Two more coaches remain to be graded, from opposite ends of the football spectrum nonetheless, but each facing different kinds of pressure. Will the crucial third year of Rich Rodriguez's term at Michigan be the first of many successful seasons? Can Bill Lynch maintain the offensive success that he found in 2008?
More 2009 Coaching Grades
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan
Last Year's Overall Grade: C
Adaptability and Gameplanning: A lot of these things are cause and effect i.e. who is really to blame? Is RichRod to take blame for Michigan's soft coverage against MSU and other teams? Probably not, but he did hire Greg Robinson to teach that ineffective coverage. Who's to blame for the linebackers missing tackles all year? RichRod? Recruits not panning out? Harry Potter? The fat kid from What's Happenin'? Injuries?
One thing we can all agree on is that Denard Robinson wasn't used correctly during much of the year. It's a run, everyone knows it's a run...Let's put some of that famous ingenuity into our offensive playbook for Denard.
Discussion: Their are a lot of things that added up to give the Michigan Old Guard room to gripe. The NCAA investigation into too much practicing, the continued losing to OSU, Justin Feagin selling coke...But it's all wiped away if RichRod gets the offense rolling and the Wolverines pick up 8 wins next year.
Isn't this sad? Isn't it horrendous when expectations have fallen so low? As Bruce Hornsby and Tupac both warbled, that's just the way it is. In this microwave world, we want things now, now, now, but RichRod couldn't deliver wins that quickly. I don't believe it's a system problem and that "Big East option run schemes don't work in the Big Ten." Michigan lacked depth, defensive toughness, and an experienced quarterback. That was a 5-7, 6-6 team anyway you look at it.
One thing - for being called a snake oil salesman and other nasty things, RichRod has avoided saying tremendously stupid things during press conferences. So that's a positive.
One other thing - there is no win win situation for critiquing RichRod. If you go easy on him, you get ripped for not attacking a Michigan coach with a losing record. If you criticize him too pointedly, people stress that his system hasn't been fully rolled out yet with his own players. So I'm attempting to be diplomatic.
Season Grade: C-
Bill Lynch, Indiana
Last Year's Overall Grade: C-
Adaptability and Gameplanning: I thought he did an amazing job, patching up the talent mismatches the best he could and keeping the Hoosiers close against some top teams. The Pistol looked great, adapting as the year went on. Lynch used his tall receivers perfectly, letting Chappell throw jump balls and slants where the WR's could shield the defender from the ball. Knowing the Hoosiers lack of depth would slow them as the game went on, Lynch ran trick plays and pushed his offense to come out aggressive.
Discussion: The Iowa game was the best reminder that hey, Indiana football might show some promise, but it's going to take some breaks to get them back into bowl contention. Lynch's tantrum against Michigan? Some thought it was too much - stop complaining 20 minutes after the fact. I think he's put in one hell of an effort to show his players and the fans that Indiana football should be decent, dammit.
The next stop for Lynch? Avoid losing to bottom feeding ACC teams by 40 on the road. Yeah...that sounds like a concentration thing.
Season Grade: B