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Monday, February 13, 2006

Herrmann Out as Carr Continues to Make Changes

As has been expected for weeks (and hoped for by Michigan fans for much longer), Jim Herrmann is no longer the defensive coordinator at U-M. He is "leaving" Ann Arbor to take a job with the N.Y. Jets as their linebackers coach. Ron English, Michigan's former DB coach who almost took a job with the Chicago Bears, will become the man now in charge of the Maize and Blue defense.

While the move was necessary and I have been hoping for a defensive change myself, I must say I take no pleasure in things not working out for Herrmann at Michigan. He played for Bo, he's coached in A2 for over 20 years and he's a Michigan man to the core. Unfortunately, the results on the field the last few seasons did not measure up to the Michigan standards he himself helped set as a player.

Also, to all the Lloyd bashers who visit this site, it should be noted with what class Carr handled the situation. Lloyd has known Jim all Herrmann's adult life. Carr coached him as a player and he has worked with him since Herrmann graduated. They were very good friends. But the time had come to let him go. Carr made the tough decision even if personally it must have killed him to have to do so.

"So what?" you shout.

"About time!" you scream.

Yeah, well, those are easy words to say and type in cold anonymity of cyberspace. But they are much harder to live if you're the one pulling the trigger. And Carr handled the unenviable task with as much dignity as possible, putting the best possible spin on something he knew needed to be done.

Read the link above. Carr talked about Herrmann as if he were "losing" Herrmann. As if Herrmann was leaving for some golden opportunity. But don't kid yourself. Herrmann dreamt of becoming Michigan's head coach some day. So he didn't leave because he wanted to. He was forced out. But to hear Lloyd, you'd never know it. Because say what you will about Michigan's head coach, he is a class act. There was no hatchet job like Larry Coker pulled when he dropped the hammer on his staff in Miami. And Carr deserves credit for that.

In fact, Carr should be given credit for making many needed changes this off-season to right the Michigan football ship. Lloyd has been accused of being stubborn in the past, often rightfully so. But faced with the worst season at Michigan since 1984, he took steps to correct the problem. And thus he deserves some credit.

Not that he'll get it. Not from the railbirds and Monday morning quarterbacks who litter cyberspace. No, they'll continue to spend money buying up all the "FireLoyd" dot-whatever's-left websites to continue blasting away at the man no matter what.

Then again, it's easy to criticize. It's harder to lead and make tough decisions. And Lloyd has made many so far this winter. Hopefully, it will pay off in the fall. If not, it's going to harder to hide from the criticism. Because by making the tough decisions, by letting Herrmann go and jetisoning the folks who were targets of some of the blame for Michigan's recent woes, the bullseye on Carr's back just got that much bigger.

5 comments:

surrounded in columbus said...

Fielding,
i agree w/ much of what you have posted. he deserves credit for finally making these changes. i certainly support his posturing the changes to put as positive of spin as possible on them, not just for the program, but for the departing coaches. we certainly "look" better than miami did (conducting a purge days after the peach bowl), and to be a little more calculating, we certainly kept our recruits from spooking by making changes beforehand.

however, i don't have a whole lot of sympathy for Carr for having to let them go, or for the asst. coaches who lost their positions, and am still frustrated that it took several seasons longer than it should have (these problems didn't just pop up over night).

i don't think i'm being too unreasonable when i say that if this wasn't college football (particularly, Michigan) but the private sector instead, these guys would have been booted a couple of years ago.

can you imagine any publicly traded company under performing like this for 5 or 6 years? so consistently failing to make forecast goals or market expectactions? if fans/alums are tough, they're nothing compared to shareholders.

and i think, on a more personal level, there aren't too many of us that aren't evaluated, compensated, and sometimes fired for our performances. how many of us would still have their jobs if their on the job performance had been so far below expectations the last five years?

loyalty is great, but at the end of the day, intangibles don't show up on the bottom line, whether it's dollars or W's.

yes, Carr has to perform his job in front of 112,000 people (and millions of tv viewers). it's got to be tough (i wouldn't do very well w/ interviews in the middle of work either)but Carr and his assistants make a lot of money (especially the HC) for it. they get all the accolades when they succeed. the brickbats for failure are part of the job.

and as an alum, who the school constantly bombards w/ solicitations for donations, i do feel a tad bit like a shareholder. it's good to like the ceo & the board, but i still expect a dividend. and if i don't get one, no matter how much i like them, if they don't deliver, changes have to be made.

sad or not, Herrmann didn't get it done. he had to go, and like it or not, Carr had to do it. i feel for them personally, but if i don't deliver, i'd expect the same for me (which is ironic as i sit at my office desk typing this instead of working...). and NFL paychecks aren't exactly poor compensation.

besides, this could end up being the best thing for him. a few years in the NFL could be just what he needs to open his eyes to new ideas and a different way of doing things (like pushing a chick out of the nest and making it fly on its own). 20 + years in the same program can make anyone stagnent.

hopefully, this will be the start of big things for everyone. good bad or indifferent, it was a change that was too long in coming.

Yost said...

SiC,

Great comments. I agree with just about everything you said except the notion that Michigan's underperformance, overall, has been for the last 5 or 6 years. Prior to 2005, we had just went to back-to-back Rose Bowls against two very good teams.

Hopefully, we'll discover that the problems were indeed the result of a specific assistant coach and not with the program in general and the head coach in particular.

As you can probably tell, unlike so many in cyberspace, I'm actually a big Lloyd Carr supporter. Doesn't mean I don't get frustrated with him at times but, overall, I think he's a very good coach.

Anonymous said...

Credit-shmedit, this change was, if anything, long overdue. Guess what? If the defense (and the team) still doesn't improve, Lloyd's head will, and should be, on the chopping block.

Michigan should always run a classy program, but that should never be an excuse for poor performance.

Yost said...

Anon,

I hear you and we probably agree more than you think on this issue.

And Lloyd made no excuses. We won two consecutive Big 10 titles and went to two Rose Bowls. While the end of 2004 was disappointing, it's understandable to see why Carr retained Herrmann in 2005, giving him one more shot.

When things didn't improve and seemingly got worse defensively this past season, Lloyd made the needed changes.

For that, I give him credit.

And yes, Michigan, as well as all major colleges, should run a classy program. But it doesn't always happen. So I feel there's nothing wrong to point out props when they are due. Especially since all of us, myself included, are hair-trigger quick to criticize.

surrounded in columbus said...

Yost,
it's a fine line between patience and throwing good money after bad. and let's face it, LLoyd has a bad record of pulling the trigger late instead of early. who can forget the fiasco w/ the special teams in '03 that cost us two games? the change should have been made after the oregon debacle instead of waiting for a second loss at iowa. while i admit it's always easier to look back and see if you made the right choice than it is in the moment, you can't blame people for looking back at the last two seasons and concluding Lloyd was a year late in this change.

true, we won conference championships '03 and '04, but we also lost 3 games both years (and those were the best 2 out of the last 5-we lost 12 games in the other 3 seasons). given the d's play in the last 6 games of '04, i can't argue too much w/ the people who think this change is a year late.

either way, i don't think anyone disputes the changes now.

and i agree w/ you that as long as Carr is willing to make changes to achieve improvement, he deserves the job. but he can't sit on his hands anymore and if they don't start strong this fall, he can't wait until AFTER the season to make more changes.