Why Don't Coaches at New Schools Adapt to Existing Players?

Roy LaFaverCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2008

The West Virginia-Colorado game and the situation at Michigan point out something about college coaches that I think is worth a closer look.

Some coaches seem to need a team that fits their particular style and ideas about the game, and Michigan is a good example.  I don’t believe anyone could say the cupboard was bare when Coach RR arrived.  Certainly West Virginia also has some quality players.

It appears to me that the Michigan players are low on confidence for whatever reason.  And how can any team expect to win games consistently with fewer than 50 yards passing, as in the WV-CU matchup?

Bill Stewart seems to have decided he will put every game on Pat White’s legs, and he’s just watching from the sideline to see how it turns out.

I think if those two coaches would adapt to the players they have, both could have decent seasons—but I don’t see it happening.  White is cruising for an injury, and the Michigan players don’t show any sign of waking from what might be a nightmare season.

When a school must replace a coach, what do they look for?  I was afraid Les Miles would take LSU back to mid-pack SEC status when he came.  I didn’t see him mastering the defense Saban had built, but beyond that, I felt recruiting would surely suffer.

Neither of those scenarios played out as I expected.  The defense continued to fly to the ball, and LSU is loaded with very good young players.  Based on results, I have to think Michigan would be pretty strong this year if Miles had taken the job.  However, you know what they say about opinions.

Nick Saban has succeeded everywhere except the NFL.  We all know his formula to create a great team, but only after he has a few of his own recruits does he really shine.  Still, he has been able to do well with the players he inherits—not championship level, but respectable.

Now Alabama is beginning to resemble LSU on defense.  They are playing with speed and passion, and it will take a very disciplined offense to handle them.

So I have a challenge for you readers who probably are much more tuned in to the intricacies of the game than I.  Name a few coaches who could walk into any situation and succeed, as Miles and Saban have.  (I should note that Miles didn’t inherit a loaded team at Oklahoma State, yet he left a respectable team when he came to LSU.)