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…


…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 5:17 PM ^

What happens to Denard if Rodriguez is fired??  I need to know now.  He's my favorite Michigan player in years and I will hate to see him not behind center in a Harbaugh offense.  So much so that I might even suggest that he transfer to another spread offense so he can play QB (insult to injury).  Rodriguez gave him a chance at QB and stuck with him, turning him into a yard-eating monster.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

He's been my favorite Wolverine since, well, since Woodson.  I can only assume that he'll be asked to play another position if the pro-style offense comes back (yuck).  If so, that will be a shame and I would almost want to see Denard transfer so he can continue to play the position he came to Michigan to play.  I hate feeling that way.


November 30th, 2010 at 9:43 AM ^

A counter argument is that another coach might actually do Denard a favor and move him to a position that he actually has some chance of playing in the NFL (e.g. not QB).

Pat White was an electrifying read-option QB in college and completely flamed out in the NFL because he had not been adequately prepared to play a position at which he might have been successful at the next level.

If Denard made the switch to WR, CB or FS (positions which I think he MIGHT be able to play in the NFL) right now, he would have two years to develop his skills and compile a film reel that NFL scouts could look at rather than just trying to project whether he might be successful. This could potentially (if he is able to play well at any of the positons I listed) result in him being drafted much higher (at all?) and getting a lot more money.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

Well, suspicious minds might suggest that, if Rich Rodriguez is not retained as the head football coach at UM that, in all likelihood, he will be brought on as the head man somewhere else in fairly short order. In the Universe where the gods hate Michigan football, Denard would follow Rich Rodriguez wherever he goes, sit out a year with two years of eligibility remaining, and win a Heisman Trophy while guiding that program to 1-2 BCS appearances. That said, here's hoping that fiction does not become reality. Sigh...


November 29th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

From all of his words and actions, it's very apparent that Denard loves Michigan and his teammates.  He's very much a team player.  I think that he'll ride out his career at Michigan regardless of future events.  He's tasted the Ohio State experience and he'll want to be there when Michigan beats the Buckeyes (trust me, it'll happen again).

Jim Harbaugh (or another coach) will be able to utilize Denard's talents.  Maybe the coach will alter his offense to accommodate his QB's skills (imagine that).  Maybe the coach will run an occasional Wildcat formation.  All we know if that any coach would be crazy to not get the ball in Denard's hands.

Michigan has had three Heisman Trophy winning players and none of them were QB's.  The same thing could happen again.  I'm just saying.......


November 29th, 2010 at 8:31 PM ^

Maybe, but I could just as easily see him following RRod.  I don't doubt Harbaugh or other could innovate for him, but RRod was the guy who gave him the chance to play D1 QB and I doubt many other programs could use him better.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:33 PM ^

success at the other U?  His recruiting inroads are in Florida.  The weather is almost always nice, which is very condusive to spread'n'shred.  The ACC doesn't have the same size as the Big Ten, which is also helps his offense.  Plus, it seems that at Miami there would not be the same resistance to the cultural changes that RichRod brought about. 

Not saying that this would happen, but it seems that Rich Rod would enjoy a lot more success in the ACC than he does here at Michigan. 


November 29th, 2010 at 9:43 PM ^

no chance in hell Denard leaves UM. NEVER.  he bleeds Blue.  ive seen a lot of players come and go.  he is the face of UM footaball for the next 2 years no matter what coach we have.  he know hes not an nfl Qb.  he will be on the field. thats all he cares about. hes as humble as it gets.


November 30th, 2010 at 9:24 AM ^

I'm not saying you're wrong because a lot changes in two years from high school to college, but Denard did turn down an offer as a corner, he's a quarterback and will do whatever he can to play QB. Whether he leaves or not is impossible to say, but I'd bet the house that it's QB or bust for Denard.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:28 PM ^

My understanding, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is that part of what people did not like about Coach Rodriguez's departure from West Virginia is that he "bailed" on his team when they were off to a BCS bowl in one of the best seasons in the school's history.

So, were Michigan to pursue, in the next month, the coach whom many of the people that would like to see a change at the top would like to see coaching Michigan, would he not be leaving a school that is likely playing in a BCS bowl (though not the one they would want due to strange circumstance.)

Would the difference be that the one left his alma mater for Michigan while the other would be leaving another school for his alma mater?

I understand that there are a multitude of other factors in play, but doesn't it seem strange that one of the things that got Coach Rodriguez off on the wrong foot with much of the local media and Michigan fanbase would be completely acceptable to many of said same people in this case?


November 29th, 2010 at 8:29 PM ^

I don't think a lot of people in this state were mad that he bailed.  Does anybody really think he would have abandoned his alma mater in a BCS conference if he thought he could build the program he wanted there?  On a side note, the WV ever fire that AD that screwed there state's beloved BBall and Football programs by running of two great coaches?


November 29th, 2010 at 5:30 PM ^

If you get confused, listen to the music play

Ok, this clip isnt from that song/lyric, but the refrain in this song reminds me a lot of what Dave Brandon is trying to tell everyone. "Leave me alone, to I find my own way home."

Regardless, the music helps. Its not useless din or chatter, which is all this debate seems to offer. Enjoy the tune. Go Blue. Beat Missou/Tamu/random Big 12 fodder in the Insight Bowl


November 29th, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

I'm just not sold on Harbaugh. The Pac-10 is very weak this year. Maybe if Stanford pastes whoever in the bowl I will believe. However, is Stanford really all that different than UM right now? One man band offense, Luck vs Denard. Better defense but again the Pac-10 sucks, they got pasted by Oregon, otherwise who have they really played?

I think the things that are going to kill Rich Rod (besides the D):  the lack of a kicker/special teams, turnovers in the redzone and not being prepared/hyped for the start of big games.

Either the above or RichRod has  pushed to rush the offense to get quick results while overlooking fundamentals because of the pressure. I just don't remember WVU being this disorganized etc.


November 29th, 2010 at 7:26 PM ^

Well here are the standing of both conferences

Pac-10                                               BIG TEN

*Oregon                       11-0             Wisconsin                11-1

Stanford                       11-1             Ohio State                11-1

*Arizona                        7-4              Michigan State         11-1

USC                              7-5               Iowa                           7-5

*Oregon State             5-6               Penn State               7-5

*Washington               5-6               Michigan                   7-5

*Arizona State             5-6               Northwestern           7-5

California                     5-7               *Illinois                     6-5

*UCLA                          4-7               Indiana                     5-7

*Washington State    2-9               Purdue                      4-8

                                                           Minnesota                3-9

(*) denotes team with 1 game remaining in regular season.

Bases solely on this information (because that's all the time I'm willing to put into this argument) it looks like the Big Ten is do better this year. And even though the Pac-10 has more regular season games left, they're all in conference, so while one team gets better another gets worst.


November 29th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

Ok but thats not a valid argument because its a case that can't be proven. What if Penn State takes Alabama off (a game they lost) and Purdue takes ND off (a game they lost). Now you've just added a win to the conference. There are way to many "what if's" with that argument. Im not saying records are concrete evidence for who is better, however between following/watching the Big Ten, living in Califorina and having to watch alot of Pac-10 (because thats whats on), and using records, I would say that the Big Ten has a slightly better conference from top to bottom.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:27 PM ^

That depends on your source.

Sagarin - 8. Massey 3.

Colley - 56. Anderson - 48.

Mixed bag. I'm sorry but they have played Oregon, Arizona and ??????? The Pac-10 has only 3 bowl eligible teams right now. Top heavy.

Harbaugh also has Luck. Now credit to him for developing a great QB, but I live in Houston (1 mile from his HS stadium saw him play) and this kid would be a superstar anywhere. He also had a Heisman RB last year. Take away Toby and Luck and what would Harbaugh have done?

He has done a good job but JH supporters need to be as scrutinizing with him as they are of RichRod.


November 29th, 2010 at 8:28 PM ^

I'm sorry but that's a weak argument. You take away any coach's best players and of course he's going to fail.

Part of the job of a coach is to harness these great talents and unleash them for their benefit and win games.


November 29th, 2010 at 9:39 PM ^

stanford has basically NEVER been a player in the wac 10.  harbaugh inherited a 1-10 team with higher academic standards then UM.  JH knows what the fuk hes doin on the recruiting trail.  the lifeblood of a consistant team year in and out.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:31 PM ^

... how many fuckers claim to have some magical "source" that "knows" something about RR.  So many of the people that I know (note: not friends) have been pulling this crap on me.

I'm sick of it.  Brandon has it under control.  Creating some rumor won't make something true, especially when Brandon is as smart as he is.

Looking forward to seeing RR back next year, and in the ensuing years.

2011: UM has at least 9 wins.

2012: UM destroys Nick Satan in Te-Hass and plays for a National Championship.

Captain Scumbag

November 29th, 2010 at 5:43 PM ^

The real issue with Harbaugh comes down to his ultimate ambitions. Is Michigan a destination job for him or does he have designs on the NFL?

By my understanding, some NFL teams (namely the 49ers) will be considering Harbaugh this offseason. If his goals are indeed the NFL, he will probably have the opportunity to go there as soon as January 2011.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:48 PM ^

1.  Let’s see what RR and GERG do with the extra bowl practices and see how their offense and defense performs in the bowl game;

2.  Let’s see what RR wants to do with GERG/defense after the bowl game;

3.  UM hasn’t gone to a bowl game in 2 years, a potential RR firing now would either stymie UM from going to its bowl game or would prevent UM from legitimately competing in its game;

4.  See which coaches are available after the bowls;

5.  Allegedly a buy-out reduction after Jan 1st;

6.  Making an immediate statement that RR is here another year could be a mistake.  What if UM gets blanked 60-0 in its bowl game? 

7.  What would firing RR now do to bowl performance, current team morale, recruits, coach search?

8.  Not making a statement either way makes RR (and GERG) fight for their jobs and worth. 

I am OK with waiting until after the bowl game.  The endorphin rush of hitting the refresh button every few minutes and getting/receiving txt/skype/facebook messages should not be why we need to immediately know whether or not we keep the head coach of Michigan football. [excuse me while I refresh the browser to see if there is any new information]

Still in AA

November 29th, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

Or, because speculating is fun, what if the coach Brandon still needs to evaluate is GERG?  See what kind of progress he can make with the young kids before the bowl game and go from there.  If Brandon came out and said RR is his guy right now, the very next question would be about the defensive coordinator.  Maybe he is just not ready to make that call yet.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:50 PM ^

I don't get why people are so concerned about recruiting problems in waiting until after the bowl.  It might have some effect, but I don't think it will be that big of a deal.

The assumption that if RR gets fired and JH hired on Jan. 2 then the recruiting class blows up doesn't seem realistic to me.  RR is a good recruiter but so is JH.  Some that are interested in Michigan now will be less interested if RR is gone, but others will be more interested if JH is in.  We'd probably lose a commit or two but we'd also get some of Stanford's current commits.  This is not going to affect the program drastically either way.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:04 PM ^

I agree.  Looking at our recruiting class, I don't know who I think would bail if JH was hired.  Sousa, probably, but that's about it.  Would Dallas Crawford bail?  I don't see why, but I bet at least one CB would want to play for the new M if he left.  Would Dee Hart bail?  Maybe, but he'd likely be enrolled by January so it would be hard for him to do that.  Also, he seems to really love UM, and wants to be with Ricardo.  Remember, his other major choice was Alabama who runs a pro-style offense.  There aren't many "RR Offense-specific" recruits in this class.

The in-state players would likely love to play for Harbaugh, maybe even prefer it.  It would probably help with Zettel, I bet. 

I would argue that going to Harbaugh would help recruiting, it would bring interest from new parties at the end of the cycle, and kids who were sold on M with RR would likely be sold on M with JH too. 


November 29th, 2010 at 6:06 PM ^

being an excellent recruiter. Many of the problems on the field go directly to the players he recruited. Small and fast but not fast enough to cope with bigger players with similar speed. That is why there are so many injuries on the team.

Regarding whether RR is retained, I believe a good indication is the Brandon has not endorsed him and the past season was not successful according to Michigan standards. Also, when RR was asked about his job in the post game presser, he clearly appeared to be a coach who knows he will be let go.

The bowl game result will have little to do with the decision. I believe Brandon knows what he is going to do which is to fire RR. He is waiting until after the bowl game to do this because the entire staff will be let go saving considerable money with the January termination. In the meantime, he is lining up a possible replacement.

Brandon is business first and that would be the best business decision.


November 29th, 2010 at 6:34 PM ^

Sometimes you're in no hurry to make a decision simply because doing so eliminates an opportunity to let the situation resolve itself. What if Rich Rod is a candidate at Miami, Clemson, etc., and gets one of those jobs? Problem solved. If Brandon fires the coach, in the end, the result is the same, but he has to pay seven figures for the privilege.

"Pimp hand", indeed.


November 29th, 2010 at 7:22 PM ^

I think offensively he's a solid recruiter.  A lot of his recruits on offense are already playing key roles:  Denard, Lewan, Omameh, Roundtree, Smith.  Others have come in and made good contributions:  Khoury, Hopkins. All appear to have bright futures.

Defensively is where I question his recruiting.  There aren't to many impact players so far on the defensive side of the ball.  Roh is probably it and with how it appears he was misused for most the year I'm not sure you can say he had a huge impact this year.  Demens looks like he could have a bright future, but we were thinking the same thing about Mouton and possibly Ezeh two years ago at this time.


November 29th, 2010 at 5:54 PM ^

If it is JH, just winning a BCS or upper level bowl will go a long way towards keeping/bringing the recruit class together.


EDIT: sounds like we have an echo, beaten by one post.

Ed Shuttlesworth

November 29th, 2010 at 6:11 PM ^

If Brandon was going to do his normal "one of 27 sports" review, he should be saying nothing remotely substantive.  I can see sticking with corporate speak on the timetable.  I can't see sticking with corporate speak on the timetable AND saying you're unhappy with the season.

The timetable approach works only with pure neutrality.