If this was an editorial cartoon, Steve Martin would have "Michigan" written all over him and the phonebooks would say "alumni." Also it would be terrible.
You know, my immediate reaction to this AnnArbor.com headline…
Former receiver Braylon Edwards impressed by one Michigan coach, down on another following busy Friday
…was "great, more people talking crap about Rodriguez." Turns out Edwards was just talking crap about Mike Hart. Well played, Bigelow. It's good to know that we've stopped taking hardly veiled shots at Rodriguez and are ready to move on—
“Just more about the tradition,” Edwards said of Hoke’s message. “And he appreciates the alums, and he definitely wants to get us involved and do everything we can to educate the players who play there now.
“Because it’s sad to say, a lot of them don’t know the tradition at Michigan. Back in the day, players knew the former players. They knew the countdowns, the titles, Hail to the Victors. I’m sure if you ask some of the kids on the team now, I guarantee there’s a couple of kids that don’t know all of the words in full.”
Son of a bitch. People are talking crap about Rodriguez not respecting Michigan's tradition at the alumni flag football game he started. In related news, this year's Tunnel Of Victors will feature a special version of the MGoBlue banner that says "F.U. RICHROD."
Meanwhile… Braylon Edwards. He should probably stop talking and doing things. When you punch some dude or say your DUI for blowing twice the legal limit was because of tinted windows or that Cleveland "has nothing" while you have a "New York-type essence" or that your teammates quit and the starting quarterback should be different and your OC is bad or that people on the football team don't know the fight song, that doesn't reflect well on yourself or "Lloyd Carr's" University of Michigan. It's one thing to take swipes at current players who might not be great at football collectively. It's another when they're awesome dudes and you're someone people euphemistically dub "controversial" or "outspoken." Because bitching about Charlie Frye makes you Malcolm X.
Mike Hart also said some things about how Rodriguez didn't value the tradition but prefaced that with a statement about how he always felt welcome back; Breaston dismissed the "he wasn't accepted" bit and focuses on winning games; meanwhile, Ron Bellamy:
“We are ecstatic,” Bellamy said. “We know it’s a process. You can’t build up the program in a year or two. You have to give him a chance to bring his guys in the right way and play football in this conference the way it is supposed to be played.”
"He has to make it work," Edwards said. "If he can't -- me being one of the alumni guys -- I want someone that can make it work. We've been patient. If it doesn't go right this year, we'll have to find a guy that can make it work with that winged helmet."
Since Michigan's tradition quickly became "screw you, Rich Rodriguez," I can't imagine why there was a disconnect there.
Who cares? We just watched a bunch of guys who essentially never beat OSU and/or quit en masse once they didn't like the head coach blame Rodriguez for the program's decline. Yeah, it declined. Yeah, Rodriguez had a lot to do with it. So did they. Jim Brandstatter of all people:
"He had a lot of strikes against him when he walked in the door and that was sad," Brandstatter said.
Whatever Rodriguez's failings were they were amplified by a culture that immediately rejected him. There was a rebellion the seniors on this year's team are pointing to as a Bad Idea. Someone sold him out to the Free Press. He was treated like garbage at alumni outings.
Meanwhile, the complainers were the reason Michigan had to go outside the family. The Great Tradition of Michigan had recently devolved into a 1-6 record against OSU and The Horror. The Great Tradition had produced zero plausible head coaching candidates to continue it. The Tradition is blaming it all on a scapegoat instead of manning up and looking in the mirror. They are collectively Edwards blaming his 0.16 BAC on tinted windows.
That's not a good way to run anything. Without a serious analysis of what you did wrong other than "hire that outsider," with how your culture is messed up, you become Notre Dame. Someguys were willing to be active with the program over the last few years and plenty more didn't sell it out publicly; the decision not to speaks to the player, not Rodriguez.
Carr's former players aren't the program. A subset of them think it's about them, but it's about Denard and Molk and Martin and Kovacs, the ones who stayed and worked hard and were emphatically not champions thanks in some small part to people like Edwards. Van Bergen:
"You know, it's just kind of unsettling that there's … it's great that they're back, but it's kind of, where have they been the last two or three years?" Van Bergen said. "We've still been wearing the same helmets since they were here."
Despite what they think, the alumni are just fans now. It's hard to imagine a big chunk weren't the loathsome sort glorying in a season-ending blowout.
So you'll have to excuse the rest of us who stood in those stands during the Fandom Endurance III game and are terribly sad about how the last three years worked out: we've got a phonebook to care about instead of Braylon Edwards's glorious return to the program.
[ROTE DISCLAIMER THAT WILL BE IGNORED: This is not a defense of Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez should have been fired. It is not a criticism of Brady Hoke. I wrote a big long post about how Hoke's three non-MAC coordinator hires constitute a real reason for optimism. Early indications are this staff is taking advantage of the opportunities placed before them in this year's recruiting class, and with what's going on at OSU the hypothetical ceiling on the program could blow off.
I look forward to this being interpreted as an attack on Hoke in the comments. Bring it, reading comprehension failures of America.]
You do not have to think RR was the best choice for Michigan to be a true fan (hint, hint, Hokemaniacs).
But if you are a former player who withheld support for the program, openly disparaged the program in public, and sowed controversy through intentional acts, all because you didn't like RR personally or disrespected his background (or hell, even if you just thought he was a lousy couch), then you played a role, however small, in the failure of RR and the inability of current Michigan players to win, and therefore you damaged the program.
gave me the exciting, dynamic, score on any play, type of offense I've always wanted to see out of Michigan football. For three straight years, my eyes were glued to the TV for every play, even when we were down big to OSU, Wisconsin, PSU, or whoever else. Good or bad, there was always something really interesting to talk or debate about. The RR era easily gave me my top three or four favorite offensive Michigan plays of all time. IME, RR was good for Michigan football. I had a feeling inside that the last OSU loss was the straw that broke the camel's back. Of course, the loss to OSU hurt, but knowing that the RR era was over hurt much more.
Fire Hoke you aks? Well that's the question for the fuckin' ages, ain't it?
There are Rodriguez fans who value the aesthetics of his offense more than the results on the field.
To me, there sure were some exciting plays in the Rich Rod era. The first half of last year, I was pinching myself pretty regularly. But there were also games against Ohio State where the Buckeyes couldn't even be bothered to hate us we were so fucking pathetic.
The article isn't a defense of Rodriguez, covert or otherwise
The article is a biting and intelligent criticism of former players.
The principle at work here with the former players is probably the very same one at work with the garden variety fan (not the more serious fans from this blog). The principle is that Rodriguez' era is associated with failure because of the losing. Therefore, everything about RR becomes distorted to the negative. As a counterbalance, the Carr era or something like it, is going to tend to be more warmly received now than in 2008. Rodriguez was a stand up guy who didn't win enough. So he's an easy mark for these guys. They should just pipe down and support the new direction without taking shots at the old.
Brian makes a fabulous point that the ex-players who now seem to be jockeying for a microphone to bbq Rodriguez, and a seat at the Hoke table, should also accountable for their treatment of Rodriguez and his players during his run. He makes an even better point that the lackluster play from a lot of these guys was part of the decline which they view negatively.
These guys were free all along to have their own opinions, and they are free to cry freedom now that they have one of their own in charge. And guys like Brian are free and justified for calling bullshit when they do. That's part of being an ex-player who makes a big deal out of being an ex-player.
It has more perks and pitfalls then just being out here among the fans.
"because character wins in life and character wins on the football field....." 1-11-11
Wow I just agreed with NateVolk...feels weird. If you seriously disagree with Brian on this take a look at one guy who wanted Rodriguez gone for a really long time before it happened and see how his opinion is in lockstep with a guy who supported Rodriguez being the coach till the end(me or Brian in this case).
"At worst we failed at trying to do the right thing rather than succeed at doing the wrong thing.."
Since Mike Hart was one of the players singled out, does that mean he is one of the players who's lackluster play was part of the decline? While I understand the opinions being expressed about the actions of some specific ex-players have said, taking bigger shots at larger groups of players is what has me frustrated the most about this string of posts. I suspect that many of those lackluster players put more of there hearts and souls into the team than all the uber fans on this site
It really wasn't the "lackluster play" of those players that led to 15-22. Those players won a lot of games while they were at Michigan. The only factor - though certainly a big one - that links Carr's tenure to Rodriguez's failure is recruiting, not the level of play provided by Braylon et al.
You are forgetting about the 6 point win over Florida in the Capital One Bowl. In case you didn't know, narrow victories in bullshit bowls are worth more than anything any other team or coach could accomplish. If you didn't know that, then you are clearly ignorant of the greatest win in Michigan history.
Am I really arrogant enough to think I have something to add aft
I guess so. When you write a blogpost that you have to caveat at the end with a bitter comment about people's poor reading comprehension, it really might be time to take a break. While there are plenty of points in the post that might have changed some minds if they hadn't been combined with bitterness at players who had never beaten OSU in their careers as if that is some measure of their committment to the team and program, the bitternss makes it come off as a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. You are pissed that Braylon didn't support RR - got it. It is your blog and you can do what you want. Got that too.
When you aren't bitter, your blog is great.
Can't wait til the football season starts, the team is winning and I can read good insightful posts again, but man, it is gonna be a long summer on MGoBlog
I know everyone wants to "move on", but having BE spew his bile invites a response. Not sure if there's a more self-absorbed star to come out of Michigan football than BE. In his mind, it's all about him - contrast that as Brian does with Mike Hart. One is the epitome of the modern celebrity athlete and the other is concerned with the greater good of the program.
That's your right, of course. As it is Braylon's right to do any damned thing he wants to.
It's such a pity, though, to compare Braylon's post-graduate life to people like Tom Harmon, Bob Chappuis, Bump Elliott, Fritz Seyferth, Jim Mandich, Dan Deirdorf, Jim Abbott, Barry Larkin or Jason Avant. Those are all guys that make us proud; you want to wallow in the Michigan tradition that they have glorified.
Mentioning Braylon Edwards in most conversations just makes me want to change the subject.
And I only have qualified respect for Braylon's "hard work at Michigan." I have the feeling that Braylon's hard work was performed mostly under the direct threat of punishment from Lloyd Carr.
"People are talking crap about Rodriguez not respecting Michigan's tradition at the alumni flag football game he started."
I always balked when people compared Michigan fans to Yankee fans, but after all this ridiculous blathering about "tradition", can there even be a debate anymore? It is so obnoxious that it almost seems like self parody. Not even Alabama fans are this over the top.
I'm a proud alumni and I can honestly say that I don't give a shit how involved the former players are with the program. It's nice to see them trotted out every 5-10 years, and the Gerald Ford pre-Ohio State 1997 speech was sweet, but the coaches run the team. This is not a democracy, it's a fucking brutal football dictatorship. Or at least it was...
Alumni and former players were just waiting to jump on any mistake he made. Maybe that pressure got to him and caused him to crack, maybe it didn't, doesn't matter now. What is sickening though, is the venom he received for having the audacity to take a job he was offered and at the time was very well qualified for.
I think a lot of us have a hard time totally getting past this because it doesn't make sense. Rich Rodriguez was a good coach everywhere else, why wasn't he good here? There were so many moments when it seemed like they had gotten over the hill, like it all clicked, and all that suffering was finally worth it. Then Chris Relf was in the endzone, again, wiping remnants of Obi Ezeh off his cleats. Then it was over, and the only things we learned were that Braylon talks to much and nothing in football ever makes sense.
Low times, Brian, low times. Can you explain to me the difference between calling out Obi week after week, under the cover of objective analysis and Braylon calling out Rodriguez under the cover of his own reasons for loving the program? If a fan isn't obligated to swallow their tongue in the name what's good for the program, then why should a former player be held to that standard? Or can it be argued that everyone involved just wants who is best and what is best?
I will never understand how Rich Rodriguez could become the highest paid coach in Michigan's history, inherit a program with more tradition and fans than he'd ever known, be given facilities and resources he had only dreamed of and have some continue to blame the university and shoot any messenger whose opinion they don't like.
Because the belief is that a coach deserves both public and private, behind the scenes support, especially from those with ties to the program. Failing getting private support, at least people shouldn't be creating problems.
Edwards' comments, while public, symbolize the fact that Rodriguez didn't have private support. His behavior with the JT Floyd/#1 jersey issue, which could easily have been handled privately, is further evidence of this lack of support. He went public, created a PR problem, instead of dealing with it privately -- and fully resolving the issue that way.
Your Obi Ezeh example is disingenuous. Edwards' job isn't evaluating coaches/players in public. Brian's is. I wasn't happy when U-M hired Brian Ellerbe and was glad when he was fired, but if you told me, circa 2000, that Glen Rice was running around privately bad-mouthing U-M I wouldn't be pleased. If Rice came out in public ripping on the guy, while he was there, or after he was fired, I think people would wonder why he wasn't being supportive or at least staying quiet rather than allowing his comments to be used to undermine the program.
I agree with the above. Braylon and former players have more of a right to voice their concerns because they actually contributed to the football program for 4+ years. They have way more of a vested interest than even the most ardent fan of Umich.
Do you realize the Michigan football program wouldnt exist without fans right? I realize former players worked hard on the field but the program would not exist without millions of um fans, including those who have never played football. Being a former player doesn't give you a right to be a douche and it doesn't make your opinion matter more
Sure, discussing it might not be the same as criticizing Hoke, but it's still a bit like picking at an old scab.
It's high time we put this one to rest. Rich was a very nice guy who tried to do something daring and risky. At times it was thrilling, at others depressing. Due to a complex set of reasons--some out of his power, but many within it--it failed not only to get us where we needed to be by year 3, but didn't really show there was a roadmap to sustained success beyond it.
We hired someone else, who is also taking some risks that may or may not pan out. Immediate success will--and should--be measured by whether Hoke and his staff can take us to the next level, back into Big 10 contention and relevance. From there, if we get there, we can talk about BCS contention and relevance with a straight face again. But in order to do so, we'll have to watch our offensive personnel adjust to a system that's still a bit of an unknown, possibly even to Al Borges. Is this the right move? What is the potential upside/what are the risks? That's a topic worthy of discussion.
What we really shouldn't waste time on, anymore, is picking at the old RichRod vs. Brady Hoke scab. He's gone and never coming back. Hoke is here and will be for the next 3 years, at least. Let's all HOPE he does a bang-up job.
When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing. -Bo
Ok. I get it. Brian still is not over the firing of RR, and he wants everyone to know he still thinks there should have been more time for him to make it work. This is so dumb to even consider at this point. It's like the friend who broke up with this chick months ago and won't stop talking about her. Get over it, dude. I'm sick of hearing about RR, it's time to talk about the future. The past is a horrid, ugly thing I'd rather forget.
Second, he is a fantastic douchebag for not saying nice things about the UM football program and the current UM football players, who have been busting their asses. Christ, say what you want about Rich Rodriguez, if you must, but why be such an effing asshole about the current players on the team? Douchbag, man, there's no other word for it.
Third, Brady Hoke is going to do well with Mattison and Borges. Well enough to return Michigan back to the mean, i.e. going 9-3 followed by a horrific bowl loss and some Big Ten titles sprinkled in every few years. This will have nothing whatsoever to do with the "hurt feelings" of alumni, former players or whatever's going on inside the empty airline hangar called Braylon Edwards' skull.
Rodriguez deserved to be fired, mainly for hiring incompetent staff. He'll likely find new work elsewhere next year, hire a decent DC, and start re-kicking opponent's asses up and down the gridiron just to get the frustration out of his system. It will take years of catharsis. The Rodriguez story is probably not over.
In closing, Braylon, Anthony Carter was better. Way better.
I think to be successful at the highest levels of both coaching and playing, a person has to have a large ego. Maybe the person keeps it to him/herself, but it's still there.
That former players, players during RR's first year, and from people inside the program sabotaged RR has been established. Chris Balas at The Wolverine, among others, has said that this happened and it is fact. No names have been given, but it happened. And it has been established that he was undercut from Day One b/c these people wanted nepotism to be served. Some wanted English/Malone/Lloyd staff member. Some wanted Les Miles.
Understand that RR, while being a laid back, self-effacing, genuinely friendly guy, is still a highly competitive guy with a healthy ego who enjoyed BCS-level success at a place that can't attract half the talent that Michigan can.
What I believe basically happened is this:
Michigan Men: This is Michigan, RichRod. Most wins all-time. Highest winning percentage all-time. Most national titles all-time. Most Big Ten titles all-time. Bow Down.
RR: I took West Fucking Virginia to two BCS bowl games in three years and 3 straight top-10 finishes. During that time I was more successful than Lloyd Carr. And I did it with half his talent. My way is the best way. Bow Down.
I think the biggest failure in all of this lies with Bill Martin, who gave Rich zero guidance as to handle the Michigan Football Family and all the cliques therein. Furthermore, he did zero to get Michigan people on board or get out. Given the background of both Michigan and Rodriguez, the football program needed a strong leader in the AD position to facilitate the transition. This didn't happen.
When Bo was hired, I'm sure he did not fit into the clicks of the Michigan Athletic Department. I'm sure many were very upset Canham went outside of the program to hire a coach! What did Bo do, he won! He upset the number one team, OSU, at Michigan stadium and became a Michigan Man after that first season.
If RR would have done the same at Michigan his first season, then he would still be the coach! And he would be a Michigan Man! It was more difficult for RR since the OL and QB did not have much talent his first year. The defense was still decent his first year and RR should have known of the impending defensive disaster that was nearing the corner. Miscues in hiring a DC and evaluating the defense lead to his demise. I liked the spread offense and thought RR was doing a good job building the spread offense...though it did seem to struggle against the better defenses in the b10. I still thought RR deserved at least another season or two as coach but I'm not sure if he would have hired the right defensive coaches to get the job done? I guess we'll never know!
Now, I'm a big Brady Hoke supporter. Just like when RR was hired, I wish for great success for Brady Hoke. He made a great coaching hire getting Mattison to leave the Ravens to be his DC. Borges is the offensive coordinator he trusts and hopefully he will adjust his offensive scheme to take advantage of our skilled spread players. It would be great if Brady were to have a similar first season to that of Bo, but I doubt that will happen given the weak state of our defense. The defense will improve this season but can it improve enough to win the legends division or beat OSU at home this season? I'll be happy with 7 or 8 wins and bowl win. 2012 may be more difficult for Hoke due to a tougher schedule but the talent, depth and experience of the team should improve. It may take a few seasons before we are in position to win the b1G and possible BCS Bowls.
the brain cook has realy turned into an emotional wreck. call the Wambulance, stat.
Dude. its just a game. Its just a multi billion dolla university that cares not of me, you or any of our ilk. its just people, no better or worse than you, running they moufs. why all the self righteous indignation? who do you think you are or have become? you sound like a white Braylon Edwards.
its just entertainment, dude. pull the 2x4 out of your ass for reeelz.
But I have the suspicion that you may be at least partially right. When I read Brian's post, the first thing that struck me is that Braylon did the guy a favor by providing him a lightning rod upon which to focus all his frustration regarding the end of the Rodriguez era. Your summary of Brian's progression is pretty much exactly what has happened on this blog the past few months.
Now, that's not necessarily an indictment on Brian. I've certainly gone through a progression of my own - from defending Rodriguez vehemently until the OSU game, to still believing that he would succeed if he could hire a good coordinator until the Miss. State game, to deciding somewhere in the middle of that debacle that we should hire that asshat Harbaugh after all (seriously, I still didn't like the fucker even when it looked like we'd hire him), to being really frustrated with Brandon's failure to look at candidates like Charlie Strong, to only swinging behind Hoke once it looked like the alternative would be Miles (which would have been a disaster on multiple levels, IME.)
But I don't think I ever had the millenarian hopes and the same level of righteous indignation about Rodriguez criticisms that Brian (and others on the board) seem to have had.
Here's the thing: I think some people can interpret Brian's posts as critical of Hoke without being unable to read - but because they remember the progression that dahblue lays out here and they're basing their reaction on the subtext of Brian's writing.
If the team does really well this year, Brian and others will point to the inherited talent on the roster and suggest that, yeah, Hoke should have done well. But if Hoke really succeeds in the long term, and leads us back to at least the level of Carr in his prime, Brian will be confronted with the notion that maybe The Process was a good thing, that maybe a pro style offense really is more conducive to success in the Big Ten, that maybe hiring from within the 'Michigan family' does have its benefits beyond simply mollifying the cranky alums (after all, that coordinator hire that he's excited about simply wouldn't have happened without those Michigan connections.) Hell, if Hoke is successful, suddenly Carr did develop a coaching protege, though maybe not timely enough to succeed him directly.
Anyway, I wonder - and I think others might too - whether Brian, understanding that Hoke's long-term success will lead to a re-evaluation of the axioms he has so passionately established on this blog, might actually be a least a little conflicted about how much he wants Michigan to start really kicking ass again. I'm not saying he doesn't love Michigan football or that this makes him a bad fan - but as emotionally invested in Rodriguez as he was, I think it's reasonable to read posts like this and look to the larger corpus of his posts when trying to decide whether there's a deeper subtext to his writing.
I negged you because, "the defenders of RR have, like a pack of flying birds, shifted their attacks", makes no sense at all. Flocks of birds don't coordinate attacks on things just like RR defenders don't coordinate our opinions. You don't speak for me.
yelling "troll" at someone who is merely pointing out the progression of negative fans is far from the truth. Trolls just wail against our program for no reason. I don't have to define them for people who have been around for awhile... Just because there are a slew of people still mourning over the death of someone who died 4 MONTHS AGO doesn't mean we can't point it out.
We all love Michigan. Do what's best for the team, the players, and the fans. Move on, support our new guys. Hey, did you notice the Mattison hire? Hello! One of the most successful defensive coaches in the NFL is coming to coach a team that ranked 110 out of 116 Div-1 teams? Never thought it would happen, and so glad it did. Did you see them hitting in the spring game? They were the best part (besides sitting on the 50 in the Big House...) Jake Ryan will play his way into the starting lineup - that kid isn't the fastest, strongest or the most phsycally intimidating; he just makes plays, and always seems to be around the ball. The future is bright, look forward to it! Go Blue!