September 21, 2010
The One (or Two) Dimensional Coach.
Here is a trick question: How many Michigan quarterbacks are starters this year? The answer is at least three. There is, of course, the fabulous Dennard Robinson. But Steven Threet (speaking of three), who left Michigan after being a starter some of the time in Rich Rodriguez's first year if memory serves, starts for the Arizona State team that just defeated Iowa, and the strong armed Ryan Mallett, who left Michigan as soon as Rodriguez was named its coach, starts for the Arkansas team that just defeated Georgia. Their presence on these other teams is a tribute to the havoc caused by Rodriguez when he took over Michigan. (Some major lineman whose name escapes me also left and became a starter for OhioState -- not exactly a small time team.)
But so what, you say. It took Rodriguez awhile to recruit his kind of players, now he has done so, and look at the results. Well, the results are a marvelous offense, at least so far, and I would think that success likely to continue even when Michigan starts playing Big Ten teams. But the defense, oh my God, the defense. Perhaps the best way to describe the defense is to ask, what defense? Not to mention what appears to be the complete absence of any kickers whatever.
The defense has been awful ever since Rodriguez began at Michigan, and it remains awful. One has to believe that, notwithstanding its offense, Michigan is going to lose a number -- even a lot -- of Big 10 games because of the sheer horribleness of its defense. Even given the likely continued excellence of the offense, how can Michigan beat, say, Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin, PennState or perhaps MichiganState, with a defense that stops nobody. And what if, heaven forefend, Dennard Robinson were to be injured and unable to play, so that there might be little offense because his backups are not nearly as capable as he, at least not at this point and maybe never. If that were to happen, Michigan might be lucky to win any Big Ten games.