Monday, September 10, 2007

Miles The Perfect Fit For The Wolverines

To me, Michigan’s remarkably rapid fall has been surreal. I suppose that is because I just didn’t believe it could happen.

Not like this, anyway. A loss to a Division 1-AA team - Appalachian State. A 32-point loss at The Big House to Oregon, which is essentially a middle-of-the-pack Pac-10 program.

It’s been pretty obvious for a long time now that Michigan can’t handle the spread offense. What’s not so clear is why. This is a program with premier athletes. The notion Michigan doesn’t have team speed is ridiculous. Yet, for reasons I can’t comprehend, their coaches don’t put the Wolverines’ players in proper position to make plays.

I knew Bo Schembechler well. And I liked and respected him very much. I have never been one of those people who felt that Michigan needs to look outside the Schembechler lineage for Lloyd Carr’s replacement.

I always figured Schembecher’s legacy was Michigan’s greatest strength. But after the last two weeks, I must admit that U-M’s football program has become stale.
They need new ideas. Fresh blood, so to speak.

The ideal candidate as far as I’m concerned is Louisiana State’s Les Miles. He presents the best of both worlds. He played under Schembechler in the mid-1970s, and coached under Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Carr as an assistant.
He has kept LSU’s program at an extraordinarily high level after Nick Saban’s departure.

Can Michigan match LSU when it comes to financial packages for Miles? No. But the Maize and Blue is in Miles’ heart. It’s difficult to believe he wouldn’t want the Michigan job. Supposedly he isn’t a favorite of the Carr camp. That was the big knock against him.

But does it matter anymore?
NOTE: My podcast, "Three-Point Stance." is up and running. It will be updated every Monday and Friday. The Link is currently at "Blog Central"

Random Thoughts

- Just when you think the Tigers are making progress, the Yankees go on a five-game winning streak. And Cleveland wins a couple games.
The Tigers are playing a little better, but are still not making much headway. The situation with Jeremy Bonderman has been a killer.

- To be what is essentially a club of two with Willie Mays says a lot about Curtis Granderson. What a great season he is having. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes Detroit’s next great sports superstar. The other player - Frank Shulte - with 20 homers, 20 doubles, 20 steals and 20 triples in the same season played with Tinkers, Evers and Chance on the Cubs, but he was just a lifetime .270 hitter.

- I don’t know what they were thinking by getting rid of him in St. Louis, but Shaun McDonald is a very good player. I don’t believe his stellar performance in his Lions’ debut during Sunday’s victory over the Raiders was a fluke.

- I love the Adrian Peterson vs. Calvin Johnson comparisons that will be inevitable when the Lions host the Vikings this week. Johnson’s pretty good, but Peterson will likely have more impact this season because he will touch the ball more.


Blogger Andrew M. Fanco said...

Granderson is quite the favorite. He has a great personality and is friendly with media-types and fans alike. He is an upstanding young guy, active in the community and a heck of a player. He is extremely well-liked by young people, which is exemplified by his being the most popular Tiger on Facebook. There is no doubt in my mind he is the rising star of Detroit sports, and hopefully he will be around for a while. He can certainly be the next Steve Yzerman-type guy. He is real special.

11:00 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, everything else aside, it was great to see the Lions not just get ahead, but come back and take the game at the end. Most satisfying Lions game in a long time.

If Bonderman knew he had a bad elbow, he should have told someone and gone on the DL. This “trouper” and “soldier” talk is ridiculous. How many games did that cost the Tigers? What was he thinking, if anything? Good grief.

(PS. Just my $.02 but I think the old font looks a lot better)


11:30 AM 
Anonymous Tony B said...

Freudian slip Book? The Lions "lost" the Vikings or the Lions "host" the Vikings??? Probably same old Lions and you were right the first time but maybe you meant the latter. I have to admit they looked pretty decent for a change.

On the flipside, Michigan is in dire straits. I didn't even last a half of the Oregon game and left the "Brag House". I've never been more vindicated on a rash decision as I was listening to that garbage on the radio driving home from the stadium. I didn't believe Lloyd was the problem ... until now. The whole approach is wayyyy off target from him on down to the water boy. Something has to give or they'll finish with a losing record for the first time since many of us were born.

4:20 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


Perhaps not being of Michigan lineage explains my confusion about what would entice Les Miles to leave LSU to come to Michigan? I am quite certain that that there is some Tiger blood transfused into him by now, and LSU is not by any means lacking in elite football heritage itself - albeit SEC family trees.

But I might be a biased (or by-assed) as the cajuns would say - I gare-run-tee.

As for our baseball Tigers - I think we have a better chance of catching Cleveland for the division than the Yanks for the Wildcard. New York and A-Rod are in full post-season mode. If we can just narrow it down to 3-4 games back when we play the Tribe - its a whole different story.

It was amazing to hear the fans over the radio when Grandy stole that base. Then the dinger to top it off.

Was there speculation Bondy was injured that wasn't public? It makes sense now. But we can do this without him. It seems like we got this far without him - ok, not quite - and yes that was cold.

Now maybe if Grilli could "admit" he is injured too - we could get into the postseason!

6:46 PM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Next time you see Lloyd Carr, I hope he's standing next to Joe Pa. If they're talking to Red Berenson, I suggest an exit stage left. Don't bury Ceaser just yet. I'm a bit provincial, but until Big Ten (11) games commence, there ain't no thing to fret over.

I have to admit though that I didn't view too much of that second half on Saturday. Reminded me of Andrew Miller's last start, too painful to watch and better off forgotten.

Watching Curtis steal that base on Sunday was wonderful. Took some of the sting off an otherwise forgettable ballgame. I wonder if Curtis'es father, Mr. Granderson, is a Willie Mays fan? Being from Chicago, he might be an Ernie Banks guy.

Curtis needs a nickname. Maybe Grandiose or The One, how about Four Score?

Is that a Freudian slip in your last random thought about the Lions "hosting" the Vikings?

Four runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and nobody on. BASEBALL! Don't be too quick giving that MVP award to A-Rod. Maggs is the Man.

10:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew M. Fanco,
It's great to see somebody with their act totally together like Granderson. Eventually. I believe, he is going to be an excellent team leader.

10:43 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I was at the Lions game (my column on it is at under "sports columns") and agree with you totally about the Lions. That was a good win. They showed backbone. And deserve credit for that, even it is just for one game. Bonderman was throwing pretty hard even in the middle of his slump. I don't believe this was something that had been hindering him for a long time. Just a couple starts.

10:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tomy B,
It doesn't look good for Carr and Michigan, but I hope it is a short-term thing that can be corrected quickly by hiring a proper coach. Michigan football is one of the great things we have going for us in this state. It would be a shame if the Wolverines took an extended tumble.

10:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
A lot of people agree with you about Miles. Why would he want to leave a high-paying job with all kinds of advantages like the one he has at LSU. It would only be for his love of Michigan. Not only are the Yankees seemingly better than the Indians, the Tigers still have three games left with the Tribe to make up ground.

10:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I hear you about Joe Pa. They said he was done, but Penn State has won, I believe, 24 of its last 29 games. Great coaches just don't lose it, but I still agree with most people that Carr's time has run its course at U-M.

10:56 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...


That was such a big win last night - on so many levels - what a great result and effort by everyone to get those four runs.


From the Canadian perspective - the sport networks over here kept replaying the video of Halliday watching helplessly after 9 2/3 innings pitch as the four runs came in - and the tag line saying - "... and the Blue Jays blow another big lead in the ninth as the bullpen can't get it done."

Sound familiar?

I love it.

11:29 AM 
Anonymous Bryan152 said...

The situation with Bonderman, I feel has something to do with Verlander. Up until late last year, Bondo was the definitive ace of this Tigers team. But the emergence of Verlander as a true flame-thrower coupled with the no-hitter back in June has left people ignoring Bonderman as the main starter of the Tigers' staff. As such, I feel he has tried to hard to re-cement himself as the ace of the team, even ignoring a clearly nagging injury. I doubt that Bonderman has any resentment towards Verlander -- I believe everyone on the staff are friends. I just think that Bondo's worst nightmare is to be demoted to the bullpen for awhile or even worse, the DL.

As for excited Lions fans, I feel the need to remind fans that the Oakland squad we just saw was one of the worst in football (their QB was a reject of the Lions!). That said, any time Detroit starts the season with a road win it's a great feeling. The passing game looks stellar with Kitna having a plethora of targets at his disposal. I still question the Lions' secondary against teams with similar aerial attacks as Detroit.

But a win is a win and I expect the Lions to reach the elusive .500 mark this year that we, as Michiganders, used to complain about during the glory days of Barry.

1:44 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bryan 152,
There is an element of truth, I believe, to your thoughts about Bonderman, although I don't believe they relate to Verlander. Bonderman does want to be a No. 1 starter. He does want to be a "go-to" guy. And sometimes it does seem like he presses too hard to reach that end. Notice the only time the Raiders threw deep Sunday it was successful? The Vikings don't have a good deep passing game, but other teams will take advantage of this vs. the Lions.

6:00 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It didn't look like Super Roy was too happy. Nor should he have been. There is just something missing with the Jays, but the Tigers aren't complaining. It gave them new life.

6:01 PM 

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