I did not make this headline up
I initially loved the DB hire. He seemed very smart, past success in the business world, former player, said all the right things, etc. Then, when push came to shove, he chased after money instead of maintaining tradition WRT B10 divisions. The day he tried to start pushing UM OSU before the last game of the year was the last day I ever trusted him. He very nearly diminished the importance of the most important game on the schedule and tried to make it palatable to the fanbase. Luckily, we rejected this dose of horseshit.
With his handling of the coaching situation, he has gone from someone I distrust to someone I intensely dislike. Seriously, could he have done any worse here? The choices are clear - hire Harbaugh or retain RR. If he wants H, he should already be coaching here. The backup plan is easy to construct - contact H and see if he's interested. If the answer is yes, then get him in here so he can damage control recruiting instead of acting like our performance in the bowl means a goddamn thing for RR's job security (hint: it shouldn't hold much sway). If H isn't interested, then DB should be frantically conducting a private search for a replacement if he feels RR must go for whatever reason. The moment the replacement is found, make the switch.
If he wants to retain RR (FWIW, my extreme preference), then he is seriously being a goddamn moron. He has unwittingly placed a huge amount of importance on a middling bowl game. Here are the scenarios:
- We lose the bowl game and RR is retained - DB looks weak and people are wondering why in the hell we waited for a data point that apparently didn't matter that much. Fanbase further fractured.
- We win and RR is retained - everything looks consistent, but the team just got weaker due to difficulty recruiting. RR must scramble to fill out the class with a lot of 2nd and 3rd choices. This makes it even harder to win the following year and leaves hypothetical replacement coach with less talent to work with if it comes to that following the 2011 year.
- We win and RR is fired - DB almost can't do this; it would tear the fanbase right in half. You can't give the implicit message of "coach for your job" then fire after a win.
- We lose and RR is fired - looks consistent but gives H less time to put a class together. I don't give a shit what's going on at his current school, if we want him he will pick up and leave immediately, bowl game or not. I give 0 regard to H's "tough situation."
The bottom line is that recruiting is the lifeblood of this program and DB apparently does not realize this. Uncertainty absolutely, positively kills recruiting. The kind of kids we want have a ton of choices in schools and no particular affinity for UM - why would they risk it? We are very close with a number of very critical recruits and they have pretty much no reason to pull the trigger on M at the moment. Meanwhile, Signing Day draws near and other schools' spots are filling up. I'm not freaking out about the Dee decommit - it sucks bad but I learned awhile ago not to place a ton of value in a committment. Our offense will be fine but make no mistake - our RB position just received a downgrade.
Are more decommits on the horizon? Probably. These are the most visible signs of the failures in DB's strategy here. However, I think the true impact will be felt in a way we can't directly quantify - lost committments from recruits that have been or would have been interested in M but for the shadow of the grim reaper that hangs over our program.
First, I like Rich Rodriguez and I want him to succeed. I think next year is the tell-all year on whether he will succeed, and I would love for him and his players to have that chance.
But I do have an interesting story to relate on a very VIP in Michigan football history, who happened to have dinner at a local establishment in the last couple days, and happened to be waited on by a very good friend of mine who enjoyed bantering with this man and his companions for the better part of three hours.
This is no bullshit. And I am being very vague for the reason that I don't want to bust my buddy, or the establishment where he works.
My buddy is a kinda Michigan fan, more just a local sports fan, and he was very cognizant and impressed by the fact that he was waiting on said VIP.
The shocka quote, among many my friend heard from the jovial men that evening: "I always said, You don't win with one player and you don't lose with one player, but what they've done with that young man...."
My friend came away with a very strong, favorable impression of this man, who he said was friendly, engaging, and down to earth. As well as his friends. He said upon approaching the table at one point the name "Harbaugh" was being tossed around, but they quieted down when he came up.
Okay, that's it. I debated posting this story here for many reasons, primary of which it is hearsay and I do not want to put my bud or "VIP" under the gun. Ultimately I decided to report in this sophomoric cryptic way because I think many mgoblog readers might read the tea leaves and have some idea of what is going on here.
My conclusion: I would still like RR to stay. But I doubt that he will.
Well, Rich got ripped a new one a few weeks ago by some who objected to his suggestion that the negativity in our fanbase was hurting us on the recruiting trail. Well, I certainly wouldn't think it has helped us here... Bye Dee, would have loved to see you share a backfield with Denard.
Any objections? Neg away...
Per Angelique twitter account,
Denard to seniors re: Bowl "We're going to let you all out with a big victory. No matter what team, we're going to get a win"
and Per Mark Snyder
AD Dave Brandon on bowl destination: "Frank (Beckmann) thinks we might be going west, I think we might be going in a different direction."
I have seen several people comment that the bowl game is make or break for RR. I can't see how the bowl game makes much difference. Our bowl opponent has yet to be determined and could be either very tough, mediocre, or somewhere between. The main arguments for replacing RR: bad defense, losses to rivals, 33% winning percentage in conference will not be changed by a bowl victory. The main arguments for retaining RR: improvement, youth/inexperience, offensive genius, etc. also will not be changed by the bowl result. I have to believe that DB has a good idea about what he will do and is just checking with his subordinates and being sure he is not too hasty in his decision. Also, like an NFL receiver in the end zone, AD's must complete the process or any decision they make will be void.