Three And Out Q&A: Part Two

Submitted by Brian on October 18th, 2011 at 12:09 PM

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[ED: Make that three parts. Coming Friday: “What does ‘Michigan Man’ mean anymore,” and “What’s next?”

If you live under a rock, John Bacon was embedded in the program the last three years and has written a book about this. It is called Three and Out.]

First, thanks to everyone for your interest, including some 400 readers asking more than a thousand questions. (And big thanks also to Brian for sorting through all those questions and combining them into the most popular categories.) I was not surprised to see they were very smart and often got beyond the surface of the situation, frequently forcing me to re-think the whole thing, when I thought I was long done thinking another thought about the last three years.

 

3. Were the "fit" issues real?

One of the central questions that came up in various forms was the “Fit, or Lack Thereof,” as Brian reduced it.

I’ll start by working backward, from the final seconds of Rodriguez’s regime. On January 5, 2011, the assistant coaches, staffers, and yours truly were all sitting in the coaches’ meeting room, when Rodriguez walked in, laid a file down on the table, and said, “Well, as expected, they fired me.” He later added, “It was a bad fit here from the start.”

And in many ways it was. I’m not certain it had to be.

People who were living in Ann Arbor in 1968 can tell you about the last outsider to take the reigns: Bo Schembechler. His predecessor, Bump Elliott, was a former Michigan All-American who was smart and humble, with an urbane, conservative manner. He didn’t yell at his players, he rarely swore, and if you said you were hurt, that was enough for him.

When Schembechler’s crew arrived with their wives sporting beehive hairdos and stiletto heels, some Michigan insiders took to calling them “The Ohio Mafia.” The players quickly learned the new guy yelled, swore, grabbed your facemask and literally kicked you in the ass. If you were merely hurt, not injured, but didn’t want to practice, you got left behind when the team plane took off.

Instead of turning his back on the new regime, however, Elliott embraced them, hosting parties for their families and introducing them to important people around town. He did not allow players to come to his office in the Athletic Department to complain about the new guy, either. And when Schembechler delivered what today would be an unforgivable comment about changing “Michigan’s silly helmets,” Elliott, Don Canham, Fritz Crisler and Bob Ufer quietly taught him Michigan tradition.

And, to Schembechler’s credit, he was wise enough to listen, and even seek out their help.

When Michigan upset Ohio State that year, they gave Bump Elliott the game ball, and there was not a dry eye in the room.

That’s Michigan at its best. The last three years were not.

Rodriguez had never been to Ann Arbor before his first press conference, and it was clear he had not prepared, nor been coached – a noted contrast to Brady Hoke’s introduction, when his rehearsed lines won over many doubters.

To cross this chasm, neither Michigan nor Rodriguez did enough, soon enough. I believe Rodriguez should have learned more about Michigan faster than he did, but I also believe he received little guidance. Readers will likely be struck by how often Rodriguez invoked Michigan’s traditions – the helmet, the banner, the rivals – when he talked to his team. And he could have helped his cause by reaching out to sympathetic Michigan groups like the M-Club, filled with loyal supporters who could have helped him when trouble hit.

Both sides of this marriage could have learned a lot from the other. Rodriguez could have gained the kind of polish Michigan usually applies to its players and coaches, much as it did for the initially rough-hewn Schembechler. And Michigan’s famed arrogance – occasionally succumbing to rank snobbism during the Rodriguez regime – could have been softened with some of Rodriguez’s down-home friendliness.

I suspect both sides have learned a great deal since, manifest in Michigan’s almost universal support for Brady Hoke. He isn’t exactly Bump Elliott, either, but he’s been accepted as a true “Michigan Man.”

(More on that Friday.)

 

4. What was so hard about the transition?

Everyone knows the transition was poorly handled – but it was actually much worse than you think, marked by a lack of preparation, communication, and transparency, not to mention severe undermining of the process and the candidates. It resulted in the famously unified Michigan football family fracturing before Martin named Rodriguez Michigan’s next coach – and it only got worse afterward. For his part, Rodriguez naively assumed he was walking into the same program Schembechler had created.

Rodriguez also made a crucial miscalculation: He honestly believed that the bigger the program, the less time the head coach has to deal with peripheral duties like connecting with former players, alumni and fans – when the opposite is true. The head football coach at Michigan, Texas or Alabama, is, in a very real sense, the leader of that school.

That said, it’s worth remembering: Michigan was hiring Rodriguez, not the other way around. It is the employer’s job to set their employees up for success, and at that central task, Michigan failed badly.

But I still believe that nothing would have helped more than Bo Schembechler continuing to lead the family. When he passed away, Michigan lost more than a coach. It lost its spiritual leader – and five years later he has still not been replaced.

If there were any doubts before that Bo did more than anyone to keep Michigan football at the top, even long after he retired, his absence erased them for me.

 

5. PRETTY MUCH THE Q: Who does John Bacon blame for the last three years?

I know: you want to know what happened to the defense, and who is most to blame for the disappointing last three seasons.

It’s not hard to identify a handful of contributing factors, all of which were necessary, but none sufficient to guarantee failure. We have a dozen variables in both cases, but no control group, so it’s ultimately impossible to be completely certain what, precisely, was the most important straw.

Nonetheless, if I don’t feed the bulldog something I’ll probably get my hand bitten off, so here goes.

Let’s start with the defense. When people ask if the shockingly poor performance was the result of inheriting weak talent, transfers, a stretch of freak injuries, youth or coaching, I say: Yes. It is simply impossible for your defense to drop to 68th then 82nd then 110th without all those factors playing a part. But the hardest to tease out is coaching.

We do know a few things, however. Failing to get Jeff Casteel was much bigger than probably anyone realized at the time. Bill Martin failed to pony up a few more bucks and a guaranteed contract to get him, while Rodriguez—who would not come to Michigan without Mike Barwis and the promise of a million-dollar weight room—was apparently willing to leave without his defensive coordinator. If he could do it again, he would probably insist he wasn’t coming to Michigan without his trusted defensive coordinator.

After that, Michigan never gave Rodriguez sufficient bait to get his top choice to replace Casteel. When Scott Shafer and Greg Robinson arrived in Ann Arbor, they inherited a staff of strangers who had been loyal to Rodriguez for years. Shafer and Robinson are both decent guys who’ve been successful elsewhere, but it clearly didn’t work at Michigan.

At the end of the day, however, the head coach is responsible for his team’s performance, and that obviously includes defense.

Likewise, there was no shortage of variables contributing to Rodriguez’s demise. The long list includes: the horrible transition; his Honeymoon from Hell (including overblown PR problems over buy-outs, departing players, and even shredded papers); his 3-9 debut; the Free Press feature and subsequent NCAA investigation; the string of four crucial losses in the middle of 2009 and three in middle of 2010; and the final Bust. Obviously, some of those are on Michigan, and some on Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez reign was fatally damaged by two main causes: the harm done by detractors inside and outside the program, and his own missed opportunities – from PR problems to those seven lost match points in 2009 and 2010, any one of which would probably have been enough to deliver him to a new era when he could focus more on football than survival. In particularly, I believe the 2009 game against Illinois, which blew up when Michigan failed to score on a first and goal from the one-yard line, marked the Continental Divide of the Rodriguez Era.

So, it’s not true that Rodriguez had no chance. He had seven. It is true, however, that his chances were greatly diminished by detractors inside and outside the program.

Assigning blame essentially boils down to weighing the factors above. But on one crucial point – really, the most important of all – there is absolutely no shade of gray whatsoever. Rodriguez, his staff, and his players (after the 2008 team graduated) worked extraordinarily hard to win every game.

Some powerful insiders, however, were working just as hard to see them fail. That is not a matter of degree. It’s a clear-cut, black-and-white difference – something I have never seen in all my years researching Michigan’s long and admirable history. But the people who suffered the most were the least to blame: the players.

As former offensive line coach Greg Frey told me, while driving to Mott Hospital one night, “I think about guys like Moosman and Ortmann and Brandon Graham. Man, those guys work their asses off. They care about their teammates. They stayed. They get pushed aside in all this, and that’s all right? That’s sad.”

When Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News asked Ryan Van Bergen how it felt to see hundreds of alums returning to support the new coach, he said, “You know, it’s kind of unsettling… It’s great they’re back, but it’s kind of, where have they been the last two or three years? We’ve still be wearing the same helmets since they were here.”

Who deserves how much blame can be debated. Who was working against the Wolverines, and who suffered the most because of it, cannot be calculated.

Comments

SFWolverineFan

October 18th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

It makes me sick that "insiders" were working against Rodriguez.  I knew this was the case, but it is positively despicable.  I hope they're happy they sullied the name of the greatest football program in America.  

lexus larry

October 18th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

one which will be interesting reading in the very near future...

I cringed to the point of aching when Desmond was loudly yapping about how the coach (RR) is not above "The Team" yet, seemingly, so many others acted as if they were!  Of course, the ex-coaches, former players, prima donnas, et al, they can make Michigan Football all about them, only them, instead of "The Team."

profitgoblue

October 18th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

Its all semantics (to me all of it is "sad" and "infuriating") but I agree with what you say: It was tough to watch Rodriguez's failures play out. But, more imporantly to me, the more I learn the less I am able to excuse the establishment as a whole for the handling of the entire situation. To me, everyone is to blame, from the top (Mary Sue Coleman) to the bottom (fans that failed to get past their uneasiness and support Rodriguez from the beginning). Including in this blame, for me, is Rodriguez, Lloyd Carr, Bill Martin, Dave Brandon, and the "evil" boosters/alumni that worked behind the scenes. Hell, I even blame myself for deciding against buying season tickets after 2008 (it was mostly a money issue, but still).

Ziff72

October 18th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

 I'm so glad John is around to make sense of all this.  I've been beating this drum forever(well 4 years) and I'm glad Bacon laid it all out.  the defense problem was acquiring talent during the trash tornado. 

The problem with our defense is that the 08 defense should have been pretty decent but after that point we were without extensive talent.  That we can all agree.  From that point it is pretty easy.

1. Defense needs talent

2. RR responsibility to get that talent

3. Impossible to attract said talent when you have Freep Jihad, Alumni divide, Coach Unrest.

It is that simple.  Brian blames RR for not recruiting lines well enough.  I agree, but not sure I blame RR given the situation.   What top notch talent would want to come to a school that hates their coach,  who may be fired, and the school may be on probation and you can't go to a bowl game.   I think RR did a great job just to get some of the people he got considering the circumstances. 

Even the RR detractors have to see that if Brandon had given him an extension or at the least  saying our coach isn't going anywhere that we would have pulled in a top class last year and been in position for top class this year.  It all snowballed.

 

RoseBowlBound

October 18th, 2011 at 1:30 PM ^

Has anyone ever asked Casteel if he regrets his decision to stay in Morgantown for the extra $100k...it'd be interesting to see where the Michigan DC job could have taken him by now if he would have had some success actually coaching the defense here, instead he has to work with Holgerson (who he probably doesn't really like since he's rumored to be kind of an ass).

Yeoman

October 18th, 2011 at 7:17 PM ^

I honestly thought you were trying to say that Lloyd Carr was the reason Casteel didn't come to Michigan.

Which was so completely bizarre but somehow consistent with the views of a very small sliver of the fanbase that I decided the best thing to do was to let it slide. I didn't know what to say, anyway.

Section 1

October 18th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

But I am oversimplifying.

What I have maintained all along, and which subsequent news seems to be continually proving to be correct, is that Casteel was fully ready to come to Ann Arbor but balked at the last minute when the chance arose for him to stay and work (independently, one presumes) under Bill Stewart.  And he has done the same now under Dana Holgorson.

I'll never presume that it was all about money for Casteel.  And I will also never presume that money had nothing to do with it.  By all accounts it had to do with security, family and familiarity.  Money can equal a whole lotta security.

It is impossible to believe, that as close as we got to getting Jeff Casteel to come in 2008, that Michigan couldn't have found a way to make it happen.  It seems that the effort wasn't even there.

But it is also a case of Michgan learning a very hard lesson.  Because no sooner had David Brandon arrived, than he indicatred that Michigan had been part of an athletic world in which we had not properly compensated assistant coaches, to compete for the very best.  He knew what had happened.

Read the book.  I'd personally have liked a lot more detail on the Casteel subject from John, but that's just because I got into lots of fights with the anti-Rodriguez crowd, and I had some scores of my own to settle.  What Bacon tells in Three and Out is a very well-constructed and compelling story.

Ziff72

October 18th, 2011 at 1:34 PM ^

Can anyone give me the details on Bo's "silly helmets" comment?   Seems like a good story there on what Bo wanted them to look like or what happened with the media etc.

michman

October 18th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

I also want the names of those inside the department who sabotaged RR.  Those Aholes need to be outed.  I am guessing they are likely those sent packing by Brandon but I want the names and they deserve any negative publicity that comes with their behavior.

CincyBlue

October 18th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

Why would you use influence, money and power to undermine the University and program you love?

I don't care who the head coach is, I am going to support the program until I die.

If you couldn't see this program needed some changes after the App State game you are wearing Maize and Blue colored glasses.

Support this program un-conditionally or get the HELL OUT!  I don't care if you played here, coached here or lived in Ann Arbor your entire life.   Support the program or get the hell out!

goldenmug8

October 18th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

"Some powerful insiders, however, were working just as hard to see them fail. That is not a matter of degree. It’s a clear-cut, black-and-white difference – something I have never seen in all my years researching Michigan’s long and admirable history. But the people who suffered the most were the least to blame: the players."

 

Okay so, WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Is it in the book? I want to know!!!

CompleteLunacy

October 18th, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

I'm lost as to what this means, and why there are seven of them. Someone please advise.

Thank you to John bacon for saying all the things that I have thought about this whole fiasco. All parties are to blame, and its debatable who deserves more of it. But to me that debate seems to be splitting hairs. RR was not the right fit, and while it's not all his fault, his firing was ultimately necessary. And extremely unfortunate. To me, arguing beyond that is meaningless.

Can't wait to read the book, painful as it will be. 

yeahrice

October 18th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

It is referring to the 4 games in 2009 and 3 games in 2010 RR had a chance at winning but didnt. Reference the "his 3-9 debut; the Free Press feature and subsequent NCAA investigation; the string of four crucial losses in the middle of 2009 and three in middle of 2010; and the final Bust. Obviously, some of those are on Michigan, and some on Rodriguez." in point 5

CompleteLunacy

October 18th, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

Can someone then list off the 7 specific games he's referring to? I look at every loss from those 2 seasons as a missed opportunity, heavy underdog or not. Certainly would have gone a long way if he had lost tightly constested games rather than blowouts (or blowouts with furious, but too-little-too-late  and failed, comebacks). Had we lost by 7 points or less to OSU and Wisconsin, maybe he isn't so obviously on the chopping block.

steve sharik

October 18th, 2011 at 2:54 PM ^

2009:

  • at MSU (loss in OT)
  • at Iowa (loss by 2--no Tate at end of game)
  • at Illinois (failed on 1st/G from 1 that led to collapse)
  • vs. Purdue (by 2 to a bad team at home)

2010:

  • vs. MSU (home game while both teams undefeated and ranked 17/18--following this game we tailspin and they go to co-B1G champs)
  • vs. Iowa (they had no clue to stop us, we stopped ourselves w/redzone TOs and dropping a pick six of our own)
  • at PSU (two weeks to prepare for a mediocre team and making McGloin look like Montana in his first ever collegiate start)

I'd personally opine that the horrendous Gator Bowl performance was the final nail.

TIMMMAAY

October 18th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

For taking the time to do this. Would it be possible to expand this to four parts? That would be lovely for those of us doomed to waiting tor the book release. 

MichFan1997

October 18th, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

class in particular is the definition of MICHIGAN MAN. Those insiders and those people who stopped supporting the players who were busting their ass off can get lost. RVB's comment was spot on the money. To those players who disappeared then magically returned this year, RVB and his teammates are more of a Michigan Man than you will EVER be. Period.

profitgoblue

October 18th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

This is one of the reasons that the loss to Sparty last Saturday hurts - its sad to see the seniors that never beat Sparty leave the program with that bad taste in their mouths.  Hopefully this will spur them to action for the rest of the season (not that they wouldn't be motivated to play hard regardless).

MichFan1997

October 18th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

the loss to MSU hurts, but not nearly as bad as a loss to Ohio would. We NEED to beat Ohio this year. I don't know if I'm building it up in my mind too much, but I don't care how strong or weak they are this year. That is a MUST WIN game.

CompleteLunacy

October 18th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

is about the worst it's been since 2007, and even then 2007 was a rare bad QB season for OSU too. We SHOULD have won in 2007, but the weather was crap and Henne was obviously hurt, which neutralized our advantages.

So I feel much the same as you. Our team isn't built as strongly as it should be yet (hopefully they keep improving), but I'm not sure how often we will find OSU at such a vulnerable position as they are this year. We have to take advantage. It is basically a must win for Hoke and this team.

M Wolve

October 18th, 2011 at 2:21 PM ^

This is why the loss this year feels far worse than the 3 others to MSU- the players shouldn't have to had to deal with all these losses.  I'm not saying that we should have won them all, or even half of them, but not winning at least once over a senior's 4 year stretch is incredibly disheartening.  I felt as though someone ripped a section of my soul out as I was leaving the stadium on saturday; I can't imagine how bad they feel. 

oc michigan fan

October 18th, 2011 at 2:12 PM ^

I  agree with Brian's statement yesterday about Brandon not "getting it" when it came to uni's and mascotts. I think he did "get it" though when it came to recognizing how ugly things had been and would be, most likely to the point of unrepairable.

He pretty much did everything opposite of the hiring of RichRod with Hoke, and it's worked.

I feel for Rodriguez. Shame too, I don't think it had to be this way.

 

So glad Bacon was able to write this book. I can't wait to read it.

M Wolve

October 18th, 2011 at 2:27 PM ^

What exactly do you mean by, "it's worked."  Is it that the fact that the fan base and alumni actually has support for our coach now?  If so, I'd definitely agree, but I still feel as though it is premature to say whether this hire has worked or not. 

 

We are undeniably heading in the proper direction, but I think we can all agree that we are not at the Michigan of lore, and only after waiting a few seasons will we be able to acurately state whether we have returned to our expected level or not. 

oc michigan fan

October 18th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

Every returning player from the 2010 team was talked to about the transition, and sounds like encouraged to meet with Hoke before deciding anything.

Top notch coordinators were brought in.

As mentioned by Bacon, Hoke's intro press conference.

No Freep Jihad

Ohio flushes itself down the toilet (Ok, not DB or Hoke's doing).

 

What about the transition hasn't worked?

M Wolve

October 18th, 2011 at 3:37 PM ^

I thought you were referring to the hire of Coach Hoke as opposed to the transition process.  If you were talking soley about the transition process, i would have to agree that everything "has worked", as you stated.  But if you were saying the hiring of Coach Hoke "has worked", I think that you are a little premature and that we have to wait a few years down the line to see if we are at the level that we all expect to be at.  Again, we are headed in the right direction, but I think that you would have to agree that if we have the same quality of team in three years as we do now, we would not be happy with the hire.  I do not expect this to happen at all, but I remain cautiously optomistic.  

MileHighWolverine

October 18th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

I blame 4 people for this debacle in the following oder:

4. RR - tough to succeed when you are thrown to the wolves but GERG was ....... bad. real bad.

3. DB - he needed to be more supportive and not pull an ND.  Can't believe Michigan ever fired a coach after 3 years?  WTF.

2. Sailor Bill - he should have stayed for at least the 1st 4 years of RR's tenure to ensure the man he hired had all the support he needed.

1. Lloyd Carr - I cannot believe how much trouble he caused while being paid by the University!! He could have turned the whole thing around but petty loyalties to his bumbling staff meant he had to be vindictive and ruin RR.  He ruined far more than that IMO and a lot of people who didn't deserve to, suffered for it.

FrankMurphy

October 18th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

As much as I dislike DB, I wouldn't put much of the blame for the past 3 years on him. He came into the situation after 2 of those 3 years had elapsed. By the time the 2010 season ended, Rodriguez had become a toxic asset. The wolves were barking so loudly that DB had to act, whether Rodriguez deserved a 4th year on merit or not.

The person I would blame the most (outside of Rodriguez himself) is Bill Martin. He was totally unprepared for Lloyd's retirement (despite having almost a year's notice) and badly mismanaged the search. The excerpts of the book released online indicate that Les Miles wanted the job and basically told Mary Sue Coleman he would accept if Michigan offered after the NCG, but Martin allowed Carr to steer him away from Miles and toward Rodriguez. Bacon mentions above that no one made an effort to clue Rodriguez in on how to conduct himself and how to interact with former players, boosters, etc. In short, Rodriguez was never given an orientation. That falls on Martin. Also, if Casteel decided to stay put (twice) because the terms of the deal Michigan offered him weren't much better than what he was getting from WVU, that falls on Martin too. It just seems like Martin mishandled every single aspect of the post-Lloyd transition, from hiring Rodriguez to Rodriguez' tenure itself. 

jan4a

October 18th, 2011 at 2:33 PM ^

15-22....
<br>
<br>At the end of the day, you have to win ball games. I agree, the end of the Carr area was rough. But when your Ohio State friends dont even give you a hard time over losses anymore, you know things have hit a new low. I don't care if the offense is boring or electrifying, I want Michigan to be taken seriously again, if that means Hoke-a-mania, then so be it.
<br>
<br>Go Blue!

echoWhiskey

October 18th, 2011 at 9:28 PM ^

You're new around here, so I'll give you a bit of a primer: no one is arguing about why RR was fired.  What the article above is talking about is how we got to that point.  Some people are interested in it, obviously.  But thanks for your insight.

 

Wolverrrrrrroudy

October 19th, 2011 at 6:54 AM ^

I think too many people are forgetting the actual end of the Carr Era with the bowl thrashing of the defending National Champion Florida Gators even with their Heisman QB.  I will never understand why Carr took so much heat.  Is it the loss the App st and Oregon?  Probably, but how did the team respond to that.  Was it losing to OSU, of course that plays a part.

Nearly every record that matters for Offense for Michigan was broken under Carr.

Career Rushing Leader: Mike Hart

TD leader Rushing - A-Train

Passing Yds/touchdowns: Chad Henne

Receiving Yds/touchdowns: Braylon Edwards

Kickoff return yds - Steve Breaston

We were undefeated going into the Ohio State game in 2006 and it was a heartbreaker, but  we were right there, should've, could've won that game easy.  That game goes our way and who is to say we don't beat Florida.  We did handily beat them the next year.

It is just unbelievable to me how Carr is treated in general given his accomplishments.  He had every right to be involved in the coaching decision after he left, especially given his contributions to the Michigan Football program.  That nearly the exact same people who are Carr detractors, so vehemently defend Rodriguez is the real shame.

Can losses to Ohio State under Carr be forgiven?  I would say yes in light of the way Ohio State conducted themselves in the background.

Can the loss to App State and Oregon in 2007 be forgiven?  Maybe App State can not be forgiven in its entirety, but Oregon yes of course.

Did Carr leave the cupboard bare?  Almost certainly not.  I think it is fairly clear now that a major component to coaching is developing players.  It is almost unfathomable what Carr did with both Henne and Hart starting as Freshman. 

I think people were certainly too hard on Carr, maybe he didn't have the biggest personality, but he got results that made Michigan respected, he put players in the NFL, and he prepared others for a life outside of football.  He doesn't have a perfect record, but he has one of the best records ever in the modern era over an 11 year span that includes a National Championship, and should've included a 2nd in 2006/2007.

That people are now out there trying to explain what happened to RR is almost too funny.  He failed miserably in the Big 10.  He failed miserably in the one Bowl game that we went to in his 3 years, against MSU and OSU all failures.  I can't even imagine how painful it would be right now if he was still at Michigan. 

Did the program not support him or did he not support the program?  A lot of both and a big disaster.  Can he be successful somewhere else?  Hard to tell, certainly not if he didn't learn from his mistakes at Michigan.

 

 

FrankMurphy

October 18th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

Every successful job performance involves some luck, a few breaks here and there that go the right way. It just seems like none of the most crucial and pivotal bounces, calls, whatever you want to call them, went Rodriguez' way. In '09, there were 6 games that realistically could have gone either way (7 if you count Ohio State). We only won the earliest two of them (Notre Dame and Indiana). Rodriguez wasn't entirely a victim of circumstance; he did make some decisions that proved to be incorrect (not going for two after the last touchdown in the '09 MSU game, going with Denard instead of Tate for the last drive in the '09 Iowa game, etc). But if there were ever an instance of a perfect storm of bad circumstances that doomed a coach to failure from the start, it was the drama of the Rodriguez-Michigan marriage.

ItsaDamnGame

October 18th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

Just got back from reading some of Rosenberg's reviews on the Bo/Woody book.  My favorite quote: "Game on, Mother.  Game on."  I really enjoyed myself!  My many are worth the read.

Section 1

October 18th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

One of the true, genuine surpises to me in Three and Out was that the neg-bomb explosion for Rosenberg's book on Amazon.com was so upsetting to Rosenberg.  I was so surprised, and delighted, to read that.  I thought it was just a kind of a low-level cyber-prank (as I laughingly made my own contribution to the e-explosion); now I just want to congratulate whoever had the idea and buy him or her a drink.