"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Naturally, since this reader dared offer a contrary opinion -- one simply requesting caution, restraint, and fairness, and suggesting a reasoned debate -- the post was promptly locked, and its author accused of flaming skullduggery. I'm neither a flamer nor a troll. I'm an M fan offering a different POV. Within twenty minutes, that POV was summarily quashed. Can't debate with facts? Eliminate it. Can't answer questions posed? Lock it out. You've proved my point, sadly.
I thought this was a blog inviting reasoned debate, not just one-side rants that defy any counter-arguments. But this blog, like most sports blogs, is increasingly proving to be a hall of mirrors in a house for the blind. That's not the Michigan way. Real Michigan people invite and welcome healthy debates. They don't just lock away those who happen to disagree.
BTW: I'm an M grad surrounded by other M grads and ticket-holders. We want debate. We admire a lot of the points Brian has made, but also see plenty of room for debate. Just because Brian says something doesn't mean it's indisputable gospel. You do realize that, don't you? There are holes in his arguments as well. Too bad nobody seems to want to consider those. Meantime, actual reporting (as opposed to "analysis") by other media seems pretty consistent with the Freep story. And SI, by the by, is preparing a larger story about same. You may want the story to go away -- don't we all? -- but that doesn't mean it will, or should.
The pattern is always the same. Local paper reports on alleged misdeeds by the local football team. Blogosphere immediately and reflexively explodes, crying "Witch-hunt!"; and boycotting the paper and accusing the reporters of bias, grudges, you name it; and protesting that the coaches wouldn't so much as jaywalk. Recognize this pattern? From KU to USC to, um, UM basketball. To that end, I challenge you to list examples in which this pattern didn't play out accordingly -- in which charges of systemic problems turned out to be totally bogus. Can't think of many, can you?
Thou doth protest too much, I think. Most of you can't really feel that confident that RR is the victim of a baseless witch-hunt. Seriously, in your heart of hearts, you're at least a little concerned that RR, while perhaps a fine coach, is a bit...murky. Problem is, you either won't or can't admit it. Because you only want to hear what you want to hear. Because you can't handle the the (possible) truth. Because you're seeing this through blue-colored glasses. Which is usually a fine quality, but not so much when we're talking about potentially serious violations that, if true, seriously impact our players. I'm shocked that nobody seems the least bit concerned about this. And a little ashamed.
Let's be clear: Even the News confirms that the team exceeded the practice limits. The freshmen confirmed same, and please stop trotting out the red-herring re the manner in which they were asked questions. They were clearly describing their practice schedules, on the record, on tape. That at least ten players, former or current, complained is a sign of some sort of trouble, if only in terms of team unity. Never would have happened in years past. Last but not least: that everyone else breaks the rules is no excuse. This isn't Alabama or Miami. This is Michigan. We play by the rules, or ought to. Student-athletes, not athlete-students.
Our collective response, so far, has been textbook: defensive, whiny, paranoid, biased, Palin-esque, a joke to every other fanbase. We sound like the KU basketball base, circa 1970s. Read this postings, replacing ND with M, and imagine what you'd be thinking. It's absurd. Posters protest bias by displaying monumental bias. Get some perspective. Let's let the investigation run its course before drawing conclusions. After all, have you been practicing with the team all year? Do you really know what happened? No, you don't. So maybe let's let the truth play out, rather than play the truth. Hysteria smacks of desperation. If RR messed-up, he and we must suffer consequences; if he didn't, we'll all be stronger in the end. We went to Michigan, most of us. We have hearts and brains. Let's start thinking more with the latter. Go Blue.