"I love it that Ivy League coaches are coming to our camp and Big Ten coaches are coming to our camp. South Florida is coming. We've got about 70 schools that are coming to our camp."
Attrition the second: Rich Rodriguez announced that backup DT Jason Kates has decided to leave the team($, info in header). Kates hadn't seen a single snap this year AFAIK and that was an ominous sign for a redshirt sophomore; he's probably looking for playing time and that Not Throwing Up Every Weekday major mentioned earlier.
Oh, and Steve Schilling might miss the Ohio State game. Not that it's likely to matter.
Back to Kates: he wasn't likely to contribute if he couldn't see the field at all this year. However, defensive tackle is now looking mighty thin: Mike Martin set a high bar for himself this year and will no doubt start; the only other 2009 DT on the roster at the moment is Renaldo Sagesse, who saw spot duty at various points during the season. He had limited impact. If Will Campbell recommits as expected he'll get at least as much playing time as Martin did this year and may leap directly into the starting lineup.
Programming note: I am behind on UFR and will post it tomorrow. I have no excuse for this one other than severe lack of motivation.
Oh, uh, yeah. Article in the Daily on the new blog order interviews me. There is already a thread with jokes about my appearance if you need to get in on that action. This was the most interesting bit of the article to me:
With the day-to-day grind of beat reporting, that type of depth is almost impossible for newspapers to imitate. Here’s a typical workday for Snyder — on the Monday before the Northwestern football game, he attended a nearly two-and-a-half-hour-long press conference, filing a story right there. Snyder then stayed at the building, transcribing football quotes and working until the basketball presser took place at 3 p.m. After the press conference, Snyder attended basketball practice, finally leaving after nine hours and still needing to file a story about the basketball team. That’s time Cook can spend analyzing plays and breaking down each game, while relying on reporters like Snyder to uncover the day-to-day business of the team.
I've never had a problem with beat writers; they do their job and it's necessary. But, man, doesn't that explain a lot? You put yourself in this press-conference-file-story-press-conference-file-story routine, covering a thousand different items shallowly and spending large portions of your time either listening to or transcribing what someone else is thinking. Then you've got the columnists on basically the same schedule, writing three things a week about one of ten different pro or college teams. There's no focus.
This is apparently media-bash day on MGoBlog, so might as well get on with it:
Different. Mark Dantonio took over Cincinnati's football program and left for a bigger one after two mediocre years. The Free Press frames that decision like so*:
A man's word still means something.
Two years ago, the Spartans pursued Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio. But he rejected the overtures until the Bearcats' regular season was over.
Can you imagine anyone stretching the bounds of praiseworthy behavior in order to find something nice to say about Rich Rodriguez? No. This is the exact thing—leaving a job—that Rich Rodriguez has been killed for, and he stayed at West Virginia for seven years, turning it into a national power.
But Dantonio Keeps His Word.
In fact. Hey, here's a nice thing about Rodriguez in a mainstream newspaper!
Harrison, the safety, was among them. Then last weekend on Senior Day, his parents were late getting to Michigan Stadium from Dayton because of traffic from an accident. So instead of having Harrison take the field unescorted, Rodriguez accompanied him.
"He didn't really need to do that," Harrison said. "I see him in a whole different way. I used to look at him as just my head coach. Now I look at him as if it's a different type of bond."
This is part of an article with extensive quotes from Harrison, Terrance Taylor, Don Dufek, and Rick Leach and an actual quote from someone who interacts with a large number of Michigan fans:
Jason McNamee is an employee at the Buckeye Wolverine Shop in Perrysburg, Ohio, near Toledo.
McNamee said most Wolverines customers understand the situation Rodriguez inherited and are willing to give him time.
"I'd say if we had 100 Michigan fans in here, only 5-10 would say he has to go now," McNamee said.
It's probably the most reasonable, best researched piece that's appeared in a newspaper this year. That newspaper?
Some day I would like to meet the people running the Free Press and News sports pages just so I can ask them "what makes you think annoying your core readership is a good idea?"
Don't take our Spielman away. Chris Spielman and Kirk Herbstreit orchestrated a much-publicized Michigan bashing session on Columbus talk radio recently. One of the more directly inflammatory statements came from Spielman:
"I love seeing them beaten down, man. It's great," Spielman said.
And thus ends (or should end) Chris Spielman's license to call any Michigan game. I like Spielman, I like his transparent love for football, I like that he still seems more like a player than an announcer and that he obviously would rather be on the field colliding with people than in a suit and tie in a booth. I think he's one of the best color guys on the network. But unless ESPN's new strategy is to openly antagonize its viewers, it can't have a born, bred and admitted hater calling the team he hates.
One: yes, ESPN's strategy is to openly antagonize its viewers, something that has been made plain over the last decade. How many 15-minute Nick Lachey MNF interviews must we endure before this is plain?
Two: no. Spielman hates Michigan. Whatever. He's the only color guy working college football who would bother explaining that to stop a power run game like Michigan State the key player is the defensive end, who has to crash inside to eliminate the hole and disrupt the pulling offensive linemen, which will naturally cause the RB to bounce outside into the waiting arms of a linebacker.
Spielman does that. And he cloaks his disdain masterfully when called upon to do so. He can do Michigan games whenever he pleases. Don't leave us with Andre Ware, please.
Etc.: Ohio State fans can't read. The WLA does hate week right; apparently those of us with Fandom Endurance III badges can never leave a game again. McMcMcCabe is seriously pissed off you guys that the Army Bowl is (gasp!) picking guys who he didn't even name all state. Also he would like his cranberry juice. UMTailgate says that was yesterday.
*(Worst Columnist in America link that you are urged to not follow: .)
The last couple days have seen a minor internet hubbub about Rich Rodriguez's statement that Michigan fans should "get a life," or something like that. That's all 95% of the people who have seen this story have comprehended. In their minds, Rich Rodriguez sat down at a press conference and said "everyone who's upset about 3-8 needs to get a life."
He did not.
On Saturday someone posted this on Rivals:
"Way to tough it out McGuffie. Maybe his little fingers were cold?"
Someone else posted this on Scout:
"I've never been more excited for senior day
goodbye and good riddance."
No links, as both are locked behind paywalls (and the Rivals one is probably lost in the ether by now) but it's not like anyone familiar with the depravity you can find on any message board more confrontational than Hello Kitty Forever is surprised by this genre of comment. You could dig them up on most message boards after a horrific loss. I do it on a weekly basis.
The men who said these things are in need of anger management or a kitten or something to do after a loss other than get so angry steam comes out their ears and they post stuff about amateurs their mother would slap them for. You might describe this something as a "life."
Rich Rodriguez was asked about them because all years of struggle must be followed by stock question #49: "Do you read the horrible things written about you on the internet?" Rodriguez responds:
This is a public position. It's not like a politician, I'm not running for office. I mean, God bless them. They choose to have that public scrutiny. As coaches, we know it's part of the job, but we don't choose to have it. Most of us would rather not.
But the biggest thing that is disappointing is when somebody, not necessarily the media, but when a fan or somebody would make it personal to your coach or to your players. Especially to the players, because those guys are amateurs. When they would make a personal comment or say something that's not related to coaching or not related to playing.
I don't get on message boards. I don't think anybody, any of our players or family should. But it's amazing some of the things that people would say or amazing things people will yell at you of a personal nature. You almost want to tell them get a life. I mean, there's a whole lot bigger problems. You lose a ballgame, and then you look at the economy or after every game I usually get to meet one of our veterans or somebody. You know, to take it personal on a coach or player to me, I don't think it's ever right.
But I'm glad fans have passion, but it's still kind of I guess a lot more bolder. You all would know. It's a lot more bolder what people would say and write. Not you all, but bloggers or whatever, than it used to be. We've seen it coming for a few years.
Absolutely, right? The saddest thing about the internet is this sort of anonymous hatred. I love the internet. It gave me a writing outlet and a job and online scrabble. But, man, trawling through message boards after a loss in search of some scrap of useful news and/or analysis is depressing. It kills my productivity. It makes me want to do something else. And it's because of these little hate factories that just lose their head and spew.*
Here Rodriguez talks about this, gives a reasonable answer across four paragraphs, and even manages to conclude it with "but I'm glad fans have passion." He is obviously talking about that small segment of the fanbase that runs to post bile on the internet and almost seems happier when the team loses. Guess which part of this four-paragraph response got put in an AP story?
“It’s amazing some of the things that people would say (on a message board) or yell at you of a personal nature,” Rodriguez said Monday. “You almost want to tell them, `Get a life.’
“There’s a whole lot bigger problems. Look at the economy.”
Cue sarcastic responses from around the internet. Here's one from increasingly retarded Deadspin:
He's right. The economy is dreadful in the Great Lakes State right now. That's probably why your fans don't like paying $60 a pop to watch your comically inept offense destroy everything they hold dear. Or that their school had to pay $2.5 million to West Virginia University just to get you out of the contract you bailed on. Or that you're earning another $2.5M to deliver the most losses in school history. (And they have a lot of history.) One fan even has to sell his allegiance to pay the rent.
That guy's a Michigan State fan, so fine. I get that I have to think Mark Dantonio is a ridiculous insecure hothead who is just so perfectly Sparty No(!)* and this guy has to think Rich Rodriguez is a heartless mercenary cheerleader-nailing guy.
Then there's this from Kevin Donahue (emphasis mine):
I have just four letters for Coach Rod: STFU.
Is it unthinkable to this college football fan that the one guy who cashed in more than anyone else in this sport in the last twelve months would dare question the passion of fans. Hey d-face, you are where you are today BECAUSE fans care about this game.
I'm not even a Michigan fan... and this pisses me off BIG TIME.
Rich Rodriguez takes some time to talk about the internet's depressing tendency towards mocking and anger in some depth. The media takes the three sentences sure to generate the most outrage and create the dumbest image of Rodriguez, and the internet responds with mocking and anger.
I mean… what can you even say here? The way information spreads is messed up. Thanks to the restrictions of newshole the AP writer has to snip out 90% of what Rodriguez says. He picks the lines sure to cause commotion when taken out of context. Thanks to the epic fail of the newspaper industry, everyone with the story headlines it as sensationally as possible in order to get their OMG hits. Given the opportunity to whack the piñata, the internet does so. The whole thing is depressing from stem to stern.
You know, the media complained for 13 years about how gruff and inaccessible Lloyd Carr was. Then they get a guy like Rodriguez who's far more open and they heap crap on him. The net impact of this will be to make Rodriguez gruff and inaccessible.
I don't understand. Unless you assume that the people running newspapers cannot model the future beyond tomorrow's newspaper, it makes no sense. Oh. Ohhhhh. It appears I do understand.
*(The comments here can be vicious at times because there is a cabal of people committed to relentlessly policing stupidity. Sometimes I wish it didn't have to be like that, but when I go read comments other places I am swiftly disabused of that notion. The cost in lack of civility to people outside the tribe is far outweighed by the maintenance of a coherent identity. No regular here would dare post the things that lead off this post and if they did they would be ridiculed by a dozen people before I had the opportunity to deploy the banhammer. This has happened multiple times. Everything I delete already has several responses asking the poster to FOAD.)
**(Okay, seriously: seriously. No, seriously: if Michigan wins on Saturday Michigan State plays Penn State for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Which is THE ROSE BOWL. Dantonio's response to the question "are you rooting for Michigan?"
"I'm not rooting for Michigan… I have too many good friends and too many people that wouldn't let me back into their house to let me do that. So Go Bucks."
Seriously. Sparty, man. Sparty.)
So… hey. How are you guys doing? A brief update on the post from earlier today that has way more comments than the other one: in the comments and on MGoBoard a commenter put up a "wait just a minute!" sort of post stating that he had a friend who knew players on the team; he had confirmed earlier that McGuffie wasn't going anywhere. Unfortunately:
Well after doing more sleuthing..
4 other sources have texted him back and have said that he is gone....
On to other matters, I guess.
No, wait, the same matter. A variety of thoughts:
- I'm actually most concerned about the Chambers transfer because Chambers played at a position with no depth, whether it's safety or LB. Does Michigan's average YPC next year drop if all of McGuffie's carries are taken by Shaw, Brown, and Minor, all of whom have looked pretty good when healthy? Maybe, maybe not. Do we really need all the lottery tickets we can scrounge to find competent safeties? Hell yes. Running back is the spot on the roster that can take the attrition best.
- That said, please refrain from posting the standard "that guy sucked anyway" posts. At best those are sour grapes, and at worst they're flaming retardation. I'm removing diaries/comments/message board threads in that vein and severe offenders are getting the ban hammer.
- In terms of the program, I'm not concerned about guys who aren't seeing any PT and committed to another program entirely deciding to leave. This encapsulates Babb and Chambers and the other couple guys who are getting some transfer buzz. McGuffie is another matter, but given his indecision on signing day, his general reticence with the media and other team members, and the weird situation that went down at the Northwestern game (even if he had a death in the family it sounds like McGuffie didn't tell Jackson that when he elected not to play, given Jackson's reaction) I don't think this one is a shock.
As far as scholarships go. At this point I assume Michigan is not going to offer Andre Criswell a fifth year, and Laterryal Savoy may or may not get one. I thought Butler was a goner but if he's playing at DE he may stick around for the chance to prove himself a viable NFL option and Lord knows Michigan needs DEs next year. Brandon Graham is making noises like he'll return, but that's 50-50 IMO.
The recruiting board currently shows 21 definite openings (11 seniors, 4 unused going into the year, the Patilla, Hill, Babb, and Boren transfers, and the Witherspoon and Slocum academics issues). Chambers, McGuffie (should he stick with his decision), and Criswell make 24 with a number of other possible defections on the horizon.
So: how many can Michigan take? Last year's class was 24 but Stonum can be backdated, so 23 carry forward. Michigan can take 25 in a class but two of the seven early enrollers can also be backdated, leaving Michigan a max of 27 slots in this class. I think we will see them suffer enough attrition to max that out. Career backups on 3-9 teams who have to endure Barwis are probably thinking "Indiana State has a good program in Not Vomiting Every Weekday."
Now, can Michigan fill those slots? With 18 current commits and three guys who seem likely to join up (DTs Campbell and Graves and S Emilien) they're at 21. It seems likely they'll pull in a couple more OL; from there things get dicey. There are now enough names on the WR board (and enough opportunity) to expect them to pull one in; ditto cornerback. That's 25, but there are three commits wavering. It might take some snake oil to get it done.
You're halfway to level four. Reader Steve Sap displays a sense of terrific timing and provides a version of Fandom Endurance III for possible stickers, buttons, or tattoos:
I expect to see this on someone's head next year.
There will be significant attrition this offseason. The first to fall:
In today’s weekly Big Ten teleconference, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said sophomore Zion Babb was no longer with the team. Rodriguez said the wide receiver hasn’t been with the team since Sunday.
So… yeah. I was sitting on this until I had some outside confirmation and this serves as outside confirmation since three guys were mentioned as a group of players who had already made their decisions. The other two who have told the coaches they are out: sophomore LB/S Artis Chambers and Sam McGuffie.
Okay. Done panicking? Some context for this information:
How solid is it? Very solid. Three sources very close to the situation.
How official is it? It is not official until it is official. Earlier this year I said freshman RB Mike Cox was transferring based on equally solid info, but Cox reversed course and decided to stick out the year. Until someone actually enrolls somewhere else there is always the chance for a reconciliation.
Is this the end of it? No. The rumors are flying fast and furious about a couple guys buried on the depth chart; I don't have confirmation on anyone else and at this point I think they're still on the fence.