Thursday, December 27, 2007

If I ran the circus...

Happy holler-days everyone, hope you all enjoyed your family time. A bunch of things to post here in the next couple of days before the games start coming three at a time.

A few suggestions for our new coach (in no particular order):
1)Hire Erik Campbell and Scott Loeffler back. A number of people panicked when it was announced that Rich Rod had fired the entire staff, only to find that he hired Fred Jackson back the next day, and was rumored to bring Steve Stripling back. I would suggest he also consider rehiring WR coach Erik Campbell and QB coach Scott Loeffler. A DB/WR for Michigan in the mid 80s, Campbell would provide a link to Michigan's tradition that is important for a coach new to the program. As a WR coach, he has produced an array of players that is perhaps as impressive a group as there is in the country: Amani Toomer; Mercury Hayes; Charles Woodson; Tai Streets; Marcus Knight; David Terrell; Marquise Walker; Ronald Bellamy; Braylon Edwards; Jason Avant; Steve Breaston; Adrian Arrington; and Mario Mannigham. He is a slam dunk hire. Loeffler might be a little shakier hire, given that his coaching experience in past dealt with classic, drop back passers, instead of the dual threats that Rich Rod's offense prefers. But Loeffler's attention to mechanics might be just what running QBs need to elevate their passing games. Loeffler is also an excellent recruiter who has had a hand in the recruitment and/or development of Michigan QBs from Griese to Mallet.
2) Upgrade the schedule. A non-conference schedule of Notre Dame and three MAC teams just doesn't do it for me, especially when the ND road game coincide with the OSU and Penn State road games. How about a home and home with another major power, or at least someone who might get the fans interested. I understand we don't want to over-schedule, but you have to give the fans something more than Utah, Toledo, Miami (O), Iowa, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Illinois (next year's home schedule). Some suggestions for home and home series: Texas, Virginia Tech, Rutgers (away games at Meadowlands), just about any SEC team other than Vandy, Ole Miss or Miss State, Boston College, Nebraska, California. You could also bring in some interesting WAC or Mt West teams for one game shots: Hawaii, Boise State, Fresno State.
3) A night game or two a year. I'm not talking about going crazy with Thursday nighters or anything, just an occasional prime time game early in the year (perhaps the best non conference game each year)
4) I would suggest that the new coach plan a weekly lunch with Jamie Morris and Jon Bacon. Bacon, author of the a definitive work on Bo, and Morris, on of Michigan's all time greats will keep Rich Rod well versed in Michigan lore. MVictors has some other suggestions to help Rich Rod come up to speed.
5) Open up at least one practice in the spring and one in the fall (before the season starts) to the public. I'm not talking about divulging game plans or anything, just something to get the fans excited and give us a taste or two in the off-season.
6) Play a real spring game, not just a glorified practice. Print up rosters, pass out to fans, get it broadcast on 'TKA, do a little marketing to make it an event. Perhaps an autograph session, or a fan FG kicking contest, or something to make it interesting for fans.
7) Don't mess with the uniforms, at least not in a major way. None of that all yellow crap you had at WVU.
8) Don't treat the fans like we are an imposition. Market the program a little. Nothing over the top, just enough to remind people that football is supposed to be fun.
9) Just before kickoff, after the band has left the field, play this clip of Bo on the big screen. I know you probably don't worry about the video display, but this is just the best pregame speech ever.
10) Remember that your players are supposed to be students also. They may not be the best students out there, but they have to at least try to get their degree. Any one who is not interested in going to class doesn't belong at Michigan, no matter how talented they are.
11) Don't give into pressure to change your coaching strategies or style to fit anyone's notion of what Michigan football should be. Michigan football is not limited about one particular brand of offense or one brand of defense. It is about a commitment to hard work, integrity, and giving more to the team than you give to yourself. You can follow the lessons of Yost, Crisler, and Bo without running their plays.

I'm sure I will have plenty of suggestions along the way, but that's it for now.