A Matter of Toughness

Jonnferrell's picture
November 3, 2013 at 8:17a
25 Comments

Like many of you taking in the U of M/MSU game yesterday, I was not surprised to see that the Wolverines looked hapless.  The Michigan offense was manhandled by the Spartan defense.  There's an interesting discussion going on over at MGOBLOG (where it seems I am relegated to troll status for one pretty innocuous comment during basketball season.  This makes me even more thankful for the fairness here at EW).  Their discussion is on the difference between Hoke and Meyer and what they have done with the different teams they were handed.  The OP at MGOBLOG made one interesting point--"that there was not a strong culture of winning at Michigan when Coach Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor."   But is that really the big difference?  Then, how long does it take to change that culture?  Hoke has a year on Meyer to get that straight.  As I view the 2013 Michigan team, it's not necessarily play calling that’s the problem of the Maize and Blue (they have many calling for the head of Borges regularly), but I believe it is a difference of conditioning and toughness.  The Wolverines looked physically and mentally spent at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  They don't seem very tough--either mentally or physically as a team.  I think Mickey Marotti makes a hell of a difference for us.  The MGOBLOG discussion began before the MSU game, but you can imagine the panic and comments that ensued and continued after the trouncing by "little brother."   The majority of the MGO bloggers seem to maintain that UFM simply inherited a better program in an all-around better situation. That's true, because we are The Ohio State University and not TTUN, but there is a bit more to it than that.  The upheaval of 2011 complete with tat-gate and a putrid season was not exactly the pinnacle of the mountain.  The climate was not great—the self-discipline was lax, scholarships were removed, a bowl ban enacted--and mentally and physically the team was below par.  Enter Urban Meyer’s secret weapon—Mickey Marotti.   When Meyer introduced him at that basketball game  back on January 12th of last year he said,  “And finally, the most important hire I made on this coaching staff, to bring toughness, make sure we're in great shape and get this team ready to go—our strength coach, Mickey Marotti.”   I think that toughness was exhibited in the team last year, and it’s there this year, and it has to be in every team every year to have a winner.  Michigan doesn’t have that toughness this year—and they don’t have a Marotti.  I don’t know anything about their conditioning coach or their system for getting their players ready, but whatever it is it is not nearly good enough.  Until they get it—they will always be a sub-par team.  Thoughts?

Comments

buckz4evr's picture

I think Marotti is a huge part of our toughness.  Enough can't be said about that.  But, did you see the coaches on the sideline when the second and third string player were in there?  You would've thought the score was tied with 2 minutes left to play.  The coaches were still as intense, focused and yelling to get the best out of the players.   Zero letting off the pedal. That to me is the biggest difference maker.  Play to the end, regardless of who is in there and what the score is.  I loved watching that. 

Jonnferrell's picture

Well, you're so right that there is a total staff difference and viva la difference.  It's so cool that Marotti really gets them first and then he turns them over later.  He makes sure that he gets them to the highest level he can, so they can be the best they can be.  It's a great time to be a Buckeye!

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Hovenaut's picture

I might have read that same discussion.

Beyond what Hoke and Urban inherited when they took over their respective posts is, to me, this difference:

Hoke has his idea of what should be done, and how they're going to do it.

Urban and his staff, the players and all involved with OSU football are dialed in and doing it.

I'm sure there's room (there sure seemed to be on M Go last night....probably still going on) for further analysis, but I'm stopping there.

Nice post Jon, proud to meet a troll from M Go....you must be very proud. +1.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

Jonnferrell's picture

There is no doubt that UFM has them all dialed in.  An orchestrated program by a master conductor.  Now is the most important time to be on guard versus any overconfidence.  They have manhandled the last two teams--Illinois and Indiana aren't pushovers.  I'm sure the conductor has the score prepared.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Hovenaut's picture

Right on again.

There is absolutely no way UFM lets these guys look ahead, they'll take it game by game.

No way November 30th is taken without seriousness....that will still be a tough game.

It was said here before, I echo it again here.....I lived through the Cooper years, I never take that game lightly.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

Jonnferrell's picture

Yes, that Michigan game lurks at the end, and it is always the Game.  The chance of us playing TTUN twice this year is pretty much gone.  The Big Ten Championship game has the chance of being the greatest one yet-- because OSU will most likely be there, and if MSU continues it's winning ways they would certainly be a formidable representative of their division. 

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

I have been posting there and some of the mgobloggers are really delusional. It's sort of funny.  

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.

www.septemberheisman.com

 

Jonnferrell's picture

I noticed mgo has reduced us to non-existence--they are lamers.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

And if u go over there to post, be respectful.  It's their playground.  We don't want them coming over here and being arrogant asses.

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.

www.septemberheisman.com

 

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Arrogant about what, exactly?

Jonnferrell's picture

LOL  I see what you did there.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Jonnferrell's picture

I made one post on Mgo over a year ago, after they lost to us by 22 points.   I have -7 points.  LOL.  They were not kind.   

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

buckz4evr's picture

Didn't I read somewhere in here that Urban didn't like the way the players were going through their pregame warm-ups so he had Marotti talk to them?  lol

Jonnferrell's picture

Yes, I just read that.  That right there shows the influence that Marotti has on this team.  Meyer uses him to get the teams head in the right place.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

hetuck's picture

But they had Barwis as strength coach who was to have whipped Carr's players into shape. Here's the difference: While both Barwis and Marotti had success physically reshaping players, especially offensive linemen, that's where it stopped. Marotti and Meyer have inculcated a culture of how to do things on and off the field. Barwis and RichRod had a culture of ridicule. That's why Boren left. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

Jonnferrell's picture


I think Boren also left because Richrod wouldn't recruit his brother.  That proved to be a real costly mistake for TTUN.
 

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Buckabroad's picture

What you said about Marotti has been my opinion from the beginning of the Meyer reign. He develops great talent and potential, molding it into great skill and toughness. Meyer develops our great talent from a psychological perspective, giving them mental endurance and determination. Hoke may recruit well, but TTUN is not developing their players well. It is beyond me how a top, out-of-state recruit would want to go there, considering how far behind the competition they are likely to be after their college careers.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

BierStube's picture

Before the UM - MSU game, the announcers commented on how MSU practiced outside in the rain and cold all week ... UM on the other hand practiced mostly indoors this past week.  Seems to me Dantonio had his team in the right mindset and Hoke did not.

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

Jonnferrell's picture

Dantonio is the perfect coach for Michigan State.  I'm glad he didn't go to Michigan--I think he would have built them into a powerhouse.  If Michigan has another suck year in 2014, the Spartans will be viewed as the premier program in the state.  Local recruits will go there instead of AA.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Oldschoolbuck's picture

"Bloody Tuesday" at tOSU...
When Pete Carroll was at USC, their intense practices were often cited as one of the reasons for the success they enjoyed. I think the same thing holds with UFM - there is ALWAYS competition; no one's spot is "secure"; you'd better bring it all the time.
Virgil, in "The Aeneid", described the way the Roman Legions trained & fought: "Their drills are bloodless battles; their battles, bloody drills."
You are how you train & how you practice.
Flounder is way too laid back - his physique seems to match his coaching style - soft & fluffy.

ronhack's picture

Great blog John! Well thought out. 

Ron hack

Jonnferrell's picture

Thanks, Ron!  We are lucky to have a coach smart enough to know we need a Marotti.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

"that there was not a strong culture of winning at Michigan when Coach Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor."

Which is all well & good but when has Hoke created a strong culture of winning along his coaching journey?

Oldschoolbuck's picture

'Zackly, Scarlet.
At best Flounder was barely above .500 throughout his coaching tenure.
I still remember a scUM fan trying to convince us all on 11W that he was always their first choice, he's a M*ch*gin man, blah blah blah.
Buyer's remorse, any of you skunk weasel fans?

Jonnferrell's picture

Michigan is doomed to mediocrity as long as Hoke is there.  They will consistently lose to Wisconsin, MSU, Northwestern, Penn State, and OSU of course.

"I'm still hungry." --Brady Hoke