Ominous (telling?) David Brandon quote in Rittenberg coverage of Defensive Staff Rumors

Submitted by maizenbluenc on November 1st, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Rittenberg posts Rich's statement that the rumors about defensive staff changes are false. He also includes this quote from David Brandon:

Athletic director Dave Brandon isn't ready to share his thoughts on the Rodriguez-led program that has won just four of 20 conference games and 13 of 32 overall.

"I'll comment on the state of the program after the season," Brandon said Monday morning. "I know the coaches and the players are working hard to get better."

That does not sound like "Rich will be here for a long time" ... It sounds like there is a crack in the steadfast support. (Rich didn't look too comfortable Saturday night either.)



November 1st, 2010 at 6:17 PM ^

meh.  i think that's similar to what he's been saying all year: "i want to evaluate improvement, not just wins"; "i'll evaluate everything at the end of the year", etc.  doesn't seem telling to me.


November 1st, 2010 at 6:21 PM ^

I think Brandon is trying to leave it open just in case we lose all of our remaining games, then he would have to address the fact that we aren't getting better.


November 1st, 2010 at 6:23 PM ^

I do read this as something less supportive of RR than prior statements.  In fact, I recall the ND athletic director making almost the exact statement with two weeks to go last season when asked about Weis.  At the same time, the problem with such an over-analyasis of a single short statement, is that you don't know the context so it is impossible to know what was really said.

Brandon is a smart guy, and he will not be tippingthe media one way or the other as to what he is thinking with our coaching situation.

Here's how I take his comments:  Obviously, he knows that his coach is under fire.  He is also aware that the program is struggling mightly, that at least a portion of the fanbase (a growing portion) is displeased with the program and blaming the coach for it.  He know that Michigan is not winning B10 games.  He knows that at best we are probably looking at the Insight Bowl.  He knows that the NCAA violations thing is still looming. 

It would be unrealistic of him to come out and say "RR will 100% be here next year."  He is too smart of a guy for such a definitive statement.  He knows that a lot could happen between now and Nov. 27.  So, all that he said is that he will not be commenting at this point.  I still believe that he supports RR, but at the same time, he knows that he might need to make a change for any of a host of different reasons. 


November 1st, 2010 at 6:24 PM ^

I may be reading too much into this, but I did notice RR's body language was a bit more strained than usual. And it was not only, "I am angry/nervous/worried because we are losing this game," but maybe a bit of, "I was made aware or already know that I must win this game, and I'm not, and this could be the straw that broke the camels back, so fuck, let me pump up the defense and pray."


November 1st, 2010 at 6:30 PM ^

Interesting observation.  Two of the people watching the game with me said the exact same thing.  I didn't see it at first, but then once it was pointed out to me, I was watching RR and I noticed the same thing. 


November 1st, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Is the most important game on the schedule. If we can't beat Penn state might as well throw in the towel and fire RR now!
<br>Why would anyone do that. He'll just RR at the end of the season you explicative!


November 1st, 2010 at 7:05 PM ^

Like I said, just an observation.  I don't think that I implied that RR would be fired this week or at the end of season. But he seemed extra flustered, right? Now this could merely be due to the play on the field, but Brandon has to know, as anyone watching the games does, that we aren't beating anyone worth a shit, and Penn State was a winnable game and an important game as far as making the record more respectable and a better argument against the naysayers for keeping RR - because many of them value Win Loss records over, say, improvement. Now the team is probably looking at 6-6 with a Purdue win and that Penn State game looms huge at the end of the season.  Note:  We all want them to win every game, and saying this I know is premature but I am taking the numbers - i.e, Mathlete 6.5 wins - into consideration.  So RR feels intense pressure to win that game, whether it is implied or otherwise by controlling forces, and he knows, and Brandon knows, that a Penn state loss could ultimately equal a .500 record and thus the hot seat increases its temperature. 

So Bouje go ahead and attack me over this comment, I wouldn't expect anything less.  You are always so elegant with your arguments.  I just think it is a little bananas.

Blue in sec country

November 1st, 2010 at 6:37 PM ^

Are you sure it wasn't that he's tired of losing to teams he knows we are better than? I have a hard time holding it together while I watch some of the mistakes I can't imagine what he feels like, especially if they aren't making the same mistakes in practice. His Monday presser didn't seem any different than usual. I think Dave Brandon being so close to the program works in Richrods favor.


November 1st, 2010 at 7:19 PM ^

it was a somewhat defense of RR..  You know they worked their ass off to teach these kids wk in and wk out one what they should be doing, but watching every game this year even when we win he is still pissed A LOT.


I haven't heard him say once we executed everything on offense.   He has to be so frustrated with so many young kids on offense/defense is what i was getting at.


November 1st, 2010 at 6:26 PM ^

Keeping his options open, unfortunately because we have lost 3 in a row.   I think Brandon wants to keep Rodriquez but Rich isn't making it easy.


November 1st, 2010 at 6:28 PM ^

heck did I bite on this post?  Dave Brandon is obligated by virtue of his posistion as the Head Pimp Who am in Charge to say exactly what's needed to be said.  Evaluate each season at the end of that season.

Unlike myself I'm a self appointed message board Athletic Director I can say any old stupid thing that comes to mind and it has no consequense what so ever.  other than piss off other posters.  Like I said no consequenses.


November 1st, 2010 at 7:38 PM ^

It's about as emotionally detached a statement as he could make.  I find it hard to believe, if he hadn't already made up his mind on Rodriguez, that he wouldn't have found something more positive to say than the coaches are all working hard.  I don't have every one of Brandon's comments to refer to here but memory says that he has been much more generous in his support or at least defensive previously.  Back in August he said:

"This crap about what's the record got to be?," said Brandon. "It reduces those decisions to something so simplistic, it's almost insulting."

He later explained, "You get a variety of inputs to measure the health of that program and the leadership that program is receiving and, based on a variety of inputs, you make decisions. That's what I do and anybody in my job does. But it isn't this, 'If you're 7-5 ... .' That's nonsense."



November 1st, 2010 at 8:22 PM ^

And before, everyone was interpreting it as positive. It means if the program is going in the right direction, the record doesn't matter. But likewise, if it's NOT going in the right direction, record doesn't matter. But then everyone was "YEAH, he's backing Rich no matter what", and now it's all "oh oh, he's turning".


November 1st, 2010 at 6:36 PM ^

Men in DB's position don't back themselves into a corner they leave room for options. I'm sure he does not want to have to fire anyone but unlike a fan he has to keep a level head and look at the program when the season is done, there are still 4 or 5 games left to look at before he makes a judgment.

Section 1

November 1st, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

...are instructive.

The Russians never come right out and say it when somebody is going to be fired.  Take this photo:

As you can see, General Smirnoff is standing to the left of Premier Kissoff.  And the President of the Supreme Soviet, Yuri Fukhov, is behind Kissoff.  Now what this means is that Admiral Popov will be fired, or executed, because Field Marshall Stolichnaya is no longer in the picture at all.   

Hope this helped.  Have a nice day, comrades.


November 1st, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

The only improvment that's been occuring is the offense.  The defense, since 2008, has steadily gotten worst.  I am pretty sure that's cause for Brandon to tell Rod "find a new defensive staff or else I will."


Brandon, being the CEO type, is probably fuming knowing that those defensive assistants are making so much yet are showing anything with their product.

Ben from SF

November 1st, 2010 at 6:44 PM ^

Rodriguez's contract has a $4M severance package if he gets fired during the first three years of his contract.  The buyout drops to $2.5M after the start of year 4.  Rodriguez's came to Michigan in December of 2007, so the start of year 4 will be on December of 2010.

I don't know the exact language of the contract between Rodriguez and Michigan.  However, I would suggest that Brandon will keep his comments neutral until December at the earliest so that Michigan will not be on the hook for $4M.  He probably doesn't want to give any fuel to Rodriguez's attorney to sue Michigan for $4M should a firing occurs.

For all the attorneys on the board, please elaborate.  Am I offbase here?


November 1st, 2010 at 7:02 PM ^

it's much easier to interpret DB's statement as "I'm f*cking pissed off but I can't say anything about it right now" than "Stay the course, gentlemen, everything's going to be all right."


November 1st, 2010 at 7:04 PM ^

It would be cool to hear him asked: Do you believe based on your observation that this team is getting better?

That answer might be telling.

The guys who think this last 4 games is about Brandon privately hoping Rich gives him something to justify continuing this direction might be right. If so, that tells us that these last 4 games are very important and that Rich hasn't done so yet.

Wouldn't the weight of it with recruiting favor making a positive announcement now if results justified it? 

Tha Stunna

November 1st, 2010 at 7:11 PM ^

This analysis is completely pointless... Dave Brandon is not an idiot and he will fire RR at a logical time if necessary.  Unless you're worried about RR being fired midseason (which would be incredibly stupid) or greg robinson (less stupid, but still wrong), there's no value whatsoever in overanalyzing one remark.


November 1st, 2010 at 7:57 PM ^

A friend of mine just called to tell me that Dave Brandon has ordered a large deep dish pizza from Pizza Hut tonight for dinner.
<br>This can't be a good sign for RR.

gnarles woodson

November 1st, 2010 at 8:09 PM ^


"This crap about what's the record got to be?," said Brandon. "It reduces those decisions to something so simplistic, it's almost insulting."

He later explained, "You get a variety of inputs to measure the health of that program and the leadership that program is receiving and, based on a variety of inputs, you make decisions. That's what I do and anybody in my job does. But it isn't this, 'If you're 7-5 ... .' That's nonsense."


This comment also goes towards a 9-3 record.  Rich Rod is on his way out....BELIEVE IT!


November 1st, 2010 at 8:34 PM ^

The RR era can't end this year for a number of reasons. Agreed the season seemed to end at week 5 but the UM talk in the national media was relentless and that is always good. DR is key and a new coach kills next year, face it,  and likely 2012 and an embarrasing Alabama opening in Texas. Name another spread coach that could take his place with this personnel? Who would replace the current system with a conventional Big10 offense with DR at the helm?

Defense changes? Better be but as always after the season. Can't kill the recruiting this late in the year.



November 1st, 2010 at 8:48 PM ^

1.  Getting the coaching fixed is more important than a few high school kids' decisions.  Most of the time, it doesn't torpedo recruiting, anyway.

2.  If we limp to the end of the season, Brandon may have to let RR go for financial reasons.  He'll almost certainly be hearing it from major donors/Victors Club members, as well as regular season-ticketholders.  The 100K streak isn't guaranteed to go on forever, especially if fans feel like there is no progress being made.

Ben from SF

November 1st, 2010 at 8:43 PM ^

... as stipulated by his contract.  Brandon can only make suggestions.

RR is not going to flush the relationship down the pipes if Brandon tells him that GERG needs to go.  However, I would suggest that our defense will continue to be dysfunctional until the RR / (Insert D-Coordinator here) / Tony Gibson dynamic is replaced.  Brandon needs to take away the coaching staff control if he is serious about retaining RR.


November 1st, 2010 at 8:45 PM ^

is the AD. He's a lot smarter than any of us. He'll do whats right. He will not let us become another ND. He gives Rodriguez another year...thats just my opinion of course.