Since RR just hired Gibby to be his DBs coach at Arizona, I think we can call bullshit on the notion that RR was ready to whack all four defensive assistants in order to keep his job. Gibby is the coach who was most responsible for submarining Scott Shafer back in 2008 and RR allowed it to happen.
Post-Release Three And Out Q&A: Part II
Brian has already fled the scene for whereabouts unknown, but he left behind part the second of John U. Bacon's Q&A. If you're looking for part one, click here.
8) FIRING PROCESS.
What did Dave Brandon say in his 2 hour meeting with Rich Rod the day before he was fired? Everyone including Rodriguez thought he'd be fired so why string it out like that?
Good question. Rodriguez told me that night in his home, between the two meetings, that he believed Brandon hoped that afternoon that Rodriguez would make it easy for him by conceding that things hadn’t gone as planned, it was all too much, and Rodriguez was ready to negotiate his departure. Rodriguez thought Brandon was surprised to see Rodriguez digging in his heels, asserting his eagerness to coach a fourth season, and displaying his confidence that 2011 would be the year his team would take off.
That night, Rodriguez told me he was “90-percent certain” Brandon would fire him the next day, which he did, “as expected,” as Rodriguez told his assistants after the meeting. For his part, Brandon stated at the press conference that he was still tossing the question over in his mind that very morning, though – as I wrote in the book – that seems very unlikely for such a calculating man.
So, why drag it out? Since this boils down to speculation, something I’ve tried to avoid, your guess is as good as mine. The book does point out, however, the indisputable effects the delay had on Rodriguez, his players, and the program, which don’t require speculation, namely: Rodriguez declined Maryland’s offer in December, which would have provided a safe haven for him, his coaches, and any players who might want to transfer, particularly Denard Robinson. It gave Brandon more time to set the stage for Brady Hoke, a relative unknown at the time. And, after the Gator Bowl, it made it very difficult for even Rodriguez’s most fervent supporters to defend retaining him. Whether these results were intended or not, they certainly helped pave the way for Brandon to hire Hoke, and for Hoke to succeed, with the team intact.
9) HYPOTHETICAL 2011.
Did Rich Rod ever hint at changes that would be made to his staff if he was retained for 2011?
He told me he was definitely going to make changes. With a few games to go in the 2010 season – after the Illinois game, I believe -- when it was already quite obvious the offense was working as well as the defense wasn’t, Brandon met with Rodriguez to discuss the future. He asked if Rodriguez was so loyal to his staff that he was not willing to make changes. Rodriguez replied that he was loyal to his staff, but he understood that changes needed to be made, and he was willing to make them, including replacing the entire defensive staff. Just as important, of course, would be the next step: figuring out who would replace them, starting with a new defensive coordinator.
To do so effectively, Brandon would need to offer competitive salaries and guaranteed contracts – as he’s done for Hoke’s staff -- which would have committed him to Rodriguez for probably two more years, minimum. Obviously, after the Gator Bowl, that was not going to happen.
10) DID BACON EVER GET A SENSE FOR WHAT RODRIGUEZ WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF HE HAD A TIME MACHINE?
It’s part of the psychology of the big-time college coach, I’ve noticed, not to look back very often, not to indulge regret, and not to admit too many mistakes. Schembechler got better at the latter over time, for example, but only so much. Most of them don’t think too much about the past unless prompted – and even then, their failings are not usually at the top of the list of things they mention. They tend to be confident and stubborn in equal measure.
Nonetheless, I think there are several things we can conclude based partly on Rodriguez’s comments, but more on his decisions since becoming Arizona’s head coach. He clearly had prepared for his first press conference -- closing with the Wildcats’ signature slogan, “Bear Down!” -- something he had failed to do before his Ann Arbor introduction. I’m sure he wishes he had phrased things differently during any number of press conferences, although he would be likely to blame the interpretation of his remarks as much as the remarks themselves.
The fact that he’s currently working much harder to get WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Castell to join him than he had in 2007 tells you something, too. (Whether or not Arizona has the resources to lure Casteel to Tucson, however, remains to be seen.) And I suspect you’ve seen the last of Rodriguez calling for an inspirational song at a football banquet.
I think it’s pretty clear both Michigan and Rodriguez have learned a lot from those three years. I suspect both parties have read the book, too, and taken away some lessons. Brady Hoke is already off and running, while working to unite the family, and if Rodriguez gets Casteel (or a similarly good fit) at Arizona, I would expect him to do very well there, too.
11) PEOPLE YOU'D LIKE TO TALK TO.
I'd like to know the list of the people he most wanted to interview for the book and what his primary question would be for each one.
I’m satisfied that we reported everything that could be reported fairly. I followed the team non-stop for three seasons, compiling 10,000 pages of notes, and writing 2,000 pages. I don’t think readers will ever get a more thorough look inside a major college football program.
No reporter gets everyone he wants to speak on the record for a book, but we came very close. Of the hundreds of people I asked to interview, only six people declined: three at West Virginia, cited above, and three at Michigan: Scott Draper, President Coleman and Coach Carr. Given the eyewitness testimonies of hundreds of others, the first five could simply deny what other witnesses have said, on the record. They have so far declined to do so.
To me, there is only one important question that hasn’t been answered: Why did Coach Carr reach out to Rich Rodriguez, recommend him to Bill Martin, then invite his players to transfer immediately after Rodriguez was hired, all in the same week? As I wrote in the book, “on its face, it seems like a simple, generous offer to look out for people he cared about – and, in fairness, that was probably part of his motive.” But it’s also true that of the dozen-plus witness I’ve talked to, all of them interpreted it as a pre-emptive vote of no-confidence for the new coach. However, until Coach Carr chooses to speak – if he does, that is – I’ll leave that answer blank.
[Errors, the Threet thing, reactions from Rosenberg and Brandon, and additional notes covered after the jump.]
12) ERRORS. ROSENBERG COMPLAINT.
The errors in recounting the Purdue game have caused folks to doubt the veracity (voracity?) of other portions of the book. The most surprising element in the whole book, to me -- that Carr allowed players to skip classes during rivalry weeks. That's been repudiated by some. Can JUB address?
First, let me say that when my name is on the book, everything between the covers is ultimately my responsibility. So what I say next is not intended to shift the blame, but to explain what happened with the two fourth quarter scores of the 2008 Purdue game so the reader can understand how mistakes can get in final copy without ill-intent or incompetence.
When I wrote up each game week – which ran 10-30 pages each, for three seasons, most of which was ultimately cut – I was primarily concerned with the material only I had, e.g. the quotes, scenes and insights you couldn’t get anywhere else. While doing that, I would fill in the game stuff from memory, just as a place holder. Then I’d go back with the stat packet they hand out to the press after each game and fill in the blanks. In this case, my lead researcher, former Michigan Daily sports editor Nate Sandals – as sharp as they come -- remembers seeing the correct version of the fourth quarter scores of the 2008 Purdue game in one of our drafts, before it went from the electronic form to paper, and back again. (Modern publishing is both very high tech and stunningly old school. My final changes were made with a blue pencil, the copy editor’s in red.) In the process, the most current version somehow got left behind, creating the two inaccurate fourth quarter scores you see on page 139 (stated as 42-35 Michigan, when it was Purdue’s lead, and later, 42-41 instead of 42-42).
Needless to say, when we saw this we weren’t thrilled, but fortunately it was not material to the story -- Michigan still lost 48-42, as reported -- and easily fixed. We sent the changes to the copy editor immediately, so the next printing coming out will have the correct fourth quarter scores. And when you make a mistake in journalism – regrettably, a few are inevitable, in any book any author writes -- that’s what the author is supposed to do: fix it, instead of digging in his heels to defend inaccurate reporting or writing. No matter how it happened, my name is on the cover, no one else’s, so it’s my job to make every effort to make sure everything inside it is accurate.
Likewise, we’ve made a few other minor fixes – including correcting the spelling of two of the thousands of names in this book -- and if we find anything else that’s demonstrably false, we’ll fix that, too.
But the exception proves the rule. After over 40,000 people have bought the book, and probably 80,000 people have read it – most of them avid fans – those two fourth quarter scores are what readers have cited that most needed correcting.
That administrative glitch aside, the reporting holds up, including Carr letting his players skip class during rivalry weeks -- a fact confirmed by over a dozen former players and staffers, dating back at least to 2005.
Like just about everything else in the book, we know a lot more about it than we put between the covers. But since you asked, here it is: on the Monday of Michigan’s three rivalry weeks, Coach Carr would start those team meetings by asking, “It’s rivalry week. And you know what that means!” The players knew their line, yelling, “No classes!” Not all the players took this as an invitation to skip, of course, but most of them did, especially the upperclassmen. (A few dozen could be found those weeks in Schembechler Hall, watching film, which is entirely legal so long as it’s voluntary.)
Shortly after Rodriguez’s staff took over, they met with the academic support staff. Mike Parrish, among others, was stunned to see over a dozen players had GPAs below 2.0, with weak attendance playing a central role. Brandon Graham, for one, told me that list included him, for that reason.
After that meeting, Rodriguez told the academic staff to communicate directly with him instead of going to Scott Draper, as Carr had instructed them. On the Monday of every rivalry week in 2008, the players would ask in the team meeting if they had to go to class, and Rodriguez made it clear they did. He made it a point to underscore this policy during every rivalry week in 2009 and 2010, too.
Attendance soon improved, as did the team’s grade point average. Before the 2010 season, Parrish recalls, the number of players below a 2.0 had been reduced to one or two, which the academic staff told him was the lowest in memory. What impact the rivalry week tradition of skipping class had on their academic performance is impossible to tease out, but there is no question that, under Rodriguez, both the players’ attendance and grades greatly improved.
(Regarding Steven Threet: I reported the scene at Penn State that way because I was standing three feet away, and that’s what I saw and heard. Anyone in that room can confirm this.)
Having addressed those issues, it’s a good time to consider what readers are not questioning: just about everything else, including all the central issues of the book, from Coach Carr’s offer to sign his players’ transfer requests to the Free Press’s decision not to mention “countable hours” to the players running out of the tunnel before the second half at the Gator Bowl laughing.
This is especially noteworthy in light of Detroit Free Press publisher Paul Anger’s full-throated, front-page defense of the Rosenberg/Snyder investigation the Sunday after it had come out, and had already been dissected by UM administrators, reporters and fans alike, point by point. The Free Press, which buys ink by the barrel, has not spent one drop responding to my reporting on their story in Three and Out.
Likewise, when Coach Carr had been accused by Rick Leach, among others, of not supporting Rich Rodriguez, Carr readily found a friendly reporter that week to send a message, on the record, in support of Rich Rodriguez. He has not responded to anything in Three and Out, either, which is his choice.
Finally, the current silence also contrasts to Dave Brandon’s private, public and repeated complaints about specific inaccuracies in the Detroit Free Press’s original report. He has often stated that he had highlighted all the falsehoods in the story, which made the copy more yellow than white. He has made no such public claims about this book. Instead, he has simultaneously stated that he has not read the book, has no plans to and has no interest in it whatsoever – a somewhat odd stance for a university devoted to learning -- while telling at least two private audiences you cannot believe everything you read about Michigan football, and the book has “some inaccuracies,” without providing a single example. As of this writing, it’s not clear which story he’s sticking with. But he has not made a single claim on the record against this book – a striking contrast to the defense he mobilized against the Free Press.
Dave Brandon, Coach Carr, Michael Rosenberg, Rich Rodriguez and any other subjects are welcome to state publicly anything they feel is inaccurate in the book, and I will respond accordingly. If they are right, I will admit it publicly, as I have above, and make the necessary changes for later editions, as we have with the two misspelled names. If they are wrong, however, I will stand by my reporting, just as I have above.
I occasionally close my speeches on the book tour by describing the official seal of the University of Michigan, the very seal behind which the President and other officials stand when they represent the university. It features three Latin words: Artes, Scientia, Veritas: Arts, Science, and Truth.
If that seal merely represents some clever corporate branding, then none of us should take it seriously, or be offended when the university we love does not strive for the truth, but attempts to squelch it – which seems to be commonplace in big time college athletics these days.
But if the founders of our university actually meant what they wrote, and we still profess to believe it, perhaps our conduct should reflect our ideals.
A FEW ADDITIONAL POINTS
Of course, we couldn’t get to all 300-some questions, though Brian did a great job sifting through them to find the most interesting, and combine them. I’ve done my best to answer them as thoroughly as I can. I’d like to address a few others of my own, plus a few that often come up on the book tour.
First, an attempt to dispel some inaccurate information.
An easy one: On pages 394-395, I quote a coach blasting Tate Forcier after he fumbled the ball on a throw against Illinois in 2010, the famous shoot-out. A lot of readers have assumed the coach was Rodriguez, when in fact it was Rod Smith, the quarterback coach who normally had the patience of Job himself. I will make that clearer in future printings.
Next: we did not hold the publication date back to late October to maximize profits, and certainly not to distract the team, as some have claimed. Why anyone would think I would want to do that – or make Denard Robinson ineligible by putting him on the cover, for that matter – is a mystery to me. The publisher hoped for an August release, the same time Bo’s Lasting Lessons and virtually all football books are released, to coincide with the season and allow four months before the holidays. I simply couldn’t it get it done fast enough.
For some reason, people often claim I never interviewed Bill Martin (or Michael Rosenberg, in a recent review) and have stated “on the record” that I believed Rodriguez deserved a fourth year. All are false. I talked with Bill Martin over a hundred times, usually casually but often formally at great length, and his many quotes in the book stand as proof of these conversations. (It’s worth noting that he has gone out of his way to be utterly gracious before, during and after publication, much to his credit, I feel.) I interviewed Mr. Rosenberg for almost three hours, and his answers to my questions are in the book, and often identified as resulting from our conversation. I have no idea why some people would state otherwise.
Likewise, I have never said Rodriguez deserved a fourth year, on the radio, in print or anywhere else. I have quoted Bo Schembechler saying he believed every football coach deserves four years, and I’ve expanded that to all college coaches – unless, I always add, they are caught in a scandal or have lost their teams. In Rodriguez’s case, I think it’s pretty clear from the evidence the “practice scandal” was vastly overblown, and Brandon himself has stated it would never have qualified as a reason to fire Rodriguez. As for losing his team, however, I think that’s open to debate, particularly after the team’s performance in the second half of the Gator Bowl. There might have been many factors outside of Rodriguez’s control that added to his and his players’ burden, but whether the sources of their troubles were internal or external, the weight was real. But I’ll again leave that for the reader to decide. Bottom line: I have made it a point never to weigh in on either side of that debate. Reasonable people, looking at the evidence in the book, could come to either conclusion, I believe.
Others have complained that I made too many insinuations, leaps of logic and the like. Yet the questions above, asking me to do just that, suggest I did not do so in the book. As most of us try to live within our means, I tried to work well within my evidence, not stretching it to the breaking point. For example, I used few anonymous sources, and only when necessary to protect them from tangible threats, like losing their jobs. (Remember that many of my sources still work for the university, and some have been fired since the book’s publication. Their fears were reasonable.) According to Joe Cornicelli – a.k.a. Corn Chowder to you WTKA listeners – the book features over 100 on-the-record sources, and fewer than ten anonymous sources (some quoted more than once) in a 168,000-word book. The Free Press investigation, for comparison, used at least six anonymous sources in its 3,000-word piece, some of whom had already transferred to other schools. I gave my publisher’s literary attorney the names of all my anonymous sources, who confirmed their stories, and recorded in each case why we had no choice but to grant them anonymity. We never did so lightly.
The book has been selling very well. Every one of the 33 stops on the nationwide book tour has been a great success – and I think this says something about the unique character of Michigan fans. Ivy League alums don’t seem to care if their teams win, while fans of successful college programs often don’t seem to care how their teams win. When the papers in those towns report unsavory news, the fans there go after the messengers, not the message. (How else can you explain the relatively innocuous Kirk Herbstreit having to move his family to Nashville to keep them safe?)
Michigan fans want to win, badly, but they want to do it the right way. If something seems amiss – be it the basketball program in the nineties or the football program recently – they want to know the truth. And they will appreciate your best efforts to find it. In addition to the very favorable responses from every stop on the tour, after the book came out my walk to and from the stadium for home games took twice as long, because I was stopped every few feet by hardcore fans wearing the hats and sweatshirts and jackets – true believers, who have invested not just their money, but their time, their energy and even their faith in the Wolverines – who wanted to thank me for writing the book. They were unfailingly friendly and supportive.
I don’t think this would happen anywhere else. So, the real thanks should be the other way around: to you for reading it, and for responding as only Michigan fans can.
[Ed-Ace: I think JUB still merits thanking, at the very least, for his lengthy and detailed answers to our questions. I'll at least do his plug for him—the last stop on his 3&O tour is tonight, 7 pm, at the Ann Arbor Barnes & Noble. Be there.]
the recruitment of Denard Robinson from Shafer's fouling it up.
Denard Robinson at defensive back probably wouldn't have made much of a difference on defense, at least not enough to make up for his absence from the offense. Flip Robinson to defense, and you're stuck with a still-immature Forcier and a freshman Devin Gardner.
I'm not advocating for Tony Gibson to have stuck around or anything, but Denard Robinson was clearly a key cog of the 2010 team.
He'd rather have had a competent db coach and a great defense than having Denard at all. I'm glad we now have both.
Well, I didn't neg you, but what if someone doesn't have your opinion, but doesn't necessarily agree with the side you accuse of being millennials? Are we only, like, somewhat self-involved?
If by "sound," you mean top-10 in NCAA each year (like we are now), I might agree with you. If you mean to have been top-50, no, I'll take Denard. The line is somewhere in between. I think the "flamebait" votes come from taking such a severe stance on a nuanced issue, but that's only a guess. Like I said, wasn't me.
I didn't "neg" you either, but I think you might have been modded on account of your general tendency to be irritating. You and BRCE are like twins except totally opposite in your points of view.
Hey, I didn't call you His Dudeness. That would have been out of bounds, even for the internet.
Do you know this for real? If so can you elaborate?
I'm surprised that someone who has been around this blog as long as you have missed Brian's explanation as to what was rumored to have happened between Shafer and RR/Gibby
The week of the Purdue game in '08, RR held a coaches' meeting at his house, only he didn't bother to invite his defensive coordinator. It was decided between Gibby and RR that they would run the 3-3-5 that week against the Boilermakers. Shafer was stripped of his playcalling duties and just sat there in the coaches' box with nothing to do but observe. The tension had been building for months between Shafer and Gibby.They hated eachother. Gibby had spent months trashing Shafer behind his back to anyone who would listen. Shafeer has proven himself to be a decent defensive coordinator. RR fired the wrong man back in '08. Had he kept Shafer around and gotten rid of Gibby instead, he would probably still be the head coach at Michigan.
That is pretty shady. Whether you like or dislike RR, that is just a shitty way to handle a situation.
Agree, and, that's probably why they insisted that Shafer sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of his severance package. Good luck trying to find a competent defensive coordinator who's willing to work for you when you pull that kind of stunt on your former DC.
This is the first I've heard of this. Care to link to Brian's explanation on here corroborating your account?
...but for the sake of completeness let the record show that the result of this was a tire fire, giving up 48 points and 500 yards to a 2-6 Purdue team that was last in the big 10, had lost five straight, whose only wins were over Northern Colorado and Central Michigan and who'd been held to less than 7 points in three of the prior four games.
And his follow up answers, because "All the problems on defense are obvious, and didn't need to be rehashed", but other salacious rumored meeting deserve coverage. But you know, fair and balanced.
Also, pretty much the only responsibility he assigns to RR regarding the defense is that he didn't lobby enough for Casteel to come here. But that still really puts the blame more on Bill Martin (for not meeting Casteel's salary demands) than RR. The elephant in the room, which Bacon seems unwilling to touch, is why RR is so fixated on the 3-3-5. Why choose an unorthodox defense that few successful coordinators run? By doing so, RR is significantly reducing the pool of coaches that he can successfuly work with.
The elephant in the room isn't the 3-3-5, it's support for the position coaches (who happened to be old friends) in a manner that undermined their superior.
That's not just a routine mistake; it's fatal. Anyone that tries to run a business that way is done for.
Maybe I'm wrong about this but I don't have the impression that the tension between Gibson and Shafer was primarily a dispute over favorite scheme. That kind of thing can usually be resolved (and if it can't, it should fall to the DC to get coaches who can coach what he's running). This seemed personal.
Seeing you imply Bacon of a hidden agenda is hysterical. As usual, your lack of credibility makes it impossible for anyone to take those kinds of concerns seriously.
I'd say you're in the minority.
If you don't care for John U. Bacon's account; write your own.
This is a book of historic importance, insofar as it is a definitive account of a lot of important things that are now beyond dispute -- how the atmosphere at Michigan during Rich Rodriguez became completely toxic under the spell of the Free Press and an NCAA investigation.
I don't see anybody challenging any of that. And Rosenberg was interviewed. At length.
We now know 1000% more about the coaching search, with those details undisputed.
We got a look inside the program at people like Eric Mayes; very instructive, emblematic, and not disputed.
The public now has an excellent basis on which to contextualize the Rodriguez era. And to ask many more good questions, of Lloyd Carr, Mary Sue Coleman and David Brandon.
This was not a cheerleading book for Michigan and speaking only for me, I didn't want a mere cheerleading book.
None of any of that is a matter of dispute. Maybe you'd like to break down some more game film of Greg Robinson's defenses, and really that's fine. Even I might be interested. But an awful lot of people would not be interested.
You may be disinterested in the history of the Rich Rodriguez era; that's up to you. But thousands of book-buyers seem to be interested, and hundreds of repeat posters on MGoBlog seem to be interested. Again; if you are not interested, you are free not to post, and you are free to write your own book in any way you see fit. Do me a favor when you do; ask Lloyd Carr, Jim Stapleton and Mike Rosenberg for interviews.
Except most of what you say is wrong, per usual. You continue to claim your opinion as fact.
This book is not of historic importance. By next Christmas no one will give a flying fuck, and it'll be in the bargin bins. It's a sports book. Just because you've turned your life into a twisted obsession over it, don't act like the rest of the world cares. It's not on the fall of a President, but a football coach.
You can't go 5 second of your day without spittle coming out of your mouth about the Freep, but no one is really even debating that. Is there a lot of Freep talk in this thread? Freep = bad. We got it the first 768,542 times you posted it. Did it make the Athletic Department a not nice place to be? Yes, we mostly all agree on that. Did it get Rich fired? Uh, no, that's not universally agreed upon. Except maybe with the voices in your head. But if you want to spend your time researching the outliers who are actually defending Rosenberg, be my guest. I'm sure there's some windmills to tilt at too.
I don't think we know 10% more about the coaching search. I'm not sure what details you gleaned from it that you didn't at least hear rumblings about on here. And I'm not sure how much you can label it "fact" when it's all third hand after the fact anyway (he wasn't writing the book BEFORE Rich was hired). I'd guess most of it is right, because what was there to make up? But it's not a clean, clear narrative.
I don't know that anyone has even bothered to ask Eric Mayes about it. I'm pretty sure it's because no one gives a shit. You might wonder why all the reports from former player of drunken crassness by the coaching staff don't appear in the book too. But probably for the same reason.
No one asked for a cheerleading book. Just fairness and consistency, two things lacking in the book. I know you don't actually read what people write, and only hear what you want them to really be saying, but I've explicitly stated more than once (including this thread) that no one ASKED for an X&O's breakdown. I'm not sure Bacon is qualified to write it anyway. Just saying that if your Freep, your conflcts, your coaches spats are going to be painted as reasons for Rich getting canned, then the conflicts, the coaches spats that happened within his own staff (and we all heard about, so certainly Bacon should have) should have been fair game, just as interesting, and even more of a cause of Rich getting fired. If you don't see "didn't emphasis the coach I should have; found a replacement, then let my buddies undermine him and then scapegoat him; then hired a bigger failure to run my defense" as a bigger problem for wins and loses, which is why he lost his job, over the Freep's "toxic environment", you're so removed from reality that there's no point in having a conversation.
Your problem is, no one seems to care to ask Brandon, or Lloyd, or MSC these questions. Because growingly, a tiny cult like yours is all that cares anymore. Thousands of book buyers is a tiny, tiny TINY percentage of Michigan fans. Good for Bacon. He made himself a buck or two. Got my $20+. But I don't need to write another book that most people won't care about. To say you have to write a book to critique a book is just dumb. Particularly on a site where people critic football as it's purpose, most of which who aren't coaching, playing (and a lot who never have); doesn't mean they can't either. Think about where you are.
No one cares or is debating Mike Rosenberg anymore. Most don't have a clue who Stapleton even is. And most are just happy with Lloyd how he is. If you're not, I'm pretty much guessing he doesn't care. So that would put him in the majority, too.
Thanks for your novella-length response to someone you claim to be finished with, enlightening us about all the things we supposedly don't give a shit about. You seem to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to that particular topic.
and/or you have reading comprehension fail here, but HE said he was finished with ME. Not that I ever said I was with him. Just that I wishfully/hopefully wanted it to be true. It wasn't, because he responded to me. I didn't respond to any of his posts that weren't directed at me here.
But glad I could educate you on some things.
In this holiday season, it'd be nice if you and S1 could set aside your bickering about who broke up with who first. Particularly where there's so much cause for Michigan fans to be happy, let's hope you can pull out of your emotional state and join us in our more enjoyable discussion of Michigan football.
Must be even sadder that you're so into other people's interactions, rather than your own.
Would love to discuss some Michigan football. Have you done much lately? Seems like just a lot of hoping in to take shots at other posters...not even arguments.
I'm happy...we're winning, going to the Sugar Bowl, and we have a great coaching staff. Do I object to people who try and tear that down to make a failed regime look better? Yup. But if you're measuring the level of discontent, you're doing it on the wrong side.
I want to be among the best informed, with the longest and clearest memories for what really happened.
A great gravestone.
But from his recollection of the Purdue game in 3&O, we can see that his memory isn't the longest nor clearest.
It's Roshomon, baby. "The truth" is very subjective. The important thing is that you believe something to be true.
I'll give you a personal example. Bacon insists that LloydCarr let his players skip class during Ohio week. I was one of those players, and I can assure you that no such thing is true. Now, perhaps Carr went soft at some point after I left. I know that that is a possibility, but I simply cannot believe it. Could I be wrong? Possibly. But in my mind, I know the truth, having actually been in the situation. The only way I change my mind is if I hear it from a former player.
Let's reserve the Power Center, and have a symposium. Let's organize a panel discussion.
Let's get John U. Bacon, Rosenberg, Carr, Mary Sue, Brandon, Martin, Moeller, Fred Jackson, Percy Bates, Jim Stapleton, Dean Goldenberg and Brian Cook all on stage, all on mic. Let's let them ask questions of each other, and let's let the audience ask them questions.
We will get to the bottom of every legitimate question that anybody can think of.
But my guess is that two people, and two people alone, are willing to answer any and every question on the record. Bacon, and Cook.
I think that you are leaving a few people out, though.
Rich Rod. Gerg. Schaffer. The rest of the staff. Players, current and former.
And do you know what we'd find at this symposium: everyone believes that they acted properly.
Coach Rod truly believes that there aren't enough hours in the day to coach offense and defense, so he focussed on what he was good at and hoped for the best. He truly believes that Vince Lombardi couldn't help his defense (incidentally, he is wrong).
Coach Carr truly believes that offering to sign transfer papers was the right thing to do. He really feels an obligation to his players to find a good place for them.
Rosenberg truly believes that his has been vindicated in wanting to run Coach Rod out of a job; Michigan is good again. He believes he was right.
As Bacon says in the book, there are no devils here. They all thought they were doing the right thing. My problem with the book is that Bacon believes that he has written an unbiased work, which is impossible under the circumstances. He was embedded in the program for three years, and all of the people he worked with were decent. I was embedded in the earlier program for a number of years as well, which is why I am an unabashed Carr apologist. Who wants to write bad things about people they like? It's natural. Let's not pretend otherwise.
Also, I know this is Brian Cook's blog, but we can get off of his nuts. What does he have to do with this whole thing? Seriously, aside from his badgering of Rosenberg, what can he tell us about the behind-the-scenes? Why is he one of the two people willing to answer any and every question on the record? What will his answers tell us? He's not that deep inside the program that his answers would mean anything at all. His opinions are cool, which is why I read this blog, but I don't see how you could compare him to Bacon, Coach Carr, or Singleton, who were active players.
Rodriguez is Arizona's coach. Robinson and Shafer either have jobs elsewhwere, or live elsewhere, with no desire to come back to Ann Arbor where they have no other connection.
No; you seem to want to debate 'How good a coach was Rodriguez?' And that doesn't matter, because he's gone. I, on the other hand, want to debate 'What did this community actually do to Rodriguez?'
My list of people is confined to people who are here, now, with current responsibilites and/or connections to the football program. Martin and Moeller are admittedly sort of retirees, but anyone who goes to any football meeting is usually assured of seeing Moeller.
You see, you and I are talking about different things. Some football fans are satisfied, because Rodriguez was removed when he wasn't winning. I am one of those people who is dissatisfied because Rodriguez was being removed in the midst of his being treated badly and unfairly. And that's a story that involves everybody on my list, all of whom are still basically running things in and around the football program. We should be able to answer my questions; we'd probably never answer yours.
I do not doubt that RR was treated badly. I do doubt that he was treated unfairly. My contention is that he merited a lot of the ill-treatment. First, he lost. A lot. At Michigan. As a head coach, he must take the blame. Second, he was an awful PR man for himself. Many of his pressers left a bad taste in my mouth.
I really don't want to talk about his qualities as a coach. Just as your post below asserts that the Freep debate has been won, so has this one. He failed. So that you know, this does not make me happy.
I wasn't enthusiastic about the hire to begin with, as I was a believer that we should have promoted from within. That being said, I really wanted him to succeed. I cannot stress this enough. There is no personal vendetta against him. I wasn't one of those loons (like Rosenberg) that hoped for his failure. He was the coach of Michigan, fergodsakes. But the losing was just too much.
As for the way he was treated, I know it was bad. I think he deserved some (most?) of it, but I know it also made it hard for him to succeed. I wish it didn't happen. I was really disappointed in hearing Braylon say "Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan" on MNF. It was unbecoming a Michigan Man. And yet, I don't think a thousand Braylon Edwards made RR lose a single game.
As for our symposium, I think we can agree that it ain't happening. So, why not invite RR, his staff, and current and former players to our imaginary get-together? I know you want to talk to the people who are still here, but the people I named are just as culpable for the fiasco. Do you not agree that a few more wins in his first year would have gotten a lot of people off of RR's back, thereby making everything easier in the future?
You suggest this, as coming from Rosenberg:
Rosenberg truly believes that his has been vindicated in wanting to run Coach Rod out of a job; Michigan is good again. He believes he was right.
I understand the hypothetical voice you are saying that in. I won't attach too much importance to whether Rosenberg actually ever said anything like that to you.
But if it is true, it is one of the grandest demostrations of Rosenberg's duplicity and dishonesty anyone's ever seen. Rosenberg officially claims he did not want to oust Rodriguez. Rosenberg just syas he was following an important story. Rosenberg says that he was not crafting that story with a motivation to oust Rodriguez. Rosenberg still clings to those claims.
Personally, I believe you. And that Michael Rosenberg is in every way, a complete liar. And that what you say crystalizes Rosenberg's deception.
You Carr-era players have an awful lot to answer for, in having said mostly nothing about Rosenberg and the Free Press when it really mattered. If any of you, or Coach Carr, ever came out and really disowned Rosenberg, I'm not aware of it. If you can prove me wrong in that, be my guest. As this debate carries on on MGoBlog, you see the intractible debates over defensive schemes and particular games, getting nowhere closer to resolution. What you don't see anymore, is anyone defending Rosenberg and the Free Press. That debate has been won, at least on this blog. No real friend or supporter of Michigan football can come to any conclusion other than that Michigan got wrongly roped into an ugly mess of an NCAA investigation, without any good having come of it.
No good, that is, unless you were someone who was so determined to undermine Rodriguez, that you were willing to damage the entire program to rid it of Rodriguez. And that, is why my proposed symposium would be of real value; to answer that question.
I've never met the man. I was speaking hypothetically. I think everyone can agree that Rosenberg wanted to oust RR. I have no reason to doubt Bacon on this point. Brandstatter is a source, and he has no reason to lie. Moreover, Rosenberg's piece was clearly a hatchet job. The proof is in the pudding. That he is a liar isn't debatable. Nor is the fact that in his narrow-minded stupidity, he harmed my beloved program. I hate Rosenberg. I don't even know why you felt the need to tell me the debate was over; I know that.
I don't know that Carr or any player of my era has disowned Rosenberg. To be fair, I don't think that anyone has defended him, either. I can only speak for myself (no one important). When the Freep first broke the news, I was outraged. I called for RR's head to anyone that would listen. In my opinion, a clean program was one of the things that I took the most pride in. But, the more I found out, the more obvious it became that Rosenberg was out to get RR. That was that. Rosenberg is persona non grata as far as I am concerned.
And yet, I still hold RR at least partly responsible for the NCAA investigation. If he created an atmosphere of team unity, kept morale high, and came down hard on dissenters, I don't think any players would have gone to the press. Rosenberg wouldn't even have a phony story. This is something only someone who has been in a college locker room can really understand. A lot of players have problems with their coaches from time to time, but if they have a strong enough brotherhood with their team mates, if they are peer-pressured into going along with the team, if they fear their leader enough (think Bo), they will not squeal. In the 13 years Carr coached, many players quit, many transferred, and many more had disagreements with him. None of them went to the press about practicing too much. They had too much respect for the team, the team, the team. And I can guarantee that we practiced no less than RR's teams. The difference is that RR didn't create the right atmosphere. Admittedly, this might be only good for a small percentage of the blame, but it is true nonetheless.
For the record, we didn't know what countable hours were. So, while we laughed about signing the compliance forms, they were probably all correct. But, boy, it sure seemed like we practiced more than we claimed to.
None of the anonymous sources in the Free Press story "went to the press." By his own admission, Rosenberg initiated contact with all of them. Every one. I asked Rosenberg about that. That was his answer. He's said the same, to anyone who has asked him.
So you can forget about players being so disgruntled by any "atmosphere" that they felt the need to go to the press. That never happened. You wrote this, which is completely mispalced:
In the 13 years Carr coached, many players quit, many transferred, and many more had disagreements with him. None of them went to the press about practicing too much. They had too much respect for the team, the team, the team. And I can guarantee that we practiced no less than RR's teams. The difference is that RR didn't create the right atmosphere. Admittedly, this might be only good for a small percentage of the blame, but it is true nonetheless.
No! None of Rodriguez's players "went to the press."
And, I say this to you, and everybody like you; you were the PERFECT audience for what Rosenberg intended. The people who took such pride in Michigan football's essential goodness and pristine reputation for cleanliness. Rosenberg knew that nothing that he wrote would make any difference on the field. But off the field, Rosenberg planned to hit Michigan where it would hurt most, and where no one else had hit Michigan -- in its respectbility.
I really appreciate your honesty, in saying that from the instant that you heard about the Rosenberg CARA story, you were so angry that you wanted Rodriguez out that minute. I need to be just as fair, and as honest, with you; you are by no means the only Michigan football player I have communicated with, who said the same. It was a common feeling.
And given what we now know about Rosenberg, the Freep story, the investigation, the aftermath and Bacon's book, it is scary to think about what would have happened if there had been only guys like you influencing the program, and no Brian Cooks.
Brian Cook was also immediately angry. But it turns out that Brian Cook was angry at the real villain (Rosenberg) and you were angry at the wrong guy (Rodriguez). BrIan Cook did the right thing, right away; he confronted Rosenberg, and published his own claim that Rosenberg was full of shit. You got to the same party; you just got there a year or so too late.
Apparently, I'm still in the dark about a lot of the Freep situation. For that, I apologize. I was wrong.
I do still think that my atmosphere comments still stand. To reword it, if Rosenberg was to approach the players who were on the outs with Carr, I still cannot see any of them talking out of school. Again, I could be wrong. I just can't imagine it. Same goes, although even moreso, for Bo. I don't care who the player was or who the reporter was, there would be nothing to talk about.
Look at my attitude now. I still refuse to say anything bad about the program. I might tell some of my guys in private, but never in public. That's how we were brought up.
Also, I think you've misrepresented what I was trying to say (maybe my fault). I don't think RR created a bad atmosphere that led to his players going to the press. I think he failed to foster a good enough atmosphere, one that encourages complete silence about any internal problems and promotes former players that left years ago to maintain such a mentality even on a blog behind a pseudonym.
One last thing. We disagree and all, but you've been a pleasure to talk to (post with?). Thanks for not making anything personal or taking anything personally. I think I'm a reasonable guy with a fierce loyalty to my program, who was really disappointed at RR's tenure. I don't think that's a crime. I'm glad you haven't treated me as if it was, like some of your boys might have.
Where the coaching staff bore some responsiblity, in my eyes, wasn't the countable-hours snafu or the fact that it got to the press. If the only problem had been the stretching, once the NCAA discovered it was a matter of minutes and not many extra hours per week they would have handed out a pretty minor penalty--in all likelihood just the practice-time limitations and maybe a year of probation.
The more serious violation--not as serious as illegal benefits and the like to be sure, but serious all the same in the NCAA's eyes--was the misuse of the graduate assistants. Confusion over countable hours is understandable; that problem falls on compliance. Confusion over the duties allowed to GAs? That shouldn't happen, especially when similar problems had come to light at West Virginia.
Brian did a good job of covering this at the time, with a big assist from the Bylaw Blog guy. I don't know why it's the practice-time violations that are getting the most attention on the board; they weren't the primary issue for the NCAA or the University, even if they were the main issue for the press at the time.
A family member has one of these not-quite-assistant-coach positions with a D1 basketball program. (Basketball operations, video operations--that sort of thing.) He has babysitting duties with the players, but he cannot coach. There's no confusion or doubt about what can and can't be done and it's a matter of endless frustration for him, since he is a coach (he was a HS head coach before he got the call to D1) but can't allow himself to do any coaching. He knows what could happen if he even gets close to that line.
Lloyd? Dave? Is that you?
If I made a list of my favorite things about Michigan Football (and the university in general), John U. Bacon would have a prominent place on it. Thanks, John.
Remind me what he Steven Threet thing is that is being referenced?
In the Book, Bacon says that, at half-time of the PSU game in 2008, Threet was crying in his locker. He doesn't explain why, other than saying Threet was uninjured. He says that Smith, consequently, told Sheridan he'd be playing as a result of the display.
But Threet started the second half, and came off the field after getting a big hit. He had, to that time, played very well - probably the best he would in a Michigan uniform.
At a press conference, Rodriguez said Threet was pulled because he was injured.
So, reality doesn't jibe with what's written.
You might be right, but Bacon was very clear in his response above that he recorded what he saw and heard standing 3 feet away in the locker room at the time it occurred. Maybe he is wrong in his assessment of the situation he saw unfold, but it is at least an eyewitness account of the event. There's at least something to be said for that.
But it's a somewhat unexplained (why on earth was Threet crying?) account, that also, to put it most charitably, never occured (Threet wasn't pulled then).
So, assuming Bacon's single sentence above isn't a lie, it is, at best, an inconsequential story that was made irrelevent by actual events.
I definitely agree. Reading that a starting quarterback for any team was crying at halftime (and not crying in a good way - if there is one) is very, very eye-opening and one that requires explanation because every reader is going to be interested and make inferrences that Threet couldn't hack it. In other words, this is the kind of eyewitness account that needs to be confirmed by multiple sources before it can truly be admitted into evidence.
And contextualized (why was he crying?).
It was one piece that just jumped out and made me go "WHAAAA?"
He had something in his eye?
I know I've mentioned it to you Chitown, but I'll throw it out to the general MGoPopulace
Threet's family was adament that he was not hurt when he was pulled the week before vs Toledo. So, it stands to reason the next week he was possibly being pulled for performance reasons while the coaching staff claimed injury
I dont know. Lot of unanswered questions
I guess interviewing the Threet family and Steven Threet himself would be have too difficult
Michigan was up at halftime at Penn State. When they came to the locker room, Bacon reports that Threet was near tears. He then quotes someone as saying Threet is not injured. One of the assistants (I forget which) then tells Sheridan that he is starting the second half.
The questions people had, that Bacon doesn't answer, is why was Threet near tears, why was Sheridan told that he would start the second half and can Bacon reconcile this with the fact that Threet did indeed start the second half and was replaced part way through the third quarter and returned to the game.
I had to read the paragraph in the book several times and still did not understand what happened, which was made even murkier by the fact that Bacon reported Threet did not start the second half when in fact the game reports show that he did.
I was hoping he could clear this up. But alas, no.
I just don't get it.
So Rod Smith told Sheridan he was in for the 2nd half...
then didn't put him in.
Then Rodriguez said Threet was hurt, which Bacon says he wasn't.
And Bacon says Rodriguez never lies.
It's a small point, but this still makes 0 sense.
I don't think this story implicates anything negative about Rodriguez.
It just doesn't make sense, because...it didn't happen.