Monday, November 26, 2007

Above the Fold - Thanksgiving Ferentz fallout

The university administration has been strangely quiet since Lloyd Carr retired, with nary a leak regarding whom they may be contacting for interviews. For such a high profile job, the fact that there have been next to news coming out of A2 is surprising, to say the very least. In fact, The Ann Arbor News has not reported anything regarding the Michigan football head coaching job since last Wednesday.

The Detroit MSM has been just as quiet, with little speculation or rumormongering.

Drew Sharp broke out the knives in regard to Michigan over the weekend, with 2 Sunday articles designed to do nothing more than piss Michigan fans off. In other words, typical Sharp.

On Sunday, he broke out his well worn "Michigan isn't a top 10 program" argument.

There’s no debating that the top five programs using the previous criteria are, in order, Texas, Ohio State, Florida, Southern California and Notre Dame.

Each scores high grades in all five categories.

The next five are Oklahoma, Florida State, Tennessee, LSU and Alabama.

Could you argue that Michigan isn't an elite program? Sure. In fact, I might have taken this column seriously, but when Sharp puts Notre Dame (3 wins this year, has fallen to laughingstock status), Alabama (Goes though coaches faster than the Detroit Pistons), and Tennessee (Fans have been screaming that the Vols have been underachieving the past several seasons, and wanting their national title winning coach canned. Sound familiar?) above Michigan, he loses most rationally thinking fans right there.You could also makethe point that FSU (Currently on the same path taken by JoePa and Penn State) is on a downward spiral as well. This is just Sharp being contrarian, for the sake of a column.

In another...Well, you can't call it a column, as it's only 7 sentences long, Sharp also has a snarky comment regarding Les Miles' fit as Michigan's head coach.

He would have lost his last two games since the job became available.
Sounds like a seamless transition from the Lloyd Carr era.

That line isn't going to make Michigan Men happy. Not happy at all...

On Saturday, the Freep's Michael Rosenberg echoes what many Michigan fans are now thinking after watching LSU lose in 4 OT's to Arkansas, that Les Miles may not be the man for the job.

Why is hiring a coach so hard? Part of it is that the job of head coach is very different from that of assistant. Some coaches are great schemers, and therefore great coordinators, but do not have the personality to lead a team or be the public face of a school.

But “proven” head coaches are not always so proven: they often win with one group of players (sometimes somebody else’s recruits) before jumping to another job. They haven’t proved they can win consistently.

This was written before the LSU loss, which was facilitated by several controversial coaching decisions by Miles, and their inability to stop a mobile QB. That alone is enough to give Michigan fans the heebie jeebies.

At the News, Terry Foster talks to the Packers' Charles Woodson about his alma mater, who says he would like to see Michigan's offense move into the 21st century.

"You've got to get with the times," he said. "With the type of offenses people are running against us, we are not going to stop them. We have to start implementing some of those things in our offense. And watching the defense this year."

You're preaching to the choir, Chuck.

The News' resident curmudgeon, Jerry Green does what he does best, write about dead guys. In this case, the dead guy is long ago Wolverines coach Bernie Oosterbaan, whom Green compares to Lloyd Carr.

There is a glorious football coaching lineage at Michigan -- Oosterbaan to Bump Elliott to Bo Schembechler to Gary Moeller to Carr. And presumably onward. All of them class coaches and class men, educators, forgiving the occasional indiscretion.

Lloyd Carr was a protégé of Schembechler. And he fit the mold of Bennie Oosterbaan.

All I have to say is...He uses "Glorious" and "Gary Moeller" in the same sentence?

In the blogosphere though, it's far from quiet. Michigan Men are up in arms. Fans are uneasy and confused. Why? Because the Kirk Ferentz to Michigan rumors, first fanned on Tuesday by the reputable MGoBlog, won't go away. Brian again touched on the Ferenz rumors Sunday, with quite scary news...

I've sat on this a couple days waiting for some third-party corroboration and now I have it: Kirk Ferentz has been offered the Michigan job. The general feeling is he will turn it down out of fidelity to Iowa, in case you were thinking of making a late-night run to Ann Arbor (or Iowa City) Torch & Pitchfork. I do realize that this -- unlike the Lloyd thing -- is unlikely to ever be publicly acknowledged if Ferentz turns it down, but this comes from someone in a position to know, and how. The third-party corroboration comes from a couple Iowa insiders reporting things afoot that, unfortunately, I am not at liberty to disclose.

My first thoughts were...WHAT?! HIM?! WHY?!

I agree with Sean at Michigan Sports Center, Ferentz would be a safe hire, but not the right hire.

As far as my opinion on this subject goes, I'll tell you straight up that I don't want Ferentz to be the new coach. With Lloyd Carr retiring, I figured this would be the time for the Michigan football program to change for the better. A new coach could bring innovation, an exciting offense, and hopefully a return to being a national power every single year. Folks, Kirk Ferentz is not the man to bring those changes.

That's the caveat with the possible hiring of Ferentz, it'd keep the Michigan status quo when the program actually needs a good shaking up.

At Quo Vadimus, Scott is as underwhelmed as I am with the thought of Ferentz taking over at U of M.

Ferentz would be better than any of Michigan's current crop of assistants (like Lloyd Carr disciple Mike DeBord), Ferentz will not thrill anyone in Ann Arbor. While his name makes sense (he's familiar with the Big Ten, Midwest recruiting, and Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, who also came to Michigan from Iowa) he's a vanilla candidate, who may be another .500 season away from being fired from his home school, Iowa.

"Vanilla" is the perfect description of Kirk Ferentz. Then again, that could be what the powers that be at Michigan want, "Vanilla." No controversy, no making of waves, no changes. No national tiles, either...

MZone makes the case against Les Miles. Yost vocalizes what we all saw, and have to agree with, that "there was simply some boneheaded coaching by LSU's top Tiger down the stretch."

Then, as LSU neared the Arkansas redzone, Miles called two quick timeouts with over a minute left which made NO sense whatsoever. The game is going to end (or should) one way or another on this drive. As the announcers even stated, the only thing Miles quick timeout calls did was give Arkansas almost a full minute to get in position to attempt a game winning FG in regulation.

Dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Gorilla Crouch makes the case for Cincy's Brian Kelly, while blowing up the candidacy of Michigan's offensive coordinator, Mike Debord.

Brian Kelly went on from leading Central Michigan to its first MAC championship in 12 years to leading Cincinnati to its first 9-win season in 54 years. He could win 10 games if the Bearcats win their bowl game, which is a win total that has only occured once before in 1951 when legendary coach Sid Gilman coached the team. Both head coaching jobs came after building a juggernaut at Grand Valley State University. Comparing DeBord’s resume to Kelly’s is quite frankly embarrassing.

Kelly is probably the most intriguing of the possible hires, thanks to his ties to the state of Michigan, and the fact that he's won everywhere he's coached, GVSU, CMU, and Cincinnati. One thing that would give me pause is that Kelly might use Michigan as a stepping stone to the NFL. The Wolverines job is a destination, a long-term commitment, not a way station to make your name, while on the way to the next higher paying gig.

That's "Above the Fold" for Monday, 11-26-07!


  1. So, maybe Brian Kelly is this year's Urban Meyer...but, whose players did he win with at Cincy? That would be Dantonio. He was in the mix for MSU last year, but fell short. Does UM want MSU's seconds? I still keep thinking Mangino, especially if he tries some Nutri-System, is the right fit. He's been part of three turnarounds, K-State many years ago, then Oklahoma under Stoops, and now KU. He seems to be able to identify players that others miss and win with them. But, if you're looking for a retread who can lead you to Bump Elliott heights I think that Ferentz is your man. The great thing about Mangino is that UM folks can buy the KU t-shirts that say "Our Coach Beat Anorexia!"

  2. Sure Brian Kelly left the Central program in good shape, but he also left--before Central's bowl game. That move showed little class and left a bad taste fan's mouths. As for DeBord, his tenure at Central (again!) as head coach was a disaster. If he can't coach a MAC team, I doubt he could handle the Big Ten.

  3. As an Iowa grad, I feel like I can't objectively judge Ferentz for the Michigan job. I think he'd be a very good fit, but I also see why he leaves most Michigan fans feeling cold.

    Kelly is a very intriguing choice, but he has one extremely troubling incident hanging over his tenure at CMU that he didn't seem to handle very well, and it would surely come up again if he returned to the state.

    In my opinion, if Michigan fans could have any coach, it would be Urban Meyer. It wouldn't even have to be Meyer himself, but that kind of coach: younger, intense, creative, a tireless recruiter. But is another Meyer out there?

  4. I don't think UM can afford Urban Meyer--he makes a ton of money and Florida can outbid UM simply because in the SEC football is not the most important thing, it's the only thing, to paraphrase Vince Lombardi. The time to grab Meyer was in 2002, when MSU fanned on him and went with John L Smith, or 2004, after his two years at Utah. Now that he's at a "destination job," read one that pays almost as much as the NFL without the headaches, there's really no reason to take a job in the Big Ten, no matter who comes calling. His next job is in the NFL, with complete control over personnel decisions (do you hear us Mr. Ford?), so don't look for him in Ann Arbor. Is there an Urban Meyer out there right now? Probably not, at least not in the Midwest. The coach at Boise State might qualify, but he's winning with Hawkin's players and Hawkins is at Colorado. So, you're looking for someone who can win with someone else's players and recruit his own. That still says Mangino. You can call me as the Main Man of the Mangino Fan Club, but UM could do worse and, from the names bruited about, probably will.