The New Phonebooks Will Save Us

Submitted by Brian on April 19th, 2011 at 12:31 PM


If this was an editorial cartoon, Steve Martin would have "Michigan" written all over him and the phonebooks would say "alumni." Also it would be terrible.

You know, my immediate reaction to this headline…

Former receiver Braylon Edwards impressed by one Michigan coach, down on another following busy Friday

…was "great, more people talking crap about Rodriguez." Turns out Edwards was just talking crap about Mike Hart. Well played, Bigelow. It's good to know that we've stopped taking hardly veiled shots at Rodriguez and are ready to move on

“Just more about the tradition,” Edwards said of Hoke’s message. “And he appreciates the alums, and he definitely wants to get us involved and do everything we can to educate the players who play there now.

“Because it’s sad to say, a lot of them don’t know the tradition at Michigan. Back in the day, players knew the former players. They knew the countdowns, the titles, Hail to the Victors. I’m sure if you ask some of the kids on the team now, I guarantee there’s a couple of kids that don’t know all of the words in full.”

Son of a bitch. People are talking crap about Rodriguez not respecting Michigan's tradition at the alumni flag football game he started. In related news, this year's Tunnel Of Victors will feature a special version of the MGoBlue banner that says "F.U. RICHROD."

Meanwhile… Braylon Edwards. He should probably stop talking and doing things. When you punch some dude or say your DUI for blowing twice the legal limit was because of tinted windows or that Cleveland "has nothing" while you have a "New York-type essence" or that your teammates quit and the starting quarterback should be different and your OC is bad or that people on the football team don't know the fight song, that doesn't reflect well on yourself or "Lloyd Carr's" University of Michigan. It's one thing to take swipes at current players who might not be great at football collectively. It's another when they're awesome dudes and you're someone people euphemistically dub "controversial" or "outspoken." Because bitching about Charlie Frye makes you Malcolm X.

Mike Hart also said some things about how Rodriguez didn't value the tradition but prefaced that with a statement about how he always felt welcome back; Breaston dismissed the "he wasn't accepted" bit and focuses on winning games; meanwhile, Ron Bellamy:

“We are ecstatic,” Bellamy said. “We know it’s a process. You can’t build up the program in a year or two. You have to give him a chance to bring his guys in the right way and play football in this conference the way it is supposed to be played.”

Edwards before last year:

"He has to make it work," Edwards said. "If he can't -- me being one of the alumni guys -- I want someone that can make it work. We've been patient. If it doesn't go right this year, we'll have to find a guy that can make it work with that winged helmet."


Since Michigan's tradition quickly became "screw you, Rich Rodriguez," I can't imagine why there was a disconnect there.

Who cares? We just watched a bunch of guys who essentially never beat OSU and/or quit en masse once they didn't like the head coach blame Rodriguez for the program's decline. Yeah, it declined. Yeah, Rodriguez had a lot to do with it. So did they. Jim Brandstatter of all people:

"He had a lot of strikes against him when he walked in the door and that was sad," Brandstatter said.

Whatever Rodriguez's failings were they were amplified by a culture that immediately rejected him. There was a rebellion the seniors on this year's team are pointing to as a Bad Idea. Someone sold him out to the Free Press. He was treated like garbage at alumni outings.

Meanwhile, the complainers were the reason Michigan had to go outside the family. The Great Tradition of Michigan had recently devolved into a 1-6 record against OSU and The Horror. The Great Tradition had produced zero plausible head coaching candidates to continue it. The Tradition is blaming it all on a scapegoat instead of manning up and looking in the mirror. They are collectively Edwards blaming his 0.16 BAC on tinted windows.

That's not a good way to run anything. Without a serious analysis of what you did wrong other than "hire that outsider," with how your culture is messed up, you become Notre Dame. Some guys were willing to be active with the program over the last few years and plenty more didn't sell it out publicly; the decision not to speaks to the player, not Rodriguez. stonum-doom

Carr's former players aren't the program. A subset of them think it's about them, but it's about Denard and Molk and Martin and Kovacs, the ones who stayed and worked hard and were emphatically not champions thanks in some small part to people like Edwards. Van Bergen:

"You know, it's just kind of unsettling that there's … it's great that they're back, but it's kind of, where have they been the last two or three years?" Van Bergen said. "We've still been wearing the same helmets since they were here."

Despite what they think, the alumni are just fans now. It's hard to imagine a big chunk weren't the loathsome sort glorying in a season-ending blowout.

So you'll have to excuse the rest of us who stood in those stands during the Fandom Endurance III game and are terribly sad about how the last three years worked out: we've got a phonebook to care about instead of Braylon Edwards's glorious return to the program.

[ROTE DISCLAIMER THAT WILL BE IGNORED: This is not a defense of Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez should have been fired. It is not a criticism of Brady Hoke. I wrote a big long post about how Hoke's three non-MAC coordinator hires constitute a real reason for optimism. Early indications are this staff is taking advantage of the opportunities placed before them in this year's recruiting class, and with what's going on at OSU the hypothetical ceiling on the program could blow off.

I look forward to this being interpreted as an attack on Hoke in the comments. Bring it, reading comprehension failures of America.]


Everyone Murders

April 19th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

It seems to me that a lot (not all) of the blame falls on Carr for giving Rodriguez the 0 degree Kelvin shoulder throughout Rodriguez's tenure.  Sure, RichRod could have done a better job, allowed his DCs to choose their own assistants, kowtowed to the alumni more, and recruited defense.  But it wasn't like he purposely injured Michigan.

Lloyd Carr (who I supported throughout his tenure) seemingly purposely undermined Rodriguez, offering him precious little support while continuing to draw a paycheck.  In doing so, he lost a lot of my respect.  It appears that many of Carr's players were following his lead (similar to the divorced parent who subtly undermines the other divorced parent, and the kids pick up on it).

BTW, this is the rare post anywhere that I agree with almost 100% (and the "almost" doesn't account for jack shit).  Including Brian's disclaimer.

And while it seems like we're beating a dead horse here, folks like Braylon and (God bless him) Mike Hart keep bringing the issue to the foreground.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

Yeah, and Carr is at it again in his underhanded attempts to ruin Michigan football. I mean, I haven't once seen him talking to reporters about how much he loves Hoke. I know he always welcomed a chance to talk to the media about his feelings. So how come I haven't seen him on TV going on about how much he supports Hoke's staff, and sharing his feelings in general?

Obvious: Carr wants to bring the program down.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

And Hoke never ever mentions Carr unless it is brought up by the media. When that happens, he says something moderately respectful and then quickly moves on and talks about how he talks more with Moeller and Hanlon.

Connect the dots, man. It's not even that conspiratorial. Carr's players treated RR like crap. Carr didn't support RR in the Freep scandal. Personal friends of Carr's like Jeff DeFran and Michael Rosenberg (yes, they really are his friends) made it their professional mission to run RR out of town.

Carr's legacy is spoiled for me and many others.


April 19th, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^


If you think Brady is keeping Lloyd at arm's length, you're ill-informed, crazy, or both. If there's any lack of playing up Lloyd, it just because of whack-a-doodles who would start screaming "conspiracy!", and not giving them any fodder. Lloyd doesn't like talking to the media, and doesn't want to overshadow whoever is in the job. It was true with Rich, it is true with Brady. Is Lloyd probably proud one of his guys took over? Sure. But the fact that he hasn't done the hour long 20/20 interview everyone seems to have wanted him to do for Rich for Hoke either just shows he's being consistent.

Everyone Murders

April 19th, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

Cutting through your sarcasm you seem to be saying "Lloyd hated the media, so how can you read any ill-will into him acting consistently with prior practice?"  Problem is that you're setting up a straw man, and then beating the crap outta him.   

To clarify, I never limited my "lack of support" criticism of Carr to his relations with the media.  Lloyd could have interceded on RichRod's behalf on several fronts.  With alumni, former players, and others (including the media).  Instead, he drew a salary from the Athletic Dept. without doing any of these things. And it gives the appearance of him putting his disdain for RichRod and crew ahead of his love for Michigan.

Let me put it another way.  If you're in a position of power and step down, you have a choice.  You can work hard to make your successor succeed (like Bo did), or you can sit back and do nothing.  Carr appeared to have chosen the latter.  And many of "his" players seemed to follow his lead. 

I still admire many things about Carr.  I think he ran a clean program, won a lot of games, and supports many worthy causes (esp. Mott).  But he sure didn't seem to support RichRod.


April 19th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

That's one of many possible scenarios that wouldn't totally surprise me, since Lloyd could be appallingly small-minded at times (Todd Harris halftime interview, anyone?).

Still, I think that's low-probability at best.

How 'bout this one?  Clumsy RichRod arrives, gets a good look at the "returning talent," and mouths off about it within earshot of a few incumbents (and friends of Lloyd).  Word gets to Lloyd.  Lloyd very unhappy.

Could've happened ...

Everyone Murders

April 19th, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

You're right that we don't know all the ins and outs of this.  That's why I'm trying to use a lot of "seems" and "gives the appearances".  My comment is admittedly reasoned conjecture based on circumstantial evidence (and a pinch of hearsay).  It's not meant as a statement of absolute fact.

And you're right also that RichRod's actions early on may have slighted Carr in a way serious or trivial.  Or maybe in Carr's mind the administration pissed in his Cheerios by not choosing a Carr-recommended guy.

But in any of those scenarios, you still have Carr putting his personal animus against RichRod ahead of his loyalty to Michigan.   

Wine Country W…

April 19th, 2011 at 1:10 PM ^

. . . all of Michigania is divided into three parts:

Those who complain about Rodriguez.

Those who complain about those who complain about Rodriguez.

Those who complain about all the complaining.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

the defense was terrible.  Focusing on that misses the point.  The point is people such as Braylon Edwards tout themselves as "Michigan Men" when they continue to show by their words and conduct what little men they really are. 

Braylon had me jumping literally for joy when he brought us back from the hell that would have been losing to Sparty at home in 2004(?).  However he's been a complete douchebag pretty much ever since.

Thanks to Brian for not only exposing the hypocrisy that B. Edwards and fans with a similar attitude continue to practice, but also thanks for showing what true "Michigan Men" RVB and most/all of the players (is Denard a "Michigan Man" but the man who brought him to Michigan not? they both qualify despite the Braylon Edwards of the world trying to state otherwise) on the current team really are.

I didn't agree with the Hoke hire and I'm still uncertain that he can succeed, but I fully support him, his staff and his team.  I'm pretty sure those known as "defenders of RR" support them too. 

We'll see how the RR detractors act if Michigan fails under Hoke.  They'll likely turn on him and probably cry for Harbaugh's arrival again.  You know, b/c to them being a "Michigan Man" means nothing more than being a winner on the field. 


April 19th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Braylon Edwards is a scum bag. I wish he was a Sparty. He is an embarrasment to our school. 


That being said, the article was typical Brian Cook turning a blind eye to RR's failings. He was a BAD coach. We all fell for the act. 

He sucked ass. That is why he was fired. 


April 19th, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

it reminds me of some dude who gets his girlfriend's name tattooed on his bicep, gets dumped by said girlfriend, and then calls her a bitch at every opportunity to overcompensate for his ignorance for getting the tattoo in the first place.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

He had plenty of support.  The bottom line is you have to win more than 15 games in three years.  It didn't help that he was a 0-6 vs the two biggest rivals.  I gaurantee you that Hoke will get the same treatment if he has a similar record.  I wouldn't feel bad for Rodriguez.  He was well paid for his services at Michigan.  The athletic department paid a large portion of the money he owed to WVU and still gave him his 2.5 million buyout even though he broke NCAA rules.  It just didn't work out and it's time for both sides to move on. 


April 19th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

Everybody always says that. "Don't feel bad for Rodriguez, he got paid well and he's doing pretty well now." That is not the point. The point is that it is the program that suffered because of the way the RR was treated while he was here. It was the program that the former players were making look bad when they talked bad about RR. It was the current players that were being hurt by all of it. It is not about RR's feelings being hurt, or him being out of a job, it is about the karma that came around to the jackass fans and former players that thought in some way turning away from UM football for three years was actually helping.

Tha Quiet Storm

April 19th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Re: Bellamy's quote

I'm so sick and tired of the stupid idea that you can't have any success in the B1G if you don't run a "smashmouth" power offense. Does anyone else realize that ANY system can be successful in ANY conference if you just get talented players who fit well within that system?

And Braylon used to be one of my favorite players of all time, but I can't stand him anymore. He is quickly approaching Freddie Mitchell/Damon Jones territory (athletes with modest on-the-field success who talk and talk and talk like they're superstars but in reality are exceedingly average).


April 19th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

... it's still not the appropriate response to even veiled expressions of preference for Hoke over Rodriguez, or vice versa, from fans/alumni/players/whoever. The appropriate response is:



(move on)

It's over. It's done. There's nothing more to say about it that matters. Onward.

King Douche Ornery

April 19th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

As an AVID "Get Rich Rod the H-E double toothpicks outta here" guy, and I'm going against the guy who axed if anyone learned anything new--

I like it when you SEXYFIGHT the blogosphere, take off the gloves, have had enough nonsense, enough bashing, and enough stupidity to rake said stupidity over the coals and dare it to fight back.

I've been astounded by some of the remarks, and Van Bergen's perspective made me think "WTF?"

It's one think for an armchair quarterback or message board snickerer to go off on rants and rile some feathers--but the PLAYERS and ALUMNI really reek of people who didn't come around because they fell into groupthink and rumor mongering. I never heard Rich Rod do anything but fawn over Michigan tradition. In fact, at times I thought it was gratuitous and over the top--but heck, he was doing what he thought he should have done. I do think he gets a horrible rap (and got one from the get-go) and now it's become mob mentality with the Rich Rod bashing.

I think it all  boils down to how Lloyd Carr was tossed out by the fans upoon his departure. Fans had grown tired of Lloyd, wanted him GONE like, yesterday, and it was a mass "Good RIddance emm effer, now we can WIN all the national championhips!" The Wicked Warden was dead. Finally.

If anybody sold out UM over the last three years, in hindsight I think it WAS Lloyd Jonathan Carr. His ego, the way it seemed we all couldn't wait for him to clean out his office--I think it got to him and his players. I think all that has followed, even though I didn't like the hire, has been TURRIBLE. More for Rodriguez (the ugly stomping on his grave is disgusting) than UM--but I think UM suffers some image problems for this as well.

UM really, REALLY shot itself in the foot over the last three years and now is behind, BEHIND the good programs in the Big Ten. Might not ever come back.


April 19th, 2011 at 1:31 PM ^

Like we are the only program to ever have a rough patch? It has happened to everyone else, it just took it longer to happen at Michigan than anywhere else. For example:

Ohio State went 21-15 from 1999-2001. Not quite as bad, but still way down from normal.

Penn State went 26-33 from 2000-2004.

Nebraska has had two losing seasons since 2004 and gave up 455 points just 3 years ago.

Texas went 47-42 from 1986-1993.

USC went 37-35 from 1996-2001.

Is this all sinking in or should I go on?