Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wolverine Wednesday: Tries to Decode Insider News

With Michigan Football in it's current "state", everybody has a source of what might happen.   I will try to break down some of the insider stuff reported recently:

John U. Bacon:  Believes Brandon will be fired after the season and none of the Michigan top candidates (H Brothers or Miles) will work for him.   The rumor that Brandon watches tape with the coaches, seems to be a on-going joke with coaches outside the program.  

Brian at Mgoblog:  Believes Brandon will be fired and that the Big Michigan Money guys are now content with that happening.  He also says that the 49'ers and Jim H. are now understanding his coaching style will not work in the NFL and he should be a college guy.    His info is Jimmy won't work for David B. 

Sam Webb, GBW:  Believes Michigan has a shot of getting Jimmy, only if Brandon stays.   Which pretty much contradicts the above information.

Greg Henson, WDFN:  Is hearing that Brandon's removal is near and they are already working on an exit strategy.  He also believes that Jimmy H is the one and only candidate for the head coaching job.  The candidates for the AD job includes:  Brad Bates at BC, Jeff Long at Arkansas and Ward Manuel at UConn.


My Take: 

I get some info on email about Brandon and Hoke but it's hard to say what is accurate and what isn't.  (if you have inside info, send it my way).  This is just my opinion on the matter after reading a ton of this stuff everyday. 

I think Brandon is out and it's only a matter of time.  His only hope was Stephen Ross and now he might have even backed off his vocal support for DB.   Timing is still up in the air and it needs to happen sooner rather then later. 

Brady Hoke is on very thin ice but could save his job if he pulled a big upset against MSU or OSU.   I think a blowout this weekend will pretty much sink his ship.   I think the Michigan administrators (and maybe even DB) has more faith in Coach Nuss and Coach Mattson then they do in Coach Hoke.

Brandon and Harbaugh issue:

Will Jim or John work for David?  I tend to believe the information that they won't.  John has won a Super Bowl and is probably not going anywhere.  I think Jim and the 49'ers are a toxic relationship even if he makes the playoffs.  I think Jim will be available and will have to pick between the Michigan job or maybe a job like the Stephen Ross's Dolphins. 

The Harbaugh's know David Brandon.  He at least talked to both of them about the Michigan job the last time it was opened.   John also didn't put up a fight when Hoke came for Greg Mattison.    They know David Brandon and that is why I believe they are not very interested in working for him.   The Michigan circles at that level are very tight and I'm pretty sure the Harbaugh brothers have enough information to make a decision to not work for him.   Sam is a great Michigan insider and has ties to the coaching staff and is really good with recruiting information, but I tend to lean the other way on his recent information.

I also think both of the brothers would like to be known as the coach that turned around Michigan and got it back to it's glory days.   With that said, it still has to be the perfect conditions for either one to jump at it. 

Next AD?

My money is on Arkansas AD Jeff Long.  He has shown he can handle a scandal with his football program and hired Brett B out of Wisconsin which pretty much shocked everyone.  He has Michigan ties and his wife is from Ann Arbor.   He is also the chairman of the new College Playoff Selection Committee.    This would be a AD hire homerun. 


Let's get Jeff Long and then let him get to work on a new head coach.  As you know, I am very worried about the timing of all these decision effecting getting the best candidate.   Losing the recruiting class in secondary but an issue as well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michigan Tuesday: Coach Speak

Hoke spoke yesterday and didn't say anything:

Yesterday you said you practice in pads with contact? Did Jabrill participate in that full-speed?
“You know, we had a good practice.”
So yes? No? Nothing?
“We had a good practice.”
What about-
“Good practice. He practiced well, too.”
 
Coach Nuss:
 
When you were at Michigan State what was it like?
“Any time you play in a game, whether it be an in-state rivalry game or a conference rivalry game and some of them are out-of-conference rivalry games, the important thing is the focus on the game itself and you can get caught up and lost in the things that surround the game. Any time you’re on either side it’s about the players preparing. It’s about preparing them the best you possibly can and giving them the opportunity to be in the right situations to play well.”
 
Can you talk a little about what it’s like working with Devin Gardner in preparation? Not just how he plays football, but what kind of kid he is and the work ethic you feel you get from him week in and week out.

“I’ve said it all year long, Devin’s preparation has been outstanding and week in and week out he’s done the extra things to prepare himself to play well. Very, very intelligent guy. Really has spent extra time studying the game, and I think it’s important to him not only to understand what we’re trying to do but to understand what the defense is trying to do to take it away. Like I said all year, been very, very pleased with the way he’s prepared week in and week out.”

  • These are the points Michigan has scored against MSU the past 10 years: 45-34-31-28-21-20-17-14-12-6.    At least we did well against MSU when Saban was their head coach

I wish Michigan would solve their AD situation because Michigan will be competing with Florida for a head coach starting in December.   Florida's AD Foley just released this familiar statement:

"At the beginning of the season we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley said. "We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia".

The difference between Florida and Michigan's situation?  Florida has an AD that is not on thin ice and can make a quick decision after the year.  I am going to tell you right now, the longer the Brandon situation plays out, the worse it is for Michigan.   I wonder if Foley will try to re-hire Urban Meyer?  I'm sure he is well rested from his health related retirement and ready to get back to coaching again.

It would sort of be funny/ironic if both programs can find a way to 6 wins and play each other in the Gator Bowl.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michigan Monday: It's State Week and I Wonder Out Loud Again

It's Michigan State week and I still have a hard time that Michigan continues to look up at both of it's biggest rivals MSU and OSU.  It's a terrible feeling isn't it? 

One of my strongest indicators on how good a coach is doing, is if their team gets better during the year.  It really applies to all types of coaches.  How many of you have taken a little league baseball team with a bunch of kids that didn't know how to throw, catch or hit and win baseball games by the end of the year?   That is what I'm talking about, kids getting better each practice and each game. 

We have seen it this year with Ohio State and Michigan State after early losses.   We saw it last year with Michigan State with a poor offense and an early season loss to ND.  They got better game by game, won the Big 10 and a Rose Bowl. 

Brady Hoke took it's inherited team to a Sugar Bowl and it's been down hill after that.   His teams the last two years have been getting worse during the year and not better.   OSU lost their best player on their team in the pre-season, took a early bad loss to VT and now is blowing out Rutgers.    Dantonio and Meyer are not perfect coaches and I feel the same way you do about them both.   The bottom line is they can coach football and their teams get better during the year, our Wolverines don't.   MSU and OSU will be playing for who might have a chance to represent the Big Ten in the playoffs, Michigan hopes to be bowl eligible.  

That is why Hoke will need a relator in about 6 weeks.   He is a good guy, but the only thing he is developing is a bunch of bad seasons.   I think they should keep him on staff as the defensive line coach, until a MAC team has an opening.

If you want inspiration on how a team can go from terrible to good in one year, look at Auburn.  We just need a "Gus Malzahn" type of hire.   I have confidence that a Harbaugh could take this team to 10+ wins next year.   After "the brothers" it seems like slim pickings.   Maybe Texas AM will want to get rid of Kevin Sumlin after that performance this weekend against Bama?  :)

This week also makes me angry that Michigan has to make two consecutives trips to East Lansing.  That would have never happened against OSU and it should never happen against MSU either.   This is on Brandon and allowing the Big Ten to do that.   A compromise would have been playing at Ford Field and letting Sparty get most of the revenue.   Just another log on the Brandon Fire.   

  • Sparty is favored by more then two touchdowns this weekend 15.5 points.

  • Denard Robinson everybody:  127 yards on 22 attempts and a TD against a team from Ohio!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Michigan Friday: Regents Talk - A Brandon Removal Not Immediate

So the Regents got together for their regular meeting in Flint yesterday afternoon and a lot of talking happened:

Schlissel opened the meeting with a six-minute address outlining the department's struggles in recent weeks, his disappointment with the way the Shane Morris injury situation was handled from a communication standpoint and the general appearance of a disconnect between the department and the school's athletic community.

Regent Mark Bernstein:  “The Shane Morris incident, the poor performance of the football team, that’s like a spark in a very, very dry forest. And there’s not a lot of water around right now," Bernstein said. "I think the actions of the athletic department, I believe (some) generally agree, have drained whatever reservoir of goodwill there is with Michigan football in particular. So it makes navigating this issue far more difficult. He would not comment if he supported DB or not.

Regent Andrea Newman: “He has my support,” Newman said. “(But) I would like better communication. I would’ve like to have seen statements come out earlier. But there are reasons for all of those things, why they’re delayed, what happened, how the conversations take place.
“And that was a general fault for the university. We’re the board, it’s our job to review these things with the president, work with the administrators and work with the university.”

Student Body President Bobby Dishell:  Dishell explained that, per the survey, only 10 percent of students currently holding football season tickets would renew them next season unless the price is dropped. He also explained that he and Brandon have an agreement that the price of a student season ticket will come down next season.

So it seems removing Brandon is not going to happen quickly and he is clearly on the offense:  He has met with Dishell and has lowered student season tickets next year.  There was also a letter support that had been floating around that was signed by all the varsity coaches.   The word on the street is he will not resign, which actually surprises me.   With the entire fire storm, I'm not sure how he see's himself coming out of this still in his job or with a any reputation at all. 

You cannot make decisions like this in a rash way. And it can be frustrating, when people are pounding for something immediate," Bernstein said. "But the qualities of our president, that’s not in his constitution. He’s a methodical, thoughtful person. His decision-making process will be like that and we’ll honor that.

“And so, for that reason, I think that this is a circumstance that requires some patience, but also a degree of urgency. John Wooden used to say that you should play quickly but don’t rush, right? Clearly this is the kind of thing that needs resolution, but it’s not the type of thing that serves anybody well to just come out immediately with a decision that may not be supportable.”

Welcome to Ann Arbor President Schlissel, the ball is in your court sir.




Enjoy the bye weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Michigan Thursday: Is Ross Support Enough?

The Regents are meeting today in Flint to discuss U of M issues including David Brandon as the AD.  

“The reaction has been very very strong,”Illitch said. “I’ve received hundreds of letters and I know my fellow regents have as well.”

Some insiders expect this to be a political issues and when I say political I don't mean internal U of M politics, I mean Republican vs. Democrats.  There are 8 total regents, I believe the way the parties breakdown are 2 Republicans and 6 Democrats.   It sounds like the Democrats want him out and would win that vote 6-2. 

President Schlissel has also been meeting with the big Michigan donors including Billionaire Stephen Ross, who you might remember as the guy with his name on the business school and a donor that has given the University of $300 Million.   He is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.

Ross has supported Brandon during this: 

"He's probably the most qualified athletic director in the country,” Ross told Crain’s Detroit Business.  “I think he's terrific.”

“I wouldn't have given my gift to the athletic department if I didn't believe in Dave.”
"You don't go around giving $100 million if you don't feel there is going to be bang for the buck."

Later he spoke to the WSJ:

"If they were winning football games, this wouldn't be a problem," Ross told the Journal. "He is as qualified to be an athletic director as anyone could be."

President Schlissel has been very careful about this words when meeting with the donors, he has not backed Brandon nor has he said a change has to be made.  The meeting today should go a long way of understanding what the next steps should be.

First off, firing Brandon is not just about "concussion-gate"  its about everything he has done as the AD of Michigan.   I don't have to give you a list of failures or how he has disrespected fans, students and staff, we know it all to well.    If David Brandon is fired in the next weeks or months, he has earned that firing.   A monkey could have been in his role and grew revenue for the athletic department.   That BTN check can hide a lot of dysfunction and poor decisions. 

Can Ross support save him?  $300 Million gives you a voice, it sure as hell does.   I just don't think he has enough support in other areas like former players, staff, students, season ticket holders and high profile alumni.   I expect Brandon to receive a "No support" from the Regents today and that he could be removed from role in the next few weeks.   I don't believe he will be fired today or even this weekend. 

If Michigan has really reached out to other candidates (as they should be doing) there is enough smoke here for a Brandon fire.


Update:  Heard DaveBrandon won't resign but there'll be some push when #Michigan board meets today to make recommendation to UM prez that he be fired
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 16, 2014
---------
  • Did anyone notice how Hoke spoke about Gardner's broken foot/toe earlier in the week from last years OSU game.  So coach, you lied about the turf toe?  I'm shocked.

  • Hoke expects Gardner and Willie Henry to play against MSU.

  • Good News:  Kyle Bosch will re-join the team in January after taking some time off from the team to deal with some personal issues.   He played one snap in App. State game but I expect he will receive a full redshirt this season.

  • George Clinton tweeted Dennis Norfleet on his Atomic Dog dance!  Nicely done Fleet!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breaking News: Regents To Meet - Will Discuss Brandon

ESPN is reporting that the Regents will meet on Thursday and will discuss David Brandon:

"The systems failed, and there are a lot of issues we have to review," Ilitch told WWJ CBS-TV in Detroit.

The Regents don't have the power to fire Brandon but a "remove from role" recommendation will go a long way in Michigan president Mark S. Schlissel final decision.

ESPN is also reporting this from the story:

Sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that someone on Michigan's behalf has contacted three possible candidates to replace Brandon to gauge their interest in the job.

Best guess on who was contacted: UConn AD Warde Manuel, Boston College AD Brad Bates and Arkansas AD Jeff Long.  All have ties to Michigan's program and all have experience running an athletic department.

New Job?

Wolverine Wednesday: Bring Me Your Medical Redshirts

It's pretty clear when true freshman are not playing that means they are taking a redshirt year.   What is a little more "gray" is which kids got injured early in the season and might qualify for a medical redshirt.  

Your next question might be, what qualifies a student athlete for a medical redshirt?

The official name is a medical hardship waiver. The athlete must have been injured in the first 3 games or first 30% of the season (whichever is greater) and his/her injury must be serious enough to be out for the entire year.   For example if you haven't played all year but are injured in the last 3 games, you would not qualify for a medical redshirt.  

If you want more detail, MSU has a nice PDF on the difference between the two here:
https://www.msu.edu › ~msuncaa/Medical%20Hardship%20Waivers.pdf

The unique thing is that the Big Ten makes the ruling not the NCAA, as Devin Gardner is this years high profile 5th year example.

Brady Hoke says that Jabrill Peppers might be a candidate for a medical redshirt.   He would qualify as he was hurt in game one and saw only a few snaps after.    Of course, we don't know the extent or anything about his injury, besides it being some type of leg or foot injury. 

Desmond Morgan could also be a candidate if he is not able to play this year.  He was injured in the App. State game as well.  Desmond is a senior this year and never took a redshirt year. 

If Peppers ends up being as good as many of us expect, a 5th year is probably not that important.  It would be interesting to see if Desmond Morgan would want to come back after losing a year due to injury.