Being Dave Brandon

Submitted by Brian on 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…

image

…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.)

Comments

Huntington Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

15 practices and the outcome of the bowl game will factor into defining whether or not the program is "making progress" in the right direction.

 

Sometimes people are straight up and its not all conspiracy theories.  If Brandon had already made up his mind, I think he would have pulled the trigger either way but I don't think he has.  And despite what we think, I doubt he's approaching this as a zero sum game of Jim or nothing.  There's a reason why he's a successful CEO and we're on MgoBlog.

PurpleStuff

November 29th, 2010 at 4:48 PM ^

Has anybody else not made up their mind at this point?  I just don't get what determinative value is going to come from that last data point (the bowl game).  The pretend "I haven't really looked at anything yet" attitude from Brandon seems pretty bogus.  I'm sure he knows exactly what is going on in the program and has thoughts/opinions on those details (otherwise he probably isn't as good an AD as we all think he is). 

I also don't see what is gained by waiting.  If he ends up making a change, the players waste 3-4 weeks working with a staff that won't be here and the new coach has less time to recruit.  If he doesn't make a change, then you're still leaving the staff in limbo (hurts recruiting) and giving the perception that institutional support for the staff is shaky (hurts recruiting).  In my opinion none of those losses are offset by the increased knowledge of the bowl result (which will probably go according to predictions depending on who we get matched up with). 

Mitch Cumstein

November 29th, 2010 at 6:03 PM ^

Brandon will be prepared for whatever decision he wants to make.  That being said, what if he is planning on firing RR and they win the bowl game by 60 points and look amazing against a tough opponent.  On the flip side, what if he is planning to extend him and they go out and lose 50-6 in an absolutely embarrassing showing.  I think the result on the field could undermine what he is trying to do more than support it.

caup

November 29th, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

Firing a coach before he can complete his season is messy and negative PR.

Let the current coach finish his season with the bowl game he earned.

And let the new coach finish his season with the bowl game he earned.

Carr announcing his retirement immediately after OSU was a bad situation.

Dave won't let another messy transition happen on his watch.

My only question for Dave would be, if you're convinced RR should stay then why not end the rumors and so say now?  This speculation isn't healthy for RR's program.  So that makes me think RR will be fired and it will be a clean and immediate transition.

I would absolutely advise Brandon to not share his thoughts with anyone except maybe two people: Mary Sue Coleman and the next head coach.

CRex

November 29th, 2010 at 4:26 PM ^

I get that Brandon will not make any public move until after the Bowl and I don't want to beat that dead horse.  However if the consensus is "Gone" wouldn't it be the right thing to let recruits know RR is on his way out?  I'm just thinking that a sudden wave of decommits / reopening of recruiting would be a signal that people are being told things privately.  

Whereas if commits keep coming in, it might be a sign DB is privately telling recruits that RR will stay and the program is stable.  Or I might be reaching.  

Communist Football

November 29th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

The likely explanation is that DB doesn't want a repeat of 2007, when all of the top candidates still had games to play.  He'd rather announce his decision in early January, when Harbaugh's season is done, and be able to make a lightning-quick transition that retains recruits.

If DB is keeping RR, yes the limbo sucks, but he still has several weeks until Signing Day to close the class.

CRex

November 29th, 2010 at 4:46 PM ^

Edit: Although in terms of recruiting, if we are going to take a recruiting hit this is the year to do it. Offensively we lose 2 linemen, defensively we lose Ezeh and Mouton (assuming Martin doesn't go early). Offensive we have replacements ready to go and with playing time. Defensively we have some depth at LB hopefully. Assuming Harbaugh keeps any juniors from bolting early he'd get an intact team to work with.

A coaching change next year is kind of scarier for a change. A lot of our talent at junior level and if they decide they don't like the new guy there could be a mass exodus of starters, forcing some level of a 2008-esque season.

RoxyMtnHiM

November 29th, 2010 at 4:48 PM ^

Well, yeah recruits are going to be told things privately. You can bank on that. Until DB says RR comes back in next season, every coach recruiting against Michigan is going to be saying, "You don't even know if RR is going to be there even by the time you enroll." And once DB says RR is still the guy, then the story goes, "Do you want to go play for a walking dead man? If you go there and don't beat MSU and/or OSU and win at least nine games, he's gone..." One of the drawbacks of bringing RR back is that there is a drag on recruiting from now until at least next October or November, when it will become apparent once and for all which way the wind blows.

But Brian's presumption that this is going to be pretty airtight until something happens sounds about right to me. I don't know how DB would manage it, but it's hard to imagine there being a big lag time between RR's status flipping to "Gone," and gears quickly grinding. Although DB does have 1.5 million reasons to not make up his mind until a day or three after the bowl game.

switch26

November 29th, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

i sad this too in a few other threads..  He could of told Rich, the players and recruits or possible recruits that the program is stable, and told them to keep their mouths shut?  But who knows.  We should find out soon.

 

I think if he waits till after the bowl he is asking for trouble, with our current recruiting class, and lookin to the future with transfers etc. on a team with a lot of promise coming back

jg2112

November 29th, 2010 at 6:14 PM ^

Have a look at this recruiting class. How many do you honestly think would de-commit if JIm Harbaugh, the Michigan "hero" and successful architect of a top 5 BCS school were to come in?

Also, don't forget Harbaugh's ties with the NFL, not only familial but otherwise (Harbaugh's special teams coach is Bill Polian's son. To which I must mention, Harbaugh would be bringing a special teams coach YES PLEASE).

Look at the list of commits. Outside of Dallas Crawford, do you really see any de-commits? And, don't you think guys like DeAnthony Arnett, Tim Jernigan, Anthony Zettel, and Stanford's current commits would be interested in MICH?

WolvinLA2

November 29th, 2010 at 6:36 PM ^

I completely agree.  And even Crawford - Harbaugh coaches good defenses so he might very well want to be a part of it. 

Some of the LB's we were in on, Sammy Watkins, in addition to who you mentioned, might all take a long second look to UM with Harbaugh.  Stanford has 2 big 4 star LBs that I would love for us to pick up, and both are from the Eastern part of the country.

Route66

November 29th, 2010 at 4:28 PM ^

I happen to support RR but I would have supported Miles, Schiano, etc.  The longer we go in limbo the worse it is for everyone.  The fact that we are even in limbo is obsurd.  We have set a precedent now that improvement is not good enough.  I like Harbaugh but what will everyone say when he goes 3-9, 5-7 or 7-5?  Worse yet, he goes 10-2 with RR guys and then four years down the road he goes 5-7.  My brain hurts to even think about what this blog would sound like then. 

"What have you done for me lately" hurts everyone.

DB will do what's best for the program.  Personally I think you give a coach at least four years and think that is what he will do.

M-Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 4:33 PM ^

And "you only know 5% of what I do" work both ways? If we're making modest win progress, but he feels the program is going sideways, isn't he just as justified to make a move as he is if the wins aren't enough but he feels everything is going in the right direction do he stays the course?

Route66

November 29th, 2010 at 4:44 PM ^

I hear ya there, I just threw wins and losses in there for something measurable.  I played college ball and what it made me as a husband and father far outweighed the two rings we won for conference championships.  I really think RR cares about the guys and the fact that the team hasn't quit on him says a lot.  I'm sure DB will be looking at that.  At least I hope he is.

M-Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

But Brandon can. Because what you say is the most important thing. Will Rich'a players come back 20 years from now and say it was the best time of their lives and made them the man they are today? If yes, give him another year.

Michigan4Life

November 29th, 2010 at 5:29 PM ^

helps RR's case IMO.  Harbaugh didn't get his QB until 2009 when Luck was the redshirt freshman.  Luck went through the growing pain as a starting QB and this year, he's considered to be the best QB for '11 draft.  Denard is presumably on the same path.  Growing pains this year and hopefully Heisman trophy candidate next season.  QB's play is one of the bigger reason why a team usually do well in a season.  I'm not saying that Michigan will go 11-1 like Stanford but there's reasons to have hope that Michigan can get 9-10 wins next year.

GoBlueInJersey

November 29th, 2010 at 7:25 PM ^

The talent that Harbaugh inherited was far inferior to what RR started with here (reminder that Stanford was 1-11 in 2006).  Moreover, Harbaugh beat some quality teams in those 3 years (USC 2007 & 2009, Washington 2009, Oregon 2009) and kept it close in others (TCU 2007, Cal 2009, Oklahoma 2009).  In RR's 3rd year, we have been crushed by the big boys in the B10 and barely won against Indiana, Illinois, and UMass.

Harbaugh now has his Cardinal at 11-1; emotions aside, do you see RR coming close to that next year?

Harabaugh's style has been proven to succeed in this conference, but the jury is clearly still out on whether the same can be said of RR.

 

Just my 2 cents...

Ty Butterfield

November 29th, 2010 at 4:30 PM ^

Okay. I have heard from a very reliable source that no official announcement has been made because RR has been given one chance to save his job. He must beat Dave Brandon in a game of Risk. The game has been going on since early Sunday morning. My source tells me that Dave Brandon has most of the board but RR still has a stronghold in the Ukraine. The game is not over and could go on for awhile. More updates if I hear anything else.

CRex

November 29th, 2010 at 5:00 PM ^

Australia is a poor choice for a last stand. If someone has you penned in Australia they likely have Asia and its +7 armies. South America is a better choice where you have a chance of trading some cards in and making a play for Africa for North America. With Oz you're stuck having to slam through some massive army in Siam.

M-Wolverine

November 29th, 2010 at 6:55 PM ^

Which is better than the Ukraine, which can be hit by anybody. So I was going worst case scenarios. Sure the added South American armies and a shot at stealing and holding North America's limited points gives him a fighting chance, but that's no where near worst case. Heck, give him all of Europe and he's in more danger.

Kilgore Trout

November 29th, 2010 at 4:35 PM ^

It's all pretty interesting.  The timing part of it all is very confusing to me, but Brandon seems to have it under control, so we will just see how it turns out.  I have a good friend who worked under Brandon for many years at Dominos, and he's always said that Brandon has his crap together and things will always be decisive and neat, and I'm ok with that.

Whoever said this has turned into a religious or political discussion was right on.  At this point, none of the data points are really in contention, it's just the interpretation.  I've reached my conclusion and so has everyone else.  I don't think there are really too many true fence sitters out there anymore.  I think I'm done commenting on this and am just ready to see what happens. 

Jon06

November 29th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

A lot of people have Brandon's personal umich email address from his days as a Regent, and he indeed responds fairly quickly if you email him comments on the football program there.* I'd assume that (plus tweets at him) was what he was tweeting about.

*I will not give it to you.