Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday Night Massacre

Here's what Michigan's new head coach Rich Rodriguez has done since he woke up on Sunday morning:
This is putting aside various culture-clash criticisms from friends, which I've found petty and nasty -- stuff about his wife's hair and the fact that their kids' names all start with the letter "R." This is also putting aside the general unease some feel with ditching a successful system for a style of offense that has been classified as junk and gimmickry.

Good-bye, future Tom Brady; hello, future Michael Vick.

We've gone from guarded optimism, to actual enthusiasm, to trepidation and dread in the course of 96 hours. Draw Sharp might actually have been right, which is the most disturbing part of all of this. And Les Miles actually may have been the lesser evil.

One thing's for fucking sure: If Michigan goes 3-9 next year, at least we won't hear claptrap about tradition.

From this point forward, Michigan is just any other program.

Other observations: The Dolphins job will open soon, and some view Miami as a special place; Tom Osborne would make a fine interim Athletic Director at schools other than Nebraska; and in a few years, Ron English will probably have the resume to take over as Michigan's head coach.

It's also possible that this is an overreaction, which would be unusual. I'm usually not much into hyperbole.

Update: This afternoon I read the following from Mike Hart, and became even angrier:

Senior tailback Mike Hart said he was disappointed to hear about the staff changes, but said he knows the coaches "are all going to get jobs." Hart said he hopes Rodriguez and his incoming staff "learn Michigan tradition."

"Obviously, when I come back (to visit), there's going to be no one here for me," Hart said. "That's 128 years of history gone, with no one (on the new staff) with any recollection of that and the tradition. If these guys get to know the history and tradition, they will learn that Michigan is a lot different than any other place. I just hope they learn Michigan and what it's all about."

I wished that he'd pegged Rich Rodriguez as Lloyd Carr's little brother.

And then great relief came with this news:
New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has plans to rehire at least one member of the current staff -- longtime assistant Fred Jackson.
"I'm looking forward to working with him and learning that offense," Jackson said, referring to Rodriguez's spread offense. "I'm looking forward to keeping the Michigan tradition alive."

Rodriguez appeared on "The Mike Tirico Show" on Friday afternoon and reiterated there's a potential for other rehires.

"I sat last night and met with all the staff members, not just the position coaches, but the support staff and talked to them," Rodriguez said on the show. "I don't call it retain, but I'm rehiring a lot of these support staffs. I've already rehired one of the position coaches in Fred Jackson. Not all the position coaches are leaving. I'm rehiring Fred and most of the administrative staff will be rehired or already have been rehired.

Jackson is a very well liked guy, apparently an excellent recruiter, and one of the assistants widely expected to be retained through any transition. This goes a long way toward calming my fears.

This post isn't the opening salvo of a running effort to bitch about Rodriguez. I don't hate him. The circumstances of his departure from West Virginia are concerning. Reports of an immediate and universal firing looked like evidence of a similar institutional disrespect. His presser on Monday was brilliant and it's been less than a week, but yeah -- there's enough here to warrant tough scrutiny. Concern and harsh judgment aren't the same as vendetta.


flop said...

Great, now that Michigan's hired a coach, we go all MGoBlog on everyone's ass.

Honestly, we're all blind people trying to describe an elephant here.

apocalypse said...

Didn't Bo fire all of the assistants when he came on? That's right, he did. But he wasn't a Michigan man, either, clearly.

crimenotes said...

Dude, I just read an edict from Rodriguez. He's banned all references to Bo.

dmbmeg said...

Who WOULD you have been happy with, Mr. Crimenotes? Flop as head coach?

CrimeNotes said...

The question is no longer material, but I kind of liked your coach.

apocalypse said...

Crimenotes clearly is set on being a curmudgeon about this whole thing. For now on, everything from Crimenotes re: Michigan football will be taken with a large grain of salt.

CrimeNotes said...

Nah, I'm not intent on being a curmudgeon. I was keen on the hire about 72 hours ago, but there are concerning issues. I was happy to read today that he's now retaining Fred Jackson and possibly two more. This would've been a different post. But still: concerning issues.

Also, while I'm not offended or anything, I do think it's sloppy to dismiss an argument because you don't like the source. If I were trying to assert fact and had a record of being wrong, yes, but to say you're taking someone's views with a grain of salt because you don't like the views is dishonest. If you think the argument and conclusions are shoddy, attack the argument. That's fair. But saying, "I'm taking this opinion with a grain of salt" not based on the merits but the source is lazy and self-defeating. Maybe I'm totally wrong. That would be fine.