that is nice bonus change
ANN ARBOR -- Incoming Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez has fired all nine current assistant coaches.
There is a possibility defensive line coach Steve Stripling may be rehired.
Rodriguez, who was on campus Wednesday and Thursday to meet with football operations personnel and observe bowl practices, sat down with the coaches one by one on Thursday and to give each the news.
Wow. This is not entirely surprising, since Rodriguez said he would be bringing not only his spread offense from West Virginia but his 3-3-5 defense, which is an "odd stack" and therefore an odd duck the current staff is unfamiliar with. I kind of expected a few holdovers for recruiting continuity.
About that recruiting continuity: a common thing for recruits to say is "I'm still committed, but I'd like to see what happens with coach X." Well, Coach X is going to be somewhere else next year. Might have a decommit or two now; with Fred Jackson gone the McGuffie warning klaxons are going full-bore.
This should also dispel any conspiracy theories about Rodriguez being forced to keep so and so because, well, obviously. He's the man, man. And since everyone's getting paid this year if they don't latch on elsewhere there's not much to mourn. It'll be interesting to see where the discarded coaches end up, as it'll be an acid test of their attractiveness to the coaching community. Ron English, rumored to be under consideration as UW's DC, seems likely to land on his feet. Certain others... not so much.
A question: was this blog useful at all during the coaching search?
The traffic numbers indicate that it was at least interesting, but in the end the stuff on this blog couldn't have been more wrong. There was a ten minute window during which
- MGoBlog had a post in which it noted the WVU message boards had done a sudden 180, and
- said 180 had not reached the mainstream media.
If you managed to visit the blog in this brief window you had accurate insight into Michigan's next coach you could not have gotten elsewhere. The cost was a nonstop avalanche of stuff that induced panic, made Bill Martin a sailboat pariah, and made everyone depressed for the better part of a month.
Then, bam: Rodriguez! Don't we all look foolish. Most especially me.
This blog has always been pretty gung-ho on the information available on the internet. With proper safeguards -- multiple independent-seeming reports, basically, and hopefully a couple of them from people bearing track records -- there is stuff out there that can be gleaned that cannot be gleaned otherwise, at at a remarkably high accuracy level. I still believe this.
Just not about coaching searches.
Things the internet said over the past month:
- Ferentz has not only been offered but accepted the job (multiply sourced!)
- Miles told his team he was accepting the Michigan job.
- Rodriguez was staying at WVU.
And it could have been worse: during the Schiano Era a good source indicated that Schiano had accepted the job. I was spared a difficult decision because I was rocking a fake bass until ridiculously late at night and by the time I arose in the morning, the Schiano Era was over.
The moral of the story: coaching searches are crazy. And, like Bill Martin, I acted a n00b for good sections. The first and clearest error on both our parts: Kirk Ferentz. From there things were uneven, but Martin gets to point to Rich Rodriguez and all I get to point to is a post that says "no Rich Rodriguez!"
So... yeah. The internet's did about as well during all this as we thought Michigan was doing. Our (er... my) only consolation is that ESPN did about as well as we did. Oh, and that we hired Rich Freakin' Rodriguez.
As a commenter said in the aftermath "now I can stop reading this goddamn blog." Amen: now I can stop writing it. It's been sort of fun, but I welcome the opportunity to never do this again. Back to the tables and charts. But first, a recap of the madness. (Warning: occasional F-bomb.)
Wither Martin? In the aftermath of the Sailboat Disaster, I wrote:
Michigan's chances at landing Miles are now much weaker than they were a week ago, and it's because Martin blew the most important decision in Michigan athletics since 1969. Because he was on a damn boat too busy to return a phone call.
He has a chance to make good with an excellent hire; anything short of that and he should be run out of town on a rail.
Mission accomplished, and the "how" of it doesn't matter. Even if your faith in his ability to conduct a coaching search is shaken, Martin's old and isn't going to be around for another in either revenue (read: madness-inducing) sport. His record since the Amaker hire is impressive: getting the program on sound financial footing in the aftermath of the disastrous Goss era, retaining Maloney in the face of actual SEC offers, embarking on a radical and needed stadium makeover, and raiding West Virginia for everything that's not nailed down.
Now, do I think that this was headed in a very bad direction before Mary Sue Coleman got heavily involved? Yes. Was Martin caught flat-footed and unprepared? Yes. Did he luck out by stumbling across what appears to be a poisoned relationship and an athletic director who allowed personal feelings to interfere with having a kick-ass football team? Yes.
Given all the crazy stuff that went down over the past month, would I put much behind these opinions? Not really. MGoBlog remains a results-based charting service. Bill Martin: I'm sorry.
A completely speculative and unconfirmed timeline of events.
This is just what I think happened based on everything that's been sent to me and appeared in the press and would logically lead to the things we have had confirmed in the MSM.
1. Carr pushes Ferentz. This was probably happening during the season to some extent, though Carr was busy coaching the team. Given the way the season played out it had to be immediately apparent that someone on the current staff was a no-go. Carr surveys the available coaches and concludes Ferentz is his guy and pushes Martin to pursue things. With Miles facing down a potential national title game, he's off the table.
Is there an offer at this point? Obviously, this depends on who you listen to. I get the feeling many of these conversations go "we could hypothetically offer you $2 million and a hypothetical pony"; "I would hypothetically need a salary that matches my current salary, plus the pony." So plausible deniability is maintained. The Schiano stuff provides an exemplar:
Schiano called the team to the Hale Center at 7 a.m. and told them he "still had work to do" at Rutgers. Schiano looked physically exhausted and said "this was a hard decision," according to a member of the football staff who was in the meeting.
The member of the football staff requested anonymity because of the private nature of the team meeting, but said Schiano looked "tired, beaten up and physically exhausted." He said the Michigan job was Schiano's if he wanted it, but the job was never officially offered.
No offer from Michigan == "tired, beaten up and physically exhausted"? Equals a team meeting to dismiss said rumors? No, probably not.
I think Michigan offered Ferentz the job but the terms were such that he was very unlikely to accept, or they had talks that implied to Ferentz that the job was his if he wanted it, much like Schiano did. I know people close to the Iowa staff thought Ferentz had an offer on the table, and through channels are really unlikely to be an agent's ploy.
Ferentz turns it down, whatever it is, or Michigan can't meet his demands or something. In any case, talks break down.
2. Les Miles is a done deal. It's a done deal, baby! With Ferentz out and LSU suddenly out of the national championship, speculation turns to Miles. Michigan gets permission to contact. Done deal! LSU says "okay, coach the bowl"! Done deal! Four different guys say the LSU players have been told! Done deal! Some people say it's not a done deal, but MORE people say it is! Done deal! Herbstreit reports Miles and Tenuta to Michigan! DONE DEAL!!! Miles has press conference! DONE--
3. Les Miles is still on the table! H
ey, his presser was kind of weird and left room for semantic wiggling. Maybe he's just putting it off until after the --
"I will be LSU's head coach next year. Absolutely."
4. Brady Hoke... well, that's cute. Hoke interviews. Nobody thinks this is anything but a courtesy.
5. Come Sail Away. In the aftermath, we try to figure out what happened with Miles. First theory: Carr put the kibosh on it. Completely impossible to believe counter-theory: Bill Martin was on a boat and couldn't be reached as LSU put on its power play. Ha-ha-ha, crazy internet with the crazy thing--
Miles had no idea if Michigan really wanted him.
So Bass [Miles' agent] decided to ask.
He said he called Martin's cell phone on Friday and left a message. He just wanted to know where Miles stood.
Then, when he didn't hear back, the agent said he called Martin again.
"The (LSU) deal was so good that we couldn't just wait," Bass said via phone Tuesday. "I didn't know if we were one of the candidates in the pool at that time. There was just no communication."
Where was Martin? One source places him in Florida, at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.
Wherever he was, he didn't call back.
6. He's back! He's not. Ferentz briefly re-emerges, then fades.
7. Ha, ha, Brady Hoke. Dienhart claims Hoke is the frontrunner. He is laughed upon.
8. Schia-no. We're now about a week past the Miles kerfuffle, a week full of recriminations as the warring pro- and anti-Miles camps take their spat into the local papers. I've obviously lost my mind and would chew off Bill Martin or Lloyd Carr's face if I thought it would bring Miles to Michigan. Big donors are reportedly very pissed off. And the only persons even mentioned over the past week are Hoke and Ferentz, neither of whom seems plausible.
It's at this point I think Coleman steps in and Michigan's search starts making sense, two weeks after Carr steps down. Michigan offers Schiano the job, reportedly for the same amount Miami offered the year before, right after a fortuitously timed Profile In Heroism and gets turned down. More recriminations.
9. Sean Payton? No.
11. Seriously, Brady Hoke? Along with the Miles news comes buzz that Hoke is actually getting pushed by anti-Miles forces. A Profile In Cronyism is deployed to display just how bad an idea this is. Morale is low.
13. GROBE! The next day sees Jim Grobe pick up internet momentum, and though by this point internet momentum is worth about as much as the Great White Fail's schematic advantage Grobe is still the perfect platform to launch yet another broadside at this apparently botched search. At this point face-consumption possibilities have expanded to friends, my brother, and most players not named "Mike Hart".
14. Radio silence. Things go dark and there are no plausible candidates about. Fan hopes seem to focus on non-BCS head coaches and NFL coordinators. Two completely implausible names come forward: Lane Kiffin and KC Keeler.
15. Rodriguez. TSN breaks that Michigan is meeting with Rich Rodriguez in Toledo. ("Why Toledo," you ask? Easy: closest Chick-Fil-A to Ann Arbor.) Everyone immediately dismisses this as ludicrously implausible, but all of a sudden the thing has legs. I start stalking the posts of WVU insiders who were right on during the Beilein search. It could happen! It could happen!
Wha... wha... ? No. Really?
The internet responds! Much of it is stupid.
I love the internet, especially in times of trouble for opponents. And this, my friends, is a time of trouble for Michigan opponents. Ask anyone who isn't facing down the spectre regular six-touchdown buttwhippings*, like Florida fans or Bruce Feldman...
If I'm a Michigan fan, I'm ecstatic knowing the Wolverines have just landed Rich Rodriguez. I'd rather have him over any of the guys who had been linked to UM job.
...or Dan Shanoff...
Coach Rod represents the absolute best-case scenario for Michigan fans -- the absolute best coach available.
...or the cavalcade of swoon linked the past few days. They will all tell you the obvious thing: hiring a guy who's gone to BCS games two of the last three years, won his conference four of the last five years, and has gone 32-6 the past three years is a pretty good idea.
HORRIBLE hire for Michigan, HORRIBLE hire for WV... Absolute GREAT hire for the rest of the big 10. UM should start wearing purple and black. They will be the new Northwestern. One great year followed by a ton of sub 500 years. This is a GREAT day to hate Michigan
A fellow Spartan plays Reasonable Cop, disagreeing like so:
I don't think RR will bring glory back to UM, but I'm not drunk enough on kool-aide to think he'll take them any further down than 4th place in the conference
Black Shoe Diaries is moderately negative...
As far as Michigan goes, I think they will regret this decision in a few years. He has a history of being an opportunist. While at West Virginia he strung along secret negotiations with Alabama and was even rumored to have an agreement in principle. But he decided to stay in West Virginia anyway, but his wandering eye turned off a lot of the West Virginia faithful. Now it's reasonable to assume that Rodriguez won't be looking at other college head coaching jobs. He's at Michigan now. There aren't many other more attractive jobs out there that would warrant another move. But what if he has some success and the NFL comes calling? Is he committed to Michigan for life? Or is he going to be persuaded to listen to every offer that comes along? ...
What happens if Rodriguez starts ignoring cherished time-honored traditions? What happens if he fails speak of Bo Schembechler and Fielding Yost as if they were saints? What happens when he loses to Ohio State and says "Win some. Lose some" in his post game press conference?
While the first paragraph may be something of a concern -- he's certainly more likely to bolt than Les Miles would be -- Michigan is a terminal job in college football and NFL teams are unlikely to leap at an opportunity to hire a guy who relies so heavily on running quarterbacks unless Michigan just owns the opposition, and... uh... okay. I'm willing to take that change. As for the rest of it: what happens if Rodriguez slaps himself in a press conference after losing to Illinois? I agree that if it turns out Michigan has hired a lunatic, it will be bad for the program. It's not something to fret about until we hear he's slapped Tyrelle Pryor.
But it's the BSD commenters who crack me up:
RichRod had a good thing going at WVU, and now he's leaving that behind for the Michigan microscope? Sounds like a bad idea to me. Didn't WVU bend over backwards for him too with facilities upgrades to keep him there last offseason? Had RichRod already emotionally taken the scUM job when his 'Neers lost to Pitt? Interesting indeed.
Leaving a good thing for the big-time too early, sound familiar Chucky Weis?
Indeed, a Michigan program that hasn't fired a coach for on-field performance matters in 40 years is truly a roiling pressure-cooker of a situation. And truly, seven years as a head coach at a top 25 program is not enough of an apprenticeship period. And a proven college head coach is the exact equivalent of hiring a morbidly obese sociopath who's never so much as picked up a whistle as a head coach.
Ohio State fans are generally dismissive (Eleven Warriors does call it a "good hire"), but there were, by my count, exactly two coaches Michigan could hire that would create even the slightest blip on OSU's radar: Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel. Neither was thought to be available.
The Nation seems split between knocking down Rodriguez' accomplishments and playing up the "Mallett has no legs" issue...
Ferentz would have been a much better choice. Why Michigan chose a coach that specializes in a scheme thats completely incompatible with their current personnel is beyond me.
... and saying "crap":
Michigan has outdone all ND coach searches (basketball and football) since November 1986.
It's not all batty out there, kids. Boiled Sports:
I don't know if Michigan will be great next season...but they will soon. That dude can coach. ...
I even bought a WVU hat because of my like for Rodriguez; and I've never disliked UM...so I'm happy that the Wolverines got a good guy. I'm sad that he'll be kicking Purdue's ass regularly, but it's a good hire none-the-less.
Rich Rodriguez is a much better hire than Les Miles would've been. The Michigan fans can continue to bitch all season long about the sailing loving Bill Martin, but there is no one else out there better for the Maize 'n Blue than this hire. Ann Arbor is going to be intimidating once again.
He pwn3d the Big East, winning 4 of the last 5 titles a
nd 3 coach of the year awards. His teams run the spread option better than just about anyone. In other words, this ain't your father's Michigan offense anymore, and Florida (and, increasingly, Illinois) has taught us all the basic math of Wacko Ninja Offense + Top-Notch Talent = Carnage.
*(Ohio State fans excepted, of course, as they are not actually staring said prospect down.)
"This was an unexpected situation, but given the fact that K'Len's family has moved to Mississippi during the summer we fully understand the choice K'Len had to make for himself," coach John Beilein said Wednesday in a statement. "We will continue to offer any support that he will need now and in the future."
This is probably not so good, since Morris seemed to buy into Beilein's system when he arrived and might have developed into a contributor down the road; with '08 recruiting virtually over no suitable replacement is likely to arrive until '09.
Late today; sorry. Amuse yourself with Rodriguez:
Right, if you were panicking about the WVU boards erupting in a mess of "RR may return!!!," you can stop panicking:
A West Virginia University athletics spokesman says Rich Rodriguez's resignation as football coach is effective at midnight Tuesday instead of Jan. 3.
WVU football spokesman Mike Montoro confirmed the change late Tuesday but said he did not know why the effective date was moved forward.
If you weren't, good job.