I think it is important to take a step back from all that is going on in the media, and really take a look at the big picture.
First, I visit mgoblog 965.44 times a day, and consider myself to be fairly looped in to what’s going on at Michigan athletics (props to the mgoblog community.) While I don’t have any inside information, I think it is fair to say that this year’s team is very different from last year’s team. Watching daily videos and reading interviews from mgoblue.com, it’s obvious the players are working hard, having fun, and are having an impact on the community.
When I saw the reports on a potential NCAA violation, I was pretty baffled and confused. Again, I don’t go to practice, I’m not on the team, so I can’t speak on whether or not these allegations are true. What I do want to highlight is how the media have greeted the new Rodriguez era at Michigan.
The media notoriously sensationalize news. Politics (Howard Dean’s Rick Flair moment), health (“Africanized” Bees, swine flu), are excellent examples of times where the media focused all too much attention on minor stories, and exchanged journalistic integrity and responsibility for higher ratings.
The topic of athletics is no different. The media (often prematurely) release stories that will rile up a fan base. Once the fan base is riled up, they then report on the discontent of the fan base. In cases where the stories prove false, or not as severe as initially thought, the media follow up with “maybe everyone’s looking at this topic in the wrong light after all. The person or team in question isn’t an evil wrong-doer, despite ‘public perception’.”
For example, the media took Rich Rodriguez’ comments on the QB situation and ran with it, concluding we will certainly have three QBs, and a few analysts even added that we are doomed.
They also questioned Michigan’s culture and character:
- Feagin situation gets viewed as a Rich Rodriguez error in judgment.
- Players are transferring because RR is pushing them out.
- Most recent allegations of violating NCAA’s practice policies.
The media then report on how upset the fan base is, how things aren’t going so well at Michigan. Personally, Rich Rodriguez hasn’t given me a reason to question the direction of Michigan football. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. I’m very happy with the direction. GPAs are higher than they were before he got here, the kids looks happy, and they’re doing great work in the community.
Winning? Last year
was difficult, but I saw glimpses of what will be. I look forward to improvement this
season. And I especially look forward to
the years of dominance to come. One
thing that has never changed, is the integrity of the Michigan football program. I trust and believe in Rich Rodriguez, and he
has done nothing yet to lose my trust.
Again, while I don’t have insider exposure to the program, I
have learned a lot more about the program from places like mgoblog. Unfortunately, the average Michigan
fan doesn’t spend as much time reading about Michigan athletics outside of the confines
of ESPN, SI, CBS Sports, etc. They don’t
see the more complete portrait of Michigan
One thing I’m almost certain of, is when Michigan is cleared from all this, and Michigan is playing respectable football, with a solid record (somewhere in the mid-season) ESPN will have a segment on RR and how he managed to keep his team focused despite all the “negative attention” Michigan’s received. ESPN will then prove to be the hero that helps clear Michigan’s perception and Rich Rodriguez’ image. Whew, thanks College Game Day!
Last year is now a distant, fuzzy, did it really happen memory. 1 mulligan in 40 yrs. Not to shabby. Also I don't see having to use another for quite some time. I've been impressed with the current and future (fingers crossed) recruits that RR has brought into the fold. A lot of technique etc can be taught and refined and size is in a large part predetermined. Pure athleticism and speed cannot, and I've seen a lot of that from this team with more coming.
IF we play up to my expectations this season the recruits will continue to come North and IMHO the conference will have to reevaluate its priorities as far as scheme and what kind of team they choose to field.
No predictions except a much improved product on the field and at least 2 major upsets. Bowl Game yes and with a little 1st yr QB luck, maybe a decent one.
300+ days of WTF are almost over so to all of you I say ....LETS GO BLUUUUE !
Never felt compelled before to write a diary entry. Probably never will be again, but I have to say that it makes me mad that the media coverage of the story (particularly ESPN) implies that during/after a 3 and 9 season, Michigan fans would be upset that their coach made their players work extra hard to get into shape and ready to play. I personally would be upset if he didn't. The NCAA rule is stupid. It doesn't matter if we are the only ones or if everyone does it (which is probably the case).
This is America. You think that we would have put a man on the moon if we didn't put in extra time. Where would we be as a country with that attitude? In America, you can improve your standing in life with hard work. It's why millions of people left their homelands for the promise land. The sports media loves stories of guys who got out of the ghetto by working hard and became great athletes. RR built programs with inferior athletes, probably by out working the "other guy" and people loved him for it. Now, though, at Michigan the idea is that it's wrong for him to expect hard work and extra time from his players? Does this make any sense? Does this upset me as a fan?
To me, that this for me is the most infuriating part of this whole thing. The idea is ridiculous, working hard is bad, like cheating on tests and getting arrested. Pathetic. Plus, where does it stop? Should a player be allowed to not participate in mandatory training because it's too hard? What about senior captains, can they mandate that everyone has to put in time and be critical of the guys that don't?
The implication here is that putting in extra time is wrong, and that's the shame of the whole thing. As a Michigan fan, I'll take penalties for a coach that asks his players to work extra hard for the team.
Sorry about the rant.
Dave, in the hopes that you are intellectually honest, I am going to try once and only once to persuade you (like I have a couple others this morning - they failed by the way) and then we'll agree to disagree.
RR made huge mistakes - football mistakes - in his first year. He hired the wrong D coordinator, he ignored how to work with the media, stepped on some traditions, etc. That was unfortunate, but those were football mistakes, and I would be an idiot if I threw him under the bus after one year and when he didn't have his players. I will reserve judgment until he has his system and his players, about two more years, although there will have to be stunning progress this year, and I expect there to be. Yes, I would rather have had Les Miles, but I have RR and so he gets a chance.
RR is a hard ass. Lloyd was like your grandfather. RR runs a spread. Lloyd ran a pro-set. RR is a West Virginia boy. Lloyd is purebread Ann Arbor-style elitest. You couldn't have picked a more stark change from one culture to the next. A rational man expects extreme fallout. Bo lost 65 of 140 players from his first training camp because it was grueling. That's what coined the "Those who stay will be champions" phrase. RR is a workout fanatic and we've lost a lot of players, as expected. Last year was a result of that discord. The interviews for the article are with former players, some transfers, some NFL, all Lloyd guys. The two freshmen had nothing but love for the program and were deceived into talking about hours worked as material for the story.
RR left West Virginia and they were pissed. Thus he shredded documents (later proven untrue) and was Satan. RR arrived in AA a culture shock, hated by the AA elite and the Free Press. The establishment does not like the man. In Columbus, like with this story from the Lantern, they hear of a problem, then go ask the staff what their thoughts are and everyone chuckles and concludes more violations means a more honest staff. How do you think this story would have been spun with the Free Press (Rodriguez Leads the Big 10 in Recruiting Violations: The New Era of Recruiting at All Costs at Michigan).
Despite RR having the highest team GPA on record (strange how that is supposed to be hand-in-hand with these "violations"), despite only ONE of his kids having any disciplinary issues, he is corrupt and evil and so on. The day before he dismissed his one disciplinary problem, spun as pure evil by the Free Press, the Free Press documented how a kid was reinstated with MSU who assaulted a hockey player with nary a bad word. I wonder how the Free Press would have viewed RR reinstating an ex-convict.
Dave, if you can't understand that there is a vendetta in the press against RR, you choose to be blind. That's your choice. You may think RR is a media dud (he is) or that he can't coach (his record speaks otherwise, but perhaps he can't at this level, we'll see), but to think he is corrupt and, for example, OSU is not is to live in a pretend world. If you have any intellectual honesty, you'd acknowledge bullshit when you see it. Don't be mindless.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Six Zero, everyone who voted, and everyone who called him a hack because they didn't like a design or two. The internet, as always, is unimpeachably wonderful. We'll do this again next year, along with a banner contest, and this time we'll let it linger over of the offseason.
This is the final entry of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert, a design project that allowed MgoBlog readers to vote for a design in the MGoBlogStore.
(NOTE: For all users who are currently or may one day plan to develop a design project, I would offer the following advice: a.) Beware of Photobucket, who has the near-whimsical ability to wreck your posts with little to no previous warning, and b.) if you want to build up suspense for the grand unveiling of the project winner, you might want to think about keeping the final poll results to yourself.)
SO, YES... with that being said, ladies and gentlemen, the final winning design of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert, as voted on by you, the collective MGoCommunity, is...
DAY FIFTEEN'S DESIGN -- MASCOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CLICK HERE FOR A DETAIL OF THE SHIRT GRAPHIC
This shirt is sure to be a smash hit at tailgates, alumni mixers, frat keggers, or just sitting in front of your home theater on Saturday afternoons. Wearers are advised to exercise caution while rocking the shirt in Columbus, East Lansing, State College, South Bend, Iowa City, Madison, West Lafayette, and any official conference gathering. Don't worry about getting hurt in Minneapolis... after all, it's a gopher.
Over 800 votes were tallied for the final deathmatch between our four finalists, and to the surprise of many the MASCOTS shirt garnered 44% of our tallies. In light of the weekend's events, perhaps it was Sparty missing the eyeball that made it so darn voteworthy. Final poll results can be consulted here for the curious.
|Shown here displaying the shirt is
our featured model, who we'll casually
refer to here as Richard, in an effort
to protect his anonymity.
Richard finds that this shirt goes
great with whistles, half-completed
stadium facades, and barrages of
obscenities. It's also great to wear
when cleaning up urine stains
Richard endorses the MGoShirt and
would like to add that it's a perfect
shirt for the inevitable Maize Out
that never seems to catch on.
They also go great with the
new Michigan Towels!
This design will be tweaked as necessary and the final vector artwork will be prepared for the print shop, and you can expect to see this design available for purchase soon in the MGoBlogStore.
I'd like to thank everyone for the interest and attention that made the MGoShirt Alert so much fun. I sincerely hope I helped get you fired up for the upcoming season, and I hope you all enjoy wearing the design for seasons to come. If I have any personal wish for this entire project, I'd like to challenge you-- any of you, all of you-- to get this shirt on national television!! I want to see Michigan Student screaming like a madman with his mascot shirt in the student section just before ABC cuts to commercial! I'd like to see Blazefire booing Herbstreit on College Gameday while wearing my shirt! I'd love seeing all of you mob the field with my shirt after a dominating win against Western on Saturday. Hell, I'll be satisfied with just the dominating win on Saturday!!
Gameday is Saturday, boys. It's time to bury the ghosts. Let's go get 'em.
As the upcoming season approaches, there is much excitement surrounding our shiny new offensive weapons. We return an experienced and talented offensive line, a pair of game-changing QB's, five amazing running backs, ninja slot receivers and a handful of reliable split ends. But wait, there's more! Left over from the Carr recruiting era are also two freak athletes that play tight end. But wait, Rich Rodriguez's spread option offense historically doesn't use tight ends, you say? Will our best athletes be rotting on the sidelines?! NOT so fast my friend.
How are we going to involve these awesome athletes in our offense? I think the TE question is a good measuring stick for RR as a coach. The ability to adapt your scheme to your personnel, the ability to innovate and adjust, I think separates the incredible coaches from the very good ones. Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer have proven themselves as elite amongst the coaching ranks for this reason.
It is largely regarded that this year, the TE position is one of the most deep and talented on the squad with Koger and Webb. With QB's in the fold who can now get our TE's the ball, as well as two dominant athletes at TE, the responsibility for our TE success, I think, cannot be blamed on lack of personnel; this year it lands solely on the scheme. RR has been consulting with offensive coordinators in the Big 12 in the offseason, and will be implementing a new "Trojan" quick passing scheme this fall, so a new look is already in the making.
If RR is able to feasibly adapt his scheme to effectively use our TE's this year, it will be a matchup nightmare for defenses. I expect to see the tight ends line up in the slot a fair amount this year in our 4 and 5 receiver set formations. As an opposing defense, needing to prepare for having enormous quick humans as well as tiny lazer-powered electron athletes in the slot will be tough.
So I'm just saying, friends, that the involvement of tight ends will be a great subplot to keep an eye on this upcoming football season. Reports are that we're getting the TE's the ball in practice occasionally. Since, according to Calvin Magee, the entire offense is already installed, let's hope that we'll hear that the TE's are getting the ball more as we get closer to the season.
RR has innovated at every stop that he's made on the path to coaching at U of M. I expect Michigan to be no different. If the TE situation works out, hopefully we'll be seeing more of this (1:30 in the video).