Mailbag question: Defensive Consistency

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Posted at 8:00am — 4/4/2010

Mailbag question: Defensive Consistency

I believe that Coach Greg Robinson will do a very good job with this defense given time and personnel. I also believe that the Michigan defense needs stability and consistency now and for the foreseeable future so that it will get back on its feet and become solid again.

Of course you won’t know the answer to my question but maybe you can give me some insight here. What type of agreement do you think that Coach Rod made with Coach Robinson about his coming and staying? My key concern, as I’ve stated before, is the need for consistency. Michigan doesn’t need another Defensive Coordinator with a new system for this group to learn in another year or so. Please try and make me feel better.

Thanks,
Harold E.

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Thanks for the question.

Our guess/speculation is that Coach Rod has provided Coach Robinson and the defensive staff with near complete autonomy. We have observed this in action the past several years; of note especially (and a telling observation) is that when asked about the defense after games, Coach Rod always commented that he would need discussion time with the staff to gain a full understanding of what defensive schemes were being run and the thought processes behind the coaching choices.

The defensive coaches are allowed to basically do what is best for the defense as long as the choices fit into Coach Rod’s team philosophy. It is obvious to us that Coach Rodriguez has great faith in his defensive coaches (notably Coach Tall, and Coach Gibson) and trusts them, and certainly Coach Robinson, to get the job done. Fitting into the mix is also Adam Braithwaite, who has been with Coach Rod for several years, including when Coach Rod was at West Virginia.

There are certainties that need to be stated regarding this discussion that go past mere assumptions: Michigan really needs to execute, the Wolverines need to win games, get back in the thick of battling for the Big Ten title, and also start receiving some positive attention towards the program. Success is necessary but alone is not sufficient to make the boogey men go away.

One thing we have observed and contend is that Michigan is recruiting players that will fit this current defense. We agree that most view the previous statement as obvious. Clearly, the coaches have received recent commitments from players that are quick, athletic, and can play in space, along with having the extra bonus of aspiring to play football at Michigan.

Regardless of the above discussion, please remember that the Michigan program (like most programs) needs to stick with a certain scheme so recruits can feel comfortable about where they might play and not constantly have apprehension about massive changes in philosophy or coaching staff.

Success and stability will place a roadblock in front of the time immemorial strategy of telling a recruit “Yea you might fit there this year, but what happens when they change the defense next year? Where will you play and will you be shuffled off the depth chart for somebody who is being recruited for a new defense?”

And so Harold, there are miles to go, but at least a plan is in place and the pieces to make the plan move forward with success are starting to come to Michigan.

Beware! One decent class of defenders does not make a consistent, high-level defense. Difference makers must be brought in every year.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!