"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Mods: I screwed up and put this on the Board. Can you move it to Diaries? Thanks.
Previously: “Three and Out: The First 100 Pages” can be found here: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/three-and-out-100-pages
Okay, guys, to recap: these are just my impressions, sort of stream-of-consciousness. Picked the book up Thursday (10/5) evening, and have been reading it. My comments in the last thread (above) I’ll try not to repeat here, other than to say that on page 100, MSC and BM tell RR to keep the $2.5m they promised him toward the buyout quiet because they hadn’t informed the Regents, and MSC tells RR and Rita, “if they find out, I’m toast.” And Martin chimes in “and so am I.” And also to point out if you want more stuff, check out that last thread, especially the times I pop up in the comments to discuss what Lloyd did when RR arrived with respect to transfers, etc., and how that all shook out.
Continuing from my last post, this thing is a soap opera. The infighting, back-biting, and divisiveness in the A.D., football community, and administration is sobering and unfortunate, and it hasn’t gotten much better as the book progresses. There is also a ton of “cover your ass” stuff that the administration did where RR seemed to take the hit, but it wasn’t necessarily always his fault. In today’s installment, much on the Freep Jihad, the NCAA, the Carr’s Camp vs. RR Camp rift, and more. . .
The 2008 Team, Denard and Tate’s Recruiting
RR and the players knew there were guys- seniors- who weren’t “all in.” RR understood this; he thought it was natural, as those were seniors and guys who had paid their dues, and then a new regime comes in, and they’re essentially starting over. RR was actually sympathetic to that.
On top of that, RR and the coaches saw what we all saw: they were incredibly young, and they could never get Threet to stop throwing off his back foot. He’d do it right in practice, but in the games, he’d get all flustered.
They were recruiting Tate during this time. They were very, very excited about Tate, as well as Big Will. They thought Tate was exactly what they needed.
Denard: they were recruiting him during this time, too. Interestingly, RR had always wanted DR as a QB, but wires crossed with Scott Shafer, who had been recruiting DR as a defensive back. (Pages 148-148). Shafer resigns, and it turns out that Shafer had wanted DR as a DB. Shafer had worked really hard to recruit Denard as a DB, but Denard was “adamant” that “I wasn’t coming to Michigan to play corner. He had already turned down Florida for the same reason and had explained as much to Shafer.”
So when Shavodrick Beaver jumped ship (right around the same time), Tony Gibson happened to be in Deerfield, FL recruiting Adrian Witty. While there, he checked in with Denard, and was surprised to learn Denard was still interested in U of M….but solely as a quarterback. Michigan then said they’d let him try QB, and Denard was ours.
The “Highest GPA in team History” thing
RR asked the academic folks what the highest GPA in school history was. They told him 2.60. The team set this as a goal, and got a 2.61.
Then, as part of the Jihad (more on that below), the Freep dug into that. It turns out that the academic people had given RR specious/not well-sourced info on the team’s best historical GPA. Rather than say this, U of M’s PR people drafted a press release where RR took the fall. RR balked at this; it wasn’t his screw-up. He had them change the release (this was one of the first times he put his foot down with the administration). They did. Then they released the earlier version, making RR the scapegoat.
The Free Press Jihad, NCAA Investigation, Compliance, etc
Well. A couple things: this whole thing, personally, really upset Rich Rod. The reason it did was because a.) they weren’t cheating, b.) there was clearly a leak and sources within the athletic department, c.) and most importantly, the idea that RR didn’t love his players, care about them, was trying to hurt them, etc. This is what tore him up. He shed tears over it a few times.
Rosenberg v. Cook: Brian Cook’s showdown with him is recalled. If you remember, Brian went after him, personally, at the press conference following the hit piece, repeatedly asking “do you know what a countable hour is?” Rosenberg and Brian were both interviewed for the book, as was Craig Ross. Rosenberg remembers it as this crazy guy barking at him in the parking lot, screaming over and over “do you know what a countable hour is?” and Rosenberg responding, “who are you?” They went back and forth like that four or five times, Rosenberg stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Michael Rosenberg. Who are you?” and Craig Ross said “that’s Brian Cook.” Also, Rosenberg refused to talk to Brian, saying that Brian was “a competitor.”
Snyder: More direct quotes where he says about RR: “I can’t stand the guy.” Also: from page 183, Larry Foote, who was friends with Snyder, asked him, “why didn’t you ask me about RR?” because Foote knew RR well, trained with Barwis, etc. Snyder’s answer, quote: “I just don’t like the guy.”
Rosenberg, personally: Was really hurt by the backlash. Broke down over the Amazon.com stuff, saying how he’d poured 3 years of his life into that book, it was his life’s work, and to have it trashed like that on Amazon got to him.
Other press vs. Rosenberg/Snyder: When Rosenberg and Snyder came in after the hit piece dropped, they had a spring in their step. This was when they went to the press conference. They were surprised to find that the other press members were at best, cold with them, and at worst, openly disgusted with the piece.
Rosenberg, as we expected, never asked any players to find out if there was “another side” to the “OMG PRACTICING TOO MUCH” story. He didn’t do it. Bacon asks him about this in the book. Rosenberg is evasive. Also blames editors, saying that stuff was edited out.
Chapter 15 deals with a lot of this. Rosenberg and Snyder asked Madej for “everything you have,” on a Friday night when they told him the story was coming out on Sunday. They said “we need Rodriguez, we need Martin, we need schedules. Tell us we’re wrong- anything you have.” Madej: “the problem is, they’ve been working on this for months, and you’ve got seven or eight hours to respond. That’s difficult.”
When the meeting ended, Madej said, “you better be sure you’re not exaggerating.” Rosenberg, “We’re covered,” replying confidently.
Judy Van Horn immediately seized on the countable vs. non-countable hours aspect, as did everyone in the A.D. This was glossed over in the original Freep piece, not even mentioned, though Rosenberg says “of COURSE we knew the difference,” etc.
Of note: Van Horn and Ann Vallano had even asked the NCAA whether stretching counts, taping, etc., and were never able to get a straight answer/interpretation of the rule. They (U of M) interpreted it like everyone else, then: that stretching didn’t count.
Also: former players say that we weren’t doing anything different, time-wise, from under LC. Things like “Torture Tuesdays,” where kids who skipped class were punished.
Also, the Freep piece really shook the players up because of the fact that there had to be sources inside the program; the continuity and togetherness was naturally shaken by this. But RR made sure no one blamed Hawthorne or Stokes, telling the team that those kids were part of the family, they'd been tricked, and that no one should be messing with them, etc. And the team didn't shun them; they understood that it was all bullshit.
Van Horn now feels like she was “snowed.” Labadie told compliance numerous times that he would bring the forms, but in the end, he was negligent, lying, or both. Van Horn brought in auditors to try to get his ass in gear. Didn’t help. That audit resulted in a finding against the football program a few weeks before the Freep piece. Coincidence? No. It’s clear someone leaked it to the Freep.
RR got fed up with all of the bullshit, and all of the drama. “They told me in the interview: You get to Michigan, and you’re gonna be surrounded by great people who are gonna support you. Really? Where are they? I want to talk to the Regents, directly, and tell them what’s going on here….People who support our program only hear about the bullshit these guys (Freep, saboteurs) are making up.” (p. 166).
Also, and again: there were leaks in the athletic department. Bacon seems to be almost certain it was Carr loyalists. There was a very strong faction in the AD that was pissed that English didn’t get the job. English himself was pissed. He refused to actually say anything to RR after we beat them, just shook his hand. RR doesn’t appreciate this. He also doesn’t appreciate apparently this James Stapleton business. Stapleton is a wealthy guy, former U of M fb player, apparently one of those guys who has a lot of pull behind the scenes. He is a regent at Eastern; a big English supporter. The rumors got so bad that he, Stapleton, sent a fax to Bill Martin, LC, and RR, basically saying “I’m not the source of the sabotage! I didn’t collaborate with Rosenberg.” Stapleton and Rosenberg are friends.
Stapleton was also close with Denise Illitch, who as early as 2009, openly referred to RR as “Dead Man Walking.” Classy, Regent. Classy. RR was very pissed that Stapleton had a sideline pass; he got it from Illitch, who was a Regent. RR was pretty convinced (as is Bacon) that Stapleton was part of this group of people who were English/Carr loyalists and were actively undermining the program.
Comes across as petulant, immature, etc. RR was hard on him, and got pissed off at him because Tate never improved, which RR thought was due to a lack of diligence. Tate never watched film (at least through 2009 season’s end) and Denard didn’t really either. RR didn’t like this. The problem was, with the Freep thing hanging over their heads, it was hard for RR and the players, because they were all scared shitless of over-practicing, over-preparing, etc. But yeah, Tate’s demeanor was an issue.
RR, LC, BM Summit in 2009
This was fascinating. Martin was either forced out after the issue with the student security guard who wouldn’t let him into MSC’s box (as many think happened; 2 days later, the University announces Martin’s retirement; it was the 2nd such incident) or it was just a coincidence (as Martin maintains). Regardless, the day after his retirement was announced, Martin went to a pre-scheduled lunch with RR and LC. It was chilly.
This was the first time Lloyd had really spoken to RR since the phone call in December 2007 when Lloyd had sold RR on coming to Michigan. I’ll reproduce the account of this conversation; ellipses are where I’ve cut things out for brevity:
After the chilly pleasantries were dispensed with, Carr sent the first volley: “Tell the people in your camp to quit attacking me in the press,” he said, as Rodriguez remembered it a couple hours later. The catalyst for this was undoubtedly Rick Leach’s public lambasting of Carr. . . for sitting with Iowa’s coaches and dignitaries—people Carr had known for years—in an Iowa stadium luxury box…”
“I don’t have a camp,” Rodriguez replied, “and whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it on their own. Rick Leach speaks for himself.”
Rodriguez ticked off all the reasons Carr shouldn’t feel threatened…What Michigan football needed now, Rodriguez said [to Carr ] was Carr’s unambiguous support. “When the Free Press came out with this story….we could have used you speaking up.”
Carr said nothing.
“You’re either all in or you’re not,” Rodriguez continued. “You’re either inside the Michigan family or you’re not.” But the closest he came to accusing Carr of anything more than silence was this: “Somebody inside the department is talking to the press and doing us harm.”
The suggestion was that, if there were moles in the department, Carr most likely knew who they were, and Rodriguez would appreciate it if Carr told them to knock it off. As Rodriguez recalled, Carr remained silent at that, too.
Alright, all, I gotta go- tailgating for the NW game. But wanted to get this out there for people to digest.
The Rosenberg Amazon bit was awesome. I'm glad to see that the unwashed masses can affect someone like that. Wow, I'm vindictive...
Edit: I didn't wait to read through to see which was the best part. The whole part was the best part.
RR put three years of his life into Michigan and Roesenberg's smear job helped undermine the program. Consequently, I find it fitting that Rosenberg spent three years on his book and those who objected to his lack of ethics undermined it for him.
Sometimes, what goes around really does come around.
One wonders if Bacon asked Rosenberg if he saw the poetic justice in his feeling victimized by unfounded attacks on his integrity and one of his biggest personal achievements (in Rosenberg's view, I presume).
If he can't, well, it's not surprising, because Rosenberg punches dolphins.
In the past 2+ years since the Freep hit-piece, my rage against that Paper-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named has waned a bit. Good of Bacon to come along just in time to stoke those flames again and make sure that they feel the full force of the Michigan fanbases wrath.
I maintain that I will never read the Free Press again until Rosenberg and Snyder are no more. There is no professional disgrace large enough to rectify what those pieces of shit did to the people of Michigan.
I can not wait for two weeks from tuesday. This will be the greatest book. Ever.
Baked Potato, French Fries.
Brian running down Rosenberg. Just one of many reasons Brian is the man.
Second, that Rosenberg took the Amazon business hard. If his underhandedness hit home in that he contributed towards getting RR out, then I'm glad there was at least a small price to pay, even if not enough.
I wish so badly there wasn't this huge gap between when some people could read this book and when others can. I've had it pre-ordered on Amazon for months but still need to wait a couple more weeks because I don't live in Chicago...
I'm very impressed with the assessment of Rich Rodriguez by Mark Snyder. "I just don't like the guy". Nice to see Detroit Free Press jounalists are as thorough and insightful in their analysis as the "Get off my lawn" guy that sits two rows in front of me in Section 39.
Very interesting. What is the amazon stuff with Rosenberg? I've never heard of that.
I'm guessing it's about his book; "War as they Knew it: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a time of Unrest". It came out in September of 2009, and its review section has 35 5 stars, 7 4 stars, 2 3 stars, 3 2 stars, and a whooping 163 1 stars.
The reviews are all mostly the same, "Written by an outsider, poor journalism, should have picked a different career choice, this guy is a hack"
to be 164 1-star reviews. Does Snyder have a book selling on Amazon?
I liked this one from "Drew Shart"
Drew Shart - See all my reviews
This review is from: War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest (Paperback)
Reading the vomit bag on an airplane is more entertaining and better written than this book. Actually, I could have used a vomit bag after the first paragraph.
Basically, Rosenberg wrote that book and a bunch of pissed off Michigan fans berated it in the rating section of the page on Amazon. You can still probably find the comments. Really mean stuff along the lines of "My retarded dog had a stroke and he could still shit out a more cohesive biography", etc...
"This book gave me syphyllis".
I'm proud to see that it actually got to him, as I, too, was one of the 1-star reviews for his book back during the Jihad (that apparently the rest of the MgoCommunity thought to do too). It's the least we could do for his role in bringing the program to it's knees (and, making me particularly bitter, for my last season as a student).
I wish I knew who to thank for that idea. It was brilliant. It is so satisfying to know that it had some impact on Resenberg.
[Edit: Sorry, double post.]
folks in the loop about the underhandedness of the Freep piece went to the reviews section of Rosey's book "War as They Knew It" about the 10 year war between Bo and Woody and trashed him. You can see it here:
Took me a bit to recall that, but basically it was people trashing his book on the Amazon reviews after the hit piece cam out.
is very petty of the people who did that too. Makes those people no better
I don't know I found it amusing. And I never would purchase a 1 star product on Amazon, so if it hurts Rosenberg's book sales, then good. I'll be petty with anything Free Press related until they hire real journalists.
You reap what you sow.
Petty but humorous. Really sounds like it wasn't a very good book anyway, but Rosenberg gave his detractors plenty of motivation to respond bluntly and critically
See, here's the thing. I read it. It's actually a pretty good book. It's too bad it's been put in the position to essentially never be read by anyone.
You mean "too bad Rosenberg punches dolphins so much that no person with an ounce of humanity would read his book."
Rosenberg brought it on himself for being such a retard hack.
It is a good book. As we both know, Jon Chait reviewed the book very favorably for the NYT Book Review.
That was before Chait described the editorial decision to allow Rosenberg to manage the hit-piece on Rich Rodriguez as "journalistic malpractice."
I realize that you have some admiration for Rosenberg's previous work as a writer. Grudgingly, so do I. Where you and I part company, and what I completely fail to understand aobut you, being the smart and well-informed guy that you are, is how you can possibly resist any condemnation of Rosenberg now.
I'm going to be very intersted in your opinion after you've finished Three and Out.
He threw his Alma Mater under the bus. Yes, in his line of work you have to set aside personal feelings but if you do, you better be sure that you perform the necessary level of research to present whole truths. He did not. He gets no pity from me.
See here is the thing, if UM was blatantly cheating and abusing athletes, I would have no problem with an alum writing a truthful piece to expose it. Rosenberg instead fabricated a story in order to further his career and agenda at his Alma Mater's expense. I agree that he gets no pity from me.
Yeah, it would have been nice to see the bad guy win again. Rosenberg is a scumbag and I won't spend a single second of my life feeling sorry for him because "he spent 3 years of his life on that book". He poured gasoline on the RR fire for no good reason and is a self-serving. conceited butthole.
but big fucking deal.
"Got this book for my birthday. Started reading it and couldn't get through page 10 because it was so awful. I told the person who got me this gift to not bother ever getting me anything else, because this was so bad."
"I got part way through it, and just put it down. The only thing good about this book is that it's cheaper than Ambien."
The only thing that would make this comment funnier if we were to find out it was posted by Rita (Rodriguez).
God I want this book. When it comes out it's going to be a shit storm around everyone connected to the Program from the last 5 years or so
Should this be moved to diaries? This is very good. Thanks for doing this.
The real Coachwives of Ann Arbor. I honestly don't care about any of this junk.
Usuall when people don't care about something, they don't take the time to read and/or comment.
I thought perhaps this book wouldn't be filled with garbage, but it's hot garbage, so I commented. No big deal. I'll go read something with some substance instead.
Thanks. There is obviously other stuff in the book, about the players, but frankly, we know what happened on-field. None of that is new news. So the "hot garbage" is the "new news." And yes, please don't click on the threads anymore if you are so offended. Perhaps the gist of the first one would have clued you in to the dominant content that would be discussed in this one.
No offense. I never saw the first one, so I wasn't familiar with specific content of the book yet. But there's definitely no "new news" here, except maybe for some "he said he said" shit, and that's what's disappointing about the text. Thought there would be some real insight.
No worries. There is other stuff in there, obv, but if you're looking for "why did you use this defense," etc...not so much. Though, yes, RR made Gerg use the 3-3-5 against Purdue in 2009.
Also, I didn't stick around for Bacon's talk, so I can't comment on that; i had to get out of there and start reading. And also, you have to realize, it would have been hard to ask Bacon about the contents of the book at the signing, having not read it yet (this is in response to a q from another commenter; I'm pressed for time).
Worries me. It seems to be missing the forest for the trees.
My guess (and suggested in 03 Blue 07's earlier post) was that JUB started writing a book about Rodriguez the man--the bold, brash young offensive supagenius who surely would be our program's next Bo (hence, writing a sort of prequel to Bo's lasting lessons). I don't think he probably ever thought that (1) there would be so much bad craziness in the AD, nor (2) Rodriguez would suck so much at managing a D.
So when the Shakespeare hit the fan, he went with (1) instead of (2) as the hook. Just a guess, though.
And will sell more books. Almost every program can write a book "coach does a sucky work at some part of his job and gets fired," so that's not a unique take. But it certainly doesn't make it the unbiased revelation into all things Rich Rod, just another "unveiling the dirty side of college athletics" book. There's a place for each. Just so long as they're not confused.
I actually spoke with my friends who stayed for the talk today. . . who have also not started reading the book, which was upsetting becaue I want to talk about what's in it with them(!). But apparently Bacon addressed this. He was of the mindset to just write a book mostly about RR, and about football, and the first year, apparently. And then, he got a first hand look at the shit storm, and was like, "umm, this is . . . interesting." He discussed (apparently) at the signing how he told the publisher (who had signed off on the original idea) that this wasn't a typical sports book anymore. It was a book about organizational change, infighting, and, well, drama. (Take my description with a grain of salt; this is hearsay from my buddies who stayed around for the talk).
"Sell more books." Yes. Agreed. But, frankly, again, I've said this before: what book do you want to read? "Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls" just from the Michigan perspective. . .
Or, you know, a book that dissects the infighting in our A.D.? It's obvious that I want the latter, which was what was delivered. Read it yourself, and if you think it's sensationalistic, that's fine. I will say this: I was an RR supporter, always thought he got a bit of a raw deal in the early going, and even I think that perhaps it's a shade too . . . sympathetic toward him. But that being said: It's Bacon, who clearly loves Michigan more than RR, obv, and it's not like he didn't have sources. RR, obv, but Rosenberg(!) was interviewed for the book, as was every. other. main person. except Lloyd. Which, okay, I understand, I think, but I think in hindsight, bad choice by Lloyd (who I adore; I am not pleased with how Lloyd comes off in this book, even playing "mental devil's advocate" with myself while reading it).
I will say this, though: M-W, it's pretty clear you have your own sources in the AD. And it's pretty clear (to me) that you are not keen on what is written in the book (as I've described it). That's understandable. But I will say this: acting like there weren't people in the administration and A.D. who were, ahem, less-than-behind the new regime. . . I mean, I think we all agree that took place. And that's natural with organizational change. But it was upsetting (for me) to read and realize that, frankly, it isn't just rumors.
I'll say this: anyone who thinks Ron English or Mike DeBord (yes, this includes you, Lloyd Carr) was not only a rational choice to lead our football program, but was somehow "screwed over" by not being hired (not saying this part is Lloyd) is fucking delusional.
And the fact that there were not only people (who I assume are rational) who thought that, but actively undermined the, you know, qualified guy who got the job. . .it's disgusting. So that's my bias.
On X&O's, defensive gaffs, and such. Which kinda leaves out a pretty big chunk of what went wrong. I don't really give a shot who didn't like who, and high school politics. I only care about WTF went wrong and why Michigan Football crashes and burned the last 3 years. And if some of those politics contributed to it, that's fair game, warts and all. But if you don't even ask the question how the hell we let our defense become the lowest ranked ever, and how we got there, you're not only leaving out a BIG part of what went wrong, it also seems like you're selectively picking out the story and sides you want to tell, and not the WHOLE story. You don't need anything from Lloyd to get insight into the clusterfuck our defense has been. Which lost a lot more games than any hurt feelings, and contributed far more to any firings/failures.
Bacon thinks the story is the Real Housewives of Ann Arbor drama. I think the real story is the most consistently successful program of the last 40 years being brought to it's knees. There's some big overlap, to be sure. But to not cover it all seems sensationalistic at worst, slanted at best, and really hurts the process of getting any definitive answers. If I wanted one-sided hit pieces, I'd read the Freep. But we'll all read this. So Bacon got what he wanted.
If I had to guess, it's becuase there really aren't manyquestions beyond "Why did you hire Greg Robinson?" and "Why did you keep Tony Gibson on staff?" on that end that we don't already know about. We know about the attrition. We know about all the high ranked guys that just plain were busts the last couple years. What else is there to really talk about?
All the drama/politics/etc. were a pretty large unknown for a large portion of the fan-base. I think we'd all heard rumors about "factions" that were trying to undermine the program and how it might be related to Carr/etc., but never anything but rumors from unnamed sources on message boards. It sounds like the book does a good job of at least trying to layout what happened and with actual sources. That seems a lot more interesting to me.
I can see one chapter or so on the defensive coaching thing, and if that was left out then it could have improved the book I'm sure, but even with that I think a large majority of the book would be about the "other" stuff.