Searchbits VIII: There Is No Carr Illuminati Comment Count

Brian December 5th, 2014 at 10:49 AM

PULL THE STRINGS. There was another round of echo-chamber Carrspiracy stuff on the various message boards over the past couple days. No idea why, unless Brian Griese expressing his opinion that he wouldn't go after Harbaugh is reason to envision Carr as a puppet master cackling behind the scenes. For the nth time, Carr is a civilian who only talks to the athletic department when they call him up. That is not frequently.

And then there's this, via Craig Ross by way of Sam Webb:

“I am not involved in the coaching search in any direct way,” Carr said.  “However, I have been asked my opinion. My opinion was Jim Harbaugh would be my number one choice.”

This take was replicated at the News a bit later; 247 also freed up an article from a couple weeks ago in which they described what was going down between Carr and Harbaugh:

We've confirmed with a few different sources that any animosities between former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr and Harbaugh have been mended, and very recently. Carr's influence at this point is unknown, but it's believed he had a hand in the hiring of Brady Hoke during the last coaching search, and there's been a history of a tenuous relationship between the two since Harbaugh's comments about Michigan football and academics when he coached at Stanford. This is mostly important in the idea that there's no doubt Harbaugh will be Michigan's top target when the job opens up, and it's looking more and more like it will be a full group effort with all the oars rowing in the same direction. That makes this likely coaching search different than the last two already.

Even that bit about "having a hand" in the last search conflicts with my information, in which Carr was asked if he thought Brady was a good dude and said yes because everyone says yes to that question.

Carr is not interested in machinations. Michigan might be better off if he was—if he was inclined to call his guys up and get them to toe the line. But that's not who he is, for better or worse. I look forward to my next item pointlessly begging the internet to stop it with the Carrmason stuff. Y'all should get a pool going. I've got two hours ago.

TIMEFRAMES. Hackett met with the players yesterday and told them they'd have a new coach within a month:

"He wasn't overly specific," one person said. "But he mentioned that in all likelihood the whole situation will be resolved before the players return from their Christmas break."

That would be the start of the new semester on January 4th, a timeline long enough to resolve the Harbaugh issue. Or it could happen any time before that.


HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH. Zero clarity. Sam threw some cold water on the idea($), citing a couple of sources who think it's going to be tougher than they previously thought. His best guess is still Harbaugh, FWIW. Those are gentlemen who have talked to Harbaugh directly, so I would take that seriously. Gregg Henson, who's been beating the ITSHAPPENING.gif drum harder than anyone for a solid month now, is also walking his position back a bit.

On the other hand, Rivals is emitting the kind of ambiguously encouraging bits that have little information content—they're enough to get people in frenzy mode but  laden with plausible deniability. There was poll on their board about what people would do in the event of a Harbaugh hire; it was heavy on the wink-wink with "but it's still a coinflip" attached. That link above is to a "you're gonna like Jim Hackett!" tweet. I mean… cumong, man.

If Harbaugh doesn't end up at M a ton of people are going to be pissed at them and they'll blame the people who are praising them to the heavens now, just like they strenuously denied that Harbaugh and Brandon had a problem working together until the instant Brandon left.

But that's none of my business.

The upshot here: Sam's hearing stuff that we don't want to hear, Henson is still pretty gung ho but hearing some things that give him pause, and Rivals is on the optimistic side. 247 has not ventured anything($) resembling a "probably" or "probably not," which is where I'm at, too: at this point it feels like Harbaugh's yes or no is about which neurons fire in his brain at the critical moment.

Meanwhile, Wojo details why things might go better this time:

Interim athletic director Jim Hackett knows it can't be cursory, which was the case four years ago. Dave Brandon didn't want to play the wooing game and cede control. But now Michigan football sits at another dangerous juncture, and while Harbaugh isn't the only prime candidate, he's the first and best one, an instant infusion of energy and credibility. And I doubt he'd use his alma mater simply to get a better deal elsewhere. I think he'd tell Michigan if he weren't interested, and he hasn't done that yet.

Wojo's "sense" is that Michigan would pay in the Urban Meyer range, which is kind of close to the Godfather offer reports.

STOOPS STOOPS STOOPS. Also zero clarity, with plenty of people saying there's no way and plenty of other people saying that this might be a point at which a mutual separation from Oklahoma makes sense.

I personally doubt it's feasible because of the Florida search, but as I mentioned in the comments of the Mullen PIH "Jeremy Foley is not good at his job" is a reasonable explanation for a lot of Florida's actions over the last five years, so it is possible that they just overlooked the possibility. Also, Stoops has a game this weekend and may be evaluating his situation more closely afterward.

Stoops's justifiably pissy reaction to the "ARE U JOB X" question sticks out, though. Chatter is just chatter.

ON THE RADAR. A group of guys appear to be filling out the B list:

  • JIM MORA, UCLA. Sam Webb broached his name in an article, and now Cowherd's chattering about a secret Michigan candidate who is thankfully not Greg Schiano. Cowherd is based in LA and would have more reason to know about a guy in LA; I've also gotten a little chatter to that effect. Former M OL Courtney Morgan is on Mora's staff, so he could be a point of contact. Sam also points out that Mora and Mike DeBord were on the same Seahawks staff($) five or so years ago.
  • KYLE WHITTINGHAM, UTAH. Wittingham's well-known to the Michigan brass after multiple encounters with him in the recent past and has a solid resume. Poachability is a bit of an issue, and Utah had a rough transition to the Pac-12, but he's a solid option Sam says is getting some chatter from the West.
  • DAN MULLEN, MSU. Sam says that "surprisingly enough," Mullen is getting attention. That this would be surprising bothers me, but there it is.
  • STEVE ADDAZIO, BC. I hate this idea but it has enough chatter that someone somewhere clearly has him on the list. Again, Addazio is 55 and is coming off consecutive seven-win seasons at BC; he was the disastrous follow-up to Mullen as Florida OC. He makes no sense unless Mullen is off the table.
    Butch Jones is seemingly also a person of interest, but with Tennessee preparing to give him an extension after a 6-6 year when he's got four years left on his contract it looks like the Vols are trying to block interest before it gets started. Carr also pumped up Art Briles to Craig Ross when they talked, which is pretty interesting. Unfortunately you have to figure that if Briles wanted to leave Waco he'd be the guy at Texas right now.

OKAY THEN. Someone asked Teryl Austin about the Michigan job, and this is an actual-denial denial:

But Austin says he has no interest in pursuing the Wolverines' head coaching position, which opened after the firing of Brady Hoke earlier this week.

"No," he said. "I'm interested in this (Lions) job."

Michigan going after someone in his first successful season as a coordinator (and second overall) was a monster longshot anyway.

SORRY, THAT'S NOT ALL OF US. Local New Orleans reporter on the Sean Payton loves hotdogs thing:

Rivals broadened their hot board in response… by adding Mike Tomlin and Josh McDaniels.

Etc.: Local columnist Sharpin' it by yelling at Les Miles to take the job. Thamel says the pace will be "deliberate," which I'm suddenly very much in favor of after the Florida/Nebraska searches.



December 5th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

Maybe, but why is Mike DeBord the #2 football man in the Athletic Department?  How long has he been in the Department?  What was his role during the RR years?  Was Carr a true "Michigan Man" in how he encouraged his kids to transfer and failed to support the new coach? If Les Miles gets the job, will Carr give him the RR treatment or the Hoke welcome?  Sorry, but those are questions and concerns that bother me.   


December 5th, 2014 at 4:45 PM ^

However, I think Debord being hired supports the conjecture that Carr still has a big influence at Michigan.  Debord was Carr's guy.  So was Hoke.  DeBord comes in after RR leaves.  I'm sure DeBord never listens to Carr and vice-versa. 

You should care about how a new coach, especially Miles, is received by Carr.  If Carr's opinion doesn't matter because he doesn't work here anymore, why are his comments about Harbaugh worthy of head-lined articles in the Detroit News and Free Press?


December 5th, 2014 at 12:36 PM ^

Was Carr a true "Michigan Man" in how he encouraged his kids to transfer and failed to support the new coach?

This really isn't true. People need to stop repeating this as fact. It's a pretty gross distortion of what happened.

Per a very reliable source, there was a huge number of guys who were thinking of transferring during the 2008 offseason - we're talking like 20 players - and Carr met with most of them. Carr would deal with them all the same way: he'd go over the pros and cons, but ultimately challenge them to give RR a shot. Most took him up on that and stayed. A few weren't willing to do even that and left.

Through the telephone game, this has morphed into "Lloyd urged them to leave," which is the opposite of what he actually said.


December 7th, 2014 at 4:33 PM ^

...Hoke with open arms.  Here are a couple of references:

"Brady Hoke is a great choice for Michigan," Carr wrote in a text message.

I think from what I know of Brady, which is substantial, (because) we coached together for eight years, he's a guy with tremendous passion and love for Michigan, and for Michigan football and for the guys that play the game," Carr said. "He will take great pride in the way he represents the university and the type of program he is building."

"But I'm so happy for Brady and his staff and the players. Michigan football is where we want to be."


December 5th, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

Carr telling kids to transfer, a myth that's been throughly debunked btw, was the ultimate Michigan Man move. It speaks to integrity that values the well being of your players, who were all poor fits for RR's O, over wins and losses.

Once you take the position that Carr was wrong, it's a short leap to justifying grayshirting and oversigning and anything else that places winning over kids well being


December 5th, 2014 at 5:02 PM ^

"It speaks to integrity that values the well being of your players, who were all poor fits for RR's O, over wins and losses."  

Are you saying the reason RR lost was because he inherited a whole roster of football players who couldn't play in a spread offense?



December 6th, 2014 at 1:07 AM ^

Steven Threet was a 4 star quarterback who was good enough to start at Arizona State and Rich had him backing up Nick Sheridan because, and this was the stated reason, Nick was slightly more mobile. How you can look at that fact and conclude that we would have run some kind of air raid with Mallett is beyond me. He is a shitty example anyway since he was already about to transfer regardless of who was hired.

Rich signed every transfer paper himself, you know.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:07 PM ^

I will find the nearest Huskers fan, embrace him with tears in my eyes, and then pull back, look him in the eyes and say "It's gonna be ok. We're basketball schools now". At which point we will both sob on each others shoulders for hours.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

If our new coaches name rhymes with Uhdasseo or Chheeano I'm going to throw up.

Also this: time for a bunch of disgruntled alums/former players/coaches to put their big boy pants on and get on the same page dammit. We're going to find out if this Hackett fella is more Don Corleone than Fredo Corleone.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

By the time of the hiring, will the number of Searchbit articles (eight at the moment) have exceeded the number of Super Bowls (48)?  If we're in for another month, it'll be close.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^


Jim doesn't beat around the bush and waste time. Clearly he has some affection for Michigan, and he must be aware at this phase of the prominent national search that he's lead candidate in line for a sweetheart deal tantamount to a coronation.

I like to believe that if Jim has little or no current interest in Michigan he would have declined consideration publicly so the University and the Harbaughs could pursue their separate objectives without all the speculation, distraction and intrusion. I've stated here before that I didn't think Jim was coming to Ann Arbor, however, given Jim Hackett's address to the players at this juncture, Lloyd Carr's admission, and the absence of a conspicuous rejection by Jim Harbaugh, I see Harbaugh as a real prospect. We just might get 'im.



December 5th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Hackett indicating the coaching situation will be resolved by January 4th would seem to be the last nail in the Gary Patterson-as-a-possibility coffin (which disappoints me -- he was my preference both last time around and in this current search).

Also, as an aside, calling people names like "crazy" and "conspiracy theorist" alongside assertions that they are wrong because of your blanket conclusory assertion to the contrary doesn't do much to prove or disprove any point and just sort of seems like a defensive outburst.  As a coach, Carr was extremely stubborn and conservative (possibly to a bigoted extent, notably in the sense of what type of characteristics a kid would need to have to play the quarterback position).  It could be anticipated that these types of control/power personality issues would continue to manifest themselves in some form (until fading with advanced age, which may be occurring now).

turd ferguson

December 5th, 2014 at 12:34 PM ^

Oh, excellent.  So now Carr is a backstabbing, petty, senile racist.

Seriously, have you ever read or heard anything that people who know Carr well say about him?  Almost everyone who knows him - including black people! - says that he's a terrific mentor, role model, and person.  I don't know Lloyd personally, but I know a couple of people who do, and they talk about him as one of the most decent people they know. 


December 5th, 2014 at 3:33 PM ^

All I said is that Carr doesn't want UM to succeed without him or one of his cronies.  He could be a great in person but still care so much about his legacy that he is willing to do that.  I mean it's not like we haven't seen something like that before.  Brandon decided to hire Hoke (before the 2010 season), and then undermined RR through the entire year.  Without extending RR's contract, recruiting dried up and the team lost confidence.  To make it look like he was really deliberating, he kept RR on, through the bowl game.

If Brandon had just let RR go after the Ohio game, it would have been way better for UM, but then, it would be harder for Brandon to claim he was being objective.

Brandon, even more than RR was responsible for the shitty OL in 2013.  Of course the majority of the blame falls on the coaching staff, but Brandon has a role in it.

So, this, among a dozen things Brandon clearly did, is an act we can see where somebody cares a lot more about themselves than the institution they work for.

There are thousands of such scenarios in the "real" world outside of college athletics.  Why is it so hard to believe the Carr is doing something like that.  Carr wanted DeBoard as his successor as HC at UM.  When that didn't work, he undermined RR and worked to bring in Hoke.  Now, does he really want Harbaugh to be HC?


December 5th, 2014 at 5:51 PM ^

But he's right, you said "backstabbing, petty, senile racist," not me or someone else.  It's another example of the name-calling and "taking things wildly out of context approach to make it seem like what you're responding to is different than what it actually was" that those of your opinion seem to be relying upon heavily.

For instance, I'm pretty sure saying someone has lost some negative personality issues as they've aged is not the same as saying they're senile.  Although your post seems to imply that you view power/control personality issues as being indicative of a strong mind, in which case we'd maybe have different notions of what constitutes senility (and, more generally, positive human traits).

And I have, in fact, had a personal interaction with his wife during which she was bigoted, mean, and passive-aggressive.  To me, it supported a lot of what I was seeing underneath the surface.


December 5th, 2014 at 6:36 PM ^

"who were you before you were Nitro? With 16,000 points, I'm assuming that you switched names at some point."

Now I'm confused -- who is it that's a "conspiracy theorist" here?  I've only ever had one account with one username (Nitro), but feel free to investigate if "getting to the bottom of my online identity" (or, apparently, my identities) matters to you.  Although, I have to say, your personal interest in me does kinda creep me out..


December 5th, 2014 at 3:39 PM ^

Please inform me with actual facts.

Carr could well be respected by most of his former players and peers.  That has nothing with his machinations in the AD.  In fact, he is working his ass off FOR his former coaches. Of course they aren't going to say anything bad about him.

That doesn't mean any of Carr's former assistants are worth more than a bucket of warm spit as elite college football coaches.  But those are the people he wants as coaches for U of M.


December 5th, 2014 at 6:25 PM ^

Statements from associates of someone who is rich, famous, and has a lot of good connections that that person is a good guy should probably be taken with a grain of salt.  They certainly shouldn't be taken as providing any sort of evidence that disproves any of the things that have been put out there -- there's no logical relation.  But that doesn't appear matter here, where combining "someone said he was a good guy"  with name-calling, taking things out of context, and attacking that nonexistent context apparently constitutes a solid argument.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

Rivals is very optimistic, but I wouldn't take that to mean much. They lean strongly to the side of sunshine blowing. They have mastered the art of writing a lot of stuff without actually saying anything. I mean there must have been 20+ coaching updates in the last few weeks with literally nothing of substance said. Balas for example is the same guy who was telling everyone that TJ Leaf was still a serious option when it was well known by everyone that a commitment to another school was imminent.

The main benefit of being a member at TheWolverine is access to some of the posters who have legit inside info. They all seem to be in agreement that Harbaugh is legitimately in play, so I take more from that than anything said by the mods.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

Hackett has swim lanes corresponding to timeframes for UM and the prospective coaches.


Do you think he has a swim lane for the average mgoblogger?


Would "time to ejaculation" be a better analogy?


December 5th, 2014 at 12:51 PM ^

If Harbaugh just can't make it work becaue of timing issues family issues, ex-wife issues those are things I can understand.  Family stuff comes first!

I think Hackett told the players they would not hire someone that wants to do the spread.

Jim Mora of UCLA might actually be a good pick if things don't work out with JH.

Brown Bear

December 5th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

I'll be in San Francisco next week for business and I didn't want it to have to come to this but I'm going to lock this deal up while there. Consider it done, guys.


December 5th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

I really think it's Harbaugh. But man I'm so afraid he's gonna come out on Monday after beating down the Raiders and say he's not interested in the position.

I actually feel that he hated Brandon, and vice versa, and that's why this time might be different. But hold me if it happens.


December 5th, 2014 at 10:34 PM ^

It will take a huge contract to pry JH from the NFL. I don't think Michigan will got that way. You can take Miles and Mullen off the list because they're SEC coaches who do not recruit as pure as the fallen snow! So, what are we left with? Some Hoke 2.0 who will run a very clean program but will only win 6 to 8 games per season. I'm starting to get depressed!

one ring

December 5th, 2014 at 10:55 PM ^

I think there is a broad continuum between the extremes of "Carr is not involved" and "Carr is pulling the strings."

I don't believe either extreme. But I do know that Mike DeBord is very involved, and that Lloyd and Mike are good friends. And I find it very hard to believe that Mike and Lloyd aren't discussing this to one degree or another.

Does that mean Lloyd is "involved"? Define involved. I think he's involved. And that's okay with me.

The comments that he recently made about Harbaugh are telling to me. I think that demonstrates a concerted effort to defuse any resurface of the old Harbaugh comments about M from his Stanford days. Sort of a "it's not a problem for me, so it shouldn't be a problem for you" message (to fans and donors who are still bruised). Otherwise, why would he allow himself to be quoted? He knows how to avoid media exposure. Lloyd does very little unintentionally. It just doesn't add up any other way for me.


December 6th, 2014 at 1:12 AM ^

I think Lloyd's level of involvement is likely telling DeBord and Hackett "I'll call Jim if you think it'll help, and if he says no I think you should give Art Briles a look-see".

Anything beyond that, imo, is the result of people who think college football is Game of Thrones or House of Cards letting their imaginations run away with them