Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16

Warde Manuel Introductory Presser 1-29-16 Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 29th, 2016 at 3:37 PM


President Schlissel

Good morning everyone, and thank you for coming. Before today's very special announcement I want to acknowledge the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Their support, their dedicatio,n and their advice during this process was invaluable. Joining us today our region's Bernstein, Ilitch, Dietch, White, and Diggs, and I'm sure the others are busily at their day jobs and watching us on television.

I'm pleased to announce that I have selected Warde Manuel to serve as the next Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan. [/clapping.] My work here is now done. [/aughs.]

Warde will begin on March the 14th. Warde knows how to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the field. He is a three-time University of Michigan alumnus with a degree in general studies and a focus in psychology, a Masters in social work, and an MBA from our Ross School of Business. He was a University of Michigan student athlete in football and track and field and played under Bo Schembechler.

I want to thank interim A.D. Jim Hackett for his exemplary service to the athletic department and the University of Michigan. Jim, could you please stand up? [/clapping] For more than a year Jim served with a level of distinction and integrity befitting the University of Michigan's highest values. He accomplished a great deal in a very short time and leaves the department in wonderful shape. He brought us Coach Harbaugh, contract extensions for coaches John Beilein and Kim Barnes-Arico, a new apparel contract with Nike, and most importantly has upheld the high expectations we have for the academic, social, and community success of our student athletes on our 31 teams. Jim's willingness to assist with the A.D. search has helped me identify an outstanding successor.

In addition to him I also think the six other members of the search and advisory committee. I thank student government president Cooper Charlton for advice, and our search consultants Len Perna and Gene DeFillipo from Turnkey for their excellent work. We reached out and solicited broad community input and we set the bar high in our search for a permanent athletic director. We considered a large pool of outstanding candidates. Central criteria included a focus on the success and well-being of our student athletes in the classroom, in their sport, in the Ann Arbor community, and with respect to their health and safety; uncompromising integrity with an absolute commitment to play and win by the rules; competitiveness at the highest levels – at Michigan we strive for league and national championships, every team, every year; a passion for integrating athletics with the entirety of our campus community– we are at our best when our strengths as a university complement and enhance one another; respect and appreciation for the U of M's traditions, including the importance of athletics to our students, our alumni, and our fans. We were looking for an innovative but financially responsible steward for our self-supporting athletic department, and someone who can be a national voice for maintaining and enhancing the collegiate model of athletics.

Warde brings outstanding athletics experience to Michigan and embodies all of those characteristics and values. He has worked in our athletic department under former A.D. Bill Martin. Since then he has served as an A.D. at Buffalo and Connecticut, where his teams have won championships and dramatically improved classroom performance. Michigan athletics is celebrating its 150th anniversary this academic year and our University is gearing up to celebrate it's 200th birthday. Nowhere else are traditions of excellence in academics and athletics measured in centuries. The amazing accomplishments of our teams and student-athletes bring our community together in celebration of the values and success and we are known for worldwide: 56 team national championships, 307 individual national titles, 376 Big Ten championships, and 121 academic All-Americans. I have every confidence that our future will be even brighter, and Warde Manuel is the right individual to lead Michigan athletics into that future. Warde, on behalf of the Michigan family I welcome you, your wife Chrislan, and your family back to Ann Arbor. I look forward to working with you, and let me be the first to say to our next athletic director Go Blue.

[After THE JUMP: Manuel's remarks, in which I will butcher someone’s name and I apologize for that but I think he thanked the entire staff of the University and Google only gets you so far]


Qualified First, Michigan Second

Qualified First, Michigan Second Comment Count

Brian January 29th, 2016 at 12:56 PM

By all accounts, Warde Manuel won his opening press conference in a blowout. This is usually the way of opening pressers, full as they are of hope and barren as they are of data. There have been hopeful pressers for men so doomed that a nine-foot-tall skeleton with a scythe asked the first question. "HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO BE HERE?" it intoned in the general direction of Paul Pasqualoni, "AND ISN'T IT ALL ABOUT THE KIDS?"

We've learned over the past five years that winning the press conference has an extremely low correlation with success. Jim Hackett deployed awkward MBA jargon; Dave Brandon sold me a vacuum with no return policy. We have also learned that hiring qualified people has a high correlation with success. Brady Hoke had one good year at BGSU; Jim Harbaugh has built program after program into towering Schembechlerian things.

Warde Manuel is mercifully, finally, obviously qualified. He has run athletic departments at Buffalo and UConn. Before that he spent years working his way up the ranks of Michigan's athletic department. At Buffalo he hired Turner Gill, the only guy to make Buffalo football even vaguely passable. At UConn he was presented Kevin Ollie and didn't screw that up. He hired ND defensive coordinator Bob Diaco to replace Pasqualoni, that after making a run at Pat Narduzzi*. He spearheaded a move to Hockey East for UConn hockey. Everything he's done in the public eye makes sense.

Incredibly, he is the first sitting athletic director to ever get the AD job at Michigan. That aversion to experience was common sense in Don Canham's time when the job of Michigan athletic director barely resembled AD at, say, Purdue. It was anything but by the early 90s, when Tom Goss bombed the department's finances and erected an infamous eyesore. But Michigan persisted with various businessmen, hitting on one who'd get things more or less right and one who would get everything vastly wrong.

The one who got things right, Bill Martin, erased a major deficit and put Michigan on a path towards long-term financial stability. In the context of the athletic department at that juncture, which needed money and classy architecture more than anything, a real estate magnate who built his company from the groud up was qualified. He was also Michigan, but he was qualified first.

Martin's main issue came where he was not qualified: a football coaching search. That search is not like other searches, and it seemed to veer chaotically from one goofy candidate to the next before landing on Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a superficially excellent candidate submarined by many, many things. One of them was the Michigan football host rejecting an organ transplant from a guy who grew up in the "holler."

Manuel has to undo some damage the guy who got everything wrong inflicted. A chunk of that is financial, as the department collected Executive Vice President types like they were limited edition pogs under Brandon. But thanks to Martin and the ever-rising tide of television fees, Manuel should  be free to do the athletic department things he's done so well in his previous stops: hiring good people.

And if he references Fielding Yost and this Michigan of ours along the way, all the better. He's qualified first, Michigan second. Jim Harbaugh is also a combination of these things. The bright future of the football program is about to spread to the rest of the department, because the people in charge of things have reasons to be in charge of them.

*[Don't fret about Pasqualoni. His hire was one of the last acts of the previous AD.]


Hello: New Athletic Director Warde Manuel

Hello: New Athletic Director Warde Manuel Comment Count

Seth January 27th, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Warde Manuel, director of athletics, is interviewed at his office at Gampel Pavillion on Sept. 3, 2013. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

via UConn Athletics

After most of a decade as one of two excellent candidates Michigan apparently had waiting in the wings, it looks like Michigan has decided on UConn AD Warde Manuel:

Who says? AJerseyGuy is Mark Blaudschun, a former Boston Globe reporter who covers UConn. While it appears that Michigan didn't plan to announce until later in the week, the Freep's David Jesse and Mark Snyder posted the news soon after Blaudschun. While Michigan did its due diligence, Manuel and Boston College AD Brad Bates were consensus frontrunners for the position going back to the search that yielded Dave Brandon. If they did Crystal Balls for ADs, Sam Webb should get epic points.

A quick take: Manuel built a football program where there was none in two locations—Buffalo and UConn—and got Michigan to fill his stadium despite Brandon twisting in the wind to get it moved to a neutral New York site. Prior to those jobs he was Bill Martin's top lieutenant, running football and basketball operations at Michigan, his alma mater. He's considered one of the best ADs nationally. Brian will share his thoughts once he's done with a super secret important matter. Some bits he's shared in the past:

Manuel hired Turner Gill at Buffalo, who briefly made Buffalo not the worst team in D-I, and then ended up hiring Kevin Ollie at UConn, though that was not much of a decision. Paul Pasqualoni was already in place when he was hired at UConn; he fired him and replaced him with ND DC Bob Diaco after taking a swing at MSU DC Pat Narduzzi. That may or may not work out but that process seems pretty sensible to me.

My take: The best possible choice since tying Jim Hackett to a chair for the next 20 years had several legal and logistical disadvantages. Among the various tales of greatness that are about to emerge, my favorite is at Buffalo he swooped in to hire the woman who successfully sued Isiah Thomas and the Knicks.


Unverified Voracity Throws Coins At Heiko

Unverified Voracity Throws Coins At Heiko Comment Count

Brian December 4th, 2015 at 11:46 AM


Heiko sings the hits! Remember Heiko? Used to badger Al Borges about bubble screens, was Adam before Adam was Adam. Currently turning in his Punt/Counterpunt column about sixty seconds before I want to post it. Draftageddon chaos agent. That guy. Doctor guy.

Well, if you'd like to see him sing(?), that is now a thing you can do. The med students have this charity, you see:

Every winter, Galens members don red ponchos, grab metal buckets, and take to the streets of greater Ann Arbor to collect monetary donations for the children of Washtenaw County. Held on the first weekend of December since 1927, Tag Days has become an important Ann Arbor tradition and occupies a central role in Galens' mission to support local children's charities. Galens members annually raise tens of thousands of dollars, with 100% of the collected money donated directly to local organizations and charities.

Last year they raised over 75k via various methods including people throwing coins at med students for singing*, and you can do this by THROWING COINS at HEIKO in front of Gratzi from about FOUR O'CLOCK TODAY to MIDNIGHT.

Or you could just donate here if you don't want to throw quarters at Heiko for some reason. Weirdo.

*[This is an assumption, but I'm sure you'll agree it is a good one.]

Things that happened. Ross Fulton breaks down events that transpired on Saturday.

Meyer and Warinner borrowed a page from Utah and Indiana. Both offenses had success outside against Michigan's cover 1-man defense by forcing Wolverine defenders with contain responsibilities to cover receivers while the offense runs outside, and by using spread read principles to outnumber a Michigan defense with a deep safety.

Meyer's staff used a similar strategy. Frequently using two tight ends - with one aligned as a blocking slot receiver - the Buckeyes' success began with power read. On power read the offensive line blocks power, but - rather than kicking out the defensive end - the quarterback reads the end. If he crashes, the quarterback gives on the sweep. If the end stays wide the quarterback runs power following the pulling guard.

With Michigan using a common opponent tactic - slanting towards Ezekiel Elliott to limit tight zone - Ohio State ran outside opposite the slant, providing Elliott a running lane beyond the crashing end.


When Michigan prevented this from happening again it opened up JT Barrett on the inverted veer, because Michigan took a basic and completely predictable approach to dealing with the OSU run game. Michigan changed nothing except occasionally running a 3-3-5. It was incredibly frustrating to see inverted veer gash Michigan over and over again as if the Wolverines had no idea it would be coming. On the above play they have not one but two 100% irrelevant players, as the backside corner and safety aren't blocked but can't do anything about the gain.

Durkin spent the entire year running the same defense predicated on decisively winning DL matchups, and when that was not true his answers were miserably bad. The final drive of regulation for Indiana saw Michigan passively eat run after run without reacting; this game was as if the last 15 years of football had never happened.

Let's not change anything. Iowa is 12-0, which is not something even Kirk Ferentz's family saw coming. Spencer on the power of doing nothing at all:

Iowa football never changed, and needed to badly, at least from the perspective of someone looking at the long decline of the program into a 7-6 stasis interrupted by bumps into 11-2 and drops into 4-8 territory. The Hawkeyes had become an EKG of a drunk man falling into a deep and dreamless sleep. This drunk man was also hypothermic and sleeping under a bridge.

Then in 2015, that drunk man woke up, found a flawlessly tailored suit under a concrete overhang beneath that bridge, downed a bottle of Steel Reserve, and walked into the nearest investment bank and become a confident, beaming tycoon overnight.

Iowa should have changed everything, and didn't. They're undefeated despite doing few things they haven't done for years. You didn't think they could do it, but they did. Iowa, the laziest hard-working team in America, wore the same shirt until it came back into style.

So if DJ Durkin runs that defense against OSU for the next 12 years it might work the 12th time. That's the ticket.

Veni, vici, Harbaugh. Jim Hackett is stepping down as Michigan's athletic director. He never did get the Notre Dame series back, but other than that probably impossible thing he hit 1.000 in a brief tenure as Michigan's athletic director.

Hackett decided he should hire Jim Harbaugh. Also he got Harbaugh. This seems like a rather obvious thing to do. But as we saw with the previous athletic director, sometimes people in charge of things are just in charge of them for no reason. Hackett, above all, was a solid dude acting sensibly.

I have heard that Hackett was close to exclusively focused on the big-ticket items, which was the right move for him and Michigan. Unfortunately that did mean that the department's Brandon-imparted momentum continued in various ways. The hockey schedule, accepting the worst possible basketball tournament for fans, and lingering Special K issues, particularly at Yost, irked me over the past 12 months. Hackett also paid virtually no attention to non-revenue sports. This is again fine for someone who is trying to get a few big-picture things right, but none of it is great for the long term.

Baumgardner wrote a column with a pithy headline:

Jim Hackett steadied Michigan's ship, but next AD must be able to steer it


Steering the ship. Michigan should be properly chagrined by their decision to pass on the actual athletic directors their department had spawned last time. Anyone other than the four sitting ADs that came from the pre-Brandon department would be an enormous upset. Those gentlemen:

  • Warde Manuel, AD, UConn. Previously the AD at Buffalo, where he hired Turner Gill for those two years where Buffalo was not terrible. At UConn hired Kevin Ollie, which was a given after a national title, and Bob Diaco after taking a swing at Pat Narduzzi.
  • Jeff Long, AD, Arkansas. Hired Bert out from under Wisconsin, which is pretty impressive. Also hired Bobby Petrino away from the Falcons, which was a good idea until it really really wasn't. Cofopoff chair.
  • Brad Bates, AD, Boston College. Is, uh, at Boston College? Before he was at Miami and helped acquire Enrico Blasi and a new arena for the Redhawks. BC Interruption take here if you're inclined.
  • Joe Parker, AD, Colorado State. The favorite candidate of many people who worked in the department when he was around. Recommended by most of the Brandon-initiated Michigan Athletic Department Diaspora. Only one year as an AD but has held posts just below that level for a decade.

Former Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2011 and resigned from his post in 2015. While Hackett brought him on as a consultant that probably doesn't indicate he's a serious candidate for the job.

Oh, and Tom Lewand's free! Anybody? Anybody other than Mark Snyder? Nobody? That appears to be nobody signing up for a guy with zero AD experience, but plenty of hiring Jim Caldwell experience. (Other staffers say he's the Lions' coach, and that the Lions are a local professional football franchise with a star-crossed reputation.)

I haven't heard much buzz on the search yet but a few months ago I did get a note that Manuel was probably the favorite.

Linebackers to be coached. Chris Partridge will pick up linebacker duties for the bowl game. This allows him to go on the road in the absence of Durkin, which is a good thing.

Given the way the release is phrased it doesn't seem like he's getting a position coaching slot permanently—or at least that's not the plan right now. Keeping Partridge for another year or two before he does move onward and upward is a good thing, especially with Michigan having most of New Jersey on lock.

Stats to be goggled at. Michigan features twice in a PFF column on crazy stats, and this is the craziest:

Even though [Jake] Rudock has had an underwhelming season, he has one thing going for him. He leads the country in accuracy under pressure at 71.4 percent. That’s especially surprising considering he was ranked 40th last year in the same category at 56.8 percent. It’s not a small sample size either. Only nine quarterbacks have had more snaps under pressure than Rudock.

I guess "underwhelming" is a thing you could say about Rudock's 2015 if you are not a Michigan fan. If you are a Michigan fan he's the guy holding onto your hand as you reach for the Holy Grail in a crevasse. Also, his first half was indeed very underwhelming. His finish not so much.

Related: I thought Michigan's pass protection was more or less good this year, what's the deal with all the pressures?


Chris Wormley (DT, Michigan) is having the best pass-rushing season by a defensive tackle in the last two years.

Wormley is the definition of a pass rushing specialist. On every one of the 269 plays that he has lined up as a defensive tackle the opposing offense has passed the ball. On every pass play, Wormley has rushed the passer. … Wormley currently leads the country in PFF’s signature stat, pressure percentage (PRP) at 12.3. … The senior from Ohio has improved tremendously from last season. His current grade of +35.8 is over 25 points higher than is 2014 grade. He has graded positively in every game except last week’s game against Ohio State where he struggled with his run defense.

When I saw that I thought to myself "he's a defensive end, not a DT," but they cover that in the paragraph on him.

I think the way PFF is crediting rushes here is generous to Wormley. He benefited from the pile of stunts Michigan ran—without question the best thing Durkin did this year is base his pass rush on constant stunting—and in UFR I've started splitting credit between the guy who drives the lane open and guy who loops around for the glory. Wormley did have a major breakout season, don't get me wrong, but Michigan's ability to pressure was a team thing in which all three DT/DE types contributed about equally.

Etc.: NC State highlights. Holdin' The Rope on the game. Texas key plays. UT take on that game. Walton's issue a "slight ankle sprain"; exhale. Kansas still has a student athletics fee. Love Moritz McGary. The Big Ten has a big rights package coming up.


Hackett Staying Long Term?

Hackett Staying Long Term? Comment Count

Brian November 26th, 2014 at 11:04 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

Bruce Feldman is reporting that interim AD Jim Hackett is close to dropping the interim title:

That's along the lines of what we'd been hearing from Sam and others—that Hackett is going to be around for X number of months where X > amount of time it'll take to fire and hire a new coach.

The chances that the best available athletic director is a retired CEO who hasn't worked in an AD ever are about 1%, but This Is Michigan. They don't care what the sensible thing seems to be. That's fine as long as you are good at doing things. Michigan hasn't been, and given the way the chips have fallen if Hackett doesn't lock down Jim Harbaugh the fanbase is going to have a fit.

But he's not Dave Brandon.


Searchbits V

Searchbits V Comment Count

Brian November 18th, 2014 at 3:32 PM

STOOPS IS NOT HAVING IT. Can't say I blame him for this response:


Via Eddie M

WOULD JIM HARBAUGH GO TO THE ONE PLACE DEFINITIVELY LESS WELL-RUN THAN MICHIGAN? I hope you're all rolling your eyes super-hard at any suggestion that Jim Harbaugh's stuck on the West Coast for the rest of his life because his wife likes it there. Ian Rapoport:

…according to Rapoport, the Miami Dolphins, long rumored as a potential landing spot for Harbaugh, are no longer an option. Miami's recent success apparently has convinced ownership to keep head coach Joe Philbin around and, in any case, Harbaugh is "not on the Dolphins' radar." Moreover, Harbaugh's wife does not want to leave the Bay Area, limiting the number of locations he can consider.

Accordingly, Rapoport listed the Oakland Raiders as a "real possibility" for Harbaugh.

That's not very nice to his wife in the event that Harbaugh and the 49ers part ways.

"Honey, I lost my lucrative job."
"But I thought I might return to home and restore the legacy of the place I grew up and played quarterback."
"Nope. Raiders."

Neither end of that conversation seems particularly likely, and neither is it likely that San Francisco would let Harbaugh out of his contract so he could move across town. There are a ton of pieces that would have to fall into place for that to happen.

Also there is this:

(Not that Reggie McKenzie, this one.)

McKenzie is in his fourth year as the Raiders GM and has drafted well. As of a few weeks ago he wasn't thought to be under threat. Now maybe not so much with the Raiders riding a 15-game losing streak. The Raiders are kind of in the same situation as Michigan is with an interim AD, except an AD is only your boss in the technical sense that you can fire him—in college you are otherwise king of the mountain. Oakland would probably have to offer that level of control to get Harbaugh, and those arrangements have rarely worked out in the NFL.

THE THING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS ABOVE. That is some relief as Stephen Ross had previously been thought to be interested, for obvious reasons. Hearing that is no longer the case.

NO MULLEN FOR FLORIDA? Florida got the drop on Michigan but apparently they're not interested in the guy who's kind of a big deal right now:

Okay by me. If Michigan does not get Harbaugh he would be my first choice.

SLIGHTLY INSIDER STUFF. A source inside the department relates that Hackett was explicitly brought in as a short term guy and there is no inside track to the permanent spot for him even if he decides he wants the job. FWIW, this person thinks that Hackett doesn't intend on pursuing the job long term.

Also, the search committee is on the verge of being formed. As in: it has not been formed yet, some weeks after Brandon was axed. They'll act as the primary point of contact with the search firm that does these things; still, any and all comments from Schlissel about taking a long time and getting the hire right should be taken seriously. Hackett's going to do the firing and almost certainly the hiring.

This is not likely to dissuade Harbaugh, who has a ton of reasons to want to come back to Ann Arbor and an unshakeable faith in his ability to kick ass. That makes the AD virtually irrelevant to him. Relevant to us, of course. To Harbaugh he's just the guy who clears out the underbrush so he can coach.


Searchbits III: Eye Of The Storm

Searchbits III: Eye Of The Storm Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2014 at 6:05 PM


A NEW ROUND OF HE GONE. After San Francisco lost to the Rams in ridiculous fashion to drop to 4-4, the knives—already out—added numbers to their ranks. Jerry Rice:

"I think he’s gone," Rice said. … "We don’t really know if he wants to come back and be the head coach for the San Francisco 49ers...Maybe that’s starting to wear and tear on the team and it’s taking its toll."

Rice again:

San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice believes coach Jim Harbaugh's act is starting to wear thin, in part because Harbaugh's "collegiate mentality" is not suited to the pro game.

"I have heard some complaints from some players that he likes to try to coach with the collegiate mentality, and that's just not going to work in the NFL," said Rice.

Steve Young:

“So I stood right by the team,” Young said. “It was right before halftime and afterwards. And I remember calling to my security guy that I’ve known for years and years, Jeff Rodriguez. I said ‘Jeff, something’s wrong with these guys. There’s a bad vibe. Guys on and off the field.’ … A lot of complaining, a lot of moaning coming off the field.”

49ers GM Trent Baalke agreed with that take without getting too specific.

Mercury News reporter Tim Kawakami:

At 4-4, San Fransico is three games back of 7-1 Arizona and one back of the Seahawks, and the way the NFC is breaking down this year the wild card teams are likely to have fancy records. The 49ers are currently behind the Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.

ON THE AD SEARCH. I got nothin'.

I don't know how other people are getting more than that. Schlissel just told the Daily the search is restricted to his head at the moment, so I regard all insider information on this skeptically. I don't suspect bad faith on anyone's part. I just doubt any of these sources have a great handle on the situation no matter how many times reporters use "Fact" as a sentence. Fact. (Actually, opinion.)

That goes double given the wildly divergent timelines that have been thrown out there. Sam Webb was mentioning Hackett could be around 18-24 months on WTKA, which freaked a lot of people out; Rivals was first positing nine months and now has their prediction in the heart of common sense, mid-December; Coaching Scoop just asserted that the goal was to have an AD in place by the time the whistle blows on the Ohio State game. That's 25 days from now.

In the absence of any information you don't already have or anything resembling consensus amongst the people who say they have some, I resort to common sense—


—nevermind. I resorted to common sense right before I projected Brady Hoke had a 0.0 percent chance of being Michigan's coach, so common sense and I aren't on speaking terms.

It is worth noting that the long Hackett timeframes may be maximums instead of likely lengths and may not preclude a long-term AD being brought in, with Hackett as a bridging aide.


  • Joe Schad reported that Michigan "has targeted" Northwestern AD Jim Phillips. Phillips is the president of NACDA, which is the national trade group for ADs and was AD of the year a couple years back. Before Northwestern, Phillips was the AD at NIU; he's an Illinois grad. FWIW: I've heard from Northwestern people that Phillips is going nowhere, and he's got the list of spurned suitors to back that up.
  • Football Scoop's Pete Roussell brought up Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione. The site just doubled down on that, saying "sources within the industry" thought he was the name and that he would take the job if it was offered. (Bob Stoops would not be coming along.)
  • Sam Webb suggested that Michigan would look at Greg Byrne, the Arizona AD. This would of course be the most hilarious option.

Meanwhile, Warde Manuel told his local paper that he hasn't heard from Michigan.


Unverified Voracity Gets Rehab Profile

Unverified Voracity Gets Rehab Profile Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Basketball approaches. Save us, basketball.

Schlissel speaks. Mark Schlissel sat down with the Daily to talk about the future of the athletic department. Schlissel has mastered the executive's ability to talk without sending people running for the 72-point font, but there were some interesting bits in there. It seems like the timing here caught everyone off guard:

“I would imagine that we’ll begin the process of organizing a search in the coming weeks,” Schlissel said. “I can tell you with certainty I haven’t talked to anybody at all — no matter what you read in the media — about whether they’re interested in a permanent position here.”

It seems like the decision-making process was winding towards that mid-November date when things got accelerated. Not sure I like the overtones of "begin the process of organizing a search in the coming weeks." That sounds like an extended timeline, and Michigan has some pressing priorities.

Schlissel flat out admitted that the names being floated in the media are people he's "never heard of before," which again shows his refreshing ability to say "I don't know" but I hope doesn't extend to the Michigan guys—at this point you'd hope he had a handle on the Long/Manuel/Bates group. He also said the usual bit about how they're not going to focus exclusively on Michigan guys.

In a second article, Schlissel cited Brandon's resignation as a reason he couldn't say much about exactly what went down but did offer this:

"One thing I will say is I expect everybody who works at this public university to treat the public with respect,” Schlissel said. “That’s a sort of condition of working at this university.

“Everybody should be respectful to the public we serve.”

That's the general outline; I'll round up the AD chatter in a separate post.

A bit of a difference. Nebraska folk are looking at their schedule and that of various Big 12 teams and noticing that one is not like the other:

Let’s pretend that Nebraska stayed in the Big 12 and West Virginia never received an invitation. Let’s give NU the Mountaineers’ 2014 home conference schedule. Ready?





Kansas State

I don’t have enough exclamation points at my disposal for that list. I get pumped just thinking about it. That’s a schedule from paradise, full of teams with speed and skill (OK, not so much Kansas). Or maybe it just seems that way based on Nebraska’s rice-cake diet this fall. Ready? Are you sure?





I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Look at those two schedules. Look at 'em! The latter looks like an old catcher's mitt. It must be a sick joke, right?

This really hits home when you look at the basketball schedules: single-plays everywhere, even less balance than previously. Bleah. If the league was as responsive to legit criticisms as individual schools were, Delany would get run out of town on the same rail Brandon's on. But he's got that insulation.

Chaos in Bloomington. The last time things got so wild in central Indiana, Lucy left the barn door open and one of the cows got stuck in a police car. In the immediate aftermath of a freshman hitting one of his own teammates with a car, while intoxicated, Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson have been hit with four-game drug suspensions. That brings the number of IU players involved in drug-and-alcohol-related incidents up to 6.

And guess which newspaper just hired the human molotov cocktail that is Gregg Doyel?

Firing Crean for his team's fifth alcohol-related incident in a year could be expensive.He has a $12 million buyout this year unless he's fired "for cause." Would nearly 40 percent of his roster -- five of 13 scholarship players -- being cited for alcohol-related offenses count as "for cause"? A judge might have to decide, if it gets that far. But if a fifth IU player is cited, then that's where it should go. Because the coach overseeing that program, I don't care how much I like the guy, would have to go.

Yep. The Indy Star. Dan Dakich, meanwhile, went off on his radio show:

"Gregg Doyel was dead on. Indiana players, you're getting ready to get your coach fired... I love Indiana basketball down to my core. It's who I am. But not this crap...

"When did you fans become so soft, become so accepting of mediocrity, promotion and crap?"

Sounds kind of like a blogger there.

It's funny because we suck. If we did not suck it would be somewhat less funny.

Something like injury information. Gardner is not right and it's obvious; he limped around to finish the Penn State game and is still hobbled:

After a play broke down in the second half against Indiana, Michigan's fifth-year senior quarterback tucked the ball near the 50-yard line and took off.

His mind said go, but his sore ankle wouldn't let him. He ended up rushing for a first down, but it was obvious things have changed.

"(A year ago) I probably would've scored," Gardner smiled Monday. "But I got the first down, that's what the team needed, it kept the chains moving."

Let's just put that on the pile then. Soon we will ski down Mount Devin Gardner Problems.

Please? The Hoover Street Rag points out that fixing the current schedule imbalance in the Big Ten East is not a difficult thing as long as 1) MSU is also amenable to that change and 2) IU doesn't care:

Since Indiana is in the East, both Michigan and Michigan State play them every season. Fortutiously, Indiana played MSU at home and Michigan on the road this year. Therefore, all you have to do is flip the Indiana game from a home game to an away game and flip MSU from an away game to a home game. Everyone still ends up with the same number of home and away games, and the bottleneck is cleared.

Current 2016 Schedule
UM at MSU, at OSU, vs IU
MSU vs UM, vs OSU, at IU
OSU at MSU, vs UM, vs IU
IU vs MSU, at UM, at OSU

Proposed 2016 Schedule
UM vs MSU, at OSU, at IU
MSU at UM, vs OSU, vs IU
OSU at MSU, vs UM, vs IU
IU at MSU, vs UM, at OSU

Seems like all three programs in the MSU/OSU/M troika would prefer to have one at home and one on the road for balance and ticket sales reasons.

Alert! Alarm! The word from Boston:

Never! Mind! The word from Boston:

This is a big bowl of awkward.

Tommy Amaker is set to coach No. 12 seed Harvard against No. 5 seed Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday, and when the Crimson lose their next game, Amaker is gone. He’s Jacoby Ellsbury gone. Harvard’s loss will be Boston College’s gain.

BC hired Ohio coach Jim Christian instead. On the bright side for Shaughnessy, Jacoby Ellsbury was never found again.

Number one. Would you like a lot of quotes about Jim Hackett? Angelique has them for you:

"Number one, he's nice," Gilmour said. "Number two, thoughtful. Number three, clearly deep. … He is a thoughtful and organized person. And he may be the interim (athletic director) but he won't be a caretaker. He will be moving the athletic department ahead."

The Schiano rehabilitation project begins now. A long Pete Thamel piece on Peter Kings site finds Greg Schiano looking up at nothing in particular while exposing his teeth for reasons he doesn't understand.


I know that feeling of panic whenever someone points a camera at you and says "look like a human being," bro.

Anyway, Schiano makes breakfast, he is enamored with Urban Meyer's juice, he sings songs about chores to Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, he won't be an enormous Brandon to NFL scouts anymore, etc. Schiano's image was run through the woodchipper over his two years in Tampa and he's trying to be… well… that guy above instead of the guy who has his players go after people on a victory formation play.

(Also, what is that diagram? Is he demonstrating Notre Dame's last touchdown in 2011? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?)

Etc.: I was on Drew and Marc Friday talking about what happened and what's next. Hackett intro. Niyo on Hoke chatter. The Brandon timeline. Slate on the ouster. Drake Johnson breakdown.

2015 GA SG Jaylen Brown, the #1 kid nationally, will take a visit to Michigan. Ricky Doyle is going to be critical. Good think he doesn't look like a freshman physically.

Stuffing the Passer is now an animated comic strip, because of course it is.


ESPN Report: Regents To Discuss Brandon Tomorrow, AD Candidates Contacted

ESPN Report: Regents To Discuss Brandon Tomorrow, AD Candidates Contacted Comment Count

Ace October 15th, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Jeff Long and Warde Manuel: already contacted?

ESPN is reporting that the regents will discuss Dave Brandon at their previously scheduled meeting tomorrow, as revealed to them by regent Denise Ilitch herself. This may very well be the beginning of the end (or the beginning of the end of the end) for Brandon, as Ilitch had this to say about the Shane Morris situation:

"The systems failed and there are a lot of issues we have to review," Ilitch told WWJ CBS TV in Detroit.

The money quote, however, came at the end:

Sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that someone on Michigan's behalf has contacted three possible candidates to replace Brandon to gauge their interest in the job.

Arkansas AD Jeff Long, UConn AD Warde Manuel, and Boston College AD Brad Bates are the obvious candidates to be those three people, with Texas Tech deputy AD Joe Parker as a possible dark horse.


Mailbag: About Football! J/K, No One Emails Me About Football Anymore

Mailbag: About Football! J/K, No One Emails Me About Football Anymore Comment Count

Brian October 9th, 2014 at 11:40 AM


bad timing

What will happen and when?


Obviously, the central issue to our entire fanbase is what is going to happen to Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke, and if something is going to happen to either, when.  You have obviously posted at length about your opinions about what SHOULD happen, and I am excited to see part II of your coaching candidates series.  But, unless I missed it, I have not seen you post anything about what you believe WILL happen. 

Specifically, based upon where we stand now (2-4, 0-2) what is your expectation as to (1) whether Brandon will be removed, (2) whether Hoke will be fired, and (3) if you believe that either is gone, when.  I think that many of us would also be interested in your opinion  as to how the events that will transpire over the remaining 8 weeks of the regular season could impact that decision.  (For example, there is a thread on the board now asking what would happen if we win out).

I know that you are probably getting millions of emails on the topic, but I know that many of us would really be interested in knowing your opinions on this topic.

Thanks, as always, and despite everything, Go Blue!


I just don't know. I'm only answering this because I get a lot of emails to this effect; usually if I can't answer something reasonably I just say so privately and that's it. But… yeah, I don't know.

One thing I've learned is that insider information is often colored by the desires of the source; slap one degree of separation between that source and you and then it seems really true and important. This is not so important when someone has a broken bone; it is vastly so when political infighting is involved. So I don't take a whole lot of stuff about Hoke staying seriously; I know it's popped up on premium message boards here and there. There's a faction amongst the old program alums who can't stand to be as flagrantly wrong as they were and will swear up and down that Hoke can be saved.

He can't. Anyone who watches his team knows that this is a disorganized mess and in year four that goes back to one guy and one guy only. There is no expectation this would get better, and in that light the successful Hoke years look like flukes born of disproportionate talent and flat-out luck, as Michigan's 2011 was.

I guess Michigan could run the table but any reasonable season projection gets you to 7-6 at best and that is a firing, if only because whoever the AD is will know that continuing with Hoke is going to be an inflection point on season ticket sales.

As far as Brandon, I do not know. I've read all there is to read and heard all there is to hear and what is clear is that here is some sort of serious support for the guy that centers around Stephen Ross and his dollars and drops off almost immediately after that. If this was a democracy he'd be booted in an 80-20 election; it is not.

I would have faith that the people around the president who have his ear because of dolla dolla bill y'all would eventually be able to come to this conclusion:

  1. Someone else would be about as good at continuing the things who make the people in the AD support him
  2. Anyone else would be less toxic to fans and especially students.

Even if you somehow believe that guy whose PR stunts will literally go in a textbook under what not to do is the best guy for the job, the next best guy for the job is 99% as capable and isn't loathed by half the Michigan fanbase. This flies in the face of our nation's CEO fetishization, but here it's undeniable.

Logic then demands I say that both guys will be gone by the end of the year, but logic ain't got nothing to do with it.

As to the timing, Hoke's not gone until after the OSU game. If he was going to get the axe immediately it would have been after the Minnesota game. Short of that happening again, he's got the rest of the year. Michigan may announce he's done before OSU, a la Earle Bruce; functionally he's your guy the rest of the year.

Brandon could go at any time. I hear that there are some meetings coming up in the next week that could be the impetus for his dismissal, but as long as Stephen Ross is backing the guy it's going to be pulling teeth.

[After THE JUMP: define risk in re: coaching candidates.]