Rich Rodriguez- The Walls Come Tumbling Down…

 

Things would have very different if Michigan had beaten Ohio State and won the national championship last season.

 

Things might have been different if Michigan hadn’t lost to Appalachian State this season.

 

Things might have been different if Mike Hart and Chad Henne hadn’t been injured for most of this season.

 

But things have worked out for the best.

 

The last three seasons Michigan has a 26-11 record.  For many teams that would be acceptable- but not in Ann Arbor.

 

We’ve seen traditional powers Notre Dame and Nebraska tarnish their tradition.  We’ve seen Ohio State become the dominant power in the Big Ten.

 

This trend coupled with the retirement of Head Coach Lloyd Carr has created something of a crisis situation in Ann Arbor.

 

It’s time for a change.

 

Rich Rodriguez represents a seismic shift in the firmament in Michigan Football.

 

And Rodriguez will need to show results immediately.

 

There are a lot of people in the Michigan family who are still irked that Les Miles won’t be the next coach in Ann Arbor.

 

There are other people who aren’t happy that most of Lloyd’s staff has been let go.

 

Rodriguez will also be making more money than other coach the history of Michigan football.

 

He had a good record in West Virginia but Michigan fans only care about what he does here in Ann Arbor.

 

I wonder if Rich Rodriguez is having second thoughts.

Comrades, It’s true because they tell us so…

 

 

During the cold war, the communist party talked to the world through its official newspaper, Pravda, a Russian word which translates to mean “the truth.”  It’s not that Pravda exactly published falsehoods, ok well sometimes it did, but its main purpose was to present events from a certain point of view. 

 

In the United States the myth of the neutral press has largely evaporated.  Most observers realize that CNN skews to the liberal interpretation of events and Fox news leans a tad to the right.  It’s up to the viewer to decide how much credibility they assign to each network.

 

Wolverine fans have been treated to some interesting coverage of the UM coaching search.  Nationally, we had ESPN declare the coaching search was over last Saturday which turned to be as accurate as anyone predicting victory over Tom Brady and Patriots. 

 

Locally we had Terry Foster of the Detroit News saying that Les Miles to Ann Arbor was a done deal and that he was negotiating with the Miles camp for an interview. 

 

And then Les Miles held a press conference to register his outrage at being linked to his alleged dream job.

 

Which brings us to the Ann Arbor News, which has been leading the Les Miles parade for some time now.  If anyone has a gripe with Bill Martin’s handling of the coaching search or conspiracy theory involving Lloyd Carr’s secret agenda to discredit good old boy Les Miles than the Ann Arbor News is the place for you.

 

Are a you paid employee of Les Miles- say his agent? 

 

Are you a former Wolverine football player who would like to slam Lloyd Carr and a UM regent for having the audacity- the unmitigated gall to not jump on the Les Miles bandwagon? 

 

Then the Arbor News would love to publish your comments.

 

It’s one thing for a columnist to advocate for one head coaching candidate or another.  Columnists are paid for their opinions.  But the one sided coverage of the Les Miles fiasco by the Ann Arbor News is a joke.  For months they’ve pushed Les Miles as the obvious, best candidate to replace Lloyd Carr.  And now the Ann Arbor News is leading voice of outrage against Bill Martin for not agreeing with their choice

 

The Ann Arbor News has crossed the line between reporting the news and trying to influence what events occur. 

 

Journalism has been described as “the first rough draft of history.”  But at some point the enthusiastic coverage of the UM coaching search has become advocacy for a certain result.  In this case the draft seems to have been written in advance.

 

It may sell papers but the sports department has lost any semblance of neutrality. 

 

Eventually, Michigan will have a new head football coach. 

 

And despite his protestations it might even be Les Miles. 

 

And the Ann Arbor News sports department will be thrilled.

Ground Control to Major Bill…

Let’s start with this.  I want nothing to do with Le$ Mile$.

I don’t care what Jim Carty, the self-appointed drum major of the Le$ Mile$ welcome committee, or any other responsible media has to say in his defense.

Poor Le$.  He’s just like that feather getting blown around in beginning of Forest Gump.  No will of his own- just a victim of circumstance.

Agent generated BS.

If Le$ truly wanted to be the next coach at Michigan, he only has himself to blame for blowing the opportunity.

According to his pimp agent Le$ didn’t know if he was *really* a candidate to be the next head football coach at Michigan.  He had *no* choice but to accept a lucrative extension from LSU.

This interpretation of events is completely absurd yet is being reported as gospel in some quarters.

What Le$ did was accept a very, nice safe offer.  It’s interesting that outgoing Coach Lloyd Carr was often criticized for “playing it safe” with his game plans.  But when Le$ “plays it safe” with his career there are those who are willing to let him play victim while he’s counting his millions.

If Michigan really was his dream job then maybe Le$ needed to take a little bit of risk.

We’ve seen what playing it safe gets us here at Michigan.  Playing it safe isn’t going to beat Ohio State.

If Le$ wasn’t willing to roll the dice for his dream do you really trust him to fulfill our Michigan Football dreams?

Bill Martin’s Secret Game Plan

I hope that AD Bill Martin has some secret plan to clean up coaching search fiasco.  I sure hope it’s a secret because I haven’t heard much that has sounded good lately.

Let’s run down some of the candidates allegedly on the running:

Mike Debord…The first thing the new coach needs to do is let Mike take his play calling on the road.

Ron English…No experience as head coach- maybe next time.

Brad Hoke…You have to be kidding.  I know that Lloyd would like one his guys to take over this dipping pretty deep in the well.

Kirk Ferentz– Three seasons ago this might have been a decent choice but his teams have been completely mediocre lately on and off the field.

Urban Meyer– Would have been a viable candidate prior to being Florida’s head coach.  Can’t see him leaving now.

Brian Kelly– My choice but all indications are that either he’s not interested in the job and/or Michigan isn’t interested in him.

I sure hope Bill has a plan better than these guys…Bill, you do have a plan right?

LE$ MILE$- Any dream will do

For the last several years people close to the Michigan football program have been puzzled to hear reports that LSU Coach Les Miles was next in line to lead the Wolverines.

There was only one problem- the rumors all seemed to originate from outside Ann Arbor.  Anyone who follows Michigan Athletics knows that things don’t work that way in here.  If Les Miles was at the top of Athletic Director Bill Martin’s football coaching wish list we certainly wouldn’t be reading about it in the newspapers.

Whenever I tried to get people to talk about the possibility of Les Miles coming at Ann Arbor I heard the same thing.  People close to the program believed that rumors were leaked from the Les Miles camp as a negotiating ploy to shake more dollars out of LSU.  The thinking was that if Les was seriously interested he should know that leaking rumors to media on an annual basis wasn’t the way to get the job.  He created some additional ill will by not voting Michigan #2 in the coaches poll last season and giving the Wolverines a chance for revenge against the Buckeyes.

The rumors reached a crescendo after the bitter disappointment of this season.  When Lloyd Carr announced his retirement a few weeks ago many Wolverine fans and media members were insisting Les Miles was the best candidate to succeed him.

And for an hour or so it appeared that Les was on his way to Ann Arbor.  And then a funny thing happened.  Les did exactly what my sources said he had been doing for years.

He leveraged Michigan’s now authentic interest in him to shake a boatload of cash out of LSU.

And he turned his back on “his dream” of returning to his alma mater.

The elephant in the room

It’s no big secret that Lloyd Carr isn’t exactly a fan of Les Miles.  Nobody has ever gone on the record with exactly why they don’t get along.  What we do know is that Les Miles left Ann Arbor after Lloyd become head coach.  Why aren’t two Michigan Men, two of Bo’s Boys, on better terms?  Well, that’s the big question right now.  I do think Lloyd Carr is a pretty judge of character and if he’s not a Les Miles fan that is enough for me.

Les Miles- Our last hope?  No, there is another and another after that…

I’m not going to campaign for my choice as the next coach of the Wolverines (cough, cough, Brian Kelly).  I am going to say that there are a number of coaches who have the skills to succeed at Michigan.  People you have heard of and probably a few people you haven’t.

What we need

Make no mistake- the next head coach here has some big shoes to fill.  Every day he’ll go to work in a building named after Bo Schembechler.  And the last guy to win a National Championship (Lloyd Carr) will also still be hanging around.  When the season starts he’ll lead his team down the tunnel and play in front of the largest crowd to watch a football game in America.

At Michigan the head football coach needs to be more than a great tactician.  He needs to be the spiritual leader of the Wolverine nation, a pillar of the community, and the caretaker of the winningest tradition in the history of collegiate football.  He also needs to subvert his ego to the concept of THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM.

The scrutiny is intense.  And not everyone is up to the challenge.

What Michigan needs is the *RIGHT* coach- not the popular guy, or the trendy guy.  We need a coach who hungers to write his own pages in the great Michigan tradition.

We need a man whose dreams are as great as Michigan Wolverine football.

Not someone who would sell his “dream” for few dollars more.

That guy belongs down in Louisiana- we have higher standards here.

2007 Michigan Football- Henne and Hart- Invincible?

 

Recently I watched the movie Invicible, which tells the true story of a Vince Papale, a 30 year old bartender who becomes an NFL player after being discovered at an open tryout.  In the movie, Papale freezes and blows a play during his first NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys.  As he leaves the field the head coach screams at him, “I stuck my neck out for you!”

 

The message was clear- it didn’t matter that Papale was a folk hero to the team’s fans, or that the coach personally liked him- if he couldn’t do his job and help the team win he wouldn’t play.

 

I thought about this scene in the movie as I watched QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart struggle against Ohio State Saturday.

 

 

It would have been a great story to have them return from injury and lead the Wolverines to victory over the Buckeyes.  It would have awesome to have Lloyd’s loyalty to his seniors validated with a victory in his final game at Michigan Stadium.

 

 

But it didn’t turn out that way.

 

The Michigan mantra is supposed to be “The Team, The Team, The Team” but on Saturday I’m not sure if the best interests of the team were served.