Take on the Michigan program from an outsider

Submitted by Michigan fanatic on August 26th, 2010 at 3:34 PM

I found this posy on another site I go to and found it pretty interesting to hear the perception of the Michigan program under Carr and the effect it could have had on recruiting and such


Monday I had the pleasure of meeting Coach David McWilliams (former player, DC, and Head Coach of the University of Texas and Texas Tech) at a fund raiser golf tournament for the Boys and Girls Club. There is a very significant former NFL player presence, and I also got to meet Ed "Too Tall" Jones -- who is freakin' HUGE, like scary HUGE!

Anyway, I was paired with Coach McWilliams, and it was great to hear his stories of Coach Royal, of winning the NC, and especially stories of Bo after I told him I am a Michigan Man. He REALLY admired Bo, and told several stories about him coming down to Austin with his defensive staff to take a look at the 4-3 defense, and about his charisma at the national coaching meetings.

As you might imagine, I eventually asked him, "do you think Coach Rodriguez is going to be able to keep his job?"

To which he replied, "if the NCAA doesn't come down on him too hard...you cannot trust those guys to do what is right...sometimes the hit someone for something petty, like what Rodriguez did, and other times they let someone like the Pete Carrol from USC get away with murder..."

I liked where this was heading, so I continued, "do you think that EVERY program would get dinged for 20 minutes over, some forms going missing, etc.?"

"Look," he said. "I am not saying that everyone does exactly the same thing, but the NCAA picks and chooses who they look at and who they don't. Pretty much every program would be on probation if the NCAA looked at every program."

I then turned my questions to what happened at Michigan, and why things had gotten so bad before Carr left.

"I've heard that Michigan facilities were really run down and outdated..."

"You're not kidding," he said. "We go all over the nation for these national coaching association meetings and such. We've been everywhere, and I have to tell you that Michigan facilities were BAR NONE, the worst. Heck, even a school like University of Maryland had better football facilities than Michigan...which surprised me...Wisconsin, they had great facilities, Notre Dame, Ohio State...all great, state of the art...but the two that stood out to me were Colorado and Michigan. And there is NO EXCUSE for that because you can just upgrade a little bit every year."

"Yeah, since RR came in, they've spent millions on the stadium, the weight rooms, the locker rooms, the practice fields..."

"You spend way too much money doing that way," he said.

"So facilities are big in recruiting?" I asked.

"Are you kidding?!? Facilities are EVERYTHING. That is why Mack has it so easy here [at UT]...the kids come in and they're in awe of what they see..."

"So when they were coming to Michigan, and not seeing anything special..."

"They don't want to be a part of it...not when there are so many other programs that have such better facilities...simple as that..." He said.

"Coach, I've thought for two years now that RR didn't have a clue what he was walking into...the phone rang, it was Michigan calling, he dropped everything and he told his wife to pack up the house...but when he got here, and got inside the beautiful old mansion..."

At which point he cut me off..."There were termites everywhere..."

"Yeah," I said. "The walls were rotting, the floors were caving in...and pretty much everything needed to be replaced...I just worry that IF Michigan fires him, we're going to turn into a revolving door program and be looked at as toxic..."

"Michigan should keep Rodriguez and play it for the long haul, not the short term. He's a damn good coach, and if the NCAA doesn't hit him hard, Michigan will keep him, and he's going to be fun to watch with all the talent he can attract to Michigan and that offense...look out!"

So, again, not that Coach McWilliams is THE definitive voice on any subject. But, I think his opinion is VERY weighty and the fact that he confirmed what I have heard about the facilities and the state of the program when RR arrived. Further, I think his thoughts on the NCAA, their findings, and his opinion that Michigan should keep RR were very interesting.

Just wanted to share that with y'all...

Go Blue!



August 26th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

If we stick with RR....and he lets us stick with him (ie, not making mistakes that the NCAA looks into) we'll become great again...

I'd hate to be that revolving door or even just having to go through this again if a new coach doesn't like the system and the players brought in for it.


August 26th, 2010 at 3:41 PM ^

if it doesn't come together this year. I still think Rich is the guy.  It sounds as if DB can be patient, but I fear the pitchforks of the alumni if we're home for the holidays. 


August 26th, 2010 at 4:19 PM ^

Agree, I think the alumni is restless. I was amazed at the alumni event in NYC this week where Brian spoke how many alumns just wanted RR out now.  I mean, not even wanting to see the season.  It was really sad.  I understand we are all frustrated but this house divided will hurt the program even more.


August 26th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

"Michigan should keep Rodriguez and play it for the long haul, not the short term. He's a damn good coach, and if the NCAA doesn't hit him hard, Michigan will keep him, and he's going to be fun to watch with all the talent he can attract to Michigan and that offense...look out!"

Thanks for sharing this. I love what he said about UM keeping RR. I totally agree with that quote. If DB fires RR after this season, our football program will be is total despair again because he has his type of players and athletes. If a pro-style coach is hired, half of the players don't quite fit that mold. This year will be a good one, but next year and beyond is when Michigan Wolverine football becomes a NC contender year in and year out again. 

Edit: damn, rb4kb8 kind of beat me to it. Oh well.

Michigan fanatic

August 26th, 2010 at 3:57 PM ^

If a pro-style coach is hired, half of the players don't quite fit that mold. This year will be a good one, but next year and beyond is when Michigan Wolverine football becomes a NC contender year in and year out again. 

I totally agree. I mean look at this team next year. We don't lose to much on the line. I mean we lose Schilling but we have a lot of offensive lineman to fill in. Two junior QB's, and a sophmore Devin Gardner, and all the running backs. On Defense the DB's will have a year under their belt and hopefully we get T-Wolf back. The Defensive line will also be stacked. The only thing that would hurt us is if Rodriguez is fired so I hope Brandon would take that into consideration when they sit down after the season. People say they want Harbaugh in, Well are you willing to sacrifice three more years of rebuilding to make that happen or are you willing to give Rich one more year with a stacked team THAT HE BUILT and see what he does with it????? That's the million dollar decision.

Steve in PA

August 26th, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

What I want to know is if people want Harbaugh if Stanford returns to being Stanford this year? Many wanted Miles, but now that he's not the hot coach many seem to have cooled on him.  Reminds me of investing and seeing people lose their butt chasing a hot stock.



RR is the guy and will get it done if given the chance.  He's made some stumbles along the way (Hopson, wtf?) and I'm still not sold on Gerg, but RR can get it done given the opportunity.


August 26th, 2010 at 3:54 PM ^

He hasn't coached since 1991....when was the last time he SAW our facilities? 

A lot has changed since 1991...

And you kinda lost me at-

I then turned my questions to what happened at Michigan, and why things had gotten so bad before Carr left.


August 26th, 2010 at 3:55 PM ^

That's pretty impressive -- feels good to hear that, not from a random fan or something but someone who understands deep down about the entire football "enterprise" so-to-speak.

Twisted Martini

August 26th, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

I remember McWilliams when he was at Texas Tech and I was at TCU (pre Michigan).  He always struck me as a classy guy.  I think his observations are right on, we didn't get in the hole overnight and we aren't getting out overnight.


August 26th, 2010 at 4:04 PM ^

I remember camping at Michigan while in high school and their weight room was not very good at all.  I also camped at WMU my senior year 2003-2004 and even there weight room was comparable.  When kids see Oregon and Maryland with their jerseys and facilities they think its cool.  Tradition only goes so far..


August 26th, 2010 at 4:53 PM ^

Remember that we are dealing with 17 and 18 year old kids.

I believe that they all want to play for a big name school, but they want those great facilities and connection with coaches too.

And yes, Michigan's facilities were, by most sources, adequate.  Adequate does not impress a kid.   They want it all.  They want big time.


August 26th, 2010 at 4:08 PM ^

FWIW....I see this guy's postings on the other site and he often "meets" people in the know about college football....me thinks he makes many of these meetings up....IMO


August 26th, 2010 at 4:10 PM ^

Thanks for sharing this story.  In the end, you can cut it a lot of ways, but you're in one of two camps on Present Day Michigan Football:

1) Rich Rod is to blame OMG I HATEZ HIM SOOOOO MUCH

2) Lloyd and his staff cashed out at the perfect time (leaving the blackjack table up 3 grand)

Clearly I'm in Camp #2.  I was one of the people calling for Lloyd's head after the 7-5 season, and then again after the losses to Appy State / Oregon.  And now I'm sitting here calling for RR to stay if he goes 6-6 this year.  What gives?  I don't know - I guess that is just the state of the game right now.

You can't win in today's college football with outdated schemes, a lack of work ethic, and poor facilities.  All of which were present under Lloyd during his last few seasons. 

Section 1

August 26th, 2010 at 4:13 PM ^

it could only have been in comparison to OSU, Texas and a handful (max) of others.  I simply do not buy the idea that "Wisconsin" has such fabulously better facilities.  Or MSU, or ...Maryland?

If Coach McWilliams was here before the Stadium renovation and before Glick was compleed, then yeah, I can sort of see his point.  But since then...

Anyway, I'll grant anybody a couple of points: 

1.  Schembechler Hall might need a tear-down.  From an exterior-architecture point of view, I'd be happy to see it go.  It's the ugliest, standout eyesore on the Athletic Campus.  And it could be reconfigured for the 21st century.  It is almost too bad that it is named "Schembechler Hall."  Because that might somehow make it sacrosanct when it shouldn't be; it is just a building.  Tear it down, build a better one, and rededicate it as Schembechler Hall.

2.  Michigan needing to "pick up the pace" on facilities was well known four or five years ago (or more?), the moment that OSU opened its eye-popping weight room.

Otherwise, I thought this was a good read.  Thanks to the OP.   Does anybody know if Oosterbaan still an essential facility as an extra fieldhouse?  Or could it be torn down, along with Schembechler Hall, to make way for a leapfrogging-OSU/Texas/ND-kind of Football Office Building and weight center?


August 26th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

I just read an article about Wisconsin needing to upgrade the 30 year old McClain Center, aka, "The Shell," which houses the football facilities. They want to put in a multistory building connected to Camp Randall that will essentially house every UW athlete's need in the same state-of-the-art-place. They are trying to get state money to fund this recruit-hypnotizing monstrosity, hence the article. I've seen the McClain Center and it was already looking outdated in the 90s, so as far as current facilities go, Wisconsin's are in need of an upgrade.

B10 or Bust

August 26th, 2010 at 4:36 PM ^

FWIW, it seems like an old man just saying what someone wants to hear.

"Not your fault...you can't recruit kids there.  I saw that coming..."

Then he goes on to say:

"With all the talent you can bring in there, I can't wait to see what he does".


August 26th, 2010 at 4:54 PM ^

Yessssssssss this just validates my opinion that anyone who knows anything about football realizes how good of a coach RR is and how bad firing him would be :)


August 26th, 2010 at 5:04 PM ^

Facilities were run down, and still Schembechler Hall needs redone as well as Oosterban field house needs to be brought way up to date....yes, I will say the athletic department in about 5yrs needs to have both of them done.... 

Winning brings recruits, period.  Putting players in the nfl brings recruits period.  Miami and Usc are 100% proof of this.


The facilities arms race began in the 90's across college football and most of the sec schools were the 1st to do so.  Now the rest of the country is catching up or been catching up the last decade.  Michigan's facilities are on par with any top program, though texas has really went over the top with their facilities.



August 26th, 2010 at 5:06 PM ^

First, this is his opinion.

But that accounts for about 90% of everything logged in this site - mine included.

You might not want to buy into all of it.  I don't.  But I do think there is a lot of credibility since he seems not to have any axe to grind and has a broader perspective than most of us.

If anything, as die hard Michigan fans we believe that everyone should understand the deep traditions and see the program as a major power.

The truth is that 1.  Our name opens doors - it doesn't (in and of itself) close the deal.  2.  Kids see what is important to them.  3.  You only have one chance for a first impression.  4.  Everyone is looking for something different.  5.   We must equip our coaches with the very best, if they are to preform at the top.  6.  That has not always been the case at Michigan.  7.  It is a constant fight to stay at the top - no one can rest on their past performance.  

So blow this off if you want.  But I think there is truth here.  The only question is "How much?"


August 26th, 2010 at 5:08 PM ^

Better facilities stat! Seriously, maybe it would help the bball recruiting if Crisler didn't look so run down. I'm sure football recruiting is gonna take a step up now that we have renovated Michigan Stadium and Newsterbaan. I haven't been in the weight room, but how does that look from someone who has?

skunk bear

August 26th, 2010 at 5:17 PM ^

This is the sort of post that I look forward to when I visit here. Voices like Coach McWilliams have perspective. They've been there, done that. Plus one.


August 26th, 2010 at 8:49 PM ^

Michigan facilities has improved a lot.

Crisler is still a dump.  I'm glad that Dave Brandon is aware of it.  Also, it's about time that MBB has a practice facility.  Michigan has been way behind in that department and it has hurt them in recruiting big time.


August 27th, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

"So facilities are big in recruiting?" I asked.

"Are you kidding?!? Facilities are EVERYTHING. That is why Mack has it so easy here [at UT]...the kids come in and they're in awe of what they see..."

Along the same lines, I still maintain that Bill Martin's decision to move away from Nike and enter into a long-term deal with Adidas has hurt recruiting more than people realize or care to admit.

Young athletes universally hold the Nike brand in high regard. It gets kids excited to see the Nike swoosh on the team gear and jersey they'll be wearing. Most kids are just “meh” about the Adidas brand.

Should it matter? No. But kids are stupid (we’re all pretty stupid at 16 or 17), and that’s the reality we have to deal with in recruiting. Tell me you can’t see a kid like Terelle Pryor including Nike v Adidas among the factors he was weighing when he was deciding between Michigan and Ohio State.

Unfortunately, the University is only in year 3 of an 8-year deal with Adidas which began in ‘08 and expires after the 2015 season.

Hopefully we will revert back to Nike after then. I don’t think anyone is really going miss the extra couple of $$$ Adidas paid to become our athletic apparel provider.