national champs baby
Your Stupid, Stupid Minds
"Stay tuned. There's a couple guys I'm gonna sit with here. Just guys that maybe if they're not doing all their responsibilities and doing what they need to do to be part of our football program may not be back. I hope that's not too many."
…is the same as Nick Saban's flood of suspicious medical redshirts and unexplained transfers. There's no amount of careful monosyllabic explanation that will get the point across to them so I'll dispense with the humorous talking-to-cavemen schtick and just talk:
Michigan signed a recruiting class of 22 despite having 25 openings. When Rodriguez talks about people on the team who are not meeting expectations he's referencing Kevin Grady, for whom "not meeting expectations" is a kind descriptor, and maybe a couple other people who 1) remain on the team and 2) are, according to the insider rumblings, skating the edge of grade issues. No one has left the team except Wermers, who did so of his own volition.
Michigan benefits in no way from Wermers' post-signing-day departure. In the unlikely event there are a ton of injuries on the line, Michigan will be forced to reach down to a walk-on instead of Wermers. And over the course of the next year there's some chance Wermers would have played his way up the depth chart. No one else has left the program. Any speculation as to why these people who haven't left the program would leave the program and whether it's voluntary or not is… wait, why are we talking about this again?
What we've got here is a quote. Not, you know, actions. And this quote can reasonably be interpreted to mean "there are people on the team who need to get their act together in court/academically" instead of "I am kicking losers out." This criticism is based on a willfully unflattering reading of a statement.
Meanwhile, Alabama signed a recruiting class of thousands (32, if we're being specific, with 25 being the maximum that could enroll) despite having far fewer than 25 openings and then rammed down its roster by chucking every disappointing reserve with a stubbed toe on medical scholarship, getting lucky with some armed robbery, and probably just plain cutting one kid. When Saban signed that huge class he knew with certainty that he would have to remove 10-15 players from scholarship. This was unprecedented and sketchy, and I wasn't the only person to think so. Dr. Saturday, then in his SMQB days, on the subject*:
So, with this year's incoming class, up to eleven players who have signed letters of intent to play football for Alabama will have that commitment at least temporarily deep-sixed, even if all 96-98 candidates meet their obligations. The incoming oversign is seven; if half of that number flunks out, or pulls a gun on somebody, or gets caught with a 15-year-old or something - say, four guys out of 32 - the Tide is still seven scholarships over the 85-man limit. Either existing commitments to returning players are cut, or the eligibility of a full third of the `08 class meets some untimely demise before August. The first option - breaking a commitment to an athlete who has met his requirements - is sketchy. The second option - collecting commitments from as many players as possible with the knowledge that a significant number of them have to fail before they even get to campus - is sketchy. Oversigning to this extent is not okay.
DocSat notes in an addendum that no coach in the country other than Tommy Bowden put himself in a position where his class necessitated cuts after the NCAA-mandated drop to 25; Bowden heartlessly cut cause célèbre Ray Ray McElrathbey and is now unemployed. (These are unrelated; it's just that it's pointless to criticize an unemployed coach.)
'Bama's cram-down was so efficient that it saw the Tide get down to like 83 scholarships, which has been taken by Tide coachbots to mean that there was never a problem in the first place. What it actually means is that Saban's cuts were gone through with even after the bonus armed robbery and cocaine so fast you'll freak scholarships opened up.
So these situations are analogous only if your typical dinner is lead paint chips. I think my favorite part of the complaint is this quote lifted from here and intended to be incriminating…
Alabama has every incentive to dump guys. They flat out have to. If a kid is struggling with his academic eligibility how motivated will Alabama be to help him? If a player commits a petty offense how eager will Alabama be to boot him? If Nick Saban knows that by August he has to say goodbye to six kids and it’s July and he’s only got four down, then what?
I’ll tell you what: someone gets it right in the ass.
…that explains the difference. Way to make your point there, guys. Rodriguez is sitting down with these kids in an attempt to get them on the right track towards staying in the program. He does not want them to leave; he would derive no benefit from it. Saban put himself in a situation where he was not motivated but compelled to weed out a half-dozen or more.
Though I'll admit the rhetoric here got overheated last summer, the point remains valid. Their point… is… uh… eh… Rodriguez said something their tiny lizard brains interpreted as Sabanesque.
I hereby resolve to converse solely with multicellular organisms. Play these gentlemen off, keyboard cat.
*(I certainly hope this is a temporary thing, but this post appears to be down. Here's a google cache link. SBNation wouldn't blast the SMQB archives out of existence in a fit of pique, would they?)