I thought that myself when I read that article that talked about a Data Scientist(tm)
The pride of Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
It's a new day. Sort of.
There was plenty to celebrate in the first Michigan game of the post-Brandon era. The Wolverines thoroughly dominated Indiana, more than doubling their total yardage and earning the team's first double-digit win since the Miami game.
Devin Gardner set a season high in passing yardage. Amara Darboh posted the best day of his career. So did Ann Arbor native Drake Johnson, who rushed for 122 yards and two scores in his first extended action at running back. The defense shut down the nation's leading rusher, IU's Tevin Coleman, and even forced a pair of turnovers.
There was plenty of bad that was familiar, too. Gardner tossed an ugly interception and narrowly avoided a pick-six when the game was still competitive. Brady Hoke bungled basic clock management at the end of the first half, robbing Michigan of a chance to score before the break. The Wolverines punted from the Indiana 43 on a fourth-and-short. And, of course, the entire game came with the caveat of facing an IU squad with a miserable defense and a depleted depth chart at quarterback.
Oh, and the announced attendance of 103,111 was met with a mixture of laughter and boos; perhaps the program sold that many tickets, but on a chilly afternoon in Ann Arbor, there certainly weren't that many seats filled.
On this day, though, the good should be the focus. With Jake Butt suspended for the game for a violation of team rules, reserve tight end Keith Heitzman was able to record his first career touchdown on an improvised shovel pass from Gardner (pictured above).
Injury also created opportunity in the backfield. With Derrick Green out for the season and De'Veon Smith in and out of the game with a dinged up ankle, Johnson got 16 carries—14 of them in the second half—and he salted away the game, playing kitty-corner from where he starred in high school at both football and track. Johnson, who'd seen mostly special teams duty in his time at Michigan, showed off that track-star speed by breaking multiple runs into the Indiana secondary.
Darboh broke the century mark on nine receptions, scoring from 12 yards on a hard-thrown post from Gardner to give Michgian a 17-0 lead that would stand as the halftime score. He and Devin Funchess combined to reel in 16 of Gardner's 22 completions; no other Wolverine had more than one.
The defense dominated an Indiana offense sorely missing injured quarterback Nate Sudfeld. They got some help from IU coach Kevin Wilson, as well. Wilson benched Tevin Coleman after he put the ball on the turf twice, losing the second on a recovery by freshman Bryan Mone. Indiana couldn't generate any offense without Coleman, who'd finish with a season-low 108 yards—must be nice—on 27 carries; his mark of four yards per carry was well below his season average of 8.8.
The Hoosiers also insisted on running much of their offense from the Wildcat, which Michigan had dead to rights for most of the game. Jake Ryan recorded 2.5 TFLs among his team-high 11 tackles; fellow linebacker Joe Bolden had two TFLs of his own as M repeatedly shot gaps into the IU backfield. Any hopes Indiana had of getting back into the game were dashed when Ryan Glasgow sacked IU QB Zander Diamont, stripped the ball, and came up with the recovery in the third quarter; Johnson got the corner for his first touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The final yardage read Michigan 404, Indiana 191.
Hoke refused to address questions about Dave Brandon's resignation in the aftermath of the game, and that felt right. Today was about the team on the field, and while the opponent wasn't a strong one, they were able to ignore this week's distractions and take care of business. That alone was an impressive feat.
1975 Indiana was the last <100 k crowd
by Heiko “4AD” Yang
Dear President Schlissel and Interim Director Hackett, please consider as this my formal application to the position of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan.
First I would like to recognize and thank Dave Brandon for the tremendous work that he did during his tenure. Revolutionizing the Michigan Stadium experience was no small feat. If hired, I will appoint Special K to be Brandon’s personal DJ for life so that he may continue to enjoy the sounds of Saturday, everyday.
I believe I am strongly qualified for this position because like Bo Schembechler, I am from Ohio. I was the “manager” of an intramural flag football team once, but I would like to highlight that I have never been the CEO of anything. I would relate well to students because I am currently a student. I would relate well to fans and alumni because I am not a dick.
My vision for the athletics department is comprehensive, but due to the lack of issues regarding any other sport, I will highlight only my plan for the football program:
To improve the game-day experience, I will fix the annoying half-second delay between the marching band’s live sound and the amplified sound. With Special K gone, the onus of playing Seven Nation Army will fall on the band, and it is awkward when people sitting near midfield don’t know which half-beat to wave their pompoms to. Also, I will make food available at the end of games. Postgame hotdogs improve morale and fan satisfaction by making wins feel better and losses hurt less.
To generate revenue in a way that doesn’t involve raising ticket prices, I will sell tickets after halftime to account for the people who either never showed up or decided to leave early. Those vacant seats will be available at a heavily discounted price, and this plan would have the additional benefit of increasing attendance and making the stadium look less empty during blowouts. I will also continue to sell food at the end of games (see above).
I have other qualifications that would be an asset to the athletic department given the current public relations climate. The University of Michigan has faced significant criticism recently regarding the health of student athletes. You will be comforted to know that I am well versed in the signs and symptoms of common medical conditions such as ebola and concussions. For everything else I have access to Wikipedia. With improved stadium Wi-Fi, no diagnoses will be missed, and I assure you that I will not hesitate to release medical statements on Twitter during waking hours.
I am aware that the football team may need a new head coach at the end of the season. While I cannot promise that I would be able to get Jim Harbaugh if such a change were to occur, I would like to suggest a coaching candidate that has been thus far overlooked: former offensive coordinator Al Borges. Coach Borges piloted some of the most exciting offenses at Michigan and put up record performances against Ohio State. Devin Gardner was briefly a Heisman candidate under his tutelage, and his regression after coach Borges’s dismissal is a testament to his coaching value. I strongly believe that I can use my established relationship with him to talk him out of retirement and then use my clout as athletic director to convince him to call more bubble screens.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing your response.
Michigan 24, Indiana 13
By Nick RoUMel
That was a full-size Snickers bar, plus a kiss on the cheek from the slightly tipsy mom dressed as sexy Dennis Norfleet. It was biting that bobbing apple on the first try, winning the scratch-off, or getting that job. It was jubilation in the streets, celebrating the despot’s overthrow.
It was the Maizey-est, Blue-est, sweetest gift to kick off the Hallowe’en weekend ever. Sure, it cost $3,000,000. But … wow … thanks Uncle Mark. It was worth it.
What will Dave Brandon do now? Rumor has it he’ll lie low for a while, first to collect his golden parachute, then buy a football franchise to run with Matt Millen. Matt will cover personnel; Dave public relations (and toppings). Their team’s coach, of course, will be Brady Hoke - whom I hear is a great motivational speaker.
In the meantime, joyously sick from too many Hallowe’en treats, we battle with the hapless Hoosiers on Homecoming. Woe be the Hoosiers, whose offense is as dangerous as the extras in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. They should score about oh-say zero points, if not fewer.
When Michigan is on offense, expect most plays to be without turnovers, including some positive gains. Fans will be on the edge of their seats, tense from multiple 2nd and 8s, followed by 3rd and 7s, watching plays that look like a Family Circus cartoon:
But we fans won’t care. We’ll lustily cheer like it was Anthony Carter vs. Indiana in 1979. (This was not only the greatest play ever, but it was preceded by the greatest play to ever spark an NCAA rule change. As an added bonus, it caused then-Hoosier coach Lee Corso to ever hate Michigan):
We have no worries because we’re HAPPY (Brian - do NOT insert Pharrell’s “Happy” video here. I would lose so much faith in you. It would be like accidentally seeing Mark Dantonio pet a kitten, or something).
But we are happy. Like a Big House without an AD, or a pillowcase fat with candy. And it won’t even matter that this will be the most boring game in NCAA history.
MICHIGAN 7, INDIANA 0
“Good afternoon everybody, and thank you for coming. This morning I accepted the resignation of Athletic Director David Brandon. Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department, and the University community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the University to continue without daily distractions. I agree with this decision.
“I’ve spoken regularly with Dave over the last few weeks and we both want what’s best for Michigan athletics, which is to be able to pursue the highest levels of excellence in all of our programs for our 931 student-athletes, and to advance the strong bond that athletics has helped the University foster with our students, our alumni, and our fans. I believe Dave has always had the best interest of the University of Michigan in his mind and in his heart. He is fiercely dedicated to all of our student-athletes regardless of their sport or background. During his nearly five years as Athletic Director he worked to ensure the well-being and the athletic and academic success with programs and facilities that helped them grow as individuals as well as teammates, and to succeed as students.
“For years Dave’s commitment to Michigan has touched many other parts of the University as well. He co-led the campaign that raised funds for the construction of the new C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital. He and his wife Jan personally donated $2 million for the creation of our neonatal intensive care unit. Dave has also provided support for the arts on campus, student scholarships, and many other academic and educational priorities. He served on the Board of Regents also from 1999-2006. Dave’s first connection to the University of Michigan was as a student-athlete himself when he played football under coach Schembechler and earned his undergraduate degree. There is no doubt that Dave loves the University of Michigan and wants to see us move forward and succeed. I thank him for his long service and life-long commitment to Michigan.
“I’ve appointed Jim Hackett as the Interim Director of Athletics. The interim appointment is effective immediately and will become formal with approval by the Board of Regents at their next meeting. Jim is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity, and a devoted member of the Michigan community. He was a student-athlete and graduated from the U of M in 1977. In 1994 to 2013 he served as Chief Executive Officer of Steelcase Incorporated, the office furniture company based in Grand Rapids. He led the company in their transition from traditional manufacturing to an innovate global company and now brings that success and experience in heading a complex organization into his interim role here. I’m also very pleased with his interpersonal skills, his value system, and his long-standing commitment to serving the University. Jim is currently on the Board of Trustees at Northwestern Mutual Life and on the Boards of Directors at Ford Motor Company and Fifth Third Bancorp. Perhaps most importantly he serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and Life Sciences Institute.
“I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan's next permanent athletic director.
“To our alumni and others in the Michigan family, I want you to know that we are working to establish the right balance between academics, the competitiveness of our athletic programs, the financial stability and the athletic traditions that we hold dear. To our students and student-athletes, I want you to know that the University of Michigan is behind you always. To our fans, I want you to know that we value your input, your support, and your spirit. Recent events have only reinforced my belief that it is important to listen and to engage in dialogue with all of our stakeholders.
“It is clear that Michigan athletics helps unite us as a community. It has an enormous reach that I've seen firsthand and the connections it fosters are deeply personal. These connections cross state and national borders, they spans decades, and they're shared across generations. The force that has this amazing power to join us together, the connective tissue if you will, is the heartstrings of the Michigan faithful.
“At a recent fireside chat with students, a student in the crowd further illustrated this point for me. She had lived in a major city in another state, but she could always count on hearing “Go Blue” when she walks down the street wearing her Michigan sweatshirt on a Saturday in the fall. Those moments, those uniquely Michigan moments, take place because of our unique sense of community. Before I turn things over to Jim I invite everyone in our community to help us as we begin a new chapter in the history of Michigan athletics. I hope we can join together as we move forward to preserve and enhance the qualities that make us truly special for the ultimate benefit of Michigan athletics, our students, and our great university. Thank you all very much and ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce Jim Hackett.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Interim AD Jim Hackett speaks as President Mark Schlissel looks on. [Anbender/MGoBlog]
"This morning I accepted the resignation of athletic director David Brandon."
Adam will have the full—and lengthy—transcript of today's press conference up later, but U-M President Mark Schlissel's opening statement obviously contained the most important part. Brandon met with Schlissel on Wednesday to discuss his resignation, saying he thought it would be best for the student-athletes and the university if he stepped down; Schlissel agreed, saying it was best for the department to continue "without daily distractions."
Jim Hackett, incidentally a former M teammate of Brandon's, will take over as the interim athletic director effective immediately. Hackett served as the CEO of Steelcase from 1994 until February of this year; he currently sits on the Board of Advisors for both the School of Public Policy and the Life Sciences Institute.
The search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately; in the meantime, Schlissel made it clear that Hackett has the power to run the athletic department as he sees fit, including evaluating the football coaches, especially if a replacement isn't in place at the end of the season. Hackett mentioned Bo Schembechler and Gerald Ford as personal heroes of his, saying "both would be quite certain the future of Michigan is not in doubt."
When asked if he would be looking for a candidate with Michigan connections to permanently replace Brandon, Schlissel said that he simply wants "the best man for the job," adding that he'll take as long as necessary to find the right person. "I have excellence in mind," he said.
Terms of Brandon's resignation will be released later today, according to Schlissel.
UPDATE: The terms of Brandon's resignation have been released. Full PDF file is here; the short version:
- Brandon will receive $3 million over the next four years.
- Michigan has the right to reduce his compensation should he take another job.
- The University will pay the cost of COBRA for Brandon and his dependents' health benefits through June 30, 2015.
- Brandon will retain two "Regents Emeritus" seats for football, men's basketball, and hockey.
- Brandon retains the use of two company cars through the end of the year.
The rest is mostly legalese; here's the fun part of said legalese:
The Michigan basketball team held their media day yesterday at the Crisler Center, and the theme of the afternoon was a familiar one: the team's youth. The players discussed leadership, the progress of the six freshmen, and much more; here's what I managed to get on the recorder yesterday.
Soph. Guard Derrick Walton
On his shooting getting better last year: “I understood that there were guys like Nik and Caris, the guys that waited their turn, it was their time to do the things that they’d sat and watched other guys do. I was very comfortable letting those guys make the plays and just contribute to the team any way I could, and that was one of the ways.”
On what prompted him starting: “Just starting to feel more comfortable, getting back and doing the things I was used to doing. Like I said, I was just happy contributing any way I could last year.”
On being comfortable becoming assertive this year: “Of course I have. We talk about it almost every day, just how it important it is for me to be aggressive this year. I want to be successful, so I take it upon myself, and my teammates encourage me every day, so I think I’m doing a good job with it.”
On being the point guard: “I try to find my balance and know that there are other guys who are very capable of making plays. It all depends on the situation. It’s hard to predetermine what may happen, so I just try to play it as is.”
On getting the ball into the post: “To be honest with you, this is the exact same thing we did last year. It just so happens this year we’re getting the ball into the post more. That’s the way it’s been thus far. I honestly don’t see a big difference between what we did last year and what we’re doing this year, there’s just guys getting more looks in the post.”
On his comfort level in the system this year: “Yeah, just knowing all the ins and outs of the offense, knowing how and when to pick my spots, just having a year under your belt in the system, it’s a big leap, that’s all I can say, from freshman to sophomore year, there’s a lot of stuff now that I didn’t even recognize last year.” (2:56.8)
On playing more with the ball in his hands this season: “That’s kinda been my M.O. my entire life. Just sitting back and having to watch another guy do it wasn’t a big deal. I’m just capitalizing on the opportunity I have right now.”
On this year being a return to normalcy for him: “It was different in some ways, but like I said, I was focused on winning and helping the team in any way. That was the role I was given, so I just tried to excel in it as much as possible.”
[Hit THE JUMP for quotes from Caris LeVert, Ricky Doyle, DJ Wilson, and Andrew Dakich.]
I was waiting for the press conference, but if Angelique is reporting it, it's done.
This may be grave-dancing, but I've never had a problem with that. People should be evaluated honestly.
And you could have one without the other but by tradition there is a second video…
Go to the Indiana game, guys, and cheer hard.