Exit Brian Cole

Submitted by Seth on January 28th, 2016 at 4:43 PM

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Floating away [photo: Eric Upchurch|MGoBlog]

Ungh.

We had heard persistent rumors all season that Cole was on thin ice after mounting violations of a thing that probably wouldn't have been a thing if it happened just once. Or twice. Insiders last summer thought he was already on the rails but around bowl practices it seemed he'd finally put that behind him. Apparently it happened again after/during the bowl trip, and Cole got the Kelly Baraka boot sometime before last week.

Cole saw a little bit of action early on as a special teamer, and some snaps at slot receiver after Grant Perry had a bad first outing. After that he was either injured (Scout, 247) or deep in the doghouse (Rivals) depending on what service you subscribed to. Then around bowl season it seemed he was in the clear and practicing at safety according to comments by Royce Jenkins-Stone. It seems Rivals (and maybe all of them) got this one right.

Damage: The move to safety made plenty of sense; his elite athleticism was badly needed given Michigan's depth chart after next year reads Tyree Kinnel and whatever they get out of this year's haul. Plan on seeing at least one and probably two of the freshmen on the field as everyone tries out for the post-Dymonte/Hill era. And unless some players emerge there I wouldn't be surprised if the coaches were shopping the grad transfer ranks once they've seen the position shake out next spring.

Scholarship update: Michigan now has 23 scholarships available. With three special teamers/former walk-ons they don't have to count until fall and seven in the 2016 class enrolled and back-dateable they're not going to have any trouble signing all the guys they want on Wednesday. Expected and the usual unexpected losses should make that a whopping 31(!) available spots for new guys before you have to worry if guys are going to be cut.

[UPDATE: Michigan has 24 spots right now with two to four fifth years who might go through spring trying to earn a spot. We expect 2-4 additional departures if Michigan does go to the 30 number that's been tossed around. -BC]

Comments

ChuckieWoodson

January 28th, 2016 at 4:52 PM ^

Insiders last summer thought he was already on the rails but around bowl practices it seemed he'd finally put that behind him.

<Bevis> "Heh.. heh heh heh.. heh.. 'Bowl practice".. heh..heh heh"

Rabbit21

January 28th, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

This is a real shame, I had high hopes for him, but it sounds like he's caught up in something and needs a wake-up call.  Here's hoping for a much more successful second act.

mgeoffriau

January 28th, 2016 at 4:59 PM ^

Just wanted to comment that I appreciate mgoblog waiting to post this stuff. I can imagine that when you get rumors or info from trusted sources it's tempting to post it immediately. I like to think that it's worth waiting to get it right (especially regarding player discipline or dismissals).

King Douche Ornery

January 28th, 2016 at 5:01 PM ^

Is shaping up to be a bad year. New QB (unknown despite great internet practice rumours), running backs that remain unproven, offensive line that might be minus Kalis (despite internet geniuses who think he stinks, he'd be better than anyone who replaces him), and a defense that loses a fair amount of experience and is thin.

Harbaugh is in a place that Rich Rod was--his recruiting classes BETTER be really good. Like, almost ALL his recruits.

Alumnus93

January 28th, 2016 at 6:03 PM ^

I responding TWICE to your completely backwards post.
For Harbaugh is righting the ship... did you watch the bloodletting of the SEC east champion? my gosh, I'd send you to Bolivia if I could, for the depth of your unconscientious of the events of the past season.

Mike420GoBlue

January 29th, 2016 at 12:36 AM ^

Yeah, the same place RR was... A2. Same school, completely different coach. This one believes in playing defense, as well as offense. Strangling defense. Methodical plotting offense. I'm sure it's going to be a horrible year... For the poor boys our Team lines up against.

MGoAndy

January 28th, 2016 at 5:02 PM ^

for smoking pot. I get kicking someone off the team who consistently violates dictates from the coach, but damn... what a stupid reason to lose an exceptional athlete at a position of great need, one who was the #1 instate player from a town MSU recruits really well. Find it very strange he had to be kicked off the team.

CaliUMfan

January 28th, 2016 at 5:07 PM ^

I don't think anyone is suggesting it is the weed he needs a wakeup call for. It's putting something as trivial as smoking weed as a priority above a promising football career and top notch education. You can say he is a teenager and most of us had our priorities backwards at that age and all that but wakeup call is still apt. 

Autocracy Now

January 28th, 2016 at 5:29 PM ^

Sometimes drugs can be a benefit. For example, when my people need an extra pick-me-up to work hard through another day without much to eat, amphetamines are a great resource. And when the state coffers are empty, what do we do? That's right, diplomat-cover international sales of speed. Gets us those dollars fast.

Wake up, college football.

Quailman

January 28th, 2016 at 5:13 PM ^

You answered your own question in your second sentence, " I get kicking someone off the team who consistently violates dictates from the coach" If the Coach said, don't do this or there will be consequences....if you keep doing that, there are consequences.

I understand everyone has their own thoughts about certain substances (if thats what happened here) and its role in Ann Arbor. But the issue isnt whether or not it should or should not be something people can do legally. It's that it is presumably a rule that the staff has to prevent something they see as damaging to the growth of a player and football team. If you keep breaking rules, then its a problem. No matter how good of player you are or where you are from. I believe Bo had a quote that echos that. 

Rabbit21

January 28th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

Depends.

If he's just blazing up, but still doing what needs to be done then it's a matter of whether he's going to be a risk to run afoul of getting McGary'd(it's still against the law in Michigan after all).

However, he could be one of those guys who can't handle it and loses his motivation when he smokes it.  If that's the case then you're talking about harmful second order effects and a wake up call is in order.  Same way it would be if a guy can't handle drinking.

Pot does have negative effects(even if they can be overblown) and those effects(loss of motivation, etc.) can be especially amplified on someone who has a lot of obligations as Cole did. 

Wolfman

January 28th, 2016 at 11:30 PM ^

it appears that is why he did get dismissed from the team; a pattern of consistently violating a dictum from Coach. We need not go further. If Coach Harbaugh, or any member of the coaching staff, for that matter, dictates "There wil be no tolerance extended to any team member who is found guilty of smoking weed. This rule applies to every member of this team, be it a player, staff member or anyone officialy associated with the program. There will be no exceptions to this zero tolerance policy and inasmuch as it is a violoation of state law, I would think, when dealing with a team comprised fully of adults, such a rule should not have to be spelled out. Because knowingly breaching what you know to be a state law reflects badly on the team. Further,all members of the coaching staff have been completely forthright with you in stating that we will take all measures necessary to make you the best football player you can be, and by extension, to assist you in any manner possible to help your progression in becoming the best person you can be. In return for these actions on our part, it is understood you will refrain from taking part in any activity that you understand is not in keeping with the best interests of the team. In matters that you are unsure of, it is understood you will err on the side of caution and will refrain from participating in. Given that you are all adults ,all understanding the difference between what is right and what is wrong,  simply exercising comon sense should ensure that you will not place the team or yourself in jeopardy."

Now it is obvious there is no need to wrtie these things. I  did so just to emphasize there is an unwritten, but thoroughly understood code of conduct that we all understand is an integral part of having the honor of representing  the University of Michigan on the football field. Players know they are truly fortunate to possess the athletic skills to actually be given an honor that less than 1% of the population will ever realize. Every member of the staff is aware of the hard work you put in to maximize your skills to the level to receive a scholarship to play college football. A large percentage of the staff was likewise blessed with these same skills so they are not merely giving lip service to "understanding the amount of work and sacrifices you made to get here." It's as simple as behaving like an adult.

I am a bit shocked, Andy, that you even suggest, due to his high level of skill, filling a position of need and representing a city where our instate rivals enjoys success in recruiting should somehow play a role in the decision by the staff. Believe me, every member of that staff and every member of the team will disagree with you. There is an understanding by all concerned, self interest never trumps the interest of the team. And the interest of this team is to win as many damn games as possible and rightfully so takes exception to anyone who would jeapordize their chances to reach that goal.

No one, be they Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton..............place as many names as you wish and no matter who you list, they do not enjoy an exemption from  accepted practices that have existed since forever and would actually be insulted if you suggested they were. These are grown ass men, all understanding the difference between right and wrong. If that sounds hard it is only because I sense you feel exemptions should be made.

As to Brian, he is a young man, truly blessed with abilities not visited upon many. He is still  very young and given his freshman status, I would imagine he is no older than 19. Given the fact it has been a considerable amount of time since I have seen him on the field, is in itself a reflection of his talent because not many true freshmen are extended that honor, I assumed he was either not demonstrating the improvement expected of him or had gotten himself into trouble with the coaching staff for non-compliance of team rules. The later proved to be the case. Given his age, if he has a chance to regain his status as a member of the football team, I hope that comes to pass. If not, I hope he learns from this experience - Hell, almost all of us have fucked up at some point when we were young - accepts the reality it is unacceptable and does whatever necessary to take the steps to meet his ultimate goal of playing on Sundays.  If it requires professional assistance, I have do doubt UM will assist him in obtaining that help. The one thing they cannot do is make those decisions for him. That is on him and I'm hoping he does the right thing.
 

Am not heartless, Andy. Just realize the giant step this team has taken in just one season. It should only get better from here on out, but it will take steady focus on everyone's part and looking out for your teammate, although they may not like it, is a damn good thing.

schreibee

January 29th, 2016 at 2:04 PM ^

Andy, I'm not responding to your comment until over 15 hours later as I did not read about Cole last night, so have no idea if you'll ever see this.

But while your point of view as a marijuana enthusiast is understood, to get the bigger picture of why someone would need to be removed from the team for repeatedly violating any team rules or dictates, just substitute something you're not as fond of as marijuana smoking in its place.

Maybe it could be underage drinking -  you might not think there's anything wrong with it personally, but the player knows the rules and expectations and repeatedly violates the law and team policy anyway.

Or to broaden the point, let's make it not about substance abuse - what's another thing the team might have perfectly good reasons to forbid players from doing that the student body at large do on the regular? Maybe using social media in a way that could compromise the integrity of the university, the player, or other students...

Or repeated traffic infractions might not get you kicked out of Michigan, but they might get you suspended from the team, or worse if the behavior continues. There's just a whole lot of things you might personally do and find no real problem with that the athletic department has good reason to forbid.

Google Kelly Baraka or Boubacar Cissoko to get an informed idea of what the type of players that simply cannot or will not abide by team rules end up doing with their lives.

 

Imjesayin

January 28th, 2016 at 5:15 PM ^

The rumors are true it seems. I guess where there's smoke, there's fire. I had high hopes after how good I heard he was at the bowl. I hate to stone him, but it seems chronic issues caused him to flame out and get sent packing. Just doesn't make any sense to me. Ahh.

Imjesayin

January 29th, 2016 at 1:30 AM ^

You're right. I was too blunt. But I think that this is indica-
tive of someone who is a little green around the edges. The program dropped him like a brick so he baled. I just hope he can be refer-
red to another school where he sticks and not just get passed around. At this point, it seems dubious though, and he may get burned out at some new joint and then he just leaves.

True Blue Grit

January 28th, 2016 at 5:20 PM ^

not to mention for Brian too.  It'll be interesting to see if he cleans up his act and is successful elsewhere.  But assuming other coaches are tough too about violating basic team rules, he won't be able to run away from his problems.