The past week was interesting as I listened to all of the people calling for the firing of RR and then all fot he others who are RR supporters . Both sides are all so knowledgeable, it is amazing.
For instance, the anti-RR people know that RR will never win at M, that the spread doesn't work in the Big 10 and that RR is a bad person (for many reasons). Meanwhile, the pro-RR crowd knows that RR will be successful if we have patience, that Mallett was leaving before RR even arrived (though nobody in the know actually has said this) and that changing coaches now would set the program back another 3 years.
How are they so smart?
With all of that said, I know two things: 3-9. 5-7.
Early in the year, when we were watching Illinois play Missouri (and playing them well early), I commented that it is good for the big 10. SarcasMike commented something about it meaning that Illinois (who wasn't too good last year and lost some key players) could be better than we think and it could be a tough game vor M. I had to admit that was true.
I have never thought like that before. I root for the big10 to win all non-conference games because being in strong conference means higher national ranking. I have never looked at is as a good good big10 non-conference win means a tougher M schedule and possibly more losses. I haven't thought, until RR, that is, that we have no hope of a conference championship and we just need to find wins.
RR has made me look at some games as NOT possible wins.
From the time I started dating my Spartan now-wife, I always felt good that I could root for her team when they weren't playing M. There was usually no reason not to. M was usually ranked higher, was higher in the conference standings and beat MSU. Sometimes all 3 of these wouldn't happen, but 1 or 2 were common, and we knew it was just temporary. Until this year, that is. I can't describe how much I want MSU to lose. M has lost 3 times in a row, 2 of them were blowouts. After 3 conference games this year, M is 2 1/2 games behind MSU. Dantonio has as many conference wins in Michigan Stadium as RR. I really hate this.
RR has made me hate my wife's football team.
Now, I'm not going to be the typical anti-RR guy who finds something wrong with RR no matter what news comes out (the Lombardi comment or Demens getting sued, for instance), but there are concerns I have with him and some things he has said.
I read the interview he gave to Wojo and a couple things stuck out. First, he said that the pressure at M is not as much as he had at WVU. Obviously, I don't know what he is feeling, but I'd be very surprised that the spotlight and responsibility at WVU would be as great and widespread as at M. But, what really makes me think he either doesn't understand what he got himself into by coming here, or that he is lying, is when he keeps mentioning that winning is going to take time. I don't know what he went into at WVU, but at M he came into a program that hadn't had a losing season in 4 decades. AND HE'S HAD 2 OF THEM!!!! How can he not think there is more pressure here?
Another thing about RR that I don't like is that he NEVER admits fault. He never says "I'm responsible" for only 8 wins in 2 years, for the many bad TOs and penalties (yes, I do think that is coaching) or for the horrible defense. In fact, his first year, I can remember he and Calvin McGee blaming specific players (QBs, mostly). I just don't like that.
One other comment I've heard RR say a lot is "We aren't good enough to make mistakes and win." I would think that almost all teams would be in that situation, unless you are significantly better than the teams you play. Were his teams at WVU that much better than other Big East teams? Is that a sign that he CAN'T win in the Big 10? Or is it a sign that his teams are mistake-prone teams? Again, I don't know, but it is a concerning comment.
So, what does RR have to do to keep his job? I don't know. But, one more thing I DO know is that as long as he is here, regardless of whether he makes M a winner again, there will be a split in Wolverine Nation. I'm not calling for him to get fired at this point, but I hope that this split is a factor when Brandon is making his decisions.