Does Dave Brandon eat Domino's?
TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
So Rich Rodriguez did a deeply bizarre thing. Captain Renault, yes, yes. GERG, yes. 3-3-5 addiction, yes. Groban, yes. Right. I'll start again.
Amongst the many deeply bizarre things that Rich Rodriguez did was allowing John Bacon virtually unfettered access to his program for three years. He didn't know it at the time, but these happened to be the only three years of his program.
I received an advanced copy of the book that resulted and… man. If you are a Michigan fan the result is a must read. Hate Rodriguez, love Rodriguez, have deeply conflicted relationship with Carr, love Carr—doesn't matter. This is not another book where ex-jocks tell jovial stories about the slightly dangerous things that happened to them.
This is a book that immediately makes everyone in it mad as hell except the guy who did Never Forget. This is close to literally true. Bacon's been banished to the Drew Sharp area of the press box, Michael Rosenberg is livid, Rodriguez himself is apparently hugely pissed. And while I can't confirm this like the above, I can't help but think that Lloyd Carr hates this book more than anything he's ever hated.
I know Bacon a bit and have pressed upon him an opportunity for MGoBlog: to badger him with questions. I would like to crowdsource these questions because these are important. I want to cover all the bases, ask the things clarify a lot of the debates fans have argued endlessly about for the last four years.
So: what would you ask someone who spent the last three years embedded in Operation Spread Ann Arbor? I'll cull the best ones and pose them to Bacon. He'll answer, and maybe we'll get some clarity.
Before you get to asking, some context:
Along with a severe grilling of Bacon, we'll be running an excerpt from the book around the time of its publication, which is scheduled for October 25th.
Does Dave Brandon eat Domino's?
...but RR said when he was 1st hired that 5 different people sent him copies of Bo's Lasting Lessons (also by Bacon). I've always wondered if he ever read it.
edit: Wow. I posted this without having seen the previous comment. The similarity of the titles are purely coincidental.
It's probably bad form for Bacon to comment on specific players, but I really want to hear what went down re: Tate Forcier. The winged helmet, benched, pouting on the sideline, supposed drugs and partying, playing Devin ahead of him, etc.
why is that bad form considering he's not even with the university anymore.
I saw a question about Boren...sorry I didn't look into everyone's question.
But I'd like to know his thoughts on how Rich Rod handled the Ryan Mallett saga, and how it was in comparison to how Coach Hoke handled Denard.
...you could also toss Arrington, Manningham, etc. into the question, however I believe they were already gone.
After Rich Rod was hired, Carr told Mallett to transfer. In contrast, after he had been fired, RR told Denard to stay at Michigan.
Once again, I apologize I havent read 5 pages of questions...but I'd like to hear about the Demar Dorsey saga.
I'm sure (hope) it is covered in the book, but I'd love some cold hard facts that debunk the whole "Lack of family values" thing.
If anything, Rodriguez appeared to be more family oriented than we've ever seen from our Head Coach.
That Rodriguez is loyal to his family of coaches to the point that he couldn't bring himself to fire them, even when faced with being fired himself. It would be interesting to know if this perception (his loyalty to his staff led to his dismissal) is in any way true.
If this has not already been asked (sorry, I'm not able to read all 228 responses), what did he think RR's plan was if he would have gotten a 4th year?
1. How big a factor did lack of support from the "Michigan Community" (i.e. athletic dept. employees, university employees, alums, former players) play in the failure of Rich Rodriguez?
2. How big a factor did Lloyd Carr play in the lack of support from the "Michigan Community"? Did he merely speak volumes with his silence or did he openly campaign against RR behind closed doors to the "Michigan Community" ?
5-During the last few Carr years, there was much speculation that he was on the way out soon - his announcement should not have been a surprise. Yet the coaching seach seemed haphazard. Did Martin have any kind of transition plan to speak of? Was it executed during the coaching search? Was there internal strife regarding the plan? Does Dave Brandon have a transition plan now?
6-The relationship between RR and John Beilein, both coming from WVU and then at UM together, nver seemed anything but strained or even non-existant - what was that relationship really like? Did Beilein ever "go to bat" for RR?
I would ask about whether or not RR was prepared to make a complete defensive staff overhaul (not just DC) at the end of 2010 and if that had anything to do with Dave Brandon's decision? Probably not possible to ask this but I would also be interested to see a description of RRs practices vs Brady Hokes and whether or not there just wasnt an emphasis on D under RR?
Did see this in Brian's post. The book can be pre-ordered on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Three-Out-Rodriguez-Michigan-Wolverines/dp/0809094665
Here are some that I would like to understand better:
...about Dorsey specifically. But generally, suddenly we had a LOT of kids with academic and off-the-field issues...
...so apologies if this has come up.
But I would love to hear if Bacon got any sense from RRod about the way he kind of came in, kicked the door down, and cleaned house right off the bat. (And, of course, this kind of connects to things like not really stressing the Ohio game, and the #1 jersey... those are the more minor points, of course.) But it definitely seemed like RRod came in and looked to play his ball, rather than trying to maximize what was present and aligning that with his sytem gradually.
I understand the band-aid mentality, and I think that's clearly what he had adopted, in trying to make it as quick (and thus, as painless) as possible. But was there ever any sense that maybe this wasn't the best way to go about things?
Not looking for contrition, just wondering if there were any other thoughts on that.
What on earth was RRod thinking running a 3-3-5 in the Big Ten? And never backing off from it until late in his last year, and only occasionally then.
I'm assuming it came from RRod since he had DCs who didn't run that scheme. But how on earth did that make football sense to the man?
How much did the Josh Groban incident have to do with the firing?
Would it have helped if he picked a Michael Bolton song instead?
I think Bacon is a Keyser Soze figure, in reality, from behind the scenes, he controls DB, Lloyd, Mary Sue and everybody else. Pretty cute ruse Bacon, banishing yourself to the press box. Ingenious
I finally watched that movie a couple of weeks ago, and I'm glad I did because now I get that reference.
Who is Keyser Soze? He is supposed to be Turkish. Some say his father was German. Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Soze. You never knew. That was his power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. He's gone.
regardless of the Miss State bowl outcome?
Did Bacon talk to DB before or after the "end of the year" interview with RR?
I recall DB's exit interview with RR was 4+ hours. What did they talk about. A decision was not made till the next day, was it b/c RR pleaded for more time/consideration or b/c DB wanted to think more about the decision to fire RR.
DB later stated that he looked at the whole season/tenure and seemed to emphasize the lack of defense and the cellar dwelling stats. RR stated that he wish he knew earlier that he was going to be fired before the bowl so he and his staff could look for other jobs. Seems like the decision to fire was made before the bowl game.
So, did he talk to DB about the firing/decision process? What was RR's take on the firing and what happened behind the scenes last 2 weeks of RR at UM.
Does Fred J have compromising photos tucked away of Mary Sue, Lloyd, a prominent faculty member and one or more farm animals?
It would be great to hear John U's thoughts on how that guy has managed to keep his no-accountability gig for so long.
This may have been already been asked (I didn't scroll through every comment), but what happened with Shafer? Did RichRod give him any discretion regarding assistants or the scheme? Did Rodriguez regret hiring Robinson after the debacle of the last two years?
...is to hear about the Ballad of Dr. Vorax.
I did my best to read through, and I can't believe it -- no one has asked the most obvious question: Kenny Demens and that beaver... Was it supposed to be a wolverine? WTF?
Seriously, I'd ask him if he knows the story behind that and if he thinks he'll be able to tell us after Demens and the rest of those guys graduate.
Please, please, please, please.
I have to know the Tale of the Beaver.
As many know, John U. Bacon gave us a foretaste of Three and Out when he penned this column for the Weekend Journal section of the Wall Street Journal:
In the article (and, I expect, in the new book) much of John's focus is on the extraordinary, almost unfathomable, effort and sacrifices of college football players and coaches and the massive ironies involved in such a vast financial empire riding on the fortunes of 18-21 year olds competing in a game. I expect that we will learn much from John's book, entirely apart from settling arguments on the MGoBoard, which is what about 95% of us seem interested in per this thread.
I'm no better than anyone else. I have a rooting interest. I have a number of my own barroom arguments that I want settled. In my favor. I want to see Rosenberg humiliated; I want to see Rodriguez vindicated. I would like to have all of my suspicions about the failed courting of Jeff Casteel proven to be true. But I didn't do the research that John did, and I didn't write the book. So I'll wait for the delivery truck on October 25. In the meantime, I will anxiously watch for Brian's interview, because what John has already sent to his publisher in the final draft in August is no doubt just a small part of the entirety of what the author now knows. It should be a really great interview. With any luck, it will be Mark Snyder's worst nightmare come true. Have a nice day, Mark.
Let's just do the Big Ten (I don't know how this is going to turn out)
Who has used the read-option at some point since its development...
Minnesota: yes (is there any offensive philosophy they didn't use under Brewster)
Penn State: yes? (did the Spread HD have a read-option component? I'm assuming it did)
MSU: no (unless JLS did)
That's 6 definite yes's, 2 likely yes's, 2 definite no's, 1 likely no, and 1 failure to be aware of Indiana football. Conclusion, fairly solid grounding.
Which has several reads and is kind of a bizzaro evolution of the read option.
Was there anything your editor removed from the book to protect the press from the possibility of libel litigation?
If yes, did that section concern Lloyd Carr's relationship with Les Miles?
Does he feel this book will hurt RR's chances of landing another college football head coaching job?
Is there any commonality between the supposedly bad relationship between RR and the UM ADep and the well-documented bad relationship between RR and the WVU ADep?
I personally think it's a coincidence, but it seems strange that this guy had a (again, supposedly) bad relationship with two employers in a row. Could he have prevented this? Was there something he was doing that brought this about?
Really more of a philosophical question than factual, but since Bacon is uniquely placed... what would Bo have thought about the past several years -- specifically the alleged in-fighting and factionalism that followed the RR hire. And related to that, why wasn't there a firm succession plan in place for the inevitable Carr retirement?
But before I do, I want to know how much support (or lack thereof) RR had from the admin (MSM, etc.) I felt there was a real culture judgement that he couldn't win. Don't know how that all played out (regents, powerful alums, etc.)
Also want to know more about the Martin/Miles/ESPN/Boat thing.
Why three years? Was the book always intended to cover that much time, or did Bacon (or RR?) feel that the first/second years weren't successful enough and hoped for a breakthrough season in 2010 to be part of the story?
Assume that RR had the same overall record in three years, or even each year, but had somehow swung a mricale win or two versus MSU and OSU. Would that have been enough to keep his job?
One more question -- did Rich Rodriguez ever feel accepted in Ann Arbor? I realize that football coaches live pretty narrowly-defined lives, and probably socialize (if at all) mostly with their staff, but I wonder if he felt isolated here. He had a West Virginia accent, and a wife with bleached-blonde (or at least unusually blonde) hair. I know that Bo and Lloyd each had a network of friends in town, but I doubt that that was true of Rodriguez. Also, I think that it's interesting that while Bo lived Ann Arbor Hills, and Lloyd out by the Huron River, Rodriguez lived in Saline.
In any case, this isn't a meant as a slam on Rodriguez or his family (I've heard great things about Rita from an unimpeachable source), but I wonder if feeling like an outsider made things even more difficult.
I'll just add, I don't think there's much to living in Saline. A lot of the coaches and staff have lived there for years. Nice property, good schools, and just far enough away from town to be out of the spotlight a little. I'm sure he received recommendations that it was a good place for his wife to look for a house.
Would have thought about the situation...I think a better question is what he thinks Bo would have thought about the book. Because I'm guessing Bo wouldn't take kindly to him putting the program and any coaches or players, whether it be Rich or Lloyd or anyone else, in a bad light. And that'd be the end of his relationship with Bo too.
But that doesn't mean he appreciated it. Some went overboard, and he thought so. Some people, particularly at channel 7, took extra glee with the situation.
For example, you can certainly report on the situation, and cover it completely, without having played the tapes of him with the police. It added nothing to the story, isn't done in any non-celebrity drunk cases, and was just don to be salacious.
And frankly, reporting on something, which is a reporter's job, is different from someone who's acting, and has acted as an insider. I know for a fact that he held it against Duderstat for using the situation to push Moeller out behind his back; and it contributed to the Dude not being around much longer (Presidents...you better contact your regents and see who's side they're on before you do stuff).
There's just a huge difference between "trying to stop Bacon from writing what he wants to write" and "you can do what you want...but lose my number, traitor". For someone who's been let in numerous times on the "inside", Bo would have seen airing their dirty laundry (in defense of Rich and Lloyd, not one or the other) as a betrayal. That's not censorship; that's simply not being friends with people who put their interest over yours.
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I'm curious to know what Bacon thinks Michigan's 2008 record would have been if Lloyd had stayed. Do Mallet, Boren, Arrington, etc. still leave? Does that matter?
Okay, so I see people have already asked about the DCs, Tony Gibson, the 3-3-5, etc.
I have another major question, which I hope hasn't already been asked.
RR was hired to bring in a fast-paced, modern offense that had given him great success at WVU, and building this offense meant recruiting different types of offensive players--dual threat QBs, slot ninjas, leaner O-linemen, etc. I get that.
What I don't get is why this coaching change and offensive philosophical shift should have necessitated such decay in defensive recruiting? I mean, the rating services all felt we recruiting well on defense, but there were SO...MANY...BUSTS/TRANSFERS. What was RR's thinking on defense? What explains his staff's personnel issues on that side of the ball?
Back in May 2010, around the time of the Morgan Trent fiasco, you wrote:
Through it all, Rodriguez just grits his teeth and asks if you've heard his Lion King joke. I shudder at the tell-all book that will inevitably follow a Rodriguez canning.
Now that said Rodriguez canning has occurred and said tell-all book has been written and read, were your shudder-inducing suspicions confirmed or rebutted?