pack of matches for when he was going to burn down the house and walk away.

nothing against the kids currently there. Just that there are not many of them!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

prdoctor's picture

I don't think the scare quotes around "failed" are necessary with regard to RichRod's tenure up north: he WAS a failure.

nickma71's picture

It is a gimmick that leaves the quarter back exposed unless everybody on offense is faster than everybody on defense. That is why it didn't work. It wasn't just his defense. All good teams michigan played in that time shut the offense down. We will likely see nothing like Richrod or the zone read from Oregon. We will see our very mobile quarterback utilize his tools. Just like Steve Young (hopefully)

BrewstersMillions's picture

NickMa,

I can not even begin to address how wrong you are in your assessment of the spread. "Not even close" doesn't seem to do it justice. For the record, Denard Robinson is generally the fastest player on the field any time he steps onto it. I'm worried you don't know the first thing about the spread. This is the second time you've made a wildly incorrect assumption about the offense.

 

 

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

nickma71's picture

You clearly never played a down of football. Because a writer for 11W writes a column, doesn't make it so.

BrewstersMillions's picture

From 5th grade to senior year of high school. That's a lot of downs but this isn't a pissing contest. Cam Newton-not the fastest guy on the field. Ran a spread. Tim Tebow-not the fastest guy on the field-ran a spread.

Oh both won Heismans. Both won titles. Next?

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

Run_Fido_Run's picture

When is the last time that an actual (literally speaking) real live pissing contest took place?

What is the object of the contest (or game), how many players, what are the rules if any?

Can females play? If not, is the game possibly subject to a crackdown due to insufficient adherence to Title IX standards?

Is there a Pissing Contest Hall of Fame?

BrewstersMillions's picture

1) 1914, Toronto, Canada.

2) Depends on who you ask. There was a really big split in idealogies after the 1914 contests. Eastern philosophy stated that it was strictly distance that determined winner while westerners felt that volume and distance determined success. Neither side was able to really come to an agreement and the game hasn't been the same since.

3) They can. Ironically, some of the best pissers in the world were women. I wont bore you with the details but they have a suprising biological advantage.

4) No hall of fame. Pissing contests were deemed too "gimmicky" to warrant a hall of fame.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Damn. I guess I'll stop training for the pissing olympics now.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckeyeSki's picture

All that training turned to waste..

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

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

my whole life is a lie.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

flipbuckeye's picture

Flushed down the toilet.

Maestro's picture

One of my high school buddies could piss over a stop sign or onto a roof.  It was actually pretty impressive.

vacuuming sucks

BuckeyeSki's picture

All that showing off is going to get him now tho is a prescription for some FloMax

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

Maestro's picture

ha

vacuuming sucks

buckeyedude's picture

You guys crack me up. When I was a kid, for me and my homies it was ALL ABOUT DISTANCE! Points were awarded for time, volume, etc.

 
 

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

"never played a down"

 

cue Bruce Springstein, "Glory Days".  Coulda won state man... coulda won state.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BrewstersMillions's picture

I'm not sure what part offends me more. The "Gimmick" part of the "leaves QB Exposed" part. I actually worry that if Nick thinks these things and accuses me of never playing (implying he does) that he might be playing the wrong game.

Nick, is it football you are playing?

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

BuckeyeSki's picture

"If Coach would just put me in for the 4th qtr, we'd have won state. No doubt in my mind!"

~Every 3rd String HS QB ever

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

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

I bet I can throw a football over that mountain.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

RBuck's picture

Nickma 71: Please read the commenting policy.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Maestro's picture

Any offense is effective if you have the horses to run it and the persistence to perfect it.  I think Pat White, Steve Slaton, Bob Stoops and Mark Richt might disagree with you NickMa71.

vacuuming sucks

Kurt's picture

One of the beauties of the power spread offenses is that it doesn't even take a whole lot of persistance to implement.  Holgorsen at WVU runs a handful of plays...over and over and over again.  Who knew you only needed 10 plays to score 70 points!?

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Jim Tressel knew it last April.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BrewstersMillions's picture

"Readers of this column know the immediate problem with this mantra is that the spread is not a single offense"

 

Best line ever written on 11W this year. So many people hear "Spread" and think its the same every where you go-Anyone who runs a 'spread' runs the same offense. This of course is the second biggest falacy in college football.

What is the first biggest falacy you ask?  Its the fact that Craig James did not kill 5 hookers.

4-6 seconds from point A to point B and when you get to point B, be pissed off

nickma71's picture

The scores were 37-7, not 37-35. 21-10 in Ann Arbor, not 21-20. And 42-7, not 42-35.

btalbert25's picture

One thing that kills me is every time I hear it is, "their offense played a great defense they got shut down."  I think it's common sense that a great offense of any type may struggle a bit when they play an elite D.  Maybe they average 40 points per game, but come in and play Bama and they only score 17 this time.  It doesn't mean the offense still isn't great.

Of course a really good defense is going to impact the production of the offense.  That isn't unique to a team that runs a spread though.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Albert, the idea isn't that a well-rounded top-30 offense, which is built to cope with better defenses (i.e. doesn't simply rack up big stats against mediocre to poor defenses), will score 30+ points against a top-level defense. The idea is that they'll be able to win some battles here and there, take advantage of a few scoring opportunities, flip field position at times, put pressure on that defense. Maybe you only score 20 pts, but you also don't get completely owned at the l-o-s.

Here's Michigan's offensive output in C-bus in 2008 an 2010:

2008:

1st Downs 11
3rd down efficiency 1-17
Total Yards 198
Passing 87
Comp-Att 8-25 8-16
Yards per pass 3.5
Rushing 111
Rushing Attempts 41
Yards per rush 2.7
 

2010 (with Denard):

1st Downs 19
3rd down efficiency 5-15
4th down efficiency 1-5
Total Yards 351
Passing 169
Comp-Att 16-33
Yards per pass 5.1
Rushing 182
Rushing Attempts 41
Yards per rush 4.4
Turnovers 3

Possession 25:44 34:16
 

osukdawg76's picture

I remember watching that game in the dorms on South Campus between Northwestern and Michigan.  That game was a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.

 

 

AJ's picture

I remember reading on here how no one wanted to see the spread at our school.

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes