Football Banquet; Coaching Speculation Carousel

2010 Michigan Football Banquet, Coaching Speculation

2010 Football Bust

By: Senior Writer Andy Andersen

The 90th Annual University of Michigan Greater Detroit Alumni Club Football Bust was held on the evening of December 2 in Livonia at the Laurel Manor.

The purpose of the event is to view highlights from the 2010 season, observe the presentation of the coveted M rings to the seniors, and to honor players for outstanding academic and athletic achievements.

Besides a great meal, fans can get a look at the players, put a face and personality with the number, get to know them a little, and say thank you. Although at times I have thought the proceedings a little lengthy, it is a fine opportunity for a Wolverine fan to show his/her appreciation.

This year’s event, by circumstance not design, recalled the 1985 team, which manhandled Nebraska in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl. Those Number 2 ranked Wolverines laid defensive hit after hit, causing turn over after turn over, in as fine a Bowl defensive performance as produced by any Bo Schembechler team.  They embarrassed the Huskers. Offensively they were potent under the guidance of QB Jim Harbaugh, the hands and elusiveness of John Kolesar, and with the wheels of Jamie Morris. Gerald White attended, but Jim Harbaugh did not.

A ton of speculation before the event swirled abound whether Harbaugh would be there. ESPN reported he was considering the trip up until last Saturday, but scheduled a Stanford practice which prevented attendance.  His attendance would have entertained the media. among others.

To the surprise of no one this side of Timbuktu, Denard Robinson won the Bo Schembechler MVP award, and well earned and deserved it was. His accomplishments are worth listing again in these pages.

That Robinson is the nation’s top dual threat QB has been proved. Also recently named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, he set the NCAA season rushing record for QBs with 245 carries for 1,643-yards and 14 TDs this season. He is the first QB to run and pass for plus 1,500-yards in NCAA history in a single season. He was 155/253 passing for 2,316-yards for16 TDs. He also set a UM mark for total offense by amassing 3,858-yards and accounting for 30 TDs.

Zac Ciullo won the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award. A psychology major and football walk on he has been accepted to Michigan’s Law School.

The Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award went to David Molk and Steven Schilling. These were the top offensive linemen. Molk was voted all Big Ten by the coaches. Schilling has received the Rader Memorial award three years in a row.

The Roger Zatkoff Award went to Jonas Mouton. With 111 tackles and 11 starts, and hampered at times by injuries, he was the season’s best defensive player. He earned 2nd team All Big Ten media honors.

The Robert P. Ufer Bequest was given to Mark Moundrous. Moundrous demonstrated remarkable love and enthusiasm for Michigan and is a team co-captain.

The Richard Kratcher Award went to Mike Martin, as Michigan’s top defensive lineman. He certainly is, and whether he returns in the fall will mean a lot to next year’s team. Really expect that he will. Had 36-tackles and suffered multiple injuries. Voted all conference 2nd team honors by the coaches.

2010 Coaching Speculation Carousel

The coaching change speculation carousel is a merry-go-round that keeps spinning faster and faster,  lights blinking faster and faster, horns blaring louder and louder, drums pounding in louder syncopation, with segments of its rider-ship growing more and more dissatisfied, and mad at just about everything.

At Coach Rodriguez for significant handicaps that were of his making, for significant handicaps that were not of his making, for not being able to win in the Big Ten, for more and more looking defeated, for not providing a successful defense in three years, for the “drama” and public ridicule that the program is continuously subject to on a national, local media, and recruiting level.

At Bill Martin for his convoluted coaching search, at every defensive coach including the Defensive coordinator, at no Les Miles, at no Jim Harbaugh, at no firing of the defensive coordinator, and/or his entire staff, and at the 3-3-5 scheme. And most of all, at just one win in three years over a quality Big Ten team.

Aye, there’s the rub, the real irritation. Fix that and the divisiveness is squelched. The loud mouths everywhere but in East Lansing and Columbus would be slammed shut. Lack of wins is the problem, but even worse than losing, it is the inability to compete that glares and grates.

The fact of the matter is that Coach Rodriguez has been unable to provide that signature win that that other notable outsider, Bo Schembechler, provided in his first season upset of the Buckeyes. To be sure Bo inherited a better team with players suited to his schemes.

In RR’s third unsuccessful combat against a decent, but only a moderately great OSU team (as OSU team’s go), the Wolverines were sadly not competitive on either side of the ball and were especially inept on special teams. A respectable outing in Columbus would have saved some Rodriguez coaching reputation. It didn’t happen.

There is a growing chorus of dissatisfaction with the timing of David Brandon’ decision regarding RR’s status, although many more seem to think Brandon capable of doing things exactly right.

Some question why AD Brandon has not come out in support of Coach Rod, or pulled the trigger to replace him now, thinking that the uncertainty is bad for the program, especially recruiting.

Uncertainty certainly does hurt recruiting. There is no doubt of that, as the rumors of the impending de-commitment of highly regarded RB recruit, D Hart are sprouting. Stay tuned on that one, and maybe the coaching uncertainty is the cause, but the transfer of running back Justice Hayes from an Irish commitment to the Wolverines might be as big a factor. Recruiting should not be a driving force in this instance. Granted de-commitments and/or a smaller class would not be optimal, and is a great concern, even if it should not be a primary coach change consideration.

I am beginning to believe that it will be a tough and highly criticized decision no matter what Branson decides, or when he decides it. I am still letting my bets ride on him.

Events since the OSU game are leading me to believe that it appears less and less likely that Coach Rodriguez will return. He gave a teary, very emotional address in his own defense at the Bust. Had a “spiritual quality” some objected to, and featured a reading of a portion of a Josh Groban song: “Raise Me Up”, and a playing of it with AD, team members, RR and moderator Beckman all holding hands on stage with right hands held to ceiling.

This performance was enjoyed by many, but grated on some who said RR made the evening about himself and not about the players, and some saw it as begging for his job. He ended saying that he truly wanted to be a Michigan man.

It is certainly easy to see why he was teary and emotional regarding his future. Obviously he has not had smooth sailing on Lake “Michigan” waters. There has been one crises after another. There has been more mud slung at him then one could find in a pottery factory. Again, some earned mud and some unearned mud.

It is certainly not easy to see how he is going to hang onto his position, with the accumulating Big Ten losses, the inability to prove his system will work against the better teams in the Big Ten, being again at the bottom of Big Ten defensive statistics, the appalling special teams boo-boos, and the over all lack of progress, except on offense.

His pluses are two more wins every year, a Denard Robinson Offense, and a team that seems to be “All In “ for him.

As to David Brandon’s waiting until after the Bowl to make a decision, perhaps it is because of the buy out reduction after the 1st of the year. Perhaps not. Eventually we will know.

I sincerely want Coach RR to succeed in Ann Arbor because it is good for the school for him to succeed. Always have wanted the program to succeed. But the handwriting on the wall is reading as if that is a genuine question mark. We will live with whatever David Brandon decides is good for Michigan Football.

At the bust, AD Brandon indicated that it might not be the Insight Bowl for the Wolverines as nealor everyone thinks, but the Gator Bowl in Florida.

Thanks for reading this far. If you have lost my email address I can be reached at If you already have a different cablespeed address it will still work.

Also I want to issue a blanket apology for my failings on face book.  In that regard I know how the Special Teams feel.

Go Blue!

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