Monday, November 19, 2007

The Legacy of Lloyd

I wanted to write this post earlier, but I felt like I needed to collect my thoughts on this considering how much trash I've talked about Lloyd over the years.

To start, the coverage of Lloyd Carr's retirement has been different depending on where you are. Nationally, Lloyd's retirement is being seen as a foregone conclusion, something that was expected and for the most part merited. Here in Michigan, Lloyd is being serenaded by the media. The national folks point to Lloyd's 1-6 record against Jim Tressel, his subpar bowl record over the years, and his insistence on acting like a grumpy old man a lot. The people in Michigan, the media in Michigan have been pointing to the fact he has the third-best winning percentage in Michigan history, the third-most wins in Michigan history, and the ability to do it all with integrity.

How do I feel?

Well, frankly, I've got mixed emotions. Looking at the statistics, Lloyd Carr has been a great coach, one of the best according to wins and losses. But do you remember a game where you could say Lloyd Carr won us the ballgame? The big games, for the most part, were his downfall. The bowl games, where preparation is the ultimate key, were his biggest weakness. Preparation falls on the coach. Then there is his stubbornness. Lloyd refused to innovate, when in actuality, he had the weapons that innovation would have worked best with. He got some of the best high school athletes and crammed the Michigan way down their throats. And in modern football, the Michigan way is good for 8,9,10 wins a year, but it just doesn't mix with National Title talk.

Time will serve Lloyd well, though. The numbers look damn good in the record book, and it made me hesitate to bash Lloyd even in the slightest. It makes you think he might just have been underapprciated. To be honest, as much as it is nice to know you're going to compete every year, I'd much rather fail while striving for the ultimate glory. Lloyd Carr, despite winning one national title in '97, could not have done that in the 21st Century. He was a good coach for Michigan, but his time hadn't just come, it was a bit overdue.

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