the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
RRod - Boys to Michigan Men
Today I was told about a class in which students from the Starr Commonwealth (http://www.starr.org/) visited. For those who don't know, Starr is a boarding school for at-risk teens who have been arrested, or violated their parole, for various offenses such as breaking and entering, assault, but most are in for petty drug possession, or dealing. A vast majority of these students are from inner-city Detroit. Now, this program is a real eye-opener after hearing the student talk about the kids who visited, and how they were not un-human (like the common perception is), but actually almost all of them are just "lost." The class they visited had a good number of football players in it, and to my surprise, the football players were described as the most vocal and challenging towards the Starr students. The players were Denard, Vincent Smith, Brandon Herron, Roy Roundtree, Isaiah Bell, Richard Ash, Devin Gardener, and Fitz Toussaint. These players not only relayed their life stories story to the Starr students, but how they came from almost identical circumstances like the students from Starr. The difference was they avoided the gangs, drugs, and bad decisions the students from Starr fell into. This is where I credit RRod with one of his greatest aspects: the willingness to take a chance on someone.
If you knew where Vincent Smith, Denard, or any other of the football players listed above came from, and didn't know they what their star rating was, most of you would run like hell, clumping them in with the stereotypical gang-banger image that has corrupted their community. The difference is that you see them as a running back, quarterback, etc. and welcome them with open arms. This could not of happened without RRod taking a chance on these kids. Not all have worked out (i.e. Austin White), but I'd bet my life on it that them coming to Umich and blooming under RRod has changed their life for the better in ways beyond football. RRod did not treat these kids as "athlete-students" or just another player, he treats them like a father treats his son. His players respect him, love him, and see him as a role model that so many of his players lacked when they were growing up. Eventually as his players graduate, have real jobs and families of their own, they will use what they learned from RRod, and serve as role models back in their hometown, which is a vital piece to breaking the vicious cycle that thrives in too many communities today. These men will have a greater and more important effect on the lives children who idolize them, and their communities, than what they ever could do on the football field. Because all in all football is a GAME, too many people act like its life-or-death and its really just sad. I don't want a coach who puts up 12-0 seasons and doesn't give two shits about his players. I want a coach who outputs Michigan Men who are successful both on and off the field.
RRod has had some bumps in his path, but it takes a special person to recruit boys and output men that symbolize what a Michigan Man embodies. The wins will come. We have improved every year, and soon we will reach our former dominance on the football field. RRod is the right coach for Michigan, and I have no doubt he will one day be crowned a true Michigan Man.