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Monday, January 02, 2006

Walking the Walk vs Talking the Talk

Last year, after we got pantsed in the Rose Bowl by Vince Young, Lloyd Carr made a number of very public statements about how the defense had been inneffective in the last few years, how he did not want people to think it was acceptable, and how changes were going to be made. Then he didn't do anything about it.

This year, due to a number of reasons, one of which was sub-par coaching at every level, Michigan had its worst season since 1482, losing to, in my estimation, four teams with less talent on the field than UM. Thus far, Lloyd hasn't had much to say about this abortion of a season, but I hope it goes without saying that no one involved in the program is happy about it or considers it acceptable. Yet here we are, five days after the latest debacle, and we've heard nothing, seen no action to address the problem.

In the meantime, Miami goes 9-3 this season, which would have been considered mana from heaven in Ann Arbor, and today they fired their assistant head coach, their offensive coordinator, their RB coach, and their LB coach. That's two days after their joke of a bowl game. Now it bears mentioning that some of these dismissals seem off base: The RB Coach Don Soldinger, for example, was the RB coach in the mid 80s for a number of great RBs, then became head coach of a local high school, where he turned them into a national powerhouse based on the strength of a bunch of NFL caliber... RBs. Then he went back to Miami, produced about 5 more pros and gets fired. Probably the wrong call. It seems clear in this case that the pink slip probably SHOULD have gone to Larry Coker, who is 400 years old, won a National Title with an NFL caliber team assembled for him by Butch Davis, and since then has steadily worsened the program.

Point being: While I am NOT in favor of or suggesting baseless firings, a la Frank Solich two years ago or Tyrone Willingham last year (though both seemed to have worked out just fine for the time being), I do think it's important to demonstrate a willingness to move forward and correct problems. Miami made it very clear with their immediate firings that 9-3 is not acceptable for their program. If 9-3 is not acceptable for Miami, a program which has tradition that goes all the way back to the 1980's, then why is 7-5 seemingly acceptable for Michigan, which has tradition back to the 1880's? Because if we're not going to take action, if we're not going to make some sort of public movement towards rebuilding the program, that's what we're saying: 7-5 is proud Michigan football. Lloyd promised the changes last year, and it turned out he was just talking the talk.

So when are we going to walk the walk?


GoBlue87 said...

Well in defense of Lloyd on this one, I don't want him to make some sort of grandstanding move, as this Miami move reeks of. But at the same time, I'm not going to be happy with the status quo either. Perhaps we're waiting to make our move because the new DC we want is coaching today? A guy can dream, can't he?

Yost said...

Great post, Loef. I also recall Lloyd saying that. And yet, nothing changed (at least for the better).

Being in charge means having to make tough decisions, even if one of them is to replace a friend on the staff who's not cutting it.

Anonymous said...

Quibble: Last year, Lloyd did nudge Bill Sheridan out the door and then hire Stripling away from MSU. Of course, most of us were expecting a little more.

How about removing the guy who coaches the linebackers? (Hint: he's also the DC).