Three And Out Takes: Ensemble
For people complaining about spoilers, I have bad news: they fire the guy. But we won World War II, so we've got that going for us. Unless this is an alternate history and we're all Nazis, but only Michigan State fans believe that because Michigan State fans will believe anyone is a racist if it helps exonerate Will Gholston. Denard: totally racist.
Anyway, I show up briefly. A few reporters show up more extensively, and then there are the players—addressed as a group—and the new athletic director.
This guy's opinion: boy, does that hippie with the blog need a haircut. But his logic… so dashing.
Person Who Identifies Himself As Brian
(And you guys.)
So… right. There are some scattered MGoBlog references, mostly as a reading of the fan zeitgeist. "Never Forget" is referenced because "Never Forget" is always referenced all the time; The Horror is identified as The Horror, and so forth and so on. The blog's permanence relative to most message boards (and even newspapers, which put their stories behind a paywall after a while) seems to have made it the database of record when it comes to how the average fan felt at X point in time, even if the average fan here is not the average fan elsewhere. It's around. Since that's more than anything else can say, its opinion wins by default.
A couple people have asked for more detail about the point in the book where I show up in the flesh. This is after the WMU 2009 press conference, which was the first one post-Free Press story. I've had a couple days to consider the story and have come to the conclusion that it's a misleading, unethical hack job. I am steaming. I go to the press conference to liveblog it.
Afterwards—and in retrospect I can't believe this actually transpired—I go to the front of the room, where Snyder is, and repeatedly ask him if he knows what a countable hour is in an unfriendly fashion. He refuses to answer. The pattern is: I ask, he says he won't respond because I am a "competitor," I ask, he says the same thing, I incredulously ask if he will not defend his article, etc. etc. etc. This is actually broadcast (off-camera but audible) on the MGoBlue stream, which was not turned off after the presser.
I give up on Snyder and am in the process of storming out when I happen on Rosenberg in the little vestibule between the Junge proper and outside. I ask the same thing; Rosenberg responds that he does know what a countable hour is, so I start in on why that wasn't in the article and how realistic it is that a head coach at a major program had been more than doubling the NCAA's allotted maximums for years. He starts asking me my name over and over again, which I ignore in favor of further badgering. Craig Ross, watching this with a combination of bemusement and horror, eventually tells Rosenberg my name. I think this was because he wanted Rosenberg to start saying other things, but you'd have to ask him and he doesn't remember interjecting. So that's lost to history.
I had no idea this was going to be in the book until just before the thing went to print when Bacon emailed me with Rosenberg's version of the event and asked me if I had any corrections, which I did since he remembered me as some wild-eyed nut instead of a wild-eyed nut with very specific questions.
And <poof> like that, he's gone.
As for my bête noir… well now. Revelations about Rosenberg from the book:
- Countable hours was "in the story at some point" but "there were a lot of edits."
- He did not attend a single practice before writing the infamous story in which he declares it "sad" that Michigan is employing a guy to belittle its students. (I found this so implausible when I read it that I double-checked with Bacon about this; he dug up the email he had gotten from Rosenberg as proof.)
- He told multiple Michigan employees that he "hated Bill Martin" and "was going to get him run out of his job."
- He got teary when Michigan fans left nasty reviews of his book on Amazon.
Rosenberg has taken to twitter to call Bacon a "fan" and claim the book is "littered with errors," complaining that Bacon made "almost no attempt to talk to anybody who would contradict his subject's point of view."
How Rosenberg knows this is unknown. Bacon states in the book that he repeatedly tried to talk to Martin, Coleman, Carr, and Brandon but never got anywhere. Certainly Brandon's response to the book—a disingenuous "what book?" issued at the same time he's pressuring the M-Den not to carry it and Bacon has been exiled to Drew Sharp Row—indicates the sort of cooperation the AD is providing the guy.
Meanwhile, the height of irony:
When I asked Rosenberg if they had made any attempt to talk to players with different views, he replied, "Did we keep calling until we got guys to say, 'Hey, it's fine?' No, we didn't."
The difference between Bacon's book—which contains a half-dozen quotes from Rosenberg as it attempts to show both sides of the story—and the Free Press piece is stark. The [REDACTED] has the balls to complain about Bacon's approach to journalism? After the NCAA called the original article exaggerated and misleading? After they took countable hours out of the story? /head explodes
That this guy still has a job is a black mark on the Free Press. That he's still allowed to show up at press conferences is inexplicable. That he has the chutzpah to criticize someone else's journalism is totally expected, because he's just that kind of guy.
Players of all varieties
The only enjoyable parts of the book are the moments when Michigan's players come into focus. I suspect that Bacon soft-pedaled some of the Tate stuff. He comes off as a fairly likeable, if pretty weird, kid. Denard and Devin and Mark Moundros and Ryan Van Bergen and Mike Martin all come off well.
At least we've got that after the last few years. Michigan's players are easy to root for. They don't put MIKE VICK on their eyeblack or fracture skulls or not pay for tattoos or give quotes about how "everybody murders" to the media. They leave all that stuff to the adults.
That feeling you got at the end of the Hoke press conference when Brandon was talking and you thought "Rodriguez was a dead man even before the bowl" is a feeling most of the players had. Bacon, too, which he made more explicit than he did in the book in an appearance on the Huge show yesterday.
Brandon's drawn-out firing process does seem like an unnecessary delay of an already-made decision. The impression Bacon got was the players thought Rodriguez was done, people around the program felt Brandon was hoping for a loss in the bowl game. So cut the cord already.
We don't get much else on the current AD.
Easy. No class. Brandon is not a Michigan Man. Never could be. Never will be.
Brandon also maintained that Hoke was his only candidate throughout the process, though. If that's true, it strikes me as unlikely that there was no contact made with Hoke's people before firing Rodriguez.
That may be the word of the day, or the single sentence descriptor of the entire December 2007 through January 2011 madness/mayhem. Virtually from day one of this saga, someone was trying to stick it to someone else, at the expense of a third person.
(Include daisy chain or cluster fuck, and the single sentence virtually writes itself!)
I haven't gotten this far in the book, but that makes total sense. Hadn't thought about that before. It's kind of a dick move, but it's what you would expect from a CEO-type.
Not sure how I feel about it. He screwed over a bunch of people, but he did it to save the team from a level of attrition that would have kneecapped us for the next 2-3 seasons.
Michigan would not have to release any players who tried to follow RR, so I don't think that is a plausible explanation.
Although directly forcing the players to stay would have a huge negative effect on morale (moreso than the drawn out firing process already had). Perhaps they wanted to avoid that mess.
It doesn't seem like they would have or even should have thought that much into it though.
Yeah, but nothing good ever comes of denying a player his release. At best, it would have been a PR disaser for the AD.
If he had been fired after OSU he would be Maryland's coach right now.
RR had just gone 5-7, 7-6 after having an awful year with somebody else's players. He had a great offense and an awful defense. If that's not "middling" I don't know what is. I agree that a cooling off period probably improves his stock with "big time" schools, but he was probably just as likely to land a Big East caliber job last year as he will be after this year (he would almost HAVE to have been on the short list for Pitt, for example).
Regardless, the people Brandon's move really hurt were RR's assistants - RR has the name cachet to get a broadcast job while he waits for a good job to open up. His assitants don't. He also made enough cash to take a year off. His assistants didn't. Some landed on their feet (at Pitt) but some didn't. Basically, Brandon screwed the little guys for reasons that are either petty or opaque.
The only coach from RR's staff last year not currently employed is GERG, and I think there's a pretty good reason for that.
Fortunately, ADs of other schools probably have common sense and realize the record wasn't all on RR. He was left with a bare cupboard and distractions galore by Lloyd and company. I'm sure coaches at other schools knew the kind of crap RR had to deal with, which makes it pretty likely that their ADs did as well.
A good reason no one seems to be mentioning is that Hoke was a done deal in DB's mind, so he didn't have to worry about finding a new coach. Bacon's story about former Carr players saying, at a golf outing in May 2010, that Hoke would be the coach in 2011 offers some support for this theory.
If you have the new coach already in hand, waiting until after the bowl to fire RR is probably the best option because:
- it prevents RR from siphoning off players (although a mass exodus seems unlikely for the reason noted by Brian below);
- it enables Hoke to coach SD State's bowl game, thus avoiding a repeat of the media shit storm that occurred when RR left WVU before its bowl;
- it allows DB to flirt with Harbaugh and Miles to appease their constituencies without creating additional media shitstorms;
- it saves the athletic dep't a little cash on RR's buyout.
The only negatives are:
- potential pro-RR outcry if RR wins the bowl game (which seems like a minimal risk even if UM had won);
- potential hit to recruiting if Hoke gets a couple less weeks to salvage the 2011 recruiting class;
- alienating current players who felt rudderless while RR was dangling in the wind.
None of these 3 came to pass, so maybe the pimp hand was extant in this case.
Is why did we wait so long after Rich was fired to name Hoke? We could have made a big public display about contacting Harbaugh and Miles in, say, 2 days, if it was just to make the fans happy. It seems all tied in a neat bow now, but back then, it seemed AGONIZINGLY long. (Though checking MGoBlog every 5 minutes probably made it seem longer than it was).
That's a good question. But didn't Brandon say Hoke was his only serious candidate? That he never really considered Miles or Harbaugh? Somewhere along the line, DB was less than truthful.
Yes, this. The only possible explanations for starting a "national search" on January 5 or whatever it was are:
- You are a mendacious sack of prevarication
- You are congenitally insane
- You are the dumbest man ever to draw breath
David Brandon is neither insane nor stupid.
I don't think anyone can seriously dispute that Brandon hates Miles. That was a dog and pony show. Why he waited so long to get rid of RR is a good question, and the answer is probably a combination of many of the things discussed in this thread.
What did bacon mean on the Huge show when he said " I would not trade with Denard, RR, or brady hoke"? Can someone explain that to me
I'm only half way through (stopped myself from opening it yesterday so I got some much-needed sleep) but Bacon did a 6 week workout with Barwis and ended up in the fetal position unable to move at times. I read the (nyt?) excerpt on when he followed Denard for a day, and he said that following him around was exhausting, much less being him. We idolize all these people, but their lives are very difficult.
/just my opinion, I've never talked to Bacon
He was saying that being a Division I football player or coach is not an easy life, and that the fame and/or money aren't worth the immense stress and pressure. That's all.
The bit about the staff not getting rings post-bowl game was news to me, and came across as exceedingly petty. I assume Brandon was behind that.
And after seeing them rewarded for their thuggery the last couple of weeks by cosmic karma, I'm not sure we haven't all moved into that world. It's a scary place.
I would have liked the book to have more on the players too. Not only because it's more enjoyable, but when he was touting it I was hoping for more of an eye-opening for what players go through. The day with Denard was fine, but being behind closed doors, as it were, a lot more of that should be emphasised to the general public. Because while there are a lot of perks, and it's not a "woe is me" situation, they give up a lot to get a lot.
Brian, post press conference-
I am still somewhat perplexed as to why Carr, Martin, MSC, and Brandon, all refused to talk.
They knew two things:
- This book was going to be written
- Bacon has a long history of being pro-Michigan
I mean, it’s not like giving an interview to the Free Press or the Columbus Dispatch. This is the guy who co-authored Bo’s autobiography, for heaven’s sake. He was going to give them a fair hearing.
By not talking, they ensured that Rich Rodriguez’s viewpoint would go uncontradicted, unrefuted. Now, I can somewhat understand Carr’s silence, because he never liked talking to the media even when he had to.
But it still somewhat surprises me that MSC and Brandon did not attempt to get their own spin into the book. And as someone noted earlier, it’s strangely ironic that Mike Rosenberg and Mark Snyder still have full access, while John Bacon is treated like persona non grata.
I mean the only explanation that could make sense is that they believe they would make it worse by talking. The only reasons they (all) could think that are:
1) They don't want to "legitimize" the book and would prefer this whole thing just fade into oblivion ( this makes the most sense for Brandon, who wasn't around for most of this, but the cat's out of the bag, so the possibility is fading fast)
2) What Bacon says is true, and they don't want to lie, but coming forward would confirm it and they don't want that either.
3) What Bacon says is NOT true, but the actual truth is at least as bad
My gut sense is that it's a combination of all 3 - they want it to go away, and anything that's demonstrably false is minor enough that it doesn't change the story arc. In other words, they might score a few points but Bacon would still win the game.
So far the only person trying to defend himself is Rosenberg, and he's making a fool of himself by attacking the messenger, pretty clearly because he can't attack the substance. I doubt Bacon went out of his way to slam Rosenberg with irrefutable facts only to make up falsehoods about everyone else. In other words, Bacon's account is probably pretty trustworthy.
Refusing to comment never means anything other than you refused to comment.
It is completely normal, and keeping with Carr's past actions, for the primaries of books such as this to refuse to comment.
Carr didn't ask for this. He didn't approve it. He ain't involved with it. Full stop.
Well yes, that of course is exactly what the person saying "no comment" wants you to believe. But the fact remains that the most logical rationale for not commenting is that commenting cannot improve your position.
I guess there's option 4) Bacon is wrong but Lloyd just doesn't care. That explanation seems plausible for Lloyd, less so for the other actors involved.
5) Lloyd cares and is responding on his own timeline, in his own venue
1: Carr - He will never coach again. He is a private man. Why should he care what Bacon writes about him. He didn't care when he was coaching, why would he care now?
2: Martin - Why does he care? He has no reason to care.
3: Brandon - why does he care? His job doesn't depend on this, nor does his ultimate success. If Hoke is successful this book is a foot note.
4: MSC - Why does she care? Her job is uneffected by this and for all practical purposes she wants to stay as far away a possible.
Simply put none of these poeple have any reason to comment. Period.
The only person, other than Bacon who has book sales at stake, who may gain from this is Rodriguez. If he is lucky Bacon will mitigate his utter failure at Michigan.
Why would any of these people comment, they have zero upside. Frankly no matter the circumstance, in their situation I would say nothing. You may call Bacon pro-Michigan, but his attachment to Rodriguez flies in the face of that assessment, as does the timing of the release of this book
Michigan fans like you are always going to have a problem with Michigan fans like me.
Is it because he spelled it "uneffected"?
as well as the unconjoined "foot note."
is one of these:
Oh, god! There's more like you??
The "I didn't read it, I'm not going to read it, and I'm not going to comment on it" is pretty much PR 101 in situations like this. We may not like it, but unless the book motivates a significant percentage of alumni or some very influential donors (which seems unlikely), this will be the response from Brandon, et al. As gbdub says, they "prefer the whole thing just fade into oblivion" which is the most likely scenario.
Bo's excellent autobiography-
Bo's excellence leadership manual derived from his notes-
the Columbus Dispatch; comparing it to the Freep.
One of the things that Tatgate did for me, was that in following the news down there so closely, it was a stark lesson in how good and how fair Ken Gordon (now a regular columnist and not the Buckeye writer) and his colleagues were. When they made mistakes (and they made a couple) they owned up to it the next day on the front page. They didn't cover or make excuses for Tressel or the team; they didn't attack anybody either. They tried to cover a story fairly and make it understandable to the readers.
Are you sure you're not talking about me? I left a pretty scathing review of his book on Amazon.
That's pretty legit that Brian went after Snyder and Rosenberg after practice-gate. RESPECT.
That being said, I could care less about this book. It's about the past, and I'd rather not relive it. I'd rather worry about some of the brewing problems, the biggest one being David Brandon's vision for Michigan Athletics. He's done some great things, but then has then done some things that just....why?!
Trite sentiment is trite.
My loyalty to this blog increased 100 fold when I read about that.
I'd love to see how many readers that Roserberg gets on his articles compared to Brian's front-page posts. I'm sure Brian blows Rosenberg's online readership away, but it would be interesting to see about newspaper readership numbers.
Hot Damn Brian ain't nobody gave it to the Establishment like that since Mrs. Johnson wore her mini-skirt to address the Harper Valley PTA.
"He got teary when Michigan fans left nasty reviews of his book on Amazon."
Hmmm I need to go find the password to my Amazon account. Excuse me for a moment.
Thanks a million for posting the link. I missed out on the fun when the book was released but felt a huge sense of pride for all of you that gave the book a poor rating. My favorite part of the reviews were the comments from people that were complaining that commenters didn't actually read the book. Tremendous!
This is, hands down, the best review I've ever read. Note that he gives it a 5 out of 5:
I was given this book as a gift for my constipated dog Messner. He circled it twice before settling down and relieving himself for the first time in days. We plan on picking up a case of these.
whoever it was who wrote this: it is genius
i love that the dog is named messner, too awesome
to me was the funniest part of the book, especially because, if my memory serves me, it was initiated and led by mgoblog viewers (of course). i seem to recall a particularly funny comment: "rosenberg's war as they knew it gave me herpes."
Plain and simple. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth and floats ideas to get a response before making decisions. He also specializes in the "white lie" aka those aren't our throwback jerseys among others. I can't wait until he runs for office or leaves the program.
Brian's actions towards Rosenberg immediately prompted me to listen to "The Wind Beneath My Wings."
the audio clip from the MGoBlue video. Any chance we can get that on here to relive it???
I'm waiting for the day Brian releases a book w/ the real TELL ALL book.