Rich Rodriguez Live
They didn't boot me. I even got a nice shiny pass and everything. I didn't get off any questions to Rich Rodriguez, because god knows he's got to answer stuff about West Virginia and Justin Boren sixty thousand times, but I did ask Joe Paterno what he thought about an early signing period, mostly because the poor guy was about to ninja-kick the next guy who prefaced a question about his potential retirement in some way that implied he would never, ever ask aboout his potential retirement.
I took notes both on Rich Rodriguez's 15 minutes and the INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING post-interview scrum afterwards.
Like this, only with dumb questions about West Virginia
ONLY SLIGHTLY STALE NEWS: Not that you expected any different, but Rodriguez confirmed that Slocum was off the team. Dispiritingly for would-be lionizers (guilty), he said that it was "academic and other reasons... he did not do the things he had to to remain on the team."
Also, someone wedged a question in about the academic status of the recruits and Rodriguez responded that everyone was good to go. I think this was already known, but confirmation can't hurt. Boubacar Cissoko was reputed to be the player at greatest risk.
Now, onto people asking about West Virginia and my increasing apoplexy.
RICH RODRIGUEZ is excited to be here. Great start. Hopes to meet some of y'all for the first time... little bit of drama for the last seven months he would like to clear up. Has great respect for players, coaches, and the league itself. He's excited to be here. He's been waiting all summer on his new "snake oil concoction" to provide him... uh. (Yeah, kinda wish he didn't say that. )
References the strength staff, getting guys into shape. Transition from a football standpoint is as seamless as he could have expected. Lot of young hungry players getting significant playing time. Pleased with the way the staff came together. Weird emphasis on "re-hired" instead of "retained"... maybe it's an anti-nepotism crusade. No one skates by on rep under Rodriguez, I guess. Thumbs up.
"Very young" on offense... lost some of the best players who've ever played offense at Michigan. One starter returning up front. Deeper on D, you know all this. Players embracing the challenges they've had. Has he said football yet? Don't think so. He just said "ball game" in a southern accent, so if he was going to he would have done it there.
Guys are buying in. End of opening statement
Columbus Dispatch asks about the drama over the seven months... was there one thing that rankled you? "After a while... it's like just stand in line." So many things that weren't true. The only one that really bothered was a question about family values -- they take the most pride in that. "There's no one who's going to have a closer, more familial bond than us."
USA Today lady asks about the lawsuit. Any regrets? He'll address it now so they don't have to address it for 13-14 years. He'd like to move on, in the past, disappointed in certain things. Still hewing to this "the truth will come out" stuff that I really wish he'd quit.
Is anyone going to ask about football? Screw this. I am. [note: I tried. I was going to ask "you have six tight ends on the roster and and offense that hasn't used the tight end in seven years. What do you do with all those guys?" but they didn't get around to me.]
USA Today references the Rosenberg article: "It's been said this embarrassing for the university and for you personally, how do you feel?" Blah. Etc. Rodriguez has already dismissed this USA Today lady has the gumption to follow up with another thrust. This is also batted aside in the same fashion anyone who's paid the slightest attention to Michigan in the last seven months can recite by heart.
Ooh, Daily Iowan asks about the S&C change. Diplomatic answer: "Any time there's a transition or a change, everyone wants to compare the difference; sometimes that's unfair. There's no one perfect way to do things. It's just a little different. Barwis is one of the best in the country, but I'm biased." "Pro players who didn't even know Mike now train with him diligently and bought in." "Our players have seen the change in their bodies."
Next question is about Pryor going elsewhere, transfer of "Ryan Mallette" and that's not a typo, that's how this guy said it. "Steve Threet has a lot of talent, Nick Sheridan did a great job, Justin Feagin... whenever you lose a recruit it's disappointing." One minute left. Not going to get a question off.
Oh MY GOD: Big Ten's bad rap on speed and athleticism question. "The perception is just that: perception. Great speed in our league." What a dillweed, last question was guaranteed to be answered with standard boilerplate.
No wait, there's one more question: Bucknuts.com asks about rivalry games and how he can turn around the Ohio State series. Is anyone going to ask anything that can possibly yield insight? Oooh zing: "I'm not the kind of coach who has a countdown to a particular game, just the next one." He immediately backs out of what looks like a Dantonio rip. "I've heard "just win the Ohio State game and we'll be happy." I don't believe that."
And one final one: what's Kevin Grady's status? Good job, GR Press guy. You get a ninja star. Suspended from the team, no longer working out with the team, still attending classes. He has to do certain things to get back on the team. There will be some playing time penalties, and he's on a strict watch.
POST INTERVIEW SCRUM TIME
Rodriguez has been surrounded and is being asked exclusively about WVU and lawsuit and snake oil and family values and Rodriguez is fending that stuff off, including highly skeptical questioning about the necessity of "salty" language from someone I can't see but is very probably a thousand years old. He does mention Slocum is off the team for academic and other reasons.
Walk-on program is building up. Everyone is qualified and through the clearinghouse. Barwis says players are really excited, gone from "how hard it is" to excited at his progress.
This bit's actually interesting: there's a handful of players they call "the apostles" who the players pick as their leaders for the class; Rodriguez meets with them regularly to communicate with them with other players. 20(!) guys, normally 10-12. Anyone can talk to Rodriguez but these guys are sort of quasi-captains and act as the voice of the player during regular meetings, the last one a BBQ at Rodriguez's house.
Thinks M outside the top 3 is "reality;" look at who we've lost." But you're waiting for it, aren't you? You know some sort of pithy statement abut how rankings are not important is coming. Rich Rodriguez is a coach. He has it in his blood. Here you go: "Last I checked where you ranked wasn't worth a first down."
Ignorant about the jersey number thing -- no #1 btw. "One thing we're not going to do is be fake." All the players who played for me 10 years or 15 years still come back. He knows most of these coaches already from "apparel contracts" and "retreats."
More image stuff. Rodriguez hauls out the "One guy left, 99 stayed" and then in the middle of another WVU question says, a little plaintively, "I just changed jobs." Then he's whisked away to do interviews for television, where he'll no doubt be asked all the same questions and die a little inside.
Meanwhile, I missed lunch.
Hopefully I'll get more interesting stuff tomorrow, when the players do table interviews. I hope to ask the Illinois guys about how awesome J Leman was.
"Weird emphasis on "re-hired" instead of "retained"... maybe it's an anti-nepotism crusade."
I noticed this back in December/January when RR was first hired. I think this is directed to the people that were on Lloyd Carr's staff being retained (Fred Jackson as an assistant coach, but I am sure there are plenty of staff types), not those coming from WVU (which I guess is the anti-nepotism Brian is referring to, I don't know).
I think this a subtle way to reduce any residual loyalty to the old regime and emphasize that all those re-hired owe their jobs and complete allegiance exclusively to RR.
Many coaches use that term re-hired,to indicate that every person on staff was "hired" under the same scrutiny, and bassed on ability and resume. Not given special consideration beccasue they were on staff. You do it for two reasons. 1 so that the person who is hired back knows that he is trusted and his head coach believes he is qualified. 2 so t hat the other coaches dont have animosity, or feel like someone unqualified is on staff simply becasue he is from t he old regime. Its really not that uncommon to hear that said. I was re0hired by 3 seperate new head coaches in my 8 years at my last school. I was the only hold over each year.
The caliber of those men's swimmers was especially high, lemme tell ya...
Yeah, we all know caliber is a measurement of a cylindrical object, but did you have to "go there" really? Then there is the question about "shrinkage".
Yeah, I went there.
Done many press conferences in my day, most of which were in more serious venues than a sports media day. I can understand not getting a question in if the format totally shocks you, and if you aren't expecting such a formal atmosphere I can understand the reticence. It can be quite intimidating and oddly fast moving. I am sure it felt like only a minute went by.
But, Brian seemed to convey a eagerness to ask a question, yet the tone he wrote it in above made him sound hesistant. I am only telling him to get over the hesitancy......even if it means raising your friggin' hand. I'm sure they would have called on him, after all he's such a nice and harmless looking boy in his head shot. He found a way to ask Paterno a question.......but if he raised his hand here and did not get called on, I wish he would have mentioned it. Not only would I not have offered up my free advice, but I would have been all fire and brim stone about the MSM shutting about the premier Michigan blogger on the web.
See, I have total faith that Brian would ask the best questions and they'd be questions nobody else would ask. He's that clued into the scene, the others--especially the USA Today reporter--are just in and out for the event. I just want to encourage him to ask those questions as he will be stoked at to what kind of access, insight and quotes will come from it. And, then of course I benefit from having killer stuff to read on his site.
Didn't mean to sound hyper critical at all. Wish I could trade places with him tomorrow as I would much rather rap football with the players than sell rubber.
And, if he could have squeezed in that TE question, RR might have been so shocked and stunned to actually talk football, he might have become smitten with our fearless leader here at mgoblog and invited him over to the next barbeque....or even practice.....its worked for me with coaches, cops, mayors and other sources and I was able to put a pretty damn good paper together for four years before drugs, booze and women brought me down. Or maybe it was a salary dispute with my publisher and the drugs, booze and women came later. Yeah, thats the ticket.
Again, to sum, he's otherwise doing a good job of being our eyes at this event.
Are you really a cock?
Wow I didn't realize you had the power to discern Brian's daily outfits! And certainly he didn't get to ask questions due to his appearance. I mean that's the only possible explanation, right? STFD.
Are you the real Jim Carty? If so, shouldn't you be there as well?
Thought the Grady thing was burying the lede, but Brian does not necessairly present his work on this blog like a typical news story. In this case it was obvious he was giving a chronological play by play account of the presser and the Grady thing got tossed out there last.
Many here would have been interested in the Tressel commentary. Maybe its in an ensuing post. This one was devoted entirely to the RR presser, so why muddle that up.
I have enjoyed the AOL series, even if its presented in the unique way as it is. Its just a different sort of read and we blog heads kinda appreciate that. But, I wonder if Brian is allowed to post cross content. This may be a Michigan blog, but we are all interested in the league and this would be a more than valid venue for it.
Hell, its Brian's blog, anything he wants is valid.
No, and I think they just sent Heuser: http://www.mlive.com/wolverines/
If the intent is to report on the reporting, why not bring a digital camera and take a photo of the actual scrum or himself standing next to Angelique Chengelis eating a sandwich? I mean, how do we know that he's actually there and not just taking bad notes from ESPN Live and what about this is any better than just staying home and taking bad notes from ESPN Live?
I understand the critique here, but I am pretty sure Brian asked JoePa a question regarding Michael Shaw, or at least thats what black shoes diaries reported. He's there and as I pointed out way above, I wish he would forced the issue a bit and asked his question to RR.
As an amateur media critic myself, I give Brian a little more rope here since I believe this is the first time he's covered the event and there is a lot going on, and he has two audiences to try and please, us mgoblogheads and fanhouse.
the baseless, boilerplate questions are entirely unsatisfactory per usual. someone should've asked rrod to comment on magnum tiller's flavor saver.
That guy is probably some bitter Notre Dame fan. Either way, well, look at what I found here:
I think it's from a few years ago, but I find the first page a bit interesting.