Effects of Coaching Carousel on Michigan

Effects of Coaching Carousel on Michigan


December 8, 2010

Several coaches from schools around the country have been fired, retired, or resigned recently, and some of those coaching situations may have an impact on Michigan.  Here I’ll discuss the ways in which the departures of Urban Meyer (Florida), Randy Shannon (Miami), and Dave Wannstedt (Pitt) might impact the situation in Ann Arbor.  I don’t think any of them necessarily signify impending doom for Rich Rodriguez (Urban Meyer isn’t coming to Ann Arbor), but they might affect the Michigan program in smaller ways.

RECRUITING
All three schools I’m going to focus on harbor Class of 2011 commits who have Michigan offers.

  • Florida: RB Mike Blakely, SR Javares McRoy, LB Ryan Shazier, DB Valdez Showers, WR Ja’juan Story, CB Nick Waisome
  • Miami: DE Anthony Chickillo
  • Pitt: RB/SR Bill Belton, CB Terrell Chestnut, CB Kyshoen Jarrett, LB Ben Kline

The three players in the above lists who have shown the most interest in Michigan are Showers, Jarrett, and Kline.  Showers is from Michigan, and the other two seemed to be giving the Wolverines a fair look before committing to become Panthers.  Assuming that Florida’s head job is filled by someone with Florida roots (Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Louisville’s Charlie Strong), I doubt that many Gator commits will waver.  However, Pittsburgh’s open job will likely be filled by an outsider, and that means Jarrett and Kline might be ripe for the picking.  Jarrett has reportedly sent out feelers to other programs, including Michigan, and Kline had Michigan in his top few schools at one point.

GATOR BOWL OPPONENT
Urban Meyer’s intentions are to coach the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.  However, just like Michigan did with Rich Rodriguez back in 2007-2008, Meyer’s replacement might be hired prior to January 1.  That guy might be Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen.  And even though Mullen is familiar with the landscape of Florida and has only been gone from Gainesville for a season, I’m not sure that Florida’s athletic director would want to sacrifice several weeks of recruiting right near the end of the cycle.  I would not be surprised to see Meyer’s replacement hired within the coming week; if Mullen’s the guy, he probably won’t be coaching the Bulldogs on January 1.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Mississippi State would be a mess for the bowl game.  Going back to that Michigan/West Virginia situation in 2007-2008, interim head coach Bill Stewart led the Mountainers to a 48-28 victory over #3 Oklahoma.

MICHIGAN’S COACHING STAFF
It’s practically a foregone conclusion that, at the very least, defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will be gone before the 2011 season.  If it doesn’t happen prior to the bowl game, it will happen soon after.  But with the tenuous status of the entire coaching staff at Michigan, it’s not like some coordinator out there is going to accept a job at Michigan this very instant.  For now, Robinson is the guy.

None of Pitt’s staff is likely to come to Michigan, but the Miami and Florida staff changes may have an effect. 

Randy Shannon was a very good defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes for six seasons before becoming head coach.  He also has NFL experience with the Miami Dolphins, so heading back to the NFL isn’t out of the question.  Shannon seems like a long shot to come to Michigan as a coordinator, especially because Michigan has a tradition of underpaying coordinators.  Athletic director David Brandon might signal a new regime by shelling out some dough for a big-name coordinator, but I have my doubts.

More likely candidates include:

  • Vance Bedford.  Bedford was a defensive backs coach at Michigan for five total seasons, most recently in 2007.  He then joined the Florida staff and followed Charlie Strong to Louisville to become defensive coordinator, where he currently has the #12 total defense and the #15 scoring defense in the country.  If Strong becomes head coach at Florida, that might cause a shakeup in his staff, but I don’t see a significant reason that Bedford wouldn’t follow Strong back to Gainesville except for . . .
  • Chuck Heater.  Heater was a running back at Michigan from 1972-1974.  Though he hasn’t coached at Michigan, he’s still a “Michigan Man.”  He succeeded Strong as defensive coordinator at Florida, and has the #9 total defense and #31 scoring defense in 2010.  If Strong were hired, Bedford or Heater would likely head elsewhere for a coordinator position.  Since Bedford seems to be Strong’s “guy,” this might make Heater a free agent.

The availability of these guys is largely based on speculation and connections to Michigan, so I don’t have any inside sources saying that David Brandon is pursuing these guys.  However, they seem like fairly logical choices to replace Greg Robinson at Michigan.  As I said in a prior post about Rodriguez’s future in Ann Arbor, I stated that one of the caveats should be that a defensive coordinator should be hired and Rodriguez should be told to keep his hands off the defensive side of the ball.  Shannon, Bedford, and Heater have the experience and credibility to come in and run their systems without too much blowback. 

All of these dominos are unlikely to fall, but they’re things to consider as Michigan likely searches for a defensive coordinator and staff this offseason.

44 comments

  1. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    Wouldn't it be Rich Rodriguez who "pursues" potential coordinators, not Brandon?

    Urban Meyer to UofM is LOL. More realistic is that Florida poaches RR away from UofM. Fine, many would say, but what if Harbaugh doesn't come…

  2. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    @ Lankownia 7:12 p.m.

    Sorry, I should have explained:

    I'm operating under the assumption that if Rodriguez stays, Brandon will have heavy influence over what DC is hired and tell Rodriguez to leave the DC the hell alone. So while I think Rodriguez will have some say, I think Brandon is the more important figure in the DC search.

  3. Comments: 21636
    Rob Pollard
    Dec 09, 2010 at 3:28 AM

    Small correction: Meyer is coaching in this year's Outback Bowl, not Capital One Bowl

  4. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 3:38 AM

    @ Rob Pollard

    You are correct, sir. I'll fix it immediately.

  5. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    I have no evidence or knowledge that says you're wrong, it just seems counter-intuitive to how I imagine most programs being operated. The AD has many duties and coaching football isn't one of them. Though they hire head coaches, ADs typically delegate most or all staffing duties to coaches AFAIK. Our AD is primarily a businessman and would seem woefully unqualified to make a decision about which staff would be appropriate for RR to hire. He may indeed mandate that RR hire an autonomous "head coach of defense" type, but I would think RR would be guy who selects that individual. Though Brandon may hold some sort of veto power so that RR doesn't just bring in some weak-willed acolyte… Just my opinion.

  6. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    @ Lankownia 11:50 p.m.

    I just don't think Rodriguez has earned the cred at Michigan to bring in his own guy.

  7. Comments: 21636
    KB
    Dec 09, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    Okay, how amazing would it be to substitute out Conway for Story and Showers for Sousa?

    Seriously though a Showers/Walls/Lyon/Crawford/Hollaway recruiting class would set Michigan up in the secondary for the 2012. 2013, and 2014 season. All of that in 1 class.

    I think Meyer's being out makes Michigan favorites for Jernigan too. I know Florida is outside his top 4 but nobody seems to believe that. I think it would go down to us and the Gators so now it's down to us, LSU, FSU, Bama and UNC. UNC is out cuz of scandals, Bama is out because of depth and I think Michigan wins against LSU or FSU.

  8. Comments: 21636
    KB
    Dec 09, 2010 at 6:15 AM

    I'd love for Shannon to become our DC. Sure, his MIami defenses had great talent but 1. he recruited them and 2. they lived up (as a collective) to their potential.

  9. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    It seems bad to me to tell RR to keep his influence away from the DC. After all, RR is the head coach. It seems better to me for DB to interview RR and ask RR what his approach will be. DB inquires adequately into RR's approach to satisfy and maybe, influence RR to come to a reasonable mutual understanding. RR's approach might be to hire a new DC. RR's approach might be to keep GERG. RR's approach might be XYZ. Either DB and RR come to a meeting of the minds that RR's approach will be OK or he doesn't.
    end of line

  10. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    @ TriFloyd 1:57 p.m..

    I agree that it seems bad, but when you have atrocious defenses three years in a row – and getting worse – then drastic measures are sometimes necessary.

    I will be EXTREMELY surprised if Greg Robinson is kept on board. I don't bet often, but I'd bet a fair amount of money on that.

    As far as I'm concerned, Rich Rodriguez has brought in "his guy" twice now (Shafer and Robinson, not to mention Hopson). All three have either been fired or done poorly enough to be fired. At some point, the responsibility to bring in a good DC needs to fall on someone else's shoulders.

  11. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    I agree that GERG is probably gone, but I'm not sure its entirely deserved given the personnel problems and the dictate coming from up top (seemingly) to experiment with the 3-3-5. Not that I support GERG, but the 2010 season doesn't tell you much about a coordinator IMO. 2009 remains a bigger issue.

    Furthermore, if RR stays on, its the easy public relations angle – fire the DC and bring in new blood.

    I'd say chances are better than 50% but I don't see it as a foregone conclusion.

    @KB, thats some serious optimism. Jernigan already dropped Michigan. Most of Florida's recruits will stick. Walls sounds bound for Oregon. Holloway may not qualify and is being recruited for WR. Lyons…maybe. Its hard to envision a top 15 recruiting class under these circumstances. Another year of treading water.

  12. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    @ Lankownia 2:43 p.m.

    No, it's not entirely deserved. He was asked to run a defense with a) assistants who want to run a 3-3-5 and b) no significant prior experience in the system. It's not necessarily Robinson's fault.

    Just like I don't blame Steve Threet for the offense's struggles in 2008, it's not necessarily Robinson's fault that the defense allowed 38+ points per game in the Big Ten. That doesn't mean change isn't imminent.

    I agree on the recruiting stuff. KB is way too optimistic, although I wish he were accurate.

  13. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    @ Thunder
    If you create a reporting line that goes around RR (i.e., from the DC directly to the AD), then that is doom. That is the same doom that had the DC running the DB's coach's preferred defense (i.e., the 3-3-5) where the Gibson went directly to RR to make GERG and Shafer run a defense they didn't want to run. If RR cannot run the defense, then his offense must make up for bad defense and STs. If his offense can't do that (i.e., win), then RR cannot be head coach because that's the head coach's job (i.e., to be more than merely a OC). It's that simple. RR must convince DB that RR's approach (whatever it is or will be) is good enough for RR to remain head coach.

  14. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    I agree with TriFloyd here. It would be pretty awkward (though not uncommon in the business world) for an employee to be hired by his boss's boss without regard for the boss's opinion. But especially in this case, where the duties and skill set for an AD and a HC are so different, and the HC and DC have to work so closely together, that it seems preposterous for the AD to bypass the HC in the decision-making process. I think the AD can strongly advise and direct the HC, but ultimately it still has to be the HC's decision.

    I could be wrong. Plenty of bosses feel comfortable throwing people together and saying "make it work", but it seems like a risky strategy here.

    I think people are way overconfident in Brandon's abilities. Theres a bit of hero-worship, blind faith, illogical hope in a trusted savior going on, IMO. I think he's screwing up in managing the football program personally, and I certainly don't want him unilaterally deciding who the DC will be when football isn't his area of expertise.

  15. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    @ Lankownia 3:35 p.m.

    I would argue that Rodriguez has done more to screw up in managing the football program than Brandon.

    I'm not saying Brandon should go out and hire a DC who Rodriguez has never met and doesn't like.

    I'm saying 51% of the decision should be Brandon's, and 49% should be Rodriguez's. Brandon can't take the attitude of, "Well, Rodriguez knows best, so I'm going to let him do what he wants." That's proven not to work. Brandon just has to say, "Look, we'll decide on a guy to run our defense. But when he comes in, you are going to leave him the hell alone and let him do his own thing."

  16. Comments: 21636
    Alex
    Dec 09, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    Brandon is RR's boss, he can absolutely take the reigns on making the decision. Clearly it's necessary for Brandon to get someone that RR will work well with but I see no problem with Brandon making the decision.

    On a separate note, Magnus don't you think that these 3 DC candidates we are looking at are possibilities whether its RR or Harbaugh next year? I mean either way we are going to need a new DC and unless Harbaugh brings his DC (I don't see this as being likely…) we will need a new one.

  17. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    @ Thunder

    Whatever the % breakdown for the hiring, I agree that it should be a mutual decision. They both must make sure that this person represents UM well and that RR can work with him and he's adequately competent.

    I disagree with this: "Look, we'll decide on a guy to run our defense. But when he comes in, you are going to leave him the hell alone and let him do his own thing."

    This is just unworkable on at least 4 levels:
    1) If you do this, then you have RR is just a glorified OC. That's two OCs and one DC and no head coach. DB cannot be the head coach.
    2) The DC cannot be his own supervisor, and the DC cannot be supervised by the AD because that would undermine RR's authority the same that it did when Gibson was able to bypass the DC and convince RR to run a defensive scheme that neither GERG nor Shafer were competent in. The DC must do the "coach's thing". DB just must make sure that he is OK with RR's "thing" (whether that thing is changing or remaining the same);
    3) This makes it impossible for DB to hold RR accountable for the defense at next year's (and following years') annual review. It would allow RR to say: "I can't help it if the defense stinks. It's true, I helped hire him, but you told me to not touch the defense last year and now they suck; so, it's your problem. Let's talk about how great the offense was, notwithstanding that we only won 7 times."; and
    4) I'm not a football guy and I appreciate the football experience of those here. Yet, I assume that during practics, the head coach tells the DC to do certain stuff during practice when the offense and defense do drills, simulations, etc. In this unworkable solution, the DC could tell RR, "RR, I'll run whatever I want during these scrimages. You just do what you want and I'll do what I want. If you don't like that, then go talk to DB."

  18. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    @ Alex

    Yes, I do think these three DCs are candidates, although I can't say they're necessarily likely. But they're possibilities.

  19. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 10:03 PM

    @ TriFloyd 4:54 p.m.

    Okay, then Rich Rodriguez can't be head coach.

    Look, if he can't hire a competent defensive coach (or at least one that can be on the same page as everyone else), then that's a problem.

    If he can't work with someone who KNOWS how to run a defense without being micromanaged like Shafer and Robinson, then that's the end of the line.

    THAT is an unworkable situation.

  20. Comments: 21636
    Dec 09, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    @ Thunder

    Well, I think we agree that it's a tough situation for RR. Yet, I'm not so fatalistic.

    “or at least one that can be on the same page as everyone else”

    I think this is part of the problem. RR has required that the DC be on the same page as the defensive position coaches (e.g., I think Gibson is the Assistant HEAD COACH). I don’t know football very well, but it seems unworkable to me to force the DC to be on the same page as the position coach. The DC needs to be able to direct the position coaches and have them be on the same page as him; not vice versa.

    “If he can’t work with someone who KNOWS how to run a defense without being micromanaged like Shafer and Robinson, then that’s the end of the line.”

    If I understand correctly what you’re saying (i.e., that you think Shafer and GERG do not know how to run a defense without being micromanaged), then I disagree with your premise, notwithstanding this statement being analytically correct.

    I think RR already DID hire a competent DC (i.e., Shafer, and the jury may still be out on GERG). But, RR let Gibson, et al., run the defense (unworkable). Since Gibson had a direct appeal line to RR and had RR's confidence, Shafer was essentially powerless over them. I think RR needs to tell himself: "Self, the defense and STs are actually more important to winning in the Big Ten than the Big East. You [meaning RR] were blessed to have Casteel at WVU, but you [meaning RR] can't even really be sure that Casteel's defense would have worked in the Big Ten. Anyway, you need to emphasize the defense more (including in practice) and defer more to the DC; not Gibson, about what would make UM more successful. You need to emphasize recruiting more talented defensive players. If you're not going to take more hands in the defense, then make an offensive assistant coach in charge of STs."
    Frankly, I'm not sure whether GERG is the right man or not (I'm not very qualified to make that decision, although I have my suspicions), but I'm pretty sure it's debatable whether GERG has had a fair chance.

  21. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Dec 10, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    KB said…
    I think Meyer's being out makes Michigan favorites for Jernigan too. I know Florida is outside his top 4 but nobody seems to believe that. I think it would go down to us and the Gators so now it's down to us, LSU, FSU, Bama and UNC. UNC is out cuz of scandals, Bama is out because of depth and I think Michigan wins against LSU or FSU.

    am i in the dark in this? michigan got eliminated awhile ago if i remember correctly.

    -horn

  22. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 3:31 AM

    "I would argue that Rodriguez has done more to screw up in managing the football program than Brandon"

    Debatable, but RR has shown he can hire good coordinators (MacGee and Casteel), so that gives him at least 2 more successful hires than Brandon. I don't see why you have faith in Brandon to make the right hire. Rodriguez was batting 1000 until he hired Shaefer. Brandon hasn't even stepped up to the plate yet.

    I see no problem with having a "head coach of the defense". I see no problem with Brandon telling RR thats how it has to be for now. However, I think RR is probably more qualified to select who that HC of D would be, with Brandon's oversight. Anyway, no sense in quibbling over whether Brandon's power is 80%, 20% or somewhere in between. They'll work together on it, or at least pretend to.

    Lets also remember that RR makes a ton more money than Brandon. So while DB may be the boss, RR holds a great deal of leverage here also. Anything DB decides to do has to be weighed against trying to make up millions in lost $ that would be incurred in any coaching transition. I think in the end that will keep RR around until its obvious there's a better option.

    Then again, DB has proven he doesn't always make decisions that result in the best outcome for the football program (e.g. damaging this recruiting class while he stubbornly 'sticks to the timeline' for evaluating coaches, letting OSU and Michigan be in opposite divisions)

  23. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    Uh, Lank…

    "Brandon hasn't even stepped up to the plate yet."

    Brandon was left in a hot mess of a position…he basically had to come in and assume all responsibility for everything that would go wrong so far in the Rich Rod era. He had every reason to become a Bill Martin-type ghost (rarely heard from, never seen), but instead he's been extremely visible and vocal.

    Don't even try to blame Brandon for the "catastrophe" of splitting Michigan and Ohio State. One crowd bitched about the sanctity of M-OSU as the last game of the season; another crowd wailed about the importance of playing OSU once and only once every year. Both crowds couldn't be satisfied.

  24. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    @ TriFloyd 5:48 p.m.

    I'm not saying that Shafer/Robinson don't know how to run a defense without having their hands held. My comment was poorly worded, but I was saying that Rodriguez/Brandon need to hire a defensive coordinator who they fully trust to run a defense without having to micromanage them (i.e. forcing Shafer to run a defense he doesn't run).

    And I agree that Shafer is a competent defensive coordinator. Which is why I think it's ridiculous that the [rumored] Tony Gibson takeover is ridiculous. Why hire a DC who's going to be outranked by the safeties coach? That's a complete failure, not on Shafer's part, but on Rodriguez (and Gibson, if the rumor is true).

  25. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    @ horn 8:30 p.m.

    Yes, Jernigan eliminated Michigan.

  26. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    @ Lankownia 10:30 p.m.

    You're right. Rodriguez picked Magee and Casteel to be his coordinators. He also picked Shafer and Robinson. So as far as I'm concerned, he's successful at a 50% rate.

    Meanwhile, David Brandon has been in his position for less than a year and hasn't made any football hires yet. I guess Brandon's batting .000, right?

    I think it's funny that you're saying David Brandon hasn't made decisions that produce the best outcome for the football program. Your evidence is the recruiting class, which doesn't sign letters of intent until February; and also, not a single recruit has decommitted due to the coaching situation (Conway won't qualify, and Sousa felt unwanted by the coaches). Why don't you wait until, I dunno, the second week of February before bashing the effects on the recruiting class?

  27. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    More importantly, who is that incredibly hot chick?

  28. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    @ Anonymous 1:31 p.m.

    Even if I knew the answer, I wouldn't share it. I'm pretty sure she's got a huge crush on me. So stay out of it.

  29. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    @David

    "One crowd bitched about the sanctity of M-OSU as the last game of the season; another crowd wailed about the importance of playing OSU once and only once every year. Both crowds couldn't be satisfied. "

    OSU and UM in the same division, playing at the end of the year for the championship game. That was the best outcome and most people were hoping for that. Brandon had the October idea thrown out as a red herring and got everyone all worked up about that. He made himself look like a hero for keeping the game in November, but he let the idea get out in the first place. Meanwhile, UM and OSU are in opposite games and risk playing a neutered version of The Game under a variety of circumstances. It'll still be good, but it'll never be as good. That's Brandon's fault.

    @Thunder

    You're not arguing that the coaching certainty helps recruiting. You're arguing that maybe, best case scenario, it doesn't hurt. Waiting till February accomplishes nothing because we'll still never know who would or wouldn't have chosen Michigan if all this uncertainty was floating around.

    Common sense, recruit comments, and the history of recruiting responses to coaching uncertainty tells us all we need to know. Dee Hart is already openly talking about his options and opening his eyes to other programs and has decided not to enroll early. Some recruits are pushing back their decisions, others are just ready to make them and there is disincentive to choose Michigan right now.

    We'll never know exactly how damaging Brandon's decision indecision is, but we can say fairly confidently that it probably is.

  30. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    My point about Brandon and coordinators is just that he's unproven. Rodriguez has done very well as a head coach / program manager everywhere he's been. The last 2 DCs have obviously not worked, but his track record is still strong and, unlike Brandon, he has one.

    I wouldn't ask RR to be a CEO and assume he's going to be successful. He'd have to prove it.

  31. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    My google stalk of her came up with nothing. The battle to claim that kitty continues, Magnus.

  32. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:37 p.m.

    So, in essence, by saying "We'll never know how it affected recruiting" means that your statement in the previous comment (about how Brandon is hurting the program) is indeed false or at least cannot be proven.

    You never know.

    If Brandon comes out after January 1st, gives Rodriguez his approval, and offers a contract extension, we could see a whole bunch of kids hop on the bandwagon.

    And if Brandon hires Harbaugh on January 4th, then a whole different bunch of kids might hop on the bandwagon.

    Like I said, you don't know. At least wait until February before trying to say unequivocally that it's hurting the program and recruiting.

  33. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    @ Lankownia 1:39 p.m.

    Rodriguez actually has a very short track record. It involves hiring Calvin Magee (yay!), Jeff Casteel (yay!), Scott Shafer (boo!), and Greg Robinson (boo!). Other than non-FBS schools prior to that, he has no further experience with hiring and firing guys. Like I said, his success rate is 50%.

    I'm not saying Brandon will have guaranteed success, but Rodriguez clearly isn't infallible or even greatly successful at choosing coordinators.

  34. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    @ Thunder and Lankownida — great discussion, thanks.

    I still think you're arguing is about six of one/half dozen of the other. RR has a fundamental problem of mismanagement and allegiances. His DC (whether he retains GERG or not) is destined for high probabilities to fail because of the structure that RR uses to manage the defense. He undermines the DC's authority by having Gibson as Assistant Head Coach. This is what RR needs to fix, maybe with the proddding of DB.

    As a result, I don't know if you can actually conclude: "… Scott Shafer (boo!), and Greg Robinson (boo!)." Neither was given is fair chance. IOW, RR's coaching choices might have been 4 for 4 (yay!). But, because he undermines his own DCs, they have a low probability of success. Thus, RR's selection might be good, but RR himself torpedoes their chance of success, and thus his own track record for good selection probabilities.

    So, Thunder says, "I'm not saying Brandon will have guaranteed success, but Rodriguez clearly isn't infallible or even greatly successful at choosing coordinators."

    I think it's not about selection one way or the other (although I don't want to minimize the importance of selection either), UP TO THIS POINT it's been about execution after the selection is already completed. This is where we really need DB to be a positive influence.

    end of line

  35. Comments: 21636
    Dec 10, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    I wasn't dismissing what RR did as a head coaching career before the WVU job, he had great success there too. But on the BCS level, yes. You're right, he's 50/50 in making the right hiring decision…though even then I'd argue Schafer was a good choice, its how he was managed after he got here that was the problem — and THIS is where DB might need to step in. "Give the DC autonomy" is a legitimate DB directive. "Hire DC X" doesn't seem to be.

    I'm not saying RR is infallible either, I'm just saying my degree of trust is higher for a guy who has shown he can do something well than someone who has no track record.

    My statements about DB hurting recruiting can't be proven other than where you can infer direct causation. So far, thats only Dee Hart. We know he's not going to enroll early, so Michigan has already lost on that front. That is DB's fault.

    Something that can't be proven may be either false or true. The absence of evidence doesn't prove or disprove.

    I don't know if we'll have a good class, or if a Harbaugh class will be better than a Rodriguez class. What I feel pretty sure about is that) RR's class would be better if RR had strong support and greater job security. It's unlikely waiting till February will tell me anything new about the damage DB has done, but if the #1 RB recruit in the country says "Thanks to Dee Hart waiting, I'm coming to Michigan"…then yeah, you'll be right.

  36. Comments: 21636
    Dec 11, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    @ TriFloyd 5:17 p.m.

    I agree that Brandon needs to be a positive influence, but he can't be at practice every day and say, "Well, Rich, I think you should listen to [insert coordinator's name] about how to defend the option rather than Tony Gibson's."

    If/when a new defensive coordinator is named, Brandon just has to tell him up front, "Listen to your damn coordinator, not your cornerbacks coach." And that ought to be the end of it.

    I agree that Shafer wasn't a bad hire, per se; he's had success basically everywhere he's been except Michigan. But regardless of what he's capable of at Syracuse and Western Michigan and Stanford, he was castrated by Rodriguez and sent on his way. It WAS a bad hire in the sense that the other staff members clearly didn't gel with Shafer.

  37. Comments: 21636
    Dec 11, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    @ Lankownia 5:17 p.m.

    Well, Demetrius Hart hasn't decommitted yet. So I don't know how you can say that the coaching situation is hurting recruiting. We have the same class we did prior to the Ohio State game, minus a couple kids who weren't going to sign anyway. You can't possibly judge right now; any judgment of the recruiting class on December 11, 2010, is premature by almost two months, and it's merely conjecture at this point.

  38. Comments: 21636
    Dec 11, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Thunder,

    Do you think early enrollment is a benefit to the player/program? If so, that benefit with Dee Hart is gone, as it is with other potential recruits for whom retaining RR is important. Maybe they commit in February, maybe they don't, but the early enrollment option is off the table for most recruits.

    Thats not conjecture. Thats tangible impact right now.

  39. Comments: 21636
    Dec 11, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    Agree with TriFloyd, the circumstances for the last 2 DCs have made it impossible to judge them. Its RR's fault that they've been put in a position to fail in 2008 and 2009. (In 2010 I'd again argue that personnel deficiencies overrode everything.)

    Its not the hiring decision themselves that were the problem, as Thunder put it, the DCs were "castrated" – they lacked authority and autonomy. Thats where DB is right to step in and tell RR to get it together and let the DC run the system they know without regard for his assistants and positional staff.

    DB may have reason to fire RR's defensive staff, but he shouldn't tell him who the replacements should be.

  40. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Dec 12, 2010 at 3:40 AM

    SO who else saw muschamp leaving fucking texas to go be floridas head coach? im pissed right now as you can tell. posting here makes absolutely no sense because none of u care about it cuz it doesnt affect u at all. god…fucking….dammit. on the other hand(assuming greg robinson is gone), we're hopefully in the process of calling up randy shannon right now for DC, who could have been one of ur options at DC.

    -horn

  41. Comments: 21636
    Dec 12, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    @ Lankownia 5:50 p.m.

    You're right. Demetrius Hart has chosen not to enroll in January. The world is coming to an end.

  42. Comments: 21636
    Dec 12, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    @ horn 10:40 p.m.

    Eh, I care about who Florida's head coach is. That affects Michigan's recruiting and, depending on who he retains, it might affect Michigan's coaching staff.

    Randy Shannon would be a good fit at Texas, I think. It might not be such a bad thing, although I guess you've lost your "Coach-in-waiting."

  43. Comments: 21636
    Anonymous
    Dec 12, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    ya muschamp is gonna b just as tough to recruit against as urban. i think shannon would be a fantastic fit at texas. classy guy, he actually made me respect miami, hard to believe. plus he coaches LBs which we obviously need work on

    -horn

  44. Comments: 21636
    Dec 13, 2010 at 5:02 AM

    Horn,

    FWIW, I'm a Texas alum as well as a Michigan alum, so Muschamp taking off is a bummer to some of us.

    Fear not though, if Texas can have a top D with Greg Robinson, its a good sign that can do it with nearly anyone. A steady stream of 5 star recruits will do that.

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