Unverified Voracity Had A Deal

Submitted by Brian on December 12th, 2011 at 3:56 PM

imageBacon Qs! The time has come: the season's over, Three and Out has been digested by the people who bought it at or around launch, and we are set to get more information from Bacon on things that were omitted from the book or were included and might need clarification or explanation.

If you've read it and something stuck with you, let's hear it. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions; Bacon can take it. He sat in a press box with limited power and made it out alive.


Site note. I have been bookmarking things for MGolicious but Delicious is not updating the feed. Now it's down. Not sure what I can do other than switch link providers, but I'll try to poke around and see if I can fix anything.

Boo-boo. It (one of the its, anyway) was REVEALED!

“Turns out you didn’t have a boo-boo,” a reporter asked Robinson on Friday. “You had a staph infection?”

Robinson threw his head back and laughed.

“It was a deal,” Robinson said, repeating another popular ‘Hoke-speak’ phrase.

“I was a little sick — had a staph infection. But I went out there and still played. I did it for my team.”

Heiko got a gross shot of it.


post-ND presser

Ow. Now that the season's over how do we feel about the Denard injury == terrible throwing idea? He had that and the elbow abscess, and once past those things he did get a lot better. I'm guessing 40% this stuff, 30% plain bad mechanics (back foot throws), 30% lack of familiarity with what Borges is trying to do.

BONUS: filing "had a deal" into the Hokeopticon.

Desmond Howard being interviewed by a woman who looks like she is playing a part in a 1990s science fiction movie. Just me?


This whole thing makes me think "Demolition Man." I am biased by the high top fade, probably. Via Wolverine Historian.

Goodbye, competent instate opponent. Saturday's game against Oakland was the last Michigan will play by edict of John Beilein:

"No," Beilein said Friday when asked if he had interest in renewing a contract with Oakland. "Not at all." …

"We traditionally want to play our games at Crisler (Arena) as often as possible," Beilein said of non-conference scheduling. "I'm not saying we won't go back to The Palace if it's a type of situation that we really think benefits Michigan 100 percent."

I'm not a fan. If playing Oakland means giving up occasional games against Arkansas Pine Bluff, uh… okay. There's plenty of room on the schedule for a game at the Palace against a real opponent.

Kampe said Oakland is "good enough to beat" Michigan and that's a reason M wants them off the schedule, but they're also good enough to provide an interesting game and an RPI bump relative to a Towson. Michigan should be looking for more opponents like Oakland, not fewer. I'd rather play them outside Crisler than some SWAC team anywhere.

Insert usual disbelief at lack of annual game against ND here.

Early emergence. I'm still trying to get my head around what's going on with the hockey team, and it basically comes down to three things:

  • They are short two quality defensemen. Moffie should be a third pairing guy rotating with Clare and Serville should be redshirting. Clare's gotten better of late but his footspeed remains an issue and you can feel the panic when he gets the puck in his own zone.
  • There is no top line. The best forward on the roster is…? Depending on the day it's Di Guiseppe, Wohlberg, Brown, or (lately) Guptill. One of those guys may have been the third wheel on a vintage Michigan top line as someone else stirs the drink.
  • Special teams are terrible, terrible, terrible. Michigan's PK is last in the CCHA and PP is 8th. This was something of a problem last year; the PP has been a mess for a long time. Watching MSU run the same thing M does reveals that there are options other than "shoot from the point" and "get your shot blocked from the point."

This is not really related to the article I'm linking except that parenthetical above:

…this weekend, it was a different freshman — forward Alex Guptill — who stole the show. Guptill ensured that Di Giuseppe wasn’t missed at all. Over the course of the series, Guptill racked up three points and now leads Michigan in goals scored (nine).

“(Guptill) is doing the little things right,” said senior defenseman Greg Pateryn. “That’s what it comes down to. Less is more in college hockey, and he’s doing the simple things.”

After the first half dozen games or so I pegged Guptill as one of those big forwards the NHL drafts too high who disappoints until catching fire as a senior and leaving in a blaze of glory, but not so much. Guptill has started catching my eye for "little things" like dumping and chasing effectively; he seems faster than most guys his size.

On the flip side, a lot was expected from Hyman and he hasn't produced, languishing with 7 points. Only Glendening and Lynch have fewer points among forwards* with a regular shift. Both Hyman and Guptill are a bit older than usual Michigan freshmen (they both took post-draft years in junior) and it's a little concerning that Hyman isn't doing much of note yet.

*[IE, two thirds of Michigan's nominal top line to start the season. This is what I am saying.]

Pittsnogle redux (or I guess Jamie Smalligan but that's no fun). 2013 basketball commit Mark Donnal's latest boxscore: 36 points on 13/15 shooting with 8/11 from the line. UMHoops has video of this outburst featuring multiple three pointers, baby hooks in the lane, and a fadeaway jumper from the elbow, all against a pretty decent high school center with midmajor offers. Dude is a 6'9" post. Watching the video makes it apparent why Beilein offered Donnal as fast as he possibly could.

He doesn't look particularly athletic and doesn't seem to have the attributes needed to be a 4, so it's three-shooting center time again. Hopefully Donnal ends up reminding me of that one center from the SNES version of NCAA basketball who shot 50% from three because some programmer looked at a Colorado center going one for two (or thereabouts) on the season and decided he was awesome.

Etc.: Dave Brandon complains about OSU's recruitin' waiver. Didn't Michigan get the same thing when RR was hired? I don't recall any sanctions coming down as RR recruited dudes between his hiring and the Citrus Bowl.


Gorgeous Borges

December 12th, 2011 at 4:07 PM ^

Rich Rodriguez didn't recruit dudes between his hiring and the Citrus Bowl. Rodriguez was announced as head coach of Michigan on December 17th, 2007, I believe. The NCAA recruiting dead period started on December 16th and ended after the Citrus Bowl.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

Brandon wasn't around to approve or disapprove of it at the time.  Calls might be ok, just not visits.  Apparently Meyer is meeting with players.

And it's really a numbers game.


The waiver specifies that no more than 10 coaches -- and no more than seven at any one time -- may be involved in recruiting. Ohio State asked for the waiver because otherwise it would have exceeded the maximum number of allowed coaches under NCAA rules.



December 12th, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

I'd like to ask about a few of the obvious factual inaccuracies in the book.

For instance, Bacon writes, iirc., that the coaches found Steven Threet crying in his locker at halftime during the 2008 PSU game, Bacon says he was uninjured. He says, at that time (halftime), Rod Smith pulled him and inserted Sheridan.

The game log shows Threet actually played the first two drives of the second half, and I recall him leaving the field with his arm hanging. During pressers, Rodriguez would say Threet had an arm injury.

So did this really happen in the PSU game? How could this conversation have occurred in the middle of a game, since it doesn't seem to have happened at the half? Why was Threet crying?

I'd also be curious to know why the dismissal of Shafer doesn't get covered as much? Is it because he didn't feel it that earth-shattering at the time? Were people under legal/contractual gag orders?


December 12th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

This is a huge deal. There were several times, most notably from 2008 PSU and Toledo, where RichRod unexpectedly switched from Threet, who was playing well, to Sheridan and it ended up very badly (there were also odd QB changes attributed to injury in 2009 and 2010 but not nearly as dramatic.) We all assumed it was because of injuries because otherwise the change didn't make any sense. If it wasn't injuries then there will need to be some recalibrating of opinion regarding RichRod's decision making and his culpability for the losses.

All of this would fit in with the narrative that RichRod was very very stubborn and would lose games or players to get his way or make his point well past the point that many would consider reasonable.


December 12th, 2011 at 6:48 PM ^

But I don't think it meant purposefully losing games. Just stubbornly adhering to something to cut off his nose to spite his face. Sometimes for good (not playing your punter vs. OSU); sometimes "huh?" (burning Devin's redshirt to make a point to Tate).
<br>Let it be said Rich is hardly the only coach, or person frankly, at Michigan or otherwise, to stubbornly adhere to things.


December 12th, 2011 at 9:55 PM ^

Lets be honest:  Threet was never going to succeed in that offense.  I don't think Rodriguez knew what the hell to do with those two guys, unfortunately.  And I do not mean for this post to bad-mouth those kids - they worked their tails off to succeed.  But we all know that Rodriguez's offenses start and end with a strong QB.  He had heart at that position in Threet and Sheridan, but that was not enough to succeed.  Hate me if you want, but you know its true.


December 13th, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

You're missing the point, Profit. In this specific instance, Threet had played the best he would in a Michigan uniform: 84 yards on 13 attempts, a 70% completion rate, and over 50 yards rushing in the first half and the first 1.5 drives of the 2nd.

Sheridan replaced him, completed 3 of 9 passes for 5 yards, and ran 4 times for 1 yard.

If Rodriguez pulled a QB who was playing extremely effectively for a reason other than injury for what Sheridan did, I think one could reasonably ask if there were other motivations than winning on that day.

Personally, I think Threet was probably hurt - it's the only explanation that makes a lick of sense.

Of course, that would mean that Bacon, as it seems he did a few times, made something up out of whole cloth.

los barcos

December 12th, 2011 at 4:29 PM ^


I would also like to hear more about the Robinson hire – why did RR wait a month get Robinson?  What was the dynamic like between Robinson and the other defensive coordinators (who were all RR guys)?  Ive asked bacon this before on one of his chats and I think he copped out of the issue, saying something like “his focus on the time was with other players, coaches, etc.”  I think it may or may not be BS – seeing as how close Bacon was with the entire team and all the coaches, I am sure he gleaned a lot of knowledge that went unpublished about Shafer/Robinson and the defensive fiasco.


December 12th, 2011 at 9:50 PM ^

You saved me the time of asking the exact same questions about the Penn State game.  When I read that part of the book last week, I must have read and reread that same paragraph about five times trying to make sense of it.  Having been at the game, my recollection was that Sheridan had come in to start a series when Michigan was backed up near its own goal early in the 3rd quarter (presumably because of an injury to Threet).  Like you, I went and checked  online this week and saw that Threet played the first couple series of the second half.  That only made it more confusing.

II would love for Bacon to clear that up somehow.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

Bacon started writing the book in January 2011, not long after RR's firing.  He has acknowledged that if it were up to him, he would not have fired RR, which may explain the generally sympathetic tone of the book towards him.

My question: If Bacon were to rewrite the book now, given what's transpired in the 11 months since RR's firing, would he change anything?  Would he focus more on RR's shortcomings, and maybe not portray him as much as a victim of circumstance?   


December 13th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

That's not a very good question - this is a book about the Rich Rodriguez era, not Brady Hoke. If Bacon were to allow Brady Hoke's (initial) success to color his opinions of the Rodriguez era, that would do a disservice to both I think. The definitive book on Michigan Football in the Early 21st Century, and RR and Brady Hoke's places in it, won't (and shouldn't) be written for awhile.

And Brady's success certainly shouldn't change Bacon's (or your) opinion on the wisdom of the RR firing, because, at the time that decision was made, the 2011 season hadn't happened yet. It's not fair to judge a decision based on information that wasn't available to the parties involved. Hindsight is always 20/20 and all that.

Now, if you want to ask "Given Hoke's success, was the firing of RR a net positive for Michigan Football?" I think that's a good and valid question. It seems to be where you're trying to lead the witness anyway.


December 13th, 2011 at 11:43 AM ^

Yes, it's a book about the Rich Rodriguez era.  And now that there has been more time to reflect, perhaps Bacon would write it differently now.  Historians argue that you need to wait awhile before evaluating past events.  Bacon wrote the book immediately following RR's dismissal.


December 13th, 2011 at 12:30 PM ^

Basically, my point is  that it hasn't been "awhile" yet. Hoke could come back to earth next year. RR might be wildly successful at Arizona. Or the exact opposite of that.

3&O is more like a first hand account than a sober historical reflection. You're asking for the latter, and I don't think we're capable of that yet.

And I stand by my assertion that "NOW do you think it was bad to fire RR?" is a silly question.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

And while the days might not match up exactly, I doubt there was a lot of recruiting time for him between hire date and the bowl. For this year-


December 12: Quiet Period (for junior college prospects enrolling mid-year only) December 13-16: Dead Period (for junior college prospects enrolling mid-year only; staff may have contact with recruits who have been admitted for mid-year enrollment) December 17-18: Quiet Period (for junior college prospects enrolling mid-year only) December 19: Quiet Period December 20-January 3: Dead Period (staff may have contact with recruits who have been admitted for mid-year enrollment) January 9: Quiet Period January 10-13: Dead Period (staff may have contact with recruits who have been admitted for mid-year enrollment)



He might have been able to get a couple of calls in, but not much else till he was fully the coach anyway. (Unless the dates were WAY different 4 years ago).

And Julie Moran was Erin Andrews before her time. (But I never realized how much she looks like the How I Met Your Mother chick).

And the thread will be like 200 posts long...but didn't we already have a long list of questions still to be answered that were posted earlier in the year?


December 12th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

The major question that I suspect everyone has is what went down with the D coordinators and why wasn't that covered in the book? What was the problem with Shafer? How did people feel about Greg Robinson.

More specifically I wondered, if Threet wasn't hurt in the PSU game then why the heck was Sheridan in there? Bacon never answers that question which seemed like a pretty big omission. Why not? I have also heard rumors that Threet denied being hurt in the 2008 Toledo game. Was RichRod playing mind games with his QBs? Did he really think Sheridan would be better? Sheridan was the 'starter' in the 2008 opener.

I thought the major weakness, and it was pretty major, was the way Bacon continually insinuated bad things about Carr with very little proof or even attributed quotes. For instance, his quote about Justin Boren was something along the lines of 'a teammate' heard Boren say Carr told him to transfer. A teammate? Not even Boren himself. We all know that Carr didn't talk to Bacon and Bacon used that say that Carr had no comment on the matter. But Carr was the only person on record by name on this issue and he said the entire thing was a lie. He just didn't say that to Bacon directly. Why did Bacon omit that part? He used quotes for others that weren't made directly to him?


December 12th, 2011 at 10:12 PM ^

And then after Bacon goes on at some length about Carr's role in Boren's departure, he notes at the end of the section that a couple years later it came out that Boren's real beef was that  Rodriguez wouldn't offer Zach Boren a scholarship and but that revelation is came too late to prevent another dent in Rich Rod's reputation.  Apparently not too late for Bacon to use it to dent Carr's reputation either (he also doesn't mention that Carr's staff had offered Zach Boren a scholarship and Rodriguez wouldn't honor it.  That provides a lot more context to Justin's "family values" remark.)


December 12th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

I'd also like to know what the source of the "Carr allowed players to skip class during rivalry weeks" thing was. I know a handful of former players who said that Carr would say "Of course you're allowed to skip class this week", with a smile on his face - it was an obvious joke.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:25 PM ^

While reading I thought of several game log type inaccuracies (which of course I cant think of right now) and I was curious if he is tracking those or going to issue a "from the editor" response on any of those.

But more interesting to me is how much information in the book is disputed by any of the main players:  RR, Brandon, Carr, etc.  IF they are not disputing much information in the book, then why is Bacon being Ostracized?


Thanks for listening 


December 12th, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

The Purdue game is the one where plays that never occurred get put into the narrative, but I'm less interested because they don't substantively change anything.

The Threet item I found interesting because it sort of sticks out as a non-sequiter, isnt' addressed in full, and is also demonstrably false.

It seems like Bacon had a tendency to grasp one item as an explanation for results that had a variation of explanations. In large, it's the media's relationship with Rodriguez: the book implies this is why he failed - obviously, it's not that simple.

But then, in 2008, it's Molk's injury - that's why they lost.

In 2009, it's Woolfolk's - that's why they lost.

In 2008 they gave up yards because of Cissoko, not the overall unit.

I feel like the book was written for people that didn't really follow the sport, but could understand back-office machinations, and so facile explanations were used to briefly explain complex problems about on-field results.


December 13th, 2011 at 11:16 AM ^

Eh, I agree with your last paragraph to a point, but you overstate your case (ironically, by latching onto Bacon's "what-ifs" as if they were the only information presented). I certainly did not get the "2008 was all about Molk" or "2009 was all about Woolfolk" vibe that you seemed to get. Bacon mentioned and ascribed importance to those things, but he mentioned a lot of other things too.

What does seem to be an overarching thesis of the book is that there were numerous turning points in the RR era that doomed it, and that if even a few had gone the other way, RR may have been successful.

You can certainly debate the validity of that thesis, but it's a bit more nuanced than you make it out to be.


December 12th, 2011 at 4:33 PM ^

truth, bull or otherwise Bacon is being otracized becuase Michigan was embarassed by this book. If its bull: he should be banned for damaging the M name to make a buck. If its all true: they're embarassed because someone they trusted aired their dirty laundry...

Obviously its somewhere in the middle and Brandon et. al. are royally pissed that any of this was brought to light and are likely not thrilled about the sympathetic tone it takes WRT Rodriguez. Don't tow the company line: then you can forget all the respects and privileges that you were once afforded. 


December 12th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

There's no great secret here. If nothing else, Bacon insinuated that Carr sabotaged RichRod (and therefore Michigan in the process.) It's beside the point, but Bacon's case was not particularly strong on evidence either.

Carr and those that believe in Carr are still in charge. They're not going to like that and neither would anyone else.


December 12th, 2011 at 5:19 PM ^

According to my uncle (walk-on in '78 and '79), Bacon told a small group he was a part of that he made a conscience decision to go somewhat easy on Carr in the book. Sabotage is a subjective claim and is based on conjecture, so if you're looking for "evidence" of hard nature, forget it.

Section 1

December 12th, 2011 at 4:40 PM ^

...if indeed Rodriguez, or Brandon, or Carr had anything specific to say, disputing details in the book.

Rodriguez offered full access for the writing of the book, but now will not comment.

Carr denied requests for interviews, and now continues to refuse comment.

Brandon offered limited access, and now not only refuses comment, but seems to have made a quasi-official policy of it.  (Which is really funny, because our Hall of Fame sports information guy Bruce Madej is characteristically gracious and jovial about the book; Bruce may have been one of the last people to read it.)

I wouldn't mind a bit if any or all of those people (and include Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman while we're at it) had something to say.  Just say it , or write it, and then answer questions.  Like John U. Bacon.


December 12th, 2011 at 6:56 PM ^

That Rich's lawyers were threatening Bacon, which JUB has certainly insinuated. Even the bust is considered brilliant (debatable) up until the music choice. Even then it's a "no, stop now", and seeing how people reacted.
<br>The book basically leaves out all the parts you could blame Rich for. Not sure what his complaints could be.

Section 1

December 12th, 2011 at 7:15 PM ^

I'm not aware of any serious, expressed threat of litigation by Rich's lawyers. 

I am aware, through John, that the University issued Farrar, Straus & Giroux a cease and desist letter with respect to the use of the iconic Sam Wolson/Michigan Daily photo.  (I presume that the University may have thought it an improper use of the trademarked uniform images; it may have been mumbling threats about use of a picture of Denard whilst still an active and eligible student athlete.)  In any evnt, FSG stood their ground, and the U backed down.