I'm not self promoting, just giving anyone that needs it additional tools for your Hate Sparty tool belt.
Email it to your friends... leave a printout on your Sparty co-workers desk... make it your wallpaper... tattoo it on your Sparty friends while they are passed out drunk....
But whatever you do, never let them forget who little brother/sister is...
Edit: Changes per feedback
Just posted on ESPN about an hour ago. Family values are mentioned. Enjoy.
EDIT: Since it was in the banner of ESPN stories on the CFB front page I assumed it was current. It mentioned Friday practice, which I assumed was a morning practice (some programs do them) and since there was no mention of USC I just assumed it was an instant-update short story filed moments after the fact.
Lots of assuming; I guess I shouldn't assume UM wins tomorrow or I might be wrong on that too!
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.
Interesting article in the Columbus Dispatch on Rich Rodriguez and the trials of taking over a storied program like Michigan - and struggling mightily your first year.
A couple of things stood out to me. One was the discipline he is trying to install:
It wasn't just the playbook that changed.
"From practices to meetings to dress codes to lifting schedules to where we eat, what we can do, where we can go, curfew -- there are a lot of things that are different," senior defensive tackle Terrance Taylor said. "You expect that, but being here, you want to hold on to something you know about."
Michigan used to have season-long captains. This year, they were chosen on a weekly basis.
Before, Michigan players didn't have a curfew. Taylor said Sunday night's curfew required players to be home by 10 p.m., in bed by 11.
Rodriguez has banned players from using cell phones in the team's building "because when we're in the building he wants us talking to each other," Taylor said.
Given the trouble college football players seem prone to get into when out late, the curfew seems like a good idea. And the cell phone rule connects with a larger theme Rich Rod is trying to build:
As for changing the team's culture, Rodriguez said he wasn't sure how that should be defined. He said that if that meant instilling the desire to do the best they can on and off the field and put team before individual, that's what he wants.
"Is that the culture where I'm at right now?" he said. "I don't know. But that's the culture that I want. If that's the culture that our fans want, then we're on the same page."
I think that is a simple but worthy philosophy: the desire to be the best on and off the field and to value your team more than yourself. I am confident Rodriguez can recruit talent. But if he can mold a true team that has that camaraderie and commitment then Michigan can be a national contender again.
The article ends with an anecdote that shows how Rodriguez is illustrating that commitment himself:
It could very well be that all Rodriguez needs is time. That's something he didn't have after his hiring. Though he had the senior class over to his house more than once, some of them felt they got short shrift.
Harrison, the safety, was among them. Then last weekend on Senior Day, his parents were late getting to Michigan Stadium from Dayton because of traffic from an accident. So instead of having Harrison take the field unescorted, Rodriguez accompanied him.
"He didn't really need to do that," Harrison said. "I see him in a whole different way. I used to look at him as just my head coach. Now I look at him as if it's a different type of bond."
I don't know about other Michigan fans, but I felt better about our coach after reading this article. There has been a lot of debate about the so called "family values" at Michigan under Rodriguez, but the values noted above are the right ones in my opinion.