a terrible blight on our fine country
Justin Turner transfered out from the program. He was not kicked out. Not asked to transfer. Not belittled or treated as an outcast. He was tested, he was pushed, and in the end, he decided, himself, that it was more than he wanted. This is his choice, and I wish him well. But it is not a bad thing.
Take heart, my friends, for it is on the days that men realize their limits that a group realizes its growth. It is on the days that the deserters abandon the army that the unit can finally believe in itself. We did not just get weaker. We got stronger. And it is a very, very good thing that we did so.
Those that stay will be champions. Those that fight will see victory. Those that press on are a valuable commodity in a way that those who don't can never be. To be a champion means to be a team of greatest value. Bo knew this. You push your players, you ask more of them than they think they can possibly give. Should they find their limits, then their value has not increased. They don't have to abandon the team. They can remain, and they can help out. But to be a champion means to be of greatest value. Greatest value is an indefinite term that continues to grow constantly. A champion never finds his limit, because he knows he can always have a value greater than he currently does.
We are not weaker, we are stronger. We are not closer to failure, but closer to success. This is not lying to ourselves. This is the truth. Other teams want to be champions. We must have more value than they. And with those that stay, we will.
The team has done nothing wrong today. The coach has done nothing wrong. Justin Turner has done nothing wrong today. Practice continues, and our value grows. And as always, and forever, it's great, to be, a Michigan Wolverine.
In this Rivals article on impact transfers you'll see three former Wolverines (Clemons, McGuffie, and Threet) in the featured list and another one (O'Neill) in the smaller list.
Which one was the biggest loss? I think McGuffie is the pick. I'd prefer him at slot receiver, though.
Who will make the biggest impact at their new school? Sam, again, I think.
Local TV had Damntonio announcing that Nichol will now be a WR on the MSU roster.
Being from Western Michigan, I really wanted this kid to succeed at OK and was disappointed when he transferred. I know kids can change their minds, but had he stayed, with Bradford getting hurt... Now he's a WR at MSU? I think this stinks for him.
As has been chronicled on this site, UM football has been taking a beating recently both for its on-field performance (both past and presumed future) as well as the myriad of negative stories generated this off-season. Without rehashing or dwelling upon them, I want to address why they bug me (and I suspect others). Bear with me - this is more a cathartic rant than some eloquent point-by-point discussion.
I'm really pissed about the transfers, the expulsions, the APR hits, and the Feagin arrest; not because I am some naive fan who always thought UM was filled with "good guys" who bled maize and blue, but because this just reminds me more and more that nothing is really "pure" anymore. Now, I know that sounds somewhat whimsical and illogical, but hear me out.
My connection with UM didn't start when I entered the school back in '99. It started as a little kid growing up outside Detroit, knowing how good a school it was, how it was a "leader" and the "best", and most importantly, how every fall Saturday this whole state cared about how the Wolverines played that day. Sure, MSU had its fans, but in the 80's and 90's, the trials and triumphs of UM seemed to matter way too much to this state, and I couldn't help but be caught up. So I was bummed out when this team lost in the Rose Bowl to Washington, and I was ecstatic when UM returned the favor the following year. And to this day, I still remember walking down Hoover with my friend and his dad, who scored tickets to some meaningless early-season game against Miami (Not that Miami), awestruck by the beauty of the campus that crisp fall day. And to sit in that stadium, to hear the announcer welcome us all to the biggest stadium in America, the most people watching a football game anywhere, and to see those winged helmet rush onto the field and dominate - well, let's just say that it took Britney Spears dancing around in a schoolgirl outfit before I was that excited again.
So when junior year rolled around and college became the "thing" everyone worried about, I knew the beginning and end of my search. Then, to learn that UM had a world-renowned engineering program, I was sold. So I sweated through the ACTs, through the essays and the AP exams, and hoped that I could attend the school that captured my mind years ago. Then one rainy day my senior year, I sprinted to my jeep and found an envelope on the steering wheel - an envelope emblazoned with the UM Admissions seal (my mother, too nervous to open the letter when it arrived in the mail, had driven to school and left it in my car). I ripped it open, hoping for the best but fearing the worst, and in that first line I saw the word that means way too much to a 17-year-old kid - “congratulations.” I practically lost my mind, in a way that would have made me a worldwide sensation had youtube existed at that time.
But that was only the beginning of my connection with Michigan and, in particular, this football team. My freshman year, I sat with the greybeards while UM held on against Notre Dame, the snow and cold of the HC game against Purdue, and I cared way too much that Carr kept yanking Brady and Henson around at QB (I personally though Brady looked better out there than the hot-shot Henson, but maybe that's a bit of revisionist history). I lost my mind like everyone else in the stands when Phil Brabbs, the goofy guy who lived next to me freshman year in South Quad, booted the game winner against Washington, and then moped around like a jilted lover as the team was dominated by the likes of Iowa(!) and OSU later that year. And no matter what anyone says, I will remain the biggest Marquise Walker fan in the world, all because he blew me and my housemates' minds with his catch against Iowa. And sure, it wasn't all about football while at UM. I loved the Law Quad in the winter, the way the campus looked in the fall and spring, and how everyone on the bus up to North Campus looked close to death come December, wishing they had skipped class that day or become a psych major (no offense). Heck, I met my wife at UM, as well as some of my closest friends. But that football team, that winged helmet, is an essential element of my memories of UM.
So that's why all of this negative press kills me. Not because I care if we get a Fulmer Cup point or if guys like Boren and Wermers were right about this team, or that Rittenberg picks up to finish 9th in the Big 10 or that we are significantly worse than OSU – but because all of these hits dilute, though infinitesimally, my memories of UM. Now I know that sounds crazy – my four years at UM are in the past, and no matter what happens in the future, they should remain untouched. My friends didn't disappear, my degree still means the same, and those football memories still live on unmolested by the transgressions of subsequent years.
But they do, and I don't think you can help it. That is MY school that is being knocked on ESPN; it is MY school with the drug-dealing former player and the 3-9 season; it is MY school that gets run over my PSU, MSU, and OSU, that has to listen to people on the radio and online talk about how the UM mystique is dead and buried. Sure, the academics still are great, and the community and congeniality of UM and its alumni remains strong, but the fact remains that UM is partially defined by the football team, and this recent mediocre string leaves everyone with a taste in their mouth that you just can't spit out.
Perhaps worst of all, though, is that what has happened turns these dynamic memories into buzzwords and cliches. Appy St. Thugs. Rodriguezed. 3-9. It takes everything I've written, everything I lived before, during, and after my time at UM, and distills it down to some meaningless soundbite. And for any fanbase, that is the worst feeling – you see your memories, your ups and downs, your relationship with a team and school belittled by a few words. This happens everywhere – talk to MSU fans, and they have to live with “riots” and “safety school”; OSU fans, “Clarett” and “SEC”; Florida State, “Shoegate.” As a fan, you didn't ask for these black clouds, but that is part of the deal with being a fan – you take the good with the bad. But it still hurts, and it still gnaws at you more than you know it should, and that's why you write 1,000-word blog posts at night instead of doing something more productive.
So I welcome people's opinions and criticisms, their memories and their recommendations for dealing with the realities of this team. I guess I just needed to get this out, even if it makes me seem a little crazy. Part of me is bothered that I care this much about a football team and a school from my past, but part of me is happy that I still feel such a connection with this school and this team, even 5+ years after that envelope rested on my steering wheel.
I was asked to repost this from the MGoBoard. I added a few things (in Bold) so enjoy the read.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Having had breakfast with Coach Frey and "BIG" Dusty earlier in the year he wrapped up the Boren situation in a very easy way.
1. Boren wanted to go home whenever he need to help his dad with his snow plow business. He abused that excuse.
2. He had always wanted to go to Ohio State to be closer to home and his dad bribed him to go to Michigan, hoping he would grow to love it.
3. He wanted to do "his workout not Mike's"
4. He just simply "hated to run". Coach Frey jokingly told the linemen they had to run sprints at the end of practice before a holiday break (I think Easter Break). The intent was to have them line up and then surprise them with "I'm just kidding you don't have to run any sprints today". Instead of lining up Boren walked out of practice.
5. Even with all of that the staff wanted to make it work and get him on board...there is no doubt he is a talented player. After he left practice before the sprints Coach Frey confronted him about his actions. Even though he hated running he admitted that he was in the best shape of his life from Barwis "forcing" him to workout. Why the staff finally quit on him was when he talked about the new guys being "scrubs". By "new guys" I mean the current linemen not the new recruits.
If this is all true and I believe every word of it...then it really gives me a new level of respect for the way the staff handled it in the media...they could have trashed this kid but decided to concentrate on the players they were working with currently...can you imagine Lane Kiffen taking the high road like this?
Players like Boren are not good for a program no matter what culture it is...I'm glad the coaches now weed out these guys that would have coasted during the Carr years.
I'm not saying Wermers or O'niell is that guy but having talked to most of the staff and having watched a half dozen practices up close I will tell you this...Coach Frey is a really nice guy to sit and talk with socially, he will talk to you about anything in the papers about the program, he is straight forward and will give you "real answers". That being said he does not even begin to take one ounce of shit from his players. He teaches very aggressively and that’s just his style. I can see why guys who don't want to work or don't fit in want to leave on the offensive line. He is much more vocal and demanding then a guy like Coach Jackson...you could probably go four years without him ever taking your head off the way Coach Frey will.
In football no matter the level you have to build a foundation. Sometimes the best laid foundations come from subtracting materials instead of adding them. I truly believe Boren is a good player, I also believe that if we would of had a strong senior class last season he would have straightened out over time and been a strong player. Since we had little senior leadership a guy like Boren...or O'neill...or Wermers can become a cancer to young a team and effect them for years. That attitude must be wiped out from a team that is struggling. It’s hard enough to turnaround a struggling program without having to pull guys who don't want to go. Coach Rodriguez has said many times before that when you lose you have two options...New Players or New Coaches. I'm glad to see its the players that are going (besides Shafer) and not this staff. I really believe these are the guys to take UofM to the next level.
"Hold the Rope"