"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
However, there is one section in his article with which I resonate. Litke writes,
Rich Rodriguez was never going to be "a Michigan man."
Not when he was hired, not when he cried after being accused of pushing his players too hard, not even if he wins nearly every game for as long as he lasts in the job.
That's not a slam on Rodriguez. No one in charge of a topflight major college football program anywhere else qualifies as "a Michigan man," either. The last one, Lloyd Carr, resigned at the end of the 2007 season, when he realized he could no longer be both. Trying to uphold a winning tradition while following both the letter and spirit of NCAA laws finally wore him out.
I think Litke is right. Carr, the Michigan Man, the man who read Kipling, who retired to travel and do other things, who is a personal friend of Russell Crowe, who required players to look up a new word in a dictionary, is a vestige of a past I loved, but which is no more.
Rodriguez came in, was brought in, to win. No more, but no less. Was I supportive of this move? Yes. Do I continue to be supportive? Yes. At the end of the day, I want Michigan to win. I want MY school to compete for the MNC. I choose Rodriguez, and 10&11&12 wins every year, over Carr and 7 or 8 or 9 wins every year.
However, the romantic and the elitist in me is saddened at the cost. I loved the idea of Coach Carr who read Newsweek and read books and was conversant in National Politics and listened to NPR and cared about his players, loved them, while still competing. I loved the idea that you could work hard, play hard, win, but still have a life. Those days, I think, are over. It's stupid to moon and pine over a lost past. But a small part of me died when Carr retired. Even Bo&Woody had life beyond the gridiron. Nowadays? I don't know.
I think this is why I was not thrilled by the "General Studies" brouhaha of a year or so ago. GS was one more sign that FB players were barely students, were largely segregated from the regular student body, so they could focus on their job of football, and not be bothered by homework and competition with the typical Michigan student.
In other words, I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want a coach like Carr, a well read Renaissance Man, a literate Michigan Man who is also a winner. Alas, this day has passed. Somehow, I wonder if this is what grieved Rosenberg. The reality is that we have entered a New World, and we can't go back home again. This world represented by Carr, by Bo, by Woody, is the past I mourn losing. I wonder if our team is now interchangable with Florida or Alabama or Florida State or USC. I always thought Michigan was "better." Not in terms of wins & losses, but in terms, somehow, of quality.
If there was a way to have it all, I would. But I don't think there is a way to have to all. So, we have Rodriguez, and hopefully, the boatload of wins that come along.
Time will tell how this NCAA violation story plays out, but I think that the stormclouds are beginning to break a bit, given the backtracking of the Freep following RichRod's emotional press conference, as well as the beginning of Martin's investigation. Realistically, this was a tempest in a teacup, and hopefully the team captains and coaching staff will work this all out, but we really won't know until the season is in full swing.
It's a shame that this non-story has been sucking away so much attention from the talented young corps of players that will take the field for the Maize and Blue this season-- but that will soon be remedied. In spite of it all, the season ahead remains bright and begins anew Saturday, when all the punditry and editorials will become meaningless with the first BOOM of kickoff at 3:30.
If it's true that who you keep as enemies says at least as much about you as who you keep as friends, it's nice to know that OSU and Michigan at least have significant respect for each other off the field, even with both devoted to such a vicious rivalry. I firmly hope that we can bring some respect and parity back to our end of this rivalry and annihilate them in November, but I'll remember their comments this week as I root for us to do so. I hope ya'll do as well.
This is my first diary, and as that it is such, I wanted to bring something unique to the board. This topic is something very near and dear to my heart, and I think that you all will enjoy this segment. If the response is positive, I will try and make this a weekly diary. So without further ado I present MGoBlog with, "The Most Hideous Game of the Week."
Background: TMHGOTW was born on a sunny day in the Mosher-Jordan dormitory my freshman year at UMich, 2004. A few of my friends and I, who are all football fanatics, would browse the week's games to see which game was the least attractive, the game you couldn't watch without noticing the hideousness.
Criteria: The criteria for picking the most hideous game is very simple and subject to the interpretation of the watcher. It's pretty much a combination of anything your mind can conceive. The contrast of the teams' colors; the venue, the fans, the names, the distances traveled, the decisions the schools made in order to make the game possible, the assumed rivalry between the two schools (i.e. Maryland and NC State), the hideous hype surrounding a game that deserves none, the style of play of both teams, their overall records, the weather, the blandness of the schools, the hideousness of their academia, and pretty much anything else you want to include. (Maryland vs. NC State is the perennial most hideous game of the year)
Week One Line up and Explanations: I have looked through the week one schedule and will be putting some of my suggestions down below with an explanation as to why I feel the game is deserving. These are not in any particular order.
1. Cincy @ Rutgers: Nothing says college football like a MONDAY night matchup between these two BE heavyweights. This is a throwback to your grandfather's college football days as these two teams play without a single recognizeable player between them (save Witherspoon). The only thing more disgusting than the colors out on the field will be Rutger's style of play.
2. Northeastern @ BC: Ahhh the battle of the brand new Red Sox hats. This game is especially hideous to me because Boston is probably my least favorite city in the USA. There is something about the BC uniforms that make me nauseated, and I've always wondered if ND rejects are worse than the real thing.
3. Minnesota @ 'Cuse: What more needs to be said. The maroon and gold invade upstate New York to take on the puke Orange of the mighty 'Cuse. On one side, you have Tim Brewster who at any time is an 8 ball deep, against a resurgent 'Cuse program led by their new defensive mastermind, a Mr. Scott Shafer. The dome should be packed full of 40,000 people...leaving it half empty and ultimately...hideous.
4. Wofford @ South Florida: This game is hideous for a couple of reasons. The first and biggest being Jim Leavitt. I'm sorry Mr. Leavitt, but you are not a top tier football coach no matter how much you think you are. A real program has their own stadium and doesn't have to rent someone else's pirate ship. Someone please tell me that Matt Groeth-E is gone too, because I swear to God that E is silent and he has to be 37 years old at this point.
5. William and Mary @ UVA: My exgirlfriend went to UVA; don't really care for the skank anymore. All the panzies will be undoubtedly decked out in colors that even Andy Dick would be too straight to wear. The guys will be hammered from one too many memosas while the girls will be trying to warm up to their classmates named Hank Huckabee and Winston Riley Thornbull VIII.
Conclusion: So there you have it folks, a brief summary of my week 1 nominees. Please feel free to add your own below, and tell me why you feel that way.
Minor (rage) Edit: I forgot to mention one thing, and I apologize because it is the only rule...but one of the teams must be from a BCS conference.
We flash back to August 29, 2009. Rosenberg has a smug, sinister smile. He has finally done it. His article; “Michigan Program Broke Rules, Players Say” will surely end forever this thing that he hates most. We see the clips of the Rodriguez press conference and the pundits bashing Rich. Ahhhh, sweet satisfaction!
Then it starts going badly for Rosenberg. First, MGoBlog (and other bloggers) start to point out the holes in the story. Then, more and more sportscasters and writers start calling the article a “witch hunt” and a disgusting piece of writing.
Very shortly, the official investigation ends. The conclusion, “We have found no evidence that the University of Michigan violated any NCAA rules concerning allowable football related hours” was unequivocal.
Michigan finished 2009 better than many had expected and has continued to improve.
We return to present day.
“How could this happen?” Rosenberg agonizes. It’s bad enough that Rich Rodriguez is still the coach at Michigan. But, now this!?” What haunts Rosenberg most is that now it is universally agreed that his article in the Freep did what no one thought was possible. It brought the entire Michigan community (players, coaches, students, alumni, fans, faculty, and even the athletic department) to be “All In For Michigan”. That article, his article had become the critical catalyst in the success of the team.
Rosenberg knows he was the primary reason that the thing he hated most, the thing he tried to end in flames did not just survive but prospered beyond all expectations. All this in less than 4 short years.
Rosenberg takes a small key from his pocket and opens the bottom drawer of his desk. For a long time he just stares at the dark object it holds. Finally, he reaches down ……..
So, what was the headline and how does it end? I’ve written my ending (which I will post tomorrow) but I would like to hear how everyone else would end the episode.
EDIT (around 3:44 PM): As those who have answered figured out, everyone was supposed to come up with unusual endings. If anyone remembers the Twilight Zone, nothing was ever what it appeared to be.
EDIT; The Ending
Finally he reaches down, closes and locks the drawer, and returns the key to his pocket.
We flash forward about 8 months. It is a glorious fall day. Rosenberg is pushing around a shopping cart collecting bottles and cans to pay for his next bottle of cheap wine. He is in a parking lot filled with thousands of cars. All around him people are laughing, eating, drinking, and having the time of their lives.
In the background is the most beautiful football stadium on the planet. There is a huge banner hanging from the top of the stadium which replicates the front page headline: "Michigan (13-0) National Champions"
Note: Craig Roh's father posted this on the Scout free board. It will eventually fall down the memory hole if not reproduced somewhere more permanent, so I've placed it here. HT: Other Brian of Genuinely Sarcastic.
I am Craig Roh's dad and had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the recruiting process and first summer with the UM program. I feel obligated to share with readers concrete evidence of the integrity and compliance of the Rich Rod program and staff. My son chose UM because it is one of the few schools in the country that has great football AND academics. He could have gone to UCLA, Cal, Stanford, USC..all great academic schools and he chose Michigan because it had the best of both.
He also selected UM because of the intensity and straight talk of the coaching staff. The first person he met was Mike Barwis. After spending an hour with Barwis, Craig turned to me and said, "He will make me the best I can be. That's what I want." When he met Rich Rod, he was further impressed with his openness and vision. Craig came here BECAUSE of the work ethic that was to be required of him. He WANTS to be pushed to the limits, not coddled and pampered.
He was recruited by Tony Dews. I am here to say that Coach Dews complied with every letter of the rules throughout the entire recruitment process, even the ones that seem senseless. He would not even give me a ride to lunch or pick up a $5 lunch tab because it was against the rules. He informed us of the recruiting rules over and over again. As I watched 35 schools recruit my son, I would put Michigan at the top of the integrity scale when it came to recruiting.
Let's talk about Craig's first summer. Again, Coach Dews made it abundantly clear what we had to pay for and what the school was allowed to pay for, what our responsibilities were and what the school's were. I was tired of hearing about all the rules. It was like dealing with the IRS. There was NO push to report to school early, in fact we were told that if Craig wanted to report to summer school early, it was on his dime and totally voluntary. Craig's summer was very balanced. He VOLUNTARILY asked to watch tape as much as he could. Nobody pushed him to do it or even suggested it. He had more free time than he wanted.
Lastly, I know for a fact that Craig missed workouts in the summer and even missed parts of at least three practices at camp so that he could attend class. He was excused with absolutely no repercussions by the coaching staff.
I am assuming that players who choose to come to UM under Rich Rod are coming here BECAUSE its hard. They want to become the best. They want to be pushed. They want great academics and great football environment. I detest the accusations made by the Freep. They think they are doing these kids a favor by easing up the workload and, in reality, they are undermining the very reason the kids chose UM!