I didn't write most of this
(at a closed door meeting with boosters and other highly placed supporters of the University of Michigan, RR gave the following speech which I transcribed. With all honor and respect to Abraham Lincoln because even a jaded, cynical Gen Xer like myself felt unclean bastardizing the sublime prose of Lincoln's second innagural address--especially the last bit about 'the headman's axe.')
AT this second appearing to speak before the Michigan Victors' Club there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of the offensive system to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of six games, during which public declarations have been largely limited to booing every point and phase of the offense which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the football team, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our offensive line, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, totally unacceptable to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
|On the occasion corresponding to six games ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to the impending season. All dreaded it, all sought to avert missing a bowl game. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to making a bowl game, urgent agents were in Ann Arbor seeking to have a losing season—seeking to dissolve my coaching staff and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated losing, but one of them would hope for losses rather than let the my administration survive, and the other would accept missed blocks rather than let the bowl streak perish, and the war came.|
|One-eighth of the offensive starters, not distributed generally over the offensive line, but localized in the WR/RB portion of it, are decent players. These good players constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that the offense was interested in getting these guys the ball somehow in space. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend drives was the object for which the play calling was geared, while the coaches claimed no ability to do more than call good plays. Neither party expected for the losing streak the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the blocking might cease with or even before the fumbling should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph against Toledo, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same rule book and pray to the same God, and each invokes Michigan tradition against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to invoke Bo’s name while undermining Michigan’s rightfully chosen head football coach, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto Michigan because of no offense; for it must needs be that an offensive line come, but woe to that QB who waits while the offensive line recruits cometh." If we shall suppose that the spread offense is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, requires blocking, and that He gives to both Michigan Men and the WLA this terrible season as the woe due to those by whom the lack of decent offensive line coaching, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in Bo always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of losing may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the bowl streak compiled by the 33 years of winning teams shall be sunk, and until every missed block shall be paid by another busted play, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Football gods are true and righteous altogether."|
|With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right Bo gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the season we are in, to bind up the team's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the ball and for his blocker and his QB, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all Michigan Men.|