Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Three and Out: Wood Shed Edition

If you haven't read the book yet, 3 and Out gives us the "behind the curtain" look at the Rich Rodriguez disaster at Michigan.  It also sheds some light on 4 individuals that I will "take behind the BHB wood shed" today.  I have already taken Bill Martin there.  I still can't believe how he screwed up the coaching search and was so disconnected from the program.  He acted like a paid consultant who worked 10 hours a week and spent more time Up North or in Florida. 

The 4 guys taken to the wood shed today are Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, Mike Rosenberg and David Brandon. 

Lloyd Carr

If you follow this blog, you know I have mixed feelings on Lloyd Carr.   To summarize those feelings, I thought Lloyd never wanted to be the head coach at Michigan.  He was going to be a "Fred Jackson type" that was just a life long assistant coach who coached for Bo or one of Bo's guys.   Lloyd found himself head coach "overnight" as Gary Moeller drank his career away in Southfield.   Lloyd gave us a National Championship and confusing losses to OSU, USC, App State and Texas.  He was regularly out coached by his peers outside the Big Ten. 

I thought Lloyd was a fish out of water in the Big Chair of Michigan Football but I thought he ran a clean program, recruited hard, loved Michigan and was a man of integrity.    Those last two points take a hit in this book. 

Why?

#1:  LC calls Rich Rodriguez out of the blue to ask if he is interested in coming to Michigan to coach.  The reason he does this is to make sure Les Miles doesn't get the job.  It's a known fact that LC hates the grass eater and would do everything possible to make sure he never coaches here.

#2: For reasons only Lloyd knows, he turns his back on Michigan Football and Rich as soon as he gets the job.  He doesn't give RR direction and lets the former players take shots at Rich and what the program has become.  Don't forget, Lloyd is still on the payroll at this point.  His title is Assistant Athletic Director.  Which was just a way for Michigan to pay the remaining years on his contract.   From my perspective, Lloyd should of helped Rich because he recruited him and was getting paid to! 

#3:  After Rich was hired, Lloyd called a players meeting and told them that he would sign transfer papers for anyone who wanted to leave.   Are you F'ing kidding me!  Was this just the man at his retirement press conference that said, the reason he was announcing today was due to recruiting and making sure the program was on solid footing 2-3 years from now?   He then goes and tells his players, if you want to get leave - I will help you. The players hadn't even met Rich or the his staff yet.   This a clear attack against the establishment.

The book also details Rick Leach calling Lloyd out and pretty much keeping silent during the entire 3 years of the Rich Rod experience.     Lloyd let the Michigan family fall apart around him and he acted like he either didn't care or masterminded the fall out.    His love for Michigan and his professional ethics now should be highly in question.  

Rich Rodriguez

I don't think this book did any favors for RR getting another job.  It actually shows that he is a pretty good coach but a poor leader.  Good leaders are great when times are good and bad.  Rich felt the world was against him (and he was probably right) and he acted like it.   He took hits from the media, WVU,  fans and former Michigan players and the lawyers at Michigan just told him to stay quiet.   He kept quiet and it killed him at Michigan.

He also made some major mistakes on the field.  His defense is what killed him on the field at Michigan.  He let Jeff Castell stay at WVU because they were going to pay him $10,000 more.  Give me a break, he could of peeled that off his Salary or take it out of the $1M weight room.   If Jeff was that important and most people "in the know" said he was.  Find an extra $25,000 and get him here.  What a terrible decision. 

We know about other bad decisions like the banquet and how he handled many of his press conferences including the one on the first day of the job.  He struggled with a Michigan Man complex and looking back at it now was not a very strong recruiter.  He recruited a number of borderline guys academically and it cost him.    He was recruiting scared and that is not the way you attract kids to Michigan.  They didn't offer Jonathan Hankins a local DT until late in the recruiting cycle when he already had offers from OSU and Oklahoma.  He is now starting as a Sophomore for the Buckeyes and played a ton as a freshman.   Terrible decision.  Jonathan wanted a Michigan offer and even camped at Michigan to get one, but the Michigan coaches thought he was too out of shape. 

Rich had a ton against him at Michigan and he was clearly hired to be fired.   Guys like Bill Martin hired him when he had a foot out the door and Lloyd Carr who recruited him suddenly came down with laryngitis for 3 years straight.   With that said, he could have proved them wrong by going to two bowl games instead of one. 

Regarding my earlier statement on his next job.  If you were a major program looking for it's next coach would your read the book?  It's basically is a 433 page resume on how he runs a program.  I can see why RR didn't enjoy the final version of this book.   I think the guy can coach, I just think neither he or Michigan did the proper research on this job before he took it.   He was never the right fit, he was just a big name that was looking for a new gig.

David Brandon

David kept saying he didn't want to make a coaching decision until after the Gator Bowl, since the players and coaches had earned this trip.   Instead of playing like they earned a "special treat" the Wolverines laid down during the 1st quarter.   I was on the field after the game at it was 100% clear it was over and everyone knew it.   So I'm not sure that strategy played out well. 

Another theory in the book is that David wanted to make sure he kept attrition low with the upcoming coaching change and doing it in January would do that.  I really don't see the logic in that strategy.

David should have fired RR and Staff after the OSU game.  It would have allowed RR to get the Maryland job and David would of had much more runaway to discuss the job with The Harabaugh Brothers.  Yes, John was offered as well.  The book also says that they offered it to Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald.  I think Pat is a good young coach, but what made him Michigan ready?  How was he any different then RR?  He has had very limited success in the Big Ten and was a defensive guy but has no idea on how Michigan works.  This seems like a strange offer.

Lastly, David always says he has an open door policy to the players.  But the book says he said No to meetings with Denard on the coaching situation a number of times.   I hate hearing things like this, we all know Denard might have been supporting Rich Rod, but it's David's job to take the meeting.   Mostly when it's your top guy.  

Michael Rosenberg

This guy comes out off in the book as a buffoon who was un-prepared for the fallout against him.   It amazes me how he thought he could write a story with little to no research that cost the University Millions of dollars, while at the same time releasing a book on the U of M.  Rosenberg and Synder thought they were going to be Woodward and Bernstein and they came off like Abbott and Costello. 

Michael was quoted that he couldn't believe the negative comments on Amazon regarding his U of M book right after the story released.   Really?  How could you not have known.   He should feel lucky he has a job and that Michigan didn't sue him and the Freep for the damage he did to the program and the University.  Make a smart decision and go cover Nascar or something.  It seems to me the Freep needs a guy covering the Arena Football league.

This book is a difficult read and it changed my perception of many of the major players in the program.  Everybody that was mentioned in the book, pretty much hates it.   Those 3 years killed careers and some people's legacy with the program.   It's a painful, sad read and I couldn't put it down.      

6 comments:

Dave said...

Bob,

Love the blog and am a regular visitor.

Here's my advice on the book: Don't believe all of it. A lot of it is the opinion of people saying what they thought happened, but that doesn't mean it did. Michigan did not offer Pat Fitzgerald. Even Pat Fitzgerald said he wasn't offered and it never went that far.

As for the curious change in view of Lloyd Carr toward Rich Rodriguez, it's pretty simple: The more Carr got to know Rodriguez, the less he liked him. And that falls on Rodriguez. He showed little respect for what Michigan had been and is, and came in with a very arrogant approach. He also is more or less a redneck who lacks polish, has a foul mouth, and is not all that beloved by the people who know him. You know, he was the offensive coordinator under Tommy Bowden at Tulane, when Tulane went 12-0. Tulane hardly ever has a winning season, much less go undefeated. Bowden left for Clemson and Tulane took a look at Rodriguez and passed. Why? Complaints about his arrogance and how he treated people. You have to consider the possibility that people thought he might be a great hire for Michigan, then got to know him better and had some concerns.

Carr was never going to allow Miles to be hired, but neither was Brandon. And it all had to do with Miles off-the-field activities when he was in Ann Arbor, and their view of him is justified. He was married when he was at Michigan, but not to the woman he is married to now. His current wife was a asst coach on a women's team at Michigan. Not hard to figure out what Les Morals, as they called him, was up to.

Rosenberg is an idiot and I lost all respect for the Freep because they never ran corrections on the many errors in their lame investigation.

But the bottom line in all of this is most of the trouble was Rodriguez's own doing -- the way he came in, the way he behaved, the way he would happily recruit suspects instead of prospects. For all of the talk about Carr leaving the cupboard bare, the defense got worse and worse the more Rodriguez brought in his own recruits. The man is a good offensive coordinator, and maybe he can be a head coach in the Big East, where they do not play defense. But he's not a Big Ten head coach and he's far from a class act. He's a West Virginian through and through, and he's always been more about himself than he has been about the programs where he has coached. That doesn't fly at Michigan. But he even could have survived that if he could win games -- win conference games. He could not and he deserved to be fired.

But trust me, the people who developed negative views of him, that didn't happen for no reason. He has a massive ego -- it is his fatal flaw.

Voice of Reason said...

Bob, thanks for the "wood shed" edition, I appreciate it. I also appreciate Dave's insights as well. I have tried to support all of Michigan's coaches because if they are successful then Michigan is successful. However, when they are hurting the program then they need to be exposed and released.

Bob said...

Dave, I agree with you. That goes back to my point that neither side did any research on this hire. You offer a guy $2.5 M a year and you hire him like you need extra help at JCPenny for Christmas help.

I also agree RR was never a good fit in A2 for a lot of reasons. I have also heard about the Miles rumors as well and know Brandon was never going to hire him (second time around).

I have no problem with LC not liking RR, what I have a problem with him is turning his back on the Michigan program, letting his players walk out the door, and during the MSU and OSU weeks excusing the players from attending class.

Those things don't seem to be in the best intrest of Michigan or even the kids.

Joe said...

One of the best posts I have read here. And the insight from Dave is good too (although maybe a little heavy/close-minded on the West Virginia background thing). I haven't read the book but am enjoying reading the reviews. I didn't follow the part about RR, the lawyers, and how/why the silence hurt. To be honest, I liked RR, and appreciated the "new" perspective as opposed to Hoke and his constant "Michigan way" rhetoric, in a minor, diminishing way... (I could go on about that). I lost some respect for RR when more came out about yelling, swearing, and crassness (not real professional or respectful). Oh, and I wonder what the book illuminates about assistants--it seems delegating and assistants is a Hoke strength, and a RR weakness.

Joe said...

Interesting... I have no idea where the "Joe" came from. It was invented when I signed in to Google. My name is Peter.

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