This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
"We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a team! They can throw out all those great backs and great quarterbacks and great defensive players throughout the country and in this conference. But, there's gonna be one team that plays solely as a team. No man, is more important than the team. No coach, is more important than the team. THE TEAM! THE TEAM! THE TEAM! And, if we think that way, all of us. Everything that you do, you take into consideration, what effect does it have on my team? Because, you can go in to professional football. You can go anywhere you want to play, after you leave here. You will never play for a team again! You'll play for a contract. You'll play for this. You'll play for that. You'll play for everything except the team! Think what a great thing it is, to be a part of something that is, THE TEAM! We're gonna win it. We're gonna win the championship again, because we're gonna play as a team! Better than anybody else in this conference, we're gonna play together as a team. We're gonna believe in each other. We're not gonna criticize each other. We're not gonna talk about each other! We're gonna encourage each other! And when we play as a team, and the old season is over. You and I know, it's Michigan again, MICHIGAN!"
From what I can tell a workout consists of some variation of the following routine:
1) Putting the ipod and armband on, setting the playlist you like best, and bobbing your head cause you know you can't dance
2) Getting to a station, putting weight plates on
3) Doing a set (and grunting for the last 2-3 reps)
4) Looking at yourself in the mirror while you muster up energy for the next set
5) Change the song on your ipod and begin the next set
Hyperbole aside, in that routine I see a relatively small portion of actual "workout" time. I imagine teams that calculate to the minute factor that into their time limits and only say time actually lifting iron plates is "workout time".
My point is that when a player says they take even 4 hours for a workout, it's entirely possibly that would still fall within a 2-hour limit.
Thanks NCAA for making all this crystal clear.
Now a slightly off topic complaint regarding punishments experienced for missing an off-season workout - note the article never states whether that punishment is for missing time in the within-rules mandatory 8 hours of off-season conditioning or for missing a voluntary workout. It simply aims to imply that it's for missing anything. That's the only "solid" evidence the article presents to show that off-season stuff is required - YES 8 HOURS IS REQUIRED!
Furthermore, if you schedule time to workout and don't show up (voluntary or not) - shouldn't you be punished. Your'e wasting someone else's time by making an appointment and not showing up.
As a proud Michigan graduate and individual who is responsible for guiding, coaching, and mentoring a team, I'd like to voice my support for Coach Rodriguez. As you know from your sailing career, character is shown to the crew when sailing rough waters. It's a lesson that I've learned personally and from observation. It's clear to me that Coach Rodriguez has character that is second to none. Through one of the most turbulent times in Michigan football history, there has been no wavering in his commitment to the players, coaches, and fans. No excuses were given by him at any time. Now, with accusations made regarding violation of practice restrictions, he has shown his character again and stands by his word in a public forum without placing blame or making attacks on the accuser. I am proud to say he is the football coach of the team I support.
Coach Rodriguez must produce results on the field. But with the solid example he and his staff set for the student athletes and for the general public, I believe the good results are inevitable.
Please pass along my support to Coach Rodriguez, his staff, and the players. And please remind them all - It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine!
I'm sure the grammar police will be on this in 3... 2... 1...
It's a tad long, but the primary message is that RR and his staff are terrific people and Rich in particular is a high-character guy -- his closing talk to the campers was off-the-cuff (seems he never reads a statement -- comes from the heart and the head) and hugely meaningful.
Evan was met at the entrance to Yost for camp sign-in by Tony Gibson -- big handshake, big smile, and asked Evan if he'd hit anyone yet today. Great welcome.
We then were directed to a table with Coach Smith and his wife, then to a table with Coach Frey, then Coach Tall and on down the line.
After sign-in, we went over to Schembechler Hall where Evan had his picture taken with RR, who told me I had a nice looking son (ok, I'm sold).
For the week, the entire camp for 13 to 15 year olds was run by RR and his staff. Coach Robinson and Coach Hopson worked the linebackers, which was Evan's group. Everything they did was "on the hop".
The dorm counselor was Scott Draper, a very fine gentleman who commanded the attention and respect of the 200 or so young fellows there.
We parents were treated with great warmth and respect, while the kids had the times of their lives. They were told that they may have come from a lot of different places, but for the camp, they were all Wolverines and all in together.
At the end of the camp, RR gave an off-the-cuff farewell that was priceless:
Take care of your parents,
take care of your brothers and sisters,
take care of your friends and teammates,
and take care of your schoolwork.
If you do that, everything else will follow.
I also had a chance to see Mrs. R holding court with a bunch of moms -- it looked like the weekend football mom's coffee klatch -- Rita couldn't have been more charming and welcoming.
These are terrific people and our beloved program is in fine hands. Bill Martin made a great hire, Lloyd finished with class and has remained classy, and Rich Rodriquez is a natural-born West Virginian who continues the tradition of excellence from Coach Yost on down. Bo would be proud, would respect the emphasis on the team, and the long blue line of Michigan men and women should also be proud.
Naturally, since this reader dared offer a contrary opinion -- one simply requesting caution, restraint, and fairness, and suggesting a reasoned debate -- the post was promptly locked, and its author accused of flaming skullduggery. I'm neither a flamer nor a troll. I'm an M fan offering a different POV. Within twenty minutes, that POV was summarily quashed. Can't debate with facts? Eliminate it. Can't answer questions posed? Lock it out. You've proved my point, sadly.
I thought this was a blog inviting reasoned debate, not just one-side rants that defy any counter-arguments. But this blog, like most sports blogs, is increasingly proving to be a hall of mirrors in a house for the blind. That's not the Michigan way. Real Michigan people invite and welcome healthy debates. They don't just lock away those who happen to disagree.
BTW: I'm an M grad surrounded by other M grads and ticket-holders. We want debate. We admire a lot of the points Brian has made, but also see plenty of room for debate. Just because Brian says something doesn't mean it's indisputable gospel. You do realize that, don't you? There are holes in his arguments as well. Too bad nobody seems to want to consider those. Meantime, actual reporting (as opposed to "analysis") by other media seems pretty consistent with the Freep story. And SI, by the by, is preparing a larger story about same. You may want the story to go away -- don't we all? -- but that doesn't mean it will, or should.
As the story broke and as reports, clarifications, comments, support, etc. has come rolling in, and as I have tried to digest all of it including your comments, I have tried to wrap my head around the motivations of the two "reporters" [and I use that term loosely] at the FP. I asked myself what is it that motivates two UM alums to do this type of "gotcha" journalism? In these types of instances, the best thing to do is to look for the "common cold," as opposed to bizarre theories. Here is my conclusion:
1. Given that both these men were opposed to Coach Rodriguez being hired and that, even giving them the benefit of the doubt about their desire to seek what is best for the program, that there article is a deliberate attempt here to take down Coach Rodriguez, to get him fired, make him resign, etc. That is the big motive.
2. Given the timing of this article, it also seems to be an attempt to put any achievements of the coach under a cloud. This is not meant as a benefit to the program, to clean it up, reform it, etc. It is not just an attack on Coach Rodriguez with the goal to get rid of him, it is also an attack on his record. Just has he is potentially on the verge of turning this program around, these two writers have planted the seed: Coach Rodriguez only wins because he is a cheat. His "work hard" mantra is well known back to WVU, and the implication here is that he has only been able to win by violating the amount of time he "requires" from his players.
It used to be standard thinking that once the program started winning, Coach Rodriguez would be embraced by all and would finally become a "Michigan Man." By trying to pin the label of "cheater" on him, these two, who shall not be named, are, in my opinion, trying to forever prevent "the Hick" from becoming "one of us." By casting these aspersions, they can dismiss, even if only in their own minds, his success as the ill-gotten gain of cheating that does nothing but taint this fine institution. Even if he wins, now, he loses.
Without this, they know that sooner or later he will win, and when he wins, he will be embraced. And if everyone else embraces him, they will be expected to as well, something they could never do. "The Hick" will never be one of "us." Thus the smear campaign. It does not matter whether or not there is any truth to the allegations. As in most Main Stream Media, all that matters is the "Seriousness of the Charge." All that will matter is that the allegations are out there and that they can keep coming back to this hinting that even if the NCAA finds nothing that there must be some violation there because, after all, no one would make a charge this serious unless there was substance to it. The cloud will remain, not because it has any basis in truth, but because of the seriousness of the charge.
If this were politics we would call it the "politics of personal destruction." It is reprehensible, even in politics, more so in something as superfluous as sports. As I watched Coach Rodriguez, obviously hurting, seemingly in complete disbelief that someone would charge that he would harm his athletes, I was furious watching a good man being systematically attacked, "destroyed," and knowing that he was completely helpless to stop this circus. Because in the end, it does not matter that the charges stick or not, all that matters is the cloud that the accusation creates. He has been tainted in their eyes and no matter what evidence is brought to counter this charge, they will hold the charge over his head in perpetuity. That cloud says: “Cheater.” It makes me sick to my stomach.