Coach And AD Chatter Part II

Coach And AD Chatter Part II Comment Count

Brian October 29th, 2014 at 10:14 AM


IT HAS BEGUN. Oh hell yes, we're already on FlightAware. Various people have pointed out that this plane went to a place two hours away from San Francisco and has done this several times over the last few months. Also they point out that Mississippi is not Tennessee. To them I say your petty "logic" and seeming "sanity" cannot stand in the way of an internet full of ludicrous hope.

God save this country if it ever can. FlightAware: love it or leave it. We have a song.

[Even though I'm pretty sure 95% of people who got on the Flight Aware bandwagon were joking: this particular flight has been thoroughly debunked by Sam Webb, who points out that's an alum's plane and he's got auto dealerships in the cities he flies to. This did not stop it from being on Around The Horn, because they got yammerin' to do. 

Coaching search plane is not going to have a block M on it, I bet.]

ON HARBAUGH, AGAIN. Previous chatter here was an opinion from someone in the 49ers organization that Harbaugh was coming to the conclusion he might fit better in college long-term. I have a couple more infobits.

One is from the Michigan/AA side of things and indicates that he would be open to a return in the event of an AD change.

The second is intel from guys who work for another NFL franchise: it's well-known in the league that Harbaugh and the 49ers GM don't get along and that Harbaugh's relentless intensity wears on NFL players who expect to be treated like adults. This is not something you haven't heard from a half-dozen NFL reporters already.

These guys think Harbaugh will end up at Michigan, though, so that's interesting.

ON THE AD CHANGE. Support for Brandon at the regent level breaks down along party lines. I can't believe that would really matter—and of course in my opinion the only problem there is that anyone would support a man so toxic that he can cut student ticket prices 40% and still get bombarded with calls for his firing this weekend.

There are yet further suggestions that Brandon is fighting a rearguard action he's not likely to win.

Ross's about-face on Brandon is meaningful because Stephen Ross can always say nothing; if he doesn't return a phone call there is no article.

I can say that there are people in the department who think it's done, Brandon's out, and that this could become official by mid-November. Current chatter holds that one of the obvious Michigan-connected guys will be the pick as replacement, but I'd expect that would be the case until a serious search committee is formed and either includes or does not include potentially interesting non-M options.

ON HEELS AND THE DIGGING IN THEREOF. Brandon is going to go down swinging. They called another meeting, this one a mandatory one for all head coaches, about a week ago. A second-hand report from that meeting says after an apology about how it's not all about him, the upshot was the criticism was all "politically driven" and that the Board of Regents was after him because he's a Republican and there are upcoming elections. After that everything would die down.

Yes, seriously.

Further, expect another letter of support organized by the department for the benefit of said regents. The email circulated to get this going indicates the level of organization here:

We wanted to keep this grassroots -- as it feels important to do so with the message of the letter. We did have a member of the leadership team and media relations take a look just to make sure there were no red flags. 

You keep using that word, "grassroots." In any case, "employee publicly supports employer who hired them at high salary" is not news.

That should come out today or in the near future.



UT Rivals board as of late yesterday.

ON BUTCH JONES. The Tennessee rivals board blew up yesterday with speculation after one of their moderators confirmed that the ever-nebulous "representatives" had been in contact with Jones. That can mean anything at all, obviously.

Tennessee folks on twitter got the requisite denial-ish substance…

…and former Vol WR Jayson Swain asserted there's a 0% chance it happens. Also:

"It's not even worth discussing," Jones said of the rumors. "No validity to it.

"I'm not going to waste your time or my time commenting on that."

I wouldn't put it at 0.00%, but things would have to go in some funny directions for Michigan to hire Jones after two years trying to rebuild the cratered Tennessee program without much to show for it.

I'd keep him on peripheral radar only.

ON LES MILES. Some of the Jones chatter is undoubtedly coming from a 247 post from their national guys that reads like mostly speculation, but it did have a sourced tidbit on Miles:

Sources close to Miles indicate that given the Tigers talent level that they don't "think" Miles would entertain a return to his alma mater at this time.

Not much to go on there. I don't expect Michigan pursues Miles for a number of reasons, but impossible to say anything certain until we know which guy is running the search.

OTHER FOLKS' CHATTER. Steve Lorenz has a post up in which he suggests it's Boston College's Brad Bates who has his nose ahead($) in the still-hypothetical race to be the next AD, amongst various other interesting things. His read on the Harbaugh thing seem to be in harmony with my take: don't rule it out, don't assume it's happening.

An old-timey insider popped up on Rivals after a long, long hiatus when people cried out for his wisdom($). Verily, GFunk did descend from the mountain and say unto them that wheels were turning, there was probably a change in AD coming, and that if he had to guess at this point it would be Bates and Harbaugh.

Sam Webb posted a freebie with some encouraging items about Michigan moving up its timeline:

…there are high ranking donors that have voiced their feelings to Schlissel during meetings over the last few months. Now comes word that some donors are planning to speak with their checkbooks.

“(Schlissel) has been told that not another penny will be given until this is resolved,” a source told GoBlueWolverine on the condition of anonymity.

Exactly how many donors have delivered that message is unclear, but any impact outside of athletics will clearly be magnified.  Especially since Michigan is in the midst of its “Victors for Michigan campaign” to raise 4 billion dollars to finance "student support, engaged learning, and bold ideas.” …

Before this latest barrage of negative feedback about Brandon the odds of the evaluation process lasting at least a month longer appeared pretty high. Now, especially with Ross’ announcement that he won’t serve as Brandon’s buffer, the opportunity for the timeline to be expedited is apparent.

Sam also adds a non-Michigan name to the pile of guys for next AD: Arizona AD Greg Byrne. Yes, the man who hired Rich Rodriguez. Byrne also hired Dan Mullen during his tenure as Mississippi State's AD from 2008-10.


A World Held Hostage: Day Six

A World Held Hostage: Day Six Comment Count

Brian January 10th, 2011 at 12:08 PM

ALERT THE MEDIA… Er. Nevermind. I see you're on top of that.

Hello. How are you? Getting used to the idea that limbo is you permanent home? Thinking about buying a couch?

Miles-date. The Louisiana media details what they know about Miles's movements over the past couple days and where he'll be in the next couple:

Saturday morning, Miles flew from Dallas to Baton Rouge with the LSU team and official party, and was seen entering the LSU football complex.

Vincent said Miles is scheduled to fly back to Dallas on Tuesday, where he is slated to deliver a speech during the American Football Coaches Association convention. Miles is then scheduled to fly immediately back to Baton Rouge, Vincent said.

This would seem to blow up the rumor that Miles was actually in Ann Arbor over the weekend. Miles showing up in Dallas would be a convenient place for the Dominos plane edition of David Brandon* to interview Miles, if he hasn't already, and the News says they will talk then.

Local folk are asserting the end result is likely to be similar to last time according to the proverbial "person close to the situation":

"My impression is that he'd like to say 'No,' without saying 'No,'" he said. "He doesn't want to be on the list of people who turned him (Brandon) down."

Former Michigan recruit and LSU commit Trai Turner was pinged by the RBs coach, who told him "there wasn't anything to worry about" and added that "from everything else I hear, Coach Miles is staying," but they're always staying until they aren't. Miles is currently being battered by questions he won't answer at a press conference assembled to announce Patrick Peterson's departure for the NFL, so expect word of some evasive non-denials shortly.

Plane-date. So the plane above went to Baton Rouge and people said it was carrying organs and should not be paid attention to, then it went a bunch of places seemingly relevant to key players in the Michigan coaching search and then it went back to Baton Rouge and people were like "dude, this plane should be paid attention to." FWIW, I'm getting more emails about who or what is on that plane that say it shouldn't be paid attention to because its owner rented it out for three months. (Whoever rented it out must really love screwing with Michigan fans on the internet.)

It's uncertain if the thing actually is doing anything other than providing Baton Rouge TV stations with gold, Jerry, gold. The coincidence is a little much, but on the other hand if you were flying around the country trying to have clandestine conversations with a currently-employed college head coach you'd have to be epically stupid to do so in your blinged-out winged helmet learjet.

A not quite entirely pointless Gruden update. I'd completely forgotten about this but an emailer pinged me back in early December, stating that he was close to someone in the Gruden loop and that Michigan had contacted him to gauge interest in the job. The result was "strong" interest. I decided not to mention something seemingly so off the wall since Gruden comes up in literally every coaching search that happens and Rodriguez seemed like he'd have a job in 2011. But here we are.

That source updates by saying he can confirm Gruden has spoken with Brandon and there is still "interest." I'm not sure if this is Gruden's MO or a genuine candidacy. But he is the guy with the second-most buzz at the moment, behind Miles but seemingly ahead of Hoke or anyone else. As Jennifer Hammond suggested, take it with a grain of salt.

*[Ablauf on Brandon's location: "That's a good question. I'm on a need-to-know basis."]


Where In The World Is David Brandon?

Where In The World Is David Brandon? Comment Count

Brian January 9th, 2011 at 3:39 PM

The plane that may or may not have David Brandon and the crabby ghost of Don Canham aboard has returned to Baton Rouge, landing about fifteen minutes ago. Tiger Droppings scrambled F-16s


…but they apparently didn't make it. Meanwhile, the other plane that may or may not have Dave Brandon aboard is in Dallas, where a coaching convention is going on. So either Les Miles is approaching done or Brandon is in Dallas interviewing anyone who looks at him funny and the winged helmet plane heading to Baton Rouge every hour on the hour is just a bizarre coincidence.

Or both. It's likely that UM reps of some variety are in both places, so Les Miles is in play and they're talking but nothing is certain so they're trying to scout out backup plans.


A World Held Hostage: Day Five

A World Held Hostage: Day Five Comment Count

Brian January 9th, 2011 at 11:45 AM


Les pun barrage avoided. The mandarins at LSU are sticking to their story that no one's talking to them about talking to Les Miles. The chancellor's version of yesterday's statement by the AD:

“No one has said anything to me,” Martin said. “But of course a lot of these things are done with agents now, behind the scenes.”

Just like LSU's recruiting. Hey-o!

It's contagious. Jennifer Hammond was patient zero in the Michigan edition of Fruitless Jon Gruden Naming but it's spreading: I have more than one account from actual sources indicating Michigan did interview him yesterday. With Gruden an interview is usually a brief conversation about how this guy makes more money than God by saying generic things on Monday Night Football, so don't get excited. I can't believe I'm actually relaying information about Gruden and Michigan but I guess if we've deployed flight tracking Gruden couldn't have been far behind.

If, like me, you've become inured to the constant Gruden-to-everywhere speculation that seems like it's been a major feature of American culture for the last fifty years you may be surprised to find out that he's a youthful 47 and could actually be plausible in a Pete Carroll sort of way.

Speaking of flights. So the winged helmet plane that touched down in Baton Rouge when Miles was in Dallas was there for all of two hours, then took off for South Carolina. What's in South Carolina? Um… well… a few days ago it was relayed to me that Lloyd Carr was in South Carolina. He supposedly has a vacation home at Hilton Head (restaurant to the stars!). The plane flew to… Hilton Head. It then went to a regional airport in Georgia, back to Hilton Head, headed out to Westchester County, and then went back to Hilton Head.

Ironically, Carr lit out for South Carolina because he was sick of people claiming he was the nefarious power behind the throne and just wanted to get away from everything and now a plane with a winged helmet painted on it is using his location as a hub. This is either

  • an amazing coincidence, or
  • David Brandon smoothing over Les Miles with Lloyd Carr and random incredibly wealthy NYC-based booster who is probably Stephen Ross.

Since a good source says Brandon actually is using the winged helmet plane—Dominos was a ruse!—I lean towards the latter; this seems like a fact corroborating the Les Miles buzz. I may have to apologize to Tiger Droppings.


A World Held Hostage: Day Three Point One

A World Held Hostage: Day Three Point One Comment Count

Brian January 7th, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Turns out I have less than I thought I did after reviewing items, but the remainder…

Other people are on planes. So. It's that time again:


It's not a coaching search without people tracking a plane they think might have Dave Brandon in it and pointing out that Phoenix is somewhat close to Jim Harbaugh but not too close, right, so probably they're definitely meeting in Phoenix at an Applebee's wearing big Groucho Marx noses so no one recognizes them, right?

A point in the conspiracy theorists' favor: the plane is registered to Domino's Pizza and spent the new year hanging out in Jacksonville watching Michigan get crushed by Mississippi State. Since then it's done this.

  1. Wednesday, 5 PM: Headed out to Latrobe, PA.
  2. Wednesday, 10 PM: flew from Latrobe to Chicago.
  3. Yesterday, 1 PM: flew from Chicago to Phoenix

What does this mean? Eh… probably that someone other than David Brandon is using the plane for purposes related to the business of Dominos. But it's a coaching search so you get Flight Aware. These are the rules.

But wait! There's more! Another plane suspiciously not registered to anything related to the University of Michigan—"Unknown Owner"—has been flying places. A reader relates its progress:

  1. Willow Run flight left for Miami midday 1/4 when firing "reported" but supposedly not made (Mary Sue Coleman or other agent leaving)
  2. Miami flight scheduled to Van Nuys, CA on 1/5 and does go, but makes previously unscheduled stop in Lubbock (?). Timing is 2 hours post firing presser. Could be to finalize plan, get gas, time up the following #3, or who knows. Only on ground 47 minutes. Arrives in Van Nuys at 5:09 pacific (Ross in tow to make help make pitch?)
  3. Gulfstream flight from San Jose, CA lands in Van Nuys at 5:52 pacific (Harbaugh?)
  4. Flight from Miami to Van Nuys leaves for Palm Springs at 5:57 (easy switchover for "Harbaugh" w/ a private aircraft) stays night there.
  5. Miami flight departs for home (Boca airport) at 10:05 A.M on 1/6
  6. Next flight out of Palm Springs at 10:11 AM is private plane to Monterrey Peninsula airport--less public than San Jose airport and 60 miles south of Palo Alto--lands at 11:03 AM
  7. 49ers meet w/ Harbaugh today in undisclosed location - he flies somewhere else or drives somewhere between SF and airport to meet 49ers.

This is all bats and obviously means Mike Leach is the next coach. Stop in Lubbock, people. Mike Leach.

But wait! There's actual information possibly worth reading! So… as mentioned the sudden reversal in the Harbaugh story now lends some credence to the old acquaintances/teammates from yesterday who were predicting Harbaugh to Michigan in the face of the Twitter army. I'm still a little leery that the only thing out there other than this site that says M-to-Harbaugh isn't dead is John Elway's random opinions on the radio, but…

  1. Solid source says Harbaugh and Brandon will speak today. There is a separate, extremely fuzzy and probably untrue rumor that it's happening in Phoenix.
  2. Another says Ross spent most of his time with Harbaugh badgering him about taking the Michigan job, not making him richer than Stephen Ross, and that Michigan is "still in the game" but Andrew Luck's dastardly desire to get a degree isn't helping.

As of 1:30 PM on Friday 1/7, there seems to be a chance.

Hat. Despite my antipathy for Miles—it's a sign of the fanbase's vast desperation that people are trying to talk themselves into the guy—I'm duty-bound to report that a southern correspondent reports that LSU fans are rumbling about losing Miles shortly after the Tigers play A&M tonight. These are fuzzy indeed.

There is also a random thread on Tiger Droppings saying players think Miles is gone as well because in private he's been "much more melancholy," which what the hell does that mean?

I've repeatedly stated the reasons Miles makes no sense—repeat "he will be sixty in three years" if nothing else works for you—and there's an element of wishful thinking around the reports since losing Miles to Michigan would resolve the great idiot/genius debate surrounding him. 

Hoke. Endorsed by Jason Whitlock.

Patterson: door not exactly closed. This seems like a guy who will at least listen:

"No, I haven't been contacted," Patterson told 105.3-The Fan. "I've got a great job here.

"TCU has a chance to be maybe the No. 2 or No. 1 team (next season), depending on what poll, in the nation. Maybe we are one of those people (elite programs) now. That's what I've been trying to build the program to get to. Michigan has a great tradition and is a great university. I'll cross that bridge when I get there."

Someone talk to him, yes? I mean, seriously. Someone contact him.