Some Banter/Perspective From Former Players

Submitted by GetSumBlue on October 1st, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I am hesitant to post this, but I think it's a good perspective to see what some former players have to say about the reactions of the Michigan community. These are pulled from social media and I have left out names for obvious reasons.


"What people do not understand is that the players will take a bigger hit than any of the staff members. The transition wasn't easy from 2010-2011, but nobody outside of the program has a clue as to what we went through. I'm sure they couldn't care less as long as they can get stone drunk and brag to their buddies that "their" team won."

"The so called "fans" and students claim that they want to support the team and want what is best for the program. They are the same jack wagons posting articles and fb statuses portraying their "disgust" of the university. In the grand scheme of things they are hurting that team more than anything adding fuel to the media fire. If you truly want to support the team, shut your collective mouths. Show up to games and cheer not boo."




October 1st, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

under Hoke and Brandon is somehow good for the players because change is bad? Bullshit. Nobody saw this mentality from former players in Rich Rod's last year.


October 1st, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

There is little about sports that pisses me off more than players saying the role of fans is to just support since they can't possibly understand what its like to "actually" be part of the program.  Fuck that.  The program wouldn't exist without the players but it also doesn't exist without fans, both sides get a say and neither gets to tell the other one how they should react.  If I want to boo so that the coaches know they suck I'm going to boo, they can deal with it or swtich careers.  (I don't advocate booing college players, pro athletes can shut the hell up about it).

However having said all of that, while its a popular refrain here that Brandon only cares about money it is pretty clearly untrue.  He has spent millions of dollars and a lot of time working to improve every non revenue sport at Michigan.  Non revenue sport players love him because they have received mored support than ever before, that is the opposite of focusing on money.  He may be attempting to ring every dollar out of Michigan football in order to subsidize it but that isn't caring about just the dollar, its trying to take advantage of your best assest to improve the none money making aspects, people who only support football don't like that because they don't care about an indoor rowing facility but the women on the rowing team, who are also the responsibility of the AD appreciate it a lot.  Brandon still needs to go, but it isn't because he doesn't care about Michigan or the student athletes under his department.



October 1st, 2014 at 3:40 PM ^

When you boo after a timeout call, or as the punt team is running on the field or as they go to huddle down 3 scores in the second half or call a draw on 2nd and 17 down in the second half.  Those things clearly have nothing to do with the players and they know it.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:43 AM ^

Your comment is a bit in jest..but I think there is alot of truth in it. Brandon has seemed to really alienate the fans. But as for the athletes themselves, there has been a huge improvement in facilities and a much increased effort in promoting non revenue sports. He has many "stakeholders" to answer to but I think its very clear that while he has failed in serving the fans, there is much more support from the student athletes themselves. This isnt too surprising I guess..the money from higher season ticket prices allows for the new field hockey locker rooms and field. Those players see new state of the art facilities compared to many of their opponents and credit that to the athletic department.

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October 1st, 2014 at 11:44 AM ^

This is the problem.  Loving the teams and players does not make you a good AD.  Having a passion does not make you a good AD.  They are all great qualities, but there's a lot more to do as an AD.  And Dave Brandon is pretty terrible at everything else than loving Michigan.  He is also very good at hating students and alumni apparently.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:14 AM ^

do nothing. That's how so many positive changes are made in this country...

Fans should still be supporting the players and they are. However, students, alumni, and fans can't just sit idly by and watch things crumble. Positive change is needed for Michigan right now and that doesn't get done if everyone acts like everything is A OK. 


October 1st, 2014 at 11:17 AM ^

I agree with some of that statement.

But refusing to make a change at this point says we as fans will settle for an AD that only cares about money and a football team that has progressively gotten worse as Hoke's tenure has gone on. That's not even making mention of the current debacle.

Will another transition hurt the players? Yes it will, and that sucks. But there's a bigger picture to consider.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

Sometimes people closest to a situation do not actually have the best view of the situation. Its their closeness that blinds them to reality. So I'm not sure the former players (many who were delighted to see Rich Rodriguez get canned and a Michigan Man hired) are the people to go to in this situation. 



October 1st, 2014 at 11:20 AM ^

Guh.  Maybe the former players need to shut their mouths.  I find it very disheartening that former players are so completely dismissive of their fellow students's and alum's experiences.  The 100,000+ people watching you play don't just magically show up.  It's real human beings investing their time, hard earned money, and emotion into people they don't even know.  But they continue to do it because they like the experience.  And when the AD errodes that experience so litte joy can be taken from it, what are they just supposed to do?  Former players: you aren't the only ones who want to find something rewarding from UM athletics.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^

They can speak up, but their perspective is skewed and its pretty obvious given the show of support for this coach as opposed to the last coach. 

We're at the same point Rodriguez was at, except at least there we had some hope that a good DC + improving offense would lead to success. With Hoke, we've got plenty of returning guys, coordinators with pedigree paid huge sums of money and until this week, a coach who had the full support of his athletic department. 

Yet for some reason, Hoke failing miserably doesn't mean he should be fired, it means he should get more time. Why? Because to most of the former players who have spoken out, this isn't about Michigan football improving or the Athletic Department improving, its about circling the wagons around the guy they wanted after they cheered the last guy out of town. 


October 1st, 2014 at 2:04 PM ^

While it's fun to say the program was on an uspwing with rich rod I think people are still forgetting that hokes worst year (so far) is still as good as rich rods best.  I think we need to get rid of hoke and brandon but I'm pretty tired of seeing this revisionist history that rich rod was about to take the program to soaring new heights when nothing in his 3 years here showed he was capable of beating a good team.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

Completely disagree.  It's a symbiotic relationship.  There can be no big spectator sports without the players, nor without the fans.  The fans are the ones that supply the money so these kind of spectator sports can exist; they are the ones that pass loyalty on to their children and grandchildren.  They should have voice as well, and it should not be dismissed by anyone as irrelevent.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:31 AM ^

I don't think former players should shut their mouths, but I don't understand why you'd think they are the only ones whose opinions about these issues matter. I live in flyover country, far away from Michigan, and still have had numerous people make comments to me about "what's going on at Michigan." These issues affect all of us who are connected to the university in some way, even if its somewhat less significant compared to the former players.


October 1st, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

If this was D-3 and there were no scholarhips or big budgets to support the players or any of the trappings of "big time" athletics, the players should be the dominant voice.  

When the entire endeavour is based upon massive amounts of money supporting everything, the fans that are paying ever increasing prices have an ever louder voice in the decision making. 

15 years ago when tickets were far cheaper, 3 or 4 loss seasons weren't a fireable offense. The fans still had something where the value exceeded the cost.

Under DB, the pricing has pushed the cost to greater than the value the fans receive. We have a right to complain. The season ticket waitlist is gone. We witness tickets that cost $75+some percentage of the PSL that might be $600 annually, being given away for $3 worth of Coke products.  Going to a Michigan game used to be something where without thinking you would take your young kid that may lose interest after half time or fall asleep, or just bring one of his friends along and not think about the $45 ticket you were giving away and the $4 sodas or $2.50 hot dogs. Now there is real financial consequences to deciding to go to a game.  

I really dislike that these player opinions are being posted here. Their perspective and experiences are real, but very different from the fans / season ticket holders.  And getting angry fans reading and replying to the players' narratives will only lead to one group holdiong the other in less regard.


October 1st, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

I think it's pretty clear that the former players hold the fans/students/alumni in little to no regard already.  I haven't heard a single one express anything along the lines of "the current state of the program sucks for the fans".  All I've heard is the expectation that I always shell out my money and time to UM athletics because I'm an almuni.  Maybe the 'shared experience' regarding UM athletics I always felt before the last few years was always a facade I just didn't see before.  Or maybe it's just a football thing.  I wonder if non-revenue athletes feel the same way.


October 2nd, 2014 at 10:38 AM ^

I'm not arguing with a former player's right to post his opinion here. I honestly am interested in hearing it. The issue is that there is a lot of fan outrage right now with the direction of the program, due to the poor performance of the team, the endangering of a player, and the treatment of the fans by the athletic department.

There are some rather heated discussion between fans who are generally of a similar perspective. Injecting a players perspective, which includes the basic premise of continue to buy tickets, show up, support the players and don't complain, will likely lead to additional fans being turned away from the program due to what is perceived as a lack of appreciation for what the fans and their support enable.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

If only. Poor John Navarre got hate mail, hate emails, and had to be walked home by his parents after games to avoid being harassed. He's the only UM player during my fandom to endure more abuse from the fans than Devin Gardner. I will never understand what people think they will accomplish by being so hateful towards our own players.


October 1st, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

Jim Harbaugh broke his arm, and Bo Schembechler went 6-6. We students skipped a few games (bad weather - Illinois, knew we'd get beat - Iowa / exams coming up or papers due), and we boo'ed Bo (not the players) loudly when he called a 2 yard running play up the middle (we had no idea positive run yardage was such a luxury) instead of trying that new fangled passing thing.

We didn't have cell phones, blogs, or email. So we griped in person at games, on campus, in the dorms, or at parties. Anything you said about Bo or player x wasn't likely to be heard, and you certainly didn't say it in front of any player. The media, and the donor base is where Bo took the most heat.

Especially in 1984 there were gumblling about the game having passed Bo by. The crisis of the day was the aforementioned reluctance to pass. We were getting beat by those pass heavy upstarts - enough to derail any chance of an unbeaten season.

The thing is, we all told each other "eh - it's a building year" because Bo had such an established history of winning, and that Harbaugh guy looked pretty good before breaking his arm. We were 9-3, 6-6, 10-1-1 (beat Nebraska in the Fiesta), 9-2 (B1G champions - lost to ASU in the Rose) while I was there, so this was generally true.

Sigh ...

If they pulled out a 9-3 or 8-4 or even a 7-5 this year, I 'd be inclined to be patient and listen to the players (and Mattison) about Hoke. The "Corso forecast" trajectory this team appears to be on is far worse.

True Blue Grit

October 1st, 2014 at 2:42 PM ^

gripe to were your buddies, girlfriend/boyfriend, or spouse.  There was almost no way you could gauge how the rest of the fanbase was feeling - good or bad.  You had the newspaper columns where the writer would express their opinion, but that was about it.  I don't remember any call-in sports talk radio shows either in the 70's or 80's.  On the positive side, you had a lot more time freed up compared to spending it on blogs and social media!

Gandalf the White

October 1st, 2014 at 11:23 AM ^

in order to better understand our opinions. It should be- "shut up, don't ask questions about how much your paying, don't ask questions about what your paying for, and don't think that you have any stake whatsoever in your college football team." Typical Michigan arrogance, handed down through the generations.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:22 AM ^

what bothers the players more.  The possibility of a new coach or the possibility that they might never field a competitive team during their career at UM if no changes are made.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:23 AM ^

I feel that any former player speaking publicly about supporting the team and the coach now should place their open letter or facebook status or whatever next to a copy of whatever show of support they put out for Rich Rodriguez in 2010. Those are the guys I will take seriously. 

The only reason these guys support Brady Hoke/Dave Brandon is because of the tired Michigan Man meme that is the exact reason we're in the mess we're in. They like Hoke because they played for him or Carr and because he had a previous connection to UM. That's it. 

Space Coyote

October 1st, 2014 at 11:39 AM ^

But that may not be entirely true. Some may genuinely like Hoke more, feel he's a better coach, a better person, whatever. It may or may not be true, and that may be a matter of perspective, but the tired "Michigan man" meme is about as tired as the "tired Michigan man meme" meme. It's cutting both ways, it's keeping some stuck in the past and others making everything about that negative.

Being a "Michigan Man" is not a slight. It's your opinion that former players only like Hoke because he's a "Michigan Man", but it may be that their opinion of him is based on what he stands for and believes in and how he treats his players and that those facts make him a "Michigan Man", what the word is supposed to mean.

By the way, the first guy seems like he went through the Rich Rod-Hoke transition, he admitted that was hard, so there's that.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

#NotAllFormerPlayers (seriously dude, come on). 

For someone to think that Hoke is a good coach at this point is solely down to them having known him personally or his Michigan Man ties. Their opinions are skewed from that. As you say, they can think those things, but they are wrong and they stem from what I said above. 

If you look at this season + last season and think anything else, then that's fine, but you can't really be taken seriously. 

Edit: Beyond that, a lot of former players are talking about how you need to stand with the team, coach, program, etc. when times are bad because that's what makes a true fan/Michigan Man. Again, if that's the case, why were so many of them so against Rodriguez? Why were they standing against the program then? Because its not actually about that. 

If you want to say transitions can be rough, fine. But they don't have to be. This one actually may not be, if we get the right coach. The talent is there, if Hoke is fired in time to let the guy get in to save a decent recruiting class, we might actually be able to transition pretty smoothly. Its happened before. 


October 1st, 2014 at 11:23 AM ^

You can do both.

You can support the team and its players while not supporting everything Dave Brandon.

Supporting the Michigan football team and supporting Dave Brandon are not one and the same.


October 1st, 2014 at 11:24 AM ^

When I hear the former players come out and defend Hoke it says to me they are ok with losing.  These are the ego's that are responsible for where we are now.

The current players are already taking a hit.   They are 2-3 this year and 4-9 over the last 13 games.  They haven't been competitive in the three loses against arguably average teams (I think ND is way over rated).

We have seen the same mistakes on the field over and over again, which include mental errors, poor clock management and ineffective schemes (punt formation).

When the former players come out and say Hoke is a good coach they may as well say the current players aren't good.  This is year four for Hoke, if he is such a good coach then the players must not be good.  What other explanation is there?