Listen guys, I know this week’s been tough. Everyone is counting us out, questioning our heart, our determination, our will to win. The fans and media say this team is a rudderless ship, taking on water and circling the drain. They say we are still looking for our identity, that we are missing some pieces to the puzzle and they doubt we’ll be able to pull together and find our way. They say it’s going to be another rebuilding year, that we’ll stay the doormat while our rivals sip from the cup of glory.
They say I’m on the hot seat, that I’m under fire and that the AD and Boosters ain’t happy about the product I’m putting out on the field. They say the inmates are running the asylum, that I’ve lost control of this team and that there is dissention in the ranks. They wonder if I’ll make it to the end of the season, and I’ll admit that the buck stops with me.
Our rivals are licking their lips and ready to give us the business, and they can’t wait to come into our house and beat the snot out of us. They are looking for revenge and retribution, and they’ve got some bad intentions. They can smell blood in the water, and they are circling in for the kill. They are going for our jugular, gentlemen.
And the media is saying that this team isn’t a family anymore, that we are bunch of individuals and not a cohesive unit. They say we’ve got too many off-the-field distractions, that our heads are not in this game and that we don’t have leadership at the top. They say we’re on the ropes, and ripe for a knockout. They say that this first game is a “Must Win,” that this game will define our season for us. One week until the biggest game our lives.
We are in hell gentlemen.
Now if we go out there, and we half-ass it 'cause we're scared, all we're left with is an excuse; we're always gonna wonder. But if we go out there, and we give it absolutely everything - that's heroic.
We’ve just got to dig deeper, deeper than we’ve ever dug before. We’ve got to find that inner demon, that eye of the tiger. I don’t believe anything they are saying about us out there; the only opinions I care about are from the men in this lockerroom. And what I’ve seen and heard is a team that is tired of getting dirt kicked in its face, is tired of being told that it can’t win, that is doesn’t know how to play the game the right way. I see a team that’s been cornered like a wild animal.
And you want to know what happens when you corner an animal – it comes out fighting for its life. We are fighting for the way we live our lives men, the way Michigan Men play this game. We are fighting for respect, for the right to be considered champions again. We’re on a mission gentlemen, to claw our way back into the light. I don't care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe... I don't know, maybe we'll learn to play this game like men.
That means we need to be willing to give 110% every time we step out onto that field. I’ve seen the blood, sweat, and tears that you guys have given to this program during the offseason. There is no other group of guys I’d rather go into battle with than the men in this room. Because we are going to lose as a team, and we damn sure are going to win as a team.
Football is a game of inches gentlemen, and on this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Because every game this season is going to be a war, and we are going to have to earn everything we get. Nobody is going to hand us a victory; we are going to have to take it from them. This game is four quarters, and don’t take a play off. Nobody believes in us right now; let’s go out there and give them something to believe in.
The first quarter, hit them in the mouth and let them know that they’re playing football. They start talking, you keep quiet and play your game. Play within yourself, but just keep coming. And look out for each other, and if someone makes his mistake, clean it up for him.
Second quarter, turn up the heat. Don’t give them anything easy. They want to run it on you, make them pay. They want to throw it by you, make them pay. They try to stop you, make them pay. I want them to look over on our side of the field and realize that they’re in for the fight of their lives. I want them checking their plane tickets at halftime to see if they can go home sooner.
Third quarter, they’re going to get tired, but you’ll keep coming. You are the best-conditioned team in the country, and your heart is the strongest muscle in your body. You just keep hitting them, you keep scoring, and you’ll see the fear in their eyes.
Fourth quarter, that’s when champions are revealed. You are going to need to take your game to another level, gentlemen, but you have laid the foundation and you know, in your heart of hearts, that you can get there.
Now, this season is going to test you gentlemen. There are going to be times when you want to give up, when you don’t think you can give anything more. But that’s when you have to band together and pick each other, support your brother out there and raise all of your games to places you never dreamt possible.
We’re in the business of winning football games, and business is about to pick up. So let’s go out there and shock the world. Go Blue!
After listening to John Bacon last night, dancing around the subject of Rosenbergs intentions, and listening again this morning to Eric Adelson, a common theme emerged: "I don't want to judge <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Rosenberg's intentions because he's my friend / I know him / I have a relationship with him...."
And yet it doesn't seem like there's any such rush from Bacon or Adelson to afford Rich Rodriguez the same sentiments. Why?
Rosenberg is simply following the Jim Carty parasitic shortcut to job security by "make a name for myself before the ship sinks"; while Rodriguez is trying his hardest to make a dreadful team better. Rodriguez isn't perfect, none of us are. But explain to me how a team that is "over-worked" and just concentrates on football managed to put forth the best team GPA in recorded Michigan history?
Eric Adelson is a regular guest on WTKA, and John Bacon is an occasional host and author of “Bo’s Lasting Lessons”. Adelson I tolerate but his views are rarely relevant as he's generally not even close to being in-touch with anything local. After this morning, I'm wondering why the heck he's even on there? Any "valuable national opinion" he may have of the team is being blurred by his relationship with Rosenberg.
John Bacon, however, should know better. He wrote a book about one of the highest caliber human beings on the planet. Stubborn Bo was, yes, but the man had integrity. I cannot picture him standing by silently while something, or someone, he believed in was being unfairly and unneccessarily attacked simply because a "friend" was behind it. John KNOWS what this is about. Dammit, Snyder, the co-writer of Rosenberg’s hit-piece, won't even field questions as to what he considers a "countable hour"! Why then is Michigan supposed to scurry about madly trying to disprove an allegation the accuser can't (or won’t) even properly frame or define?
The timing couldn't be worse for desperate journalists trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of program trying to climb out of the mire of an awful transitional season. Meanwhile, both John Bacon and Eric Adelson are refusing to acknowledge the upset players and furious parents, the head coach pouring his heart and soul into the team, the integrity of Michigan's compliance department - they're ignoring these other sources because of a friendship? Both John Bacon and Eric Adelson are choosing to put their integrity aside by refusing to condemn what they know is wrong.
It’s not like any of this yellow journalism is new. The way the Freep has handled recent stories about Feagin and MSUs prison-to-practice field nonsense, the way they've handled this story by talking with anonymous disgruntled sources at Michigan, the way they've taken advantage of Rodriguez' player access by misleading two freshman - not to mention how Carty's Ann Arbor News writers mislead football players by telling them they were going to do a piece "honoring" their professor, only to field another unjust attack on Michigan athletic academics – all of it shows that there ARE people at work trying to, at the very minimum, damage the program.
I don't care if Adelson is ever asked back. Getting the “out of touch national perspective” is seldom enough of a draw to keep me tuned in during the commute. John Bacon, on the other hand, I very much enjoy. To say that I'm disappointed in him is an understatement. John is intelligent, humorous and insightful. I also believe him to be a man of high integrity that is making a very poor decision by not condemning the recent Rosenberg piece in particular.
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The good news is that the morning show on WTKA is quite solid and MGoBrian has somehow managed to infiltrate the station’s airwaves more and more frequently.
All of the recent hit-pieces and “I won’t comment on that because he’s my friend” crap have really made me appreciate the efforts of Brian and the MGoBlog staff more and more lately.
Thank you for a forum to wallow in the unvarnished truth. And vent when the need arises…
After reading Michael Rosenberg’s brilliantly written, well-researched and intelligently unbiased article “A look inside Rodriguez’s rigorous football program at Michigan” that has gained so much media attention as of late, I decided that I should also focus my attention on an expose for the benefits of my readership and everyone in the world.
I first became aware of this issue when searching the internet for information on Mr. Rosenberg. Michael Rosenberg clearly condones the use of drugs as is evidenced by photographs directly from his publicity website [scroll down].
But how much junk is too much?
According to the 1984 Drug Offenders Act, the 1986 Analogue Act, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the Second Act of Shakespeare’s Richard III written in 1591 (none of which have I actually read), any and all use is non-permissible. But numerous members of the Free Press staff have routinely broken these rules.
How do I know this?
Well thanks to my journalistic prowess, I have interviewed ten employees comprised of former team members, two current employees and a shepherd with a lazy eye named Quanto. The two current employees agreed to talk with us only if we would keep their names anonymous for fear of punishment. Another requirement of their involvement was that we take their words and horribly skew them in favor of our “journalistic opinion”.
Two of the team members described the on-going drug use as “ridiculous”. One team member actually witnessed another employee taking a spoon from the kitchen, no doubt for the purpose of booting black tar heroin. Family members of the staff have routinely expressed concern over the amount of illicit drugs being imbibed. I was shocked to find that during one of our interviews, a current staff member sneezed which is on record as a common symptom of heavy cocaine usage.
A member of the sports writing staff who has been suspended in the past for printing information that was not factual stated, “We know the drug policy. Everyone knows the drug policy. Drug use is voluntary. But everyone knows it’s not voluntary. Having your articles published is also voluntary, you know?” He followed that with two winks and a nudge.
I tried to reach higher officials in the company for their reaction to these allegations but they were unavailable. (By “tried to reach”, I of course mean that I air-dialled their phone numbers on my son’s Elmo Phone and then whispered into the universe, “Are you available for comment?”. I received no response.)
After beginning this article, I spoke candidly with two of the newest team members at the DFP to find out what their experiences had been. One junior copy boy commented with a smile on his face, “Oh I love it here. They have donuts every morning.” Clearly the innocent young man was unaware that the donuts had surely been provided to quell the constant hunger that arises from frequent use of a drug called “marijuana”.
It’s unfortunate that such a well-respected community of journalists and their staff could have fallen into such a deep hole. We can only hope that the United States government will step in and arrest all of them, if for no other reason than their shameful and willful abuse of the first amendment.
[This article has been written in satire and parody and like the article it has been written in response to, it's almost completely unfactual. These comments are not the views of mgoblog.com or any of it's operators, developers, advisors, employees, spouses, friends, family members, pets or co-workers. If you've gotten this far and haven't realized that this is a joke, you should probably apply for a job at the Detroit Free Press.]
A foursome was nice enough to let me play through this morning (if you live in Chicago and enjoy golf, highly recommend morning rounds at Marovitz/Waveland). One of the members of their group was wearing a Michigan hat and it was at that moment I realized how excited I am for the season to kick off. "I love your hat, I can't fucking wait until Saturday", I exclaimed as his grin began stretching around his head. I played a hole with them and we talked briefly. I found out he, like myself, is not an alumnus of the great instituion God graced us with some 192 years ago.
As I'm sure many of my fellow non-alums are, I am incredibly sensitive when someone attempts to call me out for not being a real fan because I didn't go to the school. I typically give the same spiel when such questioning of my fan credentials begins. I regale them with tales of all the triumphs and heartbreak I have witnessed in Michigan Stadium since first stepping foot in there at age 6. I note that my familial roots are planted firmly in the state, having been born there with parents who once called Livonia and Redford Township home. I tell them that some of my fondest childhood memories are throwing the football with my old man on the golf course before a big game. I then typically finish with, "fuck yourself", and start to tell them all the things about their own team that they don't know. Inevitably this discussion is only going to end badly, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would lead to making an OSU grad and fan weep.
Picture it: Charlotte, NC, October 30, 2004. Date sound familiar? About 10 of us from high school, a group that has remained oddly close, found its way to the hotel bar mid wedding reception. Michigan was losing to State. We all know what unfolded over the next couple hours.
As a Toledo native, I unfortunately have a handful of friends that attended osu. As fate would have it, they were there with myself and a couple other UM fans to witness Braylon's greatness on that day. As the drinks added up and the game continued on into the darkness, the dissenting voice began talking shit about how I am not a real fan. My friend was well aware of my lifelong love affair with all things Michigan Football, so my typical rant simply wouldn't suffice.
"Fuck you Dave."
"No, Fuck you Dave."
"Fuck you Dave!"
This conintued for what felt like 3 Navarre scrambles from the pocket* (I know he wasn't the QB, simply a measurement of long periods of time). As it turns out, repeating "Fuck you" or some variation thereof to a lifelong friend that you only see once or twice a year is all it takes. Here came the waterworks.
While the catalyst for his tears may seem underwhelming, watching tears well up on his face as Braylon sealed the game created a synergy of joy I have yet to re-create.
He is still one of my best friends and we joke about it often. He will stand up in my wedding and I will do the same for him.
Holy hell do I love college football, sharing it with friends despite their rooting interest and sweet jebus, I love the Michigan Wolverines. I'm all in.
*1 Navarre scramble is equivalent to 2 fortnights.
First of all, there is no chance that Rodriguez did not cover all the bases regarding the practice time rules. And I guarantee you, all great college programs currently toe the line on practice time, as they should, and in doing so, even inadvertently help the NCAA redefine the line itself, or remove ambiguity. Any real issue is any ambiguity itself. And these great programs will operate within that ambiguity, until the NCAA removes it.
What is so despicable is the timing and target of the Rosenberg and Snyder article, trying to achieve notoriety by launching this mud on the one program who is in perhaps the biggest transition of its storied history, and to the same storied history that perhaps has helped draw so much interest to college sport itself, in that Rosenberg and Snyder have a job to even write about it. It is one thing to make a claim when on a program when it is in full swing, but it is quite another when the program is understandably trying to make a smooth changeover. It is not easy being the WINNINGEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES and trying to return to that greatness. And if it requires additional non-mandatory work, so be it. Rosenberg and Snyder saw an insanely underhanded opportunity, and they went for it. They did not go after the established USC, they went after the easier target, the one that is nearby, and one who has a coach, who perhaps, cared too much for what his old WVU program thought of him, after he left. Now today we have another alum Drew Sharp chiming in, misunderstanding the coach's emotion for fear instead of care, perhaps deliberately.
So you say, what good will come out of this ?
The investigation will reveal that there were no violations, but will serve as a way for the NCAA to find flaws in their rules whereas incoming players are concerned and the communication to them on what is mandatory and what is not.
Then, as the Wolverines are kicking the snot out of the rest of the Big Ten and are perpetually in the national Top 5, that the national perception will remain that our program is the best partly because players work the hardest.
But best of all, this BS will serve as the agent necessary to truly bring the team together, since there is NO better way than to solidify comraderie than to create and Us vs. Them mentality, especially when it involves all the work and effort they put in. In a good way, it gives an OBJECT for all that work and practice.
The following is a notably famous quote....
"Any greatness that has not attracted envy, jealousy, accolades and praises from all corners has not yet attained enviable standard."
It should not be a shock, of the current attack on our coach and program, nor should it be going forward. And our program sooner than later, in this transition, will arrive at that enviable standard of its past, and in the meanntime will bear the brunt of envy.
Having read the article and the response, I'm pretty comfortable in knowing that the NCAA is not going to drop the hammer on Michigan. There will likely be no probation or scholarship reduction. All this is a distraction. One that will blow over soon. So why are we so upset? Why can't I get excited about the season again?
The fact is, the story is out there, and herher everyone laugh at scUM (uh .. we still went 3-9 last year). Also, everyone laugh at Tennessee, USC, PSU, and Iowa, etc., schools whose issues are, in my epinion, far more serious and pervasive than Michigan's. In fact, almost all schools have some experience with this level of "distraction". The deeper question is, why are we, as well as the national media, so concerned?
Is it because we run a squeaky clean program? Or because we never get in trouble? For those that think the issue stems from the fact that Michigan never, ever dreamed of skirting a rule prior to Rodriguez, I submit David Terrell's "3.3" GPA. Anyone that is familiar with DT knows that he was not the "bomba$$student". Something always stunk about that to me. Love it or hate it, but the puppet show that is Michigan football shows strings when you look close enough. Maybe DT was like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. Or, maybe something fishy was going on.
So, is it that we never get in trouble? There's no doubt that we haven't been in trouble, especially in football. But, we aren't immune to bad press. I'm a biased observer, but it seems like the press can't wait to pile on Michigan. Likely caused by years of excellence and large fanbases of our three rivals, but when Michigan does bad, for a lot of the country, the news is good. Lest anyone forget, we are not the only historical powerhouse (or the first) to lose to a D-IAA team. Just the most publicized.
IMHO, what's happening here is a boiling over of frustration. It's easy to deal with the negative when we own the Big Ten, save OSU. Things are much more personal when we're losing. However, it is important to note that, perhaps other than Notre Dame, we are the school that people love bad news about. Bad news about Michigan and ND sells.
With that backdrop, I think Bo/Gary/Lloyd is what Michigan needs. A headman that treats everyone outside of the program as a liability. An insular program that defends those inside aggressively, and keeps outsiders at bay. Also, we as a fan base, need to take a similar stance. Are we perfect? Nope. But, with the good and the bad, Michigan football is ours. As a fanbase, we need to understand that others love to tear our institution down. And we need to move on. So what that there are some silly accusations being leveled (it's not like we're paying off players, having player's get arrested, or cursing in practice). We need to be confident enough to blow it all off and move on. Stay excited for the season, and hopefully not feed the machine that will chase off RRod. To the extent that he isn't a homegrown "Michigan Man", the guy cares ... about the team, about his players, and about the institution.
Go Blue! Let's beat the Bronco's on Saturday!