What the Deuce: Changes

Friday, February 10, 2006


I tried about 5 times now to write about the changes in the Michigan football program and have failed miserably. At first, when I found out that Ron English had left to become DB coach for the Bears, I was infuriated. After hearing the rumors about Loeffler going to New England, I became more frustrated.

My attempts all centered around how Michigan refused to change or was hesistant to do so and its effect on the program. I tried comparing the program to Ford and GM and their struggles in the auto industry. My point was that becauase they didn't change and adapt to the market, Toyota, initally a small player in the US market was able to lap them. GM and Ford didn't take Toyota seriously and it bit them in the ass.

This seemed to be the case with Michigan football; still stuck in the 3 yards and cloud of dust mentality. On defense, the same lack of agressiveness we have become accustomed to in the Herrmann era. While teams like Penn State and even OSU went to some spread sets, Michigan seemed hesitant to do the same. Likewise, on defense, Michigan refused to or couldn't adjust to defending mobile quarterbacks.

On Friday, fans clamoring for Herrmann's departure got some positive news. Ron English deciding to come back to Ann Arbor, to lead the defense. I am excited to see how the defense plays in the upcoming season. I think all of us want to see more aggressive playcalling and we'll see if it comes to fruition.

Unfortunately, on the other side of the ball, there is concern that the team has taken a step back. Or a ride in Doc's Delorean time machine. Mike DeBord takes over the OC postion he once held, most notably in 1997 during Michigan's national championship run. This move concerns me immensely. DeBord has said he wants to open up the offense, an annual promise. I'm curious to see if this happens, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I would have liked to have seen Loeffler get the OC position but maybe he isn't ready or Carr is really setting up DeBord to succeed Carr after Carr retires. Who knows. My last request for the offseason would to see progress from the O-Line. I grew up watching Michigan football and offenses that heavily relied on the run. The O-Line was a big part of this and it was able to maul defenses. I have not seen that out of the O-Lines in the last two years and while some of that can be attributed to injury, I think there is a strength and conditioning problem also. The current lines remind me more of the Detroit Lions' lines of the early 90s that Barry Sanders used to run behind - they didn't go out and kill anyone, pretty much made sure not to get pushed back until Sanders found/created a hole to run through.

Its encouraging to see Carr make some changes but I'm more curious to see how these changes work out.


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