Monday, May 18, 2009

Was Greg Robinson a good hire for Michigan?

At first, I was not a big fan of the hire of Greg Robinson for Michigan's defensive coordinator. He had just come off a 10-37 record as the head coach of Syracuse, so I'm sure many shared my same feelings. That was my initial reaction to the hiring.

Then I thought, what if Michigan had hired former Notre Dame and Washington coach Ty Willingham? I thought that would have been a very good hire for Michigan. What would have made the Ty hire a good one and the actual hire of Greg a bad one? I needed to look into why I felt this way.

Then Mark Snyder from the Free Press wrote a story about Greg yesterday and totally changed my mind. If you read Big House Blog regularly you know that I believe good coordinators don't always make a good head coach. Not everyone has leadership skills.

I also believe that good coaches run together. They have respect for each other, hire each other, and keep in touch with each other. I was surprised to learn that Greg's former teammate and friend in college Pete Carroll helped him get his first job. I was also surprised to learn that Greg was first hired by Monte Kiffin, one of the best defensive coaches ever. To quote Snyder for the Freep: Kiffin and Carroll are regarded as two of the top defensive minds in football at any level, and that only can help improve a Michigan defense that allowed the most points in modern program history. I also believe, Pete, Monte, and Greg are good examples that being a great coordinator does not make a great head coach. Pete failed as a head coach a number of times in the NFL before he found his perfect situation at USC and Monte just left Tampa Bay to be the DC under his son at Tennessee, which pretty much gives up on him getting another head coaching job.

Mac Brown, Texas head coach also called Robinson, "the best defensive coordinator in the country". So what does Mac Brown, Pete Carroll, and Monte Kiffin know about Greg that I don't? It actually looks like a lot! Here are a couple of highlights from Greg's resume:

  • 10 years experience as an NFL DC
  • 2 Super Bowl Rings
  • Experience as an offensive coordinator at UCLA
  • Experience as an defensive coordinator at Texas
  • Former Head Coach at Syracuse

That is an impressive resume and he came to Michigan for $275,000 a year. Now don't get me wrong, that is good money in today's economy but when you compare it other DC's salaries at major program's that are over or close to a Million dollars a year, Greg's pay check wouldn't compare. Heck, Michigan's now famous strength and conditioning coach makes $250,000 a year.

So was this a good hire for Michigan? The proof will be on the field, but the answer has to be Yes. Rich Rod got a guy with great experience that has a chance to turn around a defense that gave up the most points in Michigan history, while paying him only $275K a year. Yes, I would call that a good hire.

  • Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kurt Wermers won't return to Wolverines this fall. He wasn't on the two deep depth chart for this Fall and hadn't gotten any spring practice buzz. So he most likely left to find some playing time.

  • What about Grady? Rodriguez also said he plans to talk with senior running back Kevin Grady, who was jailed last week for probation violations related to a drunk driving conviction. The coach said he wouldn't decide on Grady's future with the team until the two had a discussion.

  • More to departures to come? "Stay tuned," he said. "There's a couple guys I'm gonna sit with here. Just guys that maybe if they're not doing all their responsibilities and doing what they need to do to be part of our football program may not be back. I hope that's not too many."


jblaze1 said...

I agree, and think that being a coordinator (O or D) is just a different job, with different responsibilities than a Head Coach. The Head Coach needs to be the face of the team (involving public talks, fund raising, managing a staff and budget...), while a coordinator doesn't need to do these things.

It's not that coordinators lack leadership, it is just that these are 2 different jobs and all HCs, can make great coordinators, but not all coordinators can make great HCs.

GregGoBlue said...

He certainly does have the resume to be successful. I wouldn't take his head coaching experience as an indicator for his defensive coordinator prowess either. I think one thing we can agree on is that he's been successful in the past, and he's had a lot of experience winning on a large stage.

What Coach Rod looks for in a defensive coordinator is a defensive head coach, much like the situation in Ohio State with Jim Haecock in charge. I think that with the right chemistry in place between Coach Rod and Coach Robinson (something that was lacking with Shafer. See: Purdue), our defense will be better. Now it's just a matter of getting some talent to work with.