Former WVU Players On Rich Rodriguez, Unvarnished

Submitted by Brian on October 29th, 2010 at 1:06 PM

grant-wileydee-mccann quincy-wilson 
Grant Wiley, Dee McCann, Quincy Wilson

So MGoUser fab5 found a West Virginia blog called Couch Fire Sports that had an interview with former WVU linebacker Grant Wiley—a totally unvarnished interview. The blog's managed to land almost a dozen of these interviews with former athletes and they're… blunt. A section of cornerback Dee McCann's interview:

CFS: Was WVU your first experiance with mass amounts of “white girls”?

DM: Yes it was, and I had fun.

CFS: Is it true you knocked out a younger star recruit at Hardees and sent him straight to Divison 2 ball over a very cute female athlete?


These things have a zero BS rating, and a lot of them talk about Rich Rodriguez. The results follow.

Dee McCann [CB, JUCO, 2004-2005]:

CFS: How were the practices in the NFL compared to thoughs of Rich Fraud? Did he have you practice to many hours also?

DM: The practice hours were about the same but Coach Rods practice was more high tempo but he prepare me for the next level.

CFS: If you could tell Rich Fraud one thing it would be … Hey Coach …


Anthony Mims [CB, 2000-2005]:

CFS: How do you feel about the negative light being shed on WVU by Ex Coach Rich Rodriguez?
AM: I think it’s some BS, but not mainly on Rods part, but the NCAA. Those “violations” can be seen at any other school in the country.

CFS: If you talked to Coach Rod on the phone, you would say … Hey Coach ….
AM: I’d wish him luck on the upcoming season and thank him for everything he’s done for me.

Quincy Wilson [RB, 1999-2004]:

CFS: So is Rich Rod a dick? What are your thoughts?
QW: The whole Coach Rod thing was handled wrong on both ends. I never had a problem with Coach Rod. I think if you want to leave then fine will find a coach that bleeds blue and gold like Coach Stew.


CFS: What are your thoughts on the Super Bowl Shuffle?
QW: one of the classiest songs ever.

Vaughn Rivers [CB, 2003-2007]:

CFS: How do you feel about the negative light that is shed upon WVU with all the Rich Rodriguez drama?
VR: Alot of propaganda you know alot of behind the scenes issues the public really never knew about. Some things that never get brought to light but the loyalty of the West Virginia faithful is incomparable and I can also understand their feelings of betrayal.

CFS: If you talked to Coach Rod on the phone, what would you have to say to him? Hey Coach …
VR: I would tell him as I always have and always do, thank you for the opportunity you gave me and the work ethic you installed in us.

John Pennington [walk-on WR, 2000-2003]:

CFS: How do you feel about the negative light Rich Rodriguez has brought upon WVU with the investigations?
JP: I know Bill Stewart will do a great job handling the situation and I hope we can turn it into a positive.

Finally, Grant Wiley [LB, 2000-2003] wrote paragraphs and paragraphs, too many to replicate here. Here's a chunk:

Couch Fire Sports: First impressions of Rich Rod?
Grant Wiley: … Michigan players, fans, and alumni need to stop crying like a bunch of babies and turn on the 2007 Mountaineers so they can see their future.

I remember coming back to school after the Music City Bowl, on crutches, for our first meeting with Rich. I didn’t research him or read any of the papers so I really had no idea what to expect. I wouldn’t have known that I was Big East Rookie of the Year hadn’t it been for the trophy I was presented with.  So Rich introduced the staff and very adamantly told us we were going to play like our hair was on fire or not play at all. From the start he was re-instilling the discipline I feel we needed at the time. The meeting ended and typically people were overreacting, trying to find their exit strategy, and a lot of guys were just ready to take that next step to win, coming off of destroying another SEC team.

Rich pulls me into his office and breaks me down like this. “Grant, you had a good year, and I think you are a good player. You didn’t really have to work for your position, it was kind of handed to you.” At the time I wanted to tell him to go fuck himself, but I knew what I went through to start as a freshman and the work I put in to be the best linebacker in the country. So I didn’t over react, I just took it as more motivation to prove this guy I was the best. Maybe that is what his objective was to begin with.

Wiley's "one knock" on RR was his lack of "truly  genuine relationships" with the players he didn't recruit. Wiley says he's sure that's changed, but the transition at Michigan suggests it hasn't.

A second question about whether he'd rather play for RR or Bill Stewart has this section:

I loved the fact that Coach Rod’s in your face attitude was being embodied by guys I played with that naturally didn’t have that attitude, so in the end they were better players because of it. I mean the proof is in the pudding. Coach Rod wins games. No matter where he goes, he is going to win games. Coach Stew has been winning games as well. But, I don’t see the same attitude out on the field, offensively, as when Rich was in charge. You can teach technique until your blue in the face but if you don’t have that killer inside come out when you play, you won’t stand a chance.

You should probably read the whole thing; it's more insight into Rich Rodriguez's philosophy and program in a few paragraphs than we've gotten since his hire.

BONUS UNEXPECTED BEILEIN HATE. One basketball player who experienced the John Beilein era was interviewed, Drew Schiflino:

CFS – If you and Coach Beilein had a phone conversation how would it go, Hey Coach ….
DS – Hey coach you’re so fake and the biggest asshole ever, karmas a bitch … CLICK.

That's like… hanging up the phone, right? Not pulling a trigger?

UPDATE: should note that Schiflino was kicked off the team before his senior year.  You could probably find some WVU football guys who did not complete their careers with unkind words for RR, too.



October 29th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

CFS – One thing you would have changed if you could at WVU.
DS – One thing I would’ve changed was WVU never hiring Belyin.

Well, he's not in and likely won't be in the NBA. How's that karma Schiflino?


October 29th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

I must admit I found that Beilein hate piece to be hilarious. 

Of course, it's basketball.  There are 5 starting spots, unlike the 22 (+ special teams) for football.  Kids are going get annoyed with PT a lot more easily than in football.  I assume that is the fire behind this kid's words. 


October 29th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

So it sounds like RR can be a bit tough to deal with initially but he ultimately makes you a better player and prepares you for the NFL.  Sounds fine to me. 

As for the Beilein hate, Beilein is currently employed at another D1 school, took it to its first NCAA tournament game/win in over a decade, and is well-respected amongst his peers.  Drew Schifino is a career Euro/CBA player who last played sparingly for a team in the Czech Republic and who was taken to the mat by for posting racial slurs on his facebook page.  Maybe his definition of karma is different than mine, but it looks like Beilein may have won this one.


October 29th, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

Totally agree.  Mike Martin is also an example of a guy who has seemingly bought into the program and is obviously benefitting.  RR has his failings, but the one thread that has existed since he came to UM is that he doesn't play favorites and expects everyone to compete.  Heck, he started Denard over Tate despite Tate's year of experience because Denard was the better option and put in the work.  That takes guts, and should be commended. 

Webber's Pimp

October 29th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

Wiley's comments at the very end of the article really ring true. RRod does have a killer instinct. You get the feeling he's willing to hang 70 points on opposing teams if given the opportunity. We've had talented offensive units in the past but I always felt Moeller and Lloyd would call off the dogs once the game was in hand (not that I'm complaining mind you - I love Lloyd Carr). Once or twice this complacent approach may have even cost us a game. With RRod you get the feeling he'll push the pedal to the metal at all times. It reminds me of all those prolific Spurrier offensive units over at Florida back in the day. I think it's only a matter of time before RRod starts winning big at Michigan. I just hope our fanbase can rally around him. Our patience will be rewarded...

Wolverine 98284

October 30th, 2010 at 12:45 PM ^

I used the phrase as a substitute for being aggressive, take no prisoners.  Woody was aggressive and this is why he went for two with an unbeatable lead hence his comment when asked why.  He realized the game is not just today, but a season and he even looked years ahead.  Many of his actions were designed to intimidate teams yet to be played.  In the military, we used to call it 'preparing the battlespace'.  He prepared for the next team by pounding the current team - showing no mercy.

But I see the same aggression in all those named.  Win and win as big as you can, putting on the hurt, because the intimidation will carry forward.  Under Bo, teams came into the Big House intimidated, because of what had happened to previous teams.  Reputation is a great thing and should be leveraged!

Les is listed for the "Let 'er rip" statement.  Sure, he has messed up with clock management...and perhaps couple other things, but his teams are aggressive and don't coast.  Like Harbaugh, he goes for blood (metaphorically speaking).


October 31st, 2010 at 9:03 PM ^

As mentioned below, "couldn't go for 3" was a Woody Hayes quote.

Notably, it was his response as to why, up 48-Derp in the 1968 game, he decided to go for 2 on the last touchdown.

They got it, and therefore laid 50 points on Michigan.

The following year, Bo took over, and put 50 on everything -- lockerroom, lockers, tackling dummies, even the scout team. He wasn't going to let his guys forget that Ohio State put 50 on them.

And they didn't. In '69 Michigan beat No. 1 Ohio State 24-12.

The salient question for Michigan fans today: what if Bo hadn't won that game? Would his program still have got off the ground? He had some fantastic teams the following three years.


October 29th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

Thinking about how these observations fit with our RR experience at Michigan:

1.  The Grant Wiley liece about being called into RR's office - want to bet that Mr. Plow received a similar talk, and that rather than meeting the challenge, decided to transfer out?  Possibly the same for Ryan Mallett and a few of the other transfers?  (Again, all speculation)

If so, I don't necessarily have a problem with this, but at the same time, it might be a good idea to size up kids and get a sense of how they will react to such a tactic.  Not all kids react to the same motivation.  Again, in the end, this is only an issue during transition periods or with kids who just can't hack it.  2008 would have been a hell of a lot less painful with Mallett, Plow and a few others to keep the offense decent while we were transitioning between seasons.

2.  Wiley: "You can teach technique until your blue in the face but if you don’t have that killer inside come out when you play, you won’t stand a chance. "  Again, purely speculation, but does this quote imply that Stew does more technique / fundamentals work than RR?  If so, then that might explain some of what we are seeing. 

3.  These players really seem to love RR.  I feel that this year's team, as well (made up almost entirely of RR recruits) also strongly supports him.  To me, while most teams support their coaches, those coaches that lose their team quickly lose their job. 

4.  RR is one intense dude.  While many have decried the departure from the more low key LC error as a departure from the Michigan way.  To those people, I would suggest doing some reading on the Bo years.  Bo was as intense as RR, if not more so.

Just my observations, both positive and potentially critical.

Feat of Clay

October 29th, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

As to #1, that's immediately what I thought, too.  It kind of speaks to RR supposedly not being respectful of the Michigan"family" or whatever that one b.s. quote was from one of the cranky transfers. 

It also sounds like RR isn't going to beg you to stay if you whimper about wanting to leave.  I wonder if some of the petty comments we have heard from the ex-players were spurred by their hurt feelings that RR didn't show sufficient (or, any) regret about their departure.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

Am I the only one who found this sentence incredibly poetic?

"How were NFL practices compared to thoughs of Rich Fraud?"

I wanted to be pissed at the insult, but instead I can only chuckle with glee. ALL YOU'RE COACHES OUR ARES!!


October 29th, 2010 at 2:07 PM ^

What's striking is how positive the interview responses are, despite the angle that CFS was taking when asking the questions. It was like they were trying to orchestrate an RR hate-fest that just never materializes.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

I do business with one of Bo's former players, and he told me before the start of the 2009 season that Rosenberg was really pissed off that he'd lost his status as a reporter with unique, privileged access to the UM HC when RR arrived. LC had special relationships with a small number of reporters, including Rosenberg, but this status disappeared with RR, who played no favorites with the media. Hell hath no fury like a reporter who's lost his special access.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:38 PM ^

it wouldn't be that difficult to track down players Bo ran off his 1969 team during pre-season drills and get a few choice anti-Bo comments. All highly successful head coaches piss players off, and they lose some of them. Of those who stay, there are plenty who still don't like the coach, but they can realize that they're becoming better players and maybe better men in the process.

One of the most common comments about Bo from his former players is that they hated him while they were playing for him and loved him after they left.

One exception I have to imagine is Nick Saban. I bet all of his current players really loathe him, but I can't believe any of them would ever profess any affection for him after they leave. That guy is the coldest fish of a person I've ever seen. If he'd been a career Communist in the Soviet Union, he would have risen to the top of the heap in short order and left a lot of bodies along the way.


October 29th, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

Glad you went through this. I was reading those sites early this morning when the board post went up, and was thinking "Wow!"

It's certainly more direct evidence than we've had yet, but also, not one bit of it surprises me. It was really all one big confirmation of Rich Rod as Bo-like in his demand for and rewarding of hard work over other qualities, as well as his attitude of "if you're not all here, we don't need you" embodied best by the RR unlocked door metaphor.


October 29th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

The fact that so many of Rich Rod's former players at WVU (particular those that were around when he got there and and when he left) continue to praise him is enough evidence that he's not the guy that the media makes him out to be. When Brian Kelly left Cincinnati, his former players there basically called him a liar and said he can go screw himself. Speaks volumes. 


October 29th, 2010 at 3:25 PM ^

Probably my favorite quote from this interview

Couch Fire Sports: First impressions of Rich Rod?
Grant Wiley: … Michigan players, fans, and alumni need to stop crying like a bunch of babies and turn on the 2007 Mountaineers so they can see their future.

My response= I have and I'm excited


October 29th, 2010 at 3:29 PM ^

This says a lot about the players on the current roster or in other words "the ones who are willing to work hard". 12-0 would be great but I like this team more and more everday and I've been yelling Go Blue since birth.

Section 1

October 30th, 2010 at 11:20 AM ^

The way that Rich Rodriguez is supposed to have "brought shame on WVU" was:

A.  He happened to be at Michigan when Michael Rosenberg hatched a story to get the Michigan football program investigated by the NCAA.

B.  He was the subject of a lot of crazy and quickly disproven allegations from West Virginia writers, about shredded documents, missing player files, etc.

C.  He left.

D.  For two years, WVU continued with the staff assignments and quality control procedures started under Coach Rod, and possibly dating back to Don Nehlen, which the NCAA now questions.

E.  None of the above.