Posted on: November 27, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 4:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
One month ago, Syracuse was 6-2 and in the midst of what appeared to be a special season for Orange football. Head coach Doug Marrone was showered with praises for his job turning around a program that had not seen more than four wins since 2004. With only one loss in conference play, the Orange were staring down a shot at the Big East title.
One odd aspect of Syracuse's special season has been their struggles at home. With their 16-7 loss to Boston College, Syracuse fell to 2-4 in the Carrier Dome. Each of the Orange's conference losses came at home, and falling to the Eagles on Senior Day was the icing on the cake. Syracuse will still go bowling, but Orange fans have to look at the three-team race for the title and wonder what could have been. Marrone's job this season is certainly commendable, but he will have to answer for an offense that only scored 26 points in the last three games combined.
Posted on: November 1, 2010 3:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The CBS College Football Blog wrote multiple times last week that Michigan 's visit to Penn State was a make-or-break game for Rich Rodriguez and his much-much-much -maligned defense, which couldn't ask for a better scenario than having a bye week to prepare for the Big Ten 's bottom-ranked offense playing without its starting quarterback. As you know by now, the Wolverines broke in spectacular fashion , giving up 435 yards and 41 points to a Nittany Lion attack that barely scored that many points total (46) in games against MAC cupcakes Kent State and Temple .
Naturally, this was the cue for yet another round of recriminations and rumormongering out of Ann Arbor Sunday, with most of the whispers centering on the continued employment of defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and the rest of Rodriguez's defensive staff. So loud had the rumors become by Monday that Rodriguez had to be asked about them directly , and responded as you'd expect:
That's not what Michigan fans hoping for Robinson's head -- or anything that might signal a change-in-approach from the current disaster -- would want to hear, but Rodriguez's next comment might be even more bone-chilling:
This would make sense if Rodriguez had more experience (does he have any?) in coaching college defense from something more hands-on than the head coaching position. Multiple Michigan bloggers have noted since the disaster in Happy Valley that the Wolverine defense's problem likely isn't that Rodriguez hasn't been involved enough; it's that he's been too involved, asking Robinson (as well as previous coordinator Scott Shafer , now enjoying a highly successful season under Doug Marrone at Syracuse) to run the unusual 3-3-5 defensive scheme operated by Jeff Casteel under Rodriguez during his West Virginia tenure. Neither Shafer nor Robinson had any prior experience with the 3-3-5 before being asked to run it by Rodriguez, however, and the results have been predictably muddled.
If this is indeed the root of the defense's problem, Rodriguez may be better served by going in the opposite direction, by fully ceding control of the defense to his coordinator and allowing Robinson to run whatever scheme and make whatever playcalls with which he feels most comfortable. No one can blame Rodriguez for making moves out of desperation at this stage, but Michigan fans have to be worried that in this case, Rodriguez's cure could prove to make even worse an already program-wrecking disease.