DJ, it's completely unfair to call this rock bottom. I have no idea how, but I have confidence that we can go lower.
The respect goes both ways - on this week's MGoPodcast, Ace said that he spent last week commenting on ElevenWarriors because it was the only place to talk rationally about Michigan football. (He and Brian blame themselves, well, Brian, for breaking the up/downvoting system and for not banning enough people this year.)
Personally, I come here because when there's nothing left to read on MGoBlog, there's often great stuff - I actually started coming for Ginter's off-season reviews of the B1G state flowers, mottoes, etc., but there are some really solid commenters too. I don't want to weaking the hate too much, but I do appreciate the thoughtful responses you guys have given over the season to people like me and M-Man.
I'd love to see MGoBlog have Johnny over for a weekly OSU wrap-up too.
FWIW, the MGoBlog Zapruder analysis is that Wilson lunges at Norfleet, who moves away. (It's fair to assume Norfleet was trash talking). After that, pretty much everybody else on special teams surrounds Wilson, and then it's on.
I'd have to watch the video to see who threw punches in what order. If Clark was in it, I guess he just got lucky.
Ouch - I don't like either Weis or Cooper as comparisons. Time will tell, though.
That's true, and Hoke himself will tell you that this season is unacceptable, but if year 5 is going to be good, throwing the guy out isn't going to help much.
The biggest problem is that RichRod only recruited one offensive lineman in 2010, and 2011 recruiting was a debacle, so Hoke's first class are now redshirt freshmen or true sophomores.
The second biggest, but still quite serious problem, is that (1) there are a bunch of teams doing much more with equally young teams, and (2) the BEST case scenario is that Borges spent the off season coaching the line into a package that they're too green for, and is now trapped in suck. (Seriously, that's the POSITIVE scenario, because it implies that with more experience on the line, Borges can deliver).
So yeah, it's totally not OK, but I'm not in the business of dispensing football justice. If Hoke and Borges are going to be better than whoever we get to replace them, then we're stuck.
I'll take a shot. Here's my personal take, followed by my feeling of the general fan base.
1) Dumping Hoke seems like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. He's got good recruits coming in, and if we lost those recruits, we basically have to start all over.
2) Before the ND game, we thought this year and next year would be rebuilding years, but we didn't know how bad it would be.
3) Next year probably isn't going to be much better, but if recruiting stays good, it's possible that Hoke's plan works in the long run. Borges's history is that he's very effective with good teams, and very bad at compensating for weaknesses in unbalanced teams. I don't think Hoke is a better offensive playcaller than Borges, so running down to the control room and throwing a bunch of levers probably doesn't help. We're all hoping for that.
4) There's a huge debate over whether there is an easy fix. The core of it is whether Borges is making bad play calls because he's just not set up to playcall an unbalanced team, or whether he's making bad play calls because the players are young and haven't mastered a consistent set of more rational play combinations.
The first idea is that Hoke should just tell Borges to spread the field, take more slant passes, etc., and then things will be somewhat less awful.
The second idea is that the flaw is much earlier in the season - Michigan's lack of pass rush and/or coachs'' mistake caused Borges and Hoke to overestimate the team's development, and they spent the off season developing an offensive package that teams have now figured out how to blow up. If so, at this point, flailing about trying to change what they run just makes things worse. If true, that's still on the coaches, but it's too late to do much about it this season, especially as Devin's injuries add up.
I guess the bottom line for me is that I'd like to see Hoke on a headset just so that he can hear from Borges, but I'm not sure it would do any good. Any adjustments we've made work for a play or two, but then get blown up once the other team counters. We probably need a few more months of work and a few months for Devin to heal.
As for the other fans, I think they're divided between (1) very frustrated with Hoke; (2) mildly frustrated, but cautiously optimistic that things will get better; and (3) serious homer support-the-team types.
I cannot fathom being one of the Michigan staff assigned to shepherd the prospects during the game. Somehow, you have to be able to project confidence while the ship sinks, but still seem like a team that is going to develop its players and win games.
I imagine it's like being a British officer from the Napoleonic era - if you flinch when the cannonballs tear the guy next to you into hamburger, the whole like will collapse.
Oh, it's always reason to celebrate - I'm sure there will be Buckeyes who will be glad about beating 6 and 5 Michigan, if (when?) we end up there.
To be fair, the advantage in the Game had flipped before, and back then, it felt like the advantage was flipping again.
A few years later, it's pretty apparent that Meyer is a better coach and recruiter than Tressel, you guys are on track to being a pretty regular top ten team, and the best we can really hope for with Hoke is that he'll make some end of year adjustments. I haven't given up hope of things improving over the next few years, but it's an awful long shot at this point.
I still trust Mattison, so I tend to assume he's doing about as well as possible with what he's got. Hopefully, now that Ryan is back we'll get more pass rush, which should help out the rest of the defense.
IMHO, the takeaway for you guys is that you either have to find a way to shut Indiana down or get ready for a game of basketball. I'll bet on you outscoring Indiana even if you can't stop them, but it will be a good opportunity to seek if you're working out the issues with your defense.
p.s.: The answer is (3)
There were a whole bunch of violations, most of them pretty ticky-tacky. I don't know enough to say that the NCAA's conclusion that they added up to overall poor control was justified or not.
The "ball on a stick" issue was that the NCAA rules apparently forbid using sports equipment relating to football to train in the off-season. During some of the off-season voluntary workouts, the quarterbacks practiced handoffs and snaps using a rolled up towel taped up or a football taped to a stick. The NCAA ruled that the towel was OK because it wasn't sports equipment, but the football was sports equipment and therefore a violation.
(Miniature basketballs thrown to the receivers were not football sports equipment and therefore OK under this issue too, but practicing with the towel and the basketballs were still violations, because the rules don't allow players to practice in an offensive or defensive formation during the off-season.)
Nice job. But if I may say so (and I may), any system that ranks both Michigan and Alabama at #6 is, um, missing some nuance.
It's hard to say if you're better than Clemson and Oregon, but at this point, I wouldn't want to bet. The Buckeyes look really good, and you have a maddening habit of suddenly turning out to be good in all the places I hoped you might be bad, but you just don't know until the postseason.
We can't decide whether he's:
1) a mad genius;
2) a pretty smart guy doing his best with the players he inherited; or
3) a one trick pony who can't use the players he got the way the Good Lord intends.
Maybe all of the above.
Unfortunately, as usual, we were within a play of losing. . .
I think most people just want to see solid improvement. As long as each area of the game is better than it was last year, Hoke can probably take a while to win Big 10, and frankly, if he can beat you guys half the time and keep producing top 15 recruiting classes, winning B1G is probably not that important.
IMHO, the kiss of death for RichRod is that secondary and special teams were actually getting worse, year after year.
Not yet, but I've been lobbying for it.
To be fair, we don't have anyone as funny as Ginter, but I'd still love to see it.
It was cooler when Gardner was pwning Notre Dame, but it's in honor of Tom Harmon, who was one of those outrageous old-timey athletes in the leather helmet days. (And is also Mark Harmon's dad).
It's still kind of cool because it drives traffic to Tom Harmon's wikipedia page, but it would be cooler if it was on a Heisman candidate.*
*Like Kenny G!**
It's very discouraging to us to learn that our prima donna self-image is not that well deserved. MGoBlog almost wrapped it up when we had couch burnings during the final four.
I probably gained 15 pounds at Red Hot's. I had heard it was the same owner, but that he lost the brand after an unsuccessful attempt to franchise. No idea if that's true, though.
Zingermans is great but the wait is eternal. Now, I mostly go to A2 (!) for the bubble tea.