Managing Expectations Isn’t Easy My Friends
[Photo from Michigan Exposures...It's an interesting pic - click to enlarge - Ken explains what he did in the first comment below]
After yesterday’s rather demoralizing beat down at the hands of Wisconsin’s 700 pound offensive linemen, my first thought was that I am still 100% behind this team and Rich Rodriguez. I truly am. Not because I’m happy with what I’m seeing on the field, but because of, lets’ say, about three reasons.
- Youth be all up on that field. Youth equals mistakes and it also equals potential for growth and future success.
- I like Rich Rodriguez as a head coach. Players like him, he’s a likeable guy, and I believe that he is a good coach.
- This team returns 19 starters next season, a record setting quarterback, and by all available accounts via the internets a bunch of guys committed to Michigan football.
Managing Expectations. If I recall, it wasn’t long ago that the majority of Michigan’s fan base viewed this season as a success and a step in the right direction with seven wins or more. So, remember what you essentially knew as this season was set to begin: Michigan would have a dynamic offense and a scary bad, inept defense. Welp! What do you know – that’s exactly what’s happened. You’ve got the most dynamic and statistically impressive quarterback in the history of dual-threat quarterbacks to make you smile, while you have the worst Michigan defense you’ve ever seen in your life to make you want to pull your hair out.
I, you, the media, everybody knows who this team is at this point in the season. The general freak out from Michigan fans about how horrendous RR and the coaching staff is just makes me shake my head. Michigan got beat by a top 5 team in the country with as many seniors starting as Michigan has freshman and sophomores starting. Literally, Wisconsin loses like 19 starters after this season is over. Is it frustrating to watch? Hell yes, it’s beyond frustrating. We are used to, we expect, we don’t understand how MICHIGAN can’t step it up at home and beat a top team. I’ll steal a line from RR in his post-game presser – this is just reality at this point.
My point, it’s extremely hard to manage our expectations regarding this team. But, in order to stay sane, you have to digest the youth, attrition, the transition, and all the injuries to understand why Michigan is not exceeding your expectations for this 2010 season. You might scream excuses, excuses, excuses. In part, they are excuses. But guess what, next season the expectations are no longer seven or eight wins. The expectations are nine, ten, or eleven wins and some impressive wins in the conference.
Gotta go here. Special teams is killing this team just as much as the defense. You HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A 30 YARD FIELD GOAL. You just have to. Upon Michigan missing that field goal – I had that sinking feeling like this was just going to be a bad day. Damn, was it ever.
Useful thoughts. Per usual, I’ll rummage through the emotions of the board at MGOBlog after a victory or a defeat. Some that I thought were worth pulling out that reflect some perspective and lack ledge-jumping indicators. This…
I have serious reservations about firing a coach after only 3 seasons, or even 4, particularly when the team has shown progress towards something special happening soon. Anyone who cannot see the potential for greatness in our offense, or realize that our D is severely hamstrung by the lack of experience, probably never liked the hire in the first place.
And for those thinking it, people like me are not happy, or even content with, a seven win regular season. We do, however, see the promise in this team, and we can place our expectations on the side of realism based on the team’s shortcomings.
God forbid our team of mostly freshmen and sophomores isn’t challenging for the Big Ten title. Yes, our defense needs to get better, and that likely means that GERG gets shown the door at the end of the season. Realistically though, how many teams with our lack of experience at so many positions would be expected to be any better than Michigan is this year. OP, you need to sit back and have a little patience. Let our young guys grow into their roles on the team. If we haven’t made progress next season, then that would be the time to bring up this subject again.
By the time Rodriguez coached his first game at Michigan, the wheels had completely fallen off the program (and teams with no wheels go 3-9). You can blame whoever you want to for that happening, but it was a done deal. Since then we’ve seen a team get markedly better two years in a row, a team poised to improve for a third straight season with 19 starters and virtually the entire two-deep returning next season. Not to mention the team now has some legitimate star players for the first time in Rodriguez’s tenure (aside from Brandon Graham and the best punter ever).
Maybe the rebuild isn’t going as fast as you’d like, but teams that go 3-9 and lose to Toledo do need to be completely rebuilt, whether you like it or not. We’ve finally got the wheels back on the car and the doubters need to just shut up and give Rodriguez one season to drive the damn thing.
I just did some research and discovered that in Rodriguez’s entire coaching career, not just at Michigan, NOT ONCE has he beaten a team which finished the season undefeated.
From Jim Brandstatter’s blog.
This team isn’t bad. They’ve improved from a year ago. After a 48-28 spanking thats hard to hear…but it’s true none the less. It’s not going to fix itself overnight, or next week. It will get fixed over time, as players mature grow into young men, get bigger and stronger and can stand up and slug with the likes of Wisconsin. Make no mistakes, this offense at Michigan scares a lot of defensive co-ordinators. The defense doesn’t, and thats the problem.
Hey, RR didn’t do anything as egregious as Bo Pelini. Point for Rich Rod! During the strange 9-6 Nebraska loss to Texas A&M – dude rails his starting quarterback and Taylor Martinez appears to not really care as evidenced by his body language.