The Michigan Mess Cont'd  

Posted by Walter

I actually have a theory on why things have gone so sour so quickly for Michigan, but I won't bore all you readers with that right now......that's coming in a big, collaborative piece later. But I have to take issue with my faithful compatriot's take on the Greg Robinson hiring.

In my view, Greg Robinson's hiring at Michigan is at best a step backwards but at worst its an unsightly omen of the impending doom that will continue to be wrought on that program until Rich Rod is gone. Again, I strongly believe that Rich Rod's schtick will never, and I mean NEVER, work at Michigan, but that argument is for another time. For right now, here is why Greg Robinson is a bad hire for the Wolverines:

1) Frazier is right that Robinson is somewhat illustrative of the Peter principle. Nobody can doubt that he was a better DC than HC. That said, his stint at Cuse was so disastrous that this isn't anything near a compliment. In fact, I am here to make the argument that Robinson simply isn't that good of a defensive coordinator. Lets take a look at his DC resume:

1994 - NY Jets
1995-2000 - Denver Broncos
2001-2003 - KC Chiefs
2004 - Texas

Undeniably he's got some championships in there, but lets look a little deeper. In 1994 he was DC for a 6-10 Jets team. That year they gave up 320 points and finished in the middle of the pack in total defense. In his years with the Broncos, the highest a Greg Robinson coordinated defense ever finished was 6th in 1997. Twice they finished in the bottom half of the league (17th in 1995 and 23rd in 2000), but mostly they were middle of the pack. Yes he won 2 super bowls with the Broncos (1997-1998), but it is undeniable that those teams won because of OFFENSE not defense. In 1997 the Broncos finished 1st in the NFL in total offense, in 1998 they finished 2nd. In fact, if you look at the Broncos' records for the years Robinson was there, the records directly reflect how good the offense was, not the defense:

1995: 8-8, Offense 9th, Defense 17th
1996: 13-3, Offense 4th, Defense 7th
1997: 12-4, Offense 1st, Defense 6th (Super Bowl)
1998: 14-2, Offense 2nd, Defense 8th (Super Bowl)
1999: 6-10, Offense 18th, Defense 11th
2000: 11-5, Offense 2nd, Defense 23rd

There is no denying Robinson had some solid DC years in there, but to even suggest that he was the reason for the Broncos' success is laughable.

2) Robinson has very limited ties to the college game, and no ties to the Midwest. Sure Robinson spent some years as an assistant at UCLA, and he was the DC for a single season at Texas, but for now and forever Robinson will be known in the college game for his debacle at Syracuse. His ugly tenure in upstate NY is not going to help him one bit on the recruiting trail, especially since he is completely unfamiliar with the territory. Sure he might have some good contacts in CA or TX from his time there, but outside of what he did at Cuse Robinson is a completely unknown quantity in the Midwest. Is he the guy to go into kids' houses in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and convince them to come play for his defense? I think not.

3) Michigan has already had, and fired the guy that should be coaching their defense. Ron English was brought to Michigan to perform a miracle. He did, transforming a subpar Wolverine defense into a monster in his first season. In his second season they took a HUGE step back, during a forgettable season in Ann Arbor that ultimately led to Lloyd Carr's dismissal. Still, English deserved a better fate based on his track record, and what he had already done at Michigan. He was scapegoated, and Michigan is now left scrambling to hire retreads like Greg Robinson. As for English, I think he proved me right (and Michigan wrong) by transforming what was a TERRIBLE Louisville defense into a solid unit in his first and only season at that school. In fact, English's tenure was impressive enough to earn him the head coaching gig at Eastern Michigan. English was the guy Michigan wanted, and they fired him unfairly. Greg Robinson is not a step up.

4) You're Michigan and Greg Robinson is a retread! I say this all the time....Schools like Michigan should not ever, EVER have to "settle" for a 2nd or 3rd tier coach. You are Michigan! The all time winningest football program. You need a defensive coordinator, fine. Here's what you do: You make a list of the 10 best defensive coordinators on the planet. You start at the top and work your way down offering each of them a ton of money to come and fix your defense. If Michigan were to make that list, Greg Robinson would be nowhere near the top ten, and would fall somewhere between Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin's 8 year old grandson. I just don't get it. The easiest way to fix a problem is to throw money at it. Michigan has the money, it makes no sense to settle for a Greg Robinson of the world.


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