Mount St. Mary's hired a private equity CEO to be their president. You'll never guess what happened next.
Tim sat in on the call this morning and scribbled a bunch of notes that I turned into something more readable; what follows is a paraphrase faithful on intent but probably somewhat heavy on sentences that start with "I". That is an artifact of our amateur process and not a reflection of megalomania.
Brandon right; some guy from Findlay winning a "gold Frannie" left.
Why leave Dominos?
I loved my job there, and the company is doing great. It takes a special opportunity to leave 11-year job. I would only leave for a couple jobs in the world, this is one of them. I love Michigan, loved it as student-athete and have been connected ever since. I was a member of regents for 8 years, which was a labor of love. I know the place
Athletics plays an important role in Michigan's profile. It creates excitement, loyalty, connection. I got an e-mail from someone in Istanbul today. Within an hour of release, people in Turkey are talking about the athletic director at Michigan.
How does your background as a CEO work for your new job?
I'm more than a pizza man, I'm a CEO. I've been in the business world 35 years, a university regent for eight years, and been in involved in other governing bodies. I've been a been a student-athlete, donor, and fundraiser at Michigan. I know the talents of athletic department from my connections. I haven't lived a career in athletics specifically, but I bring set of qualifications, interests, and experiences that will help him succeed. I 'm Fortunate to be the one chosen.
What did you learn from Bo?
My second degree from Michigan was from the Bo School of Leadership. One advantage of not playing is that you can observe and learn. Learned how to select talent from Bo. His assistants went on to be head coaches. He was surrounded with terrific people, recruited athletes on skills and ability, but also character and integrity. Bo taught how to set high expectations/goals. He taught preparation, competing at highest level, intensity. Those lessons translated to my career as a business leader and will come with me as athletic director.
Why are you forgoing public office? Is it on the backburner?
I'm the athletic director at the university of Michigan. I committed for a minimum of 5 years, and hope to get that extended. It's flattering that people think I can serve the public good. I care about positively impacting lives.
I can do that in public office, but I know I can do it as Michigan's athletic director as well. Athletics changed my life, and athletes at Michigan are experiencing that now. I have three Big Ten champioinship rings and wear them proudly. I appreciate people think I can do other things, but this is what I want to do.
What is your feeling on Rich Rodriguez's job security?
He's the coach at UM. He has an awesome responsibility, a proven track record. I have great respect for Rich. I hope to know him better and get a chance to work with him.
Can you comment on the NCAA investigation?
I can't comment on an ongoing investigation, and wouldn't if I could. I'll get briefings when the university knows more about it. Doesn't mind being put in the middle, he'll worry about doing the right thing, like Michigan always does. If we'd made mistakes, we'll correct them. We'll deal as we need to.
How is your relationship with Rich Rodriguez?
We've spent a little time together, had dinner a couple times. We're acquainted in social way. We've chatted briefly on sidelines and at one practice a couple years ago. Though we haven't had time together, I hope to get to know Rich better. He looks forward to turning the program around and being where we all want to be.
Do you have any plans for changes in the department?
I'll listen and learn first. I don't have a a prearranged agenda. I'll meet and assess the team and organizational design. Why are we doing things this way? I'll come in with a new set of eyes and without hard-fixed ideas. I can come in, ask questions, and challenge status quo, come up with some unique things.
Listen, learn, asses, then change things when we're prepared. Is the right talent in place in the right spots? We'll make goals at that time.
How are you relationships with the Regents?
Unique, because I served with some as a colleague. I worked with some for eight years. Mary Sue Coleman contacted them last night, and some got in touch with me after. I am most appreciative that I got the opportunity. I still know the ones I didn't serve with due to my role as a regent emeritus. I knows what their job is about because I've done it.
What are your plans for Crisler?
Big plans underway to put expansion and practice facilities in place. Long overdue. Other considerations underway for doing things in arena, updating and making more competitive. Team and fans deserve that consideration.
Do you have Don Canham's vision?
I was just 18 when i met him. He was bold, innovative, willing to take measured risks. I admired his skills, I'll emulate some. I'm not him or Bo, I'll do me. I'll work hard to achieve what I can as AD.
How is your relationship with Mary Sue Coleman?
She approached and gauged interest, I said yes. I was in pool of candidates, vetted carefully. I'm the one she selected and I'm appreciative of that.
[Now starts a series of questions about factions that
What's your take on factions in the athletic department? Will you seek to remove conflict?
Yes. I'm a team sport guy. Brought up that way, and believes in it. Factions are counterproductive. Needs to be fixed immediately, won't be tolerated.
How do you cure factions, reel in anti-Rodriguez guys?
I'm leaving a job in which I had to get 1200 franchisees on the same page, and accept the plans I initiated. If I can pull that off, I can pull together 275 [athletic department employees] using some of the same techniques. It takes vision. You need to surround yourself with people who share that and your values. You hold people accountable. Every business I've led has been #1 in its industry. I don't know any other way. I want the athletic department to be number 1 in the nation. Talent, accomplishment, all the ways success can be measured. You surround yourself with people who will bring work ethic to achieve that.
Will playing under Bo brings factions together?
I was proud to play for Bo, but my initial recruiting was under Bump, and I would have been proud to play for him. I was proud to have Mo as a position coach, would have been as a head coach. I would be proud under Carr, under Rodriguez. Anyone who wears that winged helmet, or runs through that tunnel, I support.
Are you a quintessential Michigan Man?
Not quintessential anything, but I understand what it means to be Michigan Man. I understand traditions and role in the community, and that will be an asset in the job.
How important is it coming back to M?
It's huge. It's huge.
What was the hiring timetable?
I was contacted several weeks ago by search firm hired by Coleman and asked whether he'd be interested in interviewing. I said yes and submitted a letter of interest. I made it very clear that the process had to remain confidential, as sitting CEO of a public company. I was interested in pursuing opportunity, but had to maintain interests in Dominos. The private process culminated in meeting with Coleman and the search committee for several hours. I told my story and explained why I was going to be the right choice for the job.
What will you do in terms of branding?
I understand brand management. Brands, promotion, and marketing has been my background. I understand innovation and how to build a brand, how to bring innovation and freshness to a brand. But being inconsistent with brand can undermine it.
[Editor's note: I choose to interpret this as a desire to put Special K, piped-in music droid, in a catapult calibrated to provide him a soft landing in a war-torn former Soviet republic.]
As a football observer what is your level of concern with the program?
I am as concerned as everybody. The program likes and needs to win. We sing about being champions, the leaders and best. We want that to be true. Nobody wants that more than Rodriguez.
What are the business ramifications? How does the departure impact Dominos?
I am proud of many things at Dominos, including succession planning. My role includes active involvement at the board level. My successor at Dominos has been there longer than me, has gone through every unit of the company, president for past 3 years, completes the loop and is prepared to succeed me seamlessly. Interest of shareholders will be protected. I'm an investor, will continue to serve on board of directors.
How can the athletic department affect the university?
There are so many components. It has a 90 million dollar budget. It has a huge impact on the Michigan brand. It's somewhat of a selling organization for the entire university. When we won the NC, admissions to school were up 22%. The athletic department propagates what the university is all about. The university competes at the highest level in all aspects.
Editor's note: Tom's back after a happy hiatus with a roundup on the defensive prospects. Items in blockquotes are direct quotes; items outside are impressions gleaned from Tom's conversations with the below recruits.
In light of the depth chart, defensive players are now the focus of recruiting. Michigan has 19 commits on board and will look to fill the rest of the open spots with defense. Here's an update from most of the recruits left on the board:
Bobby Swigert. He will be visiting for either the Penn State, or Ohio State game. He wants to make a decision relatively soon.
Cullen Christian. Cullen is visiting November 21st, and making his decision on November 24th.
“Michigan still leads.” –Cullen Christian
Michigan is in good position to land Christian, and always have been. A lot of the current commits have been contacting him, letting him know how much Michigan wants him.
Marquis Flowers. He’s focusing on his season, and will start evaluating schools once his season is over. He’s not sure if he’s going to visit Michigan. He said he will probably visit, but he’s not sure.
"Notre Dame is really the only visit I have set up right now. I'm going to make my decision either at the Army All American game, or at signing day. I'm just going to take my time with it." –Marquis Flowers
By the sound of how he was talking, he hasn’t put a lot of stock or time into his recruitment yet.
Rashad Knight. Knight is visiting for the Ohio State game, which is shaping up to be a huge game for recruit visits. He doesn’t have any leaders as of now. He has never been to Michigan before, and wants to wait to see the campus before naming any leaders, which is a good sign for M.
Aramide Olaniyan. He recently took a visit to UNC, and (surprise!) he liked it. Everything is still wide open with him. Until his parents get to see the campus of the schools he’s really interested in, he won’t make a decision.
Josh Furman. Josh just visited Virginia Tech. That scares me a little, and I can’t get a feel for what he’s going to do.
Tony Grimes. Grimes will be visiting with his teammate, Clarence Murphy, for the Ohio State game. They have said before that they both want to go to school together. Michigan is one of few schools that have offered both prospects.
"As of right now, Michigan leads for both myself and Clarence (Murphy)." –Tony Grimes
Grimes will be deciding on signing day, and I’m assuming so will Murphy, otherwise that would ruin the surprise.
John Fulton. He has interest in Michigan. We’re not in his top group, he’s an outside shot, but there’s still a shot. I spoke with him the other day, and didn’t sense that much interest, FWIW.
Dietrich Riley. Will take a visit after his season is done, he’s not sure if it will be official, or not.
"They pretty much call every week, so I definitely know that they're interested. I'm just waiting until everything slows down." –Dietrich Riley
He said he liked that they have shown so much interest. This will be a wait and see. He’s one of the better prospects out there, and is being recruited for both safety and running back.
Some names that might still pop up. Ricardo Allen, Dior Mathis, Sean Parker.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution. This week, I made it to two games, and they're listed at the top.
MI RB Austin White
Last week: Stevenson defeats South Lyon 37-0. Austin ran 8 times for 173 yards (21.63 YPC) and 3 touchdowns while only playing in the first half. I was there, so enjoy some rockin' HD video. Paul FAILs at titling, so you'll just have to trust me that this game took place at Stevenson, not Pioneer.
Ace from The Wolverine Blog also has video of the great performance.
This week: Stevenson (2-2) v. Northville.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Last week: Pioneer pounds Saginaw Arthur Hill 58-20. Ricardo had a quiet night, catching only 1 ball for 20 yards. He was open a number of other times, but was not thrown to. He also had a decent night blocking. Again, I was there, which means you get video highlights:
This week: Pioneer (4-0) @ Temperance Bedford.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
|Arthur Hill||W 58-20||1||20||0||20.00|
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Inkster defeats Lakewood (OH) St. Edward 14-7. No real word on stats, except that Gardner had a run for a successful 2-point conversion.
This week: Inkster (1-2) @ Highland Park.
Etc.: The WCBN blog interviews Gardner.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7|
SC QB Conelius Jones
Last week: Spartanburg falls to Greenwood 9-21. Jones coughed up two fumbles, but ran 7 yards for the Vikings' lone score. Spartanburg outgained Greenwood 336-120 in the loss.
This week: Spartanburg (2-3) has a bye week.
|Conelius Jones 2009|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Stephen Hopkins cut the deficit in half with a 7-yard run, and the Marcus defense forced a Katy three-and-out on the next drive.
This week: Marcus (2-1) v. Lee.
TX RB Tony Drake
Last week: Skyline beats Plano East 45-19. Drake ran 15 times for 167 yards and a touchdown.
This week: Skyline (3-0) @ Lake Highlands.
|Tony Drake 2009|
|Plano East||W 45-19||15||167||1||11.13||0||0||0||-|
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview Baptist rocks Church Point 54-0.
Dileo also scored on a 38-yard punt return.
Michigan commitment Drew Dileo caught two of those passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.
This week: Parkview Baptist (3-0) v. Port Allen.
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Last week: Canton South falls to Louisville 14-17.
South made plays first. Bowles, in South’s second possession, found Jerald Robinson over the middle and the 6-2 speedster did the rest.
Robinson broke two tackles and went 64 yards for a 7-0 lead. Robinson added a brilliant 26-yard, one-handed grab the next possession...
Robinson (#4) photo by Julie Vennitti for the Canton Repository.
This week: Canton South (1-3) @ Minerva.
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Last week: Huron is beaten by Monroe 7-14.
Jeremy Jackson caught seven passes for 103 yards, but penalties and turnovers kept halting drives.
This week: Huron (1-3) v. Dearborn.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Last week: Harding loses to Cardinal Mooney 6-31.
This week: Harding (2-1-1) v. Euclid.
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Avon Lake drops one to Olmstead Falls, 14-20.
This week: Avon Lake (1-3) v. North Olmstead.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Last week: Wayne beats Trotwood-Madison 21-19.
This week: Wayne (3-1) v. Troy.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Last week: Trinity is beaten by Jefferson 7-34.
This week: Trinity (0-3) v. Elizabeth.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton falls to Shaler Area 7-28.
This week: Hampton (1-2) @ Pine-Richland.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Last week: Liberty beats Struthers 13-7.
This week: Liberty (3-1) @ Salem.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region falls to Sebring 21-29. Marvin starred for the Thunder on both offense and defense:
Led by linebacker Luke Lehning, tackle Matt Wells and safety Marvin Robinson, the Thunder defense took nearly everything out of Sebring's offense except Clarke, holding the Blue Streaks to just 20 rushing yards on their first 20 carries...
On the first play from scrimmage after Clark's 40-yard TD, Robinson burst through the Sebring secondary, took a pass from Carr in full stride and sprinted to a 64-yard touchdown.
This week: Lake Region (0-3) @ Haines City.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Last week: Lexington falls to Orrville 21-41. Avery injured his ankle in the game, and only got limited time.
Not having Jefferson (6 carries, 69 yards; 2 receptions) and Avery (13-of-22 passing, 133 yards) was a factor.
It remains to be seen whether the injury will keep Avery out of any games in the near future.
This week: Lexington (2-1) @ Lago Vista.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Last week: Wayne beats Trotwood-Madison 21-19. I believe Terrence is still out with a leg injury.
This week: Wayne (3-1) v. Troy.
2011 OH CB Greg Brown
Last week: Ross defeats Cleveland Benedictine 28-21 in overtime.
Brown added six receptions for 99 yards.
He also scored a 6-yard touchdown in the game.
This week: Ross (3-1) v. Bloomfield Hills (MI) Lahser.
It's hard to believe that only two summers ago, a segment of Michigan supporters ardently opposed this project, that the group called Save The Big House formed and worried luxury boxes desecrating a timeless landmark.
The Big House was indeed saved, not by groups stuck in the past, but by Bill Martin and his construction shovels.
From the exterior, Michigan Stadium had become dumpy and dated. The interior had become known for its crowded walkways, long lines and cramped seating.
Watching a game at The Big House may have evoked some sort of nostalgia for fans, but using the stadium in a practical sense had become somewhat of a miserable experience.
That's AnnArbor.com's Dave Birkett. Obviously, I'm with him. I'm not sure how anyone can see the gorgeous brick exterior going up and think that tin walls that were so plain that someone thought slapping a halo on them would be a good idea were better.
Tim has a bunch of pictures below and some key numbers, including the number of commitments they have for the 82 suites (58). That's 70% full; club seats are in the 60-70% claimed. That sounds well on its way to selling out, but it seems like that number hasn't budged in a while. Not that selling suites in the face of a 3-9 season and the END OF AMERICA is an easy thing.
My impressions, which are based entirely on a comparison with a Tiger Stadium suite I was in earlier this year because of corporate ticket fatigue:
- They are swank. The Tigers' digs aren't particularly old but they suffer in comparison: granite versus 50's-era laminate countertops, flatscreens versus tube TVs that seem like they're from the 50s.
- They are way less inconvenient. If you don't want to order 80 bucks worth of food at a Tigers' game you have to hoof it down to the plebes and get a taco salad or whatever and miss at least a half-inning. I assume this won't be a problem at Michigan since there should be points of sale on that level if the food doesn't come with your 70k.
- The bathroom thing is a little odd. One advantage for the Tigers: you get your own bathroom; here you get access to a bunch of concourse bathrooms only the patricians can access. That might be better, I guess, since I assume the bathrooms will be so plentiful that one will always be open and that might not be the case in a sixteen-person suite.
There was a fierce debate about whether or not the window configuration—you can open them—blocks line of sight. A lot of media members thought it did but since we were all standing up I think maybe it's not a problem when you're seated. It's probably a ton better than the Tigers, who inexplicably put unnecessary pieces of metal directly in your LOS.
They also showed us around the club seats underneath the new structures. If a magic fairy came down and told me I could sit anywhere in the premium seating I wanted and if I didn't he'd shoot me* I'd probably go with those. They sit below an overhang, which should keep rain and less pleasant things off and also make the stadium seem electrically loud—the Tiger suite had a similar noise-catching configuration and it was surprisingly lively. They've also got access to an air-conditioned Donor Whose Name I Forgot Lounge that's got bathrooms and points of sale and whatnot. But I have different requirements than men in suits with 55-85k.
Speaking of: yes, 55-85k "gift" per suite, which is approximately $5.7 million per year without considering the 3000 club seats. This thing is going to be a money factory. And now I realize there's a word for "money factory": mint. If only I had the power to delete.
Oh also noes! The day's most-discussed topic:
They're switching from Pepsi to Coke, which several eagle-eyed reporters picked out. I wouldn't have been able to tell you which company had the previous contract.
Greg also points out something I noticed and winced at as we clambered up the stairs:
Crisler looks sadder and sadder with every new touch they put on the renovation. That place has got to go.
Looking out the window of the brick, glass, and class structure being erected, Crisler looked dingy and old. A new practice facility will help, but only so much.
BONUS rumor debunk/start! Debunk: the classic art deco lettering on top of the press box is going to be saved but they don't know what they're going to do with it. It had previously been rumored to be headed for the entrance tunnel.
Start: I heard tell there are vague plans for another 27 rows in the endzones at some indeterminate future date in case Beaver Stadium ever gets uppity.
Thing that wasn't even a rumor but I asked about anyway, mostly in jest: there are no plans to but bleachers on top of the new luxury box structures.
*(The family heirlooms are season tickets that have been in continuous use since the 50s; they are good seats.)
While in Chicago, Tim took the opportunity provided by the Big Ten's roundtable section to ask players a couple of survey questions that have been hot topics in college football for the past few years. He only got to 19 of the 33 players before time went kaput, but 19 opinions are better than zero. The following is an unscientific survey.
Should We Have a Playoff?
Two of the abstentions were vaguely pro-playoff, with one stating "a playoff will happen soon either way because that's what fans want"—ah, if only college football worked like that—and the second saying "something other than what we have now, not necessarily a playoff."
Would A Playoff Negatively Affect Your Schoolwork?
(MOSTLY) NO: 17
The two who said yes were pro-BCS. The rest either said probably not, or "not enough that a playoff shouldn't happen."
Should Players Be Paid?
Most of the guys said something along the lines of "just a little bit more money, not really a salary or anything." Nobody had even thought about whether EA should have to pay them for using their likenesses, but most said they guess it makes sense.
Who's The Best Player In The Big Ten?
Amongst a sea of solitary votes three guys leapt out:
ARRELIOUS BENN: 8
JUICE WILLIAMS: 3
TERRELLE PRYOR: 2
Your unofficial, dominant players' Big Ten offensive POY is Arrelious Benn, which will no doubt please Dr. Saturday.
Other bits from Tim
Most everyone though Ohio State or Penn State would win the Big Ten, and White Michigan State Receiver Named White mentioned (without knowing which media organization Tim was with, no less!) that Michigan was a good darkhorse candidate. I'm not sure whether he was being serious, talking up a rival, making fun of a rival's recent struggles, etc.
I didn't ask this question, but I wrote down the answer because I thought it somewhat relevant to Michigan: OSU TE Jake Ballard mentioned that Justin Boren would win in an all-out fight of the Buckeyes' football team, because he's the toughest. [Editor's note: who asks the question "what would happen if you guys all took PCP and started beating the hell out of each other?"]
Stevie Brown was pretty non-specific about defensive scheme, mostly saying they'll play multiple formations and the "hybrid" terminology has been a little overblown. They're just out there playing defense.
On Tate, Rodriguez said "If we have multiple guys who can win football games at quarterback, they'll all get the chance to play" (paraphrase), nothing specific about limiting carries, though the implication seemed to be that there were viable backup options if a QB did get hurt.
Okay, I did get two questions answered. One: I asked Illinois center Ryan McDonald about J Leman's American flag tie. Had he seen the picture? Yes. Does he just wear that thing? "Every time I see him with a tie it's in an American flag tie." But he apparently didn't wear it to the wedding. "If you're in a tux, you can't pull that off."
J Leman picture goes here.
The other: I did get my question about the number of tight ends on the roster off. Rodriguez responded "well, now that's not entirely true, we threw to Owen Schmitt quite a bit and sometimes he lined up at tight end," at which point I gave him an "aw, come on" kind of beaten-down puppy dog look and he went into a spiel about how at Michigan they have the sort of tight ends they've never had at West Virginia and how they're looking to use them. I asked further about what was the rationale for having them split into the slot when traditionally slot receivers in the spread are 5'8" electron guys.
Rodriguez: "You want to look for mismatches part of what we're experimenting with that with the tight ends. If they can prove to be a mismatch on the field we'll use them; if they can't, they won't."
This was not as revelatory as I hoped, but it wasn't about how he feels about leadership, man.
Clarification: The stuff about Michigan hating children by ducking out of Lamarr Woodley's golf this is a miscommunication and they'll be there next year.
Observation: Curtis Painter has an unbelievable amount of product in his hair.
Theme: Rich Rodriguez would like you to know he's not married to running 70% of the time. This came up at various times as people came in and out, most artfully asking if he was stupid enough to run Steven Threet 30 times a game but all polite like. Rodriguez: "We've been pigeonholed as a club that runs. We have to have enough flexibility to go a couple different ways. You see one spread and it's not like another spread. The spread you can go a lot of different ways."
Later, he was asked about recruiting and segued in to this bit: "We don't have to have Pat White. Pat's a special guy but you can get a guy who can move a little bit and be accurate, we'll go with that." There was a followup about that and Rodriguez made an interesting point: "We're practicing the same plays when Shawn King is the quarterback and Pat White, we just call them differently. In practice we don't focus on one or the other. In the game we were calling what's working."
Stonum. "Stonum is five months ahead of him because he got there five months ahead." Stonum's chances of playing are better because he enrolled early.
Zinger. Much was made about this "apostles" bit that Rodriguez has going on; at one point Rodriguez clarified the deal: "We've always had a group of leaders; we let the players pick. Sometimes it's as simple as picking pregame music. It's not like we're making major decisions. They're making suggestions."
Angelique Chengelis then got off a pretty good one: "there's only one Jesus Christ." Rodriguez, thankfully, did not claim that happiness for himself.
Thing that makes HULK SMASH: IF YOU START A QUESTION WITH "IT'S A CLICHE, BUT" DO NOT ASK THAT QUESTION.
This would be slightly interesting if I knew who Rodriguez was talking about: "He looks stronger. He's done a great job according to Mike and looks like he has as far as getting stronger across the board; he's got a terrific attitude."
Pick your favorite player. That's who he's talking about.
On recruiting: "We trust our own judgments... recruiting rankings are a little overblown but not always. Would I take a roster full of five star guys? I would, if they have the right attitude."
"I think we can go anywhere in the country. Our base areas: Michigan, surrounding states, also an emphasis in Florida. Fortunately for us we think we've got enough of a brand name to at least give us a shot. Some of it is system-oriented, but a lot of it is just the player and attitude all coaches want in athletes."
Observation: no one wants to talk to Purdue LB Anthony Heygood.
Boilerplate: "The thing i like about camp is that it's all football from morning to night. In the spring guys have classes and all that and they've got responsibilities and the like. We'll certainly know our guys better at the end of August. I will know our team a whole lot better after 30 days."
Minor HULK SMASH moment: At this point the Dis-paaatch guy actually asks the us against the world question, which is always "do you think the team is adopting an "us against the world" mentality?" Rodriguez says "no."
Weird: Players vote on captains before the last regular season game.
Opinion on something that's not that interesting. Rodriguez was asked about this movement towards national officiating crews instead of conference-affiliated ones: "National officiating crews are a good idea; just want the games to be consistently called. The attempt to go national is an attempt to be more consistent." He also said he hadn't noticed much of a difference between conferences in bowl games and such.
Joke about referees: "I used to yell at them a lot when I was younger, but then I figured out they aren't going to change the call so I stopped."
Carlos Brown gon' take some snaps, probably. Carlos Brown was brought up; Rodriguez dubbed him a "wildcard" because he missed so much of spring when he sliced his finger open. This led into a good question from someone who I couldn't identify: "how many guys will touch the ball at quarterback this year." Rodriguez repeated the question with an arched eyebrow, paused, and then exclaimed "good question! I set the over-under: 20"
Then he said this: "we've got to be creative, moreso now than we might have to in the future."
My take-home: hello, Wildcat.
Also, on Feagin: he has to "make his mark in the first two weeks" and will be "given everything he can handle mentally."
How do you feel about the Big Ten perception Ohio State blah? "If you want to change that perception, you've got to win."
Oops. The past few years there were a lot of schools visiting West Virginia, but not ones that he thought he'd play. Including... uh... Ohio State.
The last bit in this quote is reassuring for me, though: "There's no patents on schemes. We never give them everything. Like we never tell people why we call this play in a certain situation. They bring us stuff here, We try to get smarter every year, learn some things from people all the time."
Theme: The other side of "salty language." Talking points from Morgan Trent and Tim Jamison when asked about how Rodriguez was different from Carr. Trent: "he's a little more intense, a little more vocal. He wants it to be chaotic environment in practice so we're ready during the game." Jamison: "He brings a lot of energy, it's great for us. He's not going to pat you on the butt. He demands greatness of you. You need to get better every day. You need to get ready to compete."
Tim Jamison: "I don't think anyone else is going to leave. I think everyone else is ready, confident, and has brought into the program. We're just working out hard, watching TV, hearing about how bad Michigan is going to be. I'm not going to brag on what we're going to do, but we're excited to go into training camp."
Stock answer. Jamison on defending the spread better this year because Michigan has a spread: "As the year went on we got better at it but we can't help but get better at it this year."
What kind of football will people see out of Michigan? American football. Ha. Jamison: "You're going to see a team that's very conditioned, very physical, anxious. We're anxious to see what we're going to do as well."
Awww, Lloyd Carr. Jamison, laughing: "The Brown Jug is the only rivalry Carr broke down from start to finish. From the beginning to the end, every year."