Being Dave Brandon Comment Count

Brian November 29th, 2010 at 4:15 PM

From this point on I don't care about the following opinions on what Rich Rodriguez deserves after three years:

  • Mine
  • Yours, unless you are Dave Brandon (call me)

I also don't have anything that's definitive. We know that there is no McMahon-style "you're firrrrrrrred" press conference today, and given the way things work that means Rodriguez will be the coach through the bowl game. We know that the rumors were heavy enough for Dave Brandon to personally debunk them on the twitters. We can read the withering sarcasm between the lines of this from Brandon…


…and if it's not withering sarcasm* I don't want to know.

I've got some stuff in the inbox and from elsewhere. A bit of it says Rodriguez is getting fired, period, citing "impeccable sources." Another from before the OSU game reports second hand that Harbaugh "has an offer" while expressing skepticism at the nature of the information given its timing—what if Michigan had won Saturday? Some other stuff has filtered to me via talkative former players all saying "canned," as well.

The part I trust—the one that called Brandon as the likely new AD and tipped me off about the Alabama game—is far from certain except about one thing: anyone who says anything with certainty is full of it. Brandon keeps his own counsel and makes his own decisions. Since Brandon has a direct line to the obvious head coaching candidate there will be no search committee or consultants tapped or planning, cutting off virtually all of the usual leak sources. It's unlikely anyone has anything until hours before it breaks, at which point it will be everywhere.

I'm not inclined to put much in the widespread chatter that had RR out the door after the OSU game and seems to be continuing since its sourcing seems to be pissed-off-you-guys folk clearly unhappy with the state of the program taking small interactions and interpreting them as they desire. However, the vibe I'm getting from other people who seem to be on the fence about what to do—or at least close to it—also makes it seem unlikely Rodriguez is back. Emphasis on all the qualifying words in the previous sentence, please. I've got nothing solid because no one does.

In the event that happens, Harbaugh is the obvious #1 guy, with the main sticking point being Harbaugh's willingness to accept the imposition of a silly, off-putting buyout in case any NFL teams get ideas. It sounds like if the decision is made to pursue Harbaugh, something will be worked out and he will be introduced essentially immediately. They won't get rid of Rodriguez unless they know they have the next coach lined up.

So… that's what I've got. I'm uncertain about everything. I guess that's good from a program standpoint, but it's frustrating when the next month will see Michigan's future hang in the balance with nothing trustworthy to put a foot on.

*(Not specifically about Desmond, who tweeted a couple things about how he had faith in Brandon to make the decision. More the "Appreciate the passion & interest," random talk-radio raver.)



November 29th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

Switching to a pro-style O despite the fact that our QB is a spread option Heisman candidate and our OL is tiny.  What could possibly go wrong? 

The only way I'm ok with firing Rich Rod is if we go after someone like Malzahn.  Anything else is just tearing things and and starting from scratch when a pretty decent foundation is already in place. 


November 29th, 2010 at 4:35 PM ^

Beside the O-Line is tiny being a myth, Harbaugh runs designed QB draws and other plays to use the mobility that Luck does have (not a lot but he uses it).  I doubt he'd try to force Denard to become some pure pocket passer.  Perhaps a bit more on the pass first, run second school of thought but he's not going to show Denard films of Navarre and go "Be that guy."


November 29th, 2010 at 4:39 PM ^

I also think that if you put 20 pounds on Gardner and coach him up, you get someone resembling Luck.  That's the more accurate comparison, not Vince Young like we all hoped.  Great arm, fast but not a burner, big, good decisions (given good coaching, which we can assume he'd have with Harbaugh).  But I also think Harbaugh is flexible enough to work with Denard while he has him.

STL Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 7:47 PM ^

If i was Denard and Harbaugh is the coach, I would leave and head to a spread program, burn my redshirt and then have two years to perform. His stock is crazy high, he has proven he can be a QB, and there is little chance Harbaugh uses him the same way.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:42 PM ^

I know the whole Cam Newton saga is only going to drag on but who really thinks Gus will leave a potential long term BCS game program?? Many a recruit has shunned what is considered his "lock school" just to be with Gus and his offense. No way he goes to a school rebuilding for the second time in less than 5 years.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:22 PM ^

well that's good.  the turd to end all turds would be to fire RR only to have a vacancy we thought would be filled by Harbaugh but won't be.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

I think the next several days will meet spec for "interesting times."

If this all proceeds as expected, I hope (for the sake of "the program") that Harbaugh and Brandon handle their parts with poise and dignity.  For example, if Harbaugh gets unsatisfactory terms and decides to (say) coach the Bills instead, I hope he has the decency to not mouth off.  I'm less concerned about Brandon.

Ben from SF

November 29th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

NFL coaches have short tenures.  Jimbo and Michigan may end up together once again if, God forbid, we continue to struggle.  The fallout from the "BGS fiasco" has taught Harbaugh a lesson, he won't say anything if the negotiation falls through.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:24 PM ^

Whatever happens, I agree with Desmond in regards to having faith in what Brandon does. Unlike when Dolla Bill was off sailing and Michigan was facing a PR nightmare, this will probably be tidy no matter what. If Rodriguez comes back, he comes back. If he doesn't, then like you said, Harbaugh will be hired the next day. To me, if it comes down to it, Harbaugh is plan A and keeping RR is plan B. No need for a messy coaching search and that awful situation again.

Section 1

November 29th, 2010 at 4:41 PM ^

the timing of events.

Your premise seems to be that Bill Martin, who basically gets an A or an A+ as the Athletic Director who modernized most, but not quite all, of our athletic campus, is a failure because he... failed to nail down Les Miles as our Head Coach.

And even that "failure" only occurred, apparently, because press rumors were driving the timing of events for reasons that are unclear to me.  (Sure, LSU presented Les Miles with a new contract.  And Les Miles had to sign it that day... why?)

And now, we have every yahoo with a press pass all deciding, just cuz they say so, that there has to be a yay-or-nay decision on Rich Rodriguez, like, this week.


November 30th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

his hire of Rodriguez was a major "YOINK!" and a great move.  The noise since that day has been incredible but - at the expense of mistakenly introducing politics into the analogy - it's not unlike the outsized noise that's greeted our current White House resident since move-in day: way out of proportion to actual events and likely based on pre-existing biases.



November 29th, 2010 at 5:15 PM ^

I think most who followed this whole thing closely realize that Les Miles was never close to becoming coach and Martin was never seriously considering him (for a variety of reasons). My point was that Martin let the coaching search unravel into this big clusterfuck. One day Ferentz was the guy, then that was squashed. Then the Miles thing takes a life of its own and Martin is off on a sailboat nowhere to be found while this thing is going out of control. Then another day it looks like Schiano will be hired and so on. My basic point was that this time around, if there were to be a coaching change, it wouldn't be this PR mess that Martin allowed to happen by not having a concrete plan in place to replace Lloyd Carr.

As for a grade, which I'm not even sure what it has to do with this, there's no denying he was a great businessman who did wonders for our facilities. For that, and for putting the AD in the black all these years, all Michigan fans should be grateful. His coaching hires, on the other hand, are a much different story right now.


November 30th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

how much real control did Martin have over rumors and sports media fanning them?  If Brandon has such control over events, why are we even having these conversations?  Why is there so much speculation in the press?  Aren't we perhaps simply witnessing the first phase of a new clusterf&#k?  

Again, in my opinion, the quickest way to solve this issue is to announce Rodriguez is back next year and that DB isn't interviewing any coaching candidates.  It should be obvious by now that we're going to live this speculative limbo for another month at a minimum, that we'd create a mess for UM by firing Rodriguez before the bowl game and that we'd make another mess by trying to hire Harbaugh before Stanford's bowl game. 

So: without definitive word from Brandon until after UM and Stanford finish their bowls (or at least get through their respective half-time pep talks), we're going to have to read Brian's recounting of second-, third-, fourth. etc.-hand for-sure-this-time insider rumorz for the next five weeks.  And, of course, read and hear worse from other blogs, sports media and mothers(and fathers/uncles/sisters/brothers/janitors)-who-don't-think-Rodriguez-is-a-Michigan-Man.



November 29th, 2010 at 4:25 PM ^

If you're keeping Rich, give him the vote of confidence and let him recruit. If he's out, get someone as a known so he can recruit. The only reasons for delay are A. Buyout, which means Dave is thinking dollars over program success B. Negotiations are ongoing, and he's CYA keeping Rich if the negotiations fall apart. And it's a clean break if things go through.
<br>I believe only Brandon knows...but his actions over the next week will probably tell us a lot about what he's thinking. Get it right Dave, whatever you choose.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

Reaching but my fiancee pointed out that this whole "after the Bowl thing" might be to let RR resign. Right now RR could be out interviewing or calling around to programs with openings/projected openings (Miami, Colorado, etc). Then he announces "Look this isn't working out" and resigns. A few days later Harbaugh is announced.

So the official line wouldn't be that RR was fired, after all DB hadn't made up his mind so he couldn't have fired RR. RR quits with some of his pride intact and moves on with life. We have a deal set up with Harbaugh and after a few days go public with it.

This seems awkward, but on the other hand of RR is the one quitting it puts to rest all the "you get 4 years" arguments and the like.

It just seems really weird we wouldn't have RR's status clear one way or the other when in home recruiting visits begin.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:50 PM ^

It wouldn't surprise me if RR asks for or demands a vote of confindence from Brandon in the next week or two.  At that point if DB is not "all in" for a 4th year they may start negotiating to release RR from his contract.  RR would have to press the issue though.  If I were him (RR) I would press the issue as it would be more difficult to get a head coaching job for 2011 after the bowl season.


November 29th, 2010 at 4:52 PM ^

I had a similar thought - that if I were RR, I might be tempted to say "the hell with this" and resign for one of the many open coaching jobs. 

Is there a chance that RR's agent has feelers out to Miami?  Hell, RR already recruits like crazy out of Florida - at the U, he would be a monster.  Not hoping for this, but if I were in his shoes, and I knew that my job was far from secure, why not look for a new home?

As for the $$, yes, if RR resigns, he leaves $2.5 on the table.  Maybe.  Is there a chance that Brandon would try to negotiate that number down because of the NCAA violations?  Legally, Brandon might have a good argument to terminate RR and avoid the buyout because of those violations.  Under such a situation, if RR wants to jump ship, it is entirely possible that RR and Brandon sit down like business people and work out a confidential settlement to the buy-out - maybe around $1.5.  Under this situation, RR would be leaving only $1 on the table, which after taxes and agent fees is under $500,000.  A lot to most of us, but a drop in the bucket if Miami were to pay RR $4 Million a year. 

The problem with all of our speculation is that it is just that - speculation.  There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that we will never know what really transpires.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Here is the one thing that may keep RR from resigning or forcing the issue.  Money.  Yes he makes $2.5M a year, but I doubt he can afford a buyout.  He already owes WVU $2.5M and he is probably on the hook for millions more due to his failed real estate ventures.  He may force the issue, but he can't just up and leave at this point.


November 30th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

under this proposed scenario, why would Miami back up the brinks truck for a coach leaving UM with his tail between his legs?  They are going to almost double his salary after what he has done to date?  Come on man.  If he goes elsewhere, it will be for similar money or less. 


November 29th, 2010 at 4:56 PM ^

I see this scenario as more of the one where DB tells RR to clean house on the defensive side of the ball and RR refuses to fire Gibson and Tall. In terms of a future career it looks better for RR to secure a job that will welcome him and his assistants then resign rather than forcing the pimp hand to slap him. RR leaves some money on the table, but he's young as far as HCs go and may consider not having "Fired by Michigan" on his resume a fair trade to avoid the buyout. Assuming he lands a job at mid tier BCS school he'll be making 1 million or more a year so he won't exactly be hurting for cash.

SD Go Blue

November 29th, 2010 at 5:18 PM ^

Disclaimer:  This comment is not saying I think RR should leave or be shown the door.



That being said.  I think it would be AWESOME if RR were to go to Colorado.  He would then get to coach Toney Clemons in his senior season. 


November 29th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

Unfortunately I think it means B - negotiations with future coach are ongoing. Don't forget Michigan was unwilling to wait a month to hire Les Miles after the nat'l title game 3 years ago. I think a head coach deserves at least 4 years (citation: Ty Willingham) but David Brandon's comments sure do make it look murky.


November 29th, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

Dave Brandon publicly stated many times that the infractions were minor and not worthy of firing RR.  I haven't reviewed the contract, but looking at this from a litigation perspective this probably neuters the University's eventual argument that the violations constitute for-cause grounds for his termination and relieves them of their buy-out obligation.