February 15, 2009

Steven Threet

Wow, so Steven Threet might be transferring. Interesting. Looks like Michigan is going to be starting a true freshman right out of the chute. I actually am surprised that Threet isn't going to be in the mix next year. He's not great by any means, but I thought he at least had enough potential to be adequate. Either Forcier is really that good, or Rich Rodriguez is already mailing in 2009.

Gotta beat them next year. I know it's at the Big House, but we are going there with a 3rd year QB against a team with a QB in the second game of his entire career. No excuses.


Mike said...

There really is no good reason why we shouldn't win 11 games next year. Anything less than 10 wins against that schedule should earn Weis a one-way ticket out of town.

Jeremy said...

I know you think Rodriguez is going to be successful in Ann Arbor, and I know this is somewhat hypocritical given the number of transfers under Weis' watch, but shouldn't we be learning something about Rich Rod with all these guys jumping ship? Especially someone like Threet, who, at the very least, would have been the primary backup next year, guaranteed to see some serious playing time?

Doesn't this move basically guarantee another season full of growing pains in AA? I can definitely see a 6-6 type season, or maybe even worse, for the Maize and Blue, given a true freshman starting QB, lots of replacements on the DL and continuing growing pains throughout the program. Weis barely survived '08, but he arguably had higher expectations than RR will. Is that going to save his job?

Doug said...

Jeremy, I agree with you that it looks bad on the surface for Rich Rod that all these guys keep leaving, but I also think that a lot of these guys are just plain getting passed up on the depth chart. Threet could see the writing on the wall. He's only a sophomore, and he was probably going to get passed up on the depth chart this year. Then he'd be sitting for the next couple years. If he leaves now, he preserves a year of eligibility to get on the field somewhere else. Threet could have played for part of this year at Michigan I would bet, but chances are that he would have finished up his career at Michigan on the bench. The only surprise here is the timing of the transfer, but it was probably inevitable.

Same with McGuffie. I thought McGuffie was great against ND, but he got passed up on the depth chart by more talented players last year. That Brandon Minor kid is a stud, and I don't think McGuffie was going to play that much this year. He transferred to Rice I believe. At the end of the day, he wasn't a high-major player, so it's not a real big surprise that he left.

Is it possible that Rich Rod is just an abrasive guy that players hate?? Yes, but it could also just be a case of depth charts coming into play. Much like Zach Frazer and Reuland and others that have transferred from ND. Those kids were good prospects, but they had been passed up on the depth chart. I wasn't freaking out when either of them left because we had talented players who had already passed them up or were about to pass them up.

I agree with you that the decision to go with Forcier is going to lead to some MAJOR growing pains for Michigan this year, but I think it is way way way way way way way tooooooooooooo early to write off the Rich Rodriguez era. The guy is going into his second year!! He just put in his system, and it is going to take time for things to get rolling up there. Heck, I think it's too early to judge Charlie Weis, and he is in his 5th year now. Rich Rodriguez has brought in back to back top 15ish classes at Michigan, and he just brought in a QB who fits his system and a bunch of speed from down south. In a year or two of learning that system, they are probably going to have a really good offense.

I figured I would post Rich Rod's record in his last three years at WVU:

11-1 - won the Sugar Bowl; AP #5
11-2 - won the Gator Bowl; AP #10
10-2 - invited to the Fiesta Bowl (won by the interim)

The guy went 32-5 in his last three years at West Virginia. I just find it hard to believe that he would forget how to be a head coach overnight. Put him at Michigan with their resources and ability to recruit nationally to get speed from down in Florida and Texas, and he could eventually produce some really really good teams.

I think Michigan could absolutely go 6-6 next year. Heck, they could go 3-9 again. I think Rich Rod could end up being a disaster at Michigan. I'm certainly not ruling it out. I don't think we will know that for sure for another 2-3 years.

Look at Nick Saban. He went 6-6 in his first year at Bama and had a top 5 team in his second year. Tressel went like 7-6 in his first year and won a national title in his second year. Even Rich Rod went 3-8 in his first year at WVU and went 9-4 in his second year.

The first year for a head coach is just an opportunity to implement your system. That's another problem that we've seen out of the Charlie Weis era. He spent his first two years "scheming" instead of implementing a winning formula.

And while the QB is certainly important in the Rich Rod offense, the bigger issue for them is linemen getting comfortable with their various responsibilities. That offense requires linemen to get out in space and block, and they had a lot of trouble adjusting to that last year. Another offseason could mean a big difference for them. Forcier will probably be limited, but he obviously can run. And that's 50% of the offense. If he can make reads on where to run, he can be more effective than Threet was last year. If their line is better and their RBs know what to do, their offense will probably be better than it was last year.

It would one thing if Michigan had hired a guy like Les Miles and hung onto Ryan Mallet and run a typical Michigan offense. But when you go in a completely different direction, there are going to be growing pains. Going from the pro style to the spread is not going to happen overnight. Was it a mistake to go to the spread?? Maybe, but I also happen to think that Michigan probably needed to change it up to stay relevant as a program. With the declining demographics in the Midwest, there are only so many kids to go around for the "pro style" offense. If you run the spread, you have something different to offer. Plus, just about every high school in the country is playing the spread these days.

I just think there's too much of a tendency to write coaches off (including Charlie Weis) before they've even had an opportunity to put in a system and get their own players in. The real test for Rich Rodriguez will be whether or not he is competing for Big 10 titles in 2010 and beyond.

Jeremy said...

Didn't really mean for my comment to come off as an indictment of Rodriguez. I completely agree that he should not be judged by one or even two bad seasons alone.

I just find the current goings-on in Ann Arbor to be very interesting considering our own situation in South Bend. And I wonder whether the Michigan faithful will be able to stomach another likely subpar season while Rod builds up the talent that will allow him to be successful in the Big Ten.

I don't think Threet would have led the Maize and Blue to a BCS game, but I also think that, if healthy, he could have certainly made the offense more effective just by process of maturity. Now the Michigan offense has to start all over again with Forcier or Robinson or whomever else starts taking snaps.

Agree with your point about the transfers, especially McGuffie. And I have to say that I'm somewhat glad that the Irish are no longer competing with Michigan for some of the same HS guys in the Midwest. Rod seems content to go down South and pick off any 5'9'' scat back/slot receiver he can find. Those guys might be perfect for his version of the spread, but they wouldn't have much use in any other offense.

I think that next year is going to be very interesting for Michigan. My guess is by the end of the year, there are going to be plenty of people calling for RR's neck. Perhaps cooler heads will prevail, but he's going to have to show some signs of moving toward competency. And with a true freshman QB, its tough to see that happening right out of the gate.

Doug said...

But isn't it probably better off for Michigan to just pull the plug on Threet and continue to force the transition?? If he had waffled and played Threet for part of this year, it's only delaying progress for the team to get it going in the long run. WVU had some success with freshmen QBs with Rasheed Marshall and Pat White, so Forcier may be able to have some success in that offense if you can make the proper reads on where to run.

It's no different than us playing Jimmy Clausen as a freshman. We could have gone with Sharpley, but what was the point?? Go with Clausen and get him ready for the future. He was the best fit for the pro style offense.

I don't know, I could be COMPLETELY wrong on Rich Rodriguez, but I hear so many Buckeye fans around here stomping on his grave. I'm just a little more cautious about making those proclamations after his second year. If UM fans are smart, they will see the big picture. Rich Rod needs players for his system. It's not going to happen overnight. Now, if they don't win in 2010 and beyond, then I'd say they are in trouble.