Three and Out: Pages 100-250

Submitted by 03 Blue 07 on October 8th, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Mods: I screwed up and put this on the Board. Can you move it to Diaries? Thanks. 

(Done [zl])

Previously: “Three and Out: The First 100 Pages” can be found here: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/three-and-out-100-pages

Okay, guys, to recap: these are just my impressions, sort of stream-of-consciousness. Picked the book up Thursday (10/5) evening, and have been reading it. My comments in the last thread (above) I’ll try not to repeat here, other than to say that on page 100, MSC and BM tell RR to keep the $2.5m they promised him toward the buyout quiet because they hadn’t informed the Regents, and MSC tells RR and Rita, “if they find out, I’m toast.” And Martin chimes in “and so am I.”  And also to point out if you want more stuff, check out that last thread, especially the times I pop up in the comments to discuss what Lloyd did when RR arrived with respect to transfers, etc., and how that all shook out.

Continuing from my last post, this thing is a soap opera. The infighting, back-biting, and divisiveness in the A.D., football community, and administration is sobering and unfortunate, and it hasn’t gotten much better as the book progresses. There is also a ton of “cover your ass” stuff that the administration did where RR seemed to take the hit, but it wasn’t necessarily always his fault.  In today’s installment, much on the Freep Jihad, the NCAA, the Carr’s Camp vs. RR Camp rift, and more. . .

The 2008 Team, Denard and Tate’s Recruiting

RR and the players knew there were guys- seniors- who weren’t “all in.” RR understood this; he thought it was natural, as those were seniors and guys who had paid their dues, and then a new regime comes in, and they’re essentially starting over. RR was actually sympathetic to that.

On top of that, RR and the coaches saw what we all saw: they were incredibly young, and they could never get Threet to stop throwing off his back foot. He’d do it right in practice, but in the games, he’d get all flustered.

 They were recruiting Tate during this time. They were very, very excited about Tate, as well as Big Will. They thought Tate was exactly what they needed.

 Denard: they were recruiting him during this time, too. Interestingly, RR had always wanted DR as a QB, but wires crossed with Scott Shafer, who had been recruiting DR as a defensive back. (Pages 148-148). Shafer resigns, and it turns out that Shafer had wanted DR as a DB. Shafer had worked really hard to recruit Denard as a DB, but Denard was “adamant” that “I wasn’t coming to Michigan to play corner. He had already turned down Florida for the same reason and had explained as much to Shafer.”

So when Shavodrick Beaver jumped ship (right around the same time), Tony Gibson happened to be in Deerfield, FL recruiting Adrian Witty. While there, he checked in with Denard, and was surprised to learn Denard was still interested in U of M….but solely as a quarterback. Michigan then said they’d let him try QB, and Denard was ours.

The “Highest GPA in team History” thing

RR asked the academic folks what the highest GPA in school history was. They told him 2.60. The team set this as a goal, and got a 2.61.

Then, as part of the Jihad (more on that below), the Freep dug into that. It turns out that the academic people had given RR specious/not well-sourced info on the team’s best historical GPA. Rather than say this, U of M’s PR people drafted a press release where RR took the fall. RR balked at this; it wasn’t his screw-up. He had them change the release (this was one of the first times he put his foot down with the administration). They did. Then they released the earlier version, making RR the scapegoat.

The Free Press Jihad, NCAA Investigation, Compliance, etc

Well. A couple things: this whole thing, personally, really upset Rich Rod. The reason it did was because a.) they weren’t cheating, b.) there was clearly a leak and sources within the athletic department, c.) and most importantly, the idea that RR didn’t love his players, care about them, was trying to hurt them, etc. This is what tore him up. He shed tears over it a few times.

 Rosenberg v. Cook: Brian Cook’s showdown with him is recalled. If you remember, Brian went after him, personally, at the press conference following the hit piece, repeatedly asking “do you know what a countable hour is?” Rosenberg and Brian were both interviewed for the book, as was Craig Ross. Rosenberg remembers it as this crazy guy barking at him in the parking lot, screaming over and over “do you know what a countable hour is?” and Rosenberg responding, “who are you?” They went back and forth like that four or five times, Rosenberg stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Michael Rosenberg. Who are you?” and Craig Ross said “that’s Brian Cook.” Also, Rosenberg refused to talk to Brian, saying that Brian was “a competitor.”

Snyder: More direct quotes where he says about RR: “I can’t stand the guy.” Also: from page 183, Larry Foote, who was friends with Snyder, asked him, “why didn’t you ask me about RR?” because Foote knew RR well, trained with Barwis, etc. Snyder’s answer, quote: “I just don’t like the guy.”

Rosenberg, personally: Was really hurt by the backlash. Broke down over the Amazon.com stuff, saying how he’d poured 3 years of his life into that book, it was his life’s work, and to have it trashed like that on Amazon got to him.

 Other press vs. Rosenberg/Snyder: When Rosenberg and Snyder came in after the hit piece dropped, they had a spring in their step. This was when they went to the press conference. They were surprised to find that the other press members were at best, cold with them, and at worst, openly disgusted with the piece.

 Rosenberg, as we expected, never asked any players to find out if there was “another side” to the “OMG PRACTICING TOO MUCH” story. He didn’t do it. Bacon asks him about this in the book. Rosenberg is evasive. Also blames editors, saying that stuff was edited out.

 Chapter 15 deals with a lot of this. Rosenberg and Snyder asked Madej for “everything you have,” on a Friday night when they told him the story was coming out on Sunday. They said “we need Rodriguez, we need Martin, we need schedules. Tell us we’re wrong- anything you have.” Madej: “the problem is, they’ve been working on this for months, and you’ve got seven or eight hours to respond. That’s difficult.”

 When the meeting ended, Madej said, “you better be sure you’re not exaggerating.” Rosenberg, “We’re covered,” replying confidently.

Judy Van Horn immediately seized on the countable vs. non-countable hours aspect, as did everyone in the A.D. This was glossed over in the original Freep piece, not even mentioned, though Rosenberg says “of COURSE we knew the difference,” etc.

 Of note: Van Horn and Ann Vallano had even asked the NCAA whether stretching counts, taping, etc., and were never able to get a straight answer/interpretation of the rule. They (U of M) interpreted it like everyone else, then: that stretching didn’t count.

 Also: former players say that we weren’t doing anything different, time-wise, from under LC. Things like “Torture Tuesdays,” where kids who skipped class were punished.

 Also, the Freep piece really shook the players up because of the fact that there had to be sources inside the program; the continuity and togetherness was naturally shaken by this. But RR made sure no one blamed Hawthorne or Stokes, telling the team that those kids were part of the family, they'd been tricked, and that no one should be messing with them, etc. And the team didn't shun them; they understood that it was all bullshit.

 CARA

 Van Horn now feels like she was “snowed.” Labadie told compliance numerous times that he would bring the forms, but in the end, he was negligent, lying, or both. Van Horn brought in auditors to try to get his ass in gear. Didn’t help. That audit resulted in a finding against the football program a few weeks before the Freep piece. Coincidence? No. It’s clear someone leaked it to the Freep.

Infighting

RR got fed up with all of the bullshit, and all of the drama. “They told me in the interview: You get to Michigan, and you’re gonna be surrounded by great people who are gonna support you. Really? Where are they? I want to talk to the Regents, directly, and tell them what’s going on here….People who support our program only hear about the bullshit these guys (Freep, saboteurs) are making up.” (p. 166).

 Also, and again: there were leaks in the athletic department. Bacon seems to be almost certain it was Carr loyalists. There was a very strong faction in the AD that was pissed that English didn’t get the job. English himself was pissed. He refused to actually say anything to RR after we beat them, just shook his hand. RR doesn’t appreciate this. He also doesn’t appreciate apparently this James Stapleton business. Stapleton is a wealthy guy, former U of M fb player, apparently one of those guys who has a lot of pull behind the scenes. He is a regent at Eastern; a big English supporter. The rumors got so bad that he, Stapleton, sent a fax to Bill Martin, LC, and RR, basically saying “I’m not the source of the sabotage! I didn’t collaborate with Rosenberg.” Stapleton and Rosenberg are friends.

Stapleton was also close with Denise Illitch, who as early as 2009, openly referred to RR as “Dead Man Walking.” Classy, Regent. Classy. RR was very pissed that Stapleton had a sideline pass; he got it from Illitch, who was a Regent. RR was pretty convinced (as is Bacon) that Stapleton was part of this group of people who were English/Carr loyalists and were actively undermining the program.

Tate

Comes across as petulant, immature, etc. RR was hard on him, and got pissed off at him because Tate never improved, which RR thought was due to a lack of diligence. Tate never watched film (at least through 2009 season’s end) and Denard didn’t really either. RR didn’t like this. The problem was, with the Freep thing hanging over their heads, it was hard for RR and the players, because they were all scared shitless of over-practicing, over-preparing, etc. But yeah, Tate’s demeanor was an issue.

RR, LC, BM Summit in 2009

This was fascinating. Martin was either forced out after the issue with the student security guard who wouldn’t let him into MSC’s box (as many think happened; 2 days later, the University announces Martin’s retirement; it was the 2nd such incident) or it was just a coincidence (as Martin maintains). Regardless, the day after his retirement was announced, Martin went to a pre-scheduled lunch with RR and LC. It was chilly.

 This was the first time Lloyd had really spoken to RR since the phone call in December 2007 when Lloyd had sold RR on coming to Michigan. I’ll reproduce the account of this conversation; ellipses are where I’ve cut things out for brevity:

After the chilly pleasantries were dispensed with, Carr sent the first volley: “Tell the people in your camp to quit attacking me in the press,” he said, as Rodriguez remembered it a couple hours later. The catalyst for this was undoubtedly Rick Leach’s public lambasting of Carr. . . for sitting with Iowa’s coaches and dignitaries—people Carr had known for years—in an Iowa stadium luxury box…”

 

“I don’t have a camp,” Rodriguez replied, “and whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it on their own. Rick Leach speaks for himself.”

 

Rodriguez ticked off all the reasons Carr shouldn’t feel threatened…What Michigan football needed now, Rodriguez said [to Carr ] was Carr’s unambiguous support. “When the Free Press came out with this story….we could have used you speaking up.”

 

Carr said nothing.

 

“You’re either all in or you’re not,” Rodriguez continued. “You’re either inside the Michigan family or you’re not.” But the closest he came to accusing Carr of anything more than silence was this: “Somebody inside the department is talking to the press and doing us harm.”

 

The suggestion was that, if there were moles in the department, Carr most likely knew who they were, and Rodriguez would appreciate it if Carr told them to knock it off. As Rodriguez recalled, Carr remained silent at that, too.

Pp. 235-236.

Alright, all, I gotta go- tailgating for the NW game. But wanted to get this out there for people to digest.

Comments

Section 1

October 9th, 2011 at 4:08 PM ^

03Blue 07 is getting it all right.  He is spot-on in his appraisals.

I've now spent about 30 hours with my own copy of the book, including a few hours to go up to Ryan Field last night.

I'll do my own Diary on this, not wanting to step on 03 Blue 07's Diary with one of my own.

I say to you all; you are getting a very fair and carfeul summary of the book in here.  I won't repeat the summary.  Buy the book.  ASAP.

Michichick

October 9th, 2011 at 5:24 PM ^

Last year, Carr was on the The Huge Show on WTKA was asked, "Do you support Rich Rodriguez?". Carr answered that he was tired of answering that question and "Of course I support the program."  He never once said he supported Rich Rodriguez.

I've lost a lot of respect for Carr over the past three years for things I've heard that are now coming out in this book. What a sordid and embarrassing chapter in our school's history.

wildbackdunesman

October 13th, 2011 at 6:27 AM ^

I brought this up at the time and will do it again.  Before this story was printed, Rosenberg on the air said that he wanted Rod fired (the Huge Show).  After the story came out, "Huge" asked him if it was appropriate for him to have written this and shouldn't someone else have written the piece after publicly stating that he wanted Rod fired - for the sake of being impartial.  Rosenberg said that he supposed that someone else should have written the article.

"Huge" then went on to ask him how many of the players used to provide anonymous quotes were still on the team.  Rosenberg replied that he couldn't give a guess even after "Huge" prodded him to make a guess.  Rosenberg, in the article of his career right after it was written - couldn't remember how many players used for the article were still on the team.  BS.  I believe Rosenberg said he used 6 players...2 were Freshman who then said they were ambushed...so of the remaining 4 anonymous players Rosenberg couldn't even guess how many of those were on the team still...leading "Huge" to conclude that all of the other 4 players had transferred and so ROsenberg ambushed the 2 Freshman.

Truth be told, I am glad Rosenberg was hurt by the backlash...actions have consequences and his selfishness hurt his alma mater and made life hell for the entire coaching staff, players, and even difficult for thousands of fans.  He really should have been fired.

Section 1

October 13th, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

But I just love beating up Rosenberg with technical and undisputable stuff.

Rosenberg has fiercely tried to keep his sources anonymous.  Part of that is ordinary journalism ethics and s.o.p.  For instance, Rosenberg won't admit that Toney Clemons was one of his sources, even after Clemons outed himself.

But there are so many problems with what he did.  There's no explanation why former Michigan players would have to fear "retribution from coaches" as the article originally claimed.  I called Rosenberg on this, and he admitted that he should have said something like "general retribution."  Huh?  "Retribution" from whom?  Rosenberg vaguely claims that even other coaches, NFL scouts and coaches, etc. might no like a rat, so to speak.

But that does little to truly explain Rosenberg.  Why did they name the two then-current freshmen, Stokes and Hawthorne?  I questioned Rosenberg about that one.  Did they decline anonymity after it was offered to them?  Did they even know what the story was about?  Does it make the slightest bit of sense that somebody like a Boren or a Mallett or a Clemons would demand anonymity (Clemons said he NEVER demanded anonymity) while two current freshmen would not?  What happened to fearing "retribution."***

This is such a garbage pit of mas failure for Rosenberg and Snyder.  I hope this book haunts their entire careers.  I'd like to make that happen.

***I want to note that in at least one place in the book, John U. Bacon explicitly grants anonymity to one of his sources, a journalist who knows Rosenberg, who demanded anonymity based on a fear of professional retribution.  I hope Bacon gets asked about that, so that we can compare his answer, and the detail thereof, to Rosenberg.  Remembering that Rosenberg's ONLY sources for his story had been anonymous players.  (Forget Stokes and Hawthorne; they disowned their quotes as having been taken completely out of context, and they were substantially supported in that regard by none other than Angelique Chengelis, who witnessed their interviews herself.