Mailbag! Comment Count

Brian August 25th, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Brian - I had two questions:

1) Come opening day, do you think the fans will boo Sheridan if and when he walks onto the field (assuming the game close)?  Also, do you think RR will take this into account in his decision when allocating playing time among the QBs?

The second question is much easier to answer: no, Rodriguez isn't taking the opinion of random fans just asking for an empty water bottle to zing over their heads into account. If he is we have bigger problems than the potential a walk-on starts this year. As far as whether a hypothetical Nick Sheridan start will cause boos to rain down… I don't know. I wish I could dismiss that out of hand but after last year I can't. I don't think it would happen right away, but if Sheridan starts and they go three-and-out a few times Michigan Stadium will be 100% discontent and 30-40% booing vociferously.

However, I still think that's highly unlikely and made more so by the recent burst of Denard Robinson hype that sees folks tagging posts "not denard" when they aren't about Denard.

2) I'm not sure if this has been talked about in the blog at all but is there any concern that RR doesn't have much of a coaching tree underneath him despite being a HC for a decent amount of time?  Meaning, is he just surrounding himself with friends who will remain loyal rather than talented coaches that aspire to move up the coaching ladder and can get the best out of their players.  I say this because of the "fundamentals" issue you had with the Purdue UFR from last year when our corners were opening their hips towards the sidelines and basically giving up 15 yards at a clip when you mentioned that they were "coached" to do this.

-Jim Dudnick

BBA '01

I don't think Rodriguez has had much of an opportunity to grow a coaching tree. He spent seven years at West Virginia but the bulk of that time WVU was not the sort of power program that has its assistants picked off. Even when it was people were understandably waiting to see whether the spread 'n' shred was just a flash in the pan. There were only a couple years in which members of Rodriguez's staff were seriously considered for jobs. At that point Butch Jones did land the Central Michigan job. And I guess Bill Stewart is technically another branch, if one likely to be short-lived.

The circumstances conspired against Rodriguez: his teams ran an exotic base defense headed by a guy who liked West Virginia so much he stayed there when Rodriguez left. Calvin Magee is an offensive coordinator under a head coach who is widely known as an offensive innovator and playcaller. Also, he's only been an offensive coordinator for four years. If he got hired during his tenure at West Virginia whoever picked him up would be taking a huge chance on a guy without much of a track record.

Usually coaching trees sprout up from coaches in the midst of long tenures at power programs; Rodriguez will probably have one at some point. Just not yet.

Hello Brian,

I am FINALLY getting to travel up (yes I live in the horrible state below Michigan) for a game (the Indiana game to be exact) and I am wondering if you could give me any help on where would be my best bet for parking and/or what to expect in general. I have waited over 20 years to make it to a game at the Big House and instead of being completely stoked now I'm busy concerning myself with parking, the trip, etc. Any help you can offer would be extremely appreciated. I've googled it and found out that all the parking lots near the stadium are permit parking only so I'm just trying to figure out where my best option is.

Tim Garven

I'm not the best person to ask because I just go to the same place I always go, but whenever I go on the road I find the best idea is to just suck it up and give someone some money. You'll find that every lawn within a mile of the stadium will allow you to park on it for a nominal fee, and usually this will provide ample tailgating space for your needs. If you're just a small group and don't mind shelling out $40, the golf course is widely regarded as one of the nicest tailgating spaces in the Big Ten.

Head to the stadium an hour before the game to catch the warmups and band; you can bring in bottled water; you are advised to hit the bathroom beforehand.

As for postgame activities: there's not much close to the stadium. If you've got your car somewhere you can leave it your best bet is to walk to main street and head north, whereupon you will strike the restaurant/bar heart of Ann Arbor. Suggestions: Prickly Pear and Middle Kingdom, which are just north of William. If you go to Prickly Pear be advised that though buffalo meat sounds like a good idea, it's not. If you're staying overnight go to Angelo's in the morning and get something with hollandaise on it.



August 25th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

has become a staple for our yearly trip back; the music and showmanship are tremendous. It gives the crowd an opportunity to disperse and traffic to thin, somewhat.

It's wierd; I stayed maybe once as a student; now I never miss the postgame band performance.

matty blue

August 25th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

my future stepson is a senior trombone in the band; i've been to probably 50 or 60 games and i barely even knew there WAS a postgame show until he started. now it's a great way to finish the day. temptation, the war chant, a last 'maize and blue'...the works. highly recommended.

J. Lichty

August 25th, 2009 at 2:32 PM ^

as far as post game activities go - rather than hitting downtown right away - if it is an early game, my favorite post game when it is nice out is Dominicks. Once you get hungry head over to the Brown Jug or Cottage Inn for Pizza. This will give you a more campus experience right after the game and then you can hit downtown later at night.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

It cannot be said enough: it was not Nick Sheridan's fault that he was the best QB on a team beset with transition, dysfunction and turmoil. He did the best he could with what he had under some awful circumstances -- which, last I heard, is the measure of a man. As far as I am concerned he is as near to a hero as the team had last year. He should never have to buy his own drink in A^2 from here to eternity, and anyone who boos him needs a throatpunch.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

Nicely put. The kid fights harder than anyone to be a part of the program. We have 4 and 5 star recruits jumping ship because of tough workouts and potty-mouthed coaches, and this kid endured, earned a scholie, and started a few spots. In my eyes, a True Michigan Man.


August 25th, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

I agree with you that he deserves our respect and even admiration for what he has done. He wasn't our best qb last year though, that was clearly Threet. Of course, the fact that he stuck it out when Threet and Mallett bailed speaks well of him and his attitude, but he also didn't have the opportunities that Mallett and Threet had to get scholorships at other D1 schools. This should not diminish the fact that he is an excellent representative of the University for his hard work and dedication.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

You can bring in UNOPENED bottled water. They'll make you throw away an opened bottle if they see it.

As far as "seeing the band," that's at Revelli Hall:

This is a must-see.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:54 PM ^

I think Brain was talking about pregame: half hour before kickoff. Max, you must be talking about stepshow, hour and a half before kickoff at Revelli. If you really get there early, you can see the band practice anywhere from 5 to 4 hours before kickoff at Elbel Field.


August 25th, 2009 at 4:28 PM ^

show up for stepshow.

Do not show up for morning rehearsal - it will be dull as sand for anyone not formerly in the band or a parent of one in the band. Unless you really want to witness the full decibelic fury of the MMB from close proximity, which I suppose is something everyonse should do once. Go to the concert in Hill for that, anyways.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:54 PM ^

Agreed - "get there early for the band" should begin before you enter the stadium: Visit Revelli Hall about 90 minutes before kickoff to watch the percussion show. Shortly afterward, the band's march to the stadium begins from here as well. When they leave Revelli, head to the stadium to catch their pregame show.

oc michigan fan

August 25th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

This topic was brought up on LA radio recently regarding UCLA, and weather or not Neuheisal/Chow should have played a backup qb to prove to the fans how bad it things really were. The host said that the coaches "owed" it to the fans.

On the serface, I'd say that no coach owes a fan anything. But, last year I really did want to see what Feagan could do.


August 25th, 2009 at 3:43 PM ^

The coaches responsibilities are first to the players. Then to the University, which includes the President, the alumni, the students and faculty. I don't think he owes a fucking thing to the average fan, other than to try his best to win. If you buy a ticket, he should try to win, not prove anything else to a "fan".


August 25th, 2009 at 2:39 PM ^

Re: Coaching tree, Rick Trickett moved up from WVU to Florida State. He is considered one of the best OL coaches in the country, and a lot of people think he'll be an offensive coordinator someday in the not-too-distant future.

It's not the most prolific coaching tree, but there's some room for it to get a lot better.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

While I'll be the first to say Sheridammit was a disaster last year, I will NEVER boo a quarterback in the winged maize and blue helmet. It just goes against my principles.

If Sheridan starts, then it's because the coaches decided he was their best option at the time for whatever reason. I am not the coach. I'll cheer the Wolverines even if Coner starts.


August 25th, 2009 at 4:06 PM ^

Yeah, I thought about that. Probably should have put quotes around the nickname. It was said in the most affectionate of terms, I assure you. And it sure was a cry of frustration that we heard a lot last year, earned or not.

But hey, he may have improved. And even if not, I have no reason to think of him as anything other than an upstanding guy.


August 25th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

Wait a sec, I thought we were all gathering at Mr. Brian Cook's place after every home win for a victory celebration?

I hear there will be a cake.


August 25th, 2009 at 3:27 PM ^

The only time I have ever booed was at the Wisconsin game, and dammit I'm not sorry for booing at that game at half time. I'd never seen anything like it!

I park along AA-Saline. Small grass lot maybe a mile from the stadium 20 dollars and you don't get parked in. Just before a Retirement community and a church. I like it. They usually have spaces if you don't arrive 20 minutes before kickoff.


August 25th, 2009 at 10:42 PM ^

I wasn't booing players OR coaches. I was booing their performance. Everyone in the whole place KNEW they could perform better than that. It seemed that NOBODY was putting everything they had into it that first half.

And given their comeback in the second half, it seems we were right. They COULD perform better.

I will never boo a player if he comes out to play, or a coach if he comes out to coach. But the team as a whole, defense notwithstanding (they were adequate) wasn't performing like they could.

david from wyoming

August 25th, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

In the last year and a half when I was a student I started eating at places that I used to just walk by for no good reason. Every time I passed Afternoon Delight it was closed. I'm sure it didn't help that I was living on north campus, but it was sadly one place that I never got to try out.


August 25th, 2009 at 4:04 PM ^

If you are willing to hike a mile(ish), and you arrive in town reasonably early, you can find parking for FREE on the street of Burns Park if you are east of Packard. West of Packard people tend to want money. IMHO it's actually faster to leave town this way as I typically can walk that route faster than I could drive it after a game.

Don't park at my house though....I have a vicious cat.

Walk west along Granger to the athletic campus, it's impossible to get lost the fans are like a school of salmon swimming upstream.


August 25th, 2009 at 5:02 PM ^

I'll second that. I suppose the golf course fee of $40 would make sense if you had a big group. I'm always blown away, though, at people who would rather pay $10 to $20 (west of Packard) rather than walk a couple of minutes (from east of Packard).

Also, I'm darkly amused by people who believe that I-94 is the only expressway that serves Ann Arbor. The ones who believe that travel down State / Ann Arbor - Saline are mandatory amuse me, too.


August 25th, 2009 at 4:06 PM ^

RichRod is a member of two coaching trees himself, the massive Bo-Woody-Holtz tree via Don Nehlen and the Bobby Bowden tree via Tommy Bowden. But as for his own tree, he has a fairly nice one for a guy his age:

Todd Graham, HC at Tulsa (WVU DC and LB's coach in 2001-2002)

Dean Hood, HC at Eastern Kentucky (Glenville DC in 1990-1993)

Butch Jones, HC at Central Michigan (WVU WR's coach in 2005-2006)

Bill Stewart, HC at WVU (WVU QB's coach in 2001-2007)


August 25th, 2009 at 4:30 PM ^

Pizza House Pizza House Pizza House.

They never run out of seating now that the most recent renovation is done, the pizza is yummy, the beer is cold, and you can sit there till 4 in the morning if your liver can take it.