Not My Crowd: What?

Submitted by Brian on July 17th, 2009 at 12:39 PM

So ESPN spent the first five or ten minutes of College Football Live yesterday talking about how screwed Michigan was because "another player(!!!)" was leaving Michigan, never mind that Wermers' departure was officially announced two months ago. But you get a couple of quotes from a kid transferring into the MAC and the universe is ending.

I don't think it matters much in the grand scheme of things because only one thing—winning—matters much in the grand scheme of things. That does not mean it's not annoying as hell. The part that's still lodged in the ol' craw at the moment is  that "not my crowd" statement. What crowd? By the time Wermers announced he'd transfer, the only Rodriguez recruits that had made it to campus were the guys he filled out Carr's last class with and the early-enrollers.

Those players are as follows.

2008: Ricky Barnum, Justin Feagin, Martavious Odoms, Patrick Omameh, Terrence Robinson, Mike Shaw, Roy Roundtree, and Taylor Hill. (I'm not including Brandon Smith and JT Floyd, who were technically uncommitted when the switch happened but were more Carr recruits than Rodriguez recruits.)

2009: Vlad Emilien, Tate Forcier, Anthony LaLota, Will Campbell, Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones.

Who constitutes the infamous crowd here? We're looking for players that don't fit the profile of a typical Michigan recruit. So not these folks: Hill transferred after about two seconds, Omameh is an engineer, Shaw was a Penn State commit who Carr had offered, Roundtree was a Purdue commit,—both were teammates of Carr commit Brandon Moore—Campbell was basically a Carr recruit, Emilien is an honors student, and so are LaLota and Jones. Both of LaLota and Jones were picking between ND and Michigan.* And Forcier is the younger brother of a Carr recruit.

I really doubt there was any culture shock from the arrival of guys from Ohio and guys who strongly considered Notre Dame. That's been the pattern of the program for years.

The remainder: the Pahokee guys, Feagin, Barnum. And I guess Terrence Robinson. It's hard to interpret Wermers' "crowd" in a way that doesn't mean poor black kids from Florida, and I guess Terrence Robinson.

Which is all the long way of saying that 19 year olds should offer pat, positive answers and shut up, lest they say something that gives the wrong impression.

*(FWIW, Jones' decision was easy since ND did not offer.)



July 17th, 2009 at 4:18 PM ^

And to address what Sgt. Wolverine asked (and please hear this as a friendly explanation): I think a lot of us (myself included) are pretty defensive when it comes to Coach Rodriguez. I see a guy with an Appalachian accent from coal mining country who's bringing in some black kids from some tough, southern places to play at one of the elite northern football schools in the country. He's starting right there was some strikes against him...I'm admittedly hugely biased, but when someone takes a crack at some of the new guys then I'm pretty defensive about it. Have you seen any of the video about Pahokee? Those kids are poorer than hell. That town doesn't have a McDonalds or a movie theatre. Vincent Smith, for one, seems like a heck of a kid. Maybe he's not. I don't know. But I like Vincent Smith and I want him to be a good guy, so I'm inclinded to be defensive until presented with facts that disrupt my vision of things...Do I need a vacation? Yes, yes I do.

Mountaineers Fanatic

July 17th, 2009 at 9:34 PM ^

I think what he meant by his comment was the RR was bringing in players that pushed themselves the extra mile. Those that were willing to stay in the weight room after the regular workout session was over or stayed out on the field to run a few extra sprints to help themselves get in better shape. See Wermer was one of those players that was ready to get back to his cozy little room as soon as he could. These new players were making him look bad....and he just couldn't have that


July 18th, 2009 at 8:24 AM ^

Both RR and Greg Robinson have said they are impressed with the conditioning of the players. Such effusive praise and optimism is hard to come by from these two demanding personalities. You're not hearing the "I wish I had another month with these guys" line anymore. I think Barwis really sets a high standard that some ppl simply cannot achieve. And he doesn't feel bad about guys who fail because it's not like he can't get any other good players. Is that a "business"-like atmosphere, yeah probably. But it's good for the players and it mimics real life.

And I don't buy the argument that playing football makes you any less of a college student than just going to college. College itself is great for the friendships you make and what not, but at the end of the day, you're competing with other students for the top grades and the best professional opportunities. Competition is a reality of life and I'm glad we're seeing that from the football and basketball programs. In the end, competition makes us stronger.


July 18th, 2009 at 11:28 AM ^

I remember when Sportscenter a while back had a feature on the town of Pahokee. Even though it was a poor town the guys that lived there from the feature really seemed like great guys who worked very hard every day. So I was upset when this first came out because I thought he was calling out the kids that we were getting from southern Florida. If he did or not good riddance to him. It's one thing to want to transfer, it's another thing entirely to go out and try to call out the program because you were leaving.


July 19th, 2009 at 3:36 AM ^

See, to me, the "not my kind of crowd" thing is a throw-away.

It's like saying you read Playboy for the articles. It's not the real reason. The rest of it, the real (no pun intended) meat of his rationale lies in the work. He wanted a more laid back approach than Rodriguez and Barwis want. Maybe the staff makes it so he doesn't like football the way they coach it. And that's fine.

So that means he definitely did the right thing. If you don't want to work as hard playing football, there are a few things you can do. One is join an intramural team. Another is transfer to the MAC. Good for Wermers. He now won't have to work as hard at school or football. Thank God he won't be entering the job market for a few years. I would hate to see him against any kind of competition for a job.

Boss: "Can you work any Saturdays?"
Wermers: "Seriously? Sorry man, I spend my Saturdays trying to finally beat my nephew at Trivial Pursuit. You run this place too much like a business. I'm transferring to Chrysler."


July 21st, 2009 at 11:57 AM ^

His comments: particularly his "not my crowd" comment, were not very well considered.

My first thought was his comment could be viewed as black players from the south not being the kind of guys he'd feels a family tie with (at best).

Given the revelation about academic ineligibility (whether that was chicken or egg), and the fact he wasn't approaching the two deep, it is pretty clear that despite being on a UofM team with the least experienced offensive line in most people's memory -- this guy was just not working out. Apparently the different guys who are not his crowd, also manage to maintain academic eligibility, and compete to be in the two deep.

So agreed: Kurt really would have been better off not saying a word, or just saying he and the program were not the best match.