"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
I tried to think about the coaching hire from DB's perspective. Dave is a member of the Michigan football alumni fraternity. This fraternity was consumed in group think. The vast majority of former players seemed to think that the traditional the program had suffered greatly under RichRod. He came in and changed traditions about the #1 jersey and team captains. RichRod didn't know to dance a jig around the Little Brown Jug on St. Patrick's Day or to salute the moon after each NASA launch to honor UM grads involved in the space program. The changes to traditions resulted in losses, ANGAR, and the Gator Bowl.
Dave saw a fractured fan base and decided that a new coach was needed. He settled on three criteria the new HC must meet. The new coach would have to head coaching experience at the highest level of college football and he would have to be a "Michigan Man." Applying the first two criteria left DB with just candidates: JH, LM, and BH.
What was the third criterion? The new coach would have to be a good employee. Why the third criterion? Because Dave is a hands-on businessman who values control. The new coach would have to coachable. DB is the boss and he does not tolerate insubordination. BH was plan A because of the third criterion.
I see DB imagining his interactions with the possible head coaches:
Scene 1 - DB busts in on JH's team film study.
DB: "Hey Jim."
JH: "What are you doing here, Dave?"
DB: "I came to watch film and to evaluate the way you interact with your players."
JH: "Get the hell out, Dave!"
DB: "Jim, I'm the boss! Now get on with it."
JH: "Get the fuck out Dave before I call the 49ers!!"
Scene 2 - DB tries to discipline LM after UM wins The Game:
DB: "Les, may I have a word with you?"
DB: "Les, quit it an listen. You can't go around lifting up the cheerleaders' skirts and eating their pom pons."
LM: "We just beat tOSU on their field. I can do whatever I want."
DB: "QUIT IT LES BEFORE I FINE YOU!"
LM: "Try it and see how fast I apply my abilities to another opportunity to be taken advantage of."
Scene 3 - DB busts in on BH's team film study.
DB: "Hey Brady."
BH: "Hey Dave."
DB: "I came to watch film and to evaluate the way you interact with your players."
BH: "Do you want some popcorn?"
What does it all mean? It means that DB found the best coach for DB. The hire of BH gets his frat brothers off his back and gives him a compliant employee. The coaching change was for the benefit of the AD. He has his model of how to run an organization. Apparently it does not include sharing power.
Is BH the best fire for UM? Time will tell. My initial reaction to learning of the hire was deflation. However, I am willing to give BH the benefit of the doubt. I believe he will give his best effort. I have noticed that most of the negative reaction about the hire has to do with his physical appearance. I know that people tend to overestimate the competence of attractive people and to underestimate the competence of those less fortunate. We have a new HC who is no Fabio and an OC who is no Brad Pitt. They will not will beauty contests. I hope they win games.
In the wake
of the loss to Toledo, there are three
things I’ve read on the MGoBoard and the Diaries that I find offensive. The first is some infusion of political rhetoric
into the boards. It is the political
season and emotions are running high about both the presidential race and Michigan
football. I’m sure this is especially
true if you perceive both to be headed in the wrong direction. That said, posting about politics only adds
to our collective pain and creates unnecessary infighting.
is the knee jerk stereotypical backlash against other regions of this country
as backwards backwaters. Outside of West
Virginia, this is not a fair characterization. After spending my first 24 years in the great
state of Michigan, I have spent a
decade an a half in the South. I’m so
far in the South that I was able to go in my front yard and hear the final
score of the upset of Vanderbilt announced on the stadium PA system yesterday. The
Southern reputation is largely a holdover to times past and currently found
mainly in isolated rural pockets and some bigoted households. The South is, on the whole, more integrated
than the North. This has led to
thing that irks me is the calls for RichRod’s head. The way I see it, this season is about
building the montage that will be used as a contrast to the future glory of the
program. My wife attended a university
with a decent football tradition (something about rising water and elephants) which
underwent a recent coaching change. Last
year, that team went 6-6 (3-5 in the conference). After a late season loss to Louisiana-Monroe,
her friends were calling for the coach’s head.
That team is performing better this year. I see this as analogous to Michigan’s
situation. These are/will be two
programs on the rise.
fans have been spoiled by sustained success.
We have not had a significant transition since LBJ was President. Transition is hard and takes time. This is a time for patience and cohesion, not
division and derision.
Sammylittle and I approve this message.
As I settled in to my Sunday morning routine of smoking a Cuban Cohiba Behike and drinking a coffee liberally flavored with Remy Martin’s Louis VIII’s Black Pearl, I had time to reflect on recent events. My mood is anxious and irritable as I write. Perhaps this is because the platinum bidet in the master suite is on the fritz and I had to use a barely serviceable gold plated bidet in one of my many guest rooms. More likely it is the state of the University of Michigan’s football team and their coaching staff.
Last week, from my swank and remote location and thanks to the interwebs, I was able to review the writing of my home area sports writers. These giants of sports writing, (Carty, Sharp, and others) provided insight into many problems at UoM. After reading these articles, several things were immediately apparent. The first being that the college football season had begun and Michigan had not won all of its games. The second was that Michigan had a new head football coach (why the national news media did not pick up this story is beyond me). The third thing that became clear was that the new coaching staff is not very good.
I have three areas of concern with the new coaching staff. First is the fanaticism of the strength and conditioning staff. They seem even to be regulating what the athletes consume. What gall to deny an offensive lineman a bedtime pizza or two. Have our seventh amendment rights gone by the wayside?!?!
My second concern is the poor recruiting. Michigan used to pwn Little Brother in this area. According to Detroit media, it seems Mark Dantonio has turned the tables on Michigan. In fact, UoM is nowhere to be found in the list of top five football classes for 2009. That will make two years in a row; something Lloyd Carr would never have tolerated.
My final concern came after viewing the Wisconsin game. I have heard reports that “family values” have declined at UoM. This was not evident when viewing the defense. When the offense took the field, it became apparent that these reports are true. The offensive players who were in the past emotionally close enough to hold hands, now position themselves at a greater distance from one another. They even seemed eager, in the first half, to give Wisconsin possession of the football so they could leave the field and get away from one another. The breakdown of “family values” was especially evident in the selfish play of the quarterback. Despite the fact that five good players are competing for playing time at tailback, Mr. Threet selfishly kept the ball for the longest run of the game. If he would have had the decency to hand the ball off, the play would have gone for a touchdown.
Add to these concerns the new coach’s comfort with breaking with tradition and the circumstances surrounding his departure from his previous job and I think it is obvious Michigan football is headed in the wrong direction. I say it is time to fire Mr. Rodriguez and hire a more stable and tradition oriented head coach. Perhaps we could lure Kirk Ferentz away from Iowa as they are having another poor season. Who’s with me?