We are in the middle of a very good season right now. One that is damn close to being perfect so far. Things were fucked up in the spring of 2008. The last three years were catch-up. This is the payoff.
that makes one of us
I'm impressed with the large numbers of people who seem to have already blazed their way through Three and Out. It took me a while. I stopped for a few days after "Honeymoon from Hell" because it was too depressing; every chapter featuring a game I knew they'd lose spectacularly required a little bit of willpower to start.
But I'm done and a large number of you are done. It is time to talk the turkey.
We've got this document. What does it say about major players in the saga? I was planning one part here but this got long, so today we'll cover Carr, Rodriguez, and Bill Martin, with various players with less prominent roles in the story covered in a post tomorrow.
It says a few things about Lloyd Carr that are not nice, and implies more. Bacon's said he left a lot of things out that he could not get multiple sources on, which is both his responsibility as an actual journalist and horribly frustrating.
The main strikes:
That's aside from the state of the roster when Rodriguez took over, which wasn't specifically directed at the new man.
Those seem like major strikes. Screw it: those are major strikes, particularly #3. I find it inconceivable that Eric Mayes would made it thirty seconds into the embarrassing "we own this program" speech before Bo burst from his chest like a Xenomorph. Carr does nothing. Multiple former players trash Rodriguez in public. Carr does nothing. The 2009 golf outing that even guys like Chris Balas* come back from disgusted at, naming specific names of players (Marlin Jackson, Dhani Jones) who embarrassed themselves with their behavior. Is Carr even at it? It's worse if he is.
So, like, whatever. Carr doesn't owe anyone anything except the 400k a year he was pulling down as associate AD. But he's no program patriarch. He's just a guy who used to coach here. His loyalty is to an incredibly specific version of Michigan only. The difference between the Bo guys and the Carr guys is obvious. Bo guys organize a weird counterproductive rally for RR; Carr guys go on MNF and state they're from "Lloyd Carr's Michigan" or storm the AD's office to demand RR's firing after every loss**. There are exceptions, obviously. The trend is clear.
I have no sympathy for arguments the guy is being painted unfairly when he was offered the opportunity to tell his side a dozen times. If history is written by the losers here it's because the winners don't care what the public thinks. They can't be surprised when the public thinks they're not Bo.
Carr did a lot of things for the program but his legacy is significantly tarnished by the pit it found itself in immediately after his departure. It was his lack of a coaching tree, lack of serious coordinators, and lack of tolerance for Les Miles that caused Michigan to hire Rodriguez in the first place. It was his lack of a roster—seven scholarship OL!—and lack of support that provided Rodriguez with two strikes before he even coached a game. We can argue about how much is Carr's fault and how much is Rodriguez's, but figuring out the latter is pointless since RR is gone and everyone hates him. The former is "far too much."
*[By this I mean guys who work for publications for whom access is lifeblood. They're naturally more circumspect. The reaction on premium sites to this golf outing was unprecedented, with people moved to call actual former players out by name after years of dark mutterings.]
**[Not in the book; something I got from a good source.]
If you left a goat in the locker room after a Michigan loss and then locked Rodriguez in it for five minutes, you would return to find the walls smeared with blood and feta. There would be no trace of the goat.
Rich Rodriguez was obviously not a stoic guy. His sideline tantrums proved that. The extent of his leg-gashing, table-throwing, goat-cheese-making post-loss hissies is probably the thing that Rodriguez is pissed about. They don't make him look like a stable dude. Neither does his descent into J. Edgar Hoover-esque paranoia, no matter how intent the university was on making that paranoia seems reasonable.
By the time I got through it, my reaction to Rodriguez's portrayal was different than that of the media reviewing the book. It doesn't paint Rodriguez as a guy I would want in charge of my football program. I can deal with one goat-annihilating postgame tantrum a year. Rodriguez seemed to have one after every loss.
So why do most neutral accounts play up the Rodriguez sympathy angle? They do not take the truth that the local media is dominated by agenda-laden twits to be self-evident. When Mike Rosenberg—who comes off as a real winner—bombed Rodriguez with a bunch of half-truths and misrepresentations I bombed back, stating that it was obvious the buyout kerfuffle was university-directed. Surprise: it was university-directed as they tried to get out of their 2.5 million dollar hook. Similarly, Free Press Jihad is re-exposed as a bunch of half-truths at best run by a couple of guys who "had countable hours in there at some point" but had it edited out, no doubt because that's not at all important in a discussion about whether Michigan was more than doubling their allotted time on Sundays.
If you go into the book knowing Rosenberg and Snyder published an embarrassing hack-job and that a large part of the media firestorm surrounding Rodriguez was a combination of University incompetence and the tiny lizard brains of certain folk in the local media*, the main takeaway from the book in re: RR is the sheer height of the plumes his emotional volcano shoots up. I mean, Bacon spends pages and pages on Rodriguez playing up the traditions of Michigan to his players. That's an obvious reaction to the Michigan Man business. I assumed Rodriguez was not an idiot when it came to firing up his troops, I guess, and that stuff shot by me. Beating a bleating ungulate against the wall of the Notre Dame locker room until it bursts into a kaleidoscope of viscera… that stays with you.
I feel bad for the guy. I'm glad he's gone.
*[The rest a combo of Rodriguez never winning any games and his remarkable ability to stick his leg into the press conference bear trap.]
Good Lord, man. I find it hard to believe that a guy who dragged Michigan kicking and screaming into massive financial success and smoothly hired John Beilein (admittedly after making a questionable hire in Tommy Amaker) was really as incompetent as… uh… I believed he was after the sailboat incident. That's Yogi Berra right there but it's also true.
Here's the the story of the post-Carr coaching search from the perspective of this site:
It seemed like a clown show, and behind the scenes… clown show. Martin wants Dungy, has no idea if Dungy—who is a broadcaster and can be contacted by anyone at any time for any reason—will take the job. Wants Ferentz, has no idea that the president of the university will stab him if he hires Ferentz. Wants Miles, has no idea that Lloyd Carr will stab him if he hires Miles. Somehow misses on Schiano, then has Rodriguez fall into his lap and grabs him before anyone can think about it, which sets up the whole buyout fiasco the media will spin for six months. The sailboat incident is even worse since Bacon asserts one of the main problems was Martin had a new cell phone and didn't know how to use it.
Martin himself drops out of the story shortly thereafter, which is another indictment of the guy because what enters is a vast institutional incompetence that starts the Rodriguez media cockroach katamari rolling. Everything from the buyout to the Dorsey situation is mishandled not only by Rodriguez (sometimes not even by Rodriguez, as with the buyout) but by the people who should be telling him what is and is not possible. When Rodriguez went to bat for Dorsey with a guy in admissions the guy in admissions should have looked at the guy's transcript before saying yes, and then when he did look at the transcript he should have said no.
Instead we actually sign the guy—opening us up to the most cynical and loathsome of all the lizard-brain media attacks—only to find out he is nowhere near eligible. And don't get me started on the CARA forms, which was a special brand of idiocy all on its own. Martin did a lot of big picture stuff very well, but he was totally unprepared to fix a department that had started downhill long before he arrived.
For all the crap I give Brandon about his failure on big picture stuff, he cleaned out the deadwood with alacrity.
TOMORROW: Players, reporters, me/us(!?).
We are in the middle of a very good season right now. One that is damn close to being perfect so far. Things were fucked up in the spring of 2008. The last three years were catch-up. This is the payoff.
Our roster is still lacking. Thats what I mean about turning things around. We are still catching up and will be until we can say with a straight face we wouldnt switch roster with Michigan Freaking State
But, agreed, we are having a really nice season. Its been fun. And, I am a big fan of Brady Hoke and the attitude he's bringing. Its good to not have Coach Freak Out About Everything on the sideline
we are one hard tackle on Denard from being right back to at least 2009....we are by no means being rewarded for the past 3 years.
It's scary out there.
If not, well at least there's free Domino's for everyone!
This comments section, like the post that started it, is divisive and stupid (though maybe not for site traffic). Even with the Bacon book, there are far too many unknowns to make judgments nearly as strong as the ones I read here. If that's your thing, fine, but count me among those who were excited about our last three coaches and are damn excited about the future of the program. At some point, it would be nice just to call ourselves Michigan fans.
That is all.
What did Dhani Jones and Marlin Jackson do to embarrass themselves at this golf outing? I've been reading this blog everyday since 2007 and don't remember ever hearing about that?
I also don't remember ever hearing anything about this. I am very curious.
Will get to 500 posts by midnight.
Opinions on this topic run strong on both sides.
Even though its still a pretty touchy and polarizing topic for most fans, its nice to see that people here are discussing the merits of pretty darn intelligently. You and I may not see eye-to-eye on some of the revelations in the book but I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge that you're making cogent and credible arguments in this thread, likely much more eloquent than I could do myself. I appreciate your posts and learning your different point of view.
As an aside, I'd be interested to see what other B1G blogs are doing, if they are reading the book and discussing it at all. Its pretty interesting for college football fans in general, not just Michigan fans, I think.
considering the frequency of posts by JClay, brodie, et al. . . .
I don't see anything wrong with JClay's posts...Brodie on the other hand is being kind of an ass.
It's past midnight. <400. FAIL.
I'm halfway through the book (on Kindle app), but like Brian says, not a whole lot really surprising to those of us who followed the story closely from the beginning. Even a lot of the Carr stuff was rumored before, and his ambivalence toward RR was obvious from his public silence, if nothing else. The one really interesting, game-changing tidbit for me was that Casteel was ready to go, "had his Michigan phone already", but got convinced to stay at WVU by (slightly) more money and a guaranteed contract.
If Casteel comes, and the dysfunctional mess over the defense is at least substantially reduced, we maybe win 2-3 more games each year under RR and the world is very different now.
Edit: I should add that even if many of the details are not that surprising, I find it still a very compelling read!
Maybe Casteel can visit Ann Arbor and explain to Martin how to use his cell phone.
Very frustrating. My experience is similar to JiV's. Usually you don't want the old CEO (Lloyd in this case ) hanging around near term because their ego gets in the way for whatever reason. If he stays he's got to support the transition. That's Martin should have been all over him.
Then again Martin had no football cred, seemed a bit detached, so maybe there was little he could have done other than invoke the ghost of Bo.
If Carr loved Michigan, it certainly doesn't appear that he cultivated loyalty to the institution, but to himself. I doubt it was on purpose, but it appears to have ended up that way. It had its upside, as Carr never lost his team even in the darkest of times, he won a lot of big games, and he appeared to be a great motivator. But when his enthusiasm waned, he left behind an institution that was focused on individuals, and not the team. When that happened, Michigan became unable to handle the transition. Then he offered to sign the transfer papers for anyone who wanted out, instead of reminding them that "those who stay will be champions".
For me, Carr burned off all of his career goodwill with a four game losing streak to OSU (I personally put the blame on Carr for 7 in a row. There's no way that RichRod could have beaten OSU with what he inherited even under ideal circumstances). He was breakeven to me until some of these recent revelations. Now he's negative. When Michigan lost the most humiliating game in the program's history, Carr lost his right to be excused for this shit.
IF Carr loved Michigan?
slow clap . . . .
So many games where he turtled up and cost us big time - drives me crazy. Especially against OSU - nightmares of Troy Smith as a SO.
Then the Drew Henson / Tom Brady fiasco. Talk about putting a player above the team!! Why no one blasts him for this is beyond me.
This is precisely why I'm staying far away from this book.
It may be very disappointing to see the widespread failure that was the last few years, but I'm glad to have, what I believe anyway, a more complete story than we have gotten so far or probably would have ever gotten. I don't think ignoring this book completely is a wise decision.
But I'd also understand if some readers didn't want to go through the last 3 years right now. As Brian wrote above, it's somewhat masochistic. Especially in the middle of a 6-1 season that's got a lot of potential.
Chitown - maybe tackle it in the offseason? I'd also recommend reading it at some point, but I understand if it's too soon, or if it might overshadow the current season.
I don't know this book kind of put my feelings more in perspective. Despite how bad it may feel to us there is no arguing we didn't suffer a tenth as much as everyone on those teams and part of that program.
Sure it hurt to watch our team struggle so much but at the end of the day we are only observing. It is easy to forget that in the heat of the moment sometimes.
I think Bacon, like the OP, casts Carr unfairly. Because Carr didn't talk to Bacon, Carr's actions and motives are viewed in the worst possible light. Carr's first responsibility was to his players. Therefore, once RR was selected, I don't think Carr was wrong to conclude that, because the team was facing a change in both coaching and scheme, the players deserved the freedom to do what was best for them. This is not an unreasonable stance. He wasn't urging the players to leave. There's a big difference.
Nor would it have been unreasonable for Carr to tell Mallett that he probably wasn't right for RR's offense. He wasn't right for it. I seriously doubt that Carr unilaterally called Mallett and told him what to do. No doubt Mallett sought Carr's advice. Which proved to be correct advice. RR has no interest in conforming to the QBs he inherited. He tried to turn Threet into a spread QB, for crissake.
I had my issues with Carr. It was time for him to step aside. But there's absolutely no reason to believe that Carr suddenly turned into some sort evil, moustache-twisting villain. He served the school well for many years and was widely considered a man of immense integrity and class. He didn't cooperate with Bacon. RR did. So guess which coach wins the spin battle.
If Carr stopped Miles from coming and then did nothing to help RR after endorsing him, I've lost all respect for Lloyd Carr. That just shows he put himself in front of the program, and possibly part of the reason we are in this mess today.
Lloyd is dead to me....he seems more and more like a wounded ego kind of guy.
I am sure that Lloyd is very sad to hear this. Wounded ego? Did you ever think that Carr may know stuff about les miles that makes him not want him to coach Michigan? So any of us really want les miles as our coach?
What? Being silent does not mean he was above the fray in any respect. I'm not sure why you want to be so selective, but that is not a logical conclusion at all. I'm not sure why placing some scrutiny on Carr automatically means RR is absolved from blame.
Is it really that unbelievable that everyone involved here messed up and is to blame in some capacity?
If there'd be more response, if the book didn't come out right in the middle of the football season. To keep it from becoming a full blown flamewar distraction. (Which is an interest dicotomy that people who say all these media distractions cost us games on the field completely endorse the book...and seem to have no problem with the timing of it's release).
Not at all. And I think Brian is coming to that conclusion.
However, I don't think the book does that at all...though it may point it out, it's not where the theme of it is directed at all.
I'm through enough of the book to know that. Learn the lessons, peoples
I can't believe all this stuff about Carr and Martin. Bo would have kicked both of their asses in public and never apologized.
Sometimes I think what Michigan really needed back in 2008 was a cantakerous badass bastard drill sergeant-like person, an R. Lee Ermey type, as a head coach who would treat everyone the same, telling them all - players, fans, alumni, former players and the press - where to toe the line and where to step off. Break them all down into tiny quark particles and then build them back up into a united family and a great football team again.
"Pile! Infantry! O-five-hundred! You made it."
I can't wait until tomorrow's post about the players, but I'm going to read it thinking what would Bo do?
I don't think Brady Hoke is like Bo at all, except with his colloquialisms like "Well....". Hoke doesn't even swear. With former players and the press, Hoke has been a playful blackbear cub to Bo's "I don't care what you think!" and "What the hell do you want?".
Just once I'd like to see Brady Hoke absolutely lose it during a postgame press conference, turn into the Incredible Hulk , then pick up the lecturn and throw it effortless across the room while seething and staring directly at Drew Sharp and Michael Rosenberg.
That won't ever happen. And that is sad.
Meanwhile, Bo's ghost is pissed off and no doubt following Bill Martin and Lloyd Carr around trying desperately kick their asses into next week, but he keeps whiffing like Charlie Brown, as ghosts do.
Some people seem to assume that "Carr's camp" followed Carr's lead when it came to being anti-RR, but now they we know that RR upset some of Carr's assistant coached with the interview process, it seems entirely possible that it's the other way around. Carr seemed to be pro-RR until members of his camp felt disrespected.
...where the old staff waits in the hall all day to interview for jobs that don't exist? ...the part about Gittleson? It's not Carr getting upset about these things, it's the assistants getting upset about these thing. After the assistants are upset, whose side you think Carr is going to take?
I only talk about coaches the coach at Michigan
Lloyd and Rich in the good old days
"I've prepared myself for change, but I think if you look at what Rich has done, his teams are going to run the football as well as anybody in the country," Carr said.
"I think from that standpoint, if you go back to Bo's (Schembechler) philosophy of running the football.
"I think Bo would like what he's going to do."
Carr finally was asked about the fact Rodriguez is not what some call a "Michigan man," since he had no connection to the Michigan program prior to Monday's hiring.
Bo Schembechler arrived at Michigan in 1969; his successor, Gary Moeller, had coached under Bo; and Carr had been an assistant under both coaches.
"Well, he is a Michigan man," Carr said.
"He's here. That's enough said."
From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20071218/SPORTS0201/712180377/Carr-has-warm-welcome#ixzz1bvKiZblN
...so this would have been said just before the wait-in-the-hallway-for-hours-to-interview-for-your-job-even-though-I've-already-filled-your-spot event? I'm really starting to suspect that that's what changed.
As I posted elsewhere, as LC was aiming for his greener pastures, he received a commitment from the Athletic Department for all his coaches to receive an extra years pay (i.e. paying them for 2008, whether they were here or not, IIRC).
Which means, everyone knew they may not be part of the new regime. And that's how things work in the world of professional coaching, to begin with...
Go back about a page or two and read a few pages.
"Any labor lawyer can tell you it's not firing employees that generates lawsuits but the way you fire them. And this was not handled well-creating another layer of well-connected insiders who would have no love for Rodriguez, no mixed feelings if he failed, and no hesitation about spreading their views on the matter."
It's starting to feel like I got the only copy of the book where that page didn't accidentally get omitted, that's not specifically pointed at the author of the post I'm replying to, but this most of this thread and Brian's post all seem to follow this "Lloyd was upset first and for no apparent reason" idea, when you got the Detroit News reporting a very supportive Lloyd Carr on Dec. 17th and this mass firing being handled wrong on Dec. 20th.
Actually, don't have the book yet.
Kinda interesting...dunno where the MGoLawyas were when RR was doing the "interviews" but geez...(this is only my conjecture) but c'mon! Are former Michigan assistant coaches and coordinators a bunch of emo/sensitive children?
They couldn't read RR's staff bios and figure out who'd be coming for sure? And they had a years salary coming to them, regardless!!!
(More conjecture/speculation) And you come into town to be the new coach, and find out the outgoing staff/HC told the players it was OK to bail on you and your program...how do you respond? Do you sit there and say they were within their rights to do so? Or do you think the same thought as that last quoted sentence you posted?
Admittedly, you can see for yourself on this blog, there was very little love lost for those old boy network coaches, from those who want Michigan football to excel, to be the best on the field, every game, every year. Some of the cronies on LC's staff left MUCH to be desired, as many of them are in either equal or lower positions of responsibility than they were here in 2006-7.
I think you'd have to be there to have any clue if Carr's assistant were being too sensitive, but the fact that they hung around to be interviewed, to me, indicates they weren't anti-RR until after the interview and the way they were treated as they left (which wasn't all RR's fault, it's not just the interview, it's also how they were treated with their benefits and how they were asked to clear their offices out which has a lot to do with Bill Martin.)
Interesting points about clearing their offices out, bennies being yoinked, etc.
Strictly on the AD, not the new HC.
But still, being gifted a full year salary is a nice going away present, and I maintain, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to any assistant or coordinator that their days in AA were numbered once LC "retired." (Recall that quote by Bear Bryant, relayed by Bo(?) about how he couldn't retire, for his loyalty to his assistants was such a concern as to their well-being afterwards...)
Man, that brooming out...definitely some antagonism between BM and LC, huh? Someone else posted that RR had no idea of the political gamesmanship he was walking into...WOW! Truer words, man. To be the "patsy" and once he says, "nah, not interested," BM was ready to knock some teeth out and make sure LC knew who was the Big Man in the AD. Whew!
When it comes to Carr's letting the players go, I'm not at all surprised and I don't even think he chose poorly. I think there's a fair debate as to why Carr thought it would be better for some of his players if they left, but once he made that decision, he had to choose between his players and Michigan, and I don't ever expect a Michigan coach to try to gain some kind of benefit for Michigan by doing something that he thinks is bad for his players.
THAT NEVER HAPPENED
LLOYD HATES MICHIGAN AND WANTED RR TO FAIL
Haven't read the book myself (won't get it til this weekend), but I have to say everything I have heard about it is frustrating to say the least.
I read this thread shortly after it was posted and just came back now to read the comments. All I is B O O M goes the dynamite. And in my humble opinion, if Mallet would've stayed, even if just for a year, we would have still made a bowl game that year, and he would've still made it to the NFL. He may have still been a jerk, but he was a more heady and accurate than our other options. No disrespect to Threet or The Human White Flag, but Mallet was more talented than both of them combined. He would've done at least as good as Tate and wouldn't have been so painful to watch. imho
I think one of the most telling moments of the book comes after Carr, Martin, and Rodriguez have lunch and Rodriguez has the chance to ask Carr about the lack of support - to which Carr had no response. Soon after, when interviewed, Carr offers his much-too-late support for Rodriguez. I can only speculate that Carr felt guilty and realized that he was not doing his duty to the University.
If we can assume that this is true (about my speculation that Carr felt guilty it), then maybe even Carr recognized that RR was getting the raw end of the deal.
Furthermore, the Ron English rumors (about the trash talking and the recruiting nonsense) _ I pin equally on Ron and Carr. If Carr had gotten wind of that, he should have quashed it immediately.
Brian, you have now referenced this twice (the first time in a column about Crisler!): "the president of the university will stab him if he hires Ferentz." Can you (or someone else) please explain. I thought MSC loved KF. I'm buying this book Friday, but I need to know what this means now!