It was a tale of two halves. I preferred the second. The first half was all, QB oh no*. The second half was QB OMG. The first half was GERG. The second half was Greg. And now on to the box score, as brought to you by your local MGoBlogging box scorespondent (see what I did there?)
Burst of Impetus
- We lost the turnover battle 3-2, but adding in the 4thdown conversions or lack thereof, it was +1 for UofM.
- The biggest change in momentum came at halftime. Oh, to be a fly on the wall to hear Hoke’s halftime speech. As a boy, on the rare times we were down 10 points, my Father always reassured me that Bo and the rest of the coaches would make the proper adjustments and we would come back in the second half. More often than not, he was right. If this is what it means to return to the MANBALL/Bo coaching philosophy, sign me up. So far this year, we are outscoring our opponents 114-21 in the 2ndhalf.
- In contrast, I think Fitzgerald made the wrong halftime adjustments. Where was Colter in the 2ndhalf? He was killing us early in the game. Speaking of Hoke and Fitzgerald, I wonder what was said after the game. My guess is that Hoke thanked Fitz for not taking the M job. I would have.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
- Persa was a 72% passer coming into this game (for his career, I think.) I wanted to see if he could match that against Mattison’s Monsters. (How many of you remember McCartney’s Monsters?) Persa started off slow, but really got on a roll in the first half. He ended up going 32 for 44, or 72.7%, so we held him to his average. Hurray for moral victories!
- Following up on my midweek post, NU was only 4 of 11 on third downs.
- The leading tacklers were a couple of linebackers, lead by Demens with 10. That’s pretty impressive considering NU passed the ball 44 times, but they were mostly of the dink and dunk variety.
- After starting slowly in the sack department, we picked up 3 last week and 4 this week, including a decapitation by Kovacs and a Wile E. Coyote style steamrolling by Will Campbell.
- After giving up 297 yards in the first half, the defense settled down (and the offense controlled the clock for major stretches) limiting NU to 438 yards total for the game. A tad higher than my goal of 400 per game, but NU does have a good offense, I think everyone would agree. And they would have been held under 400 if the refs called holding penalties. More on that in the ref section, don’t neg me yet.
- 22 players showed up in the defensive stats. A week after scoring TDs in three different ways, Vincent Smith made 2 tackles. Is there anything this guy cannot do? He is a football player, plain and simple. I almost wonder if the Chargers should take a flyer on him as a possible Sproles replacement. (Don’t neg me Magnus, I’m prone to hyperbole.)
- During the postgame interview, Hoke said the defense, “played with a lot of grit.” Is it possible Brady reads MGoBlog?
- This was a statement game for Denard, and the statement was, if you put 9 in the box to stop our run, I will drop 337 passing yards on your asses.
- Denard also ran for 117 yards on (cover your eyes) 25 carries. Well, at least he was rested from last week.
- When Denard got hurt, one of the B1G announcers said, “The helmet is off Shoelace.” This reminded me of that old cliché, “Elvis has left the building.” My hope is that “The helmet is off Shoelace,” becomes our victory cigar, indicating that the game is salted away and the reserves are in. It’s an odd visual if you think about it, shoelaces wearing helmets.
- Filthy stat of the game: we were 14 for 17 on third down. That’s awesome. We punted once. The only thing stopping this offense was this offense.
Big John R. Studd Referee Section
- I thought the referees were particularly bad this game, but they were bad for both teams. During one NU drive in the first half, the referees got a holding hat trick. On one WR screen, I saw one of the NU wide receivers hold our DB. On the next play, the same thing happened. The hold was so obvious, the Michigan fans could be heard loudly booing the refs. I don’t think that was from NU fans booing a 7 yard gain by their team. At the end of that drive, Derek Rackley from the B1G Network pointed out a hold against Thomas Gordon. That’s three uncalled holds in the same drive; the holding hat trick.
- The non-face mask penalty that wasn’t could have been a pivotal play. When I saw it live, I couldn’t tell if Kovacs just obliterated Persa that spectacularly that the helmet flew off due to the hit, or if he yanked it off. On the replay, it appears Kovacs got just a piece of the mask, but that was when Persa was bent over, making it very hard for the officials to see. I’m glad they didn’t assume there was a penalty just based on the result of the play. You can only call what you see, and if you don’t see the face mask, you can’t call it.
- There were two big booth replays. We won both. Both appeared to be mere inches from going the other way. While I was upset about the flagrant non-holding non-calls, I’m glad we got the two close calls. File this under the “Hoke poops gold nuggets” category.
- Total penalties were 5 for each side, so again, these things even out.
- The refs missed a blatant offsides against Lewan, but I wonder if this is like when a pitcher is throwing a no-no. If there is any chance the fielder missed up, they give him an error to protect the no hitter. Maybe the refs were waiting for something really egregious to end Lewan’s penalty-free season. (He may have a penalty or two this year, but he’s light-years better than last season. Ah, experience.)
- There were some great names among the officials, lead by Jim Krogstad. That’s a guy you can go to war with.
- When Watson caught the first TD pass, I thought he may have trapped it based on his reaction. Maybe he just doesn’t know how to celebrate a TD, but it looked like he thought it was going to be called back. The replay showed he got his hands under the ball and it was a good catch. A little advice for Steve, you can be a little excited next time you score.
- Leading receivers were Hemingway and Gallon with 5 apiece.
- In the first half, Robinson and Roundtree seemed like they were not on the same page. I counted three times DR threw to RR where the ball wasn’t even close. It was a different story in the second half as Roy caught a huge 16 yarder on 3rdand 11, and followed that up with a 57 yard reception. I’m sorry I ever doubted you Roy.
- Devin threw one pass to Jackson for a nice gain. Hey, when you’ve got Jerry Rice with speed on your roster, you’ve got to throw him the rock every now and then.
- I thought the Desmond Howard patch looked really good on the white jersey. I barely noticed it on the home unis.
- Northwestern got 1 miscellaneous yard in the boxscore. I thought that was worth mentioning.
- #7A, Brandin Hawthorne, made a spectacular diving interception and tallied 9 total tackles.
- Last week I introduced the TFNG (tackle for no gain) as an advanced metric I’d like to see added to the boxscore. This week’s stat is YAP (yards after punt.) These are the yards a team gains after the punt hits the ground and continues to roll since the return man failed to catch the ball. NU picked up at least 3 first downs worth of yardage due to YAP.
- Another stat you don’t see is TIB, for tackled in bounds. These are important when you are protecting a lead and need to keep the opponents from getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. Demens had a nice TIB near the end.
- Not sure where to put this, but I didn’t see Lloyd Brady once during the telecast. If you, like me, watched the game on the B1G Network, you likely experienced the same “technical difficulties” as I. Later, in the third quarter, I saw yellow body suit guy. This got me to thinking that maybe the UofM computer scientists that hacked the on-line elections have been up to something. I was an EE at UofM, and always wondered what the CS half of EECS was up to. I now believe that Lloyd Brady is actually a digital creation based on motion-capture technology of the sort used to create Gollum in the LotR movies. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. Lloyd is just too perfect to be a real person. The reason we saw yellow suit guy and not Lloyd must be due to the “technical difficulties” from the 2ndquarter. I’m on to you CS types.
- I thought the B1G Network announcers were competent. Perhaps we got their A team this week. I even enjoyed the forced back-and-forth banter with Dhani Jones.
Random, as Yet Unnamed, Bullets
- Wile had three touchbacks after producing only 4 all season. There was no wind to speak of, so I wonder what caused that. All three were to the same endzone IIRC.
- Gibbons missed a 47 yard FG attempt. The boxscore records it as a 37 yard miss, but that must be a typo since the LOS was the NU 30. I think this was just a heat check by Hoke, comparable to when Kobe jacks up a 30 footer when he’s on a hot streak just to see how hot he is. I don’t think we’ll see something over 45 yards again this year, but it’s nice to know Hoke has the confidence in Gibbons to trot him out there for the attempt.
- Devin Gardner got a TD running. I was amazed by NU’s defense on that play. We just ran a dive twice in a row. Did they really believe the MANBALL hype and think we’d try a third time? The obvious counter to the dive is the bootleg. NU did have someone out there and Devin beat him to the corner, so maybe it’s evidence of superior athleticism on Devin’s part, but I’m still surprised NU didn’t have some sort of spy to contain the bootleg before it became a foot race.
- To get a road win, at night, in a hostile environment** (well 2 out of 3) is proof that this team is on the right track.
- The date on the boxscore is Oct. 8, 2011, further proof that this is not 2010. I think we can put that meme to bed.
- No charts this week, but at least I proved in the mid-week post that I have that charting ability if needed.
- For anyone complaining TL:DR, I thought this was a pretty big game, deserving of a few extra bullets.
* “QB oh no” is the exact opposite of the “QB oh noes”, where your QB makes you say “oh no” by throwing balls directly into the opponent’s hands.
** Attendance was only 47,330. Seriously NU, just let us buy you out like in the old days.
SO this has been brought up in a couple threads I have seen. but I thought it might be more intresting after last nights complete melt-down. I work with a guy who is a huge douchebag(OSU Fan) with a huge tattoo of Brutus on his right shoulder. He is on all the OSU message boards he says!! Even worse I am in Education and his room is painted Scarlet and Gray . . . yes he is teaching children. I asked him his opinion of this topic and most of this is sourced from him.
Will OSU get to atleast 6-6 this year?
Arguing in the affirmative
Of course they will be bowl eligible they are OSU!! Yes they are struggling but they looked much better in the first half last night with Braxton Miller and he only tweeked his ankle. He will be just good enough to beat Illinois aided by the return of some major contributors. Plus last time I checked Ron Zook is on the other sideline and though he should win this game he will find a way to lose the biggest game Illinois has played since beating OSU in the Whoreshoe several years ago with Juice at the helm.
After that we get a bye week to heal (literal and figurative I'm sure) then we get Wisconsin. We will probably lose but will play alot better now that we have dried our eyes.
We then get the easiest part of our schedule with games against Indiana, Purdue, and Penn State. WE WIN!! Were just better than them with more athletic players all around and our Defense will play well enough to cover up any short comings of the Offense.
We then get to go to Michigan and spoil Brady Hokes first time in the THE GAME!! After 3 confidence boosters in a row and after Michigan has imploded in November . . . again we will win a close game in Ann Arbor and spoil Michigans "return" to good football. The final tally will be a record of 8-4 with momentum going into the next year, and yes he does think Fickell will get a big fat extention and be the 12th Warrior. We can only hope they keep "Cant find my face with my hands" Luke Fickell, but in the end I think we all know that would be the Second Coming of a worse John Cooper . . . Smith will go elsewhere with tons of $$ and purchase a new coach.
SOOOO much could be said to go against what this guy thinks, as I'm sure this was convetional thought to most die hard OSU fans atleast before last night . . .HAAAAAA!! My personal opinion is that their season willbe determined by two things:
1. The health of one Braxton Miller for the rest of the year.
2. The Illinois game.
Bauserman sucks. We know this. Once upon a time I thought that the Guiton kid was decent but if he cant get the head-set off to play in front of Bauserman then he must have two prosthetic arms that are only good for signalling in plays for Bauserman to throw the ball into the stands, or the coaches dont know what they are doing . . . You tell Me!! Having said this Miller is their only chance to win. If he gets hurt again or if the ankle is bad enough to make him only a pocket passer then its all over.
Secondly, as my Buckeye co-worker pointed out, the Illinois game is of monumental importance to those Bowl hopes. The Bucks are now 3-3 with a loss coming to Wisconsin. If they lose to Illinois as well then that would be a 4-game losing streak putting them at 3-5 and starting to tear up again. Something in my gut tells me that Zook knows this is huge and will be ready at home to dethrone the mighty Buckeyes. If they lose 4 in a row I also have it on good faith that OSU will lose to PSU by a field goal. . . . like 6-3 JOPA. I kind of wish my gut would tell me a little something about how things will go this weekend in East Lansing, but I will leave that to that football sage Gerry DiNardo and the BIG 10 NTWK to BBBBreak it down for me!!
Some of you may think that these returnees from criminal activty would be a big key for OSU success but its not like the OSU backs not named Boom Herron are slouches. Hyde is a beast and Jordan Hall is VS just faster. If you cant throw then its 8-9 in the box and it just wont work.
I think that the Illinois game will tell us alot about the rest of the year for these Ohio people. It would be perfect though if they came into the Michigan game at 5-6 and we send them home for 8 months. Dont worry though OSU you have shown alot of toughness this year and you guys are tough. SO roll up those sleeves, drive those trucks, sport those tats(were they free), talk lots of shit, and blog like crazy and we'll see you soon.
For more sepcific summary and discussion of the book, look no further than the series of diary posts being done by MGoBlogger 03 Blue 07. He's doing a nice job, and his reply-comments are also excellent.
I write this, my fellow Wolverines, because we were right. We were right all along. We. Were. Right.
One of the things I expect that you will all find with this book, is that while Rich Rodriguez is the lead character, he is not a dominating character. This book is certainly about Rodriguez to a great extent; but it is not told from his perspective. It is not "his" story. It is "a" story. Or, more correctly, a series of stories. You will dig into this book, and you will not put it down.
Here's the thing: while I am going to leave the field clear for others to read, think about and comment on this book, I want to say right now -- WE WERE RIGHT.
We were right to question the motives and methods of Michael Rosenberg, Mark Snyder and the Detroit Free Press. Looking back, you all know what was written on this site. Many of you complained that I in particular went overboard. And that Brian Cook was too anti-Freep and too lenient in allowoing me to post what I did.
What I expect most of you to say when you've had a chance to digest the book, is that we may have been too easy on Rosenberg and Snyder.
The Free Press is very nearly the lead antagonist in the entire book.
And what the book makes clear, that none of us on the outside could, is that the Free Press stories were really hurting the program, the coaches, their friends, their families and the Michigan players.
If you've been reading this blog carefully for three years, you will know much of what Bacon is writing about. You will feel that you have been very well prepared to follow the story. You'll already know most of the details. But what you'll see for the first time is how badly our coaches and players were being hurt and distracted by what the Free Press had concocted.
Interestingly, to start with, you'll actuallly see the praise that Bacon lavishes on Rosenberg, as a writer of considerable skill and intelligence. Rosenberg had a good reputation. Bacon acknowledges it.
But Bacon also makes it very clear, by the time you get to the end; Rosenberg was no less a villain than that which he was portrayed as on this blog. And that Brian Cook was an important figure, in trying to clear the air. Brian, and Jon Chait, were right. All along. Asking precisely the right questions, demanding exactly the right answers.
Largely left out of Bacon's book is the other Detroit media, which for better or worse gets portrayed as just sort of following the Rosenberg lead. Hopefully, this book will shake that up, because the Rosenberg/Freep Jihad has been there for the writing all along. This blog (which gets healthy mentinon in the book!) has been on the case, and now looks very much the better for having done so.
Many of you, the Michigan cognoscenti, will buy this book and read it and smile quietly to yourselves, thinking, "Yep; just as we had known; I saw this on MGoBlog first." But I hope you will all do something else. Get extra copies of this book; give them to your uninitiated friends. Give them to the other factionalists.
We've talked about the factions; my own thinking on that subject perhaps hasn't been as forceful as my writing about Rosenberg and the Free Press. But as much as outing the Freep to the general public, this book outs the factions. We suspected them; they were there. Worse even than I had imagined. Everyone needs to read this book. Lots of people won't like parts of it. I don't much care. Everybody needs to read this book. This book isn't required reading for the In Rod We Trust fanatics. This book is more than anything required reading above all for the Rodriguez haters. If you know one, buy him a copy.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Learn from yesterday...
6-0 starts for Michigan are rare.
Most of my life (33 years) has been spent rooting for a Michigan team that would win most Saturdays, live in the national rankings, and stub their toe early in the season. 4-0 or better starts have only occurred 11 times in those 33 seasons:
4-0: '78 '96 '09
5-0: '85 '95 '99 '10
6-0: '86 '97 '06 '11
The starts to the last three seasons have been a stretch that Michigan fans have not witnessed since the dawn of the Carr era. That exciting time back in the mid-90s culminated in a National Championship with the two seasons before ending in disappointment. We have had the disappointment x 1,000,000 these past two seasons (but thanks for the excitement RR); perhaps we are on the brink of something special again.
Looking back reveals that the last 4 teams* to start the season undefeated through six games have gone on to have very memorable seasons:
'86 - Jimmy Harbaugh guarantees victory over Ohio and delivers as Michigan goes 11-2 losing the Rose Bowl to a tainted ASU team.
'92 - Gary Moeller with a senior Elvis Grbac goes undefeated, winning the Rose Bowl over Washington and finishing 9-0-3 in the days before overtime.
'97 - Michigan goes undefeated at 12-0 and clinches a NC, winning the Rose Bowl over Washington St and a Heisman for one Charles Woodson.
'06 - Michigan starts out 11-0 leading up to the Game of the Century against #1 Ohio; Bo dies and Michigan ends up 11-2 after a loss to USC in the Rose Bowl.
That would be 1 National Championship, 3 B10 Championships, 3 11+ win seasons, and 2 wins in 4 Rose Bowl appearances. These are good tidings indeed.
*1992 not included in the 4-0 or better teams because of a tie against ND in the season opener.
Live for Today…
Halfway through the season, several Michigan players and coaches** should take pride in accomplishments thus far:
1. Brady Hoke – My pride in my team and the way it is coached couldn't be higher right now. Brady Hoke should be the clear front-runner for coach of the year at this point. He is the glue.
2. Greg Mattison – The defense continues to improve and despite looking overmatched at times they never quit. The half time adjustments against JNW were remarkable, forcing 2 turnovers and shutting the Wildcats out for the second half. If not this season, coming seasons will feature a top-10 ranked defense and a return of Michigan dominance. Mattison = Gary Moeller++.
3. Al Borges – Naysayers can go sit in the corner because Mr. Borges is having none of it. Al Borges is having the time of his life, making use of the treasure trove of speed and talent left to him by Rich Rodriguez. His understanding of the talent he has, and how to most effectively make use of it, grows with each passing week. He has this team rolling, and even a 3-turnover 1st half can't derail their confidence. I can't wait to see what he has in store for little brother. Al Borges is a Mad Magician.
4. Junior Hemingway – Senior Junior is what bails out the shortcomings of a Denard-led offense. His ability to go up and get jump-balls stretched the JNW defense and forced them to give up more space for Denard's feet to do what they do. We are lucky he stuck around, because without him this team is probably 4-2.
5. Denard Robinson – Junior Denard overcomes his mistakes. Credit has to be given for how he shook off that dreadful first half to win the game for Michigan in the second half. There has never been a player like shoelace, and there will never be one like him again I bet. His humble attitude, always positive, always smiling... it allows for turnarounds like we saw yesterday. You just can't keep him down. He obviously took the coaching-up at half time and came out a different player. I told my wife before Devin Gardner's TD that Denard was not really injured bad, he just wanted Gardner to get his shot. Just remarkable.
Also of note: Jeremy Gallon, Roy Roundtree (nice to see some production), RVB, Kevin Koger, Jordan Kovacs (Probably the only player that could rip off the QB's helmet without drawing a flag), Devin Gardner (clutch TD run), every position coach and basically everyone on the team. Great job guys.
*Adding coaches in here this week because this team is truly a reflection of their hard work and dedication.
Hope for Tomorrow
Of those 4 seasons, the current one reminds me most of 1997 so far. Much like in 1997, Michigan is coming off of consecutive seasons that started hot only to end in disappointment. In '97 Michigan started the season ranked fairly low by the standards of the time, and had to win over hearts and minds with each passing week. There was a hard-fought, down-to-the-wire win over Notre Dame after trailing at half time. There was a gritty, come from behind win over a B10 opponent (Iowa) for the 6th win that overcame a two-score half time deficit. That '97 team got better with each week and won through a very tough November schedule that included Top-5 ranked Penn St and Ohio teams.
I remember that '97 Iowa game well. That was the game that showed the difference of that team, of that season. Instead of folding yesterday, Michigan again showed that fight and persevered to stay undefeated. This team is starting to believe in itself and I am feeling big wins in their future.
I realize that this team is not on the level of the '97 team, but if you squint you can see some similarity. The '97 team had a dominant defense centered around a Heisman candidate that supported an offense with several nice pieces to it. This 2011 squad may have the opposite in a sense, though it is far too early to predict this team's ceiling. The upcoming opponents are perhaps less intimidating than those the '97 team faced down the stretch, so there is reason to hope. Championships are a distinct possibility; which ones remain to be seen.
Go Blue and stay safe.
Mods: I screwed up and put this on the Board. Can you move it to Diaries? Thanks.
Previously: “Three and Out: The First 100 Pages” can be found here: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/three-and-out-100-pages
Okay, guys, to recap: these are just my impressions, sort of stream-of-consciousness. Picked the book up Thursday (10/5) evening, and have been reading it. My comments in the last thread (above) I’ll try not to repeat here, other than to say that on page 100, MSC and BM tell RR to keep the $2.5m they promised him toward the buyout quiet because they hadn’t informed the Regents, and MSC tells RR and Rita, “if they find out, I’m toast.” And Martin chimes in “and so am I.” And also to point out if you want more stuff, check out that last thread, especially the times I pop up in the comments to discuss what Lloyd did when RR arrived with respect to transfers, etc., and how that all shook out.
Continuing from my last post, this thing is a soap opera. The infighting, back-biting, and divisiveness in the A.D., football community, and administration is sobering and unfortunate, and it hasn’t gotten much better as the book progresses. There is also a ton of “cover your ass” stuff that the administration did where RR seemed to take the hit, but it wasn’t necessarily always his fault. In today’s installment, much on the Freep Jihad, the NCAA, the Carr’s Camp vs. RR Camp rift, and more. . .
The 2008 Team, Denard and Tate’s Recruiting
RR and the players knew there were guys- seniors- who weren’t “all in.” RR understood this; he thought it was natural, as those were seniors and guys who had paid their dues, and then a new regime comes in, and they’re essentially starting over. RR was actually sympathetic to that.
On top of that, RR and the coaches saw what we all saw: they were incredibly young, and they could never get Threet to stop throwing off his back foot. He’d do it right in practice, but in the games, he’d get all flustered.
They were recruiting Tate during this time. They were very, very excited about Tate, as well as Big Will. They thought Tate was exactly what they needed.
Denard: they were recruiting him during this time, too. Interestingly, RR had always wanted DR as a QB, but wires crossed with Scott Shafer, who had been recruiting DR as a defensive back. (Pages 148-148). Shafer resigns, and it turns out that Shafer had wanted DR as a DB. Shafer had worked really hard to recruit Denard as a DB, but Denard was “adamant” that “I wasn’t coming to Michigan to play corner. He had already turned down Florida for the same reason and had explained as much to Shafer.”
So when Shavodrick Beaver jumped ship (right around the same time), Tony Gibson happened to be in Deerfield, FL recruiting Adrian Witty. While there, he checked in with Denard, and was surprised to learn Denard was still interested in U of M….but solely as a quarterback. Michigan then said they’d let him try QB, and Denard was ours.
The “Highest GPA in team History” thing
RR asked the academic folks what the highest GPA in school history was. They told him 2.60. The team set this as a goal, and got a 2.61.
Then, as part of the Jihad (more on that below), the Freep dug into that. It turns out that the academic people had given RR specious/not well-sourced info on the team’s best historical GPA. Rather than say this, U of M’s PR people drafted a press release where RR took the fall. RR balked at this; it wasn’t his screw-up. He had them change the release (this was one of the first times he put his foot down with the administration). They did. Then they released the earlier version, making RR the scapegoat.
The Free Press Jihad, NCAA Investigation, Compliance, etc
Well. A couple things: this whole thing, personally, really upset Rich Rod. The reason it did was because a.) they weren’t cheating, b.) there was clearly a leak and sources within the athletic department, c.) and most importantly, the idea that RR didn’t love his players, care about them, was trying to hurt them, etc. This is what tore him up. He shed tears over it a few times.
Rosenberg v. Cook: Brian Cook’s showdown with him is recalled. If you remember, Brian went after him, personally, at the press conference following the hit piece, repeatedly asking “do you know what a countable hour is?” Rosenberg and Brian were both interviewed for the book, as was Craig Ross. Rosenberg remembers it as this crazy guy barking at him in the parking lot, screaming over and over “do you know what a countable hour is?” and Rosenberg responding, “who are you?” They went back and forth like that four or five times, Rosenberg stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Michael Rosenberg. Who are you?” and Craig Ross said “that’s Brian Cook.” Also, Rosenberg refused to talk to Brian, saying that Brian was “a competitor.”
Snyder: More direct quotes where he says about RR: “I can’t stand the guy.” Also: from page 183, Larry Foote, who was friends with Snyder, asked him, “why didn’t you ask me about RR?” because Foote knew RR well, trained with Barwis, etc. Snyder’s answer, quote: “I just don’t like the guy.”
Rosenberg, personally: Was really hurt by the backlash. Broke down over the Amazon.com stuff, saying how he’d poured 3 years of his life into that book, it was his life’s work, and to have it trashed like that on Amazon got to him.
Other press vs. Rosenberg/Snyder: When Rosenberg and Snyder came in after the hit piece dropped, they had a spring in their step. This was when they went to the press conference. They were surprised to find that the other press members were at best, cold with them, and at worst, openly disgusted with the piece.
Rosenberg, as we expected, never asked any players to find out if there was “another side” to the “OMG PRACTICING TOO MUCH” story. He didn’t do it. Bacon asks him about this in the book. Rosenberg is evasive. Also blames editors, saying that stuff was edited out.
Chapter 15 deals with a lot of this. Rosenberg and Snyder asked Madej for “everything you have,” on a Friday night when they told him the story was coming out on Sunday. They said “we need Rodriguez, we need Martin, we need schedules. Tell us we’re wrong- anything you have.” Madej: “the problem is, they’ve been working on this for months, and you’ve got seven or eight hours to respond. That’s difficult.”
When the meeting ended, Madej said, “you better be sure you’re not exaggerating.” Rosenberg, “We’re covered,” replying confidently.
Judy Van Horn immediately seized on the countable vs. non-countable hours aspect, as did everyone in the A.D. This was glossed over in the original Freep piece, not even mentioned, though Rosenberg says “of COURSE we knew the difference,” etc.
Of note: Van Horn and Ann Vallano had even asked the NCAA whether stretching counts, taping, etc., and were never able to get a straight answer/interpretation of the rule. They (U of M) interpreted it like everyone else, then: that stretching didn’t count.
Also: former players say that we weren’t doing anything different, time-wise, from under LC. Things like “Torture Tuesdays,” where kids who skipped class were punished.
Also, the Freep piece really shook the players up because of the fact that there had to be sources inside the program; the continuity and togetherness was naturally shaken by this. But RR made sure no one blamed Hawthorne or Stokes, telling the team that those kids were part of the family, they'd been tricked, and that no one should be messing with them, etc. And the team didn't shun them; they understood that it was all bullshit.
Van Horn now feels like she was “snowed.” Labadie told compliance numerous times that he would bring the forms, but in the end, he was negligent, lying, or both. Van Horn brought in auditors to try to get his ass in gear. Didn’t help. That audit resulted in a finding against the football program a few weeks before the Freep piece. Coincidence? No. It’s clear someone leaked it to the Freep.
RR got fed up with all of the bullshit, and all of the drama. “They told me in the interview: You get to Michigan, and you’re gonna be surrounded by great people who are gonna support you. Really? Where are they? I want to talk to the Regents, directly, and tell them what’s going on here….People who support our program only hear about the bullshit these guys (Freep, saboteurs) are making up.” (p. 166).
Also, and again: there were leaks in the athletic department. Bacon seems to be almost certain it was Carr loyalists. There was a very strong faction in the AD that was pissed that English didn’t get the job. English himself was pissed. He refused to actually say anything to RR after we beat them, just shook his hand. RR doesn’t appreciate this. He also doesn’t appreciate apparently this James Stapleton business. Stapleton is a wealthy guy, former U of M fb player, apparently one of those guys who has a lot of pull behind the scenes. He is a regent at Eastern; a big English supporter. The rumors got so bad that he, Stapleton, sent a fax to Bill Martin, LC, and RR, basically saying “I’m not the source of the sabotage! I didn’t collaborate with Rosenberg.” Stapleton and Rosenberg are friends.
Stapleton was also close with Denise Illitch, who as early as 2009, openly referred to RR as “Dead Man Walking.” Classy, Regent. Classy. RR was very pissed that Stapleton had a sideline pass; he got it from Illitch, who was a Regent. RR was pretty convinced (as is Bacon) that Stapleton was part of this group of people who were English/Carr loyalists and were actively undermining the program.
Comes across as petulant, immature, etc. RR was hard on him, and got pissed off at him because Tate never improved, which RR thought was due to a lack of diligence. Tate never watched film (at least through 2009 season’s end) and Denard didn’t really either. RR didn’t like this. The problem was, with the Freep thing hanging over their heads, it was hard for RR and the players, because they were all scared shitless of over-practicing, over-preparing, etc. But yeah, Tate’s demeanor was an issue.
RR, LC, BM Summit in 2009
This was fascinating. Martin was either forced out after the issue with the student security guard who wouldn’t let him into MSC’s box (as many think happened; 2 days later, the University announces Martin’s retirement; it was the 2nd such incident) or it was just a coincidence (as Martin maintains). Regardless, the day after his retirement was announced, Martin went to a pre-scheduled lunch with RR and LC. It was chilly.
This was the first time Lloyd had really spoken to RR since the phone call in December 2007 when Lloyd had sold RR on coming to Michigan. I’ll reproduce the account of this conversation; ellipses are where I’ve cut things out for brevity:
After the chilly pleasantries were dispensed with, Carr sent the first volley: “Tell the people in your camp to quit attacking me in the press,” he said, as Rodriguez remembered it a couple hours later. The catalyst for this was undoubtedly Rick Leach’s public lambasting of Carr. . . for sitting with Iowa’s coaches and dignitaries—people Carr had known for years—in an Iowa stadium luxury box…”
“I don’t have a camp,” Rodriguez replied, “and whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it on their own. Rick Leach speaks for himself.”
Rodriguez ticked off all the reasons Carr shouldn’t feel threatened…What Michigan football needed now, Rodriguez said [to Carr ] was Carr’s unambiguous support. “When the Free Press came out with this story….we could have used you speaking up.”
Carr said nothing.
“You’re either all in or you’re not,” Rodriguez continued. “You’re either inside the Michigan family or you’re not.” But the closest he came to accusing Carr of anything more than silence was this: “Somebody inside the department is talking to the press and doing us harm.”
The suggestion was that, if there were moles in the department, Carr most likely knew who they were, and Rodriguez would appreciate it if Carr told them to knock it off. As Rodriguez recalled, Carr remained silent at that, too.
Alright, all, I gotta go- tailgating for the NW game. But wanted to get this out there for people to digest.
Looking at the mid and upper 70s for the lunchtime and early afternoon hours, with a good amount of wind. South winds at a steady 10mph (leaves and little twigs blow about) but gusts could be up to 20mph (you'll see some smaller trees sway).
Looking at just under 70 degrees for the kickoff. The wind gusts will die down, but we'll hang on to the steady 10mph southerly flow. Very sunny, with just a few thin clouds making their way through.
Mid 60s by halftime. Winds starting to go down a bit also to around 8mph. Mostly clear skies.
Staying in the low to mid 60s until closing time, then dropping to the upper 50s. Winds out of the south around 5mph with skies staying mostly clear. Whether you're headed home late that night or on Sunday, you'll have great traveling weather. Clear and calm throughout the night, and Sunday stays clear as well, reaching the low 70s.
If you're staying home... Very similar weather, but we'll be a bit warmer. Looking to hit the low 80s in Ann Arbor tomorrow, and not nearly as windy as in Evanston- we'll have southerly winds between 8-10mph, but not the higher gusts they'll see there. 70 degrees at kickoff, dropping to the upper 60s by halftime, and those clear skies let us cool quickly into the evening hours. Mid 60s by the game's end, and cooling to the upper 50s by last call. It's a perfect night to hit the local places, grab some food and drinks, and celebrate a win!