"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
When Jimmy Hoffa took over the Teamsters he made a list of those who he would keep, and those who he was going to dump. He told his confidants that it is better to make this decision right away rather than do it piece meal over time. It was Jimmy’s belief that doing it this way would inspire loyalty and confidence from those he kept while leaving him less vulnerable to damage from those who he did not have faith in.
“When you take over a new operation, some people will tell you that you ought to lie low, and look around before you do anything. But that’s not me--because I just don’t think that works.”
The above is of course a quote from Bo, taken from John Bacon’s book, Bo’s Lasting Lessons. If you read chapter 4, you will get an idea of how Bo went about taking over a new operation. He did not pull any punches. He put it all on the line right away and let the chips fall where they may. Bo even risked losing very important players including Thom Darden, Reggie McKenzie, Glenn Doughty, Billy Taylor and Mike Taylor. (Yeah, any of you remember those guys?) Bo wasn’t going to play favorites. He was going to treat them all like dogs.
You have to remember at that time that Bo was basically a nobody. There were numerous influential people who didn’t like or want Bo. He as really sticking his neck out.
Of course, this was a different era. Political correctness hadn’t yet reared its ugly head. Yet, it was still a big chance Bo was taking. Alienating star plays and boosters would not seem to be an exceptionally bright move on his part. It was a risk. In the end, it worked out rather well.
So, that got me to thinking. Rich Rod’s entry and Bo’s entry were under quite similar circumstances. Both came in when the team was down. Both were outsiders. And, from what we hear from former players, both are disciplinarians and believe in hard work. And, both favored a run based offense.
What if Rich Rod had come in the same way as Bo? What if he had worked to eliminate the malcontents and slackers in his first few weeks? What if he had just slammed his darn fist down and said this is how it is going to be--take it or leave it? Could Rich Rod have gotten away with this? And, would it have been better for him over time? Did Rich Rod compromise himself just to get along in Ann Arbor?
I happen to like the hire. I think RR and Michigan are going to be just fine over time. It is a different world now in college football. There is much more competition and a whole lot more money involved. There are more politics than you can shake a stick at. Personally, I would have supported RR had he come in with guns blazing. Perhaps I am in the minority. Maybe I am totally wrong. But, as Shakespeare said, a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only one.
Bo was very hard on that 1969 team. Very hard indeed. I am pretty sure he had many people wondering if he wasn’t just some maniac coach who was going to destroy the program. However, things did work out okay. Very okay.
I leave you with this quote, again from Bacon’s book:
“The funny thing is, the guys on the 1969 team probably stay in touch better than any team I coached. As much as they hated the workouts then, they all brag about it now.
They stayed. They were champions. And I kept my promise.
And we have kept that promise ever since.”
I can’t help but think how much differently Rich Rod may have comported himself had Bo been there to mentor and support him. Maybe he would have just pulled that trigger on day one, and maybe he’d been much better off. Maybe.
The coaches know the fans all too well. They hear the stock broker telling him what he "should" have done on this play or that. They will hear the plumber telling him what a great job they are doing. They hear both sides of a love that cant please anyone all the time.Yet they keep their faith in what they are doing even when "some" question it.Why and how can they do this? Easy,they see what we cant. The bigger picture,the future and all the possibilities that come with it.
Outsiders will laugh and mock when they see a champion laying broken and bleeding. They come from all over to pronounce the death of a once great champion hoping that he really is dead and buried. what they dont realize is that champion just had to stop and adjust his plan.As the outsiders leave to dream of taking that champions place,they dont realize he is calling on something the others dont have....heart. The heart of the players and coaches that give everything they have to make something work that others doubt. The heart of a tradtion that the beats can be felt throughout practice fields and into the locker rooms. most of important the hearts of the fans that never turn their back even when they are down. The fans that know that something special is coming closer by the day. the fans that see 'kids" from all over coming to be apart of a champion when others would rather bury something that isnt even dead yet.
The day of a champions rise is near.Will you be cheering or will you be one of those still throwing dirt?
Dis-claimer: I wrote this as a reponse to all the pessimism that was coming out in the last week or so and finally decided to post it. Well, I also had to wait until I had enough points to post as well. We'll see if I still do later.
Is it possible that we, not all of us, but some of us, are so consumed with what has passed that we cannot see the forest for the trees? Could the incredible, unimaginable, almost unthinkable things that happened last season, in the fading shadows of the beginning of the 2007 season, scar the landscape that is Michigan Football, so much so that we can no longer see what “can be” and only see what is otherwise referred to as “the worst-case scenario”?
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Before the Appalachian State disaster and the Oregon shellacking, to the fanbase, Michigan was a perennial top-5-10 team. After that season, a little hope still flickered as Lloyd Carr’s swan song was a gigantic victory over the mighty SEC. But then came the retirement, coaching search that seemingly went awry. And with it, another thunderous stone fell from the foundation of the greatest program in the country.
A new coach, a new philosophy and a new direction tried to brighten the landscape as they tried to burn off the haze left over from what had gone on for decades. There was hope, enthusiasm and an age-old trust in what had always been there, a defense that could be counted to keep the team in the game, give the offense a chance to learn, grow and hopefully by the end of the season regain some if not all of the respect tarnished by the opening of the previous season.
But, as we all know, football is a game of four quarters, and offense, defense and special teams. In 2008, our Wolverines never gained control over any one of those pieces, much less all of them together. As the season went on, more stones from the foundation seemed to crumble, if not the first quarter, the second quarter was the downfall. If not the first half, it was the second half. If the offense played well, the defense struggled or the defense kept us in the game and the offense couldn’t get out of its own way. And in some cases, the offense shined through the murky waters of repeated special teams disasters only to come up short because the defense never seemed to get off the field.
The cupboard was bare. Make no mistake, it was. Not because no one recruited. Not because “everyone” left. Not because the …………………
In 2007 the unbelievable happened and in 2008 the unthinkable happened. Now as the 2009 season is coming around the corner, we are trying to find reasons to be optimistic, but the damage done over the last two seasons has almost everyone believing that Michigan will have to be lucky to win, rather than making its own luck and controlling its destiny, by doing what Michigan has always done…playing Michigan Football. Yes, we will have a true freshman quarterback playing this season regardless of the name and number he will be a freshman. And yes, the DC is new for the second season in a row. And the defense is not chock full of household names that make you tingle with excitement or salivate over the number of sacks or INTs that they would undoubtedly rack up.
Despite what has happened in the past, and it IS the past, the 2009 version of the Michigan Wolverines has the same opportunity as so many other Michigan squads, to play with the passion, heart and strength that every other great Michigan team had. There will be some disappointments this season I’m sure, but the potential and the possibilities for this season are maybe greater than any in recent memory.
Don’t let the slow, methodical ways of the past cloud your vision. Our coach is the father of the modern spread. If there is anyone who can get these young men ready to execute and unleash the power of this offense on the Big11Ten conference it’s Rich Rodriguez.
Consider these factors in a bubble for just a moment; the entire offensive line is coming back, the running backs are healthy and in their second year under the new system The defense is young, but very hungry led by a proven leader. The defense WILL be faster! We have the greatest punter on the planet, the defensive coordinator actually has many years of experience building championship defenses. And possibly the best news of all, the QB knows how to run the spread AND he can throw. On top of all that, the offense is built and run by the guys who know it better than anyone else and have made it work EVERYWHERE they go.
Now if you take those factors and insert them into the history, tradition and bigger-than-life spectacle that is Michigan Football. Combine that with the largest crowd anywhere that will be MUCH LOUDER than every before, thanks to the new additions and more enthusiasm, with eight home games, three of them against huge rivals, and leave out what has happened in the past, that has no real bearing on the future, and this could be a great season.
Now, I know this all sounds like I have stolen all the kool-aid and downed it like a freshman who has never seen a beer-bong before, but in my 44 years on this planet and season ticket holder, I have seen many incredible things happen inside the hole “that Yost dug, Schembechler filled and Canham paid for”. There is promise, opportunity and an awful lot of desire being crafted by RichRod and company. I for one, think great things will happen and many of us will be very, very surprised this season.
As a footnote, I understand the concern, and even pessimism going into this season, but I just can’t believe that this program will struggle the way Nebraska, Notre Dame and others have.
The offseason is too long and Sept. 5 is too far away.
I know Shaw had the sports hernia surgery ... Any report of him participating in practices ? from what i took he would be ready for opening day and i am hoping he is full go ... His versatility to catch out of the backfield and even line up at Slot WR could be a help if Tate does indeed start from the opening snap.
I also have heard Mouton had surgery during the off-season and he is a VERY important player this season ... he showed a great motor last year and i have not heard much about his health progression ... i think it was his shoulder ..which scares me because ..well LBs need their shoulders.
While im at it .. i seen a interview with Troy Woolfolk about him playing a centerfield type of role ... I like his speed back there and he said he was focused on bulking up ... With Stevie Brown in the hybrid role i was thinking of who would compete with Woolfolk for the position ... Mike Williams would be an obvious choice as the scouting report on him was good read and react player but lacks the speed which a centerfield role would need.
I know the answers are far and between as the program tends to play their hand close to their chest ... but just asking if anybody close to the program got some answers.
The men's first round featured scandal, bad officiating, seeding that made absolutely no sense, and upsets galore. In other words, your typical tournament. It also generated almost 200 votes per game. I'm calling "success!"
Results are posted on the old entry, but here's some of the highlights:
- The football home unis demolished their 1st Round competition. More amazingly, 10 people voted for Gynmastics.
- After starting with the wrong shirts on (OP oops), the Men's tennis blues came back to defeat the Steve&Berry's-inspired wrestling unis.
- Two huge upsets in the first round, both involving the football's away uniforms. The whites worn from Desmond to Woodson to Braylon: defeated by the slick Nikes of the late Henne/Hart/Long era. Meanwhile, the current football aways went down to the baseball team's classic-looking grays. With the '70s white pants falling to the late-'90s championship hockey sweaters, that leaves only the short-lived Nikes (a uniform which, by the way, never beat Ohio State) left to represent Michigan football's traveling wardrobe.
Men's Bracket, Standing Out from the Crowd Region:
These are the unis that are made to show off our stuff, or at least burn out Ohio's eye sockets trying. When one of your colors matches the sun, you don't have to hide it behind blue sky and gray clouds. Sometimes, though, the sport calls for an alternate that's a little more subdued, a little more classy. There is such a thing as too much sunshine. I'll let the MgoBloggers be the judge of which alternate uniforms will put M over the top, or need to be returned to the costume department of Brüno.
Last round: The maize hoops unis demolished the maize tennis shirts. The current cagers' maize unis took out soccer's stylish yellows. The lower two games in this bracket were upsets, as the baseball blues demolished the golf shirts, and the maize lacrosse unis, in turn, handily defeated the baseball team's maize alts.
Preview: The hoops yellows have some stiff competition from those lacrosse unis. Meanwhile, the popular maize hockey sweaters should be able to move on, especially since all the hockey sweaters seemed to get a ton of votes last week.
Game 1: Men's Basketball - maize (1) v. Lacrosse - maize (5)
Game 2: Ice Hockey - maize (2) v. Baseball - blue (6)
Men's Bracket, Not Everyone Looks Good in Blue Region:
Navy blue, throughout history, has not been a color reserved for the masses. It's a color you have to earn. Those who put on an azure jersey, or sweater, or leotard, become part of a long tradition of excellence. Only after proving yourself worthy of that tradition may you don this hue. Blue says that you stand above the competition, that you are better than others. There are so many great reasons to wear this color, but if you're gonna go blue, you'd better do it right.
Last round: The football team's home unis took care of business against Gymnastics, and the Hoops blues had little trouble with cross country. Tennis, as mentioned above, came back and pinned wrestling to the mat. Meanwhile, the soccer blues dominated the 4-5 matchup.
Preview: The home football unis have been called the best in sports by national uniform contests, and they're the favorites to win it all again here, but those kick-you-in-da-face soccer unis aren't expected to go quietly. Meanwhile, the tennis blues get to show their stuff for an entire round, but the blues that Michigan wore for both games of its return to the NCAA Tourney are gonna be a lot tougher than the 1st round matchup.
Game 1: Football - home (1) v. Soccer - blues (5)
Game 2: Hoops - home (2) v. Tennis - blue (6)
Men's Bracket, In My Day We Wore X Region:
Michigan's been playing a full slate of varsity sports for longer than most Division 1 schools have existed. In that time, a lot of outfits have come and gone, though considering all those years, though not so many as you might think -- we're "traditional" like that I guess. Some have been brought back. Others never left. And some probably belong back on the shelf.
Last round: The first round saw some big upsets in this bracket. The (then-controversial) switch to the sleek Nikes for football's away uni proved justified in a close vote. Meanwhile, the beloved '89 hoops blues went down handily to Ice Hockey's blue block Ms. Ice Hockey's maize scripts had no trouble knocking off the white-pants of the '70s. And then, the controversy: approaching the last hour of voting, the score was tied with 89 votes apiece between the throwback '60s and throwback '90s hockey sweaters. Fortunately, the OP was saved from from an embarrassing tiebreaking post by the fortuitous waking of Misopogal, who in return for coffee, sat down and cast a final vote (and finally read one of my posts). Sorry Block M fans: she's an old fashioned girl.
Preview: The last football away jersey standing only served M for three years and never beat Ohio State, while the script maize sweaters of the late '90s took home a championship in their almost-as-brief stint -- this one's expected to be close. Meanwhile, the '60s throwback uni only beat its last Block M sweater by one vote, but with a better example photo they might have an easier time with the busy old Nike-era blue alts.
Game 1: Football - '05-'07 aways (8) v. Ice Hockey - maize script (4)
Game 2: Ice Hockey Block M's (7) v. Ice Hockey '60s (3)
Men's Bracket, Scientifically Speaking, I'm Actually Wearing Every Color Right Now Region:
White is a dangerous color, but for those who can pull it off ... oh, who am I kidding, as Misopogal can tell you, I really don't know anything about fashion. What I do know is that if you don't wash your white hockey sweater after every use, you'll develop some unintended yellow slashes at the drip-points of your pads (I'm still waiting for a hockey uni to be designed with color slashes where the sweat stains usually form).
Last round: The first round had one upset, but it was a big one, with the current football aways going down to the classy baseball grays. Hoops took out the old Nike pinstripes alts (which were much better than the current ones IMO). The hockey whites knocked out the soccer whites (despite the fact that they've never actually been worn). And baseball's whites knocked out lacrosse's whites.
Preview: It comes down to two almost identical baseball jerseys in the first game, and this one's expected to be a total toss-up. Meanwhile, the new hockey whites had a nice run to the 2nd round but face an uphill battle against the classic white hoops unis.
Game 1: Baseball - gray (8) v. Baseball - white (4)
Game 2: Hoops - white (2) v. Ice Hockey - white (3)
I've thought about what I said in the previous thread and realized my statements have been slightly unclear. I'll try to restate this in a way to spur the discussion and correct my own inconsistencies.
1. The NCAA is THE minor league for the NFL.
2. There are minimum academic standards to get into the NCAA football establishment.
3. Michigan minimums = NCAA minimums.
1. Admitted athletes go to class and are academically engaged at an appropriate level.
2. Athletics, whether or not it is explicitly outlined in the mission statement, is a HUGE focus for top universities. The school/AD spent $225M to renovate a hole in the ground so people have a nice place to watch football 6-8 days a year.
3. People acknowledge that in order to be an athletic powerhouse AND a top academic school, typical admission standards need to be compromised.
My points of contention with the current system and questions I ask posters to address:
1. While Michigan is not a vocational school, there is no vocational school for football players. One doesn't need a university degree to be a plumber, just to be excellent at plumbing (and pass trade school). Why SHOULD football be different?
2. There are arbitrary standards from the NCAA on academic qualification (GPA, SAT/ACT). Schools are free to set their own at higher levels. However, since the NCAA is the de facto gateway to the NFL, people seeking a career in a physical discipline are forced to meet intellectual standards. Is a non-qualifier better off struggling to jump through (totally unrelated to their intended pursuit) hoops at a community college or at a school with vast resources where they can pursue their desired career in a mutually beneficial way?
3. Referencing assumption 3, admission standards are already compromised. In effect, by even allowing athletes below normal admission standards, a school is clearly stating "you do not belong here, but we are making an exception because you have a certain talent". As a result, why does the degree to which an athlete is below the standard matter? A clear statement of "you don't belong here" is already present. The massive hypocrisy is astounding. Athletes are actively recruited to join a university, at which point they are immediately branded 2nd-class citizens of the institution. A university does NOT have to do this, they do so because it is a very beneficially endeavor for itself. This leaves a final choice: no athletic scholarships and be like Ivies, continued, institutionally sponsored hypocrisy, or acceptance of reality and restructure the student-athlete concept to be more equitable?