CC: Newsflash, Rosenberg makes sense. (Stay away CC post bashers)

Submitted by wolverine1987 on December 10th, 2010 at 9:23 AM

I've been as critical of him as anyone here, but Rosenberg IMO makes sense in today's article.  Basically, his point is that waiting until January doesn't make any sense unless you are planning to fire RR. Otherwise why make him and his assistants twist in the wind? 

"You can make a reasonable argument for keeping Rodriguez. He has coached only three years, his offense is working, his record got better every year, etc. But you cannot make a reasonable argument for dangling him over the edge of a cliff for five weeks, then keeping him. There is a reason nobody else in college sports operates this way. Even if the plan is to keep Rodriguez and make changes to the coaching staff, it makes much more sense to announce now that Rodriguez will be back.

Brandon is a smart man. And when a smart person does a seemingly stupid thing, you have to look at it from every angle to see what you're missing. No matter how I look at this, only one thing makes sense:

Brandon has decided to fire Rodriguez."

He may be dead wrong, as he's been many many times before, but this makes sense to me.


James Burrill Angell

December 10th, 2010 at 10:52 AM ^

Bad article by Rosenberg (big surprise). I think its abundantly clear what's going on and the reality is, the media just doesn't like it.

Clearly Brandon is weighing/talking to other options before he decides to bring back RR. Who those options are and what Brandon thinks is "better" are pure speculation to anyone but him so we can all complain, post, write articles, blah blah blah until we turn purple but it doesn't matter.

We obviously would be foolish to assume he's just going to bring RR back otherwise he would have come out and said as much. At this point, there is something else out there (perhaps James Joseph of Stanford fame) that has piqued Brandon's interest and to date said option has not said no.  Clearly in Brandon's mind the current limbo and damage its doing, which, likely is only to recruiting in the limited term of this year, is outweighed by the long term gain. Further, if there was ever a year we could sustain a little recruiting damage, this is likely it considering how few people are graduatiing. Obvjously we need players and upgrades, BUT if you HAD to take a hit, wouldn't you want to do it in a year with all but four starters returning and you get back another former starter from injury?

As to your assertion that its essentially a foregone conclusion that RR is being fired, I say fooey. RR is clearly an insurance policy if whatever this other option Brandon is chasing can't be worked out by January. I know people don't like it said that way, but thats the only logical explanation.

Rosenberg is being douchey. He's just continuing his anti-RR jihad and the point of the article is not logical.


December 10th, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

RR is clearly an insurance policy if whatever this other option Brandon is chasing can't be worked out by January. I know people don't like it said that way, but thats the only logical explanation.

I agree that this analysis is the most likely scenario.  If Brandon had decided to keep RR he probably would have announced it because (1) it would be better for recruiting than uncertainty, (2) it would show him to be a decisive CEO type (Brandon is clearly possessed of a non-zero vanity),  (3) it would keep the assistants focused on the task at hand instead of scrambling for their next jobs, (4) there is more than a non-zero chance RR can be successful, notwithstanding his disappointing (other words also come to mind) showing to date, and (5) it would give him and his talent scouts a full year to find another Tressel in the small schools (something Martin should have begun doing in 2005, despite LC's hope that one of his assistants would succeed him).  But DB knows a lot of alumni are very unhappy and he is a little concerned that one more year might do lasting damage to what he so felicitously calls "the brand," so if he can get a definite crowd pleaser like Harbaugh, he leaves it open.  Thus, RR's job is hanging by a thread, but the DB won't cut that thread without someone to replace him.  DB is Lincoln to RR's McClellan.

Some people think DB is actually using the time to reflect and to think.  I am not one of them.  He is likely either using the time to find out if he can get the sexy choice in January or he is unwilling not to fire RR if the Gator Bowl is another embarrassment.  As for the second, I don't buy that, because if Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State weren't embarrassment enough, a debacle at the Gator Bowl won't be either.

If DB hasn't yet decided on a course of action, even this waffling one, he's not the right man for the job.


December 10th, 2010 at 11:50 AM ^

and I think the ultimatum went to Rich before the Penn State game, thus Rich's horrified looks during the game. I also think Rich climbed back to "insurance Policy" status with his wins over Illinois and Purdue. If those hadn't happened, he'd be fired already.

So Rich either gets a lifeline because Jimmy won't leave his million dollar bathroom, or new restroom facilities will be installed in Schembechler hall in January.

Either way, Go Blue!


December 10th, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

for why the most likely scenario is that RR is back only as a plan B or a plan C.  Brandon knows this team could easily have been 6-6 or 5-7 (or for that matter 4-8) -- there were three games that could have gone either way.  [Ironically if the ball had bounced better in 09, the team could have been 8-4 or even 9-3.]   To think that the result of a Mississippi State game is going to make a difference is just not logical.  When Michigan lost to Nebraska in 05, did it haunt you all offseason.  Of course not.  Either Brandon has already picked (and hired) the next coach, or he's waiting for his choice to decide.  At best, Rodriguez' future is in another coach's hands.  And, FWIW, I tend to agree with Rosenberg that waiting to January is doing a disservice to a number of folks.  Aside from Rodriguez, who will get millions either way, there are assistant coaches, who work 16 hour days for a lot less than Rodriguez and may be without a job come January.  They're forced to stand with Rodriguez, jump ship, or hope there are still job openings in January.

Robbie Moore

December 10th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

Harbaugh is the hot ticket. He won't sign an extension w/ Stanford, he won't tell Brandon yes or no. Why, because all the potential bidders (can you say Denver Broncos...San Francisco 49'ers??) have not yet placed their offers on the table. So Brandon is forced into a holding pattern. I presume he is spending his enforced waiting time looking at other potential coaching candidates.  And so, on January 2 he will have to act.  He'll ask Harbaugh for a yes and if he doesn't get it he either chooses another candidate or, if he thinks nobody out there is as good as Rodriguez, he signs Rodriguez to an extension. Why an extension?  Because without it we go through all this uncertainty and turbulence again next year. January 2 is the day Brandon has to make a commitment to somebody.


December 10th, 2010 at 3:30 PM ^

An extension will not quiet discussion of RR's job security, only results on the field will.  Even if RR is given a new contract, his performance will be evaluated at the end of next season as well, and if it doesn't meet expectations, I would expect he would be let go at that point.  It might buy him wiggle room for next year (security at 8 wins?), but if the season goes poorly, his job will surely be just as much on the line one year from today as it is today.


December 10th, 2010 at 9:44 PM ^

Singletary has worn out his welcome and the Bay Area  would likely cheer his hiring but the 49rs are not a good gig now. They aren't quite Cleveland or Detroit, in that there are several living people who remember when they were good, but all that means is that fans expect more of you as a coach.


December 10th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

While I feel sorry for RIch and his family, and his staff's families, and the team with the limbo, he's not meeting all his metrics [to put it in business terms], and the stakeholders are unhappy with the results. So Rich needs to do what he can in the interim to make sure if he gets the lifeline, he's ready to fix the performance issues, and even if he doesn't, he'll be a viable candidate somewhere else.

Besides, he makes a lot of money, and will get a lot if he's let go. Don't feel sorry for guys with parachutes ...

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 12:09 PM ^

Really; how much reporting on the signifcant, relevant "metrics" do you see in the newspapers, and hear about on the radio?

They aren't reporting any metrics at all.  The metrics get reported at MGoBlog in painstaking detail by our blog-host and his capable helpers.  Not at the Free Press.  Here at MGoBlog, where the most fanatical and critical supporters are parsing the greatest amount of data, the vast majority supports Rich Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, over at the Free Press, and on the radio, they are obsessing about things like Josh Groban and some biblical references from Coach Rodriguez.  (In all of this, I remain slightly uncomfortable about the seeming dissatisfaction on the part of critics related to "bliblical passages" being quoted by Rodriguez.  I have the strong feeling that for a lot of Michigan football players and assistant coaches -- the guys who, uh, do all of the hard work in the Michigan football program -- those passages have enormous meaning.  And that for sportswriters who spend their Sunday mornings getting coffee and danish in the press reception area at Ford Field, those passages are like a weird foreign language.)

The Free Press hasn't been making a quantitative argument against Rich Rodriguez.  They've been making a qualitative, ad hominem, and remarkably falsified argument against Rich Rodriguez.


December 10th, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

The only metrics I've seen them use is total W-L and Big 10 W-L.  They do not even break them out to show season by season.  They aggregate them to paint a less than optimal picture of the program and use it as the only arguement.  They totally disregard progress and future potential. 


December 10th, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

I respectfully disagree. Wins and losses certainly matter, but in my mind, and I know others, they're not as important as fielding a team that represents the University in a positive light without the undercurrent of serious NCAA violations and/or shady recruiting practices. I would not trade places with Auburn at the moment.

Considering the Freep debacle to be a hatchet job (and I do) I think Rich has done an admirable job maintaining a tradition of keeping the program stocked with guys who are good citizens and fun to cheer. I understand that every program has a few bad apples, but you need only look up at East Lansing to see a program that places wins over conduct. I wouldn't want to be a part of that either.

I will not be upset with a coaching change. And I will not be upset if Rich stays on. But to make a blanket statement that W/L records are the only that that matters is a little short-sighted.


December 10th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

Those other items you mentioned are important, but only as a baseline.  A coach should be expected to run a clean program with "good citizens," and should immediately be fired if he is not.  However, this is just the baseline that he can't fall below - not the final measure of his success.  That measure would be W/L record, assuming that he has met all those other requirements - a great guy running a clean program with good kids should be the absolute minimum expectations, and shouldn't even be weighed against performance.


December 10th, 2010 at 5:08 PM ^

How do you even measure that? Where do you draw lines? One player makes a poor extracurricular decision? Two?

I think the "how the job is done" is on a continuum just as much as the "what is done." I can't believe either is easy to measure. Certainly not as easy as W/L. What you are saying sounds great in a controlled environment, but in the present situation, its so much more complicated.

James Burrill Angell

December 10th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

In college football right and wrong are pretty much defined by wins and losses.

So maybe you could make a moral argument he shouldn't be left twisting in the wind. However, if he had more wins RR could be pulling the reverse on us and flirting with open coaching positions and then yoiu say its not fair to the school.

I think Rosenberg just wants SOMETHING to write about and Brandon is giving them nothing.

James Burrill Angell

December 10th, 2010 at 1:40 PM ^

I don't think that extension means jack. If it did he would have come out and signed it. If our illustrious leader of athletics is in fact chasing James, it'll be between us and the NFL.

As I've obnoxiously posted before, until I hear it from either James' or Brandon's mouth that James is not an option for us, he's clearly an option.


December 10th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

I don't think it is a sure thing that JH takes the job.  If it was, RR would already be gone and some assistant would be manning the helm for the bowl game.  Harbaugh may well have his eyes on the pros and it would not make sense for him to take the Michigan job if that is his aspiration.  In 3 weeks we will know a lot more.  Speculation at this point serves no purpose as we are unlikely to learn anything meaningful in December.

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 1:58 PM ^

seem so irrelevant these days.  I don't disagree; but three years ago, it seemed like the whole world was obsessed with the moral certitude surrounding Rich Rodriguez's WVU buyout clause.

Let's just agree, shall we, that buyout clauses are negotiated, and ultimately resolved in litigation, by teams of lawyers working on behalf of coaches and universities who are nothing more than clients who place the outcomes in the hands of those lawyers.

We'll see what happens with "Harbough."  But what we know from past experience was that the local press in Detroit and Morgantown went into a hysterical freakout over Rich Rodriguez's buyout clause, for little apparent reason.


December 10th, 2010 at 12:36 PM ^

As much as I hate to admit it, Rosenberg's explanation probably is the most likely . There are plausible (albeit, less likely ) alternative explanations: 

1. DB really wants to see what this team can do with a few weeks to get healthy and get coached up

2. DB believes it would be untenable to voice support for RR now from a public relations standpoint, but believes that a strong bowl performance might make it possibe.

3. DB wants to see what Harbaugh can do against a (somewhat) worthy opponent. Methinks that if the Oregon game had been later in the season, there would be less chatter.

My question is, if Rosenberg is right, why wouldn't RR ask for his walking papers now so that he can look elsewhere in time to find another gig? Would he be within his rights to do this, or is he basically held hostage by DB?


December 10th, 2010 at 12:39 PM ^

If Rich asks to be released from his contract, he will forfeit his buyout of $4m (allegedly $2.5m after Jan. 1).  He might also have to actually pay money to the school for him being the party who broke the contract.  Dave Brandon isn't holding Rich hostage, but the financial reality sure prevents Rich from walking prematurely.


December 10th, 2010 at 12:45 PM ^

Addressing your other points:

1. Waiting until the team is healthy really only gives a data point relevant to early season games and bowl games.  Teams don't stay healthy all year.  On top of that, we all know that Rich can win early season games - the question comes if the team can win when its NOT healthy, tired, and worn down.  The answer so far has generally been "no," and the bowl game will not address that issue at all - the season is not played with one month in between games to get healthy and coached up.

2. If Brandon is waiting in order to make retention more palatable to fans, he's taking an awful risk in waiting until after the bowl.  A debacle is still a possibility.  IMO, if Brandon wanted to wait for fans to calm down but still keep RR, he'd announce retention some time between now and Christmas.  Too soon, and he still has anger over the recent OSU loss.  Too late, and he looks like an idiot for announcing support for a coach, then watching him go out and potentially immediately lose in embarassing fashion.


December 10th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

the terminology "It is obvious" or "The only possible explanation" when it comes to the issue of why Brandon is waiting until after the bowl game.  As I have stated before, maybe we should take him at his word when he says that his policy is to wait until after the season is over (for football and every other sport).  And maybe the reason for waiting is so he isn't forced into making a decision or an announcement about some coach's status everytime some writer, talk show host, alumni or UM fan starts complaining about said coach.  You take the hit now and then when the situation comes up again you can say that I am going to do the same thing I did back in 2010 with RR, I am going to wait until the season is over and then complete my evaluation. 

Now it is possible, maybe even likely, that some other reason exist.  Maybe one of the scenarios mentioned turns out being correct.  My point is, just don't say that it is obvious or that it is the only possible reason.


December 10th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

There is a reason that a coach getting fired after a bowl game is a rare occurrence.  It pretty much kills recruiting for a year and damages the program more than an earlier change.  I would even think that if JH wants the Michigan job, he would want to make the move now rather than wait.  It isn't like Stanford is playing for anything.  Waiting makes no sense for RR or JH so I can only assume that Brandon doesn't know what he is doing and that this will end badly.  My confidence in DB is fading fast.


December 10th, 2010 at 5:23 PM ^

I'm not seeing how this helps the program, helps RR, JH or most importantly, the University. If Brandon doesn't have enough data points to draw on and make conclusions regarding RR's performance, we may be in trouble. Unless RR's performance goals have one or two items to check off before being concluded (e.g. Bowl win), I can't see a good reason (strictly from a performance evaluation perspective), to wait. What else is DB going to learn in the next 3-4 weeks?

Now... if DB is waiting to see how the bowl game turns out... doesn't it seem that the damage of waiting is far weightier than the value of knowing whether RR can beat MSU or not?

Coming from an HR guy, this just seems annoying. That said, I am truly hoping that on Jan 2, this all makes sense.


December 10th, 2010 at 9:13 PM ^

Brandon has consistently said he won't decide until after the season and he won't decide until after the season.  If he decides now, then the media, fans, others win and he doesn't.  If he waits, then everyone will realize he's in charge, isn't easily influenced, etc. 

It may be bad if Brandon decides to fire RichRod to do it this way in the short-term, but in the long-term it also shows coaches that the program is completely stable and helps coaches avoid distractions, at least in season...intense pressure can create a self-fulfilling prophecy and help contribute to losses.

Personally I think it is likely Brandon sends out a tweet and says, "RichRod stays.  Great Man.  Great Strides.  Great Program.  Easy Decision."  It shows the ridonkulousness of everyone's madness to downplay the decision and sets a good precedent for current and future recruits that this man is doing a good job and keeping him was never in question.

Of course, RichRod may get fired.  But I just stress that DB is going to do it his way to show he has control over decisions and no one else has any effect on him.  DB may make the decision Jan. 2, but he will even make sure he and Rich review tape first before telling Rich the decision.  And it will be absolutely consistent every year.

Hardware Sushi

December 10th, 2010 at 9:49 AM ^

Agree, Mike Rosenberg is just scraping the bottom of the barrel for material.

Dave Brandon has shut down all communication outside of those in his extremely close inner circle and the Freep is further from that circle than we are at MGo. Rosenberg is just pissed that he doesn't have anything to write about because a.) he can't stand RR and therefore doesn't want to write any positive human interest pieces between now and DB's decision, or b.) doesn't know anything about football x's and o's and therefore can't write any meaningful breakdowns of our actual play in which a JV high school player couldn't point out numerous flaws, or c.) he really isn't a good writer and can't come up with fresh stuff.

I'm not a CC post basher, it just doesn't make as much sense as the OP claims. I don't agree with the logic that it is the only plausible scenario for why DB is waiting until the end of the season. It just seems to me the OP was persuaded via emotion because there isn't much substance.

It could because DB is lining up a new head coach, sure. It could be because he is helping RR line up a new DC. It could be that he honestly is sticking to the system of evaluating his managers that has worked for him his entire career, and knowing Michigan is a destination job even if he offers in January to someone besides JH (although I don't think there are any other realistic candidates that cause a reason to get rid of RR and, full disclosure, I want to keep RR). I don't know and neither does Rosenberg; the difference is Rosenberg is grasping at straws.

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

To be sure, what he has written today is a "column," not an "article."  Rosenberg's not reporting anything, other than his opinion.  As I briefly read it in a print copy just a while ago, Rosenberg didn't interview anybody.  (Who, at Michigan, has talked to any Free Press reporter or columnist lately?  Other than standard press conferences?  Even in Drew Sharp's recent diatribes, I got the impression that Sharp was just standing around, with his customary dumass expression, listening as Brandon answered questions in the tunnel at Crisler for the Harvard game.)

Rosenberg didn't share one bit of new reportorial information.  This was, as he might be the first to admit, just his opinion as a columnist.  It was a content-free, information-free, column.

And where, we might ask, does Rosenberg stand on the issue of Rich Rodriguez, as a columnist?

This was Jon Chait's position, going back to September of 2009.  That Michael Rosenberg could play the role of investigative journalist under an editor's supervision.  Or he could be an opinion-writing columnist, which really is what he is, and was before Stretchgate.  He can't play both roles.  At least not within commonly understood journalism ethical guidelines.  Which the Free Press steamrollered more than a year ago.

The entire mechanism of the Free Press has now been exposed, as an organ that is consumed with defending its own disastrously flawed reporting from a year ago, and by extension, consumed with seeing to it that Rich Rodriguez, whom they despise, is fired, and replaced by Jim Harbaugh, with whom Rosenberg apparently enjoys special access.  (Witness the SI article from October.)  The same kind of "special access" that Mitch Albom enjoyed with Bo Schembechler, via co-authorship deals, and that Rosenberg himself enjoyed with Lloyd Carr.

To the extent that anyone thinks the Free Press has a "right" to publish whatever the fuck it wants, that of course is true.  To the extent that readers of the Free Press think that they are reading ethical journalists who are just covering a topic and not attempting to drive an outcome -- that is a joke.

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 11:20 AM ^

He writes:

You can make a reasonable argument for keeping Rodriguez. He has coached only three years, his offense is working, his record got better every year, etc.

Nice of Rosenberg, to have avoided saying, Well, he's doing a pretty good job, yada yada yada.

But what gets me about this, going back to August of 2009, was that the Freep's moral outrage -- going right up the chain of command to sports editor Gene Meyers who quietly presided over the debacle, to publisher Paul Anger who publicly and pointedly defended Rosenberg and Snyder, and attacked their critics -- was aimed squarely at Rodriguez over potential harm to the well being of student athletes and a competitive advantage to the team.

If that really were true, if the Free Press still stood by its original story, then I can't understand why Rosenberg would fake an argument that Rodriguez is still fit to be a coach, anywhere.  Rosenberg just can't keep a story straight.  It is all a matter of hit-and-run.  He must think that his readership's memory is as short and as bad as his own.

The fact is that a further investigation demolished the original Free Press allegations.  The falsity of the original reporting now seems to be no big deal to Rosenberg.  It had, after all, the desired effect.  Rosenberg's desired effect.


December 10th, 2010 at 11:31 AM ^

Before the crusade by the FREEP, I didn't know Rosenberg from a hole in the wall.  But, I think he may be hedging himself.  I said in your other thread, that he hasn't been bashing as much lately, although I don't read the FREEP or SI anymore.  I thought he may be softening his stance because guess what, there is a thought running through his head that Coach may be here next year and much longer. 

He is much smarter than Sharp and I think he knows that if Coach Rod makes it through these next few years, he may be here for a long time.  Let Sharp do the dirty work, he's hedging himself because either way he may come out looking ok. 


December 10th, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

 DB is a football guy (and a business man) who will do whatever he can to restore the glory of UM football.  He saw what Don C did.  I have seen this scenario many time in my business career where the VPs squirm when a new CEO is hired.  I believe DB has another candidate in the wings or is testing the waters.  RR is a hire he would not have made, but will keep him if he is the best he has until he gets someone better.

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 1:43 PM ^

David Brandon was NOT "a Regent who assisted in the [coaching] search."  I have it on excellent authority -- it is hardly disputed -- that Bill Martin enlisted the advice of a number of people in his coaching search.  David Brandon, who was at that time NOT a Regent, may have spoken with Martin.  There were a number of former players who did. 

What Martin faced at that time, and what any AD at Michigan faces, is that if he convenes any kind of a search panel, committee, etc., he must immediately deal with Open Meetings Act and public disclosure issues under Michigan law.  So Martin did what he did very, very informally.  Bill Martin doesn't have to disclose every conversation he had while AD.  But he, and now Brandon, do have to deal with FOIA, etc.


December 10th, 2010 at 1:59 PM ^

Thanks for clearing that up.  I always thought that DB had some say in the hire. 

Probably not the place for it, but does it seem like Sharp gets a pass from some, I repeat some people and Rosenberg gets roasted.  I know Rosenberg is the original atagonist, but I lumped them all together(Sharp, Rosenberg, and Snyder).

What is your view or what do other people think of this.

Section 1

December 10th, 2010 at 3:35 PM ^

My personal view is that the August 30, 2009 story was driven entirely by Mike Rosenberg, with only some assistance from Mark Snyder.

Mark Snyder, I feel, was not predisposed to do a hit-piece on Rich Rodriguez, but as with all of the Freep staff, he has dug in defensively for the long haul now.

Drew Sharp is just a waste of time.  He had nothing to do with the 2009 story.  Drew Sharpton's business is controversy, argument and controversialism.  Mostly, just for the sake of argument.  Can anybody remember the last time that Drew Sharpton wrote anything that didn't have pissing some people off as its purpose?  Seriously.  There are some really good sportswiters in the world; people who can weave together sporting history, and current reporting, and who have terrific literary skills.  Sharp has none of that.  The more time he spends bloviating on sportstalk radio, the dumber he seems to get.  And with good reason, obviously.  Now, of course, Sharp defends his Freep colleagues every chance he gets.  Even though he didn't do the original story, and doesn't even seem to be very well informed about it.

I called into Sharp at WDFN once and was put on the air, and challenged him about the 2009 story.  Just as one "for instance," I suggested that it was a grossly unfair angle, for Rosenberg and Snyder to have waited until the Friday before the Saturday on-line publication of the Sunday paper, to tell anybody about the story.  Having never interviewed anybody in Compliance Services, or anybody in the athletic department besides disgruntled "former players."  Sharp said I was wrong.  I wasn't wrong, I was right.  My version is confirmed by Rosenberg, and by Bruce Madej, who is the guy who took the call from the writers demanding the Friday meeting.  Sharp didn't know the real story; he just wanted to disagree with me.

It's just a small indication of the larger picture, of what a low-level bottom-feeder Drew Sharp is.

While they are both Free Press writers, Michael Rosenberg is getting regular commission work from Sports Illustrated, while Drew Sharp is on local AM sportstalk radio.  There's a difference.